Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the various choices and consequences BYU students are facing at the devotional on Feb. 7.
In his address titled, “A Banquet of Consequences — The Cumulative Result of All Choices,” Cook discussed the Word of Wisdom, family choices, financial matters and the influence of the adversary.
“One of the most cunning aspects of the adversary’s efforts to thwart our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness is his deceitful teaching, that there is no evil influence or devil, and his attempt to redefine evil as good and good as evil, darkness as light, and light as darkness, bitter as sweet, and sweet as bitter,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook described a hypothetical meeting with an advertising agent and the adversary. In this meeting, Lucifer, knowing that his plan resulted only in grief and misery, acknowledged that the only way to attract followers was to achieve a paradigm shift. He would characterize the Father’s plan as resulting in grief and misery and his own plan as resulting in joy and happiness.
“The truth is, not only do the enemies of Father’s plan attempt to undermine the doctrine and principles of the plan, but they also attempt to mischaracterize the blessings that flow from the plan,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook then gave the example of the Word of Wisdom and indicated BYU students can be an important voice in educating society about the consequences of this issue.
“We are all pleased that BYU consistently rates as the highest ‘stone cold sober school’.” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook mentioned other schools have been identified as “party schools” in which the word “party” is directly correlated with alcohol.
“To the average young person, particularly those not of our faith, looking for higher education, stone cold sober might sound like misery and party might sound like fun and being joyful,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook then quoted a study called “Decoding Keys to a Healthy Life” conducted by Harvard University. There were three significant insights Elder Cook attained from the study. First, the correlation between adult happiness and happiness in the home; second, the importance of a healthy marriage to life-long happiness; and third, the negative effects of alcohol on happiness and success.
Elder Cook then spoke on the challenges of family life in a modern society. It is fairly common in today’s world to trumpet alternative choices in a positive way that are in direct conflict with God’s plan and are unfavorable to marriage and family, according to Elder Cook.
“Inappropriate alternative choices are painted as appropriate in helping to achieve the worldly goals of freedom and equality,” Elder Cook said. “As a result of such choices the average number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime is declining dramatically.”
This worldwide decline in population has been described, by some, as the “demographic winter”.
Elder Cook illustrated this point by having every person in the Marriott Center who is the third or later child in his or her family stand. Those standing would not have been born, even in the United States, if the current trends applied.
“In all marriages and in raising children there are challenges and sacrifices,” Elder Cook said. “But the rewards both in this life and in the eternities, are breathtakingly beautiful.”
The final topic Cook discussed was financial matters.
“Wise financial principles include seeking the Kingdom of God first, working, planning, and spending wisely, planning for the future, and using wealth to build up the Kingdom of God,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook referenced a talk given by President N. Eldon Tanner entitled “Constancy Amid Change”.
The principles President Tanner taught included: paying an honest tithing, living on less than you earn, learning to distinguish between needs and wants, developing and living within a budget and being honest in all your financial affairs.
Elder Cook concluded his talk by saying it is one thing to be misled by the adversary, it is another to be one of his mercenaries.
He said bad choices result in a banquet of consequences with bitter, rancid, nasty and miserable results.
“Compare this to the glorious banquet of consequences that are promised to you who are faithful,” Elder Cook said. “You will be filled with the glory of the Lord, sanctified by the Spirit and the renewing of your body, and all that the Father hath will be given to you.”