Promise of Sociology
..."The Promise of Sociology" by C. Wright Mills According to C. Wright Mills, what occurs in any one individual's life is interrelated with society as a whole. The sociological imagination gives us the ability to understand the correlation of one's biography, history, and traditions along with the knowledge of the social and historical impact and/or influence society may have on that person or group of people. Mills' notion compels us to investigate into an individual's biography and lifestyles, and place their findings within the surrounding circumstances in which events occur in order to perceive the whole picture of the society in which the individual lives. Mills says to understand this "imagination" would be to see the connection between personal troubles and public issues. Personal troubles meaning, problems that are felt personally which are caused by occurrences or feelings in an individual's life; and public issues meaning, issues that affect a group or mass of people with their roots interwoven within an organization or institution and history of a society. A person can become homeless for many reasons: a family member throws them out of their home because they do not contribute financially, or they become incapable of caring for themselves due to mental illness, or they become addicted to drugs and lose their home trying to support their habit. These are a few examples of personal troubles which most would think are brought about by the individual alone......
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...non-performance, which means that the speaker does not legally bind himself or herself to act.” That is what an Illusory Promise technically means. Illusory Promises are pretty much fake contracts. Courts will not enforce an illusory contract. Most of the time, a contract is considered illusory when it has a lack of consideration. This name came from the fact that they are pretty much just illusions of a contract. An example of this is if someone would say to you, “Maybe I will give you my car one day.” Courts will not enforce that statement as a contract because there are no definite terms used in the statement. The words “maybe” and “one day” make this an illusory promise because odds are it is not going to ever happen. This contract is not valid at all and is illusory because the promisor can choose whether or not to go through with the promise. This is not fair to the promisee because no matter what they do or give, their satisfaction is not guaranteed because of the misleading contract that they got into. Works Cited West's Encyclopedia of American Law, e. 2. (2008). The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 09 25, 2013, from Legal Dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Illusory+Promise West's Encyclopedia of American Law, e. 2. (n.d.). The free dictionary. Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Illusory+Promise...
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...Broken Promise … “Chinnu... Tell me something. What if we both separate, what if we are never to see each other again. Ofcourse, you’ll marry someone. But will you name your daughter after me?” As I waited by the taxi outside her room to accompany her to the railway station, I felt a sudden desire to erase everything that had happened between us till that day. The device in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which erased selected people or things from one’s memory, came to my mind, and I felt that it was what I needed most because whatever pain I felt then seemed possible only because of whatever happened between us in the past - in the last three years. Three short, lovely years!!! Had I not met her for the first time at my friend’s birthday, had I not called a week after that and told her that I wanted to see her, had I not seen her and revealed my love for her and had I not loved her, would I have felt whatever I felt then? Whatever was the answer, I had made up my mind that I would not be seeing her again after that day. I had made a promise to her and to myself to never try to contact her after that evening... after that last trip to the station together. She walked slowly to the taxi and as she bent herself into the backseat, I noticed her smile at me, probably a smile of greeting, or one of love, or one of mockery. I sat beside her but felt extremely sorry for myself for doing that. I felt I had missed an opportunity to make a statement by sitting in the front...
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...The Promise Is it easy to abandon innate things? While I grew up in Africa poetry and adverbs became daily needs. The poetry inheriting a long oral tradition has always interested me. I also have the curiosity to ask too much about proverbs and traditional words because it is not easy to understand them and they are highly regarded in my society. This African proverb "the promise is a debt" has made me a moon of his word, pious and honest. The promise is commonly defined as an act by which a person, the promisor undertakes to one or more beneficiaries to do something in the future. It is noted those there different kinds of promises: political, economic and social. Debt is moral duty towards someone. Whatever the promise given, a response will be expected by beneficiaries. They will always look towards a promising, these promises will always be considered as debt. A debt is moral duty toward someone. The promises that we take, make people happy and excited, but the question is if they will be respected. When you cannot fulfill the promises that we have made, we tend to find excuses to avoid feeling guilty. These excuses allow us to justify our failures and prevent us from dealing with the embarrassing reality. The promise is morally important in African society. If we do not respect our promise, people lose confidence in us. This promise can be upgraded or respected in some parts of the world. This proverb "a promise is a debt" is an......
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...The Sociological Imagination Chapter One: The Promise C. Wright Mills (1959) Nowadays people often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that within their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they are often quite correct. What ordinary people are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits in which they live; their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood; in other milieux, they move vicariously and remain spectators. And the more aware they become, however vaguely, of ambitions and of threats which transcend their immediate locales, the more trapped they seem to feel. Underlying this sense of being trapped are seemingly impersonal changes in the very structure of continent-wide societies. The facts of contemporary history are also facts about the success and the failure of individual men and women. When a society is industrialized, a peasant becomes a worker; a feudal lord is liquidated or becomes a businessman. When classes rise or fall, a person is employed or unemployed; when the rate of investment goes up or down, a person takes new heart or goes broke. When wars happen, an insurance salesperson becomes a rocket launcher; a store clerk, a radar operator; a wife or husband lives alone; a child grows up without a parent. Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both...
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On Why Love Is a Promise
...On Why Love Is A Promise That God Expects Us To Keep…And How He Knows That We Can Have you heard that ” Love is a promise, not a feeling”? Hard to believe when the world about you is filled with songs that say the opposite these days. “Whatever feels right at the moment” is what you hear most often. But when does a broken heart ever “feel” right? When does a “broken” conscience ever let you sleep really peacefully without having to do something distracting to make it go away? Entertainment, addictions, even the approval of the those around you who aren’t really looking through what you’re doing will not eventually make up for what’s missing: real love. The kind of love that only God has made us to want and need in order to feel whole. This love is deep and abiding, encompassing the real passion that its poor substitute tries to get along without in this world. It is relentless in its pursuit of our heart and all the distractions and the false relationships we heap up between us and it show that we cannot get along without it. It won’t let us go in spite of our bad behavior. Why? Because real love is a promise, not a feeling. God created us to express love that way. Expressing anything less, no matter what temporary heights you reach, robs everyone, including yourself. You see, God, made us to be highly motivated to want the promise much more than just the feeling alone. It is the only way to make the whole thing last and get every last best drop of those precious feelings...
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Promise or Pay
...gill Marketing strategies (Promise or Pay) Contents Introduction 3 Task 1: Whom to target in the market…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….3 Task 2 :Connecting with customers through positioning strategy……………………………………………………………7 Task 3 Developing marketing plans and Strategies…………………………………………………………………………………10 Task 4: Alliance with other Companies…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13 Conclusion:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15 Reference………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………16 Introduction This report is based on Promise or Pay Company that intends to conduct market research to campaign the service that is dealt by the organization. The aim of the company is to promote charity work and to make it interesting and effective through different techniques. As Promise or Pay combines achieving a goal and share with others by enabling individuals to make a public promise to do something and if they fail to follow then they will pay a nominated amount of money to the charity. Marketing strategies are quite an important factor that can help the management to progress and acquire new and effective markets in order to fulfill their goals. By implementing effective marketing strategies, the company prepares and plans for systematic designing, collecting,......
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The Netbook Case and Broken Promises Case Study
...The Netbook Case and Broken Promises Case Study The Netbook Case and Broken Promises Case Study Question 1 answer. This situation for Nicholas comes down to a very expensive “lesson learned” experience. He has a couple of options for handling this situation. Nicholas can accept the netbooks and work on trying to make them useable by the employees at the Medina Office Store, he could see if he can sell them to another business and purchase the netbooks again with Windows XP, or he can try to fight it out in court. Trying to make the netbooks useable is probably the best choice for Nicholas to handle the current situation, as the other two options will further delay getting the needed correct netbooks and will cost more money. As for Ting, the best way for him to handle the situation would be to provide the best customer service and training to the Medina Office Store, preferably at the lowest cost possible. It appears that Ting knew that Nicholas’s need was for Windows XP compatible netbooks since Ting both spoke with Nicholas directly and read his follow up letter. Legally Ting was correct the netbooks met the requirements of the RFP, but the transaction could be viewed negatively and could have an effect on future business sales. Also Ting had guaranteed that Nicholas would be pleased or given his money back. If Nicholas can document and prove he is not pleased, Ting should follow through with returning Nicholas’s money. Question 2 answer. Nicholas needs to......
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The Promise Essay
...C. Wright Mills (August 28, 1916 – March 20, 1962) was an American sociologist, and a professor of sociology at Columbia University. Mills was also the author of a number of books. One book which Mills is best known for is The Sociological Imagination (1959), which is considered Mills' most influential book. The first chapter of the book which is titled The Promise, Mills argues that individuals are trapped in their own private bubbles, which he refers to as private orbits. Mills states that in order for a sociologist to properly study sociology, they need to have a certain mindset which according to Mills he calls the sociological imagination. He also goes on to discuss the distinction between personal troubles and public issues. In The Promise, Mills believes that people are trapped in their own private orbits. Private orbits according to Mills is your direct everyday living routine for example your job, family, neighborhood or school. He feels that individuals are so caught up in their orbits that they cannot view the world beyond their immediate and everyday surrounding. Any ambition or threat outside of their orbit that can affect or impact it, leaves the individual feeling more trapped. Mills states that you cannot understand the life of an individual or the history of society without fully understanding both and how they are connected. He also talks about how people do not see how history can have a direct impact on their lives and how it affects them, they do not......
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...so that you could feel how I really missed you! Kung pwede lang babatuhin kita ng bato ng may nakasulat na "I miss you" para malaman mo kung gano kasakit sa pakiramdam pag namimiss kita! Pero wala eh, kahit na gano kita ka miss, gaano ko kasabik na makita ka at maakap hindi na rin pwede! Wala na eh! Break na tayo! Wala nang dahilan para magkita pa tayo! Wala nang dahilan para magsama pa tayo! Sobrang layo mo na. You’re like a sun, hindi kita maabot, ni hindi kita kayang tignan ng deretso dahil nasasaktan ako! You know how much I love you. I did everything just to make you happy, even thou sometimes your happiness pains me a lot! Pero tiniis ko yung sakit, because I’m afraid to lose you! Kaya lang wala, nagsawa ka din. You leave me with a broken heart. I did everything just to make you stay. I cried I swallow my pride and begged you to stay but you told me that letting you go is the only way to make you happy because you wanna be free again. It was the hardest thing to do because I really love you, but you leave me no choice but to let you go. I wanna ask you that night WHY!? What did I did wrong? love...
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...Brand Promise Brand Promise Apple’s Promise to Customers Apple Inc. leads the market of computers and smartphones in today’s society. "Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings." This is the company’s promise to customers and mission that they stand by. Apple first took this promise public in a commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl, comparing Apple to IBM computers. This commercial only aired once, but was the beginning of a whole new era of technology.(Cole, 2013) Apple’s mission statement is “We will be the coolest, most creative, intelligent, and adventurous, socially engaged and admired selves”. Steve Job made this a mission that is reachable and upheld for more than 18 years. The company slogan “Think Different” has made Apple standout against the rest of competitive market. “Think Different” allows apple consumers to increase their cultural capital and raise their social standing. (Farfan, 2015) Culture capital is a fairly old concept defined by Pierre Bourdieu. This concept represents all goods material and symbolic, without distinction sought after. This holds true to Apple products. Customers that own an Apple IPhone are considered to have a high social class. The Apple IPhone is priced so that middle to higher end lower class can purchase this product. With this being said many......
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...A promise It was 1930 in the small town of Molching, Germany. Lissette Meminger was a twelve year old German girl, who was given up by her Father to live with her foster parents. Her mother, Rosa Meminger, was persecuted for being a communist, while her father, Rick Meminger, was a Jew hiding from the Nazis. Rick looked at her deeply in her eyes with compassion, as he examined her. Her hair was a rich shade of gold, it flowed in waves that adorned her glowing pale skin. Her eyes, framed by long brown lashes, were a bright oceanblue. "I promise that I will come back for you, mark my words. I will come back with your horse ," he blurted with a somber tone. As Lissette proceeded to hug her father goodbye, she looked at him with pleading sight. Her face showed distress and as she closed her eyes, teardrops slowly ran down her face. " I promise that I will be patiently waiting for you, daddy" She sobbed. That was the last time Lissette ever laid eyes on her father. Nine years passed, and the situation in Germany had gotten worse. As the moon continued its orbit, Rick Meminger had started to begin his journey. The cool night breeze whistled softly, blowing lightly through the exhausted mouth of Liz, and Rick. "Come on Liz, don't you want to meet who I named you after, few more meters bud" said Rick as they walk. Rick had grown into an older man, his charcoal-gray hair was oily and un-kept as if he hadn't......
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...Chapter One ‘The Promise’, of C.Wright Mills (1959) The Sociological Imagination. The Promise, a chapter in the book entitled ‘The Sociological Imagination’, written by C. Wright Mills (1959, pp 3-24) is from a sociological perspective in regards to the unrecognised linkage between history and biography. It also mentions the three sorts of questions asked by classical analyst, the distinction between the terms issues and troubles. Mills repetitively makes reference to the notion that in order to comprehend an individual’s life; be it man or woman, it is prominent to consider and understand one’s historical social context. There is a connection that exists which most people don’t acknowledge and realise its existence, which is the “the interplay of biography and history” [ (p. 4) ]. According to Mills, “Men often feel that their lives are a series of traps. They feel that within their worlds they cannot overcome their troubles [ (p. 3) ]. This theory supports the notion that feelings associated with malaise, troubles and issues are actually linked to society which affects them individually. Mills strongly emphasises the importance of sociological imagination, which is that in order for an individual to make sense of what is happening to them, they should consider and reflect on the intersections of biographical time and social-historical time. Mills emphasises the significance of sociological imagination and states that isn’t simplistically a ‘fashion’ but a quality of......
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...Promises Today I was thinking about what a soldier would look like on paper and this is where it brought me.A Soldier's Promise ...I cannot promise you every night of my life. I cannot promise to be beside you for every difficult moment, every trial, every hardship. In truth, I can promise you that I will not be with you for most. I will leave you at inconvenient times. I may miss the births of our children. Any special date to us may be tainted with the anniversary of the death of one of my friends. I will ask you to take over whatever life we have built together for months and years at a time. And will then crash back into that life that you have used your sweat and your tears and your heartache to keep together and try to take it back as I knew it before. I will shut you out at times because it will be the best way for me to hold it together at that moment. I will lie to you. I will tell you I don't know things when I do. I will not always tell you where I am going, when I will be back, or who I am with. I may not call you for weeks and months and you will not be able to call me. You will ask questions that I won't answer. You will know answers to questions that you will hope you never need. I will share things with my brothers that you will never understand. They will know things about me that you never will. They will be a support to me in some things that you cannot be. I will miss birthdays. I will miss anniversaries. I will have to get to know our children over and......
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...Running head: ABRAHAM'S PROMISES Abraham's Promises Samantha Langford Fr. Joe Hirsh World Religions May 10, 2009 Regis University Abraham's Promises In this we shall discuss and review some areas of conflict as well as the covenants, circumcision, characteristics, and touch on the roots of Abraham. Abraham gave his life to obeying God and his word and finding favor in God’s eyes. Abraham received plenty from the Lord just for his obedience as well as his descendants. The covenant is a basic agreement between two parties. Some covenants often promise rewards or blessings for people who agree to keep the covenant. In the past covenants were sealed by blood or animal sacrifices. The covenant may have been made between family members, kings, states, or God himself. Those who did not keep a covenant was punished or even cursed. Often times the covenant would display a sign or symbol as a reminder of the covenant, such as: Adam and Eve disobeyed and received death, Jesus covenant was displayed through the cup and the drinking of wine as if it were his blood, the rainbow with Noah, and circumcision with Abraham. It is said Abraham shall be numerous and become a great nation while inheriting the Promised Land Cannon later to become Israel while others become blessed in and through him and their sign of the covenant was through circumcision. Abraham believed in monotheism, he believed in the promise from God of receiving the “Holy Land” and that he was the chosen one...
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I am grateful to be here with my wife, Debi, and my two youngest children—who are currently attending BYU—and several other family members who have come to be with us.
It is an honor to be invited to speak to you today. Several years ago I received an invitation to speak at Women’s Conference. When I told my wife, she asked, “What have they asked you to speak on?”
I was so excited that I got my words mixed up and said, “They want me to speak about changing strengths into weaknesses.”
She thought for a minute and said, “Well, they’ve got the right man for the job!”
She’s correct about that. I could give a whale of a talk on that subject, but I think today I had better go back to the original topic and speak about changing weaknesses into strengths and about how the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27, D&C 17:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9)—sufficient to cover us, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes.
Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Cover Us
A BYU student once came to me and asked if we could talk. I said, “Of course. How can I help you?”
She said, “I just don’t get grace.”
I responded, “What is it that you don’t understand?”
She said, “I know I need to do my best and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.”
She then went on to tell me all the things she should be doing because she’s a Mormon that she wasn’t doing.
She continued, “I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. But who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”
She then went on to tell me all the things that she shouldn’t be doing because she’s a Mormon, but she was doing them anyway.
Finally I said, “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”
Seeing that she was still confused, I took a piece of paper and drew two dots—one at the top representing God and one at the bottom representing us. I then said, “Go ahead. Draw the line. How much is our part? How much is Christ’s part?”
She went right to the center of the page and began to draw a line. Then, considering what we had been speaking about, she went to the bottom of the page and drew a line just above the bottom dot.
I said, “Wrong.”
She said, “I knew it was higher. I should have just drawn it, because I knew it.”
I said, “No. The truth is, there is no line. Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”
She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”
“Oh no,” I said, “you have plenty to do, but it is not to fill that gap. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there.”
Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection (see Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 12:48) and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements (see 2 Nephi 2:7;3 Nephi 9:20).
“So what’s the difference?” the girl asked. “Whether our efforts are required by justice or by Jesus, they are still required.”
“True,” I said, “but they are required for a different purpose. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason.”
Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Transform Us
Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. How many know what I am talking about? Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19), “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask (“Gosh! None of the other Christians have to pay tithing! None of the other Christians have to go on missions, serve in callings, and do temple work!”), maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The great Mediator asks for our repentance not because we must ‘repay’ him in exchange for his paying our debt to justice, but because repentance initiates a developmental process that, with the Savior’s help, leads us along the path to a saintly character” (The Broken Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989], 149; emphasis in original).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, referring to President Spencer W. Kimball’s explanation, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” (The Lord’s Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991], 223; emphasis in original). Let’s put that in terms of our analogy: The child must practice the piano, but this practice has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.
I have born-again Christian friends who say to me, “You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven.”
I say, “No, we are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it (see D&C 78:7). We are practicing for it.”
They ask me, “Have you been saved by grace?”
I answer, “Yes. Absolutely, totally, completely, thankfully—yes!”
Then I ask them a question that perhaps they have not fully considered: “Have you been changed by grace?” They are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Brett Sanders puts it, “A life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life.” As my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.” As Moroni puts it, grace isn’t just about being saved. It is also about becoming like the Savior (see Moroni 7:48).
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to.
I know a young man who just got out of prison—again. Each time two roads diverge in a yellow wood, he takes the wrong one—every time. When he was a teenager dealing with every bad habit a teenage boy can have, I said to his father, “We need to get him to EFY.” I have worked with that program since 1985. I know the good it can do.
His dad said, “I can’t afford that.”
I said, “I can’t afford it either, but you put some in, and I’ll put some in, and then we’ll go to my mom, because she is a real softy.”
We finally got the kid to EFY, but how long do you think he lasted? Not even a day. By the end of the first day he called his mother and said, “Get me out of here!” Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.
In the past I had a picture in my mind of what the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus.
Jesus checks His clipboard and says, “Oh, shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points.”
Brad begs Jesus, “Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay.” That’s how I always saw it.
But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, he will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are. Put simply, if Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become pianists.
Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Help Us
“But Brother Wilcox, don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?
Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they always feel like they are just not good enough. They don’t understand grace.
There are young women who know they are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them, and they love Him. Then they graduate from high school, and the values they memorized are put to the test. They slip up. They let things go too far, and suddenly they think it is all over. These young women don’t understand grace.
There are young men who grow up their whole lives singing, “I hope they call me on a mission,” and then they do actually grow a foot or two and flake out completely. They get their Eagles, graduate from high school, and go away to college. Then suddenly these young men find out how easy it is to not be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, or reverent. They mess up. They say, “I’ll never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “I’ll never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “This is stupid. I will never do it again.” And then they do it. The guilt is almost unbearable. They don’t dare talk to a bishop. Instead, they hide. They say, “I can’t do this Mormon thing. I’ve tried, and the expectations are just way too high.” So they quit. These young men don’t understand grace.
I know returned missionaries who come home and slip back into bad habits they thought were over. They break promises made before God, angels, and witnesses, and they are convinced there is no hope for them now. They say, “Well, I’ve blown it. There is no use in even trying any more.” Seriously? These young people have spent entire missions teaching people about Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and now they think there is no hope for them? These returned missionaries don’t understand grace.
I know young married couples who find out after the sealing ceremony is over that marriage requires adjustments. The pressures of life mount, and stress starts taking its toll financially, spiritually, and even sexually. Mistakes are made. Walls go up. And pretty soon these husbands and wives are talking with divorce lawyers rather than talking with each other. These couples don’t understand grace.
In all of these cases there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).
One young man wrote me the following e-mail: “I know God has all power, and I know He will help me if I’m worthy, but I’m just never worthy enough to ask for His help. I want Christ’s grace, but I always find myself stuck in the same self-defeating and impossible position: no work, no grace.”
I wrote him back and testified with all my heart that Christ is not waiting at the finish line once we have done “all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). He is with us every step of the way.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts” (The Broken Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989], 155). So grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch (see Hebrews 12:2).
In twelve days we celebrate Pioneer Day. The first company of Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Their journey was difficult and challenging; still, they sang:
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
[“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” Hymns, 2002, no. 30]
“Grace shall be as your day”—what an interesting phrase. We have all sung it hundreds of times, but have we stopped to consider what it means? “Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. As sure as each brand-new day, grace—the enabling power of Jesus Christ—is constant. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them.
The grace of Christ is sufficient—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes. The Book of Mormon teaches us to rely solely on “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we do, we do not discover—as some Christians believe—that Christ requires nothing of us. Rather, we discover the reason He requires so much and the strength to do all He asks (see Philippians 4:13). Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power (see Luke 1:37).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said the following:
Now may I speak . . . to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short. . . .
. . . This feeling of inadequacy is . . . normal. There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. . . .
. . . This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. [CR, October 1976, 14, 16; “Notwithstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, November 1976, 12, 14]
With Elder Maxwell, I testify that God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’ grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Oh, young people, don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. Seek Christ, and, as you do, I promise you will feel the enabling power we call His amazing grace. I leave this testimony and all of my love—for I do love you. As God is my witness, I love the youth of this church. I believe in you. I’m pulling for you. And I’m not the only one. Parents are pulling for you, leaders are pulling for you, and prophets are pulling for you. And Jesus is pulling with you. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Brad Wilcox was serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a BYU associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education when this devotional address was given on 12 July 2011.
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