Monday, April 26, 2021

Howard W. Hunter on living with hope and not fear

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.
"Disciples of Christ in every generation are invited, indeed commanded, to be filled with a perfect brightness of hope. (See 2 Ne. 31:20.)
"This faith and hope of which I speak is not a Pollyanna-like approach to significant personal and public problems. I don't believe we can wake up in the morning and simply by drawing a big 'happy face' on the chalkboard believe that is going to take care of the world's difficulties. But if our faith and hope are anchored in Christ, in his teachings, commandments, and promises, then we are able to count on something truly remarkable, genuinely miraculous, which can part the Red Sea and lead modern Israel to a place 'where none shall come to hurt or make afraid.' (Hymns, 1985, no. 30.)
"Fear, which can come upon people in difficult days, is a principal weapon in the arsenal which Satan uses to make mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life in the fight against evil. Therefore the power of the evil one always tries to generate fear in human hearts. In every age and in every era, mankind has faced fear.
"As children of God and descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must seek to dispel fear from among people. A timid, fearing people cannot do their work well, and they cannot do God's work at all. The Latter-day Saints have a divinely assigned mission to fulfill which simply must not be dissipated in fear and anxiety."
- Howard W. Hunter, "An Anchor to the Souls of Men," CES fireside, BYU, 7 February 1993; see Ensign, Oct. 1993, pp. 70-73
Click here to read the full talk

In the classic Book of Mormon passage Pres. Hunter references, Nephi encourages us to be filled, not just with hope, but with "a perfect brightness of hope." What a vivid description! And what a challenge that can be in the midst of the trials and challenges of life.

I love Pres. Hunter's elaboration. We don't achieve that kind of deep-souled calmness and assurance just by superficial means. It comes only when "our faith and hope are anchored in Christ, in his teachings, commandments, and promises."

In our quest for hope, we have to guard against its opposite emotion—fear. This is a great warning and reminder:

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

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