dieter-f-uchtdorf-large“Lord, Is It I?”

Some years ago there was a news story about a man who believed that if he rubbed lemon juice on his face, it would make him invisible to cameras. So he put lemon juice all over his face, went out, and robbed two banks. Not much later he was arrested when his image was broadcast over the evening news. When police showed the man the videos of himself from the security cameras, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “But I had lemon juice on my face!” he protested. When a scientist at Cornell University heard about this story, he was intrigued that a man could be so painfully unaware of his own incompetence. To determine whether this was a general problem, two researchers invited college students to participate in a series of tests on various life skills and then asked them to rate how they did. The students who performed poorly were the least accurate at evaluating their own performance—some of them estimating their scores to be five times higher than they actually were. This study has been replicated in numerous ways, confirming over and over again the same conclusion: many of us have a difficult time seeing ourselves as we truly are, and even successful people overestimate their own contribution and underestimate the contributions that others make. It might not be so significant to overestimate how well we drive a car or how far we can drive a golf ball. But when we start believing that our contributions at home, at work, and at church are greater than they actually are, we blind ourselves to blessings and opportunities to improve ourselves in significant and profound ways. . . Over the course of my life, I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most competent and intelligent men and women this world has to offer. When I was younger, I was impressed by those who were educated, accomplished, successful, and applauded by the world. But over the years, I have come to the realization that I am far more impressed by those wonderful and blessed souls who are truly good and without guile. And isn’t that what the gospel is all about and does for us? It is the good news, and it helps us to become good. The words of the Apostle James apply to us today: “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. …“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Brethren, we must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, “Lord, is it I?” And if the Lord’s answer happens to be “Yes, my son, there are things you must improve, things I can help you to overcome,” I pray that we will accept this answer, humbly acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better husbands, better fathers, better sons. May we from this time forward seek with all our might to walk steadfastly in the Savior’s blessed way—for seeing ourselves clearly is the beginning of wisdom. As we do so, our bountiful God will lead us by the hand; we will “be made strong, and blessed from on high.” My beloved friends, a first step on this wondrous and fulfilling path of true discipleship starts with our asking the simple question: “Lord, is it I?”