Referring to Jeremiah's parable of the potter's clay (Jer. 18:1-12, 19:11), Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, in his April 1982 general conference address, said:
"The Lord explained to Jeremiah that when we make mistakes, as ancient Israel was making, we can take what we have marred and begin again. The potter did not give up and throw the clay away just because he had made a mistake. And we are not to feel hopeless and reject ourselves. Yes, our task is to overcome our problems, take what we have and are, and start again."Some of you who are listening have sinned in ways that are significant, embarrassing and destructive. Yet, by following the simple instruction given by the Master, you can talk with your bishop, when necessary, and begin again as a renewed person.
". . . At the peak of its power, the Greek Empire sprawled from the Mediterranean Basin on the west to what is present-day India on the east. Through military strength, the Greeks had conquered countless city-states and nations.
"They honored their bravest men, but also hallowed the site at which the tide of each battle turned. They marked that single spot on the plain of conflict where a small victory had made the ultimate triumph inevitable. At that place, they pushed a piece of stone or a pile of captured weapons into an upright position. They called the marker a trophy. In the language of the ancient Greeks, the word trophy meant `a turning.'
"Is now a time for a trophy in your life? In the battles you are fighting, should you erect a monument to show that you have turned, that your life will be different now?
"Remember, all problems do not keel over as Goliath did before David. All battles do not end as dramatically as the one fought at Cumorah. All miracles are not as immediate as when Joseph Smith blessed the sick on the banks of the Missouri River. But problems do go away, battles are won, and miracles do occur in the lives of us all. In Deuteronomy 7:22 the Lord described his battle plan for purifying Israel in this way: `And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little.' Victory often does come little by little."