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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I need to know how the best way to avoid the temptation of young women. Where I live flirting is really popular and it’s hard to stay out of it because it is everywhere.

Jayden

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Answer

 

Dear Jayden,

Temptation is everywhere. Of course it is best to avoid getting into tempting situations as much as possible, but that is only the secondary line of defense. Although it is often a very hard thing to do, and a thing which one must pursue all the days of one’s life, the real solution to your difficulty is mind control. Remember, the eye sees only what the mind gives it power to see. It’s not the objects of our vision, but the mental impression that they leave that gets us into trouble.

Nevertheless, I would assume, society being the way it is today, that it’s virtually impossible to put clean, inoffensive interpretations on everything that comes within one’s view. In these circumstances, again we revert to mind control. But rather than only trying to avoid any unclean interpretation of the scene at hand we must focus on getting rid of the unclean thoughts that come into our minds. You see, there are three things over which we have degrees of control that can get us into trouble–what we think, what we say and what we do. As King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon counseled–

But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not (Mosiah 4:30).

The easiest of these three expressions of who we are to control is our actions. But we can control our actions for various reasons, and still remain culpable. For instance, if we refrained from doing an unclean thing for fear of getting caught, we will be judged by God in the same way as if we had done the thing–

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

 

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt 5:27-28)

A little more difficult thing to do is to control what we say. James counseled–

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

 

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

 

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be (James 3:8-10).

The most difficult thing to control is our thoughts, but this is by far the most important arena in the battle for self domination because our thoughts control both our words and our actions.

For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).

So, our most important practice to avoid temptation is to eliminate from the stage of our minds any unclean thought as soon as it appears. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which this may be accomplished. They all boil down to this fact–one cannot think of two different things at the same time. Therefore, when an unclean thought comes to mind, let that be the trigger to prompt you to think of something else. What else could one think of? Here are a few suggestions–memorize an appropriate scripture and have it ready to review in your mind–for instance, Doctrine and Covenants 6:36

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Recite a favorite poem or sing a favorite song–anything that will replace the unclean thought with something worthy and of note. If this practice is instituted and faithfully applied it will change your very life!

Gramps

 

 

 

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