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Elder Paul B. Pieper

By June 12, 2019 10:15 AM
Elder Paul B. Pieper
Elder Paul B. Pieper was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2005. He has served in the Europe East, Middle East, and Mexico Areas, as well as at Church headquarters in the Family History, Curriculum, and Priesthood and Family Departments. He is currently serving as a member of the Mexico Area Presidency.


It ­is ­a­ delight­ for ­me ­to ­be ­with ­you ­this ­morning. ­As ­I ­prepared this talk I could feel something about how much the Lord loves you. That He knows you, that He wants to speak to you today and I felt Him guiding me to see what I can do to make that happen. As I came and shook your hands I felt that even more, that the Lord has even more great things for you to do. You all, each one of you, has an important mission for which you came to earth. ­I ­can ­feel ­your ­faith, ­and ­the ­faith­ of ­your mothers ­and ­fathers—faith ­that ­has caused ­you ­to ­come ­to ­this ­unique­ institution­ of ­higher ­learning—the ­LDS ­Business ­College. ­Each of you are ­here because of that faith.

Unlike ­many­ other ­educational ­institutions, ­in­ addition ­to ­helping ­you ­obtain ­an education ­and ­a ­transferable ­degree, ­it ­also ­focuses ­on ­deepening ­and­ strengthening­ your ­discipleship ­in­ Jesus ­Christ. ­­It ­is ­committed ­to ­creating ­an environment ­of ­deeper ­learning, where you can not only receive information you need, but you can learn how to learn. And to develop the capacity to be ­constantly and continuously learning ­throughout every day of your life. What­ a­ blessing ­to ­be ­a ­part ­of ­an institution with that focus.

You­ have ­a ­team ­of ­exceptional ­leaders. ­I ­have­ known­ and­ loved­ Alynda ­and­ Bruce Kusch ­for ­many ­years. Every time I talk with President Kusch he is talking about how wonderful you are. ­I ­know ­how committed he is­ to helping you succeed. He knows one thing that we all know: you are the future. You are the future of the church; you are the future of the world. We are committed to do everything in our power to help you have a bright, happy ­and fulfilling future. With that, I­ pray­ that ­the ­Spirit­ will ­be­ with us ­today, that we can learn the things that will help you move toward that great future that the Lord has prepared for us.

Good­ learning­ and­ good ­decisions ­are ­inseparably ­connected. ­You cannot make good decisions if you are not learning well. ­Good learning ­is ­essential ­to ­our ­growth and­ progression ­on ­earth. ­We ­are ­on ­the ­earth ­today ­because ­of ­the ­growth ­and progression that ­we ­experienced ­in ­our ­pre-mortal ­life. ­Our ­progress­ there ­came because ­of ­the ­things ­we ­learned ­from ­our ­Heavenly ­Parents ­and­ the ­decision ­we made ­to ­choose ­our ­Father's ­plan. ­His plan was to come to this earth.

We ­have ­now­ changed­ worlds ­because we made that choice and chose that plan. We ­are ­now ­here ­on ­the ­earth ­with ­mortal ­bodies ­prepared ­for ­us ­by ­earthly ­parents. ­The immortal spirit that lived with Him, now ­is living in this ­body ­of ­flesh ­and­ bones. That ­spirit, that we each bring, ­brings­ with­ it ­the ­knowledge ­and ­all of the experience ­we ­gained ­in ­our ­pre-mortal ­life. ­It ­also ­brings ­with ­it ­the ­characteristic ­traits ­we developed­ by ­living ­the ­truths ­we ­learned ­there. ­The ­challenge ­and ­adventure ­of mortality ­is ­to ­continue ­the ­process ­of ­learning, growth­ and ­development.

There is a pattern that the pre-earth experience teaches us. It is a pattern of continual growth and progression.

It ­is ­said ­that ­God's ­course­ is­ one ­eternal ­round­ (see ­D&C ­3:2). There is this pattern, or cycle. It involves the­ principles ­of ­agency, ­knowledge ­and ­choice. Those ­are ­the foundations ­of ­that ­pattern. ­The ­pattern ­is ­this: ­God ­places ­us ­in ­a­ situation ­with conditions ­specifically­ prepared­ for ­us. ­There are no accidents. Each of us is placed here on earth in the circumstances that are the most important for us. And as we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and seek God’s guidance, He will place us in those circumstances to help us get to where He needs us. He­ permits ­us in that circumstance ­to­ exercise ­our ­agency­ to­ seek ­knowledge ­and ­make­ decisions to ­act ­or ­not­ act­ on ­the ­truths ­we ­learn. ­As ­we ­act ­in ­obedience, we­ gain ­experience and ­make ­progress. The ­Lord ­explained­ it ­this ­way ­to ­the ­Prophet ­Joseph ­Smith: “That ­which ­is ­of ­God ­is ­light; ­and ­he ­that ­receiveth ­light, ­and­ continueth­ in ­God, receiveth­ more ­light; ­and ­that ­light ­growth ­brighter ­and­ brighter ­until ­the ­perfect day” (D&C 50:24).

In­ our ­pre-mortal ­life, ­we ­were ­placed­ in ­a ­situation ­where ­we ­could­ learn­ truth ­from Heavenly ­Parents. ­We­ chose ­to ­act ­in ­obedience ­to ­those ­truths ­and­ for ­that ­reason were ­given ­the ­opportunity ­to ­come­ to ­earth to grow. That was our first cycle of growth. It was there but now we are here on earth and we are each in a cycle here on earth.

Each­ of ­us ­was ­born­ to­ mortal­ parents. Initially, they­ nurtured­ us ­and ­made­ every decision­ for ­us: ­what ­we ­ate, ­when­ we­ went ­to ­bed ­and ­what ­we ­wore. ­That ­was necessary ­until ­we ­could ­gradually ­obtain ­the ­knowledge ­and ­capacity ­to ­make choices ­of ­our own. ­Over­time, we­ developed­ the ­ability ­to ­act­ as ­our ­own ­agents. Now, ­most­ of­ you ­have ­left ­home­ and­ have ­become­ responsible ­for ­every ­aspect­ of your ­daily ­lives. ­Do you remember that first day you left home? You said, “What am I going to eat tonight? Who is going to fix it? Why aren’t my clothes washed?” We have to accept responsibility for all of those aspects of our life. And we are going through that process of learning. How to seek knowledge. How to exercise judgment. To use our agency to make the decisions that will give us the growth and happiness that we want.

As ­you­ learn­ how­ to ­effectively ­navigate ­the ­circumstances­ of ­your ­current­ situation, the ­Lord­ will ­stretch ­you ­by ­adding ­new ­dimensions ­to ­your­ growth­ and­ experience. Perhaps­ they ­will ­come ­in ­the ­form ­of ­a ­calling, ­an educational­ opportunity, ­getting married, the ­establishment­ of ­a ­family ­or ­a ­job. ­In ­each ­new­ circumstance ­or situation, you ­will ­be ­given­ the ­opportunity ­to ­struggle­ and ­work­ to ­learn ­and ­apply the ­principles ­of ­truth ­that­ pertain ­to ­your ­new­ situation. So ­long ­as ­you­ continue acting ­as ­an ­agent­ in ­your ­efforts ­to ­learn­ and ­choose ­well, ­the ­Lord ­will ­help ­you continue­ to ­grow­ and ­develop. This­ pattern ­of ­continual ­learning ­and­ becoming ­will be ­repeated ­many­ times­ throughout ­your­ mortal ­lives. ­Indeed, ­the ­richness ­and fulness ­of ­our ­mortal­ experiences ­will ­be ­determined ­by ­how­ well ­we ­use­ each ­new circumstance­ we ­are ­placed­ in ­in ­mortality ­to ­increase­ our ­knowledge ­of ­truth­ and act ­to ­apply ­it ­in­ our lives.

That ­is ­the ­pattern ­that ­the ­Savior ­understood ­and ­followed­ perfectly ­during ­His mortal ­life. ­"And­ I, ­John­ saw ­that ­he ­received ­not ­of ­the ­fulness ­at ­the ­first, ­but received ­grace ­for ­grace­... ­Until ­he ­received­ a­ fulness" (D&C­ 93:12-14). ­He ­obtained ­a perfect ­knowledge ­of ­the ­truths ­applicable ­to ­each ­situation ­he ­was­ placed ­in, and in­ every ­instance, acted ­consistently ­with ­those ­truths. His ­will ­was­ perfectly ­aligned with ­truth ­and ­the ­will ­of ­His ­Father ­in ­every ­act, every ­day ­of ­His ­life. ­There ­was­ no step ­He ­took, no ­word ­He ­spoke, no ­act ­He ­performed ­that ­was ­not ­in ­harmony ­with the ­will ­of ­His ­Father.

Last­ week­ in­ general ­conference ­I ­heard­ these ­words, ­"Remember ­that ­discipleship is ­not ­about­ doing ­things ­perfectly; ­it's ­about­ doing ­things ­intentionally. ­It ­is ­your choices ­that ­show ­what ­you ­truly ­are, ­far ­more ­than ­your ­abilities" ­(Dieter ­F. Uchtdorf, ­Your ­Great ­Adventure, ­October­ 2019). ­I ­was ­struck ­by ­the ­word "intentionally." I thought ­of ­how ­the ­Savior ­intentionally ­lived ­His ­life ­in ­mortality ­and ­how ­important it­ is ­for­ me ­and for you ­to ­follow ­His ­perfect ­example ­to ­live ­our ­lives ­intentionally.

Intentionally ­means ­consciously, ­deliberately ­or ­on ­purpose. ­It ­means ­not ­leaving things ­to ­chance ­or ­coincidence. ­We ­live ­intentionally ­when ­we ­think ­deeply ­about why ­we ­do ­what ­we ­do ­and ­make ­conscious ­and ­deliberate ­efforts ­to ­incorporate our ­values ­into ­every ­aspects of­ our ­daily ­lives. It ­involves ­making ­plans ­and ­establishing goals ­to ­help ­reshape ­our ­actions ­to ­align ­with ­our ­values. ­Living ­intentionally ­drives constant ­learning­ and ­growth­ in ­our ­lives ­as ­we ­try ­to ­align ­our ­will ­to ­God's, ­to ­fulfill our ­individual ­mortal ­missions ­and ­grow­ from­ grace ­to ­grace, just­ as ­Jesus ­Christ ­did.

The ­opposite ­of ­intentional­ is ­unintentional, ­unwitting ­or ­aimless. ­Living unintentionally ­involves­ going­ with­ the­ flow, ­responding­ to ­external ­influences ­and passively ­and ­thoughtlessly ­accepting­ and ­acting ­on ­the ­ideas ­of ­those­ around­ us. Unintentional­ living­ requires ­little to ­no­ effort ­on ­our ­part. ­It ­is ­a ­passive­ surrendering­ to ­the ­ideas, values­ and­ forces­ around­ us, ­permitting­ them­ to ­act ­upon, shape ­and motivate ­us. ­The ­unintentional­ life ­feels ­no ­need­ to ­embrace­ values­ or­ act ­to incorporate ­them ­into ­our­ daily­ living­ – ­it ­does ­not ­shape­ life, ­it ­lets ­life ­shape ­it.

We ­live ­in ­a ­wonderful­ time. We­ have ­more­ conveniences ­and ­opportunities ­than ever ­before. ­In ­the ­digital ­age, we ­have ­devices ­and­ apps ­that ­inform­ us, ­serve­ us and ­support ­us. ­Some­ of ­them ­know ­more ­about ­us ­than ­we ­know­ about ­ourselves. ­I stopped wearing my smart watch when it started telling me what to do. “Breathe.” I am already breathing, thank you. I don’t need you to tell me that. “Get up and move.” You don’t know, I’m in a meeting. I can’t get up and move right now. It got a little obnoxious. I said, “I think I can figure this out.” You’re not going to tell me how to live my life. ­However, ­living ­in ­such­ a ­convenient­ world ­brings­ with ­it ­the ­risk ­of ­living unintentional­ lives­ as ­illustrated­ by ­the following:

"The­ trouble ­started ­when­ I ­signed­ up­ for ­Amazon ­Prime, the ­online ­superstore’s two-day­ delivery ­service. ­I ­started­ out ­ordering­ a ­few ­books ­here ­and ­there ­and ­it was ­incredibly ­convenient. I­ found­ it ­amazing ­that ­I ­could­ order ­something ­and ­it ­would show­ up­ on ­my ­porch­ two ­days ­later. ­It ­saved ­time ­and ­allowed­ me ­to ­get ­the ­things I ­wanted­ without ­even ­leaving ­the ­house. ­Eventually, ­what ­started­ out ­as ­an occasional­ convenience­ became ­a ­not-so-occasional ­habit. ­Individually, ­those­ small daily ­purchases­ didn’t ­seem ­like ­much... ­With­ an ­effortless­ tap ­of ­the ­1-click purchase, money­ flowed­ out­ of ­my ­bank­ account ­while ­a ­brown­ cardboard­ box ­was ­prepared and­ shipped­ to­ my­ home.

“Not­ even ­the ­monthly ­credit ­card ­statements ­set ­off ­any ­warnings. ­In ­the ­worst months, ­they ­were ­a ­few ­hundred­ dollars ­at ­the ­most. While ­it ­was­ never ­an ­issue ­to pay ­off, ­the ­purchases­ steadily ­ate ­into ­my ­income­ each ­month.

“Whenever ­an ­opportunity ­came ­to ­join ­my ­family ­or ­friends­ on ­a ­trip, ­I ­never seemed­ to ­be ­able ­to ­go. ­I ­loved ­traveling ­and ­spending ­time ­with ­people ­I ­care about; ­it ­was ­what ­I ­always ­talked ­about ­wanting ­to ­do, ­and ­it ­puzzled ­me ­why ­I wasn’t ­able ­to ­do ­it.

“One ­day, ­I ­needed­ to­ look ­for ­an ­item­ that ­I ­had ­purchased ­over ­a ­year ­earlier ­and ­in ­doing ­so, started ­digging ­through ­my ­Amazon­ purchase­ history. ­At ­that ­moment, ­I decided­ to ­download­ four­ years­ of ­purchase ­records­ from­ the ­site. The­ result­ was shocking. Years­ of ­small­, daily ­actions­ added­ up ­to ­create ­a ­massive ­impact­—­for ­me this ­was ­quite­ damaging­ to ­my ­bank ­account ­and ­the lifestyle that I dreamed of.­

“Over­ the ­course ­of four ­years ­I ­had ­spent­ thousands­ of­ dollars ­on ­various ­Amazon purchases, ­most ­of ­which ­I ­didn’t ­even ­remember­ buying. ­Those ­small ­purchases were ­the ­epitome­ of­ unintentional­ living"­ (, ­Anthony Ongarothe).

In ­this ­true­ story, a ­bright ­and ­capable ­individual ­ceded ­his ­intentional­ life ­for ­an unintentional­ life. ­It ­is ­not ­hard ­to ­do ­in­ today's ­world. ­In ­general ­conference ­last week, President­ Stephen­ W. ­Owen ­spoke ­of ­waking ­up ­early ­for ­scripture ­study ­and getting ­distracted ­for ­several ­hours ­by ­email ­messages ­he ­had ­received ­overnight. All ­of ­us ­have ­experienced­ going ­online ­to ­do ­research ­on ­a ­specific ­topic ­and ­being distracted ­by ­something ­interesting­ that ­ate ­up ­more­ of ­our ­time ­than ­we ­intended. How­ many ­of ­you ­have ­thought ­to ­take ­a ­short ­break ­from ­studying ­to ­play ­a ­quick game ­of ­Minecraft ­or ­Fortnite ­only ­to ­look­ up ­later ­and­ find ­that ­your ­“short ­break” had ­turned­ into ­a­ break ­of ­several ­hours?­ And, ­do ­I ­even ­need­ to­ ask ­how ­many have ­accessed­ social­ media­ to ­take ­a ­quick ­look ­or ­make­ a ­short ­post­ and ­ended ­up staying ­online­ for ­hours, ­perhaps­ missing ­class, ­or ­Church,­ or ­meals?­ Unfortunately, the ­very ­devices ­and ­tools ­that ­make ­our ­lives­ convenient­ and­ easy ­can ­also ­make our ­lives ­unintentional.­­

You­ may­ be­ asking, "What's ­so ­bad ­about­ living­ life ­inadvertently? Do­ I ­really ­need ­to ­get ­rid ­of ­social ­media­ or ­video ­games?"­ The­ answer­ is ­simple.­ You­ are ­free­ to choose. ­You ­become­ an ­object ­to ­be ­acted ­upon. ­As ­a ­result, ­your ­growth­ stops. ­President Nelson has made some pretty specific invitations about social media. He has made those for a reason. When a prophet of God makes an invitation, we should listen and think about that. You are free to choose, that is part of what this is all about. Part of being able to choose in this age ­is that. You are free to choose how you will use these things and whether you choose to live an intentional life or an unintentional life. If you choose to live an unintentional life, you stop learning, you stop stretching, you stop growing, you stop deciding ­and you stop being an agent. You become an object. The world, life, social media ­and all of these tools act upon you.

Two ­examples, one ­humorous ­and ­one ­more ­serious ­might­ illustrate­ that ­point. The first: When ­I ­was ­younger, I­ worked­ with ­a ­wise, ­experienced­ attorney. ­One ­day ­we met ­a ­public ­servant­ who ­had ­held ­the same­ office ­for ­more­ than ­twenty ­years. I­ was ­impressed­ at ­this ­apparent­ accomplishment­ and ­made ­a ­comment ­that ­the ­man must ­be ­very ­smart ­and ­experienced­ for working twenty years. ­My ­lawyer ­friend smiled­ at ­me ­and ­said, ­"He ­doesn't ­have ­twenty ­years ­of ­experience – ­he ­has ­one year ­of ­experience ­repeated ­twenty­ times.” ­My ­lawyer­ friend­ taught ­me­ that ­the ­public servant­ had ­lived ­unintentionally ­and ­knew ­little ­more­ after ­twenty ­years­ than ­he had ­after ­his ­first ­year­ of­ service.

The­ second­ experience ­is ­from ­my ­youth. During ­my ­teen ­years, ­I ­had­ a­ conversation ­with ­a ­friend ­who I grew up with ­who ­was­ also ­a ­member­ of ­the ­Church. ­Like ­me, he had ­been­ taught­ the ­gospel ­by ­good ­parents ­and ­Church ­leaders. ­However, ­he made ­a ­choice ­to ­be ­unintentional ­with ­the ­gospel ­and­ to ­just ­go ­with ­the ­flow; to ­have fun. He­ told ­me,­ "I ­know­ the ­Church ­is ­true. ­I ­just ­want­ to ­have ­­some ­fun ­while ­I ­am young. ­When ­I ­am ­done, ­I ­will ­get ­active ­again." ­The sad part, that­ conversation ­took place ­more­ than ­forty ­years ­ago. He ­is ­still ­a ­Teacher ­in ­the ­Aaronic­ Priesthood. He has ­never ­pursued­ an ­education, ­never­ attended­ the ­temple ­and ­never ­had ­his family ­sealed ­to ­him. ­When we are unintentional, those are just two examples of how­ our progress stops. It ­stops­ in ­both­ temporal ­and ­spiritual­ things. If we want to progress, we have to live intentionally every day.

Author ­Annie ­Dillard ­has ­said, "How­ we­ spend­ our ­days ­is, ­of ­course, how­ we ­spend our ­lives" (Annie ­Dillard, ­ It ­follows­ that ­being­ intentional­ in ­how we ­spend ­our ­days­ will ­ensure­ that ­our ­lives are ­also ­rich,­ happy­ and ­full ­of ­progress.­

So, you ­are ­thinking, I­ am­ convinced­ that ­I ­need­ to ­live ­more ­intentionally ­so, how­ do I ­do ­it? ­There ­is ­no ­one ­definitive ­answer. You ­will ­have ­to ­determine ­that ­for yourselves, ­but ­the­ gospel ­of ­Jesus ­Christ ­provides­ a ­wonderful ­framework­ for intentional­ living.

The­ gospel ­gives ­us ­the ­values ­and ­truths ­needed­ for ­intentional ­living. ­We accepted­ those ­values ­and ­truths ­when ­we ­were ­baptized ­and ­confirmed. At ­that ­time, ­we witnessed ­that ­we ­were ­willing ­to ­take ­upon ­us ­His ­name ­and ­become­ disciples ­of Jesus ­Christ. ­That ­commitment­ is ­to ­work­ intentionally ­to ­learn ­His ­truths, ­cultivate His ­virtues ­and ­incorporate ­the ­attributes ­of ­His ­character ­into ­our ­own.

Let's­ think­ for ­the ­next ­few­ minutes ­on ­how ­we ­might ­apply ­this ­framework­ to ­our daily ­lives ­in ­practical ­ways. How do we make intentional living? How do we make every day intentional? One of those ways is to find the thing that we need to do to make our next step of ­progress. Think about that. What is it that you’re worried about in your own self. It could be a character issue, it could be something you’re not quite living - a standard you think you should be living. If you don’t quite know what to do and how to respond to that, take time in your daily scripture study in the morning to study the topic. Ponder the principle. And then, after you’ve studied it and pondered it, write down what you learn. Then kneel down in your prayer, teach Heavenly Father. Explain to Him what you learned. This is what I learned about this that I want to improve on. Tell Him how you feel and what you want to do. What your desire is. Then wait to see what He tells you to do that day, to take a step to improve what you were discussing with Him. If you do that every day, you will take the little steps that come.

This ­is ­the ­process­ of ­change­ that ­President­ Russell­ M. ­Nelson ­described­ last­ April, "When ­Jesus ­asks­ you ­and ­me ­to 'repent,' ­He ­is ­inviting ­us ­to ­change­ our­ mind, ­our knowledge, our ­spirit—even­ the ­way­ we­ breathe"­ (Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” April 2019).

And­ then­ he­ gave ­us ­some­ specific ­areas ­to ­consider. "He ­is ­asking ­us ­to ­change ­the way ­we ­love, ­think, ­serve, ­spend­ our ­time, ­treat­ our ­wives, ­teach­ our ­children, ­and even ­care ­for ­our ­bodies"­ (Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” April 2019).

Living intentionally means changing, which means repenting. Repenting, like he said, is not a bad word. It is a key to our progress.

Let's ­take ­a ­minute­ to­ consider­ practical ­ways­ that ­we ­might­ apply ­the ­principles related­ to ­the ­care ­for ­our ­bodies. ­We ­could­ use ­our ­morning ­scripture ­study ­to study ­the ­Word­ of ­Wisdom. We could study what the prophets have said. We have a lot of questions from people in the church: “Is vaping okay?”, “Is using medical marijuana okay?”, “Are energy drinks okay?”. We are never going to be able to put out a list of all the kosher foods for the Latter-day Saints. But, you can for yourself. As you study the Word of Wisdom, stop and think about your life. Write down what the Spirit tells you to do. Some of those things ­might ­be­ something­ like: ­eat ­three ­balanced ­meals, stop eating ­junk ­food, ­get ­more­ exercise, ­study­ dietary ­changes ­to ­address ­a ­specific health­ risk ­or ­problem ­that you have ­or ­feed ­our ­mind ­with ­more ­uplifting­ materials. As you write those down­ say, “What will I do today?” Make your life ­conform to the things you pondered and felt as you studied it. And­ President­ Nelson­ is ­a ­living testament­ of ­the ­results ­of ­a ­life ­lived ­intentionally ­to ­properly­ care­ for ­our ­mortal bodies.

Now­ that ­was ­just ­an ­example. You­ can­ think of ­other ­principles­ you ­need­ or ­want­ to­ learn ­about­ and ­incorporate ­them ­into­ your ­efforts ­at ­intentional­ living.

Another ­part­ of ­living intentionally is partaking of the sacrament. Each week when you go and sit to take the sacrament, you can ponder what you have done to live intentionally, or how you have done to incorporate the gospel in it. Living intentionally keeps us focused on those things that matter most – the questions that are most important for you. There are many questions on the internet. People post all kinds of questions. Don’t depend on those questions. You figure out the questions that are important to you. Put the questions that others have aside and then focus on what is there for you. When we blindly take questions off the internet and social media, we cede our agency. We think as someone else wants us to think. That is not living intentionally, but on the other hand, when we read our scriptures, pray daily and generate our own inspired questions that drive our daily progress and growth, then we are living intentionally.

The ­sacrament­ is ­a ­time ­designated ­for ­us ­to ­remember­ Christ ­and ­reflect ­on ­our discipleship ­over ­the ­past ­week ­and ­consider ­how ­we ­might­ improve ­it ­in ­the ­week ahead. ­By ­daily ­studying, seeking ­and ­acting ­on ­the ­impressions ­we ­have ­on ­how ­to improve ­our ­discipleship, ­we ­will ­be ­fully ­prepared­ to ­partake ­of ­the ­sacrament ­and to­ receive ­the ­promise ­to ­all ­those ­who ­do: ­we ­will ­have ­the ­Holy ­Ghost ­to ­always ­be with ­us. ­Having ­the ­Holy ­Ghost ­to ­guide ­and ­teach ­us ­is ­essential ­to ­living ­our ­lives intentionally.

Living ­life ­intentionally ­helps ­keep ­us ­focused ­on­ those ­things ­that ­matter ­most ­– the ­things ­we ­need­ to ­understand­ and ­act ­upon ­to ­fulfill ­the­ purposes ­for ­which ­we came ­to ­earth. ­Through­ the ­inspiration ­of ­the ­Holy ­Ghost, ­we ­will ­be ­inspired­ to ­ask ourselves ­the ­questions­ that ­will ­propel ­us ­forward ­in ­our ­progress. Focusing­ on­ those­ questions ­will ­keep­ us­ centered ­and ­avoid ­our ­getting ­caught ­up ­in ­questions that ­are ­not ­related­ to­ our ­growth ­and ­progress.­­

I ­witness ­that ­we ­are ­able ­to ­live ­intentionally ­because­ of ­God's ­plan ­and ­God's ­laws. I­ witness­ that ­Jesus ­Christ ­and ­the ­Holy ­Ghost ­make ­it ­possible ­to ­be ­led ­in ­our learning­ and ­in­ our­ actions ­to ­help ­us­ progress­ and ­find ­joy ­in ­this ­mortal ­life. ­Jesus said, ­"I­ am ­come ­that ­they ­might ­have­ life; and­ that ­they ­might ­have ­it ­more abundantly" (John ­10:10).

My ­prayer­ and ­hope ­for ­all­ of ­us ­is ­that ­we ­can ­live ­our ­lives ­intentionally ­centered ­on Jesus ­Christ ­and­ His ­gospel. ­That ­is ­the ­life ­I ­want ­for ­me­ and­ my ­family­ and­ it­ is ­the life­ that ­I ­want ­for ­you. I­ witness ­that ­we ­have ­loving ­Heavenly ­Parents ­who ­have ­a specific ­plan ­for ­each ­of ­our ­lives, and­ that ­Jesus ­Christ ­is ­the ­Savior­ and­ Redeemer of ­the ­world. ­The ­Holy­ Ghost ­is ­our ­holy ­and­ sacred­ friend­ and­ partner ­to ­help ­us ­grow and­ progress. ­The ­Church ­of ­Jesus ­Christ ­of ­Latter-day­ Saints ­is ­the­ Lord's ­kingdo­m on­ the ­earth ­today­ and­ President­ Russell ­M. Nelson ­is ­the ­Lord's ­prophet. In ­the name ­of ­Jesus­ Christ, amen.


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