Stay by the Tree

I know about 50 guys in the Addiction Recovery Program.  Most of these are returned missionaries, including myself. I was touched by the talk given by Elder Kevin W. Pearson in April Conference.  It was addressed to missionaries past and present. The following are excerpts from that talk that pertain to each of us.
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To all missionaries past and present: You simply cannot return from your mission, do a swan dive back into Babylon, and spend endless hours scoring meaningless points on pointless video games without falling into a deep spiritual sleep. Nor can you indulge in online pornography and ignore virtue and chastity without dire spiritual consequences. If you lose the Spirit, you are lost. Don’t be distracted and deceived.

True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service. Stay by the tree and stay awake.
Lehi’s vision of the tree of life is a powerful parable on enduring to the end. Please prayerfully study and ponder Lehi’s dream; then liken it unto yourself. As you do, carefully consider six important principles that help us endure to the end.
  1. Don’t Forget to Pray: “When life gets dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray.” 
  2. Come unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him: ”We can fill our lives with accomplishment and well-doing, but in the end, if we do not enter into sacred covenants to follow Christ and faithfully keep them, we will have utterly and completely missed the mark.
  3. Press Forward with Faith: God’s commandments are strict but not restrictive. They protect us from spiritual and physical danger and prevent us from getting lost.
  4. The Book of Mormon Is Key to Spiritual Survival: When adversity comes, don’t let something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know. Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! 
  5. Don’t Be Distracted and Deceived: Heeding those who do not believe in Christ will not help you find Him. They are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They may be politically correct, but they are spiritually lost.
  6. Stay by the Tree: If we stop doing those things that bring about deepening conversion, we regress spiritually. Apostasy is the reverse of conversion.

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