VSC Article_Header_Maurine_0001_2013The words of the prophets contain powerful counsel and promises. I am constantly intrigued by the fact that they, like the Savior, often use economy of language to convey powerful principles. Sometimes a sentence or two can contain volumes of truth.

(You may receive a free copy of Portrait of a Zion Person, the introductory book to my 7-volume Pillars of Zion series. Click here.)

Sermons in a Sentence

The words of the prophets contain powerful counsel and promises. I am constantly intrigued by the fact that they, like the Savior, often use economy of language to convey powerful principles. Sometimes a sentence or two can contain volumes of truth.

Take, for example, President Hinckley’s promise” When you are united, your power is limitless. You can accomplish anything you wish to accomplish” (“Your Greatest Challenge, Mother,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 97).

I wish every parent would post this quote by Marion G. Romney on his child’s wall before the child takes a class on evolution.

“There were no pre-Adamic men in the line of Adam…. I am not a scientist. I do not profess to know much about what they know. My emphasis is on Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and the revealed principles of his gospel. If, however, there are some things in the strata of the earth indicating there were men before Adam, then they were not the ancestors of Adam. And we should avoid using language and ideas that would cause confusion on this matter” (Marion G. Romney, “Records of Great Worth,” Aug 17, 1979 CES Religious Educators’ Symposium at BYU).

I’m a packrat when it comes to collecting short, inspirational thoughts from Church leaders. Here are some of my favorites.

Opposite of love is apathy

“Someone has wisely stated that hate is not the opposite of love. Apathy is. We will not have time for apathy in life’s journey if we speak and think positively. Seek, search, and work for worthy eternal qualities and friends” (Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, Feb 1993, 64).

The divine paradox of service

“Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another’s burden. You get by giving, but your part of giving must be given first”-(Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 251).

Are we listening to the cries of the poor?

“If you feel that Heavenly Father is not listening to your petitions, ask yourself if you are listening to the cries of the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the afflicted all around you” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2001, 74).

How love is measured

“One’s love is measured by how much he gives, not how much he gets”-(Harold B. Lee address at the Venturer-Explorer Department, pamphlet, 1968).

True doctrine changes behavior

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 2004, 77).

What we should do with what happens to us

“What we do with what happens to us is more important that what happens to us. The direction in which we are moving is more important than place or situation. We may have stumbled or been grievously hurt, but we have not fallen if we are willing to get back up” (Marvin J. Ashton, “What Shall We Do Then?” BYU Speeches, Jan 1975).

God will never desert us

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it” (George Q. Cannon, “Freedom of the Saints,” Collected Discourses, vol 2:185).

Priesthood power will protect the family

“Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2010).

God Is in the details

“Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives” (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Nov. 2012).

You cannot give yourself poor

“President Marion G. Romney said of welfare work, You cannot give yourself poor in this work.’ And then he quoted his mission president, Melvin J. Ballard, this way: A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.’ I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me” (Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, May 2011).

God always hears our prayers

“You can always have a direct line of communication with your Father in Heaven. Do not allow the adversary to convince you that no one is listening on the other end. Your prayers are always heard. You are never alone!” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Oct. 2012).

The sin of ingratitude

“I do not know of any, excepting the unpardonable sin, that is greater than the sin of ingratitude” (Brigham Young, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 177-82).

Spiritual healing by bearing testimony

“Spiritual healing…comes from bearing and hearing humble testimonies. A witness given in a spirit of contrition, thankfulness for divine providence, and submission to divine guidance is a powerful remedy to help relieve the anguish and concerns of our hearts” (James E. Faust, Ensign, July 2005).

The law of asking

“You have your agency, and inspiration does not-perhaps cannot-flow unless you ask for it, or someone asks for you. No message in scripture is repeated more often than the invitation, even the command, to pray-to ask” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1994).

Our desires must conform to scripture

“If the desires of our heart are contrary to scripture, then we should not pursue them further”

(Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, Nov. 2002).

God and one person can be a family

“God knows the feelings in every human heart.

He can soften sorrow and lead when there seems to be no light. Prayer can give guidance and confidence. It reminds us that no one need be alone in this world. If all else fails, remember, God and one other person can be a family” (Marvin J. Ashton, “While They Are Waiting,” Ensign, May 1988, 62).


The extraordinary future of Russia

In June 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith appointed Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve and George J. Adams as the first two missionaries to “that vast empire” of Russia. In announcing their appointment, the Prophet stated that to Russia “is attached some of the most important things concerning the advancement and building up of the kingdom of God in the last days” (Joseph Smith–History of the Church 6:41).

Faith is an intelligence force

“As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know. It is the principle, the force, by which the dead are restored to life” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Behold the Lamb of God, 285).

The plaguing sin of this generation

“The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986).

The eternal calling of father

“Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released. Callings in the Church, as important as they are, by their very nature are only for a period of time, and then an appropriate release takes place. But a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity” (Ezra Taft Benson,, “To the Fathers in Israel“, Ensign, Nov 1987, 48).


Drawing down the powers of heaven

“Learn how to [pray] boldly and efficaciously, not in word only but in spirit and in power, so that we may pull upon ourselves … the very powers of heaven” (Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, Jan. 1976, 9).

God will make a way

“I too believe that God will always make a way where there is no way. I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God, if we will follow the counsel of the priesthood, he will open a way even where there appears to be no way” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Be Willing and Obedient,” Ensign, Jul 1995, 2)


Love is defined by feeding and keeping

“Love is a process. Love is not a declaration. Love is not an announcement. Love is not a passing fancy. Love is not an expediency. Love is not a convenience. If ye love me, keep my commandments’ [John 14:15] and If ye love me feed my sheep’ [John 21:16] are God-given proclamations that should remind us we can often best show our love through the processes of feeding and keeping” (Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, Nov. 1975, 108).

I end with an astounding prophecy from Elder M. Russell Ballard given to BYU Idaho students in April 2012 and printed in the Ensign in January 2014. Every high school and college student would be well served by posting this prophecy in his room.

Face the Future with Faith and Hope

“Face the future with optimism. I believe we are standing on the threshold of a new era of growth, prosperity, and abundance. Barring a calamity or unexpected international crisis, I think the next few years will bring a resurgence in the world economy as new discoveries are made in communication, medicine, energy, transportation, physics, computer technology, and other fields of endeavor….

“With these discoveries and advances will come new employment opportunities and prosperity for those who work hard and especially those who strive to keep the commandments of God…..

“In addition, many of these discoveries will be made to help bring to pass the purposes and work of God and to quicken, including missionary work, the building of His kingdom on earth today.”

So much for the dooms-day prognosticators, who are getting rich with their books that predict the immanent collapse of the world’s economy. I think I’ll stick with the prophets of God and listen more closely to their short, truth-filled sermons.

Author’s Note

You may receive a free copy of Portrait of a Zion Person, the introductory book to my 7-volume Pillars of Zion series. Click here. Follow our Internet missionary project at www.gospelideals.org and LIKE us at www.facebook.com/gospelideals.