Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, in the April 1990 general conference, noted how small and simple things can be negative and destructive to a person's salvation.
He spoke of having visited with a man who had served as a missionary under his direction in Canada. After his mission, the young man married and he and his wife had three children. As the demands of his business became greater, the man worked harder to succeed financially, but it was at the expense of his family. But, with the support of an understanding wife, he felt they could endure until "things picked up." His wife began working, and as he worked longer hours he neglected his family and Church duties. Emotionally drained and physically exhausted, he became critical of others, including his family members and Church leaders. He began to blame everyone except himself for his problems. A feeling of hopelessness began to fill his heart. He and his wife began to talk in terms of divorce. A comment that he was worth more dead than alive was made as a joke, but he began thinking that his family really would be better off if he were dead."Can you see, brothers and sisters, how many small and simple things took their toll in the life of this fine young man?" Elder Ballard asked. "Like weak fibers that form a yarn, then a strand, and finally a rope, these small things combined together can become too strong to be broken. We must ever be aware of the power that the small and simple things can have in building spirituality. At the same time, we must be aware that Satan will use small and simple things to lead us into despair and misery. . . .
"Great and marvelous events seem to motivate us, but small things often do not hold our attention. Noting that the Liahona worked by faith, Alma stated, `Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means . . .
the people of LehiT were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey.' (Alma 37:41.)
"Is our journey sometimes impeded when we forget the importance of small things? (See Alma 37:46.) Do we realize that small events and choices determine the direction of our lives just as small helms determine the direction of great ships? (See James 3:4; D&C 123:16.) . . .
"May the Lord bless each one of us to follow the counsel of our prophets. We need to have family and personal prayers; study the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon; hold family home evenings; follow the admonition of the Savior to love one another; and be thoughtful, kind, and gentle within the family. Through these and other similar small and simple things, we have the promise that our lives will be filled with peace and joy."