Friday, July 10, 2015

Neil L. Andersen on choosing our course in life

Elder Neil L. Andersen (1951- ) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009 (the most recent member called).
"How do we find our way through the many things that matter? We simplify and purify our perspective. Some things are evil and must be avoided; some things are nice; some things are important; and some things are absolutely essential....
"Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. With prayer, study, obedience, and covenants, we build and fortify our faith. Our conviction of the Savior and His latter-day work becomes the powerful lens through which we judge all else. Then, as we find ourselves in the crucible of life... we have the strength to take the right course.
"President Hinckley said it this way: 'When [an individual] is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of demands made by the Church but because of the knowledge within his heart.' (Ensign, July 1973, 49)
"Are we sufficiently motivated by 'great and powerful convictions of truth'? Do our choices reflect this motivation? Are we becoming who we want to become? It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?"
- Neil L. Andersen, "It's True, Isn't It? Then What Else Matters?", Ensign, May 2007, pp. 74-75
Click here to read the full talk

The goal to "simplify and purify our perspective" in order to be more successful in life's challenges is an interesting one. Elder Andersen explains the critical options we face, as we evaluate things that are:
  • evil and must be avoided
  • nice
  • important
  • absolutely essential
The latter three provide an interesting comparison to the "good, better, best" that Elder Oaks once described (see "Good, Better, Best," Ensign, Nov 2007, pp. 104-8). As we choose and act upon the things that are essential and important, faith is strengthened and we are blessed with a gospel perspective:

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