Friday, February 19, 2010

Being Temperate in All Things

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Being Temperate in All Things, by Elder Kent D. Watson
Of the Seventy

While driving to Utah for Christmas, we were following a truck which changed lanes, causing a rock to sail towards our windshield. You've likely been in this situation before; the world seems to move in slow motion as the path of the rock seems all too apparent—ending, of course, at glass.

Following a loud CRACK!, I was surprised to see only a small mark on the windshield. Despite my surprise, I was still disappointed because I was concerned about chipped glass going to freezing weather.

A couple of weeks later, back at home in Texas, I set out to [finally] have the chip repaired—grateful that a crack had not propagated. At the shop, I was surprised again with the strength of the glass. I was told that the mark I was seeing was the result of a thin plastic-like covering placed on top of the glass, and that the glass was unmarred.

Tempered glass is amazingly strong.

In his remarks, Elder Watson gives direction and reassurance that we, indeed, can be "temperate in all things," as the scriptures require (see D&C 12:8).

In addition to "exercising restraint when it comes to food and drink," and "refraining from anger or not losing one's temper," the gospel definition of temperance includes:
  1. to use moderation in all things or to exercise self-control,
  2. to carefully examine our expectations and desires, and
  3. to be diligent and patient in seeking righteous goals.
The memory of my windshield experience was jarred by a similar, albeit more exciting story of Elder Watson. He tells of how a renegade tire on the highway collided with his windshield, shattering it (the windshield, of course). In reporting the incident to his wife, she imagined him lacerated by great shards of windshield glass. Fortunately, this is not the case here, or in many other unfortunate stories; windshield glass is tempered.

Here comes the tie-together:

Tempered glass, like tempered steel, undergoes a well-controlled heating process which increases strength. Thus, when tempered glass is under stress, it will not easily break into jagged shards that can injure.

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.

What do we do when we find figurative rocks sailing our way? Further still, what of when enormous, renegade tires head our way? Can we trust that we are tempered enough to survive the blows that come, be the results a mere scratch or shattering?

I want to be tempered instead of simply losing lose my temper (which I'm frequently reminded I need to work on).

Besides our windshields, we have an even stronger and applicable example:

What better example do we have of temperance than our Savior, Jesus Christ? ... His divine gift of temperance is available to each of God's children.

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