Decisions | Thomas S. Monson

Decisions | Thomas S. Monson

I’m very honored my young brothers and
sisters to have the opportunity of being in the Marriott center this evening and
as one sits here and contemplates the responsibility of standing before you I
want to assure you a feeling of humility and dependence upon one’s heavenly
father become uppermost in the mind of the speaker and I seek an interest today
therefore in your faith and in your prayers that our Heavenly Father will
bless and sustain me in this tremendously responsible assignment this
evening. I should like initially to pay tribute to the faculty of the Brigham
Young University and to the ecclesiastical leaders who provide
direction in your branches and in your stakes. I feel that this is a reservoir
of strength and talent which cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world and
while each man and each woman could be singled out for particular commendation
this evening I should like to pay a particular tribute to President Ben
E. Lewis. Here is a man who in his quiet and yet enthusiastic way has been able to
accomplish a great deal at Brigham Young University under two presidents and I
should like to assure him and sister Lewis tonight that the Monson family
sustains him in his responsibilities here in this great organization and that
there are thousands just like us who feel the same way about Uncle Ben Lewis
as he’s affectionately called. We’re thrilled this evening sister Monson and
I to have members of our family here each of our two childrens who thus far
have gone to university have been students at Brigham Young and we have a
17 year old at home who lets his father and mother know where his loyalties are
and he’ll be at Brigham Young University as well.
(Provided he qualifies, President Oaks, for the entrance examination!) When I look at
you my young brothers and sisters I think of the prophet of the Lord who
called me to be a member of the Council of the Twelve, President David O McKay. I
was his last appointee to the Council and I shall ever remember and treasure
the association that I had with him and the appointment wherein he extended me
my call. As I think of president McKay I think of one of his favorite passages
from the literary giants of the world even from Longfellow when he described
you. He said how beautiful is youth how bright it gleams with its illusions
aspirations and dreams book of beginnings story without end each maid
an heroine, each man a friend. Surely the youth of this church represent
beauty in all of its dimension now many of you are here from places far from
Utah I don’t need to tell you that if you’re freshman you become a little bit
lonely your mothers and fathers worry about you and they too become lonely but
there isn’t a place in all the world where they’d have you serve and study
then right here at Brigham Young University. Wherever we go we have a
mother here or a father there or a younger brother or sister ask if we will
bring a greeting to each one of you here at this institution. I think the most
recent experience in this regard was ten days ago when it was my responsibility
to fulfill an assignment in ancient Persia in the land of Iran. After the
meeting a father came up to me and placed in my hand a little note I should
like to read it to you I found it very very interesting and
indicative of the love and concern which parents have for their children. Dear
Brother Monson, my son Rodney is at BYU. I love him as you know a father does. He is
a quiet, sensitive young man of whom we are proud. He has seldom been thanked for
doing good or being a fine young man because he is so quiet. Can you find an
opportunity to express the appreciation of parents for their children far away
and living right? Thanks, Rodney’s father. And then he put: PS you won’t notice
Rodney in the crowd, he will be near the back row. So Rodney in the back row up
there your father and mother in Iran send their love to you as do parents
everywhere to each one of you assemble here this evening. As I contemplated what
I might address my remarks to this evening, I’ve thought of a phrase which I
have had going through my mind over the years concerning the importance of
making the right decisions in life and I’d like to entitle my remarks this
evening: “Decisions-1977”. I should like to begin by pointing out to you that the
world in which you live is not a play world or a disney world it’s a very
competitive world which will require the very best that you can bring to it and
will reward you when your best efforts are put forth. In our activities in this
world in which we live, I should like also to place emphasis on
a solemn truth that obedience to God’s law will bring liberty and eternal life
whereas disobedience will bring captivity and death. It has been said by
one years ago that history turns on small hinges,
and so do people’s lives. Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make,
for decisions determine destiny. As I think of what we might sometimes refer
to as small decisions, stop and analyze for a moment with me their eternal
consequence. For example: important decisions made by Adam and Eve we’re
here as a result of those decisions. Think of the decisions made by people at
the time of the Prophet Noah when they laughed and they mocked and they jeered
as this prophet of God erected a crude looking vessel called an ark. But they
ceased from their laughing and their jeering when the rain began to come and
when the rain failed to cease. They had made a decision contrary to the purposes
of God and they paid for that decision with their very lives. I think of that
decision of laman and lemuel when they were commanded to go and obtain the
plates of Laban. What does the record indicate that they did? They murmured and
said this is a hard thing we’ve been commanded to do and they decided not to
obey that commandment and they lost the blessing. But Nephi, when he receive that
commandment with that beautiful declaration he responded “I will go and
do the thing which the Lord hath commanded.” And he did, and he received the coveted prize which comes through obedience. Think of that decision of a
boy, a fourteen-year-old boy who had read that “if anyone lack wisdom let him ask
of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given
him.” He made the decision to put that Epistle of James to the test he went
into the grove and he prayed. Was that a minor decision?
Oh no, that was a decision that has affected all mankind and particularly
all of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
let’s come to a little other period of history let’s take an important decision
in the 13th century when the Mongol hordes came out of Mongolia, swept across the part of the world which we know as Turkey and Iran, and then entered into
Europe and they were at the very gates of the city of Vienna. Western Europe and
its civilization looked as though all was doomed. As that leader of the Mongol
horde Subatai stood there ready to lead his cavalry in an annihilation of
Western history and Western culture, something happened. A messenger from
Mongolia brought the news that his father Ogedei had died. and Subatai had to make the decision to go on and
conquer Western Europe or to return for the funeral of his father. He made the
decision to return and the Mongol hordes retreated way back to the area
of Mongolia and never again threatened Western Europe. A small decision, but oh
its consequence. I loved reading modern history and I think for example if we
take a chapter out of World War 2 we’ll see another decision that might have
appeared minor but which in its consequence was major. When I was a
student we were concerned with World War II, believe me. In fact at the University
of Utah at that time there were only 9,000
students 8,000 young ladies, 1,000 young men.
What a field day for the young men! Then Uncle Sam called me and I lost my
opportunity for a while. As I read in the history of World War II,
I think perhaps one of the greatest decisions ever to be made was the one
made by General Eisenhower and his supreme staff to invade France on the
beaches of Normandy. Now the German General Staff had been led to believe
that the invasion would take place at Calais, and so consequently they had all
of their crack troops situated at Calais ready to hurl back into the ocean the
landing force. A wrong decision was made. The landing force landed on the beaches
of Normandy, penetrated the hedgerows and before the assault troops of the German
army could repel them, they were firmly entrenched beyond the beachhead and
World War II was headed toward its conclusion. A decision that determined
destiny. Now I should like to point out to each one of you that you have the
responsibility to make these important decisions. Now your decisions may not be
to invade the coast of Normandy, and they certainly may not be to ride with the
Mongol hordes toward the gates of Vienna. I don’t believe you’re going to be
called upon to make quite the same decision as did the people at the time
of the Prophet Noah. But there are certain decisions that every one of you
will make. Tonight I’ve tried to separate or segregate just three of
those decisions that pertain to each one of you, so that we’ll all be
communicating on the same wavelength and we can talk about those three decisions
recognizing that they are all important. Remember this isn’t it strange that
princes and kings and clowns that caper and sawdust rings and simple folk like
you and me are builders for eternity. To each is given a bag of tools, a shapeless
mass, and a book of rules. And each must make ere life has flown, a
stumbling block or a stepping stone. I ask the question as you contemplate
these decisions shall you make stepping stones, or shall you carve out for
yourself a stumbling block? Then remember the words of Ella Wheeler
Wilcox the poetess wherein she said: one ship drives east and another drives west,
with the self-same winds that blow it’s the set of the sail and not the gales
that bid them the way that they go. Like the ways of the sea or the ways of fate,
as we journey along through life it’s the set of the soul that determines the
goal and not the calm nor the strife. I ask the question: which way will you
sail? Upward and onward toward the celestial kingdom of God or in a course
that would take you away from this coveted objective? Now, what are those
three important decisions? First: what shall be my faith? In what shall I
believe? For example, what shall be my adherence to my faith? How shall I truly
live in accordance with my faith? Number two: whom shall I marry? I think that’s an
important decision for every one of you here tonight, except for those who have
already made the decision. Number three: what shall be my life’s
work? Toward those three themes I should like to direct my remarks. First
of all, what shall be my faith? I feel that we should put our confidence in our
trust in our Heavenly Father, that each one should have the responsibility to
find out for himself just whether or not this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Read
The Book of Mormon, read the Standard Works.
Put the teachings to the test, and then we shall know of the doctrine for this
is our promise; whether it be of man or whether it be of God. Now sometimes that
decision: “what shall I believe?” Can have far-reaching consequences. It was
mentioned that I had the privilege to preside over the Canadian mission and
there we had the wonderful privilege of working with perhaps 450 of the finest
young men and young women in all the world. We met one this evening who’s a
member of your faculty, Brother John Hardy. But in that particular experience,
I should like to relate an account which came to sister Monson which had
far-reaching significance. One Sunday, she was the only person in an otherwise very
busy mission home. The telephone rang and the person who was on the other end of
the line spoke with a Dutch accent and indicated by a question is this the
headquarters of the Mormon Church. Sister Monson assured him that it was as far as
Toronto was concerned, and then she said: “May I help you?” The party on the
other line said “Yes we have come from our native Holland where we’ve had an
opportunity to learn something briefly about the Mormons, and we would like to
know a little more.” Sister Monson being a good missionary said “We think we
can help you!” and then the lovely lady said: “Would you
wait just a little while however we have chickenpox in our home, and if you could
wait until the children are over the chickenpox then we’d love to have the
missionaries call.” Sister Monson said that she would arrange such and that
terminated the conversation. Excitedly she told the two missionaries on our
staff: “Here is a golden referral!’ and the missionaries responded excitedly, but
then like some missionaries, they decided to procrastinate calling upon the family.
Days went into weeks, and the weeks became several and finally sister Monson
would say “Are you going to call on that Dutch family tonight elders?” and they
responded: “Well, we’re too busy tonight, but we’re going to get around to it!” A
few more days, again at the dinner table sister Monson would say “What about my
Dutch family, are you going to call on them tonight?” Again came the reply “Well,
we’re too busy tonight but we’re going to work it into our schedule.” Finally
they had crowded Sister Monson beyond the point where you should crowd Sister
Monson and she said: “If you aren’t going to call on the Dutch family tonight,
my husband and I are going to call on the family.” And they said “Well we’ll work
it into our schedule tonight.” They called on a lovely family. They taught
them the gospel. Each member of the family became a member of the church. The family was the Jacob de Jager family. Brother de Jager became the president of
our elders quorum. He worked with a gigantic Philips electronic company, he
had service in Mexico, he later became the counselor to several mission
presidents in Holland including president Max Pinnegar, he then became a
regional representative of the Twelve, he then became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and today he’s serving as the area supervisor for all missionary
work in Southeast Asia. I ask the question: was it an important
decision that was made on the part of the
missionaries to call on the de Jagers? Was it an important decision for Sister
Monson to say tonight is the night or else? Was it an important decision for
the de Jagers to telephone walnut three four five seven eight in Toronto, Canada
and say “Could we have missionaries come?” I bear testimony that that decision had
eternal consequences not only for the de Jagers, but for many other people as well.
For here is a man who can teach the gospel in English, in Dutch, in German, in
Spanish, in Indonesian, and now is learning to preach the gospel in Chinese.
I asked the question: what shall be your faith? Now maybe your conversion will not
be so dramatic as brother and sister de Jagers happen to be, but to you it will
be equally as vital and equally as long-lasting and equally as far-reaching.
That in which we believe is a very important matter. Weigh very carefully
your responsibility to search for truth. Now let me move to that second subject:
whom shall I marry? I think I should like to take you with me back to my college
days. At that time, can you believe it or not, young people would graduate from
high school at the age of 16 or 17 in Salt Lake City and we were enrolled as
freshmen when we were just 17 years old at the various universities. I remember
on a New Year’s Eve party when I was dancing with a girl from West High
School, and a young lady from East High School danced by with her partner. Her
name was Francis Johnson. I didn’t know it at the time. I just took one look and
decided that there was a young lady I wanted to meet!
But then she danced away and I never saw her for three more months. Then one
day while waiting for the old streetcar at University Avenue and 2nd south
street, I looked and couldn’t believe my eyes.
Here was the young lady whom I had seen dancing across the floor and there she
was standing with another young lady and a young man whom I remembered from grade
school days. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember his name. I had a decision to
make and I thought to myself “Would I be too bold? What should I do?” I found in
my heart an appreciation of that phrase that when the time for decision arrives,
the time for preparation has passed. I squared my shoulders away and plunged
toward my opportunity. I walked up to that young man and I said “hello my old
friend from grade school days” and then he said to me “I can’t quite remember
your name!” I told him my name he told me his name and then he introduced me to
the girl who later became my wife. That day I made a little note in my student
directory to call on Francis Beverly Johnson, and I did and that decision I
believe was perhaps the most important decision that I have ever made. You
young people who are at that particular time in your lives. You have the
responsibility to make that same decision, and when I make that decision
may I add we have an important responsibility in choosing whom we shall
marry. Not only whom we shall date, but whom we shall marry. Elder Bruce R.
McConkie I believe is the author of one of the most priceless statements when he
said “Nothing is more important than marrying the right person at the right time in the right place and
by the right authority.” I might say to you that we hope you will avoid what we
call quick courtships weekend courtships which we’ve experienced in some cases. I
might report to you that after I made that first acquaintance with Sister
Monson our marriage took place three and a half years later. Now I’m not here to
put cold water on any of you who have plans contrary to three and a half years,
but I think it is important that you become acquainted with the person whom
you plan to marry; that you make certain that you’re looking down the same
pathway in the same direction and with the same objectives in mind. It is ever
so significant that you do this. I should like to dispel one rumor which is very
hard to put to rest. I know of no mission president in all
the world who has ever told a missionary that he had the responsibility to marry
within six months after his mission concluded. I think that rumor was
commenced by a returned missionary. And if not by a returned missionary, by
the girlfriend of a returned missionary! You will know when the right time is
here and when the right girl or the right boy is ready for your proposal. I’m going to discuss that just a little bit later also. Now may I move to the
other subject: “What shall be my life’s work?” I’ve counseled many returning missionaries who have asked this question. We find, for example, that
missionaries like to emulate their mission president. If he is an educator, a
preponderance of the missionaries will want to be educators. If he’s a
businessman, a large number will want to study business. If he’s a doctor,
a lot of the missionaries will want to be physicians for they naturally want to
emulate a man whom they respect and admire. But my counsel two returning
missionaries and to each one of you young people here this evening is that
you should study and prepare for your life’s work in a field that you enjoy,
because you’re going to spend a good share of your life in that field. And
then I think it should be a field which will challenge your intellect, and a
field which will make maximum utilization of your talents and your
capabilities. And finally I think it should be a field which will provide you
sufficient remuneration to provide adequately for your companion and your
children. Now that’s a big order, but I bear testimony that these criteria are
very important in choosing your life’s work. Again I quote a passage which
was fond to President McKay when he said “You are the one who has to decide
whether you’ll do it or toss it aside whether you’ll strive for the goal that
so far or just be content to stay where you are.” I hope that you’re not afraid of tough classes. I hope that you’re not afraid of
lengthy periods of preparation. I hope that you want to be so well-equipped
when you leave this institution that you can compete in this world which I’ve
described as a competitive world. I hope that you will learn to take
responsibility for your decisions whether they be in the courses of study
that you elect to take or whether they be in the direction of the academic
attainments that you strive to achieve. I pay respect and commendation to
president Oakes for the wonderful record which Brigham Young University has
assembled with respect to qualification of Rhodes Scholars. I like to bear
tribute and pay tribute to him and the faculty for the fact that Brigham Young
University is not a great school only for socialization and for dating and
courtship, but Brigham Young University is a great institution academically and
scholarship is vital. The main reason that we’re here is to get our education.
Now we find all sorts of people who are willing to alibi or who are willing to
make excuse for a failure. During World War II, the very beginnings of it, a very
vital decision was made by one of the great leaders of the allied military Viscount
Slim, from Great Britain he made this statement after a problem that
occurred in the battle for Khartoum in 1940 against the Italians.
He said: “Long after the war, like so many generals whose plans have gone wrong, I
could find plenty of excuses but only one reason: myself. When two courses of
action were open to me, I had not chosen as a good commander should the bolder. I
had taken counsel of my fears.” My young brothers and sisters don’t take counsel
of your fears. Don’t say to yourself “I’m not smart enough to study Chemical
Engineering hence I’ll study this.” “I’m not wise
enough or I can’t apply myself sufficiently well to study this
difficult subject or in this difficult field
hence I’ll choose the easier way.” I plead with you to choose the hard way, and tax
your talent and our Heavenly Father will make you equal to those decisions. If
you should stumble, if you should take a course and get less than the a grade
that you desire, I hope you won’t let it become a discouraging thing to you. I
hope that you’ll rise and try again. I think for example of Admiral Chester
Nimitz when he graduated as an ensign, he was given an old decrepit destroyer as
his first command. It was named the Decatur. It was all he could do to put
the old destroyer in shape, and on one of its maiden voyages ensign Nimitz ran the
ship aground. It resulted in a summary court-martial. Fortunately, he was found
guilty only of neglect of duty rather than a more serious offense. Now had
Chester Nimitz not been made of the stuff that he was, that defeat could have
ruined his career. But what did he do, he put that defeat behind him and he went
on to become the commanding Admiral of the greatest sea force ever assembled in
this world: the Pacific Fleet. He showed one and all that one defeat could not
keep a good man down. If you want a little more current illustration, I think
of last night’s basketball game. My wife is so happy that professional
football in college football television is over for the year. She blames the
malfunction of our television on the many hours watching bowl games. I might
say that one of the best bowl games I ever watched, and one of the best
football games that I ever viewed was the one that taught me the greatest
lesson that I’ve learned from sports. A great quarterback for the New York
Giants, Y.A. Tittle was playing in a critical game. It was down to the final
play the opposing team I think the Baltimore Colts were three points ahead.
Tittle had time for one pass. The sportscaster became very excited when he
said it looks like the game is about over, but Tittle has one opportunity. He
takes the snap from center, he’s looking for a receiver but his receivers are
covered. He’s fading deeper into his backfield. The linemen are upon him. It looks like it’s all over for the New York Giants.
But wait! Tittle is eluding tackler after tackler! It looks like he might get the
pass away, and he does, and it’s caught in the end zone for the winning touchdown
and the game belongs to the New York Giants! Then all out of breath, the
sportscaster said “That was a great second effort by Y.A. Tittle.” Now my
dear brothers and sisters in this life where we have an opportunity to strive
and to achieve, I want to bear witness that we need to make that second effort
on occasion and a third effort and a fourth effort and as many degrees of
effort as may be required to accomplish what we strive to accomplish. Now there’s
very much importance attached to those three questions what
shall be my faith, whom shall I marry, what shall be my life’s work. I’m so
grateful that we need not make those decisions without eternal help. Every
one of us can have the guidance and the direction
of our Heavenly Father if we strive to achieve it. I think to you students you
should learn and perhaps memorize the ninth section of the Doctrine and
Covenants. This is a section which is largely overlooked, but which has a
lesson for each one of you. Now when you contemplate a decision, you
go to your heavenly father in the manner in which the Prophet Joseph indicated
the Lord advised him. The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph in the ninth section
“Behold you have not understood, you have supposed that I would give it unto you
(meaning the answer) when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But behold
I say unto you that you must study it out in your mind then you must ask me if
it be right and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within
you, therefore you shall feel that it is right.” and then the Lord goes on “But if
it be not right you shall have no such feelings but you shall have a stupor of
thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.” And then the
Lord continued that instruction to the Prophet. Study the thing out in your own
mind, and then take it to the Lord for that confirmation that burning feeling
in your bosom. And then upon bended knee in the attitude of prayer, you can obtain
from him that feeling within your heart that your decision is right. Last year I
have the privilege of returning to Tahiti to a people whom I dearly love.
And there I was talking to our mission president, President Raymond Bowden about
the Tahitian people. They’re known as some of the greatest seafaring people in
all the world and brother Bowden who speaks French but little English,
was trying to describe to me the secret of the success of the Tahitian sea
captains. He said “They’re amazing; the weather may be terrible, the vessels may
be leaky, there may be no navigational aids except their inner feelings and the
stars in the heavens, but they pray and they go.” He repeated it three times:
“They pray and they go, they pray and they go.” Now there’s a lesson for us in that
statement we need to pray and then we need to act. Both are important. In
addition to that ninth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, in addition to
the importance of prayer, I add a third dimension: follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets you will be on safe territory. I know that the Lord
inspires His prophets, His seers, and His revelators. Your regional representative who is here tonight is a witness of this. I had the
responsibility years ago to go to his state conference to choose a new
president. I interviewed throughout the day. Many
names were mentioned. In my final interview a bishop said to me “Brother
Monson, if you really want to know who had make the finest president of our
stake it’s Edgar M Denny.” I had never met Brother Denny, but I want to bear
testimony that I didn’t hear any bells I didn’t see any lights flash but I knew
that Edgar Denny was to be the president of that stake.
I had president Stanford Smith call him on the telephone.
Sister Denny answered and said “But brother Denny’s not here, he’s in Florida.”
and then she said “Just a moment President Smith, someone is at the door.”
And she went to the door and there stood her husband. She said “Come in, the Stake
President wants you! You’re not supposed to be home till
tomorrow!” He said “I just felt that I should come.” And so the Denny’s came over
to the office and I extended to him the call to serve as president of his stake.
At the time he was serving as a second counselor in his ward bishopric. He had
been the bishop of the ward but he felt in his employment that he had to have
additional education so he made a decision to enroll evenings in law
school. With a large family, he graduated with the order of the coif
from his university with that coveted degree, and qualified himself to receive
the top job in his field. At that time he was asked to be the second
counselor in the bishopric where he had served as bishop and he responded
cheerfully and willingly and was hidden away in that assignment. When the Lord
gave me the responsibility to select a president, I learned anew the beauty of
that passage “man looketh upon the outward appearance but the Lord looketh
upon the heart” and he knew that Edgar Denny was to be the president. Edgar
Denny today is your regional representative. Now as I speak of
following the prophets, I shall share with you a very intimate experience that
I had and provide perhaps a conclusion to my remarks here tonight. I can’t tell
you my very nature; when I desire to achieve I desire to achieve with all my
heart. Whether it be in athletics or whether it
be in school or business or whatever the case may be. I served in the United
States Navy, as has been mentioned, toward the end of World War II. I was what you
call a seaman; the lowest possible rate. And then I qualified to be a seaman
first class, and then I qualified to be a yeoman
third class. The war ended and I was discharged. But I made a decision that if
ever I went back into the military I wanted to go in as a commissioned
officer. If you haven’t been in the military, I won’t take the time to tell
you the difference between the apprentice seaman and the commissioned
officer. You can only learn that by experience. But once learned you never
forget. I thought no more mess kitchens for me, no more scrubbing of the decks if
I can avoid it. I worked like a slave to qualify for
that Commission I joined the United States Naval Reserve I went to drill
every Monday night, I studied hard that I might qualify academically, I took every
kind of examination you can imagine: mental physical emotional what-have-you,
and finally there came from Denver, Colorado the beautiful news you have
been accepted to receive the commission of an ensign in the United States Naval
Reserve. I gleefully showed it to Sister Monson and I said “I made it! I’ve made it!”
She hugged me and said “Oh, you’ve worked hard to achieve it.” But then
something happened: I got called to be a counselor in my ward Bishopric. The
bishops council meeting was on the evening of my drill meetin I knew there
was a terrible conflict.I knew I didn’t have the time to pursue the Naval
Reserve and my bishopric duties. What was I to do? A decision had to be made.
Frankly, I prayed about it. I then went to see my former stake president Elder
Harold B Lee. I sat down across the table from him. I told him how much I valued
that Commission, and then he said to me “Here’s what you should do brother Monson,
you write a letter to the Bureau of Naval Affairs and tell them that because
of your call as a member of the bishopric you can’t accept that
Commission in the United States Naval Reserve. And my heart went kerflooey.
And then he said “Then then you write to the Commandant of the 12th Naval
District in San Francisco and tell them you’d like to be discharged from the
Reserve. I said “Oh brother Lee, you don’t understand the military. Of course
they’ll decline to give me that commission if I refuse,
but that 12th Naval District isn’t going to let any noncommissioned officer out
of their hands with the war brewing in Korea.
I said I’m stuck to go back in as a non com
if I don’t accept this commission. Are you sure this is the counsel you want me
to receive? You shouldn’t do that with Elder Harold B. Lee. He put his hand on
my shoulder and in a fatherly way said “Brother Monson, have more faith. The
military is not for you.” I went to my home I placed a tear-stained commission
back into its envelope with its accompanying letter, and declined to
accept it.I then wrote a letter to the 12th Naval District and requested a
discharge from the Naval Reserve.My discharge from the Naval Reserve was the
last group processed before the outbreak of the Korean War. My headquarters
outfit was activated, and six weeks after I had been called to be a counselor in
the bishopric I was called to be the Bishop of my ward. I would not be
standing before you this evening had I not followed the counsel of a
prophet, had I not prayed about a decision, had I
not come to appreciate an important truth: the wisdom of God oft times
appears as foolishness to man. But the greatest single lesson we can learn in
mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys that man
we’ll always be right. My dear brothers and sisters I pray with all the strength
and all the fervor of my conviction that our Heavenly Father will guide you and
bless you in these important decisions which each one of you will be called
upon to make. If you want to see the light of heaven, if you want to feel the
inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom
that your heavenly father is guiding you to the left, or guiding you to the right,
follow the instruction from the passage stand ye in holy places and be not moved.
Then the Spirit of our Heavenly Father will be yours. I bear this
testimony to you. I invoke upon you the promise of the Lord when he said “I the
Lord and merciful and gracious unto those who fear me and delight to honor
those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end great shall be
their reward and eternal shall be their glory.” May each one of you qualify for
that great reward, that eternal glory, is my sincere prayer and this testimony I
leave with you and this blessing I pronounce upon you my beloved young
friends and fellow members in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

1 Reply to “Decisions | Thomas S. Monson”

  1. His story at the end is especially impactful considering all that he would yet accomplish as prophet. To earnestly listen to God and try to do his will for us is a lesson we should all take to heart.

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