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Select Quotations from the Teachings of Thomas S. Monson

The following quotes come from the book Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, quotes from sixteenth president Thomas S. Monson, originally published in 2011 by Deseret Book.  This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 2014. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.

Eternal life

“It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings are earned. A high report card of mortality qualifies us to graduate with honors” (Thomas S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,’ Satellite. Broadcast, March 4, 1984. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 33).

“Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is your 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” (Thomas S. Monson, “Decisions Determine Destiny,” LDS Student Association Young Women’s Meeting, Logan, Utah, May 16, 1968. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 102).


“In times past, great things journeyed in the crusades of Christianity, felling that, if only the Holy Land could be secured from the infidel, then Christ would be found in their lives. How mistaken they were. Thousands upon thousands perished. Many others committed heinous crimes in the very name of Christianity. Jesus will not be found by crusades of men. Still others searched for Jesus in councils of debate. Such was the historic Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. There, with the help of the Roman Emperor, the delegates did away in Christianity with the concept of a personal God and a personal Son–the two separate and distinct Glorified Beings of the scriptures. The Creed of Nicea, the ‘incomprehensible mystery’ of which its originators seemed so proud precisely because it could not be understood, substituted for the personal God of love and for Jesus of the New Testament an immaterial abstraction. The result was a maze of confusion and a compoundment of error. Jesus will not be found in councils of debate. Men of the world have modified his miracles, doubted his divinity, and rejected his resurrection. The formula for finding Jesus has always been and ever will be the same–the earnest and sincerest prayer of a humble and pure heart” (“The Search for Jesus,” Conference Report, October 1965, pp. 143-143. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, pp. 154-155). Italics in original).

Joseph Smith

“No description of models for us to follow would be complete without including Joseph Smith, the first prophet of this dispensation. When but fourteen years of age, this courageous young man entered a grove of trees, which later would be called sacred, and received an answer to his sincere prayer. There followed for Joseph unrelenting persecution as he related to others the account of the glorious vision he received in that grove. Yet, although he was ridiculed and scorned, he stood firm. Said he, ‘I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it’ (Joseph Smith-History 1:25). Step by step, facing opposition at nearly every turn and yet always guided by the hand of the Lord, Joseph organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He proved courageous in all that he did” (Thomas S. Monson, “Models to Follow,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 62. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, pp. 161-162).

“You will meet temptation; withstand it. The Prophet Joseph Smith faced temptation. Can you imagine the ridicule, the scorn the mocking that must have been heaped upon him as he declared that he had seen a vision? I suppose it became almost unbearable for the boy. He no doubt knew that it would be easier to retract his statements concerning the vision and just get on with a normal life. He did not, however, give in. . . . Joseph Smith taught courage by example. He faced temptation and withstood it” Thomas S. Monson, “Be Thou an Example,” Ensign, May 2005, pp. 112-113. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 310. Ellipsis mine).


“‘Be ye therefore perfect’ counseled the only perfect man. Such perfection is not achieved simply by wishing or hoping for it to come. It is approached as we establish specific goals in our lives and strive for their successful accomplishments” (Thomas S. Monson, “Constant Truths in Changing Times,” BYU commencement, May 26, 1967. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 124).


“There are thousands upon thousands, yes, millions upon millions of spirit children of our Heavenly Father who have lived here, who have never heard of the word ‘Christ,’ who have died, who have gone back to the spirit world in their state of progression and have been taught the gospel; and now they are waiting the day when you and I will do the research which is necessary to clear the way, that we might likewise go into the house of God and perform that work for them, that they, themselves, cannot perform. Are we willing to accept that challenge? My brothers and sisters, I testify that the Lord will bless you as you do accept and respond to that challenge” (Thomas S. Monson, Los Angeles Temple Genealogical Library Dedication, June 20, 1964. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 116).


“What will protect you from the sin and evil around you? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety. If you have not read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you so prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true–and it is–then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Church is true. If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. Once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through obedience to the commandments of God and through regular prayer and scripture study. Attend church. You young [people], attend seminary or institute if such is available to you” (Thomas S. Monson, “Priesthood Power,” Ensign, May 2011, pp. 66-67. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 263. Italics in original).

“Each one of us has the responsibility to find out for himself whether or not this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. If we read the Book of Mormon, read the standard works, and put the teachings to the test, then we shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of man or whether it be of God, for this is our promise” (Thomas S. Monson, “Life’s Greatest Questions,” BYU Fireside, February 6, 1977. Cited in Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 277).


“All of us can afford to pay tithing. In reality, none of us can afford not to pay tithing. The Lord will strengthen our resolve. He will open a way to comply” (Thomas S. Monson, “Be Thou an Example,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 44).

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