Being a Christian is hard. Let’s not kid around. The more seriously you try it, the harder it gets, until you reach the breakthrough. The idea that religion is a bunch of harsh rules that require abject submission to a harsh and demanding God is a caricature–but it is a caricature that every faithful man will experience at some point. (Almost everything is the experience of knitting together a series of caricatures.)
But there is a point to it all. When we are learning to submit to God, not least we are learning to submit to our own will. We are not eliminating our own agency and our own desires. We are taming them until they can be brought into the whole. We are ensuring that some irruption of will or desire now doesn’t make that will or desire unworkable forever. Submission now preserves all of our full characteristics for the eternities. Obedience to God is saying that every part of ourself is too precious to ever lose.
Character is determined by the extent to which we can master ourselves toward good ends. It is difficult to say just what builds good character, but we know it when we see it. It always commands our admiration, and the absence of it our pity.
-thus Elder Tanner