This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.
In his talk, Ready to Work Long Hours, Elder Tanner cited an address to BYU by Dr. John A Howard contrasting the challenges faced by the pioneers with the challenges facing todays Saints:
The work that faces your generation is no less arduous. The deserts you must bring to blossom are no less arid, but your mission may demand even more of you, for unlike the early pioneers of this state you are confronted by a wilderness which is subtle and fluid and elusive. Indeed the wilderness which you must conquer is disguised as a civilization so that there is the double necessity to unmask the deceit, to distinguish between what is authentic and what is counterfeit, and to labor to support the one and oppose the other.1
Later on in the talk, Elder Tanner explained the three worst components of the danger Dr. Howard referred to:
First, failure to keep the Sabbath day holy; second, breaking the Word of Wisdom: third, unchastity. There are many others.
I don’t hear as much about Word of Wisdom violations from the pulpit today as was common during General Conferences of the 1970s, but there is no doubt that it remains one of the greatest crises facing our nation. From a Vox article that came out today2:
The scale of America’s opioid epidemic is shocking.
It is the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history. In 2016 alone, drug overdoses likely killed more Americans in one year than the entire Vietnam War. In 2015, drug overdoses topped annual deaths from car crashes, gun violence, and even HIV/AIDS during that epidemic’s peak in 1995. In total, more than 140 people are estimated to die from drug overdoses every day in the US. About two-thirds of these drug overdose deaths are linked to opioids.
As for the other two—the Sabbath and chastity—that is precisely what the Church has been emphasizing as of late.
We cannot say we haven’t been adequately warned.