Sunday, November 22, 2009

Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions

"Since truth is the only meaningful foundation upon which we can make wise decisions, how then can one establish what is really true? Increasingly more people are finding that making wise decisions is becoming more and more difficult because of the ultra-interconnected world in which we live. Constantly forced into our consciousness is an incessant barrage of counsel, advice, and promotions. It is done by a bewildering array of media, Internet, and other means. On a given subject we can receive multiple strongly delivered, carefully crafted messages with solutions. But often two of the solutions can be diametrically opposed. No wonder some are confused and are not sure how to make the right decisions.

"To further complicate matters, others try to persuade us that our decisions must be socially acceptable and politically correct. Some pondering of that approach will reveal how wrong it is. Since social and political structures differ widely over the world and can dramatically change with time, the folly of using that method to make choices is apparent."

The above quote comes from this week's article by apostle Elder Richard G. Scott. In the October 2007 General Conference, Elder Scott gave a talk entitled, "Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions" in which he spoke about truth, why seeking truth is important, and the ways we can and should seek truth.

In our day and age, truth is often defined by science and popular views. In regard to spiritual matters, "truth" is often defined by the individual, who argues that only he or she can decide what is right or wrong for them individually often interpreting the eternal truths as set apart by the Creator in His Holy Scriptures to best fit his or her own lifestlye. Frequently, especially as a missionary when I talked with people about truth all day, I heard and hear people justify their actions and beliefs by saying that they do what's right for them. This answer and mentality is lazy and serves only as justification so that people can get on with their lives without much of a guilty conscience for things they should not be doing but are and for things they should be doing but aren't.

Truth is black and white. Examples of truth are that God the Father lives and that He loves us. He created a plan that we may attain happiness not only in this life but in the life to come, also called eternity. His Son, Jesus Christ, taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come. God reqiures certain things of us that we must do in order to reach our potential and obtain eternal life which is living with Him and our families forever. These things, these actions are not defined by us, but by God. Either we do them or we do not. Either we attain a fulness of joy and happiness in this life or we do not. God gives us commandments that we may know how to be happy. This is truth. Either we live as He directs and be happy and attain eternal life; or we live as we direct, contrary to His will and obtain something lesser.

King Benjamin, a Book of Mormon prophet taught:

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Mosiah 2:41)

Now, I am not talking about living life in blind obedience. We are all endowed with the ability to search out truth and choose for ourselves our actions (see 2 Nephi 2:27.) However, we must search. Elder Scott said, "The process of identifying truth sometimes necessitates enormous effort coupled with profound faith in our Father and His glorified Son." Because Truth has become generally unpopular, faith and trust are required as we accept the Savior's Atonement and live His teachings.

In conclusion, I highlight one final phrase from this talk. "A knowledge of truth is of little value unless we apply it in making correct decisions." When we find truth, we must put off the natural man and humble ourselves (Mosiah 3:19) and apply the truths we found or all of the searching is in vain. Faith, without works, is dead (see James 2:17-18.)

I have a knowledge of the truths that have here been addressed through my own searching, prayer, and living the principles of the gospel (see John 7:17.) Indeed, these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Jeremy