Episode 42. November 13, 2016. Today I want to give a shout-out to our daughter Kira who will celebrate her birthday this Tuesday, November 15th. Happy Birthday Kira we love you and are so proud of you. You are a wonderful mother, wife, daughter and friend. Happy Birthday!
Today I want to talk about what it means to be “pure in heart”.
There are only 10 scriptures that contain the phrase “pure in heart”. The first time the phrase appears is in Matthew 5:8 (see 3 Nephi 12:8) near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. I think we are all familiar with it. It goes like this: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
I want to detour for just a moment and say a few words about the process of refinement in which impurities are removed. Because I work for Shell, I am familiar with refineries and how they make gasoline and other petroleum based products. In the process of refining of crude oil, heat, pressure and often chemical reactions combine to separate and fracture carbon chains and remove impurities. For example, in a crude distillation unit, temperatures will reach nearly 750 degrees Fahrenheit. In a delayed coker unit, where feedstock for aluminum and steel are produced, they can reach as high as 2375 degrees Fahrenheit. In metallurgical refining, heat and acids are used to remove impurities from lead, copper, iron and precious metals such as gold and silver.
Well you get the point, the process of refinement takes knowledge, effort and a lot of heat, pressure and chemical reactions. In our own purification process, should we not expect a similar effect from our own struggles, mistakes, bad judgment, persecution and challenges that constitute our own fires of affliction?
In episode 18 titled “Holiness” I speak a bit more about this refining process through divine correction and chastisement that we can invite into our lives. If you haven’t read or listened to that episode, it is a nice companion znukcast to this one.
Okay, back to being pure in heart. What does it mean to be pure in heart and how can we move in that direction? Through my study of the 10 scriptures mentioned above as well as all of the general conference talks containing the phrase “pure in heart”, I have identified 10 ways that we can become pure in heart. You can find the references to each of these on my blog at znukmot.wordpress.com.
- Have a love of God and of fellowmen. O Leslie Stone
- Look to God with firmness of mind and pray unto him with exceeding faith; feasting upon his love. Jacob 3:1-2
- Know our body is a temple to be treated with reverence and respect. Thomas S. Monson
- Fill our minds with uplifting and ennobling thoughts and keep free from those things which will pollute. Thomas S. Monson
- Be worthy to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion. Thomas S. Monson
- Extend mercy to others. Royden G. Derrick
- Know that we are children of God, created in the image of a divine Father and gifted with a potential for the exercise of great and godlike virtues. Gordon B. Hinckley
- Speak only that which is uplifting and leads to growth. Gordon B. Hinckley
- Be virtuous. Keep the commandments of God. Understand the difference between right and wrong, between the things of God and the things of men. Joseph Smith
- Seek counsel from the prophets and apostles which we can obtain from General Conference and Church Magazine articles D&C 122:1-2
After identifying these 10 ways that we can become “pure in heart”, the next natural question for me was whether there was anything I could learn from these scriptures and talks that will help us to know who the pure in heart are. I found five key statements that I think are helpful:
- Those who will return and come to their inheritances and build up the waste places of Zion D&C 101:16-19
- Those who rejoice for Zion, who long for Zion, who live a Zion-like life D&C 97:21
- Those who worthily attend the temple with an expectation to see God. D&C 97:15-16
- Those with broken hearts and contrite spirits. D&C 56:18-20
- Those who are filled with a knowledge of God and possess a love for God and their fellowmen. O Leslie Stone
I really love the connection to Zion here. Many of us are familiar with the scripture in D&C 97:21 that says: “Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.” I think the other concept here worth repeating is the connection to the temple, for it is there that we learn how it is that we can come to see God.
Okay, so what then are the blessings of being “pure in heart”?
- We will be saved in the Kingdom of God. D&C 124:54
- We will be consoled in our afflictions, and the Savior will plead our cause, and send down justice upon those who seek our destruction. Jacob 3:1-2
- We will have peace of mind and will be qualified to receive the Savior’s promises. Thomas S. Monson
- We receive inner peace which is peace in our mind and peace in our heart. Royden G. Derrick
- We will be able to see the “God” or good in man and love him because of the goodness we see in him. Harold B. Lee
- We shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto our deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be ours. For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice; And our generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, forever and ever. D&C 56:18-20
- We shall see God. And not only shall we see the Lord, but we shall feel at home in his presence. “Here is … the Savior’s promise: ‘Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God’ (D&C 121:45)” Marion G. Romney
I have thoroughly enjoyed this study of becoming pure in heart. The journey, the blessings, the outcomes. What glorious blessings await us! Becoming pure in heart takes courage, effort and a total reliance on our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. The blessings are nearly unthinkable. The promise to see God in this life! May we all desire to pursue this course is my prayer.