Five Lessons That Lead to “Joy in the Journey”

By Heidi Swinton

In President Thomas S. Monson’s long life of discipleship and leadership he taught and exemplified vital truths of the gospel. He lifted, listened, counseled, trusted, and shared personal experiences always for one single purpose—to encourage faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, His gospel, and His ways. This 16th President of the Church identified that among the greatest lessons we are to learn are those that “help us distinguish between what is important and what is not.”1

In his inimitable speaking style he endeared himself to millions as he taught lessons of life and measures of spiritual strength and character. Five themes among many emerge in his messages that lead to “joy in the journey.”

Believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ

“I believe that none of us can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane, but I am grateful every day of my life for His atoning sacrifice in our behalf.

“At the last moment, He could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. In doing so, He gave us life beyond this mortal existence. He reclaimed us from the Fall of Adam. … He secured our salvation.”2

Thomas S. Monson speaks as the new President of the Church February 4, 2008. Photo by August Miller, Deseret News.

Pray Always

“We were not placed on this earth to walk alone. What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask. We have the promise: ‘Pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.’”3

Serve Willingly

“All of us have been called [to] the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.”4

Show Love

“What is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. … We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.”5


President Thomas S. Monson leaves a session of the April 2010 general conference with his arm around a grandson.

Do Your Duty

“Ours is the responsibility, even the solemn duty, to reach out to all of those whose lives we have been called to touch. Our duty is to guide them to the celestial kingdom of God. … May we reach out to rescue those who need our help and our love.”6

  1. Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in the Journey,” Oct. 2008 general conference.
  2. Thomas S. Monson, “At Parting,” Apr. 2011 general conference.
  3. Thomas S. Monson, “We Never Walk Alone,” Oct. 2013 general conference.
  4. Thomas S. Monson, “How Firm a Foundation,” Oct. 2006 general conference.
  5. Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in the Journey,” Oct. 2008 general conference.
  6. Thomas S. Monson, “The Call of Duty,” Apr. 1986 general conference.