Both action and attitude are essential

Several revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants illustrate that both external actions and the corresponding appropriate internal attitudes are essential to a well-rounded spiritual life.

For example, the Lord states in D&C 52:15-19 that it isn't enough to only be contrite or even to be overcome by the Spirit, as important as these qualities may be. These worthy traits must be accompanied by one's keeping the commandments and bringing forth good fruit if one is to be accepted of God. Verse 40 in the same section instructs the people to "remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted." Unless these thoughts are accompanied by tangible actions nobody will be benefitted.In Section 53, Sidney Gilbert was instructed to "forsake the world" in order to be saved. (Verse 2.) This did not require him to withdraw from society, but rather to meet the challenge which one also faces "to be in but not of the world." One needs to maintain contact with others in order to serve them.

In Section 54, the Savior promises: "They who have sought me early shall have rest to their souls." (Verse 10.) In this context, "early" does not necessarily refer to the wee hours of the morning or to one's youthful years. Rather, it suggests that one should give high priority to keeping God's commandments and developing spirituality.

Baptism does not automatically bring a remission of sins. This blessing is achieved only if the outward ordinance is accompanied by the appropriate inward commitment to the Lord. (D&C 55:1.) Similarly, the laying on of hands does not necessarily guarantee reception of the Holy Ghost. This great gift is received only by those who are prepared for it. (D&C 55:3.)

The presence or absence of wealth is not good or evil in itself. Paul cautioned that "the love of money is the root of all evil." (1 Tim. 6:10, emphasis added.) In this dispensation, the Lord declared condemnation of those rich people who are selfish and to the poor who are greedy or lazy. (D&C 56:16-18.)

The pursuit of excellence is usually a worthy goal, but in some cases may not be. Each must seek first the glory of God (D&C 4:5) rather than trying to exalt himself or herself. W.W. Phelps, for example, needed to repent of his inappropriate attitude. (D&C 58:41.) Sidney Rigdon had a similar problem. (D&C 63:55.)

Hence, as we strive to keep God's commandments, we should be sure we are accompanying these outward actions with the appropriate inward feelings and attitudes. - Richard O. Cowan, BYU professor, Church history and doctrine

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