Thursday, August 9, 2012


Nate and I were driving to the DC temple a month or two ago and we listened to a speech given in 1974 by President Gordon B. Hinckley entitled "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled". I sure miss President Hinckley! One day I hope I can be as eloquent a writer and orator as he was.

If you don't have time to read it, you should make time, but I will give you a small taste of what he says, which I find very pertinent to what we are going through right now with the upcoming election season. It is a religious and political commentary of sorts and is well worth your time.

I copy a few lines for you now:

The tragedy is that this spirit [negativism] is epidemic. Criticism, fault-finding, evil speaking—these are of the spirit of the day. They are in our national life. To hear tell these days, there is nowhere a man of integrity among those holding political office. The snide remark, the sarcastic gibe, the cutting down of associates—these, too often, are of the essence of our conversation. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure.

I come this morning with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that we "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey and blossoms. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated.

What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.

When I was a boy our father often said to us:

Cynics do not contribute.

Skeptics do not create.

Doubters do not achieve.

 I have decided I need to be a better example of looking for the good. How easy is it to fault find others and boast of our own moral character? I close with the last few paragraphs of his devotional with a challenge to try this week to accentuate the positive and disregard the negative when possible. Being kind always makes you feel better.

My dear young friends, don't partake of the spirit of our times. Look for the good and build on it. Don't be a "pickle sucker." There is so much of the sweet and the decent and the good to build on.

You are partakers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel means "good news." The message of the Lord is one of hope and salvation. The voice of the Lord is a voice of glad tidings. The work of the Lord is a work of glorious and certain reward. I do not suggest that you simply put on rose-colored glasses to make the world look rosy. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the critical, the cynical, the doubtful, to the positive. I carry with me a statement that I took from an article published some years ago on Commander William Robert Anderson, the man who took the submarine Nautilus under the North Pole from the waters of the Pacific to the waters of the Atlantic. In his wallet he carried a tattered card with these words: "I believe I am always divinely guided. I believe I will always take the right road. I believe God will always make a way where there is no way" (quoted in Look, 20 April 1971, p. 48).

Said the Lord in a dark and troubled hour to those he loved, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). May the Lord bless you, each of you, with faith, with affection, with hope, with charity, I ask humbly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.