- By Elder Thatcher

A Thematic Blog - -By Elder Thatcher
"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Man of Honor

I've been reflecting, lately, on the concept of Honor.  There are generally two senses in which we use the word.  One being the quality of honesty or integrity, the second being related to esteem or high respect.  I've been thinking about the relationship between these two.  I think the truest way to receive the second is to devolop the first. 

We honor God, in part, because of His supreme integrity.  He receives honor because He has perfect honor.  I can place total confidence in God because I know that what He says, He will do.  He'll follow through.  God is a man of honor

I've been discovering that the key to real power is honor--in the sense of integrity.  The Buddha once said, "If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him."  I think there is a lot of truth to that. 
Consider these words from Karl G. Maeser, founder and first president of Brigham Young University. 

"My friends, I have been asked what is meant by 'word of honor.' I will tell you.  Place me behind prison walls--high, thick walls of stone.  It is possible that somehow I could escape.  But stand me on the floor, draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor not to cross it and I would never cross the line.  I'd die first!" 
Karl G. Maeser was a man of honor. 

I believe this to be something that God requires of us.  Abraham Lincoln, always famous for his honesty and integrity affirmed, "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.  I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have."  He felt accountable to God for his actions and for what he did with what he was given.  He was a man of honor. 

This, to me, is one of the most valuable qualities of human being can possess.  It is something I would like to develop.  There are not many people who attain such a character.  My father is one.  I would trust his word on pain of death.  I know that he is a man of honor. 

In others' words:
"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." 
-David O. McKay

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Invictus Cum Auxilio

In Mrs. Crandall's seventh and eighth grade English classes, we memorized a poem a month.  At the end of the month, or whenever we were ready, Mrs. Crandall would set up a tripod, we would bring in a video cassette, and she would film us individually reciting the poem in front of our peers.  We didn't necessarily like it at the time, but it's made an incredible difference in my life.  I improved my much-needed skills of memorization and was introduced to and influenced by some of the world's great and influential literature. 

One poem that I learned, which I can still recite, is "Invictus," by William Ernest Henley.

I was very influenced by the power of the poem.  I used to read it from time to time to motivate myself.  I have realized, since, what Elder Orson F. Whitney, an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed in his poem "The Soul's Captain." 

Following are the poem "Invictus" and Whitney's response.

William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903)

William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 The Soul's Captain
Orson F. Whitney

Art thou in truth?
Then what of Him who bought thee with His blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood,

Orson Ferguson Whitney  (1 July 1855 – 16 May 1931)

Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but Him could bear-
That God who died that man might live
And endless glory share. 

Of what avail thy vaunted strength
Apart from His vast might?
Pray that His light may pierce the gloom
That thou mayest see aright. 

Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree,
Thou, captain of thy soul! Forsooth,
Who gave that place to thee?

Free will is thine-free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto Him
To whom all souls belong. 

Bend to the dust that ‘head unbowed, ‘
Small part of life’s great whole,
And see in Him and Him alone,
The captain of thy soul.

P.S. Someone tell me if my Latin is correct in the title!