To Temper the Proud Heart

“To Temper the Proud Heart,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, 50–51

To Temper the Proud Heart

The spirit of a visiting General Authority in our stake conference some months ago was to motivate me to one of the most stimulating adventures I have ever known. He was so humble that I was deeply moved, and I resolved that very day to search for the gift of humility.

I didn’t realize at the time the magnitude of such an endeavor, that it would take years of tempering by the influence of the gospel and the sweet spirit of the Savior to find humility. But I longed for this virtue, so akin to love and selflessness, and which on analysis seemed to permeate all of the Christian attitudes in life. So I went in prayer to my Father in heaven and asked how I might go about learning humility. I would accept any plan, no matter how difficult.

The answer I received was as clear as it was surprising. To my spiritual ear, the Spirit said: You must start by giving service of all kinds to those around you, service that won’t be recognized or perhaps even appreciated right away. Do things without anyone knowing, or even without thought of someone finding out. And secondly, actively engage in the work that tempers a proud heart—genealogy.

I was disappointed. Genealogy! I had what I thought was a testimony of that work and I realized its importance, but that wasn’t the answer I wanted. Still, since I felt the answer had come from the Lord, I had to consider it. And it seemed that genealogical research was truly a work for the humble. Years of searching out deceased relatives would build reliance upon the Lord. There would be no one around to pat me on the back when I glowed with accomplishment. The success of such an undertaking wouldn’t be known perhaps for years and years, maybe not until the Millennium.

There are likely many other ways to learn humility. But for me, at this elementary stage of progress, genealogy is the best way. I thrill every time I sit down to write another name. Has this person already accepted the gospel and been waiting a long time for the work to be done? I don’t know, but I do know the work is satisfying. Service to both the living and the dead was my counsel from the Lord, and I have come to appreciate the answer I received: Genealogy tempers a proud heart.

  • Sandra Solie Holland, mother of four, serves as Primary president and Relief Society spiritual living teacher in the Los Angeles Branch, Chile Concepción Mission.