Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty; it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.
There is one responsibility which no man can evade; that responsibility is his personal influence. Man’s unconscious influence is the silent, subtle radiation of personality the effect of his words and his actions on others. This radiation is tremendous.Every moment of life man is changing, to a degree, the life of the whole world. Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other man. He cannot escape for one moment from this radiation of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. Man cannot evade the responsibility by merely saying it is an unconscious influence.Man can select the qualities he would permit to be radiated. He can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility, and make them vitally active in his character. And by these qualities he will constantly affect the world. This radiation, to which I refer, comes from what a person really is, not from what he pretends to be. Every man by his mere living is radiating either sympathy, sorrow, morbidness, cynicism, or happiness and hope or any one of a hundred other qualities.Life is a state of radiation and absorption. To exist is to radiate, to exist is to be the recipient of radiation.
(In Mark 9) This is one of the greatest New Testament accounts we have probing the complexity of faith and the degrees one experiences in its development. The man's inital faith, by his own admission, is limited. But he has some faith. He did, after all, approach the disciples but, of course, met dissapointment there. With whatever remaining faith he has, he turns to Jesus and says, "If thou canst do any thing," please help us, hoping perhaps Jeus might be able to succeed where all others have failed.
Christ, ever the teacher, seizes on the man's very language and limited faith and turns it back on him "If thou canst believe," Christ says, "all things are possible to him that believeth." In that very instant, in the length of time it takes to have that two-sentence exchange, this man's understanding begins to be enlightened. The look in the Savior's eye or he tone of His voice or the majesty of His bearing or simily the words He spoke -something touches this man spiritually and an inexorable change begins. Up to that moment he had thought that everything depended on others -doctors, soothsayers, priests, the disciples, or, here at the very last, Jesus. Only now, in this exchange, does he grasp that a great deal of the answer to his quest rests upon his own shoulders, or, more accurately, in his own soul.
We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you.
If not me, then who? If not now, then when?
This has been the history of this Church, my young friends, and I hope we will never forget it. It came as a result of the position of leadership which was imposed upon us by the God of heaven who brought forth a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when the declaration was made concerning the only true and living Church upon the face of the earth, we were immediately put in a position of loneliness, the loneliness of leadership from which we cannot shrink nor run away and which we must face up to with boldness and courage and ability. Our history is one of being driven, of being winnowed and peeled, or being persecuted and hounded. Recently we have experienced a new wave of criticism, as many of you know.
I go back to these words of Paul:
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. [2 Corinthians 4:8–9]
Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
With free agency there comes responsibility. If a man is to be rewarded for righteousness and punished for evil, then common justice demands that he be given the power of independent action. A knowledge of good and evil is essential to a man's progress on earth.
If he were coerced to do right at all times, or were helplessly enticed to commit sin, he would, he would merit neither a blessing for the first nor a punishment for the second.
Man's responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine laws and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought.