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Elder M. Russell Ballard: Engaging Without Being Defensive

How empty life must be without the blessings of the fulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? Now my brothers and sisters, we follow Jesus Christ. We know the plan of happiness, the great plan of redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. You graduates know the doctrines of Jesus Christ. You must strive now and always to live by them. Upon your generation will rest the responsibility to teach the doctrines of the Lord and to know how to build up His Church. Please remember you do not need to feel like you must justify your beliefs; you simply need to explain them in the spirit of love and kindness. The truth always prevails when true doctrine is taught.

Now here are just a few examples:

1. We follow Jesus Christ’s doctrine of service to our fellow man. We serve both our members and those who are not. The great work we do in humanitarian service throughout the world relieves suffering and hardship. We do all we can, sharing our resources of time and money to meet the needs of both our members and those of other faiths recognizing that “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
2. We follow Jesus Christ’s doctrine of striving to live the Word of Wisdom, which is a sound way to enjoy a healthy physical body. We avoid drug abuse of all kinds because our bodies are the house of our eternal spirits and happiness in this life is obtained by being spiritually strong and physically healthy.
3. We follow Jesus Christ by living the law of chastity. God gave this commandment, and He has never revoked it nor changed it. This law is clear and simple. No one is to engage in sexual relationships out of the bounds the Lord has set. This applies to homosexual behavior of any kind and to heterosexual relationships outside of marriage. It is a sin to violate the law of chastity.
4. We follow Jesus Christ by adhering to God’s law of marriage, which is marriage between a man and a woman. This commandment has been in place from the very beginning. God said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). God instructed Adam and Eve that they were to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).

Modern-day prophets and apostles reaffirmed this command in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” issued in 1995:

“God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. … The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.”

5. We follow Jesus Christ and teach the first principles of the gospel and all of the other wonderful doctrines of the restoration that when embraced and lived bring peace, joy and happiness to the sons and daughters of God.


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