"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
--January 27, 1838
"...there is nothing noble or impressive about being cynical. Skepticism is easy--anyone can do it. It is the faithful life that requires moral strength, dedication, and courage. Those who hold fast to faith are far more impressive than those who give in to doubt when mysterious questions or concerns arise."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2015 General Conference
Promptings often come in short, crisp phrases, impressing upon us a certain duty. They come in other ways to each of us. We know what’s happening to us, but we don’t know all the implications of it. But God knows. It’s a sacred process. We know more than we can tell other people—not only for reasons of confidentiality but for what I will call “contextuality.” Those who are not a part of the process are not likely to value and understand its significance. They’re not apt to appreciate fully.
The whole process of subtle inspiration and revelation is like this metaphor: An inspired painter working on a large canvas does not report to or ask patrons or friends to react to each brushstroke. Nor does he exclaim after each stroke of his paintbrush well before the canvas reflects any emerging pattern. Yet each stroke the painter registers on the canvas is a part of an inspired whole. Without those cumulative, individual strokes, there would be no painting. But each stroke, if examined by itse…
The book of Deuteronomy records Moses’ preaching and encouragement and warnings to try to help the children of Israel become and remain worthy. They had proven themselves wearyingly difficult to lead, not just across the Sinai wilderness but, more important, along the paths of righteousness. Theirs wasn’t just a journey toward a geographic destination, although they still had to cover the mileage—their journey was also a pathway toward the level of obedience required to live in their promised land flowing with milk and honey. The text from the books of Exodus through Joshua tells the story of the wandering hearts and the frequent unfaithfulness of the children of Israel. Moses was able to take the Israelites out of Egypt comparatively quickly, but it took 40 years to take Egypt out of the Israelites.
I do the very best I know how -- the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten thousand angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
I never behold them [the heavens filled with stars] that I do not feel I am looking in the face of God. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive of how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.
When a man receives knowledge, he is prompted to impart it to others; when a man becomes happy, the Spirit that surrounds him teaches him to strive to make others happy. It is not so in the Gentile world. If a man attains to any important position, he does not strive to elevate others to participate in the same blessings. In this respect there is a great difference between the Latter-day Saints and the world of mankind. The object of the Priesthood is to make all men happy, to diffuse information, to make all partakers of the same blessings in their turn. Is there any chance of a man’s becoming happy without a knowledge of the Gospel of Christ? A man may make the thunders roll, the lightnings flash; but what has that to do with making a man happy? Nothing. Though in the world they try to make themselves happy, still they are not successful in what they strive to accomplish. They cannot be happy except upon one principle, and that is by embracing the fulness of the Gospel, which teache…
We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny. The Lord’s pattern for spiritual development is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.
Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us. Elder David A. Bednar, October 2007 General Conference
How often have you and I really pondered just what it is...that will rise with us in the resurrection? Our intelligence will rise with us, meaning not simply our I.Q., but our capacity to receive and to apply truth. Our talents, attributes, and skills will rise with us, certainly also our capacity to learn, our degree of self-discipline, and our capacity to work. Note that I said "our capacity to work" because the precise form of our work here may have not counterpart there, but the capacity to work will never be obsolete. To be sure, we cannot, while here, entirely avoid contact with the obsolescent and the irrelevant. It is all around us. But one can be around irrelevancy without becoming attached to it, and certainly we should not become preoccupied with obsolete things.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional, September 1981
Hugh B. Brown Hugh B. Brown served as an apostle, and later, as a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before that, he worked for a short time as a professor of religion at Brigham Young University. While there, he received a letter from a close friend who was experiencing what is now commonly called a “crisis of faith.” The advice he gave nearly seventy years ago has never been published, but is still pertinent to us today as we all struggle to “keep the faith.”
November 8, 1946
I was really glad to get your letter of October 25, and I appreciate your confidence. The revelation of your mental and spiritual struggles does not come as a surprise, as I had felt for some time that the waters of your usually placid soul had become somewhat roiled and disturbed.
Would you be surprised if I should tell you that I, too, have had periods of perplexity, uncertainty, and doubt; that I, too, have known the darkness, fogginess, and chill of…
Shortly after the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young told of a dream in which Joseph visited and instructed him: “Joseph stepped toward us, and looking very earnestly, yet pleasantly, said: ‘Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the Kingdom. … Tell the brethren that if they will follow the spirit of the Lord, they will go right’” (JH). https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-6?lang=eng
“When we truly pray from the heart, we open our innermost feelings to our Father in Heaven: we tell Him of our challenges, our feelings of inadequacy and weakness; we share our emotions and feelings about decisions that face us or trials and adversity we experience; we freely express our sorrows and joys. Now, God knows our innermost thoughts and feelings even better than we do, but as we learn to share them with Him, we make it possible for His Spirit to enter our souls and teach us more about our own selves and about the nature of God. By making ourselves totally honest, open, and submissive before God, our hearts become more receptive to His counsel and His will.”
“One great obstacle to receiving answers from God is fear, for fear is the opposite of faith. I have heard President Boyd K. Packer teach many times, ‘Brethren, do not take counsel from your fears.’ If you are fearful about leaving Provo or the state of Utah, it will be difficult for the Lord to give you an answer to tak…
"We need not worry if we can't simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time."
—Richard G. Scott, "For Peace at Home"
You can make every decision in your life correctly if you can learn to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This you can do if you will discipline yourself to yield your own feelings to the promptings of the Spirit. Study your problems and prayerfully make a decision. Then take that decision and say to him, in a simple, honest supplication, “Father, I want to make the right decision. I want to do the right thing. This is what I think I should do; let me know if it is the right course.” Doing this, you can get the burning in your bosom, if your decision is right. . . . When you learn to walk by the Spirit, you never need to make a mistake.
President Marion G. Romney, General Conference October 1961
There will be times in your lives when you will not know the quick answers for your circumstances. Rely then on the word of God. Your Father in Heaven will always teach you to fear not, but to be of good cheer, to lighten your ship of clutter and focus on the spiritual matters, to commit yourselves to the covenants you made, and to put your sail of righteousness into the wind and head courageously toward the land of your eternal future.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, BYU Devotional November 2003
Our Father provided the sun, the moon, and the stars—heavenly galaxies to guide mariners who sail the lanes of the sea. To us, as we walk the pathway of life, He provides a clear map and points the way toward our desired destination. He cautions: beware the detours, the pitfalls, the traps. We cannot be deceived by those who would lead us astray, those clever pied pipers of sin beckoning here or there. Instead, we pause to pray; we listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master’s gentle invitation, “Come, follow me.”
Correlation is a concept I'm often asked to define. I sometimes respond by citing a story that is told about the Church when a federal army was sent out here to harass the Saints. The Brethren had decided on a policy of irritation without violence. In keeping with that policy Porter Rockwell and Lot Smith were dispatched to a distant army camp where Lot Smith was to secretly and quietly remove the pins from the army's wagon wheels while Porter Rockwell was to drive off all the army's horses. In the dark of night, Lot was busily taking out wagon wheel pins, and Porter war-whooped into the camp and drove off all the horses, including Lot Smith's. Lot later walked wearily many miles back to Church headquarters and reportedly said, "Brethren, we've just got to get correlated." Today's correlation challenges are different, but the basic need remains.
I fear that many of us rush about from day to day taking for granted The Holy Scriptures. We scramble to honor appointments with physicians, lawyers and businessman. Yet we think nothing of postponing interviews with Deity--postponing our Scripture Study. Little wonder we develop anemic souls and lose our direction in living. How much better it would be if we planned and held sacred fifteen or twenty minutes a day for reading The Scriptures. Such interviews with Deity would help us recognize His voice and enable us to receive guidance in all of our affairs. We must look to God through the Scriptures. Elder Carlos E. Asay, General Conference October 1978