By Elder Quentin L. Cook Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“The choices we make are critical—they are the key to our future and happiness.” It was the first line I read when I looked at this article for the first time. I pondered it for a short while and then quickly agreed with the truth that lies behind those words. My life is a prime illustration of how choices have molded me to the person I am today. When I think about the pattern of my early life and compare it to after I joined the Church, I can see how the choices I have made to be baptized ultimately made me happier, more confident, hopeful, and satisfied.
When I was much younger and living at home, I was known as the kind of person that never stuck to something for too long. Always jumping from one thing to another. Mainly because I quickly got bored or discouraged. I admit…I gave up pretty quickly. At times I didn’t have faith in myself that I needed, and sometimes I didn’t have a sound support system around me.
When I came home one day with the conclusion that I was going to leave Catholicism to join the Church of Jesus Christ, I’m sure one of the thoughts in my father’s head was that this will be short-lived. For once, he was wrong. I surprised even myself!
When I chose to be baptized, my life changed. At first, it was not as noticeable, but as time moved along, and I continued to make the choices that were in harmony with the gospel, I began to feel the difference in my life. It has positively affected every aspect of my life. I gained confidence in myself knowing that I am a child of a most loving Father in Heaven and that I have divine qualities that I can tap into. With that confidence, I was able to do things I could never do before, and I did them well. The relationships I gained were healthier, the education I sought was meaningful, I was a better friend to others, I learned (and still am learning) the importance of patience and faith, and I have learned to rely on the Lord in all that I do and say. The choice to join the Church allowed me to surround myself with people who shared the same standards as I did and in turn, I had found the support system I needed to have throughout my life. Indeed I have found the absolute happiness that comes from making righteous choices.
Choices — truly they can make us or break us. ~Emilia Julian
The choices we make are critical—they are the key to our future and happiness.
We live in a world that emphasizes diversity over unity. Many assume that it is virtually impossible for people from different cultures and diverse backgrounds to be united in common goals. Some have asserted, “We lack a unifying narrative to explain how a pluralistic people live” together. Some believe “the world is determined by your single tribal identity. They describe society as a battleground” that “cultivate[s] mistrust, division and emotional frozenness.”
A unifying answer to these assertions is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Righteousness is the underlying principle that brings unity and happiness. I love 2 Nephi chapter 9, which contains incredible instruction about learning, wisdom, wealth, labor, and refusing to see or hear the consequences of sin. It contains profound doctrine that allows us to follow the paths of righteousness that lead to the Savior.
I will share five principles that I believe will contribute to your successful quest for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, righteousness, and knowledge. These objectives can be compatible and complementary. At a practical level, many of you are preparing for family life and the means of supporting your family. Faith, righteousness, and knowledge will greatly assist you in both areas. Any honest labor is worthwhile and to be admired. Work that includes values, meaningfulness, and new ideas and that blesses mankind is particularly significant.
Click on the Liahona Magazine to read the five principles.