I happened to look at “honor” in the Topical Guide and I learned some things just by seeing all the scriptures about it.
I saw that we are asked to give honor to others, and the list of who is interesting:
· God (D&C 84:102)
· The Lord (with our substance) (Prov. 3:9)
· The Son (John 5:23)
· Thy father and thy mother (Ex. 20)
· The wife (to keep prayers from being hindered) (1 Peter 3:7) (I'm also assuming that this works the other way too and wives should honor their husbands)
· Elders (with double honor) (1 Tim. 5:17)
· The old man (Lev. 19:32)
· Widows (1 Tim. 5:3)
· The king (1 Peter 2:17)
· The law (Article of Faith 12)
· Every man in his station (D&C 134:6)
· All men (1 Peter 2:17)
So it seems we are to become very good at giving honor, however we are not to seek it or aspire to it ourselves, and the big scripture for this is in D&C 121:
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts…aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson— That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven…[which] cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness….when we undertake to…gratify our pride, our vain ambition…behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved (D&C 121:34-36)
I don’t think this means we refrain from doing things worth honoring; I just think it means we don’t make the prospect of receiving awards and honors from men the reason for our efforts.
Alma 1:16 tells of people who loved the vain things of the world and preached false doctrines for the sake of riches and honor. John 5:44 points out that aspiring to honors of men also prevents us from believing Christ and prevents us from seeking honor that comes only from God.
God does give honor. He honors those who honor and serve him (D&C 76:5; John 12:26). Every once in a while you’ll hear stories of President Monson singling out someone from a congregation and giving them praise in front of everybody and then a few weeks later the person has passed on to the other side. That is an example of the Lord inspiring the prophet to honor someone at the end of their life when they’ve served the Lord faithfully.
A more common example is affirmation from the Spirit that we receive when we have done something courageous to honor the Lord.
I think these principles are to help us develop our ability to judge and give honor and respect so that we can have a celestial society. I also think that refraining from aspirations for honors of men and seeking honor from God should help us become more independent of the world’s system of honors. You can’t predict when the world’s honors come, and they may be given to people who don’t deserve them or they may reward the wrong things! On the other hand, God’s honors through the Spirit are more consistent.