Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spencer W. Kimball on becoming humble and remaining humble

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Humility is not pretentious, presumptuous, nor proud. It is not weak, vacillating, nor servile....
"Humble and meek properly suggest virtues, not weaknesses. They suggest a consistent mildness of temper and an absence of wrath and passion. Humility suggests no affectation, no bombastic actions. It is not turbid nor grandiloquent. It is not servile submissivesness. It is not cowed nor frightened. No shadow or the shaking of a leaf terrorizes it.
"How does one get humble? To me, one must constantly be reminded of his dependence. On whom dependent? On the Lord. How remind one's self? By real, constant, worshipful, grateful prayer.
"'How can I remain humble?' the brilliant missionary asks. By reminding one's self frequently of his own weaknesses and limitations, not to the point of depreciation, but an evaluation guided by an honest desire to give credit where credit is due.
"Humility is teachableness—an ability to realize that all virtues and abilities are not concentrated in one's self....
"Humility is gracious, quiet, serene, not pompous, spectacular, nor histrionic. It is subdued, kindly, and understanding—not crude, blatant, loud, or ugly. Humility is not just a man or a woman, but a perfect gentleman and a gentlelady. It never struts nor swaggers. Its faithful, quiet works will be the badge of its own accomplishments. It never sets itself in the center of the stage, leaving all others in supporting roles. Humility is never accusing nor contentious."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Humility," BYU Devotional, January 16, 1963
Click here to read the full talkClick here to listen to the full talk

President Kimball spoke with an eloquence that was unusual for his time. His vocabulary was rich and exceptional, and his choice of words and phrasing were often impressive. I loved to hear him speak. His soft voice sometimes disguised the power of his words; but the message was always clear and deeply insightful.

And to have him speak of humility is so fitting, since I believe he epitomized that virtue. We can learn much from his counsel about what obedience is, what it is not, and how we can obtain and retain it. Obedience and meekness are virtues to be sought, not weaknesses to be overcome. Elder Neal A. Maxwell would later echo many of these sentiments.

The key is to recognize and acknowledge our position in relationship to God. We are dependent in every way, beyond our normal acknowledgement. As we grow in understanding and gratitude of that fact, and as we express our gratitude in prayer, our humility will grow.

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