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Elder Walter F. Gonzalez

Sign in to the Things of the Spirit

I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and especially for all of the arrangements that have been done, the flowers, even working with the sound and the power problems that we are facing. I know that some people might be kind of nervous trying to get these functioning. I am grateful for this school that has blessed so many people, and I’m grateful for your president, President Larry Richards, and his associates. They are a blessing for you and for all of us—especially for you and many others who have gone through this school as well.
I am especially grateful for you, the students. Some time ago, President Monson quoted an Englishman. I should say that I am also grateful because, before saying more about the students, I would like to say something about the faculty as well. Because one member of your faculty is a returned missionary from Guayaquil, Ecuador, and served when we served there together when I was president—that’s Sister Jacobson. There you are. And we are grateful for this opportunity. We might have other returned missionaries, but at least we see you there.
President Monson, some time ago, quoted an English poet regarding young people, and that’s Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He said:
How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
(“Morituri Salutamus,” 1825)
That reflects to a great extent my own feelings. We may quote a Spanish poet as well—one who speaks Spanish but who was born in Nicaragua. Do we have people from Nicaragua here? No Nicaraguense here, eh? Then I will tell you what he said, and nobody will be able to correct me. Rubén Dario said, “Youth, thou divine treasure.” Juventud, divino tesoro. And he went on with other words, and those that know the poem … my wife had a very positive version of those words about young people—and will you share with them your version?

Sister Gonzalez:

Juventud, divino tesoro
Juventud para regocijarse
Y aprender
Quan amados
Quan bendecidos son.

Elder Gonzalez:

Thank you. She is a better poet than Rubén Dario, don’t you think so? You are alive in the days of the Restoration. We have so many blessings. The heavens have been open. Now we have knowledge that was hidden for some time, but the ancients, the inhabitants, a few, have been blessed with the knowledge that we have today. And with all the priesthood restored we are so blessed because that knowledge is available to us, and we can make and keep covenants. But also because these are the days of the Restoration, the Lord has allowed science and technology to progress so much, and we have so much of that knowledge available to us. I heard a report that you can be at the computer 24/7 during your entire life, and you will not open all the pages that are available, offering knowledge for free. Isn’t that interesting? So the abundance of knowledge is the great challenge that we face; therefore, we are to be selective, and we need to have priorities.
That’s why I’d like to share with you one decision that I already told you about. And I wonder what is happening with the sound. Are you hearing me? The radio, OK. Now it’s my voice only, right? No interference.
One decision I’d like to share with you that needs to be made, and two actions that are related to that decision. The decision to be made I already said. It is sign out and sign in. And of course, this decision will facilitate the two actions that I would like to mention.
Technology, in itself, is very good. We use technology to spread the gospel, and as you know, more and more we are using technology to communicate with others, to find people. And the day will come that we will use it even more intensely than we are doing now. So technology and all the things that come—those good things that come with it—are good. And we are very happy that we have that technology. And we have wonderful communication tools.
For instance, for those that like soccer, you could have watched the World Cup in South Africa a few seconds delayed, you can watch your favorite team, USA for us, and others here of course, worldwide as well—you can watch those games seconds later than the actual game was taking place. You can use a social network today to communicate with my mother, for instance, who lives there in Uruguay. It’s unbelievable the communication tools that we have today. If my grandfather were alive today, he could die immediately under the shock of the things that we can do in our days and he couldn’t do in his days.
Now, the risk is that we spend so many hours with those ideas that may come through those channels of communication, we can spend hours watching TV and surfing the Internet, or whatever. But the point is, when we are doing that, usually we are thinking of the things they want us to think. We are bombarded by ideas of the others—they are not my ideas, they are the ideas the other people want me to think. I am not under control. The others are controlling what I want to think. And that is the challenge. And that happens even with video games, even if you are playing soccer with your video game, you are thinking with the players they play there, and probably I’m not your favorite player anyway.
Now this is what comes through the channels of communications. We may be also concerned with things that are good—how to pay tuition, how to pay the rent. You may spend hours thinking of your future spouse. Those things of course may be some concerns that we have, but we need to sign in to those things. Sometimes it can be hard to sign out. We need to make the decision to sign out, and get the inner power to sign into knowledge that is a stream from heaven. And that is the invitation of the decision.
Regarding the actions I related to that decision of signing out of those things, we need to sign in to that kind of knowledge that comes from heaven. I like the word “stream” because that’s the new technology, right?
The first action is to make the decision that every day I will take time to think of heavenly things. In modern revelation, the Lord said to Joseph Smith in D&C 43:34: “Treasure these things up in your heart, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.” You might be wondering what is the meaning of “solemnities.” La solemnidad de la eternidad. It sounds very [good] in Spanish. But what is the meaning of that? I’m taking time for that every day. You know what? This principle is not new for this dispensation. As I said, the ancient people knew about principles for our eternal happiness. Or, according to our divine nature. And the old inhabitants of this America knew about that.
In the Book of Mormon, it tells the story of a father, Mormon, and his son, Moroni. You know this story; the last time of the Book of Mormon, the last period. That was not an easy time. They were surrounded by news that was no good news, and as you know, that was an egregious situation. I don’t even want to repeat the kinds of things they were doing. But we can call that atrocities that were taking place. Even Moroni did not know his future. He knew that at any minute, his head could be cut off. And those were his circumstances. Is it easy to sign out of that? Well, that was the advice that his father Mormon gave to him, that he needed to sign out of those things, of that situation that was so pressing.
He said, “And now, my son, thou knowest the wickedness of this people; thou knowest that they are without principle, and past feeling.” (Moroni 9:20) You can think of that when you think of some of the dirty things that come through the airwaves. So there are some parallels there. Then he said to his son, thinking of this sign out, sign in: “My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee … but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life”—see what he said—“rest in your mind forever.” (Moroni 9:25)  He could be completely signed in to his circumstances, but hear his father saying, “Think of the Atonement, the Resurrection, Christlike attributes. Take time every day for that.”
And you know what happens? If you read the Book of Mormon, the first chapter of Moroni, we are grateful for those ten chapters, wonderful chapters, and wonderful doctrine. And hope is streaming from those chapters. But those chapters were written after that, when we thought in any minute I’m going to be assassinated. He could not have done so if he did not learned to sign out of those circumstances—the brutality and the mundane … well, not so mundane … but hard circumstances, and sign in to knowledge streaming from heaven. That was the advice for Moroni from his father, and the same applies to us today.
In other words, we can say that we sign out of the pressures of the day and be signed in to the things of eternity. Now I have a question for you. We are to do the same right now. Can you think, even today or yesterday, for how long have you been connected to those things that are so pressing—rent, tuition, knowledge, future spouse, and those things? We need to think of those. But have you taken time, even today or yesterday, to think of Him, of His name, which is more than Him alone? Have you taken that time? And for how long? Only with a quick prayer to put a checkmark in your to-do list? You can do that in several ways, but to make sure this happens, we are to sign out of mundane thoughts and to sign in to knowledge streaming from heaven.
You know the blessings that come with that? The Spirit comes to our lives. And you know what, if we think of His name, what is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit? Testificar. Of whom? Of Christ, of His name. So here you are, a way of bringing the Spirit to your life. And I promise you that you will have the strength, even the inner power, to sign out of other things and to sign in to the right things. You’ll get power over temptations as well, through signing in to things you should.
Thinking of the name of Christ includes pondering his attributes and the great plan of happiness. Thinking of His attributes will help increase your faith in Him. We will need added faith in Him to sign out of bad things and to sign in to righteous things. And I say that because, In the Lectures on Faith, the Prophet Joseph Smith said that to increase our faith, we should have a correct idea of our Lord’s character, perfections and attributes. As we learn about Him, we need an actual knowledge that the course of life which we are pursuing is in accordance with His will.
For instance, Mormon advised his son, Moroni, to allow the attribute of mercy to rest upon his mind forever. I will do this very quickly to show this attribute as an example, because it is one mentioned by Mormon. He was advised to let that attribute of mercy rest upon his mind forever, and not now and then. We can learn about His mercy as we read about His attributes in the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets, and then think about those teachings. We will learn about His attributes because, as we think about it, we will receive impressions and promptings of the Spirit. And we can think about that attribute as evidenced in our own lives. And you will go with those relationships between justice and mercy and those scriptures, but we all need not only to think of that, but President Joseph F. Smith said, “Pure intelligence comprises not only knowledge but also the power to properly apply that knowledge.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5 th ed. [1939], 58)
So it’s not only thinking. In the case of mercy, for instance, we are to be merciful with others and with ourselves. I like to think that the Lord’s mercy is way, way different than what I can imagine with my mortality here; it is way, way more. His arms of mercy are there open, as he said in 3 Nephi 9. What’s next? Embrace.
You can think of other attributes and take time to think of Him. And this will help you to learn also about math, geography, social science, medical terminology. That will help you because, you know what, when the Spirit comes to you, the Prophet Joseph Smith said that you will have the prompting of pure intelligence, and you may come to know what things or topics in a given subject are more real or relevant. With so much knowledge available, this is a great blessing. About medical terminology, I think you can be learning new words, and with computers and other things, all day long. I’m trying to learn all day long new words about English, but some words are more relevant than others. So that is wonderful. I advise you to learn also Spanish, by the way. That will bless your lives.
Now you can say these are secular topics I have to learn. The Spirit can help you also with that. At the end of the day, even those things are religious topics as well. Even math, if you want.
Think of this in this regard. If you take time to sign out, to sign in to heavenly things, think of this statement from Joseph Smith: “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” ( Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 324) So our best ally in life and in our studies is the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine all you can learn about math or history or social science by receiving inspiration from heaven? If you sign out of some things and sign in to knowledge streaming from heaven, you will have the upper hand. That’s an English version meaning you have the advantage.
And of course, Paul in the book of Romans—we are studying the New Testament—said, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” ( 8:6) Just by signing out and signing in to things from heaven, there is the promise by Paul that you will have peace, as the Lord giveth, not as the world giveth. Peace. And I know that’s something you want to get, right? We all want to get it.
An excellent way to sign out and to sign in to knowledge streaming from heaven is, for instance, attending the temple, praying, studying the scriptures. Or you may create additional things.
The second action is to sign out of mundane and sometimes important things and to sign in to your purpose in life by using the eye of faith. The principle of using the eye of faith was well known by the ancient prophets of the Book of Mormon. It is part of exercising our faith in Christ and His Father. It means to look forward to the fruit or to behold or view the purpose of your life. The principle was taught by Alma in Zarahemla, and up on the hill of Oneida, and was also taught by Mahonri Moriancumer, the brother of Jared, to his people the Jaredites, two thousand years before Christ.
The warning from this ancient prophet was that, if we do not behold the fruit, we would never partake of the fruit of the tree of life. In the long run, we are to view our future exaltation and eternal life. We are to find out our purpose in life and look forward to achieving it. In summary, the principle is everybody’s life needs a purpose. Each of us has a purpose, and the Savior is a perfect example of that purpose-oriented life to which we need to sign in frequently.
As you know, He said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” (John 18:37)  And He explained His purpose often, especially in the book of John we can read that He was saying that His will was to do the will of the Father and was only thinking of His Father and fulfilling the purpose that His Father had for Him. And the Book of Mormon is so clear that Abinadi taught that the Savior’s purpose was, or is, “The will of the Son [is] swallowed up in the will of the Father.” (Mosiah 15:7)  Here, as a resurrected being, He even said that His purpose was to “draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.” (3 Nephi 27:14)
In the eternal perspective, our purpose for all of us in common is to follow Christ. And we are to increase our faith in Him, make and keep covenants, and endure to the end. That’s common to all of us. Now in such a track, we all have different purposes to fulfill in this life. We need to find out that purpose—probably we already know, but we may change ideas as we go in life. And you don’t need to copy your neighbor—if his purpose is this, my purpose should be the same? No, we are all different. We are unique. So don’t copy; be yourself.
You must sign out of the mundane distractions and sign in to viewing the purpose of your life frequently and not just now and then. Additionally, you should have short-term purposes or goals. You can use the same principles to achieve your short-term goals or purposes. For instance, being enrolled at the LDS Business College should have a purpose for you. Y va a ser diferente para cada uno, right? Thinking of such a purpose will help you to achieve it. If you are thinking all of the time of social connections through the Internet, you’re losing power to achieve your goals. You must have the inner power to frequently sign out of other things in order to sign in to looking forward to your righteous goals. This will help you to sign out of wasting your time and to sign in to using the eye of faith, or in other words, this will give you the power of deliverance if you need it.
The Savior will help you with the eternal purpose of your life, and you will need to work with Him regarding the short-term purposes. And it should be noted that there is an eternal plan. But He also has a plan for each of us, tailored to you. And that’s why we need to ask for His blessings, pray to Him. And I think that sometimes we do that and find our plans and we have our plans, but I think that at the same time, He lets us do our plans and He smiles at the same time.
My wife and I have made a lot of plans, but I never imagined, and it was not our plan to be here today at LDS Business College speaking to you. I think we did our plans, and the Lord smiled while we were making plans.  But he couldn’t say to us anything. And we are very happy, by the way, with His plans. We like that way.
The question you can ask yourself at the end of each day is, how long did I sign in today to look forward to my purpose and goals? I’m sure that you have an idea of how long you spend using the Internet or watching TV or playing videos yesterday or even today. Do you have an idea how long do you spend time thinking of things from heaven and things that have to do with your life?
As you take time to think of the name of Christ and use the eye of faith, I promise you that you will have more power to overcome temptations. You will know when enough Internet time, watching TV or playing video games is enough. These things can be good, but if you are not moderating their usage, you have a challenge. You have the power to disconnect from that and connect with the source of divine knowledge. Knowledge that streams from heaven will come to you if you let it rest upon your minds every day. When you want to check your email for five minutes, make sure that is what you do, instead of taking several hours at the computer.
I would like to finish my request for you. I want to request of you the very same things that Mormon asked for his son, saying, “And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be and abide with you forever.”
In addition to that, may you have clear the purpose of your life and your goals. May you know when to sign out and when to sign in. I know this gospel is true. These are gospel principles that will bring therefore blessings and happiness to our lives. I know heaven has been open. Joseph Smith is the prophet at the head of this dispensation, and President Monson is his legal successor today, and he is the spokesman of the Lord on the face of the earth for all of us who follow him, and also for those who are not members of the Church as well. He is the prophet for the planet today.
I know that the Quorum of the Twelve are apostles, as those of ancient times. I know the Lord wants us to exercise power and develop our inner power by doing simple things as those I have mentioned. And especially I know that Jesus Christ lives, that this is His organization, His Church. I know the principles that we have referred to with modern words of signing out and signing in are part of His gospel. And especially, I would like to testify that He is the Holy Messiah, the living Christ, the Son of the living God. And I testify so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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