Remember Who You Are!

Relief Society General President

March 7, 2004

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If you know—and remember—who you are and remember your divine birthright, you will date noble people, wear modest clothing, use clean language, surf worthy Web sites, listen to good music, watch enriching movies, keep the Word of Wisdom, and stay morally clean.

Thank you to President Keetch, and thank you to that wonderful choir. You are wonderful, and I appreciate it.

First of all I’d like to clear up that rumor making the rounds in certain singles wards: I did not date Brigham Young. (At least give me the benefit of Heber J. Grant!)

Some of you may be wondering what I could say that you haven’t heard before. Well, I’ve been wondering the same thing! I can promise you that I won’t talk about the saving powers of scrapbooking or tuna casseroles—I don’t do either of those very well.

You see, the reason I’ve worried so much about this talk is because I know who you are. I see how valiantly you strive to live the gospel. I feel a great love for you. And so I have wanted to say something that would matter in your lives, that would give you hope to not give up, that would lift and inspire you.

But I wasn’t getting any answers. So I finally resigned myself to stand here and sing “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream” or other Primary songs. I can guarantee you haven’t heard that before!

To spare you that fate worse than death, I returned to the temple, fasting and praying. And this time I received specific direction. Oh, for a spiritual laser printer.

President Gordon B. Hinckley recently described you as being “faithful and true” 1 in your desires for righteousness. Heavenly Father sees your goodness; that is why He has inspired me with a message specifically for you.


As my four sons were growing up, I had a few sayings that I used repeatedly to help keep them on track—my oldest son calls them “Bonnie-isms.” Here are a few examples:

The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight.

Truth is truth wherever it is found.

Fair is where you go to see the pigs.

Among my many Bonnie-isms there were two I used frequently. If I had to remind my sons about an unfinished chore and they responded, “I know!” my standard reply was, ” To know is to do!”

And almost every time they ran out our back door for a date, a football game, or a dance, I would call another Bonnie-ism after them: ” Remember who you are!”

There is power in these two phrases. Let me explain. When we know something—truly understand it—then we do it.

For example, once you know it’s easier to get a date when you use deodorant, you’ll use it, right?

One of the most important things to know is something Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: “You have been you for a long time.” 2 He’s trying to help us remember who we are. Because knowing who you are changes what you do.

Case in point: If you know—and remember—who you are and remember your divine birthright, you will date noble people, wear modest clothing, use clean language, surf worthy Web sites, listen to good music, watch enriching movies, keep the Word of Wisdom, and stay morally clean. You will study your scriptures, forgive each other, say your prayers, repent of your sins, serve others, magnify your callings, and love one another.

But remembering what you know can be especially tricky during this time of your life. You’re pursuing so many worthwhile goals: an education, a job, an eternal companion. (Get out there and find each other, will you please!) Sometimes, in pursuit of worthy goals, we lose sight of what matters most.

I know you think life has yet to begin, but gaining the knowledge of your eternal identity happens right now—at your very stage of life. Not after you’re married or after you’ve graduated or after you’ve learned to use deodorant. It comes right now, before all that stuff! “Seek not the things of this world,” said Jesus, “but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matthew 6:38).

Part of seeking the kingdom first is seeking your specific place in the kingdom. That changes everything!

The Making of a Prophet

Let me tell you a story. A few years ago a little baby was taken from his poor family to be raised by a wealthy family as their son. Initially he knew nothing of his true identity. He lived like royalty, taking advantage of the poor—including his own family—to increase his adoptive family’s wealth. But one fateful day he learned the truth of his origin. Even his religion was different. He was heartsick about having inflicted such pain on those he should have protected and loved. And so he knew he would have to make things right. That man’s name was Moses.

After this mighty change of heart, Moses became a great prophet. He knew the Lord. He witnessed and participated in incredible miracles—escaping from Egypt, parting the Red Sea, and receiving the Ten Commandments. He had innumerable spiritual experiences. Yet he never stopped asking Heavenly Father for further light and knowledge. Thus the more he learned from God, the more he became like God. Isn’t that our desire?

Let’s look at chapter 1 of the Pearl of Great Price. Let’s figure out firsthand what we must do to learn what Moses knew. As we think about his journey, liken it unto yours (see 1 Nephi 19:23), for what was promised to Moses is promised to you.

A Mountain of the Lord

The chapter opens with Moses at the top of a high mountain (see Moses 1:1). Frequently in the scriptures, a mountain represents a holy place away from the world, a place of revelation—like the temple (see Micah 4:1). To learn the things of heaven, Moses removes himself from the world. This is significant!

I recently asked a group of sisters your same age what single thing kept them from knowing who they truly are. Can you guess their first answer? They said the loud, distracting, powerful pull of the world. Can you relate? Separating ourselves from the world both in distance and in worthiness is an act of great struggle—like Moses scaling that mountain. But what incredible blessings await those who do so.

A Son of God in Glory

Verse 2 tells us that here, away from the world, Moses “saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses.” Can you imagine such an experience! I hope so, because Heavenly Father also wants to talk to you face to face and shine His glory upon you. As of right now, you probably haven’t experienced God’s full glory. But each time you feel the love of the Lord in your life, you are experiencing a portion of His glory. Never take those experiences for granted—because the glory of God is powerful stuff. It enables Moses to endure God’s presence, to judge between good and evil, to receive saving strength.

Would you like to know what Moses and Heavenly Father talked about in that glory?

First, Heavenly Father introduces Himself. He speaks tender, comforting words to Moses: “Behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:4; emphasis added). What a powerful statement. Moses is a child of the living God! Throughout this chapter Heavenly Father continually calls Moses “my son.” This revelation should be no less powerful for you—because you, too, are a child of the living God!

A Work to Do: Look, and He Will Show

“ Wherefore,” says Heavenly Father—or, in other words, because you are my son—” look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands” (Moses 1:4). And so it is with you! Because you, too, are His child, look, and He will show you what you need to know.

And then Heavenly Father reveals, “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:6; emphasis added). Wow! He who can do all things had a mission—a purpose—for Moses. Moses was being entrusted to assist God. Do you think at that moment Moses might have felt a little inadequate? (See Exodus 4:10–16.) I certainly would have.

When President Hinckley extended my current calling as Relief Society general president, I was more than overwhelmed—I was flusterpated! But remembering my divine heritage gave me confidence to accept this assignment. I imagine it was similar for Moses. Maybe that’s why President Harold B. Lee once observed, “What a difference it would make if we really sensed our divine relationship to God, our Heavenly Father.” 3

You are a child of God, and He has sent you here. Thus it is essential that you learn why you are here. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Unless [the Saints of God] have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God they will grow weary in their minds, and faint.” 4

What might your work be? You have unique talents and abilities to develop. You need to marry and have a family, you have callings to fulfill, you have brothers and sisters to love and serve. You see, those gifts that make you most unique are those that require your energy. Some assignments can be accomplished by anyone, but others require someone special. Think of Jesus or Joseph Smith or Moses. Think of yourself, for “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Who knoweth? Well, your Father in Heaven knows—that’s who.

Personal Scripture

How can He tell you the work He has for you? Of course there are many ways, but chief among them is your patriarchal blessing. President Hinckley explains that when you receive your blessing, “A man of God lays his hands upon [your] head and speaking as a prophet bestows a blessing, setting forth the great possibility that you have in this life.” 5 Your patriarchal blessing protects you from becoming weary in your mind. It reminds you who you are. It is personal scripture of the work you have to do and what you need to know about yourself.

Look what Heavenly Father tells Moses about himself: “Moses, my son, . . . thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior” (Moses 1:6; emphasis added). Moses’ mission was not to unlock the gate to eternal life, but, in similitude of the Savior, he saved the children of Israel from bondage and led them to the promised land.

Moses is not alone at being in the similitude of Jesus with a unique work to do. You are right there with him with your unique mission, which includes being a savior on Mount Zion (see Obadiah 1:21).

Have you received your patriarchal blessing? Do you read it often? Do you pray about it? I hope so, because it’s pretty hard to do what you don’t know! Right now is the time to discover your mission. And if you’ll oppose the world’s pull, Heavenly Father will show you.

Spiritual Eyes Versus Natural Eyes

Heavenly Father shows Moses this world and worlds without end “and all the children of men which are, and which were created.” And of this Moses “greatly marveled and wondered” (Moses 1:8).

But then, after such awesome enlightenment, “the presence of God [withdraws] from Moses, that his glory [is] not upon Moses.” Now listen to this next phrase: “And Moses [is] left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he [falls] unto the earth” (Moses 1:9; emphasis added). There is a great truth there: When we are separated from God’s glory, we are left to ourselves. And when we are left to ourselves, it is much easier to fall.

It took “many hours” for Moses to regain his strength. And he sums up his experience thus far with a new perspective, saying, “I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10). Can you relate? Moses sees his place amongst God’s creations and is astonished. And yet, of all those creations, God appeared to Moses to show him his mission. I find that astonishing. Nevertheless, I know this is how He operates with each of His children, including you.

Reflecting on it all, Moses does not question what he has seen. In fact, he acknowledges how he saw it: “But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face” (Moses 1:11).

As was true for Moses, we cannot come to know our calling with our natural eyes—natural eyes do not require faith! Paul teaches us that the beautiful truths of the kingdom are

revealed . . . unto us by his Spirit. . . .

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [1 Corinthians 2:10–11; emphasis added]

The Test of Faith

Even after such a life-changing experience, Moses’ struggles are not over. In fact, because there is “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11), his great highs will be matched with deep lows. After all, it’s easy to remain true to our faith without the challenges to try that faith; true faith is only made manifest in the face of heart-piercing trials. Moses—like all of us—has to learn and prove just how stalwart he is with his new knowledge.

As Moses rejoices in what he had witnessed, “Behold, Satan [comes] tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12).

Did you notice the very first thing Satan says to Moses? It is the direct opposite of what God had said! Listen to Lucifer again: “Moses, son of man, worship me.” Do you see it? Satan goes for the jugular by calling into question Moses’ divine birthright and, thus, his very identity. “You’re no son of God,” Satan says, “you’re a mere son of man.” For Satan understands that the slide into captivity begins with doubts about who we really are.

But Moses is a pretty smart guy. He doesn’t say, “Okay, you’re probably right. Let’s go eat, drink, and be merry.” Instead, he fires right back: “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God” (emphasis added). And then Moses strengthens that declaration by adding, “I am . . . in the similitude of his Only Begotten” (Moses 1:13). Do you see the power that comes from knowing who you are?

Lucifer’s Need for Idolization

And did you detect one of Satan’s fixations? It is two simple words: “Worship me” (Moses 1:12, 19). That obsession hasn’t changed.

Because of their past, Lucifer is insanely jealous of his brother Jehovah. Lucifer craves being idolized. But he mistakes idolization for adoration, reverence, and veneration. Thus, like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, he screams, “Worship me—not Him.”

But most of us aren’t that stupid to just worship Satan outright—are we? We need a little enticement. So Old Scratch is happy to provide it. When tempting Jesus—who was Jehovah in the flesh—Lucifer used the same bait he still uses today: appetites, riches, and power.6 In short, the things of this world. And Jesus could have all that cash and those fabulous prizes—if He would only worship Satan (see Luke 4:1–13).

I know that you are a choice group of Heavenly Father’s children. But the Lord has very specific counsel for His chosen: “There are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men” (D&C 121:34–35; emphasis added). Lucifer knows this! Why else would he put so much energy into showing us the things of this world?

You see, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Unfortunately, there are legions listening to Lucifer’s calls to worship him. Just two months ago President Hinckley said something that stopped my heart. He said, “I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah [than today]. . . . Similar conditions . . . prevail all across the world. I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters.” 7 This is a powerful pronouncement. But I agree.

Again, you are a choice group of Heavenly Father’s children; your attendance at this fireside further demonstrates your desire for righteousness. But, like Moses, this also makes you a larger target for the adversary. Every righteous soul that Satan seduces from the truth becomes a game hunter’s trophy, prominently mounted and displayed on the walls of hell.

How Lucifer Entices Us

How does Satan entice us to worship him? By indulging our appetites, offering us riches, and promising us power. Of course he needs someone to show us his wares, and he has no end of eager salesmen.

One of the most powerful persuasives is the visual image. A brother I know calls television “the devil’s home teacher.” And aside from the Lord, nobody understands the power of images, decibels, and repetition better than Satan. Satan knows the sway of “everybody’s doing it.” He knows if he dangles his merchandise in front of you long enough, your heart just might get hooked on the things of this world.

In last October’s general conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

The choices we make in media can be symbolic of the choices we make in life. Choosing the trendy, the titillating, the tawdry in the TV programs or movies we watch can cause us to end up, if we’re not careful, choosing the same things in the lives we live.” 8

And then he encouraged us to follow the counsel in the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth:

Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable. . . .

Have the courage to walk out of a movie or video party, turn off a computer or television, change a radio station, or put down a magazine if what is being presented does not meet Heavenly Father’s standards. Do these things even if others do not.9

Lucifer’s Temples

What words do you use to describe the temple? I use words like holiness, peace, worthiness, calmness, and light. The Lord Himself says His house is “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119). The increase in temples around the world is another testament to me of the truthfulness of the gospel.

But as God’s temples spread across the world, so, too, do Satan’s. The success of his missionary work also requires a place for his converts. After all, how can he be worshiped without a sanctuary? Opposites of the words we just used for God’s temples describe Satan’s: filthy, wicked, loud, and dark. Consider the ever-lengthening strip of Las Vegas’s casinos. In Lucifer’s temples—now advertised as “family friendly” —appetites are satisfied in spades; more is not enough; anarchy trumps order. And all the while our spirits are blinded by the lights, deafened by the din, and bludgeoned by the beats.

One day that power will be shut off; the lights and music will cease. And “they who are filthy shall be filthy still . . . and . . . shall go away into everlasting fire” (2 Nephi 9:16).

The State of the World

I don’t emphasize these things to scare you. But “we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” said Paul, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Listen to what President Boyd K. Packer taught just over a month ago:

The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better.

It is my purpose to . . . put you on alert. These are days of great spiritual danger for our youth.

I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances.10

Of course Lucifer’s temples are not just casinos. You know where and what they are—they are places where men and women are persuaded “to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God” (Moroni 7:17). They are places where Satan’s demand of “Worship me!” is heeded, where loud music and rough language drown out the still small voice, where darkness—not glory—is desired.

Glory Versus Darkness

How ironic for Satan, then, that this very contrast between glory and darkness helps Moses recognize Satan. Had Moses not experienced God’s glory, the darkness would have been less obvious. But Moses remembers, so he asks Lucifer:

And where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me. . . . But I can look upon thee in the natural man. . . .

. . . Thy glory . . . is darkness unto me[.] And I can judge between thee and God. [Moses 1:13–15; emphasis added]

What empowering words!

All of you have experienced some level of God’s glory. If not, you would not be here. And all of you have experienced some level of Satan’s darkness. In this you are no different from Moses either. So, like Moses, you can judge! You know the pain of your spirit being wounded by sin or the devastation of the Holy Ghost leaving when offended or the despair of losing self-control. But you also know the sweetness of forgiveness, the transcendence of testimony, and the humble gratitude for answered prayers. You have felt the love of the Lord in your life; you have felt His glory. This is why you can judge between glory and darkness, between God and Lucifer!

Banishing Satan

Knowing that God is completely honest (see Deuteronomy 32:4), Moses also knows that Satan is deceitful. Thus Moses doesn’t invite the father of lies to stay for lunch so as not to offend him. No, Moses cuts right to the chase: “Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not” (Moses 1:16).

This is a powerful command—but not too powerful for a son or daughter of God to make! You, too, are a child of God. And you, too, can say, “Get thee hence, Satan.” In fact, there will be times you will have to say it.

Moses is strengthened by knowing his divine birthright and thus declared an unwavering commitment to Heavenly Father. He reminds Satan that

God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me. [Moses 1:16–17; emphasis added]

In other words, Moses is going to honor his covenants. He reiterates his commitment, saying:

I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. [Moses 1:18; emphasis added]

You see this pattern again and again. Moses has seen God’s glory (or felt the love of the Lord in his life), he remembers it—his judgment is not impaired by Satan’s deceptions—and thus he can cast Satan out with confidence. Make this your pattern, too.

Further, if a man of Moses’ stature and testimony is still humble enough to realize that he cannot cease to call upon God, what does that mean for you? Brothers and sisters, at all times and in all places—but especially in the face of great trials and tribulations—you cannot give up praying to Heavenly Father! You must just keep trying, even if the heavens seem sealed and silent.

President Hinckley said, “We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction.” 11

So after Moses commands Satan to leave, “Satan crie[s] with a loud voice, and rant[s] upon the earth, and command[s,] saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me” (Moses 1:19; emphasis added). That is a lie, plain and simple. Lucifer is forever trying to be someone he’s not.

Faith and Fear

Lucifer’s exit must have exceeded anything Moses had ever witnessed, because “Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell” (Moses 1:20).

Verse 20 is crucial to remember because it shows us that Satan does not give up easily, or go quietly. He might preach instant gratification and self-indulgence, but he knows the power of patience and self-denial. Why else is he called the “cunning one” (2 Nephi 9:39)? Thus, Satan’s fury can strike fear into the hearts of men, even men like Moses—and like you. That is a scary thought, because as soon as Moses became afraid, he could see into the very depths of hell. But did you know that fear can overcome faith? All of us have times of fear—remember Peter walking on the water?

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught a most extraordinary truth:

For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time; so that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not there faith is weak; and where faith is weak the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.12

Jesus told Peter: “Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31–32; emphasis added). Jesus knew that faith—not fear—will conquer Satan.

It is fear that overtakes Moses. But his fear does not last long enough to give Satan any advantage. Do you know why? Look at verse 20 again:

Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. . . .

. . . And he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses. [Moses 1:20, 22; emphasis added]

Binding Satan

What did Moses, the great prophet, do to escape his fear? He had no secret weapon that you don’t have. He prayed. He needed that divine assistance because Satan is persistent. It takes Moses four times to drive Satan out. Four times! (Even my sons usually minded after three times—well, most of the time.) Imagine if Moses had given up after three times.

In your deepest times of temptation and fear, like Moses, you must plead with Heavenly Father as frequently and as long as necessary to retain your faith. If you do not, Lucifer will lurk nearby until your defenses drop—and then return with enticings to worship him and fears to stop your heart. It is not easy—but nothing of worth is.

Nearly 30 years ago Elder Eldred G. Smith gave some wonderful counsel about standing up to Lucifer:

The only power I know of that will bind Satan, or render him powerless, is righteous living.

. . . Even Jesus Christ had to bind Satan when he was tempted in the wilderness. . . .

When you have resisted a temptation until it no longer becomes a temptation, then to that extent, Satan has lost his power over you, and as long as you do not yield to him, to that degree he is bound.13

With Satan finally gone, “Moses lift[s] up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 1:24).

You have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, who testifies of the truth. You are entitled to His presence and direction according to your faithfulness. Let Him help you!

The Rewards of Faithfulness

“ And calling upon the name of God, he [Moses] beh[olds] his glory again, for it [is] upon him” (Moses 1:25). Did you notice that Heavenly Father’s glory has returned?

Continuing in verse 25, Heavenly Father begins pouring out blessings upon Moses to reward his loyalty. God’s first words are ones of comfort and encouragement: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee” (emphasis added). Being chosen by God is no small thing. Do you remember why many are called but few are chosen? Satan had offered Moses the worldly menu, but Moses denied himself “of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32; emphasis added). Thus Moses is chosen because his heart is set upon the things of his Father.

And now, after that crucible of temptation, God knows Moses can be trusted completely, and—just as important—Moses knows he is completely trustworthy. So Heavenly Father is able to further reward Moses with increased knowledge about his mission. Listen:

And thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.

And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen. [Moses 1:25–26]

What great promises! Can you hear the foreshadowing of “all that my Father hath shall be given unto [you]” (D&C 84:38)?

Whose We Are

Heavenly Father proceeds to reveal His innumerable creations and answer Moses’ questions about those creations. And then Heavenly Father says something that even though I cannot comprehend it, I know to be true: “For behold, there are many worlds. . . . And innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them” (Moses 1:35; emphasis added).

Can you believe it? Even with all those innumerable creations, God knows Moses. And I testify that He also knows you. How do I know? Because He knows me. Because He has inspired my words for you tonight. We are numbered to Him because we are His.

My counselor and dear friend, Anne C. Pingree, made a wonderful observation that not only are we “blessed to know who we are,” we are blessed to know “whose we are.” 14

The Great Reward

Moses had been taught who he was, he had been given his work, and he had been shown whose he was. And then, because he had proven himself unshakable, he was ready to learn Heavenly Father’s work and glory. From this seemingly simple revelation in Moses 1, the gospel and everything we do in it is unified and infused with eternal significance. Here is that stunning revelation in verse 39: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

This sublime statement is the crowning reward for Moses’ faithfulness and steadfastness. Its insight extends to us, changing our actions. It is a perfect example of how knowing leads to doing.

But remember that this pearl of great price came at a great price. It was received only after Moses had removed himself from the things of this world, had experienced divine love and glory, had learned who he was and what his work would be, had made covenants with his Father in Heaven, and had resisted Satan unceasingly with testimony and prayer.

Some of you may be struggling with knowing who you are. There’s a little secret about “to know is to do” : the flip side is also true—” to do is to know!” In other words, if you’re unsure, just do anyway. Jesus has promised, “If any man will do [my Father’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God” (John 7:17; emphasis added). Do, and you’ll know.

Remember Who You Are!

Like Moses, you are a son or daughter of God in the similitude of His Only Begotten Son. Like Moses, you can do every single one of these things! And, therefore, like Moses, you can receive every single one of these incredible blessings.

Listen to the words Peter taught, referring to promises the Savior had made to others: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off” (Acts 2:39; emphasis added).

And so this is why I tell my children and my grandchildren and each one of you, “Remember who you are.” Or, as the Lord said, “Remember the worth of souls is great” (D&C 18:10).

This is why I say, “To know is to do.” Or, as the Savior said—and I like what was added—” If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17; emphasis added).

I hope you feel energized and, as my boys say, “pumped up” to overcome the challenges that are uniquely yours for this unique time. You can conquer!

When you feel down, remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Many, like Moses, have gone before you and have successfully overcome hard things. You can too. Many—like President Hinckley, the Apostles, your bishop, your parents, and even I—pray for you daily. You can, and you must, pray too. You are children of God, and He has sent you here! His work and His glory is to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life.

Recently President Hinckley gave us wonderful encouragement:

[You] must not give up. [You] must not become discouraged. [You] must never surrender to the forces of evil. [You] can and must maintain the standards for which this Church has stood since it was organized. There is a better way than the way of the world. If it means standing alone, [you] must do it. . . .

. . . [You] must get on [your] knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. [You] must then stand on [your] feet and move forward.

I am absolutely confident that heaven will smile upon [you]. The Lord will hear and answer [your] prayers if [you] will commit [yourself], giving [your] very best to this work.15

Moses showed us that this is true.

Tonight as you run out the door to life’s adventures, let me give you two Bonnie-isms for the road. They are filled with all the love in my heart: Remember who you are. To know is to do!

I pray that you, like your brother Moses, will let Heavenly Father lead you, guide you, and walk beside you, because I testify that He will. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


1. “Standing Strong and Immovable,” in Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: The Priesthood and the Auxiliaries of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, 10 January 2004 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004), 20.

2. CR, October 2003, 106; or “How Choice a Seer!Ensign, November 2003, 100.

3. CR, October 1973, 9; or “Understanding Who We Are Brings Self-Respect,Ensign, January 1974, 6.

4. Lectures on Faith 6:4.

5. In “Messages of Inspiration from President Hinckley,” Church News, 6 December 2003, 2; emphasis added.

6. See David O. McKay, “Individual Righteousness, the Strength of the Church,” Instructor, September 1962, 290.

7. “Standing Strong and Immovable,” 20.

8. CR, October 2003, 15; or “Let Our Voices Be Heard,Ensign, November 2003, 16.

9. For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2001), 17, 19.

10. The One Pure Defense (An Evening with President Boyd K. Packer); address to CES religious educators in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on 6 February 2004, 4; emphasis added.

11. “Standing Strong and Immovable,” 21.

12. Lectures on Faith 6:12.

13. CR, April 1970, 142.

14. “Preparing the Greatest Generation of Missionaries: A Mission for Every Woman,” BYU Women’s Conference, 2 May 2003, 3; emphasis in original.

15. “Standing Strong and Immovable,” 20–21.

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Bonnie D. Parkin

Bonnie D. Parkin was the Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 7 March 2004.