“Think that ye may be mistaken”

“I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken.” I should like to have that written over the portals of every church, every school, and every courthouse, and, may I say, of every legislative body in the United States. I should like to have every court begin, “I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, I think we may be mistaken.”

Learned Hand, “Morals in Public Life” (1951)

(Hand was a Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1924-1961. Here he is quoting a famous expression of Oliver Cromwell in a letter of August 1650 to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.)

It is a very great thing to be little

Our Christian destiny is in fact a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. It is, therefore, a very great thing to be little, which is to say: to be ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.

Thomas Merton

Be limited in the estimate of your own virtues

Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbor’s virtue, but beware of self-righteousness, and be limited in the estimate of your own virtues, and not think yourselves more righteous than others; you must enlarge your souls towards each other, if you would do like Jesus….we must bear with each other’s failings, as an indulgent parent bears with the foibles of his children.”

Eliza R. Snow reporting an address given by the Prophet Joseph Smith
“Chapter 37: Charity, the Pure Love of Christ,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), 423–34

Giving “diligent heed” with hearts that are open

Alma, chapter 12, verses 9-11 make it clear that our knowledge and understanding of God’s word and His mysteries will be commensurate with the “heed and diligence” we give to Him and His word:

And therefore, he that will harden his heart,

the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word;

and he that will not harden his heart,

to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

And they that will harden their hearts,

to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

In the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants,verses 43-44, the Lord gives us “a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed (there are Alma’s words – heed and diligence) to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” Alma’s statement above makes it clear that diligent heed to God’s word is what allows us to understand His mysteries, and that that understanding is dependent upon an open and a humble heart.

In 1 Nephi 16:28 we learn that the Liahona “. . . did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.”

When the Savior visited the Nephites, he prayed with them. The scriptures record that His words were so great they could neither be written or spoken by man. But the hearts of the people “were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed (3 Nephi 19:33). Knowing the mysteries of God will likely be the same for each of us. We will know more than we can tell.

As the apostle Paul wrote, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolisness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote:

“Even the gospel glimpses are difficult to convey. Brigham Young said, ‘I cannot talk all my feelings, I cannot tell you what I feel and what I see in the Spirit.’ This inability to articulate concerns not only the grand and sacred things but also the simple joys of faith: ‘I cannot say the smallest part which I feel’ (Alma 26:16). Thus it is not only that our eyes and ears have not yet experienced what lies ahead; even if they had, the tongue could not fully express our feelings in the face of such sublime and reassuring things! President Brigham Young’s words remind us of Jacob’s: ‘If I could take away the veil, and let you see how things really are, you would then know just as well as I know, and I know them just as well as any man on the face of the earth need to.’” (That Ye May Believe, p. 200)

Elder Bednar said this about the mysteries of God:

As we ask in faith, we can receive revelation upon revelation and knowledge upon knowledge and come to know the mysteries and peaceable things – that bring joy and eternal life (see D&C 42:61). The mysteries are those matters that can only be known and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World [1974], 211). David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” October General Conference, 2008.

Humility: the doorway to educational excellence


Henry B. Eyring  …. the way to humility is also the doorway to educational excellence. The best antidote I know for pride also can produce in us the characteristics that lead to excellence in learning.


Henry B. Eyring, A Child of God, 1997 Brigham Young University Devotional


  It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.

Claude Bernard (1813-1878)


Humility: thinking less about ourselves

Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.

Humility directs our attention and love toward others and to Heavenly Father’s purposes. Pride does the opposite. Pride draws its energy and strength from the deep wells of selfishness. The moment we stop obsessing with ourselves and lose ourselves in service, our pride diminishes and begins to die.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Pride and the Priesthood”, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 55–58

It is wise to fear that our own skills are inadequate

It is wise to fear that our own skills are inadequate to meet the charge we have to nourish the faith of others. Our own abilities, however great, will not be enough. But that realistic view of our limitations creates a humility that can lead to dependence on the Spirit and thus to power.

Henry B. Eyring, “Feeding His Lambs,” Ensign, Feb 2008, 4–9

Be smaller in your life

How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it….
You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, and in a street full of splendid strangers.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pp. 13-14

Listening to your coach; listening to the Lord

Robert D. Hales A nice story from the life of Elder Robert Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

When he was a child, everything about baseball fascinated Robert. By the time he was a high school freshman, he was the starting pitcher for the school’s varsity baseball team. In college at the University of Utah, he was on the baseball team until an injury made it hard for him to continue playing. But the lessons he learned about life and people during the years he played baseball have had an important influence on him.

Once in high school, Robert’s pitching slump caused the team to lose three games in a row, one to nothing. The headline in the school paper said “Hard Luck Hales Loses Again.” He took his uniform and went to tell his coach he was going to quit. When he got to the coach’s office, his coach said, “Do you know why you’re losing? Your pitching arm is tired at the end of the game because before the game when you’re supposed to be warming up, you’re out there impressing everybody with your fastball and curveball. You probably pitch two or three innings doing that. Quit showing off and you won’t wear out your arm.” Robert listened, and the next game he pitched a shutout. “That’s why you love a coach who will tell you what you need to hear,” says Elder Hales. “If you listen to your coach, you can avoid repeating your mistakes and have a better opportunity to achieve your goals. The Lord is like that too. I don’t get tired of the chastening of the Lord or the Lord’s anointed.”

LaRene Gaunt, “Elder Robert D. Hales: ‘Return with Honor’,” Ensign, Jul 1994, 48