Soft Hearts – A Parable

The scriptures urge us to make our hearts soft, warning of those who are hard hearted.

How is this done?

It might be useful to think of the humble roll, which starts off deliciously soft right out of the oven, but which can become unacceptably hard all too soon.

The secret to soft rolls is simple, yet little practiced.

It turns out flour absorbs and retains moisture much better if the flour is mixed with an equal weight of boiling water. This liquid/flour mix 1 is created using liquid and flour already intended for the recipe.

In the case of the roll, softening part of the flour in this manner will allow the roll to remain soft much longer than rolls created using traditional recipes.

In our lives, we can remain soft-hearted no matter our prosperity if we earnestly seek to serve God and keep God’s commandments. 2 This will involve serving others, mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. 3

But there are times when it is easier to bask in our prosperity, with foreseeable results. We become callous and cruel, yet still imagine that we are somehow right with God.

When we, like bits of flour, are immersed in the spiritual/emotional/social equivalent of boiling water, it is an opportunity for us to absorb from these trials a more profound softening of our hearts.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of this, describing how suffering from leukemia affected him. He wrote, “The Spirit whispered, ‘I have given you leukemia that you might teach my people with authenticity.'” 4

These are trying times for all of us. May we emerge from this time better able to make and honor a covenant to serve God and keep God’s commandments.


  1. This mix is referred to as a “water roux” or by the Asian terms tangzhong or yu-dane (湯種) .
  2. c.f. Mosiah 18:10, also Mosiah 21: 31-32.
  3. c.f. Mosiah 18:9.
  4. Neal A. Maxwell, A Disciple’s Life, p. 562.
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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.