Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Excerpts from this talk)
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality.
Neither Satan nor any other power can destroy or undermine your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. A sterling character is converted into worthless ashes when eroded by deceit or transgression.
Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed.
What are some of the empowering principles upon which faith is based?
Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.
Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Courageous implementation of that prompting.
Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.
“Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). Thus, every time you try your faith—that is, act in worthiness on an impression—you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.
The bedrock of character is integrity. Worthy character will strengthen your capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit and to be obedient to it. Your consistent exercise of faith builds strong character. A secure foundation for your growing character is laid by making Jesus Christ and His teachings the center of your life.
Your happiness on earth as well as your eternal salvation require many correct decisions, none of which is difficult to make. Together those decisions forge a character resistant to the eroding influences of sin and transgression. Noble character is like a treasured porcelain made of select raw materials, formed with faith, carefully crafted by consistent righteous acts, and fired in the furnace of uplifting experience. It is an object of great beauty and priceless worth. Yet it can be damaged in a moment through transgression, requiring painful, prolonged effort to be rebuilt. When protected by self-control, righteous character will endure for eternity.