It’s fall in the northern hemisphere, a season of thanksgiving. We remember Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s speech at BYU on October 31, 2000, inspiring us to “live in thanksgiving daily.” The text below is extracted from his full speech, available here.
In the Book of Mormon we learn that we should “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Isn’t that a wonderful thought? To live in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if you lived in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if others did the same? Do you think the world would be a happier place? Less stressful? Less angry? More spiritual?
Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.
Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love. But how do we make this part of who we are? May I suggest three things that will help as we strive to live in thanksgiving daily?
First, we must open our eyes.
Our minds have a marvelous capacity to notice the unusual. However, the opposite is true as well: The more often we see the things around us—even the beautiful and wonderful things—the more they become invisible to us.
Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. Those who live in thanksgiving daily, however, have a way of opening their eyes and seeing the wonders and beauties of this world as though seeing them for the first time.
The second thing we can do is open our hearts.
We must let go of the negative emotions that bind our hearts and instead fill our souls with love, faith, and thanksgiving.
Anger, resentment, and bitterness stunt our spiritual growth. Would you bathe in impure water? Then why do we bathe our spirits with negative and bitter thoughts and feelings?
You can cleanse your heart. You don’t have to harbor thoughts and feelings that drag you down and destroy your spirit.
The third thing we can do to live in thanksgiving daily is open our arms.
One of the best ways we show our gratitude is by blessing the lives of those around us. The great King Benjamin taught his people:
If you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice . . . —
. . . If ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. [Mosiah 2:20–21]
And how do we render thanks unto God? King Benjamin told us that as well:
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. [Mosiah 2:17]
As a special witness, I bear solemn testimony that Jesus is the living Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He asks that we believe in Him, that we learn of Him, that we strive to follow His teachings, and that we adhere to the teachings of our prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. He inspires him in the direction needed for this life and life eternal.