Sunday, September 19, 2021

President Spencer W. Kimball on Sabbath Day worship

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which he is expected.
"One good but mistaken man I know claimed he could get more out of a good book on Sunday than he could get in attending church services, saying that the sermons were hardly up to his standards. But we do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "The Sabbath—A Delight", Ensign, Jan 1978, pp. 2-7
Click here to read the full article

I think that a sign of a true disciple of Christ is that he or she appreciates the significance of the Sabbath Day and is naturally eager to "do worthy and holy things" including "constructive thoughts and acts."

Many are pleased to note that President Kimball's list of appropriate activities includes "taking a nap." We would do well to consider the other items he lists, and to add our own insights.

But the second paragraph is even more significant to me. It relates to our personal worship experience, and how we draw closer to God through Church meetings. President Kimball instructs that worship is a personal responsibility, but that it occurs best within the constraints the Lord has defined.

I love that last statement - "No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord." How important it is for us to do that worshiping!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 17, 2015

Saturday, September 18, 2021

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on being genuine and trusting God's power to bless our lives

President Uchtdorf (1940- ) served as a Seventy from 1994-2004, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve.  He served as second counselor in the First Presidency from 2008 until 2018.
"Whether your testimony is thriving and healthy or your activity in the Church more closely resembles a Potemkin village, the good news is that you can build on whatever strength you have. Here in the Church of Jesus Christ you can mature spiritually and draw closer to the Savior by applying gospel principles day by day.
"With patience and persistence, even the smallest act of discipleship or the tiniest ember of belief can become a blazing bonfire of a consecrated life. In fact, that's how most bonfires begin--as a simple spark.
"So if you feel small and weak, please simply come unto Christ, who makes weak things strong (see Ether 12:27). The weakest among us, through God's grace, can become spiritually strong, because God 'is no respecter of persons' (Acts 10:34)....
"My beloved brothers in Christ, the God of Creation, who breathed life into the universe, surely has the power to breathe life into you. Surely He can make of you the genuine, spiritual being of light and truth you desire to be."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "On Being Genuine," General Conference April 2015; see Ensign, May 2015, pp. 80-83
Click here to read the full talk

President Uchtdorf began his discourse in the Priesthood session of the recent conference by telling the story of a historical incident from 18th-century Russia, during which a regional governor named Potemkin is said to have pulled off a deception by making villages appear prosperous during a tour by Catherine the Great.  The term "Potemkin village" has come to symbolize "any attempt to make others believe we are better than we really are."  President Uchtdorf warned about putting on fa├žades or hiding our challenges and shortcomings, encouraging us to be "genuine" as we allow the Atonement and the Gospel to help us overcome the imperfections.

President Uchtdorf's message is one of hope and encouragement. The image of a tiny ember growing to a blazing bonfire is a beautiful one. President Uchtdorf wants us to believe that God has the power and desire to help us become what we sometimes pretend to be... or what we long to be. We don't do it ourselves; we rely on Him to breathe the divine power and light into us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 16, 2015

Friday, September 17, 2021

President Henry B. Eyring on the companionship and inspiration of the Holy Ghost

President Henry B. Eyring (1933- ) served in the Presiding Bishopric from 1985-1992, as a Seventy from 1992-1995, then was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He has served in the First Presidency since 2007.

This excerpt is from his address in the Priesthood session of the most recent general conference:
"As a priesthood holder, you are to be part of the warning voice of the Lord. But you need to heed the warning yourself. You will not survive spiritually without the protection of the companionship of the Holy Ghost in your daily life.
"You must pray for it and work to have it. Only with that guide will you be able to find your way along the strait and narrow path through the mists of evil. The Holy Ghost will be your guide as He reveals truth when you study the words of prophets.
"Getting that guidance will take more than casual listening and reading. You will need to pray and work in faith to put the words of truth down into your heart. You must pray that God will bless you with His Spirit, that He will lead you into all truth and show you the right way. That is how He will warn and guide you into the right path in your life."
- Henry B. Eyring, "Priesthood and Personal Prayer," General Conference, April 2015; see Ensign, May 2015, pp. 84-87
Click here to read the full talk
Many of the recent messages of Church leaders include encouragement to greater devotion and faithfulness. President Eyring spoke to Priesthood holders about that topic, linking their ability to serve effectively in the Priesthood with their personal prayers and other acts of devotion. The principles apply all members as we strive to draw on the powers of heaven for strength, guidance, and protection:

This final reminder that there is effort required to claim the blessing and reward should get our attention and lead us to evaluate our personal lives:

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 15, 2015

Thursday, September 16, 2021

President Gordon B. Hinckley on meditation and choices

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.
"You need time to meditate and ponder, to think, to wonder at the great plan of happiness that the Lord has outlined for His children. You need to read the scriptures. You need to read good literature. You need to partake of the great culture which is available to all of us.
"I heard President David O. McKay say to the members of the Twelve on one occasion, 'Brethren, we do not spend enough time meditating.'
"I believe that with all my heart. Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are highly ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development. I remember my dear father when he was about the age that I am now. He lived in a home where there was a rock wall on the grounds. It was a low wall, and when the weather was warm, he would go and sit on his wall. It seemed to me he sat there for hours, thinking, meditating, pondering things that he would say and write, for he was a very gifted speaker and writer. He read much, even into his very old age. He never ceased growing. Life was for him a great adventure in thinking.
"Your needs and your tastes along these lines will vary with your age. But all of us need some of it. I decry the great waste of time that people put into watching inane television. I am not antisports. I enjoy watching a good football game or a good basketball game. But I see so many men who become absolutely obsessed with sports. I believe their lives would be enriched if, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching a game that will be forgotten tomorrow, they would read and think and ponder."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "Life's Obligations," Ensign, Feb. 1999, p. 5
Click here to read the full article

We live in a busy, noisy time; President Hinckley is wise to warn us about "run[ning] from one thing to another" and "wear[ing] ourselves out" as we pursue the wrong kinds of goals. He reminds us to slow down, to take time for learning and pondering about the things that matter most.

I love how Pres. Hinckley reminisces about his own father's example of reading and learning, well into his later years. Each of us (especially those of us approaching those later years) should know how much our example matters, whether we realize it or not!

Especially worth considering is the caution about how we spend leisure time, including watching "inane television," and his perspective on sports. He admits to enjoying occasional football or basketball games himself, but cautions about excessive focus on fleeting activities when we could "read and think and ponder." We certainly need divine help and inspiration as we seek the appropriate balance in our personal life between effort, learning, study, focus - and leisure, relaxation, recreation.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 14, 2015

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

President Ezra Taft Benson on the power and blessings of the temple

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.
"Let us make the temple a sacred home away from our eternal home. This temple will be a standing witness that the power of God can stay the powers of evil in our midst. Many parents, in and out of the Church, are concerned about protection against a cascading avalanche of wickedness which threatens to engulf Christian principles. I find myself in complete accord with a statement made by President Harold B. Lee during World War II. Said he: 'We talk about security in this day, and yet we fail to understand that... we have standing the holy temple wherein we may find the symbols by which power might be generated that will save this nation from destruction' (CR April 1942, p. 87).
"Yes, there is a power associated with the ordinances of heaven—even the power of godliness—which can and will thwart the forces of evil if we will be worthy of those sacred blessings. This community will be protected, our families will be protected, our children will be safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord."
- Ezra Taft Benson, Atlanta Georgia Temple Cornerstone Laying, 1 June 1983; see TETB p. 256

All who have traveled appreciate the imagery of "a home away from home" — a place where we find acceptance, serenity, love, and peace when we are far from familiar settings. President Benson provides an interesting analogy about our mortality in view of eternity.

His witness is that the temple will provide "protection against a cascading avalanche of wickedness" in the world. It's a message for parents who desire to protect their children; it's a message for citizens concerned about their nation; and it's a message for each individual who seek divine assistance in life. President Benson offers the promise, and specifies the conditions upon which the blessings are claimed:

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 13, 2015

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

President Harold B. Lee on knowing and loving the scriptures

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.
"I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren't able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures! And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false—it is as simple as that. But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today.
"When I meet with our missionaries and they ask questions about things pertaining to the temple, I say to them, as I close the discussion, 'I don't dare answer any of your questions unless I can find an answer in the standard works or in the authentic declarations of presidents of the Church.'
"The Lord has given us in the standard works the means by which we should measure truth and untruth. May we all heed his word: 'Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church' (D&C 42:59)."
- Harold B. Lee, "Find the Answers in the Scriptures", Ensign, December 1972, pp. 2-3
Click here to read the full article

President Lee was widely known for his love for, and deep understanding of, the scriptures. For example, as alluded to in this excerpt, he would meet in the Salt Lake Temple with missionaries as they prepared to depart into the field and allow them to ask him any question they desired, and he would always provide an answer from the scriptures.

He encourages all of us to do what he himself did—learn to find answers in the scriptures. They should be our primary and final source of doctrinal understanding!

A benefit of thorough and in-depth understanding is that we recognize doctrine that isn't sound; it enables us to "measure truth and untruth."

But President Lee worries that too many of us are not taking advantage of that resource.  And though his remarks were offered almost 50 years ago, I suspect the advice is more needed than ever.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 12, 2015

Monday, September 13, 2021

President Howard W. Hunter on the magic of thought in determining our lives

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.
"As a being of power, intelligence, and the master of his own thoughts, a man holds the key to every situation, to make his life what he chooses it to be. When he discovers the divine power within his soul, he can lead his life to a God-like nature. If one dreams lofty dreams, so shall he become. There is magic in the way one thinks. If we expect the worst, we will get the worst. If we expect the best, we will receive the best. If we train our minds to have faith in God and ourselves, we are using one of the great laws of life. If we think and live righteously, happiness will find its place in our lives. It is amazing when we expect the best how forces are set in motion which cause the best to materialize....
"Outward circumstances do not determine the course of our lives as much as the thoughts that habitually occupy our minds. These thoughts carve their impression on our faces, in our hearts, and on the tablet of our eternal souls."
- Howard W. Hunter, "Thoughts Make Us What We Are," Beneficial Life Insurance Company Convention, Victoria, British Columbia, 7 July 1983; see THWH 74

President Hunter believed in the "magic" of how a person thinks about life—that a man can "make his life what he chooses it to be" and in particular, "lead his life to a God-like nature."

"If we life righteously, happiness will find its place in our lives." What a beautiful promise. President Hunter always seemed very calm and serene. I think these thoughts reflect how he lived his life.

"The tablets of our eternal souls"—what a beautiful description. Our thoughts carve their impression on those tablets, as well as our faces and hearts. How eternally critical it is to care for our thoughts!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 11, 2015

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on Heavenly Father's love for us

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1986, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1986 until his passing in 2008 at age 91.
"Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.
"We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won't, for He sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.
"The means of this refinement is our Christlike love. There is no pain it cannot soften, no bitterness it cannot remove, no hatred it cannot alter."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Great Commandment," General Conferenct October 2007
Click here to read the full talk

This talk by Elder Wirthlin is full of "gems" of insight. He begins by reassuring us of God's love and confidence in each of us, even with our flaws, and even with our self-doubt:

But not only that; God's opinion of us sees beyond the short-term view of the present, into the eternity of our potential. While we focus on what we are, He knows what we can become:

And finally this witness of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform us from earthly beings into eternal beings:

I love the concept of a "gospel of transformation." It's all about what we are becoming; how we are changing, growing, and progressing.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 7, 2015

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Elder Marvin J. Ashton on acting "straightway" to bless others

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (May 6, 1915—Feb 25, 1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"Wishing things were different in our lives, or waiting for a roadblock to be removed or an attitude altered, can cause us to mark time rather than to move forward straightway. William Shakespeare wrote, 'Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win By fearing to attempt.' (Measure for Measure, act 1, sc. 4, lines 77-79.)
"Use your specific talents. Don't procrastinate action while wishing for missing abilities. To those who are inclined to respond with 'Not now' or 'Not yet' to the invitation to 'come, follow me,' may we suggest, with all the love and sincerity we possess, He wants you. He will welcome you straightway regardless of where you have been, where you are now, who you are, or what talents you possess or lack....
"Those whose goal it is to follow the Savior straightway not only look for answers to their own problems, but also help others find solutions to life's difficulties. They open their hearts and minds to those who are troubled, ignored, or weary."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "Straightway," Ensign, May 1983, pp. 30-32
Click here to read the full talk
In this memorable talk, Elder Ashton referred to the New Testament description of Jesus calling Simon Peter and Andrew to service, and how they "straightway" left their fishing nets to follow (see Matt. 4:18–22). He encourages us to not delay in our choices and righteous works. It's so easy to postpone making the changes or being sincere in commitment. In this excerpt, he warns of one of the things that can bring hesitancy—our self-doubt and lack of confidence as we worry about missing qualifications or abilities.

Elder Ashton's reminder is that as we do the best we can with what we have, "help[ing] others find solutions to life's difficulties," we will do much good and bless others as well as ourselves. We should each consider areas in which a decision or commitment made "straightway" could change or bless us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 6, 2015

Friday, September 10, 2021

President Boyd K. Packer on the gentle voice of the Spirit

President Boyd K. Packer (1924-2015) served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve (a position that no longer exists) from 1961 to 1970, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He served as president of that Quorum from 1994 until his death in 2015 at age 90.
"The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither 'loud' nor 'harsh.' It is 'not a voice of thunder, neither... voice of a great tumultuous noise.' But rather, 'a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,' and it can 'pierce even to the very soul' and 'cause [the heart] to burn.' (3 Ne. 11:3; Hel. 5:30; D&C 85:6-7.) Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a 'still small voice.' (1 Kgs. 19:12.) 
"The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all.... 
"Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, 'Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.' (1 Sam. 3:10.)" 
- Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord," talk given at a seminar for new mission presidents, 25 June 1982; see Ensign, January 1983, pp. 51-56
Click here to read the full talk
This is a wonderful description and great warning to us. We live in a very noisy world. with many distractions competing for our attention at all hours. We have devices that play music, that broadcast news or commentary, that bring information in a variety of forms.  Many of these have merit and can be used in very beneficial ways; but they also bring the danger of overuse. It takes real effort for us to find a way to quiet our surroundings and just listen.

Certainly this applies to our more formal times of prayer, when we communicate with Heavenly Father. We need to be sure that our efforts to address Him are also accompanied by time to listen. But it also applies to our general activities, when perhaps the Holy Ghost might have warnings or promptings to share:

And note the caution is not just about external noise, but also about us being "preoccupied" with things that might prevent us from listening.

And it's important to remember that listening is an active, deliberate action, not just a passive one. It's more than just cutting out noise and distractions; we have to actively seek and listen!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
March 9, 2015

Thursday, September 9, 2021

President Russell M. Nelson on hope in our challenges

Elder Russell M. Nelson (1924- ) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"Happiness comes when scriptures are used in shaping our lives. They speak of the 'brightness of hope' (2 Ne. 31:20) for which we yearn. But if our hopes were narrowly confined only to moments in mortality, we should surely be disappointed. Our ultimate hope must be anchored to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, 'If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God' (D&C 14:7).
"An understanding of that objective should help us approach the future with faith instead of fear, (see D&C 6:36) with a more excellent hope in place of despair. God sent each of us here to be happy and successful (see 2 Ne. 2:25; Jacob 2:18-19). Meanwhile, he also needs us. We are to 'seek not the things of this world but seek... first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness' (JST, Matt. 6:38). He decreed that 'no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things' (D&C 12:8)....
"Our hope is in our 'Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel—the God of the whole earth' (3 Ne. 22:5). His hope is in us. We are literally the 'Hope of Israel, Zion's army, Children of the promised day' (Hymns, no. 259).
"May the 'God of hope,' in the words of the Apostle Paul, 'fill [us] with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost' (Rom. 15:13)."
- Russell M. Nelson, "A More Excellent Hope," BYU devotional, 8 January 1995; see Ensign February 1997, pp. 60-64
Click here to read the full talk

I find hope to be one of the most fascinating and fruitful topics to study and ponder. It means so much more in the gospel context than in our colloquial use. Elder Nelson suggests the critical and distinguishing focus - a hope anchored to the Atonement of the Savior:

Elder Nelson then provides a scriptural summary of the blessings that come from a righteous and inspired hope, one that enables us to:
  • approach the future with faith instead of fear
  • find hope in place of despair
  • be happy and successful in mortality
  • assist in building the kingdom of God on earth
And ultimately, in the words of Paul, it is "through the power of the Holy Ghost" that we can be filled "with all joy and peace" as we begin to "abound in hope." What a beautiful and desirable promise!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 27, 2015

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Elder Quentin L. Cook on the world's way and the Savior's way

Elder Quentin L. Cook (1940- ) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"We live in a world where the latest story, the buzz, the hype, the 'new thing' is much sought after and then publicized throughout the world. Movies, television, and other media often celebrate heroic gestures, dysfunctionality, conflict, and sexuality rather than the quiet, everyday acts of sacrifice, service, and love that are so much a part of the Savior's message and example. The wild rush to find the new often tramples on what is true....
"Today there is a tendency among some of us to 'look beyond the mark' rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, seek heroic gestures at the expense of daily consecration, or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described (Jac 4:14)....
"One of the great challenges of this life is to accept Christ for who He is: the resurrected Savior of the world, our Redeemer, our Lord and Master, our Advocate with the Father. When He is the foundation for all that we do and are, we avoid the theological blindness that results from looking beyond the mark, and we reap the glorious blessings He has promised us. 'Come unto me, ye blessed,' He tells those who follow Him; 'there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father' (Enos 1:27)."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Looking Beyond the Mark," Ensign, March 2003, pp. 40-44
Click here to read the full talk
Elder Cook warns us about paying too much attention to the world's "fads and distractions" in ways that make us lose sight of the things that should matter most. It's easy to forget the quiet life of discipleship, the "everyday acts of sacrifice, service, and love" that lie at the core of the Gospel message.

The last phrase of that excerpt was an interesting statement, summarizing the danger of getting trapped by the world's allures: "The wild rush to find the new often tramples on what is true."

The second warning is to not get caught up in "gospel extremism" or other misguided efforts, but to continue to focus on "maintain[ing] a testimony of gospel basics" and to remember "daily consecration."

This was a good summary of the challenge, and the "cure" of knowing where our focus belongs:

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
June 5, 2015

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

President James E. Faust on personal revelation and discernment

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"Satan has had great success with this gullible generation. As a consequence, he and his angels have victimized literally hosts of people. There is, however, an ample shield against the power of Lucifer and his hosts. This protection lies in the spirit of discernment through the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift comes undeviatingly by personal revelation to those who strive to obey the commandments of the Lord and to follow the counsel of the living prophets.
"This personal revelation will surely come to all whose eyes are single to the glory of God, for it is promised that their bodies will be 'filled with light, and there shall be no darkness' in them (D&C 88:67). All who come unto Christ by obedience to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel can thwart Satan's efforts. The humble followers of the divine Master need not be deceived by the devil if they will be honest and true to their fellow men and women, go to the house of the Lord, receive the sacrament worthily, observe the Sabbath day, pay their tithes and offerings, offer contrite prayers, engage in the Lord's work, and follow those who preside over them."
- James E. Faust, "The Forces That Will Save Us," Ensign, Jan 2007, pp. 4-9
Click here to read the full talk

What an interesting label: "this gullible generation." Satan readily takes advantage of those who are easily distracted, easily persuaded to follow his deceptions. Safety and protection are found "in the spirit of discernment through the gift of the Holy Ghost." The key is to become "humble followers of the diving Master," and President Faust gives encouragement on how to do that better; this is a fine list for personal evaluation:

More recently, in a talk given to the stakes in my area, Elder M. Russell Ballard provided a very similar list of "essential habits of conversion" that has been an emphasis for us:
  • daily prayer
  • fasting
  • studying the scriptures and the words of the living prophets
  • keeping the Sabbath day holy
  • partaking of the sacrament
  • worshipping in the temple often
  • reaching out to the needy, poor, and lonely
("To the Saints in the Utah South Area," September 13, 2015; see report here)

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 5, 2015

Monday, September 6, 2021

President David O. McKay on finding peace through Christ

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"The rising sun can dispel the darkness of night, but it cannot banish the blackness of malice, hatred, bigotry, and selfishness from the hearts of humanity. Happiness and peace will come to earth only as the light of love and human compassion enter the souls of men.
"It was for this purpose that Christ, the Son of righteousness, 'with healing in his wings' (Mal. 4:2), came in the Meridian of Time. Through him wickedness shall be overcome, hatred, enmity, strife, poverty, and war abolished. This will be accomplished only by a slow but never-failing process of changing men's mental and spiritual attitude. The ways and habits of the world depend upon the thoughts and soul-convictions of men and women. If, therefore, we would change the world, we must first change people's thoughts. Only to the extent that men desire peace and brotherhood can the world be made better. No peace, even though temporarily obtained, will be permanent, whether to individuals or nations, unless it is built upon the solid foundation of eternal principles.
"Men may yearn for peace, cry for peace, and work for peace, but there will be no peace until they follow the path pointed out by the Living Christ. He is the true light of men's lives."
- David O. McKay, General Conference October 1964; Improvement Era 67:1041-42
Click here to read the full talk

It's been almost 60 years since President McKay warned about "the blackness of malice, hatred, bigotry, and selfishness" that plague our society. Those times seem so simple in comparison to today's world—how much more do we see those plagues in our time! But the remedy hasn't changed, and never will.

The quest for peace, in society and in individual lives, is as old as history. President McKay is clear to point out that there is only one source of true peace. It starts as we individually yearn, cry, and work towards the goal  by diligently following the path shown to us by the Savior.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 4, 2015
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