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"What is the seed of mother love? Is it not sacrifice? Such love is considered to be the deepest and most tender. Is this because a mother passes through the valley of the shadow of death to give birth to her child and is continually sacrificing for that child's welfare?
"Is this why Christ loves the world? Because he toiled to make it? Because he sacrificed his life for the world and its people? We are told that 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son' (John 3:16) to save it from ruin, and the Son was willing to suffer for the salvation of that for which he had toiled.
"We all love that for which we sacrifice. Giving and serving to the point of sacrifice creates love. The term religion encompasses concern for our brethren, as we are told in James 1:27: 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction....'
"When people say, 'Religion is all right for some, but I am not religious, and it means nothing to me,' is it because they have not experienced the uplift that comes from sacrificing for and serving their fellowmen?" - John H. Vandenberg, "My Brother's Keeper," Ensign, June 1971, p. 63
"Henry Ward Beecher has said: 'God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not his choice. He must take it. The only choice is how.' Parenthetically, I would say we did make the choice to come to earth. God does not force his children.
"The choice we are now concerned with is how we are going to live our lives. We have the agency to make that choice as we react to the conditions in which we find ourselves during our life span. We must make choices, as we are surrounded by the elements and resources of the earth as well as by the people with whom we associate. From the words of the prophets to the words of the atheists, the question is: How will we emerge? Will we rise or fall? Will we fulfill our life's purpose, or will it be wasted?" - John H. Vandenberg, "Turn Heavenward Our Eyes," Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 115
"A religious doctrine, to mean something to anyone, must have the solid foundation of being true. If it is built on myth, superstition, supposition, imagination, or on the commandments of men, it will not have substance. We may be concerned today with the decline of morality and integrity in our modern society, but when the ideas of faith become principles without works instead of a living fountain, when religion is only membership in a church for status purposes, what else can be expected? It is time for all mankind to ask of God, since he is our Creator, 'What do you require of us?' The answer to that question has been given. Jesus taught what his Father taught—that 'all men... must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there.' (Moses 6:57.) He taught the plan of salvation and encouraged mankind to 'Come, follow me.' (Luke 18:22.) He said, 'My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.' (John 7:16)" - John H. Vandenberg, "To Cleanse Our Souls," Ensign (CR), November 1975, p.42
"Has the Lord supplied mankind with beauty? Anyone who doubts it need only to open his eyes to the sunrise and the sunset and his ears to the sound of rain and wind, to marvel at the colors of the flowers and the rainbow, to perceive the variety in the scenery of the desert and the forest, the fields of grain, the mountains, rivers, and oceans. At this time of year we are beginning to thrill with the new life of springtime, and as we lose ourselves in the teeming life about us, we become a part of it.
"All the earth, with no sterility in it, gladdens the heart. In our concern as our brothers keeper, we can help one another understand the gift of beauty which is ours. Let us take the time to see and to feel and to enjoy all that God has created for us." - John H. Vandenberg, "My Brothers Keeper," Ensign (CR), June 1971, p.63
"Many of us will be going home over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Let us take with us the spirit of giving and engender it into our family circles. During Thanksgiving... may we truly give thanks to the Lord for His blessings, and then may we give our time and talents in service to others. King Benjamin counseled,
"... When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah. 2:17.)
"In this way our Thanksgiving will be first thanks, then giving." - John H. Vandenberg, November 23, 1965, "BYU Speeches of the Year," 1965, p.8
"In accepting life, we must relate to the world as it is—to the struggle between good and evil. There are, of course, some who would have us believe that there is no such thing as good or evil, but this philosophy runs counter to the natural laws of opposites that exist, such as heat and cold, light and dark, gravitation and vacuum, and many others. We need to use our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our minds that we may be able to think and make our own decisions as we sift out the chaff of all we see and hear, so that we may know the truth of that which we feel in our hearts, as it is affirmed by the Holy Spirit." - John H. Vandenberg, "Turn Heavenward Our Eyes", Ensign (CR), December 1971, p. 114
“Each of us has been endowed with special attributes, special desires, and special talents. Sometimes we may wonder what we are good for. It is in these periods of wonderment that we need to ponder, examine, re-appraise ourselves to determine where we are going. Such introspection and redefining of our goals will increase our usefulness in life and will become a significant aid in helping us retain proper perspective of our relationship with God. Maybe it would be well to consider an old Chinese proverb, ‘Every task is easy to a resolute man,’–not easy in the sense of achieving without effort, but easy because of interest, desire, industry and determination. So frequently we permit the daily routine to go unquestioned; hence time is wasted, opportunity neglected, and we are often distracted by the frivolous.” - John H. Vandenberg, January 7, 1964, “BYU Speeches of the Year,” 1964, p. 2
“John Locke, the English philosopher, expresses it this way, ‘Repentance is a hearty sorrow for our past misdeeds, and a sincere resolution and endeavor, to the utmost of our power, to conform all our actions to the law of God. It does not consist in one single act of sorrow, but in doing works meet for repentance in a sincere obedience to the law of Christ for the remainder of our lives.’
“The ability to receive the blessings of repentance lies within our individual power. It is a never-ending endeavor. There is no restriction to those who may achieve: All may partake of this gift from God.” - John H. Vandenberg, “Conference Report,” October 1962, Afternoon Meeting, p. 64-65
Who is there who has reached that point in life where he can afford to allow himself to stop growing or to stop improving? Although I never had the privilege of meeting her, I am told that my wife’s mother often repeated the adage to her children: “If you consider yourself a nobody and do nothing to improve yourself to become a somebody, you truly will end up being a nobody.” She, no doubt, understood the power and capacity of every soul for self-improvement. - John H. Vandenberg, "Becoming a Somebody," Ensign (CR) November 1972
He wants us to become acquainted with his gospel, to test it, to prove it, to participate in it, and to use it as a base on which to make our decisions. This is that men might base their choices on truth. When reason is joined with truth, there is convincing logic that sets up the path in our hearts that leads upward and onward to a nobler life. - John H. Vandenberg, "The Agency of Man," Ensign (CR) April 1973
There seems to be astonishment among mankind generally that God would speak again in this latter day. “The heavens are closed,” they declare. It was a dark day when the religious leaders declared that revelation had ceased and when they presumed that mankind could negotiate his way by his own wisdom, leaning on the arm of flesh. But “‘The world by wisdom know not God,’ so the world by speculation are destitute of revelation. …” (DHC, vol. 5, p. 400.) It was a glorious day when the doctrine of revelation was again restored to mankind in this latter day. - John H. Vandenberg, "Touchstone of Truth," Ensign (CR) May 1974
Faith in God is a prerequisite to the influence of the Holy Spirit. To have a belief in God is the foundation of a full and happy life. Without this belief, life can be wasted. Evidence of God’s existence spreads throughout the universe.
Abraham Lincoln said: “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” I believe I know what Lincoln meant when he made that statement. - John H. Vandenberg, “Turn Heavenward Our Eyes,” Ensign (CR) November 1971
So does Christ light the way for all of us, that we may not stumble in darkness on the path to eternal life. And so it is our responsibility to light the way for others. - John H. Vandenberg, Conference Report, October 1970, First Day-Morning Meeting, p. 10
Every individual is granted a span of mortality, as Carlyle expressed so simply: "One life, a little gleam of time between two eternities, no second chance for us for evermore." There is granted to most individuals the intelligence and power to reason for themselves. The tragedy is that so many succumb to the ridiculous mediocre reasoning of others, which often serves only to waste time and distort truth. We need to live every moment conscious that our actions will be compatible with the all-important goal of eternal life and that every moment, hour, and day is important. - John H. Vandenberg, “Conference Report,” April 1966, General Priesthood Meeting, p.92
Peace was placed in two categories by the Master. You will recall his words to his disciples during the days before his crucifixion. He had admonished them to keep his commandments and had promised to send them another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Ghost, who would teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance that he had said unto them. Then he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (See John 14:15–27.) – John H. Vandenberg, “Whence Cometh Our Peace?” Ensign (CR) May 1972
President Joseph Fielding Smith summed up well what had happened as he said: “It should be remembered that the entire Christian world in 1820 had lost the true doctrine concerning God. The simple truth which was understood so clearly by the apostles and saints of old had been lost in the mysteries of an apostate world. All the ancient prophets, and the apostles of Jesus Christ had a clear understanding that the Father and the Son were separate personages, as our scriptures so clearly teach. Through apostasy this knowledge was lost, and in the year 325 A.D., a strange doctrine was introduced and soon spread throughout the Christian world. This doctrine confounded the persons of the Godhead, and distorted the true doctrine of God.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3, p. 117.) – John H. Vandenberg, “Touchstone of Truth,” Ensign (CR) May 1974
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