The Articles of Faith

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "God's Eternal Plan" in the book Our Search for Happiness.)

As noted earlier, moral agency is the key ingredient in Heavenly Father's plan for our eternal progression. Heavenly Father and Jesus gave us the right to choose; the Holy Ghost is available to all of us to help us make correct choices—if we choose to listen.

My father was in the automobile business and I followed the same profession early in my business career. One day the Ford Motor Company came to town searching for a dealer to represent a magnificent new automobile line they were about to introduce that they were sure was going to revolutionize the industry. This car was going to be so great that Henry Ford II planned to name it in honor of his father. So the Ford people were anxious to find the right local representative for this line of cars, and they visited me often to talk about it. I've got to tell you, they were very persuasive.

I struggled with the decision of whether or not to become their dealer. We were doing quite well with the lines we were then representing, and I was afraid of undoing a good thing. But if this new line was even half of what Ford was claiming it would be, I would be passing up the business opportunity of a lifetime if I turned them down.

I prayed for guidance. Now, you might wonder if it's appropriate to ask God to help you make decisions about business affairs and investments. But I believe the words of the Book of Mormon prophet Amulek, who taught: "Cry unto [God] over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. . . . Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you." (Alma 34:24-27.)

So I asked Heavenly Father to help me make this important business decision. And He did. When my father and I saw the car for the first time I had the clear impression: "Do not sign the franchise." At that moment there was no doubt in my mind that it would be the wrong thing for me to do.

But Ford didn't ask me to sign the franchise right away. They allowed me time to think about it, and then they started to sell me again. I'm sorry to admit that I eventually succumbed to their sales pressure, ignored the promptings that I had been praying to receive, and signed the franchise agreement to become Salt Lake City's first Edsel dealer. If you know your automotive history, you know that I was also the city's last Edsel dealer, because the car turned out to be one of the biggest failures in industry history. Not only did Ford lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the campaign, but all of their Edsel dealers incurred huge losses—including me. It was without a doubt the darkest period of my professional business career.

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