We can bring the greatest of all liberties into our individual lives by living true and correct principles. This liberty comes to us as we learn to live as though Jesus Christ were walking beside us. We gain this freedom when we invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.
The liberty principle for today is the ninth in a series of true principles suggested by Elder Richard G. Scott in his book 21 Principles – Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit. I will merely introduce the principle and suggest that you obtain Elder Scott’s book in order to truly understand this principle. Elder Scott explained that principles “are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and challenging circumstances.” You can see principle #1 “True Principles of Freedom” here, principle #2 “Trust the Holy Ghost” here, principle #3 “Try New Things” here, principle #4 “Accept Promptings” here, principle #5 “Decisions Determine Destiny” here, principle #6 “Accept God’s Will” here, principle #7 “Power Limited” here, and principle #8 “Discerning Answers” here.
Principle #9 is the simple counsel that our answers to prayer sometimes comes through inspired counsel from mentors. Elder Scott taught, “One of the great sources of help we can receive as we make our way through mortality comes from the presence in our lives of mentors, people who want to help us, who are interested in our well-being, who may have had greater experience than we have. Such a person needs not be older that we are, but should be someone who is willing to give counsel that is founded in principle and doctrine.
“Some of the greatest lessons I have learned in my life have been taught to me by those brethren and sisters who have mentored me, given me counsel, seen me struggling with an issue and taken the time to share their experience and provide tremendous encouragement….
“Sometimes just the way a person lives provides a mentoring experience for others…” (pp. 45-46).
My life has been blessed by the experiences of many mentors. My parents and siblings have been very helpful to me in numerous situations; my children have also helped me with their knowledge and experiences. I am always willing to listen to someone who I know cares about me and wants to help me. I received life-changing counsel by listening to a song in sacrament meeting. I do not know or remember the title of the song but the following words continue to ring in my mind: “How many drops of blood did the Savior shed for me?” Since I heard those words, I have tried to live my life in such a way that I would not cause Him to shed any more drops for me.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also spoke about mentoring: “Each of us, from time to time, is mentored and has chances to mentor. In my experience, truthful and caring one-liners that occur within such nurturing relationships have a long shelf life! You can probably recount three or four examples of how people have said something – probably a sentence or clause – and you remember it still. It moves and touches you still. Such has been the case with me….
“Thurs, giving encouragement and perspective to each other – including spiritual one-liners – occurs in life so often, as in the well-known case of the young man who accompanied Elisha on the mount that was surrounded with hostile horses and chariots. The anxious young man asked, `How shall we do?’ (2 Kings 6:15). His eyes were then opened so that he too saw the reassuring horses and chariots of fire. Elisha counseled the young man, `They that be with us are more than they that be with them’ (2 Kings 6:16). How vital that same truth is for all of us, especially when we may seem outnumbered or overwhelmed in life’s varied circumstances.”
Elder Maxwell continued by explaining that “Jesus’ mentoring and tutoring arose out of His divinity, of which I testify, and often occurred in the form of searching questions, sometimes even wrenching questions. For example, the tender, thrice-put query to Peter: `Simon Peter, … lovest thou me?’ (John 21:15; see also John 21:16-17).
“Unlike some of our questions to others, Jesus’ questions were not flippant, nor were they mere rejoinders. Instead, they were true invitations, though only the meek may actually respond. Nevertheless, deep insights are embedded in Christ’s questions!
“Lesson-laden, Jesus’ questions are relevant for us too. Some are multidispensational, such as the question to the returning and healed leper about the forgetful ingratitude of his peers. Jesus asked the question, `Where are the [other] nine?’ (Luke 17:17).
“Some of the Master’s queries require an entire shift in one’s frame of reference. Consider the question asked the brilliant but as yet spiritually untamed Saul on the road to Damascus: `Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?’ (Acts 9:4). An entire frame of reference was changed by an inspired question.
“There are tactical advantages as well as spiritual advantages that can accompany inspired questions….
“Moreover, we soon find in this process of tutoring and mentoring that chastening may be involved in both the Lord’s questions and in His training of us. The Lord tells us that He chastens those whom He loves. In fact, the chastened may be the only individuals willing so to learn (see Mosiah 23:21). After all, where could one get more profound, personal insights than from the Lord – and in the context of divine charity?”
Elder Maxwell’s talk has many more profound and interesting thoughts about mentoring. I encourage you to read the entire talk here. (“Jesus, the Perfect Mentor,” Ensign, February 200). I am grateful for mentoring given by Elder Maxwell and sorely miss him since his death. I am however blessed with many other mentors who continue to give me greater understanding in various areas of my life. I hope that I have been of help to other people!