Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Elder Dallin H. Oaks on desires, priorities, choices, and actions

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming...
"Readjusting our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not easy. We are all tempted to desire that worldly quartet of property, prominence, pride, and power. We might desire these, but we should not fix them as our highest priorities....
"All of us face potential traps that will prevent progress toward our eternal destiny. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress.
"We should remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent....
"As important as it is to lose every desire for sin, eternal life requires more. To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being. For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them. They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves. And they love all of God's children. If this seems too difficult—and surely it is not easy for any of us—then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father for help with our feelings. The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should 'pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ' (Moroni 7:48)."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Desire," General Conference April 2011
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Oaks describes this sequence of how things happen in our lives:
Desires -> Priorities ->  Choices -> Actions -> Changes, Achievements
When we control our desires, we ultimately control our actions and life's direction. But Elder Oaks acknowledges that it's difficult to change our priorities in the midst of the world's temptations:

I thought his acknowledgement was interesting—we might desire some of those "worldly" things, but we must be careful to keep them prioritized among all of our priorities. Our righteous desires must be intense enough to provide the motivation to righteousness and change in our lives. We have to do more than just lose the desire for sin; we have to build and promote those desires for higher things, for holy things. That will lead to the kind of "becoming" that will show we are "true followers" of the Savior.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
March 30, 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15