The Need to Control our Thoughts
In our world today it seems that the Law of Chastity is the law of God which is broken in a manner in which people justify their actions as being "natural" and thus its "OK". Well, according to our Father in Heaven, breaking the Law of Chastity is NOT OK. It never has been and it never will be. This article has been written more for the breaking of the Law of Chastity in our minds, or in our hearts, and how it is just as wrong as if we had physically broken the Law.
Consider the following scripture, found in Matthew 5:27-18...
"27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hat committed adultery with her already in his heart."
In other words, it is just as wrong to think about committing adultery as it is doing the action itself. Further more, President Spencer W. Kimball stated "No misdeed is ever committed without the thought first being carried out." So before anyone ever commits adultery, fornication, murder, etc. they committed the sin first with their thought(s). Could you imagine how much of a better place the world would be if we would only learn to control our thoughts.
During my own life, I have had a difficult time controlling my thoughts. It is a process and requires much practice. Consider the following suggestion from Elder Boyd K. Packer..
"Probably the greatest challenge to people of any age, particularly young people, and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself."
"When I was about ten years old, we lived in a home surrounded by an orchard. There never seemed to be enough water for the trees. The ditches, always fresh-plowed in the spring, would soon be filled with weeds. One day, in charge of the irrigating turn, I found myself in trouble. As the water moved down the rows choked with weeds, it would flood in every direction. Raced through the puddles trying to build up the bank. As soon as I had one break patched up, there would be another. A neighbor came through the orchard. He watched for a moment and then with a few viorous strokes of the shovel he cleared the ditch bottom and allowed the water to course through the channel he had made. "If you want the water to stay in its course, you'll have to make a place for it to go". he said."
"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. I had been told a hundred times or more as I grew up, that thoughts must be controlled, but no one told me how. I want to tell you young people about one way you can learn to control your thoughts, and it has to do with music."
"The mind is like a stage. Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind."
"Have you noticed without any real intent on your part, in the middle of almost any perfaormance, a shady little thought creeps in from the wings and attracts your attention? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody. If you premit them to gon, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unrigheous thoughts."
"If you yield to them, they will enact for you on the stage of your mind anything to the limits of your toleration. They may enact a theme of bitterness, jealousy, or hatred. It may be vulgar, immoral, even depraved. When they have the stage, if you let them, they will devise the movt clever persuaions to hold your attention. They can make it interesting all right, even convince you that it is innocent--for they are but thoughts."
"What you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking, whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones which leave no room for doubt? If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have a happy life."
"This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the scared music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that make you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully, memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn."
"Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were. As the music beings and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light."
"In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically begins."
"Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind of unworthy thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting thoughts. Keep busy with things that are righteous."
I testify that this process works. For me it took practice and a little time but eventually as Elder Packer stated, the thoughts would disappear.
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