…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Understanding Our Value

By Rex Goode


In the Mormon culture, we use the term “worthy” in reference to whether a person can pass a minimum set of questions about their beliefs and behavior in order to qualify them for certain ordinances and priveleges, such as going to the temple and being advanced in the priesthood.

Many demographic groups do this–redefine words to have a special meaning within the context of their own system.

I think the use of this term is unfortunate when it comes to the root meanings of the word in everyday common English. It is related to “worth” and being “unworthy” means of that someone is of no value.

I don’t think the Lord intends for his children to feel like they are of no value or worth. Certainly there are times when we are not “worthy” as it relates to modern Mormon usage of the word, meaning that we can be disqualified from certain blessings due to behavior not consistent with good LDS standards.

Worthiness is also one of those concepts that is fluid depending on its context. For example, we are all unworthy of the atonement, since by its very nature it was provided for the unworthy to make them worthy. Being unworthy of it proves our worth to the Father in heaven who gave us Only Begotten Son as a sacrifice.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8–10)

From our own limited mortal perspective, it is often hard to see just how valuable and valued we are. I have often felt like a cast-off, someone not good enough to make it, a flawed creation unworthy of being desired. Often the atonement is viewed as something someone must earn. I remember working very hard to be good enough to save.

Such a point of view betrays a lack of understanding of just how valuable we are to God.

The Savior said to Oliver Cowdery:

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. (D&C 18:10–11)

He, himself, tells us that the reason he suffered the pain of all men was because he so valued us that he was willing to suffer in the most horrible manner that we might be saved.

The correlation between sin and feelings of worthlessness seems to be strong, especially as it relates to sexual addiction. All forms of sexual acting out, including masturbation and partaking of pornography, involve the degrading of one’s self and/or others. Such a view of ourselves and others is not consistent with what we know about who we are and where we came from.

Would we degrade someone by looking at inappropriate pictures of them if we truly understood both our value to God and more importantly, theirs? Would we degrade ourselves with masturbation and demeaning fantasies if we understood how important we individually are in the sight of God?

I believe we have to detach ourselves from the basic truths of the gospel, even if momentarily, to do these things. If that is true, then it seems to follow that by applying some of the basic truths of the gospel to the situation, we might be able to strengthen ourselves against temptation.

We being with ourselves. We must first understand our own value before we can adequately value others.

Through a study of the scriptures, we can gain an understanding of the simple gospel truth that Christ suffered, bled, and died for us and that he did it out of love for us, because he valued us. Armed with that simple understanding, we can then take it in prayer to our Heavenly Father and plead that we will understand and believe it to our very core. To really appreciate our own value to God requires more than a book-knowledge that he values us. We must feel, by direct communication with him, that he treasures us as an individual member of his family.

We can know that we are of infinite value to God as soon as we cry out sufficiently to him to have him reveal his love to us.

Thus armed with an assurance that we are loved and important to God, we can help others to feel that love by valuing them as God values them–as they are, faults and all.

In doing this latter, our own eternal sense of worth is firmed up. So many people try to get self-esteem by being served, but we know that self-esteem comes not from being valued by others, but by valuing and serving others.

God both knows us and cherishes us. We are his creations and of infinite worth to him. He who knows us best, loves us the most.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalms 139:14–16)


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