Talk Summary: In this talk, President Lorenzo Snow speaks about overcoming temptation and relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance. He encourages people to give generously and not worry about what others think. The Holy Spirit is always available to provide guidance, and individuals have the privilege of receiving divine help. President Snow urges listeners to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Editor’s Note: This talk is part of The Forgotten Talks series. As we search for the sources of the quotes we use in our newsletter and on our website, we often stumble across popular quotes that are difficult to locate the source of. When this is the case, we will spend the necessary time to uncover the source, if possible. We have discovered that many of these quotes are locked away in talks that haven’t been digitized or are behind a paywall. We make the effort to secure the talk and share it on our website under public domain.
How To Overcome Temptation–The Holy Spirit An Unerring Guide
By Lorenzo Snow
(Conference Report, April 1899, p.51-52)
I have been very much pleased with what has been said this morning, and also during the whole of this conference. We certainly have had a very excellent time. It struck me while Brother Young was addressing us that there were two very strong temptations that trouble us from time to time, and which sometimes prevent the spirit of light from giving us the information absolutely necessary for our prosperity. One is, what will people say if I do so and so? If I do these things that are now required of me, what will be said of me? I think that everyone, at least most of my brethren and sisters who are now before me, will understand what I mean, from the experiences they have had. Such a consideration has affected almost everyone. I know that it was the case with me when the principles of the Gospel were announced and I took them into contemplation. It came to my mind; “what will people say if I receive these doctrines, and it is known that I have become what is called a ‘Mormon?'” When such a temptation as this comes before us it should be laid aside, and not permitted to influence us.
Another temptation is, How much money shall I give? That is a very strong temptation to most of us, I presume. Speaking of tithing as Brother Brigham has, how much of this tithing shall I give? Cannot I reserve a portion to myself? The Lord is very rich and I doubt if He will be troubled at all if I withhold a little for myself; and so a little to oneself is withheld. But that very little that is reserved will trouble that man if his conscience is like the consciences of most of the Latter-day Saints. It will trouble him more or less in the daytime, and also when he thinks of it at night. He does not have that happiness that it is his privilege to enjoy–it goes from him. One of the best things to do under such a temptation as that is to give, so as to be sure, a trifle more than is required; and to think that you have it wholly within yourself to do so. If you do this the temptation is overcome, you have been successful in contending with it; and you are better prepared to battle with the next allurement successfully, though it be stronger than the first. And if you do not, then at some future time you will thank the Lord.
There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. Persons come to me very anxious to receive counsel upon some subject or other. They need not come to me always (under some circumstances, of course, it would be highly proper), for the spirit is within them to bring about good and to accomplish the purposes of God. The spirit is in every man and every woman so that they need not walk in the darkness at all. And it is not always necessary for them to come to the president of the Church, or to the Twelve, or to the Elders of Israel, to get counsel; they have it within them; there is a friend that knows just exactly what to say to them. From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterward for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light and not be groveling continually in the dark.
I wanted to say these few words, as they were suggested to me while Brother Young was addressing us. God bless you, Latter-day Saints, and my friends who are here, who have honest hearts. God bless you and crown you with His Holy Spirit, that you may know that the time has come when the Lord has called a people to prepare for the coming of the Son of God, who shall appear and be in our midst, and teach us the mysteries of the kingdom.
God bless you and preserve you all in the holy path of righteousness, exaltation, and glory. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
-President Lorenzo Snow