Subjection to God is really emancipation

It is so easy to be halfhearted, but this only produces half the growth, half the blessings, and just half a life, really, with more bud than blossom….

Sometimes, our holding back occurs because we lack faith or we are too entangled with the cares of the world. Other times, there is in us an understandable tremulousness which slows our yielding, because we sense what further yielding might bring.

Yet we need to break free of our old selves—the provincial, constraining, and complaining selves—and become susceptible to the shaping of the Lord. But the old self goes neither gladly nor quickly. Even so, this subjection to God is really emancipation.

How can we truly acknowledge the Fatherhood of God and refuse His tutorials? Especially in view of the fact, the Lord even chastens those whom He loves.

Neal A. Maxwell, “Willing to Submit,” Ensign, May 1995

I need Thee every hour

Brothers and sisters, we do not go many hours in our lives without having to decide again “which way do we face” and whether we will pitch our tents facing Sodom or the holy temple (see Gen. 13:12Mosiah 2:6).

Neal A. Maxwell, “How Choice a Seer,” Ensign, November 2003

Adversities are temporary. What we become by them is permanent.

Dallin H. Oaks  “… each of us [must] focus our attention on the individual responses we must make to the personal adversities that are sure to hound us throughout our lives. Our responses will inevitably shape our souls and ultimately determine our status in eternity. Because opposition is divinely decreed for the purpose of helping us to grow, we have the assurance of God that in the long view of eternity it will not be allowed to overcome us if we persevere in faith. We will prevail. Like the mortal life of which they are a part, adversities are temporary. What is permanent is what we become by the way we react to them.

Dallin H. Oaks, Adversity, Ensign, July 1998

 

Beauty of soul, truth in art

In an age like ours, confined to the surface of things, “beauty” inevitably comes to be thought of primarily as beauty of appearance rather than beauty of character or mind (or ”soul”). Thus, contemporary performing values stress smoothness, homogeneity, and glamour at the expense of all other qualities — despite the fact that these other qualities compose seventy-five percent of art, which is great, when it is great, not because it is beautiful but because it is true. Composers like Mussorgsky, Mahler, Berg, Britten, and Shostakovich — for whom the articulacy of sound is so critical as to teeter perpetually on the verge of speech — can be utterly obliterated by performers and critics whose interest is in beauty rather than truth, form rather than being, the score rather than the mind behind it.

Ian MacDonald, The New Shostakovich, p. 259.

The truth we share is greater than our differences

Henry B. Eyring …I am seeing more and more skillful peacemakers who calm troubled waters before harm is done. You could be one of those peacemakers, whether you are in the conflict or an observer.

One way I have seen it done is to search for anything on which we agree. To be that peacemaker, you need to have the simple faith that as children of God, with all our differences, it is likely that in a strong position we take, there will be elements of truth. The great peacemaker, the restorer of unity, is the one who finds a way to help people see the truth they share. That truth they share is always greater and more important to them than their differences. You can help yourself and others to see that common ground if you ask for help from God and then act. He will answer your prayer to help restore peace, as He has mine.

That same principle applies as we build unity with people who are from vastly different backgrounds. The children of God have more in common than they have differences. And even the differences can be seen as an opportunity. God will help us see a difference in someone else not as a source of irritation but as a contribution. The Lord can help you see and value what another person brings which you lack. More than once the Lord has helped me see His kindness in giving me association with someone whose difference from me was just the help I needed. That has been the Lord’s way of adding something I lacked to serve Him better.

Henry B. Eyring, Our Hearts Knit as One, General Conference, November 2008

[Those] who learn well together always seem to me to have great peacemakers among them….It is the gift to help people find common ground when others are seeing differences. It is the peacemaker’s gift to help people see that what someone else said was a contribution rather than a correction.

Henry B. Eyring, “Learning in the Priesthood,” General Conference, April 2011

I, the Lord, remember them no more

One final story—once again from when I was a bishop. One night, while I was in a sound sleep, the doorbell rang. I stumbled to answer it and found a young member of my priests quorum at the door. I knew him well, well enough to have gone on outings with him, to have prayed with and about him, and to have taught him. I knew him as well as a good bishop knows any active eighteen-year-old priest, which was well enough for me to ask what he was doing at my front door in the middle of the night.

He said, “I have to talk to you, bishop. I’ve just done something serious, and I can’t go home.” He was right. It was serious. I invited him in, and we talked. He talked and I listened, then I talked and he listened, until dawn. He had many questions. He had committed a terrible sin. He wanted to know if there was hope. He wanted to know how to repent. He wanted to know if repentance included telling his parents. He wanted to know if there was any chance of his going on a mission. He wanted to know many other things. I didn’t have all of the answers, but I told him there was hope. I told him the way back would be difficult, but it was possible. I explained what I knew about the process of repentance and helped him see what he must do. I told him if he really wanted to go on a mission that that decision could only be made in the future after he had repented. Then I told him to go home, and he did.

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What will you take with you when you finally leave BYU?

  I would like to project your thinking forward to a future April or August commencement day, your own graduation day. I should like to ask, at this early day, What will you take with you when you finally leave BYU?

First is intellectual discipline. I hope that while you are here you will develop a degree of mental acuity that finds its expression in a mind that is alert, that is orderly in its processes, that is hungry for more of the kind of thing it has been fed while here….

Be a man or a woman with a mind and a will and a bit of discipline, with a zest for learning that will be cultivated in this institution while you are here and that will be expanded through all the years to come….

Second, I hope you will develop a spirit of fellowship, a social ease, the capacity to mix and mingle with people wherever you meet them, of low caste or high caste, recognizing their strengths and powers and capacities and goodness….

A vibrant personality that comes of the capacity to listen and learn, that comes of the ability to contribute without boring, that comes of a talent for mingling and mixing with people in a constructive way is something very precious, indeed, that can come as a part of your life on this campus. The cultivation of such will keep you from the moral traps that catch so many….

Develop the social ease that gives you the capacity to mingle with others and talk with others in a stimulating and uplifting manner. Social grace is so important a quality–it can be developed on campus and will bless you throughout your life.

Third, when you walk out of this hall, with your diploma in hand, I hope you will take with you an unassailable spiritual strength….How marvelous a thing in the human character is a certain and solid assurance that God our Eternal Father lives. How richly blessed is that young man or woman who knows that he or she can approach the Almighty in quiet and humble prayer. How enriched is the individual who, as he or she goes out into the world, knows that all men and women are sons and daughters of God, each endowed with a divine birthright. How beneficial to come to the realization that, since we are all children of God, we all are brothers and sisters in a very real sense….

None of these things that I have spoken of will be mentioned on the diplomas you carry from this institution on graduation day. But they are all implicit in the purposes and design of this university. If you carry them with you, your lives will be blessed. Your experiences will be challenging, but they will be sweet and enriching, and you will become the means of bringing good to all whose lives you touch.