Wednesday, June 9, 2021

President Howard W. Hunter on choices of personal 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.
"This is the church of Jesus Christ, not the church of marrieds or singles or any other group or individual. The gospel we preach is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which encompasses all the saving ordinances and covenants necessary to save and exalt every individual who is willing to accept Christ and keep the commandments that he and our Father in Heaven have given.... 
"How foolish we would be to fail to enjoy the rich gifts of God to us! We could well miss opportunities for providing needed blessings to others because we felt personally deprived of some hoped-for blessing and were blinded by our own self-pity. 
"Not only should we be careful not to deprive others of blessings because of our wanderings in the wastelands of self-pity or self-recrimination, but we should be careful not to deprive ourselves of other blessings that could be ours. 
"While waiting for promised blessings, one should not mark time, for to fail to move forward is to some degree a retrogression. Be anxiously engaged in good causes, including your own development. The personal pursuit of hobbies or crafts, the seeking of knowledge and wisdom, particularly of the things of God, and the development and honing of skills are all things that could productively occupy one's time." 
- Howard W. Hunter, "The Church is For All People," Ensign, June 1989, pp. 75-77; click here to read the full talk
Sometimes groups of people have needs and challenges that can be addressed or relieved with others in similar situations. But this is a good reminder; we should always remember that the Gospel and the Atonement have power to bless every individual life, regardless of "classifications" we impose on others or ourselves. Too much "grouping" can be disabling.

President Hunter's warning about "self-pity" and how it can lead us to deprive others and ourselves of blessings is an important message.

I've felt this challenge; at times in my life when I've been disappointed at a delay or a deprivation, I have felt the temptation to "mark time" instead of moving forward and being "anxiously engaged" in helping others and stretching myself. All of us, regardless of position or circumstance, should be seeking to grow, learn, develop, and improve.

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

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