Wednesday, September 13, 2017

President Ezra Taft Benson on growth through cleansing the inner vessel

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"All is not well in Zion. As Moroni counseled, we must cleanse the inner vessel (see Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church....
"My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it.
"We have made some wonderful strides in the past. We will be lengthening our stride in the future. To do so, we must first cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, being morally clean, using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves.
"We can do it. I know we can. That we will do so is my prayer for all of us. God bless you for all the good you have done and will be doing."
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," General Conference, April 1986
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The concept of "cleansing the inner vessel" implies that changes have to start from the inside and not the outside. It's not just a matter of changing behavior; it's perhaps more important to change the thoughts and ideas that result in the behavior.

President Benson teaches that any worthwhile change requires humility and repentance. Change is often difficult; it's made more difficult by our pride and stubbornness. As we do the things that show obedience and humility, blessings will come:

Those are good suggestions to consider. Am I doing the things that will help maintain cleanliness and purity in my own personal "inner vessel"?

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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