Hearts That Rage (Yours)

by | Mar 24, 2023

heart filled with angry words

Fasten Your Seatbelt (No. 15)

From his talk, The Power of Spiritual Momentum

Part of the President Nelson Series

All blue quotes by President Russell M. Nelson (unless otherwise noted).

Even Calm People

Even calm people have hearts that rage. It seems the atmosphere and overall climate these days make it inevitable. Between social decay and an increased number of troubled, difficult people sprinkled in every crowd — yes…church, too — I need my spirituality and peace more today than at any other time. I hope that’s not too candid to confess.

Speaking of candor, consider the following statement that President Nelson made recently. See what you notice about it:

It can be painfully difficult to let go of anger that feels so justified.

My first virtuous, saintly reaction was, “how can it be painful or difficult to let go of anger”? Isn’t letting go of anger supposed to be a trade-in for something lighter and better? That’s the answer we sometimes hear in Sunday School, right?

I thought about the prophet’s statement and realized you defy gravity when you let go of anger. Anger is justified (see post no. 14). Anger feels empowering and expressive. Anger gives one purpose and temporary importance. Anger forces others to pay attention to us finally. Anger is crowd-sourced and addicting. Anger vents pained feelings of helplessness or frustrated victimhood. Anger puts others in their place. Anger is an exclamation point for expressing oneself.

Anger can be satisfactory or even delicious. One family therapist at BYU Education week pointed out that couples fight because it is safe. He explained that fighting and anger keep you from peeling back the layers and looking at issues with honesty, especially about oneself. Introspection and honesty take real effort and are scarier, so fighting is easier.

And there it is…anger is focused outward at other people. Anger keeps us from looking inward. Often, anger circumvents deeper self-awareness.


Christ and the gospel are all about looking inward. That beam and mote parable especially applies here. Even when the opposite is accurate, and they DO have a beam in their eye, and yours is only a mote, anger disappears as soon as you focus on your mote (or beam). You become busy with your issues which is something far better.

The downfall of anger is it focuses outward – and if the focus is outward and the blame is pointed elsewhere, no one gets very far.

Peace comes from focusing inward WITH the Savior’s help (not Loser-fer’s negativity). Incidentally, that’s where long-lasting confidence comes from too. The Spirit gently influences the next step in our growth and empowerment.

Prince of Peace

It can seem impossible to forgive those whose destructive actions have hurt the innocent. And yet, the Savior admonished us to “forgive all men.”

We are followers of the Prince of Peace. Now more than ever, we need the peace only He can bring. How can we expect peace to exist in the world when we are not individually seeking peace and harmony? Brothers and sisters, I know what I’m suggesting is not easy. But followers of Jesus Christ should set the example for all the world to follow. I plead with you to do all you can to end personal conflicts that are currently raging in your hearts and in your lives.

Peace is an intentional choice and comes with effort. President Nelson uses the phrase “seeking peace and harmony.”

seek: explore, investigate, pursue, chase, inquire, scout

Of course, prayer, growing a relationship with the Savior, and scripture study are the first go-to resources for finding peace.

This might also be a great time to study the topic of temper and people skills (self-help books and videos).


Temperance is a quality I work on and think about a lot these days.

Timshel (Hebrew for “thou mayest”)

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  1. Cheri Carrell

    Thanks for this post. I just drove my daughter to a doctor appointment that will help her end her unhappiness. It’s hard to see her in this state and I will surely share this post with her. Your post helped me to stay calm and not worry so much.

    • Shawnie Cannon

      Oh wow…I came so close to not writing a post until next week. But somehow this one happened anyway. Bless your heart and good luck with your efforts to help your child. You’re a wonderful mom!


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