Rules important in big game of life

A tagline used by famous former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, "That's the way it is," was adapted by Presiding Bishop H. David Burton in his priesthood session address to young men on preparing themselves to serve missions.

Drawing on the imagery of last year's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Bishop Burton said, "Young men, if you want to be world class and qualified to be participants in the really important events of life like priesthood ordinations, blessings of the temple and missionary service, you too must develop a disciplined daily routine of honesty, virtue, study and prayer. And that's the way it is."

As in sports, rules of worthiness to serve God "are important, even critical," he said. "In life there are also penalties, perhaps even disqualification, if rules are broken. Our participation in life's important events may be jeopardized if we fail to follow the rules contained in our Father in Heaven's commands. Involvement in sexual sin, illegal drugs, civil disobedience, or abuse could keep us on the sidelines at key times. You would do well to view rules as safety restraints, not as chains that bind. Obedience builds strength. And that's the way it is."

Bishop Burton noted that some professional athletes hire agents to handle their business affairs. "Our Father in Heaven has provided His precious young sons with a support team more than equal to the one used by the athlete," he said. "Our parents make superb agents. They look after our interests. They are not only interested in us, but because they love us, they are terrific consultants as well."

Continuing the analogy, he said, "Our bishops serve as personal trainers and they use their sacred priesthood keys to bless our lives. Seminary teachers, quorum advisers and home teachers round out the support team which has been assembled by the Lord to help us prepare for the big games of life. As you follow and obey, your performance will steadily improve. When the Lord commands, do it. And that's the way it is."

As in athletics, focus is important in preparing to serve the Lord, Bishop Burton said. "It is easy to lose sight of the really important objectives of life. . . . Safety and success come when focus is maintained on the important opportunities: . . . priesthood advancement, temple worthiness and missionary service. And that's the way it is."