Monday, May 1, 2017

President David O. McKay on the development of Christ-like character

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"What is the crowning glory of man in this earth so far as his individual achievement is concerned? It is character—character developed through obedience to the laws of life as revealed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, who came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Man's chief concern in life should not be the acquiring of gold, or of fame, or of material possessions. It should not be the development of physical prowess, not of intellectual strength, but his aim, the highest in life, should be the development of a Christ-like character."
- David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1926, p. 111

President McKay talked on many occasions about the importance of character in our personal lives. The true, deep, inner nature of a person helps to determine his outer behavior, and so President McKay taught that if character were developing as it should, the rest would follow. Character, according to him, comes from obedience; the two are intimately linked. Appropriate actions bring development of character, and a strong character makes the actions easier.

This is a great summary of priorities: not the temporal, physical things, but the "development of Christ-like character." We should all strive actively to develop those traits in ourselves.

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