|Part of the series on the|
 Is perfection attainable in this life?
- "This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal." - Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.201
- "The lives of Latter-day Saints, by the tens of thousands, attest that such a transformation is possible; that there lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ the power for man to achieve perfection, even in this life, physically, mentally, spiritually and in every way, if only he will give himself to the ideal of perfection." - John A. Widtsoe
- "There is no more basic law in the gospel than the law of personal morality. Can we be perfect in the law? I say that we can. And we can be perfect here in mortality. If an individual has absolute, total and complete control of himself, or of his appetites and passions, and does not commit sex sin and under no circumstances would, and so controls himself that he governs his desires and his appetites in that field, then in that sphere he has become perfect, because he has completely abided the particular law." - Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p.353
- "Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal." (Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 208)
- "We can be one hundred percent perfect in keeping the commandment which says that we shall not profane the name of God. We can be perfect in keeping the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Ex. 20:14.) We can be perfect in keeping the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not steal." (Ibid., 15.) We can become perfect in keeping various others of the commandments that the Lord has given us." - Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, April 1950, p.153
- "In an absolute sense, perfection in this life may be an impossibility. But in many ways a state of near perfection is a reasonable goal for us; for example, we can all be perfect in abstaining from tea and coffee. We can be perfect in freeing ourselves from the use of tobacco and alcohol. We can be perfect in the payment of our tithing. We can be perfect in our attendance at Sacrament meeting. We can be perfectly honest and perfectly dependable and perfectly moral, and this with much less effort than we spend in developing perfection in our machines." - Sterling W. Sill, Conference Report, October 1962, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.38
- "With respect to spiritual matters, we can be perfect in this life in paying tithing; being honest in our dealings with others; having personal and family prayers; abstaining from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; holding family home evenings; and in reading the scriptures daily. We can if we really want to." - Elder William H. Bennett, "Our Goal Is Perfection", Ensign, November 1976, p.29
- "We have not reached a condition of perfection yet, it is hardly to be expected that we will in this life, and yet, through the aid of the Holy Ghost, it is possible for us to stand united together seeing eye to eye and overcoming our sins and imperfections." - Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
- "Many people find the commandment “be ye perfect” to be overwhelming. Youth especially can get discouraged easily when they make mistakes. They may feel that perfection is unattainable and thus not worth working toward. We all need to realize that perfection in this life is not expected or even possible. What is expected is that we try each day to be better than we were the day before. Help class members understand that they will someday reach perfection if they strive for it as best they can from day to day... Remind class members that while perfection cannot be entirely achieved in this life, we can make great progress toward it. The Lord expects us to do all we can toward giving up our sins and becoming perfect, and he has given us the gospel to help us do this." - Preparing for Exaltation Teacher's Manual, p.122
- "The Savior's words in the Sermon on the Mount, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' (Matthew 5:48.) evidently have been by many misapplied or limited in their application. The Savior knew that mortal man could not reach the great goal of perfection like his Heavenly Father, but here in mortality is the place where that foundation should be laid. Then we should continue on from grace to grace, not only in this life but also in the eternities to come, and it is within the possibility of any faithful soul eventually to attain to that perfection." - Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., 4:, p.72
- "Perfection in this life or world is impossible for mortal man, but we must employ every power we possess to reach it as near as possible." - Reed Smoot
- "We need to come to terms with our desire to reach perfection and our frustration when our accomplishments or behaviors are less than perfect. I feel that one of the great myths we would do well to dispel is that we’ve come to earth to perfect ourselves, and nothing short of that will do. If I understand the teachings of the prophets of this dispensation correctly, we will not become perfect in this life, though we can make significant strides toward that goal." - Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "On Being Worthy", Ensign, May 1989, p.20
- "The pursuit of excellence should be major work of our lives. Many people, however, give little attention to it. Perhaps they feel that it is not possible for anyone to reach perfection in this life, and so they let the immediate pressures dominate their actions. While it is true that we cannot attain perfection in a total sense in this life, it is also true that we can attain perfection in many specific areas of activity. Furthermore, if we fail to do what we can and should do in this life, we may deprive ourselves forever of the opportunity to do those things later on and thus lose great eternal blessings." - William H. Bennett
- "In an absolute sense, perfection in this life may be an impossibility. But in many ways a state of near perfection is a reasonable goal for us; for example, we can all be perfect in abstaining from tea and coffee. We can be perfect in freeing ourselves from the use of tobacco and alcohol. We can be perfect in the payment of our tithing. We can be perfect in our attendance at Sacrament meeting. We can be perfectly honest and perfectly dependable and perfectly moral, and this with much less effort than we spend in developing perfection in our machines." Sterling W. Sill
- "I believe that in many ways, here and now in mortality, we can begin to perfect ourselves. A certain degree of perfection is attainable in this life. I believe that we can be one hundred percent perfect, for instance, in abstaining from the use of tea and coffee. We can be one hundred percent perfect in abstaining from liquor and tobacco. We can be one hundred percent perfect in paying a full and honest tithing. We can be one hundred percent perfect in abstaining from eating two meals on fast day and giving to the bishop as fast offering the value of those two meals from which we abstain." - Mark E. Petersen
- "We can learn to live these concrete things; we can measure whether we do these things. We have a lot of other things that we have to do which are abstract in nature, and which are things that we live only relatively. No man in mortality completely attains unto perfection where they are concerned. We are commanded to love our brethren, to have charity in our hearts, to be humble, to have devotion with full purpose and without reservation to the cause of Christ. These things are done in a relative sense; that is, we do not attain an absolute perfection in this life where they are concerned. But we have the assurance and we have the promise that if we do all the things that we should do, if we keep all the specific laws, we will thereby grow in power and capacity to obey other laws. We will thereby grow in grace and in stature; we will, as the revelation says, go from "grace to grace" (D&C 93:20), that is, climb the ladder, go up the strait and narrow path, and eventually be entitled to have eternal life." - Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p.354
- "Know that you don't have to be perfect. Contrary to opinion, we are not expected to achieve perfection in this life but rather to make steady progress towards it. We are masochists, sometimes. For example, I overeat one time and think, That's it. I've blown it. No reason to stay on the diet now. Sometimes we withdraw too readily from other challenges as well. If we have been impatient with our children or if we arrive late to church, during Relief Society we feel we'll never be able to measure up to everything we're told to do. So, in effect, we give up, because in the back of our minds we think, I can't do all of this so I'm a failure. Again, such a thought pattern is a clever and successful tool of the adversary. We must keep trying but be able to forgive ourselves when we can't do it all and then get on with life." - LDS Women’s Treasury: Insights and Inspiration for Today’s Woman, p.142 - 143
- Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, p.92
I have a friend who always asks at about this point, "But when have I done enough? How can I know that I've made it?" This misunderstands the doctrine of grace by asking the wrong question. The right question is "When is my offering acceptable to the Lord? When are my efforts accepted for the time being?" You see, the answer to the former question, "When have I done enough?" is never in this life. Since the goal is perfection, the Lord can never unconditionally approve an imperfect performance. No matter how much we do in mortality, no matter how well we perform, the demand to do better, the pressure to improve and to make progress, will never go away. We have not yet arrived.
- Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, p.97
Then what does it mean to be perfect? And why are we commanded in the scriptures to be perfect? (See Matt. 5:48; 3 Ne. 12:48.) Actually, I dislike the word perfect because it is often misused. I frequently wince when I hear it in talks or lessons, because more often than not it is used with its philosophical meaning of "unimprovable," and this is almost never its scriptural meaning. Latter-day Saints believe in eternal progress. No one can ever be "unimprovable" in the ultimate sense. Rather, to be perfect in this life is to enter into the covenant of the gospel and receive perfection-in-Christ.
 Other notable quotes
- "What, some may ask, are we not told that we have the fulness of the gospel? Verily so. When Moroni came to announce to Joseph Smith the existence of the record from which Joseph was afterwards to translate, by the gift and power of God, the volume known to us as the Book of Mormon, Moroni declared unto him that that book contained the fulness of the everlasting gospel, as made known unto the people in their age; but "fulness" is relative, even as perfection is. Many have stumbled over that admonition of Christ, "Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Men have asked: How can that be? We are not like Him; we are still mortal, with all our frailties. Even those who believe in the eternal progression of man so reason, so argue, and they would make out that Christ uttered fable and fiction; for to so admonish in the face of impossibility would be nothing less. But Christ told the people in that day, and He has repeated the admonition and injunction unto us: Be perfect in the sense in which your Father in heaven is perfect. What man calls "perfection" is after all comparative. Plainly a man in mortality cannot be perfect in power nor in influence nor in righteousness, in all details in the sense in which God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are perfect. Both of Them are resurrected men, both of Them have passed through conditions strictly analogous to those of mortality through which we are passing, both of whom have died, both of whom have been resurrected, both of whom are glorified, supremely so. In the sense in which They are perfect you and I cannot aspire to be so here in the flesh. But we can be perfect if we will in our sphere, as They are perfect in Their sphere; and perfection in the lesser is the greatest possible preparation for perfection in the greater." - Elder James E. Talmage, Conference Report, April 1918, Afternoon Session., p.160 - 161
- "Infinite perfection is reserved for those who overcome all things and inherit the fulness of the Father in the mansions hereafter. It consists in gaining eternal life, the kind of life which God has in the highest heaven within the celestial world."11 Though you and I cannot enjoy infinite perfection in the present, in the here and now, we can be perfect in the sense that we do the best we can and then rely wholly upon the merits and mercy of our Redeemer (see 2 Nephi 31:19; Moroni 6:4). That is, we can be "perfect in Christ" (Moroni 10:32). It is not that we must become sin-free in this life in order to be saved, though we ever press toward that glorious eventuality. Rather, it is expected that after we sin we return quickly to the light through godly sorrow and repentance. We become perfect in Christ in the sense that we yield to the will of Christ, become one with him through the Holy Spirit, and become whole, fully formed, and complete. In Stephen Robinson's words, 'in the new covenant of faith, perfect innocence is still required, but it is required of the team or partnership of Christ-and-me, rather than of me alone. Because Christ and I are one in the gospel covenant, God accepts our combined total worthiness, and together Christ and I are perfectly worthy.'" - Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, p.523
- "We have often heard individuals, who advocate the Arminian doctrine, talking about perfection, and even pretending that they are ensamples of the perfect class, when indeed, they are not only ignorant of the principle, but destitute of the necessary qualifications, which are prerequisites to so high a standing. Perfection, in the extended import of the word, is that which is beyond improvement. Christ commanded his people, saying: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father who is in heaven is perfect." We do not understand from this, that mankind while in a state of probation on earth, are to become perfect in all things, as the Lord is, or to that degree that he is; but that we have appointed unto us a certain sphere to act in, and that we can be perfect in it; and that we have certain laws to comply with, and we can harmoniously do it. The Lord is perfect in all things, and he governs the whole universe, and every planet pursues its course without interfering with others; for there is order and harmony in all the works of God: for he is the fountain of intelligence, and the first in power; and every thing that he does will be perfect when completed. The formation of this earth is the work of God, and when entirely finished, it will be chrystalized, and made pure, and even glorified, or be perfect; although it has its orbit to act in, and with order and harmony does it. So it is with men, they have their sphere to act in, and they can-be perfect in it; but God has the immensity of space to act in, and he is perfect in it. It is not to be expected that mankind are required to be perfect in all things, while in a state of mortality, as God is.-His power is unlimited; but we have a certain sphere to act in; therefore our intelligence is limited; but as we have before stated, we can be perfect in this sphere; or in other words we can obey the law of the Lord, walk circumspectly, orderly, and harmoniously before him.-Therefore, we are disposed to enquire into the nature of the sphere, we have to act in, and so learn how we can be perfect in it." - "On Perfection", Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 5 January 1, 1842, p.655
- "I have five reasons why I think it is foolish, unwise, un-Christian almost, to seek perfection as a goal in this life."
- “Finite perfection may be gained by the righteous saints in this life. It consists in living a godfearing life of devotion to the truth, of walking in complete submission to the will of the Lord, and of putting first in one’s life the things of the kingdom of God. Infinite perfection is reserved for those who overcome all things and inherit the fullness of the Father in the mansions hereafter. It consists in gaining eternal life, the kind of life which God has in the highest heaven within the celestial world.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 567. Partially quoted in Doctrines of the Gospel Institute manual)
- It's possible for every church member to live perfectly the law of marriage, celestial marriage, to learn the duty of husband to wife, wife to husband, parents to children. It's possible for us to learn it perfectly. Some folks have the mistaken notion that if somehow, by hook or crook, they can get into the House of the Lord and be married they are assured of exaltation regardless of what they do, and they'll quote the 132 Section, the 26th verse. But that isn't what the Lord means. The Lord does assure an exaltation to those who make mistakes, if they repent. (Harold B Lee, BYU Speeches of the Year, January 5, 1954, p. 7.)
- "We do not send our missionaries into the world to preach salvation. Salvation will come to those who reach the lower degrees of glory. They who enter into the least, the telestial, shall be saved in one of God's kingdoms, for that is his kingdom, and the glories of it are beyond the power of mortal man to comprehend it. But, of course, no man will come into that kingdom who does not subscribe to the laws governing that kingdom. And, we do not know what those laws are governing the telestial or terrestrial kingdoms. The Lord has not revealed them. I presume that when you brethren go into the other world, where the mighty hosts are that are heirs to these kingdoms, you will be fully instructed as to what these men must do if they have failed to be able to keep the higher law or to become perfect." - MELVIN J. BALLARD, THE LORD'S PLAN FOR REDEMPTION http://gospelink.com/library/document/18025
- "The Book of Mormon also gives us confidence that we can become so purified in this life that we have no more desire to do evil (see Mosiah 5:2)." - Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, September 2010
- ↑ John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, October 1925, Afternoon Session, p.139
- ↑ Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Conference Report, April 1915, Third Day—Morning Session, p.120
- ↑ Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, April 1935, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.55
- ↑ William H. Bennett, "Our Goal Is Perfection", Ensign, November 1976, p.29. Available online here.
- ↑ Sterling W. Sill, Conference Report, October 1962, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.38
- ↑ Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, April 1950, p.153
- ↑ http://search.ldslibrary.com/article/view/1278116?q=un-Christian%20foolish#1278165