On Gratitude

As I was rushing down to the store for my mother to pick up some desperately needed last-minute supplies for dinner this evening, my mind was caught up in reflection of what I am grateful for.

I am grateful for the Restored Gospel in my life. I am grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to have a testimony of the Restored Gospel and for those good brothers and sisters in the Church who have blessed my life through their service. 

“Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy” (D&C 128:19).

I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my loving and supporting parents and siblings. 

“O God, grant that I may have the privilege of seeing once more my lovely family in the enjoyment of the sweets of liberty and social life. To press them to my bosom and kiss their lovely cheeks would fill my heart with unspeakable gratitude” (Joseph Smith, November 1838).

I am grateful for good, loyal, and kind friends. 

“How good and glorious it has seemed unto me, to find pure and holy friends, who are faithful, just, and true, and whose hearts fail not” (Joseph Smith, August 1842).

I am grateful for beautiful and meaningful art, music, literature, and film that enriches my life, expands my imagination, stirs my soul, transports me across cultures and through the currents of time, and brings vibrancy to how I see the world around me. 

“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Article of Faith 13).

I am grateful not only to have received an education, but to have received an education at Brigham Young University. I am grateful for my professors who have taught me so much and have inspired me to grow in my academic field. I am also grateful for the tithe-payers who heavily subsidized my tuition and for those who contributed to BYU financially so that I could receive a scholarship from the university. 

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36).

I am grateful for the men and women who defend and sustain the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. 

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

I am grateful for the ancient scribes and copyists who painstakingly, letter by letter, preserved the biblical and Nephite records. I am grateful for those brave and pious men and women (like William Tyndale and Caroline and Mary Elizabeth Rollins) who sometimes risked their very lives to make these scriptures readily available for study and appreciation. 

“William Tyndale was not the first, nor the last, of those who in many countries and languages have sacrificed, even to the point of death, to bring the word of God out of obscurity. We owe them all a great debt of gratitude. We owe perhaps an even greater debt to those who faithfully recorded and preserved the word through the ages, often with painstaking labor and sacrifice—Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, John, Paul, Nephi, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and many others” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010).

I am grateful to live in a county where I can feely express my opinion and freely practice my religion. 

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Article of Faith 11).

I am grateful to live in a country where I have easy and relatively cheap access to food, water, electricity, health care, and other commodities.

“[T]he next time we pray, instead of presenting the Lord petition after petition for some action in our behalf, give Him thoughtful thanks for all with which He has blessed us” (Elder Steven E. Snow, January 2002).

These are just some of the things I’m grateful for. I could list many more. But for now, on this Thanksgiving day, may we remember the words of President Thomas S. Monson. “My sincere, heartfelt prayer is that we may in our individual lives reflect that marvelous virtue of gratitude.”

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
(Psalm 100)