Friday, October 30, 2009

C. S. Lewis on Love and Law

Last night I was reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis and I came across this quote which directly correlates with this week's article, "Love and Law."

C. S. Lewis explained trying to find happiness without keeping the commandments this way:

God made us; invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other,. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion (and I add commandments.) God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

Mere Christianity, 1980, 50.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Love and Law

The article this week is called "Love and Law" -- a talk given by the apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks in the most recent General Conference.

In his talk, Elder Oaks very clearly outlined the the relationship between God's love and His commandments. From Elder Oaks:

There is no greater evidence of the infinite power and perfection of God’s love than is declared by the Apostle John: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Another Apostle wrote that God “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). Think how it must have grieved our Heavenly Father to send His Son to endure incomprehensible suffering for our sins. That is the greatest evidence of His love for each of us!

Indeed, God is our loving Heavenly Father. His is a perfect love for us and because He loves us, He gives us direction that we may know how to be eternally happy. That direction most often comes in the form of commandments which are more than just guidelines yet should not be looked upon as restrictions on our freedom and agency. He knows what's best for us, of course, and He lets us know through His apostles and prophets.

God gives us commandments and the freedom to choose for ourselves; hence the pain, sorrow, suffering, and fear in the world, which stem from wrong choices. However, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all that is wrong can be made right.

Elder Oaks carefully and clearly explains the line between God's love and natural consequences for our actions. While we do have our agency and God does love us, He will not support us in our actions that are contrary to His teachings. He said:

Some seem to value God’s love because of their hope that His love is so great and so unconditional that it will mercifully excuse them from obeying His laws. In contrast, those who understand God’s plan for His children know that God’s laws are invariable, which is another great evidence of His love for His children. Mercy cannot rob justice, and those who obtain mercy are “they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment” (D&C 54:6).

I offer my own testimony that living the commandments of God does bring the greatest happiness. Of course acting contrary to God's commands may bring temporary satisfaction and pleasure, but lasting happiness can only be obtained by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. God gives us commandments because He loves us, not for any other reason. And we show our love for Him by striving to live according to those commandments.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do Mormons Drink Coke?

I jump rope. A lot. And when I do, I try to stay away from carbonation and other things that may slow me down (I even heard recently that milk and orange juice aren’t the best before competition.) I’ve heard arguments both ways that pop cuts your wind or that it doesn’t; I think it probably does but I have a number of friends who are very good jumpers and they drink pop all the time. Either way, I need all the help I can get so I try to stay away from carbonated beverages when I jump rope which, with as much as I jump, means I pretty much just always stay away from carbonation.

Staying away from pop creates an interesting situation for me. Since most jumpers I’m around know I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS, when I get lemonade or something non-carbonated at a restaurant or at the fountain, sometimes I get comments such as, “oh yeah, you’re Mormon,” or, “that’s right, I forgot you can’t drink pop.” Many people assume since I don’t drink soda, Latter-day Saints in general are not allowed to drink any kind of soda. This simply is not true; you should go to a Mormon wedding reception—all the Sprite-spiked punch you could ever ask for!

The Word of Wisdom
However, while this is a misconception, it is not completely unfounded. In 1833, the Lord revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith a law of health that later became known as the Word of Wisdom. In this “principle with a promise,” the Lord outlines which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for our bodies. Most people who know a Latter-day Saint know that we do not drink or smoke. They may know that we do not drink coffee or some teas. While certain substances and foods are spelled out in the Word of Wisdom, not everything is clearly defined and set apart. The apostle President Boyd K. Packer said this:

"It’s well known that tea, coffee, liquor, and tobacco are against it. It has not been spelled out in more detail. Rather, we teach the principle together with the promised blessings. There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation.

"Everything harmful is not specifically listed; arsenic, for instance—certainly bad, but not habit-forming! He who must be commanded in all things, the Lord said, “is a slothful and not a wise servant” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26)." (“The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17)

Avoiding addiction is one such way that we can protect our bodies and our agency and thus live the Word of Wisdom. When we are addicted to a substance, we are no longer in complete control of our bodies. We give up a portion of our agency, and we do not show our Father in Heaven that we are grateful for and respect the great gift of a physical body. The apostle President James E. Faust spoke of addiction and agency:

"Some addictions can control us to the point where they take away our God-given agency. One of Satan’s great tools is to find ways to control us. Consequently, we should abstain from anything that would keep us from fulfilling the Lord’s purposes for us, whereby the blessings of eternity may hang in jeopardy. We are in this life for the spirit to gain control over the body rather than the other way around.

"Any kind of addiction inflicts a terrible price in pain and suffering, and it can even affect us spiritually. However, there is hope because most addictions can over time be overcome. We can change, but it will be difficult." (“The Power to Change,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 122–24)

Agents unto ourselves
The Lord expects us to “do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in [us], wherein [we] are agents unto [ourselves]. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28.)

Another doctrine, one taught by the apostle Paul, is that our bodies are temples (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20.) Thus, in doing many things of our own free will and bringing to pass much righteousness that we are not commanded in all things, we must recognize and protect ourselves against those things that would harm or defile our bodies such as addictive substances.

Coke and some other soft drinks contain caffeine which is an addictive chemical. I have a really good friend who is addicted to Coke. He told me one time that if he doesn’t have a Coke by nine in the morning he has a headache. That is an addiction; his body cannot function properly without Coke. I’m sure you can think of people with similar addictions to Diet, chocolate, or something else. Although an addiction to chocolate is obviously less serious than an addiction to narcotics, alcohol, or tobacco, an addiction is an addiction. Those people are bound to the substance and do not have 100%, full control over their bodies.

Do Mormons drink Coke?
In regard to the question, “do Mormons drink Coke?” the answer is yes. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are not specifically commanded to abstain from Coke or any other carbonated and/or caffeinated soft drink.

However, President Faust says that any kind of addiction inflicts a terrible price in pain and suffering and it can affect us spiritually. Therefore, some Saints choose to stay away from caffeinated beverages such as Coke altogether in order to avoid the possibility of becoming addicted. At Brigham Young University and other facilities owned by the Church where soft drinks are distributed, often the fountains sell caffeine-free Coca-cola. Coca-cola’s root-beer brand Barq’s is the only root beer to my knowledge that contains caffeine, yet is distributed in Utah without caffeine.

I personally don’t drink Coke very often not because I’m afraid to develop a dependency, but simply because I think it tastes terrible (gasp, no! You don't like Coke???). On the other hand, I love Dr. Pepper which is caffeinated but I’ve never been worried about forming an addiction because I don’t drink carbonated beverages very often and Dr. Pepper even less.

Promised blessings
As with all commandments, the Lord promises blessings to those who live the Word of Wisdom and a clean, healthy lifestyle. They shall, “receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones,” and shall, “run and not be weary and walk and not faint.” And, since to the Lord all things are spiritual, “and not at any time have I given you a law which was temporal,” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34) He also promises that those who live according to the Word of Wisdom and other commandments shall, “find Wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” The Lord ends the revelation of the Word of Wisdom with these words: “And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, and the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen” (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21.)

I am grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven who teaches me the doctrines and principles of eternal happiness and then allows me to choose for myself and do many things of my own free will. I have lived the Word of Wisdom my entire life and have seen the blessings that come from living a healthy lifestyle. There is a truth behind living commandments and receiving blessings.


More information including talks by apostles and other Church leaders about the Word of Wisdom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"take up his cross, and follow me..."

A while back a friend showed me this cartoon strip which I thought was interesting:

Trials help shape and mold us into what the Lord wants us to become. Remember the words of the Lord in Isaiah, "Behold, I have refined thee, . . . I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10). Many are called but few are chosen (Matt 22:14). The Lord wants to bless us and wants to help us prepare to weather the trials that will come upon us. If we are always looking for the easy way out, we may get something that won't help us progress: an answer for a easier trial. He calls us to pass through tribulation and chooses those who endure it well.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (see Philippians 4:13) and we will not be tempted or tried above that which we are able to handle with the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Those are two of the most powerful promises which we can use as comforts as we expeience the trials of this mortal life.

God is always with us. He always hears our prayers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Love of God

Last General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk entitled, "The Way of the Disciple," which was featured as an article of the week in April. In that talk, President Uchtdorf explains how we may become better disciples of Christ and what blessings active discipleship brings. In this most recent conference, President Uchtdorf gave a talk called, "The Love of God," which, in essence, is part two of "The Way of the Disciple."

President Uchtdorf teaches that "Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ." He goes on to say that, "Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood."

This talk so beautifully illustrates the motivation behind everything our Father in Heaven does for us and teaches us why we, as disciples of Christ, should seek the same love to fill our own lives.

Again from President Uchtdorf, "Our Father in Heaven has given us, His children, much more than any mortal mind can comprehend. Under His direction the Great Jehovah created this wondrous world we live in. God the Father watches over us, fills our hearts with breathtaking joy, brightens our darkest hours with blessed peace, distills upon our minds precious truths, shepherds us through times of distress, rejoices when we rejoice, and answers our righteous petitions.

"He offers to His children the promise of a glorious and infinite existence and has provided a way for us to progress in knowledge and glory until we receive a fulness of joy. He has promised us all that He has."

Love is the greatest commandment because it brings the greatest happiness and peace. Our Father in Heaven desires our happiness and our success because He loves us. His love is unconditional as should ours be for His children.

The counsel and teachings found in this article are true--they came from the Lord through one of His apostles.


As a side note, I want to highlight this phrase from President Uchtdorf's talk, "And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of 'good ideas.'" Read that sentence in context and think about what he means.

See also Matt 22:36-40 Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-37 (parable of the good Samaratin); 1 John 4

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Faith in Jesus Christ

My name is Zachary Lindstrom, I'm Jeremy's brother, and I will be contributing to this blog also. Recently I returned from serving as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Carolina. I was gone from home for two years, teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the wonderful people there and helping them live the teachings of our Savior. I saw miracles in peoples’ lives when they chose to live the gospel. I know that living these teachings every day of our lives can bring us happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come.

I will be making this a five part post on some things I learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ while in North Carolina, the first post being about faith.

What exactly is faith? Faith is trusting in the Lord and accepting His will in all things. Proverbs 3:5-6 catches this truth so well, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The moment we “lean unto our own understanding” is the moment we fall. We cannot always see the path in front of us, but He will always give us just enough light to take a step into the dark.

I was blessed with the opportunity of teaching a woman named Tammy on my full time mission. She was a great example of someone with great faith in Jesus Christ. We began teaching her in the Summer of 2007. She was working, attending school, and striving to make ends meet. She had been living with a man for nine years. She grew up as a Christian, attending church and believing in God. One day, a member of our church (and her co-worker) gave her a copy of The Book of Mormon and asked her if she'd be willing to learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the full time missionaries. I'll never forget what I felt the first time we taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew that she felt the same Holy Ghost teaching her the truth. She was moved upon by the Spirit to follow the Lord's commandments.

With that kind of faith, Tammy knew that she must act. The Savior taught us in John 14:12: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” It’s not enough to merely believe, we must do. Living Christ's gospel is not easy. We have been commanded by Him to be baptized by immersion and do so under proper authority. After several lessons, we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Not knowing exactly how the Lord would work things out, she chose to be baptized. She showed great faith, not knowing how everything would work, but knowing that it would according to the Lord's plan.

Things didn’t get easy for her once she decided to live the standards in The Church of Jesus Christ. She had smoked for almost 25 years, and she had to give that up in order to be baptized. Nevertheless, she knew she had to quit in order to have the blessings from living and following the example of Jesus Christ. She had been living with a man for nine years. She had to move out before she could be baptized. Tammy really had nowhere to go, and most of the money she made went to paying for medical bills, so she couldn't afford a place on her own. She trusted in the Lord and moved out anyway, for she knew it was the right thing to do. She ended up living with a brother. I was transferred to a new area and didn’t hear much from her for about a year. One morning I received a phone call. It was Tammy, telling me she was getting baptized later that day.

Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, teaches us how God works by power, according to our faith: “I would exhort you that you would deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men.” (Moroni 10:7) In order to access the blessings that come from such faith in Christ, our faith must lead us to action. We will not see miracles until after we show our faith. That same Moroni teaches us that “ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:6) Tammy’s faith was tried, she trusted in her God, and now she is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. She enjoys many rich blessings, including the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and many friends who share her same faith in our Savior. She truly saw miracles because of her faith.

I know that faith in Jesus Christ is possible, it only takes a small desire to believe. (Alma 32) I have been to the edge of my faith, and I have seen the hand of God because of it. I know that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and because of that simple truth, we can make righteous decisions and increase our faith, no matter where we are in life. I know that through the Atonement of Christ, we have the power to live His glorious gospel and partake of His eternal blessings of peace and joy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration

This past General Conference was incredible. After each conference, I hear people say that it was the best conference so far. And I agree with them. General Conference gets better and better each time. I mean, how could it not; the prophet and apostles are speaking to us about what the Lord wants us to hear right now. How wonderful is modern revelation!

The talk from General Conference that I would like to highlight this week is one by Elder Tad Callister entitled, "Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration," given during the Saturday afternoon session. On Saturday one of my good friends and teammate came over and watched most of the Saturday afternoon session with me. The night before, we were talking about religion and he stated that learning about other religions is intriguing, he just didn't really know anything about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the "Mormon church." Saturday, after Elder Callister concluded his remarks, I turned to my buddy and said something to the effect of, "well, if you ever wondered what the Church was all about, there you go."

Elder Callister captures in a twelve-minute talk the essence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He explains why the Church exists, emphasizes key doctrines, and testifies of truth.

I add my testimony to the testimony of Elder Callister and the testimonies of all the living prophets and apostles that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth today. Only here will you find the fulness of Christ's teachings. Only here will you find the authority and power to perform saving ordinances and otherwise act in Christ's name for the salvation of God's children. Only here will you learn how to gain eternal happiness. This I know.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

“And no man taketh this honour unto himself…”

I had the opportunity this year of attending Easter services in a Lutheran cathedral in the small German town of Nordlingen. The town itself is really kind of neat; it’s one of the few towns in Germany with a city wall still surrounding the entire town. If you’ve ever seen the old Willy Wonka movie, the town over which Charlie, Wonka, and the grandfather fly in the glass elevator at the end of the movie is actually Nordlingen. The chapel in this town is a huge stone building, probably four or five stories tall before the spire yet it’s all one floor it completely redefines the term “vaulted ceiling.” And the chapel is older than any building in America. The Easter services were, of course, carried out completely in German so I didn’t understand a single thing since my German vocabulary consists of the numbers one through ten, “pineapple,” and a few things that I hear repeated at jump rope such as “again,” or “drink break,” but it was a good experience all the same. We sang hymns—they have a very impressive pipe organ, the preacher or priest taught, and he administered the sacrament or communion.

He that is called of God
Throughout the entire hour and a half service, the words from the fifth chapter of Hebrews, fourth verse kept running through my head. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” I’m sure the priest or preacher or whatever his position is in that chapel has good intentions. I’m sure that his sermon that Easter morn was all about Christ and His resurrection and how it applies to us. And I’m sure that the people in the congregation learned something or thought that the service was worthwhile and will return again. However, no matter his intentions or desires to help the church-goers in Nordlingen, he does not have the authority or power from God to officiate in ordinances such as the sacrament. The papers, classes, certificates, or diplomas the preacher may have also do not matter; God calls His prophets, priests, and teachers independent of any seminary or institute established by man.

Recall the words of Isaiah, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee” (Isaiah 50:4; see also 2 Nephi 7:4). The Lord qualifies whom He calls. The only accreditation a man needs to be apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist, priest, or deacon is the accreditation that God gives.

The prophet does not have to pass a class or graduate from a seminary that gives him a certificate approving his knowledge and study of ancient scripture. He does not need a degree or a knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. Indeed, he does not need the approval or nomination of any earthy tribunal created by man. The prophet is called of God, as was Aaron. He has the priesthood through the laying on of hands, as did Aaron. He has the authority to exercise all the keys of the holy priesthood because God gave him the authority, not man.

Moses was called of God despite his weakness for public speaking. The Lord comforted Moses, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Moses never underwent any formal schooling or training to be a prophet, instead God blessed Moses and gave Moses a brother who could speak well in order to help him fulfill his calling (see Exodus 4:10-16).

The original twelve apostles all came from varied backgrounds, and none were rabbis or priests or had religious professions. For example, Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fishermen (see Matt 4:18-22) and Matthew was a tax collector (see Matt 9:9). The Lord looketh not upon the outward appearance, but on the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord often times calls the humble and the unlearned because they are teachable and will not take honour unto themselves.

How God chooses His prophets, apostles, and other leaders
The process of choosing apostles, teachers, and other church leaders is described in the first chapter of Acts. When Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ, he obviously lost his calling as an apostle. The remaining eleven apostles gathered together to find out the will of the Lord concerning who should become the newest member of the quorum of the twelve. They knew that “one must be ordained to be a witness with [them] of [Christ’s] resurrection,” (v. 22) and so they sought the will of the Lord concerning whom they should choose. The scriptural account continues:

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The apostles found a few saints that they thought would be good candidates and they inquired of the Lord to know His will concerning the future of the twelve. Through revelation, the eleven apostles knew that Matthias was to be the twelfth apostle.

The same process works for us in our lives. When we seek revelation concerning a decision in our lives, we must do the research and the work to find what we believe to be the best decision or decisions. Then we go to the Lord and ask to know His will, since our thoughts are not His thoughts. When we are prepared and have done all that we can do, we receive the revelation and can then move forward with faith.

A need for the restoration of the priesthood
As people persecuted and killed the apostles and other church leaders after Christ’s death, Christ ceased calling new apostles and prophets to lead His Church. The priesthood keys to officiate in ordinances such as baptism and the sacrament, give blessings, and otherwise act in the name of God were lost to the earth leading to a widespread apostasy. No one had the authority to pass on the priesthood or ordain others to priesthood offices.

When God the Father and Jesus Christ restored the gospel and organized their church in our day, ending the long night of apostasy, They called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and through him restored the keys of the priesthood to the earth. They called twelve apostles who received the priesthood keys. And They, through the living apostles and prophets, continue to call new apostles and prophets each time an apostle or prophet dies. Each new apostle receives priesthood keys from the remaining apostles and prophet. The same process is true for other general authorities and church leaders. When someone is released from a calling as a teacher or bishop or seventy or any other calling, the Lord reveals to His leaders who should fill the position.

The priesthood is given to every worthy male member of the Church and when he is called to a position that requires the use of priesthood keys, a higher authority ordains him and authorizes him to use those keys in his calling. The priesthood holders officiate in ordinances such as baptism, bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament. Families are sealed together and gain the ability to live together forever through priesthood ordinances in the temple.

Implications for Us
Ordinances of the gospel require the authorization of the Lord and that authorization comes through the priesthood. If one does not hold the priesthood, then the ordinances are not ordinances but merely words and a ceremony with no eternal consequences. Those who were in attendance at the Easter services in Nordlingen partook of the bread and wine but that’s all they did was partake of bread and wine, the same as the bread in their cupboards and the wine in their cellars at home.

As I stated before, I’m sure the people and the preacher in Nordlingen have good intentions. I have met religious and non-religious people all over the world who are good people with only the best intentions and desires to be good and do good unto their fellowmen. That’s one of the reasons I love the sport of jump rope so much; jump rope attracts great people and I am who I am today in part because of their influence on me. However, even the best of intentions can only get us so far. The Savior atoned for the sins of all who would ever live upon the earth and He asks us to do certain things in return. He asks us to live His Gospel: to exercise faith in Him and His Atonement through repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then enduring to the end by striving to live by the covenants we made through baptism (see Mosiah 18:8-10). And as we discussed, the making and renewing of these commitments requires the power and authority from God—the priesthood.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and desires that we return home to live with Him and our families forever. He has designed a plan that enables us to attain this goal. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is central to this plan. In order for us to fully take advantage of this plan, Heavenly Father has given us His power and authority to perform saving ordinances such as baptism the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, and those found in the temple. God calls prophets in our day and gives them priesthood authority that we may know to what source to look for a remission of our sins (see 2 Ne 25:26.) I am grateful for the Atonement and that Christ is merciful enough to allow us to come unto Him, be forgiven as we do the things He asks, and feel His Spirit. I am grateful the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the priesthood and authority to perform saving ordinances in our day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that contains the fullness of the gospel and the authority to perform priesthood ordinances. This is my testimony.


For further reading:

Henry B. Eyring, “The True and Living Church,” Ensign, May 2008, 20–24

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Be of Good Cheer

A couple weeks ago I received a facebook message regarding my thoughts on President Thomas S. Monson's talk entitled, "Be of Good Cheer," given at the April 2009 General Conference (audio/video.)

Be of good cheer is an oft-repeated phrase in the scriptures that the Savior uses to comfort someone who is either fearful of the future or who is feeling overwhelmed or weighed down with some trial or experience. Since fear and faith cannot exist in the same mind, for one will dispel the other, Christ urges us to be of good cheer by exercising faith in Him. We can rely on faith when times are hard and when the outcome is uncertain.

My favorite scripture in which Christ says "be of good cheer" is John 16:33:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

When we came to this earth, we knew that life would be hard. In fact, we rejoiced in the plan that allowed us to go through trials that we may prove ourselves faithful and eventually return to live with Our Father in Heaven (see Job 38:7.) We can exercise faith rather than fear because Jesus Christ atoned for our afflictions, sins, and hardships (see Alma 7:11-13.) What reason have we not to be of good cheer? Our Elder Brother overcame the world that we may have eternal life! (See John 3:16.)

I love the phrase from President Monson's talk, "Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." Indeed, the future is as bright as our faith. As we exercise faith in Him who overcame the world, we can live with the assurance that despite the vicissitudes of life, He is always there to bear us up and to share His yoke with us (Matt 11:29-30.)

President Thomas S. Monson a prophet of God. He is the Lord's mouthpiece in our day.