Elder Scott D. Whiting posed two powerful questions to BYU students during his devotional address on Dec. 8.
He repeated the question asked by the Savior to his disciples in the Gospel of John, “Will ye also go away?” and Peter’s reply, “To whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
Elder Whiting asked students to ponder if they would leave the Savior if answers were not immediately forthcoming or if family members or friends strayed from the covenant path. “When a doubt — whether it be historical, doctrinal, social or otherwise — enters your mind, will you also go away?”
He then invited students to think about where they would turn if they chose to turn away from Christ.
“Will you go to those who mock sacred things, who ridicule the prophets, who hurl their digital stones and arrows at those who sound the warning voice? Will you go to the charismatic, the disaffected, the dissident, those seeking company as they wallow in their own inward misery?” he asked.
Elder Whiting warned that many people seek to validate their own decisions to leave the Church by inviting disciples off the path who may be experiencing low moments.
“My dear brothers and sisters, we cannot afford to leave the path of discipleship; we cannot afford to leave the care of our teacher,” he said.
He said the Savior is the perfect example of staying on the path and gave students five ways to deepen their discipleship: obedience, enduring to the end, remembering those in need, service, and loving one another.
Elder Whiting said obedience is not just about keeping the “big” commandments; students can also find ways to deepen their discipleship by loving their enemies and by living the BYU Honor Code, which, while not a commandment, is a commitment BYU students make to enroll at the university.
“You committed to live by the Honor Code as a condition of enrollment,” Elder Whiting said. “Personal integrity, demonstrated by being a man or woman of your word, is an important element of the law of obedience and is a means of deepening your discipleship.”
Elder Whiting also encouraged students to continue in faith, repentance, and in living worthy of a current temple recommend. He invited students to give to the poor, even when their own resources are limited, remembering that it is the sacrifice, rather than the amount, that invites the Lord’s blessings.
He invited students to “sustain or increase” their efforts to serve others, promising that turning outward would allow them to come to know the Savior more fully.
He then said that loving one’s neighbor is an integral part of discipleship, but warned against inverting the first and second great commandments.
“A true disciple does not try to change the Teacher, His teachings, nor His laws of discipleship. Jesus warned of this when He taught, ‘The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord,’” Elder Whiting said, quoting Matthew 10:24.
Elder Whiting said one of Satan’s lies is that being aligned with the Lord means questioning those who have been called to lead and direct His kingdom on earth. “Please guard against this increasingly popular and potentially spiritually fatal deception by remembering that sometimes the best way to love your neighbor is actually to advocate and stand for the teachings of the Master.”