Selected Teachings on
Neal A. Maxwell (Quorum of the Twelve)
[O]ne way of looking at the "thou shalt not" commandments is that these prohibitions help us to avoid misery by turning us away from that which is enticing but harmful and wrong. However, once we are settled in terms of the direction of our discipleship and the gross sins are left firmly behind—"misery prevention," it might be called—then the major focus falls upon the "thou-shalt" commandments. It is the keeping of the thou-shalt commandments that brings even greater happiness. True, as the scripture says, "Wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10), but neither is lukewarmness full happiness. Failing to be valiant in Christian discipleship will leave us without significant happiness. Therefore, our active avoidance of wickedness must be followed by our active engagement in righteousness. Then we can come to know true joy—after all, man is that he "might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).
It is very often the sins of omission that keep us from spiritual wholeness because we still lack certain things. ("The Pathway of Discipleship," CES Fireside, 4 Jan. 1998)