Wednesday, January 2, 2019

President Howard W. Hunter on resolving to grow and repent

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"This is a gospel of repentance, and we need to be repenting and resolving. Indeed, the process of repenting, making commitments, and setting goals should be a continuous one, so there is nothing wrong with using this traditional time of the year to evaluate the past and plan the future. It is much like our personal prayers in which, while communicating with our Father in Heaven, we ponder our thoughts, words, and deeds of the day and seek help in our personal progress for the morrow. The practice of reviewing the past and setting new directions for the future is a very healthy one, a scripturally encouraging one, in which we can beneficially alter our lives. I commend the practice to you, especially if it is thoughtfully pursued and the resolutions made are made in righteousness, bringing behaviors and attitudes that truly bless your lives and the lives of others. Shakespeare once wrote that one should live so that 'Eyes, / That borrow their behaviours from the great, / Grow great by your example and put on / The dauntless spirit of resolution' (King John, act 5, scene 1, lines 48–53).
"Sometimes our resolutions are a part of the process of repentance from past sins—actual transgressions for which we need forgiveness. Sometimes our goals focus on less serious matters, such as errors of judgment or flaws in our personality that may not be sins as such but that we nevertheless desire to change. Yes, life offers a multitude of lessons and plenty of things to improve. It is wonderful to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which encourages such lofty views and gives us every avenue to achieve them."
- Howard W. Hunter, "The Dauntless Spirit of Resolution," BYU Fireside, 5 January 1992
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

"We need to be repenting and resolving" as part of a continuous process of growth and improvement! This is wise prophetic counsel, and President Hunter encourages us to think of that at the beginning of the new year. Even our daily prayers can be a step in that process, as we consider each day's performance and seek inspiration on how to do better tomorrow. There is potential for much good in this process:

Since we do believe in "a gospel of repentance," President Hunter encourages us to allow resolutions to direct us in that process when needed. And there are many other areas of personal growth that we can consider as we seek to change. There are always "plenty of things to improve" as we examine our life carefully and prayerfully.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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