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It might have given her some new insights about worms. It tells of a tiny striped caterpillar and how he joined a pile of other squirming, pushing caterpillars who were trying to get to the top of the pile. So, they climbed down and away from the others. They enjoyed being together, and they ate and grew fat until one day they became bored, and they wanted to find out if there was more to life.

Spiritual Growth

The striped caterpillar decided to find out by climbing again to the top of the caterpillar pile. So he climbed, and she wandered aimlessly until she saw a caterpillar hanging upside down on a branch and caught in some hairy substance. Can I help you? It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It drinks only nectar from the flowers and carries seeds of love from one flower to another. Without butterflies the world would soon have few flowers. How does one become a butterfly?

The yellow caterpillar began fearfully but continued the process until at length she became a butterfly. Then she helped the striped caterpillar learn who he was and leave the pile to become what he was really meant to be.

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Like the caterpillars who will one day become butterflies, you have the magnificent potential to develop the powers within you and become greater than most of you dare dream. You have the power and the capacity to perform so well that you can inherit all that our Father has if you begin the process and continue until you become what you are really meant to be.

Each individual is entitled to choose which path to walk and thereby determine the ultimate destiny of his or her life. It is not of such choices I speak. Perhaps then you can begin to understand the process necessary to become what you are really meant to be. First, you have great physical powers. Look at you; notice your hands, your arms, your legs, your feet, your face, your eyes, your ears, your mouth, and your nose. You must admit that you are a magnificent creation when you realize how intricate these components are and what you can do because of them.

If by any chance there is more of you than you would like to see, you can do something about it. And, if you do, it will make a great difference in how you feel about yourself. Recently I was in Washington, D. She is stunning, tall, and full of enthusiasm. She is running an oil recycling business. This young woman told me about her recent campaign to lose weight. I think that she had taken off more than 40 pounds. It is exciting. Her example serves to illustrate that physically you have the power to choose the options available to you.

You who have five or ten or more pounds that you would like to lose can do so in different ways. You can take in fewer calories, or you may desire to put yourself on a consistent program of exercise, or both. The point is that you have the power to lose weight and thereby increase your capacity to do what you want to do.

When a man makes war on his own weaknesses he engages in the holiest war that mortals ever wage. The reward that comes from victory in this struggle is the most enduring, most satisfying, and the most exquisite that man ever experiences.

The Powers within You - Barbara B. Smith - BYU Speeches

The power to do what we ought to do is the greatest freedom. I hope at some time you all will feel the reward of such a victory and that you will recognize the miracle of your mortal bodies in helping you to gain this newfound freedom. Regard him as he lies in the lap of his mother. There are eyes, indeed, that may see, but cannot distinguish objects; ears that may hear, but cannot distinguish sounds; hands as perfectly fashioned as yours and mine, but helpless withal; feet and limbs, but they are unable to bear the weight of his body, much less walk.

The miracle of the mortal body became apparent to me one afternoon when I was holding my first baby. It was a girl, and suddenly she seemed to stop breathing. I tried to force air into her lungs. I cried to the Lord in desperation, and after only a few seconds that seemed like an endless hour, she began to breathe normally again. The problem was diagnosed as an enlarged thymus gland that needed treatment. I shall never forget how grateful I was for the miracle of life and for the power of the body that I knew that day. I determined to do my very best to help her use her life as the Lord intended when he gave her to me to care for and love.

I know now the powers within these bodies, and I know they are powers not only to create life but to live it in such a way that mortality will be a happy and meaningful experience. When these miraculous systems malfunction—and maybe only then—we fully appreciate the complexity of the systems that give the body life.

Only as we struggle to understand the body in order to treat the ailments it falls heir to in this life do we fully appreciate its remarkable nature and the intricate interrelationships which exist. The human body is most remarkable. It can walk, run, jump, climb, swim, ski, play, jog, and on and on, but not the least of these remarkable capabilities are its compensatory powers. We find these powers as we observe some of our friends and acquaintances—or even ourselves—who have birth defects, accidents, or illnesses that cause the functions we counted on to be lost so that other parts of the body have to substitute.

You honored Curt at Homecoming last year because he had broken some records in the famous Boston Marathon. Curt was a good basketball player before his accident, but afterward he did not dwell on what his body could not do. When he had no legs, he trained his arms and built strength in them to compensate for his missing legs. He found another way to use the powers within him, and he became a champion. I want you to know the full joy of your mortal body.

The power is within you to do an infinite variety of things. It is like a never-ending kaleidoscope of experiences that are available to you regardless of your challenges or your problems. When one avenue of activity is denied by a physical impairment, there is still a rich variety of alternate choices available to you. It is the masterful creation of our bodies that gives us these wonderful abilities because we are the literal offspring of our Heavenly Father.

He, whose spirit children we are, organized these mortal bodies and provided us with a powerful instrument capable of vitalized mortal living. However, Elder LeGrand Richards cautions:. You do have great physical powers within you to create life, to control your abilities and capacities, and to compensate for disabilities; and these physical powers require you to take good care of your bodies.

At the very least you should obey the Word of Wisdom, eat properly, sleep and exercise regularly, and abstain from taking anything into your bodies that will destroy your powers, for you will be held accountable for them as you strive to become what you are really meant to be. Now consider your mental powers. Think of your infinite capacity to learn, your ability to control your attitude toward learning, and your ability to adapt to and draw from the happenings each day. No mother can watch the progress of her child without being filled with wonder at his endless desire to learn.

It is one of the joys of being a parent. You have all watched a child struggle to walk. Again and again he tries: up on his feet, down on the floor, bumps and hurts, cries of pain and frustration until at last he walks. At first he holds on to the offered hand for support, and then he pushes it away.

A child must go through the process if he would grow and gain a sense of achievement. This fundamental principle applies to you if real learning is to occur. Each of you must reach out for strength from others, then struggle and stretch to the limits of your own capacities to feel the ultimate sense of achievement. With that realization look back over the centuries of our experience in mortality and see the great learning that has come to us from others. I mentioned my recent trip to Washington, D. It is a huge structure, housing all the tangible machines of flight which are part of our national legacy.

Within those walls are housed many dreams. The history of our conquest of the moon is documented there in countless projects and written records. It is just one of the tiny fragments of human inquiry which have yielded enormous amounts of knowledge. In the earliest records of human desire to go to the moon are stories of drinking a magic potion and being wafted to the moon or harnessing giant birds that could pull a raft carrying a man to the moon.

Some even thought about covering men with suction cups so that, as the dew would evaporate from the cups, the traveler could be lifted to the moon. Then came a reflection of our technological progress, the thought of gliding, and finally the realization that a person might be shot from a rocket to the moon. More than years ago the necessary principles of physics were beginning to be known, and Kepler declared that when we had developed the technology to build machines to go to the moon, men would come forward to ride those machines.

They did, and the moon once whimsically described as being made of green cheese suddenly became a real place—barren, foreboding, made of rocks and boulders with no living thing on it. In the process of conquering the distance to the moon, many things were discovered. As the hardware was developed to lift the rocket from the earth and hurl it through space, the first major discoveries with computers were made.

From the roomful of equipment it took to do the first computer calculations developed our present pocket calculators. Walk the corridors of this great university and look into the libraries and the laboratories, and you will find more projects designed to overcome the ignorance and the unknown than could have ever been dreamed about a few short years ago.

Remember that knowledge builds upon knowledge. There is no end to the capacity of men and women to learn. The great vision of the gospel is that we grow in wisdom and in knowledge and in favor with God and man. You must put yourself to that task because you have the power. So here we are in the midst of the work of subduing the earth. There is only one way to subdue the earth. It is to learn enough to dispel ignorance and to gain enough wisdom that we might apply what we know for the benefit of all people.

There is most often an urgent desire for knowledge in us when we are young. At this great university you have unnumbered opportunities to learn. You can select courses, you can study in the library, you can attend concerts and plays and lectures. You can engage your friends and your professors and teachers in conversation. If you fill your time well, you will learn many great and important things at a pace you may never be able to sustain again in your lifetime.

I was told that when J. He asked his father to buy more sheep, but his father was very hesitant to make such a large investment again. He reminded Willard that he and his brothers would be in school and that there would be no one to stay home full time with the sheep. And so young Willard volunteered to stay home instead of going away to college. For two years he watched the sheep, but his desire for an education was so compelling that he registered for home study classes and while out in the field studied hard enough to complete his first two years of college.

Joseph Larsen, a fine stake president in Illinois, was injured while serving his country. The accident left him without the use of his legs, confined to a wheelchair. But he, with the help of his lovely wife, went on to finish his education, and he is now a dean at the University of Illinois. He is a spiritual giant among the brothers and sisters of his stake. The capacity to learn did no end when his ability to walk ended. He kept going.


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When her husband passed away, she decided that she would make good use of her time alone. She studied art history.

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It was so fascinating to her that she wanted to tell others about it, so she began conducting tours through the various galleries. Then she took a group abroad to study art. People began coming to her home and requesting private lessons or group instruction, whichever she would give. Now her life is rich and full as she continues to seek more learning about art in order to be filled enough to constantly teach others.

Continuing education is one of the gospel concepts for an enriched life. We can learn in so many ways. I had four daughters. Imagine how many happy, productive hours they spend together. Classes are available; books are available; constant, never-ending media stimulation is available. All these things can work to our good if we desire to continue learning.

We all can come from the unknown to the known. We can develop skills, but we must remember that one of the significant tools for learning is our ability to control our own attitudes. Fortunately we have the power within us to control and establish our own attitudes. All the knowledge in the world will not help us if we resist learning.

But there is no end to our capacity to learn if we apply ourselves diligently and eagerly to the task. A slight change of attitude to a new point of view can open up a whole new world to you. I can remember descending into the Los Angeles airport one day. I was seated next to a landscape architect. Perhaps the most important point I would like to discuss with you regarding your intellectual powers is the fact that you have the power to grow from your day-to-day experiences. At one time or another, you will all have the occasion to choose between a life of bitterness or a life of beauty.

You have the power within you to make such a choice, and the Lord has promised that you can count on him for sufficient help to have an abundant life if you choose to live by the principles which lead to your personal growth and development. Brother Marriott turned the circumstances which kept him from school into great personal discipline and a learning experience. President Larsen changed his life in a wheelchair to a life with sufficient optimism that he could stand tall in spirit and intellect even though his legs would no longer hold him.

Sister Knudson accepted her situation and receives abundant satisfaction as she is sought out for her deep insights that bring happiness to herself and to others. This great adaptive quality is part of the power within us that can shape our lives into contributions and excellence if we so choose.

When we use our mental powers wisely, we can more easily become what we are really meant to be. There is a third great power within you, the power for enormous spiritual growth—the infinite possibility for perfecting yourself. One way you can develop your spiritual power is by sharing the gospel because the gospel has the principles upon which all growth is predicated. Once we understand those concepts, we need opportunities both to teach them and to live them.

You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.

Many of us have behavior patterns today that were programmed into our brains at a very tender age. The information that was recorded by our brains could have been completely inaccurate or cruel.

MAKING GREAT CHANGES TOGETHER

The loudest and most influential voice you hear is your own inner voice, your selfcritic. It can work for or against you, depending on the messages you allow. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear you down or cheer you on. You control the sender and the receiver, but only if you consciously take responsibility for and control over your inner conversation.

Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. Common causes include low self-esteem , stress, fear, resentment, anger and an inability to handle change. It takes serious work to examine the roots of a harmful attitude, but the rewards of ridding ourselves of this heavy baggage can last a lifetime.

Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day, serve to reprogram your subconscious with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction and faith. You send a positive response to your subconscious, which accepts whatever you tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action.

Discover what motivates you—what incites you to take action to change your life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology walk faster, smile, sit up , and a belief in yourself and your God-given potential. Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers and artists use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years.

Visualization works well to improve attitude. Attitude talk is a way to override your past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps you face new directions. Your internal conversation—that little voice you listen to all day long—acts like a seed in that it programs your brain and affects your behavior.

Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself. Once released to the universe, our words cannot be taken back. Learn the concept of WOW—watch our words. What we speak reflects what is already in our hearts based upon all the things we have come to believe about ourselves.

If we find ourselves speaking judgmental and disparaging things about our circumstances or those around us, we know the condition of our hearts needs to change. You can create a direct path to success by what you say. Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life.