The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Marvin J. Ashton

"A worthwhile attitude for all of us could well be, 'Help us, O Lord, to remember thy love for us and help us to be fortified by Thy strength when our eyes are blurred with tears of sorrow and our vision is limited.' It is expedient for all of us, particularly those who may be weighed down by grief because of acts of misconduct or misfortune, to recall that even the Prophet Joseph Smith had hours of despair because of his very trying experiences in the Liberty Jail. Perhaps he too was entitled to question, 'What did I do wrong? What have I done to displease Thee, O Lord? Where have I failed? Why are the answers to my prayers and pleas withheld?' In response to the feelings of his heart and mind he cried out: 'O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?' (D&C 121:1.) The reassuring response came: 'My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.' (D&C 121:7-8.)" — Marvin J. Ashton, "If Thou Endure It Well," General Conference, October 1984

"After obtaining a testimony of the gospel and the Lord's church, we should then strive to become pure in heart. This will result in happiness and eventually the promise of a society without contention. It is the Savior's way to peace." — "The Measure Of Our Hearts," General Conference, October 1988

"One may have many talents and knowledge but never acquire wisdom because he does not learn to be compassionate with his fellow man. We will never approach godliness until we learn to love and lift. Indifference to others and their plight denies us life's sweetest moments of joy and service." — "The Measure Of Our Hearts," General Conference, October 1988

"Brothers and sisters, I sincerely feel that one of the great purposes of family evenings and home teaching is to have family members realize that a brother can be a friend, and that a sister can be a friend, and that a father and a mother can be more than parents, they can be friends." — "Conference Report," October 1969, p. 28

"When family members tune each other out, communication is not taking place. Words spoken are unheard, unwanted, and resisted when we fail to understand the basics for proper interchange. Each must be willing to do his part to improve, since the family unit is the basic foundation of the Church. Proper communication will always be a main ingredient for building family solidarity and permanence." — "Family Communications," General Conference, April 1976

"A constant effort must be made to lift our daily conduct so that it squares with our knowledge of truth and our standards. Self-mastery must always triumph over self-deceit for us to taste the fruits of good cheer." — "Be of Good Cheer," General Conference, April 1986

"A warm handshake and a friendly smile can be wonderfully healing medicine. Conversely, how unwise we are when we declare, 'I'll never speak to him again.' Never is a long time, and even those who have caused heartache or shame are not beyond ultimate repentance. Sometimes hurts to the heart are more damaging than physical blows. Yes, they may take longer to heal, but they will heal more quickly if we avoid bitterness and anger and practice forgiveness." — Marvin J. Ashton, "While They Are Waiting," General Conference, April 1988

"A truly committed person does not falter in the face of adversity. Until one is committed, there is a chance to hesitate, to go off in another direction, or to be ineffective. Members within our ranks who are committed to living the gospel of Jesus Christ will not be affected by the rationale of hecklers." — Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 51

"Perhaps we would do well to involve ourselves in praying more quietly and continually. Strength, power, and discipline are rewards for communicating with God on a continuing personal and private basis. Quietly we can pray for the patience to have our secret prayers answered. Sometimes we fail to recognize answered prayers because we are expecting more than quiet answers." — Marvin J. Ashton, "The Measure of Our Hearts," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], p. 106

"To be in control of your life, to be a success regardless of your situation, whether happily married, unhappily married, a single parent, a widow, or a wife of an inactive husband, I recommend that you come to know your Father in heaven. Come to love Him, and always remember that He loves you and will give you guidance and support if you will but give Him the chance. Include Him in your decision making. Include Him when you take inventory of your personal worth. 'For behold, this life is the time for men [and women] to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men [and women] to perform their labors.' (Alma 34:32)" — Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 29

"Contention is a tool of the adversary. Peace is a tool of our Savior. What a wonderful tribute we pay people when we describe them as being gentle, firm, and calm! Contention stops progress. Love brings eternal progression. Where contention prevails, there can be no united effort in any purposeful direction." — Marvin J. Ashton, "The Measure of Our Hearts," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], p. 20

"Joshua reminds us of the importance of making decisions promptly: 'Choose you this day whom ye will serve;... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Joshua 24:15) Not tomorrow, not when we get ready, not when it is convenient—but 'this day,' straightway, choose whom you will serve. He who invites us to follow will always be out in front of us with His Spirit and influence setting the pace. He has charted and marked the course, opened the gates, and shown the way. He has invited us to come unto Him, and the best time to enjoy His companionship is straightway. We can best get on the course and stay on the course by doing as Jesus did—make a total commitment to do the will of His Father." — Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 56

"When the Lord measures an individual, he does not use a tape measure around the person's head to determine his mental capacity, nor around his chest to determine his manliness. He measures the heart as an indicator of the person's capacity and potential to bless others. Why the heart? Because the heart is a symbol of one's entire makeup. We often use phrases about the heart to describe the total person. Thus, we describe people as being 'big-hearted' or 'goodhearted' or having 'a heart of gold.' Or we speak of people with faint hearts, wise hearts, pure hearts, willing hearts, deceitful hearts, conniving hearts, courageous hearts, cold hearts, hearts of stone, or selfish hearts. The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance. As the term is used by the Lord, our hearts describe our efforts to better ourselves or others or the conditions we confront." — Marvin J. Ashton, "The Measure of Our Hearts," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], p. 2

"A broken-hearted mother prays and mourns over a wayward son. In spite of her fasting and prayers, the young man continues on his wayward course. I am concerned about both the son and the mother, because they tell me they are sour on prayer. A brother who is faithful in the Church-paying his tithing, serving in the Church, and attending the temple-experiences failure in his marriage. He can't understand why the Lord doesn't get his wife to change. He tells me he prays for this every day. These are just two examples of individuals who felt that their prayers were not answered promptly or properly. "Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6.) Joseph Smith said, "We are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity. God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as we do." ("Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," p. 356.) God sees things from an eternal perspective-not as we view things." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Know He Is There," Ensign, Feb. 1994, p. 53-54

"Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again." - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword," Ensign, May 1992, p. 19

"Everything is given by God. All talent, creativity, ability, insight, and strength comes from him. In our own strength we can do nothing, as Ammon admitted to his brother. (See Alma 26:10-12.) When we seek the praise of man more than the praise of God, it will become easy to fall." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Neither Boast of Faith Nor of Mighty Works," Ensign, May 1990, p. 67

"Generally our Heavenly Father will not interfere with the agency of another person unless He has a greater purpose for that individual. Two examples come to mind: Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, and Alma the Younger. Both these men were deterred from their unrighteous objective of persecuting and trying to destroy the church of God. Both became great missionaries for the Church. But even as the Lord intervened, they were given choices. Alma, for example, was told, 'If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God.' (Alma 36:11.)" - Marvin J. Ashton, "Know He Is There," Ensign, February 1994, p. 54

"It is very significant that when Jesus came forth from the tomb and appeared to his disciples, his first greeting was, 'Peace be unto you.' (Luke 24:36.) Peace-not passion, not personal possessions, not personal accomplishments nor happiness-is one of the greatest blessings a man can receive. Our trust and our relationship with our Heavenly Father should be one similar to that of the little blind girl and her earthly father. When sorrow, tragedy, and heartbreaks occur in our lives, wouldn't it be comforting if when the whisperings of God say, 'Do you know why this has happened to you?' we could have the peace of mind to answer 'No, but you do.'" - Marvin J. Ashton, "Peace-A Triumph of Principles," Ensign, November 1985, p. 69

"We must at regular and appropriate intervals speak and reassure others of our love and the long time it takes to prove it by our actions. Real love does take time. The Great Shepherd had the same thoughts in mind when he taught, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments' (John 14:15; italics added) and 'If ye love me feed my sheep' (John 21:16; italics added). Love demands action if it is to be continuing. Love is a process. Love is not a declaration. Love is not an announcement. Love is not a passing fancy. Love is not an expediency. Love is not a convenience. 'If ye love me, keep my commandments' and 'If ye love me feed my sheep' are God-given proclamations that should remind us we can often best show our love through the processes of feeding and keeping." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Love Takes Time," Ensign, November 1975, p. 108

"Following one of our recent general conference sessions, a troubled mother approached me and said, 'I need to know what is meant by the statement, 'No success can compensate for failure in the home.'' Knowing a little of the burdens this friend of mine carries in her mind and heart because of a rebellious, wayward daughter, I shared this meaning with her: I believe we start to fail in the home when we give up on each other. We have not failed until we have quit trying. As long as we are working diligently with love, patience, and long-suffering, despite the odds or the apparent lack of progress, we are not classified as failures in the home. We only start to fail when we give up on a son, daughter, mother, or father." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Love of the Right," Ensign, June 1971, p. 31-32

"Jesus set the pattern for us in his invitation, 'Come, follow me.' I think it is significant our Savior Jesus Christ declared, 'He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,' rather than 'He that hath heard me hath heard the Father.' The example bore witness. The life was the sermon. The life was the way." - Marvin J. Ashton, "You Can Get There From Here," Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 101

"Scriptures such as 'be ye doers of the word ...' (Jas. 1:22), and 'But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved ...' (D&C 45:32) take on new significance as we realize our responsibility to act and not react.

"Our Prophet Joseph Smith was a man of action. Torture, belittlement, and all manner of inhumane affliction, including a pending martyr's death, did not halt nor even slow down his life of purposeful action. He acted as one totally committed to 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation. ...' (Rom. 1:16.) He didn't just think about the gospel or react to it; he lived it. He was true to himself and to those principles he valued more than life itself." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Conference Report," October 1970, p. 38

"If we keep the commandments of God and walk hand in hand with him in his paths, Satan cannot touch us. Faithful members of the Church do not have to walk alone. The troubled soul need not find its way back alone. God’s hand is available to all if we will but reach out and up." - Marvin J. Ashton, "He Took Him by the Hand," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 104

"I bear witness to you that God listens to humble prayer. If he didn't, he wouldn't ask us to pray. Part of our worthwhile, urgency prayers today can be a reverent, quiet, listening period. Can we not appropriately say that he that goes to the well of prayer with faith unwavering is daily drawing oil for his lamp? It is also possible to help accumulate our supply in meaningful meditation." - Marvin J. Ashton, "A Time of Urgency," Ensign, May 1974, 3

"Joshua reminds us of the importance of making decisions promptly: 'Choose you this day whom ye will serve;... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Josh. 24:15.) Not tomorrow, not when we get ready, not when it is convenient—but 'this day,' straightway, choose whom you will serve. He who invites us to follow will always be out in front of us with His Spirit and influence setting the pace. He has charted and marked the course, opened the gates, and shown the way. He has invited us to come unto Him, and the best time to enjoy His companionship is straightway. We can best get on the course and stay on the course by doing as Jesus did—make a total commitment to do the will of His Father." - Marvin J. Ashton, “Straightway,” Ensign, May 1983, 30–31

"We need to continually take the time to communicate with our Heavenly Father and those about us. As we share, we can make the difference in the life and light of others. We lift as we love and as we convey our love through communication. In the scriptures we read, 'But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.' (Hebrews 13:16.)

"In all of our relationships, communication should be open, comforting, and sincere. God has invited us to communicate with Him through prayer continually, no matter where we are or what the circumstances. He wants to hear from us. He loves us. He knows us. He wants to be part of our lives and to help us solve our problems. How important it is to improve our communication with Him and with others every day!" - Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer" [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 101

"The Lord has promised that he will help us in our pursuit of happiness if we will trust in him and follow his path. The abundant life will be ours if we rely on his strength. If we will... share our talents every day, Satan will have no power over us, and our Heavenly Father's strength will make all righteous things possible. Ammon, in his comments to his brother Aaron in the twenty-sixth chapter of Alma, verse 12, points to a way of life that brings security: 'Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things;... for which we will praise his name forever.' All we need to do to enjoy eternal, happy lives is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Love of the Right," Ensign (CR), June 1971, p.30

"The Savior admonished, 'Have peace one with another.' (Mark 9:50.) Peace must first come from within. It flows from the individual to the home, to the community, to the nations, and to the world. This peace can only come as we resist the damaging pastime of passing judgment. In the scriptures we are warned to judge not, that we be not judged. (See 3 Ne. 14:1; Matt. 7:1.) Somehow there seems to be something enticing and intriguing about being a self-appointed judge." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Straightway," Ensign (CR), May 1983, p.30

"The desire to achieve has been placed in us by a loving Creator who honors our free agency but nonetheless beckons to us to do well. He it is who will grade our eternal report card. The adversary would weaken and dull our senses so we lose sight of the final time of rating or judging. We are in a battle with evil powers who are cunning and crafty. They can lull us and pacify us through carnal things if we are not careful. But if we take the offense in the contest and seek those things which are praiseworthy, we can build an armor that will not be pierced.

"So now, in the midst of this battle, let us sound our trumpets for that which is Rated A: A for pure actions, A for achievement, and A for approbation, even that approbation from Him whose voice can say to you: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant  enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' (Matt. 25:21.)" - Marvin J. Ashton, "Rated A," Ensign (CR), November 1977, p.71

"An understanding, loving heart is the pinnacle of all human emotions. As the Apostle Paul said, charity 'beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.' (1 Cor. 13:7.) We come closest to becoming Christlike when we are charitable and understanding of others.

"One may have many talents and knowledge but never acquire wisdom because he does not learn to be compassionate with his fellow man.

"We will never approach godliness until we learn to love and lift. Indifference to others and their plight denies us life's sweetest moments of joy and service." - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Measure of Our Hearts," Ensign (CR), November 1988, p.15

"To be effective, prayers must not consist of words alone. Earnest prayers must have an appropriate blend of earnest feeling and spirit. It is the spirit that not only teaches a man to pray, but also makes his heartfelt desires acceptable and conveyable. If a contrite spirit and a broken heart are united with faith unwavering, our prayers, no matter how simple the words, will be significant." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Personal Prayers," Prayer , p.77

"In recalling some of the Savior's well-known teachings, the word now can be appropriately added to emphasize their impact. 'If ye love me, keep my commandments' ... NOW. (See John 14:25.) 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature' ... NOW. (See Mark 16:15.) 'Come, follow me' ... NOW. (See Luke 18:22.) Truly, if we love God, we will serve him ... NOW.

"There are those among us, though they would deny it, who are hungry for fellowship and activity in the Church today. They need us and we need them. It is our duty and blessing to help them find the way now. We and they are God's sheep, and we can best be fed and led together. Today is the time to let them know we care and that the Lord loves them. He stands anxious to forgive and welcome in the processes of repentance. God give us the courage to act now." - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Time Is Now," Ensign (CR), May 1975, p.85

"It has been said by Bruce Barton that, 'When were through changing, were through.' There is no age when we are too old or too young or just too middle-aged to change. Perhaps old age really comes when a person finally gives up the right, challenge, and joy of changing. We should remain teachable. How easy it is to become set. We must be willing to establish goals whether we are sixty, seventy, fifty, or fifteen. Maintain a zest for life. Never should there be a time when we are unwilling to improve ourselves through meaningful change." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Progress through Change," Ensign (CR), November 1979, p.61

"Let us seek to be totally committed. Then we will not fall upon stony places, wither away, or stray from the paths of security and happiness. Those who serve with complete dedication wherever called do not wilt, wither, wonder, or wander. Their roots are deep and solidly planted in the fertile soils of the kingdom. The harvest is enjoyed with every passing day as they serve." - Marvin J. Ashton, "Who Will Forfeit the Harvest?," Ensign (CR), November 1978, p.49

"I know that free expression is a vital part of the eternal principle of free agency and must be preserved and protected. I also know how certain forces use the freedom of speech to degrade or debase, and this constitutes perversion and enslavement. Because I recognize that there will always be opposition in all things, I suspect that we will not soon see the day when obscenity in its various forms will be entirely eliminated. But I have faith that it can be fully eliminated in the lives of quality individuals. I firmly believe that most thinking people can be inspired to strive for the A rating by choosing wholesome, worthwhile literature, art, and habits." - Marvin J. Ashton, "
Rated A," Ensign (CR), November 1977, p.71

"Do not doubt your abilities. Do not delay your worthy impressions. With God's help, you cannot fail. He will give you the courage to participate in meaningful change and purposeful living. We need to repent, straightway, and trust in His reality and capacity to assist us in knowing the abundant life. He will help us learn to be sensitive to our own needs and to those of others. Those who fear, procrastinate. Those who change for the better show progress straightway and become wiser and stronger. We need to develop the courage to straightway take the first step. We need to remember that children learn to walk only because someone encourages them to take the first step." - Marvin J. Ashton, "
Straightway," Ensign (CR), May 1983, p.30

"Most often, hope, encouragement, and direction come from a soft, piercing voice.

"Small voices are heard only by those who are willing to listen. Soft and small voice communications with our associates make priceless friendships possible. I am appreciative of people who find no need to raise their voices as they try to impress or convince. It seems most people who argue and shout have ceased listening to what the small voice could powerfully contribute.

"We love the small voice of a child saying, 'Mommy, Daddy, I love you.'

"How powerful is a small voice that knows how and when to say, 'Thank you.'

"Think of the heavenly voice saying, 'Joseph, this is my beloved son. Hear him' (see JS—H 1:17).

"It is heartwarming and reassuring to hear the small voice declare, 'Be still and know' (D&C 101:16).

"Remember that one of our greatest gifts is the small voice of the Holy Ghost whispering directions in our lives and making mighty testimonies possible.
" - Marvin J. Ashton, “There Are Many Gifts”, Ensign (CR), November 1987, p.20

"The power of a plain, unadorned testimony is always impressive to me. I recall a twelve-year-old boy standing in front of a large congregation to share his testimony. As he stood trembling in fear and emotion, his voice failed him. He stood speechless; our hearts went out to him. The creeping seconds dragged on, making the silence of the moment intense. Prayerfully we hoped that he might gain composure and the ability to express his testimony. After great uneasiness and anxiety peculiar to a young person in such a circumstance, he raised his bowed head and softly said, 'Brothers and sisters, my testimony is too small.' He cleared his voice and sat down. His message had been given. I thought then, as I think now, what a timely observation. Whose testimony isn’t too small? Whose testimony doesn’t need to be added upon? After this one-sentence sermon, I acknowledged before the congregation that my testimony was too small also and I was going to give it a chance to grow by more frequent sharing. I had been taught by a plain, simple statement." - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Power of Plainness," Ensign (CR), May 1977, p.66

"To become a winner in the race for eternal life requires effort—constant work, striving, and enduring well with God’s help. But the key is that we must take it just one step at a time." - Marvin J. Ashton, “If Thou Endure It Well”, Ensign (CR), November 1984, p.20

"Change is hard. Rather than going through the struggle to overcome a bad habit or rectify a mistake, some of us choose to make excuses for inactivity. Progress comes as we are able to give up something for something we want more. Honesty with oneself and setting of desirable but attainable goals day by day can determine the paths we follow. One might make a list of goals and then a price list for each goal. One day at a time the price of change can be paid. The cost will then not be overwhelming." - Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "Roadblocks to Progress," Ensign (CR), May 1979, p.67

"Each of us should daily resolve that with God's help we will not allow careless words from others to shape our destiny or control our daily course. How tragic it is to see, on occasion, a life of usefulness lost because we have allowed an unkind comment to cause a wound or hurt. We let the injury become an open sore and fester rather than treat it with prompt skill and maturity. Some try to get even with their offenders by dropping out of life's race. How weak, how damaging, how self-restricting is the often used statement, 'I'll never go back as long as that person is there!' On occasion some of us seem to stand on the sidelines waiting to be hurt, offended, or ignored. We listen for careless words from others and remember the unsaid hellos and read into the said or unsaid words a totally unintended message.

"One of the finest basketball players of all time was asked what had contributed the most to his outstanding success. His answer was, "I learned to play in pain. Although injuries, bruises, and bumps came, I never allowed myself the luxury of slowing down or quitting.

"The greatest teacher and leader also showed the world an example of proper conduct when He was the victim of unkind words and cruel deeds. He simply said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34)." — Marvin J. Ashton, "Roadblocks to Progress," Ensign (CR), May 1979, p.67

“A friend is a priceless possession because a true friend is one who is willing to take us the way we are but is able to leave us better than he found us. We are poor when we lose friends, because generally they are willing to reprove, admonish, love, encourage, and guide for our best good. A friend lifts the heavy heart, says the encouraging word, and assists in supplying our daily needs. As friends, we make ourselves available without delay to those who need us.” - Marvin J. Ashton, “Ye Are My Friends,” p. 27

“Chains weigh heavily on troubled hearts and souls. They relegate us to lives of no purpose or light. They cause us to become confused and lose the spirit. We need to arise from the dust and enjoy the fresh air of righteousness. We need to move forward in patience, understanding, love, and never-ending commitment.” - Marvin J. Ashton, “Shake Off the Chains with Which Ye Are Bound,” Ensign (CR), November 1986, p. 13

"It is no secret that Satan wages open war with the truth and all those who live righteous lives. He deceives with skill and effectiveness even his own followers. He would have us give up, quit, rebel when setbacks come. Sometimes in life when we are committed to and are following proper patterns, we experience heavy bumps and anxious hours. Many times true winners in life are those who have been hurt and disappointed but have risen above these challenges. Very often in life, God gives us difficulties to bring out the best in us. It is true, life does not determine winners. Winners determine life."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "A Pattern in All Things," Ensign (CR), November 1990, p. 20

"If he could have his way, Satan would distract us from our heritage. He would have us become involved in a million and one things in this life—probably none of which are very important in the long run—to keep us from concentrating on the things that are really important, particularly the reality that we are God's children. He would like us to forget about home and family values. He'd like to keep us so busy with comparatively insignificant things that we don't have time to make the effort to understand where we came from, whose children we are, and how glorious our ultimate homecoming can be!" - Marvin J. Ashton, "A Yearning for Home," Ensign (CR), November 1992, p. 21

"Most of us who have ever heard of the great American leader Abraham Lincoln will recall what he said of his mother: 'All that I am, all that I hope to be, I owe to my Angel mother.' (in Abraham Lincoln's Philosophy of Common Sense, ed. Edward J. Kempf, New York: The New York Academy of Sciences, 1965, p. 60.) But how many of us know what his mother's last words to him were? They were 'Be something, Abe.'" - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Word Is Commitment", Ensign (CR), November 1983, p. 61

"Whether accusations, innuendos, aspersions, or falsehoods are whispered or blatantly shouted, the gospel of Jesus Christ reminds us that we are not to retaliate nor contend. 'Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

'For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness to God.' (James 1:19–20.)" - Marvin J. Ashton, "Pure Religion," Ensign (CR) October 1982

"The ingredient that is essential in learning to endure is consistent effort. In our race for eternal life, pain and obstacles will confront all of us. We may experience heartaches, sorrow, death, sins, weakness, disasters, physical illness, pain, mental anguish, unjust criticism, loneliness, or rejection. How we handle these challenges determines whether they become stumbling stones or building blocks. To the valiant these challenges make progress and development possible." - Marvin J. Ashton, "If Thou Endure It Well," Ensign (CR), November 1984, p.20

Satan will do his best to deter us and let discouragement impede our progress. Through trying times we would do well to remember and repeat the famous words of Sir Winston Churchill, England’s Lion of Courage, during some of his country’s darkest days. With character and strength peculiar to himself, he said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.” (Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, 8 vols., New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1974, 6:6,499.) This mighty statesman in his own way was echoing the words of another mighty leader, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32.) - Marvin J. Ashton, "Give with Wisdom That They May Receive with Dignity,” Ensign (CR) October 1981

The principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ will never change, but environment, circumstances, institutions, and cultural patterns do. Our challenge is to move forward in our present realms with commitment and enthusiasm. We must do our part to progress and enjoy life while we are in the process of meeting our situations. - Marvin J. Ashton, "Choose the Good Part," Ensign (CR) April 1984


Righteous living is a shield, a protector, an insulation, a strength, a power, a joy, a Christlike trait. Yes, living a life of righteousness is a chainbreaker.

Many of us today are shackled by the restrictive chains of poor habits. We are bound by inferior self-images created by misconduct and indifference. We are chained by an unwillingness to change for the better. Is it any wonder, in our day as it was in Nephi’s, that God’s pleas are “awake,” “listen,” “procrastinate no longer,” “believe me,” “come back,” and “seek the straight course”? - Marvin J. Ashton, "Shake Off the Chains with Which Ye Are Bound," Ensign (CR) October 1986

A person is poor when his character is honeycombed with greed and warped by dishonesty. When we yield to misconduct under pressure, we are poor. A person who has to beg for bread is not poor if he has not bent to expediency. An individual is headed for personal bankruptcy when he sells his character and reputation for cash, honor, or convenience. We are poor in character when we think getting by is a substitute for doing our best. Virtue, action, and truth properly blended in life make a person rich. - Marvin J. Ashton, "It's No Fun Being Poor," Ensign, September 1982

To be aware of one’s limitations and potentials on a continuing basis will help in improved self-esteem. We need to be constantly aware of the fact that we are children of God. He knows us. He hears us. He loves us. Proper self-image will help us keep our habits, lives, and souls directed in happy paths. How proud we should be in the knowledge we have godlike attributes. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “It is difficult to make a man miserable when he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.” - Marvin J. Ashton, "Proper Self-management," Ensign (CR) November 1976

When, with several companions, the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prisoner in Liberty, Missouri, for a number of months, conditions were deplorable. Their petitions and appeals directed to executive officers and the judiciary had failed to bring relief. In desperation Joseph pleaded for understanding and assistance from his Heavenly Father. The message finally came:

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8). - Marvin J. Ashton, "Adversity and You," Ensign (CR) November 1980

Much of the unrest and confusion in the world today is caused by man's fear to obey God because of the pressures of man. Certainly if we want peace, progress, and prosperity, it will come through adherence to God's principles. We have no need to fear if we keep God's commandments. - Marvin J. Ashton, Munich Area Conference Report, 1973, p. 23

An understanding, loving heart is the pinnacle of all human emotions. As the Apostle Paul said, charity “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7.) We come closest to becoming Christlike when we are charitable and understanding of others. - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Measure of Our Hearts," Ensign (CR) November 1988

Certainly peace is the opposite of fear. Peace is a blessing that comes to those who trust in God. It is established through individual righteousness. True personal peace comes about through eternal vigilance and constant righteous efforts. No man can be at peace who is untrue to his better self. No man can have lasting peace who is living a lie. Peace can never come to the transgressor of the law. Commitment to God’s laws is the basis for peace. Peace is something we earn. It is not a gift.  - Marvin J. Ashton, “Peace—A Triumph of Principles,” Ensign (CR) November 1985

Perhaps we all live under some misconceptions when we look at each other on Sundays as we attend our meetings. Everyone is neatly dressed and greets each other with a smile. It is natural to assume that everyone else has his life under control and doesn’t have to deal with dark little weaknesses and imperfections.

There is a natural, probably a mortal, tendency to compare ourselves with others. Unfortunately, when we make these comparisons, we tend to compare our weakest attributes with someone else’s strongest. … Obviously these kinds of comparisons are destructive and only reinforce the fear that somehow we don’t measure up and therefore we must not be as worthy as the next person. - Marvin J. Ashton, “On Being Worthy,” Ensign (CR) May 1989

If our works and the desires of our hearts are the ultimate criteria of our character, how do we measure up? What kind of heart should we seek? For what kind of heart should we pray? How should we measure the worth of other people? - Marvin J. Ashton, “The Measure of Our Hearts,” Ensign (CR) November 1988

One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable. - Marvin J. Ashton, “There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign (CR) November 1987

One who really understands and practices empathy doesn’t solve another’s problems, doesn’t argue, doesn’t top his story, make accusations, or take away free agency. He merely helps the person build his self-reliance and self-image so he can try to find his own solutions. - Marvin J. Ashton, “Give with Wisdom That They May Receive with Dignity,” Ensign (CR) October 1981

The pleasant future belongs to those who properly use today. We need to find the abundant life as we go along. How can we be happy tomorrow if our “nows” are filled with self-inflicted unhappinesses and unwise delays? Generally speaking, those inclined to count their daily blessings have more to count because they help make more possible as they learn gratitude. - Marvin J. Ashton, “The Time Is Now,” Ensign (CR) April 1975

When heartaches, tragedies, disappointments, injury, unusual attention, fame, or excessive prosperity become part of our lives, our challenges and responsibilities will be to endure them well. God will assist us in our quest to conquer, triumph, and continue if we humbly rededicate ourselves to the meaningful declaration "We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things." (A of F 1:13.) - Marvin J. Ashton, "If Thou Endure It Well," Ensign (CR), November 1984, p. 20

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other. - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword," Ensign (CR), May 1992, p. 18

A commitment to solve our daily needs and the reaching of immediate lesser goals will bring meaningful successes. Realize that God will judge you by the way you make use of all your possibilities. It is wise and proper to want to make the most of every opportunity, but don't quit or weep because of failure or disappointments. Break down big commitments into smaller ones that you can handle. Then self-esteem will grow and commitment toward goals of greater magnitude will become possible. - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Word Is Commitment", Ensign (CR), November 1983, p. 61

When we dwell on our own weaknesses, it is easy to dwell on the feelings that we are unworthy. Somehow we need to bridge the gap between continually striving to improve and yet not feeling defeated when our actions aren't perfect all the time. We need to remove unworthy from our vocabulary and replace it with hope and work. This we can do if we turn to quieter, deeper, surer guidelines—the words of our prophets and leaders, past and present. - Marvin J. Ashton, "On Being Worthy," Ensign (CR), May 1989, p. 20

Fifty-nine years ago, when this beautiful number, "Carry On," was first shared with the Church in general, to say that it was timely is an understatement. Today it should be a way of life, our top priority and clarion call for young and old. Young people, boys and girls, and leaders worldwide, I encourage you to carry on. Do not give up, falter, or become weary. Do not yield to the ways of the world that can only bring unhappiness and discouragement. I love and respect young people who stand firm when outside influences would make it easy for them to fail or fall. - Marvin J. Ashton, "Stalwart and Brave We Stand," Ensign (CR), November 1989, p. 35

Be one who nurtures and who builds. Be one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them. Be fair with your competitors, whether in business, athletics, or elsewhere. Don't get drawn into some of the parlance of our day and try to "win" by intimidation or by undermining someone's character. Lend a hand to those who are frightened, lonely, or burdened. - Marvin J. Ashton, "The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword," Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.18

Sincere yet simple words of praise can lift souls and bring gladness. Mark Twain remarked that he could live two months on one good compliment. In the words of the biblical proverbs of Solomon: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Prov. 25:11.) - Marvin J. Ashton, "A Voice of Gladness," Ensign (CR), May 1991, p.18

The attitude with which we approach each day controls the outcome. We must be more concerned with what we do with what happens to us than what happens to us. Proper attitude toward self is an eternal pursuit. Positive personal attitude will insist that we deliver our best, even though less might seem adequate for the moment. Proper attitude demands we be realistic-even tough with ourselves and self-disciplining. - Marvin J. Ashton, "Who's Losing?" Ensign (CR), November 1974, p.41

Solid, permanent progress can only take place in the days ahead if deception is avoided, no matter how advantageous it may seem to yield or compromise basic principles of conduct. - Marvin J. Ashton, “A Pattern in All Things,” Ensign (CR), November 1990, p.20

Day-to-day acts of service, whether for good or evil, may not seem important, but they are building cords of love that become so strong they can seldom be broken. Ours is to place our areas of love in proper perspective. Meaningful love always works for our eternal progress and not against it. – Marvin J. Ashton, “We Serve That Which We Love,” Ensign (CR) May 1981

When Robert Louis Stevenson was asked the secret of his radiant, useful life, he responded simply, “I had a friend.”

In Exodus 33:11 we read, “… The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” [Ex. 33:11.]

A friend in the true sense is not a person who passively nods approval. A friend is a person who cares. – Marvin J. Ashton, “What is a Friend?” Ensign (CR) November 1972

“For behold, this … is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors … do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.” [Alma 34:32–33] The best of life is not just around the corner, when I go on a mission, after marriage, after the house is paid for, after the recession is over, or after the children are raised. The best of life is now. Today is the time to really start living. Today is the time to get a head start on tomorrow. The future belongs to those who know how to live now. There are no unimportant days in the lives of the anxiously engaged. –
Marvin J. Ashton, “The Time is Now,” Ensign (CR) May 1975

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