Choose The Right Talk: Oct 2016 Japan

Hello Brothers & 

We are excited to be in this ward and grateful for the welcome and love we have already felt from so many! I just wanted to take a minute and introduce ourselves.

So, I grew up in Boise, Idaho & Riley grew up in northern California. We both went to BYU Hawaii where we met and dated. We got married a year and half ago and love married life. We lived this past year in Hawaii where Riley finished up school and graduated in June and then we moved here for his job at Nike. We both love the outdoors, hiking, and running.

We are also kinda nerds and love harry potter!

 To begin my message I wanted to start with a quote from the wise headmaster of Hogwarts in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter.  He stated:

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy!”

There are so many choices we make each day. Some choices are big and significant with larger consequences and others are small and don't matter too much at all. But choices come and go throughout our day and add up and define us as people.

This past week my three-year-old nephew Landon was faced with a very big choice. They had a food drive for the local refugees and my sister was having Landon help her go through the pantry in there home to gather up a bag of food to donate. She was handing him items and he was placing them in the donation bag. They came to the last box of Kraft MAC & CHEESE.

The three-year-old Landon noticed and protested and said that he loved the Mac & Cheese and it’s his favorite and he didn't want to give it away”

My sister paused and explained about the refugees and how many left there homes and came with just the clothes on their back and a few belongings and didn't have very much.

Landon wasn’t convinced and told my sister to just give them some money instead because he didn't want to part with the Mac N cheese.

Then they watched some Mormon channel videos about refugees. He was very intrigued and asked more questions.

After these videos and some thought . . . Landon made the decision himself and went and put the last box of Mac N Cheese in with the bag of food to donate and then carried the food to the doorstep where the youth would pick it up later that day.

Decided to donate Mac N Cheese may seem insignificant to most people in this room, but to a picky three year old that loves Mac & Cheese it was a REALLY hard choice but turned out to be a character building experience.

There is a quote that states:
“History turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make—for decisions determine destiny”

I have been thinking about the many choices and decisions we make in our daily lives and the consequences of those choices. President Monson said concerning choices,

“Some are trivial. Some are far-reaching. Some will make no difference in the eternal scheme of things, and others will make all the difference.”

According to Dr. Joel Hoomans of the Leading Edge Journal,
“Various internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day (in contrast a child makes about 3,000). This number may sound absurd, but according to researchers at Cornell University3, we make 226.7 decisions each day on just food alone.

Each choice carries certain consequences - good and bad. This ability to choose is an incredible and exciting power that we have each been entrusted with my our Creator.

During out last stake conference in Hawaii there was a teacher that we both admire that gave a powerful talk. He gave a quote in his talk that has really stuck and become a motto for me and Riley.

He quoted: “We all have to choose to either suffer the pain of regret or the pain of discipline.”

At the time we heard this talk, Riley and I knew our time in Hawaii was coming to an end. Graduation was around the corner and with that came the responsibility for him of final exams, homework, and class time. We also had jobs and other responsibilities. On top we needed to figure out our post Hawaii plans and future and make time to apply for jobs and network. It just seemed like there was so much to do, but we also didn't want to regret our time in Hawaii and not getting out and enjoy the beauty of the island.

We decided to be disciplined: To suffer the pain of getting up at 5:30am. To be disciplined in out jobs and work and to not waist away time. We had a bucketlist of things to do before we left and were able to accomplish so much as we put forth the extra effort and made sacrifices.

I remember one particular Saturday. We had a full day of work and things we had to do but also knew it was one of the last Saturdays in Hawaii and really wanted to snorkel!

The only time that we could was at 6am... We woke up and got on our swimsuits and drove over to one of our favorite spots. It was freezing, but was one of the best and memorable mornings of snorkeling I have ever had, and we were back in for church cleanings at 8am.

There is something so satisfying and rewarding when you are disciplined in your choices. We must be disciplined to always choose the right.

Joseph Smith taught, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, up-rightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.

In second Nephi, Lehi teaches his son Jacob about agency and the ability to choose.

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." Nephi2:27

Satan wants us to be miserable. His plan was never about agency, but he seeks our agency. We must always remember that the opposing forces will always place doubts in our minds when we make important life decisions. Good thing we have the Holy Ghost to help guide.

This week I have learned that it is near impossible to prepare a talk about “choosing the right” and not have the classic primary song “choose the right” stuck in your head most the day!

I want to share these lyrics with you because they have been such a part of my life this past week.

            1. Choose the right when a choice is placed before you.
     In the right the Holy Spirit guides;
And its light is forever shining o'er you,
When in the right your heart confides.
            2. Choose the right! Let no spirit of digression 
Overcome you in the evil hour.
There's the right and the wrong to ev'ry question;
Be safe thru inspiration's pow'r.
            3. Choose the right! There is peace in righteous doing.
Choose the right! There's safety for the soul.
Choose the right in all labors you're pursuing;
Let God and heaven be your goal.

I especially love that last line! Truly, returning to our Father in Heaven is our goal. We are on earth to be tested and tried. To use our agency wisely and keep the commandments—its so simple and basic. Yet so many choices are in front of us it is not always so clear.

President Monson gave a talk on choices and I wanted to share a portion of the talk:

We are surrounded—even at times bombarded—by the messages of the adversary. Listen to some of them; they are no doubt familiar to you: “Just this once won’t matter.” “Don’t worry; no one will know.” “You can stop smoking or drinking or taking drugs any time you want.” “Everybody’s doing it, so it can’t be that bad.” The lies are endless.
Although in our journey we will encounter forks and turnings in the road, we simply cannot afford the luxury of a detour from which we may never return.

Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes.

Whether you wear a green T-shirt or a blue one makes no difference in the long run. However, whether you decide to push a key on your computer which will take you to pornography can make all the difference in your life. You will have just taken a step off the straight, safe path.

 May we keep our eyes, our hearts, and our determination focused on that goal which is eternal and worth any price we will have to pay, regardless of the sacrifice we must make to reach it.

No temptation, no pressure, no enticing can overcome us unless we allow such. If we make the wrong choice, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is the goal. Such a goal is not achieved in one glorious attempt but rather is the result of a lifetime of righteousness, an accumulation of wise choices, even a constancy of purpose. As with anything really worthwhile, the reward of eternal life requires effort.

Close quote.

President David O. McKay said, “The greatest battle of life is fought out within the silent chambers of your own soul. The crown of character is self-control.”
Brigham Young said, “The sooner an individual resists temptation to do, say, or think wrong, while he has light to correct his judgment, the quicker he will gain strength and power to overcome every temptation to do evil.”

Joshua did not say, “Choose ye sometime this year that you will serve the Lord.” He said: Choose you this day!

Decide now. Stay out of the devil’s territory. Don’t flirt with evil and stay away from that line... Or as my husband probably would relate it to sports:

“Don’t give Satan any home field advantage by being places you shouldn’t be.”

I love what Clayton Christensen says, “It is easier to do right 100% of the time than it is to do right 98% of the time.” Its so true.

I just wanted to close with one personal story that has been valuable in my life. When I was 7 years old. . . almost 8 years old. I was in the shopping mall with my mom.  I remember being in JCpennys and seeing such a beautiful ring. It was enclosed in a box that opened and closed. Kinda like a wedding ring! I remember asking my mom if we could buy it and she said “no” and continued doing her shopping. I really wanted that ring though… I knew stealing was wrong, but I was also pretty smart and knew when I was baptized that my sins would be washed clean.

So Satan convinced me and I convinced myself that stealing it would be OKAY because I’m not quite 8 yet and don’t know better... I took the ring out of the box and slipped it in my jean pocket. Pretty classic kid theft story. . that night I couldn't take out the ring or really look at it, guilt hit me.  I knew I made the wrong choice and knew I would go to jail when they found out.

I went into my mom sobbing and confessed and learned about repentance and we went through the process and returned the ring! Happy ending!

The thing that stands out in the story and why I wanted to share it was the thought that came into my 8 year old head: “I could steal now and repent and be baptized later and clean.”

How many times does Satan still use this old trick... “sin now, procrastinate now, lie now, cheat now,  wait-to-repent-a-little-longer-it’s inconvenient now” He’s a pretty clever guy.

But, we are here NOW in sacrament meeting to come together and repent and rededicate ourselves to follow Christ and choose the right today. I hope the spirit has spoke to you this past week during conference and now and we can all strive together to be more obedient and faithful Saints.

I’m so grateful for this gospel and church. So grateful it’s here in Japan and around the world! I know happiness truly comes from obedience. I’m grateful for the BOM, prayer, and the spirit that help lead and guide me along the way.

In the name of Jesus Christ: Amen!

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