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The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Sterling W. Sill

"Many times I have prayed to my Father in heaven that he would help me to do my work. I hope that I may pray more and more effectively that I may help him to do his work, and by that means express to him the appreciation that I feel for all of the blessings of my life." — "Conference Report," April 1954, p. 118

"If we were looking for some program to cure all of the problems that presently beset our world, we might well find it by properly observing the Sabbath day. The importance of the Sabbath is prefigured in the account of creation. In programming the seven creative periods, God set aside the seventh day as his Sabbath. And then in our interests he especially blessed and hallowed this one day out of each week, which he ordained to be our Sabbath day. And what a magnificent day it is when it is used as he intended." — "Conference Report," October 1969, p. 16

"You can't merely snap your fingers and get great faith in God, any more than you can snap your fingers and get great musical ability. Faith takes hold of us only when we take hold of it. The great psychologist, William James, said, 'That which holds our attention determines our action,' and one of the unfortunate things in life is that we sometimes focus our attention on the wrong things." — "Conference Report," April 1955, p. 117

"We should remember that any disobedience to God or any other offenses that we pick up in our own lives are soon transmitted to others, particularly our children. That is, the power of example is the greatest power in the world. That is the way we learn to walk. That is the way we learn to talk. That is why we speak with the accent we do. That is how we learn to dress ourselves. That is why we have our hair cut and our clothing tailored the way we do." — "Conference Report," April 1960, p. 68

"There are those who in their teachings seek to deprive God of his body. Many do not believe in their own resurrection. But next to the human spirit the human body is the most marvelous of God's creations. If the body was not necessary, God would never have created it in the first place. If it was not necessary for eternity, God would never have instituted the resurrection. If a body was not necessary for God the Father, certainly there would have been no reason why God the Son should have been resurrected. The spirit and the body inseparably connected constitutes the soul. The spirit can never be perfect without the body. There can never be a fulness of joy until the spirit and the body are inseparably joined together." — "Conference Report," April 1963, p. 42 - 43

"When Gladstone was asked the secret of his brilliant career, he answered with one word: 'Concentration.' Concentration is achieved by limiting the scope. Emerson said: 'The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation' (The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1929, p. 542). Jesus was limiting the scope when he cautioned us to keep our eye single (see D&C 4:5). A single vision should also have a narrow focus. Jesus proclaimed this same philosophy when he said: 'No man can serve two masters' (Matt. 6:24)." - Sterling W. Sill, "The Strait Gate," Ensign, July 1980, p. 6

"Certainly the most successful lives are those that have the most worthwhile experiences. The religion of Christ itself is not so much a set of ideas as it is a set of activities. The purpose of the Church is to help us translate the principles of the gospel of Christ into constructive, meaningful human experience. And everyone should work toward this end by a daily practice of thinking some uplifting thoughts, listening to some fine music, reading some stimulating literature, doing some good deeds, and having some great experiences every day." - Sterling W. Sill, "Great Experiences," Ensign, June 1971, p. 43

"The kind of emphasis that is given to an idea is sometimes about as important as the idea itself. Recently a minister on the radio said that he never talked about the Ten Commandments in his church anymore because they were too far out of date. He also said that their language was too harsh for the weak sensibilities of our day. This minister felt that instead of using such strong terms as command and Thou shalt not, the Lord should have employed some softer words such as I recommend or I suggest or I advise. But soft words frequently produce soft attitudes with weak meanings and built-in violations.

We know that the destructive permissiveness of our present day causes some of our most serious sins. But the Lord allowed no permissiveness to get into the Ten Commandments. He came down onto the Mount in a cloud of fire from which the smoke ascended as from a furnace. He came with such power that the mountain quaked and the people themselves trembled. Then, to the accompaniment of the lightnings and thunders of that sacred mountain, God gave the people their basic law and listed some of those things that they must not do." - Sterling W. Sill, "Thou Shalt Not," Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 93

"In spite of the fact that Jesus asked us to shun the broad road leading to death, the traffic thereon continues to get more and more crowded. Some of our broad-mindedness has been compared to the Powder River, which is very broad and very shallow. We never get much power from a river that is a mile wide and an inch deep; rather, it is the narrow torrent that tears away the mountainside." - Sterling W. Sill, "The Strait Gate," Ensign, July 1980, 7

"Although I have not seen the Lord in this life, yet I know His word. I know of the great Atonement made on behalf of all of God’s children. I know about the Lord's glorious, celestial resurrection, a resurrection similar to that which He has promised to all of those who keep His commandments. I know the course of that strait and narrow way and how to follow it so that we might qualify for the celestial kingdom.

"On one occasion the Lord said to Thomas, 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: [more] blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.' (John 20:29.) The Lord himself promised, 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' (Matt. 5:48.) With all of these advantages, I should be able to make it on my own until He comes in clouds of glory for His millennial reign upon the earth when every eye shall see Him and every heart shall rejoice in His blessings." - Sterling W. Sill, "Have You Ever Seen the Lord?" Ensign, June 1987, 35

"Recently a young man was complaining about the many temptations that he had to fight in this age of crime and sin. To him, the challenge was very unpleasant, and he said that he was about to lose his mind while fighting his temptations. But he was having difficulty with his temptations because he was giving in to them instead of overcoming them. The prophet said: 'Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.'  (James 4:7.)  This young man was being driven out of his mind by the shame of surrender and his weakness in the conflict, whereas he would have received great strength from the glory of victory. He told of a number of serious moral transgressions before which he had already fallen. And yet, he couldn't make up his mind about what he was going to do in the future. If he can't even make up his mind while he is seeking aid, how can he possibly resist the evil when the temptation is upon him in full force? If he can't win moral victories while the antagonist is absent, how can he expect to win literal victories when he is being slugged into surrender by his own fifth column? If one wants to get up on time in the morning, he had better make up his mind about it before he goes to bed, and his determination had better be firmly set on a victory." - Sterling W. Sill, "That Ye Might Have Life," p.92

"There is a physician in New York City who writes an interesting prescription to cure people of their most serious problems of tension, fear, inferiority, guilt, resentment, and anger. He prescribes that they attend church at least once each Sunday. If they say they do not believe in religion or that they do not like sermons, he asks them to go anyway, even if they don't listen to what is said. If they will just regularly sit quietly and absorb the healing atmosphere, their mental, spiritual, and physical health will all be greatly improved. The church is a place especially set apart in which to worship God, and we need to actually commune with him. The Lord himself said, 'For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' (Matt. 18:20.) Then we will be able to say with Jacob at Bethuel, 'Surely the Lord is in this place..." (Gen. 28:16.)." - Sterling W. Sill, "That Ye Might Have Life," p.237

"Someone once said, 'I don't know whether I am for it or against it, but I'm not neutral.' No one could ever accuse God of being neutral on any important subject. He is never confused. He never answers questions by saying, 'I'm all mixed up.' He is never stalemated between right and wrong. He does not belong to the apathy club. He does not vacillate or procrastinate. He hates sin, evil, and failure. Apathy, listlessness, and insensibility are not among his traits. As his children, we should always be aware of our inheritance, and constantly reaffirm it in our lives." - Sterling W. Sill, "That Ye Might Have Life," p.116

"The Lord said, '...if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.' (D&C 4:3.) If we don't WANT to do it we can't do it. Alma said that God grants unto every man according to his desires. (See Alma 29:4.) And we ought to spend a lot more time than we ordinarily do in increasing the volume and intensity of our righteous desires." - Sterling W. Sill, "Hold Up Your Hands," Ensign (CR), July 1973, p.102

"What a tremendous point to have clearly in mind, that the Redeemer is alive. And that he is alive forevermore. During the last few hundred years, the world has been flooded with the crucifix. It pictures a dead Christ upon a cross of pain. But Christ did not remain upon the cross. Neither is the tomb his dwelling place. He is alive, and he has the keys of death and hell. He also has the keys of eternal life and celestial glory." - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," April 1964, First Day—Morning Meeting, p.14

"Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out one of our biggest problems when he said that primarily we are parlor soldiers. We like to dine nicely and sleep warm, but we shun the vigorous battle of life where strength is born. The divine law that the Lord always fits the back to the burden embodies one of the greatest benefits that ever uplifts our lives. If we want to get a strong back, the best way is to get a big load to carry. The way to get more is to give more. If you want to see your own problem solved, learn how to solve the problems of other people. If you will effectively do the Lord's work, he will help you to do your own much better." - Sterling W. Sill, "That Ye Might Have Life," p.152

"God has said that if we really repent of our sins, we will be forgiven. He said, '...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.'  (Isa. 1:18.)  The Lord has indicated that if we repent, he will wash the memory of our sins out of his mind and just forget the whole thing. But what good does it do for the Lord to wash them out of his mind if we keep running them through the delicate tissues of our own?" - Sterling W. Sill, That Ye Might Have Life , p.191

"In announcing his famous 'as if' principle, William James said that if you want a quality, act 'as if' you already had it. If you want to be friendly, act as if you are already friendly. If you want to be courageous, don't go around talking fear and indulging in negative, un-Christian thinking. If you want to be faithful, act 'as if' you are already faithful. Do the things that faithful people do. Go to church, say your prayers, love God, refrain from evil, study the scriptures, be honest with yourself, and everyone else. And if you would like to be perfect, act 'as if' you were already perfect. Don't go around glorying in your sins and weaknesses. We can come very close to perfection if we really get the spirit of it in our hearts. If we really want to obey God, we should act 'as if' we were already obedient. We should think obedience, love obedience, practise obedience, and we should allow no exceptions to obedience. The fewer the exceptions to perfection, the nearer we get to perfection." - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," October 1962, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.38 - 39

"Eight years after I was born, I learned something about the great principle of repentance by which we can clear out our D.F.T. [damn foolish things] files and be born again. And so, on August 27, 1911, I was born of the water and of the Spirit in the exact manner prescribed by the Savior of the world. I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had the gift of the Holy Ghost officially conferred upon me.

"Then I had another great experience. I discovered that I could be reborn as many times as I desired, and that each time I could be reborn better. Phillip Brooks was once asked when he was born and he said, 'It was one Sunday afternoon when I was twenty-five years old, just after I had finished reading a great book.' Saul of Tarsus was reborn on the Damascus road. Joseph Smith was born again after reading a great scripture." - Sterling W. Sill, "Great Experiences," Ensign (CR), June 1971, p.43

"Fine gold might be described as gold that has been fully refined. It has been finished and brought to its perfection by being freed from its impurities. A fine man is also one who is refined, who is complete. He was formed in God's image. He is well fashioned and has a noble appearance. If he follows God's program, his impurities are removed, and fine personality and godly character traits develop within him. This gives him a fine tone, makes him fine spirited, and great beauty forms in his soul." - Sterling W. Sill, "Principles, Promises, and Powers," p.66

"And it has been said that the most important event in life is death. We live to die and then we die to live. Death is a kind of graduation day for life. It is our only means of entrance to our eternal lives. And it seems to me to be a very helpful procedure to spend a little time preliving our death. That is, what kind of person would you like to be when the last hour of your life arrives?" - Sterling W. Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign (CR), November 1976, p. 46

“To discover God is the greatest discovery that anyone ever makes in his lifetime, and in trying to understand the great responsibility that goes with such a discovery, I got down on my knees and asked God to help me bear an acceptable witness of him to all of those with whom I should come in contact. When it was revealed to Paul as he journeyed on the way to Damascus that Jesus was the Christ, a great responsibility was placed upon him. When the same thing was made known to Joseph Smith, a tremendous responsibility was placed upon him. He said, ‘... I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it.’ (P. of G. P. Joseph Smith 2:25.) Now that the same thing has been made known to us, a great responsibility has been placed upon us, and I pray that our heavenly Father will help us to be effective, inspired, untiring bearers of this great truth to all men everywhere in the world.” - Sterling W. Sill, “Conference Report,” October 1954, Afternoon Meeting, p. 29

“Through the Bible we may draw upon the accumulated experiences of some of the greatest men who ever lived. A consistent student of the scripture gains a new power to think, to feel, and to enjoy. It is a source of the most exquisite and enduring delight to have one's mind stored with worth-while thoughts, beautiful expressions, and stimulating ideals.” - Sterling W. Sill, “Conference Report,” October 1959, Third Day–Morning Meeting, p. 105

“The most inspiring thing about the life of Jesus was not his ability to quiet the storm or control the tempest, but his absolute control of himself. The Master did not need to make a single mistake in order to find out that it was wrong. We have developed a fairly good control over some of our body members; for example, I have great authority over my finger. If I tell it to bend, it bends. If I tell it to unbend, it unbends. If I give my feet an order, they obey immediately, and we will have succeeded in our religious responsibility when we get that same kind of control over our thoughts, our emotions, our tongues, our industry, our faith, and our desire to serve God. Some of us have mistrained our appetites to a point where we tend to ‘think’ with our stomachs; that is, our appetites frequently have more influence in directing our lives than our reason or even the commandments of God. This same misuse of our powers frequently gives our fears, our doubts, our prejudices, our hates, and our sex impulses the control of our lives. Before we can be successful in our God-given dominion, our emotions must be brought under the direction of the spirit.” - Sterling W. Sill, “Conference Report,” October 1963, General Priesthood Meeting, p. 78

"As we pass along the bridge of our lives, we ought to understand that our greatest latter-day need is not for bigger industries or more oil wells or greater power plants or a more ample gold supply. Our most critical problems are not our population explosions or our projected food shortages. Our primary concern should be centered in getting a sufficient love of God and truth enshrined in our hearts, that we will obey all of his commandments." - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," October 1968, Afternoon Meeting, p. 138

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

Another religious leader said that the stern command "Thou shalt not" was much too harsh for our present-day sensitivity, and he suggested that the form of the commandments should be modified and some softer word such as "advise" or "suggest" or "recommend" be used. We make one of our most serious mistakes when we become too soft to accept truth unless it is highly sugar coated. We settle too many of our problems by compromise or how we feel, rather than by what is right. Frequently we would rather be ruined by praise than sawed by criticism. It is pretty serious business when we turn our backs on good merely because we don't like someone's tone of voice or because what is said doesn't quite suit our fancy. - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," October 1963, General Priesthood Meeting, p.81

A banker may be able to cancel off one liability with an asset of equal size, but you can’t do that in the more important accounting of life, as several great virtues can all be made unusable by one vice. Recently, three men were being discussed for an important assignment. Of one it was said, “He is a hard worker and he knows his business, but he is dishonest.” Of the second it was said, “He is strictly honest and very capable, but he won’t work.” Of the third it was said, “He is very capable and well liked, but he is immoral.” And while praise is wonderful, yet when the account gets around to the buts, everyone had better pay strict attention. You can’t cancel off a little immorality with a little industry, or a little dishonesty with a little ability, or a little atheism with a few good intentions. - Sterling W. Sill, “Thou Shalt Not,” Ensign (CR) November 1971

The greatest miracle ever performed by Jesus was not in controlling the angry sea but in disciplining his own will. His sinless life is the highest manifestation of excellence ever known in the world. Jesus did not need to do a single evil thing in order to find out that it was wrong. The life of Christ was pure, good. His ledger showed all gains and no losses. There were no destructive injuries to be repaired and no restitutions to be made. - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," October 1964, Third Day—Morning Meeting, p. 113

A professional baseball player keeps a close watch on his batting average. If he lays off on his drill or if he acquires some bad habits of training or if he allows any other problems to develop, he can count on deterioration taking place in his batting average. On the other hand, as he drills for perfection and as he  learns to develop his strength, his speed, his accuracy, and his intensity, his batting average goes up. He then comes under the influence of this important law of the Lord: "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” - Sterling W. Sill, "That Ye Might Have Life," p. 133

From the pinnacle of the temple, Satan said to Jesus, "Cast thyself down." Satan has been giving that same direction ever since with the most terrifying success. And the first step toward any failure is always merely to look down, to let earthly things absorb our interests. It is pretty difficult to look down and to look up at the same time. - Sterling W. Sill, "Conference Report," April 1961, First Day—Morning Meeting, p. 9

Socrates was a very homely man, and he prayed to the Lord and said, "Make me beautiful within." We have all seen plain people who have been made beautiful by the working of a radiant spirituality. A godly spirit will make the plainest body beautiful. Great mental and spiritual qualities transform our bodies into their likeness. - Sterling W. Sill, "To Die Well," Ensign (CR), November 1976, p. 46

The kind of emphasis that is given to an idea is sometimes about as important as the idea itself. Recently a minister on the radio said that he never talked about the Ten Commandments in his church anymore because they were too far out of date. He also said that their language was too harsh for the weak sensibilities of our day. This minister felt that instead of using such strong terms as command and Thou shalt not, the Lord should have employed some softer words such as I recommend or I suggest or I advise. But soft words frequently produce soft attitudes with weak meanings and built-in violations. - Sterling W. Sill, "Thou Shalt Not," Ensign (CR), December 1971, p.92

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