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`LIVING IT UP’ ISN’T WORTH IT, STUDENTS TOLD

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During a devotional Tuesday at Brigham Young University, writer and teacher Marie K. Hafen warned students against the danger of sinning now with the attitude that they can repent later.

A former member of the Young Women's General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a current member of the Deseret News board of directors, Hafen spoke in the BYU de Jong Concert Hall as part of the university's first devotional during the current spring semester.Hafen said some people feel it's their right to romp "in the mud of transgression" before basking in the shower of repentance.

"There is something perverse about planning to repent in the very act of transgression," she said. "This kind of thinking can begin early."

Stating that it is "better to be than to seem," Hafen urged audience members to base their personal development on reality. "We cannot fully develop if we remain inside of an illusion," she said.

Sometimes when one is preparing to go on a mission for the LDS Church, attend BYU or get married in an LDS temple, a person can be tempted to "live it up," Hafen said. However, a person never knows how he or she will react in that other life or if the sins committed can be washed away completely.

Even if one were to repent, there is no way to call back the seeds of destruction, she said, such as in the case of a person who engages in promiscuous sex and contracts the AIDS virus.

"We cannot live a high-risk life as if it were an illusion or a rehearsal," she said.

Turning to the topic of dating, Hafen said it is better to be than to seem in regard to these relationships as well. She gave the audience several suggestions on how to avoid "seeming."

"Be your best self," she said. Students were also told to be emotionally honest in expressing affection while dating; the desire for that affection can be motivated by forces other than true love.

"In short, save your kisses. You may need them someday," she said.

Those who are dating should strive to be friends first and sweethearts later. They should also develop the power of self-restraint. "Bridle your passions so you may be filled with love," Hafen said.

She urged students not to date someone they know they would not or should not marry and to use the Holy Spirit as their guide.

"The key to spiritual guidance is found in two words: genuine worthiness," she said.