While I was in Reno over the summer the singles ward had a high council speaker who talked on the topic of “Decisions Determine Destiny” from President Monson. When I got back to vegas I looked more into the things he said that had really stuck with me. I came to find out that this has been a theme of President Monson’s for several years now; there were MANY conference talks that touched on this topic, and all of them equally wonderful!
In the scriptures we learn that we have that choice to choose life and liberty through Christ or captivity through Lucifer. We've been given the right to choose, we have our agency. It’s the only thing in this life that is truly ours to either give to God, or to use for bad.
President Monson said, “No choice is insignificant, for we become what we think about. Our choices determine our destiny. In Lewis Carroll’s delightful classic Alice finds herself coming to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path should I take?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn't really matter which path you take.” Unlike Alice, each of you knows where you want to go. It matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life surely leads to the path we shall follow in the next.
The first time I read that quote I thought of a conversation Bishop and I had last week. He asked me when I knew I had a testimony of the gospel, when I knew it was true. I couldn't think of just one big defining moment to tell him. A flood of things came to my mind instead: moments I had in the temple with the ward, the process of reading my scriptures every morning until I finally finished the Book of Mormon for the first time earlier this year, learning new things in institute, the over whelming feeling of joy I felt when I bore my testimony a couple months ago on fast Sunday. My decision to move back to vegas, which was ultimately for health reasons, but brought me to my amazing ward and back into the church. Praying for help and being able to see the Lord’s hand work in my life. All these decisions were little in the grand scheme of things but all added up together have built my faith and testimony. No choice is insignificant.
So what are some of the choices or decisions from the scriptures big or small that had a large effect in the end that we could relate to our own lives?
1. An example from the Bible of a wrong choice with a large consequence would be David and Bath-sheba.
2 2. A BoM reference would be Lamen and Lamuel vs Nephi in getting the Golden Plates.
3 3. The biggest one I can think of is the decision a teenager made to kneel down and prayer about which church to attend. That teenager being Joseph Smith. From that small and simple prayer began the restoration of this Gospel.
President Monson said, "Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny. I plead with you to make a determination right here, right now, not to deviate from the path which will lead to our goal: eternal life with our Father in Heaven. There are countless worthy goals to reach as we travel through life. Needed is our commitment to reach them. No temptation, no pressure, no enticing can overcome us unless we allow it such. If we make the wrong choice, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
I know that even the littlest of decisions can make all the difference. I've seen it in my own life whether for good or bad. I can see how much easier it is to live righteously when I make the choice to spend time with friends that share the same values as I do vs. those who don’t. I can see the difference in my day when I start it with scripture reading or maybe I play a general conference talk instead of music while I get ready for school. Like President Monson said we've been given the tools to make the righteous choices that lead us to our righteous destinies. The rest is left up to us!