“And Enoch Walked with God: And He Was Not; for God Took Him”

Genesis 5:24

24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Elder Sterling W. Sill said:

“In an absolute sense, perfection in this life may be an impossibility. But in many ways a state of near perfection is a reasonable goal for us; for example, we can all be perfect in abstaining from tea and coffee. We can be perfect in freeing ourselves from the use of tobacco and alcohol. We can be perfect in the payment of our tithing. We can be perfect in our attendance at sacrament meeting. We can be perfectly honest and perfectly dependable and perfectly moral, and this with much less effort than we spend in developing perfection in our machines.

“The book of Genesis says that Noah was a righteous man and perfect in his generation [see Genesis 6:9]. Enoch was also a perfect man, and under his teachings, his people so perfected themselves that the entire city was translated. The scripture says, ‘And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him’ [Genesis 5:24]. If the people living in the city of Enoch could be perfect, then the people living in your city and the people living in my city can be perfect also.

“There are some people who maintain that it is very difficult to live the religion of Christ, and for some people any righteous effort is difficult. But what kind of person would you expect to be most severely tempted by dishonesty or immorality or profanity? Or what kind of person would you expect to have the most difficulty in abstaining from drunkenness or from betraying his country? The ones suffering the strongest temptations from evil would likely be those living closest to evil. It has been pointed out that no one ever fell into a mud puddle who didn’t first go too close to it. We are not necessarily complimenting ourselves when we boast of the difficulty we have in living our religion, just as we would not be complimenting ourselves to confess difficulty in restraining ourselves from being thieves and murderers.

“It is not difficult to live the religion of Christ if that is what we really want to do. That is, it is just as easy for an honest man to be honest as it is for a dishonest man to be dishonest. It is just as easy for a faithful man to be faithful as it is for an unfaithful man to be unfaithful. In fact, it has been said that one can get to heaven on half the effort that we usually burn up in going to hell.

“We become godly or moral or obedient, just as we become anything else, by practice. And only as we live the principles of the gospel can we really know of their truthfulness and value. It is the person who pays his tithing who believes in tithing. It is the one who observes the Word of Wisdom who knows the truth of the Word of Wisdom. It is the person who keeps the Sabbath day holy who champions it. And it is only the person who gives service who knows the joys of serving.”

(In Conference Report, Oct. 1962, 38.)