Permitted to see so much more

 This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Sunday Afternoon Session of the October 1989 Conference.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again here: maybe the reason it took me awhile to really love Elder Maxwell's talks was that I always heard them quoted in snippets (which is…the whole point of a quote, so that makes sense) and his little aphorisms always sounded so polished and clever, I thought they couldn't be heartfelt as well! But ever since I've been reading his talks in context—I mean, reading the whole talk—I feel like I see the clever snippets more clearly. They aren't glib after all—just well-considered, and well-developed, distillations of what are clearly much larger truths. One of Elder Maxwell's talents was that ability to distill doctrine so concisely, while directing your thoughts in an ever-widening circle toward eternity, and I guess that's a lot of what people love about him! He's quotable, of course, and I'm about to quote him myself—but he isn't MERELY quotable. So you should read this whole talk if you can!

It's a good one, as you can tell it will be as soon as you read the title: Murmur not! You know immediately you should brace yourself. :) Here are some parts I liked:

…Some murmurers seem to hope to reshape the Church to their liking by virtue of their murmuring. But why would one want to belong to a church that he could remake in his own image, when it is the Lord’s image that we should come to have in our countenances?

I've thought about that a lot, and it comforts me when I'm confused or surprised by something the prophets say. Isn't that when I need them most? When their advice runs counter to my instincts?

Here's another thing I thought was interesting:

Those of deep faith do not murmur. They are generously disposed, and they are reluctant to murmur, even while in deep difficulties…

The pleading of one filled with faith who is also concerned with the welfare of others, as with Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, is not murmuring. This is not the murmuring of a superficial follower who is quick to complain and who is slow to endure. Reassurance and further instruction followed with Joseph being told: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.”  

I'm not sure I meet these criteria very often, but it's nice to know there's a version of pleading for relief that isn't the same as murmuring! President Nelson did tell us to "pour out our souls" to God, and I've taken that to heart. I hope my pleadings don't cross into murmuring too often!

Now here is my favorite part of all:

Finally, nonmurmurers are permitted to see so much more. Ancient Israel was once compassed about with “a great host” of hostile horses and chariots. Elisha counseled his anxious young servant, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” The prophet then prayed that the Lord would “open” the young man’s eyes, “and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”!

Elisha’s counsel can help Church members today to silence our murmuring. Regardless of how things seem, or come to seem, in troubled times, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” My brothers and sisters, if our lips are closed to murmuring, then our eyes can be opened.

This story about the chariots of fire is probably my favorite one in the whole Bible, and I have prayed SO many times to have my eyes opened as the young servant had his! I want so much to see God's hand and the angels that are aiding us in this battle. I want to see things as God sees them! So it's exciting to hear that it goes both ways—obviously, having our eyes opened gives us courage and reason not to murmur, once we see that "they that be with us are more than they that be with them." But likewise, choosing to trust and not to murmur—before we've seen the chariots of fire for ourselves—is a way to qualify for that blessing of opened eyes and expanded vision!

This is something I'm going to work on, because I really want to be someone who can "see so much more!"

Other posts in this series:

Closed Lips, Open Eyes—by Nathaniel Givens

Even though there is crisis, we are calm—by Jan Tolman


  1. So timely! Just today I'm fasting for a change of heart, to be able to quit murmuring. This social isolation (and masks in MN) have just about done me in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and testimony.

    1. I love that you're fasting for that! I should do the same, because I've been finding myself so annoyed at…everything…lately! Ha!

  2. I do want this! And I’ve been thinking that very thing! That when I’m grumpy and discouraged I become a bit blind to God’s marvels in my life. I love Maxwell and this encouragement to quit murmuring and be open to seeing His hand and ways more!


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