Sunday, January 4, 2015

George Q. Cannon on New Year Resolutions

President George Q. Cannon (1827-1901) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1860. He served as counselor in the First Presidency to Brigham Young beginning in 1873, and then to the next three presidents, until his death in 1901.
"Among Latter-day Saints there ought to be no occasion for what is called 'swearing-off' or for the general making of resolutions of improvement on New Year's day. Every day should witness with them a determination to lay aside weaknesses and take on more of the graces of godliness. Each day furnishes opportunity to look closely into one's habits, to examine and discard the worthless and cleave unto that which is elevating and holy.
"The partaking of the Sacrament in the Sunday Schools and Ward meetings, when done worthily, of itself implies an earnest endeavor towards improvement. Every time a true Saint, whether old or young, kneels in prayer, he or she should consider anew the duty of leading a better life, one more in conformity with the precepts and example of our Great Master. Not alone on New Year's, therefore, but on every day, should people seek to effect an improvement in their habits of life."
- George Q. Cannon, Jan. 1, 1897, JI 32:23; Gospel Truth, 1:164-165
As many consider our "New Year's Resolutions" at the beginning of 2015, this reminder from years ago is still very applicable.  It's interesting that the custom of resolutions appears to have been common well over a century ago.  But President Cannon's reminders should give us cause to ponder.

We have a number of opportunities each week, each day when we should be considering our progress and improvements.  The partaking of the Sacrament is such a time, a critical opportunity to review and recommit.  So is each time we pause to pray!

So while we might appreciate the "milestone" opportunity a new year presents for establishing some new goals, we should not neglect the power that comes in frequently reminding ourselves of our desire to grow and improve, in deepening our resolve with personal covenants, and in inviting Divine assistance in that process.

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