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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Perfection Is A Long Time Coming » Perfection Is A Long Time Coming

Perfection Is A Long Time Coming

Velska - October 14, 2008

There is a common understanding among us that the goal of our lives is to become perfect. It is understandable, of course, with Jesus saying it right in the Sermon on The Mount (see Matt 5:48). This exhortation should be viewed in light of other recorded inspired counsel and understanding.

Joseph Smith said:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. -Nauvoo, April 7, 1844 (emphasis added)

Likewise, I have been much edified by something that the Lord told Moroni, recorded in Ether 12:27:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I take these two ideas (and these are certainly not all that has been said about the subject) combined to mean that:

  1. The Lord has promised to show us our weakness if we come unto him. This is part of the price of discipleship – we must be humble.
  2. Chirst’s grace is sufficient for those who humble themselves before him – i.e. turn to him and seek his forgiveness and help, recognizing and admitting their weakness.
  3. If we do so, he will help us overcome our weakness – addictions, foul temper, etc (remember his ability to heal us). NB! This will probably not happen fast enough for our mortal timetable (have patience), but will take both time and effort, but will be immeasurably more efficient if the Lord is given a chance to help us.
  4. As we go about trying to improve, we will discover new things we need to learn as we understand the will of the Lord better. Reiterate steps 2 to 3.
  5. We will never during our mortal lives be finished with this process, but will have to continue through eternities, until we have learned enough.

The important part of what I’m saying is that we are not alone: It is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to learn the principles of exaltation. Moreover, it is only by the same grace, that the Atonement satisfies the claims of justice and we can finally be exalted.

So if you feel weak and inadequate, the Lord understands you better than you can believe (see Alma 7:11-12). Do not give up.


  1. Not much to add, except thanks for this.

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 14, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  2. Feeling inadequate is not the problem, for me. (At least not anymore.) I can hardly manage to go to the toilet by myself.

    It is the characteristic of personal humility that we need so much time to learn about, I think. How much we depend on the strength of someone else.

    Hard lesson to learn. I am still on lesson one.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — October 14, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  3. Humility is possibly so hard, because it is so unintuitive for a human. For the “natural man” selfishness and prideful self-delusion come naturally.

    The “natural man” thinks that meekness is indeed weakness. (In this context natural man refers to the state of man as the result of the Fall of Adam.)

    Comment by Velska — October 15, 2008 @ 12:45 am

  4. The hardest part for my mortal self is the idea that as soon as I figure out a concept or virtue and almost perfect it, something else comes out of no-where and BAM! Here’s something else to learn! It’s hard because I find I have to stop myself from thinking “Can’t I just be done already!?”

    Thanks for this post. It’s a good reminder why we do what we do and why it takes so much time.
    Can’t wait for that Millenium!

    Comment by cheryl — October 15, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  5. “The “natural man” thinks that meekness is indeed weakness.”

    True true.

    If only every commandment were as easy as tithing, then I would be perfect:)

    Comment by Bret — October 15, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  6. If you think tithing is easy Bret, you are well on your way. I guess that probably just points to the fact that everone has their own particular commandments that are easy and difficult.

    Comment by MCQ — October 19, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  7. There’s a post on Mormon Matters about pretty much the same issue, going deeper into how we can deal with weakness.

    Comment by Velska — October 20, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  8. MCQ (#6),

    Interesting, isn’t it, what buttons we each have? I’ve had friends who had problems with the Word of Wisdom, porn,
    authority, prayer, garments… And I can’t feel too superior because my own challenges kick the snot out of me.

    Comment by David T. — October 20, 2008 @ 8:47 am

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