Choose between good and evil

As a young missionary in Brazil, Elder James E. Faust encountered Iguacu Falls. In his priesthood session address, President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency spoke of a part of the falls known as the Devil's Throat, where the deluge is heaviest.

"Years ago," he said, "reckless boatmen would take passengers in canoes to stand on those rocks and look down into the Devil's Throat. . . . Those foolish enough to leave the canoes to stand on these treacherous wet rocks could so easily lose their footing and be swept away into the swirling currents below."

The "Devil's Throat" was apt for the analogy President Faust drew: "I recognize that some of you think of yourselves as daredevils, ready to take on almost any challenge. But some of these excursions for excitement will inevitably take you down into the Devil's Throat. The only safe course is to stay well away from the dangers of Devil's Throat."

Some young men may be letting others set their standards, President Faust noted. "I strongly urge you that if there is any question in your minds or hearts about whether your personal conduct is right or wrong, don't do it. Each of us has moral agency, and the gift of the Holy Ghost will sharpen our impressions of what is right and wrong, true and false. . . . If we are conscientiously trying to avoid not only evil but the very appearance of evil we will act for ourselves and not be acted upon." (See 2 Nephi 2:13.)

President Faust warned that much of what comes from the devil is alluring and exciting. "Satan is the greatest imitator, the master deceiver, the arch counterfeiter and the greatest forger ever in the history of the world," he said.

Each person is caught in a tug-of-war between the forces of good and evil, and each must choose between the two, he said. "If any of you young men think you can have it both ways you are only deceiving yourselves. It doesn't work that way. It never has. It never will."

Another truth that young men must learn is that everything has a price, President Faust said. "If you don't pay the price that is needed for success, you will pay the price of failure. . . . As priesthood holders of this Church, part of the price we need to pay is by living differently from the world. We are the possessors and custodians of these commanding powers which can and do roll back the power of Satan on the earth. With all my heart I urge you to please help us push the world back."

While the future holds a continued increase in scientific discoveries, inventions, treatments and cures, "the worldly influences of evil will likely increase and more people will become vulnerable to the deceit and enticement of Satan," he warned. "You young men will need to become stronger spiritually and morally in order to withstand the temptations and snares of the world."

He gave a special warning to those serving in the military. "War exposes people to bodily harm, but there is also exposure to moral harm."

Loyalty to members of a military unit is essential, because they are dependent upon one another for survival, he said. "But that doesn't mean you have to lower your moral standards. In any association there needs to be one or more to stand up and say, 'What we are doing is not right.' " In that light, President Faust pointed out that the Church recently republished the servicemen's edition of "Principles of the Gospel" for Church members serving in the military anywhere in the world.

"Brethren," he declared, "we are living in a challenging time, and it is a time for us to stand firm and steady in meeting our family and priesthood responsibilities.We should go forward in a spirit of faith, and not be fearful of anything except being too close to the Devil's Throat."