Posted in atonement, General Conference, Jesus Christ, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018

Study helps: D Todd Christofferson – The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven

From http://www.lds.org:

Here are some questions that Relief Society and quorum members could have in mind as they review Elder Christofferson’s message: What is holiness? How do we seek after holiness? How does partaking of the sacrament help us in our efforts? Members could share words from Elder Christofferson’s message that help answer these questions. How do we help each other as “fellow Saints” in our efforts to become more holy?

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What is holiness?

The word translated “holiness” in the New Testament means to be “set apart.” In the Old Testament, holiness was generally connected with God’s perfection. How can we be set apart and perfect?

See: Holiness to the Lord

‘Holiness is making the choices that will keep the Holy Ghost as our guide. Holiness is setting aside our natural tendencies and becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” “Every moment of [our lives] must be holiness to the Lord.”’ (Carol F McConkie, General Conference, April 2017)

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Watch: To Act in All Holiness President Uchtdorf teaches how to “act in all holiness.” (1:58)

How do we seek after holiness?

If we yearn to dwell in Christ and have Him dwell in us, then holiness is what we seek, in both body and spirit. We seek it in the temple, whereon is inscribed “Holiness to the Lord.” We seek it in our marriages, families, and homes. We seek it each week as we delight in the Lord’s holy day. We seek it even in the details of daily living: our speech, our dress, our thoughts. As President Thomas S. Monson has stated, “We are the product of all we read, all we view, all we hear and all we think.” We seek holiness as we take up our cross daily.

What are some of the ways in which we can ‘seek after holiness’?

Where does holiness start?

What should be our motivation in seeking holiness?

‘We must always remember that in seeking after holiness we are not so much seeking after a thing as we are seeking a person.’ (Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness)

See 1 Peter 1 :15 -16

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

‘Continuing encouragement comes as we follow the example of Jesus, who taught, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” His hope for us is crystal clear! He declared: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27) Thus, adoration of Jesus is best expressed by our emulation of Jesus.
People have never failed to follow Jesus because his standards were imprecise or insufficiently high. Quite to the contrary. Some have disregarded his teachings because they were viewed as being too precise or impractically high! Yet such lofty standards, when earnestly pursued, produce great inner peace and incomparable joy.
There is no other individual to compare with Jesus Christ, nor is there any other exhortation equal to his sublime expression of hope: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Ne. 12:48)’ (Russell M nelson, “Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 87-88)
How does partaking of the sacrament help in our efforts?
Partaking of the Savior’s flesh and drinking His blood means to put out of our lives anything inconsistent with a Christlike character and to make His attributes our own. 

Watch video: The sabbath and the sacrament (L Tom Perry, April 2011)

Watch video: Reverence the sacrament Elder Quentin L. Cook explains explains that through taking the sacrament, we show our willingness to follow the Saviour.

“Partaking of the sacrament provides us with a sacred moment in a holy place.” (Elder L. Tom Perry.)

How might this idea of “a sacred moment” and “a holy place” influence our thoughts and actions as we partake of the sacrament?

  1. Do I think about the words of the sacrament hymn?

  2. Do I listen to the sacrament prayers?

  3. Do I remember that Jesus suffered and died for me?

  4. Do I feel sorry for mistakes I have made?

  5. Do I promise to do better?

  6. In what way can I improve?

How do we help each other as “fellow Saints” in our efforts to become more holy?

The glorious truth is we are not alone. We have the love of God, the grace of Christ, the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship and encouragement of fellow Saints in the body of Christ. 

How can we encourage each other to become more holy?

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Posted in Divine identity, Family, General Conference, LDS Doctrine, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018

Study helps: Dallin H Oaks – The Plan and the Proclamation

From http://www.lds.org:

How will the members of your quorum, group, or Relief Society act on Elder Oaks’s invitation to “teach [and] live by” the family proclamation, at home, in the community, and at church? Invite them to share ideas with each other. It might also help to search the message for some doctrinal statements from the family proclamation. How do these statements help us respond to “current challenges to the family”? Section IV of Elder Oaks’s message contains some examples of such statements.

The family proclamation begins by declaring “that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

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Watch: The Family is Ordained of God Women from around the world testify of the blessings of the family in God’s plan. (5:30)

Watch: The Family is Central to the Creator’s Plan Various people express their thoughts on the importance of the family. (3:21)

Watch: The Home is a Divine Institution

It also affirms that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” 

See: D&C 76:24

Moses 2:27

Genesis 1:27

‘The scriptures record, “And I, God, created man … ; male and female created I them.”  Moses 2:27 See also  Moses 2:28  Moses 3:5  This was done spiritually in your premortal existence when you lived in the presence of your Father in Heaven. Your gender existed before you came to earth. You elected to have this earth experience as part of His plan for you. The prophets call it “the plan of mercy,”  Alma 42:15 the “eternal plan of deliverance,” 2 Ne. 11:5 “the plan of salvation,” Moses 6:62 and, yes, “the great plan of happiness.”  Alma 42:8 You were taught this plan before you came to earth and there rejoiced in the privilege of participating in it.’ Richard G Scott, General Conference, October 1996)

It further declares “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

Image result for Live the law of chastity.

‘I have had the feeling that if we could just encourage our people to live by three or four covenants everything else would take care of itself. …
The first of these is the covenant of the sacrament, in which we take upon ourselves the name of the Savior and agree to keep His commandments with the promise in His covenant that He will bless us with His spirit. …
Second, the covenant of tithing. … The promise … is that He will stay the destroyer and open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings that there will not be room enough to receive them. …
Three, the covenants of the temple: Sacrifice, the willingness to sacrifice for this the Lord’s work—and inherent in that law of sacrifice is the very essence of the Atonement. … Consecration, which is associated with it, a willingness to give everything, if need be, to help in the on-rolling of this great work. And a covenant of love and loyalty one to another in the bonds of marriage, fidelity, chastity, morality.
If our people could only learn to live by these covenants, everything else would take care of itself, I am satisfied.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, quoted by Bishop Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, May 2001, 61)

‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. We are agents blessed with moral agency and are defined by our divine heritage as children of God—and not by sexual behaviors, contemporary attitudes, or secular philosophies.’ (David A Bednar, General Conference, April 2013)

The proclamation affirms the continuing duty of husband and wife to multiply and replenish the earth and their “solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children”: “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” It solemnly warns against the abuse of spouse or offspring, and it affirms that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

The benefits of religion for the family have been proclaimed for centuries. Proverbs 22:6 tells us: “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

However today parents are much less likely than in previous decades to:

  • teach children to pray
  • take them to Church
  • discuss the scriptures are religious principles with them.

The results are apparent in the form of disintegrating family values.

‘We are to teach our children the principles and doctrines of the gospel. We need to help them have faith in Jesus Christ and prepare them for baptism when they are eight years old. [See  Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28 We must be faithful ourselves so that they can see our example of love for the Lord and His Church. This helps our children feel joy in keeping the commandments, happiness in families, and gratitude in service to others.’ (David F Evans, General Conference, April 2012)

Image result for Finally, it calls for the promotion of official “measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

 Finally, it calls for the promotion of official “measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

‘The family unit is not only fundamental to society and to the Church but to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world and what then will be what we practice in families bound together forever by covenants and faithfulness. We can start now to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family.” I pray that we will. I pray that you will ask, “Father, how can I prepare?” Tell him how much you want what it is that he wants so much to give you. You will receive impressions, and if you act on them I promise you the help of the powers of heaven.’ (Henry B Eyring, BYU Devotional, November 1995)

 

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2018, Love, service

Study helps: Bonnie L Oscarson – The Needs Before Us

From http://www.lds.org

One way to start a discussion about Sister Oscarson’s message is to give everyone a piece of paper with “Who needs me today?” written at the top. Members of your Relief Society or quorum could take a few minutes pondering and listing answers to this question. Then they could search Sister Oscarson’s message for ideas about how they could serve the people on their list—or add names as inspired. A few could share what they have learned.

We live in a culture where more and more we are focused on the small, little screen in our hands than we are on the people around us. We have substituted texting and tweeting for actually looking someone in the eye and smiling or, even rarer, having a face-to-face conversation. We are often more concerned with how many followers and likes we have than with putting an arm around a friend and showing love, concern, and tangible interest. As amazing as modern technology can be for spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping us stay connected to family and friends, if we are not vigilant in how we use our personal devices, we too can begin to turn inward and forget that the essence of living the gospel is service.

‘In today’s world of so much suffering because of different circumstances, sending a text message with a funny emoji or posting a nice picture with the words “I love you” is good and valuable. But what many of us need to do is leave our mobile devices behind and, with our hands and feet, help others in great need. Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed.’ (Jose L Alonso, General Conference, October 2017)

I love email and social media. They can be great ways of communicating and connecting with others. However our use of technology can also insulate us from others.  Do you see evidence that use of personal devices can turn our focus inward and make us forget the essence of the gospel? How can we guard against that?

 I believe that most members consider service to be at the heart of their covenants and discipleship. But I also think that sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities. We are touched when we see the suffering and great needs of those halfway around the world, but we may fail to see there is a person who needs our friendship sitting right next to us in class.

This reminded me of words from the hymn ‘Have I Done Any Good’:

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
There are opportunities to serve all around us – in our community, in our ward, in our family. We don’t need to go to the other side of the world to find people who need our help.
Watch or read: What Have I Done For Someone Today? – President Thomas S Monson
What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.
There are opportunities to serve all around us – in our community, in our ward, in our family.

“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” (Mother Teresa)

‘There are so many who have been injured and who need a good Samaritan to bind up their wounds and help them on their way. A small kindness can bring a great blessing to someone in distress and a sweet feeling to the one who befriends him.

There are so many out there whose burdens you can lift. There are the homeless, there are the hungry, there are the destitute all around us. There are the aged who are alone in rest homes. There are handicapped children, and youth on drugs, and the sick and the homebound who cry out for a kind word. If you do not do it, who will?’ (Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, Chapter 14)

Pray for help in recognizing those in your ward families who need love and encouragement. Instead of attending church with the question of “What am I going to get out of this meeting?” ask, “Who needs me today? What do I have to contribute?”

Have a look around you. Who has God placed in your sphere of influence that needs your love and care?

A photograph of a woman sanding a ceiling, paired with a quote by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “Often, the answer to our prayer [comes] while we’re … serving.”

As you bless your own families and ward members, look for ways to bless those in your local communities. Whether you have time for extensive service or can give only a few hours a month, your efforts will bless lives and will also bless you in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

Posted in Divine identity, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018, service

Study helps: President Dieter F Uchtdorf – A Yearning for Home

From http://www.lds.org:

How can you help those you teach recognize how God is using them to bless others? You could invite them to review the section of President Uchtdorf’s message titled “God Will Use You,” looking for promises made to those who strive to serve in God’s kingdom despite their weaknesses. Reading this message may also remind members of experiences they could share in which God used them to bless others—or when He used others to bless them. Give members time to ponder what they feel inspired to do because of this discussion.

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God will use you

On your journey back to Heavenly Father you will soon realize that this journey isn’t just about focusing on your own life. No, this path inevitably leads you to become a blessing in the lives of God’s other children—your brothers and sisters. And the interesting thing about the journey is that as you serve God, and as you care for and help your fellowmen, you will see great progress in your own life, in ways you could never imagine.

Have you noticed examples of seeing great progress in your own life as you have served God and cared for your fellowmen?

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our own happiness, you’ll find it quite intolerable. Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” (C.S. Lewis)

Perhaps you don’t consider yourself all that useful; perhaps you don’t consider yourself a blessing in somebody’s life. Often, when we look at ourselves, we see only our limitations and deficiencies. We might think we have to be “more” of something for God to use us—more intelligent, more wealthy, more charismatic, more talented, more spiritual. Blessings will come not so much because of your abilities but because of your choices. And the God of the universe will work within and through you, magnifying your humble efforts for His purposes.

Think about the parable of the talents – it does not matter so much what talents, or how many talents we have. What matters is what we do with what we have.

Many of us feel inadequate – we are all too aware of our inadequacies. However, President Uchtdorf is telling us that our choices are more important than our abilities. If we make the right choices God can work with us.

Why and how do blessings come because of our choices rather than because of our abilities?

His work has always advanced on this important principle: “Out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”11

‘Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. ‘ (David A Bednar, General Conference, October 2009)

When writing to the Saints in Corinth, the Apostle Paul observed that not many of them would be considered wise by worldly standards. But that didn’t matter, because “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”12

Image result for When writing to the Saints in Corinth, the Apostle Paul observed that not many of them would be considered wise by worldly standards.

What does the scripture mean by weak things?

The “weak” things of the world are people who are humble, not of worldly renown, unlearned as to the things of the world. Those who fit this definition of “weak” rely more upon God than on their own intelligence. Because of that reliance the Lord is able to use them to“confound the things which are mighty”.

The history of God’s work is filled with people who considered themselves inadequate. But they humbly served, relying on the grace of God and His promise: “Their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield … , and they shall fight manfully for me; and … I [will] preserve them.”13

Image result for The history of God’s work is filled with people who considered themselves inadequate.

Who can you think of from Church history or modern times who has been called to do the Lord’s work but may have been considered weak in the eyes of the world? How did the Lord fight manfully for them?

How encouraging it is to know, though we are imperfect, if our hearts are turned to God, He will be generous and kind and use us for His purposes.

What must you do so that the Lord can use you for his purposes?

Those who love and serve God and fellowmen and humbly and actively participate in His work will see wondrous things happen in their lives and in the lives of those they love.

Doors that seemed shut will open.

Angels will go before them and prepare the way.

Have you had any experiences like this?

No matter your position in your community or in the Church, God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.

More purity give me,
More strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy—
More, Savior, like thee. Hymn, More Holiness Give Me)
Posted in atonement, Divine identity, General Conference, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018

Study helps: President Dieter F Uchtdorf – Three Sisters

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From http://www.lds.org:

One way to review President Uchtdorf’s message would be to divide the quorum or Relief Society into small groups. You could assign each group to read about one of the sisters in President Uchtdorf’s message. Each group could write a letter to that sister summarizing his counsel and share what they wrote with the other groups.

  • What can we do to be more like the third sister?
  • How can we make our quorum or Relief Society a “safe home” for those who are struggling?

Sad (The Victim)

The first sister saw herself as a victim—as someone who was acted upon. It seemed like one thing after another kept happening to her that made her miserable. With this approach to life, she was giving others control over how she felt and behaved. When we do this, we are driven about by every wind of opinion—and in this day of ever-present social media, those winds blow at hurricane intensity.

See: 2 Nephi 2:14, 26

Watch: Things to Act and Things to be Acted Upon – Elder David Bednar (0.56)

Can we make a difference in our lives and the lives of our families by choosing to ‘act’ rather than ‘be acted upon’? How?

  • A victim asks how long it will take to feel good — a survivor decides to feel good even if things are not so great.
  • A victim grinds to a halt — a survivor keeps putting one foot in front of the other.
  • A victim wallows in self-pity — a survivor comforts others.
  • A victim is jealous of someone else’s success — a survivor is inspired by it.
  • A victim focuses on the pain of loss — a survivor cherishes remembered joy.
  • A victim seeks retribution — a survivor seeks redemption.
  • And most of all, a victim argues with life — a survivor embraces it. (From What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Maxine Schnall)

Mad (The Hater)

The second sister was angry at the world. Like her sad sister, she felt that the problems in her life were all caused by someone else. She blamed her family, her friends, her boss and coworkers, the police, the neighbors, Church leaders, current fashion trends, even the intensity of solar flares, and plain bad luck. And she lashed out at all of them.

She didn’t think of herself as a mean person. To the contrary, she felt that she was only sticking up for herself. Everyone else, she believed, was motivated by selfishness, pettiness, and hate. She, on the other hand, was motivated by good intentions—justice, integrity, and love.

What can we do to help us to drive hate out of our hearts and replace it with genuine love?

A story is told about Alexander the Great. When he had his portrait painted, the selected artist was greatly perplexed about how to do it. Alexander had an ugly scar from battle on the side of his forehead. The artist did not want to paint that scar in the portrait, because it would be offensive. But leaving the scar out of the painting would not be honest either, and the likeness of his king would be false. The artist finally arrived at a decision what to do. He asked Alexander to lean his head forward and rest it on the fingers of his hand in a way that covered the scar. The finished portrait of the great conqueror was valued as a success.

Do you and I find ways to portray other people in the best light possible, or do we instead focus on their scars?

See Matthew 5:44-45

1 John 4:7-8

1 John 3:23

‘We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 2014)

“It is not always easy to live by these doctrines when our very natures impel us to fight back…Most of us have not reached that stage of compassion and love and forgiveness. It is not easy. It requires a self-discipline almost greater than we are capable of. But as we try, we come to know that there is a resource of healing, that there is a mighty power of healing in Christ, and that if we are to be his true servants, we must not only exercise that healing power in behalf of others, but, perhaps more important, inwardly.

“I would that the healing power of Christ might spread over the earth and be diffused through our society and into our homes, that it might cure men’s hearts of the evil and adverse elements of greed and hate and conflict. I believe it could happen. I believe it must happen. If the lamb is to lie down with the lion, then peace must overcome conflict; healing must mend injury.” (Gordon B Hinckley, Faith, The Essence of True Religion, p. 35)

Glad (The Authentic Disciple)

The third sister represents the authentic disciple of Jesus Christ. She did something that can be extremely hard to do: she trusted God even in the face of ridicule and hardship. Somehow she maintained her faith and hope, despite the scorn and cynicism around her. She lived joyfully not because her circumstances were joyful but because she was joyful.

None of us makes it through life’s journey unopposed. With so many forces trying to draw us away, how do we keep our vision fixed on the glorious happiness promised to the faithful?

What has the Lord promised to the faithful?

See 1 Corinthians 2:9

“We are not now ready for all things the Lord has prepared in the City of God for them that love Him. (See 1 Cor. 2:9.) Our present eyes are unready for things which they have not yet seen, and our ears are not prepared for the transcending sounds and music of that city.

“The trek will be proving and trying. Faith, patience, and obedience are essential (see Mosiah 23:21; Abr. 3:25), but he who completes the journey successfully will be immeasurably added upon. (see Abr. 3:26.) And he who does not will have subtracted from the sum of his possibilities.

“When we arrive home, we shall be weary and bruised. But at last our aching homesicknesses will cease. Meanwhile, our mortal homecomings are but faint foreshadowings of that Homecoming!” (Neal A Maxwell, “Called and Prepared from the Foundation of the World,” Ensign, May 1986, 36)

“What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county. Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.”

― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

Optimism and Physical Health

With a large longitudinal sample researchers  Maruta, Colligan, Malinchoc, and Offord categorized medical patients as optimistic, mixed, or pessimistic. The researchers found that for every 10 point increase in a person’s score on their optimism scale, the risk of early death decreased by 19%.

Optimism also plays a role in the recovery from illness and disease. Multiple studies have investigated the role of optimism in people undergoing treatment for cancer (e.g., Carver et al., 1993; Schou, Ekeberg, & Ruland, 2005). These studies have found that optimistic people experience less distress when faced with potentially life-threatening cancer diagnoses. For example, Schou and colleagues (2005) found that a superior “fighting spirit” found in optimists predicted substantially better quality of life one year after breast cancer surgery. Optimism also predicted less disruption of normal life, distress, and fatigue in one study of women who were undergoing painful treatment for breast cancer (Carver, Lehman, & Antoni, 2003). In this case, optimism appeared to protect against an urge to withdraw from social activities, which may be important for healing. There is also evidence that optimism can protect against the development of chronic diseases.

Optimism can have an effect on a person’s immune system, as well. In one study, elderly adults were immunized for influenza (Kohut, Cooper, Nickolaus, Russell, & Cunnick, 2002). Two weeks later, their immune response to the vaccination was measured. Greater optimism predicted greater antibody production and better immune outcomes.

Optimism can have profound effects on a person’s physical health. The mere act of expecting positive outcomes and being hopeful can boost a person’s immune system, protect against harmful behaviors, prevent chronic disease, and help people cope following troubling news. Optimism can even predict a longer life. Among psychological constructs, optimism may be one of the most important predictors of physical health.

Optimism and Psychological Health

Evidence suggests that optimism is important in coping with difficult life events. Optimism has been linked to better responses to various difficulties, from the more mundane (e.g., transition to college [Brissette, Scheier, & Carver, 2002]) to the more extreme (e.g., coping with missile attacks [Zeidner & Hammer, 1992]). Optimism appears to play a protective role, assisting people in coping with extraordinarily trying incidents.

Optimism may even play a role in the well-being of caregivers for people with chronic illnesses. Caring for a loved one with a severe, terminal illness can have serious negative effects on psychological well-being. However, optimism appears to protect against the worst of these effects, as optimism has been associated with less depression and greater well-being in studies of people caring for others with cancer (Given et al., 1993), Alzheimer’s (Hooker et al., 1992), and mental disorders (Singh et al., 2004). The association between optimism and coping with other, less extreme difficulties has been investigated, as well. For example, in one study of college freshman, measures of optimism, hope, and well-being were administered immediately upon beginning college (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992). At the end of the semester, measures of well-being were again administered. Optimism at the beginning of college predicted a smoother, psychologically healthier transition to college life, as well as larger groups of new friends.

(See http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/)

 

Posted in Divine identity, Foreordination, LDS Doctrine, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018, virtue

Study helps: Joy D. Jones, “Value beyond Measure”

From http://www.lds.org:
What blessings flow into our lives when we understand our divine identity?

To answer this question, members of your quorum or Relief Society could review together the stories of Mariama, Renu, and Taiana in Sister Jones’s message.

What counsel does Sister Jones give to help us “remember and embrace our divine identity”?

Invite members to find and discuss a scripture passage or a quotation in Sister Jones’s message that helps them understand their true worth to God. Invite them to share one of these scriptures or quotations with someone who needs a reminder of his or her divine worth.

Divine identity

Each person on earth is a spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. As their children we have inherited the potential to become like them also.

Watch: Child of God

‘Let us briefly discuss a significant threat to achieving our divine potential. Today we receive many warnings about identity theft. Some of you may have experienced the trauma resulting from this fraud. In our cybernetic world of trust and rapid transmission of medical, financial, and other personal data, we are vulnerable to exploitation of our identifying details. Theft of our numerical mortal identity can be costly and cause us a great deal of misery. But the theft of our eternal identity has much longer effects and more dire consequences. I am not talking about addresses, credit cards, or any other identifying numbers. I am talking about something much more basic and more important than who the world thinks you are. I am talking about who you think you are.

We know we are sons and daughters of God, with the potential to become like Him as described in His plan of happiness. We know this potential is achieved through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and through obedience to the eternal laws and principles embedded in His gospel. We also know that Satan is totally dedicated to thwarting and derailing this marvelous plan-of-happiness knowledge and process. We know that one of his primary tools is to entice us to forget who we really are—to fail to realize or to forget our divine potential. This is the cruelest form of identity theft.’ (Elder Robert C Oaks, BYU Devotional, March 2006)

How does Satan try to rob us of our divine identity?

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‘The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. . . . The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.’ (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity)

Worth and worthiness

Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. “God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.”

On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. As President Brigham Young taught: “The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.” No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

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What happens when we get worth and worthiness confused? How can we guard against this?

Virtue

Marion G Romney said ‘I can think of no blessings to be more fervently desired than those promised to the pure and virtuous. Jesus spoke of specific rewards for different virtues but reserved the greatest gift, so it seems to me, for the pure in heart, for they, said he, shall see their God. (Matt 5:48) And not  only shall they see the Lord but they shall feel at home in his presence.’

See: Christ-like attributes – virtue

How can we find the strength to be virtuous in thought and deed in this world of terrible temptations?

Scriptures:

Romans 8:16-17

Revelation 21:7

Revelation 3:21

Philippians 3:14

2 Peter 1:4

D&C 132:20

Posted in atonement, General Conference, Jesus Christ, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018

Study helps: Neill F. Marriott, “Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach”

From http://www.lds.org

This message can help members who may feel separated from Heavenly Father or from those around them. What would help those you teach understand what a breach is? Maybe you could bring pictures of different kinds of breaches.

  • How does Sister Marriott define breach?
  • What can cause breaches in our relationships with God and others?
  • Invite members to search Sister Marriott’s message for suggestions about what we can do to repair breaches in our lives. Give members time to write down what the Spirit prompts them to do to draw closer to God and others.

Abiding in God

Sister Marriott speaks of God’s everlasting love and quotes Jeremiah 31:3 and Moses 6:34. She asks: Do we trust Him enough to abide in Him and walk with Him?

Elder Christofferson explains that ‘everlasting love’ is a more accurate description than ‘unconditional’ love:

‘There are many ways to describe and speak of divine love. One of the terms we hear often today is that God’s love is “unconditional.” While in one sense that is true, the descriptor unconditional appears nowhere in scripture. Rather, His love is described in scripture as “great and wonderful love,”  (Doctrine and Covenants 138:3) “perfect love,”  (1 John 4:18  Moroni 8:16) “redeeming love,”  (Alma 5:26) and “everlasting love.”  (Jeremiah 31:3). These are better terms because the word unconditional can convey mistaken impressions about divine love, such as, God tolerates and excuses anything we do because His love is unconditional, or God makes no demands upon us because His love is unconditional, or all are saved in the heavenly kingdom of God because His love is unconditional. God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever, but what it means for each of us depends on how we respond to His love.’ (Elder D Todd Christofferson, General Conference October 2016).

Reading Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach - By Neill F. Marriott in Voice Dream http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/abiding...

Sister Marriott suggests some ways that we can abide in God’s love:

  • We are here on this earth to learn and grow, and the most important learning and growing will come from our covenant connection to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
  • We need to know that Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is that we obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel and gain eternal life and thus become as God is.
  •  We can lose our trusting connection to God if trials drive us to distraction instead of sending us to our knees.
  • Some things matter; some things don’t. A few things last, but most things won’t.

  • It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching. 

See John 15:4, John 15:10, D&C 88:22

Image result for Study helps: Neill F. Marriott, “Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach”

Definition of ‘abide’

1a :to bear patiently :tolerate
b :to endure without yielding :withstand
2:to wait for :await
3:to accept without objection (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Watch: Abide in me – Jeffrey R Holland (1:56)
Repairing the breach
Sister Marriott says: Our sins and pride create a breach—or a gap—between us and the font of all love, our Heavenly Father.

 

How do we repair that breach?

  • Only the Savior’s Atonement can cleanse us of our sins and close that gap or breach. (See Jacob 4:11)
  • Sacrifice of our personal agendas is required to make room for the eternal plans of God. 
  • Drawing near unto the Father can mean learning of His truth through the scriptures, following prophetic counsel, and striving to do His will more completely. (See D&C 88:63)
  • When we give our heart to the Father and the Son, we change our world—even if circumstances around us do not change. We draw closer to Heavenly Father and feel His tender acceptance of our efforts to be true disciples of Christ. 
  • Mormon tells us to pray with all energy of heart for this love and it will be bestowed upon us from its source—Heavenly Father. (See Moroni 7:48)

‘When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.’ (Elder Russell M Nelson, General Conference, April 2017)

See: The Infinite Atonement

Posted in General Conference, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons 2018, Relief Society Lessons 2018

Study helps: Sharon Eubank, “Turn On Your Light”

From http://www.lds.org:

Ask members of your quorum or Relief Society to think about how their lives have been influenced for good by a righteous and faithful woman.

Consider inviting a few members to share how this woman illustrates one or more of the characteristics of righteous women outlined in Sister Eubank’s message.

What do we learn from Sister Eubank about how we can become “a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days”?

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Righteous and faithful women:

Sister Eubank refers to 5 attributes identified by President Kimball:

  1. Be righteous (See Matthew 6:33-34)
  2. Be articulate (See Proverbs 21:36)
  3. Be different (See Galatians 1:10)
  4. Be distinct (See Psalm 84:10)
  5. Do the above in happy ways (See Colossians 3:23)

Proverbs 31:25-31

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?” [Neal A Maxwell, “The Women of God,” Ensign, May 1978, 10–11.]

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A significant force:

Sister Eubank quotes President Kimball:

“Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.

“Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. …

“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”

Consider the story of Mary and Martha from the New Testament. Daughters in My Kingdom (pages 2-3) explains:

 “Luke 10 contains an account of Martha opening her home to Jesus. She served the Lord by taking care of His temporal needs, and Mary sat at the Master’s feet and absorbed His teachings.

“In an age when women were generally expected to provide only temporal service, the Savior taught Martha and Mary that women could also participate spiritually in His work. He invited them to become His disciples and partake of salvation, ‘that good part’ that would never be taken from them.”

 “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” (Margaret D Nadauld, Ensign, November 2000)

See:

Psalm 27:3-5

Proverbs 31:17

A Long Line of Faithful Righteous Women

Noble Women, Righteous Lives

Posted in atonement, Family, Gospel Doctrine 2018, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine, Old Testament

Old Testament Lesson 4: “Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened”

1. The Fall of Adam and Eve and its effects on them and us

‘They were highly intelligent people, not at all like either the hominids or the cavemen some claim the first humans to have been. They were well educated, having been taught by the Lord himself. What an education! What an instructor!’ (Mark E Petersen)

Moses 2:28 Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth

‘All my life I have heard the argument that the earth is overpopulated. Much controversy surrounded a 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt. No doubt the conference accomplished much that was worthwhile. But at the very center of the debate was the socially acceptable phrase “sustainable growth.” This concept is becoming increasingly popular. How cleverly Satan masked his evil designs with that phrase.

Few voices in the developed nations cry out in the wilderness against this coined phrase, “sustainable growth.” In Forbes magazine a thoughtful editorial asserts that people are an asset, not a liability. It forthrightly declares as preposterous the broadly accepted premise that curbing population growth is essential for economic development. This editorial then states convincingly, “Free people don’t ‘exhaust’ resources. They create them.”

An article in U.S. News & World Report entitled “10 Billion for Dinner, Please” states that the earth is capable of producing food for a population of at least eighty billion, eight times the ten billion expected to inhabit the earth by the year 2050. One study estimates that with improved scientific methods the earth could feed as many as one thousand billion people. Those who argue for sustainable growth lack vision and faith. The Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.” 17 That settles the issue for me. It should settle the issue for all of us. The Lord has spoken.’ (James E Faust, “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 4-5)

Moses 3:17 Nevertheless thou mayest choose for thyself

…it is the only place in all the history where we read that the Lord forbade something and yet said, ‘Nevertheless thou mayest choose for thyself.’ He never said that of any sin. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of the Gospel institute Manual, p. 20)

Moses 5:10-11 Were it not for our transgression

‘With the Fall, Adam and Eve became mortal. Death, sin, sorrow, and pain became a part of life. But so too did the opportunity to progress, to grow in knowledge and develop our talents and gifts, to experience the joys of parenthood, and, if we are faithful to the commandments and to Jesus Christ, to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence. The scriptures state that Adam proclaimed, “Because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God” (Moses 5:10-12).

The experiences of life, with their contrasts and opposites-health and sickness, success and failure, joy and sorrow-help us to know how to value the good.  They help us to make the choices necessary to obtain eternal happiness and exaltation. They are our great teachers, if we will but listen and learn from them. However, people can react differently to almost identical experiences. After losing a loved one, for example, some people draw closer to the Lord, but others alienate themselves from Him. T. S. Eliot’s comment that many people have “had the experience but missed the meaning” (“The Dry Salvages,” in Four Quartets [1943], 39) suggests that we must understand the true meaning of life’s experiences if we are to learn from them.

To learn fully from the experiences of life, we must interpret them within the framework of the restored gospel. For example, those who understand and believe the Church’s teachings about the eternal nature of humankind and the family will feel and react much differently to the loss of a loved one than will others who fail to understand or believe these glorious doctrines. In this, as in all else, we are free to choose. “And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Hel. 14:30).’ (Alexander B. Morrison, “Life-The Gift Each Is Given,” Ensign, Dec. 1998, 17-18)

Moses 6:49 Carnal, sensual and devilish

Carnal adj.  1. pertaining to or characterized by the passions and appetites of the flesh or body; sensual.    2. not spiritual; temporal; worldly. Refers to the physical rather than the rational or spiritual nature of human beings. CARNAL, although it may refer to any bodily need or urge, most often refers to sexuality. (adapted from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 1996)

Sensual adj.  1. arousing or preoccupied with gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal.    2. lacking in moral restraints.  3. worldly; materialistic; irreligious.  SENSUAL refers to the enjoyments derived from the senses, esp. to the gratification or indulgence of physical appetites: sensual pleasures. SENSUAL most often describes the arousal or gratification of erotic urges. See also carnal. (adapted from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 1996)

Devilish adj. 1. Partaking of the qualities of the devil; diabolical; very evil and mischievous; malicious; 2. Having communication with the devil; pertaining to the devil. 3. Excessive; enormous; in a vulgar and ludicrous sense; as a devilish cheat. (adapted from  American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828)

Moses 4:23-25 Cursed be the ground

‘Note that the curse was not placed upon Adam, but upon the ground for Adam’s sake. Rather than a curse upon Adam, it was a blessing to him. It launched him and his posterity upon the only course by which they can eventually reach that perfection enjoined by the Master. The fact that when the Lord cursed the ground to bring forth “thorns” and “thistles,” thereby requiring men to labor in order to derive a living from it, it was for their “sake”—meaning “good,” “advantage,” or “well-being?” This cannot be overemphasized.’  (Marion G Romney)

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Abraham 3:24-26 We will prove them herewith

‘In fact, adequacy in the first estate may merely have ensured a stern, second estate with more duties and no immunities! Additional tutoring and suffering appears to be the pattern for the Lord’s most apt pupils. (See Mosiah 3:19; 1 Pet. 4:19.) Our existence, therefore, is a continuum matched by God’s stretching curriculum.’ (Neal a Maxwell, “Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17)

Moses 4:6 He sought to destroy the world

In his desire to overthrow the plan of God, Satan did not realize that he was bringing about the very condition which would enable the plan to work, the mortality of man. God had structured the plan to bring about the desired result without violating the principle of agency.

2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from physical and spiritual death.

‘The Book of Mormon Saints knew that the plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, “By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, . . . and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man” (Mormon 9:12).

Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.

No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.

Brethren and sisters, we all need to take a careful inventory of our performance and also the performance of those over whom we preside to be sure that we are teaching the “great plan of the Eternal God” to the Saints.

Are we accepting and teaching what the revelations tell us about the Creation, Adam and the fall of man, and redemption from that fall through the atonement of Christ? Do we frequently review the crucial questions which Alma asks the members of the Church in the fifth chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon?

Do we understand and are we effective in teaching and preaching the Atonement? What personal meaning does the Lord’s suffering in Gethsemane and on Calvary have for each of us?

What does redemption from the Fall mean to us? In the words of Alma, do we “sing the song of redeeming love”? (Alma 5:26).’ (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1987, 85)

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Moses 6:50-52 He called upon our father Adam by his own voice

‘The first man was instructed by the best teacher man ever had, for he was taught of God, and spoke the language of the Most High, in which angels conversed. This language he taught to his children. It is true that he was left to work out, through the use of his faculties, many of nature’s great secrets; but the Lord did not leave him helpless, but instructed him, and he was inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Lord gave him commandments after he was driven out of the Garden of Eden, revealed to him the plan of salvation, and he taught his children, and he set up a government. It was a perfect government, for Adam listened to the counsels of the Almighty, his Father, and our Father. He taught his children principles of divine truth and endeavored to establish them in the knowledge and understanding of the things of the kingdom of God.

Some people have the idea that the Ten Commandments were first given by Moses when he directed the children of Israel and formulated their code of laws. This is not the case. These great commandments are from the beginning and were understood in righteous communities in the days of Adam. They are, in fact, fundamental parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the gospel in its fulness was first given to Adam.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:94-96)

3. Adam and Eve begin life as mortals, bear children, teach them the gospel, and worship and obey God.

Moses chapter 5 tells us about the beginning of family life on earth. We learn how God revealed the gospel to Adam and Eve and their posterity and how their posterity responded to the enticings of Satan.

Moses 5:12 made all things known unto their sons and daughters

‘If we do not take the pains to train our children, to teach and instruct them concerning these revealed truths, the condemnation will be upon us, as parents, or at least in a measure.

Teach your children from their youth, never to set their hearts immoderately upon an object of this world.

Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord.’ (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 207)

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Moses 5:5-6 The law of sacrifice

‘Adam and Eve were given the law of sacrifice and commanded to practice it by giving offerings. These included two emblems: the firstlings of the flock and the first fruits of the field. They obeyed without questioning (see Moses 5:5–6). President David O. McKay explained, “The effect of this [law] was that the best the earth produced, the best specimen in the flock or herd should not be used for self, but for God” (“The Atonement,” Instructor, Mar. 1959, 66). At a time in history when just making sure your family had food, those who sought to worship the Lord were asked to sacrifice the best part of their source of life. It was a real test of Adam and Eve’s faith, and they obeyed.

Likewise, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the holy prophets from Adam to Moses offered the Lord sacrifices in a similar way.’ (M Russell Ballard, CES Symposium on the New Testament, 13 August 1996, Brigham Young University)

Moses 5:5-8 Animal sacrifice

“From Adam to Moses, and from Moses to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, either as part of the gospel or of the Mosaic law, as the cases might be, all of the saints offered sacrifices in similitude of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. … For a pastoral people whose lives depended on their flocks and herds, there could have been no better similitude than this” (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 114–15).

Posted in Creation, Gospel Doctrine 2018, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine

Old Testament Lesson 3: The Creation

“The Lord expects us to believe and understand the true doctrine of the Creation–the creation of this earth, of man, and of all forms of life” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, p. 9).

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1. Moses sees a vision of God’s creations.

‘In addition to his calling to free the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, Moses was given the assignment to write about the events that occurred from the Creation of the earth until the final days of his own mission. The first five books of the Bible contain the writings of Moses. However, some of the truths Moses recorded in those five books were removed from the Bible by wicked men who altered the biblical text (see 1 Nephi 13:24–28Moses 1:23). By revelation, the Prophet Joseph Smith restored many truths that were lost (see 2 Nephi 3:6–15Moses 1:41).” (Pearl of Great Price Institute Student Manual)

Moses 1:27 Moses…beheld the earth

‘What did [Moses] behold? He looked upon that which mankind never can look upon in this natural state, without the aid of the same principle; he beheld every particle of the earth, or, as the new revelation says, and there was not a particle of it that he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. What an excellent telescope! Did the Spirit of God impress it by the rays of light upon the retina of the eye only? No: the vision was exhibited to the mind, independent of the natural eye. Instead of acting upon the mere eye, every part of the human spirit could behold and discern, through the medium of that all-powerful substance-the Spirit of God, every particle of this earth. How long would it have taken Moses to have gazed at each particle separately, with the natural eye? While he was gazing with the eye at one, he could not be looking directly at another. It would have taken him a great many millions of years to have gazed directly and distinctly upon every particle of the earth, as we naturally see things in succession. But, instead of this, we find him, in a short space of time, perhaps the interval was only a few minutes or hours, gazing upon every particle of it. Here was something new, and independent of the natural vision, showing him things beneath the surface of the earth. Men look at things above the surface by the natural eye; but here is a man who, by the power of heaven, is enabled to penetrate that which the natural eye could never behold.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 245)

2. Moses learns that God created all things.

Moses 1:39 my work and my glory

‘What a wonderful, warm, and reassuring thing it is to know that the primary objective of the very God of heaven is “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39), or, in other words, our eternal happiness and joy. Sometimes I wonder if we really appreciate what that means and how it should affect our lives. We must give adequate attention to the doctrines of happiness-real happiness, infinite and eternal. They should be the objective of everything we teach in the Church and of everything we do.’ (M Russell Ballard, “Answers to Life’s Questions,” Ensign, May 1995, 23)

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Abraham 3:24-45 we will prove them herewith

‘So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.

We are the spirit children of a Heavenly Father. He loved us and He taught us before we were born into this world. He told us that He wished to give us all that He had. To qualify for that gift we had to receive mortal bodies and be tested. Because of those mortal bodies, we would face pain, sickness, and death.

We would be subject to temptations through the desires and weaknesses that came with our mortal bodies. Subtle and powerful forces of evil would tempt us to surrender to those temptations. Life would have storms in which we would have to make choices using faith in things we could not see with our natural eyes.

We were promised that we would have Jehovah, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Redeemer. He would assure that we would all be resurrected. And He would make it possible for us to pass the test of life if we exercised faith in Him by being obedient. We shouted for joy at the good news.’ (Henry B Eyring, General Conference, October 2005)

Abraham 3:24 We will take of these materials

‘It is said in this book (the Bible) that God made the earth in six days. This is a mere term, but it matters not whether it took six days, six months, six years, or six thousand years. The creation occupied certain periods of time. We are not authorized to say what the duration of these days was, whether Moses penned these words as we have them, or whether the translators of the Bible have given the words their intended meaning. However, God created the world. If I were a sectarian I would say, according to their philosophy, as I have heard many of them say hundreds of times, “God created all things out of nothing; in six days he created the world out of nothing.” You may be assured the Latter- day Saints do not believe any such thing. They believe God brought forth material out of which he formed this little terra firma upon which we roam. How long had this material been in existence? Forever and forever, in some shape, in some condition.’ (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 18:231-232, 1876)

Abraham 4:1 Organized and formed

“During the Nauvoo period, [Joseph Smith] continued to speak about the Creation in terms of organization. William Clayton, the Prophet’s private secretary, reported Joseph Smith as saying in 1841, ‘This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broke up and remodeled and made into the one on which we live.”  In the famed King Follett discourse, delivered at general conference in April 1844, Joseph Smith presented an extensive treatise on creation as organization. He told the Saints that the word create comes from the Hebrew word baurau [bara], which means to organize, and that ‘God had materials to organize the world out of chaos … [which] may be organized and reorganized but not destroyed.’
“Although these teachings were new for his time, Joseph Smith’s ideas received little attention from his non-LDS contemporaries. Members of other sects in the nineteenth century accepted the idea of ex nihilo creation without reservation. Consequently, Christians dismissed any alternative as irrelevant.  Most accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith, which stated that God made the world ‘of nothing.’  To the people of his day, steeped in such traditions, Joseph Smith’s ideas on creation must have seemed implausible.” (Donald Q. Cannon, Larry E. Dahl, and John W. Welch, “The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 32–33)
Moses 6:63 All things bear record of me

‘Can any man who has walked beneath the stars at night, can anyone who has seen the touch of spring upon the land doubt the hand of divinity in creation? So observing the beauties of the earth, one is wont to speak as did the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1-2)

All of beauty in the earth bears the fingerprint of the Master Creator.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, Conference Report, Apr. 1978, p. 90)

3. Moses learns that men and women are created in God’s image.

Moses 2:26-27 In mine own image

‘Man is made in the image of his maker, … he is His exact image, having eye for eye, forehead for forehead, eyebrows for eyebrows, nose for nose, cheekbones for cheekbones, mouth for mouth, chin for chin, ears for ears, precisely like our Father in heaven.’ (Brigham Young, In Ludlow, Latter-day Prophets Speak, p.278)

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Moses 7:30 yet thou art there

‘Enoch, to whom the Lord revealed so much, praised God amid His vast creations, exclaiming reassuringly, “Yet thou art there”  (Moses 7:30 see also  Jer. 10:12)

This same special assurance can see each of us through all the seasons and circumstances of our lives. A universal God is actually involved with our small, individual universes of experience! In the midst of His vast dominions, yet He numbers us, knows us, and loves us perfectly’ (see  Moses 1:35  John 10:14)’ (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1987)