Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Harold B. Lee on the need for daily spiritual nourishment

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"Within every one of you there dwells a spirit which is the exact counterpart of your full-grown physical body. To keep your physical body in vigor and health, food and drink must be provided at frequent intervals. Every germ cell of your bodies must have a nerve connection in order to maintain the vital life processes. Failure to maintain these nerve connections or to supply the required sustenance brings decay, stagnation, sickness, and finally death to the physical body.
"Your spiritual body needs nourishment at frequent intervals in order to assure its health and vigor. Earthly food does not satisfy this need. Food to satisfy your spiritual needs must come from spiritual sources. Principles of eternal truth, as contained in the gospel, and the proper exercise by engaging in spiritual activities are essential to the satisfying of your spiritual selves. Vital processes of the spirit are likewise maintained only by intelligent connection with spiritual fountains of truth...
"Every day of the week must give nourishment to your spiritual selves. Family and secret prayers, the reading of the scriptures, love in your homes and unselfish daily service to others are manna from heaven to feed your souls....
"And so I beg of you not to rob your spiritual bodies of that essential strength but sincerely urge you to live each day so that you might receive from the fountain of light, nourishment and strength sufficient to every day's need. Take time to be holy each day of your lives."
- Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living, p. 145-150

This is always a good analogy — we need spiritual nourishment in much the same way we need physical nourishment. For some reason, we more easily neglect the spiritual type; these reminders are valuable if we will listen and ponder.

President Lee describes the need for "intelligent connection with spiritual fountains of truth." He mentions a few ways to do that, through "family and secret prayers, the reading of the scriptures, love in your homes and unselfish daily service to others." Are there others? I think there are many: temple activity, meaningful conversations, fulfilling callings, developing spiritual gifts, quiet meditation, etc. A worthwhile exercise is to document the things we do each day to bring spiritual nourishment, much as "counting calories" for a diet or logging physical exercise.

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