Saturday, September 15, 2018

President Harold B. Lee on honoring our royal heritage

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"One of our Latter-day Saint men during World War II was over in England. He had gone to an officer’s club where they were holding a riotous kind of celebration. He noticed off to the side a young British officer who didn’t seem to be enjoying himself at all. So he walked over to him and said, 'You don’t seem to be enjoying this kind of a party.' And this young British officer straightened himself a few inches taller than he was before and replied, 'No, sir, I can’t engage in this kind of a party, because, you see, I belong to the royal household of England.'
"As our Latter-day Saint boy walked away he said to himself, 'Neither can I, because I belong to the royal household of the kingdom of God.' Do you realize that, you young people? There are things that you cannot and must not do if you remember your heritage.
"I am reminded of the old court jester who was supposed to entertain his king with interesting stories and antics. He looked at the king who was lolling on his throne, a drunken, filthy rascal, doffed his cap and bells, and said with a mock gesture of obeisance, 'O king, be loyal to the royal within you.' And so I say to you young people today, remember your heritage, and be loyal to that royal lineage that you have as members of the church and kingdom of God on the earth."
- Harold B. Lee, "Be Loyal to the Royal Within You," BYU Devotional, September 11, 1973
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Lee shared this wonderful message with students at a BYU devotional. Understanding our roots and heritage can make such a difference in the choices we make and how we act in our daily lives! He encouraged students to recognize their divine origins and eternal potential.

Years ago, in a Jewish philosophy class at BYU, I remember reading a phrase that stuck deeply with me (I have not been able to find the source). It was, in effect, that the greatest sin or depravity into which a man can fall is to forget that he is the son of a King. Truly when we forget our heritage, we lose the vision and motivation of our choices and actions. We should always be loyal to the seeds of divinity within us, as members of "the royal household of the kingdom of God."

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

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