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The Natural Man is an Enemy to God

Sister Niutupuivaha:

Brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you this beautiful morning and to introduce my husband.  He was born and lived in the village of Mu’a of Tonga.  He is the fourth of eight children.  Although four girls were born after him, he was treated as the baby boy and his mother continues to hold that title for him in her heart. His father and mother, Mailefihi and Solia, raised him in a gospel-centered home. Daily scripture study, journal writing, family home evening, weekly temple attendance, fasting, paying tithing and a generous fast offering were the testimonies his parents lived by, day in and day out. In Tonga, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles surround his life. Throughout his childhood he remembers his cousins singing songs during their family home evenings.

My husband loves math. He attended Liahona High School, and was the top mathematics and accounting student.  In Liahona High, there are two separate schools - one specifically for academics and the other for learning a trade. One year, his parents visited the United States, leaving his oldest sister, Lisita, the responsibility for watching him. She was informed that he was skipping his academic classes and was found in the shop classes.  When his mother found out, she spoke with him.  He told her that he loved working with his hands, learning how to fix cars, and working with the tools.  His mother knew this to be true. Since he was young, he would take apart things, such as appliances, radios, and toys, and challenge himself to try to put it back together. His talents from building and flying model planes, to fixing motorcycles or building custom homes have brought him great joy.

He was called to serve in the Kingston, Jamaica Mission. He loved his mission, his mission president and the people of Jamaica. In his patriarchal blessing, he was blessed with the ability to learn languages. One day, early in our marriage, he was on the phone with a native Jamaican elder whom he had served with. I could not make out their conversation. I had never heard him speak patios before, even though they were using English words. my husband spoke with a thick accent and conversed with great ease. It was fun just to watch.

After our missions, we both had a feeling that we would meet our eternal companions in Provo, Utah. One Sunday, I met with my Bishop and he pronounced a blessing on my head, that when I met my eternal companion, our children would dance around us. My father had given me a blessing a couple months before I met Jr.  He said that the way you will meet your eternal companion would be like none other before.   I would like to share with you the story about how we met. The week I met my husband was most likely the toughest week I had ever had while attending school.  Things just seemed to be falling apart for me.  I felt like a failure.  My friend, Opapo Fonoimoana, who had served with my husband in Jamaica, that his mission companion was coming to visit. However, I was not very interested. One morning I was getting ready for work as I put on my make up, I could hear these words loud and clear,  “Opapo’s mission companion is so handsome,”  “Opapo’s mission companion is very wonderful.”  I looked at the mirror, and asked, “who is Opapo’s mission companion?”  The voice kept on, “Opapo’s mission companion is so sweet. Opapo’s mission companion is so beautiful!”  I didn’t understand what I was hearing but I could not deny what I heard.  Later that afternoon, I walked in my home to meet Opapo, on the ground there sat his mission companion. He got up to shake my hand, the moment our hands touched, and there was such an electric shock that raced through my hand to the rest of my body that I took my hand back quickly. I had never felt anything like it before.  That week, my husband had a strong prompting to ask me out, I said yes, and the rest is history. 

We were blessed with children immediately. One day, when my oldest was about three, he said to me when I was cooking dinner in the kitchen, “Mommy your handsome prince is home! Mommy your wonderful husband is home.”  At that moment, my memory recalled the voices I heard that morning when I was putting on my make-up.  Our Heavenly Father allowed me, with tender mercy, to identify the voice that had brought my husband and I together.  It was our oldest son Sefanaia.  Bishop’s blessing came to my mind,  “When you meet your eternal companion, your children will dance around you.”

Well, we have eight children, six boy and two girls. The oldest is 12 and the youngest is one. They are a three-ring circus, war zone, and heaven all rolled into one.  Our children mean so much to us. They have brought so much life, character, and joy into our lives. We love each of them and pray that they will love and stay close to our Father in Heaven, and stand as a witness for Him throughout their lives.

I remember, on one occasion, he was asked to go to the Hau’ula Chapel Oceanside to fix the electrical problem with the fire alarm. Our family was there for a couple hours. He had no helpers, since I had to take care of the small children. He was climbing up the ladder to test and fix wires in the ceiling and then down to check wires in another room. When my husband was finished, he reported about the completed work to a brother who came to close up the chapel. The look on that brother’s face surprised me.  He said, “Do you know how many electricians have come to check this system out? This system has been out for a long time, I was expecting you to tell me the same thing.”  I remember that day vividly, because it reminds me that he desires to do his best. Like that fire alarm, our marriage, our family, our relationship have all seen times when the felt like they were not working. He has been the one to get out the ladder, find out what was not working, and lead the family through prayer, scripture study, personal priesthood interviews, weekly temple attendance, fasting, and couples inventory. I love to see my husband serve the Lord. I see his pre-mortal spirit when he serves the Lord. Thank you for allowing me to share these things with you. 


President Niutupuivaha:

Aloha Brothers and Sisters.

I’m grateful to be humbled by this wonderful opportunity to address you all this morning. I’m grateful to President Wheelwright and President Tanner for this great blessing. I want to thank the university employees who have assisted me in the preparation and the presentation of my message this morning. I have enjoyed the peace from the Holy Spirit that assisted me during my preparation.

I’m humbled by this opportunity to represent the Savior in my new calling as a Stake president here on campus. My weaknesses stare me down and seem to magnify every single day. I told my brothers the other day, “I don’t feel like a Stake president. I don't look like a stake president. I don't talk like a Stake President. I don't know what Heavenly Father saw in me”. I’m humbled that the Lord would call me, and entrust me with one of His precious Stakes of Zion, despite all my weaknesses.

I’m grateful for goodly parents, who sacrificed all they have ever had to ensure that my siblings and I were rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. My Father was the hardest-working man that I have ever known, and my mother is the most spiritual person that I have ever known. My mother was completely transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right before I was born, she intensely studied the Doctrine and Covenants, and gained a very powerful testimony of the Church. She studies her scriptures every single day, and some days that is all that she would do.  She would always be taking notes. A lot of times when I needed to know where to find a certain scripture, I would go to her. About half the time when I walk into her room, I would find her on her knees praying audibly to Heavenly Father. She was not always this way.  She use to be a very tough lady to be around, most people feared her. The natural man would, at times, get the better of her. She taught at Liahona High School for 20 years. Her rage caused her to throw one of the boys in her class through the glass window one time. Luckily it was Tonga, if it happened here she would have been sued, fired and whatever else.

My brothers and I were recently in Tonga for a surprise trip to meet her. She is currently serving her second mission there in the Nukualofa Tonga Temple.  One of her students approached my older brother at the airport and said to him, “ You look like one of Solia’s sons. How is she?”  My brother replied, “She is here, in Tonga, serving a mission in the Temple.”  She almost fainted and said to my brother, “Your mother? On a mission? How is that possible?”  I love her with all my heart. Everything that I am and will become is because of her enduring faith, love and dedication to the Master.

My father passed away 12 years ago at the early age of 63. I miss my dad dearly. He was a short man, but was a giant of a man to me. He lost his father when he was seven years old.  His mother could not afford tuition for school, so he would spend his evenings picking coconuts to sell, to pay his own way through school. When he graduated from high school, he collected coconuts again to save money to come here, to what was then called the Church College of Hawaii, where He met and married our mother.

He was a perfect home teacher, who would never let a single month go by without serving the Lord as a home teacher. I learned later from a testimony by president Fonua Lauaki, who served in the Laie Hawaii North Stake Presidency, that if it were not for my father’s faithful service as a home teacher, he nor his family would be active Latter Day Saints today. He served as the first Bishop in Mua where he lived. He was ordained as a high priest and a Bishop by Elder Howard W. Hunter, who was then an apostle. 

One of the reasons why I miss my Dad is that he used to be be my wake-up call. Whenever I need to be up early for school or work, I would ask him to wake me up, and he never failed. He would always wake me up.  I am not a morning person at all, and it is a weakness that irritates my brothers greatly. I wish I could do what my dad could do. He would be up till 3 AM quite often because of his business and would sleep for a couple of hours, and would be up bright and early again the next morning to wake us all up for scripture study.

My older brother would sometimes spend the night at my house, because our mother lived with me. He would get so irritated, because my alarm would go off forever and it would wake him up 4 rooms away, but I would be fast asleep right next to it. Quite often in my prayers I call upon the Angels to minister to me and to wake me up when I really need to wake up. I even ask Heavenly Father to please send dad to wake me up again, if he's available.

My family and I are eternally grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the directions and countless blessings that we have enjoyed.

Three months before receiving this call to be the Stake President, I walked into my office, as a Bishop, and almost audibly I heard a voice saying, “Your time here in this calling is coming to an end.”  The thought kept reoccurring that it troubled me. I did not know what it meant, but I tried all I could to ensure that all was well with the ward, before the time came for me to be released. Two months later, we met as Bishops with President Hanneman, he announced that he would be getting released. He told us to prepare for an interview with Elder Sitati, who would be traveling to Hawaii to release him.  I remember vividly that morning, as I sat directly across from President Hanneman, the same voice that spoke to me two months prior, said to me “You will be the next stake president.” I was blown away by this thought and dismissed it as quickly as it came to me. I could not think straight for the duration of that meeting as the feeling remained strong and I was not able to concentrate on much else.

President Hanneman asked us to share this information with our wives, but to keep it very confidential. I was so scared that I did not even share what was happening with my wife. That night, before I went to bed, it came again, this time with more clarity – “You will be the next stake president, and Dennis Mataia will be your counselor.”  For the next few weeks I encountered countless trials of my faith and testimony, and was still too scared to tell my wife. She and I went on a business trip to Maui for a day, several days before my interview with Elder Sitati, and I remember telling her, “Honey, I think I will be the next stake president.” She did not respond and I paid no attention. She then asked me later on that day, “Honey you mentioned something about a new stake president, who do you think it will be?” I answered and said, “Me, Honey!”  I wish I could have recorded the look on her face when I said that.  Believe me, her facial expression was showing exactly how I was feeling at the time. 

The time came to meet with Elder Sitati and Elder Auna for an interview. The interview went well. I answered all of their questions and then left with no feelings at all. I thought, “Well that was interesting. I wonder why the Lord gave me those promptings?”  I was being interviewed together with men who were far more intelligent, humble, and looked more like the Stake President type, so I left relieved thinking, “Good, I’m glad that’s over”.  A few hours later my wife and I were at home we were planning to go to Honolulu. When my cell phone rang. Before even looking at the phone the same voice tells me, “Get ready, here it comes!” I looked at my phone, and sure enough it was Roberto, the Executive Secretary.  He said, “Bishop Niutupuivaha, how soon will you and your wife be able to make it here to the Stake Center?”  I replied, “Twenty minutes.” We got ready and as I was driving over I thought, “Good.  It’s been a few hours, they have already called the Stake president. I will be one of his counselors or called to some other Stake office.”  When we arrived, Roberto asked us to be seated in the waiting area, as Elder Sitati and Elder Auna are just now breaking their Fast. I was so overwhelmed at that point, that I started balling like a baby. The Spirit was telling me, “I tried to warn you.”

One of the reasons why I studied the natural man so much is because of the strong pull that my flesh has over me at times. I’m grateful for President Hanneman. Once I told my wife, “That man is like Moroni. I will follow him to hell if he asks me to.”  I knew he would never ask me to do so, but I wanted to express my respect and love for him. I truly miss serving as a Bishop under his direction.

It’s interesting that I’m speaking at this devotional here at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. I am number four of eight children. My parents graduated from here in the sixties. All seven of my siblings, countless cousins, aunts and uncles have attended this school, and all have graduated and received degrees from this university. I came here after my mission and met with President Meha, wanting to follow the family tradition of gaining an education here at Brigham Young University. We reviewed all of the majors and courses that were offered here at the time. Nothing sparked my interest. 

I then looked into the University Hawaii Community Colleges, and saw an Aeronautical Technical course that immediately grabbed my attention. I have always had a passion for airplanes. When I saw the course available in Honolulu, I took it.  After studying for three years, I was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as an Aircraft Technician. Even though I was certified, I have never laid hands or fixed any aircraft or helicopter here in the States. I knew my new profession would pay me well eventually, but soon after graduating from the course, I started looking for jobs and very quickly discovered that I could not support my family with the starting wage that was offered.  I was then a brand new husband living here in Hawaii, the most expensive place to live here in the United States. It became very clear that I could not afford to take a pay cut to pursue a career in the profession that I spent 3 years of my life studying for. 

During this time I worked for Innovative Electric, The largest non-union electrical company in Hawaii. Tevita Pasi, the owner, who has now passed on, later became my business partner and we ventured off into some very interesting commercial and industrial projects together.

I was paid very well as an electrician and Tevita put me through school to become a certified electrician. Some of you will be moving into to Hale 3 and 5 soon. If any electrical problems come up, don't tell anybody, okay?

In the beginning, there was a war in Heaven, where Satan and his angels were casted out. We know that Satan did not agree with our Fathers plan, which is, in essence, for all of us to come to earth, to receive physical bodies, and to gain experience, be tested, and tried.  He wanted to come down to earth and force everyone to obey him; not only that, he wanted to take all honor upon himself. We know the Savior accepted our Father’s plan and offered to come down and fulfill the entire plan, and that all glory would remain with the Father forever.

This earth, the one that we now live in, was then created. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, and were given very specific commandments to multiply and replenish this earth.  This was a very interesting commandment at this time for them, because it was one that they could not keep. Lehi teaches and I quote from 2 Nephi 2:22-23:

 “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.”

If Adam and Eve obeyed this law and not have partaken of the forbidden fruit, they would have still been here today. Moreover, none of us would be sitting here today - the eternal plan of the Eternal Father would have been frustrated. 

Christians, including some in this church, sometimes frown upon our first parents, and tend to say, “How could they have been so disobedient?” We learn from the scriptures that in order for the Father’s plan to be complete, they had to partake of the forbidden fruit. The tree of life was also in the Garden. Jehovah sent an Angel to guard the tree, because if they were to partake of this fruit they would again become immortal and live forever in sin.

The Savior of the world came to earth as a mortal being.  He was Jehovah, the Messiah, and Redeemer of mankind.  His descension from His throne above, was always part of our Father’s Plan. We have a glimpse of the pain that the Savior went through, by his prayer to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. HE, the most revered son of our Father, the first born, the most obedient son of all, He who would always say “Yes Father, Thy will be done.”  I can imagine him suffering and saying, “Dad, this is too hard. I had no idea it would hurt so much. Please, if possible let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless thy will be done.”  I love the Savior and I strive daily to please him in all I do.

Jacob, in the Book of Mormon gives us a glimpse of what might have been, had the Savior shrunk from his important role in the Plan I quote 2 Nephi 9:7-9:

Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

O the wisdom of God; His mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits will become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. Our spirits will become like him. We become devils, from angels to a devil, who will be shut out from the presence of our God, and remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.”

I’m grateful for our Savior, for his endurance, and for removing us from the grasps of hell that were for sure to engulf each of us. We learn, here, of the grim reality would have been ours, if the Savior decided not to go through with his portion of the Plan. We would have been devils forever, angels to the devil.  Shut out from the kingdom of God forever. We are all forever in His debt. I love and revere the Savior.

I’m very grateful for our Father Adam, and for his great role in our Fathers Masterful Plan, and Mother Eve’s decision to partake of the fruit, to know, feel, and understand more. It was all, from the beginning, necessary. The minute they partook of the fruit, their bodies were changed. They were no longer immortal. They became subjected to everything that you and I are subjected to today.

Abinadi sheds light on the condition of their new bodies, I quote Mosiah 16:3:

For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish”

The nature of their immortal bodies was that they were in a state of innocence.  They were neither happy nor sad; good nor bad. They could not commit any sin. We now learn that their new bodies, the ones that even all of us here today dwell in, were and are carnal, sensual, and devilish. 

Lehi furthermore enlightens us on this matter:

“And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of His Holy Spirit;

And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.” (2 Nephi 2:28-29)

We learn here that it is the will of the Holy Spirit that each of us gain Eternal life.  We also learn here, brothers and sisters, that our flesh, these tabernacles that you and I dwell in, its will and desire is that each of us, all of us, attain eternal death. The evil that is inherently within all of us because of the flesh that does not want to live with God. I quote King Benjamin from Mosiah 3:19:

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint.”

The minute Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit they were enemies of God.  The flesh will always be an Enemy to God. We then, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, are automatically an enemy to God; unless we yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit.  The same Holy Spirit that desires for us to gain eternal life.  If we do not yield to His enticing, we are automatically enemies to our Father by default. 

Pornography is rampant today, because it satisfies the flesh. It pleases the flesh to look upon it. How do we overcome pornography? We can do so by yielding to the enticing of the Holy Spirit. I quote Elder Andersen from His April 2014 General Conference Address:

“My young friends, the world will not glide calmly toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The scriptures declare that “all things shall be in commotion.”1 Brigham Young said, “It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise.”2

Brothers and sisters, we are living during those times mentioned in the quote. The power of Satan is rising and wickedness is covering this earth. Our flesh, the natural man, within each of us desires to follow Satan. To paraphrase Lehi, it is the will of the flesh to choose eternal death, and that gives Satan the power to captivate us. The world is full of filth and garbage that can very easily distract us. As Elder Andersen warns, this world will not glide calmly toward the second coming, this is self-evident in the world today. 

As you all know, Adam and Eve could not bear children. The ability to bring Heavenly Father’s children into this earth was made possible by this natural state that we are in. The strong feelings of our mortal bodies were put there by our Father as part of his plan. Elder Robins of the Presidency of the Seventy put it this way. “Sexual sin is not the use of something  inherently bad, but the misuse of something  inherently good.”  Brothers and sisters, and especially brothers, you must contain yourselves, you must bridle all your passions. You cannot and must not view pornography. If you have become entangled in its grasp, please do not become discouraged. There is always help nearby. Push through the darkness and embrace the iron rod once again, and seek help from your loving Bishop.

The savior taught in D&C 42:23:

And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.”

Remember, to overcome the natural man, we have to have the Spirit. We will never have the Spirit if we are viewing pornography or anything like it. One of the most powerful ways to receive the Spirit is through daily study of the scriptures. Nephi saw the power of the scriptures and describes it this way to his brothers 1 Nephi 15: 23-24:

And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?

And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”

This scripture was shared by Elder Holland of the Quorum of the twelve, a few years back, during a training meeting for Bishops and Stake presidents here in Hawaii. He shared it in response to the question “how do we help our young people overcome pornography and all the other issues they struggle with?” What a great promise, not only from the scriptures, but also from a living ordained apostle. The promise is that if we hold fast unto the word of God, neither the temptations nor the fiery darts of the adversary can overcome us unto blindness.

In April 1982, Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke to the regional representatives about the priority the scriptures should take in our labors. He said: “We are so wound up in programs and statistics and trends, in properties, lands and mammon, and in achieving goals that will highlight the excellence of our work, that we have ‘omitted the weightier matters of the law.’ … However talented men may be in administrative matters; however eloquent they may be in expressing their views; however learned they may be in the worldly things—they will be denied the sweet whisperings of the Spirit that might have been theirs unless they pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures.” (In Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 2 Apr. 1982, pp. 1–2.)

Brothers and sisters we will be denied, shut out, do not pass go, or however you want to put it, the sweet whisperings of the Holy Spirit if we do not study and ponder the scriptures. This is pretty strong clear language, from an ordained servant of the Lord, therefore it is His mind and will.

I share a Quote from President Kimball:

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.”

One of my favorite stories is one that I heard on my mission, told by Brother Hyrax Smith. Please bear with me as I read this story straight from one of Brother Smith’s talks:

A naturalist is walking by a farm and he looked into the chicken coop and there among the chickens was a large eagle. The farmer had found a giant egg and put it in with the chickens. He thought it was a funny-looking chicken but nonetheless, it was raised as a chicken. So the naturalist went to the farmer and says, “You know, you got an eagle out there with your chickens.”

“No, I don’t have any eagles, just chickens.”

“Well, come here. I want to show you. You got an eagle out there.”  The naturalist takes the farmer out to the coop, points to the eagle and says, “That is an eagle.”

“No, it’s a chicken.”

“No. I know what eagles look like and have you ever seen a chicken with an 8-foot wingspan? That is an eagle.

“No, it’s a chicken.”

“I’ll prove to you it’s an eagle.” So the naturalist takes this eagle and puts him up on a fence post and points the eagle’s head towards the sun and whispers in his ear, “You are an eagle. Fly.”  The eagle looks up at the sun, he looks back at the chickens and he jumps off the fence and goes back and scratches with the chickens.

The farmer says, “Hey, I told you. That’s a chicken.”

“No. That’s an eagle and tomorrow I’ll prove it to you.”

The next day the naturalist comes back and takes the eagle up to the weather vane of the barn, points the eagle’s head towards the sun and says to the eagle, “You are an eagle. Fly.”  The eagle looks up at the sun, he looks back at the chickens and he jumps off the weather vane and goes back and scratches with the chickens.

The farmer says, “Look, I’m really sorry, but that’s a chicken.”

The naturalist says, “No. That’s an eagle. Tomorrow I’ll prove it to you.” 

The next day the naturalist comes back and takes the eagle up to a high mountain where he couldn’t see the chicken coop anymore. The naturalist puts the eagle out on the edge of a cliff, points the eagle’s head towards the sun and says to the eagle, “You are an eagle. Fly.” The eagle looks up at the sun, he looks around, he spread his wings and he flew. He flew out over the countryside and never looked or came back. The naturalist turns to the farmer and says, “That is an eagle.”

Brothers and Sisters we were born eagles. We, each of us, are Sons and Daughters of our Father in Heaven. We have a divine birth right. We are meant to one day become just like our Heavenly Father, to become eagles, so to speak. We are born into mortality and are given these bodies of flesh to test us to see if we are worthy of all that the Father has, to see if we will remain as chickens, or will overcome our natures and fly like the eagles that we are.

Like the naturalist in this story, the Holy Spirit is constantly whispering in our ears, “You are an Eagle. Fly!” It is imperative that we are worthy to receive the promptings of the Spirit everyday of our lives.

The only way you and I can discover our wings and put off the natural man is to yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit. In order to be able to yield to the enticing of the Spirit, we must first have the Spirit to always be with us. We learn from the Sacrament prayer that we achieve this goal by always remembering the Savior and to keep all the commandments that He has given us.

Brothers and Sisters, you, as young people here in this university, have your whole lives ahead of you. The decisions that you will make in your lives today will determine the course of your lives. Not just for time here upon this earth, but for all eternity. We need to have the Spirit with us all day, every single day. I know how difficult this is for we constantly struggle with our flesh.

I was once where you are today. Faced with life’s challenges, making sense of things and trying to control all of the emotions and feelings that your bodies go through. You try to answer some of life’s most challenging questions: What will I do for the rest of my life and who will I spend eternity with?

When I was single years ago, President Hinckley said, “The most important decision you will ever make in this life, is the person you choose to marry.” This thought really troubled me, and I wanted to heed the prophet’s voice by choosing the right person. It occupied my thoughts day and night.  My young friends, in order to see and find who is most compatible with you spiritually, you must use your spiritual eyes. If you are in your natural state, the state of being carnal, sensual and devilish, you will see through those natural eyes, and may find and marry someone that you really are not compatible with. Divorce numbers are rising and sadly even in the Church.

I served my mission in Kingston Jamaica, I had a very wealthy, funny mission president, President Calvert. From what I was told, he owned a very successful law firm. I saw his wallet once, and boy it was full of all kinds of large Jamaican and U.S. bills. He would always tell us as missionaries to look for your eternal companion, but don’t be obsessed with it. Become anxiously engaged in a good cause and serve the Lord and you will find your eternal companion along the way. He told us that when he was going through college, he bagged groceries at the local supermarket. One day the Football team’s Quarterback walks in with his girlfriend so she could buy some things. President would say, “So here she was, the Quarterback’s girlfriend, right in front of me. I’m waiting to bag her items, and watch her as she turns to her boyfriend and say, ‘I’m short 20 bucks?’  The quarterback replies, ‘I don’t have any money’.   So as I stood there I reached into to my pocket and handed her a 20 dollar bill.” Then he would go on to say, “I’ve been giving her money ever since”.  My short, bald-headed mission president marries the quarterback's pretty girlfriend. He was such a funny man. He would always get up during Zone conferences and butcher my name on purpose so everyone could get a laugh. He would also always say, “Well brethren, God only made a few perfect heads, and the rest he put hair on them.”  I sure miss and love him.

So brethren and sisters, for that matter, don’t ever get discouraged. Stay very busy, study hard, work hard, serve hard in your perspective callings, and the Lord will bless you. For some of you this blessing may never come in this life, but we must endure to the end, regardless of the hand that life has dealt us. Our Heavenly Father has promised to take care of each of us.

President Black would always share this phrase: Become so busy that your sins will die of neglect. You have to always be engaged in something worthwhile, idleness is the devils workshop.

When I got off my mission the one place that helped me feel safe was the Lord’s temple. I attended every day when I first got home. The Temple President noticed me and asked me if I would like to serve as an ordinance worker. I loved that opportunity and it has blessed my life forever. I would encourage you to see your bishop and ask for an opportunity to serve the Lord in the Temple. It will bless your life more than you can imagine.

Brothers and Sisters, just as Adam and our Savior Jesus Christ had a part in our Father’s Plan of Salvation, so do each of us. We all have a part in the Father’s Eternal Plan of Salvation. Please do not let your flesh drag you down. The Savior warns us, as He gave the oath and covenant of the priesthood, I quote D&C 84:43 :

And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.”

The Savior Himself is speaking here and out of everything in this world that He wanted us to be aware of concerning ourselves. Our flesh can drag us down, if we let it. He also warns us to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. The Savior Himself again said to study your scriptures. If we are casual in our prayers and our scripture study, we will not have the power to overcome not only temptation, but even our own selves.

We are living in the last dispensation of the fullness of times. There will not be another apostasy. The next thing to happen is for the Savior to return and rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords upon this earth. After telling His Apostles that He would be leaving to prepare a place for them and that he would be coming back, they asked, “Master, how will we know when to expect your return?”  He then gives the signs of his return. As you all know a lot of those signs have come to pass and are coming to pass before our very eyes. He gives this warning, and I quote from the Joseph Smith translation of Matthew, verse 37 :  “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

My dear brothers and sisters, we must immerse ourselves in the scriptures daily, not merely dipping our feet in it. Elder Scott warns in his October 2014 conference address and I quote:

“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!

There are many prophetic promises of the blessings of daily studying the scriptures.

I add my voice with this promise: as you dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to the study of God’s word, peace will prevail in your life. That peace won’t come from the outside world. It will come from within your home, from within your family, from within your own heart. It will be a gift of the Spirit. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you. You will be doing something very significant to add to the cumulative peace in the world.”

I know this with all my heart to be true. We cannot afford to yield to Satan’s lie, that we don’t have time to study the scriptures. Satan will be powerless against you as long as you study faithfully, as Elder Pearson says, “Everyday, everyday, everyday.”  Brothers and sisters I know this to be true with all my heart. Every time I read through first Nephi my heart yearns to become steadfast and immovable like the valley that father Lehi saw. I know with all my hearth that this is possible through faithfully immersing ourselves in the scriptures - everyday, everyday, everyday.

I know that there is a God in Heaven, I know that the Savior Jesus the Christ is His Son.  He stands at the Head of this church that bears his name. I know with all my heart that the book of Mormon was written by true prophets. Nephi, Alma, King Benjamin, Moroni, are all real men.  I know Joseph saw exactly what he said he saw - the Father and the Son standing in the air above him. I have walked those sacred grounds and have felt our Fathers Love there.

May we all have the courage and determination to daily immerse ourselves in the scriptures. I humbly share these things with you in the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.