Thursday, November 8, 2018

President Gordon B. Hinckley on the discipline of the gospel way

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"The Lord himself declared that 'strait is the gate and narrow is the way.' Any system dealing with the eternal consequences of human behavior must set guidelines and adhere to them, and no system can long command the loyalties of men that does not expect of them certain measures of discipline, and particularly of self-discipline. The cost in comfort may be great. The sacrifice may be real. But this very demanding reality is the substance of which come character and strength and nobility.
"Permissiveness never produced greatness. Integrity, loyalty, strength are virtues whose sinews are developed through the struggles that go on within a man as he practices self-discipline under the demands of divinely spoken truth.
"But there is another side of the coin, without which this self-discipline is little more than an exercise. Discipline imposed for the sake of discipline is repressive. It is not in the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is usually enforced by fear, and its results are negative.
"But that which is positive, which comes of personal conviction, builds and lifts and strengthens in a marvelous manner. In matters of religion, when a man is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of demands made upon him by the Church but because of the knowledge within his heart that God lives; that he is a child of God with an eternal and limitless potential; that there is joy in service and satisfaction in laboring in a great cause."
- Gordon B. Hickley, "The True Strength of the Church," General Conference April 1973
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Hinckley reminds us that we should expect to be challenged by our beliefs; there should be sacrifice and self-discipline involved.  It brings to mind the statement attributed to Joseph Smith: "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation." (Lectures on Faith, p. 58.) We should expect that "the cost in comfort may be great." But we should also see the rewards, expressed in character, strength, integrity, loyalty, and nobility.

President Hinckley also teaches that the reason for discipline is crucial. "Discipline imposed for the sake of discipline is repressive" and is usually enforced by fear; that is not the Gospel way. Our discipline should be motivated by our knowledge of God's existence and our relationship to Him. Joy comes as we accept the path of obedience for the right reasons.

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

1 comment:

  1. Love the expression of a desired balance achieved through self discipline and self mastery.


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