Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd counselor in the First Presidency, wrote an article in 2008 on Developing Christlike Attributes. President Uchtdorf grew up in Germany during WWII, and latter enjoyed a career as an Airline Pilot; as such he always seems to have a good analogy between flying a plan and living correct principles, but what really caught my attention in this message was the following:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’ To me, this teaching is beautifully straightforward. As we strive to understand, internalize, and live correct gospel principles, we will become more spiritually self-reliant. The principle of spiritual self-reliance grows out of a fundamental doctrine of the Church: God has granted us agency. I believe that moral agency is one of the greatest gifts of God unto His children, next to life itself.”
I’ve always found myself feeling the same way about government. “The best government is self-government or in other words, freedom to chose for ourselves, and understanding the natural laws [and consequences] that God has set forth.” While we need good laws to help us live together in harmony, and to help route out the “bad apples”, we will always be better off if we can take care of ourselves and each other without government assistance. For this to work we must be respectful of others, and live our lives based on Christ like attributes.
Socialism, and communism, are direct opposites to the ideology of self governance. As “We the People” govern ourselves in such a manner as to care for one another, help each other to lift each other, and as a consequence have very little crime or poverty among us, we will only need and expect very little from our government. On the other hand, as we become complacent, irresponsible, or down right immoral and unrighteous in our persons and action, we find an increasingly greater need for more laws, more government subsidies and programs, and as a result we become increasingly less free and more in bondage and servitude to the government and it’s laws.
How do we obtain such freedom? I liked what I once heard former President Hinckley (1910-2008) call it: Self Mastery. Our natural tendancy is to ask “what’s in it for me” or “nobody else is doing it, so why should I?” Our time in today’s busy world is made to seam increasingly more valuble, but we need to remeamber that Christ tought “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matt. 16: 25. Likewise if we give our freedom to help others, we will find it, otherwise we will loose it to an overbearing and terrantical government.
President Uchtdorf finished up his message with:
“By becoming more like the Savior, we will grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). We will “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (D&C 25:10).
This leads me back to my aerodynamic analogy. I spoke of focusing on the basics. Christlike attributes are the basics. They are the fundamental principles that will create the wind beneath our wings. As we develop Christlike attributes in our own lives, step-by-step, they will “bear [us] up as on eagles’ wings” (D&C 124:18). Our faith in Jesus Christ will provide power and a strong forward thrust; our unwavering and active hope will provide a powerful upward lift. Both faith and hope will carry us across oceans of temptations, over mountains of afflictions, and bring us safely back to our eternal home and destination.”