Martin Luther King, in his own words

Martin Luther King, in his own words January 21, 2019


MLK Jr. on Westminster Abbey
This statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., appears on the facade of Westminster Abbey in London, in a space dedicated to martyrs.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


In connection with this holiday, today, honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy, here are a few quotations from his remarkably eloquent speeches and writings:


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”


“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”


“The time is always right to do what is right.”


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”


“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”


“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”


“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’


“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”


“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”




There is no better way to think of Martin Luther King today than to listen to his own incomparable voice, which, if you choose, you can do here:


“5 of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most memorable speeches”




And here, for whatever little the list may be worth, are some links between Latter-day Saints and Dr. King and his legacy:


“Martin Luther King, Jr. Had 2 Copies of the Book of Mormon + More Latter-day Saint Connections”




Finally, let me frankly acknowledge the fact that neither the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor Latter-day Saints generally were in the forefront of Dr. King’s civil rights movement.  Indeed, many were suspicious of it.  That’s quite true.  But it might also be pointed out that, in some regards, the situation was more complex than it now seems in retrospect (especially to those who didn’t live through that period), and perhaps less clear to people who, as could be said of the overwhelming majority of Latter-day Saints at the time, knew few if any black people and had little or no contact with the brutal reality of segregation in the American South.  I’m not trying to make excuses, but I do want to head off attempts to demonize the Latter-day Saints of the 1950s and 1960s.  They were, overwhelmingly, good and decent people.



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