Latter-day Saint Life

8 Neal A. Maxwell Quotes Every Latter-day Saint Should Know


At Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s funeral, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“I know of no other man who spoke in such an interesting and distinct manner. His genius was the product of diligence. He was a perfectionist determined to exact from every phrase and sentence vivid imagery that brought the gospel to life. Each talk was a masterpiece; each book was a work of art. I think we shall not see one like him again.”

Praise like that coming from someone like President Hinckley is intriguing and significant. How well do you know the works of Elder Maxwell? He wrote about 30 books in his lifetime—not to mention countless church talks and professional articles. To help get you started, here are the eight quotes from Neal A. Maxwell we think every Latter-day Saint should know.

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1. "To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!"— Neal A. Maxwell, “Meek and Lowly” (Brigham Young University devotional, Oct. 21, 1986).
2. "We [should] make quiet but more honest inventories of our strengths, since, in this connection, most of us are dishonest bookkeepers and need confirming 'outside auditors.'" —Neal A. Maxwell, "Notwithstanding My Weakness" Ensign November 1976.

Elder Maxwell with Elder Bruce C. Hafen, who wrote his biography. Image from

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3. "Truth does not eliminate the force of life's tragedies and frustrations, but it provides a context within which one can cope with them."—Neal A. Maxwell, That My Family Should Partake
4. "Temple attendance is not a guarantee that we will become better, but it provides a powerful and pointed invitation to become better. The ways of the world receive constant reinforcement—should not the ways of heaven?"—Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine

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5. "In life, the sandpaper of circumstances often smooths our crustiness and patiently polishes our rough edges. There is nothing pleasant about it, however. And the Lord will go to great lengths in order to teach us a particular lesson and to help us to overcome a particular weakness, especially if there is no other way. In such circumstances, it is quite useless for us mortals to try to do our own sums when it comes to suffering. We can't make it all add up because clearly we do not have all the numbers. Furthermore, none of us knows much about the algebra of affliction."—Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness

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6. "We [should not] be surprised if, having passed one test well, another seems to come so quickly. Was it not so for Him? He did not get three months off after the three great temptations or a weekend at the seashore after delivering the Sermon on the Mount. He was not allowed to extend His triumphal entry into Jerusalem into a year-long celebration. Quickly, so quickly, the realities of what He next had to do bore down upon Jesus."—Neal A. Maxwell, Even As I Am
7. "Our submissiveness to the Lord must be real, not the equivalent of obeying the speed limit only as long as the highway patrolman is there in his pace car."—Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith
8. "A few little flowers will spring up briefly in the dry gulley through which torrents of water pass occasionally. But it is steady streams that bring thick and needed crops. In the agriculture of the soul that has to do with nurturing attributes, flash floods are no substitute for regular irrigation."—Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness

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To keep reading bitesize bits of wisdom from Elder Maxwell, check out The Neal A. Maxwell Quotebook

The quotations within these pages — over fifteen hundred in all — have been selected not only from his addresses but also from his numerous published books. Bearing eloquent gospel witness, they are spread through three hundred subjects. An extensive index further enhances this user-friendly book. And although this volume is formatted as a reference book, the power and focus of the individual quotations are such that the book can be read straight through with both spiritual and intellectual delight. Available at Deseret Book and


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