Teachings of Elder Neal A Maxwell



Elder Neal A Maxwell was born in 1926 and died in 2004. Elder Maxwell was called as an apostle in 1981. Before becoming one of the twelve apostles he served as a seventy. He received degrees in political science and was awarded several honorary degrees.

Elder Neal A Maxwell was well known for his eloquent speaking style. He wrote many books. He served a full time mission in Canada and was a WWII veteran. Elder Maxwell is a man who accomplished a lot.

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Elder Neal A Maxwell General Conference Talks

Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been: "There are clusters of memories embedded in each of your lives. And these can help us to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been.”

  • By the way, do not expect the world’s solutions to the world’s problems to be very effective. Such solutions often resemble what C. S. Lewis wrote about those who go dashing back and forth with fire extinguishers in times of flood (see The Screwtape Letters [1959], 117–18). Only the gospel is constantly relevant, and the substitute things won’t work.
  • Brethren, as you submit your wills to God, you are giving Him the only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give. Don’t wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it! No need to wait for a receipt; the Lord has His own special ways of acknowledging.
  • I testify to you that God has known you individually, brethren, for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Ps. 147:4; Isa. 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys! By the way, you have never seen an immortal star; they finally expire. But seated by you tonight are immortal individuals—imperfect but who are, nevertheless, “trying to be like Jesus”! In His name, even Jesus Christ, amen.


Care for the Life of the Soul: "Truly converted disciples, though still imperfect, will pursue “the life of the soul” on any day, in any decade, amid any decadence and destruction."

  • Transformation followed introspection.
  • Therefore, though ours is a time of conflict, quietly caring for “the life of the soul” is still what matters most. Though events set up the defining moments which can evoke profiles in righteousness, outward commotions cannot excuse any failure of inward resolve, even if some seem to unravel so easily.
  • His divine determinations are guaranteed, since whatever He takes in His heart to do, He will surely do it (see Abr. 3:17). He knows the end from the beginning! (see Abr. 2:8). God is fully “able to do [His] … work” and to bring all His purposes to pass, something untrue of the best-laid plans of man since we so often use our agency amiss! (see 2 Ne. 27:20).
  • Conversion basically represents the transformation from the “natural man” to becoming the “man of Christ” (Mosiah 3:19; Hel. 3:29; see also 2 Cor. 5:17). It is a labor which takes more than an afternoon.
  • The outcomes of this ongoing process include having “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). No wonder, therefore, this process enables those so converted to “strengthen [their] brethren” (Luke 22:32) and so lift others by being “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). Such righteous individuals perform another vital but quiet service to mankind: they become part of the critical mass which can evoke God’s much-needed blessings on all humanity.


How Choice a Seer!: "If Joseph Smith had been the conduit for only one such divine revelation, it would be, standing alone, sufficient to ensure his prophetic greatness."

  • Therefore, disciples today can understand why our faith and patience are tried at times—so that we can be prepared to go Home (see Mosiah 23:21).
  • Brothers and sisters, we do not go many hours in our lives without having to decide again “which way do we face” and whether we will pitch our tents facing Sodom or the holy temple (see Gen. 13:12; Mosiah 2:6).
  • God has no distracting hobbies off somewhere in the universe. We are at the very center of His concerns and purposes. What a sharp contrast to those who believe that man lives in an “unconscious universe” (Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays [1917], 50), a “universe … without a master” (Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, trans. Justin O’Brien [1955], 123).
  • An omnicompetent God leaves all mortals free to choose, but how grateful we should be that God chose long, long ago to rescue and to resurrect all His children through the Atonement of His Son. Nevertheless, some reject and many are indifferent to these and other divine beckonings, mostly because they are too caught up in the cares of the world. They are strangers to the Savior, who is far from the thoughts and intents of their hearts (see Mosiah 5:13).
  • In the midst of God’s plan and the universe’s incredible vastness is incredible personalness. For example, “[God] looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Alma 18:32; see also Isa. 66:18).
  • Since we are thus fully accountable to Him, on Judgment Day we cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment!
  • Jesus, who performed the “infinite atonement,” thereby suffered infinitely and is a fully comprehending Savior, having “descended below all things” and “comprehended all things” (2 Ne. 9:7; D&C 88:6). Yes, as in the lyrics of the moving spiritual of yesteryear, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus.”
  • Brothers and sisters, the cast of players on this planet for whom the revelations and translations are so pertinent includes those who, in that familiar phrase, are living “lives of quiet desperation” (see Henry David Thoreau, Walden [1965], 7). They have now been joined by those living lives of noisy, slurping indulgence, wrongly celebrating their capacity to feel so that they finally lose their capacity to feel and become “past feeling” (see Moro. 9:20; Eph. 4:19; 1 Ne. 17:45). Hence they lick their particular platters in a desperate search for more sensations. Such individuals, however, are still not a majority but a “lesser part” of the people (see Mosiah 29:26–27).
  • Many, having experienced the utter emptiness of the lower ways, are “in a preparation to hear the word” and now await being informed of the rescuing revelations and translations (see Alma 32:6).

Consecrate Thy Performance: "In pondering and pursuing consecration, understandably we tremble inwardly at what may be required. Yet the Lord has said consolingly, “My grace is sufficient for you” (D&C 17:8)."

  • We tend to think of consecration only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God. Heart, soul, and mind were the encompassing words of Christ in describing the first commandment, which is constantly, not periodically, operative (see Matt. 22:37). If kept, then our performances will, in turn, be fully consecrated for the lasting welfare of our souls (see 2 Ne. 32:9).
  • Such totality involves the submissive converging of feelings, thoughts, words, and deeds, the very opposite of estrangement: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13).
  • A stumbling block appears when we serve God generously with time and checkbooks but still withhold portions of our inner selves, signifying that we are not yet fully His!
  • Mistakenly regarding our present assignments as the only indicator of how much God loves us only adds to our reluctance to let go.
  • Shrinking occurs in so many ways. The terrestrial kingdom, for example, will include the “honorable,” clearly not bearers of false witness. Yet they were still “not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:75, 79). The best way to valiantly testify of Jesus is to become steadily more like Him, and it is that consecration that carves out the emulative character (see 3 Ne. 27:27).
  • Jesus never, never, never lost His focus! Though He went about doing so very much good, He always knew that the Atonement awaited, pleading with perspective, “Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27; see also John 5:30; John 6:38).
  • As you and I develop additional love, patience, and meekness, the more we have to give God and humanity. Moreover, no one else is placed exactly as we are in our opportune human orbits.
  • Having our wills increasingly swallowed up by the will of the Father actually means an enhanced individuality, stretched and more capable of receiving “all that [God] hath” (D&C 84:38). Besides, how could we be entrusted with His “all” until our wills are much more like His? Nor could His “all” be fully appreciated by the partially committed.
  • Frankly, it is our prospective selves we betray by holding back whatever the “part.” No need therefore to ask, “Lord, is it I?” (Matt. 26:22). Rather, let us inquire about our individual stumbling blocks, “Lord, is it this?” We may have known the answer for a long time and may need resolve more than His response.
  • The greatest happiness in God’s generous plan is finally reserved for those who are willing to stretch and to pay the costs of journeying to His regal realm. Brothers and sisters, “come, let us anew [this] journey pursue” (“Come, Let Us Anew,” Hymns, no. 217).


Encircled in the Arms of His Love: "Perplexing things will still happen, but, like Nephi, we can still know that God loves us, a … fact which can and will sustain us through so much!"

Plow in Hope: "By utilizing the Atonement, we access the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which “filleth with hope and perfect love” (Moro. 8:26)."

The Seventh Commandment: A Shield: "The keeping of the seventh commandment is such a vital shield! By lowering or losing that shield, the much-needed blessings of heaven are lost." (October 2001 Session)

The Tugs and Pulls of the World Many individuals preoccupied by the cares of the world are not necessarily in transgression. But they certainly are in diversion and thus waste “the days of [their] probation” (2 Ne. 9:27).

Content With The Things Allotted Unto Us Life’s necessary defining moments come within our allotments. … Our responses are what matter. Sufficient unto each life are the tests thereof!

Lessons from Laman and Lemuel Laman and Lemuel became rebels instead of leaders, resentful instead of righteous—all because of their failure to understand either the character or the purposes of God.

“Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8) Meekness is the real cure, for it does not merely mask selfishness but dissolves it!

Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ Real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine.

“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” Work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity.