Friday, July 1, 2016

Orson F. Whitney on optimism in the gospel

Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931), a journalist, teacher, poet, and historian, was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1906 and served until his death in 1931 at age 75.
"The gospel makes us willing to do anything that the Lord requires; and that spirit can be trusted. When we are dominated by the opposite influence, it is a sure sign that we are skating where the ice is thin, and we had better get over to the other side of the pond.
"The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience. We should honor the Savior's declaration to be of good cheer.
"There is a story told of two buckets that hung in a well, on either end of a long chain, so that when one went up the other went down, and vice versa. They were both drawing water out of the well, both doing precisely the same kind of work, but one of the buckets was an optimist, and the other was a pessimist. The pessimistic bucket complained of its lot, saying: 'It doesn't matter how full I come up, I always go back empty.' The optimistic bucket, with a bright smile, retorted: 'It doesn't matter how empty I go down, I always come back full.' Much depends, you see, upon the spirit in which a thing is viewed."
- Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1917, p. 43

I always appreciate the reminders and instructions about the optimistic nature of the gospel plan. We believe that the principle "man is that he might have joy" applies to this life as well as the eternal future. Elder Whitney points out that when one is converted to the gospel, he is eager and willing to obey any instruction or request from the Lord, and knows that good will follow.

I think it can be simply said that if the gospel doesn't fill your heart with joy, peace, and optimism, then you don't understand the gospel!

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