Music and the Spoken Word

Resisting Temptation - Sunday, June 14, 2015

It’s human nature to want to improve, to progress—to overcome our weaknesses and build upon our strengths. Unfortunately, it’s also part of human nature to get distracted and give in to temptation. How many times, for example, have we set goals to exercise or improve our diet, only to find ourselves eating junk food again before long?

Sometimes we think the secret to self-improvement is willpower: the ability to stare at a plate of chocolate chip cookies and resist the temptation to eat one. But a recent study suggests that people who excel at resisting temptation actually take it one step further—they stay as far away from the plate of cookies as possible. Aware of their own weaknesses, they “deliberately avoid situations in which their self-control might fail.”1

For example, one woman found herself tempted to read incoming text messages while driving. Realizing the dangers that even glancing at her phone would pose to herself and others, she routinely silences her phone and places it out of reach while driving—successfully eliminating the temptation to text and drive.

In the same way, if we’re trying to eat healthier, we may want to avoid the snack aisle in the grocery store. If we’re trying to avoid technology’s time-sapping and destructive pitfalls, we may want to place blocks on our devices or find positive uses for technology. If we’re trying to save money, we may want to cut down on window shopping or online browsing.

Life is hard enough without putting ourselves within temptation’s reach. We know what our own weak spots are, and we know what situations and circumstances put our goals at risk. Avoidance, in this sense, is not weakness—it’s strength; it’s a mark of true willpower. And in our battle for self-control, it may be the key to victory.

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. Ann Lukits, “The Secret to Resisting Temptation,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 25, 2014, D1,

June 14, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,474

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah
John Hughes; arr. Mack Wilberg

Pilgrim Song
American folk hymn; arr. Ryan Murphy

Menuet Gothique, from Suite Gothique
Leon Boëllmann

Unfold, Ye Portals, from The Redemption
Charles Gounod

My Favorite Things, from The Sound of Music
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
American folk tune; arr. Mack Wilberg