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True to Yourself

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, Aloha.

We are grateful to have this very special opportunity to be here on this beautiful day in Hawaii. I’ve had a very difficult time choosing a topic that would apply to all of us. There are so many and naturally being the Temple President you would expect me to talk about the temple. The topic that I have chosen has been a tremendous blessing in my life and unfortunately also a big challenge. I had to really find myself before I could really be true to myself.

I grew up in the church but really just went through the motions. Attending three meetings on Sundays was a real challenge. Like most young men I loved sports. We attended Priesthood in the morning, Sunday school in the afternoons and Sacrament meetings in the evening. Between every meeting a group of young men would be playing at the ballpark. I was 15 or 16 when upon returning to sacrament meeting a young man in our ward talked about following counsel given to him to keep the Sabbath Day holy and making right choices.

He was an all-state swimmer and had chosen not to participate in a swimming meet the previous Sunday. He bore testimony of the joy he felt in obeying his parent’s counsel. Then he said something that changed my life forever. He said that he knew that Heavenly Father directed him to make the right choice and to be true to his beliefs. My heart was beating rapidly and I was moved by his words and the Spirit as I sat there. I searched this question deeply... do I really know that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is truly His Son. I prayed for an answer and eventually received a testimony of that truth.

The first step in being ‘True to Yourself’ is to have an unshakeable testimony that God is the Father and that Jesus Christ is His Son. Have you ever been asked the question – where is God? If faith in God’s existence and your relationship to him is lost while you acquire an education (not as common here as at other non-LDS colleges) you will also lose your testimony that you are his child, that he loves you, that he is the creator of the universe and that you can go to him in prayer and that he will listen. I share a small part of Douglas L. Callister’s presentation – “Our God is God.” If you wish

to observe a miracle, look at a baby’s creased hand. Its initial movements are uncontrolled. Shortly after the child’s birth, the hand will be able to grasp, curl, push, lift, sense hot and cold, respond to pain by withdrawing, heal itself, and display great strength and extraordinary sensitivity. These hands will be used thousands of times each day without forethought. Your miraculous thumb is controlled by nine individual muscles and three major hand nerves. Sir Isaac Newton is reported to have said: “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”... The infant Son of Man once possessed tiny hands. His hands, too, grew to accomplish their intended purposes. He used them to touch and heal the blind and infirm. His hands threw the money changers out of the temple. His hands reached upward in prayer, outward in blessing, and downward from the cross [penetrated by cruel nails, driven through the palms, then the wrist, by the heavy blow of the mallet.]

The fool proclaims in his heart that there is no God, but our eyes, hands, hearts, and souls unhesitantly testify to the contrary. The Psalmist wrote “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”1 (Psalms 139:14) 2

I pray that we will take the first step in being ‘True to Yourself’ by having a testimony through study and prayer that we have a loving Heavenly Father and that Jesus is the Christ as I did as a young man being moved upon by the Spirit to know for myself that OUR GOD IS GOD.

Being ‘True to Yourself’ also means being spiritually converted. In Mosiah 5:1-2,5 King Benjamin addresses his subjects, most of whom were members of the Church and touches their hearts and stirs them to search their souls in self-appraisal.

“And now, it came to pass that when King Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.

“And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty a change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually

“And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days.”3

There are six specific steps described here in their spiritual conversion:
1) They were taught the truth.
2) Spirit certifies and testifies.
3) A mighty change in the hearts.
4) They had no more dispositions to do evil.
5) Desire to do good continually.
6) Enter into a new covenant to obey God’s commandments.

King Benjamin replied in Mosiah 5:7, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”4

After being spiritually converted we may now look inward to self-evaluation. Am I true to myself and to that which I have been taught and know? The foundation of our character is integrity. It is upon which all other virtues stand. It is the cornerstone of our spirituality. It is a virtue that every man or woman of God must possess in abundance. Integrity is a virtue found in every true follower of Jesus Christ. It is our integrity that will impact our happiness, our peace of mind and our ability to fulfill our life’s mission. Integrity means standing up for what you believe and never denying the truths that you know. An incident in the life of Joseph F. Smith bears out this point.

In the fall of 1857, the 19 year old Joseph F. was returning from his mission Hawaii, and in California he joined a wagon train. It was a volatile time for the Saints. Johnston’s army was marching toward Utah, and many had bitter feelings toward the church. One evening several hoodlums rode into camp, cursing and threatening to hurt every Mormon they could find. Most in the wagon train hid in the brush down by a nearby creek. But young Joseph F. thought to himself “Should I run from these fellows? Why should I fear them?” With that he marched up with his arm full of wood to the campfire where one of the ruffians still with his pistol in his hand, shouting and cursing about the ‘Mormons’, in a loud voice said to Joseph F. ‘Are you a Mormon?’ And the answer came strait, ‘Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.’ At that the ruffian grasps him by the hand and said: ‘Well, you are the (blanket-blank) pleasantest man I ever met! Shake, young fellow, I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions.’”5 Integrity means being true to yourself, who you are and what you stand for as a latter-day son and daughter of God.

Being true to others, meaning that you will do what you say you will do and that your word is good. Integrity gives you confidence and peace of mind whereas the opposite always has painful consequences. An example that I am sure we have all experienced while driving, I am referring to the infamous stop sign. When we started driving we made a complete stop. Soon we would be doing what we call a rolling stop. Then we would glance left and right to see if it was clear and not stop at all. This happens until we see the blue light flashing. We get a ticket or tragically have an accident. Three lessons can be learned from this example. First we can go from complete observance to complete disregard of a law. Secondly our demise started with a small crack in our integrity. The minute we talk ourselves into taking small liberties with the law we are on a slippery slide into full scale disobedience. And thirdly there is no such thing as taking a small liberty or slightly breaking the law whether a law of the land or a law of God because a slight breach of integrity opens the door to Satan.

Helaman’s stripling warriors are a good example. 

They performed “every word of command with exactness” and “were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.”6

In other words they kept their covenants with precision, and they could be counted on to do whatever they said they would do. They were true blue, through and through. They clearly understood that a halfhearted 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.” 7

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 defining the line between integrity and infidelity, a line that when we cross we risk losing control of our thoughts, motives and actions. 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 I will not let it go.”8

We live in a world filled with pressure – pressure to accomplish, pressure to get ahead, pressure to be smarter than we are, pressure to conform, pressure to be popular. None of us are perfect. We all have flaws. How, then, under repeated pressure, can we avoid allowing small cracks in our integrity to form? How can we be sure that our character is structurally sound? How can we stay true to ourselves, to others and to Our Father and His Son? May I make a few suggestions that will help us to stay men and women of integrity?

1) Decide today once and for all that you will be worthy of trust.
2) Do what you say you will do.
3) Make and keep covenants. The covenants when partaking of the sacrament and later the covenants of the temple.
4) Always stand up for what you believe.
5) Integrity is not just doing what is legal but that which is moral and Christlike.
6) Make decisions based on eternal implications. Vow never to do anything that would jeopardize your eternal salvation.
7) Make no alibis or excuses.
8) Integrity is NOT governed by the presence of others. It is internally and not externally driven. The true test is decisions that we make when no one is around and when we are in a place where no one knows us.
9) Disclose the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10) Never, ever give up.

I have often caught myself drifting away from my spiritual goals or spiritual mind and having my thoughts been taken over by work, sports, TV or current events. I find that I need to refocus and return to the things that really matter and to my purpose here on Earth. Be very careful and keep your thoughts in check. Your mind is the most powerful or destructive tool that you have in your possession. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”9

A man is literally what he thinks. How can a man possibly not become what he is thinking? Our thinking carves out our character. President David O. McKay said, “Your tools are your ideals. The thought in your mind at this moment is contributing, however infinitesimally, almost imperceptibly to the shaping of your soul, even to the lineaments of your countenance even passing and idle thoughts leave their impression. Trees that can withstand the hurricane, sometimes yield to destroying pests that can scarcely be seen except with the aid of a microscope. Likewise, the greatest foes of the individual are not always the glaring evils of humanity but subtle influences of thought and of continual association with companions.” 

James Allen said, “Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will affect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot. It rapidly crystalizes into habit, and habit solidifies into [circumstance].”10

There has never been a man or woman who have committed a sin without first thinking about it. “For as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” 9 “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.” 11

President David O. McKay loved to say,

Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny.
Such is the power – and the outcome – of our thoughts.12

You are in the right place, doing the right things. President Gordon B. Hinckley often counseled us to “Stay the Course” and “Be true to Yourself”. I would suggest that we take an inventory of how we are doing every six months.

A good exercise to follow is found in Preach My Gospel, Attribute Activity, page 126.13

My dear Brothers and Sisters I bear testimony that as you are true to yourself and think with your spiritual minds the promise of joy and happiness now for all the eternities will be yours. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



1. “Our God is God” by Elder Douglas L. Callister
2. Psalms 139:14
3. Mosiah 5:1,2,5
4. Mosiah 5:7
5. Gospel Doctrine, page 518
6. Alma 57:21; 53:20
7. Articles of Faith 1:13
8. Job 27:5-6
9. Proverbs 23:7
10. Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, page 105
11. Doctrine & Covenants 121:45
12. Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, page 115
13. Preach My Gospel, page 126