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Archive for the ‘Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’ Category

Last Sunday I gave a talk in my church at the request of my bishop. The assigned topic was “The Five Elements of Missionary Preparation,” presumably for the benefit of young men and women.

I have been concerned, however, that many of our young people who earnestly want to serve missions cannot do so for medical and other reasons beyond their control. They often feel disheartened as a result. I thus wanted to reassure them that there are plenty of other ways for them to serve the Lord and their fellow man.

From there, it was an easy step to reach out to all those in the congregation who are suffering from health problems or other afflictions.

I am including a link to my written talk. The one I actually gave had some minor variations. And I gave the talk with a depth of emotion that the written words may be unable to convey.

Yes, I strayed from the assigned topic, but several of the members were moved to tears. We are a very perfection-driven people in my church. We need to pause and admit that we are imperfect people living in a fallen world. And acknowledge that salvation comes only through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Download Link/Tom_talk2013.pdf

– Tom Irvine

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I testify that by the Spirit of Christ and by the Holy Ghost, you may walk confidently in whatever difficulties will come. Because you are so valuable, some of your trials may be severe. You need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you, and you will find it if you exercise faith.

– President Henry B. Eyring, Walk in the Light, April 2008

* * *

All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. … Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.

– President Brigham Young

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As you overcome adversity in your life, you will become stronger. Then you will be better able to help others -those who are working, in their turn, to find a safe harbor from the storms that rage about them.

– Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Finding a Safe Harbor”, Ensign, May 2000

* * *

No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.

– Elder Orson F. Whitney

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“At the center of our agency is our freedom to form a healthy attitude toward whatever circumstances we are placed in!”
– Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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“Trials and tribulations tend to squeeze the artificiality out of us, leaving the essence of what we really are and clarifying what we really yearn for.”

– Elder Neal A. Maxwell

* * *

“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.”

President Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 98.

* * *

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19

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So be glad – yes, actually be glad that you have problems. Be grateful for them as implying that God has confidence in your ability to handle these problems with which He has entrusted you. Adopt this attitude toward problems and it will tend to siphon off the depression that you may have developed from a negative reaction toward them. And as you develop the habit of thinking in hopeful terms about your problems, you will find yourself doing much better with them.

– Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

* * *

What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? “No, thank you,” he will think. “Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these things are things that cannot inspire envy.

Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997)

* * *

Look for God in your difficult place and discover what He’s doing in and through you there.

– Randy Kilgore

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– Tom Irvine

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I have been thinking lately about the power of words. Too often, people use harsh criticism against others. There may be instances where criticism is justified, but these should be very rare.

Critics may act out of pride, envy or fear. This is especially noticeable on Internet blogs and message boards where people often make personal attacks against others anonymously.

On the other hand, we have daily opportunities to give one another words of kindness and encouragement. When I walk around my neighborhood, people are very friendly. They wish me a good morning or good day.

I have assembled some scriptures and quotes on this topic which I hope you will enjoy.

* * *

Just as healthy food and exercise gives physical strength to one’s body, hearing words of encouragement gives a boost of emotional and spiritual strength to one’s soul. This week’s Torah portion is the last one of the book of Genesis. There is an ancient custom to exclaim at the completion of one of the five books of Moses the following encouraging words, “Be strong, and may we be strengthened!” We can light up people’s lives and do a great act of kindness when we use our words to give them a boost of strength. (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

– Nesanel Yoel Safran

* * *

The Apostle Paul taught:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

* * *

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
– Mother Teresa

* * *

Kind words don’t cost anything but they go far for the people receiving them. And, it feels good to say nice things.

– Daylle Deanna Schwartz

* * *

Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years…..Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes….Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.

– Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
(April 2005 general conference, Ensign, May 2005, p. 26)

* * *

We sometimes sing a hymn in my church which has the following chorus:

Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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[26] And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

[29] And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25

* * *

Excerpt from “Make Thee an Ark”
by Elder W. Don Ladd
October 1994 LDS Conference

The most important thing we can do—young or old—is develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do, we will always be comfortable with ourselves. Any questions of self-esteem and self-worth will diminish, and we will have a quiet confidence that will see us through any trial. And the Savior’s promise to us is “Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world” (D&C 50:41).

Whatever the anxiety or fear or frustration, we have only to remember the Lord’s comforting words to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul” (D&C 121:7). To each of us, He will always be there to say, “My son, my daughter, my child, peace be unto thy soul.”

The entire address is given at:  Make Thee an Ark

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Alma the Younger cries to Jesus Christ in repentance:
Alma 36

[18] Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
[19] And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
[20] And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

* * *

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught

In one way or another, sooner or later, all mortals will plead, as Alma did at his turning point, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me” (Alma 36:18).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught

When confronting our transgressions and our souls are harrowed up with true pain, may we all echo the repentant Alma and utter his life-changing cry: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” (Alma 36:18).

See:
Neal A. Maxwell The Children of Christ

Jeffrey R. Holland Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul

See also: Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, A Pattern for Peace

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And it came to pass that she (Abish) went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!

Alma 19:29

* * *

King Benjamin taught that we should keep Jesus Christ in our hearts:

For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart? (Mosiah 5:13)

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For the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name. (Alma 9:17)

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[28] If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

[29] If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.

Doctrine & Covenants 136

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Excerpt from “A Personal Relationship with the Savior”
by Elder James E. Faust, Ensign Magazine, November 1976

Recently in South America, a seasoned group of outstanding missionaries was asked, “What is the greatest need in the world?” One wisely responded: “Is not the greatest need in all of the world for every person to have a personal, ongoing, daily, continuing relationship with the Savior?” Having such a relationship can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God.

We should earnestly seek not just to know about the Master, but to strive, as He invited, to be one with Him (see John 17:21)

To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples. “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)

Complete text:  A Personal Relationship with the Savior

See also:  That We Might Know Thee

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President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His wounded feet and hands and side, amazed at the love He offers me” (Liahona, March 1998).

Complete text:  First Presidency Message, The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Are we Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Christ. We worship Christ. We take upon ourselves in solemn covenant His holy name. The Church to which we belong carries His name. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer through whom came the great Atonement with salvation and eternal life.

Complete text: What are People Asking about Us?
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Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony

Building a testimony on the foundation of a sincere, personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and on our faith in them, should be our highest priority.

Complete Text:  Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony

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Elder Alexander B. Morrison:

Regardless of what happens to us, we are never alone. When we are torn by despair, crushed by loneliness, when we cry out for a friend, we can turn to Jesus, our ever-present guide and eternal friend. We can talk to Him, and He will understand, for He has felt the same pain, the same sorrow as we feel.

Feed My Sheep: Leadership Ideas for Latter-day Shepherds (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 168

Elder Morrison served as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, 4 April 1987 – 1 April 1989.

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When we live a Christ-centered life, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ” (2 Ne. 25:26). We “receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love” (Jacob 3:2). Even when Nephi’s soul was grieved because of his iniquities, he said, “I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support” (2 Ne. 4:19–20).

We remember Alma’s counsel: “Let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings” (Alma 37:36–37).

– President Ezra Taft Benson, “Come unto Christ”

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“You young adults, you are the best of any generation. Maintain your purity. Be the standard bearers in the great move to bring all men unto the Master. Prepare your minds by filling them with the eternal truths contained in the holy scriptures. Be obedient to parents and to God. Listen to and sing the music of heaven. Reject the vulgar and base sounds and beats of Satan’s music. He would like to gain your favor with his sensual and carnal rhythms and thereby lead you down to hell. Resist temptation by building a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. No other relationship will give you greater joy and happiness” (William R. Bradford, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 146; or Ensign, May 1976, p. 98).

Young Women Manual Lesson 2: Coming to Know the Savior

* * *

The following hymn is a plea directly to Jesus Christ.

And note that the Lord said “The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.” (Doctrine & Covenant 25)

LDS Hymn 172

In humility, our Savior

Meekly

1. In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken
On the cross at Calvary.

2. Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain they presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

Lyrics by Mabel Jones Gabbott, Music by Towland H. Prichard

* * *

LDS Hymn 117

Come unto Jesus

1. Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He’ll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.

2. Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you,
Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.
His love will find you and gently lead you
From darkest night into day.

3. Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you,
If you in meekness plead for his love.
Oh, know you not that angels are near you
From brightest mansions above?

4. Come unto Jesus from ev’ry nation,
From ev’ry land and isle of the sea.
Unto the high and lowly in station,
Ever he calls, “Come to me.”

Text and music: Orson Pratt Huish, 1851-1932

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LDS Hymn 156, Sing We Now at Parting, verse 3

Jesus, our Redeemer,
Now our praises hear.
While we bow before thee,
Lend a list’ning ear.
Save us, Lord, from error.
Watch us day by day.
Help us now to serve thee
In a pleasing way.

* * *

LDS Hymn 136, I Know that My Redeemer Lives, excerpt

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.

* * *

LDS Hymn 185, Reverently and Meekly Now, verse 4

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

* * *

Sweet bells they ring, they ring out the news today,
That Christ was born, was born on Christmas day,
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me for ever and love me, I pray.

Away In A Manger, verse 3

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Furthermore, this relationship between Jesus and John illustrates that we often are not aware of our eternal natures; the Savior, since he is aware of our eternal natures, knows better than we what will bring us happiness. A personal relationship with Jesus can help us unmask ourselves to ourselves. Then we will not only have access to the general commandments that apply to us all, but we will also be able to use his light to guide us in our own personal decisions and problems.

To love is not enough. To be loved is not enough. But to be loved by perfect love, to be loved by Christ, to establish a personal relationship with him is enough to set us on a path through which we can know “what manner of spirit” we are and grow to the point where we can “have according to our desires” because we “joy in that which we have desired.” “Herein,” promises John, “is our love made perfect.” (1 Jn. 4:17.)

by Sheryl Condie Kempton, Ensign, 1976.

Complete Text: To Be Loved by Perfect Love: John’s Special Message of the Savior

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Season of Awakening by Elaine A. Cannon, Young Women General President, Young Women Fireside 1981

We believe that each of you should develop a sweet and saving relationship with the Lord, because when you have that, everything else will begin to fall into place—things like personal purity, temple endowment, honoring your parents, and learning all you can about the plan of life and the principles to live it.

Complete Text: Young Women Fireside 1981

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Making the covenant to be a disciple of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and the path is not always easy. As we repent of our sins and strive to do what He would have us do and serve our fellowmen as He would serve them, we will inevitably become more like Him. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective—and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.

As the Savior asked His disciples when He visited the American continent, “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” And then, answering His own question, He said, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).

Elder Daniel L. Johnson, Becoming a True Disciple, October 2012 General Conference

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Amaleki, a descendant of Jacob, declared:

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved. (Omni 1:26)

* * *

The Savior extends His generous invitation simply because He loves us and He knows we need Him. He can help us and heal us. He understands us because of His own experiences. The scriptures report: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … , that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). We want to come unto Christ because it is only in Him and through Him that we can return to the Father.

– Margaret D. Nadauld, “Come unto Christ”

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Regardless of your circumstances, you can center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life.

– Elder Richard G. Scott, April 2013 General Conference

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A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many.

– Elder Neil L. Anderson “Trial of your Faith”

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Observing God’s love from afar
Is only a passing delight;
But when we experience Christ’s presence,
Our darkness is turned into light.

—Hess

* * *

See also:
Jesus Christ, our Everlasting Father

Peace through Jesus Christ

President Ezra Taft Benson, Come unto Christ

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– Tom Irvine

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