Education Week: Enticements provide opportunities for spiritual growth

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed the BYU Education Week during the devotional on August 21. (Ty Mullen)

As Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stepped up to the podium and welcomed the Education Week attendees, she remarked, “I had the sweetest and most distinct impression last week that my great-great-great grandfather and my great-great-great grandmother had something to do with my speaking here today.”

“His name is Brigham Young,” she said, followed by audience laughter. “It’s good to have support from both sides of the veil.”

During her devotional address, Sister Jones spoke of overcoming enticements and protecting personal agency.

To illustrate the main focus of her message, Sister Jones read the words of Lehi from the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 2:

“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”

Sister Jones focused on the specific word, “entice.” Its definition is “to attract or tempt,” she said.

She shared a personal experience which occurred a few years ago. One beautiful spring morning as she was happily driving to the temple, Sister Jones was caught in a “speed trap” and was pulled over by a police officer.

Much to her dismay, she was given a ticket, and feelings of failure and shame overwhelmed her. She said she began to feel unworthy to enter the Lord’s temple.

After a few moments of allowing herself to be engulfed by negative thoughts and an awareness of personal weaknesses, Sister Jones “came to herself” and plead with God for forgiveness for giving into the darkness.

She then said she was then filled with love from the Lord and realized the lies she had permitted to enter her mind had affected her knowledge of individual worth and, if she had allowed them to continue, could have prevented her to miss a spiritual opportunity in the temple.

As Sister Jones has reflected on this experience, she’s realized that she had two choices in that moment: to continue in faith to the temple, or to let the speeding ticket ruin the rest of her day.

“Are we aware that we are continually being enticed to progress or regress?” Sister Jones asked.

She explained that, like her experience, everyone is constantly bombarded with choices and is required to choose between good and bad. According to Sister Jones, enticements influence our choices, and can come in the form of a temptation which leads to doubt and fear, or happiness and blessings which lead to confidence and “the fruit of the spirit.”

“The world is filled with enticements for the very purpose of encouraging us to act on our God-given agency,” she said. 

Sister Jones provided other examples of positive and negative enticements prominent in our daily lives, such as food, poor health, fellow drivers on the road, coworkers, family members and friends.

“Enticements, both positive and negative are real, and it is what we choose to do with them when they occur that will make all the difference in our daily lives,” she said. “They are all there for our spiritual growth.”

Sister Jones suggested that when an enticement comes, the first thing to do is pray. Quoting a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants, the theme of the 2018 BYU Education Week, she encouraged listeners to look to the Lord in every thought.

“Simply put, the gospel of Jesus Christ works,” Sister Jones said. I challenge you this week and beyond to watch for the enticements, to treasure and protect your agency, and to look unto Him in your every thought.”

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