Conquering the Unworthy Within Us – John Adams


In his diary entry for February 16, 1756, a 21-year old John Adams writes:

“Oh! that I could wear out of my mind every mean and base affectation; conquer my natural pride and self-conceit; expect no more deference from my fellows than I deserve; acquire that meekness and humility which are the sure mark and characters of a great and generous soul; subdue every unworthy passion, and treat all men as I wish to be treated by all. How happy should I then be in the favor and good will of all honest men and the sure prospect of a happy immortality!” (1)

Such honest introspection, such heartfelt yearning for personal reformation, brings to mind the inspired pleadings of that Prophet-King Benjamin to his people: “But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” (2)

How much more trust would there be! How much more good will would be spread! How much happier and filled with the hope of immortality and eternal life would prevail among us! if only more of us would regularly engage in such rigorous and honest self-evaluation as did this 21-year old John Adams!

The Moral Liberal recommends David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize Winner: John Adams

1. John Adams. Excerpt from his Diary, February 16, 1756.
2. Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 4:30.

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They Were Believers is researched, compiled, and edited by The Moral Liberal Founder and Editor In Chief, Steve Farrell.  Copyright © 2014 Steve Farrell.

The Moral Liberal recommends George Washington’s Sacred Fire