Recently, I thought about the reasons I want to continue living an honest, civil, and morally clean life. For me, spiritualty has a lot to do with it. Spiritualty may look different for others, but for me it includes my religion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plays a big influence upon my life and my decision making. While my reasons for doing things are uniquely mine, my life has been influenced by a lifetime of impactful experiences that have left indelible impressions, even from a young age. I’m sure the same can be said of you. Additionally, I have seen lives devastated through the misdeeds, actions, and moral (or immoral) agency of others.
I do not ever want to break the heart of my tender wife or lose the confidence of my children through a bad example before them (Jacob 2:35). I choose to live in full honesty and complete fidelity in marriage not only because I have seen the emotional and mental toll it takes when people don’t, but because my religion teaches me to not commit adultery or “[look] upon a woman to lust after her” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:23-24).
To me, those are good principles to stand by. Besides, the opposite actions and behaviors can bring heartache, heartbreak, and despair. Why? Because “despair cometh because of iniquity,” and despair also leads to hopelessness (Moroni 10:22).
Over 50 years ago, then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It is not easy to be a man of integrity when all about you there are those who will forsake principle for expediency.” He continued by saying a man who does not live up to his conscience and his principles will be “miserable—dreadfully miserable” but those who do will find great “peace and comfort and strength.”
While avoiding mistakes is always better, it is not always the path we find ourselves upon. When mistakes are made, there can be restitution and repair. Change is never painless or trouble-free. No, repentance is not easy, but “the prize is worth the price.”
Thankfully, even “serious sins can be forgiven in mortality because of our Savior’s atoning sacrifice… Christ redeems, and His Atonement is real.” For those who have lost battles, it does not mean they have lost the war. As President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us, “True repentance is not an event. It is a never-ending privilege.”
Whether our actions, thoughts, and behaviors are different than someone else’s it does not matter. We should not compare ourselves to others. We should simply strive to eliminate all the bad each of us has in us and refine all the good each of us also innately possesses as sons and daughters of God.
As we do so, even if the progressive incline isn’t as steep as we’d like and the pace is slower than we’d prefer, we will inevitably find ourselves on the road leading to “the peace of God, which passeth [our current] understanding” (Philippians 4:7). We can find “a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” and inevitably qualify for “eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).
The opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author, Jeffrey Denning, and are not necessarily the opinions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
 Gordon B. Hinkley, “The Loneliness of Leadership,” BYU devotional, Nov. 4, 1969.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Repentance and Conversion,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 102.
 Dallin H. Oaks, “Cleansed by Repentance,” April 2019.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Four Gifts That Jesus Christ Offers to You,” (2018 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, Dec. 4, 2018.)