Friday, May 21, 2021

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on progress and growth

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.
"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father. 
"Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another. 
"Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don't be upset because someone can't sew as well as you, can't throw as well as you, can't row or hoe as well as you. 
"We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-31.)" 
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Virtue of Kindness", General Conference April 2005
Click here to read the full talk

This is such an important principle, one that is occasionally forgotten, perhaps sub-consciously, by Church members. We're all falling short, striving to improve and grow.

I love Elder Wirthlin's description of how we each progress differently in life, and develop different abilities and skills. How critically important it is for each of us to seek our own personal strengths and gifts, to acknowledge our abilities and advances, and allow others their different strengths!

And how could we possibly decide that someone is "less perfect" than we ourselves are? There are so many facets to making that determination, most of which are not visible to us with our limited understanding of one another. To have the attitude that another is more imperfect or inadequate is absurd. We should treat one another as holding divine potential, as remarkable beings joining us on the pathway to perfection!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
February 26, 2015

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