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As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I didn’t grow up listening to leaders of the church like some of my friends. It’s hard to keep straight who did what and when sometimes!

When the Church announced that the men and women would study about each of the presidents, or prophets as we call them, I wanted to cheer! I could learn more about these great men and develop the same sort of “relationship” others have with these great men.

This year, we get the immense blessing of learning more about the life and teachings of George Albert Smith. He served from 1945 to 1951 as leader of the Church.

Yesterday was our first lesson and I found myself greatly moved by his personal creed. Here are the eleven fundamental ideals he committed to live by:

  1. “I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.
  2. “I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.
  3. “I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.
  4. “I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.
  5. “I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.
  6. “I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.
  7. “I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.
  8. “I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.
  9. “I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.
  10. “I would not be an enemy to any living soul.
  11. “Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.”

You don’t have to be a Mormon to recognize that these are very good ideals and I’m sure you can see why I wanted to share them.

Interestingly, if you so chose you could work on just one ideal a month for 2012 and see where that takes you, and still have time to focus December on the busyness and joy of the Christmas season.

These are things that I would like to work on in my life. Some are nothing new, but at this time of “starting fresh” I often reflect over the past year to see where I might need to adjust my own direction.

The one overwhelming point made by Smith’s creed, to me, is to have more charity. If we are focusing on charity towards our felling man, would we not then be a friend to the friendless? Find joy in ministering to the needy? Seek out and visit the sick and afflicted? Not knowingly wound the feelings of any?

Goodness knows that we, as a whole, could improve ourselves in the realm of charity? Maybe the frustrations that fill our day will seem a little less frustrating. I know I could definitely use a good dose of thinking more charitable thoughts during the day, like when I’m cut off while driving or standing in a long line at the grocery store.

I look forward to seeing where this study of George Albert Smith’s life takes me. Just learning about his creed and that he led the church during some of the hardest times this nation walked through moved me. Times are definitely tough now, as well, so I think the timing fits for studying his teachings.

–Lady O