Sunday, July 24, 2016


In the August 1989 New Era Elder Ezra Taft Benson was quoted as saying, ‘Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.’

Kathleen and I have many times born testimony to one another concerning how most of the wonderful and growing experiences we have had in this life came about because of callings and blessings from our Heavenly Father and not because of our own initiative or ingenuity. As we reminisce over our earthly estate it becomes very apparent that a great deal of meaning and excitement would be removed and we would be left with a very empty shell if we were to remove the lot that God has made of our lives.

I am pretty certain that with just a little effort many of you who are reading this Thought would come to that same conclusion and be able to proclaim a similar testimony of the certainty of the blessings which came because you were obedient to the will of Deity in your lives.

On this particularly important date of July 24th, for those who are of the flock of latter-day-saints (really, those who are of the flock of those attempting to become latter-day-saints) I am reminded of the historically significant changes which resulted because Brigham Young chose to do the will of the Lord rather than his own.

I am certain when the unedited script of Brigham’s life is made available we will find the words he uttered as he first viewed the Salt Lake Valley were inspired from a higher source and were not of his own origin.

We must never forget that this modern day Moses might never have been immortalized by the latter-day-attempting to be saints if he had not been willing to go and do as the Lord had directed.

There would be no This is the Place Monument, the pioneers may have all perished at the hands of the Missouri mobs, the Mormon Battalion may never have planted the United States Flag on the plains of what would become San Diego, there probably would not be a state of Utah (a small portion of the State of Deseret Brigham envisioned). All of this and possibly much more which could be added might never have been, had Brigham not turned his life over to the will of God.

I have noticed that young people who often cried that they are bored turn out to be adults who scream out to anyone who will listen that they feel unfulfilled. It may well be that the formula for eliminating boredom from our lives and having a sense of fulfillment is truly founded in turning our lives over to the Omniscience of our Heavenly Father. If the formula really is to be found there, then as we have been admonished to add the gaining of wisdom to all our learning, why don't more of us turn our lives over to God?

You don't have to be a very thorough searcher of the scriptures to find the warning that mortals have the propensity to put their trust in the arm of flesh rather than in the Lord.

This propensity, of believing humans are the ultimate species and ruler over their own destiny, seems to be wrought upon us because we generally think that all knowledge is a result of human effort or we don't really have a desire to do what God would have us do.

If neither of these reasons is responsible for our failing to follow God’s divine direction then perhaps the reason for our halting, hesitating and lack of humility lies in our inability to understand how we go about turning our lives over to the Lord.

On January 14, 1847 the saints who had been expelled from Nauvoo were trying to sustain life on the shores of the Missouri River in what was called the Camp of Israel or Winter Quarters; when Brigham Young received direction from the Lord on how to proceed in their journeys to the west.

On that occasion the Lord made it clear to Brigham that success would come in proceeding according to the mind and will of the Lord and not man’s will. The Lord amplified the point in the following words, ‘If any man seek to build up himself and seeketh not my counsel, he shall have no power, and his folly shall be made manifest.’

From that same revelation, now found in the 136th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, we can arrange a possible outline of the formula for turning our lives over to the Lord and thus maximizing the fulfillment of our lives during our short mortal span.


We must learn how to hear the directions our Father would give us. We must learn how to separate the still small voice of the Holy Spirit from the static created by the learned. Without having this vision we individually and collectively will perish.


We must organize and prioritize our lives in such a way that doing His will always takes precedence over our own selfish desires.


We must eliminate those unnecessary and excess things from our lives which would encumber us and keep us from being on the Lord’s errand. We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by other’s demands or the taunting siren calls of the world.


We must continually be striving to align our natures with the attributes and characteristics of the Divine Nature and by so doing, make our living as He would have us live a more natural occurrence.


We must be prepared to overcome the trials which we will encounter on the path upon which He has placed our feet. We must let our souls be open to the understanding of the growth which is taking place because of our obedience to His will and the Refiner’s fire which is eliminating the dross from our lives.


We must allow our ears to be constantly alert and our eyes continually open so that we can be enlightened in the needed moment by His Holy Spirit as we face the daily choices on the path upon which He has set us.


We must be ready to receive the Lord’s message that ‘this is the place’ He intended for our arrival, when the task he set us upon is completed. We must willingly relinquish His errand to another of His children who is in need of fulfillment.

Just as the trusting pioneers of 1847 found personal and collective fulfillment of their hopes and dreams in the cooling waters of the Jordan River and the fertile soils prepared by the Lord in the valleys of the Wasatch Mountains, we, along with legions, can bear witness today just as our forefathers before us have born, ‘Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.’

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