Editor's note: Our bi-weekly Friday column, “Found in the footnotes,” explores some of the footnotes from remarks given by General Authorities and General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Shortly before October general conference, I was reminded of times on my mission when I had been trying to decide which Christlike attribute from Preach My Gospel I wanted to focus on acquiring.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that as a missionary, I had dedicated so much time and thought to developing Christlike attributes. That habit had fallen by the wayside since taking off that missionary tag.
So when Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Seventy spoke during general conference about “Becoming like Him,” I knew his invitation to develop Christlike attributes was one of the invitations I needed to accept.
In his address, Elder Whiting said, “Perhaps you will learn that you need greater patience, humility, charity, love, hope, diligence, or obedience, to name a few.”
A footnote accompanying this statement points to the Preach My Gospel chapter “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes” and says, “References to other attributes of the Savior are scattered among scripture. A few examples include Mosiah 3:19; Alma 7:23; Articles of Faith 1:13.”
As I studied those verses, I found some Christlike attributes that I’ve added to my list of possible attributes to develop. Here are just three attributes that we don’t always think about, with a quote defining each attribute.
The Christlike quality of meekness often is misunderstood in our contemporary world. Meekness is strong, not weak; active, not passive; courageous, not timid; restrained, not excessive; modest, not self-aggrandizing; and gracious, not brash. A meek person is not easily provoked, pretentious, or overbearing and readily acknowledges the accomplishments of others.
—Elder David A. Bednar, “Meek and Lowly of Heart”
A temperate soul—one who is humble and full of love—is also a person of increased spiritual strength. With increased spiritual strength, we are able to develop self-mastery and to live with moderation. We learn to control, or temper, our anger, vanity, and pride. With increased spiritual strength, we can protect ourselves from the dangerous excesses and destructive addictions of today’s world.
—Elder Kent D. Watson, “Being Temperate in All Things”
Benevolent is a lovely word that we don’t hear very often. Its roots are Latin, and it means “to wish someone well.” To be benevolent is to be kind, well-meaning, and charitable. Many of you learned about the idea of benevolence when you were in Primary and committed this song to memory:
I want to be kind to ev’ryone,
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, “Remember this:
Kindness begins with me.”
—Sister Mary N. Cook, “Remember This: Kindness Begins with Me”
As Elder Whiting said, “You will need to select an attribute that will keenly become your focus. You will need to commit to exerting meaningful effort. These attributes won’t come cheaply and suddenly, but through His grace they will come incrementally while endeavoring.”
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And the best part of our quest to become like Christ is we are not alone. As Elder Whiting said, “Christlike attributes are gifts from a loving Heavenly Father to bless us and those around us. Accordingly, our efforts to obtain these attributes will require heartfelt pleas for His divine assistance. If we seek these gifts to better serve others, He will bless us in our efforts.”
To borrow the words of the Children and Youth program, as we “strive to be” like Him, He truly will bless our efforts.