What Does It Mean to Do Something with “Real Intent?”

After teaching us about the baptism of the Savior, Nephi pleads with us to “follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent” (2 Nephi 31:13).

Moroni tells us that repentance leads to forgiveness when it is done “with real intent” (Moroni 6:8).

Mormon tells us that when we give a gift or say a prayer, we should do it “with real intent,” or else it doesn’t count. If you give a gift grudgingly, it’s the same as not giving the gift. If you pray “and not with real intent of heart,” your prayer is useless (Moroni 7:6-9).

In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni urges us to pray to know if the book is true. He promises us that God will answer our prayer if we “ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ” (Moroni 10:4).

What does it mean to do something with real intent?

The word “intent” comes from the Latin word intentus, which means “stretching out” or “leaning toward” (“intent,” Online Etymology Dictionary). A person who has real intent is willing to exert themselves for the thing they seek. They aren’t half-hearted about it. They act “with full purpose of heart.” They are in the game. They have no ulterior motives. They are sincere.

Brother Randall L. Ridd taught that “real intent” also means being aware of your motives.  He said, “It is important, in today’s world, to be intentional about why you do what you do” (“Living with Purpose: The Importance of ‘Real Intent’,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, 11 January 2015).

Today, I will act with real intent. I’ll strive to be aware of my motives and align them with God’s will. I will engage fully in my activities, focusing my mind and my heart on the task at hand. I will be sincere and totally committed to doing my work well.

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