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Neal Ash Maxwell, July 6, 1926 – July 21, 2004 (Age 78)


-Bachelors and Masters at U of U in political science.
-Taught at U of U
-Legislative Assistant to Senator Wallace Bennett.
-Infantryman in World War II (Okinawa).
-Business Director of Questar, Deseret News


Mission: East Canada

Assistant to 12:
-April 6, 1974 (age 47)

Presidency of the 70: -October 1, 1976 (50)

-July 23, 1981 (55)

Other Notable Events:
-1988: Organized Aba, Nigeria Stake (first stake staffed entirely by people of African descent).

-Diagnosed with leukemia in late 1996

-Hadn't kept a diligent personal journal

“Be grateful for people in your lives who love you enough to correct you . . . correction can be an act of affection. ”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been,” Ensign, May 2004, 44)

“Whatever the decibels of decadence, these need not overwhelm the still, small voice! Some of the best sermons we will ever hear will be thus prompted from the pulpit of memory—to an audience of one!”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Behold, the Enemy Is Combined’ (D&C 38:12),” Ensign, May 1993, 76)

"God cannot, brothers and sisters, respond affirmatively to all of our petitions with an unbroken chain of “yeses.” This would assume that all of our petitions are for that “which is right” and are spiritually “expedient.” (3 Ne. 18:20; D&C 18:18; D&C 88:64–65.) No petitioner is so wise! Paul even acknowledged that we sometimes “know not what we should pray for as we ought.” (Rom. 8:26; see also D&C 46:30.)     (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds’,” Ensign, May 1991, 88)

"Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows that ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish."     (Austin Farrar, "Grete Clerk," in Light on C. S. Lewis, comp. Jocelyn Gibb (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1965), 26; quoted often by Neal A. Maxwell, "Discipleship and Scholarship," BYU Studies 32/3 (summer 1992): 5)

“do not expect the world’s solutions to the world’s problems to be very effective. . . Only the gospel is constantly relevant, and the substitute things won’t work.”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been,” Ensign, May 2004, 45)

“. . . the once morally unacceptable is becoming acceptable, as if frequency somehow conferred respectability! One of the most subtle forms of intimidation is the gradual normalization of aberration! Alexander Pope so cautioned:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

(An Essay on Man, epistle i, 1. 217.)”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “Behold, the Enemy is Combined”, Ensign, May 1993)

“A society which permits anything will eventually lose everything. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, 'Morality, like art, consists of drawing a line somewhere.'     (Maxwell, Neal A. "Those Seedling Saints Who Sit before You," in 1983 Old Testament Symposium Supplement, pp. 1-6)

"Be wary, therefore, when some demand public tolerance for whatever their private indulgences are!“    (Neal A. Maxwell, "The Tugs and Pulls of the World," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 36)

“The laughter of the world is merely loneliness pathetically trying to reassure itself.”     (Neal A. Maxwell, "Cleanse Us from All Unrighteousness," Ensign, Feb. 1986, 19)

“Of course our genes, circumstances, and environments matter very much, and they shape us significantly. Yet there remains an inner zone in which we are sovereign, unless we abdicate. In this zone lies the essence of our individuality and our personal accountability.”   (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts’,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 21)

“When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not overprogram us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear (D&C 50:40).” (“Meeting the Challenges of Today,” in Devotional Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University, 1978, p. 156.)

“[Any man can advocate political neutrality] who does not see anything wrong in slavery, but no man can logically say he [doesn't] care whether a wrong is voted up or down. He may say he [doesn't] care whether an indifferent thing is voted up or down, but he must logically have a choice between a right thing and a wrong thing. He [Mr. Douglas] contends that whatever community wants slaves has a right to have them. So they have if it [slavery] is not wrong. But if it is it is wrong he can not say a people have a right to do a wrong."  (Abraham Lincoln, October 15, 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas)     (As quoted in G.W. Smith, Liberalism, [1967-2001] p.469)     (Quoted in part by Maxwell, Neal A. "Those Seedling Saints Who Sit before You," in 1983 Old Testament Symposium Supplement, pp. 1-6)

“'no decision' is a decision!”     (Neal A. Maxwell, "'Free to Choose'? (2 Nephi 2:27),” BYU Devotional, March 16, 2004, emphasis in original)

“We need to be reminded more than we need to be instructed.”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “Teaching by the Spirit—'The Language of Inspiration,'” Old Testament Symposium Speeches, 1991, 1-6)

"Some fail to live up to their privileges in marriage because they lack vision and understanding of what those privileges are or what is required to access them. 'Such members,' noted Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “move out a few hundred yards from the entrance to the straight and narrow path and repose on the first little rise, thinking, ‘Well, this is all there is to it’; and they end up living far below their possibilities.'”  (Neal A. Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991), p. 2)

“What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity. “For I [said the Lord] will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9; see also Jer. 17:10). Alma said, “I know that [God] granteth unto men according to their desire, … I know that he allotteth unto men … according to their wills” (Alma 29:4). To reach this equitable end, God’s canopy of mercy is stretched out, including “all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of [the gospel], who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;     “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:8–9).     God thus takes into merciful account not only our desires and our performance, but also the degrees of difficulty which our varied circumstances impose upon us.”    (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts’,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 21)

“President Joseph F. Smith [said] 'the education . . . of our desires is one of far-reaching importance to our happiness in life' (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 297). Such education can lead to sanctification until, said President Brigham Young, “holy desires produce corresponding outward works' (in Journal of Discourses, 6:170). Only by educating and training our desires can they become our allies instead of our enemies!”    (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts’,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 21)

“[Agency] reflects real choices made over time that form definite patterns”    (Neal A. Maxwell, "'Free to Choose'? (2 Nephi 2:27),” BYU Devotional, March 16, 2004)

“Part of what may be lacking at times in the decent teacher is a freshening personal excitement over the gospel which could prove highly contagious. . . . the Book of Mormon tells us we can only speak the smallest part of what we feel. We should not let that smallest part shrink.”     (Neal A. Maxwell, "Teaching by the Spirit: The Language of Inspiration,” 1991 Symposium)

“One’s life, therefore, cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. President Wilford Woodruff counseled us all about the mercy that is inherent in some adversity: 'The chastisements we have had from time to time have been for our good, and are essential to learn wisdom, and carry us through a school of experience we never could have passed through without.' (In Journal of Discourses, 2:198.) "How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, 'Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!'”       (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds’,” Ensign, May 1991, 88)

“The paradox of this divine tutorial also includes afflictions of some kind. Because Elder Maxwell was such a faithful student of discipleship, I draw again from him: 'The very act of choosing to be a disciple . . . can bring to us a certain special suffering,' because affliction and chastening are 'a form of learning as it is administered at the hands of a loving Father' (Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979), 32, 39). He also said, 'If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do' (Neal A. Maxwell, A Time to Choose (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 46). And so, he said, 'sometimes the best people . . . have the worst experiences . . . because they are the most ready to learn.'”     (Neal A. Maxwell, remarks at Joseph S. Clark funeral, 23 February 1996, quoted in Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 20).(Bruce C. Hafen, “A Disciple's Journey”, BYU Devotional, February 5, 2008)

“Following the onslaught of leukemia,” said President James E. Faust, “he continued to teach us by example and precept great and profound truths…As he went through the refiner’s fire, he became more wise, more meek, more humble.”

“if various trials are allotted to you, partake of life’s bitter cups, but without becoming bitter”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been,” Ensign, May 2004, 44, in reference to his sister's attitude, who was blind from birth)

“Certain mortal “whys” are not really questions at all but are expressions of resentment. Other “whys” imply that the trial might be all right later on but not now, as if faith in the Lord excluded faith in His timing. Some “why me” questions, asked amid stress, would be much better as “what” questions, such as, “What is required of me now?” or, to paraphrase Moroni’s words, “If I am sufficiently humble, which personal weakness could now become a strength?” (see Ether 12:27). ”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ’,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 22)

“Sobered and humbled by the grandeur of the Restoration and all that it brings to us, there should be times when you and I leave tears on our pillows out of gratitude for what God has given us... we are blessed to know things that simply transform the landscape of life.”     (Neal A. Maxwell, “The Wondrous Restoration,” Ensign, Apr 2003, 30)

"I know of no other man who spoke in such an interesting and distinct manner. His genius was the product of diligence. He was a perfectionist determined to exact from every phrase and sentence vivid imagery that brought the gospel to life. Each talk was a masterpiece, each book was a work of art. I think we shall not see one like him again"
-Gordon B. Hinckley, on Neal A. Maxwell