Relating a long-ago visit to Tonga, President Thomas S. Monson told of watching the instructor at the Church-owned Liahona High School teaching the children with a maka-feke, or octopus trap. The trap, or lure, was fashioned from a round stone and large seashells. The octopus seizes the lure, mistaking it for a much-desired meal.
"So tenacious is the grasp of the octopus and so firm is its instinct not to relinquish the precious prize that fishermen can flip it right into the canoe," President Monson recounted during the Saturday morning session. "It was an easy transition for the teacher to point out to the eager and wide-eyed youth that the Evil One even Satan has fashioned so-called maka-fekes with which to ensnare unsuspecting persons and take possession of their destinies."
Speaking in a warm, yet bold manner, President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, compared the maka-feke with the attempts of the "Evil One" to entice and ensnare. "To be safe, we must recognize them for what they are and then be unwavering in our determination to avoid them."
Continuing, President Monson warned against several maka-fekes:
- "Constantly before us is the maka-feke of immorality. Almost everywhere we turn there are those who would have us believe that what was once considered immoral is now acceptable. . . . Such is the maka-feke of immorality. We are reminded in the Book of Mormon that chastity and virtue are precious above all things."
- "Next, the Evil One also dangles before us the maka-feke of pornography." President Monson spoke of publishers and printers who "prostitute their presses by printing millions of pieces of pornography each day," and of the Internet, where "one can turn on a computer and instantly have at his fingertips countless sites featuring pornography."
"Tainted as well is the movie producer, the television programmer, or the entertainer who promotes pornography. Long gone are the restraints of yesteryear. So-called realism is the quest, with the result that today we are surrounded by this filth."
President Monson counseled members to avoid any semblance of pornography. "We are told, 'That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness' (Doctrine and Covenants 50:23). Such is pornography."
- "I mention next the maka-feke of drugs, including alcohol. Once grasped, this maka-feke is particularly difficult to abandon. . . . May we keep our bodies our temples fit and clean and free from harmful substances which destroy our physical, mental and spiritual well being."
- "The final maka-feke I wish to mention today is one which can crush our self-esteem, ruin relationships and leave us in desperate circumstances. It is the maka-feke of excessive debt."Reminding members that a home equity loan is equivalent to a second mortgage, President Monson urged them to "avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities unless we make them so. . . . I urge you to live within your means. One cannot spend more than he earns and remain solvent. I promise you that you will then be happier than you would be if you were constantly worrying about how to make the next payment on nonessential debt."
President Monson quoted from the Apostle Paul, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
President Monson said there are countless other maka-fekes "which the Evil One dangles before us to lead us from the path of righteousness. However, our Heavenly Father has given us life and with it the capacity to think, to reason and to love. We have the power to resist any temptation and the ability to determine the path we will take, the direction we will travel."
Do not be deceived, President Monson cautioned. "Pause to pray. Listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master's gentle invitation, 'Come, follow me.' By doing so, we turn from destruction, from death and find happiness and life everlasting."
After speaking of the righteousness of Daniel, whose "determination to remain true and faithful provided divine protection and a sanctuary of safety," President Monson spoke of Gustav and Margarete Wacker, whom he met when he was called to preside over the Canadian Mission in 1959.
The couple, who immigrated to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, from Germany, had limited means but always paid more than a tenth of tithing and, though not blessed with children of their own, "they mothered and fathered their many Church visitors. . . . The faithful beat a path to their door in order to partake of the spirit that was there."
They were serving in the Washington D.C. Temple in 1983, when Brother Wacker, with his beloved wife by his side, "peacefully passed from mortality to his eternal reward. "Fitting are the words, 'Who honors God, God honors,' " President Monson said.
"My brothers and sisters, let us resolve here and now to follow that straight path which leads home to the Father of us all so that the gift of eternal life life in the presence of our Heavenly Father may be ours."
"Listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master's gentle invitation, 'Come, follow me.' "