Opposition is necessary in all things

Elder Howard W. Hunter, while serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke in the October 1987 general conference about Lehi's encouragement to his son Jacob, who was born in the wilderness in a time of travail and opposition.

"Jacob's life was not as he might have expected it to be and not as the ideal course of experience might have outlined," Elder Hunter said. "He had suffered afflictions and setbacks, but Lehi promised that such afflictions would be consecrated for his son's gain. (See 2 Ne. 2:2.)"Then Lehi added these words that have become classic:

" `For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.' (2 Ne. 2:11.)

"I have taken great comfort over the years in this explanation of some of life's pain and disappointment. I take even greater comfort that the greatest of men and women, including the Son of God, have faced such opposition in order to better understand the contrast between righteousness and wickedness, holiness and misery, good and bad. From out of the dark, damp confinement of Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned that if we are called to pass through tribulation, it is for our growth and experience and will ultimately be counted for our good. (See D&C 122:5-8.)

"Where one door shuts, another opens, even for a prophet in prison. We are not always wise enough nor experienced enough to judge adequately all of the possible entries and exits. The mansion that God prepares for each of His beloved children may have only certain hallways and banisters, special carpets and curtains that He would have us pass on our way to possess it.

"I share the view expressed by Orson F. Whitney in these words:

" `No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God. . . .' (As quoted in Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 98.)

"At various times in our lives, probably at repeated times in our lives, we do have to acknowledge that God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see. `For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.' (Isa. 55:8.)

"If you have troubles at home with children who stray, if you suffer financial reverses and emotional strain that threaten your homes and your happiness, if you must face the loss of life or health, may peace be unto your soul. We will not be tempted beyond our ability to withstand. Our detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow path to Him."