Personal Purity Through Self-Discipline

Personal Purity Through Self-Discipline

Personal Purity through Self-discipline

We Can Learn to Discipline Ourselves...

“Everyone else was doing it, so why shouldn’t I? The commandments only said we shouldn’t take the Lord’s name in vain. I found myself trying to justify my reasons for swearing, but it wasn’t helping. I knew that it was wrong to swear, even if all my friends did it. It kept bothering me, and I finally decided that I had better do something about my problem. I felt somehow ‘dirty’ and unworthy to approach the Lord in prayer. But I knew that if I didn’t repent, it would just make matters worse.

“I started to try to control myself for just one day. I knew I had made swearing a habit. I heard so many vulgar expressions all day long at school that it seemed natural to swear also. I decided I would try to get through one day without doing it.

“The first day I consciously tried, and I did all right until lunchtime. Then everyone was excited and noisy, and before I knew it, my mouth had run right along with my emotions. I hardly realized I had said it; but when I was once again aware of my habit, I felt disappointed and sick inside.

“That night I prayed very hard and asked for strength. The next day I got up the courage to tell my two best friends at school that I didn’t feel good about our language and that I was trying to change. I tried again that day.

“I had no idea that it would be so hard. Somehow I always felt that living the gospel would always be easy. It took four days untilI finally made it through one day without swearing. I was so excited but knew that each day I would have to be very careful. It would be too easy to slip and get back into my old habits.

“I kept praying all through this time for strength. I progressed and stopped the bad language, but I didn’t feel that I had been forgiven. Then we had a testimony meeting in our Young Women meeting. I asked my friends to forgive me for the bad example I had been. I felt the Spirit there so strongly that I couldn’t suppress my desire to bear my testimony. I expressed my love for my Heavenly Father and for his Son and for the gospel. When I had finished, it was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I knew that I had been forgiven.”

(“Lesson 32: Personal Purity through Self-discipline,” Young Women Manual 1,[2002],139)

Consider the counsel given by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Now may I make a recommendation? Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You need only to decide some things once. How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. To do such is time-consuming and very risky.

“Likewise, my dear young friends, the positive things you will want to accomplish need be decided upon only once—

like going on a mission and living worthily in order to get married in the temple—and then all other decisions related to these goals can fall into line. Otherwise, each consideration is risky, and each equivocation may result in error. There are some things Latter-day Saints do and other things we just don’t do. The sooner you take a stand,

the taller you will be!”

(President Kimball Speaks Out, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 94)

We are at a time in the world’s history when Satan is marshalling all his forces to lead the people off the strait and narrow path. Fortunately, most members of the Church are clear about who it is they will serve. Like Joshua of old, they proclaim, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

I hope and pray that you great young people of the Church will have the courage to consistently choose the right.

Have the conviction deep in your hearts to live the kind of life that will cause you to make the right choices,

not only for peace and happiness in the world right now, but also for peace and happiness eternally.

I promise you that you will receive everlasting happiness if you will consistently choose to do what is right.

(L. Tom Perry, “CTR,” New Era, Nov 1994, 4)


By Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself, and so,

I want to be fit for myself to know;

I want to be able as days go by,

Always to look myself straight in the eye;

I don't want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I've done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself,

And fool myself as I come and go

Into thinking that nobody else will know

The kind of man I really am;

I don't want to dress myself up in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,

I want to deserve all men's respect;

But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,

I want to be able to like myself.

I don't want to think as I come and go

That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me,

I see what others may never see,

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself- and so,

Whatever happens, I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.

“One of the false notions of our society is that we are victims of our appetites and passions. But the truth is that the body is controlled by the spirit which inhabits it.”

(Terrance D. Olson, “Teaching Morality to Your Children,” Ensign, Mar. 1981, p. 14)

“Some become enslaved with compulsive habits or yield to appetites or to improper actions, and plead that they are helpless before their habit—that they are compelled, persuaded; that temptation was stronger than their will to resist. But we canchoose. … Wecan break bad habits; wecanacquire good habits; we canchoose what wethink by the sheer determination to do so.”

(Richard L. Evans, “Self Control,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1963, p. 1113)

“When you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives.”

(Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 2:256; italics added)