Our Attitudes Control Our Lives


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Story by Thomas S. Monson

"In the mission over which I presided, there was a small branch; it consisted of two families. I had been invited to be the speaker at one of the meetings.

I was not accustomed to such small branches; the ward over which I presided had l,050 people. That Sunday we went into the place where the Saints met. It was a rented hall. We didn't meet on the main floor; we met in a room in the basement, about nine people in all.

"After the meeting, the branch president asked if he could visit with me. He said, "We would like to have a chapel in our branch."

I said, 'Someday.'

Then he opened a copy of one of the Church magazines and showed me pictures of chapels of Australia and New Zealand. He said, 'This is the one we would like to build,' and he pointed to a building that would house maybe four hundred people, that would cost far more money than they had.

"I said, 'Oh, you will not be able to afford that until you have several hundred members.'

He said, 'We intend to have many hundreds of members.' And then he asked me if I would send six missionaries into his branch. He indicated that his family would personally share the gospel with the city, and this he did.

"One day, with the missionaries in his little store, he said, 'Elders, let's pray.' And they got down upon their knees and prayed. This branch president then said, 'This is the greatest day in the city of St. Thomas. This is the day when the gospel shall really begin to be preached with effectiveness in this city. This is the day when we begin to build our new chapel.'

"The missionaries asked, 'Whom are we going to teach? We have no investigators.'

The branch president said, 'Hand me the telephone directory.' And he turned to the back of the directory where men of all professions were listed.

He said, 'If we are going to build a new chapel, we need an architect who is a Mormon. And since we don't have an architect who is a member of this branch, we must convert one.'

Then he went down the list and said, 'Who shall be the first Mormon architect in St. Thomas?' And he identified a name.

Then he continued with a contractor or builder, and a plumber, and an electrician, and a doctor, and a lawyer. Then he personally went to each and invited him into his home so that the missionaries might present the message and he and his family could bear testimony after the missionaries had given their message.

"What was the result of that sharing? I am God's witness that in the three years that I served in eastern Canada, I saw that branch grow from two families to a branch of almost 300 members. They constructed their beautiful chapel. I attended the meeting where that building held perhaps four hundred persons. What was the secret? It was the attitude 'we can achieve our goal.'"

Because we have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and know that we are spirit children of God, we should be the most positive thinking people in the world. We know that our loving Father in Heaven has put us on earth to succeed, not to fail.

Our thoughts control our attitudes, and our attitudes control our lives.

By living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we develop positive attitudes. Positive attitudes can create happiness, peace, and contentment. The solution lies within each of us to be more positive and optimistic.

1. How can a negative attitude limit progress?

2. How do our attitudes influence others?

3. How would our lives be improved if we really understood how much our attitudes control us?

4. How does prayer help keep our attitudes positive? (3 Nephi 18:15)

5. How does a combination of prayer and fasting give us strength to control our attitudes? (Helaman 3:35)

6. If negative attitudes are influencing us, how can reading the scriptures bring a change in our lives? (Helaman 15:7)

7. When we receive direction and counsel from Church leaders, how should it influence our attitudes? (D&C 68:4)

8. How closely tied are our thoughts and our attitudes? (Mark 7:21-23)

9. How closely tied are our attitudes and our behavior?

10. How closely tied is our behavior and our exaltation?

Story told by Thomas S. Monson in Amsterdam Area Conference, Aug. 1976