“Mormon Media,” Ensign, July 1974, 66
“It is thought that the three all-important key words that will represent the quality of our eternal success are Principles, Promises, and Powers.”
For Elder Sterling W. Sill a principle is “… a settled, proven rule for successful action. It also has reference to a divine doctrine. It is one of these attitudes or beliefs that exercises a directing influence in our lives and behavior. It is a fundamental proven assumption and a dependable maxim or axiom.”
Writing of promises, he states, “… Our holy scriptures are the most magnificent of our great promise books. In fact, someone has compared the sacred scriptures to a great collection of promissory notes. God has never given a commandment to which he did not attach the promise of a blessing. … If we keep his commandments the blessings will be so great that we will be unable to contain them.”
In his discussion of powers, the author writes, “… God did not put his greatest power into machinery or even into the atoms. He put his greatest power into the man who makes the machinery and splits the atom. But above all these, by far the greatest power in the universe is the power of God. By his power he created and controls the universe.
“It should be of interest to us that all powers are based on obedience to the laws of righteousness.”
From his lifetime of reading, studying, and experiences, Elder Sill has drawn this collection of 52 chapters amplifying how his readers may understand the principles, receive the promises, and utilize the powers of the Lord.
In the newly published book by this member of the Council of the Twelve, the principal theme is the gospel in action as it relates to parents, youth, teachers, and leaders. “To listen to him,” wrote former President Harold B. Lee in a foreword to this volume, “is to be inspired.”
Among the inspiring talks presented in the book is one entitled “In Quest of the Abundant Life.” Here, Elder Monson discussed obedience to law, respect for others, mastery of self, and joy in service.
In discussing mastery of self, he says, “Perhaps the surest test of an individual’s integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect.”
“One of the imperative requirements of life is to be able to make choices. In order to do so, one must know how to look at things and oneself. One must also learn that to live means being able to cope with difficulties; problems are a normal part of life, and the great thing is to avoid being flattened by them.
“The battle for self-mastery may leave a person a bit bruised and battered, but always a better man or woman. Self-mastery is a rigorous process at best; too many of us want it to be effortless and painless.
“Some spurn effort and substitute an alibi. We hear the plea, ‘I was denied the advantages others had in their youth.’ And then we remember the caption that Webster, the cartoonist, placed under a sketch of Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin: ‘Ill-housed, ill-fed, ill-clothed.’”
“In our science-oriented age we conquer space, but cannot control self; hence, we forfeit peace.”
“God gave man life and with it the power to think and reason and decide and love. With such power given to you and to me, mastery of self becomes a necessity if we are to have the abundant life.”
“When Joseph was six years old he and the other children in the family became very ill with typhus fever. After he had been sick for two weeks, he cried with pains in his shoulder. An abscess had formed there. The doctors lanced it, and it began to heal.
“But then the infection went into his leg and entered the bone. The doctors feared they would have to amputate the leg to save his life. But Joseph’s mother pleaded with them to operate once more to remove the infection and save his leg.
“Since they had no anaesthetic to give him, the doctors wanted to give Joseph a drink of whiskey, but he refused, and said he would be all right if he could just lie in his father’s arms.”
This was to be but one of many painful episodes in the life of the Prophet Joseph, a life presented in this volume especially for the young people of the Church.
Written by the wife of Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve, The Prophet’s Story traces the life of Joseph Smith from his birth on December 23, 1805, to his martyrdom 39 years later.