After Elder Oaks' talk on desire this last General Conference, I read the Elder Maxwell talk he referenced. Both talks are exceptional.
A few things to note ...
1) Desires can be changed/taught
2) Righteous desires need to be moulded to the law of God
3) The initiation of desire is entirely up to us.
4) We can initiate any desire with a vision of what is to be
And now for the meaty quotes ...
First from Neal A. Maxwell:
"Desire denotes a real longing or craving ... much more than passive preferences or fleeting feelings."
"What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity."
"Righteous desires need to be relentless."
"it is our own desires which determine the sizing and the attractiveness of various temptations. We set our thermostats as to temptations."
Quoting Brigham Young, he said, "the men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day."
Brigham Young also said, "It is evident that many who understand the truth do not govern themselves by it; consequently, no matter how true and beautiful truth is, you have to take the passions of the people and mould them to the law of God."
"Each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service, and each act of worship, however small and incremental, adds to our spiritual momentum." I like this quote because it confirms the idiom that came to my mind once ... obedience is spiritual grease.
"Unquestionably, parents have such a profound role in assisting in the educating of our desires, especially when parents combine explanation and exemplification!"
"a loving God will work with us, but the initiating particle of desire which ignites the spark must be our own!"
And now a few from Elder Oaks:
"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming."
"How do we develop desires? ... We we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously." He spoke of Aron Ralston as an example of getting that vision. As I contemplated this quote, I decided that the one event in my life that I would love to experience and that I desire most is seeing each of my children walk out of the temple ... either from getting their endowments or from marriage. This is the one thought that I use to drive my desire.
This topic has been on my mind the last few weeks. I've gone back a few times to these articles and they have provided fortification. I like that quote about desire and temptation. If we find that one desire that will drive us and let it work in us (see Alma 32:27), we can come back to it again and again and we can use it to manage our temptations. But in thinking about this a bit, the one desire must be somewhat grand and have the capacity to manage many of your actions and thoughts. A local desire won't work.
Read the articles and think about it. It is truly amazing, the power of desire.
“According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts” by Neal A. Maxwell
"Desire" by Dallin H. Oaks