- It is by the Light of Christ that all mankind “may know good from evil.” Freedom and light have never been easy to attain or maintain. Since the War in Heaven, the forces of evil have used every means possible to destroy agency and extinguish light. The assault on moral principles and religious freedom has never been stronger. As Latter-day Saints, we need to do our best to preserve light and protect our families and communities from this assault on morality and religious freedom.
- An ever-present danger to the family is the onslaught of evil forces that seem to come from every direction. While our primary effort must be to seek light and truth, we would be wise to black out from our homes the lethal bombs that destroy spiritual development and growth. Pornography, in particular, is a weapon of mass moral destruction. Its impact is at the forefront in eroding moral values. Some TV programs and Internet sites are equally lethal. These evil forces remove light and hope from the world.
- In addition, we need to greatly increase religious observance in the home. Weekly family home evening and daily family prayer and scripture study are essential. We need to introduce into our homes content that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”
- In all nations there are large numbers who worship God and feel accountable to Him for their conduct. Some observers believe there is actually a global revival of faith. As Church leaders, we have met with leaders of other faiths and have found that there is a common moral foundation that transcends theological differences and unites us in our aspirations for a better society. We also find the majority of people are still respectful of basic moral values. But make no mistake: there are also people who are determined to both destroy faith and reject any religious influence in society.
- In our increasingly unrighteous world, it is essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse. Moral positions informed by a religious conscience must be accorded equal access to the public square. Under the constitutions of most countries, a religious conscience may not be given preference, but neither should it be disregarded.
HONEST CONDUCT MOTIVATED BY ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD
- Think about the light and truth that the shared value of honesty has in the Judeo-Christian world. Think about the impact on society if youth didn’t cheat in school, if adults were honest in the workplace and were faithful to their marriage vows. For us the concept of basic honesty is grounded in the life and teachings of the Savior. Honesty is also a valued attribute in many other faiths and in historic literature. The poet Robert Burns said, “An honest man’s the noblest work of God.” In almost every instance, people of faith feel accountable to God for being honest.
TREATING ALL OF GOD'S CHILDREN AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS
- A second example of how religious faith benefits society and contributes light to the world is the role of religion in treating all of God’s children as brothers and sisters. Many faith-based institutions in the last two centuries have been at the forefront in reaching out and rescuing those subjected to cruel circumstances because their members believe that all men are made in the image and likeness of God.
- In our early Church history, the vast majority of our members were opposed to slavery. This was a significant reason, along with their religious beliefs, for the hostility and mob violence they experienced, culminating in the extermination order issued by Governor Boggs in Missouri.
Elder Cook concludes with this:
- The moral foundation of our doctrine can be a beacon light to the world and can be a unifying force for both morality and faith in Jesus Christ. We need to protect our families and be at the forefront together with all people of goodwill in doing everything we can to preserve light, hope, and morality in our communities.
Elder Cook shares some great thoughts about our role with our families, community, and our personal accountability to God and our fellow man. I love his thought that "In almost every instance, people of faith feel accountable to God for being honest." There are good people in the world and people that want to follow Christ. They do so in their own way. I am reminded of President Hinckley talking about conversion and he said something about how we don't want to change anyone's life, we want to take the good things they have and just build upon them giving them for light and knowledge. The gospel of Jesus Christ will change people. It is our obligation to make sure people have a chance to see how great it is to be part of the family of Christ. Wherever our friends or family are on their journey, our examples can be a light to them to know how they can return to live with Christ.