- We all possess the God-given gift of moral agency—the right to make choices and the obligation to account for those choices. For positive outcomes, moral agency must be accompanied by moral discipline. By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service.
This is a God-given right and is understood through living the gospel of Jesus Christ:
- It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the moral certainty upon which moral discipline rests.
As we live a Christ-Centered life and make proper decisions, we are given the ability to withstand the world and the changes that are accepted as normal in the world today.
- In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay.
Just as the gospel should be taught and lived in our homes, so too should we learn about our moral standards in the home. The two are tied together because of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
- Moral discipline is learned at home. While we cannot control what others may or may not do, the Latter-day Saints can certainly stand with those who demonstrate virtue in their own lives and inculcate virtue in the rising generation.
Elder Christofferson then gives some great advice to parents and how we should be raising our children:
- The intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, of things as they really are (see D&C 93:24 ). Without that, young people can hardly be expected to understand and evaluate the alternatives that come before them. Parents should consider how the adversary approaches their children. He and his followers are not promoting objectivity but are vigorous, multimedia advocates of sin and selfishness. Seeking to be neutral about the gospel is, in reality, to reject the existence of God and His authority. We must, rather, acknowledge Him and His omniscience if we want our children to see life’s choices clearly and be able to think for themselves. They should not have to learn by sad experience that “wickedness never was happiness” ( Alma 41:10 ).
We have the gift of the gospel in our lives. It should prompt us and guide us to make decisions that are consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Allowing the world to dictate our beliefs, decisions, and actions will never lead us to true happiness. I remind my kids all the time that the only true way to find happiness in this life is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can find artificial comfort in the things of the world but it will not last and will leave us lonely, empty, and constantly searching for the next things to make us happy. The gospel gives us identity, it gives us knowledge that we are children of God. That acceptance and decision to live by His laws and commandments is the only way for us to find lasting happiness that will never leave us empty.