The following quotes come from the book Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973). This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 2011. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.
“Some time ago, several outstanding teachers were honored at the general Sunday School conference. It was my privilege to pay a tribute to a Sunday School teacher of my boyhood days–Lucy Gertsch Thomson. Lucy was lovely and ever so sweet. She was deserving of a worthy companion. Yet such success evaded her. The years flew by and Lucy reached the worrisome 20s, the desperate 30s, even the frightful 40s–and then she met Dick. It was a case of love at first sight. Just one problem–Dick was not a member of the Church. Did Lucy succumb to the ago-old fallacy of marrying out of desperation, with the fleeting hope that one day he would become a member? Not Lucy. She was wiser than this. She simply told Dick, ‘Dick, I think you’re wonderful, but we would never be happy dating together.’ ‘Why not?’ he countered. ‘Because you’re not a Mormon.’ ‘How do I become a Mormon? I want to date you.’ He studied the gospel. She answered his questions. He was baptized. Then he said, ‘Lucy, now that I’m a member, we can be married at last.’ Lucy replied, ‘Oh, Dick, I love you so much. Now that you are a member of the Church, you wouldn’t be content with anything but a temple marriage.’ ‘How long will that take, Lucy?’ ‘About a year, if we meet the other requirements.’ One year later, Lucy and Dick entered the house of the Lord. Lucy lived the truth of the verse:
Dare to be a Mormon;
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known.
Plan your future with purpose” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson, p. 69. Italics in original).
“This loving God who introduced His crucified and resurrected Son was not a God lacking in body, parts, or passions–the God of a man-made philosophy. Rather, God our Father has ears with which to hear our prayers. He has eyes with which to see our actions. He has a mouth with which to speak to us. He has a heart with which to feel compassion and love. He is real. He is living. We are His children, made in His image. We look like Him, and He looks like us” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson, p. 10).
“I enlisted in the navy just 10 days before I would have been drafted into the army. Navy boot camp was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. For the first three weeks I was convinced my very life was in jeopardy. The navy didn’t seem to be trying to train but rather to kill me. Finally came Sunday and the welcome news that all recruits would go to church. Standing at attention in a brisk California breeze, I heard the words of the chief petty officer: ‘Today, everybody goes to church. Those of you who are Catholic, you meet in Camp Decatur. Forward, march!’ A rather sizeable (sic) contingent moved out. ‘Those of you who are Jewish, forward, march!’ A somewhat smaller group marched on. ‘The rest of you Protestants, you meet in Camp Farragut. Forward, march!’ Instantly there flashed through my mind the thought: Monson, you aren’t Catholic. Monson, you aren’t Jewish. Monson, you aren’t Protestant. You are a Mormon. I stood fast. Then came the perplexed comment of the petty officer. Sweeter words I have not heard. ‘Just what do you guys call yourselves?’ For the first time I knew there were others standing behind me on that drill grinder. In union we replied, ‘We’re Mormons.’ He queried, ‘Mormons? Well, go find somewhere to meet'” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson, p. 141-142. Italics in original).
“As Latter-day Saints we know that we lived before we came to earth, that mortality is a probationary period wherein we might prove ourselves obedient to God’s command and thus worthy of celestial glory” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection, p. 142)
“I testify to you that turning away from God brings broken covenants, shattered dreams, vanished ambitions, evaporated plans, unfulfilled expectations, crushed hopes, misused drives, warped character, and wrecked lives. Such a quagmire of quicksand must be avoided. We are of a noble birthright. Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is our goal. Such a goal is not achieved in one glorious attempt but rather is the result of a lifetime of righteousness, an accumulation of wise choices, even a constancy of purpose. Like the coveted A grade on the report card of a difficult and required college course, the reward of eternal life requires effort. The A grade is the result of each theme, each quiz, each class, each examination, each library project, each term paper. So each Sunday School lesson, each Young Men or Young Women teacher, each prayer, each date, each friend, all precede the goal of temple marriage–that giant step toward an A grade on the report card of life” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson, p. 65).