The Power to Choose, Ashley B., Beachside Ward, November 13th, 2022

Each day, we all make numerous decisions. We wake up and make simple choices like what to wear, whether to make our bed, eat breakfast, and brush our teeth. Some decisions that we make are way more important than others, and will affect us in

the future.


In the most recent General Conference, Elder Uchtdorf taught “at the heart of God’s plan for your happiness is your power to choose. Of course your Heavenly Father wants you to choose eternal joy with him, but he will never force it upon you. So he allows you to choose…….light or darkness? Good or evil? Joy or misery? Eternal life or spiritual death?”


Listening to these options it sounds like the right decision to make is easy. However, while here on Earth obstacles prevent us from always choosing the right path. Things can block us from seeing clearly the choices we should be making.


My dad recently shared with us that when he was doing his work he noticed the computer screen getting fuzzy, almost as if it was out of focus. The words on pages of the books he was reading were also blurry. A trip to the eye doctor confirmed what he already knew. That he is old and his eyes weren’t as sharp as they used to be. New glasses were prescribed to him and when he would wear them everything was clear.


There are many “prescription glasses” available to help restore clarity in life. One of the resources I can use is the For Strength of Youth.


Growing up and throughout my teenage years, I’ve honestly wondered why there are so many rules. Sometimes these rules can feel really restrictive. And sometimes it’s hard to understand the why behind some of the things we are asked to do or not do. When I’ve had a question about what to do in a certain area of my life, I could go to the previous For Strength of Youth pamphlet and it would clearly state what I should do. Recently big changes have been made to this book. Elder Uchtdorf taught that “It’s also important to know what For the Strength of Youth does not do. It doesn’t make decisions for you. It doesn’t give you a “yes” or “no” about every choice you might ever face. For the Strength of Youth focuses on the foundation for your choices. It focuses on values, principles, and doctrine instead of every specific behavior.” This new version put its trust in me. It asks me to get close to the Spirit and allow it to guide the decisions in my life instead of just being told what to do.


Just a few days ago, President Bonnie H. Cordon shared the following story about what it’s like to say a prayer at the pulpit in General Conference. “Did you know? When you pray at General Conference you sit in a little waiting chair while the choir finishes singing so that you are close to the pulpit and ready to go. But not this time. This time I felt someone crouch down beside me and whisper, “President Cordon, go NOW” NOW? The choir is still singing! …………But when it’s time to go, you get up and go! Friends, you have been moved from the little stool to the pulpit. This is your cue that it’s your time to commune with heaven. The new guide, For the Strength of Youth, is not a book for sitting on the sidelines to listen to others speak; it is your opportunity to intimately discover the will and mind of the Lord for you and specifically for you. Instead of being told what to do by a book, you get to sit and counsel with Him and receive a sure witness from the Spirit that will lead you to safe, holier grounds. It will help you to learn how to part the veil and receive answers that will change the trajectory of your life forever. But you can’t just flip it open and expect to know right from wrong; you have to do the spiritual work!”


Like President Cordon says, wouldn’t it be nice to flip open the book and have all the answers neatly there for us? We learn from the Saviors example that we all must put in the spiritual work. In Luke chapter 2 verse 52 it states, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The Savior had to increase and grow in knowledge. Why would it be any different for us? While the Savior was perfect, each of us will make mistakes. Heavenly Father and the Savior love us so much that they have provided a way for us to return. As we make mistakes we can return to them through repentance, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit. Each week we have the opportunity to renew our covenants with the Savior.


In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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