Tuesday, May 18, 2021

President Howard W. Hunter on growth and progress

President 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.
"Part of our difficulty as we strive to acquire spirituality is the feeling that there is much to do and that we are falling far short. Perfection is something yet ahead for every one of us; but we can capitalize on our strengths, begin where we are, and seek after the happiness that can be found in pursuing the things of God. We should remember the Lord’s counsel:
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days. (D&C 64:33–34.)
"It has always been encouraging to me that the Lord said it is the 'willing and obedient [who] shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.' All of us can be willing and obedient. If the Lord had said the perfect shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days, I suppose some of us would be discouraged and give up.... 
"The place to begin is here. The time to start is now. The length of our stride need be but one step at a time. God, who has, 'designed our happiness,' will lead us along even as little children, and we will by that process approach perfection." 
- Howard W. Hunter, "Developing Spirituality," General Conference April 1979
Click here to read the full talk
It's easy to get discouraged when we find ourselves "falling far short" of the goal of perfection. It's very common to wish we were doing better, achieving more, being more faithful and obedient. In the midst of feelings of inadequacy, this reminder about perspective is helpful. We don't need to be perfect—yet.  We just need to be "willing and obedient."

The key is to be willing to start now, to make consistent progress toward the goal. The progress can be slow and gradual; that is less important than the fact that we are progressing. What a hopeful message!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
January 8, 2015

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