Elder James B. Martino, general authority seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s campus devotional, which was livestreamed from the Marriott Center. He spoke about making choices that align with a desire for righteousness.
Elder Martino talked about how agency is our ability to choose for ourselves and is essential to Heavenly Father’s plan for His children.
“When we make a choice, we are indicating what we value, what we desire and ultimately what we are,” he said. “And what we are—more than how we act—is what prepares us for eternal life.”
Elder Martino pointed to the example in the Book of Mormon of Lehi’s sons trying to get the brass plates from Laban. After two failed attempts, Laman and Lemuel murmured, saying they had not obtained the plates but not for lack of trying. Had they not done everything they could?
“When we read the Book of Mormon, we would like to think that we are more like Nephi and Sam than Laman and Lemuel, but are we?" Elder Martino asked. "Sometimes choosing to serve the Lord requires patience, persistence and other Godly attributes. Sometimes the outcomes are not at all what we anticipated or even wanted, but we choose how we will react. We choose whether to give up or continue faithfully.”
Elder Martino suggested three things to consider to make choices that align with Nephi and Sam rather than Laman and Lemuel when things are not easy.
1. Keep an eternal perspective.
Albus Dumbledore, a wise wizard from "Harry Potter," understood agency. He told Harry that choices show who someone truly is, far more than abilities. Harry was sorted into Gryffindor because he essentially chose it through how he acted, and that choice shaped his experiences and who he became.
“Sometimes we wish we had a Sorting Hat to make choices for us, to decide what our destiny will be,” he said. “But this would eliminate agency, the single strongest factor in determining our destiny. Keeping an eternal perspective means not allowing a Sorting Hat—or chance or luck or circumstances—to set our destiny.”
2. Do not underestimate the enemy.
God invites all to learn of and know Him, while Satan would rather stay unknown. He disguises himself and tries to thwart our eternal goals.
“Remember that there is one thing Christ and Satan have in common—they both want us to become like them,” Elder Martino said. “Satan, however, wants to trick us into it. God wants it to be our choice.”
3. Repent when you make mistakes.
The Holy Ghost helps recognize when we sin. When that happens, the choices are to repent or to rationalize the action, making it seem a lesser deal than it is.
“When you make mistakes, be mature enough to admit them, smart enough to learn from them, strong enough to correct them and faithful enough to trust in the Savior’s atoning power to overcome them,” he said.
Elder Martino said that life is full of opportunities and choices that can reflect a love for what is right.
“My wife, Jennie, and I loved our experience at BYU, but we had to make the choices that led to the happiness we feel today,” he said. “We have not been perfect by any means, but I do not know two people any happier than we are, and that began with choices we made here at Brigham Young University.”
Next Devotional: Estela Marquez, Multicultural Student Services
Estela Marquez, an advisor at BYU Multicultural Student Services, will deliver the devotional on Tuesday, September 22, at 11:05 a.m. The devotional will be broadcast only; there will be no attendance in the Marriott Center.
Her remarks will be broadcast on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.