Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pursuit of Excellence

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. / There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—/ And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:18-19)

In 1976 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published a pamphlet entitled Pursuit of Excellence. This pamphlet contains a challenge that was designed to help Church members develop a Christ-like life of love and service:

"The Pursuit of Excellence challenge is intended to strengthen adherence to gospel principles in the lives of Church members who elect to participate. Each person who undertakes the Pursuit of Excellence challenge should so closely pattern his life to the sacred and enduring example of the Savior, Jesus Christ, that the basic principles of gospel living will be incorporated into his life for eternity."

The pamphlet also contains the encouraging words of President David O. McKay:

"Every noble impulse, every unselfish expression of love; every brave suffering for the right; every surrender of self to something higher than self; every loyalty to an ideal; every unselfish devotion to principle; every helpfulness to humanity; every act of self-control; every fine courage of the soul, undefeated by pretense or policy, but by being, doing, and living of good for the very good’s sake—that is spirituality... Spirituality, our true aim, is the consciousness of victory over self and of communion with the Infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one’s faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life’s sublimest experiences. Being true to self and being loyal to high ideals develops spirituality. The real test of any religion is the kind of man it makes. Being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men” [see Articles of Faith 1:13] are virtues which contribute to the highest acquisition of the soul. It is the “divine in man, the supreme, crowning gift that makes him king of all created things.”

The pamphlet contains guidance on creating worthwhile and meaningful goals pertaining to improvement in 1. scripture study and spirituality, 2. reading, enlightenment, and intellectual expansion, 3. physical health and fitness, 4. service, and 5. character. It provides specific goals (as well as suggested goals) to help each participant incorporate gospel principles into his or her life and to reach his or her full potential.

In the life-long quest to improve one's character, spirituality, intellect, sociability, health and talents, this little pamphlet may prove to be a helpful tool.