Saturday, August 4, 2018

President Ezra Taft Benson on the importance of controlling thoughts

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.
"Thoughts lead to acts, acts lead to habits, habits lead to character—and our character will determine our eternal destiny.
"King Benjamin understood this. In the next to last verse of his great discourse recorded in the Book of Mormon, he states: 'And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.' (Mosiah 4:29.)
"Then in the last verse he counsels that we must watch ourselves and our thoughts. (See Mosiah 4:30.)"
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Think on Christ," General Conference April 1984
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Benson described a simple but logical progression in our lives:
   thoughts —> acts —> habits —> character —> destiny
With this sequence in mind, it becomes clear how critical it is for us to learn to control our thoughts and thus be able to shape our destiny.

I've always been impressed by those final "words of warning" given by King Benjamin, thousands of years ago—but certainly still to applicable to us today:
But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:30.)
Profound advice! Watch yourself, and your thoughts, words, and deeds, in order to find peace and happiness.

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

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