"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
June 11, 2013
Making People Better
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

I love quotations, and how they give us pause to ponder, compare, and grow. A daily dose of uplifting, inspired words bring hope and goodness.

Here are a few quotes that resonate in my soul:

  • Of all the commentaries upon the Scriptures, good examples are the best and the liveliest. — Donne

  • A ship is safe in the ocean as long as the ocean is not in the ship, and a Mormon is safe in the world as long as the world is not in the Mormon. — Sherman Thompson

  • In order to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, people must first embrace Him whose gospel it is. They must trust the Savior and what He has taught us. They must believe that He has the power to keep His promises to us by virtue of the Atonement. When people have faith in Jesus Christ, they accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings. — Elder L. Tom Perry

  • Never give up. Never, never, never give up. — Winston Churchill

  • This is my prayer for all of us: “Lord, increase our faith.” Increase our faith to bridge the chasms of uncertainty and doubt.... Grant us faith to look beyond the problems of the moment to the miracles of the future.... Give us faith to do what is right and let the consequence follow. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

  • Make your life count for good. 

I honestly don’t know if I had this thought come to me, or if I heard it years ago. I just know it is part of me, driving me forward.  Little baby steps of goodness bring quiet joy, however, and whenever I make the effort.

Interestingly enough, the more good I do, the more good I want to do. Though I have “miles to go before I sleep,” I am a better person for focusing on good things.

The Plan of Happiness is just that — a plan for offering genuine hope and happiness and peace in a world that doesn’t offer it. At least not in a lasting way, and not based on proper principles.

A divine purpose of the gospel is to make people different — to make people happier, to make us more joyful. 

If our growth comes a step at a time, or a word at a time, so be it. Beautiful lives don’t just happen. It takes time, effort, understanding, and ingesting bright and beautiful things.

It requires that we toss aside the naysaying and let go of doubts. P.S. Simply because someone has degrees, has climbed the ladder of earthly success, or has all the “right” titles doesn’t make them correct in their profound (in their own mind) pontifications.  Take Voltaire, for instance. Because he was a well-known pontificator, writer and philosopher, many took his words as truth.  Among some, surely, good things he shared, there was this little goof:

In 100 years the Bible will be a forgotten book, found only in the museums.

When a hundred years had passed, Voltaire’s home was occupied by the Geneva Bible Society.

That’s funny, actually. And it points out the folly of this historian’s reasoning or handle on truth.

Taking care, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit and find wonderful, just-what-we-need-at-the-time words to keep us moving along, and helping to make us better people.  That’s a really good thing.

And goodness matters!

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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