Remember the Modern Major General from Pirates of Penzance?
And now, thanks to Nancy, here's one of the best takes on that I've ever seen:
I clearly remember dropping a college class or two with that kind of syllabus!
“In November 1966, I had been in the combat zone of Vietnam for nearly ten months. I was an infantry platoon leader. I had experienced much of the perils, the trials, the moment-to-moment anxiety of combat. Our battalion had just returned to our base camp for some ‘R and R’. after several weeks in the jungles and rice paddies. It was a Saturday night. Having taken our first showers in a very long time, we were sitting around on our bunks cleaning our rifles and listening to music on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
"Suddenly, an urgent message crackled over our battalion radio network. A sister battalion in our brigade—still in the jungle—was being overrun by a much larger enemy force. We were needed. We had to go, right then, to the rescue.
“It is very hard to adequately describe the icy feelings that clutched at my heart in that moment.
“How I would have liked more time, to rest, to prepare. But there was no time. I only could grab my helmet, my rifle, give some terse orders to my men and move out. But one thing I could do was to utter a silent prayer in my heart. And as I did, there came to my mind—literally—a ‘still, small voice.’ The voice repeated the words to a passage of scripture that I had memorized as a missionary. Words that have become my very favorite in all scripture: ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths’ (Proverbs 3:5–6). As those words came to mind, peace filled my heart. The foreboding retreated.
“. . . We remained in the jungle on that operation for many weeks following that night-time SOS message. Finally, it was the very last day of the operation. I was riding in an armored personnel carrier through a lightly forested area of jungle. Suddenly, an enormous explosion beneath the vehicle literally lifted it off the ground. Enemy soldiers nearby had detonated a huge landmine. The engine was blown out. The tracks and all the road wheels were blown off. Everyone inside, including me, was wounded. But no one died.
“And in that moment, there again came to my mind that same still voice and that some passage of scripture.Elder Holland concluded:
‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.’”
"In that spirit I say what One said whose path surely was divinely directed. Said Jesus of Nazareth:
“'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world'” (John 16:33).
“'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid'” (John 14:27).
"On a day of prayer I pray that God will bless you always, in the name of Him who was the personification of integrity and who declared peace and good cheer to us all, even the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Ling put his empty pot on the floor amidst beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. When the emperor arrived, Ling tried to hide in the back of the room. But the emperor spotted Ling—empty pot and all. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front, where the leader said, “Behold your new emperor!”
To a now very quiet audience, the older man said, “One year ago today I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. Yet all of you, except one, have brought me magnificent trees and plants and flowers.
"Obviously, when you found that the seed I gave you would not grow, you substituted another. Apparently only one young man among you had the integrity to abide by the rules I gave you. I can trust him to take my place and lead my people.”
"In 1853 the Saints commenced the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. For the better part of two long, hard years the Saints dug the excavations and laid the foundation: over 8 feet deep, made of sandstone. One day the foreman came to President Brigham Young with this devastating news: there were cracks in the blocks of sandstone. Brigham Young was faced with this dilemma: (1) do the best they could to patch up the cracks and build a temple of much less weight and grandeur than anticipated or (2) rip out two years of work and replace it with a granite foundation that could support the magnificent temple God envisioned for them. Fortunately, President Young chose the latter course."
"This tells us he was not perfect, but it also tells us he had nothing to hide---he was a man of integrity. What does this do for his credibility when he tells the story of the First Vision or the account of Moroni's visitations? It tells us that we can trust him, that we can believe his every word because he is, indeed, a man of integrity."
“I knew returning would create a long delay. Taxiway runs are one way; I would have to wait for ground control to create a space for me to taxi against the traffic flow. Then we would have to wait for the maintenance crew to check out the plane. The delays could cause problems for the airline and for the passengers who had people to meet and connections to make. I also wondered how the maintenance department would react to my report that the plane had a problem when I had nothing to go on except a strong feeling.
“As captain of the aircraft, I was responsible for our safety, so I decided to follow my impression and return.
“The mechanic didn’t think there was anything wrong, but he looked at the steering mechanism, anyway, and then he took the plane for a test run. When he landed it, he almost lost control of the plane.
“A close inspection revealed that the brakes had undergone improper maintenance the previous evening. Had I landed the plane after our flight, the brakes would have failed, and I would have lost control of the plane.
“I received another aircraft to pilot, and I safely delivered my passengers to their destination three hours late."If you have integrity, you do what’s right, even if nobody else is there to see what you’re doing. Elder Callister mentioned a talk by Elder Marion D. Hanks in which he told of the man and his small son who “stopped at an isolated cornfield on a remote country road” and eyed the delicious corn beyond the fence. The father, after looking in front of him, behind him, to the left of him, and to the right of him, “started to climb the fence” to take some ears of corn. His son looked at him and said reproachfully, “Dad, you forgot to look up.”
Later, Daniel and his friends defied the orders of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius to worship them. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3) but God sent an angel to protect them, and the king himself said, "“Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:28).
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.