Don’t you love this sister in the video? We know that many of you who have not had the opportunity to bear children of your own have spent your lives loving, teaching, and blessing children. And, oh, how our Heavenly Father and we, your sisters, love you for it!
Have we all, including you dear younger sisters in Primary and Young Women, had the opportunity to hold a newborn baby in our arms and have him or her look up into our eyes? Have we sensed the sacred and holy feeling surrounding this celestial spirit, so recently sent by our Father in Heaven to its newly created, pure little body? I have seldom experienced feelings quite so sweet, so tender, and so spiritual.
Our bodies are sacred gifts from our Heavenly Father. They are personal temples. As we keep them clean and pure, we can be worthy to help our Heavenly Father create bodies for His beloved spirit children.
In President Boyd K. Packer’s final general conference talk, which you may remember as “a cookie and a kiss,” he testified that “the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth … is essential … and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this [creative] power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan.”
“True love requires reserving until after marriage the sharing of that affection which unlocks those sacred powers … [by] avoiding situations where physical desire might take control. …
“… Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires.”1
My dear sisters, both young and not so young, I have felt a great anxiety as I have prepared this talk. As Alma the Younger expressed, “I wish from the inmost part of my heart … that ye would … call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, … that ye may be lifted up at the last day.”2
Later, Mormon also testified that in Alma’s day, Korihor, the anti-Christ, “did preach … , leading away the hearts of … many women.”3
Sisters, Satan has raised a Korihor-like banner in our day with increasing success. What are some of his tools? Seductive romance novels, TV soap operas, married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media, and pornography. We must be so careful, dear sisters! We cannot play with Satan’s fiery darts and not get burned. I know of nothing that will qualify us for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as much as virtue.
Many in today’s world are looking for instant gratification and instant knowledge on the Internet. In contrast, we will be exceedingly blessed if we exercise faith and patience and go to our Heavenly Father, the source of all truth, with our concerns. So many answers and assurances can come through daily searching and studying the scriptures and with sincere and pleading prayer, but there are no such promises on the Internet. The prophet Jacob testifies: “For the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.”4
When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything that is below our Heavenly Father’s standards, it weakens us. Regardless of our age, if what we look at, read, listen to, or choose to do does not meet the Lord’s standards in For the Strength of Youth, turn it off, rip it up, throw it out, and slam the door.
None of us is perfect, but when we have sinned, President Packer reminded us:
“The promise is: ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42). …
“… The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. There are so many of us who are thrashing around … with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity.”5
Besides repentance, what helps or tools have we been given to help us stay clean and virtuous? Our Primary children and young women all know and sing the song “Scripture Power.”6 Can we expand it to “Prayer Power,” “Temple Power,” “Covenants Power,” “Sabbath Day Power,” “Prophet Power,” and “Virtue Power”?
There are also great blessings and protecting promises associated with the proper wearing of our temple garment. I have come to feel that I am symbolically putting on royal robes given me by my Heavenly Father. I testify, sisters, that when we strive to wear the garment properly, our Father recognizes it as a great sign of our love and devotion to Him. It is a sign of the covenants we have made with Him, and He has promised, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”7
Recently I talked to an old friend who has gone through two divorces due to the addictions and unfaithfulness of her husbands. She and her three children have suffered greatly. She pleaded, “I have tried so hard to live righteously. Why have I had so many trials? What have I done wrong? What does Heavenly Father want me to do? I pray and read my scriptures, help my children, and go to the temple often.”
As I listened to this sister, I felt like shouting out, “You are doing it! You are doing all that Heavenly Father wants and hopes you will do!”
Understandably, many have expressed that our Father’s promised blessings are just “way too far away,” particularly when our lives are overflowing with challenges. But Amulek taught that “this life is the time … to prepare to meet God.”8 It is not the time to receive all of our blessings. President Packer explained, “‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right.”9 However, a vision of our Father’s incredible promised blessings must be the central focus before our eyes every day—as well as an awareness “of the multitude of his tender mercies”10 that we experience on a daily basis.
Sisters, I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, “Was that all that was required?” I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally. What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?
I testify that our bodies are sacred gifts from our Heavenly Father and that as we keep our lives pure and clean through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior and keep the vision of our Father’s promised rewards daily in front of us, we will one day receive “all that [our] Father hath.”11 In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.