Quotes on Behavior

All of us must live with proper priorities and purposes.  Don’t be harsh in your self-appraisal.  Rather measure yourself by whether or not you are living the gospel of Jesus Christ.  (Elder Marvin J. Ashton) — The Church News, September 5, 1992, p. 4

The most important legacy I can give my daughter is the way I live my life, and the kind of relationship I have with my mother. — Author Unknown

If you can’t improve upon silence, don’t try. — John Lund

President Gordon B. Hinckley shared with students 10 articles of belief that he has tried to observe throughout the years:

1. I believe in the wonders of the human body and the miracle of the human mind.  [The wonder of eyes with which to see, ears to hear, a voice to speak; the ability to dream; the power to assimilate knowledge, to analyze and synthesize.]

2. I believe in beauty.  [Beauty in nature, in children, in old people.  The aged whose wrinkled hands and faces speak of struggle and survival.]

3. I believe in the gospel of work.  [Productive labor turns dreams into realities; stretching our minds and utilizing skills to lift us from mediocrity.]

4. I believe that honesty is still the best policy.  [Cheating on taxes places undue burdens on those who pay.  Employee theft brings losses to businesses.  The institution may be able to stand the loss, but the individual cannot afford the loss of self-respect.]

5. I believe in the obligation and blessing of service.  [No man can live fully and happily who lives only unto himself.]

6. I believe the family to be the basic and most important unit of society.  [There are many failures, but the greatest of these is found in broken homes.  Immeasurable is the heartache.]

 7. I believe in the principle of thrift.  [Reasonable debt for the purchase of an affordable home and perhaps for a few other necessary things is acceptable.  I see a terrible tragedy in those who have gone on a binge of borrowing for things they really don’t need.]

8. I believe in myself.  [I am a child of God, endowed with a divine birthright.  I can make a difference in this world.]  (See SELF-WORTH.)

9. I believe in God, my Eternal Father, and in His Beloved Son, the Redeemer of the world.  [I believe in the Golden Rule and going the Second Mile.]

10. I believe in prayer.  [We all have that privilege given to us for our individual guidance, comfort and peace.]

 — Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Fireside, March 1, 1992; The Church News, March 14, 1992, p. 3

There is not an individual upon the earth but what has within himself the ability to save or to destroy himself. — Brigham Young

Human beings are expected by their Creator to be actively employed in doing good every day of their lives. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:190

We do not allow ourselves to go into a field to plough without taking our religion with us; we do not go into an office, behind the counter to deal out goods, into a counting house with the books, or anywhere to attend to or transact any business without taking our religion with us.  If we are railroading or on a pleasure trip our God and our religion must be with us. . . . My religion is to know the will of God and do it. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 14:118

Never do anything that you would be uncomfortable if your child did it. — Brigham Young

Danger lurks when we divide ourselves with expressions such as “my private life,” “my professional life,” or even “my best behavior.”  Living life in separate compartments can lead to internal conflict and exhausting tension. . . . Inner peace comes only as we maintain the integrity of truth in all aspects of our lives.  When we covenant to follow the Lord and obey His commandments, we accept His standards in every thought, action, and deed. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Living by Scriptural Guidance,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 17

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 true measure of a man is how he spends his time when he doesn’t have to do anything. — Quoted by Robert L. Simpson, “Pollution of the Mind,” Ensign, January 1973, p. 113 

The Lord doesn’t ask us to do great things.  He asks us to do simple things over and over again.  It’s the accumulation of small acts that brings us the blessings. — S. Michael Wilcox, BYU Education Week, August 2002

All of us have seen those we almost envy because they have cultivated a manner that, without even mentioning it, speaks of the beauty of the gospel they have incorporated in their behavior.  We can lower our voices a few decibels.  We can return good for evil.  We can smile when anger might be so much easier.  We can exercise self-control and self-discipline and dismiss any affront levied against us.

Let us be a happy people. . . . Let us work a little harder at the responsibility we have as parents. . . . We must work at our responsibility as parents as if everything in life counted on it, because in fact everything in life does count on it.  If we fail in our homes, we fail in our lives. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 6, 2002

I am only an average man, but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man! — President Theodore Roosevelt, quoted by President James Faust, General Conference, Oct. 6, 2002

Our model is not the latest popular hero of sports or entertainment, not our accumulated property or prestige, and not the expensive toys and diversions that encourage us to concentrate on what is temporary and forget what is eternal.  Our model – our first priority – is Jesus Christ.  We must testify of him and teach one another how we can apply his teachings and his example in our lives.

Brigham Young gave us some practical advice on how to do this.  “The difference between God and the Devil,” he said, “is that God creates and organizes, while the whole study of the Devil is to destroy” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 69).  In that contrast we have an important example of the reality of “opposition in all things” (2 Ne. 2:11).

Remember, our Savior, Jesus Christ, always builds us up and never tears us down. We should apply the power of that example in the ways we use our time, including our recreation and diversions.  Consider the themes of the books, magazines, movies, television, and music we make popular by our patronage.  Do the purposes and actions portrayed in our chosen entertainment build up or tear down the children of God?  During my lifetime I have seen a strong trend to displace what builds up and dignifies the children of God with portrayals and performances that are depressing, demeaning, and destructive.

The powerful idea in this example is that whatever builds people up serves the cause of the Master, and whatever tears people down serves the cause of the adversary. We support one cause or the other every day by our patronage.  This should remind us of our responsibility and motivate us toward fulfilling it in a way that would be pleasing to Him whose suffering offers us hope and whose example should give us direction. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Powerful Ideas,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, pp. 26-27

Choice and accountability are inseparable principles because anger is a choice. There is strong warning in the proclamation that individuals who abuse spouse or offspring . . . . will one day stand accountable before God.

The Lord works from the inside out.  The world works from the outside in.  The world would take people out of the slums.  Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.  The world would mold men by changing their environment.  Christ changes men, who then change their environment.  The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.  (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 6) — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, March 2009, p. 53

. . . we cannot reenter His house until our behavior would let us feel at home. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “God Will Yet Reveal,” Ensign, November 1986

Man is a dual being, and his life a plan of God.  That is the first fundamental fact to keep in mind.  Man has a natural body and a spiritual body . . . Man’s body, therefore is but the tabernacle in which his spirit dwells.  Too many, far too many, are prone to regard the body as the man, and consequently to direct their efforts to the gratifying of the body’s pleasures its appetites, its passions. — President David O. McKay, Improvement Era, September 1949, p. 558

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, “Endure and Be Lifted Up,” Ensign, April 1997

If someone were to ask you who we are as a people, what would you say?  Who are we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

The answer, I believe, is a simple one given to us by the Savior Himself.  We are a people who love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds.  And we are a people who love our neighbor as ourselves. (See Matthew 22:37–39.)

This answer satisfies many of the questions asked about why we do what we do. Why does the Church ask so much of its members?  Because we love the Lord, and we love our neighbor.  Why do we do temple work?  Missionary work?  Welfare work? Because we love the Lord, and we love our neighbor.

These are the roots of all that we do.  We do not send our missionaries out into the world to collect statistics.  We send them into the world because we love our Heavenly Father, and we love our fellowmen.

That is who we are as a people.  That is why we do what we do. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Band of Brothers,” Ensign, Feb. 2008, pp. 28-33

This scriptural account (Matthew 14:23-27) reminds us that the first step in coming to Christ – or his coming to us – may fill us with something very much like sheer terror.  It shouldn’t, but it sometimes does.  One of the grand ironies of the gospel is that the very source of help and safety being offered us is the thing from which we may, in our mortal shortsightedness, flee.  For whatever the reason, I have seen investigators run from baptism, I have seen elders run from a mission call, I have seen sweethearts run from marriage, and I have seen young couples run from the fear of families and the future. Too often too many of us run from the very things that will bless us and save us and soothe us.  Too often we see gospel commitments and commandments as something to be feared and forsaken. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come unto Me,” fireside address, March 2, 1997

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

Holiness is the strength of the soul.  It comes by faith and through obedience to God’s laws and ordinances.  God then purifies the heart by faith, and the heart becomes purged from that which is profane and unworthy.  When holiness is achieved by conforming to God’s will, one knows intuitively that which is wrong and that which is right before the Lord.  Holiness speaks when there is silence, encouraging that which is good or reproving that which is wrong. — President James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 62

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, “Endure and Be Lifted Up,”  Ensign, April 1997

Every time we have opportunity and fail to live up to that truth which is within us, every time we fail to express a good thought, every time we fail to perform a good act, we weaken ourselves, and make it more difficult to express that thought or perform that act in the future.  Every time we perform a good act, every time we express a noble feeling we make it the more easy to perform that act or express that feeling another time. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1960, pp. 85-86

One of the very first things I figured out about life . . . is that it’s better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re hopeful, you have more fun. — Barbara Kingsolver

Joseph Smith was asked, “How does your religion differ from other religions?”  He replied, “All other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

It is awakened with prayer and cultivated “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
It can be smothered through transgression and neglect.
And soon we learn that the tempter – the adversary – uses those same channels of the mind and heart to inspire us to evil, to laziness, to contention, even to acts of darkness.  He can take over our thoughts and lead us to mischief.
But each of us has agency; ever and always light presides over darkness. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 7

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”  (“Do Not Fear,” Ensign, May 2004, 79.)

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said:  “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.  The world would take people out of the slums.  Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.  The world would mold men by changing their environment.  Christ changes men, who then change their environment.  The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”  (“Born of God,” Ensign, Oct. 1985, 6) — Elder Michael John U. Teh, “The Power of the Word of God,” Ensign, March 2013, p. 52

“Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks.”  (D&C 98:1)

In light of such wonderful counsel, I think it is incumbent upon us to rejoice a little more and despair a little less, to give thanks for what we have and for the magnitude of God’s blessings to us, and to talk a little less about what we may not have or what anxiety may accompany difficult times in this or any generation. 

For Latter-day Saints this is a time of great hope and excitement. . . . We need to have faith and hope, two of the greatest fundamental virtues of any discipleship of Christ. . . . We must believe that God has all power, that he loves us, and that his work will not be stopped or frustrated in our individual lives or in the world generally.  He will bless us as a people because he always has blessed us as a people.  He will bless us as individuals because he always has blessed us as individuals. — President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” BYU Devotional, Feb. 7, 1993 

In our conversations and conduct we can be much more effective if we avoid the demeaning effect of that which could be classified as boasting.  We should wisely let others become aware of accomplishments by observations rather than to have us appear to flaunt them before the world. — Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, April 1990

Often what passes for faith in this world is little more than gullibility.  It is distressing to see how eager some people are to embrace fads and theories while rejecting or giving less credence and attention to the everlasting principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is distressing how eagerly some rush into foolish or unethical behavior, believing that God will somehow deliver them from the inevitable tragic consequences of their actions.  They even go so far as to ask for the blessings of heaven, knowing in their hearts that what they do is contrary to the will of our Father in Heaven. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Conference Report, November 2002