Friday, August 31, 2018

Elder Quentin L. Cook on developing self-worth based on divine parentage

Elder Quentin L. Cook (b. 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"The Bible teaches that man and woman are created in the image of the Father (see Genesis 1:26–27). The science of genetics and personal observation both testify to the principle of offspring taking on the form, appearance, and traits of parents. Some build their sense of personal worth by comparing themselves to others. That approach can lead to feelings of inadequacy or superiority. It is preferable to look directly to our Father for our sense of self-worth.
"Our mortal pedigree charts show many generations winding backward through the ages. Our individual spiritual pedigree chart, however, has only two generations—our Father’s and ours. Our form is His form, without the glory. 'Now are we the sons [and daughters] of God, and ... when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is' (1 John 3:2; see also D&C 130:1). Within each of us lie the latent seeds of godliness that can be given flower and fruition by His blessing and by following the path of strict obedience shown to us by Jesus. There is power in saying or singing the words 'I am a child of God.'"
- Quentin L. Cook, "The Doctrine of the Father," Ensign, February 2012, p. 33
Click here to read the full article

Our personal self-concept develops in a variety of ways as we grow up, and changes frequently through the experiences of our lives. Elder Cook warns us of the tendency to develop that sense of self-worth by comparing ourselves to others around us; that can result in a skewed and inaccurate image, for a variety of reasons:

  • we evaluate others superficially, based on our brief glimpses of their public appearance
  • we don't fully know the challenges and concerns of others that may not be visible to us
  • we can't compare our gifts and abilities with others, since we are all granted such diverse "raw material" to work with
  • we can't alter the differing circumstances into which we are born, and to some extent, the things we face in life

So the caution is to develop our sense of self-worth by understanding our divine parentage and heritage, and the eternal potential within each of us:

Once we understand the nature of our "spiritual heritage" and the divine seeds that are within us, we can focus on developing a divine sense of self-worth in the things that truly matter most.

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

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