We live in such a wonderful time. There is something dramatic in the passing of a century, a full hundred years. There is something truly awesome in the passing of a millennium, a thousand years.
Two millennia have gone by since the Master walked the earth. During the first thousand years that passed after His birth, the world was vastly different from what it is today. Much of that was a season of intellectual darkness, of very few comforts, of people stumbling along in a medieval shadowland. Then came an age of enlightenment, and now, seemingly all in a day, we conclude another 10 centuries of time. This is a time of almost universal peace and prosperity among the nations of the earth. How grateful we can feel.
We live a third longer than we did just a century ago. We live in comfort. We are passing through a tremendous revolution in communications, in travel, in ways of doing business. As I write this, I am flying 597 miles an hour at 39,000 feet above the earth. I have just enjoyed a good meal. The air above the clouds is smooth. This is an age of wonders. It is an age of scientific miracles. The computer, the Internet, e-mail, and a hundred other things pertaining to communication have added to our ability to speak to one another with speed and ease.
And above all of these, this is the dispensation of the fulness of time, foretold in the scriptures. We live at this glorious season when the gospel of Jesus Christ, in all its purity, has been restored to the earth. His Church has come again to bless His people. The curtains of the past have been parted. New light and understanding have come through divine revelation. Somehow, among all the children of our Father who have walked the earth, we appear to be most fortunate.
This is a season when the Lord has spoken to us: “If ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you” (D&C 98:22). Reflect on those words. They apply to you and me. To each of us He has made a promise. It is His promise, and He has the capacity to keep His promise. It is my testimony to you that He does so.
He says further in words of revelation: “A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men” (D&C 6:1). That was before the Church was organized. It was about the time that the Book of Mormon was coming forth in April of 1829.
“Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God. … Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 6:3, 5). Those are the opening verses of that great revelation, and now we have the closing verses.
“Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. … Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:34, 36).
As Latter-day Saints, ours is not the option of doubting and fearing. Ours is the opportunity of believing and acting.
When I left for the mission field 66 years ago, my father handed me a card. He had written on it four words spoken by the Lord, who, when He had received news of the death of the daughter of the centurion, said: “Fear not: believe only” (see Luke 8:50).
As we step into the third millennium A.D., I can think of no greater counsel than is found in this statement.
Fear not; only believe.
Believe in God, the Father of us all. We are His children and He loves us. He is interested in us. He is concerned about us. He wants us to be the very best we can be. He wants us to make something of our lives. He wants us to be upright and true and honest and straightforward and clean and decent. I believe that He desires to bless us. If we live our lives in such a way as to be worthy of His blessings, He will bless us and we will not be troubled by the evil of the world.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who condescended to come into the world to save mankind. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. He was the Son of a mortal mother and a divine, Eternal Father. In His name we pray. Through His atoning sacrifice we obtain forgiveness for our sins. We have the assurance of the Resurrection, and if we walk in His ways after His pattern, we will have the opportunity of exaltation.
Believe in yourselves and in your capacity to do something worthwhile. God has given you a mind and a spirit and a body with which to do your work. You have tremendous capacity. You do not have to be a genius to do something worthwhile in the world. The major work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way. This is what makes the difference. Stand tall and look sharp and bright with a smile on your face, and you will find that people will love and honor and respect you. “To thine own self be true,” wrote William Shakespeare, “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet, act 1, scene 3).
Believe in the power and majesty of prayer. The Lord answers our prayers. I know that. I have seen it happen again and again and again. Prayer brings us into partnership with God. It offers us an opportunity to speak with Him, to thank Him for His magnificent blessings, and to ask Him for guidance and protection as we walk the paths of life. This great work, which is spreading over the earth, found its roots in the prayer of a boy. He had read in the family Bible, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5–6). That is the promise. Is there any greater promise anywhere in the world than that promise?
Believe in goodness, my dear young friends. There is so much of evil in this world. It seems to be everywhere—in television, in books, in magazines, in videos. Do not sit around watching videos of a sleazy nature. Do not do it. They will not help you. They will hurt you. You can become addicted to those things, and they will destroy you. I have seen it in the lives of many people. Believe in goodness. In the midst of great evil, there is so much of good to be found in the world. It is your responsibility to follow the right. “Choose the right when a choice is placed before you” (Hymns, no. 239). There is something wonderful and uplifting that comes from believing in goodness and beauty and truth.
Believe in education. A mandate has been given you by the Lord Himself. He has said: “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
I do not expect all of you to earn college degrees. But I do urge you with all the power that I have to take advantage of learning to equip yourselves to do worthwhile things in the world. The world will compensate you for your skills. If you are an honest and skilled workman, you will bring honor to yourself and to the Church. This is the great day of preparation for each of you. This is the season to train yourself for the highly competitive world that lies ahead.
Fear not; only believe. This is a time to make resolutions that will be binding upon you. This is a season to set standards that will hold you to the right course and make you happy now and in the years that follow. Remember, there is no happiness in wickedness. There is no happiness in sin. There is no happiness in disobedience. There is no happiness in going contrary to the teachings of the Church.
You are wonderful young men and women. I believe you are the best ever. You have faith. You are prayerful. You know and love the Lord. He is counting on you. You are so very important. Every one of you is precious. If any one of you gets off the track, the Church is that much weaker. If you square your life with the gospel, the Church is that much stronger. Go forward, do the right thing, live the right way, and enjoy the happiness which the Lord has in store for you.
God, our Eternal Father, lives. You and I both know that. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world. The Book of Mormon is true. The priesthood is upon the earth with all the powers and keys and authority that belong thereto. You know these things, as do I.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Its purpose is to help us to be happy, to live “after the manner of happiness” (see 2 Ne. 5:27).
God bless you my beloved associates in this great work.