Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Harold B. Lee on challenges, decisions, and prayer

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"As we meet the challenging problems of today, may we see, as it were, written on the darkened walls of our sequestered chamber the words of heavenly wisdom that will give us the assurance, when we are faced with momentous decisions, that we can place our trust in God and leave the rest with Him.
"When we stand at the crossroads of two alternative decisions, let us remember what the Lord said we should do: Study the whole matter out in our mind to a conclusion; before action, ask the Lord if it be right; and attune ourselves to the spiritual response—either to have our bosom burn within us to know that our conclusion is right, or to have a stupor of thought that will make us forget it if it is wrong [see D&C 9:7-9]. Then, as the Lord has promised, '... the Spirit shall be given unto [us] by the prayer of faith.' (D&C 42:14.) ...
"If we seek earnestly, we can reach into that spiritual dimension for answers that will secure for us not only great blessings, but also the sublime witness in our hearts that our acts, our life, and our labors have the seal of approval of the Lord and Creator of us all."
- Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World (Deseret 1974), p. 115, 120; adapted from remarks given on May 4, 1971, at the inauguration of Dallin H. Oaks as president of BYU.
Click here to read the full talk

We can trust in God to provide help when we have "challenging problems" and "momentous decisions." President Lee's testimony is strong and true. The words of heavenly wisdom will surely come to give guidance and comfort, as long as we know (through our experience and practice) how to hear them. He reminds us the process that is often used in making decisions, requiring our best effort first.

Not only do answers come, but also the witness that we are doing what is right. Joseph Smith once listed three things necessary to fully exercise faith in God; the third was "an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to His will" (Lectures on Faith, 3:2-5). That personal witness is precious and soul-expanding.

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