- Holding the priesthood is more than just a great blessing. It also carries with it significant responsibilities such as watching over the Church; honoring all women, especially our wives, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters; visiting the home of each member, exhorting each “to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties” and to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”
He shares that standing for the truth is always the thing to do no matter the circumstance.
- It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is always the right thing to do. Always.
Our lives should be built around principles that enable us to make the right decisions all the time. Elder Ballard speaks about the issue of crime in our communities and encourages us to build support against these influences by creating support withing our homes.
- Standing for truth and right is not solely a Sunday thing. Every day our neighborhoods and communities are in desperate need of our support and our commitment to safety and law and order. Crime, in all its pervasive manifestations, is a serious worldwide evil and a moral problem about which Church leaders have great concern. The social, economic, and moral costs of crime are incalculable. It is no respecter of race, religion, nationality, age, culture, or socioeconomic status.
- As a Church, we recognize that the gospel of Jesus Christ, with its saving truths and teachings, provides the most effective preventative and rehabilitative assistance in overcoming criminal behavior. Parents bear the first and greatest responsibility to teach their children principles of gospel living and good citizenship. There are, however, those who have little or no support at home. We need to be aware of them and do all we can to bless their lives. They need positive role models who demonstrate integrity by honoring their covenants and keeping their promises.
One way to strengthen our youth against the influences of crime and taking wrong paths in their lives is by helping them feel the love that the Savior has for them. The knowledge that they have self-worth and are loved by their Heavenly Father will help them find strength to stay strong during times of trials.
- Please remember that all young men and young women have a great need to feel loved, respected, and valued and to succeed in ways that will help them gain a sense of confidence and self-worth. Appropriate and uplifting activities should be planned that will provide a safe and wholesome environment in which our youth and their nonmember friends can strengthen one another and draw closer to the Savior.
In order to stay strong in the gospel, we need to stay away from those things that will cause the spirit to withdraw from us. The media we have in our lives is a big part of this.
- Many of you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood may find yourselves on the front line of a battle against those who intend to do things that are morally wrong. I do not believe that you can stand for truth and right while wearing anything that is unbecoming one who holds the priesthood of God. To me, it is impossible to maintain the Spirit of the Lord while listening to music or watching movies or videos that celebrate evil thoughts and use vulgar language.
Elder Ballard encourages us to reach out to those that are new in our communities and church and invite them to be our friends. This will help build unity and peace in our neighborhoods.
- Many new families are moving in among us. Brethren, reach out the hand of friendship and make everyone feel welcome and secure in our neighborhoods and in our Church. Guard against spreading rumors or saying unkind things or allowing anything to occur that may hurt another. Make friends with your neighbors, watch out for each other, and help build a spirit of unity, peace, and love among them.
- True friendship may well be the best thing that we can do to help reach those who may be drifting toward unsafe and morally damaging activities and counterfeit forms of belonging.
Elder Ballard assures us that there is a way back if we have made mistakes that have taken us from the path of righteousness.
- Some young men and young women have rationalized their bad choices, saying that “we all make mistakes.” But you must understand that there is a big difference between an honest mistake made in a moment of spiritual weakness and a willful decision to disobey persistently the commandments of God.
Elder Ballard concludes with encouragement to stand up for those things we know to be true. We are not alone in our efforts and God will support us as we strive to make the world a better place.
- While God’s laws and standards of right and wrong are under attack at every turn, we are a great army of priesthood holders who are prepared to make a valiant stand for truth and right. Brethren, let us stand, shoulder to shoulder, as bearers of the priesthood of God and as followers of Christ and do what we can to make this a better, safer, and happier world.
Standing for truth and right in a world where doing the right thing is frequently frowned upon is difficult. Elder Ballard assures us that as we try our best to make our communities better, our efforts will be supported by the Savior. Many influences are coming at our children but the greatest defense we have is to teach them that doing the right thing is always the right thing.