Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has taught: “I can’t stress too strongly that decisions determine destiny. You can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences.”1
Each of you—as we have been taught this conference—is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. You do have a divine nature and destiny.2 During your premortal life you learned to love truth. You made correct eternal choices. You knew that here in mortality, there would be afflictions and adversity, sorrow and suffering, tests and trials to help you grow and progress. You also knew that you could continue making correct choices, repent of incorrect choices, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ inherit eternal life.
What did the prophet Lehi teach about choice? He counseled that we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.” He then instructed, “Ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life.”3
Brothers and sisters, in what we choose to think about, feel, and do, are you and I choosing eternal life?
Our grandchildren are learning that when they make a choice, they also choose its consequences. Recently one of our three-year-old granddaughters refused to eat her dinner. Her mother explained, “It’s almost bedtime. If you choose to eat dinner, you are choosing ice cream for dessert. If you choose not to eat dinner, you are choosing to go to bed now, without ice cream.” Our granddaughter considered her two choices and then stated emphatically, “I want this choice—to play and eat only ice cream and not go to bed.”
Brothers and sisters, do we wish we could play, eat only ice cream, never go to bed, and somehow avoid consequences like malnutrition and exhaustion?
In reality we have only two eternal choices, each with eternal consequences: choose to follow the Savior of the world and thus choose eternal life with our Heavenly Father or choose to follow the world and thus choose to separate ourselves from Heavenly Father eternally.
We cannot successfully choose both the safety of righteousness and the dangers of worldliness.
Excerpt from Elder Randall K. Bennett’s October 2011 General Conference Address, Choose Eternal Life. Elder Randall K. Bennett is a Member Of The Second Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. View Elder Randall K. Bennett’s full address here.