Quotes on Time

See also: Abraham 3

Time is numbered only to man.  God has your eternal perspective in mind. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1988, p. 97

Spare minutes are the gold-dust of time; the portions of life most fruitful in good or evil; the gaps through which temptations enter. — John Longden, Improvement Era, June 1966, p. 511

Use your spare time wisely.  If we waste thirteen minutes each day, it is the equivalent of two weeks a year without pay. — Elder J. Richard Clarke, Ensign, May 1982, p. 78

When the veil which now encloses us is no more, time will also be no more (see D&C 84:100).  Even now, time is clearly not our natural dimension.  Thus it is that we are never really at home in time.  Alternatively, we find ourselves impatiently wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn.  We can do neither, of course.  Whereas the bird is at home in the air, we are clearly not at home in time – because we belong to eternity!  Time, as much as any one thing, whispers to us that we are strangers here.  If time were natural to us, why is it that we have so many clocks and wear wristwatches? — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” BYU Address, November 27, 1979; Ensign, October 1980

If you want a little romantic relief, consider Jacob’s virtual unawareness of time as he worked seven years for Rachel, as recorded in Genesis 29:20.  “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”  Beautiful!  We mortals are so trapped in this dimension of time.  It is not our natural element.  We wear it like an ill-fitting suit of clothes, and we wish to hasten its passage on occasion.  We also want to hold back the dawn on other occasions.  We are not at home with time because we belong to eternity.  In the moments when we are true and at our best, we have the experience of timelessness which Jacob had. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, an address given to CES Religious Educators, 16 August 1979

Abraham 3:5-7:  The Measurement of Time May Vary.

“Abraham learned that bodies in space have different periods of revolution and that they move in their own time frames of reference (Abr. 3:4).  Each planet, or star, operates according to a time base which is set by its location from a central, governing body. . . .

“To further clarify, let us consider a moon explorer who is faced with an extended stay on the moon’s surface.  After a while, he finds it more convenient to redefine his time base in terms of the sun’s motion across the moon sky (his new environment).  Following the method he remembers from his experiences on earth (the old environment), he defines the moon day as beginning when the sun rises at one place on the horizon and ending when the sun sets on the opposite horizon. . . .

“Long after the moon days, months and years are well established for the intrepid moon voyager, he compares his moon system to the earthly calendar.  He finds that one full moon day (complete rotation) corresponds to approximately 29 earth days. . . . The moon observer agrees that his day passes much slower than the days that are reckoned on the earth.”  (Fred Holmstrom, “Astronomy and the Book of Abraham,” Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, 1982: The Pearl of Great Price [1982], 110–11). Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, Moses 3:13, p. 36

God knows even now what the future holds for each of us. In one of his revelations these startling words appear, as with so many revelations that are too big, I suppose, for us to manage fully:  “In the presence of God, . . . all things . . . are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord” (D&C 130:7).  The future “you” is before him now.  He knows what it is he wishes to bring to pass in your life.  He knows the kind of remodeling in your life and in mine that he wishes to achieve.  Now, this will require us to believe in that divine design and at times to accept the truth which came to Joseph Smith wherein he was reminded that his suffering would be “but a small moment” (D&C 121:7). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974

Do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten this work.  Let our anxiety be centered upon this one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of the events that are hastening upon us.  This should be our concern, this should be our study, this should be our daily prayer. . . . Seek to have the Spirit of Christ, that we may wait patiently the time of the Lord and prepare ourselves for the times that are coming. — Brigham Young, “This is Our Duty,” Journal of Discourses, 9:3

. . . we can’t insist on our timetable when the Lord has His own. . . . Sometimes our insistence on acting according to our own timetable can obscure His will for us.

In Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph asked the Lord to punish those who persecuted the members of the Church in Missouri.  His prayer was for sure and swift retribution. But the Lord responded that in “not many years hence,” (D&C 121:15) He would deal with those enemies of the Church.  In the 24th and 25th verses of the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants, He says:

“Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all;

“For there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be.”  (D&C 121:24-25)

We remove the pavilion when we feel and pray, “Thy will be done” and “in Thine own time.”  His time should be soon enough for us since we know that He wants only what is best. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Where Is the Pavilion?” Ensign, November 2012

Although His time is not always our time, we can be sure that the Lord keeps His promises.  For any of you who now feel that He is hard to reach, I testify that the day will come that we all will see Him face to face.  Just as there is nothing now to obscure His view of us, there will be nothing to obscure our view of Him.  We will all stand before Him, in person.  Like my granddaughter, we want to see Jesus Christ now, but our certain reunion with Him at the judgment bar will be more pleasing if we first do the things that make Him as familiar to us as we are to Him.  As we serve Him, we become like Him, and we feel closer to Him as we approach that day when nothing will hide our view. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Where Is the Pavilion?” Ensign, November 2012

One of the most helpful – indeed very necessary – parallel truths to be pondered when studying this powerful doctrine of foreordination is given in the revelation of the Lord to Moses in which the Lord says, “And all things are present with me, for I know them all” (Moses1:6).  God does not live in the dimension of time as do we.  Moreover, since “all things are present with” God, his is not simply a predicting based solely upon the past.  In ways which are not clear to us, he actually sees, rather than foresees, the future – because all things are, at once, present before him.

In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord described himself as “The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes” (D&C 38:2). From the prophet Nephi we receive the same basic insight in which we, likewise, must trust: “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men” (1 Nephi 9:6).  It was by divine design that Mary became the mother of Jesus.  Further, Lucy Mack Smith, who played such a crucial role in the rearing of Joseph Smith, did not come to that assignment by chance.

One of the dimensions of worshiping a living God is to know that he is alive and living in the sense of seeing and acting.  He is not a retired God whose best years are past, to whom we should pay a retroactive obeisance, worshiping him for what he has already done.  He is the living God who is, at once, in all the dimensions of time – the past and present and future – while we labor constrained by the limitations of time itself. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith means trust – trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable.  We should not try to impose our timetable on His. . . . Indeed, we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in His will and in His timing. . . . 

The Lord’s timing also applies to the important events of our personal lives.  A great scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants declares that a particular spiritual experience will come to us “in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will” (D&C 88:68). This principle applies to revelation (see Oaks, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, March 1997, 11) and to all of the most important events in our lives: birth, marriage, death, and even our moves from place to place. . . . 

It is not enough that we are under call, or even that we are going in the right direction. The timing must be right, and if the time is not right, our actions should be adjusted to the Lord’s timetable as revealed by His servants. . . . — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, October 2003

Since the Lord wants a people “tried in all things” (D&C 136:31), how, specifically, will we be tried?  He tells us, I will try the faith and the patience of my people (see Mosiah 23:21).  Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, “Thy will be done,” but patiently also, “Thy timing be done.” — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 2001, p. 59

We do not control what I call the great transfer board in the sky.  The inconveniences that are sometimes associated with release from our labors here are necessary in order to accelerate the work there.  Heavenly Father can’t do His work with ten times more people than we have on this planet, except He will on occasion take some of the very best sisters and brothers.  The conditions of termination here, painful though they are, are a part of the conditions of acceleration there.  Thus we are back to faith in the timing of God, and to be able to say Thy timing be done, even when we do not fully understand it. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Glorify Christ,” Address to CES Religious Educators, February 2, 2001, Salt Lake Tabernacle