Priorities and Balance

“Priorities and Balance,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), 276–82


Selected Teachings

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“The highest challenge we have in mortality is to use our free agency well, making right choices in the interplay of time and talents. Time is one of the blessings we are given. Generally speaking, it is we who let ourselves get fragmented too much. It is the result of not establishing (and then persisting in) certain priorities in our life. I am not denying the reality of the challenge you put, but neither do I think it is unmanageable” (Deposition of a Disciple, 68).

“Does all this mean that in letting go of the world, it will be easy to set priorities? No! It is often harder, for now we choose, not between task A, which is a tainted task, and B, which is good; but now we must allot time and talent between C, which is important and good, and D, which is good and important” (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, 19).

“Just as the Lord was able to summarize His priorities so succinctly that it is his ‘work and … glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39), so we, too, will need to be able to manage our time and talents in such a way that we, too, know our real priorities and focus on them. When we are settled in our hearts on that which really matters, then our talent and time as well as our treasure will be thus deployed!” (We Will Prove Them Herewith, 66–67).

Spiritual Priorities

President Spencer W. Kimball

“I am impressed that our various Church programs are like keys on the keyboard of a piano. Some of the keys are used much more often than others, but all of them are needed from time to time to produce harmony and balance in our lives. So often, therefore, what we are doing in our various talks and meetings is to remind ourselves of the need for balance, the need for fresh emphasis here or there, and the need to do the things that matter most without leaving the other things undone” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 70; or Ensign, May 1976, 46).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims of our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 13; or Ensign, May 1988, 4).

“To be successful, we must have the Spirit of the Lord. We have been taught that the Spirit will not dwell in unclean tabernacles. Therefore, one of our first priorities is to make sure our own personal lives are in order” (Come unto Christ, 92).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Our priorities determine what we seek in life. ‘Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness’ (JST, Matthew 6:38), Jesus taught his disciples. As we read in modern revelation: ‘Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.’ (D&C 6:7.)” (Pure in Heart, 6).

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Sometimes we need a personal crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. The scriptures are filled with examples of people facing crises before learning how to better serve God and others. Perhaps if you, too, search your hearts and courageously assess the priorities in your life, you may discover, as I did, that you need a better balance among your priorities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 14–15; or Ensign, May 1987, 13).

Family Priorities

President Spencer W. Kimball

“The Lord says in definite terms: ‘Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else.’ (D&C 42:22.)

“The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 310–11).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“The question is sometimes asked by younger priesthood holders, ‘Where do I place my greatest priorities—to the Church, to my family, or to my profession?’ I have answered that question by emphasizing that heads of families have four major responsibilities. Certainly the first is to the home and family. There should be no question about this. A man may succeed in business or his Church calling, but if he fails in his home he will face eternity in disappointment. … Home is the place where the Lord intended a father’s greatest influence to be felt” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 509–10).

Elder John A. Widtsoe

“The Church is composed of homes. Church and home cannot be separated. Neither one comes first. They are one” (Evidences and Reconciliations, 318).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Given the gravity of current conditions, would parents be willing to give up just one outside thing, giving that time and talent instead to the family? Parents and grandparents, please scrutinize your schedules and priorities in order to ensure that life’s prime relationships get more prime time. Even consecrated and devoted Brigham Young was once told by the Lord, ‘Take especial care of your family’ (D&C 126:3). Sometimes it is the most conscientious who need this message the most!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 121; or Ensign, May 1994, 90).