Sunday, November 18, 2007


I had to speak in church last Sunday. So here is my talk.

I was asked to speak on the “Attitude of Gratitude”. I had this dream last night that my name was left off the program so I didn’t have to speak. I guess some dreams don’t come true. So, I will just have to have an “attitude of gratitude” and be grateful for the opportunity to speak.

On the church web site it says.

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us.

The Lord has promised, "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.

One night shortly after we got married, I was tired and wanted to go to bed. My wife said she needed to do the dishes first. I told her that I would do them the next day. This was huge for me because I grew up on a farm and my sister had to do the dishes. When they would complain I would tell them, I would do the dishes when they milked the cow.

The next day was along day at work and I got home late. My wife had spent the day baking. In the process she had dirtied every dish in the house. Both sinks and the counter tops were covered with dirty dishes. There were dishes I didn’t even know we had and they were all dirty. I really didn’t want to have to do all those dishes. I had a choice to make. I could have an “attitude of gratitude” for all the things she had baked or be upset because of all dishes I was now expected to wash.

Well I’m not perfect and mentioned all the dirty dishes. My wife began to feel bad and apologize, and I quickly realized that was not the write choice. I quickly changed my tune and started telling her I appreciated all the things she had baked. I realized that if I wanted to be happy and have a happy wife I needed an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes us guy’s can learn.
I have learned that life is full of those choices. Anyone can find something up to complain about. You can complain about church leaders, friends and family members, because they don’t do things the way you would like or give you what you want. Or you can be grateful for their love and service. It’s almost requires a constant effort to let the things that bother us go and be grateful for the things we have.

It takes a strong person to have an “attitude of Gratitude’. When we do, not only are we happier but those around us are happier also. Everyone wants to be appreciated for the things they do. One of the difficult principles that people have a hard time grasping is that what goes around comes around. If you want to be appreciated by others, appreciate them. If you want to be loved by others, love others. There are a few who will not return your love and appreciation, but there are plenty who will. Fill your life with the kinds of people who will return love and appreciation. Parents, you must understand that if you kids aren’t getting love and appreciation at home, they will look for it somewhere else.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 78–79

“We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.

We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior's great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement. “
There is no sacrifice that you can make for others that is greater than the sacrifice Christ has made for you. We should always have and an “attitude of Gratitude” for him.

Some times we look at others and think they have things so much better than us, and some of them do. But in this country we are so richly blessed. Someone said that we live better than any king that ever has ever lived. After thinking about it we really do. Never in the history of the world have any been able to get on a plane and be the other side of the country in a few hours, or drive in to church in the comfort of our cars. We have Ipods to store and play our selection of music. Cell phones to call or text our family and friends incautiously from most anywhere. For all this we should have an “attitude of gratitude”.

When my daughter was young she would sometimes see what others had and complain that life wasn’t fair. I would tell her that she was right, that “if life was fair she would be living in a hut in China and scrambling for food everyday”. After graduating from high school she went to China. We received an email from her on the day she arrived all it said was “China has humbled me”. Attached were pictures of the huts people lived in and people begging in the streets for food. The experience helped her have more of an “attitude of gratitude”.

When she way young she was a very difficult child to handle. She was always complaining and was difficult to like. Her first year at girls camp the leaders almost sent her home, because she complained about the food and convinced all the other girls that the cooks were trying to poison them.

Then all of a sudden, I still haven’t figured out what happed, but this girl that was very difficult to like, developed an “attitude of gratitude”. She started showing love and appreciation to everyone. She developed this amazing ability to make people feel loved and important. She became a young women that everyone loved and adored. Instead of leaders complaining about her, they were telling me how wonderful she was.

Her last year at girls camp we got letters from other wards telling us how much they appreciated the influence she was on their young women. One leader who with terminal cancer, who’s husband didn’t want her to go to camp, said, that “meeting and being with my daughter was why she felt inspired to go to girls camp, against her husbands wishes.”. I marveled that a few years earlier they were ready to send her home. What a difference a little change in attitude can make.

On one occasion I had the opportunity to wake across the high school campus whit her. I wouldn’t have been caught dead with my parent in high school. But she didn’t seam to mind. I was truly amazed that every student we met called her by name and said hi. I would occasionally ask whom that person was and often she would say she didn’t know. I was surprised because she had just said hi back as thought they were one of her best friends. I said everyone but there was one who didn’t. He was clearly one of those misfits’ ratty cloths, head down the kind of person everyone avoids. I was surprised when she said hi to him. He simply grunted in a response.

I realized that she was very popular. Not because she was a cheerleader or student body president. I was because she was kind, loving and accepting to everyone and she was well liked in return. It’s not that she didn’t have problems and challenges like everyone else. But her “attitude of gratitude” made life better for here and everyone around her.

President Faust Said
I desire to discuss gratitude as an expression of faith and as a saving principle. The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). It is clear to me from this scripture that to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7) is more than a social courtesy; it is a binding commandment.

In the book of Helaman we read of the distraction of the Nephite nation shortly before the coming of Christ.

11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—

(Book of Mormon Helaman 4:11 - 12)

It appears that they lost their “attitude of gratitude”. I deeply fear that we are going down the same path and will see similar destructions. Our economy is fragile and it won’t take much to bring it down.

I’m grateful for this gospel and the principles that it teaches. I promise that if you will live by these principles you will have a much happier life and will receive greater blessings in this life and in the life to come. If you have an attitude of gratitude you will be happier and those around you will certainly be happier.