BETA

'According to the desire of their hearts'

  • Reflect use of agency
  • Will eventually become- Will receive in eternity

Expounding on the doctrinal teachings concerning desires, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said Saturday afternoon that, whether in conception or expression, desires reflect use of moral agency. Desires thus become real determinants, even when with naivete, "we do not really want the consequences of our desires."

Elder Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve said that with desire denoting a real longing or craving, righteous desires are much more than passive preferences or fleeting feelings. "What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and will receive in eternity," he said. "For I [said the Lord] will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.' " (D&C 137:9.)

He said that God delights in blessing people, but Satan, in contrast, desires "that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Ne. 2:27.)

Elder Maxwell said people become the victims of their wrong desires, and that this is an age when many refuse to feel responsible for themselves. It is a time, he observed, when the selfish philosophy of "No fault" is replacing the meek and apologetic "My fault," and genuine pleas of forgiveness are replaced with the ritualistic, "Sorry. I hope I can forgive myself."

"Like it or not," Elder Maxwell said, "reality requires that we acknowledge responsibility for our desires. Which do we really desire, God's plans for us or Satan's?

"Whenever spiritually significant things are underway, righteous desires are present." Further, he added, "The absence of keen desire - of merely being lukewarm - causes a terrible flattening."

Elder Maxwell said that even a spark of desire can begin change, as with the prodigal son. (See Luke 15:17-18.)

"Remember," he said, "it is our own desires which determine the sizing and the attractiveness of various temptations. We set our thermostats as to temptations."

Elder Maxwell noted that each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service and of worship, however small and incremental, adds to one's spiritual momentum. He declared that the Lord will "work with us," but only by "educating and training our desires can they become our allies instead of our enemies."

Some present desires need to be diminished and dissolved, he said. "But the dissolution of wrong desires is only part of it," he said. "For instance, what is now only a weak desire to be a better spouse, father or mother needs to become a stronger desire, just as Abraham experienced divine discontent and desired greater happiness and knowledge." (See Abr. 1:2.)

"Our merciful and longsuffering Lord is ever ready to help," Elder Maxwell said. "His `arm is lengthened out all the day long,' (2 Ne. 28:32) and even if His arm goes ungrasped, it was unarguably there."

He said when people are described as "having lost their desire for sin," it is they only who deliberately decided to lose those wrong desires by being willing to "give away all

theirT sins" in order to know God. (Alma 22:18.)

Elder Maxwell spoke of the role of conscientious and able parents to do all they can do to exemplify and explain, helping their children gain righteous desires. Still, even such superb parents as Adam and Eve, and Lehi and Sariah, lost some of their children.

"A loving God will work with us, but the initiating particle of desire which ignites the spark of resolve must be our own," Elder Maxwell said.