Courage to Avoid Sin
My young friends, be strong. The philosophies of men surround us. The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that. The character of transgression remains the same. If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness-and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so.
Thomas S. Monson, “Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign, May 2008, 65-68
No description of models for us to follow would be complete without including Joseph Smith, the first prophet of this dispensation. When but 14 years of age, this courageous young man entered a grove of trees, which later would be called sacred, and received an answer to his sincere prayer.
There followed for Joseph unrelenting persecution as he related to others the account of the glorious vision he received in that grove. Yet, although he was ridiculed and scorned, he stood firm. Said he, “I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it.” 17
Step by step, facing opposition at nearly every turn and yet always guided by the hand of the Lord, Joseph organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He proved courageous in all that he did.
Thomas S. Monson, “Models to Follow,” Ensign, Nov 2002, 60
Courage to Stand Against Mocking Crowds
All were fortified by the words of Moses: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” He did not fail them. He will not fail us. He did not forsake them. He will not forsake us.
It is this sweet assurance that can guide you and me-in our time, in our day, in our lives. Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well.
Thomas S. Monson, “The Call for Courage,” Ensign, May 2004, 54
The Courage to Follow Jesus Christ
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