Monday, July 16, 2012

GCBC Week 16: The Merciful Obtain Mercy

Sorry GCBC is so late this week. I have been sick as a dog. Not strep again, thank goodness, but enough that it’s hard to sit and do one thing.

I know you’ve all been waiting for this talk. It was probably one of the most popular talks from General Conference (it seems like President Uchtdorf is pretty good at giving talks in General Conference – his usually tend to be keepers).

In fact, Middle-aged Mormon Man wrote a great blog post about President Uchtdorf’s talk that is definitely a must read if you are going to read President Uchtdorf’s talk. It’s titlted “Uchtdorf’s Hammer”. You won’t regret reading it. In fact, you should probably read it even before you comment on GCBC this week. It’s that good, it might actually change your perspective about President Uchtdorf’s talk.

The Merciful Obtain Mercy – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

While I really enjoyed this entire talk, the one phrase that knocked the wind out of me, so to speak, was this – “Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?” I really liked this definition of gossip from Google, “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people.” I think the big part for me is the “unconstrained” conversation.

In a book I read recently, I encountered this bit of wisdom about our speech –

The Sufis have a “wisdom saying” that our words must pass through three gates: Is it true? If it isn’t, don’t say it. If it is true, it must pass through two more gates before you speak it: Is it necessary to say? and Is it kind? If it is not necessary to say, don’t speak it. If it is necessary, find a way to say it in a kind way. Kind does not mean candy-coating the truth; it means saying what needs to be said in a way that leaves the dignity and worth of all parties in tact.

I think this “wisdom saying” of the Sufis fits perfectly with President Uchtdorf’s talk. In fact, I would say that not only our words must pass through the three gates, but also our throughts.

There is a quote that I was sure came from a General Authority (I first heard it in a Young Women’s class when I was probably 15 or 16). Upon further investigation I cannot seem to find it anywhere on (which doesn’t mean it isn’t on there, or hasn’t been on there at some point – their search engine is definitely lacking), so I am assuming a wonderful YW advisor simply found this quote and thought it would be an appropriate addition to the lesson. It was.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Now I feel like this has become a tangent, sorry about all that.

What about President Uchtdorf’s talk struck you?


  1. Amen Sister and thank you so much for this post. I have to say that the words that stood out to me as I listened, was "Stop It". This very subject has been a burden to me for some time, and I realized that I would have to repent of my own behavior, even though I thought I was being good. I work in a place that can be traumatizing to my soul. It can be frustrating to work with people who don't realize or maybe they do, how their behavior can bother you. Sometimes I get ruff around the edges and start to retaliate, but then I am "reminded" as to who I am.
    So I was impressed to read Matt 5:1-15, the beatitudes. I used to think that these were "feel good" scriptures, and they are, but when I read them again, I realized that these scriptures can "succor" us, and teach us and lift us up and help us to do better.

  2. My husband's family has a lot of bad blood in it. Many of the hurts are ancient and allowed and even encouraged to fester from childhood fights. So seeing my children say hurtful things to and about each other, the "contention, resentment and revenge" Pres. Uchtdorf talks about, makes me heartsick. I don't want to create a new generation of emotional hobbled adults who are still nursing ancient wounds, unable to forgive, unencouraged to do so. I listened to this talk again with an eye to figuring this puzzle out for my family. The phrase that struck me most was toward the end "overcome evil with good." If I can foster a good situation, encourage good and point to the positive and loving whenever and wherever I see it, perhaps I can overcome the budding evil feelings and not let them grow and fester. I see this working in our ward where there have been some harboring gossip and problems: just saying hi and being genuinely pleased to see someone in church who has been marginalized (because of her own appalling and hurtful behavior, but still) seems to be creating some healing, some desire to return, even to change. We'll see.

    Oh, and your thought from the end sounds like a paraphrase of something I've heard several GAs quote:
    Sow a thought, reap an act,
    Sow an act, reap a habit,
    Sow a habit, reap a character,
    Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny”

    It was cited to Thackeray as quoted by Pres. McKay, also cited to E.D. Boardman as quoted by Pres. McKay and quoted by Elder Wirthlin and cited to anonymous in Bartlett's familiar quotations. I also swear I've heard Pres. Monson quote the same thought. Whoever said it, it's a telling thought!

  3. I was re-reading Elder Holland's talk about the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, and I think it coordinates so well with this talk about forgiving others and showing others mercy by President Uchtdorf.


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