Quotes on Fear

See also: Moroni 8:16

Disciples of Christ in every generation are invited, indeed commanded, to be filled with a perfect brightness of hope. (See 2 Ne. 31:20.)

This faith and hope of which I speak is not a Pollyanna-like approach to significant personal and public problems.  I don’t believe we can wake up in the morning and simply by drawing a big “happy face” on the chalkboard believe that is going to take care of the world’s difficulties.  But if our faith and hope are anchored in Christ, in his teachings, commandments, and promises, then we are able to count on something truly remarkable, genuinely miraculous, which can part the Red Sea and lead modern Israel to a place “where none shall come to hurt or make afraid.”  (Hymns, 1985, no. 30)

Fear, which can come upon people in difficult days, is a principal weapon in the arsenal which Satan uses to make mankind unhappy.  He who fears loses strength for the combat of life in the fight against evil. Therefore the power of the evil one always tries to generate fear in human hearts.  In every age and in every era, mankind has faced fear. 

As children of God and descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must seek to dispel fear from among people.  A timid, fearing people cannot do their work well, and they cannot do God’s work at all.  The Latter-day Saints have a divinely assigned mission to fulfill which simply must not be dissipated in fear and anxiety. — President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” Ensign, October 1993, p. 73

The United States and much of the world have been plunged into a state of fear by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.  But this is nothing new in the history of the world.  The roles of terror and killing were integral parts of the Gadianton strategy in the history of the Nephites.  This terror perpetrated in this new millennium has been skillfully designed to frighten us, but fear need not control us.  The subsequent anthrax scare is perceived as being more psychologically damaging because it is less obvious than a plane crash.  Yet we deal with far more prevalent risks such as staph infections, which happen every day.  We are more ready to accept risks that we are familiar with, such as riding in an automobile or even crossing the street.

Satan is our greatest enemy and works night and day to destroy us.  But we need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power.  He can have no power over us unless we permit it.  He is really a coward, and if we stand firm he will retreat. — President James E. Faust, “Be Not Afraid,” Ensign, October 2002, p. 4

We do not need to fear, my brothers and sisters.  We having nothing to fear if we will live the gospel.  It is just that simple.  If we will make our decisions in the light of the gospel; if we will guide our lives according to the principles of the gospel; if we will get on our knees and pray to the Lord for enlightenment, understanding, direction, and courage, we do not need to fear.

The world is in trouble; of course, it is.  There have been many other generations that have faced a very troubled world.  But somehow, a few have come through.  Today these young people, particularly, stand as shining lights in this world where there is so much of darkness.  God bless them and smile upon them, give them strength and courage and fortitude to go forward in truth and righteousness.  They will be blessed and tremendous will be the results that come therefrom.: — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Optimistic Words,” Church News, March 12, 2004, p. 4

We live in a world of fear today.  Fear seems to be almost everywhere present.  But there is no place for fear among the Latter-day Saints, among men and women who keep the commandments, who place their trust in the Almighty, who are not afraid to get down on their knees and pray to our Heavenly Father.  God is at the helm.  I know it and you know it.  Even during the days of persecution and hardship, the Lord has continually encouraged us to trust in Him to keep his commandments, to do that which is right and then to be unafraid. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1954

Who among us can say that he or she has not felt fear?  I know of no one who has been entirely spared.  Some, of course, experience fear to a greater degree than do others.  Some are able to rise above it quickly, but others are trapped and pulled down by it and even driven to defeat.  We suffer from the fear of ridicule, the fear of failure, the fear of loneliness, the fear of ignorance.  Some fear the present, some the future.  Some carry the burden of sin and would give almost anything to unshackle themselves from those burdens but fear to change their lives. Let us recognize that fear comes not of God, but rather that this gnawing, destructive element comes from the adversary of truth and righteousness.  Fear is the antithesis of faith.  It is corrosive in its effects, even deadly.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).  We need not fear as long as we have in our lives the power that comes from righteously living by the truth which is from God our Eternal Father.  Nor need we fear as long as we have the power of faith. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Will Make a Way,” New Era, January 2002, pp. 6-7

Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: “My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Our Sacred Priesthood Trust,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 57

President Lorenzo Snow once attended a priesthood meeting in which a representative of each elders quorum stood and reported on the work his quorum had done.   As President Snow listened to these young men, he was reminded of himself many years earlier.  When he stood to speak, he said:

“I want to say something, if possible, that you will never forget, and I think that I can perhaps do so.

“I see, as I see almost always when young Elders are together, and in fact when middle-aged Elders are together, a kind of reluctance to speak before an audience.  I see this here this morning in the young men who have risen to express themselves and to give information regarding the particular work they have been doing.

“It would not be amiss, perhaps, if I should tell you a little of my experience, when I commenced to talk in public, even before I was an Elder.  I remember the first time I was called upon to bear my testimony. . . . It was something I very much dreaded, yet at the same time I felt that it was my duty to get up, but I waited, and waited.  One bore testimony, another gave his testimony, then another, and they were nearly through, but I still dreaded to get up.  I had never spoken before an audience. . . . I [finally] concluded it was about time for me to get up.  I did so.  Well, how long do you suppose I talked?  I judge about half a minute – it couldn’t possibly have been more than a minute.  That was my first effort; and the second, I think, was about the same. I was bashful, . . . but I made up my mind, solidly and firmly, that whenever I was called upon to perform a duty of this nature or of any other, I would do it no matter what might be the result.  That is a part of the foundation of my success as an Elder in Israel.”

President Snow told the young men that not long after this experience, he held his first meeting as a full-time missionary.  “I never dreaded anything so much in my life as I did that meeting,” he recalled.  “I prayed all day, went off to myself and called upon the Lord. I had never spoken [in public] before except in those testimony meetings.  I dreaded it.  I don’t suppose a person ever dreaded a condition of affairs more than I at that time. The meeting was called, and the room was pretty well filled. . . . I commenced to speak and I think I occupied about three-quarters of an hour.”  (In “Anniversary Exercises,” Deseret Evening News, Apr. 7, 1899, 9)  In another account of the same meeting, he recorded:  “When I stood before that congregation, although I knew not one word I could say, as soon as I opened my mouth to speak, the Holy Ghost rested mightily upon me, filling my mind with light and communicating ideas and proper language by which to impart them.  The people were astonished and requested another meeting.”  (In Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow [1884], 16)

President Snow shared the lesson he wanted the young men to learn from his experience:  “My young friends, there is an opportunity for you to become great – just as great as you wish to be.  In starting out in life you may set your hearts upon things very difficult to attain to, but possibly within your reach.  In your first efforts to gratify your desires you may fail, and your continued efforts may not prove what may be termed a success.  But inasmuch as your efforts were honest efforts, and inasmuch as your desires were founded in righteousness, the experience you obtain while pursuing your hearts’ desires must necessarily be profitable to you, and even your mistakes, if mistakes you make, will be turned to your advantage.”  (In “Anniversary Exercises,” Deseret Evening News, Apr. 7, 1899, 9)

This was a favorite theme of President Snow.  He often reminded the Saints of the Lord’s command to be perfect, and he assured them that through their own diligence and with the Lord’s help, they could obey that command.  He taught, “We ought to feel in our hearts that God is our Father, and that while we make mistakes and are weak yet if we live as nearly perfect as we can all will be well with us.”  (In “Impressive Funeral Services,” Woman’s Exponent, Oct. 1901, 36) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 6, pp. 94-95

As leaders in Israel, we must seek to dispel fear from among our people.  A timid, fearing people cannot do their work well.  The Latter-day Saints have a divinely assigned world-mission so great that they cannot afford to dissipate their strength in fear.  The Lord has repeatedly warned His people against fear.  Many a blessing is withheld because of our fears.  He has expressly declared that men cannot stop his work on earth, therefore, they who are engaged in the Lord’s latter-day cause and who fear, really trust man more than God, and thereby are robbed of their power to serve. 

The key to the conquest of fear has been given through the Prophet Joseph Smith. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).  That divine message needs repeating today in every stake and ward.  Are we prepared in surrender to God’s commandments? In victory over our appetites?  In obedience to righteous law?  If we can honestly answer yes, we can bid fear depart.  And the degree of fear in our hearts may well be measured by our preparation by righteous living, such as should characterize Latter-day Saints. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1942, pp. 32-34

Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: “My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Our Sacred Priesthood Trust,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 57

God is weaving his tapestry according to his own grand design.  All flesh is in his hands.  It is not our prerogative to counsel him.  It is our responsibility and our opportunity to be at peace in our minds and in our hearts, and to know that he is God, that this is his work, and that he will not permit it to fail. 

We have no need to fear.  We have no need to worry.  We have no need to speculate.  Our imperative need is to be found doing our duty individually in the callings which have come to us. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “He Slumbers Not, nor Sleeps,” Ensign, May 1983

Brethren and sisters, we have nothing to fear if we stay on the Lord’s side.  If we will be prayerful, seeking wisdom from God, who is the source of all true wisdom; if we will cultivate a spirit of love and peace and harmony in our homes; if we will fulfill our assigned responsibilities in the Church with enthusiasm and faithfulness; if we will reach out to our neighbors and others in a spirit of Christian love and appreciation, helping those in distress wherever we may find them; if we will be honest with the Lord in the payment of our tithes and offerings, we shall be blessed as God has promised.

Our Father has made explicit covenants with his people.  He is in a position to keep those covenants.  It is my testimony that he does so. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Fear Not to Do Good,” Ensign, May 1983

Fear is the devil’s first and chief tool. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1950, p. 127