*Have eternal plan
*Study and pray*Examine motives
Three important elements will ehlp in making the right choices during one's mortalprobation, said Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales Saturday morning.
"First, we must have an eternal plan with objectives that we are committed to achieve," he declared. "Second, we need to study and pray on a daily basis about our decisions for feelings of spiritual guidance, courage and commitment. Third, we need to examine our motives each time we make a decision."
In speaking of the first element, Bishop Hales related Aesop's fable about The Man, The Boy, and The Donkey. He told how the man and boy were bound for the market to sell the konkey for their winter provisions.
When the man would ride the donkey through the village, the people would comment on how inconsiderate the man was for making his son walk. When the boy rode, the people talked about the inconsiderate boy. When they both rode, the villagers sympathized with the donkey. And when neither rode, other people wondered why they didn't use the beast of burden for his intended purpose.
Finally, they both rode and the donkey collapsed, and they couldn't sell the animal and buy provisions.
"How much different the outcome would have been if the father and son had a plan to follow. Father could have said, 'I'll ride the donkey one-third of the way; Son, you ride one-third of the way; and we'll both walk the last third of the way. The donkey will arrive at the market place fresh and strong.'"
Bishop Hales said people need a plan to guide their lives. They accepted the eternal plan to come to earth, so they could progress. But, while here, they will be tested with enticements and opposition in all things.
"But if we are obedient and faithful to the laws, ordinances, and covenants which we accept with our free agency, of our own free will and choice, we can attain eternal life," he added.
Illustrating the second element, Bishop hales told of visiting with Joe and Linda from Boise, Idaho. The presiding bishop said four years ago goe was an alcoholic. Then Bishop Hales paused before continuing with a voice choked with emotion. "Linda had left him, taking the children, except for a 14 year-old son."
Depressed and filled with despair, Joe awoke about 2 or 3 a.m. and prayed until dawn. "It was his Gethsemane," Bishop Hales commented. "He cried out to the Lord and asked for help with his affliction and expressed love for his caring wife who had confronted him with his abusive bahavior."
The next morning Joe committed to not drink anymore and has lived up to that promise.
In speaking of the third element, Bishop Hales said that looking at on's motives for doing something is a good check and balance for making decisions.
Bishop Hales said when one stands at the crossroads of life, he or she must make a decision whether to walk the world's way or along the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life.