I believe that I am a child of God, endowed with a divine birthright. I believe that there is something of divinity within me and within each of you. I believe that we have a Godly inheritance and that it is our responsibility, our obligation, and our opportunity to cultivate and nurture the very best of these qualities within us.
I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small, but it will count for the greater good. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Fireside, March 1, 1992; The Church News, March 14, 1992, p. 11
We spend a lot of our lives finding out who we are, but it is only a matter of figuring out who we were before. — Mary Ellen Edmunds, BYU Education Week, August 1992
Families need to develop gifts and talents. Gifts and talents develop self-worth in a child when they feel they can do something worthwhile. — Randal A. Wright, BYU Education Week, August 1992
There is a natural, probably a mortal, tendency to compare ourselves with others. Unfortunately, when we make these comparisons, we tend to compare our weakest attributes with someone else’s strongest. . . . Obviously these kinds of comparisons are destructive and only reinforce the fear that somehow we don’t measure up. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1989, p. 20
I believe in myself. I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make some contribution to the society of which we are a part, and to grow and develop. . . . I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world, be it ever so small. (President Hinckley Shares Ten Beliefs with Chamber,” Church News, Jan. 31, 1998, 4.) — Glenn L. Pace, “Confidence and Self-Worth,” Ensign, January 2005, p. 33
Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this – it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.”
How does this happen, especially when we wish so much that it would not? I think one of the reasons is that every day we see allurements of one kind or another that tell us what we have is not enough. Someone or something is forever telling us we need to be more handsome or more wealthy, more applauded or more admired than we see ourselves as being. We are told we haven’t collected enough possessions or gone to enough fun places. We are bombarded with the message that on the world’s scale of things we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. . . .
One observer has written: “In a world that constantly compares people, ranking them as more or less intelligent, more or less attractive, more or less successful, it is not easy to really believe in a [divine] love that does not do the same. When I hear someone praised,” he says, “it is hard not to think of myself as less praiseworthy; when I read about the goodness and kindness of other people, it is hard not to wonder whether I myself am as good and kind as they; and when I see trophies, rewards, and prizes being haded out to special people, I cannot avoid asking myself why that didn’t happen to me.” If left unresisted, we can see how this inclination so embellished by the world will ultimately bring a resentful, demeaning view of God and a terribly destructive view of ourselves. Most “thou shalt not” commandments are meant to keep us from hurting others, but I am convinced the commandment not to covet is meant to keep us from hurting ourselves. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Other Prodigal,” General Conference, April 2002
In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance – tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled – those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “To Young Women,” Ensign, November 2005
The Lord’s way builds individual self-esteem and develops and heals the dignity of the individual, whereas the world’s way depresses the individual’s view of himself and causes deep resentment.
The Lord’s way causes the individual to hasten his efforts to become economically independent again, even though he may have temporary need, because of special conditions, for help and assistance. The world’s way deepens the individual’s dependency on welfare programs and tends to make him demand more rather than encouraging him to return to economic independence.
The Lord’s way helps our members get a testimony for themselves about the gospel of work. For work is important to human happiness as well as productivity. The world’s way, however, places greater and greater emphasis on leisure and upon the avoidance of work.
Now please be careful, brethren, that we do all that we do within the law of the land, wherever we are.
Let us become efficient in our production operations, so that we don’t merely go through the motions of having welfare farms. The time will come when we will need all the products and more from our projects – even more than we do now.
Do what you can to make our projects economically viable, so that we don’t rationalize that the welfare project is good simply because it gets men together. Even though it is good for the priesthood to labor side by side, we can have the brotherhood of labor and the economic efficiency too. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Family Preparedness,” General Conference, May 1976
I’ve been grateful for the experience I had under the tutelage of my own father to wash with Castile soap the harnesses and grease them to preserve them. I learned to paint the picket fence, the water tank, the carriage shed, the granary, the buggy and the wagon, and finally the house. And since the days when I wore the occasional blister on my hands, I have not been sorry for those experiences.
I’ve always felt to commend the sisters who tat and knit and crochet, who always have something new and sparkling about the place. We’ve always been pleased when we’ve found young women who could make their own clothes and sew well and cook meals and keep the house tidy.
It seems to be the idea these days that we just entertain our young people. We spend so much of our time trying to find ways to keep them interested. I see no disadvantages in work. I believe it was one of the clever and most important and necessary creations of our Father.
My admiration almost had no bounds one day when a young man from Murray came in to be interviewed for a mission. He’d saved $2,900 for his mission from his Marine pay in three years and nine months and fifteen days. By doing odd jobs which others wished to escape, he had $2,900 for his mission. Just a boy without a job, without a place, without a home, without somebody to keep him busy. But he caught the idea and went out and did other people’s work on the ship, and saved his money for this important thing.
Through the ages there have been many laws repealed, but we know of no divine repeal of the law of work. From the obscure life organs within the body to the building of the moon landing craft, work is one of the conditions of being alive. We have been told that everyday work is a purposeful activity requiring an expenditure of energy with some sacrifice of leisure. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Family Preparedness,” General Conference, May 1976
Sir William Osler, a great physician of Canada, said that work is the master word in ongoing life. It’s the touchstone of progress, the measure of success, and the fount of hope. It is directly responsible, he said, for all advantages in medicine and technology. (See Harvey Cushing, Life of Sir William Osler, vol. 1, ch. 14.)
I’m always distressed when I see clerks in stores and banks and offices who complain of their workload and are stingy with their efforts and who fear to give more than their pay would seem to compensate. I know their hours are long and that there are many laws controlling these things nowadays. But at least their attitudes can be right.
Only a week or so ago we sat in a restaurant and for a long time received no attention. Finally we heard one girl say to the other, “Why don’t you wait on those people?” The answer was, “They’re not in my assignment.” But there they were, standing over there, without anything apparently to do.
Perhaps we need the compelling urgency of our forefathers. They had to work hard to survive. We have securities of this and that sort to make sure that we do not starve. Dr. D. Ewen Cameron, a psychiatrist, wrote This Life Is for Living, and in it he said, “For half a century we have heard the most moving of lamentations from employers over the passing of the old-time worker, the fellow who really loved his work, who hung around until he was satisfied that the job was done, who would think out ways to do it better. This kind of worker has not disappeared from the job; it is his kind of job that has done the disappearing.” — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Family Preparedness,” General Conference, May 1976
We must recognize that excellence and quality are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and about life and about God. If we don’t care much about these basic things, then such not caring carries over into the work we do, and our work becomes shabby and shoddy. Real craftsmanship, regardless of the skill involved, reflects real caring, and real caring reflects our attitude about ourselves, about our fellowmen, and about life. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, February 1978
We can add to each other’s storehouse of self-esteem by giving deserved, specific commendation more often, remembering too, that those who are breathless from going the second mile need deserved praise just as the fallen need to be lifted up. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, October 1976, p. 14