The False Gods We Worship

In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

Spencer W. Kimball, “The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, Jun 1976, 3

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The gospel invites vigorous participation

People learn obedience by being obedient. We see its fruits. Halfhearted obedience is without reward. The gospel invites vigorous participation in living its principles. God commands that we serve him with all our heart, with all our might, with all our strength, and with the very best of our intelligence.

Our Savior instructs us, “Thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times” (D&C 59:11).

If we could feel or were sensitive even in the slightest to the matchless love of our Savior and his willingness to suffer for our individual sins, we would cease procrastination and “clean the slate,” and repent of all our transgressions.

This would mean keeping God’s commandments and setting our lives in order, searching our souls, and repenting of our sins, large or small. It means loving our neighbor, living an exemplary life, and—high on the list—being good husbands and good wives. It means teaching our children, by example and precept, to walk in the ways of truth and soberness. It means being honest in our affairs, and serving others, which includes sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, and—with love—to succor those in need.

It is my hope that we will all come to know and love our Lord through obedience to his Word sufficiently to qualify for inclusion in the blessed circle of those who have heard of and believed his precious words uttered in the Garden of Gethsemane, his last night in mortality: “And this is life eternal,” he said, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)….
David B. Haight, “Our Lord and Savior,” Ensign, May 1988, 21

Responding to others in a Christlike way

To respond in a Christlike way cannot be scripted or based on a formula. The Savior responded differently in every situation. When He was confronted by wicked King Herod, He remained silent. When He stood before Pilate, He bore a simple and powerful testimony of His divinity and purpose. Facing the moneychangers who were defiling the temple, He exercised His divine responsibility to preserve and protect that which was sacred. Lifted up upon a cross, He uttered the incomparable Christian response: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

….As we respond to others, each circumstance will be different. Fortunately, the Lord knows the hearts of our accusers and how we can most effectively respond to them. As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter. And in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord.

….As true disciples, our primary concern must be others’ welfare, not personal vindication. Questions and criticisms give us an opportunity to reach out to others and demonstrate that they matter to our Heavenly Father and to us. Our aim should be to help them understand the truth, not defend our egos or score points in a theological debate. Our heartfelt testimonies are the most powerful answer we can give our accusers. And such testimonies can only be born in love and meekness. We should be like Edward Partridge, of whom the Lord said, “His heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile” (D&C 41:11). To be guileless is to have a childlike innocence, to be slow to take offense and quick to forgive.

Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship
Elder Robert D. Hales
October General Conference, 2008

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