Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. - Ezra Taft Benson

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, Lord, Keep My Rudder True

Excerpts from "Oh, Lord, Keep My Rudder True" by Jeffrey R. Holland; President of Brigham Young University when this devotional address was given on 21 January 1986.

"Loyalty is for the loyal man not only a good, but for him the chief amongst all the moral goods of his life, because it furnishes. . . him a personal solution [to] the hardest of [all] human . . .problems, the problem: "For what do I live?" [The Philosophy of Loyalty (New York: Macmillan Co., 1908), p. 57]

"It is loyalty--loyalty to true principles and true people and honorable institutions and worthy ideals--that unifies our purpose in life and defines our morality. Where we have no such loyalties or convictions, no standards against which to measure our acts and their consequences, we are unanchored and adrift, "driven with the wind and tossed," says the scripture (James 1:6) until some other storm or problem or appetite takes us another direction for an equally short and unstable period of time."

"...for "to make [young people] capable of honesty," according to John Ruskin, "is the beginning of education." Samuel Johnson said it even better, "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful" (Emerson Roy West, Vital Quotations [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], p. 177).

".....At the start of a new calendar year and the beginning of another important academic semester, may I invite you to examine your very soul, to look deeply within your habits and inclinations and measure your loyalties against the divine standard of our Savior, Jesus Christ. How prepared are you for the difficult things you may yet face in acquiring an education or serving a mission or raising a family or defending your beliefs? As preparation for the assault that will yet be made upon your character and convictions, is it hoping too much to see you cherish clear language and clean entertainment and hard work and disciplined behavior? If we were, this very hour, in a fictional foxhole somewhere against an enemy who put our eternal lives at risk, would I be safe in your hands? Would you be safe in mine?"

"Montaigne's ancient cry of the storm-tossed sailor comes to mind: "Oh, Lord, thou shalt save me if thou please; if not, thou shalt lose me; yet Lord will I keep my rudder true" (see Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays, book II, chapter 16).