Summary of Week 7

This week’s reading and videos focused on trials and obstacles and how we overcome them. I was particularly struck by a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at BYU in 1983. His talk, as are all of his talks, was very powerful, but it was the story that he shared about the building of the Salt Lake Temple that was most instructive to me.

I won’t recount the entire story, but I gleaned from it the following principles to succeed against difficult times and troubles:

  1. Have a grand vision
  2. Do what is needful
  3. Mind the details
  4. Deal with obstacles when they arise
  5. Be patient
  6. Have faith in God
  7. Rejoice in gratitude at success

The key to motivating ourselves in times of difficulty is the first point: have a grand vision. In his talk, Elder Holland shared the stirring words of Winston Churchill early in WWII:

You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be.

-Winston Churchill

That vision of victory – of the prize won, and the glory to be had at the end of it all – is a powerful drive when the odds are stacked against us and the nights are dark and cold.

The battle for victory does not come cheaply or without loss, and I must be prepared for that. But those battle wounds will be a badge of honor in the end. Shakespeare teaches that in Henry V:

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the viigil feast his neigbors,
And say “Tomorrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

-William Shakespeare, Henry V

It is essential to have faith in God, too. Such trust will drive me to action and give me the power to overcome obstacles. When everything seems to be going wrong, I need to trust in the Lord to help, I need to get to work, and I need to be patient to see it through.

And when I do succeed, I need to recognize the help I’ve received. I should rejoice and be grateful for that help.

Summary of Week 7

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