Elder Anderson brought the greetings of President Thomas S. Monson, who approved to hold this Sacrament Meeting, which is one of the larger sacrament meetings Elder Anderson could recall attending, with nearly 3000 in the audience, and 60 priests blessing the sacrament and 120 deacons passing to those in attendance.
Elder Anderson said, “We couldn’t help but think when we saw the sacrament being passed, of the great feeding of the 5000. You remember that there were just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, and from that, a group maybe twice this size were fed.”
He asked different age groups to stand as well as those east and west of the Mississippi.
Then Elder Anderson took a moment to recognize and thank Wayne Perry, the current National President of the Boy Scouts of America, “I thank Brother Perry specifically on behalf of the First Presidency and the Twelve, for his wonderful service in these past many years. They have not only contributed much of their resources which are many as a prosperous business man from Seattle and his wife Christine, but also of their time and efforts; which have been monumental. Not only have they served the Boy Scouts but have served the Church.”
“We express our admiration and appreciation to them.”
He began his talk by speaking for a few minutes about the Scout Oath, the duty to God, and comparing it to preparing, passing, and taking the sacrament.
Elder Anderson told about three experiences. One of which he read from his talk in general conference.
“I’d like to tell you of an experience of a faithful Latter-day Saint who is a good friend of mine. I’ll refer to him only as “my friend” for reasons you will understand.
“Working as a special agent for the FBI, my friend investigated organized crime groups transporting illegal drugs into the United States.
“On one occasion, he and another agent approached an apartment where they believed a known drug dealer was distributing cocaine. My friend describes what happened:
“We knocked on the door of the drug dealer. The suspect opened the door, and upon seeing us, tried to block our view. But it was too late; we could see the cocaine on his table.
“A man and a woman who were at the table immediately began removing the cocaine. We had to prevent them from destroying the evidence, so I quickly pushed the drug suspect who was blocking the door to the side. As I pushed him, my eyes met his. Strangely, he did not appear angry or afraid. He was smiling at me.
“His eyes and disarming smile gave me the impression that he was harmless, so I quickly left him and started to move toward the table. The suspect was now behind me. At that instant, I had the distinct, powerful impression come into my mind: ‘Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.’
“I immediately turned back toward the suspect. His hand was in his large front pocket. Instinctively I grabbed his hand and pulled it from his pocket. Only then did I see, clutched in his hand, the semiautomatic pistol ready to fire. A flurry of activity followed, and I disarmed the man.” 2
Later, in another case, the drug dealer was convicted of murder and boasted that he would have also killed my friend had he not turned around at that very moment.
I have often thought of the communication that came into his mind: “Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.”
Elder Anderson counseled the youth to “do our best we have to receive impressions and receive feelings and follow those feelings that come from sources other than come from inside of us. We cannot do our best to do our duty to God, unless we have the spirit of the Lord with us. I know that spirit and I know it is right.
We must be able to recognize good from evil. All good things, all righteous things come from our Heavenly Father, and from His Son Jesus Christ, who created this world. That is where good comes from.”
He continued, “The power of the Savior and the power of the Devil, are not comparable. The Savior is infinitely more powerful, more eternal, more lasting than any evil force. But in this world where we live, God, our Father, has allowed the forces of evil and the forces of good to work both upon us, that we might be able to choose good.”
He went on, “In the final review of your life, it won’t be whether you were rich or poor; that will matter very little. It won’t matter so much if you were popular, or if you were an athlete, or if you were basically unknown, or not such a good athlete, or if you were extremely intelligent, or if you had difficulties with educational things. What will matter will be how you chose good over evil. And if you can see that evil, lurking behind the smiling eyes, and be wise enough and receive those impressions from heaven, where you can make the choices you need to make.”
Elder Anderson then turned his talk to being clean and pure. He said, “100 years ago, Lord Robert Baden Powell, who started Scouting said, A Scout is clean. But he was not the first to say it. 2500 years ago the prophet Isaiah said, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Meaning, one interpretation is, if you are going to take the sacrament, or you are going to pass it, or prepare it, “Be ye clean the bear the vessels of the Lord.”
He mentioned the Apostle Paul and the Savior Jesus Christ who stressed the importance of being clean and pure.
He then told the story of President Joseph F. Smith and the importance of gaining self-confidence to face the struggles of life by staying clean in thought, words, dress, and what we do with our lives. He told the story of when a man came up to Joseph F. Smith and pointed a gun right to his face and said, “Are you a Mormon?” He recounted, “Joseph F. Smith relaxed, showed his courage, and he said, ‘Yes siree, died in the wool, true blue, through and through!'”
“The man was so taken back by the direct answer, that the man stood back, and wanted to shake his hand. And said, ‘Why you are the blankety-blank pleasantest man I have ever met. I’m glad to see a fellow who will stand up for his convictions.’ And he jumped on his horse and road away.”
“There is a power in being clean.”
Then Elder Anderson proceeded to warn the youth of the plague of pornography with the words of President Thomas S. Monson:
“Pornography is especially dangerous and addictive. Serious exploration into pornography can become a controlling habit, leading to coarser material and sexual transgression. Avoid pornography at all costs.”
He continued with President Monson’s words:
“Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what is being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards. In short, if you have any question about to whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate; don’t see it, don’t read it, don’t participate in it.”
He then told a powerful story of President Eyring who told the power of personal prayer to help avoid temptation and closed with his personal testimony.