Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jeffrey R. Holland on the obstacles of life

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (1940- ) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"A life without problems or limitations or challenges—life without 'opposition in all things' (2 Ne 2:11), as Lehi phrased it—would paradoxically but in very fact be less rewarding and less ennobling than one which confronts—even frequently confronts—difficulty and disappointment and sorrow. As beloved Eve said, were it not for the difficulties faced in a fallen world, neither she nor Adam nor any of the rest of us ever would have known 'the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient' (Moses 5:11). 
"So life has its oppositions and its conflicts, and the gospel of Jesus Christ has answers and assurances. In a time of terrible civil warfare, one of the most gifted leaders ever to strive to hold a nation together said what could be said of marriages and families and friendships. Praying for peace, pleading for peace, seeking peace in any way that would not compromise union, Abraham Lincoln said in those dark, dark days of his First Inaugural, 'Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory,' he said, 'will yet swell... when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.' (First Inaugural Address, 4 Mar. 1861) 
"The better angels of our nature. That is much of what the Church and general conference and the gospel of Jesus Christ are about. The appeal today and tomorrow and forever to be better, to be cleaner, to be kinder, to be holier; to seek peace and always be believing." 
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign, Nov. 1996, pp. 82-84
Click here to read the full talk

From another of the wonderful, sensitive, encouraging messages Elder Holland often shares. It's interesting to ponder his opening "paradox":

Again, that's a hard principle to remember when we are deep in the midst of one of those "problems or limitations or challenges" that can so easily suck the joy and hope right out of us. How critical it is to remember that "the gospel of Jesus Christ has answers and assurances"!

So we turn to "marriages and families and friendships" when they are available, as a source to find "the better angels of our nature."

What a beautiful reminder.

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