Why I still love Neal A. Maxwell

As a young single adult, I was a spiritual admirer of Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  I loved the way he used words to create images and analogies that helped me better understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He died the day that Clark was born.  I like to think they gave each other a hug somewhere in the “wormhole” between here and the spirit world.  Now that I am a mother and (maybe) a little bit wiser, I love him even more.

“Occasionally some individuals let the seeming ordinariness of life dampen their spirits. Though actually coping and growning, others lack the quiet, inner-soul satisfaction that can steady them, and are experiencing instead, a lingering sense that there is something more important they should be doing . . .as if what is quietly achieved in righteous individual living or in parenthood are not sufficiently spectacular.”

“If we spent as much time lifting our children as we do criticizing them, how effectively we could help them to see themselves in a more positive light!”

“Some mothers in today’s world feel “cumbered” by home duties and are thus attracted by other more “romantic” challenges. Such women could make the same error of perspective that Martha made. The woman, for instance, who deserts the cradle in order to help defend civilization against the barbarians may well later meet, among the barbarians, her own neglected child.”

“God’s extraordinary work is most often done by ordinary people in the seeming obscurity of a home and family.”

“One’s life … cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free…Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’ …Real faith … is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process.”

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”

“Obviously, family values mirror our personal priorities. Given the gravity of current conditions, would parents be willing to give up just one outside thing, giving that time and talent instead to the family? Parents and grandparents, please scrutinize your schedules and priorities in order to ensure that life’s prime relationships get more prime time! Even consecrated and devoted Brigham Young was once told by the Lord, “Take especial care of your family” (D&C 126:3). Sometimes, it is the most conscientious who need this message the most!”

“We salute you, sisters, for the joy that is yours as you rejoice in a baby’s first smile and as you listen with eager ear to a child’s first day at school which bespeaks a special selflessness. Women, more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the word self is militantly placed before other words like fulfillment. You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.”

And finally, this was my favorite quote that I printed out and carried in my planner for almost the entire decade of my 20s.  It still rings true today:

“Throughout scripture we encounter the need for us to remember that the Lord has His own timetable for unfolding things; it will not always accord with our schedules or our wants. When, in our extremities, we urgently call for a divine response, there may be, instead, a divine delay. This is not because God, at the moment, is inattentive or loves us less than perfectly. Rather, it is because we are being asked, at the moment, to endure more for the welfare of our souls. The blessed meek understand that God loves them even when they may not be able to explain the meaning of what is happening to them or around them.”

What a great man.


25 thoughts on “Why I still love Neal A. Maxwell

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I truly needed it tonight. I have felt a bit dragged along in the tide of either too much stress or too many dishes and it was nice to hear Elder Maxwell’s words. To remind me of the rightness of my life with all its ups and downs (and dishes). Thanks again!

  2. These are all so great!!!! and so needed. I love him to. Getting to be in the temple with him was somethingI will never forget – even though we never spoke, adn he never noticed I was there – He demonstrated such kindess and such humility to those around him. I am going to print these out and post them around my house.

  3. I have to agree with you … what a great man. You’ve chosen some lovely quotations to exemplify him and his teachings. Thank you for reminding us of what a treasure he left behind for us!

  4. ok, I love elder maxwell too… I even love the fact that you have to have a dictionary when you read or listen to his talks.
    These are some of the greatest of great quotes… nice collection!
    thanks for sharing.

  5. So I just found your blog while writing a talk for church–kinda funny. I love it. Just what I need for my ‘newly resolved’ daily devotional and such. And these quotes by Elder Maxwell are excellent! Definitely sticking some on my bathroom mirror so I can get some encouragement. Thanks!

  6. I love Elder Maxwell too… my husband and I had to speak last Sunday… in his preparation, I found him totally sidetracked pouring over quote after quote from Elder Maxwell… he’s always been a favorite of ours.

  7. Thanks Steph for these quotes. Even for a mom with grown children it had brought hope in the future of my wayward adult children. I was lucky to stay at home and wouldn’t trade it for the honors of men!

  8. This spoke right to me today. Especially that first one, and the last one. Yesterday, I felt well enough to do quite a bit more than normal, but felt that I should have been able to do more. I forget that what I can do, what God has made possible for me to do now, is enough for Him. Even though I cannot explain the meaning of my circumstances, or what it means for the grand scheme or welfare of my soul. Anyway, thanks.

  9. This is why we all love your blog Steph. You give us all the oomph we need to keep going and enjoy the journey! It looks like this message came at a great time for more than just me. Thanks. 😉

  10. My husband and I loved Elder Maxwell too, and it was fantastic to read these quotes and hear his voice ringing in my ears again. Thanks for the burst of much-needed encouragement!

  11. So I’ve been reading and loving your blog for a few months now. I may have commented once a couple months back, but I don’t remember for sure. DesMama linked to your blog from hers once and I’ve been a faithful reader ever since.

    I just wanted to say that I love your blog and enjoy your insights so much. I too love Elder Maxwell. That last quote just brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the great posts–you are an inspiration!

  12. Hi! (waving back at you 🙂
    I am glad you dropped in to peak. thanks for the many insights you share on the regular basis. It helps me a lot! Just today I was reading the article you posted by Sister Beck to CES personnel and a little bit later I saw your comment. I am glad I found your blog…. I don’t even remember how long ago or how, but it has brought laughs and tender feelings to this heart. Thanks!
    Thanks for the compilation of quotes by Elder Maxwell by the way! and for your comment for me. It made my day to read that, at the moment of the day when I was so exhausted (and I still have 3 more months of pregnancy…. I will survive, I will survive, I will survive) to keep being a mom til the end of the day. Thank you.

  13. Some of these gave me goosebumps – especially the first one. I just found your blog last week, and you have really provided a spiritual injection into my daily thoughts. Thank you so much!
    in Australia

  14. Elder Maxwell had such a beautiful way of putting so much meaning and power into a few words. I love to read his books over and over. Thanks for reminding me on a day that I need to remember this important message.

  15. Elder Maxwell is also one of my favorites. In fact, Grant was almost Maxwell, Max for short.

    Elder Maxwell gave a talk titled “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father” that was literally life changing for me.

    And I loved the quote you picked about how a life can’t be faith filled and stress free. That’s a good reminder.

  16. I love Elder Maxwell. He has always been one of my favorite and I have so many of his talks printed out and highlighted. Thanks for posting this and I am glad I found your blog. God Bless and continue the great work.


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