Thursday, May 20, 2021

President Spencer W. Kimball on meeting the challenges of life

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Some people feel that decisions are really out of our hands, that we merely respond to circumstances without choice, like a rudderless ship that drifts at the mercy of the wind and waves. And I agree that there can come a time when we no longer have control over our destinies, but I believe that this is only after the cumulation of our own past decisions has left us helpless. 
"In the beginning, each of us is a bundle of potential that can be developed and shaped by what we choose to do. In youth there is still great malleability. We can choose what we will become. As the years go by, we find our past choices have narrowed the alternatives still open to us and we have less and less control over our future. 
"No one should deny the importance of circumstances, yet in the final analysis the most important thing is how we react to the circumstances. It is a tenet of my faith that every normal person has the capacity, with God's help, to meet the challenge of whatever circumstances may confront him. One of the most comforting scriptures carries the message that God will not leave us helplessever. (1 Cor 10:13.)" 
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Decisions: Why It's Important to Make Some Now," New Era, Apr. 1971, 2; click here to read the full article
In his later years, President Kimball's voice was thin and raspy due to the ravages of throat cancer. But he spoke clear and often beautifully-written messages, speaking out strongly and definitively in support of truth. In this case, he refutes the "worldly" idea that man loses control of his own destiny (with rare exception), reminding us that we are responsible for our own fate. Circumstances beyond our control will befall us all; they did to President Kimball. But the critical thing is how we respond to those circumstances. What a great reminder that we each have the potential to choose our direction, our outcome, even our happiness in the journey.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
February 2, 2015

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