Intents of Your Heart


Neal A. Maxwell
Adapted from an April 1996 general conference address.

Children, you often have “the thoughts and [the] intents of [your] hearts” (D&C 88:109) focused on the Master. When you do, even though you are not full of years, you are full of faith! Too young for formal Church callings, even so, you have been “called to serve” as examples.

It has been a privilege to seal several adopted children to Nan and Dan Barker, now living in Arizona. Some time ago, Nate, their son, then just over three, said: “Mommy, there is another little girl who is supposed to come to our family. She has dark hair and dark eyes and lives a long way from here.”

The wise mother asked, “How do you know this?”

“Jesus told me, upstairs.”

The mother noted, “We don’t have an upstairs,” but quickly sensed the significance of what had been said. After much effort and many prayers, the Barker family was in a sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple in the fall of 1995—where a little girl with dark hair and dark eyes, from Kazakhstan, was sealed to them for time and eternity. Inspired children still tell parents “great and marvelous things” (see 3 Ne. 26:14).

Benjamin Ballam, who has spina bifida, is a special child of Michael and Laurie Ballam, of Logan, Utah. He has been a blessing to them and many others. Having had 17 surgeries, Benjamin knows all about hospitals and doctors. Once, when an overwhelmed attendant became vocally upset—not at Benjamin, but over stressful circumstances—little three-year-old Benjamin was an example of the Lord’s commandment to be “full of love” (Mosiah 3:19). He reached out, tenderly patted the irritated attendant, and said, “I love you anyway.”

A four-year-old Brazilian girl, Mayara Fernanda Dos Santos, suffering from leukemia and with oxygen going into her nose from a tube, was blessed in 1996 by Elder Claudio Costa and myself in Curitiba, Brazil. After the blessing, little Mayara smilingly wiped a tear from her anxious mother’s cheek. Instinctively wise beyond her years, Mayara knows how to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9), including her precious parents.

As you try to do what the Savior wants you to do, the quiet goodness of your lives will strengthen, comfort, and inspire your family members, neighbors, and friends.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown