There are 17 thoughts on “Elder Neal A. Maxwell on Consecration, Scholarship, and the Defense of the Kingdom”.

  1. Pingback: The democracy of discipleship and the aristocracy of the saints – David's random ramblings

  2. As a young man in the Spring of 1977 I was pleased to spend a small portion of an evening in the home of Neal and his wife, Colleen, and thrilled to have him inscribe my copies of “A More Excellent Way,” “The Smallest Part” and “Of One Heart.”

    Up until I left Christianity and Mormonism ten years later, along with Truman Madsen and Paul Dunn, Neal remained my favorite Mormon person and author.

    When I finally cleared my shelves of my Mormon books it was with a bit of a twinge and fond remembrance that I donated theirs and Madsen’s to the DI.

    The passing of Neal Maxwell and Truman Madsen came with some warm-fuzzy nostaligia, more so than any other prominent Mormon death of the last 25 years.

    I can still conjure their voices and reach back and touch the things of value that I enjoyed when I was a Mormon. Along with the laughter of children and a few of the hymns on those few occasions when I visit a Mormon chapel, the memories of Neal Maxwell are among the few things Mormon that still warm me.

    I left Mormonism with no regrets but remain grateful for what it added to my life of that period. Neal Maxwell is high on the list.

  3. Thanks for sharing elder Maxwell’s talk. His remarks were so insightful, well-balanced and mind opening towards our responsabilities regarding LDS scholarship not just for scholars but for members alike. It’s been quite enlightening and edyfying. Thanks, again.

  4. Thanks for sharing Elder Maxwell’s talk with us. I was impressed by the concept that he presented of consecration; that we should not “hold back” from contributing what we have received; this may include time, talents (both money and skills), or knowledge that the Lord has given us or may give us. As a result I feel that I should share some of my thoughts and understanding of the phrase he talked about, i.e. loving kindness (in the KJV it is lovingkindness as one word), which is a descriptive attribute of the Savior and particularly associated with, as Elder Maxwell says, “his glorious atonement.” In Hebrew the word is ḥeseḏ and is variously translated as “kindness” (Gen. 24:12), “goodness” (Ps 52:1), “mercy” (Ex 20:6), and “lovingkindness” (Ps 103:4). “Lovingkindness” [ḥeseḏ] is coupled with “truth” in many scriptures (Ps 26:3; 40:10-11; 138:2); likewise “mercy” [ḥeseḏ] and “truth” form a couplet (Gen. 24:27; Ps. 25:10; 57:3, 10; 61:7). Some examples are: “But thou, O LORD, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy [ḥeseḏ] and truth” (Ps 86:15). Moses describes the Lord: “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness [ḥeseḏ] and truth” (Ex. 34:6). This is similar to David’s plea: “I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness [ḥeseḏ] and thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness [ḥeseḏ] and thy truth continually preserve me” (Ps 40:10-11). Many times there is an adjective that precedes ḥeseḏ and it is raḇ, meaning “much, many, great, abundance.” This phrase, raḇ-ḥeseḏ, is variously translated as “plenteous in mercy” (Ps 86:5,15; 103:8), “abundant in goodness” (Ex 34:6), “of great kindness” (Neh 9:17; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2), “great of mercy” (Num 14:18), and also “according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses” (Is 63:7). This phrase is used when describing the attributes and qualities of the Lord, e.g. Nehemiah taught “thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not” (Neh. 9:17). Moses described the Lord in these words: “The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6). David’s prayer was: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. …But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Ps 86:5,15). Compare this to Alma’s teachings: “And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and longsuffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers” (Alma 9:26). Nephi bears witness of the suffering of the Savior: “Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men” (1 Nephi 19:9). Lehi taught his son Jacob: “Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth” (2 Nephi 2:6).

    I believe that the Hebrew phrase raḇ-ḥeseḏ can also be translated as “full of grace” as it likely is in the Book of Mormon. It is couched in the same kind of phraseology that describes the Lord in both the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon. In the Doctrine and Covenants the triumphant Lord is described in song: “Glory, and honor, and power, and might, Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy, Justice, grace and truth, and peace, Forever and ever. Amen” (D&C 84:102). We also learn how Jesus progressed: ‘And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And I, John say that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness” (D&C 93:11-13).

    James E. Talmage in Jesus the Christ p.111-2 comments on the development of Jesus: “The child grew, and with growth there came to Him expansion of mind, development of faculties, and progression in power and understanding. His advancement was from one grace to another, not from gracelessness to grace; [but] from good to greater good, not from evil to good; [but] from favor with God to greater favor….”
    We must also grow in grace until we are full of grace and truth. “Behold, ye are little children and he cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth” (D&C 50:40). “For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fullness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:20). This is the same teaching that Peter gave to the early Saints: “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The prophet Mormon also taught: “And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works” (Hel. 12:24).
    Jacob the son of Lehi taught: “and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved” (2 Nephi 10:24) and Nephi adds “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). Now if the word “grace” is a translation of the Hebrew word ḥeseḏ then it becomes apparent that it is this quality (“mercy, goodness, kindness and lovingkindness”) that the Lord possessed that gave him the power to accomplish the atonement. And we must also grow is grace [ḥeseḏ], or in other words, we must grow and develop in mercy, goodness, kindness and lovingkindness; then the Lord can bless us with a fullness of grace (ḥeseḏ) and truth, and we will be like him (1 John 3:2; Moroni 7:48) for he is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; 2 Nephi 2:6; Alma 5:48; 9:26; 13:9; D&C 66:12; 84:102; 93:11; Moses 1:6,32; 5:7; 6:52; 7:11).

  5. Thank you for sharing. I was also struck with Elder Maxwell’s message regarding submitting ourselves to God’s will. There is something celestial and consecrational in becoming truly submissive to God’s will, something I am yet far off in realizing.

  6. A beautiful talk. Thank you for sharing.

    It’s interesting. One would assume by knowing Elder Maxwell that he likely traveled much, if not the entirety, of the path towards having his will swallowed up by the father. Yet, his words – likely many of the words of the Savior, communicated as best as Elder Maxwell knew how – are so distinctive of him. Truly, we emphasize our individuality through consecration as we concurrently come to know the Individual who suffered for our sins.

    A beautiful, inspiring talk. It has rekindled yet again my gratitude for our living prophets and my desire to live a life like the Savior.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Beautiful! Consecration, the all-encompassing law of the Celestial Kingdom.

    One of my most cherished documents is a personal letter I received from Elder Maxwell in response to my questioning him on a point of doctrine he mentioned in one of his books. I had the audacity to suggest to him an alternate understanding of the scripture on which he based his statement. His reply was that only the First Presidency of the Church had the authority to give a definitive answer to my suggestion and it was my prerogative to contact them if I wanted to pursue the matter. Then he lovingly added, “But, perhaps you might want to be like Mary and treasure it up in your heart.” I still treasure it in my heart.

  8. I was an avid subscriber to the Neal A Maxwell Institute for several years. I regret never having hear Elder Maxwell speak, but so much enjoyed reading his books. Thank you for bringing this talk to light. Elder Maxwell uses the term ‘loving kindness’ and I cannot think of a more appropriate term ( possibly tender mercies) that helps me to understand how much the Lord and Heavenly Father love His children. Thank you for being bold in your scholarship and adding to my knowledge and understanding. I comprehend the obligation that each member has to defend the Gospel, as we grow line upon line, precept upon precept. Scholarship is a lifetime challenge, and carries heavy responsibility. Thank you for all you do in defending the faith and enlightening the membership.

  9. This was my first experience with Elder Maxwell’s address on that occasion, and I found his discussion of “loving kindness” particularly evocative. It made me reflect on a time long past when someone unexpectedly did an act of kindness toward me, and it brought tears to my eyes to quietly remember that instant and selfless generosity by a brother long ago and far away in a military barracks.
    Elder Maxwell still speaks to us, though from the dust. And he reminds us of what really matters.

  10. That’s something that I very much want to avoid with The Interpreter Foundation. But it will require vigilance, and real effort. Success, in this regard, increases the risk of failure. And Interpreter is succeeding spectacularly.

    • The “creeping shift” you are talking about is that Fatal Shift Nibley decries, from Leadership to Management. The fear of being labelled and apologist has done what fear always does. Fearing man more than God more than man didn’t help Martin Harris, did it? Why do we not learn that? Why do we care whether or not people who only applaud when Mormons apostatize think well of us? Why do we fear the labels of people who loathe us? And I do mean loathe. Why would anyone let anti-Mormons determine what we study or publish? For the love of Odin, why do we waste a single paragraph trying to get people who would not AT GUN POINT say out loud that we are Christians to concede that we are Christians? We should not preach to the choir, but we should also not pander to the critics. I miss FARMS!

  11. What a wonderful piece. This, in particular, stood out to me. “I myself would be reluctant if you [scholars associated with ‘classic FARMS’] ever moved away from what had become your traditional role. Enterprises of scholarship may be like some businesses who fail at enlargement or lose the essence of what they have been successful at doing.”

    • I agree. It is like the inevitable creep from being small, agile, entrepreneurial, and innovative to large, corporate, bureaucratic, slow, and stifled in the business world. Large corporations often lose their original vision, and fail to keep up with the disruptive startups.

    • I had had the pleasure of reading an earlier version of this remakable address by Elder Maxwell. Reading it again was rewarding. One can almost again hear him speaking. Among the many things in this address that impressed me was his caution about what is sometimes called “mission creep” that often seems to afflict organizations.

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