Inspirational Thoughts
August 1997

“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 3

First Presidency Message

Inspirational Thoughts

Ideas for Home Teachers

Some Points of Emphasis

You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussions:

  1. “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” the Lord has said concerning that which his servants speak, “shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).

  2. Prayerfully select from among the excerpts printed here those that would strengthen and bless the individuals and families you home teach.

Discussion Helps

  1. Relate your feelings about living in a time when the Lord has prophets, seers, and revelators again on earth.

  2. Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?

  3. Would this discussion be better after a previsit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the bishop or quorum leader?

Our Accountability to God

“I thank the Lord for the root of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is where we draw our strength. That is the source of our faith. That is the source of our understanding of things divine. That is the thing which brings purpose to our lives. …

“We are sons and daughters of God, our Eternal Father. Did you ever stop to think of what that means, that each of us has something of divinity within ourselves? It does not matter the color of our skin or the color of our hair. Each of us comes into this world with a divine birthright as sons and daughters of God. And as certainly as we are sons and daughters of God, someday we will have to account to Him for the way we have lived our lives. Will we be just a beautiful rose for a day or two, or will we be planted in the eternal truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ? My brothers and sisters, how thankful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ into which we can sink our roots and partake of the strength that comes therefrom. Life is purposeful under those circumstances. Life becomes a mission more than a career. We have more to do than to earn a living. We must live to serve” (fireside, Fukuoka, Japan, 19 May 1996).


“Death is a part of life. It is a fundamental, basic part of our eternal lives. We can’t go on with the great work that lies ahead without stepping over the threshold of death, sorrowful as it is for those who remain. I am satisfied that it is a beautiful experience for those who make that step, who have lived lives of righteousness and faithfulness” (funeral services for Harry V. Brooks, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 Feb. 1996).

The Meaning of Life

“You know what life is for, what it’s about, that you’re part of an eternal plan, that you lived with purpose before you came to this life, that this life is a mission and not just a career, and that we will step over the veil someday but keep on going and growing. I don’t know of anybody in the world who has the concept of the meaning of life that we have as a result of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (young adult fireside, San Diego, California, 24 Mar. 1996).

Solution for Poverty

“I have wept as I have seen the poverty and the suffering of the people in this part of the earth. My heart reaches out to them. I do not know what the solution is, except the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is the only thing that will help them and bless their lives. If they, even living in poverty and misery, can look to God with hope and faith it will sustain them in their hours of sorrow. Furthermore, I believe with all my heart that if they will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, the Lord will keep His ancient promise in their behalf, and they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads. I do not see any other solution. They need a power greater than any earthly power to lift them and help them” (missionary meeting, Philippines Cebu Mission, 1 June 1996).

Live the Gospel at All Times

“The religion of which you are a part is 7 days a week. It isn’t just Sunday, it isn’t the block plan, it isn’t just 3 hours in church, it isn’t just the time you spend in seminary—it’s all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year” (Parowan, Utah, youth fireside, 13 Jan. 1996).


“‘Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly’ [D&C 121:45]. There is so much of filth and lust and pornography in this world. We as Latter-day Saints must rise above it and stand tall against it. You can’t afford to indulge in it. You just cannot afford to indulge in it. You have to keep it out of your heart. Like tobacco it’s addictive, and it will destroy those who tamper with it. ‘Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly’” (fireside in Dublin, Ireland, 1 Sept. 1995).


“Some of you have money problems. I know that. There is never enough money in your homes. I know that. You are struggling to get along. What is the cure? The only thing I know of is payment of tithing. Now, that doesn’t mean that you will have a Cadillac and a mansion. But it was God who made the promise that He would open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings upon those who walked honestly with Him in the payment of their tithes and offerings, and He has the capacity to keep His promise. It is my testimony that He does keep that promise” (Oahu, Hawaii, regional conference, 18 Feb. 1996).


“We need to strengthen our sacrament meetings and make them hours of worship in very deed. Cultivate a spirit of reverence, an attitude in which people come into the chapel and are quiet and reverent and thoughtful. There is too much noise. We are a social people, but I wish we would not keep it up so loudly in the chapel” (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, regional conference, 27 Apr. 1996).

Sabbath Observance

“The Sabbath is such a precious thing. It represents the great culmination of the work of Jehovah in the creation of the earth and all that’s found therein. When that was completed, He looked upon it and saw that it was good, and He rested on the Sabbath day. Now, I make a plea to our people to refrain from shopping on Sunday. You may say, ‘The little bit that I do doesn’t make a bit of difference.’ It makes all the difference in the world to you and to your children who will see your example. Let there not be among us the kind of Sunday shopping which we have had in some areas” (Charlotte, North Carolina, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 24 Feb. 1996).

Temples and Temple Marriage

“What a magnificently beautiful building [a temple] is. But, with all the beauty of that building, that structure is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. That facility was erected and dedicated for the performance of the sacred ordinances which the Lord has revealed in this time, and among those sacred ordinances is that of marriage for time and all eternity. There is nothing like it elsewhere in all the world. And I hope, as you look to marriage, you’ll make a decision in your lives from which you will not deviate, that you will be married in the house of the Lord” (young adult fireside, San Diego, California, 24 March 1996).

Benefits of Missionary Service

“Everything good that’s happened to me, in all the years that have since passed, I can trace back to my experience here as a missionary” (fireside, rededication of Hyde Park Chapel, London, England, 27 Aug. 1995).

To Singles

“We need your strength. We need your faith. We need your capacity. We need your testimonies. We need your willingness to work in this the work of the Lord. Be faithful, be true, be devoted to this work. It is the only way you will find peace and happiness in your lives, and you will find peace and happiness if you will live the gospel. It is the way of truth and life and understanding” (Emigration Second Ward, Salt Lake Emigration Stake, sacrament meeting, 3 Mar. 1996).

Patriarchal Blessings

“I hope that we are encouraging those who are mature enough to understand the importance of a patriarchal blessing to receive one. I count my patriarchal blessing as one of the great sacred things of my life. A patriarchal blessing is a unique and sacred and personal and wonderful thing given to every member of this Church who lives worthy of it. I hope, brethren, that you men of the bishoprics, particularly, are counseling your people concerning this. And I hope you patriarchs are blessed with the inspiration and revelation of the Lord as you lay your hands upon the people in the fulfillment of that sacred calling as patriarch. What a unique, personal, individual, wonderful thing is a patriarchal blessing spoken by authority of the priesthood and the office and calling of patriarch in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Smithfield–Logan, Utah, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 20 Apr. 1996).

Power of Prayer

“How wonderful it is that you get on your knees, you young people, and pray in earnestness night and morning. I congratulate you. Prayer unlocks the powers of heaven in our behalf. Prayer is the great gift which our Eternal Father has given us by which we may approach Him and speak with Him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be prayerful. You cannot make it alone. You cannot reach your potential alone. You need the help of the Lord” (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, regional conference, 28 Apr. 1996).

To Young Women

“I want to say to young women here today, do not ever have any inferiority complex about your place in this world in which you live. You are a daughter of God, and I am satisfied that our Father in Heaven loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons. You hold up your heads and stand tall and walk in righteousness and faith and virtue and truth, and do not let anybody put you down or sell you short. You are daughters of God. Live worthy of your divine inheritance, my beloved young women. You are not inferior in any sense. Under the gospel plan you are daughters of God. Each of us has our place in the great divine plan, and we ought to magnify the calling and the field and the assignment and the qualities of good which we have within us” (Ricks College regional conference, Rexburg, Idaho, 29 Oct. 1995).

Learning Opportunities

“You are all in school. Do not waste your time. This is a time of great opportunity that you will never have again as long as you live. Make the most of it right now. It is wonderfully challenging, it is hard, it is tough. But what a wonderful thing to go and learn of all the accumulated knowledge of all of the centuries of time that is at your disposal. Go on to college or whatever school, vocational school, whatever your choice is. But take advantage of every opportunity that you have, because the Lord has laid upon you a mandate through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning not only spiritual learning but secular learning, and yours is the responsibility and you can’t afford to waste your time. There is so much to learn. Be smart. Give it the very best that you have” (youth meeting, Denver, Colorado, 14 Apr. 1996).

To Youth

“You are wonderful and you have within you the potential to do great and marvelous and good things. Don’t let anyone stop you, don’t let anybody get in your way, don’t get sidetracked on some venture of one kind or another that might injure you and hurt you. ‘Do what is right; let the consequence follow’ [Hymns, no. 237]. If things get going the wrong way at a party that you are attending, walk out, say good-bye. Stand tall, do what is right, count on the Lord and He will bless you in a wonderful way” (youth meeting, Denver, Colorado, 14 Apr. 1996).

Family Proclamation

“Why do we have this proclamation on the family now? Because the family is under attack. All across the world families are falling apart. The place to begin to improve society is in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger” (press conference, Tokyo, Japan, 18 May 1996).

Family Prayer

“Let every family in this Church have prayer together. Now, it is important to have individual prayer, but it is a wonderful thing to have family prayer. Pray to your Father in Heaven in faith. Pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can do nothing better for your children than to have them taking their turn in the family prayer, expressing gratitude for their blessings. If they do that while they are young, they will grow with a spirit of thanksgiving in their hearts” (fireside, Naha Okinawa Japan Stake and Okinawa Japan Military District, 20 May 1996).

Disobedient Children

“Now I know that once in a while, notwithstanding all the things you try to do, there is a rebellious child. But keep at it. Do not ever give up. You have never lost as long as you try. Keep at it” (Oahu, Hawaii, regional conference, 18 Feb. 1996).

Rear Families in Righteousness

“As I look at you and think of you in terms of who you are, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, now and to be, I think of the tremendous opportunity that you have to bring into this world a generation that could become the turnaround generation in this world that is slipping so seriously into the muck and the mire that is seen across the earth, to rear your families in righteousness and in truth with fidelity and love and faith and faithfulness. God be with you in the great and sacred undertaking in which you engaged” (BYU married students’ regional conference, Provo, Utah, 11 Feb. 1996).

Spousal Abuse

“Treat your wives with kindness. One of the great sorrows of this world which has been among people for generations in all lands has been the abuse of wives. No man is worthy of the priesthood who abuses his wife, the mother of his children. Extend to her your love, your respect, your appreciation. You cannot enter the highest degree of glory in the kingdom of heaven unless you go there walking hand in hand with your companion at your side. The Lord has made that clear” (fireside, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 June 1996).

Treat Wives As Greatest Asset

“My brethren, you will never have in all of your lives a greater asset than the woman into whose eyes you looked as you joined hands over the altar in the house of the Lord. She will be your most precious possession in time or eternity. Respect her as your companion. Respect her and live with honor together, and there will be happiness in your lives” (BYU married students’ regional conference, Provo, Utah, 11 Feb. 1996).

Blessing of the Priesthood

“What a marvelous blessing that every man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood can lay his hands upon the heads of his wife and his children when they need a blessing. And to the women who are here, I wish to say this, great is your blessing in the priesthood which your husbands hold. Every man who lives and honors the priesthood will be a better husband, will be a better father, will be a better man. How wonderful that in the restoration of the work of the Lord one of the great purposes was that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (fireside, Pusan, Korea, 21 May 1996).

We Are a Covenant People

“We are a covenant people, and that is a very serious matter. When this work was restored and the Lord set forth the purposes for that Restoration, He said that one reason for the Restoration was that His everlasting covenant might be established, or reestablished. … Now, in this dispensation, that everlasting covenant has been reaffirmed. We, in effect, made that covenant when we were baptized. We became a part of His divine family, as it were. All of God’s children are of His family, but in a particular way and a wonderful way there is a special relationship between God and the children of His covenant. … Each time we partake of the sacrament, not only do we do it in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Son of God, who gave His life for each of us, but there is an added element that we take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and pledge ourselves to keep His commandments, and He pledges with us that He will bless us with His Holy Spirit. We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations which go with that covenant” (fireside, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 June 1996).

Joseph Smith’s Faith

“Joseph went in [to the Grove] as a boy. I have wondered at times why the Lord would have him go in as a 14-year-old boy. Why didn’t He wait until [Joseph] was 20 or 30 or 40, when he would have had the weight of authority that comes with age? He went in—the Lord permitted it—and responded to his inquiry because he came in perfect trust as a boy. There was no doubt in his mind. He said that if anyone needed wisdom, he needed wisdom, and he asked for it, with full confidence that something would happen as a result of his prayer. We do not have anything of the words of Joseph’s prayer. But we know that he made inquiry and that a conversation took place. And Joseph Smith learned in those minutes, however long or brief, more about the nature of God than all of the learned divines of all time had ever learned” (missionary meeting, Rochester, New York, 12 July 1996).

Safety in the Church

“The greatest safety you have in your lives, my dear young friends, is your membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cling to the Church and live its principles and I do not hesitate to promise you that your lives will be happy, that your accomplishments will be significant, and that you will have reason to get on your knees and thank the Lord for all He has done for you in giving to you the marvelous and wonderful opportunities that you have” (youth fireside, Vista, California, 23 Mar. 1996).

The Way of Happiness

“The way of the Lord is the way of happiness. ‘Wickedness never was happiness’ [Alma 41:10]. Transgression never was happiness. Sin never was happiness. Disobedience never was happiness. The way of happiness is following the way of the Lord. I believe this with all my heart. If there is any message that runs through all of the Book of Mormon, it is this great, transcendent message—that when the people lived in righteousness, they were happy and they were prospered; and when they fell into wickedness, they were miserable, they were at war, they were in poverty, they were in trouble. That theme goes all the way through the Book of Mormon. As it was true then, so it is true now. The way of happiness for the people of this Church lies in following the ways of the Lord” (Oahu, Hawaii, regional conference, 18 Feb. 1996).


“With all of our doing, with all of our leading, with all of our teaching, the most important thing we can do for those whom we lead is to cultivate in their hearts a living, vital, vibrant testimony and knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Author of our salvation, He who atoned for the sins of the world and opened the way of salvation and eternal life. I would hope that in all we do we would somehow constantly nourish the testimony of our people concerning the Savior. I am satisfied—I know it’s so—that whenever a man has a true witness in his heart of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, all else will come together as it should. … That is the root from which all virtue springs among those who call themselves Latter-day Saints” (BYU married students’ regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, Provo, Utah, 10 Feb. 1996).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Painting by Robert T. Barrett.)

Photography posed by models

Photo by Steve Bunderson; posed by models