From the beginning of time, a prophet’s job has been to cry repentance. Noah, Jeremiah, Moses, and all of God’s prophets, in both ancient and modern times, have had the responsibility to call people to repentance. Most often, people didn’t want to hear the call, and some prophets, like Jeremiah, found their lives in danger as a result. However, a prophet isn’t sent to do what is easy or pleasant. His only duty is to God. Following are some thoughts from Thomas S. Monson, a modern day prophet, on sin and repentance.
Sin Plays for Keeps
No enumeration of failure’s many faces would be complete without the Face of Sin. This culprit plays for keeps. The stakes are high. Paul declared: “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23.) And who can disregard the word of the Lord:
“That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment.” (D&C 88:35.)
Thomas S. Monson, “Faces and Attitudes,” New Era, Sep 1977, 47
There is a way back
If any has stumbled in his journey, there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isa. 1:18.)
Don’t put your eternal life at risk. Keep the commandments of God. If you have sinned, the sooner you begin to make your way back, the sooner you will find the sweet peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness.
Thomas S. Monson, “That We May Touch Heaven,” Ensign, Nov 1990, 45
Make Wise Choices
Many of you are familiar with the play Camelot. I’d like to share with you one of my favorite lines from this production. As the difficulties among King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Queen Guinevere deepen, King Arthur cautions, “We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.” This plea I would leave with you tonight. Do not let your passions destroy your dreams. Withstand temptation.
Remember the words from the Book of Mormon: “Wickedness never was happiness.”
Essential to your success and happiness is the advice “Choose your friends with caution.” We tend to become like those whom we admire, and they are usually our friends. We should associate with those who, like us, are planning not for temporary convenience, shallow goals, or narrow ambition—but rather with those who value the things that matter most, even eternal objectives.
Maintain an eternal perspective. Let there be a temple marriage in your future. There is no scene so sweet, no time so sacred as that very special day of your marriage. Then and there you glimpse celestial joy. Be alert; do not permit temptation to rob you of this blessing.
Make every decision you contemplate pass this test: What does it do to me? What does it do for me? And let your code of conduct emphasize not, “What will others think?” but rather, “What will I think of myself?” Be influenced by that still, small voice. Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head at the time of your confirmation and said, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised, “Thine ears shall hear a word … saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.”
The tenor of our times is permissiveness. All around us we see the idols of the movie screen, the heroes of the athletic field—those whom many young people long to emulate—as disregarding the laws of God and rationalizing away sinful practices, seemingly with no ill effect. Don’t you believe it! There is a time of reckoning—even a balancing of the ledger. Every Cinderella has her midnight—it’s called Judgment Day, even the Big Exam of Life. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?
Thomas S. Monson, “Be Thou an Example,” Liahona, May 2005, 112–15
Noah Preached Repentance
“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