Quotes on Optimism

President Howard W. Hunter . . . said: “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. . . .

“For Latter-day Saints this is a time of great hope and excitement – one of the greatest eras . . . in any dispensation. . . . We need to have faith and hope, two of the greatest fundamental virtues of any discipleship of Christ.  We must continue to exercise confidence in God. . . . He will bless us as a people. . . . He will bless us as individuals. . . .

“I promise you . . . in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that God will always protect and care for his people. . . . With the gospel of Jesus Christ you have every hope and promise and reassurance.  The Lord has power over his Saints and will always prepare places of peace, defense, and safety for his people.  When we have faith in God we can hope for a better world – for us personally and for all mankind. . . .

“Disciples of Christ in every generation are invited, indeed commanded, to be filled with a perfect brightness of hope.”  (BYU 1992-93 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, p. 70-71) — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “A More Excellent Hope,” Ensign, February 1997, p. 64

I’m an optimist.  If you dwell on the negative, it will hurt you, depress you and really destroy you.  If you work on the positive and dwell on it and seek to bring it to pass, it will make you lighter and brighter, younger and more vigorous.  That’s my feeling and that’s my program. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “World Tour for LDS Leader,” Deseret News, June 21, 2005, pp. A1, A7

The reason I am so confident about your ability to find a bright future in the midst of a challenging world isn’t because I know each of you individually, but because I know that the Lord lives and loves us.  He is the real reason each of us has a bright future.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (see Philippians 4:13).  Because we are children of our Heavenly Father and because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I know our futures are bright.

Yes, we live in challenging times, but so did Mary, Moroni, and Joseph Smith.  We don’t have to be carried along in the current of the times.

I know that the Lord lives and loves us.  He is the real reason each of us has a bright future. — Elder Paul V. Johnson, “Make Yours a Great Life,” Ensign, January 2011, p. 40

I love what Elder Orson F. Whitney once said:  “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things.  The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.”  (In Conference Report, Apr. 1917, 43)  We should honor the Savior’s declaration to “be of good cheer.”  (Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 16:33)  (Indeed, it seems to me we may be more guilty of breaking that commandment than almost any other!)  Speak hopefully.  Speak encouragingly, including about yourself.  Try not to complain and moan incessantly.  As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”

I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring.  (See 1 Nephi 3:28–31; 18:11–15.)  Surely he must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.”  Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living – no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, April 2007

Cultivate an attitude of happiness.  Cultivate a spirit of optimism.  Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Words of the Prophet: The Spirit of Optimism,” New Era, July 2001, p. 4

We have just enjoyed another season of rejoicing and commemorating the birth of the Savior and, for most of us, the opportunity of renewing family ties.  Almost all agree that December is a happy month, when we sing of “Peace on earth and good will toward men,” but too many people leave this festive season and move into January with feelings of depression or discouragement.  To some, January is foreboding: the beginning of the winter doldrums. . . .

I think January ought to be a happy month of the year.  Of all people on the face of the earth, Latter-day Saints, with the perspective given them by the gospel, ought to be happy and optimistic. . . . January always brings a renewed hope for personal and family progress in the coming year.  It is the time of the year when people tend to set goals and make commitments – resolutions, if you will, New Year’s resolutions. — President Howard W. Hunter, “The Dauntless Spirit of Resolution,” BYU Devotional, January 5, 1992

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 Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, January 31, 1998

As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression. 

Yet, of all people, we as Latter-day Saints should be the most optimistic and the least pessimistic.  For while we know that “peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion,” we are also assured that “the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst.” (D&C 1:35-36) 

With the assurance that the Church shall remain intact with God directing it through the troubled times ahead, it then becomes our individual responsibility to see that each of us remains faithful to the Church and its teachings. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, November 1974