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\r\r“Broken Things to Mend inspires us to maintain hope and to rivet our attention on the one who has the power to heal us.” — Desert Saints Magazine\r\r\r\r
Most of us feel broken at some time or another.\r\rWe face personal trials and family struggles. We\r\rget discouraged and downhearted. Many are\r\renduring conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes\r\rof the heart, feeling their lives may be broken\r\rbeyond repair. In this extraordinary book, Elder\r\rJeffrey R. Holland_ã_s characteristic good cheer\r\rand brilliant insights offer the surest and sweetest\r\rremedy of all. He invites all readers, not just\r\rthe poor in spirit, to come unto Christ and\r\rreceive “the strength that comes from experiencing\r\rfirsthand the majesty of His touch.”\r\r
This\r\rcollection of some of Elder Holland_ã_s most\r\rmemorable recent talks inspires us to maintain\r\rhope and to rivet our attention on the one Person\r\rwho has the power to heal us. Broken Things\r\rto Mend provides a stirring reminder that, if we\r\rcome unto the Savior, He will make us whole.\r\r\r\r
About the Author
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1994. A native of St. George, Utah, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree and PhD in American Studies from Yale University. In 1974 he became dean of Religious Education at BYU and two years later was named Church Commissioner of Education. In 1980 he was appointed president of BYU, where he served until he was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1989. Elder Holland is the author of several books, including Broken Things to Mend and Christ and the New Covenant. He and his wife, Patricia, have three children and thirteen grandchildren.
The first words Jesus spoke in His majestic Sermon on the Mount were to the troubled, the discouraged and downhearted. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Many people are facing personal trials and family struggles, enduring conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. What follows is especially for those who feel their lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair.
To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know. It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave. He said it in the beginning of His ministry, and He said it in the end. He said it to believers, and He said it to those who were not so sure. He said to everyone, whatever their personal problems might be:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
In this promise, that introductory phrase, “come unto me,” is crucial. It is the key to the peace and rest we seek. Indeed, when the resurrected Savior gave His sermon at the temple to the Nephites in the New World, He began, “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (3 Nephi 12:3; emphasis added).
When Andrew and John first heard Christ speak, they were so moved that they followed Him as He walked away from the crowd. Sensing He was being pursued, Jesus turned and asked the two men, “What seek ye?” They answered, “Where dwellest thou?” And Christ said, “Come and see.” The next day He found another disciple, Philip, and said to him, “Follow me” (see John 1:35–39, 43). Just a short time later He formally called Peter and others of the new Apostles with the same spirit of invitation. Come, “follow me,” He said (Matthew 4:19).
It seems clear that the essence of our duty, the fundamental requirement of our mortal life, is captured in these brief phrases from any number of scenes in the Savior’s mortal ministry. He could have said to us, “Trust me, learn of me, do what I do. Then, when you walk where I am going,” He says, “we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have. If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness,” He promises. “I will give you answers to your prayers. I will give you rest to your souls.”
I know of no other way for us to succeed or to be safe amid life’s many pitfalls and problems. I know of no other way for us to carry our burdens or find what Jacob in the Book of Mormon called “that happiness which is prepared for the saints”
(2 Nephi 9:43).
So how does one “come unto Christ” in response to this constant invitation? The scriptures give scores of examples and avenues. You are well acquainted with the most basic ones. The easiest and the earliest comes simply with the desire of our heart, the most basic form of faith that we know. “If ye can no more than desire to believe,” Alma says, exercising just “a particle of faith,” giving even a small place for the promises of God to find a home that is enough to begin (see Alma 32:27; emphasis added). Just believing, just having a molecule of faith—simply hoping for things which are not yet seen in our lives, but which are nevertheless truly there to be bestowed (see Alma 32:21)—that simple step, when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever been and always will be the first principle of His eternal gospel, the first step out of despair.
Second, we must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. In short, we must repent, perhaps the most hopeful and encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with their divine assistance. Certainly not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions. Often our trials result from the actions of others or just the mortal events of life. But anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there.
Third, in as many ways as possible we try to take upon us His identity, and we begin by taking upon us His name. That name is formally bestowed by covenant in the saving ordinances of the gospel. These start with baptism and conclude with temple covenants, with many others, such as partaking of the sacrament, laced throughout our lives as additional blessings and reminders. Teaching the people of his day this message, Nephi said: “Follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, . . . with real intent, . . . take upon you the name of Christ. . . . Do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer [will] do” (2 Nephi 31:13, 17).
Following these most basic teachings, a splendor of connections to Christ opens up to us in multitudinous ways: prayer and fasting and meditation upon His purposes, savoring the scriptures, giving service to others, “succor[ing] the weak, lift[ing] up the hands which hang down, . . . strengthen[ing] the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). Above all else, loving with “the pure love of Christ,” that gift that “never faileth,” that gift that “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things” (Moroni 7:47, 46, 45). Soon, with that kind of love, we realize our days hold scores of thoroughfares leading to the Master and that every time we reach out, however feebly, for Him, we discover He has been anxiously trying to reach us. So we step, we strive, we seek, and we never yield.1
My desire is for all of us—not just those who are “poor in spirit” but all of us to have more straightforward personal experience with the Savior’s example. Sometimes we seek heaven too obliquely, focusing on programs or history or the experience of others. Those are important, but not as important as personal experience, true discipleship, and the strength that comes from experiencing firsthand the majesty of His touch.
Are you battling a demon of addiction—tobacco or drugs or gambling, or the pernicious contemporary plague of pornography? Is your marriage in trouble or your child in danger? Are you struggling with gender issues or searching for self-esteem? Do you—or does someone you love face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises. In that regard Alma’s testimony is my testimony: “I do know,” he says, “that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions” (Alma 36:3).
This reliance upon the merciful nature of God is at the very center of the gospel Christ taught. I testify that the Savior’s Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair (see Alma 7:11–12). From the beginning, trust in such help was to give us both a reason and a way to improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation. There can and will be plenty of difficulties in life. Nevertheless, the soul who comes unto Christ, who knows His voice and strives to do as He did, finds a strength, as the hymn says, “beyond [his] own.”2 The Savior reminds us that He has “graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands” (1 Nephi 21:16). Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion and Atonement, I promise you He is not going to turn His back on us now. When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.
Whatever your distress, please don’t give up and please don’t yield to fear. I have always been touched that as his son was departing for his mission to England, Brother Bryant S. Hinckley gave young Gordon a farewell embrace and then slipped him a handwritten note with just five words taken from the fifth chapter of Mark: “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). I think also of that night when Christ rushed to the aid of His frightened disciples, walking as He did on the water to get to them, calling out, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Christ’s answer to him was as it always is, every time: “Come,” He said. Instantly, as was his nature, Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waters. While his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind could toss his hair and the spray could drench his robes, but all was well—he was coming to Christ. It was only when his faith wavered and fear took control, only when he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the
ominous black gulf beneath, only then did he begin to sink into the sea. In newer terror he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Undoubtedly with some sadness, the Master over every problem and fear, He who is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment, stretched out His hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:27–31; emphasis added).
If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plough, or yoke,
Said, “Can you mend it, Carpenter?”
In yoke, or plough, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had ¬brought
Returned again a perfect whole.
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:
This heart, that’s broken past repair,
This life, that’s shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?”
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation “all things new.”
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
O, Carpenter of Nazareth!”3
May we all, especially the poor in spirit, come unto Him and be made whole.
From a talk given at general conference, April 2006.
1. See Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses,” in The Complete Poetical Works of Tennyson (1898), 89.
2. “Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” in Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 220.
3. George Blair, “The Carpenter of Nazareth,” in The Story of Jesus in the World’s Literature, ed. Edward Wagenknecht (Creative Age Press, 1946), 117.
Timely and Practical Council
by Roger - reviewed on September 15, 2008
This is an exceptionally comforting book to read. Filled with faith affirming encouragement for church members to let the Savior and His gospel heal and bless our lives at all time and in all places. One I will read again and again...
No one else like him!
by Cherilyn - reviewed on November 19, 2008
All of the Apostles are key to our Church and give us important messages from the Lord, but few are so eloquent as Elder Holland. Each of these talks reaches out to me personally in some way or another. Having read the first collection of his talks, this was a must in my gospel library.
by Dianna - reviewed on April 28, 2011
i knew this book would be wonderful but as i opened the book and started to read the words flowed with a strong spirit of comfort, tears, wishing my family would heal. Elder Holland knows how to put it to the point of easy understanding how much Satan wants the family to fail. As parents WE MUST teach and guide , set example of righteousness. We have done that but yet our youngest has chosen the world. Elder Holland brought so much comfort to my soul with his words of encouragement and understanding. I recommend this book to everyone.
Need an audio edition!
by Customer - reviewed on December 06, 2010
This is a wonderful book. I've bought it as a gift for several friends. There is a real need for it to be available to more people by offering it in an audio format. I hope to see one soon!
Buy this book
by Tracy - reviewed on October 26, 2008
who does not need this book? This is a must have for every library!
by Sarah - reviewed on October 23, 2008
Elder Holland is amazing. I love how he puts things and makes me feel so at peace.
There is much HOPE to be gained.
by Brie - reviewed on December 11, 2008
I have never felt so uplifted and enlightened in my life. This book helps you to see things is a different light, and it's not just for those who are struggling. This book is for all of the Lords children, we all need some encouragement at some point in our lives and this book can hand it to you in Aces.
Helps with Depression
by Customer - reviewed on October 01, 2009
This is a wonderful, inspiring book. I suffer from depression-a difficult disease in a world so troubled-and read a lot of books about hope in Christ. Although I had heard/read most of these inspiring talks by Elder Holland, having them in a book where I could read one each day has been incredibly beneficial. His talks are grouped into topical sections. The witness of Elder Holland is magnificent - he's done the work, said the prayers, and worked in the Savior's service, so he knows what he's talking about.
by Joyce - reviewed on July 02, 2009
In true Jeffrey R. Holland style this marvelous book captures you from the start. It contains wonderful counsel for the difficult times we are facing.He reminds us that through our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ all things are possible, and that life can still be wonderful even though we face challenges. I highly recommend this book to any who are facing difficulties themselves or know someone who may be facing hard times.
A Must Read!
by Customer - reviewed on September 26, 2008
Everyone should read this exceptionally comforting book. It is filled with encouragement and examples of how to let the Savior and his gospel heal and bless our lives. It brings the feelings of peace that no matter what happens in life the Lord is always there to help us through hard times. There isn’t a person anywhere that wouldn’t benefit from it in some small way.
Just started this one....
by Rachel - reviewed on October 22, 2008
I just purchased this book because I am struggling to "mend" the pain that comes from losing a parent. So far, it has been extremely uplifting and is really reminding me how to mend.
by angela - reviewed on October 24, 2008
This book is absolutely wonderful. It touches on all aspects of the most important areas of life in the most beautiful way. It was easy to read and I had a hard time putting it down. This is our Christmas gift this year to others.
Another great one from Elder Holland
by Travis - reviewed on November 05, 2008
Anything that this man writes or speaks is truly amazing. Elder Holland is amazing!
by Customer - reviewed on December 21, 2008
This book is a reminder of where to go when we feel lost. The words touched my heart and have helped heal my soul. It is a subtle eye opener to simple facts easily forgotten when we are facing adversity. I reccomend this book to anyone facing hardships, it has helped me regain a sense of self after the loss of my husband. I'm only 32 with two little boys and the words in this book have helped me re-focus on my family.
He will make us whole -- and this book will help!
by Customer - reviewed on January 16, 2011
I've been in counseling for many years due to some experiences in my childhood. I've battled depression & despair, low self-esteem, and the temptation to give up for so much of my life that it almost seemed natural... much more natural than happiness did! I began reading this book with a friend in our efforts to become happier, better people. Its effect has been amazing! As I've really begun to understand the HEALING power of the Atonement as well as its cleansing power, I have hope for my future & a determination to overcome that I'd almost lost. LOVE THIS BOOK! : )
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