To demonstrate how and why to bridle your passions, Scott Hyde, professor of mathematics, shared the words of prophets and apostles, as well as personal experiences at devotional in the BYU–Hawaii Cannon Activities Center on Jan. 22.
Hyde explained, “Our Father in Heaven loves us. He watches after us even when we don’t feel Him. He comforts us if we allow Him to. If we bridle our passions, we can be filled with his love, which we can in turn share with others. Conversely, the more angry we are, the less love we will feel, which leads to more anger.”
He said learning to bridle passions can allow you to experience turning sorrow into happiness. Hyde shared the story of the sudden passing of his brother, which left him in shock. He said he felt pain, sorrow, anguish, hate, and frustration. The funeral, Hyde explained, was especially difficult due to the strained relationship he had with his brother.
He said his brother had offended him, and he chose to remain offended rather than moving on. Although they had made progress in healing, the rift had not completely gone away. His failure to bridle his passions made him wonder if he could ever be at peace with his brother’s death.
Hyde shared how the funeral was as happy as it was sad. He said, “It is at these times I am amazed at the love God has for us. It doesn’t heal the pain of the loss of our loved one. But it does help to start the healing. I felt the tempering influence of Heavenly Father at that funeral.”
He said shortly after his brother’s death, he and his wife found out they were expecting their seventh child, who they had received revelation was missing from their family. He said he was certain his brother was instrumental in bringing their daughter to their family. This helped him feel great comfort about the passing of his brother.
Soon after the birth of his daughter, Hyde said his mother’s condition was quickly worsening. She had dementia, he explained, and was suffering memory losses that continually increased. Acting on revelation, Hyde went out to visit his mother. Returning from the trip, he said he felt very strongly it would be the last time he saw his mother alive. His mother died soon after.
Hyde explained, “I was in good spirits. God had tempered my emotions with love from Him and my mother. I knew that whatever happened, it would be okay.”
Hyde said his return was timed perfectly. “If I had stayed one more day, I would not have gone home, and I would not have been there to comfort my children and my family, which I was able to do because he had comforted me already, and prepared me and loved me so I could do so.”
Jess Harris, a freshman from Utah majoring in English, said this story especially touched her. She explained, “I liked the part of the devotional where he talked about how your ability to listen to the spirit and overcome your own emotions enables you to help others in their times of need. It was a representation of what the Savior would do. By following that council, we bring ourselves closer to Him.”
Hyde asked, “What happens however, if we allow the simplest of offenses bother us?”
To demonstrate the negative consequences of taking offense from small things, he shared the story of Thomas B. Marsh and his wife Elizabeth. He explained Marsh was one of the first apostles, and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elizabeth Marsh had gotten in an argument with another sister, and each of the leaders they appealed their case to sided with the other sister. Marsh became extremely angry, and testified before a magistrate where the Mormons of Far West were hostile toward the state of Missouri. His affidavit was a factor in the extermination order that caused over 15,000 saints to be driven from their homes.
Hyde explained, “So many of us make a great fuss over matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.”
Hyde told the story of Charles W. Penrose, a member of the first presidency in the early 20th century. While serving as a missionary and president of the Birmingham conference, another elder accused Penrose of attempting to steal furniture from the Birmingham mission office.
According to Hyde, Penrose said, “This touched me right to the heart. I did not know how to bear it. I did not care how much I might be scandalized by enemies of the church, I’d become accustomed to that. I used to say my hide had got as tough as a hippopotamus. I did not care what an enemy said about me. But when an elder in the church said that it cut me to the heart and I felt like retaliating.”
Hyde said instead of retaliating, Penrose was able to bridle his passions. “Brothers and sisters, just as Elder Penrose controlled his feelings of anger toward the brother that wronged him, we must learn to bridle our reactions to others.”
Hyde quoted Elder David A. Bednar, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke to the reasons as to why we should control our passions. He said, “‘Significantly, disciplining the natural man in each of us makes possible a richer, a deeper, and a more enduring love of God and of His children. Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases through impulsive indulgence.’”
“I testify that bridling your passions is the path the Lord wants us to take in order to draw closer to Him. May you find this in your own life and be filled with His love.”