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The Church is like a great caravan — organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place. What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on. Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on. Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on. Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on! — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, October 1984
What is happening to us? Why do we rely upon others for our opinions, our directions, our activities, and even our vocabulary? It is time to say, "Whoa, stop. I want to take personal responsibility for my actions." Now is the time to stop blaming others, the government, the Church, or our circumstances for what might disturb us. It is time to take responsibility for ourselves. — Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, General Conference, April 1989
Secular history also teaches the principle of perseverance. Winston Churchill is well known for his determination as the leader of Great Britain during World War II. On one occasion in his later years, he returned to a school where he had studied as a boy. Before he arrived, the headmaster told the students, "The greatest Britisher of our time is going to come to this school, and I want . . . every one of you, to be here with your notebooks. I want you to [write] down what he says, because his speech will be something for you to remember all your lives." The elderly statesman came in and was introduced. His glasses were down on the end of his nose, as usual. He stood and delivered the following words from an immortal speech that he once gave in Parliament. He said; "Never, never, never give up." Then he sat down. That was the speech. It was unmatched (see "These Are Great Days," in War Speeches, ed. Charles Eada, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1942, pp. 286-88). His message was indeed something to be remembered by every boy who heard it and by each of us. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, October 1987
Let me suggest the steps necessary to turn our lives in a new direction. The business of life is to climb higher. The divine step is to repent. Repentance means to find a better way and to follow it.
First, eliminate from our thinking and our vocabulary the phrase "if only I had done something differently." If only Samson had known the results of his association with Delilah, he never would have made the first visit. (See Judg. 16.) If only Sidney Rigdon had been able to foresee his pathetic end, he might have humbled himself and stayed with the Church. If only the rich man could have seen beyond the grave, he might have started praying sooner; but only in hell did he become a praying man. (See Luke 16:19-25.) If only you had not gone on that date, or taken that trip, or made that investment, or met that person, your life might have been different. All of us can waste precious time by saying, "What if I had not done something or other?" Brothers and sisters, "What if" is not an appropriate question if we really want to start again. Let us face head-on where we are and where we want to be, and not dwell on the "what ifs" of yesterday.
Second, do not wait for tomorrow to begin again. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." (Prov. 27:1.) Today is the day for each of us to erect those monuments on our own battlefields and mark the place where we began again. One of the reasons we have conferences is to learn how to be better.
Third, resolve to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. "For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God." (D&C 84:44.) Many people live the gospel according to themselves. That is self-deception. There is only one true gospel. We may alter it or tint it with our own notions. But if we will adhere to the pure teachings of Jesus Christ, we will eliminate many of the rationalizations that lead to problems. The menu has only one entree. To pick and choose which of God's precepts to live is satanic self-centeredness. Integrity is the foundation of our life-style.
Fourth, face reality. Sometimes we wish we could fly from our troubles. King David did. He had been a good man, but he engulfed himself in great difficulties. It seemed to be more than he could bear. One day he cried, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest." (Ps. 55:6.) His guilt-fired emotions had gained the upper hand. He wanted to get away from everything. Some try to fly away physically, and others try to do so emotionally. That does not solve problems. The only true escape route is marked with the sign "personal responsibility." Remember, the Savior said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28.) He invited us to learn of him and to take his yoke upon us. (See Matt. 11:29.)
Fifth, approach our challenges positively! Take over! Lead out! A poet wrote: Never give up! If adversity presses, Providence wisely has mingled the cup, And the best counsel, in all your distresses, Is the stout watchword of "Never give up!" (Martin F. Tupper, "Never Give Up," in Poems of Inspiration, sel. Joseph Morris and St. Clair Adams, New York: Halcyon House, p. 11-77.) We recall with clarity these words of the Master: "Seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (JST, Matt. 6:38.) Just a few verses later, the Savior tells us, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matt. 7:7.)
Sixth, don't begin again partially. Be complete! Otherwise, you may be patching up an old article of clothing. with a little piece of new material. The old fabric will not hold. As Jesus said, "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for . . . the rent is made worse." (Matt. 9:16.) Don't patch. Begin a whole new life. The wealthy young man was unwilling to give all, to follow the Master totally, and so "he went away sorrowful" (Matt. 19:22), and was never heard from again.
Seventh, be open and candid in your relationships with others. So many of life's difficulties are brought about by being double-minded. Let us learn to say it as it is. Think of Peter's extreme discomfort when the Master addressed him after Peter had been teaching a false concept: "Thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of man." (Matt. 16:23.) From that moment, Peter was a greater disciple. The person who is open and honest will be vindicated. Time is his friend. Trust is his reward.
Last, and perhaps the hardest of all, forgive. Paul said, "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also." (2 Cor. 2:10.) Certainly part of beginning again is to "love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." (Luke 6:27-28.) Paul reinforced this admonition when he said, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." (1 Thess. 5:15.) Revenge has no place in the life of a person who has found the "Land of Beginning Again." — Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, General Conference, April 1982
"Spring is a time for the rebirth of living things from their wintry cover. It typifies and reminds us of the literalness of the resurrection of all living things. Significant to me is the fact that our Lord emerged from the tomb in the springtime!... Spring also with 'her bursting buds, variegated colors and manifestation of teeming life inspires new hope and gives promise of happy days.' (David O. McKay, Treasures of Life, Deseret Book Co., p. 146.) Indeed, this time of nature's rebirth should give us pause for reflection, assessment, and commitment to life's higher priorities." — Paul H. Dunn, "A Time for Every Purpose," Ensign, May 1975, p. 61
"'Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike' ('This Is the Work of the Master,' Ensign, May 1995, 71).
"You must be the judge of how far we have come in realizing the fulfillment of that invitation given 10 years ago." — Gordon B. Hinckley, "Opening Remarks," General Conference, April 2005
"I think the best thing we can do is to make new resolutions in our hearts; and wherein we have failed in the past, let us try to make up for it in the future. So sure as we do, the Lord will be with us, and the manifestations of His power will be felt in every Stake and ward of Zion. It is the rule, the discipline of the Church, and we must seek to carry it out in our lives, that it may be said of us when we pass away, as it can be of a number of good people, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have done well in your lifetime; you have filled the measure of your creation in usefulness before the Lord, and have labored unselfishly in the interest of His work.' If we could divest ourselves of selfishness and trust implicitly in our Father, how grand would be our history." — M. W. Merrill, "Conference Report," April 1901, Afternoon Session, p.26
"To all who are devoutly religious, to those who remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, to those who partake of the sacrament of the Lord's supper regularly and partake of it worthily, to those who go to our places of worship frequently and there in their hearts appeal to Providence for a forgiveness of their sins, for strength to overcome weaknesses, for vision to see the straight and narrow way and for strength to walk therein, to those who close each day's labors with a prayer of thanks to Divine Providence and to those who begin the labors of the day with an appeal for divine help and light, truly, verily to all such 'every day is a fresh beginning, every morn is the world made new.' (Susan Coolidge)" — Richard R. Lyman, Conference Report, April 1933, Second Day — Morning Meeting, p.49
"To find that ‘more excellent way,’ brothers and sisters, we must cast aside our old selves and our old habits and ways of thinking. We must first recognize how we should change, and then we must make those changes, thus putting on the new and beginning to live as we have never lived before — walking in a newness of life. — Robert E. Sackley, “A More Excellent Way,” Ensign (CR), November 1988, p.21
Each of us should cling to our inheritance. There is everything in knowing our inheritance and constantly reaffirming it in our lives. And certainly we should not claim to be children of God and then go about the world acting as though we are orphans or weaklings or cowards or sinners. By an abundance of our good works, we can have our own finest year this year and make for our world the very best of times. We can also help to usher in the age of belief in God, the age of light, the age of reason, and the age of righteousness, as well as to help bring about a millennium of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," April 1970, Afternoon Meeting, p.30
At different times in our lives, whether we are new converts to the Church or lifelong members, we may find that this vibrant enthusiasm has faded. Sometimes this happens when times are challenging and we must practice patience. Sometimes it happens at the peak of our prosperity and abundance. Whenever I have this feeling, I know I need to refocus my efforts on increasing my gospel knowledge and living gospel principles more fully in my life. - Ann M. Dibb, "I Know It, I Live It, I Love It," Ensign (CR) November 2012
Some places are sacred and holy where it seems easier to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit. The temple is such a place. Find a retreat of peace and quiet where periodically you can ponder and let the Lord establish the direction of your life. Each of us needs to periodically check our bearings and confirm that we are on course. - Richard G. Scott, "First Things First," Ensign (CR) May 2001
The new year and future years invite the inhabitants of all lands to unite in the establishment of peace and the realization of universal brotherhood. Strife, enmity, selfishness, immorality are evils to be eradicated from the individual life. No one is too lowly or insignificant to help. Let each man love his neighbor as himself and the present tragedies will pass away, future terrors will be averted, and "every man in every place will meet a brother and a friend." - Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Joseph F. Smith, p.399
I know I can’t turn back time, but this I now know—that it’s never too early and it’s never too late to lead, guide, and walk beside our children, because families are forever. - Bradley D. Foster, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” Ensign (CR) November 2015
No matter our age, circumstances, or abilities, each one of us can create something remarkable of his life. - Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Abundant Life,” Ensign (CR) April 2006
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Refer your friends to join The LDS Daily WOOL (Words Of Our Leaders)
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