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"We have all been given a marvelous gift, even the great gift of moral agency. And through the infinite love and grace of a Heavenly Father, we also have been given many aids to help us learn how to properly use that precious gift. ...we have for our edification and guidance the influence of parents, local Church leaders, sacrament meetings, teachers, Church magazines, righteous friends, hymns and other sacred music, and even ministering angels and the Lord himself (see D&C 84:88)." — Spencer J. Condie, "Agency: The Gift of Choices," Ensign, Sept. 1995, p. 22
"Alma reminds us that 'wickedness never was happiness' (Alma 41:10), and thus it is impossible to have true joy and happiness while engaging in evildoing. Righteousness does not guarantee a life of constant sunshine devoid of rain clouds, but wickedness most assuredly robs us of joy, which joy is the design of our existence." — Spencer J. Condie, "In Perfect Balance," [Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1993]
"Another indispensable resource that assists us in using our agency wisely is holy scripture. The Apostle Paul explained, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness' (2 Tim. 3:16). Nephi gave the additional prophetic promise that when we 'feast upon the words of Christ,... the words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do' (2 Ne. 32:3). In short, the scriptures are our life script, our instruction manual in mortality, if you will. But of course, if the universal teachings in holy writ are to benefit us, we must follow Nephi's additional counsel to 'liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning' (1 Ne. 19:23)." - Spencer J. Condie, "Agency: The Gift of Choices," Ensign, Sept. 1995, p. 22
"Through repentance we can become at one with Christ, or, as Jacob put it, we can 'be reconciled unto him' (Jacob 4:11). Amaleki invited the people of his day-and us as well-to 'come unto Christ... and partake of his salvation... and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him' (Omni 1:26). We become reconciled with him when we willingly give our souls to him as he offered his life for us." - Spencer J. Condie, "The Fall and Infinite Atonement," Ensign, Jan. 1996, p. 26
"Inspired Book of Mormon prophets repeatedly teach us that the Fall was a necessary and foreseen part of the great plan of happiness and that "the way [to salvation] is prepared from the fall of man" (2 Ne. 2:4; see also Mosiah 4:7). Far from being a great disappointment and disgrace to their Heavenly Father, Adam and Eve were his instruments to further the divine plan "which was prepared from the foundation of the world" (Mosiah 15:19). Indeed, Father Lehi taught his son Jacob that "if Adam [and Eve] had not transgressed [they] would not have fallen, but [they] would have remained in the garden of Eden...." - Spencer J. Condie, "The Fall and Infinite Atonement," Ensign, January 1996, p. 22
"A recurrent theme throughout the Book of Mormon is the constraining influence of the false 'tradition of their fathers' passed down from Laman and Lemuel through subsequent generations (see Mosiah 10:11-12; Alma 37:9; Alma 60:32; Hel. 5:51; Hel. 15:4; Hel. 16:18-20). Tradition can be a double-edged sword. When based upon the perpetuation of righteous principles, tradition can become a marvelous support system in helping us employ our moral agency wisely. On the other hand, many traditions find their origins in the false pride and foibles of mankind. In modern-day revelation, the Lord has taught: 'Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning.... [But] that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers' (D&C 93:38-39; emphasis added)." - Spencer J. Condie, "Agency: The Gift of Choices," Ensign, September 1995, p. 21
"It has been said that failure can be most often attributed to weak goals. We often strive to become worthy when we should be striving for perfection. Instead of mere renewal, we should strive for rebirth. At one of the zeniths of spirituality in the Book of Mormon, Alma proclaimed that the saints became sanctified because they 'could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence.' (Alma 13:12.) Alexander Pope poignantly explained the process whereby we stray from the light when he described the stance we take regarding sin: 'We first endure, then pity, then embrace.' The man or woman who becomes truly sanctified will not stray far from the gospel's light." - Spencer J. Condie, "1975. What Will You Do with It?" Ensign, January 1975, p. 20
"Notwithstanding the numerous New Testament witnesses of the Savior as a resurrected being following his crucifixion (see, for example, Luke 24:36-48), there still persists the fallacious doctrine formulated at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 that God the Father, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three personages of spirit-three personages in one. The sacred record of the Savior's appearance to the ancient Nephites is an essential, additional witness of the true nature of the Son and of his relationship to the Father and to the Holy Ghost. After introducing himself as Jesus Christ, he who had taken upon himself the sins of the world (see 3 Ne. 11:11), he warmly invited the multitude to 'come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet' (3 Ne. 11:14). The resurrected Christ had a glorified body of flesh and bone as certified by a multitude who 'did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he' (3 Ne. 11:15)." - Spencer J. Condie, "The Fall and Infinite Atonement," Ensign, January 1996, p. 25
"Alma taught that 'wickedness never was happiness' (Alma 41:10; emphasis added), a reality more powerful than gravity. Unhappiness is another price to be paid for misusing our agency. To some of the recalcitrant generation of his day, Helaman explained, 'Ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head' (Hel. 13:38). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that happiness is the design of our existence (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 255–56). In light of the teachings of Alma and Helaman, righteousness is also the design of our existence." - Spencer J. Condie, "Agency: The Gift of Choices," Ensign, Sept. 1995, 19
"The Savior's statement in the Sermon on the Mount is good medicine for all of us: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged. He further asks us: 'And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?' (Matt. 7:1,3) In this same vein, the Apostle Paul wrote the Romans in unmistakable terms that 'wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things' (Rom. 2:1). In short, our criticisms of others are generally a reflection of our own weaknesses with which we, ourselves, are currently struggling.
"The loftier road is found in the Lord's counsel to Brother Lyman Sherman, good counsel to each of us: 'Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings' (D&C 108:7). - Spencer J. Condie, "In Perfect Balance," p.217
"'And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' (3 Ne. 12:10). As we climb the steps outlined in the Beatitudes we soon humbly recognize that our lives are on a higher plane than those who love the things of this world. And notwithstanding our efforts to share with them gospel truths that can also elevate their lives, some of them will begin to persecute us and scoff at our way of life and point mocking fingers at those who have partaken of the fruits of the gospel (see 1 Ne. 8:26-27).
"The Savior reserved a special blessing for those who would be reviled and persecuted and falsely accused for His sake: 'Ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you' (3 Ne. 12:11-12)." - Spencer J. Condie, "Your Agency, Handle with Care," p.9
"Patience involves the temperate acceptance of the passage of time. Patience also requires us to optimally use the time which we have available to us, for the Lord has declared that 'he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father' (D&C 72:4). The desire to use time wisely has given rise to an explosion of diversified time-management devices, daily planners, and the like. There is, of course, justifiable merit in using calendars and appointment books of various kinds to help bring order to our lives. But none of these time-management materials can help us to establish the specific content of our priorities. They may help us order the things which must be done today, and tasks that should be accomplished today, and activities which would be nice to do if time permits. However, it is up to us to allocate adequate time in reading the scriptures, in prayer and meditation, and in serving others 'after hours.'" - Spencer J. Condie, In Perfect Balance , p.22
3/9/07 "The prophecies of Isaiah and of Nephi (see 2 Ne. 10), Zenos (see Jacob 5), and Ezekiel (see Ezek. 37), to mention only a few, all describe the panoramic process of the scattering and gathering of Israel. Each of us has an obligation to participate in the gathering of the children of Israel. Throughout the entire Doctrine and Covenants the Lord admonishes us to open our mouths and share the gospel with others. He further commands those who have been warned to warn their neighbors (see D&C 88:81). As with all other commandments, obedience begets a wonderful promise: as we share the gospel with others, our sins will be forgiven (see D&C 84:61). The Lord further promised: 'How great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!' (D&C 18:16.)" - Spencer J. Condie, In Perfect Balance, p.210
"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is evident when we believe His teachings and claim His 'exceeding great and precious promises' and become 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4). Innumerable promises are proclaimed by His prophets, and the Lord assures us, 'My word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same' (D&C 1:38).
"In these latter days, the Lord revealed that 'when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated' (D&C 130:21). The Lord makes generous promises, and He certifies that He will not vary from these promises, for, said He, 'I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise' (D&C 82:10)." - Spencer J. Condie, "Claim the Exceeding Great and Precious Promises," General Conference, 6 October 2007
"A person whose life is characterized by ingratitude is, by definition, very self-centered, and when he thinks only of himself his latitude of choice is extremely limited. For him, life's constant injustices demand revenge, and the list of personal injustices is lengthened by injustices to others until the option of forgiveness drops off the radar scope. The ability to forgive others is truly one of our most precious personal freedoms, and when we lose that our agency is seriously curtailed. Certain nations in the world have very restrictive diplomatic policies dictated by the insatiable demand for revenge and quick retaliation in kind. They are in bondage to their own policies." - Spencer J. Condie, "Your Agency, Handle with Care," p.33
“So much energy is wasted in feelings of hatred and revenge, but when we can seek to set things right cheerfully, ‘we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed’ (D&C 123:17). When we harbor mean-spirited feelings of retribution, we are on the devil's turf; but when we seek redress cheerfully, the Lord is on our side.” - Spencer J. Condie, “In Perfect Balance,” p. 168
"One of the great teachers and prophet-leaders in Israel was Ezra, who 'had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.' (Ezra 7:10.) As Saints of the latter days, we are grateful for a modern-day Ezra, even our beloved prophet, … who, like Ezra of old, has prepared himself to receive the word of the Lord and is prepared to do the Lord’s will. I bear you my witness that there is a living prophet in Israel today." - Spencer J. Condie, "Some Scriptural Lessons on Leadership," Ensign (CR) April 1990
As Nephi concluded his sacred record, he left us a wonderful, comprehensive promise that when we “feast upon the words of Christ … , the words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do” (2 Ne. 32:3). This is a very bold promise. Can we really receive divine direction in all things?
In the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells how his father, Lehi, beheld a vision. In that vision, an angel gave Lehi a sacred book, and “as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord” (1 Ne. 1:12). When we search the scriptures, individually or as families, our hearts and minds are filled with the Spirit of the Lord. With that Spirit, we can indeed find the direction we seek within the pages of the standard works. - Spencer J. Condie, "Feast upon the Words of Christ," Ensign, September 2004
Sometimes this quest for perfection tries our patience and our faith as we continue to wrestle with the weaknesses of the flesh. But a loving Heavenly Father has not left us alone in our battle with the adversary. A recurrent doctrine of the Book of Mormon is that the Holy Ghost is an active participant in our lives, influencing us for good. Both Nephi and Mormon teach us that the Holy Ghost strives with us to help us resist evil (see 2 Ne. 26:11; Morm. 5:16). - Spencer J. Condie, "A Mighty Change of Heart," Ensign (CR), November 1993, p.15
Through personal experience I have found that when one does not have the Spirit of the Lord, any service within the Church becomes extremely arduous. On the other hand, when our spirits are in tune, the powers of heaven can and do distill upon us, drenching us with joy in serving the Lord through service to others. It is then that our confidence waxes strong before God and the Holy Ghost becomes our constant companion. (See D&C 121:45-46.) - Spencer J. Condie, "In Perfect Balance," p. 85
Faith, hope, and charity are godly attributes which, when acquired and accompanied by participation in essential ordinances, will help to qualify us for entrance into the celestial kingdom some day. But in addition these attributes have urgent relevance in helping us to fend off the fiery darts of the adversary in today's world. Faith and hope are antidotes for discouragement, depression, and despair, and charity immunizes us against paranoia and acute high blood pressure, ulcers, and migraine headaches in the wake of offensive behavior by others. - Spencer J. Condie, "Your Agency, Handle with Care," p. 21
Our friends and neighbors are children of a loving Father in Heaven who desires that all of us return to Him. Can we be content when not all the members of our quorum are in attendance Sunday morning? Surely we can extend ourselves to the less active and those of other faiths and warmly invite them to our Young Men and Young Women Mutual activities, seminary, Sunday School classes, and sacrament meetings. - Spencer J. Condie, "Becoming a Great Benefit to Our Fellow Beings," Ensign (CR), May 2002, p. 44
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