Author: Browning, Gary L.
From time immemorial those who believe in God have expressed their thankfulness to him. Giving humble thanks is also among the most basic religious expressions of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as with religious people everywhere. It is also a prescribed element of prayer (D&C 46:32).
In ancient times Moses offered sacrifices of thanksgiving (Lev. 7:11-13) and King Hezekiah gave "thank offerings" (2 Chr. 29:30-31). Ascribed to David are the Talmud's One Hundred Daily Benedictions that begin with "Blessed are thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe!" and express gratitude for common as well as exceptional activities, enjoyments, natural phenomena, and encounters with remarkable persons. Upon receiving good news or blessings, the Hebrews uttered appreciation for God's munificence; when experiencing trials they thanked God because he is just.
Jesus memorably taught the appropriateness of gratitude after he healed ten lepers on his way to Jerusalem. When only one of the ten, a Samaritan, gave earnest thanks, Christ commented, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" (Luke 17:11-19). Later, Paul emphasized that the righteous should "in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thes. 5:18).
In the Book of Mormon the prophet alma 2 admonished Christ's followers to acquire his attributes, among them, "asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive" (Alma 7:23). Modern scripture promises that "he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" (D&C 78:19), and that "in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments" (D&C 59:21). Thankfulness is to be offered for "all things" received from the Lord whether or not, from limited human understanding, they initially appear to be blessings.
Although thankfulness is most commonly communicated through prayer, a revelation given to Brigham Young counsels, "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving" (D&C 136:28). Additional appropriate means for expressing thanksgiving include singing hymns (the Latter-day Saints Hymnal lists twenty-seven titles under the topic of "gratitude"); participating in regular Church worship services; commemorating such religious holidays as Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving; having a devout personal life characterized by a repentant spirit and righteous works; and showing love toward others.
Faust, James E. "Gratitude as a Saving Principle." Ensign 20 (May 1990):85-87.
GARY L. BROWNING