Quotes on Spirituality

Spirituality was the greatest attribute to develop in the premortal existence.  We were not gospel novices when we came to this earth. — President Thomas S. Monson

How do we achieve spirituality?  How do we attain that degree of holiness wherein we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and view and evaluate the things of this world with the perspective of eternity?

We seek spirituality through faith, repentance, and baptism; through forgiveness of one another; through fasting and prayer; through righteous desires and pure thoughts and actions.  We seek spirituality through service to our fellowmen; through worship; through feasting on the word of God, in the scriptures and in the teachings of the living prophets.  We attain spirituality through making and keeping covenants with the Lord, through conscientiously trying to keep all the commandments of God. Spirituality is not acquired suddenly.  It is the consequence of a succession of right choices.  It is the harvest of a righteous life. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Spirituality,” Ensign, November 1985, p. 63; or Pure in Heart, p. 123

Unless illness interferes, age does not diminish – it augments – the capacity for spiritual development. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, October 1997

We must never forget that spirituality must ever be the dominant feature of the Church. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 1997

The minute a man stops supplicating God for his spirit and directions just so soon he starts out to become a stranger to him and his works.  When men stop praying for God’s spirit, they place confidence in their own unaided reason, and they gradually lose the spirit of God, just the same as near and dear friends, by never writing to or visiting with each other, will become strangers.  We should all pray that God may never leave us alone for a moment without his spirit to aid and assist us in withstanding sin and temptation. — President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1944, p. 9

As we approach the year 2000, the pressure of mastering the wonders of technology becomes more and more challenging.  In this pursuit, we could become technologically wise but spiritually illiterate.  Undoubtedly, education unlocks the doors of the future for us.  But we should be sure that our computers of faith are working so that we can constantly remain on the course of righteousness.  We can do this with daily prayer, scripture reading, family home evenings, and keeping our covenants and ordinances on a daily basis.  Our worship needs to go deeper than the outward symbols, embracing the simple, profound principles of human conduct embodied in the Savior’s teachings. . . .

Remember, the marvels of modern science and technology will not exalt us.  Indeed, the great challenge we face as we prepare for the future is to be more spiritually enlightened.  All of this new, expanding intellectual property must certainly be mastered through great effort and learning.  But technical savvy is not fully useful unless there is a spiritual purpose and meaning to it.  I am certain the Lord expects us to apply it to the advancement of His purposes and the blessing of mankind, but we must adopt those lofty ideals as personal goals and desires before we can direct technology to those purposes.

As we approach the beginning of the third thousand years since the Savior’s birth, how should the 10 million of us who have been baptized in His name carry on His work?  We can do this by following the direction set by President Hinckley, the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the other General Authorities.  Much of our work ought to focus on changing our own lives and thinking.  It should encompass what the Savior called the new commandment:  “That ye love one another” (John 13:34).  To all of us, the feeding of His sheep is a continuing responsibility (see John 21:15-17). — President James E. Faust, “This Is Our Day,” General Conference, April 1999

Any intelligent man may learn what he wants to learn.  He may acquire knowledge in any field, though it requires much thought and effort.  It takes more than a decade to get a high school diploma; it takes an additional four years for most people to get a college degree; it takes nearly a quarter-century to become a great physician.  Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary experimental and laboratory work accompanied by compliance with the laws that govern it?  Absurd it is, but you will frequently find popular personalities, who seem never to have lived a single law of God, discoursing in interviews on religion.  How ridiculous for such persons to attempt to outline for the world a way of life!

And yet many a financier, politician, college professor, or owner of a gambling club thinks that because he has risen above all his fellowmen in his particular field he knows everything in every field.  One cannot know God nor understand his works or plans unless he follows the laws which govern.  The spiritual realm, which is just as absolute as is the physical, cannot be understood by the laws of the physical.  You do not learn to make electric generators in a seminary.  Neither do you learn certain truths about spiritual things in a physics laboratory.  You must go to the spiritual laboratory, use the facilities available there, and comply with the governing rules.  Then you may know of these truths just as surely, or more surely, than the scientist knows the metals, or the acids, or other elements.  It matters little whether one is a plumber, or a banker, or a farmer, for these occupations are secondary; what is most important is what one knows and believes concerning his past and his future and what he does about it. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Absolute Truth,” BYU 9/6/1977; Ensign, September 1978, p. 5

Yielding our hearts to God signals the last stage of our spiritual development. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell

See with the eyes you possessed before you had a mortal body.  Hear with the ears you possessed before you were born.  Push back the curtains of mortality and see into the eternities. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, CES Symposium, 1993


Not long after reading the Graham autobiography, one of my faculty colleagues at Brigham Young University drew my attention to a general conference address by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles  but went on to serve as the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “God, the Father of us all,” Elder Benson said, “uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes.  It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future.”  Elder Benson then quoted the following from a conference address delivered by Elder Orson F. Whitney in 1928:  “God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work.  The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all.  It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. . . . We have no quarrel with [those of other faiths].  They are our partners in a certain sense.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 49; citing Conference Report, Apr. 1928, 59) — Reaching Out: A View on Interfaith Respect:  A devotional talk given on January 12, 2012 by Robert L. Millet, Professor of Religion and Emeritus Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University.

As we draw farther from worldliness, we feel closer to our Father in Heaven and more able to be guided by his Spirit.  We call this quality of life spirituality. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 1985

You will be most successful in controlling your life as you constantly nourish your spirit.  Avoiding food ro prolonged periods, followed by excessively large meals, will not maintain physical health.  Likewise, feeding your spirit sporadically, even in large proportions, will not yield the same result as constantly, daily nourishing your spirit. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Loveth His Children” [booklet], p. 11

One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.  A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended – and to say with Pahoran, “it mattereth not.” — Elder David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 91

We can easily see the improvements that the people are making.  It is like the babe that passes from a state of infancy to childhood, and thence to manhood.  You cannot tell the particular moments of its growth and increase in stature; you cannot point out the particular day, hour, or minute in which it increases; but you are all the time perfectly aware that it is gaining, growing, becoming greater continually.  It is precisely so in regard to ourselves spiritually.  If we are doing our duty, though we cannot point out the moment, the day, or the particular time when we receive the increase of knowledge, wisdom, or power, yet we know and feel conscious, as we reflect back, that we have gained. — President Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, 9:21

Gather the manna daily.  Do you remember the great lesson the Lord taught the children of Israel in providing manna for them which they had to gather daily?  They had been slaves in Egypt and had forgotten their relationship with the Lord.  To teach them and prove them, the Lord required that they gather the manna every day except over the Sabbath.  They could not collect it or store it.  It had to be gathered every day.  (See Ex. 16.)  Spirituality, that condition of closeness with the Lord through his Spirit, is like manna to us.  We cannot live well without it, and it must be gathered every day.  It isn’t enough to have known, to have read, to have given, to have prayed, to have obeyed.

That great series of verses in Alma 5 that move me so much begins with, “If ye have felt

to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”  (See Alma 5:26-31, italics added.) — Elder Marion D. Hanks, “An Attitude-The Weightier Matters,” Ensign, July 1981, p. 67

The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [1967], p. 131

The abundant life is a spiritual life.  Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them.  They go through the motions – attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers – but their hearts are far away.  If they are honest, they would admit to being more interested in the latest neighborhood rumors, stock market trends, and their favorite TV show than they are in the supernal wonders and sweet ministerings of the Holy Spirit. Do you wish to partake of this living water and experience that divine well springing up within you to everlasting life? Then be not afraid.  Believe with all your hearts.  Develop an unshakable faith in the Son of God.  Let your hearts reach out in earnest prayer.  Fill your minds with knowledge of Him.  Forsake your weaknesses.  Walk in holiness and harmony with the commandments. Drink deeply of the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Abundant Life,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 100 

I am convinced that there is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow you to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit.  Our Father expects you to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ.  Were you to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, you would become weak and ever more dependent on them.  They know that essential personal growth will come as you struggle to learn how to be led by the Spirit. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, November 2009, pp. 6-9

In our Church meetings, in our personal and family scripture study, and even this day as we listen to the Lord’s prophets and apostles, some of us will receive more than others.  Why?  I am learning that those who truly receive do at least three things that others may not do.

First, they seek. . . .

Second, those who receive, feel. . . .

Third, those who receive by the Spirit intend to act.
            — Elder A. Roger Merrill, “Receiving By The Spirit,” Ensign, November 2006

The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communications of those he intends to conquer.  Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit. — Elder Boyd K Packer

When one extends mercy to others, he develops purity of heart.  The Savior said,“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8.)  The dictionary has twenty-two different definitions for the word see, one of which is to understand.  When one develops purity of heart, he will come to understand God. As one develops an understanding of God, he comes to know Him.  The Savior said, addressing the Father, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.) — Elder Royden G. Derrick, Ensign, May 1989, p. 76

There is an important preparation we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us.  That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time.  What we will need then can’t be bought.  It can’t be borrowed.  It doesn’t store well.  And it has to have been used regularly and recently. What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation.  It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. — President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, November 2005, p. 37

Now comes the challenge to prevent the scientific, technical, and intellectual from stifling the spiritual enlightenment in our lives.  As someone once said, The greatest of undeveloped resources [in our country] is faith; the greatest of unused power is prayer. Technology may help us communicate with each other and the world, but not with God. — President James E. Faust, “The Shield of Faith,” 1 April 2000

There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman.  It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them.  We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right.  This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. — President Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, April 1899, p. 52

The parable [of the ten virgins] tells what happened as all ten young women waited for the bridegroom.  The bridegroom came at the darkest hour, when least expected.  It was midnight, and the foolish five had run out of oil.  You might wonder why the five wise virgins could not share their oil with the other five.  It was not selfishness on their part. Spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant because we each fill our lamps drop by drop in our daily living. — President James E. Faust, “Your Light – a Standard to All Nations,” Ensign, May 2006, p. 113

For the gospel to be written in your heart, you need to know what it is and grow to understand it more fully, . . sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more. Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 11

Thus worshiping, serving, studying, praying, each in its own way squeezes selfishness out of us; pushes aside our preoccupations with the things of the world. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8).  As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed – to be spiritually reborn. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Ye Must Be Born Again,” General Conference, April 2007

You can learn vitally important things by what you hear and see and, even more, by what you feel, as prompted by the Holy Ghost.  Many individuals limit their learning primarily to what they hear or read.  Be wise.  Develop the skill of also learning by what you see and particularly by what the Holy Ghost prompts you to feel. Consciously and consistently seek to learn by what you feel. Your capacity to do so will expand through repeated practice.  Significant faith and effort are required to learn by what you feel from the Spirit.  Ask in faith for such help. Live to be worthy of such guidance.

Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit.  You will find that as you record a precious impression, often others will come that you would not have otherwise received.  Also, the spiritual knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life.  Always, day or night, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, seek to recognize and respond to the direction of the Spirit.  Have available a piece of paper or a card to record such guidance.

Express gratitude to the Lord for the spiritual guidance you receive and obey it.  This practice will reinforce your capacity to learn by the Spirit.  It will enhance the guidance of the Lord in your life.  You will learn more as you act upon the knowledge, experience, and inspiration communicated to you by the Holy Ghost. — Elder Richard G. Scott, BYU Education Week, August 21, 2007

Spirituality – being in tune with the Spirit of the Lord – is the greatest need we all have.

We should strive for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost all the days of our lives.  When we have the Spirit, we will love to serve, we will love the Lord, and we will love those with whom we serve, and those whom we serve. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, April 1966

Try to live . . . so that you can have the Spirit with you in all your activities.  Pray for the spirit of discernment that you may hear the promptings of the Spirit and understand them and then pray for courage to do them, to follow the guidance of the Spirit. — President Marion G. Romney

Spirituality, while consummately strong, reacts to very delicate changes in its environment. To have it present at all and to keep it in some degree of purity requires a commitment and a watch-care that can admit to no embarrassment when compared with what the scholarly world is about. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “I Say Unto You, Be One,” February 12, 1991

From an eternal perspective what each of us needs is a Ph.D. in faith and righteousness. The things that will profit us everlastingly are not the power to reason, but the ability to receive revelation; not the truths learned by study, but the knowledge gained by faith; not what we know about the things of the world, but our knowledge of God and his laws. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, April 1971

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives.  There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior.  Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see”(John 9:25). — President Thomas S. Monson, “Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 58

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

The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1992, p. 20

I am convinced that there is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow you to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit.  Our Father expects you to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ.  Were you to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, you would become weak and ever more dependent on them.  They know that essential personal growth will come as you struggle to learn how to be led by the Spirit. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, November 2009, pp. 6-9

God offers us counsel not just for our own safety but for the safety of His other children, whom we should love.  There are few comforts so sweet as to know that we have been an instrument in the hands of God in leading someone else to safety. That blessing generally requires the faith to follow counsel when it is hard to do. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel,” Liahona, June 2008, pp. 2-7

Inseparable from the acceptance of the existence of God is an attitude of reverence, to which I wish now to call attention most earnestly to the entire Church.  The greatest manifestation of spirituality is reverence; indeed, reverence is spirituality. Reverence is profound respect mingled with love.  It is “a complex emotion made up of mingled feelings of the soul.  [One writer] says it is “the highest of human feelings.”  I have said elsewhere that if reverence is the highest, then irreverence is the lowest state in which a man can live in the world. Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: David O. McKay, p. 29

One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.  A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended – and to say with Pahoran, “it mattereth not.” — Elder David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 91

Sadly, many individuals don’t know where to find God, and exclude him from their lives. When spiritual needs arise, they may look to the left, the right, or round about.  But looking to other people on the same level cannot satisfy spiritual shortages.  When the immortal spirit is starved, hunger persists for something more filling.  Even when material success comes, there is a hollow ache – if living well falls short of living worthily.  Inner peace cannot be found in affluence accompanied by spiritual privation.

— Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1996, p. 14