Wednesday, March 9, 2022

President Harold B. Lee on the most important commandment

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"Now, if you have made mistakes, make today the beginning of a change of your lives. Turn from the thing that you have been doing that is wrong. The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today. If it is one of dishonesty, if it is one of unchastity, if it is one of falsifying, not telling the truth, today is the day for you to work on that until you have been able to conquer that weakness. Put that aright and then you start on the next one that is most difficult for you to keep. That's the way to sanctify yourself by keeping the commandments of God."
- Harold B. Lee, Devotional, Long Beach California, 4/29/73; see The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 82
I love the New Testament story of the lawyer who asks the Savior about the greatest of the commandments. He hoped to trap the Savior into an answer that could be criticized; but the response was incapable of dispute: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (see Matthew 22:34-40). That guideline would encompass all others; we show our love for Him by allowing His teachings and commandments to direct our lives.

President Lee may not have been asked the question directly, but his response provides a simple and clear way to focus on our personal progress. All we need to do is "conquer that weakness"—the one troubling us currently—one by one, and eventually we'll achieve the complete devotion God asks of us.

This is a powerful reminder on where we should focus our attention and efforts!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
June 10, 2015

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