Integrity Talk by Sheri Dew

Integrity Talk by Sheri Dew

http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2004_03_16_Dew.htm

“True Blue, Through and Through”

Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional

16 March 2004

Sheri L. Dew

My dear young friends, it is a joy to be with you, and I pray that the Spirit will speak to each of you who are ready to hear what He has to say.

A few weeks ago while meeting with President Gordon B. Hinckley, he asked how work was going. Among other things, I told him about a difficult decision I had made that in retrospect I now realized I should have made earlier. “President, I just wish I were smarter,” I confessed. Without missing a beat, he replied, “I wish you were smarter, too.” Then, after pausing for effect, he added, “I wish we were all smarter.”

Here at this institution of higher learning, you’re well aware of the advantages of being smart. Today I want to talk with you about a virtue that is just plain smart and that will have as much impact on your happiness, your peace of mind, and your ability to fulfill your life’s mission as any virtue I can think of.

It is a virtue that will ultimately make you or break you. It will make or break you as a husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister, colleague or friend or leader. It will make or break your career. And most significantly, it will make or break your efforts to achieve exaltation. For it will define your relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

This is a virtue that every man or woman of God must come to possess in increasing degrees. It is a virtue found in every true follower of Jesus Christ. 

 It is the virtue of integrity.

We tend to define integrity as honesty. And without question, it includes that. But telling the truth is just the beginning of integrity.

 President Joseph F. Smith called integrity “the cornerstone of character” (4 April 1897 General Conference). And President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of integrity this way: “Men and women of integrity understand intrinsically that theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before anyone” (Standing for Something, 29).

An incident in the life of President Joseph F. Smith bears out this point. In the fall of 1857, the nineteen-year-old Joseph F. was returning from his mission in Hawaii, and in California he joined a wagon train. It was a volatile time for the Saints. Johnston’s Army was marching towards Utah, and many had bitter feelings towards the Church. One evening several hoodlums rode into camp, cursing and threatening to hurt every Mormon they could find. Most in the wagon train ran and hid in the brush. But Joseph F. thought to himself: “Shall I run from these fellows? Why should I fear them?” With that, he walked up to one of the intruders who, with pistol in hand, demanded, “Are you a Mormon?” Joseph F. Smith responded, “Yes siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.” At that, the hoodlum grasped his hand and said, “Well you are the [blankety-blank] pleasantest man I ever met! Shake hands, young fellow. I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions” (See Gospel Doctrine, 518).

I love Joseph F. Smith’s words: true blue, through and through.

For the purpose of our discussion today, will you think of integrity as being True. True Blue, Through and Through. True to yourself, meaning who you are as a son or daughter of God, and who you are in the process of becoming. True to others, meaning that you do what you say you will do. And true to God, meaning that you practice what you preach and that you are doing what you covenanted to do here in mortality.

Living with integrity isn’t necessarily easy, but it is far easier than the alternative. Integrity engenders confidence and peace of mind, whereas breaching integrity always has painful consequences. A case in point:

I was raised on a large grain farm in Kansas, and on a farm you learn to drive as soon as you can see over the steering wheel and touch the pedals–preferably at the same time. For me, that was in the fourth grade. So, by the time I got my driver’s license at fourteen, I was a seasoned veteran behind the wheel. Or so I thought.

That first June after getting my driver’s license, I was expected to help with harvest. My job was to drive a grain truck from the field to the elevators, ten miles away via country road. The trip to the elevator was a straight shot, except for one stop sign to cross a highway.

Now, it takes hundreds of yards to grind down through the gears and bring a fully loaded grain truck to a complete stop. It was a pain for a young girl. Each time I came to that stop sign, I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would be if I didn’t have to completely stop. It’s not as though I needed to stop. There was rarely any traffic on that remote highway. And besides, Kansas is flat. You can stand on a tuna fish can and see forever. So from the cab of the truck, I could see for miles. After indulging in these thoughts for a few days, I managed to rationalize that it was actually a good idea if I just slowed down but didn’t completely stop.

Which I began to do. And it did make dealing with the stop sign so much easier. But then something curious began to happen; and before I knew it, not only was I not stopping, but I wasn’t doing much more than taking my foot off the pedal briefly, glancing both ways, and barreling across the highway. I did this day after day, including one afternoon when I again disregarded the stop sign, sped across the highway, and proceeded down the dirt country road.

Now, I should point out that a heavy truck on a dirt road kicks up a lost of dust. That afternoon, after going five miles, I looked in the rear-view mirror as I slowed to turn a corner and to my fourteen-year-old horror saw a white car with a rotating red light on top following me. I had never even seen a policeman out in the country. And after eating my dust for five miles, he was not all that cheerful. Then, when he saw how young I was, he demanded to talk with my parents. So with his red lights still gyrating, he followed me to our farm a mile away. And let’s just say that it was a painful experience.

I learned three things that day: First, that with lightening speed, I went from complete observance to complete disregard of the law. Second, my demise started with a small crack in my integrity. The instant I talked myself into taking a small liberty, I was on a slippery slide into full-scale disobedience. And third, there is no such thing as slightly breaking a law–whether a law of the land or a law of God–because even a slight breach of integrity opens the door for Satan.

Helaman’s stripling warriors stand in stark contrast to my performance behind the wheel of the grain truck. They performed “every word of command with exactness” and “were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (Alma 57:21; 53:20). In other words, they kept their covenants with precision. They were true blue, through and through. They clearly understood that a half-hearted effort to keep the Sabbath day holy or to be morally clean or to tell the truth is no effort at all. Joseph Smith didn’t declare that we usually believe in being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, [and] virtuous” (Articles of Faith 1:13). On Mount Sinai the Lord didn’t say, “Thou shalt rarely covet”; or “Thou shalt not steal very often”; or “Thou shalt only commit adultery a time or two.” He said “Thou shalt not,” clearly delineating the line between integrity and infidelity, a line that when we cross we risk losing control of our thoughts, motives, and actions. Just as I did in the grain truck.

Integrity is the foundational virtue upon which all other virtues are dependant. It is the first rung on the character ladder. Where there is integrity, other virtues will follow. Where there is no integrity, other virtues have no chance of developing.

Falsehood and breaches of integrity are as old as Cain and Abel. Today there seem to be flagrant violations of integrity everywhere–the newsroom, the locker room, the board room, even the court room. We have endured so many outrageous national scandals that obscene abuses of power and money seem almost ho-hum. Leaders at the highest levels of government have committed unspeakable breaches of integrity–and then lied until forced to confess. Executives in one corporation after another have bilked investors out of billions. Some have lost fame and fortune simply because they lied.

Four years ago, prior to the last presidential election, I was invited to address an east coast professional organization on the topic of leadership. The “gist” of my message was that true leaders embodied certain virtues–with the key virtue being integrity–because a man or woman who can’t be trusted can’t really lead.

After the presentation, an accomplished businesswoman approached me. “You know,” she said, “I’ve never thought about the connection between leadership and integrity. But I guess it really is impossible to lead people if they don’t trust you.”

Her reaction stunned me! Who wants to be led by a liar? Tell me, do you care if the professor who determines your grades is fair? Do you care if your banker is honest? Would you like to know that your surgeon didn’t cheat his way through his residency? Do you care if the person you’re dating tells you the truth about his life, his past, and his feelings about everything from the gospel to what kind of family he wants to have?

Of course you do, because it is not possible to develop a relationship, any relationship–whether between husband/wife, parent/child, teacher/student, or business/customer– with someone you can’t trust. There is a reason adultery is referred to as “cheating,” because it constitutes such a cruel breach of trust. And trust, which can only be engendered in an atmosphere of integrity, is the keystone that holds every organization together–whether it is a marriage or a family, a business or a nation, or even the kingdom of God.

Prophets ancient and modern have provided patterns to emulate. Consider Joseph, whose rotten brothers sold him into Egypt and then lied about it. In stark contrast to his brothers, Joseph’s integrity held fast under the most trying of circumstances. Consider his words as he resisted the seductive advances of Potiphar’s licentious wife:

Behold, my master…hath committed all that he hath to my hand;…neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Genesis 39:9).

Joseph was unwilling to betray either his friend or his God. He was true blue.

Job set an example of integrity for the ages. Even after losing his wealth, his health, and his family, he declared, “Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go” (Job 27:4-6).

Then there was Saul, who went about destroying the Church–until his remarkable conversion. From that time forward, the Apostle Paul was faithful to his charge to “bear [the Lord’s] name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). He was stoned, persecuted, arrested, and bound in chains (See Acts 14:19; 21:33). Yet even before King Agrippa, he boldly declared the truth and was true to what he knew to be true.

Prophets in our day have been similarly valiant, beginning with the Prophet Joseph, whose vision of the Father and the Son consigned him to a lifelong crucible. He was mocked and persecuted, tarred and feathered, imprisoned for months at a time, and betrayed by trusted friends. Through it all he declared

I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true;…I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it” (JS-H 1:25).

The Prophet Joseph never backed down. His was stunning integrity under stunning circumstances.

Joseph’s successors have followed suit. Elder Ezra Taft Benson was an Apostle when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture. For eight years the press routinely battered Secretary Benson for his policies. But over time, he won the respect of even his opponents. A reporter for the New York Times explained why:

He acts like a man whose conscience is always clear–his testimony today will be the same next week…or a year from now. He doesn’t have to remember what he said to an opposition Senator at their last meeting. This is a built-in ulcer-saving device not always found in Washington” (New York Times Magazine, 11 April 1954).

Through it all Elder Benson lived by this statement: “I feel it is good strategy to stand up for the right, even when it is unpopular. Perhaps I should say, especially when it is unpopular” (Ezra Taft Benson, 373).

President Gordon B. Hinckley has also been a model of integrity. After he was interviewed by Mike Wallace for “60 Minutes,” I spoke with Mr. Wallace about their interview. Of the many things Wallace praised President Hinckley for, he seemed most impressed with the fact that the prophet had done everything in connection with their interview that he had promised to do. When I later offered to show Mr. Wallace how I intended to quote him in President Hinckley’s biography, he replied, “That’s not necessary. You’re a Mormon. I trust you.” Do you really think this hard-hitting veteran journalist believes every member of the Church is trustworthy? Of course he doesn’t! He is not that naive. But his statement was not a reflection of me or of us, it was a reflection of President Hinckley. Wallace was saying, in effect, “If you are associated with that man, then I assume that you, too, will do what you have said you will do.”

Such trust can only be earned one person at a time. Do you do what you say you will do? Can you keep a confidence? Does your signature on a document or a check or your temple recommend mean something? Your word is who you are. No wonder James the Apostle taught that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).

Indeed, anything that lacks integrity is unstable, as any engineer will tell you. A bridge or skyscraper that has structural integrity does what it was built to do. It isn’t necessarily perfect. It could have flaws. But, under stress and repeated use, it does what it was built to do. If, on the other hand, a structure does not have structural integrity, it will at some point fail, as was the case with the world’s first jet airliner, the British-made de Havilland Comet.

When the Comet was introduced in 1949, the future seemed bright for jet travel–until three Comets disintegrated in flight, killing all aboard. The planes were grounded as puzzled engineers worked feverishly to understand why these planes had operated flawlessly at first, only to later break apart in mid-air. The engineers set up a fuselage in a large pool and pumped water in and out, simulating the effects of repeated cabin pressurization. At first, the experiment revealed nothing. But then it yielded a startling discovery. The repeated stress caused small cracks to form around the rectangular windows, cracks that soon widened into gaping holes. The planes could not withstand repeated pressure. They lacked structural integrity.

You and I live in a world filled with pressure–pressure to accomplish, pressure to get ahead, pressure to conform, pressure to be popular. And so on. None of us are perfect. We all have flaws. How then, under repeated pressure, may we avoid allowing small cracks in our integrity to form so that we can do what we came here to do? How can we stay true blue–to ourselves, to others, and to our Father and His Son?

May I suggest seven things that will help us become men and women of integrity:

1. Decide today, once and for all, that you will be worthy of trust–the trust of family and friends, colleagues and business associates, and most of all, the Lord. The more the Lord trusts you, the more knowledge and power He will give you.

Consider the exquisite promise the Lord made Nephi, son of Helaman: “Blessed art thou, Nephi, for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word…unto this people….Because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness,…I will make thee mighty in word and in deed,…yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.” Nephi had proven himself to the Lord. And because the Lord could trust him, He increased Nephi’s access to His knowledge and power.

Trust is equally crucial to our relationships here. I have seen marriages crumble because husbands and wives couldn’t trust each other’s word or motives or faithfulness. I have seen families disintegrate because small cracks in a parent’s integrity led to gaping emotional and spiritual holes. I repeat what I said earlier: It is not possible to build a relationship with someone you can’t trust. And nowhere is this more evident than in a marriage and family.

I know of a couple who struggled for years to build a satisfying relationship, but without success. The husband had learned to lie when the going got tough, and then lie about lying. His wife, on the other hand, was so consumed with her desire to be liked and well thought of that she never discovered who she was–rather than who she thought everyone expected her to be. She spent her time and money doing and buying things to be “seen of men and women.” Both husband and wife were, in their own way, disingenuous. Neither were true to themselves, so their love could not grow.

During the two years I have served as the president of a company, I have gained new appreciation for how fundamental trust is to every relationship. As I selected individuals to serve as officers in our company, I found myself asking three questions: Can I trust this person’s motives? Can I trust this person’s judgment? Can I trust that he or she will tell me the truth? I realized that, while skills were imperative, integrity was even more so.

The Holy Ghost is not able to inspire or endorse the words or actions of someone who is not true and who can’t be trusted. So decide now, today, once and for all, that at all cost you will be a man or woman of integrity who can be trusted.

2. Have faith that the Lord can and will help you, and then diligently seek His help.

Nephi exemplifies this. Repeatedly he was true to the Lord’s commands, even when theyseemed implausible. Retrieve the brass plates from Laban? Hunt food with a broken bow? Build a ship without tools or experience? Yet repeatedly, the “I-will-go-and-do Nephi” went and did (See 1 Nephi 3:7). His response when his brothers called him a “fool” for attempting to build a ship was classic Nephi: “If the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship” (1 Nephi 17: 51). And build a ship he did, because he knew the Lord would help him.

Faith is the first principle of the gospel because it is our faith that activates the power of the Atonement in our lives. If your faith is wobbly, if you’re not sure the Lord will come to your aid, put Him to the test “Even if ye can only desire to believe, let this desire work in you” (Alma 32:27). The results will astound you, for God “worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men” (Moroni 10:7). Challenges that test our faith are almost always opportunities to strengthen our faith. So believe the Lord will help you, and then diligently seek after His help.

3. Make covenants and keep them. In other words, do what you say you will do. This begins with keeping the covenants you made at baptism and again in the House of the Lord, and then being precisely, completely true to those covenants.

But it also includes being fair and square with others. Here is a sample checklist: Do you do what you say you will do, or do you often make excuses for not coming through? Will you rationalize taking advantage of someone else if it is to your advantage? Are you doing your own classwork? Do you give your best effort at work or just put in time? Do you pay a full tithe? Are you really living the Honor Code? Would you date your best friend’s boyfriend behind her back? Are you honest with those you date, or are you leading someone on because no one better has come along and you don’t want to sit home Friday night? Are you straight with your parents about how you spend their money? If you could improve your chance for graduate school by cheating, would you do it? What DVDs do you watch and web sites do you visit when you’re alone? Are you honest and moral in the dark of night as well as broad daylight? Are you true to those who have trusted you with their love and confidence? Are you living worthy of the kind of man or woman you hope to marry, and of the children whom our Father will entrust to your care?

Please understand, I am not asking these questions for my benefit. But I am inviting you to enroll today in Integrity 101 and ask yourself these and other similar questions. Because now is the time to learn to be precisely honest. Now is the time to commit yourself to a life of integrity. I can promise that in future days you will face dilemmas far more complex than the ones I have mentioned, but dilemmas that can almost always be resolved if you are fair and honest and true. So in your youth, learn wisdom; yea, learn…to keep the commandments of God with exactness (see Alma 37:35). Learn to be true to every covenant you make.

4. Stand up for what you believe. In fact, look for every opportunity to do so. Don’t be showy or loud about it, and please don’t ever criticize or judge others in the process. But relish every opportunity to stand for something, to be true to what you know is right.

Nine days after Heber J. Grant was born, his father died and his widowed mother Rachel was left to carry on. She tried to support her young son by working as a seamstress and taking in boarders, but they remained desperately poor. Rachel’s well-to-do brothers offered her a life of ease if she would renounce the Church. But she could not bring herself to turn her back on the gospel. Her prophet-son later spoke often about the dramatic impact her devotion had on him.

It is not possible to denounce who you are, or to live beneath who you are, and be happy. True happiness comes only when you are living up to who you are. King Benjamin understood this when he described the “happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For…they are blessed in all things” (Mosiah 2:41).

If you want to feel real joy, keep the commandments and be true to who you are. It is actually easier to stand up for what you believe than to not do so. I was reminded of this last summer, when I was invited to speak about the family to a gathering of United Nations diplomats. I agonized over what to say to such a diverse group. In the end, I simply explained that my parents had taught me as a child that personal virtue was essential for a happy marriage and family, and that in my youth I had promised God that I would live a chaste life.

I then acknowledged that, though I had not yet had the chance to marry, I had kept my promise. “It hasn’t always been easy to stay morally clean,” I admitted. “It has required some self-discipline. But on balance, it has been far easier than the alternative. I have never spent one second worrying about an unwanted pregnancy or disease. I have never had a moment’s anguish because a man used and then discarded me. And when I do marry, I will do so without regret. So you see,” I concluded, “I believe a moral life is actually an easier and a happier life.”

 I worried about how such a sophisticated audience would respond to a message about virtue and abstinence, but to my surprise they leaped to their feet in applause–not because of me, but because the Spirit had borne witness of the truth of that message. The happiest people I know are those who have the integrity to stand up for what they believe.

5. Expect your integrity to be challenged. Metaphorically speaking, be on the lookout for Potiphar’s wife. She will show up again and again. Be ready to leave your cloak in her hand and flee again and again, because Satan won’t tempt you just once. Moses had to resist Satan’s temptations four times. And he had to tell Satan to beat it four times before he finally left–and that was after ranting and raving, weeping and wailing, and exposing Moses to the bitterness of hell (see Moses 1:19-22).

You too will have to tell Satan to beat it over and over again. Never forget that we are here on probation. We are here to be tested and to show, by our choices, whether we want to be part of the Kingdom of God more than we want anything else. Satan knows this. So count on the fact that your integrity will be tested. It will be tested in ways large and small. This is actually a blessing, for you don’t really know what you believe until your beliefs are tested. You don’t know if you’re honest until your honesty is tested. You don’t know if you really prize chastity until your virtue is tested. You don’t know if you can be trusted–with someone’s feelings, with money, with influence, with power–until your trust is tested. In every trial comes a moment of truth when you must decide what you really believe.

So count on tests of your integrity. But also know that every time we choose to be obedient, every time we make a tough but righteous choice, our integrity is fortified.

6. Don’t give up. This is a lifelong process. I am fifty years old, and I have to work at this every day. The older I get, and the more determined I become to keep the commandments with exactness, the more often I find myself seizing the opportunity to repent, ask for forgiveness from the Lord and others, and then try again. Daily repentance and precise obedience are crucial to increasing integrity. But then, that is the pattern of life. And when you do something that intro-duces a crack into your integrity, if you are paying attention the Spirit will let you know through His whisperings and the workings of your conscience that you have something to work on.

I was recently in the Midwest when a woman approached me and asked if I was the president of Deseret Book. When I nodded yes, she handed me a check and with emotion said, “Years ago I had a financial setback and could not pay a bill I owed your company. I have felt guilty ever since. Please take this so that my conscience can be clear again.”

No one except the Savior will live a perfect life, and no one is perfected in a day. It takes time and sheer work to develop and refine our integrity. Heber J. Grant said it this way: “I know of no easy formula for success. Persist, persist, PERSIST; work, work, WORK–is what counts in the battle of life” (Teachings of HJG, p. 36).

So learn to delight in repenting and obeying. And don’t give up.

7. Covenant–or perhaps I should say, renew your covenant–with our Father and His Son to do what you came here to do. For doing what we agreed to do premortally is the ultimate expression of our integrity.

As in all things, the Savior is the supreme example of perfectly fulfilling His foreordained mission. Premortally, when our Father outlined His plan and the need for a Redeemer, the Savior responded, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27).

He came, lived a sinless life, and at the appointed hour submitted to the agony of Gethsemane. He didn’t do it for Himself; He was already a God. He did it for you and me.

Perhaps even the Savior didn’t completely comprehend the depths to which He would be required to go, for there came that moment of unspeakable anguish when He pleaded, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” But then, in the midst of His agony, He demonstrated supernal integrity by adding: “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:41-43).

There was no ram in the thicket this time. The Son of God did what He was sent here to do. His was the ultimate honoring of a commitment. And it was also an unparalleled example of something that should give each of us great courage. For at that sublime moment of submission, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). Even the Savior wasn’t required to complete His mission alone. And neither are we, if we too honor our eternal commitments and submit ourselves to God.

Later, on the cross, the Savior uttered seven final words: “It is finished, thy will is done” (JST Matthew 27:54). From “Here am I, send me” to “It is finished, thy will is done,” we have a pattern of perfect integrity.

We too made premortal commitments, among them surely being a willingness to come during this “eleventh hour” (see D&C 33:3). Surely we followed our Elder Brother’s example. Perhaps we said something like this: “If you need someone who will have the courage and determination to face the world at its worst, here am I, send me. If you need husbands and wives who will be faithful to each other, raise their children in the admonition of the Lord, and defend the family, here am I, send me. If you need men and women who will see through the lies of the world about family and gender and intimacy, and who will never confuse being tolerant of others with tolerating sin, here am I, send me. If you need men and women who can think straight in a confused, twisted world, here am I, send me. If you need men and women who will be fearless in building the kingdom of God, please, here am I, send me.”

Two weeks ago, President Boyd K. Packer said this:

The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better. I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now….The first line of defense–the home–is crumbling. Surely you can see what the adversary is about. We are now exactly where the prophets warned we would be (Boyd K. Packer, BYU J. Reuben Clark Law Society Devotional, 28 February 2004).

My dear young friends, whom I believe to be the best this world has ever seen, you were sent now because you have everything it takes to deal with the world now. You were put through your paces premortally. That you are here now speaks to how well you did. You have it in you to not only withstand the pressures of the last days but to triumph over them.

Now, that doesn’t mean you are all living up to who you are. Some of you no doubt need to make course corrections. To help with this, I invite you to undergo the spring cleaning to end all spring cleanings by enrolling in Integrity 101. Let me outline the coursework. First, take an inventory of your integrity by asking yourself the kind of questions I listed earlier. Look for cracks that may have started to form. Be honest with yourself about your past dishonesties. Second, for the next 30 days take time every night to assess how you did that day. Were you true to yourself and to others? Were you true to God in every situation? See if it makes a difference in what you say, how you spend your time and money, the decisions you make, and what you repent of. See if it also makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and your life.

And finally, as you become more fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses, turn to the Savior more frequently and with increasing fervor. Thank our Father for the gift of His Son and the privilege of repenting. Express your deep desire to live with integrity. And then plead for help. The Savior has the power to help you change. He has the power to help you turn weakness into strength. He has the power to make you better than you have ever been.

I know that this is true, for I have felt His redeeming and enabling power again and again and again. May we come to be more true than we have ever been before–true to ourselves, true to others, and true to God, with whom we have made sacred covenants. May we be like the Sons of Helaman–who were strict to remember God day in and day out, and who were true at all times to whatsoever thing with which they had been entrusted. May we be true blue, through and through.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sheri Dew