Acquiring discipline and the power of righteousness

Continually bless your life with the power of righteousness. It builds confidence. It engenders trust. It yields enduring, worthy achievement. To be righteous is to seek intently to be obedient to the commandments of God. It is to be clean in thought and act. It is to be honest and just. Righteousness is shown more in acts than in words. A righteous life requires discipline. Discipline is that characteristic which will give you the strength to avoid giving up what you want most in life for something you think you want now. It is a friend, not a harsh taskmaster that makes life miserable. Discipline is easier to acquire when it is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ, when it is nourished by an understanding of His teachings and plan of happiness.

Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Righteousness,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 68

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Planning our lives after the plan of the Lord

In October, 2007, Elder L. Tom Perry gave a wonderful devotional at BYU. Here are a couple of quotes from his talk:

If you want the extreme example of planning, you must turn to the scriptures. See how carefully the Lord has laid out His plan to guide His children to their eternal destiny. Perhaps the example of His careful planning would motivate us to give more energy to spending sufficient time to plan what we want to accomplish in our lives.

His comment made me want to do just as he asked: plan more regarding those things I should accomplish.

Here is another quote that fits nicely with the other quotes at this site encouraging us to avoid mediocrity and strive for perfection:

We are living in the remarkable age of the dispensation of the fulness of times when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness.

You are children of promise. I hope that you do not plan to be just common but plan to excel. There is no place in this world for mediocrity; we need to strive for perfection. You can obtain perfection in so many areas as you seek and work toward the goals you have established. You have a rich heritage; do not be afraid to think and act according to gospel principles and enjoy its blessings as you fulfill on earth the full measure of your creation as a child of God.

I hope today as you leave this devotional assembly that you will spend more time looking at yourself. God bless you that you may have the desire to go forward and seek your own salvation under this great plan the Lord has given to us.

Elder L. Tom Perry, “The Great Plan of Our God,” BYU Devotional, 30 October 2007

The adversary's attacks on the family

When Satan wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O or casseroles. When Satan truly wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he attempts to confuse gender and he attacks God’s plan for His children. He works to drive a wedge of disharmony between a father and a mother. He entices children to be disobedient to their parents. He makes family home evening and family prayer inconvenient. He suggests family scripture study is impractical. That’s all it takes, because Satan knows that the surest and most effective way to disrupt the Lord’s work is to diminish the effectiveness of the family and the sanctity of the home.

Look at what he accomplishes when he does that. Couples unhappy in their marriages tend not to give appropriate gospel instruction in the home. They are less likely to be committed to gospel principles in their own lives. Some drift from the Church. Apathy can overcome even active members, keeping them away from the temple and weakening their capacity to be effective leaders and teachers—thus leaving countless lives untouched and slowing the Lord’s work. And the Internet when not properly used is a vicious influence in the home. So we know, without question, Lucifer is the enemy of the family!

Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,” Ensign, Mar 2006, 26–33

General Conference, April, 2008

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the April 2008 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation.”
When a child needs correction, you might ask yourself, “What can I say or do that would persuade him or her to choose a better way?” When giving necessary correction, do it quietly, privately, lovingly, and not publicly. If a rebuke is required, show an increase of love promptly so that seeds of resentment may not remain. To be persuasive, your love must be sincere and your teachings based on divine doctrine and correct principles.

Do not try to control your children. Instead, listen to them, help them to learn the gospel, inspire them, and lead them toward eternal life. You are God’s agents in the care of children He has entrusted to you. Let His divine influence remain in your hearts as you teach and persuade.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Testimony”
…we need to affirm the existence of God the Eternal Father, the divine mission of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the reality of the Restoration. We must be valiant in our testimony of Jesus. Each of us has many opportunities to proclaim our spiritual convictions to friends and neighbors, to fellow workers, and to casual acquaintances. We should use these opportunities to express our love for our Savior, our witness of His divine mission, and our determination to serve Him.2 Our children should also hear us bear our testimonies frequently. We should also strengthen our children by encouraging them to define themselves by their growing testimonies, not just by their recognitions in scholarship, sports, or other school activities.

Also:
We live in a time when some misrepresent the beliefs of those they call Mormons and even revile us because of them. When we encounter such misrepresentations, we have a duty to speak out to clarify our doctrine and what we believe. We should be the ones to state our beliefs rather than allowing others the final word in misrepresenting them. This calls for testimony, which can be expressed privately to an acquaintance or publicly in a small or large meeting.

Elder Robert D. Hales, “Gaining a Testimony of God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost”
I testify that our Savior lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and He will come again on this earth to reign. He is Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel, “full of grace, and mercy, and truth. . . . It is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.” He is the literal Son of God, who rose from the dead on the third day, bringing the reality of resurrection to all who will come to earth. I also testify that God our Eternal Father lives and loves each of us, for we are His children. So great is His love that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify of the truth of what is in the scriptures and what has been told to me and can be told to you by the Holy Spirit. It will be revealed according to your obedience and desires. The Savior taught us during His mortal ministry this great truth that applies to all of us: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” I testify that I do know these things, and I know with surety that these things which I have spoken of are true. That you may seek for that same surety is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

A vibrant orchestra of personalities

“The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.

“This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; . . . all are alike unto God.”

“Concern for the One,” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, April, 2008.

Awakening men to God

A great quote from President Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, given at October conference, 2004 (italics added):

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives. There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

How can we account for these miracles? Why the upsurge of activity in men long dormant? The poet, speaking of death, wrote, “God . . . touch’d him, and he slept.” I say, speaking of this new birth, “God touched them, and they awakened.”

Two fundamental reasons largely account for these changes of attitudes, of habits, of actions.

First, men have been shown their eternal possibilities and have made the decision to achieve them. They cannot really long rest content with mediocrity once excellence is within their reach.

Second, other men and women and, yes, young people have followed the admonition of the Savior and have loved their neighbors as themselves and helped to bring their neighbors’ dreams to fulfillment and their ambitions to realization.

The catalyst in this process has been the principle of love.

The passage of time has not altered the capacity of the Redeemer to change men’s lives. As He said to the dead Lazarus, so He says to you and to me, “Come forth.” I add: Come forth from the despair of doubt. Come forth from the sorrow of sin. Come forth from the death of disbelief. Come forth to a newness of life.

Making the Plan of Salvation personal: Patterns in the teaching of President Henry B. Eyring

Henry B. Eyring

President Eyring continues to teach youth of the Church about the faith they have exercised, here and before they came to earth, then with that knowledge invites them to be prepared for service far beyond what they might imagine. Lastly, he warns them of the role Satan would play in their lives. I saw this pattern in his wonderful talk “A Child of God,” given at BYU in 1997. Here is a quote from the opening of that address:

you are the survivors. By making the right choices plus the help of uncounted servants of God, you have made it through a hail of spiritual bullets. There have been tens of thousands of casualties. You know some of them because they are your friends, your spirit brothers and your sisters. You are more than simply the survivors of that spiritual war. You are the future of the Church. God knows that. And so he now asks more of you than he has asked of those who were here before you, because the kingdom will need more. And Satan knows that you are the future of the Church, which gives me a solemn obligation to warn you of the hazards ahead and to describe how to survive them as you rise to the privileges God will give you.

This idea of God asking more of us because of who we are and what He needs us to be is echoed in Continue reading