Bridle All Your Passions

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A piece of rigging for riding animals helps us understand self-discipline.

A Bridle

Crownpiece (or headpiece) helps keep the bridle in place.

Cheekpieces help connect other pieces of the bridle.

Throatlatch keeps the bridle from sliding forward over the head.

Browband keeps the bridle from sliding back over the head and onto the neck.

Reins connect to the bridle and are held by the rider.

Bit helps control movements and rests in the “bars,” a sensitive area between a horse’s teeth.

Facts about Bridles

  • An animal’s head has more sensitive nerves than just about any other part of the body, making it easier to train and control the animal by moving the bridle.

  • Bridles and harnesses were integral to the domestication of donkeys, camels, and horses thousands of years ago.

  • The development and use of bridles predates any recorded history, perhaps by thousands of years. For instance, artwork from Egypt, Assyria, and other ancient civilizations shows horses and other animals wearing sophisticated bridles, and artifacts such as metal bits dating back to these and much earlier times have been found.

What We Can Learn

“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”

A Bridle:

Affects an area of sensitivity. Bridling our passions means controlling emotions and desires, which people can feel sensitive about, because the natural man wants them to have free rein. But if we overcome our sensitivities, we can develop self-discipline.

Is placed on animals that are of great use. We are told to “bridle all [our] passions,” not to suppress or kill all our passions. Controlling our emotions and desires does not mean to stamp all of them out because they are all bad. Just as we bridle animals because they are useful and helpful, we bridle our passions so that we can control them and allow them to serve a higher purpose.

Helps to tame and train. Just as wild animals can be hostile, unpredictable, and destructive, so can our passions and emotions be if left unchecked. When we tame our emotions, we can train them and redirect them in positive ways to fulfill a greater purpose than they ever could if we simply allowed them to run wild.

Helps to direct. The reins attached to a bridle help us direct an animal in the way we would like it to go. Similarly, we can channel some strong emotions into good works or other appropriate outlets in order for us to become better people and of greater service. By bridling our passions, we can “be filled with love”—one of the highest and greatest emotions—and become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Richer, Deeper Love

Elder David A. Bednar

“Every appetite, desire, propensity, and impulse of the natural man may be overcome by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are here on the earth to develop godlike qualities and to bridle all of the passions of the flesh. …

“Alma counseled his son Shiblon to ‘bridle all [of his] passions, that [he] may be filled with love’ (Alma 38:12). Significantly, disciplining the natural man in each of us makes possible a richer, a deeper, and a more enduring love of God and of His children. Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases through impulsive indulgence.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign, May 2013, 43–44.