Through personal experience, Church members can discover that there is one great source for peace in this world — their Savior, even Jesus Christ, said Elder Ben B. Banks.
"No matter how great the trial, no matter how much the suffering, the Master can always bring the needed peace," said Elder Banks of the Presidency of the Seventy, speaking at a Church Educational System fireside Nov. 4. "His gospel stands as a beacon of light in a world darkened by the influence of evil. Millions of people today are looking for answers; they thirst for peace. They want comfort in their lives, and they seek to know if they are safe."
Elder Banks urged more than 20,000 young adults gathered in the BYU Marriott Center to follow the "Lord's plan for peace." An estimated 135,000 more heard the address live, via satellite, throughout North, Central and South America. The fireside, translated into 22 languages, was broadcast on a delayed basis throughout Europe and will also be made available on videotape to institute students around the world.
During his address, Elder Banks reflected on a time of family crisis. His daughter in-law was recovering from a serious brain infection, caused by a type of meningitis. His son had his thumb ripped off in a work-related accident. Elder Banks' wife learned she had skin cancer.
"I did not know at the time how it was going to turn out, but I did know that whatever happened, my family and I were loved by our Savior," he said.
Elder Banks also spoke of the great persecution faced by early Church members and of a trial faced today by a young friend who was left paralyzed after a swimming accident.
"We all have trials and tribulation to face in our lives," he said. "It is vital, therefore, that we be well prepared and filled with a spiritual reservoir that we can carry with us and that will be available to help us."
He told the young people they are all in need of a spiritual parachute — one that will protect them when they face personal trial and adversity, one that will bring them peace when the world is confounded.
"Our spiritual parachute has many elements that make up a wonderful protective canopy we can use in times of great difficulty," he said. "Today I will mention seven of those elements."
- Follow the prophets. “We know that we live in challenging and difficult times with the world in commotion,” he said. “We are in constant need of spiritual direction from trusted sources.”
- Be clean.“You cannot have peace in your life if you have allowed the insidious influence of pornography to envelop your life,” he said. “Get help. Get out of the mists of darkness and back onto the right path that will lead to eternal life.”
- Be honest.Elder Banks said the older he gets the more he realizes complete honesty is a principle Church members must live by. “Honesty is a character trait that should be at the very foundation of our lives.”
- Keep the Sabbath day holy.“By keeping the Sabbath day holy we build for ourselves spiritual character,” he said. “It is not always easy to avoid the temptations of the world, but there is peace and safety in doing so.”
- Read and ponder the scriptures and pray often. Quoting Elder Henry B. Eyring, Elder Banks said, “If you ponder the scriptures and begin to do what you covenanted with God to do, I can promise you that you will feel more love for God and more of His love for you. And with that, your prayers will come from the heart, full of thanks and of pleading.”
- Serve others. “Let us strive to give of ourselves through service to others,” he said. “We cannot remain aloof from the needs and sufferings of others. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in there is always an opportunity for us to serve.”
- Keep the commandments. “The formula for peace: Keep the commandments of God. War and conflict are the result of wickedness; peace is the product of righteousness,” he said, quoting Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
Elder Banks told the worldwide congregation that members of the Church of Jesus Christ are not free from trial and tribulation.
However, he added, Church members do have the opportunity to partake of the sacrament weekly. "For our part, we promise our Eternal Father that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of His Son, always remember Him and keep His commandments. In return, we are promised that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. As you face a week out in the world, can you imagine having a more comforting promise?"
Elder Banks concluded by telling members it is vital that they partake of the sacrament worthily.
"By doing so and by keeping the covenants we make, we are building our reserves of strength for times of need," he said. "We are also becoming a better people. We will stand as beacons to those around us. We will recognize the quiet confidence that comes to those who faithfully live the gospel. We will have confidence in our ability to answer questions and concerns of others. Others will look to us in times of trouble to help them. We will be able to help them find the peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"When answering questions from those around us, we should be kind to all with whom we talk regardless of their race, culture or beliefs. We should never be smug or self-righteous. We should act with love in our hearts, remembering that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the peace.
"Can you now see that true world peace starts with you and me? . . . It certainly requires a willingness to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of increasing evil and worldliness and commitment to fearlessly hold up the beacon for others to follow."