Quotes on Natural Man
The word natural, when applied to man, is used differently in the scriptures than it is by the world. Usually natural, or by nature, indicates an inherent part of our makeup, something we are born with. The scriptures, however, clearly teach that natural man means fallen or sinful man. — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 55
Helaman 12:7-8 shows how people “in their own carnal state [are] even less than the dust of the earth” (Mosiah 4:2). The dust obeys God’s commands, but carnal man rebels against them. — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 56
The meek men and women of Christ are quick to praise, but are also able to restrain themselves. They understand that on occasion the biting of the tongue can be as important as the gift of tongues.
The man and woman of Christ are easily entreated, but the selfish person is not. Christ never brushed aside those in need because He had bigger things to do! Furthermore, the men and women of Christ are constant, being the same in private as in public. We cannot keep two sets of books while heaven has but one.
The men and women of Christ magnify their callings without magnifying themselves. Whereas the natural man says “Worship me” and “Give me thine power,” the men and women of Christ seek to exercise power by long-suffering and unfeigned love. (See Moses 1:12; Moses 4:3; D&C 121:41.)
Whereas the natural man vents his anger, the men and women of Christ are “not easily provoked.” (1 Cor. 13:5) Whereas the natural man is filled with greed, the men and women of Christ “seeketh not [their] own.” (1 Cor. 13:5) Whereas the natural man seldom denies himself worldly pleasures, the men and women of Christ seek to bridle all their passions. (See Alma 38:12.)
Whereas the natural man covets praise and riches, the men and women of Christ know such things are but the “drop.” (D&C 117:8) Human history’s happiest irony will be that the covenant-keeping, unselfish individuals will finally receive “all that [the] Father hath”! (D&C 84:38) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror,” Ensign, November 1990, p. 14
Promptings for us to do good come from the Holy Ghost. These promptings nudge us further 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. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Pathway of Discipleship,” Ensign, September 1998, p. 7
Some of our present desires, therefore, need to be diminished and then finally dissolved. For instance, the biblical counsel “let not thine heart envy sinners” is directed squarely at those with a sad unsettlement of soul (Prov. 23:17). Once again, we must be honest with ourselves about the consequences of our desires, which follow as the night, the day. Similarly faced with life’s so-called “bad breaks,” the natural man desires to wallow in self-pity; therefore this desire must go too.
But dissolution of wrong desires is only part of it. For instance, what is now only a weak desire to be a better spouse, father, or mother needs to become a stronger desire, just as Abraham experienced divine discontent and desired greater happiness and knowledge (see Abr. 1:2). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” October 1996 General Conference