The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

July 11, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Humility, Maxwell, Meekness, Repentance

Comments Off on Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow

In this rigorous process [of repentance], so much clearly depends upon meekness. Pride keeps repentance from even starting or continuing. Some fail because they are more concerned with the preservation of their public image than with having Christ’s image in their countenances! (Alma 5:14.) Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow. Unsurprisingly, seekers after cheap repentance also search for superficial forgiveness instead of real reconciliation. Thus, real repentance goes far beyond simply saying, “I’m sorry.”

In the anguishing process of repentance, we may sometimes feel God has deserted us. The reality is that our behavior has isolated us from Him. Thus, while we are turning away from evil but have not yet turned fully to God, we are especially vulnerable. Yet we must not give up, but, instead, reach out to God’s awaiting arm of mercy, which is outstretched “all the day long.” (Jacob 5:47; Jacob 6:4; 2 Ne. 28:32; Morm. 5:11.) Unlike us, God has no restrictive office hours.

No part of walking by faith is more difficult than walking the road of repentance. However, with “faith unto repentance,” we can push roadblocks out of the way, moving forward to beg God for mercy. (Alma 34:16.) True contrition brings full capitulation. One simply surrenders, caring only about what God thinks, not what “they” think, while meekly offering, “O God, … make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee.” (Alma 22:18.) Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Repentance, General Conference, October, 1991

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January 21, 2017

General Authorities, Humility, Meekness, Wells

Comments Off on Blessed Are the Meek

In the greatest sermon ever preached the Savior declared, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth,” to which a modern skeptic has quipped, “That would be the only way the meek would get anything!”

I use that little bit of humor to illustrate that in today’s fast-paced, success-oriented world, the quality of meekness is not universally admired. We don’t usually think of successful executives as being meek, nor can we mentally accept the idea of a successful quarterback on a winning football team being meek. In fact, success in anything seems to involve quite the opposite of meekness.

Webster’s dictionary gives two commonly accepted definitions of the word “meek”:

(1) deficient in spirit and courage, and

(2) not . . . strong.

No way do I want to be looked upon as, nor can I imagine myself as being “deficient in spirit and courage.” Those are negative attributes that I want no part of–likewise, “not . . . strong.” All my life I have tried to “be strong.” One of my favorite slogans for success is, “Plan, Simplify, and Be Strong.

In the minds of many, the term “meek” means to be submissive, passive, mild, retiring, bashful, soft, lowly, placid, etc. The mental image of a “meek” person is that of a compliant doormat, Casper Milquetoast, who is so timid and unassertive that he accomplishes nothing, does nothing, seeks nothing, and contributes nothing to the world he lives in. Is this weak interpretation of meekness really what the Savior had in mind? I do not think so. I believe there is another better interpretation of the word “meek” in Spanish. Please allow me to share it with you.

I was visiting a huge estancia (ranch) in Argentina with over 100,000 acres of lush pampa. They had 20,000 head of cattle on the ranch and over a thousand head of beautiful horses–some for the gauchos to ride, but most were thoroughbred polo ponies that they trained and sold all over the world.

In the course of the afternoon’s conversation I asked the distinguished estanciero (owner) if we would see a rodeo where the gauchos would be breaking wild horses like our western cowboys. The owner was aghast. “Not on this ranch you won’t,” was his emphatic answer. “We would never break a horse. We don’t want to break his spirit. We love them and work patiently with them and train them until they are meek or ‘manso.'” He said, “Our meek (or ‘manso’) horses are still full of fire and spirit, but they are obedient and well trained. They lose nothing of their speed or maneuverability. A polo pony has to be the finest horseflesh on the face of the earth. They are lightning fast and superbly maneuverable to follow the run-and-gun type of game that world-class polo is. The horse cannot be timid or afraid of anything, but must be obedient and superbly well trained.”

I can see a great spiritual application now to the meaning “manso” or “meek.” I don’t feel the Savior wanted us to be doormats to be walked on. I prefer to think he meant that we should be obedient and well trained. You can be strong, enthusiastic, talented, spirited, zealous, and still be “meek” by being obedient and well trained. I can seek to be that kind of a meek person and be proud to have that as my goal–obedient and well trained–and still coexist in the success-oriented world in which we live.

Elder Robert E. Wells
The Christ-Focused Beatitudes, a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 20 May 1986.

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October 6, 2016

General Authorities, Maxwell, Meekness

Comments Off on Meekness is Essential to the Wise Use of Agency

God, who has seen billions of spirits pass through His plan of salvation, has told us to be meek in order to enhance our enjoyment of life and our mortal education. Will we be meek and listen to Him and learn from Him? Or will we be like the Gadarene swine, that pathetic example of totus porcus–going whole hog–after the trends of the moment?

Perhaps, brothers and sisters, what we brought with us as intelligences into our creation as spirit children constitutes a “given” within which even God must work. Add to that possibility the clear reality of God’s deep commitment to our free agency–and we begin to see how essential meekness is! We need to learn so much, and yet we are free to choose (see 2 Nephi 2:27)! How crucial it is to be teachable! There “is no other way” in which God could do what He has declared it is His intent to do. No wonder He and His prophets emphasize meekness time and time again!

Since God desired to have us become like Himself, He first had to make us free, to learn, to choose, and to experience; hence our humility and teachability are premiere determinants of our progress and our happiness. Agency is essential to perfectibility, and meekness is essential to the wise use of agency–and to our recovery when we have misused our agency.

. . . .

Without meekness, the conversational point we insist on making often takes the form of I, that spearlike, vertical pronoun. Meekness, however, is more than self-restraint; it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness. It reflects certitude, strength, serenity; it reflects a healthy self-esteem and a genuine self-control.

. . . .

The meek are filled with awe and wonder with regard to God and His purposes in the universe. At the same time, the meek are not awe-struck by the many frustrations of life; they are more easily mobilized for eternal causes and less easily immobilized by the disappointments of the day.

Because they make fewer demands of life, the meek are less easily disappointed. They are less concerned with their entitlements than with their assignments.

When we are truly meek, we are not concerned with being pushed around but are grateful to be pushed along. When we are truly meek, we do not engage in shoulder-shrugging acceptance but shoulder-squaring–in order that we might better bear the burdens of life and others.

Meekness can also help us in coping with the injustices of life–of which there are quite a few. By the way, our experiences with mortal injustices will generate within us even more adoration of the perfect justice of God–another of His attributes. Besides, there can be dignity even in silence, as was the case when Jesus meekly stood, unjustly accused, before Pilate. Silence can be an expression of strength. Holding back and holding on can be signs of great personal discipline, especially when everyone else is letting go.

Furthermore, not only are the meek less easily offended, but they are less likely to give offense to others. In contrast, there are some in life who seem to be waiting to be offended. Their pride covers them like boils which will inevitably be bumped.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Meekly Drenched in Destiny
A fireside address given at Brigham Young University on 5 September 1982

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January 31, 2016

Adversity, Discouragement, Meekness, New Testament, Old Testament

Comments Off on Christ Will Give Us Beauty for Ashes

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

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[T]he Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

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And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelations 21:4

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November 2, 2015

General Authorities, General Conference, Maxwell, Meekness, Selfishness

Comments Off on Selfishness is Self-Destruction in Slow Motion

In one degree or another we all struggle with selfishness. Since it is so common, why worry about selfishness anyway? Because selfishness is really self-destruction in slow motion.

. . . .

In daily discipleship, the many ways to express selfishness are matched by many ways to avoid it. Meekness is the real cure, for it does not merely mask selfishness but dissolves it! Smaller steps could include asking ourselves inwardly before undertaking an important action, Whose needs am I really trying to meet?

. . . .

Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.

. . . .

No wonder we have been told, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and this includes self-worship! (Ex. 20:3; emphasis added). One way or another, the grossly selfish will finally be shattered, whimpering, against the jagged, concrete consequences of their selfishness.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
““Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8)”, Ensign, May 1999, 23

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