The Imperfect Harvest by Elder Vern P. Stanfill of the Seventy | Summary talk for April 2023 General Conference

The Imperfect Harvest by Elder Vern P. Stanfill of the Seventy | Summary talk for April 2023 General Conference


The article opens with Elder Stanfill’s childhood memories of growing up in southwest Montana, where the changing seasons, particularly the fall harvest season, held special significance. It describes the hard work and reliance on favorable weather for a successful harvest, highlighting the uncertainties that farmers faced. He reminisces about helping their father with harvesting grain and learning about the equipment used for this task.

He shares a poignant memory of their father’s response to finding some kernels of grain in the chaff on the ground, presenting them with a critical look. The father’s response was, “It is good enough and the best that this machine can do.” This experience left the author pondering the imperfections of the harvest.

Elder Stanfill then transitions to a broader discussion about the pursuit of perfection and the pressures individuals often feel in today’s world. It acknowledges the prevalence of social media, unrealistic expectations, and self-criticism, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy. The article also mentions the potential misinterpretation of the Savior’s call to “be ye therefore perfect.”

A key distinction is made between perfectionism and being perfected in Christ. Perfectionism is described as an impossible, self-imposed standard that often leads to guilt, anxiety, and isolation. In contrast, becoming perfected in Christ is presented as a process guided by the Holy Ghost, with standards set by a loving Heavenly Father. This process emphasizes who individuals are in God’s sight and encourages personal devotion and faithfulness. It is highlighted that the Savior’s grace can make up for human imperfections.

Although Elder Stanfill does not specifically mention scrupulosity by name, in Latter-day Saint (LDS) terminology, scrupulosity refers to a condition characterized by excessive and obsessive religious or moral concerns, often accompanied by an overwhelming fear of committing sin or making mistakes. Individuals with scrupulosity may experience extreme anxiety, guilt, or doubt related to their religious beliefs and practices. This condition can lead them to engage in compulsive behaviors, such as excessive prayer, confession, or ritualistic actions, in an attempt to alleviate their distress and achieve a sense of religious purity.

Elder Stanfill offers a biblical example of the feeding of the five thousand to illustrate the concept of offering what may seem inadequate. The story emphasizes the faith of a young boy who offered five barley loaves and two small fishes, which appeared insufficient for the task at hand. However, the Savior blessed and multiplied the offering, demonstrating that He can perfect humble offerings.

Another biblical example is provided from the story of Peter walking on water. Peter initially displayed great faith by stepping out of the boat to walk toward Jesus on the water. However, when he noticed the wind and began to doubt, he started to sink. Elder Stanfill suggests a compassionate conversation between Peter and the Savior, where Jesus reassures Peter that his offering is acceptable, and even in moments of faltering, the Savior is there to lift him up and make his offering perfect.

Elder Stanfill incorporates a quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, emphasizing that the Savior is the source of strength and that individuals should see themselves as He sees them. It highlights the Savior’s ability to give power to the weary and increase strength.

The central message of Elder Stanfill’s talk is that individuals should not underestimate the Savior’s power to make their best-but-imperfect offerings perfect. It encourages readers to recognize that their efforts, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can lead to miracles and contribute to a perfect harvest.

Elder Stanfill addresses situations where individuals may feel inadequate or compare themselves unfavorably to others. It distinguishes between perfectionism, which can lead to judgment or self-criticism, and emulation, which involves learning from those who exhibit Christlike attributes. Emulating Christ and striving to be like Him is presented as a constructive approach.

Elder Stanfill closes his talk by reaffirming the Savior’s invitation for individuals to come unto Him and be perfected in Him. It encourages readers to have faith that the Savior can perfect their efforts, no matter how imperfect they may seem. The parable of the sower is referenced to illustrate that various levels of growth and progress are part of the perfect harvest. He then concludes with a testimony of Christ’s power to perfect humble offerings.


Overall, Elder Stanfill conveys a message of hope, emphasizing the Savior’s role in making imperfect efforts perfect and encouraging readers to have faith in their own potential to contribute to a perfect harvest.


Questions to consider:

  • How do you relate to the author’s childhood experiences of observing the changing seasons and the significance of the harvest in his family’s life?

  • The author draws a distinction between perfectionism and being perfected in Christ. How do you define these two concepts, and how do they affect your perspective on personal growth and discipleship?

  • Consider the story of the young boy who offered his small loaves and fishes to the Savior. How can this story inspire you to offer your own humble contributions to the Lord’s work, no matter how insignificant they may seem?

  • The author suggests that God can perfect even our most imperfect offerings. Can you share a personal experience where you witnessed the Lord’s grace making up the difference in your efforts?

  • Reflect on the analogy of comparing ourselves to others versus emulating Christlike attributes. How does this distinction resonate with your own experiences and challenges in striving to follow the Savior?

  • The article mentions that “there is no imperfect harvest with Christ.” What does this statement mean to you, and how does it relate to your understanding of the Savior’s role in your life?

  • How can you apply the principles discussed in the article to your daily life and efforts to draw nearer to the Savior? What steps can you take to embrace the process of becoming more like Him?


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