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When Elaine Dalton's oldest son left for his mission, she wanted to do something that would help her develop some of the same kind of discipline and self-control that he was learning as a missionary. So she decided to run a marathon.
Now, years later, she has taken her experiences and insights related to running and woven them into an analogy for an attribute and value she feels passionate about: virtue.
"I have embarked on a journey to reinstate the word virtue into our vocabulary and our lives," Sister Dalton writes. "We call for a social reform, but what is really needed is a moral reform — a call for a return to virtue." As we run life's race, it is virtue, meaning purity and power, that will sustain us through the long miles.
A Return to Virtue is an invitation and a guide to running well the marathon that we call mortality. "Give it 100 percent," says Sister Dalton, "and one day we will be hugging each other and celebrating — victorious — at the finish line!"
- Size: 5½x8½
- Pages: 141
- Published: 08/2011
About the Author
Elaine S. Dalton was born and raised in Ogden, Utah. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University. She was sustained as Young Women general president in April 2008, having previously served as second counselor and as first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. Sister Dalton enjoys running (she has completed seventeen marathons), hiking with her family, and dancing with her granddaughters. She loves to read, especially the scriptures, and she loves the Lord. She and her husband, Stephen E. Dalton, are the parents of five sons and one daughter.
Welcome to the Race
Several years ago, I qualified to run the Boston Marathon. The night before the marathon, in an effort to visualize what it would be like to complete the race, my husband and I went to downtown Boston, about a mile from the finish line. There, in the quiet of the evening, we laced up our running shoes and ran that last mile to the finish. As we crossed the line, we held our hands victoriously high in the air and pretended that we had won the race! We imagined thousands of observers in the stands cheering for us.
The next day, we ran the actual race. Twenty-six point two miles (41.3 km) is a challenging distance. There are hills called “Heartbreak” for a very good reason. The entire time I ran those hills, I kept in mind the finish line and what it had felt like the night before to cross it victorious. That vision helped me to finish the marathon in a pelting, cold, New England storm.
Our vision of the future will help us press forward. As we prepare to succeed in this marathon of mortal life, we might like to start by taking a few minutes to envision where we want to be in one year or two or five. Then we need to take action to prepare ourselves. People don’t just run a marathon when they decide to do it. They must train daily, slowly building stamina and endurance to run the 26.2-mile distance. So it is with life. It is daily diligence with prayer and scripture study that will help us reach our goals. Our daily decisions will influence not only our own present and future lives but the lives of generations to come.
Each one of us has embarked on a journey as a Latter-day Saint. Successful completion of our journey will require strict training. There is no better time than now for us to form eternal habits and make lasting decisions. We have been reserved “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). We will be presented with opportunities that far surpass our greatest expectations. Ours is the challenge and blessing to lead the world in a return to virtue.
What is virtue? Why is it important? And how can each of us join together in this noble and sacred cause?
Let me begin with a simple story of a nine-year-old pioneer girl named Agnes Caldwell. Of her experience in the Willie Handcart Company in 1856, Agnes related: “Although only tender years of age, I can yet close my eyes and see everything in panoramic precision before me—the ceaseless walking, walking, ever to remain in my memory. Many times I would become so tired and, childlike, would hang on the cart, only to be gently pushed away. Then I would throw myself by the side of the road and cry. Then realizing they were all passing me by, I would jump to my feet and make an extra run to catch up.”
She goes on to share: “Just before we crossed the mountains, relief wagons reached us, and it certainly was a relief. The infirm and aged were allowed to ride, all able-bodied continuing to walk. When the wagons started out, a number of us children decided to see how long we could keep up with the wagons, in hopes of being asked to ride. At least that is what my great hope was. One by one they all fell out, until I was the last one remaining, so determined was I that I should get a ride. After what seemed the longest run I ever made before or since, the driver . . . called to me, ‘Say, sissy, would you like a ride?’ I answered in my very best manner, ‘Yes sir.’ At this he reached over, taking my hand, clucking to his horses to make me run, with legs that seemed to me could run no farther. On we went, to what to me seemed miles. What went through my head at that time was that he was the meanest man that ever lived. . . . Just at what seemed the breaking point, he stopped. Taking a blanket, he wrapped me up and lay me in the bottom of the wagon, warm and comfortable. Here I had time to change my mind, as I surely did, knowing full well by doing this he saved me from freezing when taken into the wagon” (in Madsen, I Walked to Zion, 57–59).
Young Agnes Caldwell made it safely to the Salt Lake Valley in November 1856. Her family settled in Brigham City, Utah, where Agnes met and married Chester Southworth. Together, they had thirteen children and, among other righteous service in the kingdom, helped settle a Latter-day Saint colony in Cardston, Alberta, Canada.
Had the driver of that wagon taken Agnes into the wagon without making her run, she would have surely succumbed to the bitter cold. And had Agnes chosen to give up and fall behind, her story may have ended much differently. However, for Agnes this became her defining moment, and though the decision to run did not make perfect sense at the time, she ran anyway. She ran toward Zion—following in the footsteps of the prophet Brigham Young and heeding the voice of the Lord, who said, “Let them awake, and arise, and come forth, and not tarry, for I, the Lord, command it” (Doctrine and Covenants 117:2).
This was the run of her life! It was hard, and she resisted. But by running she was able to generate enough body heat to keep warm and prevent her from freezing during her ride in the wagon.
Each of us is on a journey to Zion, and, like Agnes did, we too must “Awake, and arise, and come forth, and not tarry” (Doctrine and Covenants 117:2). We must remember that Zion is not only a place, it is a state of being, it is “the pure in heart” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:21). And purity of heart must be our goal in order to reach our final destination. We are better prepared and better equipped than any people in the history of the world. We have what it takes, and now is the time for the run of our lives—our run to Zion!
President Thomas S. Monson and those before him have shown us the way. The course is clearly marked, and the pace is steady and strong. We, like Agnes, are being asked to cross the plains. We may not have to give up all of our earthly possessions, but the journey to Zion requires that we give up all of our sins so that we may come to know Him—the true and living Christ. We may even be asked to run to the point of exhaustion; but by doing so the warmth of the Lord’s love will preserve us for the great work yet to come.
In 1838, the Lord told His Saints gathered in Far West, Missouri, “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:5). The pioneers, like young Agnes and her family, who faithfully endured the persecutions heaped on the early Church and then willingly walked away—to Zion—set forth a standard for the nations and for this generation. Their journey had everything to do with their faith and testimony. It had everything to do with Joseph Smith and Moroni and Oliver Cowdery and Nephi and Moses and Joshua and even Thomas S. Monson. And it had and has everything to do with you and me. They sacrificed their all in order to come to Zion and there build a temple to our God. They knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was true. They knew that the blessings to be bestowed in holy temples were necessary for the plan to be accomplished. And they knew, as Moroni repeatedly taught Joseph Smith, that “if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith—History 1:39).
Zion—the pure in heart—was then and is now the goal. It is the cause of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And now is the time, as Mormon and Moroni exhorted, to “be faithful in Christ” (Moroni 9:25) and to “lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing” (Moroni 10:30). Now is the time to “awake, and arise from the dust, . . . that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled” (Moroni 10:31). Now is the time to return to virtue!
A Return to Virtue Is a Return to Purity
Virtue means purity. It begins in the heart and in the mind. “It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards” (Preach My Gospel, 118). A core element of virtue, one that is often ignored by the world, is chastity—meaning sexual purity. Virtue and chastity are inseparably connected. You cannot have one without the other. A return to virtue is a return to purity. Some have said that being virtuous means being kind or honest or having integrity—and those are important. But the center of a virtuous life is chastity, and one simply cannot be honest or possess integrity in the absence of sexual purity. It is impossible. One cannot tamper with the divine spirit and precious body—the eternal soul—of another and be deemed as possessing any kind of virtue or be virtuous. To do this compromises the very agency we fought for in our premortal life.
Some have suggested that virtue is primarily for women, but it is not gender based. The Latin root word for virtue is virtus, which means “strength.” One contemporary meaning states that virtue is an “effective power or force; efficacy; [especially] the ability to heal or strengthen” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary, s.v. “virtue”). Thus virtue applies not just to women but to all.
When the woman in the streets of Jerusalem reached out and touched the hem of the Savior’s garment, she knew she would be healed. Why? Because she recognized His purity and His power. The Savior Himself said, “I perceive that virtue is gone out of me” (Luke 8:46; italics added; see also Mark 5:30; Luke 6:19). The kind of virtue to which He was referring is power, priesthood power, which always accompanies Latter-day Saint men who are pure and practice “virtue and holiness before [the Lord]” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:24).
One cold April day after general conference, I climbed Ensign Peak with my two counselors in the general Young Women presidency, Mary Cook and Ann Dibb. There we unfurled a gold Peruvian shawl—a banner calling for a return to virtue. Atop that peak, as we looked into the valley and viewed the majestic Salt Lake Temple, we knew that a return to virtue meant a return to moral purity. Virtue is the golden key that unlocks temple doors. As Elder Russell M. Nelson taught, the temple is really the reason for everything we do in the Church: “Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house” (“Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” 32). Brigham Young knew that; and there atop Ensign Peak we also knew that to be true.
As we unfurled this banner to the world, we knew that a return to virtue is not only essential, it is critical. We must be worthy to enter the Lord’s holy temple and make and keep sacred covenants and do the work we have been prepared and foreordained to do. No unclean thing can enter into His house.
Just as the driver of that rescue wagon saved Agnes Caldwell from freezing to death, we too have been given the opportunity and privilege to become saviors on Mount Zion—to do for others something they cannot do for themselves. This can happen only when we are worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.
Each of us has a great work to do. What you do and what you decide matters because you matter! You are one of the “choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:53–54).
No wonder Satan has increased the intensity of his attacks. If we can be distracted, delayed, or disqualified from entering into the temple and doing the very work we have been prepared and reserved to do, he wins. What becomes clear is that we must be pure and worthy in order to receive the promptings from the Holy Ghost that we need for the decisions we are making every day. What also becomes clear is that we must remain worthy to enter the Lord’s holy temples.
Much of the sacrifice and work of prior generations has led to this moment. Pioneers sacrificed everything, even their lives, in order that we might see this day. Our advent on the earth is not random. This was all part of the plan we embraced in the premortal realm. We are positioned in a remarkable place in the history of the world. Never before has so much been expected. Never before has so much been given: prophets, scriptures, priesthood, ordinances and covenants, temples, the Book of Mormon, and the gospel in its fullness. We have been prepared, called, and chosen. This is our race.
To accomplish the tasks we have been foreordained to do, our faith must be firmly centered on our Savior, Jesus Christ. We must remember that faith is a principle not only of power but of action. We must act on the faith we already possess. In the premortal realms, each one of us exhibited not just faith but “exceeding faith and good works” (Alma 13:3). As Alma said, each of us was “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God” (Alma 13:3). Men were prepared to receive the priesthood, which would enable them to exercise the power of God while here on the earth. Women were given the noble gift and responsibility to nurture others and become mothers to other choice spirits. We were entrusted with the very powers of godliness—to create a mortal life.
Virtuous people are committed to the sanctity of life. They respect God’s counsel on how life is to be conceived, protected, and nurtured. There is no strength that is greater than the strength of virtue, nor any confidence that is more sure than the confidence of a virtuous life.
In the premortal realm we participated in a war. We fought, armed with our faith and testimonies, to accept and sustain the plan that was presented by God the Father. We knew it was right, and we knew that the Savior would do what He said He would do because we knew Him! There were no neutral spirits in the War in Heaven, and there can be no neutral positions now where choices between right and wrong are to be made. The Lord Himself said, “He that is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30). We stood with Him! We were eager for our mortal assignments. We knew what was going to be required of us. We knew how difficult it would be, and yet we were confident not only that we could accomplish our divine missions but that we could make a difference. As one prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, said of our day:
“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. . . . God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.
“All through the ages the prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation” (“In His Steps,” 59).
A Return to Virtue Could Save a Nation
When Peter wrote his epistle to the early Saints, he told them to “add to [their] faith virtue” (2 Peter 1:5). Faith without virtue would soon languish and die because without virtue there is no purity. Without virtue there is no strength. And without virtue there is no spirituality. It is clear that once we really understand who we are, we must be pure because purity precedes spiritual power (see Ballard, “Purity Precedes Power”). This is not the kind of power we see in the world. It has nothing to do with fame, position, good looks, celebrity, or wealth. Spiritual power and strength have everything to do with virtue.
We live in a world that is concerned about cleanliness and purity—the cleanliness of our air and the cleanliness of our environment, our water, and even our food. In some places we legislate against pollution and even have government-funded environmental protection agencies to ensure that we are not made ill by contaminants that get into our air, our water, or our food supply. Yet society tolerates moral pollution in the form of pornography on billboards, television, and the Internet, and in entertainment and other media. We tolerate filth that invades our minds through suggestive lyrics, music, and language. In some respects we are an organic generation, ensuring purity and quality of many things in our lives; and yet we remain oblivious to the truth that we are polluting our moral fiber. I believe that the lack of virtue in our society is directly responsible for many of our social, financial, and governmental ills. I believe that the disintegration of faith and families, and even financial unrest, are directly related to a lack of virtue in our society. And I believe that a return to virtue could save an entire nation.
We call for a social reform, but what is really needed is a moral reform—a call for a return to virtue. And if we who have been given so much, including the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, don’t lead the world in that return to virtue, who will? We were leaders in the premortal world and stood for everything that is now threatened in society.
During the critical days of World War II, Winston Churchill aroused an entire nation when he said: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival” (in Lukas, Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat, 44). I echo that call for the war in which we are engaged today by paraphrasing the words of Winston Churchill: You ask, what is our aim? I can answer with one word: virtue. Virtue at all costs, virtue in spite of all opposition, virtue, however long and hard the road to repentance may be; for without virtue, there can be no victory.
In the Book of Mormon, Helaman and his stripling warriors were known for their virtue and their ability to trust in their mothers’ testimonies. They were “true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (Alma 53:20). They were covenant keepers, and they fought to ensure that their parents could also keep their covenants. Victory was their aim, and virtue was their strength.
Mormon wrote to his son Moroni about the degenerate society in which he lived. He reported that the people had become so base and immoral that they didn’t value those things that were “most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue” (Moroni 9:9). Could it be that we have reached this point in our society? In a bygone era, those who violated the law of chastity were branded with a scarlet letter. Now that brand and letter seems to be worn by the chaste.
We are preparing for the Savior’s return. We must abhor sin. We must position and prepare ourselves now to be “more fit for the kingdom” (Hymns, no. 131). It has been prophesied that in a coming day, people of all nations will say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, . . . and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law” (2 Nephi 12:3). Will we be the ones to lead this ascent?
Several years ago I was running early in the morning on the day before Thanksgiving with a group of women. We called it our Thanksgiving run, and as we ran we called out things for which we were thankful. I had just finished saying that I was thankful for a strong, healthy body when I slipped and fell on a patch of black ice on the road. As I tried to get up, I realized that I was badly hurt. I knew I had broken my leg just above the ankle—and just thinking about how I knew makes me feel a little faint. My husband said that if I had been an NFL football player, I would have made the highlight films that night.
As I lay there in the road in the shadows of the early morning light, waiting for help to arrive, I saw the lights of a car come speeding down the road right toward where I lay. The car screeched to a stop, and a man jumped out. He said he had thought I was a garbage bag in the road and almost kept going. I asked if he were a member of the Church, and he replied that he was. I asked if he could give me a blessing because the pain was so severe I didn’t know how long I could stay in that condition. He paused and then said: “I can’t. You better wait for your husband to do that.” Then he got in his car and drove away.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was wheeled into a little cubicle in the emergency room, where I waited to be taken into surgery. As they moved the curtains to the side, there were my husband and all five of our sons. As they encircled me and laid their hands on my head, I felt their purity, their power, and their strength. I was then and am still so grateful for righteous priesthood holders who keep themselves pure so that they can be able to use their priesthood power at a moment’s notice. That day I was blessed by such priesthood power, which they exercised in virtue and holiness.
Remain Virtuous in a Toxic World
I truly believe that one virtuous woman or man, led by the Spirit, can change the world! But before we can change the world, we must change ourselves. So what are some of the things we can do right now in order to remain virtuous in a toxic world? What are some of the miles we must run in our race to mortal victory?
First, repent. I am very aware that there are Latter-day Saints who don’t feel virtuous or who have made mistakes. That is why a return to virtue is so important. We can return. We can change.
If I were going the wrong way in the middle of a marathon, and I realized my mistake, would I keep going? No! I would immediately turn around! Why? Because I would have lost valuable time and precious energy and strength, and it would be much harder for me to finish the marathon because of this extra distance and added time. I wouldn’t stay on the wrong course because no matter how long I ran there, I would never reach the finish line. And yet, for many who have made a moral mistake, a little voice keeps saying: “You blew it. You can’t change. No one will ever know anyway.” To you I would say, Don’t believe it. As it says in For the Strength of Youth, “Satan wants you to think that you cannot repent, but that is absolutely not true” (30). A return is always possible because of the Savior’s Atonement.
President Monson has said to each of us who have made mistakes: “If any of you has slipped along the way, there are those who will help you to once again become clean and worthy. Your bishop or branch president is anxious and willing to help and will, with understanding and compassion, do all within his power to assist you in the repentance process, that you may once again stand in righteousness before the Lord” (“Examples of Righteousness,” 65–66).
Some of you have been abused and are victims of the sinful acts of others. As Mormon said, you have been deprived “of that which [is] most dear and precious above all things, . . . chastity and virtue” (Moroni 9:9). Please know that you are not to blame, for you have not sinned and repentance is not required. Because of the Savior’s Atonement, healing is possible. The Savior suffered not only for our sins and imperfections, but He also took upon Himself our sorrows (see Alma 7:11). Through His infinite Atonement He will heal you and give you peace. Run to Him. Because of our Savior’s Atonement, God the Father will hear your prayers. He will answer through the Holy Ghost and others who will be placed in your path.
I am so grateful for this doctrine and for the principle of repentance. Without it, none of us could ever return to our heavenly home pure and worthy to dwell in the presence of God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the restoration of priesthood power on the earth in these latter days that enables us to receive the help we need to return to virtue. This power also enables us to remain “unspotted from the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9) as we partake of the sacrament worthily. Each week as we renew our covenants, we promise to keep His commandments, to take His name upon us, and to always remember Him. And He, in turn, promises that we can always have His Spirit to be with us (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79).
In a world that is so enticing and so appealing, it is imperative for each of us to receive, recognize, and rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost. This wondrous gift will show each of us “all things [that we] should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). That is an absolute promise because the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. Some of His roles are to teach, testify, comfort, and warn. This precious gift also purifies and sanctifies. Thus the Holy Ghost and virtue are inextricably connected. We can be purified “by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31:17), which will bring us closer to the point where “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).
Second, be careful about your choice of friends. In today’s technological society, we may spend more time with nonhuman companions than we do with our peers. Although we may be very careful about our human companions, sometimes we give little thought to the other companions that we allow to influence us. Media of any kind can be a very powerful social influencer. We have all been given three precious gifts for our mortal experience. These include our body, our agency, and our time. If Satan can entice us to use our time in unfocused or unproductive or—even worse—nonvirtuous pursuits and then deceive us into believing that if we do this in private our actions don’t affect anyone, he is victorious. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we [must] seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
Seek the companionship of virtuous friends, not virtual friends. Remember, “virtue loveth virtue [and] light cleaveth unto light” (octrine and Covenants 88:40).
Third, enter a program of strict training. When training for a marathon, one has to have a strict training plan in order to be prepared to go the distance. This same concept applies to life. We are in the run of our life, and there must be a strict training plan. The components of success in this plan include things we will do every single day, without fail, in order to invite the Spirit’s companionship into our life. They will be different for each of us but will always include daily prayer. Our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and He will answer them. I testify that that is true. Our challenge is to be in a place where we can hear and recognize the answers.
Strict training should also include daily reading of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith said that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461). This record is for us in this last dispensation. The Book of Mormon will increase our faith in Jesus Christ, and it is through our faith that we will be able to withstand temptation.
Press Forward—Don’t Get Discouraged!
Let me add just one more suggestion to this list: “Press forward with . . . a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20). Don’t get discouraged! Our journey will be challenging at times.
As I have studied the scriptures, it has become increasingly clear to me that the Lord takes His chosen people out of their comfort zones again and again and tutors them on the things that really matter. For example, on the first leg of the Jaredites’ journey, they landed on a beach, and they stayed there for four years. They were really in a comfort zone! In fact, they became so comfortable that they forgot to call upon the Lord. But the Lord had a different experience in mind for them. He chastened the brother of Jared for three hours. He told him in advance that the next leg of the journey would be difficult—that he would be submerged in the depths of the sea and driven by the winds. But He also reassured him with six beautiful words: “I prepare you against these things” (Ether 2:25). The Lord will prepare you, and He will prepare a way for you!
Sometimes I think we totally underestimate the great blessings we might have and the knowledge we might gain if we were willing to move out of our comfort zones. Perhaps that is why Nephi observed:
“Wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
“Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
“Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!” (2 Nephi 28:24–26).
It has been said that we are becoming a generation of spectators and critics. One of my favorite quotations, from President Theodore Roosevelt, says: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat” (in Edmunds, Colonel Roosevelt, 47).
Do not be just a spectator or a critic. You didn’t do that in the premortal realm. You weren’t neutral then. You stood firm. Do not allow the very voices who cry for tolerance to not tolerate you or your view. This is the arena where all that you defended and chose then is taking place now. Do not get tired or distracted or disqualified! Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and “press forward with . . . a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20).
Virtue Brings the Blessings of Eternity
The words of Doctrine and Covenants section 121 are for those who are called and chosen and who endure valiantly. They are for each one of us in these trying days, just as they were for Joseph Smith and the Saints in those trying days of the early Church: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God [and] the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion” (vv. 45–46).
When we are virtuous, we are promised that we shall confidently stand in His presence—holy and like Him. We are promised priesthood power, the very power of godliness, because we are virtuous. We are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, who testifies, directs, warns, comforts, and sanctifies. And finally, we are promised that we shall have eternal life, the greatest of all God’s gifts. We will be like Him—pure even as He is pure.
The journey to Zion—the pure in heart—will take everything you and I have. I pray that each one of us will have the desire and strength to move out of our comfort zones as we prepare for the run of our lives and, like Agnes Caldwell, reach up and take the Master’s hand. His promise is for each of us: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88). There may be some steep hills ahead, but our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has promised to climb with us every step of the way.
by Toni - reviewed on October 11, 2011
Loved this book! It's great to hear the concern for family the author has. I love her enlarged meaning and definition of Virtue-that it is MUCH more than just moral purity-even though that is an important part of it. Virtue IS power and such a necessary value always and especially now. Thank you for this book.
We all need to read this one!
by Marlee - reviewed on November 12, 2011
Sister Dalton gives a beautiful synopsis of the most important safeguards required to navigate the treacherous days we live in. She lends her beautiful testimony to richly reiterate Sister Beck's testimony of Motherhood and the Divine Calling of women. No one can doubt she is a mother who knows. Sister Dalton is able to bear witness of truth as a wife and a mother to women of all walks of life and just as poignantly to all ages.