LOGAN — Following the path of righteousness is a choice all must make for themselves, taught Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a devotional for young adults on Sunday night in Utah State University’s Spectrum auditorium.
“The choices that are most significant can be made by everyone regardless of their talents, abilities, opportunities or economic circumstances,” he said.
Although at times individuals will face difficulties in life out of their control, Elder Cook reminded listeners that they do have control over matters of righteous living.
“On matters of principle, matters of conduct, religious observance and righteous living, we are in control,” he said. A person’s faith and worship are their choice.
Elder Cook recognized that many of the same challenges of faith that existed when he was growing up in Cache Valley remain the same today.
“During my years in Cache Valley, the same issues were being raised and arguments made to diminish the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the church in general — including the Savior — that are being trumpeted across the Internet today,” the apostle said. “There has been and always will be opposition in all things. Those who pray, study scriptures, live the commandments and worship and follow the Savior will see these arguments in their true light. Their faith will grow and their lives will be blessed.”
Drawing from experiences of when he was a teen and young adult, Elder Cook shared how these pivotal moments helped shape his faith and how he has lived his life.
Remembering when he was 15 years old and his older brother was 20, Elder Cook shared how his brother’s experience of deciding to serve a mission — despite their father’s desire for him to stay home and pursue education, his own plans for medical school and a limited number of missionaries allowed to serve — had a big impact on the younger brother’s life.
It was at that time that Elder Cook decided he would pray to figure out what he believed to be true.
“At that time neither my brother nor I had any kind of angelic visitation,” he said. “I had what I have come to understand as the feeling that the Holy Ghost provides me when I am seeking spiritual truths.”
That answer, and others like it, have guided his most important decisions, Elder Cook said. It is through a witness of the spirit that individuals are able to know for themselves if something is true.
Speaking of lessons he learned from his mission president, Elder Cook spoke of two important principles. First, the path one chooses matters, and second, day-to-day consistent effort is better than occasional heroic effort.
“It isn’t just the paths that lead to evil we need to avoid,” Elder Cook said. Individuals must choose paths that will lead to righteousness. Oftentimes decisions are more than just choosing between good and evil — it is between choosing what is good, better or best. “Even the difference between good and best can be profound.”
Goals relating to education and occupation are important, but should not be put above family and a testimony of the Savior, Elder Cook taught. "The unintended consequences can be significantly adverse."
"The most important meeting that each of us will have on the other side of the veil is with the Savior. Regardless of whom our ancestors are and whether we are rich or poor, we will report on our compliance with the commandments we have been given. We should live so we can look forward to meeting the Savior."