One of President Monson’s favorite topics is obedience. He knows that if we obey, we will be happier in the eternal scheme of things. His years of being raised by good parents and his decades of leadership experience both in business and in the church have taught him the value of obedience. Following are some of his thoughts on a subject he speaks on often.
“A just man and perfect in his generations,” one who “walked with God,”11 was the prophet Noah. Ordained to the priesthood at an early age, “he became a preacher of righteousness and declared the gospel of Jesus Christ, … teaching faith, repentance, baptism, and the reception of the Holy Ghost.”12 He warned that failure to heed his message would bring floods upon those who heard his voice, and yet they hearkened not to his words.
Noah heeded God’s command to build an ark that he and his family might be spared destruction. He followed God’s instructions to gather into the ark two or more of every living creature that they also might be saved from the floodwaters.
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught in general conference more than half a century ago: “As yet there was no evidence of rain and flood. … [Noah’s] warnings were considered irrational. … How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. … The floods came. The disobedient … were drowned. The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building.”13
Noah had the unwavering faith to follow God’s commandments. May we ever do likewise. May we remember that the wisdom of God ofttimes appears as foolishness to men; but the greatest lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.
Thomas S. Monson, “They Marked the Path to Follow,” Ensign, Oct 2007, 4–9
Let us live the commandments of God. Let us follow in the footsteps of His Son and our Savior, even Jesus Christ the Lord. As we sincerely and fervently seek Him, we shall indeed find Him.
He may come to us as one unknown, without a name—as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words, “Follow thou me” (John 21:22), and sets us to the task which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands, and to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship; and they shall learn in their own experience who He is.
Thomas S. Monson, “Conference Is Here,” Ensign, May 1990, 4
Many turn away from our Elder Brother, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and follow blindly after that Pied Piper of sin who would lead us down the slippery slopes to our own destruction. Satan cunningly calls to troubled souls in truly tempting tones.
Do not yield to his enticements; rather, stand firm for truth. The unsatisfied yearnings of the soul will not be met by a never-ending quest for joy amidst the thrills of sensation and vice. Vice never leads to virtue. Hate never promotes love. Cowardice never gives courage. Doubt never inspires faith.
Some find it difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. But the world has ever belittled adherence to principle. When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky, then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came.
On the American continent, those long centuries ago, people doubted, disputed, and disobeyed until the fire consumed Zarahemla, the earth covered Moronihah, and water engulfed Moroni. Jeering, mocking, ribaldry, and sin were no more. They had been replaced by sullen silence, dense darkness. The patience of God had expired, his timetable fulfilled.
Must we learn such costly lessons over and over again? Times change, but truth persists. When we fail to profit from the experiences of the past, we are doomed to repeat them with all their heartache, suffering, and anguish. Haven’t we the wisdom to obey him who knows the beginning from the end—our Lord, who designed the plan of salvation, rather than that serpent who despised its beauty?
“Thomas S. Monson, “‘Come, Follow Me’,” Ensign, Jul 1988, 2