"Satan is an actual being who seeks to drag down our souls into the gulf of misery." This reality is oh, so real. "The natural man" is "prone to wonder." Putting on a "new man" through "faith, repentance, saving ordinances, and daily gospel living," takes effort... work.
Elder Perkins reminded us of King David. Once a valiant, faithful servant, David fell. He "squandered" eternal blessing. Once able to slew giants, David was spiritually vulnerable. "His failure to beware concerning himself and to act on promptings of the Spirit led to the loss of his eternal blessings."
I know this is real. Warning signs are there for a reason. Warning signs are there to protect. Guardrails are meant to keep you safe. More than "the driver" can be harmed when careful attention to safety is ignored. The risk of taking loved ones over the edge with you is all too REAL. "Conversion-crushing and family-fracturing boulders DO cross... our path." The consequences are overwhelming and often take years, and maybe even eternities, to repair... even for the passengers effected by our choices.
Elder Perkins' talk focused on six principles that deepen conversion and strengthen family so that tragedy can be avoided:
Studying scripture and modern prophets
worth participation in ordinances
showing genuine love... and avoiding contention, especially in the home
paying tithes and offerings
live the law of chastity
The word CHOOSE jumped off the page for me.
We MUST and CAN CHOOSE for ourselves. We choose to beware. We choose to follow promptings. We choose loyalty over momentary pleasure. We choose integrity and honesty. We choose love. We choose to control anger. We choose to control anger. We choose to seek earnestly the best gifts of the Spirit. We choose to change. WE CHOOSE HAPPINESS.
All around me I see the effects of Satan's war against the family: keeping families busy so they don't find time to study or to pray, fighting, quarreling, belittling, issues with money, but mostly infidelity. "Pornography is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful."
Elder Perkins reminded the listener to repent and to return. I know the effects of the Atonement will help the repentant to to restore themselves.
However, I think we often forget the victims that are left on the roadside or in the gulf after leaders have avoided warning signs and have been swept away in dangerous landslides of sin. I have noticed that we look at these bystanders and expect them to be instantly "repaired" when the person repents. I wish people remembered that healing takes time. Many wounds leave permanent debilitating scars... the wounded may be able to get up and move again, but they may also be left with a limp. The Atonement works for them too... even if the scars are left as a reminder that we MUST proceed with careful awareness.
The story of David serves as a biting reminder that all really can be lost.