Monday, May 14, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks on acquiring spirituality

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"How do we achieve spirituality? How do we attain that degree of holiness where we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost? How do we come to view and evaluate the things of this world with the perspective of eternity?
"We seek spirituality through faith, repentance, and baptism; through forgiveness of one another; through fasting and prayer; through righteous desires and pure thoughts and actions. We seek spirituality through service to our fellowmen; through worship; through feasting on the word of God, in the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets. We attain spirituality through making and keeping covenants, through conscientiously trying to keep all the commandments of God. Spirituality is not acquired suddenly. It is the consequence of a succession of right choices. It is the harvest of a righteous life.
"Through the lens of spirituality, we see all the commandments of God as invitations to blessings. Obedience and sacrifice, loyalty and love, fidelity and family all appear in eternal perspective."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Spirituality," General Conference October 1985
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Oaks shares some insight into what spirituality is as he introduces this topic; he mentions,

  • it involves a state of holiness
  • it includes the "constant companionship of the Holy Ghost"
  • with it, we see the world around us "with the perspective of eternity"

As we seek to increase our own ability to do those things, we grow closer to God and feel His influence more and more in our lives. Specifically, we get closer by living the life of a disciple in our actions of obedience, service, and sacrifice, and through "conscientiously trying to keep all the commandments of God."

This "lens of spirituality" provides an especially interesting perspective, helping us to see commandments not as limiting and constraining (as some people claim), but as "invitations to blessings." I love that thought. God is only inviting us to do the things that will bring greater happiness, if only we learn to humbly and willingly follow Him!

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

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