Sunday, January 15, 2017

President Spencer W. Kimball on living a life of reverence

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"We are a richly blessed people. The Lord has given us everything: the gospel of Jesus Christ, the light, the priesthood, the power, the promises, the covenants, the temples, our families, the truth. We should be the happiest people on earth. We should also be the most reverent people....
"Reverence has been defined as a 'feeling or attitude of deep respect, love, and awe, as for something sacred.' To describe it as devotion to God is another way to express the meaning of reverence.
"Many of our leaders have expressed regard for reverence as one of the highest qualities of the soul, indicating it involves true faith in God and in his righteousness, high culture, and a love for the finer things in life....
"As with the other principles of the gospel, reverence leads to increased joy.
"We must remember that reverence is not a somber, temporary behavior that we adopt on Sunday. True reverence involves happiness, as well as love, respect, gratitude, and godly fear. It is a virtue that should be part of our way of life. In fact, Latter-day Saints should be the most reverent people in all the earth."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "We Should Be a Reverent People" (pamphlet, 1976), 1, 2.
Click here to read the full article

The concept of true reverence has been discussed by many Church leaders in my lifetime. This is a wonderful example from President Kimball. Reverence, or deep respect and love, comes from recognizing the blessings we receive from God and being truly grateful. It results in devotion and faithfulness, in putting things in a proper divine perspective.

Statements such as this one from Pres. Kimball probably led to the publishing of one of our most beautiful songs for children, copyrighted in 1987, a few years after President Kimball's pamphlet was published:
Rev'rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It's thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I'm rev'rent, for rev'rence is love.
When I'm rev'rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.
The pathway to follow is clear.
And when I am rev'rent, I know in my heart
Heav'nly Father and Jesus are near.

- "Reverence is Love" by Maggie Olauson; Children's Songbook p. 31
Finally, there is a real connection between true reverence and true joy:

How often we should be led to acknowledge our blessings and the goodness of God in our lives! Each day should be willed with gratitude, worship, and deep reverence.

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