Quotes on Righteousness

See also: Ether 8:23; Moroni 7:37; D&C 1:19, 136:31; 3 Nephi 10:12; Genesis 45:7; Amos 6; Isaiah 55:1-2; Matt. 5-6; John 17:16; Jacob 5; Mosiah 5:12; D&C 121:45; Genesis 37-50  

Think of the distance there is between us and the people of Babylon.  The distance we have traveled is scarcely perceptible to some; and on some points we are so near that we can reach and shake hands with them, we have made so little progress.  Yet there is nothing truer than this, that before we are prepared to dwell in the presence of God we must be directly opposite to them in almost every respect. — President George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, 11:335

May each of us, brothers and sisters, navigate that straight and narrow way, landing our immortal souls “at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Hel. 3:30)  Only then, when we are really home, will our mortal homesickness disappear – our highest human yearnings for what could be are but muffled memories of what once was – and will again be – for we have indeed “wandered from a more exalted sphere.” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1975, p. 102

You must have high standards.  Many people try and compartmentalize their life by having a standard for Church, another for business, and other standards for different aspects of their lives.  I strongly counsel you against that.  Don’t make exceptions to your standards–never compromise them.  There really is only one set of standards that makes sense to me–the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Success comes when your actions are consistent with the teachings of the Lord. — Elder Richard G. Scott, address given to BYU-Hawaii graduates, Church News, July 2, 1994, p. 11

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  (Edmund Burke, in George Seldes, comp., The Great Thoughts, 1985, p. 60) — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1988, p. 51

We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him.  Then we will drink water springing up unto eternal life and will eat the bread of life.

What manner of men and women ought we to be?  Even as he is.  (3 Nephi 27:27) — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, May 1994, p. 64

A statement President Benson kept nearby:  “Be right and then be easy to live with, if possible – but in that order.” — Elder Boyd K. Packer at President Ezra Taft Benson’s funeral, June 4, 1994.  President Benson died May 30, 1994, at the age of 94.  Text in Church News, June 11, 1994.

“We want you to be happy, but remember there is no happiness in wickedness.  You know you cannot do wrong and feel right about it.  It’s impossible.  It pays to live the good life.  It pays to keep yourself clean in mind and body, and unspotted from the world . . . [which] is gradually beating a path to our door to see how we do things.  Stick by your righteous guns and you will bless your fellow men.  Be right and then be easy to live with, if possible – but in that order.”  (Ezra Taft Benson) — BYU President Rex E. Lee, “The Passing and the Appointment of a Prophet,” Brigham Young Magazine, August 1994, p. 4

Live in such a way that people who know you but don’t know Christ will want to know Christ because they know you.  (Author unknown) — Elder H. David Burton, Ensign, May 1994, p. 68

It may seem a little difficult at first, but when a person begins to catch a vision of the true work, when he begins to see something of eternity in its true perspective, the blessings begin to far outweigh the cost of leaving “the world” behind. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1976, p. 6

The best measure of true greatness is how Christlike we are. — President Ezra Taft Benson

If we, as a people, keep the commandments of God; if we take the side of the Church on all issues, both religious and political; if we take the Holy Spirit for our guide; if we give heed to the words of the apostles and prophets who minister among us–then, from an eternal standpoint, all things will work together for our good. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, The Ensign, May 1980, p. 73

All of us give our lives daily for what we believe is important.  Those with whom we associate are silently assessing us, our values and character traits.  Is there anything about our daily conduct we would change if we knew someone was doing a written appraisal for publication?

As Church members, we all benefit when one of us is honorable and righteous. . . . One of our greatest needs is for true witnesses among our youth.  Young people need models from their own generation.  Thankfully we have a tremendous army of latter-day sons and daughters of Helaman, stripling “Saturday warriors,” who are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Rather, they have turned this commitment to the Lord to an advantage. — Elder J. Richard Clarke, April 1985 General Conference

William Law said, “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, July 1993, p. 74

If you were accused of being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you? — Anonymous

As I visit among the stakes of the Church, I find it is not uncommon to discover that fewer than 50 percent of the households are contributing to the fast offerings of the Church, and the trends are not improving.

We have reached a point where more of our adult men are becoming prospective elders than are receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood.  About half of the endowed members of the Church hold current temple recommends.  Reports of other violations of the Lord’s law are a source of concern.

These indicators may seem to carry a direful tone, but as Enos declared in the Book of Mormon, sometimes it is necessary to resort to “exceedingly great plainness of speech.”  (Enos 1:23)

As the world continues to ripen in iniquity, our lives of necessity must become increasingly different from the world and its standard.  It will be a great challenge for us.  We must be better than we have ever been before.  As we succeed, we have the sure promise of the Lord that he will prosper us in every way necessary for our well-being. — Elder Dean L. Larsen, Ensign, Nov. 1992, p. 42

Part of our mortal training is to walk by faith, repent of our sins, and call upon the Lord in daily prayer.  We rejoice in the moments when promptings by the Holy Ghost are kindly given, and we are urged along the proper path of life.  But each of us faces many difficult times here in mortality.  All sorts of voices are screaming at us from the stadiums of public opinion.  Our course will never be the popular way of the world.  There are obstacles strewn in our path upon which we may sprain an ankle or stub a toe.  But we must keep going.  We move on in the strength of the Lord, each accountable for our own performance at the end of our mortal race.  We must be able to declare with Paul:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:7-8.) — Elder Gary J. Coleman, Ensign, November 1992, p. 44

Frame your lives according to the precepts of the Gospel.  Let your . . . conversation be that upon which an angel can look with pleasure.  And in all your social communications, or whatever your associations are, let all the dark, discontented, murmuring, unhappy, miserable feelings – all the evil fruit of the mind, fall from the tree in silence and unnoticed; and so let it perish, without taking it up to present to your neighbours. — Brigham Young, address given in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, April 6, 1853

What is meant by “after all we can do”?  “After all we can do” includes extending our best effort.  “After all we can do” includes living His commandments.  “After all we can do” includes loving our fellowmen and praying for those who regard us as their adversary.  “After all we can do” means clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and giving “succor [to] those who stand in need of [our] succor” (Mosiah 4:15)–remembering that what we do unto one of the least of God’s children, we do unto Him.  (See Matt. 25:34-40; D&C 42:38.)

“After all we can do” means leading chaste, clean, pure lives, being scrupulously  honest in all our dealings and treating others the way we would want to be treated.  (Neal A. Maxwell, “After All We Can Do,” Christmas Devotional, Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 9, 1982; quoted in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.) — Church News, February 3, 1996, p. 14

Dwelling in the world is part of our mortal test.  The challenge is to live in the world yet not partake of the world’s temptations which will lead us away from spiritual goals. — Elder Robert D. Hales, General Conference, April 5, 1998

Seeing life from an eternal perspective helps us focus our limited mortal energies on the things that matter most. . . . As we progress through mortality, we may make mistakes and get off course.  The Lord has provided for us prophets, scriptures, parents and other wise leaders to teach us the course we should be following. . . .

Our course on earth is so important.  It is determined by the decisions we make each day.  We cannot separate our thoughts and actions now from their effects on the future.  We might ask ourselves if we merit the blessings of our Father’s plan with the life we are now living. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, April 5, 1998

Christ taught that we should be in the world but not of it.  Yet there are some in our midst who are not so much concerned about taking the gospel into the world as they are about bringing worldliness into the gospel.  They want us to be in the world and of it.  They want us to be popular with the worldly even though a prophet has said that this is impossible, for all hell would then want to join us. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Improvement Era, 72:43

Every action is preceded by a thought.  If you want to control your actions, control your thinking. — President David O. McKay

You are good.  But it is not enough just to be good.  You must be good for something.  You must contribute good to the world.  The world must be a better place for your presence, and the good that is in you must be spread to others.

In this world so filled with problems, so constantly threatened by dark and evil challenges, you can and must rise above mediocrity, above indifference.  You can become involved and speak with a strong voice for that which is right.

You cannot simply sit in your laboratory, or your library, and let the world drift along in its aimless way.  It needs your strength, your courage, your voice in speaking up for those values which can save it. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Opening Devotional, 1996

It is either the church or the world.  There is no middle ground.  The Lord loves a courageous man who fights openly and boldly. . . . Members of the church who have testimonies and who live clean and upright lives but who are not courageous and valiant do not make the Celestial Kingdom.  Theirs is a Terrestrial inheritance.  “These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus, wherefore they obtain not the crown of the kingdom of our God.” — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, October 1974

May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality and to that great reward of exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love. . . .

You may recall that Jesus filled his mind with truth; Jesus filled his life with service; Jesus filled his heart with love.  When we follow that example, we shall never hear those words of rebuke that came from the parables.  We shall never find that we have empty lamps.  We shall never be considered unprofitable servants.  We shall never determine that we have been found unfruitful in the kingdom of God.  Rather, when you and I follow carefully the parts of this formula and literally fill our minds with truth, fill our lives with service, and fill our hearts with love, we may qualify to hear one day that statement of our Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Formula For Success,” Ensign, March 1996, pp. 2, 6

There are no instant Christians, but there are constant Christians! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, October 1976, p. 14

Living on the edge can also mean being perilously close to the Bottomless Pit. . .

Some of you may think that you will discover your strengths and abilities by living on the edge. . . . There will always be enough risks that will come to you naturally without your having to seek them out. — President James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1995, p. 46

Like the throng on the ramparts of the “great and spacious building,” they are intensely and busily preoccupied, pointing fingers of scorn at the steadfast iron-rodders (1 Ne. 8:26-28, 33).  Considering their ceaseless preoccupation, one wonders, “Is there no diversionary activity available to them, especially in such a large building – like a bowling alley?” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1996, p. 68

“Conversion must mean more than just being a ‘card carrying’ member of the church with a tithing receipt . . . [or] a temple recommend.”  One who is converted “strive[s] continually to improve inward weaknesses and not merely the outward appearances.”  (Harold B. Lee) — Elder W. Mack Lawrence, Ensign, May 1996, pp. 74-5

The Proclamation on the Family is a wonderful statement, but I want to say this: It will mean absolutely nothing unless we bring its principles into our own lives.  The Bible will do us no good unless we live its precepts.  The Book of Mormon will do us no good unless we live its doctrine.  The Doctrine and Covenants will do us no good unless we abide by the principles set forth therein.  Likewise, the Pearl of Great Price, including the Articles of Faith contained therein, and likewise, with this proclamation.  The test of our convictions concerning this work lies in the manner of our living, my beloved brothers and sisters. — President Gordon B. Hinckley speaking at member fireside, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 14, 1996; Church News, March 1, 1997, p. 2

When the Latter-day Saints make up their minds to endure, for the kingdom of God’s sake, whatsoever shall come, whether poverty or riches, whether sickness or to be driven by mobs, they will say it is all right, and they will honor the hand of the Lord in it, and in all things, and serve Him to the end of their lives, according to the best of their ability. . . . If you have not made up your minds for this, the quicker you do so the better.  (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:388)

Brigham Young’s joy was not at the mercy of men or circumstance.  Likewise, you and I need to be able to utter those words “it is all right.”  Even when we are confronted with things we cannot fully understand, we can know that God does understand and that He loves us.  Brigham’s example helps us to appreciate the need not to be too much at the mercy of our moods or too much at the mercy of circumstances. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy,” BYU Devotional, January 23, 1996

Let us suppose that it is too late to save freedom.  It is still accounted unto us for righteousness’ sake to stand up and fight.  Some Book of Mormon prophets knew of the final desolate end of their nations, but they still fought on, and they saved some souls, including their own, by so doing.  For, after all, the purpose of life is to prove ourselves, and the final victory will be for freedom (Abraham 3:24-25).  (See Ether 8:23.) The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 660

The Lord will not force himself upon people; and if they do not believe, they will receive no visitation.  If they are content to depend upon their own limited calculations and interpretations then, of course, the Lord will leave them to their chosen fate. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1966, p. 22

A saint resolves any differences with others honorably and peacefully and is constant in courtesy – even in traffic at rush hour. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1990, pp. 16-17

The Church of Christ is destined to bless the whole world by reforming it.  It will eventually correct all the great evils of society and lift mankind to a higher level, physically, morally, and spiritually.  It is a worthy cause in which to be engaged and for which to spend our means and talents.  It is the greatest reform movement of the age.  It is bound to succeed, for it is founded on true principles revealed anew from heaven.  Those who aid in its establishment and growth shall surely share in the happiness and satisfaction, as well as the honor and glory of such a mighty work. — Elder George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1945, pp. 28-29

President George Albert Smith said, “If you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly because you will have lost the spirit of the Lord.”

I strongly urge you that if there is any question in your minds or hearts about whether your personal conduct is right or wrong, don’t do it.  Each of us has moral agency, and the gift of the Holy Ghost will sharpen our impressions of what is right and wrong, true and false.  It is the responsibility of the prophets of God to teach the word of God, not to spell out every jot and tittle of human conduct.  If we are conscientiously trying to avoid not only evil but the very appearance of evil, we will act for ourselves and not be acted upon. — President James E. Faust, General Conference, Priesthood Session, April 2003

I wish to say that none of us ever need hesitate to speak up for this Church, for its doctrine, for its people, for its divine organization and divinely given responsibility.  It is true.  It is the work of God.  The only things that can ever embarrass this work are acts of disobedience to its doctrine and standards by those of its membership.  That places upon each of us a tremendous responsibility.  This work will be judged by what the world sees of our behavior.  God give us the will to walk with faith, the discipline to do what is right at all times and in all circumstances, the resolution to make of our lives a declaration of this cause before all who see us. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1996, p. 51

I cannot understand why so many have betrayed in life the decision they once made when the great war occurred in heaven. But it is evident that the contest between good and evil, which began with that war, has never ended.  It has gone on, and on, and on to the present. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Dawning of a Brighter Day,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 81

It is a statistical fact that the wicked work harder to reach hell than the righteous do to enter heaven. — Elder Joseph Anderson, Ensign, May 1975, p. 30

To love God more than anything else impels us to take control of our priorities and order our lives so as to be in accord with Him.  We come to love all of God’s creations, including our fellow man.  Placing God first in all things kindles greater love and devotion between husband and wife, parents and children.  In Zion, we find “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.”  (D&C 82:19) — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “Come to Zion! Come to Zion!” Ensign, November 2002, p. 96

Teach men to be truthful, honest, chaste, sober, industrious, frugal and to love and practice every good word and work, . . . they elevate and ennoble man, [and] if fully obeyed, [they] bring health and strength to the body, clearness to the perceptions, power to the reasoning faculties as well as salvation to the soul.  (Brigham Young, quoted by Jed Woodworth, “Brigham Young and the Mission of Mormonism,” BYU Studies 40, no. 2 (2001):11) — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel in Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 34

The promptings for us to do good come from the Holy Ghost.  These promptings nudge us farther along the straight and narrow path of discipleship.  The natural man doesn’t automatically think of doing good.  It isn’t natural.  How many people worry about the car behind them or the person below them?  The natural man just doesn’t do it.  For us, however, these promptings enlarge our awareness of other people’s needs and then prod us to act accordingly.  This is why, I believe, when the Lord speaks of enlarging the soul, he adds, in the Doctrine and Covenants, that it must be done “without hypocrisy” (D&C 1221:42).  Our personal righteousness, more than we know, governs how much good we can do. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Pathway of Discipleship,” BYU, January 4, 1998, p. 5

I would go so far as to say to you tonight, my brothers and sisters, that if we are truly attached to immortal principles, some decisions need to be made only once, really, and the righteous reflexes can do the rest.  Absent such fixed determinations, however, one can be tossed to and fro by temptations that then require case-by-case agonizing. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Pathway of Discipleship,” BYU, January 4, 1998, p. 8

Our merciful and long-suffering Lord is ever ready to help.  His “arm is lengthened out all the day long” (2 Ne. 28:32), and even if His arm goes ungrasped, it was unarguably there!  In the same redemptive reaching out, our desiring to improve our human relationships usually requires some long-suffering.  Sometimes reaching out is like trying to pat a porcupine.  Even so, the accumulated quill marks are evidence that our hands of fellowship have been stretched out, too! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 22

We can best exemplify our love for our God by living our religion.  It is vain to profess a love for God while speaking evil of or doing wrong to His children.  The sacred covenants we have made with Him strictly impose upon us the duties we owe to one another; and the great office of religion is to teach us how to perform those duties so as to produce the greatest happiness for ourselves and for our fellow-beings.  When the obligations of our religion are observed, no words are spoken or acts are committed that would injure a neighbor.  If the Latter-day Saints lived as they should do, and as their religion teaches them to do, there would be no feeling in any breast but that of brotherly and sisterly affection and love.  Backbiting and evil-speaking would have no existence among us; but peace and love and good will would reign in all our hearts and habitations and settlements.  We would be the happiest people on the face of the earth, and the blessing and peace of Heaven would rest upon us and upon all that belongs to us. — President Wilford Woodruff, “Epistle to Saints in Semi-Annual Conference, October 10, 1887,” Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 3:146

Let us remember “what manner of persons [we] ought . . . to be” (2 Peter 3:11; 3 Nephi 27:27).  Attributively, we are to become even as Jesus, with His virtues being increasingly replicated in our lives.  Even in the midst of our obvious imperfections, a sacred process is to be underway – if slowly, nevertheless resolutely.  Whatever one’s unfolding agendum, he can be overcoming if he is becoming more like Christ! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Overcome . . . Even as I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, p. 72

Happily, the commandment “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29) is a principle which carries an accompanying and compensating promise from Jesus: “and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  This is a very special form of rest resulting from the shedding of certain needless burdens: fatiguing insincerity, exhausting hypocrisy, and the strength-sapping quest for recognition, praise, and power.  Those of us who fall short, in one way or another, often do so because we carry such unnecessary and heavy baggage.  Being overloaded, we sometimes stumble, and then we feel sorry for ourselves. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meek and Lowly,” BYU devotional address, 1987

While Joshua was able to say, “But as for me and my house, . . . ” some individuals, presently bereft of intact families, nevertheless, can still say, “But as for me, . . .” and then so live as to become worthy of all the Lord has prepared for them (see Josh. 24:15).  Thus disciples “stand fast” (D&C 9:14), “hold out faithful to the end” (D&C 6:13), and “hold on [their] way” (D&C 122:9), even in a troubled world. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Plow in Hope,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 59

Sometime soon you may benefit from taking this personal inventory:

What are my highest priorities to be accomplished while on this earth?

How do I use my discretionary time?  Is some of it consistently applied to my highest priorities?

Is there anything I know I should not be doing?  If so, I will repent and stop it now. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 9

Men cannot really long rest content with mediocrity once they see excellence is within their reach. — President Thomas S. Monson, “To the Rescue,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 49

While Joshua was able to say, “But as for me and my house, . . . ” some individuals, presently bereft of intact families, nevertheless, can still say, “but as for me, . . . ” and then so live as to become worthy of all the Lord has prepared for them (see Josh. 24:15).  Thus disciples “stand fast” (D&C 9:14), “hold out faithful to the end” (D&C 6:13), and “hold on [their] way” (D&C 122:9), even in a troubled world. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Plow in Hope,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 59

My brothers and sisters, our time here is so precious and so short.  How well I understand the prophet Jacob when he said, “Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream” (Jacob 7:26). 

All too soon, our time is finished.  While we can – while we have the time to complete our work – let us walk in the right direction, taking one step after another.

That is easy enough.  We don’t have to be perfect today.  We don’t have to be better than someone else.  All we have to do is to be the very best we can. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “One Step After Another,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 27

Just as God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (D&C 1;31), as we become more like Him, neither can we.  The best people have a heightened awareness of what little of the worst is still in them!  (Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness, 16-17). The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 58

Ironically, inordinate attention, even to good things, can diminish our devotion to God.  For instance, one can be too caught up in sports and the forms of body worship we see among us.  One can reverence nature and yet neglect nature’s God.  One can have an exclusionary regard for good music and similarly with a worthy profession.  In such circumstances, the “weightier matters” are often omitted (Matt. 23:23; see also 1 Cor. 2:16).  Only the Highest One can fully guide us as to the highest good which you and I can do. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 37

In striving for ultimate submission, our wills constitute all we really have to give God anyway.  The usual gifts and their derivatives we give to Him could be stamped justifiably “Return to Sender,” with a capital S.  Even when God receives this one gift in return, the fully faithful will receive “all that [He] hath” (D&C 84:38).  What an exchange rate! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 38

“The sower soweth the word. [Some sown] by the way side, . . but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

Could that happen to you, in the wrong environment, with the wrong friendships?

“[Some] on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when . . . persecution ariseth . . . immediately they are offended.”

Have you ever been in a circumstance when someone proposed something inappropriate and you did nothing to resist it?

“[Some] sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world . . . and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

Have there been times when you wanted something so badly that you justified an exception to your standards?

“[Some] sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

I know this is the way you want to live your life.  How completely you willingly embrace the teachings of the Savior determines how much fruit, as blessings, you will harvest in your life.  This parable illustrates that the degree to which you willingly obey those things you know you should do, resisting the rationalization to do otherwise, will determine how truly converted you are, therefore, how fully the Lord can bless you. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” Ensign, May 2002, pp. 25-26

Sometimes we feel that the busier we are, the more important we are – as though our busyness defines our worth.  Brothers and sisters, we can spend a lifetime whirling about at a feverish pace, checking off list after list of things that in the end really don’t matter.

That we do a lot may not be so important.  That we focus the energy of our minds, our hearts, and our souls on those things of eternal significance – that is essential.

As the clatter and clamor of life bustle about us, we hear shouting to “come here” and to “go there.”  In the midst of the noise and seductive voices that compete for our time and interest, a solitary figure stands on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, calling quietly to us, “Follow me.” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “‘Follow Me,'” Ensign, May 2002, p. 16

What keeps us from knowing and loving God more?  Our reluctance to give away all our sins – thinking, instead, a down payment will do.  Likewise, our reluctance to let our wills be swallowed up in His will – thinking, instead, that merely acknowledging His will is sufficient!  (See Mosiah 15:7.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that God, “before [the earth] rolled into existence, . . . contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth. . . . [God] knew. . . the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, . . . the situation of all nations and . . . their destiny, . . . and [He] has made ample provision [for mankind’s] redemption” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 220). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 18

President Harold B. Lee counseled that membership in the Church “must mean more than just being a ‘card carrying’ member of the Church with a tithing receipt, a membership card, a temple recommend, etc.  It means to overcome the tendencies to criticize and to strive continually to improve inward weaknesses and not merely the outward appearances.” — President James E. Faust, “Strengthening the Inner Self,” Ensign, February 2003, p. 4

We become one with our Heavenly Father, the Savior, and our better selves when, insofar as we are able, we do for others what we ask Heavenly Father to do for us.  This might be called the celestial rule.  We pray for forgiveness; Christ asks us to forgive those who have trespassed against us.  We pray for comfort when we mourn; Christ asks us to succor others who need comfort.  We pray for help in achieving our worthy goals; Heavenly Father and the Son ask us to find joy in the success of others.  We pray that our burdens may be light; Heavenly Father and Christ ask us to dedicate our lives to the service of others.  We pray that we may one day return to the presence of our Heavenly Father; Christ asks us to open our homes and hearts to Heavenly Father’s children.  If we will do for one another what we pray that the Father will do for us, He will declare, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). — Lindon J. Robison, “Draw Near unto Me,” Ensign, April 2003, p. 50

Our beloved President Hinckley has admonished:  “Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission.  It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow.  It is a time to be found keeping the commandments.  It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain.  It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.” — Elder Keith B. McMullin, “Be Prepared…Be Ye Strong from Henceforth,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 12

Each choice has a consequence. Each consequence, a destination. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Journey to Higher Ground,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 19

I invite every one of you, wherever you may be as members of this church, to stand on your feet and with a song in your heart move forward, living the gospel, loving the Lord, and building the kingdom.  Together we shall stay the course and keep the faith, the Almighty being our strength.” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Journey to Higher Ground,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 19

I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago.  It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel.  You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem.  To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment.  After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, “Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?”  He was referring to our students who were studying in Israel.

What was that light in their eyes which was so obvious to our friend? The Lord Himself gives the answer:  “And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.”  Where did that light come from?  Again the Lord gives the answer: “I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”  The Lord is the true light, “and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.”  This light shows in our countenances as well as in our eyes. — President James E. Faust, “The Light in Their Eyes,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 20

I have lived a long time and watched the standards upon which civilization must depend for survival swept aside one piece at a time.

We live in a day when the age-old standards of morality, marriage, home, and family suffer defeat after defeat in courts and councils, in parliaments and classrooms. Our happiness depends upon living those very standards.

The Apostle Paul prophesied that in our day, these last days, men would be “disobedient to parents, . . . without natural affection, . . . despisers of those that are good, . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2–4).

And he warned: “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). He was right. Nevertheless, when I think of the future, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of positive optimism. — President Boyd K. Packer, “On Zion’s Hill,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 70

If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness.  We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1991, p. 59

It was ever thus.  The price of leadership is loneliness.  The price of adherence to conscience is loneliness.  The price of adherence to principle is loneliness.  I think it is inescapable.  The Savior of the world was a man who walked in loneliness.  I do not know of any statement more underlined with the pathos of loneliness than this statement:

. . . The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head. [Matt. 8:20]

There is no lonelier picture in history than of the Savior upon the cross, alone, the Redeemer of mankind, the Savior of the world, bringing to pass the atonement, the Son of God suffering for the sins of mankind. . . .

I would like to say to you here today, my brethren and sisters, there is loneliness – but a man of your kind has to live with his conscience.  A man has to live with his principles.  A man has to live with his convictions.  A man has to live with his testimony.  Unless he does so, he is miserable – dreadfully miserable.  And while there may be thorns, while there may be disappointment, while there may be trouble and travail, heartache and heartbreak, and desperate loneliness, there will be peace and comfort and strength. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Loneliness of Leadership,” November 4, 1969, pp. 3, 5-6

It seems clear that the essence of our duty and the fundamental requirement of our mortal life is captured in these brief phrases from any number of scenes in the Savior’s mortal ministry.  He is saying to us, “Trust me, learn of me, do what I do.  The, when you walk where I am going,” He says, “we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have.  If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness,” He promises.  “I will give you answers to your prayers.  I will give you rest to your souls.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Broken Things to Mend,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 69

Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.  He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life (see Matthew 10:39). — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ – Gifts and Expectations” [address at Christmas devotional, 7 December 1986], p. 3

We need to build ourselves spiritually.  We live in a world of rush and go, of running here and there and in every direction.  We are very busy people.  We have so much to do.  We need to get off by ourselves once in a while and think of the spiritual things and build ourselves spiritually. . . . Think of all the Lord has done for you.  How very blessed you are. . . . Meditate and reflect for an hour about yourself and your relationship to your Heavenly Father and your Redeemer.  It will do something for you. Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, pp. 608-9

No, it is not without a recognition of life’s tempests but fully and directly [Ensign, 37] because of them that I testify of God’s love and the Savior’s power to calm the storm. Always remember in that biblical story that He was out there on the water also, that He faced the worst of it right along with the newest and youngest and most fearful.  Only one who has fought against those ominous waves is justified in telling us – as well as the sea – to “be still.”  Only one who has taken the full brunt of such adversity could ever be justified in telling us in such times to “be of good cheer.”  Such counsel is not a jaunty pep talk about the power of positive thinking, though positive thinking is much needed in the world.  No, Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep, and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them.  But even as the Lord avoids sugary rhetoric, He rebukes faithlessness and He deplores pessimism.  He expects us to believe! — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 1999, pp. 36–37

If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world.  We should have no part in all its foolishness.  We should not partake of its sins and its errors – errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be – we have no part in it. “The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God.  That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves. . . . If I sometimes, and once in a while I do, go to a football game or a baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably I will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarettes or cigars or dirty pipes.  It gets very annoying, and I get a little disturbed.  I will turn to Sister Smith, and I will say something to her, and she will say, ‘Well, now, you know what you have taught me.  You are in their world.  This is their world.’  And that sort of brings me back to my senses.  Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it.”  (See John 17:16) — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 28, 1952

A stumbling block appears when we serve God generously with time and checkbooks but still withhold portions of our inner selves, signifying that we are not yet fully His! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 2002, p. 36

Elder Boyd K. Packer taught that “inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings.  Such words as quiet, still, peaceable, Comforter abound in the scriptures. . . .”

“The world grows increasingly noisy.   Clothing and grooming and conduct are looser and sloppier and more disheveled.  Raucous music, with obscene lyrics blasted through amplifiers while lights flash psychedelic colors, characterizes the drug culture.  Variations of these things are gaining wide acceptance and influence over our youth. . .”

“This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.”

“The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer.”

“Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit.” — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1991

We need strong Christians who can persevere against hardship, who can sustain hope through tragedy, who can lift others by their example and their compassion, and who can consistently overcome temptations.  We need strong Christians who can make important things happen by their faith and who can defend the truth of Jesus Christ against moral relativism and militant atheism.

What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it?  The source is God.  Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him.  A covenant is an agreement between God and man, an accord whose terms are set by God.  In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign, May 2009, pp. 19-20

Lot, the nephew of Abraham, lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, another place of such gross wickedness that it has become a symbol of the world and its evil.  Lot was told to take his family and flee.  As they did so, Lot’s wife looked back (she probably returned to Sodom and Gomorrah; see Luke 17:31–32) and was destroyed.  (See Genesis 19:15–26.) In context this reference is clear.  Once we forsake the world, we cannot turn back, or we too may get caught in the destruction that awaits Babylon. Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 339

Strengthening our faith by adding every good quality that adorns the children of the blessed Jesus, we can pray in the season of prayer; we can love our neighbor as ourselves, and be faithful in tribulation, knowing that the reward of such is greater in the kingdom of heaven.  What a consolation!  What a joy!  Let me live the life of the righteous, and let my reward be like his!

. . . Righteousness must be the aim of the Saints in all things, and when the [Doctrine and Covenants is] published, they will learn that great things must be expected from them. Do good and work righteousness with an eye single to the glory of God, and you shall reap your reward when the Lord recompenses every one according to his work. . . . In the name of Jesus Christ, we entreat you to live worthy of the blessings that shall follow after much tribulation, to satiate the souls of them that hold out faithful to the end. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 353

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that gospel knowledge “does away with darkness, suspense and doubt” and that “there is no pain so awful as that of suspense” (Teachings of Joseph Smith, 288). Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 47

A plague endemic to modern times is the proliferation of persuasive voices seeking to gain precedence over eternal truths.  Beware of such persuasion, Elder Russell M. Nelson counseled.

“You and I know that many [threats] to happiness are wrong because they are contrary to God’s will, Yet they are championed by persuasive people possessing more ability than morality, more knowledge than wisdom.  Their convenient rationalization provides self-consoling justification.  But the Bible warns us that ‘the way of a fool is right in his own eyes’ (Proverbs 12:15).  Indeed, individuals with ignorance of doctrine, or people with malignity of purpose, often wear the mask of honesty.  So we must constantly be on guard. . . .

“My young brothers and sisters, to build a house straight and strong, you do not choose crooked boards.  So to build your eternal destiny, you cannot – you must not – limit your lessons only to those lessons that are warped by the world to exclude the truth from God.”   (Excerpt from Devotional Address given at BYU-Idaho, Jan. 26, 2010) — “Advanced Education,” Church News, January 30, 2010, p. 10

My young friends, be strong.  The philosophies of men surround us.  The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance.  Do not be deceived; behind that façade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain.  You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that.  The character of transgression remains the same.  If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, YOU be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone.  Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow.  There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness – and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so. — President Thomas S. Monson, April 2008

In his remarks, Elder Porter spoke of the importance of children, the eternal family and some of the issues of society threatening the family today.

“Those who defend the traditional family – to stand for fidelity and chastity and all that was once considered wholesome and praiseworthy – are mocked and ridiculed,” he said. “On the other hand, those who see no issue with fatherless homes, abortion and pornography and who redefine the essence of what a family is are praised as tolerant. Truly the world has turned upside down.”

Many individuals in society today are putting the love of money and worldly pleasures before God, calling evil good and good evil, he said. Because of this, the family is in a crisis – a crisis that was foreseen by prophets anciently.

“If families do not fill their divinely appointed purpose of carrying on the light of truth and the torch of civilization to the next generation, then we can throw any amount of money, or ideas or programs at our world’s problems and we will assuredly fail,” he declared. . . .

These eternal truths, or sometimes called by society old-fashioned ideals, were formed before the foundation of the world and must be kept sacred, he said.

“As mothers and fathers rise up and assume their divinely appointed role as a light to the nations they will raise a strong generation.” — Elder Bruce D. Porter, “Marriage and family are at the heart of mortal life,” Church News, March 13, 2010, p. 10

The challenge which we face and must meet is not that we should go forth on the battlefield of war and lay down our lives.  Rather, it is that we, on the battlefield of life, so live and serve that our lives and actions reflect a true love of God, of His Son, Jesus Christ, and of our fellow men. — Elder Thomas S. Monson, “Those Who Love Jesus,” Ensign, November 1985, p. 33

Saul rationalized.  It was easy for him to obey as to the disposition of the kings, for what use were conquered kings?  But why not keep the fat sheep and cattle?  Was not his royal judgment superior to that of lowly Samuel? . . .

How like Saul are many in Israel today.  One will live some of the Lord’s revelation on health except that he must have his occasional cup of coffee; she will not use tobacco nor liquor for which she has no yearning anyway but must have the comforting cup of tea.

He will serve in a Church position, for here is activity which he likes and honor which he craves, . . but rationalization is easy as to tithe paying which he finds so difficult.  He cannot afford it. . . . He is not sure it is always distributed as he would have it done, and who knows anyway of his failure?

Another will attend some meetings but Saul-like rationalize as to the rest of the day.  Why should he not see a ball game, a show, do his necessary yard work, or carry on business as usual?

Another would religiously attend his outward Church duties but resist any suggestions as to family frictions in his home or family prayers when the family is so hard to assemble.

Saul was like that.  He could do the expedient things but could find alibis as to the things which countered his own desires.” — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1954, p. 51

When any of Heavenly Father’s children misuse their physical tabernacles by violating the law of chastity, by using drugs and addictive substances, by disfiguring or defacing themselves, or by worshiping the false idol of body image, whether their own or that of others, Satan is delighted.  To those of us who know and understand the plan of salvation, any defiling of the body is rebellion and a denial of our true identity as sons and daughters of God (see Mosiah 2:36–37; D&C 64:34–35). — Elder David A. Bednar, “Things as they Really Are,” Ensign, June 2010, p. 18

Still, the majority of people aspire to be good and honorable.  The Light of Christ, which is distinct from the Holy Ghost, informs their conscience.  We know from the scriptures that the Light of Christ is “the Spirit [which] giveth light to every man that cometh into the world.” (D&C 84:46)  This light is given “for the sake of the whole world.”  (D&C 84:48)  President Boyd K. Packer has taught that this is a “source of inspiration, which each of us possesses in common with all other members of the human family.”  (Ensign, April 2005, p. 8)  This is why many will accept moral values even when founded on religious convictions which they do not personally support.  As we read in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, “It is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right.”  Mosiah then warns, “If the time comes that the voice of the people [the majority of the people] doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come.”  (Mosiah 29:26-27) — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Let There Be Light!” Ensign, November 2010

His answer revealed to the spiritually endowed His divine identity as the Son of God, the promised Messiah and Savior:  “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). — Elder Jay E. Jensen, “The Savior, the Master Teacher,” Ensign, January 2011, p. 46

“At the final day the Savior will not ask about the nature of our callings.  He will not inquire about our material possessions or fame.  He will ask if we ministered to the sick, gave food and drink to the hungry, visited those in prison, or gave succor to the weak (see Matthew 25:31-40).  When we reach out to assist the least of Heavenly Father’s children, we do it unto Him (see Matthew 25:40).  That is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1917–2008), “The Great Commandment,” Ensign, November 2007, p. 30

Let me cite a hypothetical example of a dear sister in any ward, the one who has perfect children who never cause a disturbance in church.  She is the one working on her 20th generation in her family history, keeps an immaculate home, has memorized the book of Mark, and makes wool sweaters for the orphaned children in Romania.  No disrespect, of course, intended for any of these worthy goals.  Now, when you get tempted to throw your hands in the air and give up because of this dear sister, please remember you’re not competing with her any more than I’m competing with the members of the Quorum of the Twelve in winning a 50-yard dash.

The only thing you need to worry about is striving to be the best you can be.  And how do you do that?  You keep your eye on the goals that matter most in life, and you move towards them step by step. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “One Step after Another,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 26

Avoid being swept up in things of the world.

“[So] many things are thrown at us saying we have to have this, or we need that,” he said.  “Be careful that you don’t get caught up in thinking that you need all of those things. What you really need is to have peace, a sense of confidence, a sense of joy in your own life, a sense of assurance that you are doing well and that you are headed in the direction that will lead you back to the presence of your Heavenly Father.” — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Things that matter most,” Church News, August 27, 2011, p. 10

My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness.  They will teach us to do “all these things . . . in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby . . . win the prize.”  (Mosiah 4:27) — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Things that Matter Most,” Ensign, November 2010

Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency.  Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions.  (See 1 Kgs. 18:21) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A More Determined Discipleship,” Ensign, February 1979, p. 1

As important as it is to lose every desire for sin, eternal life requires more.  To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being.  For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them.  They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves.  And they love all of God’s children.  If this seems too difficult – and surely it is not easy for any of us – then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father for help with our feelings.  The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Desire,” Ensign, May 2011, pp. 44-45

 “There is no chance, no fate, no destiny that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” [See “Will,” Poetical Works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1917), p. 129.]

He acknowledged that this doesn’t apply to all the challenges we encounter but is true in spiritual matters.  I have appreciated his counsel in my life.

One of the reasons for the terrible loss of life on the Titanic is that there were not enough lifeboats. Regardless of the trials we face in this life, the Savior’s Atonement provides lifeboats for everyone.  For those who think the trials they face are unfair, the Atonement covers all of the unfairness of life. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Ensign, November 2011, p. 106

For the past several years we have watched patterns of reverence and irreverence in the Church.  While many are to be highly commended, we are drifting.  We have reason to be deeply concerned.  The world grows increasingly noisy.  Clothing and grooming and conduct are looser and sloppier and more disheveled.  Raucous music, with obscene lyrics blasted through amplifiers . . . these things are gaining wide acceptance and influence over our youth. . . . This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.  The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer. Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October 1991, pp. 26-30

The great accomplishments of this life are rarely physical.  Those attributes by which we shall be judged one day are spiritual.  With the blessing of our bodies to assist us, we may develop spiritual qualities of honesty, integrity, compassion, and love.  Only with the development of the spirit may we acquire “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence” (D&C 4:6).

Pattern your lives after our great Exemplar, even Jesus the Christ, whose parting words among men included this eternal challenge:  “What manner of men ought ye to be? . . . even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Magnificence of Man,” BYU 1986-87 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, p. 135

When the Lord was upon the earth He made it very clear that there was one way, and one way only, by which man may be saved.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)  To proceed on that way, these two things emerge as being very fixed.  First, in His name rests the authority to secure the salvation of mankind.  “For there is none other name under heaven given . . . whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12)  And next, there is an essential ordinance – baptism – standing as a gate through which every soul must pass to obtain eternal life. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October 1975

Do not be afraid to use reverently the name of Christ.  He uses it continually.  We can read about it in the Book of Mormon.  The Church was the Church of Christ, and in the last days the Church is to be called by that name.  You may think perhaps that is a matter of little importance.  Perhaps it is so to you; but I have found in my experience, from the beginning of my membership in this Church, that there is power in that name.  In my name they that believe shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues, and so on.  There is power in the name of Jesus Christ.  Demons tremble at that name.  They recognize it. But when we, in a slip-shod way, use the name of Jesus, and say nothing about Christ, I don’t know that it has so much power and influence. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1920, p. 29

We should be aware that there can be a spiritual danger to those who misunderstand the singularity of always being in the spotlight.  They may come to covet the recognition and thus forget the significance of the service being rendered.

If the limelight of popularity should fall on you sometime in your life, follow the example of those in the scriptures who received recognition.  Nephi is one of the great examples.  After all he accomplished traveling with his family, his attitude was still fixed on the things that matter most.  This is what he said:

“And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

“My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep” (2 Ne. 4:19-20).

The limelight never blinded Nephi as to the source of his strength and his blessings. — Elder Howard W. Hunter, BYU Fireside, September 2, 1990

The Book of Mormon declares that “every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”  And “whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil.” (Moro. 7:13, 17)

Let us use that standard to judge what we read, the music we hear, the entertainment we watch, the thoughts we think. Let us be more Christ like. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Sacred Responsibility,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 77

If you really want to be like the Lord – more than any thing or anyone else – you will remember that your adoration of Jesus is best shown by your emulation of Him.  Then you will not allow any other love to become more important than love for your companion, your family, and your Creator.  You will govern yourself not by someone else’s set of rules but by revealed principles of truth. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, 1997

Isn’t this a clarion call to purity of life?  The cleaner our lives, the purer our thoughts, the greater will be our power, by the prayer of faith, to heal those who are afflicted with bodily ills.

It is the truth that the many mighty miracles that Jesus the Redeemer wrought were due to the fact that he lived so close to the Father, lived perfectly the celestial laws of God, that unto him was given that superhuman power.  — Elder Charles A. Callis: Conference Report, April 1924, p. 81

Now this is exactly what happens.  When men correctly understand and have faith in the true and living God, they strive to develop within themselves his virtues.  He becomes the lodestar of their lives.  To emulate him is their highest aspiration.  As they strive to “be . . . perfect, even as [their] Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), they actually become partakers of his divine nature.  In doing so, they add to their faith and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love, and charity, virtues that are perfected in the true and living God.  These virtues drive out of their hearts selfishness, greed, lust, hate, contentions, and war.  Happiness, contentment, joy, and peace naturally follow. — Elder Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1970

It is a mistaken notion, let me say here, that some people entertain that because men persecute us, we must persecute them: that because men would proscribe us in our religious faith, we must persecute them in theirs.  There is no such principle associated with God, or with those who dwell in the love of God, or who are actuated by the Spirit of God.  Everything of that kind proceeds from beneath and not from above.  God is interested in the welfare of all people, all nations, all kindreds, and all tongues. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 22:290-91

It has always been a wonderful testimony to me of the Prophet Joseph’s greatness and the greatness of all of our prophets, including and especially the Savior of the world in His magnificence, that in the midst of such distress and difficulty they could remain calm and patient, charitable and forgiving – that they could even talk that way, let alone live that way.  But they could, and they did.  They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well.  Indeed, they knew that the real test of our faith and our Christian discipleship is when things are not going smoothly.  That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, CES Fireside, September 7, 2008

And it has been said that the most important event in life is death.  We live to die and then we die to live.  Death is a kind of graduation day for life.  It is our only means of entrance to our eternal lives.  And it seems to me to be a very helpful procedure to spend a little time pre-living our death.  That is, what kind of person would you like to be when the last hour of your life arrives? — Elder Sterling W. Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign, November 1976, p. 46

Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods.  The methods and procedures are usually developed through study and prayer and by living so that we can obtain and follow the promptings of the Spirit.  Less spiritually advanced people, such as those in the days of Moses, had to be commanded in many things.  Today those spiritually alert look at the objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the Lord and his prophets, and then prayerfully act – without having to be commanded “in all things.” This attitude prepares men for godhood.  Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the greater prize, and the Lord will either drop the entire matter and let them suffer the consequences or else he will have to spell it out in greater detail.  Usually, I fear, the more he has to spell it out, the smaller is our reward. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1965, pp. 121-22

Should we be surprised if we are called upon to endure a little criticism, to make some small sacrifice for our faith, when our forebears paid so great a price for theirs?

Without contention, without argument, without offense, let us pursue a steady course, moving forward to build the kingdom of God.  If there is trouble, let us face it calmly.  Let us overcome evil with good.  This is God’s work.  It will continue to strengthen over the earth, touching for good the lives of countless thousands whose hearts will respond to the message of truth.  No power under heaven can stop it.  This is my faith and this is my testimony. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, April, 1970

How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith.  Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people.  As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future With Faith,” Ensign, April 2011

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives.  There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior.  Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see”(John 9:25). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 58

As we draw farther from worldliness, we feel closer to our Father in Heaven and more able to be guided by his Spirit.  We call this quality of life spirituality. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 1985

And this is a certainty: If with our whole heart we seek God, God will draw near to us and we will find him, not expecting, of course, that we will behold him, visibly, that he will come down to everybody and appear in his personality, but by the power of his divine spirit. He will draw near to us and we will draw near to him, and every Latter-day Saint who has really been born of the Spirit as well as of the water, understands something of this. (Sec. 88:62-68.)  I don’t know of any joy or pleasure, any sensation that is delightful, to be compared with beholding the visions of eternity by the power of the Holy Ghost, and to have the soul lifted up above sublunary things and all earthly and material matters, to draw near to God or Heavenly Father . . . and those who seek the Lord and try to serve him with all their heart and mind and strength, will be able to draw near unto him. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, October 1915, pp. 38-39

Don’t be discouraged at seemingly overwhelming odds in your desire to live and to help others live God’s commandments.  At times it may seem like David trying to fight Goliath.  But remember, David did win. — Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, November 1977

We must not lose hope.  Hope is an anchor to the souls of men.  Satan would have us cast away that anchor.  In this way he can bring discouragement and surrender.  But we must not lose hope.  The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him.  Though we may see that we have far to go on the road to perfection, we must not give up hope. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, October 1989, p. 2

The Lord has placed currents of divine influence in your life that will lead you along the individual plan He would have you fulfill here on earth.  Seek through the Spirit to identify it and carefully follow that direction that the Lord has put in your life.  Align yourself with it. Choose, willingly, to exercise your agency to follow it. Do not be overcome by concentrating solely on today, its challenges, difficulties, and opportunities. Such preoccupations must not totally capture your attention so as to consume your life.  Oh, how I would encourage you to weave deeply into the fabric of your soul the recognition that our life now is a part of a much bigger plan the Lord has for you.  You lived part of it in the premortal existence.  You were valiant there and came here because you wanted to grow and enjoy greater happiness.  What you decide to do now will affect how well you fulfill that divine, personal plan He has for you. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “He Lives,” Ensign, November 1999

Paul warned the Hebrews that God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him.” (Heb. 4:12–3.)  In other words, God judges us not only for our acts, but also for the desires of our hearts.  He has said so again and again.  This is a challenging reality, but it is not surprising.  Agency and accountability are eternal principles.  We exercise our free agency not only by what we do, but also by what we decide, or will, or desire.  Restrictions on freedom can deprive us of the power to do, but no one can deprive us of the power to will or desire.  Accountability must therefore reach and attach consequences to the desires of our hearts.  This principle applies both in a negative way – making us guilty of sin for evil thoughts and desires – and in a positive way – promising us blessings for righteous desires. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Desires of Our Hearts,” Ensign, June 1986, pp. 64–65

If there be trouble existing between me and anybody else, I would meet them half way, yes, I would meet them three quarters or even all of the way.  I would feel like yielding; I would say, I do not want to quarrel, I want to be a Saint.  I have set out for purity, virtue, brotherhood, and for obedience to the laws of God on earth, and for thrones and principalities and dominions in the eternal worlds, and I will not allow such paltry affairs to interfere with my prospects.  I am for life, eternal lives and eternal exaltations in the kingdom of God. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 26

In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day.  Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us.  Make no mistake about it – you are a marked generation.  There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us.  Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized.  Now is the great day of the devil’s power.  But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth. . . .

For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord.  Some individuals will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head –  even Jesus Christ.  While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time.  It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly.  That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. — Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,” Church Educational System Devotional, Anaheim, California, 8 February 1987; see Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 104-105; see also Ensign, April 1987, p. 73

President George Q. Cannon suggested a way to evaluate our status: “If the breach is daily widening between ourselves and the world . . . we may be assured that our progress is certain, however slow.  On the opposite hand, if our feeling and affections, our appetites and desires, are in unison with the world around us and we freely fraternize with them . . . we should do well to examine ourselves.” — Millennial Star 23 [5 October]: 645 46; cited by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1969, p. 15

We can also tell that we are making progress by the attention we get from the adversary.  Do not falter nor be distressed when others misrepresent us, sometimes deliberately and sometimes in ignorance.  This has been the lot of the Lord’s people from the beginning, and it will be no different in our time.

Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies.  Keep the faith. . . . This work, which Satan seeks in vain to tear down, is that which God has placed on earth to lift mankind up! — President Spencer W. Kimball, “No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work,” Ensign, May 1980, pp. 5-6

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life is appropriate for our day.  In that vision, he saw a great and spacious building, which represents the pride and temptations of the world:

            “And I . . . beheld . . . a great and spacious building; . . .

            “And it was filled with people, both old and young, . . . and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who . . . were partaking of the fruit” (1 Ne. 8:26–27).

Even though you have a testimony and want to do what is right, it is difficult not to be drawn to the great and spacious building.  From all appearances, the people in the building seem to be having a great time.  The music and laughter are deafening.  You would say to me what my children have said, “They’re not really happy, huh, Dad?” as you watch them party.

They look happy and free, but don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites.  Don’t envy a lesser and lower life. — Elder Glenn L. Pace, General Conference, October 1987

Self-mastery is a challenge for every individual.  Only we can control our appetites and passions.  Self-mastery cannot be bought by money or fame.  It is the ultimate test of our character.  It requires climbing out of the deep valleys of our lives and scaling our own Mount Everests. — President James E. Faust, “the Power of Self-Mastery,” Ensign, May 2000

Salvation does not come all at once; we are commanded to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect.  It will take us ages to accomplish this end, for there will be  greater progress beyond the grave, and it will be there that the faithful will overcome all things, and  receive all things, even the fullness of the Father’s glory.  I believe  the Lord meant just what he said: that we should be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect.      That will not come all at once, but line upon  line and precept upon precept, example upon example, and even then not as long as we live in this  mortal life, for we will have to go even beyond the grave before we reach that perfection and shall be  like God.  But here we lay the foundation.  Here is where we are taught these simple truths of the gospel  of Jesus Christ, in this probationary state, to prepare us for that perfection. The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 7 April 1879; Journal of Discourses, 20:189-90

I will put my own definition to the term sanctification, and say it consists in overcoming every sin and bringing all into subjection to the law of Christ.  God has placed in us a pure spirit; when this reigns predominant, without let or hindrance, and triumphs over the flesh and rules and governs and controls as the Lord controls the heavens and the earth, this I call the blessing of sanctification.

Will sin be perfectly destroyed?  No, it will not, for it is not so designed in the economy of Heaven.  All the Lord has called us to do is to renovate our own hearts, then our families, extending the principles to neighborhoods, to the earth we occupy, and so continue until we drive the power of Satan from the earth and Satan to his own place.  That is the work Jesus is engaged in, and we will be co-workers with him.

Do not suppose that we shall ever in the flesh be free from temptations to sin.  Some suppose that they can in the flesh be sanctified body and spirit and become so pure that they will never again feel the effects of the power of the adversary of truth.  Were it possible for a person to attain to this degree of perfection in the flesh, he could not die neither remain in a world where sin predominates.  Sin has entered into the world, and death by sin.  I think we shall more or less feel the effects of sin so long as we live, and finally have to pass the ordeals of death. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:173

The Lord is near unto every one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.  We can seek Him; we can ask and receive; we can seek and find; we can knock and the door will be opened to us; and every comfort and blessing pertaining to the everlasting Gospel enjoyed at any period of the world’s history can be enjoyed today.  But they must be sought after by the prayer of faith, and by diligence, obedience, and by being in harmony with Jesus Christ our living head.  His spirit will permeate the Church.  His spirit will prompt His people if they will be obedient to His laws. — Charles W. Penrose, General Conference, April 1906

To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing.  It is no lukewarm endeavor.  It is total commitment of our very being – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life.  Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord.  Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord.  “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma  37:36). — President Ezra Taft Benson, “The Great Commandment – Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, p. 4

I testify to you this day that the time will come when every man, woman, and child will look into the Savior’s loving eyes.  On that day, we will know with a surety the worth of our decision to straightway follow Him. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Follow Me,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 17

I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation.  As the issues become clearer and more obvious,  all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for  the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil.  As these conflicts  rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested.  God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure.  (See JS-H 1:45; D&C 1:9.)  But God will  provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and  eventually and finally truth will triumph.  (See 1 Ne. 22:15-23) — President Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify,” Ensign, November 1988, p. 86

“It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve.  “Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord – not just to communicate quickly with your friends.  The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation” (October 2011 general conference). — Church News, Viewpoint, “A Sense of Urgency,” June 24, 2012, p. 16

Remember always that the gospel is designed to teach us how to conduct ourselves for the benefit of our spiritual and temporal affairs.  It is not enough to attend Church meetings, partake of the sacrament, participate in religious discussions, and then turn a deaf ear to the needs of our families, our neighbors or our communities, or be dishonest or unscrupulous in our dealings with them.

Neither is it enough to be a good, solid citizen, contributing to charities, serving on community boards, and in general living a good Christian life.  Although commendable, this is not sufficient to entitle one to the fulness of joy and the eternal life that our Father in heaven has promised to those who love him and keep his commandments. — President N. Eldon Tanner, “Just for Today,” New Era, January 1975, p. 4

It is indeed remarkable that the nature of our dealings with our fellowmen will determine, in large measure, our status in the kingdom of heaven. . . . We may attend to rites and rituals and yet overlook the weightier matters such as brotherly kindness, honesty, mercy, virtue, and integrity.  Let us never forget that if we omit them from our lives we may be found unworthy to come into His presence. — Elder Mark E. Petersen, “Do Unto Others,” Ensign, May 1977, p. 73

Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

. . . we must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope.  Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible.  The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant. . . . But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples.  Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule.  For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible.  Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life.  They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment.  They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20; italics added) — President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, October 1989, p. 2

Without question, we need to be informed of the happenings of the world.  But modern communication brings into our homes a drowning cascade of the violence and misery of the worldwide human race.  There comes a time when we need to find some peaceful spiritual renewal.

I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoons of our homes, our sacrament meetings, and our holy temples.  In these peaceful environments, our souls are rested.  We have the feeling of having come home. — President James E. Faust, “Gratitude As a Saving Principle,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 86

While standards generally may totter, we of the Church are without excuse if we drift in the same manner.  We have standards – sure, tested, and effective.  To the extent that we observe them, we shall go forward.  To the extent that we neglect them, we shall hinder our own progress and bring embarrassment to the work of the Lord.  These standards have come from Him.  Some of them may appear a little out-of-date in our society, but this does not detract from their validity nor diminish the virtue of their application.  The subtle reasoning of men, no matter how clever, no matter how plausible it may sound, cannot abridge the declared wisdom of God. — President Gordon B Hinckley, “Pursue the Steady Course,” Ensign, January 2005, p. 5

Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times – including the end of times.  That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair.  That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him. (Moroni 10:32).” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I say to everyone within the sound of my voice, “Do not fail the Lord.”  We must accept the truth that the gospel principles are not on trial but that we are. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Fortify Your Homes against Evil,” Ensign, May 1979, p.4

With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing.  If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it . . . is right now.  Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.  Certainly don’t go to that being who is bent on your destruction of your happiness.  Face your doubts.  Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.”  Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Cast Not Away Your Confidence”

Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure.  Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve.  Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You,” Ensign, November 1989, p. 94

So where should each of us make our stand?  As we demonstrate our devotion to God by our daily acts of righteousness, He can know where we stand.  For all of us this life is a time of sifting and refining.  We all face trials.  Individual members in the early days of the Church were tested and refined when they had to decide if they had the faith . . . to put their belongings in a wagon or a pioneer handcart and travel across the American plains. Some did not have the faith.  Those who did traveled “with faith in every footstep.”  In our time we are going through an increasingly difficult time of refining and testing.  The tests are more subtle because the lines between good and evil are being eroded.  Very little seems to be sacred in any of our public communication.  In this environment we will need to make sure where we stand all of the time in our commitment to eternal truths and covenants. — President James E. Faust, “Where Do I Make My Stand?” Ensign, November 2004, p. 21

We speak of literacy and education in terms of being prepared for a better occupation, but we cannot underestimate the present pleasure of our reading in the scriptures, Church magazines, and good books of every kind.  We teach of emotional strength in terms of family prayer, kind words, and full communication, but we quickly learn how pleasant life can be when it is lived in a courteous and reinforcing atmosphere.

In like manner we could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “And the Lord Called His People Zion,” Tambuli, December 1984

. . . the strait and narrow path, though clearly marked, is a path, not a freeway nor an escalator.  Indeed, there are times when the only way the strait and narrow path can be followed is on one’s knees! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A Brother Offended,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 37

We need strong Christians who can persevere against hardship, who can sustain hope through tragedy, who can lift others by their example and their compassion, and who can consistently overcome temptations.  We need strong Christians who can make important things happen by their faith and who can defend the truth of Jesus Christ against moral relativism and militant atheism.  What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it?  The source is God.  Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign, May 2009, pp. 19-23

This is a world in which we are to prove ourselves.  The lifetime of man is a day of trial, wherein we may prove to God, in our darkness, in our weakness, and where the enemy reigns, that we are our Father’s friends, and that we receive light from him and are worthy to be leaders of our children – to become lords of lords, and kings of kings – to have perfect dominion over that portion of our families that will be crowned in the celestial kingdom with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Brigham Young,“ Preparing for Eternal Progression,” p. 85

Let us remember, too, that greatness is not always a matter of the scale of one’s life, but of the quality of one’s life.  True greatness is not always tied to the scope of our tasks, but to the quality of how we carry out our tasks whatever they are.  In that attitude, let us give our time, ourselves, and our talents to the things that really matter now, things which will still matter a thousand years from now. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “A Gift of Gratitude,” Tambuli, December 1977, p. 1

As your testimony is fortified, Satan will try harder to tempt you.  Resist his efforts. You will become stronger and his influence on you weaker.  Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves.  While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and Resurrection.  The devil will not triumph.

Even now, he must operate within bounds set by the Lord.  He cannot take away any blessing that has been earned.  He cannot alter character that has been woven from righteous decisions.  He has no power to destroy the eternal bonds forged in a holy temple between a husband, wife, and children.  He cannot quench true faith.  He cannot take away your testimony.  Yes, these things can be lost by succumbing to his temptations.  But he has no power in and of himself to destroy them. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2001

In order to find God as a reality, we must follow the course which he pointed out for the quest.  The path is one that leads upward; it takes faith and effort, and is not the easy course.  For this reason many men will not devote themselves to the arduous task of proving to themselves the reality of God.  On the contrary, some take the easy path and deny his existence or merely follow the doubter’s course of uncertainty. These are the atheists, infidels, free thinkers, skeptics, and agnostics. — President Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, April 1970

We must remember that much spiritual growth does not occur suddenly but rather through time and experience.  The encouraging message of the gospel is that God does not often require us to perform sensational or extraordinary deeds but rather to try to do better today than we did yesterday.  He is mindful of our desires, our determination, and our direction as well as of our deeds. — Brent L. Top, “A Balanced Life,” Ensign, April 2005, p. 26

If we live by the principles of the gospel, we must be good people, for we will be generous and kind, thoughtful and tolerant, helpful and outreaching to those in distress. We can either subdue the divine nature and hide it so that it finds no expression in our lives, or we can bring it to the front and let it shine through all that we do. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Each a Better Person,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 99

It is possible for Christ to be born in men’s lives, and when such an experience actually happens, a man is “in Christ” – Christ is “formed” in him.  This presupposes that we take Christ into our hearts and make Him the living contemporary of our lives.  He is not just a general truth or a fact in history, but the Savior of men everywhere and at all times. When we strive to be Christlike, He is “formed” in us; if we open the door, He will enter; if we seek His counsel, He will counsel us.  For Christ to be “formed” in us, we must have a belief in Him and in His Atonement.  Such a belief in Christ and the keeping of His commandments are not restraints upon us.  By these, men are set free.  This Prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind, which may make each of us a channel of that peace. — President Howard W. Hunter, “The Real Christmas,” Liahona December 2005, p. 12

Some seek to brush aside conscience, refusing to hear its voice.  But that deflection is, in itself, an act of choice, because we so desired.  Even when the light of Christ flickers only faintly in the darkness, it flickers nevertheless.  If one averts his gaze therefrom, it is because he so desires.

Like it or not, therefore, reality requires that we acknowledge our responsibility for our desires.  Brothers and sisters, which do we really desire, God’s plans for us or Satan’s? . . .

No wonder desires also determine the gradations in outcomes, including why “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14; see D&C 95:5).

It is up to us.  God will facilitate, but He will not force. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” October 1996 General Conference

Righteous desires need to be relentless, therefore, because, said President Brigham Young, “the men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day” (in Journal of Discourses, 11:14). Therefore, true Christian soldiers are more than weekend warriors. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” October 1996 General Conference

Each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service, and each act of worship, however small and incremental, adds to our spiritual momentum.  Like Newton’s Second Law, there is a transmitting of acceleration as well as a contagiousness associated with even the small acts of goodness. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” October 1996 General Conference

Lesson number one for the establishment of Zion in the 21st century:  You never “check your religion at the door.”  Not ever.  My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be – it isn’t discipleship at all. — Elder Jeffery R. Holland, CES Devotional 2012

True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives – that is, our time and choices – to God’s purposes.  In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” October 2010 General Conference

I am surprised (I would be amused if the cost were not so great) that people think they can remove the foundations of our social structure – things like work, chastity, and family and then wonder why other things crumble.  You can’t remove the foundation of a building while standing inside and not be hit with falling plaster.  We are now in the interesting position in the kingdom of trying to warn about what is happening in the world and, at the same time, of keeping ourselves personally secure. We must be Christ-centered individually.  We must have his and God’s power to do our work, and we must take seriously the challenge of becoming more Christlike. You’re soon going to go out into a world full of marshmallow men. Like the act of putting a finger into a marshmallow, there is no core in these men, there is no center, and when one removes his finger, the marshmallow resumes its former shape.  We are in a world of people who want to yield to everything – to every fad and to every fashion.  It is incredibly important that we be committed to the core – committed to those things that matter, about which our Father in heaven has leveled with us through his Son, Jesus Christ, and his prophets. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974

Do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten this work.  Let our anxiety be centered upon this one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of the events that are hastening upon us.  This should be our concern, this should be our study, this should be our daily prayer. . . . Seek to have the Spirit of Christ, that we may wait patiently the time of the Lord and prepare ourselves for the times that are coming. — Brigham Young, “This is Our Duty,” Journal of Discourses, 9:3

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. counseled, “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving:  To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor” (The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table [1858], 105). — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012, footnote 27

Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices.  Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants.  Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes.  Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders.  Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012

The Prophet Joseph pointed out that before your baptism, you could be on neutral ground between good and evil.  But “when you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God.  When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can [go] back.”  His counsel was that we must never forsake the Master.  (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 324; see also Revelation 3:15–16) — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012

The Gospel is calculated to remove from us everything that is not consistent with God and the plan of salvation which he has revealed to men.  It is designed to qualify us to live so that we may enjoy a fulness of the light of truth, and understand the purposes of God, and be able to live so near to Him that we may be in harmony with His wishes constantly.

            The principles of the Gospel are calculated to make us unselfish, to broaden our minds, to give breadth to our desires for good, to remove hatred, animosity, envy and anger from our hearts, and make us peaceful, tractable, teachable, and willing to sacrifice our own desires, and perchance our own interests, for the welfare of our fellow-creatures, and for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
            A man who cannot sacrifice his own wishes, who cannot say in his heart, “Father, Thy will be done, not mine,” is not a truly and thoroughly converted child of God. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 199

To some it may seem old-fashioned to speak of virtue and chastity, honesty, morality, faith, character, but these are the qualities which have built great men and women and point the way by which one may find happiness in the living of today and eternal joy in the world to come.  These are the qualities which are the anchors to our lives, in spite of the trials, the tragedies, the pestilences, and the cruelties of war which bring in their wake appalling destruction, hunger, and bloodshed. — President Harold B. Lee, “Understanding Who We Are Brings Self-Respect,” Ensign, January 1974, p. 2

One day we will take that unavoidable step and cross from this mortal sphere into the next estate.  One day we will look back at our lives and wonder if we could have been better, made better decisions, or used our time more wisely.

            To avoid some of the deepest regrets of life, it would be wise to make some resolutions today. Therefore, let us:

    •    Resolve to spend more time with those we love.

    •    Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.

    •    Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances. . . .

Yes, this life is passing swiftly; our days seem to fade quickly; and death appears frightening at times.  Nevertheless, our spirit will continue to live and will one day be united with our resurrected body to receive immortal glory.  I bear solemn witness that because of the merciful Christ, we will all live again and forever. Because of our Savior and Redeemer, one day we will truly understand and rejoice in the meaning of the words “the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.”  (Mosiah 16:8; see also 1 Corinthians 15:54) — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign, November 2012

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and urged them not to “become a weak link in the chain of your family generations” in the gospel. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Devotional, November 30, 1999

If we want something for this Church and Kingdom, or if we want something for our individual lives, we must have a great, earnest, overpowering desire for that thing.  We must reach out for it, with full faith in our Heavenly Father that the gift may be given us. Then it would seem as if the Lord himself cannot resist our petition.  If our desire is strong enough, if our whole will is tempered and attuned to that which we desire, if our lives make us worthy of the desired gift, the Lord, by his own words, is bound to give us that which we desire, in his own time and in his own manner. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1935, p. 82

Whoever in absolute desire to know the truth places himself in harmony with divine forces and approaches God in humble prayer, with full surrender of inherited or acquired prejudices, will learn to his complete satisfaction that there is a God in Heaven, whose loving will is operative on earth.  Just as the turning of the dial of the radio enables us to hear the messages of distant broadcasting stations, so we may tune ourselves in prayer for truth to hear the messages that come from heavenly places.  Man is more than a machine; he can so purify himself, establish earnest desire, and forget his selfish needs, as to receive through prayer the final assurance of the existence of the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  This method or test is within the reach of all, humble or great, rich or poor.  Happy is the man who thus enters into the abundant knowledge of divine things. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, “The Articles of Faith,” Improvement Era, May 1935, p. 288; 

If we pray that his will be done, we must be prepared to do our part.  My father said to me when I was a boy, “If you want your prayers to be answered, you’d better get on your feet and go to work.”  There is no use praying for the kingdom to come and his will to be done unless we are prepared to do something about it. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, Conference Report, April 1974, pp. 75-76

If all our selfish motives, then, and all our personal desires, and expediency, would be subordinated to a desire to know the will of the Lord, one could have the companionship of heavenly vision.  If your problems be too great for human intelligence or too much for human strength, you too, if you are faithful and appeal rightly unto the source of divine power, might have standing by you in your hour of peril or great need an angel of God, whose you are and whom you serve.  One who lives thus worthy of a testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, and who is willing to reach out to him in constant inquiry to know if his course is approved, is the one who is living life to its full abundance here, and is preparing for the celestial world, which is to live eternally with his Heavenly Father. — Elder Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1946, p. 146

We should live so near to the Lord, be so humble in our spirits, so tractable and pliable, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that we will be able to know the mind and will of the Father concerning us as individuals and as officers in the Church of Christ under all circumstances.  And when we live so that we can hear and understand the whisperings of the still small voice of the Spirit of God, let us do whatsoever that Spirit directs, without fear of the consequences.  It does not make any difference whether it meet the minds of carpers or critics, or of the enemies of the kingdom of God, or not.  Is it agreeable to the will of the Lord?  Is it compatible with the spirit of the great latter-day work in which we are engaged?  Is the end aimed at likely to advance the Church and to strengthen it in the earth?  If its trend is in that direction, let us do it, no matter what men may say or think. — President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1903, p. 86

The purpose of our life should be to build up the Zion of our God, to gather the House of Israel, bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, restore and bless the earth with our ability and make it as the Garden of Eden, store up treasures of knowledge and wisdom in our own understandings, purify our own hearts and prepare a people to meet the Lord when he comes. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, p. 111

[As a guide to becoming a Zion Society] First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind. . . . Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other.  There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions. . . . Third, we must lay on the altar [of] sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord.  We begin by offering a “broken heart and contrite spirit.”  We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and callings.  We learn our duty and execute it fully.  Finally we consecrate our time, talents, and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1978, p. 123

We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. . . . However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, October 2003

We have earthly debts and heavenly debts.  Let us be wise in dealing with each of them and ever keep in mind the words of the Savior.  The scriptures tell us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  The riches of this world are as dust compared to the riches that await the faithful in the mansions of our Heavenly Father.  How foolish is he who spends his days in the pursuit of things that rust and fade away.  How wise is he who spends his days in the pursuit of eternal life. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, April 2004

We came into the world for a great purpose, the same as Jesus, our elder brother, to do the will and works of our Father; in this there is peace, joy and happiness, an increase of wisdom, knowledge and the power of God; outside of this are no promised blessings.  Thus let us devote ourselves to righteousness, help each and all to be better and happier; do good to all and evil to none; honor God and obey His Priesthood; cultivate and preserve an enlightened conscience and follow the Holy Spirit; faint not, hold fast to what is good, endure to the end, and your cup of joy shall be full even to overflowing, for great shall be your reward for your trials and your sufferings under temptations, your fiery ordeals, your heart yearnings and tears; yea, our God will give you a crown of unfading glory. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p. 154

The spirits in the eternal world are like the spirits in this world.  When those have come into this world and received tabernacles, then died and again have risen and received glorified bodies, they will have an ascendency over the spirits who have received no bodies, or kept not their first estate, like the devil.  The punishment of the devil was that he should not have a habitation like men.  The devil’s retaliation is, he comes into this world, binds up men’s bodies, and occupies them himself.  When the authorities come along, they eject him from a stolen habitation.

The design of the great God in sending us into this world, and organizing us to prepare us for the eternal worlds, I shall keep in my own bosom at present.

We have no claim in our eternal compact, in relation to eternal things, unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this.  But after all this, you have got to make your calling and election sure.  If this injunction would lie largely on those to whom it was spoken, how much more those of the present generation!

            1st key:  Knowledge is the power of salvation.

            2nd key: Make your calling and election sure.

            3rd key:  It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the excellent voice, etc., and another to hear the voice declare to you, You have a part and lot in that kingdom. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, May 21, 1843; History of the Church 5:401-403

Come, [Christ] says lovingly.  Come, follow me.  Wherever you are going, first come and see what I do, see where and how I spend my time. Learn of me, walk with me, talk with me, believe.   Listen to me pray.  In turn you will find answers to your own prayers. God will bring rest to your souls.  Come, follow me. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Conference Report, Oct 1997, p. 88

In February of 1847 the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared to Brigham Young in a dream or vision. President Young asked the Prophet if he had a message for the Brethren. The Prophet Joseph replied:  “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” (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 41).  Of all the truths the Prophet Joseph might have taught Brigham Young on that sacred occasion, he emphasized the importance of obtaining and keeping the Spirit of the Lord. — Elder David A. Bednar, “That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Ensign, May 2006, pp. 28-31

“What would Jesus do?” or “What would He have me do?” are paramount personal questions of this life.  Walking in His way is the greatest achievement of life.  That man or woman is most truly successful whose life most closely parallels that of the Master.

I know that the Lord lives.  I know that He loves us.  I know that apart from Him no one can succeed, but as a partner with Him no one can fail.

I know that God can make a lot more out of our lives than we can.  That we may all have the moral courage from this moment forward to more fully strive each day to think on Christ, learn of Him, walk in His steps, and do what He would have us do is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Think on Christ,” BYU Devotional, October 11, 1983

We should renew our covenants before God and the holy angels, that we will, God being our helper, serve him more faithfully during the ensuing year than we have in the past, that our public and private life, our actions and the spirit and influence we wield may be in keeping with the motto, “The Kingdom of God or nothing.”  Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, pp. 191-92

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). You remember that following his resurrection the Savior rhetorically asked his disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?”  He then answered his own question, “Even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27).

There is only one verse of scripture in the entire New Testament that tells us what the Savior did to develop himself during the span of years from age 12 and his experience in the temple, until he began his formal ministry at age 30.  The verse consists of just 14 words.  Count them:

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).  In other words, the Savior increased or developed in the same areas indicated by those included in my poll:

            Intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge)

            Physically (in stature)

            Socially (in favor with man)

            Spiritually (in favor with God)

I am convinced that if we make and keep resolutions in these four areas, we will have a happier and more successful new year and every year for the rest of our lives. Consider the four areas already outlined. — Elder Joe J. Christensen, Ensign, January 1998

Now, God bless you.  May peace abide in your souls, and the love of truth abound in you.  May virtue garnish all your ways.  May you live uprightly and honestly before the Lord, keep the faith, and be valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ; for he that is valiant will receive his reward. God bless you, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 111

Perhaps our covenants, our sacred covenants that we always remember and consistently and earnestly strive to honor, become the blood on our doorposts in anticipation of the latter-day Passover.  In ancient Israel, protection against physical death was afforded to the obedient.  In our latter-day Israel, protection is available through our covenants against the spiritual perils that are so prevalent amidst the onslaught of sin and evil in an increasingly wicked world.  Consider the last verse in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, which we all know refers to the Word of Wisdom:  “And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.  Amen.”

This revelation is not talking about the children of Israel.  It is talking about us in this latter day as we are obedient to the instruction we have received.  In the time of the children of Israel, they offered sacrifice in anticipation of the infinite sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son and participated in the feast of the Passover as a reminder of how the children of Israel were protected from the destroyer on that fateful night.  In this latter day we are commanded to offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and we feast at the sacrament table each week. — Elder David A. Bednar, BYU-Idaho Devotional, 22 March 2002

I say to everyone within the sound of my voice, “Do not fail the Lord.”  We must accept the truth that the gospel principles are not on trial but that we are. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Fortify Your Homes against Evil,” Ensign, May 1979, p. 4

God bless you, my dear friends.  Be faithful.  Be true.  Be loyal to the great cause of which you are a part. Never become a weak link in the chain of your family’s generations.  Do whatever you are asked to do, and do it with a glad heart.  Do not worry about office or position in the Church.  Simply do whatever your calling requires, and do it with joy and gladness. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Keep the Chain Unbroken,” BYU Devotional, November 30, 1999

We read in the Bible that there is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars. . . . These are worlds, different departments, or mansions, in our Father’s house.  Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. . . . Who will?  Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1:312

Every virtuous woman desires a husband to whom she can look for guidance and protection through this world.  God has placed this desire in woman’s nature.  It should be respected by the stronger sex.  Any man who takes advantage of this, and humbles a daughter of Eve, to rob her of her virtue, and cast her off dishonored and defiled, is her destroyer, and is responsible to God for the deed.  If the refined Christian society of the nineteenth century will tolerate such a crime, God will not; but he will call the perpetrator to an account. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:268

I suppose that God never organized an earth and peopled it that was ever reduced to a lower state of darkness, sin and ignorance than this.  I suppose this is one of the lowest kingdoms that ever the Lord Almighty created, and on that account is capable of becoming exalted to be one of the highest kingdoms that has ever had an exaltation in all the eternities.  In proportion as it has been reduced – so will it be exalted, with that portion of its inhabitants who, in their humiliation, have cleaved to righteousness and acknowledged God in all things. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:175

Let the Saints remember that great things depend on their individual exertion, and that they are called to be co-workers with us and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing the great work of the last days; and in consideration of the extent, the blessings and glories of the same, let every selfish feeling be not only buried, but annihilated; and let love to God and man predominate, and reign triumphant in every mind, that their hearts may become like unto Enoch’s of old. . . .

Let us realize that we are not to live to ourselves, but to God; by so doing the greatest blessings will rest upon us both in time and in eternity. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 276

When truth comes, error comes also.  The good spirit tries to over come the wayward will of the flesh, and the flesh, aided by the cunning and power of the devil, maintains a strong warfare; but notwithstanding this great power against which the spirit has to contend, the power of God is greater than the power of the wicked one. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:237

Let the people be led by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and the finger of God will be made manifest before them day by day in their progress to eternal happiness; for this is the privilege of the faithful. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:107

Some desire to do good all the time, still it seems that almost every act they perform results in evil; look upon such persons as they are, through eyes of mercy, and not measure them with your measure. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:175

When we are prepared, when we are holy vessels before the Lord, a stream of power from the Almighty can pass through the tabernacle of the administrator to the system of the patient, and the sick are made whole; there is virtue in us if we will do right; if we live our religion we are the temples of God wherein he will dwell; if we defile ourselves, these temples God will destroy. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:72

To be prudent and saving, and to use the elements in our possession for our benefit and the benefit of our fellow beings is wise and righteous, but to be slothful, wasteful, lazy and indolent, to spend our time and means for naught, is unrighteous. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 16:16

But a warning is sounded for us.  It behooves us to be alert and to listen and flee from the evil for our eternal lives.  Without help we cannot stand against it.  We must flee to high ground or cling fast to that which can keep us from being swept away.  That to which we must cling for safety is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is our protection from whatever force the evil one can muster. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” Ensign, November 1978

We will be in this world only a short time.  The youngest and strongest of us are simply preparing for the other life, and before we get into the glory of our Father and enjoy the blessings that we hope to receive through faithfulness, we will have to live the laws of patience, and exercise forgiveness toward those who trespass against us, and remove from our hearts all feelings of hatred toward them. . . .

May we have the Spirit of the Master dwelling within us, that we may forgive all men as He has commanded, forgive, not only with our lips but in the very depths of our hearts, every trespass that may have been committed against us.  If we do this through life, the blessings of the Lord will abide in our hearts and our homes. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, p. 252-53

There are many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1971, p. 16

When our hearts are no longer set upon the things of this world, we will no longer aspire to the honors of men or seek only to gratify our pride (see D&C 121:35–37).  Rather, we take on the Christlike qualities that Jesus taught:

    •    We are gentle and meek and long-suffering (see D&C 121:41).

    •    We are kind, without hypocrisy or guile (see D&C 121:42).

    •    We feel charity toward all men (see D&C 121:45).

    •    Our thoughts are always virtuous (see D&C 121:45).

    •    We no longer desire to do evil (see Mosiah 5:2).

The Holy Ghost is our constant companion, and the doctrines of the priesthood distill upon our souls as the dews from heaven (see D&C 121:45–46).

Now, brothers and sisters, I’m not encouraging religious zealotry or fanaticism.  Quite the contrary!  I’m simply suggesting that we take the next logical step in our complete conversion to the gospel of Christ by assimilating its doctrines deep within our hearts and our souls so we will act and live consistently – and with integrity – what we profess to believe.

This integrity simplifies our lives and amplifies our sensitivities to the Spirit and to the needs of others.  It brings joy into our lives and peace to our souls – the kind of joy and peace that comes to us as we repent of our sins and follow the Savior by keeping His commandments. — Elder M. Russell Ballard “Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign, November 2012

It is our privilege to say, every day of our lives, “That is the best day I ever lived.”  Never let a day so pass that you will have cause to say, “I will live better tomorrow,” and I will promise you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that your lives will be as a well of water springing up to everlasting life.  You will have his Spirit to dwell in you continually, and your eyes will be open to see, your ears to hear, and your understanding to comprehend. Discourses of Brigham Young, 90

The men and women who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle with the enemy of all righteousness every day . . . “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication . . .”  Let us see to it that we are ready for the enemy, to baffle him at every point, contending bravely against him until he is successfully repulsed. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:14, 15

My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first, to keep the commandments of God, as they been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them.  It is not necessary for you to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth.  Begin on the man who lives next door by inspiring confidence in him, by inspiring love in him for you because of your righteousness, and your missionary work has already begun. — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51

Strive to be righteous, not for any speculation, but because righteousness is lovely, pure, holy, beautiful, and exalting; it is designed to make the soul happy and full of joy, to the extent of the whole capacity of man, filling him with light, glory, and intelligence. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:172

God has promised you, Jesus has promised you, and the Apostles and Prophets of old and of our day have promised you that you shall be rewarded according to all you can desire in righteousness before the Lord, if you live for that reward. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:197

When we speak, let us speak good words; when we think, let us think good thoughts; and when we act, perform good acts; until it shall become the delight of every man and woman to do good instead of evil, and to teach righteousness by example and precept. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:360

I say again – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and in due time, no matter when, “all these things” (that appear so necessary to have in the world) “shall be added unto you.”  Everything that is in heaven, on the earth, and in the earth, everything the most fruitful mind can imagine, shall be yours. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 2:125

What are we working for?  Wealth?  Riches?  If we have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we are working for eternal life.  Then we are laboring to save our souls. And after saving our own souls we are laboring for the salvation of our children. . . . I want to say that the best inheritance that you can leave to your sons and daughters is an investment in the kingdom of God. Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Heber J. Grant, p. 204

The Lord, in comforting the saints, told them that if they would listen to his counsel, the gates of hell should not have power over them, and this promise is the same to you and to me inasmuch as we listen to the counsels of inspired men.  As I understand that expression, “the gates of hell,” it means those things which lead to hell, in fact, are the entrances to it. 

How many things are there that lead to those gates?  How many things we have to be warned against and which we have to watch out for, because if we yield to them, they will lead us to the gates of hell!  Let us each and every one examine ourselves and know well the path in which we are walking and avoid everything that we know is wrong, and forbidden by the Lord, well knowing that if we yield to such we have not the promise that the gates of hell shall not have power over us; on the other hand, if we perform our duty, live according to the testimony which God has given us, we need not fear, for he will lead us in the paths of righteousness that lead to eternal life. — Elder Anthon H. Lund, Conference Report, April 1913, pp. 10-11

The love of God is not something that you get just for the asking. . . . You cannot love God and then despise your brother with whom you are associated.  Any man who thinks he is a spiritual giant and his home is in disorder because of neglect and his failure to care for his wife and his own children, that man is not on his way to cultivating a love for God. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, p. 131

In the account of the barren fig tree the unproductive tree was cursed for its barrenness.  What a loss to the individual and to humanity if the vine does not grow, the tree does not bear fruit, the soul does not expand through service!  One must live, not only exist; he must do, not merely be; he must grow, not just vegetate.  We must use our talents in behalf of our fellowmen, rather than burying them in the tomb of a self-centered life. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, p. 83

I urge you with all the capacity that I have to reach out in a duty that stands beyond the requirements of our everyday lives; that is, to stand strong, even to become a leader in speaking up in behalf of those causes that make our civilization shine and that give comfort and peace to our lives.  You can be a leader.  You must be a leader, as a member of this Church, in those causes for which this Church stands.  Do not let fear overcome your efforts, for as Paul wrote to Timothy:  “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).  The adversary of all truth would put into your heart a reluctance to make an effort.  Cast that fear aside and be valiant in the cause of truth and righteousness and faith. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Up for Truth,” BYU Devotional, September 17, 1996

There is much that we have in common one with another.  We know where we came from, why we are here, and where we will go when we leave this life.  We know that we are children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us.  We know we want to return to Him after we leave this earthly existence.  We know that what we do – and don’t do – here in mortality is of utmost importance.  We also know that, should we fall short, our Savior has provided us with the precious gift of the Atonement and that, if we change our lives and our hearts and take advantage of the power of the Atonement, our sins and shortcomings will be forgiven and forgotten. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Be a Light to the World,” BYU Devotional, November 1, 2011

I testify from the bottom of my heart, with the intensity of my soul, to all who can hear my voice that those apostolic keys have been restored to the earth, and they are found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.”  To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets.  The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.  I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.”  (D&C 20:73)  That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well.  To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation.  You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. [Mission calls now extended to young men at age 18 and young women at age 19.]  Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment,” Ensign, November 2012, p. 85

When we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us.  And the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane.  So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers.   And it certainly underscores the fact that the righteous – in the Savior’s case, the personification of righteousness – can be totally worthy before God and still suffer.  In fact, it ought to be a matter of great doctrinal consolation to us that Jesus, in the course of the Atonement, experienced all of the heartache and sorrow, all of the disappointments and injustices that the entire family of man had experienced and would experience from Adam and Eve to the end of the world in order that we would not have to face them so severely or so deeply.  However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Ensign, September 2009, p. 31

Let us from this time forth live so as to create confidence in all men with whom we deal and come in contact; and treasure up each particle of confidence we obtain as one of the most precious possessions mortals can possibly possess.  When by my good actions I have created confidence in my neighbor towards me, I pray that I may never do anything that will destroy it. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 276

Another strength Satan can exploit to seek our downfall is a strong desire to understand everything about every principle of the gospel.  How could that possibly work to our detriment?  Experience teaches that if this desire is not disciplined, it can cause some to pursue their searchings past the fringes of orthodoxy, seeking answers to mysteries rather than a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel.  Some seek answers to questions God has not chosen to answer.  Others receive answers – or think they receive answers – in ways that are contrary to the order of the Church.  For such searchers, Satan stands ready to mislead through sophistry or spurious revelation.  Persons who hunger after a full understanding of all things must discipline their questions and their methods or they can get close to apostasy without even knowing it.  It may be just as dangerous to exceed orthodoxy as it is to fall short of it.  The safety and happiness we are promised lies in keeping the commandments, not in discounting them or multiplying them. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” BYU Fireside, June 7, 1992

We all need love in our souls, all the time: first, for God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all good – love which encompasses our souls, our thoughts, our hearts, our minds, our strength, insomuch that we would willingly, if He required, give our lives as well as our time, talents, and substance in this world to the service of the living God who gives us all that we have. . . . We [should] have that love in our hearts, so much that we will love God more than business, more than money, more than earthly pleasures; that is, enjoy greater pleasure in the worship and love of God than we have in any other thing in the world. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 417

Keep your eye upon those who preside in the Church today, or tomorrow, and pattern your life after them rather than to dwell upon how ancient prophets may have looked or thought or spoken, because if you really believe what you say, you will honor the one who presides today as a prophet, seer, and revelator.  For the Lord gives to his leaders in their own dispensation and their own time the things that he would have given to his church for the guidance of his people in this present day.  This is the thing that makes this church strong.  God isn’t an absentee father.  Jesus is the head of this church. This church is founded upon apostles and prophets, but Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is the chief cornerstone.  He reveals his mind and will by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who preside, as each President of the Church can testify. Today we see the evidence of His direction as we are seeing His work going forward day by day in our time. — President Harold B. Lee, “Be Loyal to the Royal Within You,” BYU Devotional, September 11, 1973

It appears to me that the kind of greatness our Father in Heaven would have us pursue is within the grasp of all who are within the gospel net.  We have an unlimited number of opportunities to do the many simple and minor things that will ultimately make us great.  To those who have devoted their lives to service and sacrifice for their families, for others and for the Lord, the best counsel is simply to do more of the same. — President Howard W. Hunter, “What Is True Greatness?,” BYU Devotional, February 10, 1987

You are aware that many think that the Devil has rule and power over both body and spirit.  Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in a man, through yielding to the spirit of evil.  The spirit that the Lord puts into a tabernacle of flesh, is under the dictation of the Lord Almighty; but the spirit and body are united in order that the spirit may have a tabernacle, and be exalted; and the spirit is influenced by the body, and the body by the spirit.  In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth.  If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both.  Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. 

When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead.  If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives.  But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 69-70

The philosophy of moral relativism, which holds that each person is free to choose for him or herself what is right and wrong, is becoming the unofficial creed for many in the United States and other Western nations.  At the extreme level, evil acts that used to be localized and covered up like a boil are now legalized and paraded like a banner. Persuaded by this philosophy, many of the rising generation are caught up in self-serving pleasures, pornography, dishonesty, foul language, revealing attire, pagan painting and piercing of body parts, and degrading sexual indulgence.

Many religious leaders teach the existence of God as the ultimate lawgiver, by whose command certain behavior is absolutely right and true and other behavior is absolutely wrong and untrue.  Bible and Book of Mormon prophets foresaw this time, when men would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4) and, indeed, when men would deny God (see Jude 1:4; 2 Nephi 28:5; Moroni 7:17; D&C 29:22).

In this troubled circumstance, we who believe in God and the corollary truth of absolute right and wrong have the challenge of living in a godless and increasingly amoral world. In this circumstance, all of us – especially the rising generation – have a duty to stand up and speak out to affirm that God exists and that there are absolute truths that His commandments establish. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Balancing Truth & Tolerance,” Ensign, February 2013, pp. 25-26

The first great principle that ought to occupy the attention of mankind, that should be understood by the child and the adult, and which is the main spring of all action, whether people understand it or not, is the principle of improvement.  The principle of increase, of exaltation, of adding to that we already posses, is the grand moving principle and cause of the actions of the children of man.  No matter what their pursuits are, in what nation they were born, with what people they have associated, what religion they profess, or what politics they hold, this is the main spring of the actions of the people, embracing all the powers necessary in performing the duties of life. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 87

When we get to the other side of the veil, we shall know something.  We now work by faith.  We have the evidence of things not seen.  The resurrection, the eternal judgment, the celestial kingdom, and the great blessings that God has given in the holy anointings and endowment in the temples, are all for the future, and they will be fulfilled, for they are eternal truths.  We will never while in the flesh, with this veil over us, fully comprehend that which lies before us in the world to come.  It will pay any man to serve God and to keep His commandments the few days he lives upon the earth. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 154

I plead with you my brethren and my sisters, let us be generous with one another. Let us be as patient with one another as we would like others to be with us.  Let us see the virtues of our neighbors and our friends and speak of those virtues, not find fault and criticize.  If we will do that we will radiate sunshine, and those who know us best will love us. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, p. 227

When earth life is over and things appear in their true perspective, we shall more clearly see. . . that the fruits of the gospel are the only objectives worthy of life’s full efforts. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1949, p. 39

We believe in being true.  This is different than honesty.  It means that we stand tall, look the world straight in the eye, and march forward.  It means that we are true to the faith of our fathers. . . . I have mentioned before the experience of my youth when my brother and I would sleep outside during the summertime.  We would lie down in the bed of a big farm wagon and gaze into the heavens. The whole sky seemed to move – all but the North Star, which remained in its permanent and predictable place. 

It was a thing of stability in a world of shifting values.  It became an expression of a desire to pattern one’s life after the Polar Star, this astronomical wonder, to be true and dependable – true to God, true to self, and true to fellowman. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “True to the Faith,” BYU Devotional, September 18, 2007

Today we are troubled by evil-designing persons who are endeavoring with all their power to destroy the testimonies of members of the Church, and many members of the Church are in danger because of lack of understanding and because they have not sought the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.  Every baptized member of the Church receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands.  This, however, will not save them unless they continue in the spirit of light and truth.  Therefore it is a commandment from the Lord that members of the Church should be diligent in their activities and study of the fundamental truths of the gospel as it has been revealed.  The Spirit of the Lord will not continue to strive with the indifferent, with the wayward and the rebellious who fail to live within the light of divine truth.  It is the privilege of every baptized person to have an abiding testimony of the restoration of the gospel, but this testimony will grow dim and eventually disappear unless we are constantly receiving spiritual good through study, obedience, and diligent seeking to know and understand the truth. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1963, p. 22

We cannot always do what we would like to do, but we shall have the power to do that which we should do.  The Lord will give us the power to do this. The Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p. 1531

We should not expect peace or freedom or faith or any other such gift from our divine head if our acceptance of His leadership is lukewarm or grudging.  If it is ritual rather than real righteousness, we should not expect a reward.  A detached, aloof allegiance is for Him no allegiance at all.  Our submission must be full, wholehearted, and unstinting. What God requires is the devotion portrayed by Jesus, who was asked to drink a cup so bitter that it amazed even Him, the great Creator (see Mark 14:33-36; D&C 19:17-18).  Yet He did it, “the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7). — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “You Are Free,” Ensign, March 2013, p. 41

The late President Henry D. Moyle said: 

I believe that we, as fellow workers in the priesthood, might well take to heart the admonition of Alma and be content with that which God hath allotted us.  We might well be assured that we had something to do with our “allotment” in our preexistent state.  This would be an additional reason for us to accept our present condition and make the best of it.  It is what we agreed to do.  [CR, October 1952, p. 71] 

By the way, brothers and sisters, I hasten to add that among the things “allotted” are not included things like a bad temper.  The deficiencies of a developmental variety are those we are expected to overcome. 

Now, as I prepare to conclude, may I point out what a vastly different view of life the doctrine of foreordination gives to us.  Shorn of this perspective, others are puzzled or bitter about life.  Without gospel perspective life would be a punishment, not a joy – like trying to play a game of billiards on a table with a rumpled cloth, with a crooked cue and an elliptical billiard ball (from Sir William S. Gilbert’s libretto of The Mikado).  (Perhaps the moral of that analogy is that we should stay out of pool halls.)  In any event, pessimism does not really reckon with life and the universe as these things “really are.”  The disciple will be puzzled at times, too.  But he persists.  Later he rejoices over how wonderfully things fit together, realizing only then that, with God, things never were apart. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

The happiest men and the happiest women that you know in the world are those who are conforming their lives to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are those who have the assurance of eternal life; they are those who understand the purpose of our being. . . . I have seen how perfectly men’s lives may be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have seen those who were discouraged, those who were in darkness, those who questioned the purpose of their being, and when they have had taught to them the glorious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have changed, they have learned to be happy, to be contented, to be satisfied, to be enthusiastic in believing and teaching the gospel that was proclaimed by Jesus Christ when he dwelt upon this earth. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, p. 29

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2010

Even when we encounter mean-spirited criticism from persons who have little regard or love for us, it can be helpful to exercise enough meekness to weigh it and sift out anything that might benefit us. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2011

The essence of true membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is this – that you and I, independent of every other person in the world, will live our religion and do our duty, no matter what other people do.  As Joshua expressed himself in olden times, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15.)  The true measure of our standing in this Church is that we will do right, no matter who else does right or does wrong.  Therefore let us seek to get that spirit upon us and live by that rule. Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 416

So far as this world is concerned, some people look upon it as a horrid world, a world full of pain, sorrow and suffering.  I do not regard it as such.  I consider it a blessed world, a glorious world, which affords us very many privileges.  What other place is there besides this world where we can obtain remission of sins?  That ordinance belongs to this life and this world and to no other.  And a great many things pertaining to this world we can do here, but which we cannot do after we pass behind the veil.  If we attend to the duties of this life in the time and season thereof, not leaving undone anything which we are able to do, all will be well with us hereafter; but if we fail in the performance of our duties here, we certainly shall regret and perhaps mourn our negligence when we shall have passed away; and besides we shall then have to depend upon others to do things in our behalf, which we might have done ourselves. Let us improve our opportunities here, and appreciate them as fully we ought to. — Elder Charles C. Rich, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 19:376

With God, and also with those who understand the principles of life and salvation, the Priesthood, the oracles of truth and the gifts and callings of God to the children of men, there is no difference in spiritual and temporal labors – all are one.  If I am in the line of my duty, I am doing the will of God, whether I am preaching; praying, laboring with my hands for an honorable support; whether I am in the field, mechanics shop, or following mercantile business, or wherever duty calls, I am serving God as much in one place as another; and so it is with all, each in his place, turn and time. — Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Brigham Young, p. 21

The Apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s teachings were given that we may all attain “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).  This process requires far more than acquiring knowledge.  It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it.  In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 32

The devil is ready to blind our eyes with the things of this world, and he would gladly rob us of eternal life, the greatest of all gifts.  But it is not given to the devil, and no power will ever be given to him to overthrow any Latter-day Saint that is keeping the commandments of God.  There is no power given to the adversary of men’s souls to destroy us if we are doing our duty. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, p. 27

God is at the helm.  Never doubt it.  When we are confronted with opposition, He will open the way when there appears to be no way.  Our individual efforts may be humble and appear somewhat insignificant.  But the accumulated good works of all, laboring together with a common purpose, will bring to pass great and wondrous accomplishments. The world will be a better place for our united service.  Our people will be a happy people, a blessed people, a people whose shepherd is our Lord, leading us through pastures green and peaceful, if we will walk after His pattern and in His light. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God is at the Helm,” General Conference, April 1994

I testify that if you have a temple recommend, are living worthy of that recommend, and are keeping your covenants, then you are indeed on the strait and narrow way that leads to exaltation.  If you die in that condition, then you will be, as Elder M. Russell Ballard incisively, bluntly, and succinctly put it, “safely dead with your testimony burning brightly.” — Elder F. Burton Howard, Ensign, May 1996, p. 27

We are here to prepare to live, and to teach our children how to live after us; and to teach the world the same lesson if they will only receive it.  We know that our spirits existed with the Father before we came here. We know that we are immortal as well as mortal beings . . . We know that the world abounds with corruption; but it is our business to keep ourselves from it, and to progress in virtue, truth, integrity and holiness. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 187

I am not unmindful that there are good and devout people among all sects, parties, and denominations, and they will be blessed and rewarded for all the good they do.  But the fact remains that we alone have the fullness of those laws and ordinances which prepare men for the fullness of reward in the mansions above.  And so we say to the good and noble, the upright and devout people everywhere:  Keep all the good you have; cleave unto every true principle which is now yours; but come and partake of the further light and knowledge which that God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is again pouring out upon his people. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “A Witness and a Blessing,” General Conference, April 1971

Ours is no ordinary calling.  Great opportunities and privileges have been bestowed upon us.  To us, as a people, has been entrusted the grand and glorious labor of laying the foundation of the kingdom of God upon the earth. Every act of our lives should be performed with this in view.  Nothing should be done by anyone calling himself a Latter-day Saint that will conflict with the policy which God has announced as proper to be adopted in establishing that kingdom. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 125

If you are true and faithful, you will stand out in stark contrast to the surrounding masses mired in mediocrity. . . . You, your families, and your homes will become beacons of hope in a darkened world. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, BYU-Hawaii Commencement, April 2011

I believe that God will always make a way where there is no way.  I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God, if we will follow the counsel of the priesthood, he will open a way even where there appears to be no way. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1971

Some persons have a finely developed social conscience.  They respond to social injustice and suffering with great concern, commitment, and generosity.  This is surely a spiritual strength, something many of us need in greater measure.  Yet persons who have this great quality need to be cautious that it not impel them to overstep other ultimate values.  My social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives.  We are not blessed for magnifying our calling with someone else’s time or resources.  We are commanded to love our neighbors, not to manipulate them, even for righteous purposes.  In the same way, we should not feel alienated from our church or its leaders when they refrain from using the rhetoric of the social gospel or from allocating Church resources to purposes favored by others.  We should remember that the Lord has given his restored Church a unique mission not given to others.  We must concentrate our primary efforts on those activities that can only be accomplished with priesthood authority, such as preaching the gospel and redeeming the dead. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” June 07, 1992

Ours is no ordinary calling.  Great opportunities and privileges have been bestowed upon us.  To us, as a people, has been entrusted the grand and glorious labor of laying the foundation of the kingdom of God upon the earth.  Every act of our lives should be performed with this in view.  Nothing should be done by anyone calling himself a Latter-day Saint that will conflict with the policy which God has announced as proper to be adopted in establishing that kingdom. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 125

I plead with you to control your tempers, to put a smile upon your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect.  If you will do this, your lives will be without regret.  Your marriages and family relationships will be preserved.  You will be much happier.  You will do greater good.  You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Slow to Anger,” General Conference, October 2007

Any person who will search the scriptures, keep the commandments, and ask in faith will get his heart so in tune with the infinite that there will come into his being, from the “still small voice,” the eternal realities of religion.  And as he progresses and advances and comes nearer to God, there will be a day when he will entertain angels, when he will see visions, and the final end is to view the face of God. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Speeches of the Year, 1967, p. 8

Calculating as we do, upon the mercy and power of God in our behalf, we hope to persevere on in every good and useful work, even unto the end, that when we come to be tried in the balance we may not be found wanting.History of the Church, 4:9

The Zion of God must consist of men that are pure in heart and pure in life and spotless before God.  At least that is what we have got to arrive at.  We are not there yet, but we must get there before we shall be prepared to inherit glory and exaltation. . . . It is not enough for us to embrace the gospel . . . and be associated with the people of God, attend our meetings and partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, and endeavor to move along without much blame of any kind attached to us.  For notwithstanding all this, if our hearts are not right, if we are not pure in heart before God, . . . fearing God and keeping his commandments, we shall not unless we repent, participate in these blessings. — President John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, pp. 89-90

We are still being blessed by that love from God and by the faithfulness of our spiritual and literal progenitors down through a thousand generations.  May we do as much with the blessings we have been given as they did out of the deprivations so many of them faced.  In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord” nor “go after other gods,” but always be “an holy people unto the Lord.”  If we do so, those that hunger and thirst for the word of the Lord will continue to come “as doves to [our] windows.”  They will come seeking peace and growth and salvation.  If we live our religion they will find all of that and more. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “As Doves to Our Windows,” Ensign, May 2000

The responsibility for having oil in our personal lamps is an individual requirement and opportunity.  The oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.  The wise were not unkind or selfish when they refused oil to the foolish in the moment of truth.  The kind of oil needed by all of us to light up the darkness and illuminate the way is not shareable.  The oil could have been purchased at the market in the parable, but in our lives it is accumulated by righteous living, a drop at a time. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, April 1974

There are depths in the sea which the storms that lash the surface into fury never reach.  They who reach down into the depths of life where, in the stillness, the voice of God is heard, have the stabilizing power which carries them poised and serene through the hurricane of difficulties. 

There are so many beautiful promises.  To read the scriptures and turn the pages, and it seems that it is almost all rewards, evidence of living the commandments of the Lord. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Rewards, The Blessings, The Promises,” Ensign, January 1974

And it is not enough for us to embrace the Gospel and to be gathered here to the land of Zion and be associated with the people of God, attend our meetings and partake of the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper, and endeavor to move along without much blame of any kind attached to us; for notwithstanding all this, if our hearts are not right, if we are not pure in heart before God, if we have not pure hearts and pure consciences, fearing God and keeping His commandments, we shall not, unless we repent, participate in these blessings about which I have spoken, and of which the Prophets bear testimony. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, pp. 114-15

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming.  Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind.  In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality. — Elder Richard G. Scott, October 2010 General Conference

Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city.  This will make us happy, and produce plenty.  The earth is a good earth, the elements are good if we will use them for our own benefit, in truth and righteousness.  Then let us be content, and go to with our mights to make ourselves healthy, wealthy, and beautiful, and preserve ourselves in the best possible manner, and live just as long as we can, and do all the good we can. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, p. 230

There is something of divinity within each of you.  You have such tremendous potential with that quality as a part of your inherited nature.  Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world. Train your minds and your hands that you may be equipped to serve well in the society of which you are a part.  Cultivate the art of being kind, of being thoughtful, of being helpful. Refine within you the quality of mercy which comes as a part of the divine attributes you have inherited. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Light Within You,” Ensign, May 1995

Conversion must mean more than just being a “card carrying” member of the Church with a tithing receipt, a membership card, a temple recommend, etc.  It means to overcome the tendencies to criticize and to strive continually to improve inward weaknesses and not merely the outward appearances. — President Harold B. Lee, “The Iron Rod,” Ensign, June 1971

My religion teaches me to love all men.  However much I may despise their acts, or deplore their wickedness and their darkness of mind, yet they are made in the image and likeness of my Father and God – they are my brothers and sisters.  It is required of me that I shall love my neighbor as myself.  I may not have risen yet to that high standard of perfection; there may still be lingering in me that selfishness that would prefer myself above my neighbor; but I aim to do right to my fellowmen, because the Gospel requires it. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 196

Let us study the ways of the Lord, reading His life and teachings in the sacred scripture He has given us.  Let us take a little time to meditate, to think of what we can do to improve our lives and to become better examples of what a Latter-day Saint should be. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Time of New Beginnings,” General Conference, April 2, 2000

Our responsibility in the Church is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, and this we are seeking to do with all our heart, might, and mind. . . . We believe that worship is far more than prayer and preaching and gospel performance.  The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please him.  It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord; it is quite another to respect and honor his will by following the example he has set for us. 

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the great Exemplar.  Our mission is to pattern our lives after him and do the things he wants us to do. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,” Ensign, December 1971

We need a more peaceful world, growing out of more peaceful families and neighborhoods and communities.  To secure and cultivate such peace, “we must love others, even our enemies as well as our friends.”  The world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Those who are filled with the love of Christ do not seek to force others to do better; they inspire others to do better, indeed inspire them to the pursuit of God.  We need to extend the hand of friendship.  We need to be kinder, more gentle, more forgiving, and slower to anger.  We need to love one another with the pure love of Christ.  May this be our course and our desire. — President Howard W. Hunter, “A More Excellent Way,” Ensign, May 1992

The god of the world is the gold and the silver.  The world worships this god.  It is all-powerful to them, though they might not be willing to acknowledge it. Now, it is designed, in the providence of God, that the Latter-day Saints should show whether they have so far advanced in the knowledge, in the wisdom and in the power of God that they cannot be overcome by the god of the world.  We must come to that point.  We have also got to reach another standard, a higher plane: we have got to love God more than we love the world, more than we love gold or silver, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p.252

Let us be examples of righteousness to our children, have our family prayers and ask the blessing upon the food.  Let our children see that as husbands and wives we are affectionate with one another.  While there is yet time take the opportunity as husbands and wives to bless each other with your love, with your kindness and your helpfulness in every way.  Take opportunity while there is yet time to teach your sons and daughters how to live to be happy.  The Lord has said that it is our duty to do so . . . . 

Let our homes be sanctuaries of peace and hope and love.  Wherever we go let us radiate sunshine that will attract others and will make them desire to know what the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. The Teachings of George Albert Smith, pp. 124-25

On the sacred occasion three months ago when I began to sense the magnitude of the overwhelming responsibility which I must now assume, I went to the holy temple. There, in prayerful meditation, I looked upon the paintings of those men of God – true, pure men, God’s noblemen – who had preceded me in a similar calling.

Now I stood alone with my thoughts.  Somehow the impressions that came to me were simply that the only true record that will ever be made of my service in my new calling will be the record that I may have written in the hearts and lives of those with whom I have served and labored, within and without the Church. — President Harold B. Lee, “Speaking for Himself – President Lee’s Stories,” Ensign, February 1974

God is our Father, and we are his children.  He has given us instructions.  We are to follow the path.  Righteous home life and activities, inspired teaching of gospel truths in the home, wise parental guidance, father presiding, and father and mother in counsel together – that’s the cure for the problems of our time, a remedy for ills in our families. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Therefore I Was Taught,” Ensign, January 1982

It is important that we, as Latter-day Saints, should understand and bear in mind that salvation comes through the grace of God and through the development in us of those principles that governed those righteous people before mentioned.  The idea is not to do good because of the praise of men; but to do good because in doing good we develop godliness within us, and this being the case we shall become allied to godliness, which will in time become part and portion of our being. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, pp. 122-23

Never mind the world; never mind the dollars and cents, the pounds, shillings, and pence.  You cleave to God, live your religion, magnify your callings, humble yourselves before God, call upon Him in secret and He will open your path before you. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 72

Our affections are often too highly placed upon the paltry perishable objects.  Material treasures of earth are merely to provide us, as it were, room and board while we are here at school. . . . We are here to learn the first lesson toward exaltation – obedience to the Lord’s gospel plan.  (President Ezra Taft Benson, April 1971 General Conference)

That ought to give us cause to ponder.  Are our lives in conformity to the principles of the gospel?  Are we living a Christlike life, and doing as President Howard W. Hunter asked us to “treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness”?  Are we doing as he asked of us to be “temple-worthy” members, and where possible, performing temple service?

On the other hand, are we spending our time and effort in accumulating more and more of this world’s earthly possessions? — The Church News, July 16, 1994, p. 16

The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer. 

The reason?  They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way.  We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious. — President Thomas S. Monson, “I will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee,” October 2013 General Conference

Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. . . . 

I am glad I have the privilege of communicating to you some things which, if grasped closely, will be a help to you when earthquakes bellow, the clouds gather, the lightnings flash, and the storms are ready to burst upon you like peals of thunder.  Lay hold of these things and let not your knees or joints tremble, nor your hearts faint; and then what can earthquakes, wars and tornadoes do?  Nothing.  All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful.  By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 51

In the wonderful prayer of our Redeemer, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John – I can hardly read this chapter without tears coming to my eyes – wherein our Lord, in praying to his Father in the tenderness of all his soul because he knew the hour had come for him to offer himself as a sacrifice, prayed for his disciples.  In that prayer he said, I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth ( John 17:15-17).

If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world.  We should have no part in all its foolishness.  We should not partake of its sins and its errors – errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be – we have no part in it.  The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God.  That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1952