To Know and to Really Know

When we lived with our Father in heaven, we did not need to exercise faith in whether or not he existed. We knew that he was because we saw him; we walked and talked with him. We were convinced of his existence, but we were not necessarily converted to him and to his teachings because our knowledge of him had come from external sources with virtually no effort on our part.

So that we would come to a knowledge of him in and of ourselves, our Heavenly Father proposed that when we came into this earth life a veil of forgetfulness would be placed over our minds so that we would not remember our pre-earthly existence with him. Only then could the choices that we made here upon this earth truly come from within us. Our Father in heaven then promised us that while we were here on the earth he would give us laws, would provide the possibility of opposites, would give us free agency, and would send angels and prophets to teach us and give us scriptures so we could learn the laws and the reasons why we should keep them. Thus, he promised us the necessary conditions on this earth wherein we could become morally free before him. …

It was explained in this great pre-earthly council that as we would come to the earth the Spirit of Christ would be placed within each of us and that another member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost, would be empowered to witness, reveal, and testify to our spirits. Then, even though we had a veil of mortality over our minds, the Holy Ghost would be able to bring all things to our remembrance if we would listen to the words of the prophets, would read the words of the scriptures, and would respond to the Spirit of Christ within us by praying to our Father in heaven. This time, however, the knowledge would come to us by an act of will on our part. We would have internalized it; it would have become part of our very being, and therefore no one throughout all eternity could take this knowledge away from us unless we, by an act of will on our part, would allow this knowledge to be taken away.

Daniel H. Ludlow, Values Institute, Brigham Young University

Rewards of Productivity

Our personal lives, the world, and God’s work thrive on productivity. The Lord has said:

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.” (D&C 58:26–28.)

Unproductivity is not damned by God’s wrath or anger. It is its own damning agent, since there is no reward without productivity, and since each productive step leads to another. Quality in life is the combination of a continuing sequence of productive returns that buoy us up with their contributions and open the door for new visions. It seems to me that this might be a major reason for the principle of sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit given to us by the Lord—that we find quality as we review ourselves and our productivity and remove sequentially, at the price of some pain, the trolls that get in the way of our trip to more lush fields of life. Such sacrifice provides the disciplining self-action which sharpens our vision and faculties so we can see, hear, and feel more than others may.

J. Joel Moss, Chairman of the Department of Child Development and Family Relationships, Brigham Young University

Time Is a Fluid Condition

It is not always possible for us to control all of our time. There are those inevitable, lengthened moments when we must bear sad news or when we are separated from loved ones, or when treasured plans are set aside. But even those moments can be meaningful if we are good to time: what better time is there to read a poem or to talk to God in prayer?

The story is told of a productive writer who travels widely. He always keeps a paper and pencil handy, and when others are wishing away minutes on long flights or agonizing over missed connections, he is making notes for his next book. He loves time. And time is good to him. To this man meaningful time is not just writing and traveling; it also includes teaching, raising a fine family, being active in church, business, and government.

Inevitably time does “slip away.” For some it simply disappears and leaves nothing. For others, when time is gone, monuments remain.

J. Spencer Kinard, “The Spoken Word”