Dinner Topics for Thursday
There is an Absolute Standard of Truth by Which We Can Make Decisions and Build Good Character
Examine your choices by asking yourself the question, “Are my decisions firmly planted in the rich soil of the gospel of Jesus Christ?”
Larry S. Kacher
There are both seen and unseen forces that influence our choices. This point was brought home some five years ago in a way that almost cost me dearly.
We were traveling with family and friends in the south of Oman. We decided to relax on the beach along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Soon after our arrival, our 16-year-old daughter, Nellie, asked if she could swim out to what she thought was a sandbar. Noticing the choppy water, I told her that I would go first, thinking there might be dangerous currents.
After swimming a short while, I called to my wife, asking if I was close to the sandbar. Her response was, “You have gone way past it.” Unbeknownst to me I was trapped in a riptide1 and was being pulled rapidly out to sea.
I was unsure what to do. The only thing I could think of was to turn around and swim back toward shore. That was exactly the wrong thing to do. I felt helpless. Forces beyond my control were pulling me farther out to sea. What made matters worse was that my wife, trusting my decision, had followed me.
I thought there was a high likelihood I would not survive and that I, because of my decision, would also cause my wife’s death. After great effort and what I believe was divine intervention, our feet somehow touched the sandy bottom and we were able to walk safely back to our friends and daughter.
There are many currents in this earthly life—some safe and others not. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that there are powerful forces in our own lives much like the unseen currents of the ocean.2 These forces are real. We should never ignore them.
“If we can create … a strong, steady current flowing toward our goal of righteous life, we and our children may be carried forward in spite of the contrary winds of hardship, disappointment, [and] temptations.”12 ~Spencer W. Kimball
Do our choices matter? Do they affect only us? Have we set our course firmly in the eternal current of the restored gospel?
From time to time I have an image that haunts me. What if that September day, while relaxing on the beach of the Indian Ocean, I had said to my daughter Nellie, “Yes, go ahead. Swim out to the sandbar.” Or if she too had followed my example and had been unable to swim back? What if I had to live life knowing that my example resulted in her being pulled by a riptide out to sea, never to return?
Are the currents we choose to follow important? Do our examples matter?
Heavenly Father has blessed us with the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost to guide our choices. He has promised us inspiration and revelation as we live worthy to receive such.
- Riptide: “a tide that opposes another or other tides, causing a violent disturbance in the sea” (Dictionary.com).
- See Spencer W. Kimball, “Ocean Currents and Family Influences,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 110–13.
“Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging,” ~L. Tom Perry
As children of God, we have been given the wonderful gift of choice. The truest happiness and peace we can have comes by choosing to obey His laws, as Elder Perry teaches in his talk “Obedience to Law is Liberty,” given April 2013 in general conference.
Those laws include never murdering, stealing, or lying. But what are His other commandments? The world has forgotten them. Have you?
1.“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4).
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
5.“Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12).
6.“Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
8. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).
9.“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16).
10.“Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17).