(As I immigrated to America) The Prophet Joseph Smith was at the pier. At first glance I could tell it was him, by his noble expression. He came on board to shake hands and welcome us by many encouraging words, and express his thankfulness that we had arrived in safety. As he could not stay with us, he sent Apostle Geo. A. Smith to preach on board. “What did you come here for?” asked he. “To be instructed in the ways of the Lord,” answered someone. [Apostle Smith said,] “I tell you, you have come to the thrashing floor, and after you have been thrashed and pounded you will have to go through the fanning mill, where the chaff will be blown away and the wheat remain.” (The troubles of Nauvoo were just coming upon them).
The great test of life is . . . not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.
On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.
There are two real tests of the strength and quality of any relationship. The first comes under conditions of stress and strain. When all is fine, when the sun is shining, no deep-root relationship structure is required. Appearances seem sufficient, but when the storm breaks, appearances are thrown to the wind, and in the winds that blow then some of us lash out with an ugliness held deep within. We may wound - and wound deeply - the tender sensitive feelings of our spouses or children or others and thereby teach them to be defensive and guarded against such hurts in the future.
...The other test of the quality of relationship is found in the little things of every day, little courtesies, little acts of kindness, the give and take in little moments.
"Men best show their character in trifles, when they are not on their guard...It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feeling of others, and denies nothing to itself." (Arthur Schopenhauer.)
...You and I will face difficulty in our studies and in our lives, and we expect it because of what we know about who God is and that we are his children, what his hopes are for us, and how much he loves us. He will give us no test without preparing the way for us to pass it. Because of what we know about adversity in learning, in this community of Saints we pay special honor to determined learners because we know the price that they gladly pay. And we know from whence their power to persist through difficulty comes.
In this community we know that we are the brothers and sisters of Job, of Joseph in Egypt, of Joseph in Carthage Jail, and of Jesus in Gethsemane and on Golgotha's hill. So we are not surprised when sorrows come. We respect their place and know their potential.