The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Do Not Despair

We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men's hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit. (See D&C 45:26.) Many are giving up heart for the battle of life. Suicide ranks as a major cause of the deaths to college students. As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression. Yet, of all people, we as Latter-day Saints should be the most optimistic and the least pessimistic. For while we know that "peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion," we are also assured that "the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst." (D&C 1:35-36.)—President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, October 1974

When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to think or speak the phrase, "Why me?" Self-incrimination is a common practice, even when we may have had no control over our difficulty. Socrates is quoted as saying: "If we were all to bring our misfortunes into a common store, so that each person should receive an equal share in the distribution, the majority would be glad to take up their own and depart." However, at times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end-no dawn to break the night's darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea, "Is there no balm in Gilead?" We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. To all who so despair, may I offer the assurance of the Psalmist's words: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life's fight, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.—President Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, October 1993

Life isn't always easy. At some point in our journey we may feel much as the pioneers did as they crossed Iowa--up to our knees in mud, forced to bury some of our dreams along the way. We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision. Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow our passage. Always, there is a Devil's Gate, which will swing wide open to lure us in. Those who are wise and faithful will steer a course as far from such temptation as possible, while others--sometimes those who are nearest and dearest to us--succumb to the attraction of ease, comfort, convenience, and rest. Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and more challenging than the one we have just traversed. Tapping unseen reservoirs of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebears, inch ever forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all pioneers who have endured in faith, singing: "All is well! All is well!" (Hymns, no. 30).—Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 1997

Our values, our road signs that keep us on course and on schedule, are not to be tucked away in a drawer for safekeeping but carried daily, used continuously, tested against our performance regularly, and literally worn out as a constant measuring device that keeps us accountable. The powers and plans of Satan are cunning and subtle and very real. You are not unfamiliar with the pirates that would attempt to board your ship almost daily, who would rob you of your treasures, your peace of mind, your self-discipline, your clear conscience, your commitment, your integrity, your morality, even your eternal destiny if possible, and leave you shipwrecked, washed up on shore. I believe the most destructive threats of our day are not nuclear war, not famine, not economic disaster, but rather the despair, the discouragement, the despondency, the defeat caused by the discrepancy between what we believe to be right and how we live our lives. We are on a stormy sea. These are threatening times and we may be ignoring or even cutting ourselves loose from the very signals that would save us.—Pres. Ardeth G. Kapp, BYU Speeches of the Year, 29 January 1985

The Restoration responds resoundingly and reassuringly to the key human questions and provides the firm framework of our faith. Do we actually live in an unexplained and unexplainable universe? Is there really purpose and meaning to human existence? Why such unevenness in the human condition? Why so much human suffering? The marvelous truths of the Restoration respond to these questions and are highly global, highly personal, and even galactic in their dimensions! Identity exists amid immensity. We are enclosed in divine purposes! There is no need for despair! No wonder the restored gospel is such "good news."—Elder Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Speeches of the Year, March 30, 1986

It is my prayer that each of us examine our lives and evaluate where we are in the process of coming unto Christ and being perfected in him. The Book of Mormon promised if we "come unto him, and offer [our] whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end... [we] will be saved." (Omni 1:26)… If you previously began the process of coming unto Christ but lost your way or took a detour, do not despair; begin again. Come back, come back now! Come unto Christ and enjoy the "fruit of the Spirit," namely, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" and begin to "walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-23, 25) and to "lay hold upon every good gift" (Moro. 10:30).—Elder Lowell D. Wood, General Conference, April 1993

My brethren and sisters, if you have entered into [a] covenant with God, as you have, God will keep His covenant. You may be as humble and as obscure as it is possible for a human being to be; but I say to you God will never forget the covenant that he has made with you, and that you have made with Him. If you have gone forward and obeyed His law, and He has made promises to you, He will fulfil them to the very letter, and you need never be afraid that He will forget them. Some people seem to forget the promises which God has made, and they become discouraged and think they are forgotten by God. I tell you that God is watching over all of you. He has made covenants with us, and it is for us to exercise faith before Him to have these covenants fulfilled. It is our privilege to have the gifts that were in the Church in ancient days, in greater abundance than we have them now. Because men and women get old and think they are almost forgotten, it does not follow that that is the case. Our God has His eye upon all His children; and it ought to be a source of continued comfort to us that He has made covenants with us.—George Q. Cannon, Collected Discourses, December 13, 1891

"Love is a potent healer. Realizing that, Satan would separate you from the power of the love of God, kindred, and friends that want to help. He would lead you to feel that the walls are pressing in around you and there is no escape or relief. He wants you to believe you lack the capacity to help yourself and that no one else is really interested. If he succeeds, you will be driven to further despair and heartache. His strategy is to have you think you are not appreciated, loved, or wanted so that you in despair will turn to self-criticism, and in the extreme to even despising yourself and feeling evil when you are not. Remember the wisdom of the Lord 'is greater than the cunning of the devil.' If you have such thoughts, break through those helpless feelings by reaching out in love to another in need." — "To Be Healed", Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 1994

"Each of us has at times agony, heart break, and despair when we must, like Job, reach deep down inside to the bedrock of our faith. The depth of our belief in the Resurrection and the Atonement of the Savior will, I believe, determine the measure of courage and purpose with which we meet life's challenges." — James E. Faust, October 1996 Conference (November Ensign) pg. 52

"When we find ourselves out of control for a time, out of harmony, and disappointed in our actions in relation to our desires, we need not despair. There is a place of spiritual repair. We can take our wounded spirit faithfully and regularly to the sacrament altar and there renew our covenants, our commitments, by offering a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Then we begin, in part at least, to feel the healing, the peace, the deep, abiding love when we ponder the meaning of the Atonement in our personal lives. There we will feel what Andrew and Nathanael must have felt and say with them, 'We have found Christ. We have found him. Come and see.'" — Ardeth G. Kapp, "Your Inheritance: Secure or in Jeopardy?", "BYU Speeches of the Year", 1 Feb 1987

"My message to you today, my brothers and sisters, is simply this: the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled, and someday we will understand the eternal reasons for all of these events. Therefore, today we must be careful not to overreact, nor should we be caught up in extreme preparations, but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never lose hope!" — "The Joy Of Hope Fulfilled", Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 1992

"All over the world we have many members who are taking the blessings of the gospel to those who will listen. Those who accept and live the teachings of our Savior find the strength to be of good cheer, for he declared, 'Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.' (Matt. 16:25.) When we apply this principle in our lives and share it with our associates, it is possible to supplant discouragement, tragedy, and gloom with hope and cheer. The fruits of cheerfulness lie within each of us, side by side with our resolution, priorities, and desires. They will never come from without. They cannot be purchased or stolen. They are above price." — "Be of Good Cheer", Elder Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, April 1986

"Don't face the world alone. 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.' (Prov. 3:5.)

"In many ways, the world is like a jungle, with dangers that can harm or mutilate your body, enslave or destroy your mind, or decimate your morality. It was intended that life be a challenge, not so that you would fail, but that you might succeed through overcoming. You face on every hand difficult but vitally important decisions. There is an array of temptations, destructive influences, and camouflaged dangers, the like of which no previous generation has faced. I am persuaded that today no one, no matter how gifted, strong, or intelligent, will avoid serious problems without seeking the help of the Lord.

"I repeat: Don't face the world alone. Trust in the Lord." - Richard G. Scott, "Trust in the Lord," Ensign, May 1989, 36

"When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: 'He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.' (George A. Smith Family, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1962, p. 54.)...

"To press on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine. Even our master Jesus the Christ, while facing that supreme test of being temporarily left alone by our Father during the crucifixion, continued performing his labors for the children of men, and then shortly thereafter he was glorified and received a fullness of joy. While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful. And you can have that certain knowledge that in due time God will wipe away all tears and that 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (1 Cor. 2:9.)" - Ezra Taft Benson, "Do Not Despair
," Ensign (CR), November 1974, p.65

"I have little doubt that many of us are troubled with fears concerning ourselves. We are in a period of stress across the world. There are occasionally hard days for each of us. Do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Opportunities will eventually open to you. Do not let the prophets of gloom endanger your possibilities. ("The Continuing Pursuit of Truth," Ensign, April 1986, p. 4.)” - Gordon B. Hinckley, “Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley,” p.411

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