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What E’re Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part

David O. Mckay’s life motto is an inspiration and forceful direction to us all

“What-e’er thou art, act well thy part.”


While serving as a missionary in Scotland, David O. McKay had an experience that gave him the motto he used for the rest of his life…

While he and his companion returned home from visiting Stirling Castle, they passed a building where, above the door was a curious stone sculpture with the carved inscription:

“What-e’er thou art, act well thy part.” (typically attributed to Shakespeare)

This message struck David O. McKay so forcefully, that he decided to devote himself completely to always doing his best in whatever responsibility he had.

The stone itself was designed by an architect named John Allen. Along with the inscription he included a design known as ‘a magic square

Each shape within the square represents a numerical value, and when you add the numbers in any direction it will always equal 18.

One theory as to why the magic square was included with the phrase What E’re Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part is that if any of the shapes are rearranged or their values were changed, then the square will cease to be magic as it won’t equal 18 in every direction. So in life, as we have different roles and responsibilities, if we don’t do our part or give 100% then it will affect the outcome, be it family, church, or work, the whole organization will not function as intended, or in other words What E’re Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part And the Whole will function perfectly.

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