So I got to teach the lesson at FHE this Monday, and I am going to post it for you, my imaginary readers. Why? Because I like you.
But more importantly, there are a LOT of things in this lesson that I still need to learn. Curse my stupidity!
So, anyway, here it is. Enjoy!
--SAN GIOVANNI UMILIATO
1. The shadow of the future
• I recently saw a couple of movies about people who got to see the future. (Inmate-turned-cyborg Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and curmudgeonly Carl Fredricksen from Up.)
• DISCUSS : What do you think the future is going to be like?
• It’s always fun to hear people’s predictions about the future. I like to read science fiction from the cold war and even earlier, because it’s funny to see how much people got wrong. Things never turn out how you expect, which is something that the characters in these movies learned.
• DISCUSS : Has your future turned out like you expected, or have their been surprises?
• DISCUSS : If you could go back in time and tell yourself how to prepare for the future, what would you tell yourself?
2. The power of acting early
• Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” He’s probably not the source of the quote, but I still think the idea is interesting.
• DISCUSS : What does it mean to say that “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe?”
• Well, let’s say I want to have a million dollars in my retirement account by age 65.
• If I start right now, and put away the same amount every year, I would only have to put in a little over $270,000. Compound interest makes up the rest of the million.
• If I wait ten years to start, I would have to put in almost an extra two hundred thousand dollars.
• So the earlier you start, the less you have to put in to get the same result.
• God told Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.” (D/C 29:34) Is there some spiritual principle underlying this observation about compound interest?
• Making a good choice now will give you better results than waiting to make the same good choice later.
• This is not true for every part of your life, or for every kind of reward.
• Consider the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), in which master of the vineyard hires each laborer for the same amount, even though he finds some of them in the morning and they work all day, and some of them he finds at the end of the day and they work just a single hour.
• It doesn’t matter how old you are when you make the baptismal covenant. Everyone who is baptized gets the same deal.
• But, there clearly are areas of life where this principle does work, where the earlier you make a good choice, the better result you get in the end.
• DISCUSS : Where can you make this principle work for you?
• finance, as we have discussed
• fitness, weight loss
• any learned skill: athletics, arts, etc.
• the language of the spirit
• knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge
• “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D/C 130:18-19)
• All kinds of human relationships grow stronger, deeper, as you share time together. Better to start early than late.
3. Fight the future!
• We are all time travelers. We are all moving forward into the future. And all of us need to prepare now for the challenges that we will face later.
• Amulek told the Zoramites: “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.” (Alma 34:31)
• God has promised that he will reward you immediately for making good choices. So why wait? The earlier you make a good choice, the happier you will be.
• Remember, you’re not just a tourist, traveling to a future that already exists. You are building the future, with every choice you make every minute of the day. So think about what your future self would tell you. Don’t put off your good choices. Act now, and change your future.