Marvin J. Ashton teaches that Church leaders, as with everyone else, "have some weaknesses."

Marvin J. Ashton

Marvin J. Ashton, Be of Good Cheer (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987), 12

Deseret Book
Marvin J. Ashton
Reading Public

To keep ourselves unspotted from the world requires taking charge of and ruling our lives from within, accepting responsibility for our own actions, and choosing the role of peacemaker rather than retaliator when those around us are critical or spread false propaganda. It includes being aware that God's work on earth is done by human beings, all of whom have some weaknesses. It encompasses the ability to look for the good accomplished rather than being disillusioned when human failings surface. It includes resisting the urge to proclaim such weaknesses so adamantly that the basic good is overshadowed and testimonies waver.

Pure religion is maintaining a balance between sophisticated, intellectual information and the basic "bread- and-butter" principles of the gospel. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to pursue learning in all areas. However, superior knowledge and academic achievements need to be enhanced by wisdom, good judgment, and spiritual guidance in order to use all that is learned for the benefit of the individual and his fellow beings.

Some think they can learn of God only by appreciating His handiwork. Mountains, streams, flowers, birds, and animals are to be enjoyed and admired; but this is not enough. In the formal Church setting, gospel truths are shared, new concepts are internalized, and new experiences are offered—all of which can result in enriched feelings about oneself and in learning better methods of helping others.

One who practices pure religion soon discovers it is more rewarding to lift people up than to hold them down. Happiness is bound up with helpfulness. Those who fail to protect someone's good name, who take advantage of the innocent or uninformed, who build a fortune by pretending godliness to manipulate others, are missing the joy of practicing pure religion.

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