Monday, January 22, 2018

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on knowing and loving God

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"Of course we cannot fully comprehend all [things] right now! Of course we cannot know the meaning of all things right now. But we can know, right now, that God knows us and loves us individually!
"But, brothers and sisters, what keeps us from knowing and loving Him more? Our reluctance to give away all our sins—thinking, instead, a down payment will do. Likewise, our reluctance to let our wills be swallowed up in His will—thinking, instead, that merely acknowledging His will is sufficient! (see Mosiah 15:7).
"The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that God, 'before [the earth] rolled into existence, ... contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth.... [God] knew ... the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, ... the situation of all nations and ... their destiny, ... and [He] has made ample provision [for mankind's] redemption' (TPJS 220).
"Part of God's 'ample provision' consists of imperfect people like you and me, committed to shining and serving in our appointed orbits, knowing all the while that we are encircled 'in the arms of [His] love' (D&C 6:20)."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Encircled in the Arms of His Love," General Conference, October 2002
Click here to read or listen to the full article

Elder Maxwell's incredible ability to formulate thoughts and express them in words is manifest again in this excerpt. While we don't know the meaning of all things right now, there are things we can know perfectly—such as the love of God for his children. Elder Maxwell's phrasing reflects Nephi's comments on condescension (1 Nephi 11:16-17); Nephi had come to know of that divine love. As we come to have that personal knowledge, our life can be so richly blessed. But how do we get there?

To truly repent, giving up all our sins (not just making the "down payment"), and to allow our will to be "swallowed up in His will," is the only path to fully comprehend and receive the fullness of joy.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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