Quotes on Priorities

See also: John 21:15-; Mosiah 4:27

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 effort. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1949, p. 39

I suggest that you place the highest priority on your membership in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Measure whatever anyone else asks you to do, whether it be from your family, loved ones, your cultural heritage, or traditions you have inherited – measure everything against the teachings of the Savior.  Where you find a variance from those teachings, set that matter aside and do not pursue it.  It will not bring you happiness. — President Howard W. Hunter, “Counsel to Students and Faculty,” Church College of New Zealand, 11/12/90; quoted by Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, 4/98

Now, I do not understand that we are serving God with all our might if we forsake his children, or if we spend so much of our time selfishly building up ourselves, accumulating things of this life, and leave his children in darkness, when we could bring them into the light.  My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first to keep the commandments of God, as they have been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father’s children who do not understand them.  It makes little difference, when I go to the other side, whether I have been a man of wealth in this world or not, unless I have used that wealth to bless my fellow men.  Though I be a wanderer in this world, and suffer for the necessities of life, if by reason of the knowledge that my Father has given me, I devote myself to the instruction of his children, to planting faith in their hearts to dissipating the errors that have come to them by tradition, I believe when I go to the other side that I will find there a bank account that will be beyond compare with what I would have, if I lived for the things of this earth alone. — President George A. Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, pp. 50-51

“Now, the prospect of death overshadows all others.  I am like a man on a sea voyage nearing his destination.  When I embarked I worried about having a cabin with a porthole, and whether I should be asked to sit at the captain’s table, who were the more attractive and important passengers.  All such considerations become pointless [because now] I shall soon be disembarking.  (Malcolm Muggeridge, Things Past, ed. Ian Hunter, p. 166) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy,” BYU Devotional, January 23, 1996

Most men do not set priorities to guide them in allocating their time and most men forget that the first priority should be to maintain their own spiritual and physical strength; then comes their family; then the Church and then their professions, and all need time. — President Harold B. Lee, “Bishop’s Training Course and Self-Help Guide,” sec. 2, p.7; quoted in James E. Faust, “Happiness Is Having a Father Who Cares,” Ensign, January 1974, p. 23

I encourage you with every capacity that I possess to receive all of the ordinances for salvation and do all you can to have the other members of your family receive those ordinances before departing this earth.  You can progress much more rapidly here on earth with your mortal body in this environment of good and evil than you will as a spirit in the spirit world (see Melvin J. Ballard – Crusader for Righteousness, 1966, pp. 212-13).  Compared to the length of a normal life, it doesn’t take much time to receive all of the ordinances essential to exaltation.  It does take diligence, understanding, and obedience.  It does require you to do all within your capacity to qualify for those ordinances and to receive as many as you are able.  Where, for reasons beyond your control, you are not able to receive them all, live worthily and do not disqualify yourself through neglect, indifference, or unworthiness.  The Lord will make it possible for you to receive all of the blessings He has promised in His time and place.

Whether you intend to or not, when you live as though the Savior and His teachings are only one of many other important priorities in your life, you are clearly on the road to disappointment and likely on the path to tragedy.  Is it really wise to forfeit eternal happiness by fulfilling only part of the requirements?  I pray that you’ll be moved to make needed changes now. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer,” Ensign, May 1997, pp. 54, 59

Are there so many fascinating, exciting things to do or so many challenges pressing down upon you that it is hard to keep focused on that which is essential?  When things of the world crowd in, all too often the wrong things take highest priority.  Then it is easy to forget the fundamental purpose of life.  Satan has a powerful tool to use against good people.  It is distraction.  He would have good people fill life with “good things” so there is no room for the essential ones.  Have you unconsciously been caught in that trap? — Elder Richard G. Scott, “First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, pp. 7, 9

Don’t become overanxious.  Do the best you can. We cannot say whether that blessing will be obtained on this side of the veil or beyond it, but the Lord will keep His promises.  In his infinite wisdom, He will make possible all you qualify in worthiness to receive.  Do not be discouraged.  Living a pattern of life as close as possible to the ideal will provide much happiness, great satisfaction, and impressive growth while here on earth regardless of your current life circumstances. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 7

As the world grapples with more efficient ways of managing time, it lures us into more and more earthly pursuits.  But life is not a struggle with time – it is a struggle between good and evil.

What to do about all this can be one of the more vexing decisions in life.  In 1872, the prophet Brigham Young counseled the Saints on this very subject.  Said he:   “Stop!  Wait!  When you get up in the morning, before you suffer yourselves to eat one mouthful of food, . . bow down before the Lord, ask him to forgive your sins, and protect you through the day, to preserve you from temptation and all evil, to guide your steps aright, that you may do something that day that shall be beneficial to the kingdom of God on the earth.  Have you time to do this? . . . This is the counsel I have for the Latter-day Saints to day.  Stop, do not be in a hurry. . . . You are in too much of a hurry; you do not go to meeting enough, you do not pray enough, you do not read the Scriptures enough, you do not meditate enough, you are all the time on the wing, and in such a hurry that you do not know what to do first. . . . Let me reduce this to a simple saying – one of the most simple and homely that can be used – ‘Keep your dish right side up,’ so that when the shower of porridge does come you can catch your dish full.”  (Deseret News Weekly, 5 June 1872, 248) — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “Come to Zion! Come to Zion!” Ensign, November 2002, p. 94

In terms of priorities for each major decision (such as education, occupation, place of residence, marriage, or childbearing), we should ask ourselves, “What will be the eternal impact of this decision?”  Some decisions that seem desirable for mortality have unacceptable risks for eternity.  In all such choices, we need to have inspired priorities and apply them in ways that will bring eternal blessings to us and to our family members. . . . The ultimate Latter-day Saint priorities are twofold: First, we seek to understand our relationship to God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to secure that relationship by obtaining their saving ordinances and by keeping our personal covenants. Second, we seek to understand our relationship to our family members and to secure those relationships by the ordinances of the temple and by keeping the covenants we make in that holy place.  These relationships, secured in the way I have explained, provide eternal blessings available in no other way.  No combination of science, success, property, pride, prominence, or power can provide these eternal blessings! — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2001, p. 84

While we should be “anxiously engaged,” we need not be hectically engaged.  We can be diligent and still do things in “wisdom and order” without going faster than we “have strength and means” (Mosiah 4:27; D&C 10:4). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ, p. 24

There is a difference, therefore, between being “anxiously engaged” and being over anxious and thus underengaged. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Conference Reports, October 1976, p. 14

“This is our one and only chance at mortal life – here and now,” said President Thomas S. Monson during the April 2008 general conference.  “The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief.  Opportunities come, and then they are gone.  I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not.  I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do.  Instead, find joy in the journey – now. . . .

“I thoroughly enjoy many musicals, and one of my favorites was written by the American composer Meredith Willson and is entitled ‘The Music Man.’  Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you.  Says he, ‘You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.’

“My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.”A thought from the Scriptures, Church News, June 13, 2009, p. 16

Pursue your goals – but also enjoy the pursuit. — Viewpoint, Church News, June 13, 2009, p. 16

“If you do right,” taught the Prophet Joseph Smith, “there is no danger of your going too fast.  He said he did not care how fast we run in the path of virtue; resist evil, and there is no danger.” — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:605

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