Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Word of Wisdom

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 22: The Word of Wisdom: “A Principle with Promise”

1. Why was the Word of Wisdom revealed?

See Revelations in Context – The Word of Wisdom

Video: Wisdom against conspiring men President Packer gives wisdom against conspiring men (D&C 89:1-4). (1:07)

D&C 89:4 Conspiring men

‘In 1997 Elder W. Eugene Hansen and I were asked to host the Honorable Michael Moore, attorney general of Mississippi, during a brief visit he made to Utah and Church headquarters. In a wide-ranging conversation with Mr. Moore, Elder Hansen and I raised questions about the lawsuit he had filed against the large American tobacco companies on behalf of the state of Mississippi. We knew Mississippi had recovered a sizable judgment and that other states, including Utah, were then undertaking similar action. We asked him specifically upon what legal theory the state of Mississippi’s claim had been based.

Much to our surprise, Mr. Moore informed us that the state’s cause of action had been based on a theory of “conspiracy,” which the evidence eventually conclusively showed existed among the tobacco companies and even among their lawyers. As Mr. Moore talked of his conspiracy theory and the efforts made by the tobacco companies to hide from the public the addictive and harmful effects of tobacco, my mind almost instinctively turned to section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants. A copy of that book of scripture was quickly located, and after briefly explaining the background and import of section 89, I asked Mr. Moore to read verse 4.

We listened attentively as he slowly and deliberately read that verse out loud in his appealing southern accent: “Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” (italics added).

The scriptural reference to “conspiring men” was not lost on Mr. Moore. As he finished reading verse 4, a broad smile came across his face, and with a twinkle in his eyes he said, “I never dreamed in visiting Utah I might find 10 million people who would agree with my conspiracy theories!”

My heart burned within me that day and has many times since as I have thought about Joseph Smith’s gifts as a prophet and seer.’  (Marin K Jensen, Out of Obscurity, The LDS Church in the Twentieth Century, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], p. 9)

There is another part of this revelation that constitutes a pertinent warning to this modern generation: “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation.” (D&C 89:4.)

The Lord foresaw the situation of today when motives for money would cause men to conspire to entice others to take noxious substances into their bodies. Advertisements which promote beer, wine, liquors, coffee, tobacco, and other harmful substances are examples of what the Lord foresaw. But the most pernicious example of an evil conspiracy in our time is those who induce young people into the use of drugs.

My young brothers and sisters, in all love, we give you warning that Satan and his emissaries will strive to entice you to use harmful substances, because they well know if you partake, your spiritual powers will be inhibited and you will be in their evil power. Stay away from those places or people which would influence you to break the commandments of God. Keep the commandments of God and you will have the wisdom to know and discern that which is evil. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1983, 54)

2. The Lord’s counsel about what is not good for the body

Read: Brother Notaro and the Word of Wisdom

Alcoholic Holding A Glass Of Alcohol Next To An Empty Bottle

D&C 89:5 Strong drink

“Over the earth … the demon drink is in control. Drunken with strong drink, men have lost their reason; their counsel has been destroyed; their judgment and vision are fled; they reel forward to destruction.

“Drink brings cruelty into the home; it walks arm in arm with poverty; its companions are disease and plague; it puts chastity to flight; and it knows neither honesty nor fair dealing; it is a total stranger to truth; it drowns conscience; it is the bodyguard of evil; it curses all who touch it.

“Drink has brought more woe and misery, broken more hearts, wrecked more homes, committed more crimes, filled more coffins than all the wars the world has suffered.” (J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1942)

D&C 89:8 Tobacco

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‘Let me talk to you rather plainly, my young friends. As a physician, who for forty years has witnessed firsthand the truth of those statements in the Word of Wisdom, I testify that they are true.

The beautiful scenes in magazine advertisements are not what the end results of cigarette smoking prove to be. This advertising in these magazines and newspapers is very deceptive. The end results are not nearly so pretty. They are oxygen masks and intravenous medication and literally hours of pain, misery, and gasping for breath.

I had my own comment printed and pasted on all cigarette advertising in the magazines of my medical office waiting room. It states:

“Many of the ads in this magazine are misleading, deceptive, and are a rip-off. For example, smoking does not make one glamorous, macho, or athletic. It does make one sick, poor, and dead.”’ (Malcolm S Jeppsen, General Conference, April 1990)

D&C 89:9 Hot drinks

‘When the Word of Wisdom was first promulgated in 1833, the question was at once asked: What is the meaning of “hot drinks?” Was it an injunction against consuming beverages so hot as to burn the tongue or mouth? That did not seem reasonable. Did it mean that the consumption of warm drinks should be reduced? That did not, even in that day, seem so unreasonable, for it was recognized that the stomach lining might be made unduly sensitive by frequent large ingestions of hot liquids. In fact, some clinical results of the modern day indicate that hot beverages, continuously used, predispose the stomach to certain serious disorders.

The question concerning the meaning of “hot drinks,” as used in the Word of Wisdom, was at last brought to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He defined “hot drinks” as tea and coffee, the two common household beverages of the day. Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the “Word of Wisdom,” when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said ‘hot drinks'”

On March 17, 1838, when the body of Seventies were preparing for their pilgrimage to the “land of Zion,” they agreed that they should see to it that “the commandments are kept, and the Word of Wisdom heeded, that is, no tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff or ardent spirits of any kind to be taken internally”

Sometime later, in 1842, Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, in speaking upon the Word of Wisdom concerning the term “hot drinks” said, “There are many who wonder what this can mean, whether it refers to tea or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea and coffee”

Brigham Young, who, as the President of the Council of Twelve, was very near to the Prophet, always taught that “hot drinks” meant tea and coffee.

He once said:

“I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 283)

Moreover, from the time that the Word of Wisdom was received, until the present day, the Church as a whole has understood and taught that the term “hot drinks” refers to tea and coffee and all similar beverages. This definition may be extended to include all drinks whether hot or cold in temperature which, like coffee and tea, contain any stimulating substance, for such are detrimental to health.

This definition of “hot drinks” furnishes the key to this part of the Word of Wisdom….

That the expression “hot drinks” was used in the Word of Wisdom rather than “coffee and tea,” is notable; for by so doing a host of other injurious habit-forming beverages now used (or that may be used) become subject to the Word of Wisdom. Indeed, the use of the words “hot drinks” implies a knowledge beyond that possessed by man when the Word of Wisdom was received. It is remarkable indeed that Joseph Smith could so boldly declare himself against coffee and tea, as against all similar hurtful beverages, at a time when the world’s learning could not safely make the statement.

Human experience, since that day, is all against the use of coffee and tea, and similar beverages. They gradually influence harmfully the mind and the body of the user, especially if excesses are indulged in, and the tendency of the habit is to demand more and more….

It is to be emphasized that cold or iced tea and coffee come under the ban of “hot drinks”. The drug contained is just as injurious in iced as in hot coffee or tea….

Wise people, especially Latter-day Saints, should lay aside the caffeine-habit, if formed, and should avoid the use of all such beverages in the home, as should the whole world. True physical and mental enjoyment, and complete health cannot be won by those who are subject to the habit of drinking “hot drinks”—coffee and tea and related beverages. The waste of money alone, for unnecessary and harmful products, justifies opposition to all caffeine products except for industrial and medical purposes.’ (John A Widtsoe, The Word of Wisdom, p.85-87, 99-101)

Caffeinated drinks

The Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise against the use of any drink containing harmful, habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided. (First Presidency Priesthood Bulletin, February 1972).

3. The Lord’s counsel about what is good for the body

Cornucopia

D&C 89:11 In the season thereof

“The phrase ‘in the season thereof,’ referring to fruits and vegetables, has raised much speculation. It indicates simply the superior value of fresh foods as demonstrated by modern science, but does not necessarily prohibit the use of fruits or vegetables out of season if preserved by proper methods.” (John A Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,3:157.)

D&C 89:12 To be used sparingly

‘The Lord admonishes us to eat meat sparingly, an admonition that is also verified by the findings of science today, since an excess of meat can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. However, he didn’t say that man should abstain totally from eating meat. In an earlier revelation he declared, “. . . whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God. For, behold, the beasts of the field and fowls of the air . . . are ordained for the use of man. . . . ” (D&C 49:18-19.) The key is found in the word “sparingly.”‘ (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 361.)

D&C 88:124 Cease to sleep longer than is needful

[When Marion G. Romney was called as a General Authortiy] he felt that he needed some advice, so he went to Elder Harold B. Lee, a relatively new member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a former contemporary as a stake president. Elder Romney asked him for advice about how to be successful as a General Authority.

Elder Lee spoke about the necessity of receiving personal revelation in order to be effective and said: “If you are to be successful as a General Authority, you will need to be inspired. You will need to receive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested, and then in the quiet of those early-morning hours, you will receive more flashes of insight and inspiration than at any other time of the day.”

President Romney said: “From that day on, I put that counsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever I have a serious problem, or some assignment of a creative nature with which I hope to receive the influence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistance in the early-morning hours than at any other time of the day. Following that counsel has helped me a great deal through the years.” (Joe J Christensen, “Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 59)

4. Promised blessings for obedience to the Word of Wisdom

Video: Great treasures of knowledge President Packer teaches about great treasures of knowledge (D&C 89:18-21). (1:42)

D&C 89:18 Health

‘People are becoming increasingly health conscious. We have a running start on the world, a code so simple and easily understood. Not long ago I met Dr. James E. Enstrom of the University of California at Los Angeles. He is not a member of the Church. He speaks with complete objectivity. His studies indicate that actuarially speaking, Latter-day Saints live about 10 years longer than their peers.

Who can set a price on 10 years of life? What a remarkable and wonderful blessing is this Word of Wisdom. ‘ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 69)

D&C 89:20 Run and not be weary

‘The Lord promises that if we keep these commandments we “shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint”  D&C 89:20 italics added).

The Lord might be making us aware of another law of health—the need of proper exercise. Exercise such as walking and running and other forms of rhythmic action is important in maintaining cardiovascular fitness.

In our busy lives sometimes we are prone to excuse ourselves for not getting proper exercise by saying that we have neither the time nor opportunity. I know a busy young woman who exercises while listening to self-improvement tapes or memorizing scriptures. Almost anyone can do that.’  (Barbara A Smith, General Conference, April 1978)

D&C 89:21 The destroying angel shall pass by them

“This does not say and this does not mean, that to keep the Word of Wisdom is to insure us against death, for death is, in the eternal plan, co-equal with birth. This is the eternal decree. [1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Nephi 9:6.] But it does mean that the destroying angel, he who comes to punish the unrighteous for their sins, as he in olden time afflicted the corrupt Egyptians in their wickedness [Exodus 12:23, 29], shall pass by the Saints, ‘who are walking in obedience to the commandments,’ and who ‘remember to keep and do these sayings.’ These promises do mean that all those who qualify themselves to enjoy them will be permitted so to live out their lives that they may gain the full experiences and get the full knowledge which they need in order to progress to the highest exaltation in eternity, all these will live until their work is finished and God calls them back to their eternal home, as a reward.” (J Reuben Clark Jr, In Conference Report, Oct. 1940, pp. 17–18.)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 21: “Looking Forth for the Great Day of the Lord to Come”

1. The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory.

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D&C 29:9 They that do wickedly shall be as stubble

‘For those who say “We’re not going to burn,” it would be prudent to remember that it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark!’ (A Theodore Tuttle, Conference Report, April 1970, Afternoon Meeting 86.)

D&C 45:44 And, behold I will come

‘Our faith grows as we anticipate the glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth. The thought of His coming stirs my soul. It will be breathtaking! The scope and grandeur, the vastness and magnificence, will exceed anything mortal eyes have ever seen or experienced.

In that day He will not come “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,”  Luke 2:12 but He will appear “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:44 We will hear “the voice of the archangel, and … the trump of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 The sun and the moon will be transformed, and “stars [will] be hurled from their places.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:49 You and I, or those who follow us, “the saints … from [every quarter] of the earth,”Doctrine and Covenants 45:46 “shall be quickened and … caught up to meet him,” Doctrine and Covenants 88:96 and those who have died in righteousness, they too will “be caught up to meet him in the midst … of heaven.”Doctrine and Covenants 88:97

Then, a seemingly impossible experience: “All flesh,” the Lord says, “shall see me together.” Doctrine and Covenants 101:23 How will it happen? We do not know. But I testify it will happen—exactly as prophesied. We will kneel in reverence, “and the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:49 “It shall be … as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:22 “[Then] the Lord, … the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

There will be unforgettable reunions with the angels of heaven and the Saints upon the earth.See  Moses 7:63 But most important, as Isaiah declares, “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,”  Isaiah 52:10 and He “shall reign over all flesh.”  Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

In that day the skeptics will be silent, “for every ear shall hear … , and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:104 that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2015)

D&C 34:7 The time is soon at hand

‘Certainly there is no point in speculating concerning the day and the hour. Let us rather live each day so that if the Lord does come while we yet are upon the earth we shall be worthy…The God of heaven has ordained that day. The prophets of all dispensations have spoken of it. We know not when it will come, but its dawning is certain.’ (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 577.)

2. The Millennium will be a time of joy and peace.

D&C 101:23 Prepare for the revelation which is to come

‘Jesus will come in a cloud, or as is expressed here in the 40th chapter of Isaiah-“The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” It is also expressed in the revelations of St. John, that when he comes in a cloud every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. [Rev. 1:7.] It seems then that the second advent of the Son of God is to be something . . . accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth like Palestine, and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all-all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time, every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves, they also who pierced him, those who lived eighteen hundred years ago, who were engaged in the cruel act of piercing his hands and his feet and his side, will also see him at that time.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, March 26, 1876, 18:170)

D&C 101:24 Every corruptible thing ..shall be consumed

“As I understand this scripture, it means that the elements of corruption that have come into the world because of the Fall of Adam-these corrupt elements that bring decay, disintegration and death-will be purged and destroyed by the manifestation of Christ’s glory, when He comes. Hence, there will be no death, in the sense of the body’s disintegration. Men will not grow old so as to become bent and broken in body, but they will blossom in perpetual youth. There will, however, be a transition in which the person who is old in years will be changed from the millennial state to the state of resurrected life, where the fuller powers of celestial glory are organized into man.” (Hyrum L. Andrus, The Glory of God and Man’s Relation to Deity [Provo: BYU Extension Publications, 1964], 16)

D&C 101:25 How Will the Earth Be Burned by Fire?

‘The glory of a celestial being, of which the sun is typical (see D&C 76:70), is so radiant that to bring that glory to the earth will cause great burning. The cleansing of the earth by fire will be caused by the coming of the Savior to earth (see D&C 5:19; McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:368–69; Notes and Commentary for D&C 133:40–49). Those who are not changed to withstand the presence of the Savior will perish by fire.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:26 The enmity of beasts

‘It is then that the enmity of the beasts of the field as well as that of all flesh will cease; (Isa. 11:6-9 Isa. 65:25 D&C 101:26) no more one beast of prey devouring and feasting upon another that is more harmless in its nature; no more will this enmity be found in the fish of the sea, or in the birds of the air. This change will be wrought upon all flesh when Jesus comes; not a change to immortality, but a change sufficient to alter the ferocious nature of beasts, birds and fishes. In those days the lion will eat straw like the ox; (Isa. 65:25) he will no more be the terror of the forest, but will be perfectly harmless, and gentleness will characterize all the wild and ferocious animals, as well as the venomous serpents, so much so that the little child might lead them and play with them, (Isa. 11:8) and nothing should hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord; (Isa. 11:9) all things becoming, in some measure, as when they were first created. For it will be remembered that animals did not devour one another until after the fall, neither was there any death, until after the fall. (Moses 6:48) What did they eat, then? The Lord said, “To every beast of the field, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.” (Gen. 1:30) The grass, and the herbs, and every green thing were their food. And Adam and Eve ate fruits and vegetables, not animal flesh. (Gen. 1:29) The whole earth will be restored; and man will be restored; and not only upon man, but upon all flesh the Spirit of God will be poured out (Joel 2:28) and they will eventually be restored to all that was lost by the fall of our first parents.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

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D&C 101:27 Whatsoever any man shall ask

‘People sometimes pray for things they should not have. The Millennium will change that. People will ask only for righteous things, and all requests will be honored by Heavenly Father.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:28 Satan shall not have power to tempt any man

‘It will make a great difference when Satan will have his power taken away during that period, but the inhabitants of the earth will still have their agency. We are taught that during that thousand years, men will not be compelled to believe and that there will be many, at least in the beginning, who will belong to the Protestant and Catholic churches. The Lord will not take away from them their right to believe as they will. However, if they persist in their unbelief under the conditions which will prevail, they will be condemned. Before that period is over all will have received the truth. We read again from Isaiah: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 9.)’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 5: 144)

3. We must prepare for the Second Coming.

Read: Preparing for the Second Coming

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D&C 61:38 The coming of the Son of Man

“Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:254.)

‘I have been called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting yet trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. I would humbly suggest to you that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. The Savior said that “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). I believe when the Lord says “no man” knows, it really means that no man knows. In 1844 Joseph Smith declared: “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers” (History of the Church, 6:254). You should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree.’ (M Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted)

D&C 45:9 Messenger before my face

‘We live in these days of the Lord’s “marvellous work and a wonder”  Isaiah 29:14 see  2 Nephi 25:17 We have been blessed to bring the gospel to our families and our posterity and to assist in preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. The Lord described the purposes of the Restoration “to be a light to the world, … to be a standard for [us, His] people, … and to be a messenger before [His] face to prepare the way before [Him]”  D&C 45:9 Our responsibility is not trivial; it is not by chance that we are who we are; the keeping of our covenants in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout all the eternities.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2009)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 20: The Kingdoms of Glory

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The kingdoms of glory and “the testimony of Jesus”

Read: Kingdoms of Glory

Read: Revelations in Context: The Vision

D&C 76:19 While we meditated upon these things

“Prophets have used the words diligently, pondering, meditating, and feasting to explain how we should approach the scriptures. Clearly we should read with careful thought and much pondering. Even when we are not reading we should reflect constantly on God’s word. The prophets have promised that this will lead to new spiritual insights and to greater righteousness.

“The scriptures show us that we can ponder in two ways: we can meditate on the scripture itself, or we can relate what we read to our personal lives.

“This kind of reflection can help all of us make commitments that will decrease darkness and increase light. We must ask questions as we read, questions such as, How does this apply in my life today? or What lesson can I learn from this?” (Dean Jarman, “Well of Living Water,” New Era, Nov. 1973, 29)

D&C 76: 20-244 The Testimony of Eyewitnesses

‘This testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is a modern witness of the reality of the existence of the Father and the Son. Joseph and Sidney not only saw but heard, and their testimonies stand as a witness to all people. The phrase “last of all” is explained by Smith and Sjodahl as follows: “This is the last testimony to the fact that He lives, a resurrected and glorified Being; not the final testimony but the last up to the time of this vision” (Commentary, p. 448).’ )Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 76:51 Believed on his name and were baptised

‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men’s religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit’. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 283 – 284.)

Perdition

‘What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.358)

The telestial kingdom

“We are living in a telestial world, complete with telestial arts and entertainment which can fill our minds with telestial images. Those telestial images often stimulate telestial thoughts, which, if not rejected, will lead to telestial behavior. The eventual result can be a telestial person. We would be more healthy spiritually if we never consumed any evil. Every bit harms us.

“The prophets of the Lord understand this process and have given us this sharp admonition: ‘Come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things.’ (Alma 5:57.) (Lex de Azevedo, “A Closer Look at Popular Music,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 40)

‘Those who enter into the telestial kingdom, where their glories differ as do the stars of heaven in their magnitude, and who are innumerable as the sands of the seashore, are the ungodly, the filthy who suffer the wrath of God on the earth, who are thrust down to hell where they will be required to pay the uttermost farthing before their redemption comes. These are they who receive not the gospel of Christ and consequently could not deny the Holy Spirit while living on the earth.

They have no part in the first resurrection and are not redeemed from the devil and his angels until the last resurrection, because of their wicked lives and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, even these are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

In both the terrestrial and the telestial glories the inhabitants thereof will be limited in their powers, opportunities, and progression, because, like the sons of perdition, “they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).’ [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22] 1974, pp. 33–35.)

‘Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.’ (Neil A Maxwell,”Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8),” Ensign, May 1999, p. 24)

D&C 76:81-85. Those Who Inherit the Telestial Glory Will Pass through Hell

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“That part of the spirit world inhabited by wicked spirits who are awaiting the eventual day of their resurrection is called hell. Between their death and resurrection, these souls of the wicked are cast out into outer darkness, into the gloomy depression of sheol, into the hades of waiting wicked spirits, into hell. There they suffer the torments of the damned; there they welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; there the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked. (Alma 40:11–14; D. & C. 76:103–106.)

“Hell will have an end. Viewing future events, John saw that ‘death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) Jacob taught that this escape from death and hell meant the bringing of the body out of the grave and the spirit out of hell. ‘And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death,’ he said, ‘shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other.’ (2 Ne. 9:10–12.) It was in keeping with this principle for David to receive the promise: ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.’ (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27.)

“After their resurrection, the great majority of those who have suffered in hell will pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as sons of perdition, will be consigned to partake of endless wo with the devil and his angels. …

“Who will go to hell? This query is abundantly answered in the scriptures. Since those going to a telestial kingdom travel to their destination through the depths of hell and as a result of obedience to telestial law, it follows that all those who live a telestial law will go to hell.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 349–50.)

The terrestrial kingdom

‘Those destined to inherit the terrestrial kingdom are: (1) those who died “without law”–those heathen and pagan people who do not hear the gospel in this life, and who would not accept it with all their hearts should they hear it; (2) those who hear and reject the gospel in this life and then accept it in the spirit world; (3) those “who are honorable men of the earth, who [are] blinded by the craftiness of men”; and (4) those who are lukewarm members of the true church and who have testimonies, but who are not true and faithful in all things. (See D&C 76:71-80.)’ [Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.146]

“For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. …

“… Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.” (Bruce R McConkie“The Seven Deadly Heresies,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1981], pp. 77–78.)

‘Into this kingdom will go all those who have lived clean lives, but were not willing to receive the gospel; also those who have lived clean lives but who, notwithstanding their membership in the Church, were not valiant, and those who refused to receive the gospel when they lived on the earth, but in the spirit world accepted the testimony of Jesus. All who enter this kingdom must be of that class who have been morally clean.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.209)

The celestial kingdom

Watch: Be valiant in your testimony

D&C 76:70 These are they whose bodies are celestial

‘We know quite a lot about celestial beings, as we have had a number of them appear to us upon this earth. And each time they have come, those who have received them have said that they are impossible to describe.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith had his vision of the Father and the Son, he said, “[Their] brightness and glory defy all description.” (JS-H 1:17) That is, we don’t have any background of knowledge; there isn’t a vocabulary to use in describing a celestial accomplishment.’ (Sterling W Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 47)

D&C 76:53 Those who are just and true

“Those who are just and true.” What an apt expression for those valiant in the testimony of Jesus! They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.

To these the Lord has promised that “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 121:29). [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, p. 2]

D&C 137:2-3 Why is God’s Presence Described As “Blazing” and “Like unto Circling Flames of Fire”?

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith in his account of the First Vision wrote that God’s “brightness and glory defy all description” (JS—H 1:17). He also taught that “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ [Heb. 12:29]. …

“… Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.” (Teachings, p. 367.) President Joseph Fielding Smith stated: “God is full of energy, and should we mortals stand in his presence, unless his spirit was upon us to protect us we would be consumed. That is how much energy there is in a celestial body.” (Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 275.)’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 19: The Plan of Salvation

1. The plan of salvation is “one of heaven’s best gifts to mankind.”

Watch: The Plan of Salvation Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is compared to a three-act play, showing that knowledge of the plan helps us in our everyday lives. (10:39)

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2. Premortal life

Read: Revelations in Context – Man Was Also in the Beginning with God

D&C 76:24 The inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God

‘Man is the greatest of all the creations of God. He is his offspring. We are all his children. It was made known through the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who saw it in vision, that the inhabitants of this earth and other worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God. That ought to put an end-so far as Latter-day Saints are concerned-to all this nonsense prevailing in the world regarding the origin of man.

Man, I say, as the offspring of God, is the greatest of all his creations. He is greater than the moon, the sun, and the stars, which are the work of the fingers of God, and are made for the benefit of man.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 63.)

D&C 76:25-27 Rebellion

‘For example, the Lord’s life did not begin in Bethlehem,See “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”; see also  Moses 2:26 and ours did not begin at birth. In the premortal world, He stood as the stalwart, unwavering advocate of God’s eternal plan for His children,See  Abr. 3:22–27 and we were there. In the great War in Heaven, it was by the power of the Firstborn that Lucifer was cast out,See  Moses 4:1–3  D&C 76:25–27and we helped champion the cause. Through God’s Only Begotten Son “the worlds are and were created,”See  D&C 76:22–24 and we can therefore achieve our divine potential. As President J. Reuben Clark has said:

“It was not a novice, not an amateur, not a Being making a first trial, that came down in the beginning … and … made this world. …

“And if you think of this galaxy of ours having within it from the beginning perhaps … one million worlds, and multiply that by the number of millions of galaxies … that surround us, you will then get some view of who [Jesus Christ] is.”[“Who Is Our Savior?” Improvement Era, Nov. 1962, 798–99.]’ Keith B McMullin, General Conference, April 2004)

D&C 93:29 Man was also in the beginning with God

‘Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.See  Doctrine and Covenants 93:29 We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!

We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God. We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.

You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved Father presented His plan for us—that we would come to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be possible.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2016)

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D&C 29:36 A third part of the host of Heaven

‘Lucifer was very angry then, and he is very angry still-striving to make “all men…miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). One-third deliberately chose not to undergo the mortal experience.

…The revealed record shows that Lucifer clearly chose to seek his personal preeminence, chose to be angry when he was rejected, chose to lead others astray, and chose misery, not joy. His “one-third” followers, in turn, chose to respond to his false allures. Incredibly, they turned their collective backs on the second estate, as he remains incurably and ironically intoxicated with his desire to control others!’ (Neal A Maxwell, Moving in His Majesty & Power, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2004], 10-11)

D&C 138:53-56 The Leaders of the Lord’s Latter-day Kingdom Were Held in Reserve to Come Forth in the Final Dispensation

‘The prophet Abraham was told that he was one of the noble and great spirits who was ordained in the premortal life to be a leader in God’s kingdom while in mortality (see Abraham 3:23). President Joseph F. Smith was shown that many choice servants of this dispensation were also among those noble spirits. The Lord held them in the spirit world where they were taught and prepared to come forth and lay the foundations of His latter-day work. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said that “every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” ‘ (Teachings, p. 365).

3. Mortal life

D&C 29:40 Forbidden fruit

‘We are all like Adam in that when we partake of “forbidden fruits”  D&C 29:40 or do the things we are commanded not to do, we are ashamed, and we draw away from the Church and from God and hide ourselves, and if we continue in sin, the Spirit of God withdraws from us. There is no happiness in disobedience or sin. We have all learned from our childhood that we are happier when we are doing right.’ (N Eldon Tanner, General Conference, October 1971)

D&C 29:41-42 Spiritual death

‘Spiritual death is defined as a state of spiritual alienation from God–the eternal separation from the Supreme Being; condemnation to everlasting punishment is also called the second death. In other words, the second or spiritual death, which is the final judgment passed upon the wicked, is the same as the first death, banishment from the presence of the Lord.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:217)

4. Life after death

D&C 19:7 Is there a difference between Eternal Punishment and Eternal Damnation?

“Eternal damnation is the opposite of eternal life, and all those who do not gain eternal life, or exaltation in the highest heaven within the celestial kingdom, are partakers of eternal damnation. Their eternal condemnation is to have limitations imposed upon them so that they cannot progress to the state of godhood and gain a fulness of all things.

“They ‘remain separately and singly, without exaltation, … to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.’ (D. & C. 132:17.) Their kingdom or progress has an ‘end,’ and they ‘cannot have an increase.’ (D. & C. 131:4.) Spirit children are denied to them to all eternity, and they inherit ‘the deaths,’ meaning an absence of posterity in the resurrection. (D. & C. 132:16–25.)

“They are never redeemed from their spiritual fall and taken back into the full presence and glory of God. Only the obedient are ‘raised in immortality unto eternal life.’ The disobedient, ‘they that believe not,’ are raised in immortality ‘unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not.’ (D. & C. 29:42–44.)” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 234.)

D&C 76:42 That through him all might be saved

‘The theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is comprehensive, universal, merciful, and true. Following the necessary experience of mortal life, all sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory. The righteous-regardless of current religious denomination or belief-will ultimately go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any of us can comprehend. Even the wicked, or almost all of them, will ultimately go to a marvelous-though lesser-kingdom of glory.’ (Dallin H Oaks, “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995, 87)

Read: Revelations in Context – The Vision

Read: Becoming Like God

Read: Accounts of the ‘King Follett’ Sermon

Posted in Family, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, Temples

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 10: Nurturing the Eternal Partnership of Marriage

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

One evening when President and Sister Hinckley were sitting quietly together, Sister Hinckley said, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.” Commenting on that expression from his wife, President Hinckley said, “I’ve tried to recognize [her] individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes, let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does.”

Why is it important for husbands and wives to recognise each other’s individuality.

Heavenly Father designed marriage from the beginning.

Watch: Man and Woman President Gordon B. Hinckley testifies that man and woman are God’s design. (0:57)

Watch: Renaissance of Marriage Hear what President Eyring says we all must do to have a renaissance of happy marriages and productive families. (2:36)

From the manual:

How wonderful a thing is marriage under the plan of our Eternal Father, a plan provided in His divine wisdom for the happiness and security of His children and the continuity of the race.

How can this knowledge influence the relationship between a husband and wife?

In the temple, a husband and wife can be sealed together for all eternity.

Eternal marriage is a very distinctive and valuable part of the Church. It involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple by an officiator who has the authority to seal couples together for eternity. This is a sacred and simple ceremony to unite husband and wife in the bonds of everlasting love and in the hopes of eternity.

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From the manual

[The] temples … offer blessings that are had nowhere else. All that occurs in these sacred houses has to do with the eternal nature of man. Here, husbands and wives and children are sealed together as families for all eternity. Marriage is not “until death do ye part.” It is forever, if the parties live worthy of the blessing.

What are the blessings of an eternal marriage in this life and in eternity?

Read: The Eternal Blessings of Marriage – Elder Richard G Scott

Read: Eternal Marriage – Elder Marion D Hanks

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Husbands and wives walk side by side on an eternal journey.

We believe that life is more secure and more joyous when it is experienced in the sacred relationships of the eternal family. A person who lives a righteous life in mortality and who has entered into an eternal marriage may look forward to an association in the postmortal world with a worthy spouse, and with those who were earthly children, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.

From the manual:

Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither exercising dominion over the other, but, rather, with each encouraging and assisting the other in whatever responsibilities and aspirations he or she might have.

Why does marriage need to be “a partnership of equals”?

“The marriage sanctioned by God provides men and women with the opportunity to fulfill their divine potentials. ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:11). Husbands and wives are unique in some ways and free to develop their eternal gifts, yet as coequals in the sight of their heavenly parents they are one in the divine goals they pursue, in their devotion to eternal principles and ordinances, in their obedience to the Lord, and in their divine love for each other. When a man and woman who have been sealed together in a temple are united spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically, taking full responsibility for nurturing each other, they are truly married. Together they strive to emulate the prototype of the heavenly home from which they came. The Church teaches them to complement, support, and enrich one another. . . . If a husband and wife are faithful to their temple marriage, they will continue as co-creators in God’s celestial kingdom through the eternities.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., Daniel H. Ludlow, ed. [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 2:487.)

“I urge the husbands and fathers of this church to be the kind of a man your wife would not want to be without. I urge the sisters of this church to be patient, loving, and understanding with their husbands. Those who enter into marriage should be fully prepared to establish their marriage as the first priority in their lives.

“It is destructive to the feeling essential for a happy marriage for either party to say to the other marriage partner, ‘I don’t need you.’ This is particularly so because the counsel of the Savior was and is to become one flesh: ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh

“‘Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.’ (Matt. 19:5-6.) It is far more difficult to be of one heart and mind than to be physically one. This unity of heart and mind is manifest in sincere expressions of ‘I appreciate you’ and ‘I am proud of you.’ Such domestic harmony results from forgiving and forgetting, essential elements of a maturing marriage relationship. Someone has said that we should keep our eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterward. (Magdeleine Scudery, as cited in The International Dictionary of Thoughts, Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969, p. 472.) True charity ought to begin in marriage, for it is a relationship that must be rebuilt every day.” (Teachings of James E. Faust, 366.)

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God will not withhold any blessings from worthy individuals who are not married.

From the manual:

Somehow we have put a badge on a very important group in the Church. It reads “Singles.” I wish we would not do that. You are individuals, men and women, sons and daughters of God, not a mass of “look-alikes” or “do-alikes.” Because you do not happen to be married does not make you essentially different from others. All of us are very much alike in appearance and emotional responses, in our capacity to think, to reason, to be miserable, to be happy, to love and be loved.

How can President Hinckley’s promises and counsel in section 4 help persons who are not married?

Happiness in marriage comes from showing a loving concern for the well-being of one’s companion.

In 1831 the Lord revealed the law of the Church to the newly gathered Saints and commanded, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). This is the only place in scripture where the Lord asks us to love anything or anyone with all our hearts besides Himself. President Hinckley has… said that a husband should regard his wife “as the greatest treasure of his life.” In Matthew 6:21 we read, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”

From the manual:

Nurture and cultivate your marriage. Guard it and work to keep it solid and beautiful. … Marriage is a contract, it is a compact, it is a union between a man and a woman under the plan of the Almighty. It can be fragile. It requires nurture and very much effort.

What are some ways a husband and wife can “nurture and cultivate” their marriage?

Read: The Parable of the Tableware

Read: Nurturing Marriage – Elder Russell M Nelson

Posted in Faith, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 9: The Precious Gift of Testimony

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley talks about ‘The earliest instance of which I have recollection of spiritual feelings’.

What is your earliest recollection of spiritual feelings?

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Testimony is the great strength of the Church and the wellspring of faith and activity.

Watch: Testimony – President Gordon B Hinckley

From the manual:

This thing which we call testimony is the great strength of the Church. It is the wellspring of faith and activity.

In what ways does your personal testimony contribute to the strength of the Church?

“Without the gift or revelation, which is one of the gifts or the Holy Ghost, there could be no Church of Jesus Christ. This is apparent from the obvious fact that in order for his Church to exist, there must be a society of people who individually have testimonies that Jesus is the Christ. According to Paul, such testimonies are revealed only by the Holy Ghost, for said he, ‘. . . no man can [know] say that Jesus is the Lord. but by the Holy Ghost.’ (See 1 Cor. 12:3.) In the 46th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord specifically lists such knowledge as one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as follows: ‘To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ (D & C 46:13.) Everyone who has a testimony of Jesus has received it by revelation from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a revelator, and everyone who receives him receives revelation.

“Wherever and whenever revelation is operative, manifestations of other gifts of the Holy Ghost are prevalent.” (Marion G Romney, Conference Report, April 1956, Afternoon Meeting 69.)

Testimony is a quiet, encouraging voice that sustains us as we walk in faith and impels us to action.

Watch: Increase your testimony. Strengthen your testimony of God and His teachings by recognizing the feelings of the Holy Spirit. (4:59)

From the manual:

Opponents may quote scripture and argue doctrine endlessly. They can be clever and persuasive. But when one says, “I know,” there can be no further argument. There may not be acceptance, but who can refute or deny the quiet voice of the inner soul speaking with personal conviction?

Read: Experience vs opinion

What do we mean when we say ‘I know’?

Each of us can obtain a testimony of the reality of God and His Beloved Son and the restoration of Their work.

Read: Valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ – Elder Quentin L Cook

Read: Receiving a testimony of light and truth – President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Read: Personal revelation and testimony – Sister Barbara Thompson

From the manual:

This witness, this testimony, can be the most precious of all the gifts of God. It is a heavenly bestowal when there is the right effort. It is the opportunity, it is the responsibility of every man and woman in this Church to obtain within himself or herself a conviction of the truth of this great latter-day work and of those who stand at its head, even the living God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does President Hinckley mean when he talks about ‘the right effort’?

We must live up to our testimony and share it with others.

From the manual:

This is God’s holy work. This is His Church and kingdom. The vision that occurred in the Sacred Grove was just as Joseph said it was. There is in my heart a true understanding of the importance of what happened there. The Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of the Lord Jesus Christ. His priesthood has been restored and is among us. The keys of that priesthood, which have come from heavenly beings, are exercised for our eternal blessing. Such is our testimony—yours and mine—a testimony which we must live up to and which we must share with others. I leave this testimony, my blessing, and my love with each of you and my invitation to continue to be part of this great latter-day miracle that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

How have you overcome feelings of fear about sharing your testimony?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has  reminded us: “The value to the world of the Restored  Gospel of Jesus Christ lies in its savour, its difference from  the rest of Christianity and from the rest of the world. If  we fail to communicate that difference, that unique addition we can make to the understanding and authority of  the rest of Christianity, we will have lost our value to the  world and to the kingdom and will be ‘good for nothing,  but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’  (Matthew 5:13).” (Address to Regional Representatives,  April 5, 1985.)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, LDS Church History, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 18: “Establish … a House of God”

1. The Lord commanded the Saints to build the Kirtland Temple.

See Revelations in Context: A School and an Endowment

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D&C 88:119 Establish a house

‘Where could any of us locate a more suitable blueprint whereby we could wisely and properly build a house to personally occupy throughout eternity? Such a house would meet the building code outlined in Matthew-even a house built “upon a rock,” a house capable of withstanding the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world.

Some might question: “But that revelation was to provide guidance for the construction of a temple. Is it relevant today?”

I would respond: “Did not the Apostle Paul declare, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ ” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Perhaps if we consider these architectural guidelines on an individual basis, we can more readily appreciate this divine counsel from the Master Builder, the Creator of the world, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.’  (Thomas S Monson, “Building Your Eternal Home,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 2)

2. The Saints were blessed for their great sacrifices in building the temple.

D&C 109:5 We have done this work through great tribulation; and out of poverty

“Work had begun on the temple on June 5, 1833. For the next three years the Saints endured many trials and hardships in order to build a house for the Lord.

“Most of the people had few possessions and little money. But every able man worked one day each week on the temple. They worked in the quarry, cutting sandstone to form the walls of the temple. They worked as carpenters, painters, teamsters, and in many other jobs. Sometimes as many as a hundred men worked on the temple at a time. The women spun, knitted, wove, and sewed to make draperies and carpets. They also made clothing and food for the construction workers.

“Everyone was busy, but it was not just the Saints’ time and talents that the Lord required. The large three-story building cost between $40,000 and $60,000, an enormous amount of money at a time when the average worker earned only around two or three dollars a day. Many of the Saints gave almost everything they had to build the temple. (Sherrie Johnson, “A House for the Lord,” Friend, June 1993, 48)

“When the Saints received the initial instructions to build this temple, the Kirtland branch numbered only about one hundred members. Many converts, including most who joined the Church in Kirtland township, had migrated to western Missouri, the main gathering place for the Saints. Subsequently, in 1833 Latter-day Saints were not only few in number but they also owned fewer than two hundred acres and lacked money for such a project as building a temple. In 1833 only ten members of the Church were assessed a land or personal property tax (the latter tax being an assessment on horses, cattle, or merchandise). Moreover, not one member in that community had practical architectural knowledge of the kind needed for planning a major building. They did not lack faith, however; they believed the revelation that they would receive guidance from the Lord.” (Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 209.)

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3. Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple.

‘[After the dedicatory prayer [D&C 109] and the choir singing “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning”] I then asked the several quorums separately, and then the congregation, if they accepted the dedication prayer, and acknowledged the house dedicated. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative, in every instance.

The Lord’s Supper was then administered; President Don Carlos Smith blessed the bread and the wine, which was distributed by several Elders to the Church; after which I bore record of my mission, and of the ministration of angels.

President Don Carlos Smith also bore testimony of the truth of the work of the Lord in which we were engaged.

President Oliver Cowdery testified of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and of the work of the Lord in these last days.

President Frederick G. Williams arose and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer, an angel entered the window and took his seat between Father Smith and himself, and remained there during the prayer.

President David Whitmer also saw angels in the house.

President Hyrum Smith made some appropriate remarks congratulating those who had endured so many toils and privations to build the house.

President Rigdon then made a few appropriate closing remarks, and a short prayer, at the close of which we sealed the proceedings of the day by shouting hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb, three times, sealing it each time with amen, amen, and amen.

President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself, after which I blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and the assembly dispersed a little past four o’clock, having manifested the most quiet demeanor during the whole exercise.'(History of the Church, 2:427-428)

Read: 6 things to remember about the Kirtland Temple

D&C 109:7 By study and also by faith

‘We seek learning by studying the accumulated wisdom of various disciplines and by using the powers of reasoning placed in us by our Creator.

We should also seek learning by faith in God, the giver of revelation. I believe that many of the great discoveries and achievements in science and the arts have resulted from a God-given revelation. Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration.

The acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of his gospel. In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient.

A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation. I believe this is what the Book of Mormon prophet meant when he said, “To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”  2 Ne. 9:29 It is surely what the Savior taught when he said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  (Matt. 16:17)’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1989)

4. The Lord accepted the Kirtland Temple, and ancient prophets restored priesthood keys.

D&C 95:8 Power from on high

‘Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us the strength to keep our temple covenants. How do we personally gain that strength? We strive to obtain a testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the reality of the Atonement, and the truthfulness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We sustain our leaders, treat our families with kindness, stand as a witness of the Lord’s true Church, attend our Church meetings, honor our covenants, fulfill parental obligations, and live a virtuous life. You may say that sounds like just being a faithful Latter-day Saint! You are right. The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve. It is simply to faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophets.

Then, as endowed temple recommend holders, we establish patterns of Christlike living. These include obedience, making sacrifices to keep the commandments, loving one another, being chaste in thought and action, and giving of ourselves to build the kingdom of God. Through the Savior’s Atonement and by following these basic patterns of faithfulness, we receive “power from on high”  Doctrine and Covenants 95:8 to face the challenges of life. We need this divine power today more than ever. It is power we receive only through temple ordinances. I testify that the sacrifices we make to receive temple ordinances are worth every effort we can make.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, April 2012)

D&C 110:1–3. Why Did the Prophet Use Figurative Language to Describe the Glorified Christ?

‘A complete description of the glorified Savior in human language is probably not possible. But by comparing the indescribable things of a spiritual realm to things within our comprehension, the Prophet could give us some sense of the glory and appearance of the Lord.The language of the Prophet’s description is similar to that of the descriptions written by Daniel (see Daniel10:4–8) and by John the Revelator (see Revelation 1:13–17).’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 110:4 Our advocate with the Father

Read: Our advocate with the Father

D&C 110:7. What Was the Relationship between the Sacrifice of the Saints in Building the Kirtland Temple and the Appearance of the Savior?

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things” (Teachings, p. 322). Elder Franklin D. Richards related the sacrifices of the Saints in building the temple to the blessings that followed:“The Saints did all the work they could on the building,and then went out and obtained work here and there,and with the money they earned they purchased those things that were necessary for its completion. It was done by sacrificing all that they had; and when we had done all that we could do, Oh! how joyous it was to know the Lord accepted the work, when He stood upon the breastwork of the Temple, conversed with the Prophet Joseph and Oliver, and revealed to them their duties, and informed them that the Gospel should go from there and be preached throughout the nations of the earth.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 17.)’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

 

 

Posted in Finances, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 17: The Law of Tithing and the Law of the Fast

1. The Lord has commanded us to pay tithing. He has promised great blessings to those who obey this commandment.

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See: Revelations in Context: The tithing of my people

D&C 119:4 One tenth of all their interest annually

‘Tithing is so simple and straightforward a thing. The principle, as it applies to us, is actually set forth in one verse of section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants. That fourth verse consists of thirty-five words. Contrast that with the cumbersome and complex tax codes enacted and enforced by governments. In the one case it is a brief statement from the Lord, the payment left to the individual and motivated by faith. With the other it is a tangled web created by men and enforced by law. ‘(Gordon B Hinckley, “The Miracle Made Possible by Faith,” Ensign, May 1984, 47)

D&C 59:21 Gratitude

‘The payment of tithing helps us develop a submissive and humble heart and a grateful heart that tends to “confess … his hand in all things”  D&C 59:21 Tithe-paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart and a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ. We become eager to serve and bless others with an obedient heart, submissive to the Lord’s will. Regular tithe payers find their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened, and they develop a firm, abiding testimony of His gospel and of His Church. None of these blessings are monetary or material in any way, but surely they are the Lord’s richest blessings.’ (Carl B Pratt, General Conference, April 2011)

D&C 120:1 The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes

‘Before my call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, I read many times in the Doctrine and Covenants about the council appointed to oversee and disburse sacred tithing funds. The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes was established by revelation and consists of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric (see D&C 120). As I prepared in December of 2004 to attend my first meeting of this council, I eagerly anticipated a most remarkable learning opportunity.

I still remember the things I experienced and felt in that council. I gained a greater appreciation and reverence for the Lord’s laws of finance for individuals, for families, and for His Church. The basic financial program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—for both income and disbursement—is defined in sections 119 and 120 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Two statements found in these revelations provide the foundation for the fiscal affairs of the Church.

Section 119 simply states that all members “shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, … saith the Lord” (verse 4).

Then, concerning the authorized disbursement of the tithes, the Lord said, “It shall be disposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord” (D&C 120:1). The “bishop and his council” and “my high council” referred to in this revelation are known today as the Presiding Bishopric and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, respectively. These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposes as directed by the Lord’s ordained servants.

I marvel at the clarity and brevity of these two revelations in comparison to the complicated financial guidelines and administrative procedures used in so many organizations and governments around the world. How can the temporal affairs of an organization as large as the restored Church of Jesus Christ possibly operate throughout the entire world using such succinct instructions? To me the answer is quite straightforward: this is the Lord’s work, He is able to do His own work (see 2 Nephi 27:20), and the Savior inspires and directs His servants as they apply His directions and labor in His cause.

In that first council meeting I was impressed by the simplicity of the principles that guided our deliberations and decisions. In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members.

As the meeting progressed, I found myself wishing that all members of the Church could observe the simplicity, the clarity, the orderliness, the charity, and the power of the Lord’s own way (see D&C 104:16) for conducting the temporal affairs of His Church. I have now participated in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes for many years. My gratitude and reverence for the Lord’s pattern has grown each year, and the lessons learned have become even more profound.

My heart swells with love and admiration for the faithful and obedient members of this Church from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. As I travel the earth, I learn about your hopes and dreams, your varied living conditions and circumstances, and your struggles. I have attended Church meetings with you and visited in some of your homes. Your faith strengthens my faith. Your devotion makes me more devoted. And your goodness and willing obedience to the law of tithing inspires me to be a better man, husband, father, and Church leader. I remember and think of you each time I participate in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes. Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness as you honor your covenants.

The leaders of the Lord’s restored Church feel a tremendous responsibility to care appropriately for the consecrated offerings of Church members. We are keenly aware of the sacred nature of the widow’s mite.

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:41–44).

I know from firsthand experience that the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is vigilant in caring for the widow’s mite. I express appreciation to President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors for their effective leadership in discharging this holy stewardship. And I acknowledge the voice (see D&C 120:1) and hand of the Lord that sustain His ordained servants in fulfilling the duty to represent Him.’ (David A Bednar, “The Windows of Heaven,” Ensign, November 2013)

2. The Lord has commanded us to fast and to pay generous fast offerings.

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D&C 59:13 That Thy fasting may be perfect

“Now, while the law requires the Saints in all the world to fast from ‘even to even’ and to abstain both from food and drink, it can easily be seen from the Scriptures, and especially from the words of Jesus, that it is more important to obtain the true spirit of love for God and man, ‘purity of heart and simplicity of intention,’ than it is to carry out the cold letter of the law. The Lord has instituted the fast on a reasonable and intelligent basis, and none of his works are vain or unwise. His law is perfect in this as in other things. Hence, those who can are required to comply thereto; it is a duty from which they cannot escape; but let it be remembered that the observance of the fast day by abstaining twenty-four hours from food and drink is not an absolute rule, it is no iron-clad law to us, but it is left with the people as a matter of conscience, to exercise wisdom and discretion. Many are subject to weakness, others are delicate in health, and others have nursing babies; of such it should not be required to fast. Neither should parents compel their little children to fast. I have known children to cry for something to eat on fast day. In such cases, going without food will do them no good. Instead, they dread the day to come, and in place of hailing it, dislike it; while the compulsion engenders a spirit of rebellion in them, rather than a love for the Lord and their fellows. Better teach them the principle, and let them observe it when they are old enough to choose intelligently, than to so compel them.

“But those should fast who can, and all classes among us should be taught to save the meals which they would eat, or their equivalent, for the poor. None are exempt from this; it is required of the Saints, old and young, in every part of the Church. It is no excuse that in some places there are no poor. In such cases the fast donation should be forwarded to the proper authorities for transmission to such stakes of Zion as may stand in need.” (Joseph F Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 243–44.)

Posted in General Conference, Holy Ghost, Inspirational

Sunday Afternoon session April 2017

Elder D Todd Christofferson

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It becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbour.

Who is my neighbour that I should warn? [The parable of the Good Samaritan].

The motivation for raising the warning voice is love.

It means teaching children the doctrine of Christ.

Jesus was not hesitant to warn.

He devoted time to sinners.

His warnings and commandments were direct.

[Shame culture]. A culture of over sensitivity, over reaction and moral panics.

As watchmen and disciples we cannot be neutral.

Do not abandon those who would welcome truth to flounder and flail in ignorance.

Psalms 40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Elder Joaquin E Costa

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[Story of conversion]

  1. Once you meet the missionaries please take them seriously.

2. If this is the first time you have attended a Church meeting …do not worry I was clueless too….Remember the feelings you have experienced. They come from God.

3. Reading the Book of Mormon. Moroni 10:4.

4. Repenting. Alma 42:1. [Reading it with his name in it]. We continued reading slowly verse by verse…The book spoke directly to me. ..I had expected to receive revelation without paying the price….Every decision I have made in my life was influenced by that moment…Nothing brings you closer to Jesus Christ than a desire to change.

[A simple but effective and moving talk aimed at investigators}

Elder S Mark Palmer

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[Experience as a Mission President. Missionary who didn’t like people. New Testament story of rich young man. Noticed 6 words.] ‘Then Jesus beholding him loved him”

He felt an overwhelming love and compassion for this young man and because of this love he asked even more of him.

How can I be filled with Christ like love so that the missionary can see that in me and want to change.

I prayed for the gift of charity that I might see each missionary as the Lord sees them.

  1. As we learn to see others as the Lord sees them our love for them will grow. We will never give up.
  2. No teaching or learning will will ever be done in frustration or anger.
  3. Love should never be withdrawn when a child, friend or family member fails to live up to our expectations.
  4. Because He loves us the Lord expects much of us.

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Elder Gary E Stevenson

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[Story of 9 year old teaching a family home evening] How can the Holy Ghost help you?

[Story of his father telling him not to climb on a rock. Later found rattle snake there. Was warned by the Holy Ghost] see https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/06/elder-gary-e-stevenson-an-understanding-heart?lang=eng

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.

The Holy Ghost has a spirit body.

The gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands.

[Story of missionaries kept safe in Japan following tsunami and nuclear accident]

The Holy Ghost will help you by warning you.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another aComforter, that he may babide with you for ever;

[The role of the Holy Ghost as Comforter]

The Holy Ghost will help you by comforting you.

The Holy Ghost will help you by testifying to you.

It is vital that we keep the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Stay close to the Spirit and the Spirit will stay close to you.

Elder C Scott Grow

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[Addressed to Young Adults]

  1. For aGod so bloved the cworld, that he dgave his eonly begotten fSon, that whosoever gbelieveth in him should not perish, but have heverlasting ilife.
  2. And this is alife beternal, that they might cknow thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.

[Final testimony of Bruce R McConkie]

[Scripture study]

Helaman 10:4 aBlessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with bunwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine cown life, but hast sought my dwill, and to keep my commandments.

Through our faith in his atoning sacrifice the Saviour cleanses us.

He can make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves.

[Role model – Elder Neal A Maxwell]

Knowing God is the quest of a lifetime.

God knows you and invites you to know him.

Elder Benjamin De Hoyos

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[Would we have followed Christ if we had lived in His day]

One of the great standards of these latter days is this great General Conference.

What has the Lord revealed to President Monson that we need to be doing?

Line upon line and precept upon precept.

[Ways to shine a light]:

1.Observing the sabbath day

2. Serving those on both sides of the veil

3, Teaching in the Saviour’s way

Elder Quentin L Cook

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Personal foundations are usually laid slowly.

Malcolm Gladwell – the 10000 hour rule.

10000 hours of practice are required to obtain the mastery to be a world call expert on anything.

Spiritual guidance is received when needed in the Lord’s time and according to his will.

Weekly participation in weekly sacrament meetings has spiritual implications that we do not fully understand.

[Story of the woman with the issue of blood]

The foundations of faith should be the great desire of our heart.

The completion of the Kirtland Temple was foundational for the entire church.

[Story of Parley P Pratt’s disaffection from Joseph Smith] Joseph frankly forgave Parley.

Adversity should not be viewed as either disfavour of the Lord or a withdrawal of his blessings.

D&C 122:7 if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Inspirational

Saturday Afternoon Session April 2017

[Why bother to go to Conference if you are opposed to the Brethren?]

[Excited that our friend Roy Tunnicliffe was called as an Area Seventy]

Statistical report

The First Presidency has issued the following statistical report concerning the growth and status of the Church as of December 31, 2016.

CHURCH UNITS

Stakes

3,266

Missions

421

Districts

556

Wards and branches

30,304

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Total membership

15,882,417

New children of record

109,246

Converts baptized

240,131

MISSIONARIES

Full-time missionaries

70,946

Church-service missionaries

33,695

TEMPLES

Temples rededicated
(Suva Fiji, Freiburg Germany)

2

Temples dedicated
(Provo City Center, Sapporo Japan, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Fort Collins Colorado, Star Valley Wyoming, Hartford Connecticut)

6

Temples in operation at the end of 2016

155

Elder Robert D Hales

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[Looking gaunt and frail but voice was strong]

Genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.

Listen to the Apostle Peter’s invitation to become a disciple of the Savior:

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” [2 Peter 1:5–7].

As you can see, weaving the spiritual tapestry of personal discipleship requires more than a single thread.

In the Saviour’s day there were many…who practised selective obedience.

The attributes of the Savior, as we perceive them, are not a script to be followed or list to be checked off. They are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more.

D&C 4 – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation.

Faith is the catalyst.

Virtue is more than sexual purity.

Virtue is also a power.

We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but in who we are.

As tempered disciples we live the gospel in a tempered and balanced way.

When faced with the storms of tribulation we ask ‘What wouldst thou have me learn from this experience?’

We delight in the agency of others and the opportunity it gives them to grow.

We bless them that curse us. We do good to them that spitefully abuse us.

Brothers and sisters, now more than ever, we cannot be “part-time disciples”! We cannot be a disciple on just one point of doctrine or another.… The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ—including the ones we have talked about today—are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days

I testify that everyone can be a disciple of the Savior. Discipleship is not constrained by gender, age, ethnic origin or calling. …Now is the time to recommit ourselves to being His disciples with all diligence.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

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Among the realities we face as children of God living in a fallen world is that some days are difficult, days when our faith and our fortitude are tested. These challenges may come from a lack in us, a lack in others, or just a lack in life, but whatever the reasons, we find they can rob us of songs we so much want to sing and darken the promise of “springtime in [the] soul” that Eliza Hewitt celebrates in one of her verses [“There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,Hymns, no. 227].

So what do we do in such times?

Hope for that which we see not and in patience wait for it.

We should stand as close as humanly possible to the Saviour and Redeemer of the world who has ‘perfect pitch’.

On those days when we feel a little out of tune…remember that it is by divine design that all the voices in God’s choir are nor the same.

Diversity is not cacophony and choirs do require discipline.

Our Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in out own voice and not in someone else’s.

When I see the staggering economic inequality in the world I feel guilty…

…guns and slurs and vitriol are not the way to settle human conflict.

Brothers and sisters, we live in a mortal world with many songs we cannot or do not yet sing. But I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—“the song of redeeming love” [Alma 5:26; see also Alma 26:13]. Fortunately, the seats for this particular number are limitless.

There is room for the single, the married, for those with large families and for the childless.

There is room in this choir for all who wish to be there.

“Come as you are,” a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, “Don’t plan to stay as you are.” We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.

In this great oratorio that is His plan for our exaltation, may we humbly follow His baton and keep working on the songs we cannot sing, until we can offer those “carol[s] to [our] King” [Hymns, no. 227].

And then one day we will sing and we will shout with the armies of heaven Hosanna Hosanna to God and the Lamb as Jesus descends in his chariot of fire.

[Another masterful address by Elder Holland]

Elder Gary B Sabin

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The Lord requires the heart and a willing mind [see D&C 64:34]. Our whole heart! When we are baptized, we are fully immersed as a symbol of our promise to fully follow the Savior, not half-heartedly. When we are fully committed and “all in,” heaven shakes for our good [see D&C 21:6]. When we are lukewarm or only partially committed, we lose out on some of heaven’s choicest blessings [see Revelation 3:15–16].

[Story of taking scouts camping in the desert – boy freezing all night because he didn’t want to unroll his sleeping bag]

When we are complacent with our covenants, we are complicit with the consequences. The Lord has counseled us “to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life” [D&C 84:43]. And He further declared, “My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not” [D&C 29:17].

In reality, it is much easier to be “all in” than partially in. When we are partially in or not in at all, there is, in the Star Wars vernacular, “a disturbance in the force.” We are out of sync with God’s will and therefore out of sync with the nature of happiness [see Alma 41:11].

‘My strength is as the strength of 10 because my heart is pure’ – Tennyson

It is time to stand up and defend His plan again.

We may need to let go of the world so that we can hang onto immortality.

It is far better to follow the Creator than the crowd.

Elder Valeri V Cordon

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Language loss may happen when families move to a different land.

I noticed a similarity between preserving a mother tongue and preserving the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.

  1. Be more diligent in speaking the language at home.

One factor that influences language loss is when parents don’t spend time teaching their children the native language. It is not enough to merely speak the language in the home. If parents desire to preserve their language, it must be taught. Research has found that parents who make a conscious effort to be preserve the native language tend to be successful in doing so.

We can therefore conclude that powerful teaching is extremely important to preserve the gospel in our families, and it requires diligence and effort.

2. Strong modelling in the home.

You need to bring the language alive for the children.

[Story of father’s business going bankrupt. Choosing to pay tithing or buy food for the family.]

Another way language can be altered or lost is when other languages and traditions are mixed with a mother tongue.

As families, we need to avoid any tradition that will prevent us from keeping the Sabbath day holy or having daily scripture study and prayer at home. We need to close the digital doors of our home to pornography and all other evil influences. To combat the worldly traditions of our day, we need to use the scriptures and the voice of our modern prophets to teach our children about their divine identity, their purpose in life, and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

It is my testimony that Heavenly Father will bless us in our efforts as we strive to embrace His language, even until we become fluent in this higher level of communication, which always was our mother tongue.

Elder Neal L Andersen

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Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Later He added, “I will that ye should overcome the world” [D&C 64:2].

Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.

It can begin as a child learns to pray and reverently sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus” [Children’s Songbook, 78]. It continues as a person studies the life of the Savior in the New Testament and ponders the power of the Savior’s Atonement in the Book of Mormon.

Praying, repenting, following the Savior, and receiving His grace lead us to better understand why we are here and who we are to become.

Overcoming the world is not a global invasion, but a private, personal battle, requiring hand-to-hand combat with our own internal foes.

Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God.

Overcoming the world leads us to the sacrament every week.

Overcoming the world means turning ourselves outward.

The happiness of our spouse is more important than our own pleasure.

The world builds its universe around itself.

Overcoming the world will always mean that we will have some beliefs that will be ridiculed by the world.

The Lord gives us safety as we listen to the words of his living Prophet and apostles.

Overcoming the world is remembering the times we have felt the love and light of teh Saviour

Overcoming the world does not mean we live a cloistered life, protected from the unfairness and difficulties of mortality. Rather, it opens the more expansive view of faith, drawing us to the Savior and His promises.

[Tribute to Bruce D Porter]

May we each try a little harder in our efforts to overcome the world, not excusing serious offenses yet being patient with minor slips and falls, eagerly hastening our speed and generously helping others.

Elder M Russell Ballard

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It is my assignment is to speak to you and your assignment is to listen. My goal is to finish my assignment before you finish.

[Difference between a goal and a plan]

Our greatest and most overriding goals should fit into Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” [3 Nephi 13:33].

Experts on goal setting tell us that the simpler and more straightforward a goal is, the more power it will have. When we can reduce a goal to one clear image or one or two powerful and symbolic words, that goal can then become part of us and guide virtually everything we think and do. I believe that there are two words that, in this context, symbolize God’s goals for us and our most important goals for ourselves. The words are return and receive.

To return to His presence and to receive the eternal blessings that come from making and keeping covenants are the most important goals we can set.

We return and receive by having “unshaken faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ], relying wholly upon” His merits, pressing “forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men [and women] … , feasting upon the word of Christ, and endur[ing] to the end” [2 Nephi 31:19–20].

Lucifer did not accept our Father’s plan…in fact he rebelled and attempted to completely modify our Father’s plan.

Because of his premortal choices Satan can neither return nor receive.

I have found that to stay focused..I need to regularly take time to ask myself ‘How am I doing?’

I like to read and ponder the introspective words found in the 5th chapter of Alma…Alma’s questions are a reminder of what our goals and plans should include in order to return and receive.

Place a copy of the Living Christ where you can see it.

Without the Living Christ our fondest expectations will be unfulfilled.

Our long term goal and plans should be that when we return to our Heavenly Father we will receive all that he has prepared for us.