Thoughts That Need Thinking
October 1980

“Thoughts That Need Thinking,” Ensign, Oct. 1980, 19

Thoughts That Need Thinking

There are thoughts that need thinking. And if we will think them, they will make our time on earth more rewarding and exciting.

What are they? I’ll mention three. The first is this: What you will be you are now becoming. In Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Ophelia says, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be” (act 4, scene 5, lines 42–43). Since the gospel had not been restored in the seventeenth century, even Shakespeare did not really know what man could become; but we do, and this knowledge adds a dimension to our lives impossible to understand without the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Spencer W. Kimball became our prophet not only on 27 December 1973, but in part when he was young, because he was preparing himself for the things that were to happen. We are becoming exalted today by the acts we perform, by the thoughts we think, and by the words we speak.

At the University of Utah I knew a young sorority president, Kathy McKay, a wonderful musician, who was taught by her parents that her eternal position was being determined by her daily actions. She was an example to everyone who knew her. One athlete from out of state became interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ just by watching her and recognizing her purity. She knew that the person she was to become she was then becoming.

A second thought that needs thinking is this: Today might be one of your key days. Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches who has ever lived, trained his players to give all they had in every play. He explained: “In every football game there are only five or six key plays that determine the final outcome of the game; however, no one knows when those key plays will materialize, and so we must give all we have every play in order to stop the opposition from scoring or to be able to score ourselves.”

That is how life is. We have five or six, or perhaps even a few more, key days in our lives—the day that we decide to give all we are and all we have to the Lord Jesus Christ; the day we find that special person with whom we can hold hands throughout eternity; the day we say, “Yes, bishop, I will serve wherever I am sent.” There are not many of those days, but we must live the very best we can every day so that when those key days come along we will respond properly and end up with the eternal reward that awaits all who are worthy.

A third thought that needs thinking is this: If you do not respond properly to a challenge, maybe no one will. My mind flashes back to Granite High School, to a young lady there who had a number of problems. She was very poor. She could not dress like the other students, and she was insecure and frightened. But a young man who knew her would say, “Hi, how ya doin’?” One day they were to take a test in history, and he said to her, “Let’s sit down and study together.” They did; she could tell that he knew she had value—not necessarily romantic value, but value as a friend and fellow human being.

The weeks came and went. One day she told that young man that he had saved her life. “What do you mean, I’ve saved your life?” he asked.

“Do you remember the day we had that history test?”


“I was going to take my life that day. I knew no one cared, that no one loved me. People made fun of the way I dressed, the things I said, and the way I looked. But you cared, and because of that I’m still alive.” She is now a nurse, ministering to the needs of others.

If we think these three thoughts—of becoming what we are, of key days, and of caring—and believe them, we will find it easier to say what should be said and do what must be done.

Illustrated by Dennis Millard