Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Truly Good, and Without Guile

Hello Everyone!

This week I'm taking my title from a recent General Conference talk given by Michael T. Ringwood.  In his talk he focuses on the need to be truly good, and not be persuaded to do good things based upon wanting success or recognition.  He says that we should seek to do "what [is] right for right’s sake rather than for praise, position, power,accolades, or authority."

In seeking to know more about the phrase 'without guile' I turned to the New Testament where Christ himself  says of Nathanael "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"  Being free from guile is a trait praised by the Savior and a trait needed to receive answers to prayers and have the spirit with you at all times.  To better understand guile, we'll turn to an antonymic phrase to study it more closely: real intent.  

Within the Book of Mormon the phrase 'real intent' often appears alongside council regarding prayers and the attitude of prayer.  We are often exhorted to ask and act with real intent (see Moroni 6:8, Moroni 10:4, or 2 Nephi 31:13) and warned against acting without real intent (Moroni 7:6).  Sometimes I feel that we underestimate the power of our deep-rooted motives or desires in how we go about our daily activities.  But we know that God understands the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and we need to do our best to act as Nephi councils with "no hypocrisy and no deception before God" (2 Nephi 31:13).  

We are counseled by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf to be genuine, both in out relationship with God and with man, in his talk "On Being Genuine" in this past General Conference.  He tells the story of Grigory Potemkin who "desperately wanted to impress [several foreign ambassadors]. And so he went to remarkable lengths to showcase [Russia's] accomplishments.

For part of the journey, Catherine [the Great] floated down the Dnieper River, proudly pointing out to the ambassadors the thriving hamlets along the shore, filled with industrious and happy townspeople. There was only one problem: it was all for show. It is said that Potemkin had assembled pasteboard facades of shops and homes. He had even positioned busy-looking peasants to create the impression of a prosperous economy.Once the party disappeared around the bend of the river, Potemkin’s men packed up the fake village and rushed it downstream in preparation for Catherine’s next pass."

We often have to ask ourselves if the image we present to God and man are the true intents of our heart, or is it all a facade to have the impression of being prosperous, happy, or caring?  I echo both Elder Ringwood's and President Uchtdorf's messages of being truly good, and without guile and know that as we come to be more genuine and truly good, that we will have the blessings of the Lord with us always.  Now how one becomes truly good and without guile, is the million-dollar question, but I won't attempt to say that I know how.  Understanding that process is personal to you, and will take much pondering and studying to discover, but I know that God gives answers to those who diligently seek.  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Gailey

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