Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Elder Marvin J. Ashton on the blessings of plainness

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"'For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men.' (2 Ne. 31:3.) 'I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.' (2 Ne. 33:6.) 'My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.' (2 Ne. 25:4.) Through this great prophet Nephi, along with other leaders and wise teachers, we come to realize that we learn more readily if principles are taught and explained in plainness. Brigham Young once said that if he could do but one thing to bless the Saints, he believed it would be to give them 'eyes with which to see things as they are.' (Journal of Discourses, 3:221.)
"Plainness is best comprehended by the humble, the teachable, the intelligent, the wise, and the obedient. Often plain truths are perverted by the pretentious, the crude, the low, the critical, the contentious, the haughty, and the unrighteous. More so than in any other time in our history, there is an urgency in today's society for men and women to step forward and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of plainness. God delights when His truths are taught clearly and understandably with no conspicuous ornamentation. Plainness in life, word, and conduct are eternal virtues. When the plainness of Christian teaching and living is lost, apostasy and suffering result. People walk in darkness when the light of plainness is taken from their lives....
"The truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ are plain, precious, and powerful. The lives of the worthy are plain, precious, and powerful."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "The Power of Plainness," Ensign, May 1977, pp. 66-68
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This was one of the classic talks by Elder Ashton. Noting the powerful teachings of Nephi about the importance of plainness, he applied the concept to our modern times and situation.

I've always loved Nephi's personal expression of love for the Savior as expressed in this memorable phrase: "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." He spoke of "my Jesus" even though this was hundreds of years before the mortal life of the Savior; but yet Nephi already had the depth of personal understanding and conviction to recognize Jesus as his personal Redeemer and to hold Him close in esteem. This is plain and pure doctrine.

As we focus on the plain and simple truths of the Gospel, and their direct application to our lives, we are deeply blessed.

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