President of the Church
Essential to the plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without His atoning sacrifice, all would be lost. It is not enough, however, merely to believe in Him and His mission. We need to work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God’s laws and live them. We need to receive His saving ordinances. Only by so doing will we obtain true, eternal happiness.
We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth, that we might merit all that the Father has for us. He does nothing save it be for our benefit. He has told us, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
From the depths of my soul and in all humility, I testify of the great gift which is our Father’s plan for us. It is the one perfect path to peace and happiness both here and in the world to come.
Joy and Spiritual Survival"
President of the Quorum of the Twelve
Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!
My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!
That is why our missionaries leave their homes to preach His gospel. Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members. Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world!
Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding,” He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain...
Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine will interrupt our joy. That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online and in the blogosphere, which do exactly what Korihor did.
If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy!
The Sacrament Can Help Us Become Holy"
Of the Seventy
Participation in the sacrament ordinance provides an opportunity to more fully yield our hearts and souls to God. In our preparation, our hearts become broken as we express gratitude for Christ’s Atonement, repent of our mistakes and shortcomings, and ask for the Father’s help in our continuing journey to become more like Him. We can then look forward to the opportunity the sacrament provides to remember His sacrifice and renew our commitments to all the covenants we have made.
As we consider our sacrament experience, we might ask ourselves:
What will I do this week to better prepare for the sacrament?
Could I contribute more to the reverence and revelation that can accompany the beginning of sacrament meeting?
What doctrine was taught in the sacrament hymn?
What did I hear and feel as I listened to the sacrament prayers?
What did I think about as the sacrament was passed?
The Great Plan of Redemption"
2nd Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
When we have sinned, Satan often tries to convince us that the unselfish thing to do is to protect others from the devastation of the knowledge of our sins, including avoiding confessing to our bishop, who can bless our lives through his priesthood keys as a common judge in Israel. The truth, however, is that the unselfish and Christlike thing to do is to confess and repent. This is Heavenly Father’s great plan of redemption...
To me, the greatest miracles in life are not the parting of the Red Sea, the moving of mountains, or even the healing of the body. The greatest miracle happens when we humbly approach our Father in Heaven in prayer, fervently plead to be forgiven, and then are cleansed of those sins through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior.
To Whom Shall We Go"
Quorum of the Twelve
One of the most heart-wrenching stories in scripture occurred when “many of [the Lord’s] disciples” found it hard to accept His teachings and doctrine, and they “went back, and walked no more with him.” As these disciples left, Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Will ye also go away?”
“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.In that moment, when others focused on what they could not accept, the Apostles chose to focus on what they did believe and know, and as a result, they remained with Christ...
“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Today is no different. For some, Christ’s invitation to believe and remain continues to be hard—or difficult to accept. Some disciples struggle to understand a specific Church policy or teaching. Others find concerns in our history or in the imperfections of some members and leaders, past and present. Still others find it difficult to live a religion that requires so much. Finally, some have become “weary in well-doing.” For these and other reasons, some Church members vacillate in their faith, wondering if perhaps they should follow those who “went back, and walked no more” with Jesus.
If any one of you is faltering in your faith, I ask you the same question that Peter asked: “To whom shall [you] go?” If you choose to become inactive or to leave the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where will you go? What will you do? The decision to “walk no more” with Church members and the Lord’s chosen leaders will have a long-term impact that cannot always be seen right now. There may be some doctrine, some policy, some bit of history that puts you at odds with your faith, and you may feel that the only way to resolve that inner turmoil right now is to “walk no more” with the Saints. If you live as long as I have, you will come to know that things have a way of resolving themselves. An inspired insight or revelation may shed new light on an issue. Remember, the Restoration is not an event, but it continues to unfold...
Never fail to give equal time to the Lord through honest attempts to understand what the Lord has revealed. As my dear friend and former colleague Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, “We should not assume … that just because something is unexplainable by us it is unexplainable.”
So before you make that spiritually perilous choice to leave, I encourage you to stop and think carefully before giving up whatever it was that brought you to your testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in the first place. Stop and think about what you have felt here and why you felt it. Think about the times when the Holy Ghost has borne witness to you of eternal truth.
Where will you go to find others who share your belief in personal, loving Heavenly Parents, who teach us how to return to Their eternal presence?
Where will you go to be taught about a Savior who is your best friend, who not only suffered for your sins but who also suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” so “that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities,” including, I believe, the infirmity of loss of faith?
Where will you go to learn more about Heavenly Father’s plan for our eternal happiness and peace, a plan that is filled with wondrous possibilities, teachings, and guidance for our mortal and eternal lives? Remember, the plan of salvation gives mortal life meaning, purpose, and direction.
Where will you go to find a detailed and inspired Church organizational structure through which you are taught and supported by men and women who are deeply committed to serving the Lord by serving you and your family?
Where will you go to find living prophets and apostles, who are called by God to give you another resource for counsel, understanding, comfort, and inspiration for the challenges of our day?
The Blessing of Worship"
1st Counselor, Presiding Bishopric
Latter-day Saints are exceptional when it comes to serving in Church callings. But sometimes we may go about our work routinely, as though we are merely performing a job. Sometimes our attendance at meetings and our service in the kingdom may lack the holy element of worship. And without that, we are missing an incomparable spiritual encounter with the infinite—one we are entitled to as children of a loving Heavenly Father.
Far from being an accidental, happy occurrence, worship is essential and central to our spiritual life. It is something we should yearn for, seek out, and strive to experience.
When we worship God, we approach Him with reverent love, humility, and adoration. We acknowledge and accept Him as our sovereign King, the Creator of the universe, our beloved and infinitely loving Father.
We respect and revere Him. We submit ourselves to Him. We lift our hearts in mighty prayer, cherish His word, rejoice in His grace, and commit to follow Him with dedicated loyalty.
Worshipping God is such an essential element in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ that if we fail to receive Him in our hearts, we will seek for Him in vain in our councils, churches, and temples.
of the Presidency of the Seventy
While few of us will be called to be common judges, the principles of righteous judgment apply to all of us, especially to parents who have a daily opportunity to use these principles with their children. To effectively teach a child is the very essence of good parenting, and to lovingly discipline is the very essence of being a righteous judge.
President Joseph F. Smith taught, “If children are defiant and difficult to control, be patient with them until you can conquer by love, … and you can then [mold] their characters as you please.”8
It is insightful that in teaching how to discipline, the prophets seem to always refer to Christlike attributes. The Doctrine and Covenants gives us this well-known advice on discipline:
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
“By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love."
HENRY B. EYRING - "Gratitude on the Sabbath Day"
1st Counselor, First Presidency
I receive letters and visits from faithful Latter-day Saints who feel burdened with a load of care. Some are close to feeling that, at least for them, all is lost. I hope and pray that what I say about being grateful on the Sabbath will be helpful to make doubts fly and for singing to start in your hearts.
One blessing for which we can be grateful is that we are there in that sacrament meeting at all, gathered with more than one or two of His disciples in His name. There are some at home unable to rise from their beds. There are some who would like to be where we are but are instead serving in hospitals and providing public safety or are defending us at the risk of their own lives in some desert or jungle. The fact that we are able to gather with even one other Saint and partake of the sacrament will help us begin to feel gratitude and love for God’s kindness.
Because of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, another blessing we can count is that we have the opportunity to take the sacrament each week—prepared, blessed, and passed by authorized servants of God. We can be grateful when the Holy Spirit confirms to us that the words of the sacrament prayers, offered by those authorized priesthood holders, are honored by our Heavenly Father.
Of all the blessings we can count, the greatest by far is the feeling of forgiveness that comes as we partake of the sacrament. We will feel greater love and appreciation for the Savior, whose infinite sacrifice made possible our being cleansed from sin. As we partake of the bread and water, we remember that He suffered for us. And when we feel gratitude for what He has done for us, we will feel His love for us and our love for Him.