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Widstoe's Resolutions

The following resonated personally as a church-going scientist. Pasted from a church magazine article^[“Faith, the Greater Knowledge,” New Era, Aug. 1978.] found on this resource page.


On January 2, 1891, a 19-year-old Norwegian immigrant sat down in his home in Logan City, Cache County, Utah Territory, and wrote the following lines on some lined paper:

As I have come to fully realize; that, I am as weak as all other mortals-perhaps weaker than many; and realizing that happiness in life is only obtained by having a pure heart, a clear conscience; and fearing the Lord and keeping his commandments; also as I realize that happiness in old age consists of reviewing a life devoid from great sins; the gratification of noble desires manfully carried out; and finding that my life up to this time has not been as I should like it to have been: I lay down the following regulations by which I shall try to conduct my life hereafter; to which end may the Lord Almighty, my Creator, help me.

He then spelled out 17 resolutions. Nearly eight months later, on Tuesday, August 25, 1891, he copied them in a hardcover journal. Here he was to record his years of struggle as a stranger-student from Utah Territory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He began by entering the 17 resolves that were to guide his life.

Resolved:

  1. That religion, the science of sciences, be made my chief concernment throughout life.
  1. That I will daily pray to God in secret.
  1. That I will daily reflect upon God and his attributes and try to become like him.
  1. That I will receive Light, Wisdom or Knowledge, wherever or however it may be offered.
  1. That I never be ashamed to acknowledge my principles, beliefs and religion when I once become fully convinced of their correctness.
  1. That I never lose one moment of time but improve it.
  1. That I maintain strict temperance in eating and drinking.
  1. That I never do anything that I would not do were it the last hour of my life.
  1. That I daily read the word of God, that I may learn his will and that I may be comforted, strengthened and encouraged by so doing.
  1. That in any narrations I speak nothing but the pure and simple verity.
  1. That I always do that which I think is my duty and for the best good for my fellow beings.
  1. That I live with all my might while I do live, that I may not die a living death.
  1. That I never by word or manner try to force my opinions on others but that I simply state them and offer my arguments against others!
  1. That I seek to overcome the habit of being quick tempered, loud speaking, impatient motions and whatever might offend my fellowmen and hurt me.
  1. That I never for a moment forget my duty towards my mother, she who has made me who I am and who will make what I will become, she who has spent the better portion of her life in my behalf and to whom I owe all the honor, respect, and affection that I can give; also that I always remember my duties toward my brother and all my friends and relations.
  1. That I complete every task which I begin; also that I carefully consider my purpose and its results before taking upon me any duty.
  1. That I always remember that the men and women I meet are my brothers and sisters and that I look to the beam in my own eye before attempting to remove the mote in my fellow’s eye.

The young man who wrote these lines…was John Andreas Widtsoe.

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