Mormon Quotes

Dallin H. Oaks

Dallin H. Oaks
My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors.
Dallin H. Oaks, Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon
Dallin H. Oaks
[Satan] seeks to undermine the principle of individual accountability, to persuade us to misuse our sacred powers of procreation, to discourage marriage and childbearing by the worthy men and women, and to confuse what is meant to be male or female... [2 Nephi reads:] 'In all of this, the devil, who has no body, seeks to persuade mortals to corrupt their bodies by 'choos[ing] eternal death, according to the will of the flesh... which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring [them] down to hell, that he may reign over [them] in his own kingdom.'
Dallin H. Oaks, Same‑Gender Attraction, Ensign, October 1995
Dallin H. Oaks
We should note that the words homosexual, lesbian, and Gay are adjectives to describe particular thoughts, feelings or behaviors. We should refrain from using these words as nouns to identify particular conditions or specific persons. Our religious doctrine dictates this usage. It is wrong to use these words to denote a condition, because this implies that a person is consigned by birth to a circumstance in which he or she has no choice in respect to the critically important matter of sexual behavior.
Dallin H. Oaks, Same‑Gender Attraction, Ensign, October 1995
Dallin H. Oaks
By the same token, a woman's righteous and appropriate desires to grow and develop and magnify her talents—desires strongly reinforced by current feminist teachings—also have their extreme manifestations, which can lead to attempts to preempt priesthood leadership, to the advocacy of ideas out of harmony with Church doctrine, or even to the abandonment of family responsibilities.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Our members are taught that, subject only to some very rare exceptions, they must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. That direction tells us what we need to do on the weightier matters of the law, the choices that will move us toward eternal life.
Dallin H. Oaks, "Weightier Matters," speech at Brigham Young University
Dallin H. Oaks
All of the scores of media stories on [the Salamander letter] apparently assume that the author of that letter used the word 'salamander' in the modern sense of a 'tailed amphibian.' One wonders why so many writers neglected to reveal to their readers that there is another meaning of 'salamander,' which may even have been the primary meaning in this context in the 1820s.... That meaning... is 'a mythical being thought to be able to live in fire... A being that is able to live in fire is a good approximation of the description Joseph Smith gave of the Angel Moroni:... the use of the words white salamander and old spirit seem understandable. In view of all this, and as a matter of intellectual evaluation, why all the excitement in the media, and why the apparent hand‑wringing among those who profess friendship or membership in the Church?
Dallin H. Oaks, Oaks on the "Salamander Letter," which was later discovered to be a forgery
Dallin H. Oaks
Satan can even use truth to promote his purposes. Facts, severed from their context, can convey an erroneous impression.
Dallin H. Oaks, "Reading Church History," speech delivered at the Ninth Annual Church Educational System Religious Educators' Symposium, BYU
Dallin H. Oaks
Another way to seek a testimony seems astonishing when compared with the methods of obtaining other knowledge. We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. Someone even suggested that some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Testimony,' in Ensign of May 2008
Dallin H. Oaks
My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors.
Dallin H. Oaks, Apostle Dallin Oaks, footnote 28, Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon, Introduction p. xliii
Dallin H. Oaks
Another area in which strengths can become our downfall concerns finances. We are commanded to give to the poor. Could the fulfillment of that fundamental Christian obligation be carried to excess? I believe it can, and I believe I have seen examples of this.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
There is great strength in being highly focused on our goals. We have all seen the favorable fruits of that focus. Yet an intense focus on goals can cause a person to forget the importance of righteous means. When I was serving in a stake presidency, a man bragged to me about the way he had managed to preserve his goal of perfect attendance at our stake leadership meetings. He was required to report for his shift work at the time of one of our stake meetings. When the employer denied his request for permission to attend this church meeting, he told me with pride that he "called in sick" so he could come anyway. I kept an eye on that man after that. I wondered if he would steal money in order to pay his tithing. You may think that an extreme example, but it illustrates the point I wish to make. We cannot be so concerned about our goals that we overlook the necessity of using righteous methods to attain them.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Some persons have a finely developed social conscience. They respond to social injustice and suffering with great concern, commitment, and generosity. This is surely a spiritual strength, something many of us need in greater measure. Yet persons who have this great quality need to be cautious that it not impel them to overstep other ultimate values. My social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives. We are not blessed for magnifying our calling with someone else's time or resources. We are commanded to love our neighbors, not to manipulate them, even for righteous purposes. In the same way, we should not feel alienated from our church or its leaders when they refrain from using the rhetoric of the social gospel or from allocating Church resources to purposes favored by others. We should remember that the Lord has given his restored Church a unique mission not given to others. We must concentrate our primary efforts on those activities that can only be accomplished with priesthood authority, such as preaching the gospel and redeeming the dead.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
A willingness to sacrifice all we possess in the work of the Lord is surely a strength. In fact, it is a covenant we make in sacred places. But even this strength can bring us down if we fail to confine our sacrifices to those things the Lord and his leaders have asked of us at this time. We should say with Alma, "Why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?" (Alma 29:6). Persons who consider it insufficient to pay their tithes and offerings and to work in the positions to which they have been called can easily be led astray by cultist groups and other bizarre outlets for their willingness to sacrifice.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Another strength Satan can exploit to seek our downfall is a strong desire to understand everything about every principle of the gospel. How could that possibly work to our detriment? Experience teaches that if this desire is not disciplined, it can cause some to pursue their searchings past the fringes of orthodoxy, seeking answers to mysteries rather than a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel. Some seek answers to questions God has not chosen to answer. Others receive answers—or think they receive answers—in ways that are contrary to the order of the Church. For such searchers, Satan stands ready to mislead through sophistry or spurious revelation. Persons who hunger after a full understanding of all things must discipline their questions and their methods or they can get close to apostasy without even knowing it. It may be just as dangerous to exceed orthodoxy as it is to fall short of it. The safety and happiness we are promised lies in keeping the commandments, not in discounting them or multiplying them.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Satan will also attempt to cause our spiritual downfall through tempting us to misapply our spiritual gifts. The revelations tell us that "there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God" (D&C 46:11). All of these gifts "come from God, for the benefit of the children of God" (D&C 46:26). Most of us have seen persons whom the adversary has led astray through a corruption of their spiritual gifts. My mother shared one such example, something she had observed while she was a student at BYU many years ago. A man who lived in a community in Utah had a mighty gift of healing. People sought him out for blessings, many coming from outside his ward and stake. In time, he made almost a profession of giving blessings. As part of his travels to various communities, he came to the apartments of BYU students, asking if they wanted blessings. This man had lost sight of the revealed direction on spiritual gifts: "always remembering for what they are given" (D&C 46:8). A spiritual gift is given to benefit the children of God, not to magnify the prominence or gratify the ego of the person who receives it. The professional healer who forgot that lesson gradually lost the companionship of the Spirit and was eventually excommunicated from the Church.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Other illustrations of how our strengths can become our downfall concern the activity of learning. A desire to know is surely a great strength. A hunger to learn is laudable, but the fruits of learning make a person particularly susceptible to the sin of pride. So do the fruits of other talents and accomplishments, such as the athletic or the artistic. It is easy for the learned and the accomplished to forget their own limitations and their total dependence upon God. Accomplishments in higher education bring persons much recognition and real feelings of self‑sufficiency. But we should remember the Book of Mormon's frequent cautions not to boast in our own strength or wisdom lest we be left to our own strength or wisdom (e.g., Alma 38:11, 39:2; Helaman 4:13, 16:15). Similarly, the prophet Jacob referred to "that cunning plan of the evil one," remarking that when persons are "learned," which means that they have knowledge, "they think they are wise" (2 Nephi 9:28), which means that they think they have the capacity for the wise application of knowledge. Persons who think they are wise in this way "hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves." In that circumstance, the prophet said, "their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish" (2 Nephi 9:28). "But to be learned is good," the word of the Lord concludes, "if they hearken unto the counsels of God" (2 Nephi 9:29).
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Leaving the list of dangers peculiar to students, I come to the subject of patriotism. Love of country is surely a strength, but carried to excess it can become the cause of spiritual downfall. There are some citizens whose patriotism (as they define it) is so intense and so all‑consuming that it seems to override every other responsibility, including family and church. For example, I caution those patriots who are participating in or provisioning private armies and making private preparations for armed conflict. Their excessive zeal for one aspect of patriotism is causing them to risk spiritual downfall as they withdraw from the society of the Church and from the governance of those civil authorities to whom our article of faith makes all of us subject.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
A desire to follow a prophet is surely a great and appropriate strength, but even this has its potentially dangerous manifestations. I have heard of more than one group who are so intent on following the words of a dead prophet that they have rejected the teachings and counsel of the living ones. Satan has used that corruption from the beginning of the Restoration. You will recall Joseph Smith's direction for the Saints to gather in Kirtland, Ohio, then in Missouri, and then in Illinois. At each place along the way, a certain number of Saints fell away, crying "fallen prophet" as their excuse for adhering to the earlier words and rejecting the current direction. The same thing happened after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, when some Saints seized upon one statement or another by the deceased prophet as a basis for sponsoring or joining a new group that rejected the counsel of the living ones.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
A related distortion is seen in the practice of those who select a few sentences from the teachings of a prophet and use these to support their political agenda or other personal purposes. In doing so, they typically ignore the contrary implications of other prophetic words, or even the clear example of the prophet's own actions. For example, I have corresponded with several Church members who sought to use something President Benson is quoted as saying as a basis for refusing to file an income‑tax return or to pay income taxes. I have tried to persuade these persons that their interpretation cannot be what President Benson intended, because both he and his predecessors in that sacred office, and all of the General Authorities, have faithfully filed their income‑tax returns and paid the taxes required by law. The servants of God are under the Master's commands to follow him and to be examples to the flock (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 5:3). We should interpret their words in the light of their walk. To wrest the words of a prophet to support a private agenda, political or financial or otherwise, is to try to manipulate the prophet, not to follow him.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Carried to an undisciplined excess, love and tolerance can produce indifference to truth and justice and opposition to unity.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
"Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who 'speak evil of dignities.'" (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord's anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Dallin H. Oaks
It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Dallin H. Oaks
It's not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we're on our own. Some people put reasons to [the ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that.... The lesson I've drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it... I'm referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking... Let's [not] make the mistake that's been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that's where safety lies.
Dallin H. Oaks, Interview with Associated Press
© 2011 - 2013