Sunday, June 7, 2015

Howard W. Hunter on sincere gratitude

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"One of the most esteemed spiritual attributes we can acquire in life is sincere gratitude. It enriches our lives as we, through this attribute, enrich the lives of others. If we have a thankful heart we will have the blessings that come from constant appreciation for the things done for us and the Lord's goodness. How can we really pay the debt of gratitude we owe to our parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, and those who have served us in so many ways? How can we show appreciation for good homes, husbands and wives who are true and faithful, and children who have the desire to live righteously and serve the Lord? How do we express thankfulness for our baptisms, for the privilege of partaking of the sacrament and renewing our covenants, for the priesthood we bear, for the light of the restored gospel, and for the program of the Church devised to help us make progress toward exaltation and eternal life?
"We pay our debt of gratitude by living in such a way as to bring credit to our parents and the name we bear, by doing good to others, by being of service, by being willing to share the light and knowledge we have received so that others will also have joy and happiness, and by living the principles of the gospel in their fulness."
- Howard W. Hunter, Area General Conference, Stockholm Sweden, August 1974; see Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 87
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Gratitude is certainly "one of the most esteemed spiritual attributes we can acquire in life" — I wonder how often we view it as such? How much effort do we expend to seek it?

This statement made me ponder:

This seems a little contrary to the normal interpretation. We might say that having a grateful heart helps us acknowledge the blessings already received; but President Hunter is saying that blessings come from recognizing previous goodness in our lives.

After recognizing a few of the many, many blessings that come to us, President Hunter then adds this wonderful summary of how we truly express gratitude:

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