Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to thrill an 8 year old and an 18 year old boy

Wanna know how to thrill an 8 year and 18 year old boy?
While they are at school one day, re-decorate their bathroom with a super hero theme.
Start with a cool Batman logo rug...
 add a superhero themed shower curtain...
 some framed photos from the internet...
 a couple of cool towels ...

and there you have it.

They were both THRILLED, I tell you.

Absolutely thrilled.

Monday, February 10, 2014

May Christ Life Thee Up part 4

The next implication of our simple key is this: 
We will live nobly, on a higher plane, 
because we will constantly think above our own individual needs. 
Sometimes it is easier to recognize a lack of nobility than it is to recognize nobility. 

For that reason I will tell you of my less than noble conduct one afternoon. 
I was in a neighborhood store, waiting for my turn and chatting with a neighbor in line next to me. 
Somehow the name of a mutual acquaintance came up—actually someone we both like very 
much but who is quite eccentric. My neighbor told a funny story about her; that reminded 
me of another funny story; she topped that one . . . Pretty soon we were laughing 
uproariously. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the clerk listening to us. It startled me into a 
recognition of what I was doing. I should have stopped. I didn't. But as I finished my 
transaction and walked to the car, I was overwhelmed with my smallness. They weren't 
mean or slandering stories, but I would have been ashamed if the subject of our stories had 
overheard us. I was so uncomfortable that I had to return later and apologize to the clerk as 
well as express my shame to my neighbor. Most of all, I had to let the Lord know that I 
knew that kind of behavior was wrong and I needed forgiveness. Nobility is a correlate of 
devotion to the Lord. 

Justice Potter Stewart is an associate justice of the Supreme Court. He defined ethics 
in the following way: "Knowing the difference between what you have a right to do, and 
what is the right thing to do" (in Rex E. Lee, "Honesty and Integrity," address delivered at 
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 5 Sept. 1995). 

That's a good one to think about, even memorize. "Knowing the difference between 
what you have a right to do, and what is the right thing to do." Quite often we have a right to 
lash out, to retaliate and to punish. But is it the right thing to do? 

Nobility suggests that even when we receive injury, we refuse to seek petty revenge.   We may seek to right a wrong, but revenge is another story. We desire to rise above our side of the story, to absorb pain and choose not to pass it on. 

Isn't that what the Savior did?

Next point: We will never be truly victimized by our failures, adverse circumstances,  or the bad choices of other people. Equally important, we will not be victimized by success. 
Now, how could that be? 

Even though our performance is uneven and awkward, there is something that we 
can count on as we come to Him in humility and submissiveness. It is that every event, every task that we are a party to, can be made to benefit our souls. That is a stunning 
thought, isn't it? Given the natural way, there are so many things that we do or that we are 
victims of that could hurt our souls. Only God, through the intervention of his Son, can 
change, in a miraculous way we don't understand, how things will affect us. 
"Pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in 
the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy 
performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul" (2 Nephi 
The Savior can turn negative things to our good. 
Rather than bitterness, when we turn to him, we can forgive. Then, our own suffering can help us develop the capacity to withhold judgment and to reach out compassionately to others who suffer. 
Turning to the Savior can also protect us against our successes. 
We see every day evidence of how success can result in destroying a person's soul. 
The media holds up lives ruined by success. What if, on a daffodil day, we really, really think that all of the good things in our lives are there because we are simply so smart, so talented, so effective that 
everything we enjoy comes as a direct result of our work and brains? 
Do you see my point? Pride and egotism injure a soul as surely as do the bitterness 
and pain of affliction and failure. Success is an affliction to the soul unless it is recognized 
for what it is—God's working in our lives. With success, as well as adversity, we pray that 
our performance will be consecrated for the welfare of our souls. And he will do that, 
because each prayer we offer will somehow be an expression that we are joyfully, 
voluntarily, and quietly desiring to give our lives to him. Then desperate days refine us 
rather than destroy us. And daffodil days become days of worship and gratitude rather than 
days of pride and boasting. 

Another dimension: We will live with the security that our real needs will be met and that we will be fully able to do our part in meeting the real needs of others. 

Last month our youngest child and only son—in a suit, missionary nametag on his 
lapel—waved as he disappeared into the plane that would drop him off in the Chile Santiago 
North Mission—only another hemisphere away! You know this story. I went home with that 
big hole in my stomach and went about my life, trying not to think of him every single 
minute. Well, about nine days had passed, and I was beginning to check on the mailbox 
more than once a day. On Thursday morning came a telephone call. A gentle man with a 
Spanish accent introduced himself. He said that his wife had been in sacrament meeting in 
Santiago the Sunday before, and our son, who had been assigned to their ward, was asked to 
introduce himself and bear his testimony. After the meeting she had offered to deliver a 
letter from him to his family, because she was leaving for general conference in Salt Lake 
City the following week. 
You can imagine that I wasted no time in driving to the hotel to meet these good 
people. How do I describe that little exchange? I have just told you that you can't always judge who the people are who have joyfully, voluntarily, and quietly given their lives to the 
Lord. Well, I could tell with these two. The conversation between Sister Jaramillo and me 
was in two different languages—her husband translated as we spoke a few words. She told 
me that her youngest son was in the Missionary Training Center on his way to Phoenix. She 
told me that she had met my son and that he was a very humble missionary. And then she 
reached out to me and spoke gentle Spanish words. Her husband followed: "My wife is 
telling you that she will take good care of your son." That took two Kleenexes to wipe up. 
Actually, it took all I had to prevent myself from making gasping noises as she handed me 
the letter. I told her that I wouldn't be in Phoenix to take care of her son but that I would 
pray for him. 
I walked out of that hotel lobby with such a feeling of peace and comfort. 
What do I really expect she could or should do for James? Stop by his apartment 
once a week, write him notes, cheer him up with periodic pep talks, bake cookies? No. Not 
at all. In fact, I doubt that she will need to do anything. Then why should I feel so good? 
The security I feel is rooted in her devotion to the Lord's will, because that means that if my 
son does have some real need, the Lord will know of it and Sister Jaramillo is at least one 
person in that city who would unhesitatingly respond when prompted by the Lord. 
I cannot tell you the security and gratitude I feel for each of you who kneels and 
offers herself to the Lord. You are the ones who he will direct to teach my grandchildren, 
who answer the needs of my married children, who invite my missionary daughter to dinner, 
who carry letters home to an anxious mother, who work respectfully beside my husband. 
You don't need to do everything all of the time for every member of my family. But I know 
that if you have given yourself to do the Lord's will, you will do the right thing at the right 
I love you. 
Another implication as we use this simple key: We will be assured success. 
This is a personal metaphor, but it helps me understand the power of guaranteed 
success. I hate to shop. Did I say that strongly enough? I hate to shop. I have very little skill 
and so have very limited success. And besides, I don't have good feet. Anyway, one day one 
of my daughters and I were shopping. She needed a particular piece of clothing for a 
particular occasion that would make her look close to spectacular. All this for a reasonable 
amount of money. Is that the worst formula? We started out in the morning full of energy 
and hope. But by early afternoon, we were dragging in and out of the dressing rooms. Her 
hair was full of static, my feet hurt, we were hungry, and we were getting grouchy. And then 
we had a startling idea. If we knew, absolutely guaranteed knew, that at the end of the 
afternoon we would have found the perfect dress, would it make any difference to how we 
felt now? We inventoried—the hair, the feet, the hunger, the discouragement—and we said 
unhesitatingly yes! We could easily go another three hours, if we knew there was 
unequivocal success ahead. And so we simply told ourselves that we were going to find the 
outfit—and, I am amazed to tell you, it worked! We were laughing and talking again instead
of whining and dragging 
Could it be the same with life? Do we get exhausted because we quit believing that 
success is assured? You know, it is! In the sooner and later context, it might not be sooner, 
but it will for sure be later. 
"Thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever. And the world passeth away and the 
lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. He that endureth in faith and 
doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth 
when the day of transfiguration shall come" (D&C 63:20). 
There must be dozens more implications, but I will only mention one more: We will 
expect to have to make this choice many, many times. Our ongoing responsibility is to keep 
offering ourselves and everything that we have and are to Him—to work actively but to 
cease judging each task with our mortal measurements. Great paradox of the gospel: In the 
total giving away, we receive total abundance, the only total security available. When we 
submit voluntarily and joyfully, far from being passive victims, we become victors, because 
we have accepted a partnership with an all-powerful and all-loving Being. 
We aren't in the onion patch for the weeds. We are here for him. We are here with 
Now I've worn you out. Surely we must be at the back door. Let's walk through it 
and sit in the living room for a last moment with Moroni 9:25. Mormon writes his final 
letter (at least the last one we have) to his son Moroni. He describes the "horrible scene" (v. 
20), the "depravity of my people" (v. 18), who are "without order and without mercy" (v. 
18), "strong in their perversion" (v. 19), "brutal, sparing none" (v. 19). "But behold, my son, 
I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved" (v. 22); and then 
our verse: 
"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve 
thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and 
death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the 
hope of his glory and eternal life, rest in your mind forever" (v. 25). 
It doesn't matter what time we live in: the time of Mormon (421 a.d.), the 1950s 
(doesn't everyone talk about what a good time that was?), or this very day. It doesn't matter 
whether we are talking about a difficult individual environment or a sin-filled culture. The 
only thing that provides real lifting—lifting beyond mortality and all of its chaos and 
troubles, beyond our own weaknesses and sins and changing fortunes, beyond our own pain 
and suffering and success—the only real lifting comes through our Savior and Redeemer, 
Jesus Christ. 
Daffodils do bring gladness. Healthy, happy children cause our hearts to sing. 
Balanced brain chemistry and physical health maximize our enjoyment of this world. Rides 
in convertibles, picnics in a pine-scented forest, shelter during the cold storms of winter—these are delights I wouldn't want to have missed. Economic security lightens our load of 
worry. Attentive husbands and the warmth of good friends bring contentment. 
Accomplishment, a job well done, music, art, an exquisitely written piece of literature—yes, 
there are so many things that lift in happy ways, but if some of these, if all of these, were to 
evaporate, to be snatched away from us, cut off at ground level, we could still count on 
Christ: the one who did only the will of his Father, the co-creator of all that is good, the one 
who knows every soul—the sick, the oppressed, the gifted, the gorgeous, the abused, the 
charismatic, the brilliant, as well as the bumbling and stumbling soul who can't seem to 
make anything work. Yes, you and me. He knows us. He not only knows us but loves us so 
much that the focus of his mortal and heavenly life is us. His simple key is a statement about 
us: "This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of 
man" (Moses 1:39). He suffered himself to be lifted up upon the cross that we might be 
lifted up, back to our Father, clothed with immortality and eternal life. 
And our part is easy, as simple in design as the Egyptian ankh. In faith, each of us 
takes the only thing we really have—our agency—and offers it back to him joyfully, 
voluntarily, and quietly. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

One of the things I love about her

I hope if I share this it doesn't come across as boastful or bragging.  I don't love it when other people do that,  However, this needs to be remembered.  
Because sometimes she leaves her dirty clothes all over the place. 

 And I find wrappers stuffed in the couch cushions because she doesn't want to walk two feet and put them in the trash.  

She has broken her phone 3 times and it's getting annoying.  

Sometimes she fights with her sister.  

And boy howdy if you only knew what a temper she has.  

But I love her to death and this email I  just got from one of her teachers is one of the things I love most about her.  

Her compassion. 

I want to remember this so that next time I get frustrated with her I can remember, She's not all bad.

Mr. and Mrs. Argyle,
I heard the sweetest compliment about Reagan  the other day and wanted to share it with you.  After our Sky Ranch iLead program, I had another teacher ask me in the hall if I taught Reagan.  Of course, I proudly said yes!  She said she had witness Reagan during Sky Ranch talking to one of the students from our Life Skills class.  She said, she didn’t stand and talk down to him, she got down to his eye level and (truly) talked to him.  She gave him a beautiful smile and wished him a happy day.  (I can hardly even think about it with tears coming to my eyes).  The teacher said she probably made that students entire day.
Reagan is beautiful inside and out.  She is a true  leader and role model.
I am so glad that I have her in my class this year,
Have a wonderful weekend,

Cara Dennis

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

May Christ Lift Thee Up Part Three

Which brings us to the next implication: 
We will view our daily, temporal tasks and 
duties differently—as offerings, not as repetitive or meaningless drudgery. 
It seems that every task I do—be it visiting teaching, carpooling, solving problems in the workplace, 
changing diapers, writing memos, making arrangements on the telephone—becomes 
ennobled if I do them in the spirit of an offering to God. Throughout the ages, mankind has 
been confused about what giving one's life to God really means—what it looks like. Some 
have thought it means renouncing physical comfort—wearing scratchy clothes and sleeping 
on hard floors. Others have thought it means drawing away from earning a living or handling the things of the world, retreating from people and entangling relationships—
particularly intimate family ones that require so much thought and care. 

One of the startling and happy truths of the Restoration is the truth about the 
relationship between the temporal and the spiritual. President Brigham Young, again: "If I 
am in the line of my duty, I am doing the will of God, whether I am preaching; praying, 
laboring with my hands for an honorable support; whether I am in the field, mechanic's 
shop, or following mercantile business, or wherever duty calls, I am serving God as much in 
one place as another . . . In the mind of God there is no such a thing as dividing spiritual 
from temporal . . . for they are one in the Lord" (Brigham Young, 22). 
Something about our mortal life says that we cannot just give our lives to God in our 
hearts and then withdraw from daily living. Our temporal tasks become an expression of and 
a builder of our commitment to him. 

Elder Henry B. Eyring illustrates this point with a story about his father, also named 
Henry Eyring. I will use Elder Eyring's words, because they carry the heart and meaning so 
"[My father] once told me this story with the intention of chuckling at himself . . . To 
appreciate this story, you have to realize that it occurred when he was nearly eighty and had 
bone cancer. He had bone cancer so badly in his hips that he could hardly move. The pain 
was great. 
"An assignment was given to weed a field of onions, so Dad [as the high councilor in 
charge of the stake farm] assigned himself [as well as others] to go work on the farm" (To 
Draw Closer to God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], 101–2). 
When others who were with Brother Eyring that day told his son about it, they said 
that his father's pain was terrible. Brother Eyring couldn't kneel because of his hips and went 
painstakingly up and down the rows, pulling himself along on his stomach—smiling, 
laughing, and talking as they all worked together in the field of onions. Quoting Elder Eyring again: "Now this is the joke Dad told me on himself afterward. 
He said . . . after all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone said to 
him, ‘Henry, good heavens! You didn't pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were 
sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway.' 
"Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing . . . He had worked through 
the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway. 
"I asked him, ‘Dad, how could you make a joke out of that? How could you take it 
so pleasantly?' He said something to me that I will never forget . . . He said, ‘Hal, I wasn't 
there for the weeds.'" 

And then Elder Eyring turns to us and speaks: "Now, you'll be in an onion patch much of your life. So will I. It will be hard to see the powers of heaven magnifying us or our 
efforts. It may even be hard to see our work being of any value at all. And sometimes our 
work won't go well. 
"But you didn't come for the weeds. You came for the Savior" (To Draw Closer to 
God, 101–2). 

Do you hear our simple key? "Joyfully, voluntarily, quietly . . ." 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

May Christ Lift Thee up Part 2

Another implication:
 Our accountability to God will be clearer, and our scrambling 
to meet the expectations of everyone else will be muted. 
That seems to bring sweet relief, doesn't it? 
One of the difficult things about life can be all of the conflicting expectations of others. 
Everyone needs help; everyone has an idea of who we should be and what we should do. 
What if we have submitted our life to God's will? 
Then we receive direction from him and answer to him. Not that we won't accommodate and help others. Of course we will be doing that constantly. He has told us that we are to help and serve one another, but how, 
where, when, etc., will be answered in the peaceful corners of our hearts—between him and 
Sister Marjorie Hinckley recently said: 
"We each do the best we can. My best may 
not be as good as your best, but it's my best. The fact is that we know when we are doing our best and when we are not. If we are not . . . it leaves us with a gnawing hunger and 
frustration. But when we do our level best, we experience peace" 
(Church News, 18 Apr. 1998). 

Yes, when we have joyfully, voluntarily, and quietly submitted our whole lives to 
the Lord's will, we will not have the burden of judging ourselves or others by an outward checklist. We can never judge the inward righteousness of another. What if someone  looking at my friend in the psychiatric ward condemned her for failing to do her church work, for failing to adequately take care of her family, for contributing so little to her neighborhood?  What if we condemned her, not knowing that in a very real and heart wrenching way she is doing her best by waiting  upon the Lord's will and that holding onto 
that image of a root that will send forth shoots again—that simple thought—is an heroic 
expression of faith and agency.

Think about the Relief Society sister who seems to energetically and consistently 
stretch the hours of the day to serve family, church, and community. Loaves of bread, 
enthusiasm, and perfect visiting teaching records pour out of her front door. But we can't 
judge her, either. Are these things expressions of her faith and choice to align her will with 
the Lord's? They may be—or they may not be. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught us about the 
different motivations for service. He said there "are selfish and self-centered [reasons for 
service] that "are unworthy of Saints." There are "those who serve out of fear of punishment 
or out of a sense of duty." "Although [these] undoubtedly qualify for the blessings of 
heaven, there are still higher reasons for service" (Ensign, Nov. 1984, 14). Elder Oaks then 
taught us that the highest reason for service is out of a pure love of Christ.

Paul taught the same lesson about service: "Not with eyeservers, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, 
as to the Lord, and not to men" (Ephesians 6:6–7). 

What a relief! We don't have to judge ourselves or another against an incredibly long 
list. We are plainly and simply accountable to the Lord and to ourselves. President Gordon 
B. Hinckley expressed this accountability in a recent general conference address: "The work 
in which we are engaged is their work [meaning the Father and the Son], and we are their 
servants, who are answerable to them." In another talk he reminded us that it doesn't matter 
what others think of us: "How we regard ourselves is what is important" (Ensign, May 1998, 
71, 4). 
This accountability frees us each night, using the words of President Brigham 
Young, to "review the acts of the day, repent of our sins, and say our prayers; then we can 
lie down and sleep in peace until the morning, arise with gratitude to God, commence the 
labors of another day, and strive to live the whole day to God and nobody else" (Brigham 
Young, Teachings of Presidents of the Church Series [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997], 25)

Monday, February 3, 2014

May Christ Lift Thee Up Part 1

"May Christ Lift Thee Up" 

Virginia H. Pearce 
Virginia H. Pearce is a former first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. She
has earned a Master of Social Work and is a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. 
(She is also the daughter of Gordon B. and Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

© 1998 Virginia H. Pearce. All rights reserved. 

"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve 
thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and 
death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the 
hope of his glory and eternal life, rest in your mind forever" (Moroni 9:25). 

I hope you won't mind if we delay talking about that verse for a while. I'd like to take 
you around the neighborhood, through some friendly streets and alleys, and then finally in 
the back door, where we'll meet up once again with Mormon and Moroni. 

For our first detour, let me take you back three or four years ago to a spring morning 
not unlike this one. I was driving to work down South Temple Street in Salt Lake. The sun 
was shining; the world seemed fresh and alive; there were daffodils everywhere and lots of 
that vibrant new green that we only see in the early spring. I was feeling good. It was one of 
those days when everything seemed to be right in my world. You know the kind of day. I 
was overwhelmed with love for my husband—he seemed particularly handsome and good; 
my children seemed like they were going to make it in the world. And they were nice 
people, too. We were all in good health; in fact, at that moment I felt extraordinarily healthy 
and strong. I thought about all of the wonderful people—friends, neighbors, associates at 
work—who made my world so good. My thoughts went to the day ahead. Yes, it was going 
to be a good one. There was work ahead that I felt I could do—work that was satisfying and 
interesting and that might even make a difference. I'm telling you, the cheerfulness in my 
car was almost edible! 

Yet even as I was reviewing how great my life was, part of me was looking on 
saying, What's going on here? None of the hard data in your life has changed that much, 
and yet everything seems wonderfully better this morning than it was last week! My 
analytical nature surfaced: Maybe the biorhythms are peaking; perhaps there has been a 
sudden change in serotonin levels; or maybe I created extra endorphins on my morning 
walk. Anyway, even as I looked for ways to explain it (I didn't really care how it happened), 
the daffodils were catching the sun, and I was happy. Arriving at the office a little early that 
morning—isn't that what you would do on a practically perfect day?—I even had time to 
leaf through my scriptures. 

Now, let me interrupt this happy picture and take you to a different scene. 
This is one a friend described to me. On this particular morning she lay in a psychiatric hospital at 
the bottom point of a terrible battle with an emotional illness. The war had exhausted her. 
She lay there thinking that she no longer knew herself. All of the talents, characteristics, and 
abilities she had developed over her life seemed to have fled. The things she had done in the 
past no longer brought meaning. Her husband, children, parents, and friends were in tatters. 
Prayer, scriptures, blessings—nothing seemed to help. She said the image that came to her 
so forcefully that morning was the picture of a tree stump, cut off at ground level, all of the 
living branches gone, a maimed and broken thing.

I have been thinking of my daffodil day—and also of that tree stump. Is there a 
symbol, or a sign, or an idea that is so fundamental to life that it would speak to both of 
those days? 

The ankh is a symbol that is common in Egyptian art. It is simple and beautiful. The 
ankh is called the sign of life, the symbol of life, or sometimes the key of life. We know 
little about its meaning anciently until the period of the Coptic Christians, when we begin to 
see it take more of the form and meaning of the cross. 

Now, I have told you that on that spring morning I reached for my scriptures, still 
thinking of my incredible sense of well-being, and started paging through the Topical 
Guide, stopping on the word cheerful. As I read through the sentence stubs, I was surprised 
by a pattern: 

"Be of good cheer, it is I" (D&C 61:36). 

"Be of good cheer, for I will lead you along" (D&C 78:18). 

"Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). 

That touched a chord. Everything about my morning became an expression of 
gratitude to the Savior: the spring morning spoke of him, eternal ties and family 
relationships spoke of him, my health, strength, work—it all found meaning because of him. 

Now to my friend in the hospital. She said, "My mind wasn't working right, and so I 
was unable to get the daily reassurance that you depend on to feel good. But even without 
that normal reassurance, as I saw the image of the stump, I was aware of the roots. 
Somehow, I knew that I still had roots and that there would be growth again someday. I 
knew that the time would come when I would look back and see this impaired time almost 
like Rip Van Winkle. I knew my mind wasn't working right. But even as I knew that, I could 
feel those roots alive—somewhere very, very deep underground." 

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer" (3 Nephi 1:13). 

"Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you" (D&C 68:6). 

Jesus Christ. Our sign of life, our key to life in all of its majestic and meaningful simplicity, is Jesus Christ. He fits every door, every life experience, every death experience that any mortal can possibly encounter.

He is the undergirding of the daffodil days, the root 
which teams with the hope of life, even when it has been pruned to the ground. 

He stands as the fountain in ancient times as well as today. He is our key to life. 
He is the light and the life. 

If he is the key, how can we most simply express that key in terms of us, in terms of 
what we feel and think and do? Again, the simplicity of his life showed us the way. He said, 
"This is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of 
my Father" (3 Nephi 27:13; emphasis added). 

If I could borrow a simple phrase—not even a complete sentence, but just the heart 
of a sentence—to express the key of life in practical everyday language for us, I would use 
this phrase, written by Alice T. Clark in her article on humility in the Encyclopedia of 
Mormonism: to 
"joyfully, voluntarily, and quietly submit one's whole life to the Lord's will" 
(ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols. [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 2:663). 

This phrase seems to me so basic. Like the ankh, it is beautiful in its clean and 
simple design. It cannot be spoken without a deep and complete faith in Christ and his 
doctrine. And the speaking of it weds that faith to its partner, agency. When we gathered in 
that council in heaven, before the foundation of this world, and heard the plan in all of its 
simple beauty, we understood about our need for faith as well as the importance of our 
Father's gift to us: agency. And we understood about the central and saving role of our Elder 
Brother. I'm sure it seemed wonderful in its simplicity to us then, just as it is now. 

Everything since that premortal experience persuades and calls for us to exercise 
faith in Christ, using our agency to choose him and his ways. 

Scriptural synonyms give rich and deep meaning to this phrase: 

"Spiritually born of God" (Alma 5:14). 

"To take upon them his name and always remember him" (D&C 20:77). 

"To love God with all your might, mind and strength" (Moroni 10:32). 

"An eye single to the glory of God" (D&C 4:5). 

"For we shall be like him" (Moroni 7:48). 

"To offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit" (2 Nephi 2:7). 

I love the picture of the charming little girl on the Mary Engelbreit greeting card, her 
heart in outstretched hands and the caption reading "Here!" (used by permission). 

Now, I am going to repeat our key-of-life phrase again, and for the next few minutes 

We are going to talk about all of the wonderful implications that roll out when we submit our whole lives to the Lord's will: to "joyfully, voluntarily, and quietly submit one's whole life 
to the Lord's will." 

If, in fact, we do choose to submit our whole lives joyfully, voluntarily, and quietly 
to the Lord's will, what are some things that will follow? What will some of the immediate 
and natural outcomes be? 

We will live our covenants, 
because living them is a happy choice. 

Covenants are not restrictive burdens; they are offerings joyfully made. We will strive to live covenants 
within that glorious cycle of repentance and growth. "I delight to do thy will, O my God: 
yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8). 

Let me tell you about my friend Pat Pinegar, Primary General President. One day we 
were in a meeting together. There was a long and belabored discussion a
bout sexual  morality, particularly concerning young people. We were discussing their vulnerability and 
the tragic results of sin, but most of all we were talking about how to convince them to obey 
the law of chastity. Why would they want to remain chaste, against the flow of the world 
and their natural desires? Many voices, lots of ideas, and then Sister Pinegar said, "I don't 
understand all of this. It seems so simple. Why don't we teach them to obey just because 
they love Heavenly Father?" 

Stops you short, doesn't it? 

There was an extended silence in the meeting. Sister Pinegar is one who constantly 
strives to submit her whole life to God's will. Certainly a life lived with that motivation 
would be a covenant-keeping life—and a much simpler life.