By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


In the October 1994 Ensign Elder Dallin H. Oaks has an article that is excerpted from a speech he gave. It is titled, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall". A couple of paragraphs caught my eye:
As I conclude, I need to caution myself and each of my readers that the very nature of this message could tend to the same downfall that it warns against. The idea that our strengths can become our weaknesses could be understood to imply that we should have “moderation in all things.” But the Savior said that if we are “lukewarm,” he “will spue [us] out of [his] mouth” (Rev. 3:16). Moderation in all things is not a virtue, because it would seem to justify moderation in commitment. That is not moderation, but indifference. That kind of moderation runs counter to the divine commands to serve with all of our “heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2), to “seek … earnestly the riches of eternity” (D&C 68:31), and to be “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:79). Moderation is not the answer.

How, then, do we prevent our strengths from becoming our downfall? The quality we must cultivate is humility. Humility is the great protector. Humility is the antidote against pride. Humility is the catalyst for all learning, especially spiritual things. Through the prophet Moroni, the Lord gave us this great insight into the role of humility: “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (
Ether 12:27).
The entire article is, of course, a good read and will give you a lot to think about, but these two paragraphs made me stop and think. In many cases, moderation is advisable, but, as Elder Oaks points out, that isn't always the case. There are times to be valiant and strong and committed--particularly in being committed to the Lord.

Elder Oaks does cover a number of things that can be done over-zealously, such as gospel hobbies, excessive giving, excessive service, and so forth. However, backing off of unrealistic behaviors doesn't mean that we should back off of our committment to Jesus Christ.

I liked what Elder Oaks said about humility being the answer to avoiding letting our strengths become our downfall. If we are humble, we are teachable and not prideful, and are open to letting the Holy Spirit guide us in the way the Lord would have us go.

It's an interesting puzzle--how to be committed to the Lord and yet not go overboard in some of the outward behaviors. I think this article/speech is very good in bringing to the fore some of the things we ought to consider.

Maybe it's just me, but it did seem that the article is out of order--that the first section and the last should be reversed, but it is nevertheless good reading.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

"To Be Healed"

In the May 1994 Ensign there is a talk given by Elder Richard G. Scott entitled "To Be Healed". I think that all of us could stand some healing in one way or the other--whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or social. We all have issues and problems and trials of various kinds. Sometimes we cause our own problems and sometimes they come from outside sources over which we have no control.

I was interested to see that Elder Scott made a point of saying that we have to do our part to be healed. At the very least, we need to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and humbly ask to be healed. Something else he pointed out is that the healing may or may not mean a cure of what ails us--it may mean the strength to carry on and to learn whatever lessons we can from our trials.

You may need to seek help from a trusted friend, associate, or professional, or you may just need to seek to draw closer to the Lord and ask Him to help you learn what you need to learn. You may need to put more effort into serving others, reaching out to others who need help. You may need to spend more time in the scriptures, learning to know the Lord better and to better understand His dealings with His children. Forgiving others may also be something for you to work on.

There are a number of things we can do to seek help and healing. I felt that Elder Scott's talk gave a good overview of those things and also gave hope for us that we will not seek healing in vain, even though the healing may not be what we would expect or prefer.

I linked to the talk rather than quoting from it because I think it will be most helpful to read all of it and to refer to the scriptures linked in the talk.

To me, this is an example of how the Lord works through the leaders in His church to give us useful, practical counsel that will help us live our lives better and to make our way back to Him.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

The Fourth of July

A happy 4th of July to you. This is America's Independence Day. Think of your freedoms and what it cost to obtain them.

The History Channel has a nice summary of the events surrounding our gaining our freedom. The article is here: "U.S. Declares Independence".

Another interesting article by George Will can be found at Townhall. It is called "
The Valuable Self-Validating Tradition".

Here are two more quotes of special interest to Mormons.
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be afree from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but bserve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. (Ether 2:12)
"When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the 'Elders of Israel' will be found holding it up to the nations of the world..." President John Taylor (Journal of Discourses 21:8)

(Thanks to JR for those!)

Enjoy the reading and enjoy the Fourth. Think about what it all means for us.

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