Every convert who comes into this Church should have an immediate responsibility. It may be ever so small, but it will spell the difference in his life. . . . I cannot understand why converts aren't given more responsibility immediately when they come into the Church. The tendency is to say, "They don't know enough." Well, take a chance on them. Think of what a chance the Lord has taken on you. Give them something to do, be it ever so small, something that's specific by which they will grow. A testimony is like your arm, as you use it grows strong. Put it in a sling, it atrophies and grows weak and useless. You will not develop people in this Church unless you give them responsibility. – From priesthood leadership, second session, BYU Married Student Stakes Regional Conference, Feb. 10, 1996.
I wish to say to you who serve as counselors: Treasure this opportunity and glean from it all that you can. Look for the good in those who lead you. Don't look for their weaknesses. You can find some if you look hard enough. None of us is perfect. There was only one perfect man who ever walked the earth, and He was the Son of God. We all have weaknesses and I guess we all make mistakes and will make mistakes in the future, but look for the virtues, the strengths, the goodness in those with whom you labor, and draw those characteristics into your own lives and make them a part of yourselves and you will be the richer for it all the days that you live. You have a very precious and wonderful opportunity. – From Priesthood Leadership, first session, BYU Married Student Stakes Regional Conference, Feb. 10, 1996.
CRITICS OF THE CHURCH
We have had (critics) in the past, and will in the future. They are wearing out their lives trying to find fault with this Church. They mine its history for every little negative tidbit. They examine the words of the General Authorities. I regret the manner in which they are wasting their time. My heart reaches out to them, and I wish I could persuade them to change their ways, to alter their outlook, and to come back to the Church and apply their talents to the building of the kingdom. But I see little disposition to do so. I suppose they are enjoying their day in the sun, but their sun will set and they will not be remembered for good. I remind you that this work has not been moved forward to its present wonderful level by critics. It has been moved forward by men and women of faith, who have done their part, large or small, in expanding it. – From Salt Lake Institute Fireside, Jan. 21, 1996.
DEALING WITH DEATH
All of us have to deal with death at one time or another, but to have in one's heart a solid conviction concerning the reality of eternal life is to bring a sense of peace in an hour of tragedy that can come from no other source under the heavens. – From Plano Texas Regional Conference, March 17, 1996.
You cannot tamper with illegal drugs. We cannot afford to tamper with those things. Our bodies are the temples of our spirits. They are sacred. These are the creation of the Almighty. Man was formed in the image of God. As His son, as His daughter, we ought to take care of our bodies. Let us work with our children, teach our people, to not become shackled and enslaved by drugs which take possession until the individual no longer has power over himself and cannot control his own destiny. They are wrong, they are not good. – From priesthood leadership, second session, Charlotte North Carolina Regional Conference, Feb. 24, 1996.
SEEK SPIRTUAL ROOTS
There is much of beauty about [the people of the world], but without the root that finds itself in faith and conviction concerning God and the risen Lord, there isn't much of real substance when it comes to a crisis or a showdown of some kind. Seek for the real things, not the artificial. Seek for the everlasting truths, not the passing whim. Seek for the eternal things of God, not for that which is here today and gone tomorrow. Look to God and live, as the scripture enjoins us. – From Plano Texas Regional Conference, March 17, 1996.
We need your strength. We need your faith. We need your capacity. We need your testimonies. We need your willingness to work in this, the work of the Lord. Be faithful, be true, be devoted to this work. It is the only way you will find peace and happiness in your lives, and you will find peace and happiness if you will live the gospel. It is the way of truth and life and understanding. – From sacrament meeting, Emigration 2nd Ward, March 3, 1996.
Virtue – there is nothing more precious in all this world than virtue. Now, if there are any of you here who may have stepped over the line and transgressed and thinks that all is lost, let me say to you that all is not lost. The principle of repentance is the first principle of the gospel after faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can repent and you can put the past behind you and, as it were, clean the slate, rub those marks off the chalkboard and go forward with your lives. If there is anything of that kind in the past, talk in confidence with your bishop and get it straightened out and move forward with cleanliness. Be clean. There is nothing more, beautiful in this world than a beautiful girl who is clean in thought and word and deed, nor anything more handsome or attractive than a young man likewise. – From youth fireside, San Diego California Stake Center, March 23, 1996.
WORK WILL GO FORWARD
This work came through divine revelation of God the Eternal Father and the Risen Lord. It has prospered and grown and never taken a backward step since it was organized. It has blessed the lives of people across the earth and will continue to do so in ever-increasing numbers. I am as sure of that as I am sure that the sun will rise over Laie tomorrow morning. – From second general session, Oahu Hawaii Regional Conference, Feb. 18, 1996.