Elder Cree-L Kofford

On March 5, 2000, I heard Elder Cree-L Kofford give a talk at a stake conference in Singapore. He pointed out that the Savior gave us the same challenge two different ways. During His mortal ministry, He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). But after His resurrection, He said, “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48, italics added).

Elder Kofford explained that some elements of perfection are not attainable during this mortal life. Sometimes we get frustrated about the mistakes we make, but we shouldn’t. Learn from your mistakes, he said, but don’t be surprised by them. It’s part of our mortal experience.

Elder Kofford shared an unusual strategy for dealing with mistakes. He said when you do or say something wrong, think to yourself, “Well, I was younger then.” It may have only been 2 minutes ago, but you were 2 minutes younger. You’re older and wiser now, and you won’t make that mistake again.

I suppose that strategy is a version of the thought-pattern Moroni encouraged us to adopt if we were tempted to be critical of scripture authors:

Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

Mormon 9:31

Parents are delighted when their children surpass them. Prophets hope that future generations will be more enlightened because of their efforts. We should also be grateful when we see evidence that we are progressing. Instead of dwelling on our mistakes, we would be wise to let them go and look to the future.

Today, I will be grateful for the learning experiences of life. When I make mistakes, I will commit to do better, and be grateful for the opportunity to make incremental progress.

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