Voice of gladness 'is so refreshing'
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"In a world where there are often voices of pessimism and negative feelings, the voice of gladness is welcome indeed," Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve said Saturday morning.
"We can choose our reactions to difficulties and challenges," he remarked. "One way to learn how to incorporate the voice of gladness through tragedy or happiness is to learn to apply gospel principles. They never teach us to be overcome by the negative, by gloom, or by cynicism."Disappointments, death, losses, or failures are real and difficult to manage but shouldn't cause a person to have a barbed tongue, lasting resentment or negative attitudes, Elder Ashton continued.
"The gospel encourages us to develop the capacity to learn from the past and present and see the opportunities that can be ours in the days to come. . . . The Lord would have us mingle our voices of gladness with His to give strength, encouragement, and joy to His children.
"If it is our nature to criticize or demean, we can cause the voices of gladness to be silenced. We need those who bring gladness into our lives. We need those who give encouragement and reflect optimism."
Sincere yet simple words of praise can lift souls and bring gladness, he said. "Encouragement can be quick and simple, but it is a voice of gladness that is needed by everyone.
"The gospel teachings have brought glad tidings to all the world. The subtle messages remind us of attitudes which can help us face the trials of life with less difficulty. Research has verified the fact that bitterness injures more the person who carries it than the one who caused it.
"Thank God for noble souls who can and do weather life's storms with sincere voices of gladness which overshadow the present and make the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ real and strengthening. A voice of gladness is so refreshing when an attitude of despair might be deemed appropriate.
"From guidelines given to us in the scriptures and by the words of the prophets, we learn that life is a teaching experience. Self-pity and discouragement do not come from the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But life can be both bitter and sweet. It is up to us to choose whether we want to reflect the voices of gloom or gladness."
Elder Ashton admonished members to remember that acts of kindness with pure motives and righteous purposes can be, and are encouraged to be, done in gentle voices and in privacy.
"We can program ourselves to build, encourage and to give strength. I know God is pleased when we declare glad tidings of truth, righteousness and His reality. My voice of gladness today is that God lives. Jesus is the Christ. Let no one or any situation take this reality from you."