MR says: We all struggle at times with thoughts that suddenly pop into our heads. It's part of being human. But how we deal with those thoughts says much about our character.
On the day my husband, Mel, and I moved into the mission home in Riverside, California, a 30-foot pine tree was uprooted from the front yard by a tree-removal company.
We were told that one week earlier, two other pine trees of similar height had also been removed. The top branches of the trees had become yellowed and diseased. These mighty trees were decades old. What was the cause of their demise? Bark beetles—tiny insects, each about the size of a piece of cooked rice! How could something so small kill something so big? These tiny beetles burrow their way into the bark of the tree, weakening them and eventually killing the tree. I felt drawn to compare the tiny bark beetles to thoughts that we allow into our minds that can infest our spirits, cause spiritual illness and lead to sin.
Our dear late Apostle, President Boyd K. Packer, gave a wonderful talk over 40 years ago that has helped to guide me and my thoughts. He testified, “Probably the greatest challenge to people of any age, particularly young people, and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. As a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself.
“If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them you will have a happy life."