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

August 30, 2017

Christofferson, General Authorities, General Conference, Humility, Obedience

Comments Off on The Gospel Cannot be Written in Your Heart Unless Your Heart is Open

The gospel cannot be written in your heart unless your heart is open. . . .

As a first step, you must lay aside any feeling of pride that is so common in the world today. By this I mean the attitude that rejects the authority of God to rule in our lives. . . .

Further, for the gospel to be written in your heart, you need to know what it is and grow to understand it more fully. That means you will study it. . . .

You must not only open your heart to a knowledge of the gospel and the love of God, you must practice the gospel law. You cannot fully understand or appreciate it unless you personally apply it in your life.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11

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August 13, 2017

Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Obedience, Scott

Comments Off on We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day

[T]rue faith, faith unto salvation, is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord’s anointed, faith in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life. Truly, faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power.

Faith and character are intimately related. Faith in the power of obedience to the commandments of God will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is intended to be used. Your exercise of faith in true principles builds character; fortified character expands your capacity to exercise more faith. As a result, your capacity and confidence to conquer the trials of life is enhanced. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to benefit from exercising the power of faith. You will discover how faith and character interact to strengthen one another. Character is woven patiently from threads of applied principle, doctrine, and obedience.

President Hugh B. Brown said: “Wherever in life great spiritual values await man’s appropriation, only faith can appropriate them. Man cannot live without faith, because in life’s adventure the central problem is character-building—which is not a product of logic, but of faith in ideals and sacrificial devotion to them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 105). We exercise faith by doing. Joseph Smith said that “faith [is] the principle of action and of power” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 72).

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.

Elder Richard G. Scott
The Transforming Power of Faith and Character, General Conference, October, 2010 (emphasis in original)

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July 20, 2017

Bednar, Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Obedience

Comments Off on Each prayer, each episode of scripture study is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls

In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

Elder David A. Bednar
More Diligent and Concerned at Home, General Conference, October, 2009

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December 19, 2016

Eyring, General Authorities, General Conference, Obedience, Trust

Comments Off on You show your trust in God when you listen with the intent to learn, then go and do whatever He asks

You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.

President Henry B. Eyring
Trust in God, Then Go and Do

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April 26, 2016

C.S. Lewis, General Authorities, General Conference, Oaks, Obedience, Pride

Comments Off on Any extreme devotion can lead Christians away from the Lord

Last summer I attended the funeral of an elect lady. One speaker described three of her great qualities: loyalty, obedience, and faith. As he elaborated on her life, I thought how appropriate it was to speak of such powerful qualities in a funeral tribute. A life is not a trivial thing, and its passing should not be memorialized with trivial things. A funeral service is a time to speak of powerful ideas—ideas that can appropriately stand beside the importance of life, ideas that are powerful in their influence on those who remain behind.

As I enjoyed the spirit of this inspiring funeral, my thoughts were directed toward the application of this principle in other settings. Parents should also teach powerful ideas. So should home teachers, visiting teachers, and the teachers in various classes. The Savior warned that we will be judged for “every idle word that [we] shall speak” (Matt. 12:36). Modern revelation commands us to cease from “light speeches” and “light-mindedness” (D&C 88:121) and to cast away “idle thoughts” and “excess of laughter” (D&C 88:69). There are plenty of other spokesmen for trivial things. Latter-day Saints should be constantly concerned with teaching and emphasizing those great and powerful eternal truths that will help us find our way back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

. . . .

It is surprisingly easy to take what should be our first devotion and subordinate it to other priorities. Fifty years ago, the Christian philosopher C. S. Lewis illustrated that tendency with an example that is distressingly applicable in our own day. In his book The Screwtape Letters, a senior devil explains how to corrupt Christians and frustrate the work of Jesus Christ. One letter explains how any “extreme devotion” can lead Christians away from the Lord and the practice of Christianity. Lewis gives two examples, extreme patriotism or extreme pacifism, and explains how either “extreme devotion” can corrupt its adherent.

“Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ‘cause,’ in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism. … Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing” (C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, rev. ed., New York: MacMillan, 1982, p. 35).

We can readily see that tendency in our own time, with many causes that are good in themselves but become spiritually corrupting when they assume priorities ahead of him who commanded, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Jesus Christ and his work come first. Anything that would use him or his kingdom or his church as a means to an end serves the cause of the adversary.

. . . .

During his ministry [the Apostle Paul] was exposed to ample light-mindedness, idle thoughts, and trivial things. In Athens he observed that “all the Athenians and strangers which were there [in the market] spent their time in nothing else, but … to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). Paul’s determination to focus on powerful ideas is evident in one of his letters to the Saints in Corinth. He had not come “with excellency of speech or of wisdom,” he reminded them. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1–2).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Powerful Ideas, General Conference, October, 1995

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November 2, 2015

Faith, General Authorities, Maxwell, Obedience

Comments Off on We need to avoid complicating the content of Christ’s clarion call to mankind.

[T]he idea of straightness or exactitude appears in a number of scripture passages as a reflection of universal laws with predictability about what obedience or disobedience to the laws will produce. Ambiguity is not a helpful thing; God has repeatedly and clearly advised us as to what we must do in order to have eternal life – and in order for us to escape the miseries of sin and the inadequacies of self that the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to help us overcome.

We cannot help others in salvational terms unless we ourselves are on the straight path. Having found the only passage to eternal life and exaltation, we should behave tolerantly and lovingly as vital guides who have found (sometimes at great pain and sacrifice) the solitary corridor to salvation and who must show others the way. There will be bitter irony if the guides end up following the meandering multitudes, for to follow the multitudes is to fail them. To leave our posts is a special kind of desertion.

It is natural in a world filled with so many individuals, of whom such a small portion has found the way, that we should wonder why it is that we are so fortunate. Why me? Why us?

. . . .

[T]he simplicity of the saving messages of Jesus Christ poses a special paradox for many people: “… because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.” (1 Ne. 17:41.) Alma (Alma 37:46) warns us not to be “slothful because of the easiness of the way.” Jacob (Jacob 4:14) comments on the human folly of those who are always “looking beyond the mark,” who desire ecclesiastical embroidery on the simple gospel messages. We need to avoid complicating the content of Christ’s clarion call to mankind.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
On the Straight and Narrow Way“, New Era, Aug. 1971, 42
Elder Maxwell was Church Commissioner of Education when this article appeared

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November 2, 2015

Benson, Charity, General Authorities, General Conference, Obedience

Comments Off on The Great Test, The Great Task, The Great Commandment of Life

The great test of life is obedience to God. “We will prove them herewith,” said the Lord, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abr. 3:25).

The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.

The great commandment of life is to love the Lord.

“Come unto Christ,” exhorts Moroni in his closing testimony, “… and love God with all your might, mind and strength” (Moro. 10:32).

This, then, is the first and great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30; see also Matt. 22:37; Deut. 6:5; Luke 10:27; Moro. 10:32; D&C 59:5).

. . . .

To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).

Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. “For this is the love of God,” says John, “that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3; see also 2 Jn. 1:6).

We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).

When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives.
. . . .

Who does God’s work will get God’s pay,
However long may seem the day,
However weary be the way.
No mortal hand, God’s hand can stay,
He may not pay as others pay,
In gold, or lands, or raiments gay,
In goods that perish and decay;
But God’s high wisdom knows a way,
And this is sure, let come what may—
Who does God’s work will get God’s pay.

President Ezra Taft Benson
The Great Commandment—Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, 4 (emphasis in original)

Hat Tip to Francys for pointing out this poem on her blog.

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November 2, 2015

Charity, General Authorities, Hunter, Obedience

Comments Off on He Loves the Lord with All His Heart

He loves the Lord with all his heart who . . . is ready to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify him.

He loves God with all his soul . . . who is ready to give up life for his sake and to be deprived of the comforts of the world to glorify him.

He loves God with all his strength who exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of God.

He loves God with all his mind who applies himself only to know God and his will, who sees God in all things and acknowledges him in all ways.

Howard W. Hunter
General Conference, April, 1965

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