How to move upward from spiritual plateaus

As we progress spiritually in the gospel, we often reach a plateau where we are not making any further upward progress but are comfortable with where we are. When this happens, we must exercise our faith by stepping beyond our familiar experiences and surroundings. I suggest the following:

  • Examine the things we know we should be doing to determine if there are areas in which we need to improve. We recently attended the dedication of the Bountiful Temple and rededicated ourselves to attend the temple the first Friday of each month.- Listen to our priesthood leaders who receive divine inspiration on our behalf in directing the affairs of the stake and the wards. At a recent sacrament meeting, our stake president challenged all of our ward members to write to the Church News' "Mormon Forum" in response to an upcoming topic. This letter is in response to the challenge because I have a sincere desire to move upward from my current spiritual plateau. At the same meeting, our bishop asked all of the ward members to double their fast offerings for 1995, so my wife and I are also going to do that.
  • Listen to the promptings of the Spirit. My mother and father recently passed away. They were both baptized but not sealed. I have had strong spiritual impressions to do the temple work for them, so I am going to do it.

Hopefully, by moving out of my comfort zone and being obedient to my Church leaders and the promptings of the Spirit, I will be able to move upward from my current spiritual plateau. – Larry Strong, Kaysville, Utah

How we did it:

Welcome change

Recently, our stake had a division that involved six wards. My husband was a bishop at the time, and I was the organist. He then was called as a high councilor. Because of the new ward boundaries, we ended up in new ward that now made for a 50-mile round trip to Church. Before, it was only 10 minutes.

Before all this happened, we were at a spiritual plateau, and then we were in a new place and new callings. We had a hard time adjusting. But then my husband got involved in his calling, and I am the ward Relief Society president. We didn't realize we could still grow!

Our advice to others is to welcome change because you develop talents you never knew you had. Change is one way to move from one spiritual plateau to another. We thought we were happy, but now we're even happier. – Frederick and Angelina Harder, Seymour, Conn.

Back to basics

We just had a change in our stake presidency. They have stressed the need for our stake to get back to the basics of the gospel. Every member of our stake, including children, was given a card listing seven goals to help bring us back to the basics. The following are the seven items they would like us to be committed to: On a daily basis we are to have personal prayer, family prayers, personal scripture study, family scripture study. On a weekly basis, family home evening and missionary experience. And lastly, on a regular basis to attend the temple.

Speaking for only myself, these goals have had an impact on my life. To move from one plateau to another level, you must continue doing on a consistent basis those things that will raise you up to that next level. – Bill Sperry, Boise, Idaho

Blessings without number

I love Relief Society, the gospel doctrine class, and, of course, all things pertaining to sacrament meetings. I watch for the "Know Your Religion" lectures. Sometimes the lectures are scheduled for two in one weekend.

For me, this is a real high that I look forward to each year. Also, I appreciate the articles from the Church News and the Ensign. Other ways to reach a higher goal, to move upward, are continual family history research and regular temple attendance. Being in the House of the Lord brings peace of mind, contentment, love and blessings without number. – Leah Larsen, Pico Rivera, Calif.

Testimony meeting

When I have felt weighed down with troubles and I take part in a testimony meeting I feel renewed by the Spirit that is present. Hearing how others have overcome their much-greater trials, I take heart that with the Lord's help, I, too, can overcome and become close to Him.

Ordinances, whether it be a baby's blessing, a baptism or a family being sealed in the temple, really give me a spiritual lift. I know how far some families have to go, both in miles and in spiritual growth, to be taking part, and I am thankful for their diligence and faith. I think how they have relied on the Lord and on other faithful members to be where they are, and I think that I, too, need to rely on the Lord and on other faithful members to grow.

When spring comes to the mountains, I marvel at the beauty all around, at the colors, textures, smells and sights. The tiniest new leaf in all its glory is so much grander than anything that men can create. I see His hand in all, and I am uplifted. – Larry E. Greene, Pembroke, Va.

Good environment

Try beginning with the "outer you" first, including your environment. Listen to good or more spiritual music. Don't watch R-rated movies or anything bad on TV. Hang spiritual pictures throughout your home. Make sure you are having your family home evenings and are also doing all that you know the gospel tells us to do. In addition, exercise and eat right.

Work on the "inner you." Rid yourself of all negative thoughts, actions and emotions. Don't hate, judge, criticize or be overly sensitive. Learn to have the positive force of love – love for God, for yourself, for others, for the Church and for service. Be humble and learn to listen to that still small voice, and don't argue with it.

Work on the "knowledgeable you." Pray for more spiritual growth and knowledge. Research the life of Christ. Do temple work and family history work. Be a missionary and obey God and the prophets. – Pat Mayfield, Oronogo, Mo.

Recognize plateaus

I strive to do the following:

  • Realize that I'm on a spiritual plateau and that I'm going through the motions of scripture reading, praying and attending my Church meetings.
  • Change my scripture reading to scripture study by looking up a specific topic or trying to apply a verse or two to myself.
  • Listen during prayer. I will never forget something a Sunday School teacher told me about praying. He said to spend as much time giving the Lord a chance to respond as I do talking to Him.
  • Take notes at meetings, and, again, apply what's being said to myself, rather than thinking "I wish so-and-so was here to hear that." – Rachelle Rogerson, Murray, Utah

How to checklist:

1 Recognize spiritual plateaus; evaluate areas to improve.

2 Return to basics, including regular temple attendance.

3 Heed promptings of Spirit; listen to Church leaders.

4 Welcome change as opportunity to develop new talents.


April 1 "How to teach children the true meaning of Easter."

April 15 "How to enhance your commitment to Church service beyond the three-hour block schedule."

April 22 "How to sustain the priesthood in the home."

April 29 "How to help those who are less-active."

May 6 "How to draw closer to those to whom you are assigned as a home or visiting teacher."

May 13 "How to cope with and find peace after the death of a child."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.