“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly”
Latter Day Mormons are keenly aware that if Satan could capture our minds, he would have won the battle and more importantly the war. Our minds are powerful and responsive and have the potential to acquire great wisdom and knowledge. Our minds are also susceptible to negative and evil influences. Members of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ indeed all men who search after Christ are blessed, however, in that evil, negative, or unclean thought cannot stay in our minds if we choose not to let them. We can exercise control over what we think about. However we must understand that this control is a constant battle because unseemly things are being emphasised by many people in the world we live in today. If we allow evil, unclean, or negative thoughts to stay in our minds, they can begin to dominate our actions and thus control and erode our lives. Perhaps at some time you have noticed the eroding effect of waves lapping at a steep, rocky coast, or washing away sand from the beaches. This action can e compared to the effect of unclean thoughts, they can erode our minds, making us insensitive to wholesome, affirmative influences or things of the Spirit.
So let us ask ourselves what we can do to avoid evil thoughts? For a start we can avoid, as far as possible, individuals and places that foster unseemly thoughts. We can make wise choices of television programmes, movies, books and magazines; indeed we might also keep in mind what kind of information we look at on the World Wide Web. We can be sure we have a planned, wholesome channel in to which our thoughts are directed, for our thoughts, like water, run continuously, and if not directed, will wander through paths of least resistance in to low places.
As Latter Day Mormons we might consider what else we can do to dismiss evil thoughts? Prayer can help. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). We might also consider choosing sacred music or a favourite hymn to listen to, ones with words that are uplifting to the soul. You might even memorise it and go over it in your mind so that its words and its meaning strike a spiritual cord within your own spirit. You might look upon these hymns or the sacred music you listen to as your emergency channel. Whenever you find that your mind is wondering then all you would have to do is dig around in side the music library in your mind and put on some inspiring music. As the music begins and the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully from your thoughts. Your mood will be changed and the whole mood of your mind will become uplifted.
What we must remember is that our minds learn to treasure what we feed them, and what the mind treasures sinks in to the heart and is manifest in our speech and actions. Our speech and our behaviour indicate the thoughts of our hearts (Proverbs 23:7).
We to often think that purity of thought is taught just for the youth and the young. Why is it important for us as adults to strengthen our defences against unclean thought? It is important because our own well-being is involved and because we influence others, husbands, wives, children and friends. Is it not wisdom, then, to strive always for purity of thought?