Jacob, Nephi’s brother, was known as a man that had a lot of faith in the Lord and that, despite the trials he faced, he had a positive, constant and firm reaction and could not be shaken. Jacob was born in the desert, after his family left Jerusalem and developed his faith in the Lord thanks to the influence of his parents and his brother Nephi. Because of that he received many revelations during his lifetime, ministering of angels and heard the voice of the Lord during his lifetime(see Jacob 7:5).
Due to the choices he made in his life, he could perform that which was assigned to him – to record the history of his people so that all that would read it in the future could benefit from his faith and would be blessed.
Recently, during a conversation with a former missionary, I heard him tell about his experience. He said that, during his mission, he had to constantly exercise faith to make good choices, to be able to reach his objective as a missionary. “I feel extremely blessed; I know the mission was a good training for life. As I practice faith to make good choices I can determine my future and have a life full of happiness”, he added.
As part of a special generation that lives in the threshold of times, we face difficult choices in our daily living, especially in this world that is so troubled and with ethic values being attacked more and more every day. According to our living prophets, our problems are not new, but they are more intense nowadays than they were in the recent past.
If we remember Jacob’s experience when his values and faith were explicitly attacked by Sherem, we can inspire ourselves to choose what is right when we face our daily challenges. Although Sherem was educated and had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people, and could use much flattery and much power of speech to persuade, he didn’t believe in God nor in the future.
Sherem made his choices influenced by the power of evil, even saying that he had been deceived by the enemy. Before his death he declared: “I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God” (Jacob 7:19).
We represent the future of the Church in this continent, and the enemy wants to harm us, he wants to destroy our faith and take us by illusory and attractive ways, that are deadly and will bring much misery to our lives.
Speaking of the mists of darkness in Lehi’s dream, Nephi told his brothers: “The mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost (1 Nephi 12:17).
Nephi was trying to say that when we let ourselves be carried away by the temptations of the enemy, by not doing what is right, we become blind by the consequences of our wrong decisions and we become proud and not teachable. There lies the great danger, for it is at that moment that we make wrong decisions which can lead us to spiritual death.
On June 2nd, 2008, in a meeting with the members of the Church Brazil, President Monson said: “We become what we choose. Our choices determine our destiny”.
And he added: “I trust that we will listen to the advice of our leaders, who are inspired to guide us in the way we should choose. (…) I hope you will listen to those who love you and have the best intentions in their hearts. (…) May we hearken to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. I promise you that if you hearken to the Holy Ghost, if you have a righteous desire in your heart and your behavior reflects that desire, you will be guided by the Holy Ghost”.
What a wonderful promise we heard in our days from a living Prophet! We can count on this precious help when we make our daily choices.
Elder W. Craig Zwick, of the Seventy, once said: “As we make little right choices daily, the Lord will strengthen us and help us choose the right during difficult times.
In Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28 we read: “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward”.
I bear my testimony that as we make good choices today, we will be building a future full of joy that will strengthen our faith and righteousness. I know that, as we partake of that joy, we will be strengthened to continue to persevere in the road that will lead us back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.