Sunday, February 28, 2010


In my goal to overcome anger issues, I identified charity and temperance as goals to work toward. I figure if I can teach myself to be charitable and temperate, my anger will abate and I will become a better [Christian, mom, wife, daughter, neighbor, person].

Since I already lightly touched on charity, today's topic is temperance.

According to, temperance can be defined as "moderation or self-restraint in action or statement; self-control."

"In a spiritual sense, temperance is a divine attribute of Jesus Christ. He desires for each of us to develop this attribute. Learning to be temperate in all things is a spiritual gift available through the Holy Ghost.

'I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things.'

Likewise, a temperate soul—one who is humble and full of love—is also a person of increased spiritual strength. With increased spiritual strength, we are able to develop self-mastery and to live with moderation. We learn to control, or temper, our anger, vanity, and pride. With increased spiritual strength, we can protect ourselves from the dangerous excesses and destructive addictions of today’s world.

When we are confronted with affliction, He said: 'Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.'" Kent D. Watson, “Being Temperate in All Things,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 38–39
I like the idea of temperance being a spiritual gift. Some people are naturally temperate. It comes easily to some but is much more challenging for others. That doesn't mean that I shouldn't seek to become more temperate if I am not a naturally temperate person. We are told to seek after the best gifts.

Additionally, “If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. … No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else. That is the design of God concerning His Church. He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts, and bestows them upon those who seek after them, in order that they may be a perfect people upon the face of the earth” (Millennial Star, 23 Apr. 1894, 260). quoted in Robert D. Hales, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb 2002, 12

"Temperance can protect each of us from the aftermath of excess."Russell M. Nelson, “‘These … Were Our Examples’,” Ensign, Nov1991, 59

I'm sure we've all felt the "aftermath of excess" at one time or another. If we overeat we feel bloated and lethargic. If we stay up too late partying we feel like a train hit us the next day. If we get angry and blow up...well, there are a whole range of possible outcomes: divorce, bitter estrangement, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual damage, grudges, loss of trust, death, etc.

"[Being temperate] means he is restrained in his emotions and verbal expressions. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence. In a word, he has self-control. He is the master of his emotions, not the other way around." Ezra Taft Benson, “What Manner of Men Ought We to Be?,” Ensign, Nov 1983, 42

I think it's just too darned easy to lay blame on external things and people for our feelings. We like to think that we are victims of circumstance. That we are good people and if it weren't for such and such or so and so, we wouldn't be so unhappy. But luckily our emotions are within our ability to control. We aren't victims. We can change. We can choose happiness and temperance. Will it always be easy? No. But I've learned if I want something badly enough, it's worth working for.

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