Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the First Quorum of the Seventy offered four essential lessons to students who may be struggling with decision-making during the Feb. 4 Devotional address.
“Four lessons of inspired decision-making by Nephi in the well-known opening chapter of the Book of Mormon, if applied, can reduce your fears and increase your confidence to go forward,” Elder Perkins said.
The first lesson is to “qualify for the Spirit by obeying commandments.” Elder Perkins counseled that in order to stay close to the Lord, we must follow the commandments. Some examples included reading the scriptures and praying daily, attending Church meetings, following the living prophets’ counsel and serving others.
Elder Perkins explained that Nephi was not perfect and was often very hard on himself, but he understood the power of the Atonement so that he could remain worthy for the company of the Holy Ghost.
“You too are not perfect, yet perfection is not a prerequisite to personal revelation,” Elder Perkins said. “The prerequisite is daily repentance because ‘all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’”
The lesson teaches that through the Atonement and obeying commandments, students can have the Spirit to guide them while making these tough decisions.
“I loved the example of Nephi walking by faith, because it’s especially applicable to my life as a student with so many life-altering decisions to make in such a short amount of time,” said Cameron Papenfuss, a junior studying accounting.
The second lesson Elder Perkins taught was to “move forward in faith, even without perfect knowledge.” He introduced the lesson with a story from Nephi’s life when he was asked to leave Jerusalem and move into the wilderness. During this move, Nephi did not receive revelation from God that showed his whole plan; he received bits and pieces of revelation from time to time.
“Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in every way while on this earth, and that includes developing our ability to weigh facts, render judgments and make decisions,” Elder Perkins said. “But he also invites us to bring our decisions to him in prayer.”
Elder Perkins discussed three ways that personal revelation can be achieved, quoting Elder Richard G. Scott, who said we can feel peace that our decision is right through confirming assurance, an absence of peace, an unsettled feeling or no revelatory response at all, telling us that there is a divine trust in our decision-making abilities.
“The counsel enhances my perspective because I recognize that my present circumstances are a gift from Heavenly Father,” said Meg Whittaker, a freshman studying public relations. “I know we are put at a specific place and time because there are lessons our Heavenly Father wants us to learn and people he wants us to serve.”
The third lesson presented during the Devotional was to “commit fully to inspired decisions and live in the present.” Elder Perkins compared Laman and Lemuel to some students today. Nephi’s brothers agreed to leave Jerusalem but never brought their hearts with them on the journey.
Elder Perkins said some students let things like schoolwork, a job, moving into a new ward or even marriage be undertaken half-heartedly and therefore suffer, just as Laman and Lemuel half-heartedly leaving Jerusalem.
“You will experience greater progress in life when you wholly commit to your decisions and strive to excel in your current circumstances even while you have an eye open to the future,” Elder Perkins said.
The last lesson provided by Elder Perkins is to “draw on the strength of trusted loved ones to sustain the journey.” These trusted loved ones can help during the difficult process of decision-making and can help you to stay on the right course.
For Elder Perkins, this “trusted anchor” is his wife, who has helped him make many difficult decisions including their move to China, and the option of whether to stay abroad or to move elsewhere. Just as Nephi did, Elder Perkins trusts his wife during the hard process of decision making.
“I invite each of you to become the type of person that your current or future spouse can draw on for wise counsel and strength,” Elder Perkins said.
The next Devotional will be given at the Marriott Center by Suzanne Julian of the Harold B. Lee Library on Feb. 11 at 11:05 a.m.