Actions spring from feelings

"I stand at the door, and knock." (Rev. 3:20.)

Of this declaration by the Savior, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, then Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said at the April 1976 general conference:

"Unless we open the door and permit Him to come into our lives, He can't enter into our midst. Mere knowledge in itself may be, but it is not necessarily, power. Knowledge is not motivation. Neither is logic. That the springs of human action are inherently in the feelings, not in the intellect, and that conduct generates feelings are set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants in these words: 'And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.' (D&C 84:88.)

"Only in accepting the Savior and doing His will do we acquire the 'feeling to do right.' If we break the commandments, we get a 'feeling' for that too. This explains why parents' hearts may be broken and bowed in shame because of the sins and waywardness of their sons and daughters. They are puzzled and perplexed. They say, 'We brought them up to be righteous boys and girls, and our family has always been a good family. We didn't teach them to behave like this!' The children learned all the precepts, but precepts do not necessarily furnish the will and desire to do right. Indeed, ignorance is not the only cause of sin and deplorable conduct.

"Fundamental to most wrongdoing is lack of desire, the absence of a strong motive or the right influence, and a deficiency in living the precepts. Individuals who do right and 'hunger and thirst after righteousness' (Matt. 5:6) get and keep alive through their actions the feeling to do right. Inherent in the first principles of the gospel is the 'desire principle' — the desire to love God and fellowmen 'with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.' (Matt. 22:37.) To attain these heights, each of us must work in harmony with God's will and create a spiritual climate that will bring Jesus into the midst of our lives; and then we must continue to live 'with an eye single to [His] glory.' (D&C 4:5.)"

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed