Unclutter your lives, counseled Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy.
"A cluttered life is a life that you do not have control of," Elder Bradford said Saturday afternoon. "It is a life in which the things you have surrounded yourself with, and allow to use your time, are controlling you, and negatively influencing your happiness and eternal progress."He said that lives can be cluttered by many things. Some are obvious, such as material things, "the stuff we collect." Other things that clutter lives and use up time are not as obvious as the material. They are more subtle and just seem to evolve, taking control of lives.
"We give our lives to that which we give our time," Elder Bradford explained.
To unclutter one's life, Elder Bradford admonished, much has to be discarded. "To do this we need to develop a list of basics, a list of those things that are indispensable to our mortal welfare and happiness and our eternal salvation. This list must follow the gospel pattern and contain the elements needed for our sanctification and perfection. It must be the product of inspiration and prayerful judgment between the things we really need and the things we just want. It should separate need from greed."
At the top of a list of basics must be the family. "Next only to our devotion to God, the family comes first," he emphasized.
"A mother should never allow herself to become so involved with extras that she finds herself neglecting her divine role. A father must not let any activity, no matter how interesting or important it may seem, keep him from giving of himself in the one-on-one service and close, constant care of each member of the family."
Elder Bradford explained that young people need to learn that "none of the exciting, entertaining and fun things" are worth it if they take them off the path that will lead them back to their Heavenly Father.
He said that one needs to ask some serious and soul-searching questions. "One of these questions would surely be, `Do I have time for prayer?' I mean sincere, honest, from the depths of the contrite spirit and a broken heart prayer.
". . . The next question would be, `Do I study the scriptures?' I solemnly testify to you that the holy scriptures are the word of God. Constant study of them is the act of holding to the rod of iron. They will guide you to the tree of life. I exhort you to go to the tree of life where you will find the pure love of God."
With an uncluttered life, he continued, "you will not be so busy doing terrestrial things that you do not have time to do those things which are celestial. God's plan is a plan of simplicity.
"I urge you to clear away the clutter. Take your life back. Use your willpower. Learn to say no to those things that will rob you of your precious time and infringe upon your agency to choose to live in exactness to God's plan of happiness and exaltation."