Messages of inspiration from President Thomas S. Monson

Dealing with adversity

Needless to add, that reference to man in the King James Version of the book of Job encompasses women as well. It may be safely assumed that no person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and tribulation. Nor has there ever been a period in human history that did not have its full share of turmoil, ruin and misery.

When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to think or speak the phrase, "Why me?" Self-incrimination is a common practice, even when we may have had no control over our difficulty. Socrates is quoted as saying: "If we were all to bring our misfortunes into a common store, so that each person should receive an equal share in the distribution, the majority would be glad to take up their own and depart."

However, at times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end — no dawn to break the night's darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea, "Is there no balm in Gilead?" (Jeremiah 8:22). We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. …

Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life's fight, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome. — "Meeting Life's Challenges," Ensign, November 1993, p. 70

Follow the Savior

Through the years, the offices I have occupied have been decorated with lovely paintings of peaceful and pastoral scenes. However, there is one picture that always hangs on the wall which I face when seated behind my desk. It is a constant reminder of Him whom I serve, for it is a picture of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When confronted with a vexing problem or difficult decision, I always gaze at that picture of the Master and silently ask myself the question, "What would He have me do?" No longer does doubt linger, nor does indecision prevail. The way to go is clear, and the pathway before me beckons. — "Windows," Ensign, November 1989, p. 69

Michael Lilley sits with Steve Wright during one of the family history workshops at the Youngstown Ohio Stake Youth Conference.
Michael Lilley sits with Steve Wright during one of the family history workshops at the Youngstown Ohio Stake Youth Conference. Photo: Photo courtesy Nicki Wilpula

Family history work

We must plunge into this work and get wet all over. We must prepare for some uphill climbing. This is not an easy task, but the Lord has placed it upon you, and He has placed it upon me.

He loves those children in the spirit world just as much as He loves you and me. He said about them, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that all that we do for our own salvation must be done for the salvation of our dear ones, because salvation is the same for all. He said something through President Joseph F. Smith which I thought was beautiful: "Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them, and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in the performance of these duties (Conference Report, October 1916, p. 6). — Los Angeles California Temple Genealogical Library Dedication, June 20, 1964


President David O. McKay would frequently suggest the need for us to turn from the hectic day-to-day schedule filled with letters to answer, calls to be made, people to see, meetings to attend and take time to meditate, to ponder, and to reflect on the eternal truths and the sources of the joy and happiness which comprise each person's quest.

When we do, the mundane, the mechanical, the repetitious patterns of our lives yield to the spiritual qualities, and we acquire a much-needed dimension which inspires our daily living. When I follow this counsel, thoughts of family, experiences with friends, and treasured memories of special days and quiet nights course through my mind and bring a sweet repose to my being. — "Gifts," Ensign, May 1993, p. 59

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