Posted in Fellowship, Missionary work, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 22: Reaching Out with Love to New Converts and Less-Active Members

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

President Hinckley’s concern for new converts and less-active members was a result of his experience in seeing how the gospel blesses lives. A news reporter once asked him, “What brings you the greatest satisfaction as you see the work of the Church today?” President Hinckley replied:

“The most satisfying experience I have is to see what this gospel does for people. It gives them a new outlook on life. It gives them a perspective that they have never felt before. It raises their sights to things noble and divine. Something happens to them that is miraculous to behold. They look to Christ and come alive.”

How has the gospel given you a new outlook on life?

1. We have a great responsibility to minister to the individual.

“It is a time-honored adage that love begets love. Let us pour forth love-show forth everlasting increase; cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundredfold. Friendship is like Brother Turley in his blacksmith shop welding iron to iron; it unites the human family with its happy influence.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 316).

From the manual:

We are becoming a great global society. But our interest and concern must always be with the individual. Every member of this church is an individual man or woman, boy or girl. Our great responsibility is to see that each is “remembered and nourished by the good word of God” (Moro. 6:4), that each has opportunity for growth and expression and training in the work and ways of the Lord, that none lacks the necessities of life, that the needs of the poor are met, that each member shall have encouragement, training, and opportunity to move forward on the road of immortality and eternal life.

Why must “our interest and concern … always be with the individual,” even in a worldwide church?

2. Every convert is precious and is a great and serious responsibility.

‘So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

After your initial welcome, consider ways you can continue to minister to them. I once heard of a ward where, after the baptism of two deaf sisters, two marvelous Relief Society sisters decided to learn sign language so they could better communicate with these new converts. What a wonderful example of love for fellow brothers and sisters in the gospel!’ (Gerard Caussee, General Conference, October 2013)

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“In building the kingdom of God, every positive act, every friendly greeting, every warm smile, every thoughtful, kind note contributes to the strength of the whole. It is my prayer that we may be open and outgoing, friendly, and helpful to all who come among us. But let us give special care and concern for the new converts to the Church. When we detect a halting step or a stumble as they begin their journey on the gospel path, let us be there to lift and support with words of kindness and concern; let us be available to give gentle, loving counsel that will strengthen and sustain. Let us conscientiously look for occasions to show that love which the Savior admonished us to have when He said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another’ (John 13:34).” (Carl B Pratt, “Care for New Converts,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 12)

What can we learn and apply from the letter that President Hinckley shares in section 2? 

3. Every convert needs friendship, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God.

‘Deep down we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. Life teaches us that we can achieve happiness when we seek the happiness and well-being of others.’ (Elaine S Dalton)

“A faithful friend is a strong defense. And he that hath found . . . one hath found a treasure” (Ecclesiasticus 6:14).

Image result for Every convert needs friendship, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God.

From the manual:

With the ever-increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with “the good word of God” (Moro. 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things.

What are some ways we can befriend new converts? 

4. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose by coming back to Church activity.

Watch: A Yearning for Home – President Uchtdorf, General Conference October 2017

‘Experiences of activators suggest that there are eight key factors in helping less-active Latter-day Saints participate fully in gospel ordinances and opportunities.

  1. Positive experiences with active Church members are vital. Through friendship, negative feelings toward the Church and other members can be resolved.
  2. People are most likely to respond to those they trust. Activated members say they strongly identify with activators who are willing to make sacrifices for them and accept them rather than judge them. It is important for the less-active to sense that an activator’s efforts are genuine and not merely the fulfillment of duty.
  3. The three most important attributes of a successful activator are disclosure, warmth, and commitment. Disclosure means that the activator is willing to discuss his or her own life and experiences. Warmth connotes a friendly, trusting attitude. Commitment means consistency in visiting and willingness to fulfill promises.
  4. Successful activators feel a moral responsibility for the people they activate. They care about others’ spiritual lives.
  5. Activators need to be involved in the four distinct processes of reactivation: (1) Diagnosis—helping determine why an individual is not participating more fully in the Church; (2) Problem resolution—helping the less-active person learn to overcome problems through obedience to gospel principles; (3) Social integration—helping the person become accepted and involved in the community of Latter-day Saints; (4) Forgiveness and self-acceptance—helping less-active members sense that the Lord accepts them and forgives them of their mistakes. Bishops often must be involved in this part of the process.
  6. Activators play a key role in helping less-active members interpret their own experiences and challenges in terms of the gospel.
  7. Activation involves reintroduction to spiritual things with which less-active members may have had limited experience. These members need to be placed in situations where they can feel the Spirit of the Lord and understand how it can lead them to truth.
  8. Building people’s confidence in their own ability to change and become righteous is an important part of activation. (Don L Searle, Ensign Feb 1990)

From the manual:

My beloved brethren and sisters who may … have drifted, the Church needs you, and you need the Church. You will find many ears that will listen with understanding. There will be many hands to help you find your way back. There will be hearts to warm your own. There will be tears, not of bitterness but of rejoicing

 How can we help people return? 

5. For Latter-day Saints who return to Church activity, it will feel good to be home again.

Image result for For Latter-day Saints who return to Church activity, it will feel good to be home again.

What do you learn from the account that President Hinckley shares in section 5?

Watch: The Faith of Youth- The Ennis Family

The Ennis family had become less active, but they responded when ward members reached out in love. (3:35)

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Posted in Missionary work, service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 21: The Latter-Day Miracle of Missionary Work

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“How profoundly grateful I am for the experience of that mission. I touched the lives of a few who have, over the years, expressed appreciation. That has been important. But I have never been greatly concerned over the number of baptisms that I had or that other missionaries had. My satisfaction has come from the assurance that I did what the Lord wanted me to do and that I was an instrument in His hands for the accomplishment of His purposes. In the course of that experience, there became riveted into my very being a conviction and knowledge that this is in very deed the true and living work of God, restored through a prophet for the blessing of all who will accept it and live its principles.”

How has a mission changed your life or the life of someone close to you?

1. We are to reach out to the world in missionary service, teaching all who will listen.

Watch: Why Mormons send missionaries around the world Mormons send missionaries to help others and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2:55)

Watch: Unto all the world – Hastening the work in Europe

“After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 330).

‘While the duty to warn is felt especially keenly by prophets, it is a duty shared by others as well. In fact, “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 We who have received a knowledge of the great plan of happiness—and its implementing commandments—should feel a desire to share that knowledge since it makes all the difference here and in eternity. And if we ask, “Who is my neighbor that I should warn?” surely the answer will be found in a parable that begins, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves,”  Luke 10:30 and so forth.’ (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2017)

From the manual:

Let us as Latter-day Saints reach out to others not of our faith. Let us never act in a spirit of arrogance or with a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, may we show love and respect and helpfulness toward them. We are greatly misunderstood, and I fear that much of it is of our own making. We can be more tolerant, more neighborly, more friendly, more of an example than we have been in the past. Let us teach our children to treat others with friendship, respect, love, and admiration. That will yield a far better result than will an attitude of egotism.

How can we overcome misunderstandings about the Church and its members?

2. We are to help the full-time missionaries bring others to a knowledge of the truth.

‘If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). And returned missionaries, find your old missionary tag. Don’t wear it, but put it where you can see it. The Lord needs you now more than ever to be an instrument in His hands. All of us have a contribution to make to this miracle.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2013)

It is important that members and full-time missionaries work closely together. Successful member missionary work relies on a true partnership between members and missionaries. The Mission and the local unit can sometimes fall into the trap of working in isolation with little contact or mutual understanding. In the ‘balanced effort’ of missionary work, the ward mission leader acts as the yoke that brings together members and missionaries into a powerful team. Without this harnessing of joint efforts the harvest will be meagre.

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From the manual:

The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found.

Why do missionaries “succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found”? 

3. Full-time missionary work brings lasting happiness to those who serve.

‘On July 23, 1837, the Prophet Joseph met with Elder Thomas B. Marsh, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Marsh was apparently frustrated that the Prophet had called two members of his quorum to go to England without consulting him. As Joseph met with Elder Marsh, any hurt feelings were put aside, and the Prophet received a remarkable revelation. It is now the 112th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. It gives incredible direction from heaven with respect to humility and missionary work. Verse 10 reads, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

This revelation occurred the exact same day that Elders Kimball, Hyde, and John Goodson, full of humility, were declaring the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Vauxhall Chapel in Preston, England. This was the first time missionaries had proclaimed the restored gospel outside of North America in this dispensation. Their missionary effort resulted in almost immediate convert baptisms and led to numerous faithful members.

Subsequent parts of the revelation guide the missionary effort in our day. They read, in part, “Whosoever ye shall send in my name … shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation … inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.”

The humility that undergirded this incredible missionary effort allowed the Lord to establish His Church in a remarkable way.

Gratefully, we continually see this in the Church today. Members, including the rising generation, give up their time and defer education and employment to serve missions. Many senior members leave employment and make other sacrifices in order to serve God in whatever capacity they are called. We do not allow personal issues to distract or divert us from accomplishing His purposes.’ (Quentin L Cook, General Conference, October 2017)

Image result for Full-time missionary work brings lasting happiness to those who serve.

From the manual:

Along with the need for young elders and sisters, there is a growing need for couples in the mission field. Older married couples are doing a wonderful work in the missions. Many more are needed. Particularly we need those with foreign language abilities. They can serve in many responsibilities under the direction of sensitive and considerate mission presidents.

With an increasing number of people retiring while they are still possessed of health and vitality, there are many who can fill a tremendous need in the work of the Lord.

We [have] retired men and women serving in a meaningful missionary capacity for this Church throughout the world. The number is growing. They go where they are called. They serve where they are needed. Friendships are established; skills are shared; opportunities are opened for those who will never forget the men and women who have come among them in a spirit of entire unselfishness to teach and do good. They receive no money. They go at their own expense. The measure of their devotion is unlimited. The fruits of their efforts are beyond calculation.

How can families help older couples prepare to serve?

4. As we introduce others to the gospel, the Spirit of the Lord helps overcome differences between us.

‘Involve newcomers quickly in the Lord’s work. They have been called to his vineyard not just to admire but to perspire—not to “ooh” and “aah” but to “hoe and saw.” Let us make of them friends—not celebrities; colleagues—not competitors. Let us use their precious enthusiasm to beckon still others to come within.’ (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1980)

From the manual:

Because we have all come of the same parentage [as children of God], we respond to the same truth. The fact that one’s skin may be of a slightly different color, that one’s eyes may have a slightly different set, that one may wear a different type of clothing does not in any sense make of him or her a different kind of individual. Men and women the world over respond to the same stimuli in essentially the same way. They seek warmth when they are cold; they know the same kinds of pain; they experience sadness, and they know joy.

How have you seen the Spirit of the Lord help people overcome differences?

5. As we go forward in faith, the Lord will bless our efforts to introduce others to the gospel.

From the manual:

With our charge divinely given, with blessings divinely promised, let us go forward in faith. As we do so, the Lord will bless our efforts. Let us do our part in sharing the gospel with those around us, by example first and then by inspired precept.

How can you increase your desire and faith to share the gospel?

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, virtue

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 43: “Take upon You My Whole Armor”

1. Put on the whole armour of God.

Read: Gospel Topics – Satan

D&C 76:26 Perdition

Perdition means lost. It means losing something that you had. It means one fallen from high estate. You can’t be Perdition; you can’t be lost unless you were found. And you can’t be fallen unless you were high, fallen from high estate. (Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price.)

D&C 766:29 He maketh war with the saints of God

“The Lord our God has sent us here to get experience in these things so that we may know the good from the evil and be able to close our hearts against the evil. … It is true that some have greater power of resistance than others, but everyone has the power to close his heart against doubt, against darkness, against unbelief, against depression, against anger, against hatred, against jealousy, against malice, against envy. God has given this power unto all of us, and we can gain still greater power by calling upon Him for that which we lack. If it were not so, how could we be condemned for giving way to wrong influences?

“There could be no condemnation for our doing what we could not help; but we can help yielding to wrong influences and being quarrelsome and selfish. We can help giving way to the spirit of theft, and we can resist the spirit of lust. God has given us power to resist these things, that our hearts may be kept free from them and also from doubt; and when Satan comes and assails us, it is our privilege to say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan, for I have no lot nor portion in you, and you have no part in me. I am in the service of God, and I am going to serve Him, and you can do what you please. It is no use you presenting yourself with your blandishments to me. You come and try to insinuate into my heart evil thoughts about the servants of God or about the work of God, and I will not listen to you; I will close my heart against you. …’

“Whenever darkness fills our minds, we may know that we are not possessed of the Spirit of God, and we must get rid of it. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are filled with joy, with peace and with happiness no matter what our circumstances may be; for it is a spirit of cheerfulness and of happiness.” (George Q Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:19–20.)

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D&C 27:15-18 My whole armor

‘Truth is to be the substance of which the girdle about your loins is to be formed, if your virtue and vital strength are to be safeguarded. You should all strive to keep yourselves worthy to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity.

Now what about the breastplate which will safeguard your heart, or your conduct in life? It shall be made of stuff called righteousness. The righteous man strives for self-improvement, knowing that he has daily need of repentance for his misdeeds or his neglect.

His body is not dissipated by the burdens imposed by the demands of riotous living; his judgment is not rendered faulty by the follies of youth; he is clear of vision, keen of intellect, and strong of body.

Your feet, which represent your goals or objectives in life, are to be shod with “the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Preparedness is the way to victory, and “eternal vigilance is the price of safety.” Whether in speech or in song, in physical or moral combat, the tide of victory rests with him who is prepared.

Now to the last piece of the prophet-teacher’s armored dress. We will put “the helmet of salvation” upon our head. Our head or intellect is the controlling member of the body. It must be well protected against the enemy, for “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Salvation means the attainment of the eternal light to live in the presence of God the Father and the Son as a reward for a good life in mortality. With the goal of salvation ever in our mind’s eye, as the ultimate to be achieved, our thinking and our decisions, which determine action, will always challenge all that would jeopardize that glorious future state.’ (Harold B Lee, A Message from the First Presidency, Ensign Jan 1971)

2. Live the law of chastity.

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Watch: We Believe in Being Chaste – Elder Bednar

D&C 42:23 He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her

‘I plead with you boys tonight to keep yourselves free from the stains of the world… You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.

It is a five-billion-dollar business for those who produce it. They make it as titillating and attractive as they know how. It seduces and destroys its victims. It is everywhere. It is all about us. I plead with you young men not to get involved in its use. You simply cannot afford to.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,” Ensign, May 1998, 49)

D&C 121:45-46 Virtue

‘ Deep beauty springs from virtue. It is the beauty of being chaste and morally clean. It is the kind of beauty that you see in the eyes of virtuous women like your mother and grandmother. It is a beauty that is earned through faith, repentance, and honoring covenants.

The world places so much emphasis on physical attractiveness and would have you believe that you are to look like the elusive model on the cover of a magazine. The Lord would tell you that you are each uniquely beautiful. When you are virtuous, chaste, and morally clean, your inner beauty glows in your eyes and in your face. My grandfather used to say, “If you live close to God and His infinite grace—you won’t have to tell, it will show in your face.” When you are worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you are confident and your inner beauty shines brightly. And so “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and … the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion.”’ (Elaine Dalton, General Conference, April 2010)

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

3. Be honest.

Watch: Honesty -You Better Believe It

D&C 42:21 Thou Shalt Not Lie

“The seriousness of lying is not measured only in injury or pain inflicted on the one deceived. Lying has a devastating effect also on the perpetrator. It robs the liar of self-respect, and deadens his ability to recognize the difference between truth and error. When a lie is told often enough, even the one who knowingly spread it may begin to believe it. This was the case with the antichrist Korihor in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 30:52-53).” (Robert J. Matthews, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 56)

D&C 97:8 Hearts are Honest

‘Those who are honest are fair and truthful in their speech, straightforward in their dealings, free of deceit, and above stealing, misrepresentation, or any other fraudulent action. Honesty is of God and dishonesty of the devil; the devil was a liar from the beginning. Righteousness is living a life that is in harmony with the laws, principles, and ordinances of the gospel.’  (Joseph B Wirthlin,”Without Guile,” Ensign, May 1988, 80-81)

4. Use language that reverences God and is edifying.

‘How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity.

Choose friends who use good language. Help others improve their language by your example. Be willing to politely walk away or change the subject when those around you use inappropriate language.

Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. When you are tempted to say harsh or hurtful things, leave them unsaid.’ (For the Strength of Youth)

D&C 63:61-62 The name of the Lord

‘This scripture shows that we take the name of the Lord in vain when we use his name without authority. This obviously occurs when the sacred names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, are used in what is called profanity: in hateful cursings, in angry denunciations, or as marks of punctuation in common discourse.

The names of the Father and the Son are used with authority when we reverently teach and testify of them, when we pray, and when we perform the sacred ordinances of the priesthood.

There are no more sacred or significant words in all of our language than the names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1986)

D&C 136:21 Take the name of the Lord in vain

‘In the revelation given to President Brigham Young on January 14, 1847, while the Saints were preparing to leave Winter Quarters for these valleys in the West, the Lord said to them, “Keep yourselves from evil to take the name of the Lord in vain, for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob” (D&C 136:21).

In a general epistle to the entire Church issued by the First Presidency on April 8, 1887, a hundred years ago, they said concerning this problem, which evidently was serious then as it is now, “The habit … , which some young people fall into, of using vulgarity and profanity … is not only offensive to well-bred persons, but it is a gross sin in the sight of God, and should not exist among the children of the Latter-day Saints” (in Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75, 3:112-13).

I once worked with a group of railroad men who seemed to pride themselves on the use of profanity. They tried to make an art of it. I recall handing a written instruction to a switchman. It was his job to take care of the matter as instructed, but he thought it inconvenient that he should have to do so at that time. On reading the order, he flew into a tantrum. He was a fifty-year-old man, but he acted like a spoiled child. He threw his cap on the ground and jumped on it and let forth such a string of expletives as to seem to cause the air to turn blue around him. Every third or fourth word was the name of Deity spoken in vain.

I thought, how childish can a grown man be? The very idea of a man acting and speaking like that was totally repugnant. I could never again give him my full respect.

When I was a small boy in the first grade, I experienced what I thought was a rather tough day at school. I came home, walked in the house, threw my book on the kitchen table, and let forth an expletive that included the name of the Lord.

My mother was shocked. She told me quietly, but firmly, how wrong I was. She told me that I could not have words of that kind coming out of my mouth. She led me by the hand into the bathroom, where she took from the shelf a clean washcloth, put it under the faucet, and then generously coated it with soap. She said, “We’ll have to wash out your mouth.” She told me to open it, and I did so reluctantly. Then she rubbed the soapy washcloth around my tongue and teeth. I sputtered and fumed and felt like swearing again, but I didn’t. I rinsed and rinsed my mouth, but it was a long while before the soapy taste was gone. In fact, whenever I think of that experience, I can still taste the soap. The lesson was worthwhile. I think I can say that I have tried to avoid using the name of the Lord in vain since that day. I am grateful for that lesson.

On one occasion, Jesus said to the multitude, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matt. 15:11).’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Take Not the Name of God in Vain,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 45-46)

Posted in Love, service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 20: Fellowship with Those Who Are Not of Our Faith

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch: Mike Wallace and President Hinckley on 60 Minutes

1. When we remember that all people are children of God, we reach out more to lift and help those among us.

Image result for When we remember that all people are children of God, we reach out more to lift and help those among us.

‘When I was a young boy, during the aftermath of World War II, Germany was broken and in ruins. Many people were hungry, sick, and dying. I remember well the humanitarian shipments of food and clothing that came from the Church in Salt Lake City. To this day, I can still remember the smell of the clothing, and I can still taste the sweetness of the canned peaches.

There were some who joined the Church because of the goods they received at that time. Some members looked down on these new converts. They even called them an offensive name: Büchsen Mormonen, or “Canned-Food Mormons.” They resented these new members because they believed that once their temporal needs had been met, they would fall away.

While some did leave, many stayed—they came to church, tasted the sweetness of the gospel, and felt the tender embrace of caring brothers and sisters. They discovered “home.” And now, three and four generations later, many families trace their Church membership back to these converts.

I hope that we welcome and love all of God’s children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not good to make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the Church a special measure of humanity, compassion, and charity so that they feel, at long last, they have finally found home.

When we are tempted to judge, let us think of the Savior, who “loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. …

“[And] he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, … [for] allmen are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”

As I read the scriptures, it appears that those who receive the Savior’s strongest reproach are often those who hold themselves in high esteem because of their wealth, influence, or perceived righteousness.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, April 2010)

From the manual:

We must never forget that we live in a world of great diversity. The people of the earth are all our Father’s children and are of many and varied religious persuasions. We must cultivate tolerance and appreciation and respect one another.

How can we cultivate greater appreciation and respect for others?

2. We should live with respect, appreciation, and friendship toward people who are not of our faith.

Watch: Different Beliefs President Gordon B. Hinckley urges respect for all those with diverse beliefs and teachings. (1:23)

“…we should respect our fellow human beings-not in spite of their beliefs, but because of them! A man or woman who carefully obeys all the laws and teachings of the Catholic or Buddhist or Shinto or Lutheran religion is obviously striving to do right. We should not condemn their beliefs, but rejoice in their righteous desires-for they will be just that much readier to have the Holy Ghost come to them to bear witness of even greater truths than they had previously known.” (Gerald E. Jones, “Respect for Other People’s Beliefs,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 70)

Elder Marvin J. Ashton beautifully observed: “Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.”

From the manual:

How very important that is—that while we believe in worshipping God according to our doctrine, we do not become arrogant or self-righteous or prideful but that we extend to others the privilege of worshipping according to their desires. Much of the trouble in the world comes from conflict between religions. I am happy to be able to say that I can sit down with my Catholic friends and talk with them, that I can sit down with my Protestant friends and talk with them. I would stand in their defense, as this Church has done and will continue to do, in defending them in this world.

I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.

How can we show greater friendship and love toward those who have different beliefs?

3. Without compromising our doctrine, we can work with others in good causes.

Watch: Fear Not to Do Good – President Eyring, General Conference, October 2017

Watch: October 2017 World Report

From the manual:

Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. … We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.

How can we become a greater influence for good in our community?

4. When we treat others with love, respect, and kindness, we show that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ.

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Watch: Bring Forth Fruit With Patience A recent convert tells of his conversion and his gratitude for the gospel and the priesthood. (4:08)

“Someone said, ‘We have committed the Golden Rule to memory. May we now commit it to life.’ The Savior’s teaching, ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,’ should be the basis for all human relationships…The time is now to rededicate our lives to eternal ideals and values, to make those changes that we may need to make in our own lives and conduct to conform to the Savior’s teachings. From the beginning to the end of His ministry, Jesus asked His followers to adopt new, higher standards in contrast to their former ways. As believers, they were to live by a spiritual and moral code that would separate them not only from the rest of the world but also even from some of their traditions. He asks nothing less of those who follow Him today.” (David B Haight, Ensign, Nov. 1987)

From the manual:

Let us be true disciples of the Christ, observing the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us strengthen our own faith and that of our children while being gracious to those who are not of our faith. Love and respect will overcome every element of animosity. Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe.

Why is our behavior toward others “the most persuasive argument for that which we believe”? 

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, LDS Doctrine, Prophets

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 42: Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets

1. Church correlation

Watch: Ministry of David O McKay – Church Correlation

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Watch: Ministry of Harold B Lee – The Purposes of Priesthood Correlation

D&C 20:59 Come Unto Christ

‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.”

The Church is not just for perfect people, but it is for all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.”15  Moroni 10:32 see also  Doctrine and Covenants 20:59 The Church is for people like you and me. The Church is a place of welcoming and nurturing, not of separating or criticizing. It is a place where we reach out to encourage, uplift, and sustain one another as we pursue our individual search for divine truth.

In the end, we are all pilgrims seeking God’s light as we journey on the path of discipleship. We do not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have; rather, we nourish and encourage all light until it grows clear, bright, and true.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2014)

D&C 68:25-28 Parental responsibilities

We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.

We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.

We urge bishops and other Church officers to do all they can to assist parents in seeing that they have time and help, where needed, as they nurture their families and bring them up in the way of the Lord. Wherever possible, Sunday meetings, other than those under the three-hour schedule and perhaps council meetings on early Sunday mornings or fireside later in the evening, should be avoided so that parents may be with their children. As we strengthen families, we will strengthen the entire Church. (First Presidency Letter, 11 February 1999)

2. Revelation extending the blessings of the priesthood to every worthy male member of the Church

Read: Witnessing the Faithfulness

Read: Race and the Priesthood

Read: A Personal Essay on Race and the Priesthood

‘Under President Kimball’s dynamic leadership, many more members served full-time missions, and the Church moved forward throughout the world. In August 1977, President Kimball traveled to Warsaw, where he dedicated the land of Poland and blessed its people that the work of the Lord might go forward. Missionary training centers were established in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, and Japan. In June 1978 he announced a revelation from God that was to have a tremendous effect on missionary work worldwide. For many years the priesthood had been denied to persons of African descent, but now priesthood and temple blessings would be granted to all worthy male members.

This revelation had long been hoped for by faithful people throughout the world. One of the first black persons to accept the gospel in Africa was William Paul Daniels, who learned of the Church as early as 1913. He traveled to Utah, where he received a special blessing from President Joseph F. Smith. President Smith promised him that if he remained faithful, he would hold the priesthood in this life or the next. Brother Daniels died in 1936, still a faithful member of the Church, and his daughter had the temple ordinances performed for her father soon after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood.6

Many more people in Africa developed testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel through Church literature or through miraculous personal experiences, but they were not able to enjoy all the blessings of the gospel.

For many months before the June 1978 revelation, President Kimball discussed with his Counselors and the Twelve Apostles the denial of priesthood authority to persons of African descent. Church leaders were reluctant to open missions in areas of the world where the full blessings of the gospel could not be conferred upon worthy Church members. In an area conference in South Africa, President Kimball declared: “I prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that was extremely important to many of the children of God. I knew that we could receive the revelations of the Lord only by being worthy and ready for them and ready to accept them and put them into place. Day after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in the upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what he wanted. I talked about it to him and said, ‘Lord, I want only what is right.’

In a special meeting in the temple with his Counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Kimball asked that they all freely express their views about giving the priesthood to black males. Then they prayed around the altar with President Kimball as voice. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was there, later said,

“On this occasion, because of the importuning and the faith, and because the hour and the time had arrived, the Lord in his providences poured out the Holy Ghost upon the First Presidency and the Twelve in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything that any then present had ever experienced.” It was made clear to the leaders of the Church that the time had come for all worthy men to receive the full blessings of the priesthood.

The First Presidency sent a letter dated 8 June 1978 to priesthood leaders, explaining that the Lord had revealed that “all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.” On 30 September 1978, the Saints in general conference voted unanimously to support the action of their leaders. This letter is now found in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration—2.

Since the time of this announcement, thousands of persons of African descent have come into the Church. The experience of one convert in Africa illustrates how the hand of the Lord has blessed these people. A college graduate and teacher had a dream in which he saw a large building with spires or towers, into which people dressed in white were entering. Later as he was traveling, he saw a Latter-day Saint chapel and felt impressed that this church was somehow connected with his dream, so he attended a Sunday service there. After the meetings, the mission president’s wife showed him a pamphlet. Opening it, the man saw a picture of the Salt Lake Temple, the building of his dream. Later he said: “Before I became aware I was weeping. … I can’t explain the feeling. I was released of all burdens. … I felt that I had gone to a place where I visited often. And now I was at home.”’ (Our Heritage pp 125-127)

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3. Publication of new Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures

Read: Church publishes first LDS edition of the Bible – Ensign October 1979

Read: The coming forth of the LDS editions of scripture – Ensign August 1983

Read: LDS Church announces new scripture edition – Deseret News February 2013

4. Additional Quorums of the Seventy

‘The order of the Seventy is a special calling of Elders for the preaching of the Gospel in all the world, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles. A quorum consists of seventy members, of which seven are chosen as presidents. The difference between the Seventies and the Elders is that the former are “traveling ministers” and the latter are “standing ministers” to the Church. Seventies are to travel if needs be in the preaching of the Gospel, whereas Elders and other officers of the Church have the responsibility of building up the Church in the wards and branches of the Church. They have the same authority as the Elders in performing Priesthood ordinances. (D&C 107:34-39.)

The Seventies are to constitute traveling quorums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles shall call them.’ (John A Widtsoe. Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 115)

‘In February 1835 the Prophet Joseph Smith called the first Seventies in this dispensation. In the years that followed, the calling of the Seventies developed to meet the changing needs of the growing Church. In 1975 President Spencer W. Kimball reconstituted the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the following year, the 21 men who had been called as Assistants to the Twelve were ordained Seventies and made members of the First Quorum. Ten years later, in 1986, the seventies quorums in stakes throughout the Church were discontinued, and those serving as seventies returned to elders quorums or were ordained high priests.

Three years later, in 1989, the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized. Members of this quorum serve under a five-year call. Members of the First Quorum serve until they reach age 70, at which time they are designated as emeritus members. There may be occasional year-by-year extensions as determined by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Members of these two Quorums of the Seventy are General Authorities and are given assignments by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They serve full time and may be assigned to supervise the Church anywhere in the world.’ (The Quorums of the Seventy, Earl C Tingey, Ensign August 2005)

Areas by Quorum

Third Quorum: Africa Southeast, Africa West, Europe, and Europe East Areas

Fourth Quorum: Central America, Mexico, South America Northwest, and Caribbean Areas

Fifth Quorum: Idaho, North America Northwest, North America West, Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South Areas

Sixth Quorum: North America Central, North America Northeast, North America Southeast, and North America Southwest Areas

Seventh Quorum: Brazil and South America South Areas

Eighth Quorum: Asia, Asia North, Pacific, and Philippines Areas

Posted in General Conference

General Conference Oct 2017 – Sunday afternoon session

President Eyring announced the passing of Elder Robert D Hales.

Elder M Russell Ballard

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Brigham Young – This is the right place.

Among the first saints to arrive in Utah was Jane Manning James.

She said: I want to say right here, that my faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is as strong today, nay, it is if possible stronger than it was the day I was first baptized. I pay my tithes and offerings, keep the word of wisdom, I go to bed early and rise early, I try in my feeble way to set a good example to all.

If we lose our ties to those who have gone before us…we will lose a very valuable treasure.

When they could they lifted the downtrodden.

We need to remember that the trek through life continues for each of us.

More than 30,000 congregations around the world.

Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery…some of us however are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin and despair.

The trek back to our Heavenly Father is the most important trek of our lives.

Keep the doctrine of Christ pure and never be deceived by those who tamper with the doctrine.

Do not listen to those who entice you with get rich schemes.

“We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises-in exchange for money-miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.”

Stay on the gospel path by having faith in every footstep.

Welcome and embrace anyone who is making his or her own trek today no matter where they are on their journey.

We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice.

Elder Tad R Callister

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The Book of Mormon is not only the keystone of the Church, it can also be the keystone of our testimony.

Emma Smith: He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.

God’s fingerprints are all over the Book of Mormon.

The critics must make the argument that he was a theological genius.

The critics must also make the claim that Joseph was a skilled writer.

Use of cement in ancient America.

Joseph must have been a very, very lucky guesser.

The Book of Mormon is one of God’s priceless gifts to us.

It is God’s compelling witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ

[A great defence of the  Book of Mormon]

Elder Joni L Koch

Be one.

As we enter a meeting house we should leave behind our differences.

Oftentimes we put permanent labels on people.

We have no right to portray anybody…as a badly finished product.

Symonds Ryder.

Story of his father supporting bishop following a disagreement about construction of a new chapel.

Elder Stanley G Ellis

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The Lord trusts us.

Do we trust him?

It seems clear that ‘hard’ is ‘good’.

The hard things in our lives should come as no surprise…Joseph Smith:  “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”

We all have challenges. The variable is our reaction to the ‘hard’

We each choose our reaction to ‘hard’.

Do we have the faith to trust him? …Do we have sufficient faith that he will visit us in our afflictions…He wants what is best for us, he will answer our prayers.

The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith.

Hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord.

Elder Adilson Parella de Paula Parrella

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Story of conversion to the church.

The First Vision. 3 truths:

  1. God calls prophets…By strictly following their counsel we will be protected…

Story of seeking a wife in Brazil. Making a list of 10 girls.

2. The true nature of God. God is a being with flesh and bones as tangible as ours…He is a God who hears and answers our prayers..A God who gave us agency to decide for ourselves to follow him and obey his commandments without coercion…

3. The role of Jesus.

Elder Ian S Ardern

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Caterpillars who eat away at our spiritual roots.

We must do all we can to fortify ourselves spiritually.

The increase in sabbath day observance is just one example of people fortifying themselves spiritually.

Robert D Hales: Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel—living it with all of your “heart, might, mind and strength”—you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness.

Story about the converting power of the Book of Mormon – missionaries in Fiji. Fisherman converted by the Holy Ghost.

As we study from the best books we protect from the menacing jaws of those who seek to gnaw at our spiritual roots.

Jeffrey R Holland: “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. You have more faith than you think you do.”

Elder Jose L Alonso

‘As I have loved you’

The greatest example of God’s love for his children is found in the atonement.

Love is a combination of actions as well as deep feelings.

Love without service is like faith without works – it is dead.

Story of young boy killed by car. Forgiveness of young driver.

Our Heavenly Father loves us. He knows that being able to forgive is as sweet as being forgiven.

We can have joy and happiness as we forgive and serve others.

What kind of family are we? We are a happy family!

Elder Neil L Andersen

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Yes, this is the last session and yes, I am the last speaker.

Trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve is vital.

We come to be taught from on high.

When and how does the inspiration for General Conferences come?

At times the central idea may come quickly…direction often comes in the night…specific words and phrases flow as pure revelation.

Thoughts and feelings will come into your mind.

The teachings of General Conference are the considerations that the Lord would have before us now and in the months ahead.

A message from Elder Hales: When we choose to have faith we are prepared to stand in the presence of God….Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of the Lord.

Elder Nelson prompted to quickly leave the Conference to be at Elder Hales’ bedside.

There is a treasure chest of heavenly direction awaiting your discovery in the messages of General Conference.

Story of Elder Nelson learning Mandarin at age 54 in response to President Kimball’s suggestion that we should reach out to China.

Reference to Elder Nelson and Pesident Eyring responding to President Monson’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon.

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Jesus Christ

General Conference Oct 2017 – Sunday Morning Session

Another session, another tie from President Uchtdorf:

“It is kind of a family tradition that started years ago when between conference sessions, I stained my tie and worriedly searched for a replacement. Fortunately, I had one in my office. My grandsons enjoyed it so much that they changed their ties too, and since then it became almost a sport to do it.”

For this session it is pink with an American stripe. Perhaps we will see a European stripe in the evening session.

Beautiful singing by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir directed by Mack Wilberg.

Sister Jean B Bingham

Having a fulness of joy.

It seems the whole earth is in commotion…It can be difficult to feel the joy that Lehi taught is the purpose of life….Lasting joy is found in our Saviour Jesus Christ and in living the gospel as taught by him.

Memorising the Living Christ document.

Jesus truly is the Light, the Life and the Hope of the world.

As you study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in a myriad if ways your faith in him will increase.

Story of bird flying into house.

Jesus Christ is also the source of peace….Peace will come as we trust that God’s Only Begotten Son can soothe our aching souls.

When we put  our faith into action the Holy Ghost bears witness of truth.

Are our testimonies built on the bedrock of Jesus Christ and his gospel?

What brings you joy?….Take a private moment to reflect on your blessings.

As you centre your life on Jesus Christ you will find joy in your circumstances whatever they may be.

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

Story of man injured falling off a mountain. Miracles in his rescue. Multiple fractures, punctured lung. Described by agnostic surgeon as a miracle.

What about those…..whose miracle never comes?

What about those who die so very young?

‘Has the day of miracles ceased?’

Perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.

Ether 12:18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith;

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego  – Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to adeliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not aserve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Being a child of God is a miracle.

The atonement of Jesus Christ is a miracle.

Our supreme focus should be on the spiritual miracles.

All of us have equal access to these miracles.

Elder David A Bednar

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We can be too easily diverted from focusing on essential spiritual priorities.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Proclamation on Family: ‘ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.’

As we press forward submissively with faith in the Saviour…we are born again…being redeemed of God

Priesthood ordinances and covenants are essential.

God promises us according to our faithfulness the  constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead.

Lorenzo Snow: One of the chief difficulties that many suffer from is, that we are too apt to forget the great object of life, the motive of our Heavenly Father in sending us here to put on mortality, as well as the holy calling with which we have been called; and hence, instead of rising above the little transitory things of time, we too often allow ourselves to come down to the level of the world without availing ourselves of the divine help which God has instituted, which alone can enable us to overcome them.

The sabbath is God’s time…We can look to God and live.

The Lord has always commanded his people to build temples…A temple, literally is the House of the Lord, a sacred space…

A principle purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision.

Sabbath day and temple – sacred time and sacred space – two divine sources of help.

Our sabbath and temple experiences should be spiritual catalysts…..The sabbath and the temple can help us to establish in our homes ‘a more excellent way’

The gospel is….a magnificent tapestry of truth.

The exceeding great promises connected with our ordinances and covenants are sure.

Bishop W Christopher Waddell

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There will be times in our life when we will find ourselves on an unexpected path.

Story of blinded soldier Hyrum Shumway. Served as bishop, stake patriarch and senior missionary.

Hope and peace are always available through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Saviour not only sympathises with us but also empathises with us perfectly.

Mosiah 24: 13 And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as bwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.

The brazen serpent – we have a choice when faced with difficult circumstances.

We are invited to look to the Saviour and live.

Whatever change in life circumstances may come our way…how we respond is always a choice.

Elder W Craig Zwick

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The Lion King. ‘Look beyond what you can see’

We must look at others through the eyes of the Saviour.

We must look past the easy assumptions and stereotypes.

Story of missionary who wanted to go home…Elder, what is hard for you? President, I can’t read.

Elisha and the invisible chariots of fire.

We live in a world that feeds on comparisons…we need to look inward..

Truth…should never be a barrier to kindness.

Story of Beau Richey – teenager killed in ATV accident. Had reminder on phone to read scriptures every day.

Story of wife keeping list on her phone of things that irritated her about her husband. It took me a while to hit select all and even longer to select delete… Her vision changed.

Through the power of Jesus Christ we become able to look spiritually beyond what our eyes can see literally.

President Henry B Eyring

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President Monson’s challenge last conference to read the Book of Mormon.

I have read the Book of Mormon every day for over 50 years.

The spirit he promised has produced a sense of optimism.

We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others.

D&C 6:33-37

33 aFear not to do bgood, my sons, for whatsoever ye csow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow dgood ye shall also reap good for your ereward.

34 Therefore, fear not, little aflock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are bbuilt upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and asinno more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

36 aLook unto me in every bthoughtcdoubt not, fear not.

37 aBehold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the bnails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall cinherit the dkingdom of heaven. Amen.

Story of Teton Dam breaking in Idaho in 1976. Service given by family who had lost their own home.

Aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The Yellow Angels.

Joseph Smith: A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.

Our hearts remain changed only as long as we continue to follow the Prophet’s counsel.

We know that in the last days the world will be in commotion…the Lord will need faithful latter-day saints to take the gospel to every nation, tongue and people.

The Lord expects more from us and from the generations after us.

We are to ponder and apply the Book of Mormon and the words of prophets.

We are to be consistent and persistent in following prophetic counsel.

The best days are ahead for the kingdom of God on the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Priesthood

General Conference Oct 2017 – General Priesthood Session

The session began with a rousing rendition of Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel  by a mixed age priesthood choir. This was followed by Secret Prayer

Elder Dale G Renlund

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A rocket being manouvered for take off – valuable payload. The rocket’s mission is simply to deliver the payload. Rocket=priesthood. Payload =blessings of the atonement. [An interesting analogy further developed in the talk]

Because of His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power and authority to redeem all mankind. To make His atoning power accessible, He has delegated a portion of His power and authority to men on earth. This delegated power and authority is called priesthood. It permits priesthood holders to help Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work—to bring about the salvation and exaltation of God’s children. It does so because it provides His children the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Savior’s atoning power. …

We need the Saviour’s atoning power so that we can be reconciled with Heavenly Father.

Christ’s atoning power needs to be delivered to his children.

God intends priesthood to …deliver the payload.

… Priesthood is essential because necessary ordinances and covenants on earth are administered only by its authority. …

… Priesthood conferral is safeguarded by priesthood keys which are the rights of presidency given to men.. … Priesthood use is likewise safeguarded by priesthood keys but also by covenants that the priesthood holder makes. …

Priesthood is not an amorphous source of autonomous power.

The purpose of the priesthood is to help others come unto Christ…

God’s atoning power is made accessible through the priesthood which delivers the payload.

Both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods are received by covenant. God determines the terms and man accepts. Broadly speaking, priesthood holders covenant to help God in His work. …

To each man who receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, God affirms His covenant promises with an oath. This oath pertains only to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is God who swears the oath, not the priesthood holder. …

Being casual or apathetic in a priesthood calling…jeopardises the priesthood covenant.

Story of restoring priesthood blessings to a ‘young’ man.

D&C 58:42 Behold, he who has arepented of his bsins, the same is cforgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will aconfess them and bforsake them.

The priesthood delivers the gospel of Jesus Christ.

… I invite you to make and keep priesthood covenants. Receive God’s oath and his promise… Use the priesthood to help deliver the opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power to someone else! As you do, great blessings will come to you and to your family.

Elder David F Evans

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Our individual search for truth.

Through study, prayer, and keeping the commandments, I found that there are answers to all of my important questions. I also found that for some questions, continuing faith, patience, and revelation are needed. …

… Willingness to be patient is part of our search for truth and part of the Lord’s pattern of revealing truth. …

President Monson: If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.

I came to know that constant nourishment and continuing effort to repent and keep the commandments is needed. …

President Monson: a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.

To know the truth, we need to live the gospel and “experiment” on the word. We are cautioned to not resist the Spirit of the Lord. Repentance, coupled with a determination to keep the commandments, is an important part of each individual’s search for truth. In fact, we may need to be willing to “give away all” our sins in order to know the truth.

We are commanded to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” and to “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom” [D&C 88:118]. Our search for truth should focus on “the best books” and the best sources. Among the very best are the scriptures and the words of living prophets. President Monson has asked each of us to do what is necessary to obtain and keep a strong testimony.

… What is necessary for your testimony to deepen and strengthen? Each of us has a personal responsibility to do what is necessary to obtain and keep a strong testimony.

Patient covenant keeping brings the blessings of Heaven into our lives.

Elder Richard J Maynes

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Brethren, perhaps there is no greater compliment we could receive from the Lord than to know He trusts us to be worthy priesthood holders and great husbands and fathers.

One thing is for certain: earning the Lord’s trust is a blessing that comes through great effort on our part. Trust is a blessing based on obedience to God’s laws. Earning the Lord’s trust comes as a result of being true to the covenants we have made in the waters of baptism and in the holy temple.

I love both ancient and modern-day scriptures that use the phrase “integrity of heart” when describing a righteous person’s character. Integrity or the lack of integrity is a fundamental element of one’s character. Men who have “integrity of heart” are men to be trusted—because trust is built on integrity.

Family Proclamation – responsibilities of fathers.

Unity with our wives.

2 Nephi 4:34 O Lord, I have atrusted in thee, and I will btrust in thee forever. I will not put my ctrust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his dtrust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

Trust brings, peace, love and an environment where that love can grow.

Trust plays an important part in creating a Christ-centred home.

Story of going on a business trip to Los Angeles with his father. Offered a bribe.

Brethren, it is my prayer this evening that we might all first place our trust in the Lord, as Nephi exemplified, and then through the integrity of our hearts earn the trust of the Lord, as well as the trust of our wives and children. As we understand and apply this sacred principle of trust built on integrity, we will be true to our sacred covenants. We will also succeed in presiding in our families with love and righteousness, providing the necessities of life, and protecting our families from the evils of the world.

Hymn: How Firm a Foundation

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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Story of elderly man buying stamps at post office. Young woman offered to show her how to use machine. He replied that he preferred waiting – ‘The machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.’

We accept aging and illness as part of our earthly journey.

We also face spiritual challenges.

Spiritual wellness.

Sometimes spiritual illness comes because of sin.

..we lose sight of the joy of the gospel. We might even feel that we have no more to give.

We can heal spiritually. Even the deepest spiritual wounds…can be healed. The healing power of Jesus Christ is not absent in our day.…

Whatever causes our spiritual ailments, they all have one thing in common: the absence of divine light.

Darkness reduces our ability to see clearly. It dims our vision of that which was at one time plain and clear….When we are in darkness we are more likely to lose hope.

Light, on the other hand, allows us to see things as they really are. It allows us to discern between truth and error.…We will find spiritual healing as we step away from the shadows of the world and into the everlasting light of Christ.

John 8:12 I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

D&C 84:45-46 For the aword of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is blight, and whatsoever is light is cSpirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

46 And the aSpirit giveth blight to cevery man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

Matthew 6:22 if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

What is night? Night is nothing more than a shadow.

The absence of light causes darkness.

Darkness is not an indication that there is no light. Most often, it simply means we are not in the right place to receive the light. During the recent solar eclipse many made great efforts to get into the narrow band of shadow…

Satan will make every effort to create a shadow or get us into a shadow of our own making.

Even in moments of grearest darkness God hears our humble petitions.

It is up to us to be in the right place to see and feel the divine light and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when night has fallen and the world seems dark, we can choose to walk in Christ’s light, keep His commandments, and courageously testify of His reality and His greatness.

As a bearer of God’s priesthood and as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are a bearer of light. Keep doing the things that will nurture His divine light. Hold up your light and let it shine before men…

My dear brothers, you are instruments in the hands of the Lord with the purpose of bringing light and healing to the souls of Heavenly Father’s children. Perhaps you do not feel qualified to heal those who are spiritually ill…maybe you face spiritual challenges of your own Nevertheless the Lord has called you…. to uplift and bless God’s children.…

Every time you reject temptation and choose purity…the light chases away darkness and attracts others who are seeking light and truth…..

Our young people are seeking light and they need to hear from you…

Christ’s light brings hope, happiness, and healing of any spiritual wound or ailment. Those who experience this refining influence become instruments in the hand of the Light of the world to give light to others…

It is my prayer and blessing that you will succeed in fulfilling your destiny as priesthood holders of Almighty God and always be joyful bearers of His heavenly light.

[Another wonderful talk from President Uchtdorf that I suspect will repay greater study]

President Henry B Eyring

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Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church

He leads his church by speaking to men called prophets

He gives confirming revelation to those who serve under the leadership of his prophets.

The Lord’s leadership of His Church requires great and steady faith from all who serve Him on earth. …

It takes faith to believe that he knows the people that he calls perfectly.

… You have the capacity to receive revelation and to act on it fearlessly.

It takes faith to do so. It takes even greater faith to believe that the Lord has called imperfect human servants to lead you. My purpose..is to build your faith…that the Lord is inspiring the imperfect persons that he has called as your leaders…

Faith is essential.

Story of secretary in teachers quorum sent to a less active boy.

A bishop is sometimes called to serve people who know him well…These members have to know that the call to serve as a bishop came from the Lord by revelation.

Mosiah 2:10-11 I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear ame, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man.

11 But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind; yet I have been chosen by this people, and aconsecrated by bmy father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.

Your leader in the Lord’s Church may seem to you weak and human or may appear to you strong and inspired. The fact is that every leader is a mixture of those traits and more. What helps servants of the Lord who are called to lead us is when we try to see them as the Lord did when He called them.

The Lord sees His servants perfectly. He sees their potential and their future. He knows how their very nature can be changed. He also knows how they can be changed by their experiences with the people they will lead. …

I try not to judge servants of the Lord.

James E Faust: We also need to support and sustain our local leaders, because they also have been “called and chosen.” Every member of this Church may receive counsel from a bishop or a branch president, a stake or a mission president, and the President of the Church and his associates. None of these brethren asked for his calling. None is perfect. Yet they are the servants of the Lord, called by Him through those entitled to inspiration. Those called, sustained, and set apart are entitled to our sustaining support……Disrespect for ecclesiastical leaders has caused many to suffer spiritual weakening and downfall. We should look past any perceived imperfections, warts, or spots of the men called to preside over us, and uphold the office which they hold.

Brigham Young: Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell.

There is a thread that binds us to the Lord in our service. It runs from wherever we are called to serve in the kingdom, up through those called to preside over us in the priesthood, and to the prophet, who is bound to the Lord. It takes faith and humility to serve in the place to which we are called, to trust that the Lord called us and those who preside over us, and to sustain them with full faith.

[An emotional and powerful address by President Eyring]

Closing hymn: We Ever Pray For Thee

Posted in General Conference

General Conference Oct 2017 – Saturday Afternoon Session

Elder Gary E Stevenson

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Mentioned total solar eclipse 21 August 2017.

Spiritual eclipse – minor disruptions blocking out the light of Jesus Christ.

Preventing spiritual eclipse:

Look through the softening and protecting lens of the Spirit…Gospel glasses – partaking of the sacrament, daily scripture study and prayer… Look at challenges through the lens of the gospel…President Uchtdorf – Any virtue when taken to extreme can become a vice…

Risks of social media. ‘What’s the point of being happy if you’re not going to post it’.

2 Corinthians 10:12 but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

When prideful we tend to take honour to ourselves rather than giving it others, including the Lord.

Humility and meekness fit hand in glove.

Avoid the spiritual eclipse of pride by embracing the virtue of humility.

Don’t let life’s distractions eclipse Heaven’s light.

Elder Stephen W Owen

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We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Repentance is always positive.

The story of the Prodigal Son. I have often wondered about the son’s long walk home.

We are all prodigals. We all have to come to ourselves and usually more than once…Repentance is for everyone..Repentance both puts us on the right path and keeps us on the right path.

It is not enough just to gain a testimony – you have to maintain it and strengthen.

Repentance is a lifetime pursuit and not just a once in a lifetime experience…The reward is worth the effort.

Elder Quentin L Cook

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I have enjoyed British humour. I love the British summer – it is my favourite day of the year.

Our precious life on earth is a very short time. As fleeting as a British summer.

We are all equal unto God…All are invited to come to the Lord.

Much of society has lost its moorings and does not understand why we are on the earth.

While this life is relatively short it is incredibly significant.

Alma 5:26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a achange of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the bsong of redeeming love, I would ask, ccan ye feel so now?

June 1837 – call of Heber C Kimball to England. “The idea of being appointed to such an important mission was almost more than I could bear up under,” he wrote later. “I truly felt my weakness and unworthiness.”

Church service requires humility. At every level of the Church it is important to understand the Christ-like virtue of humility.

Some misuse authenticity as a celebration of the natural man.

The humblebrag – an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.

Micah 6:8 …and what doth the Lord arequire of thee, but to do bjustly, and to love cmercy, and to dwalk ehumbly with thy God?

Holding a grudge is poisonous to ours souls.

Humility also includes being grateful for our many blessings and divine assistance.

‘The test of greatness is the way. One meets the eternal Everyday.’

Elder Ronald A Rasband

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Coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God.

Looking back we can see His hand in our lives.

Events and associations unfold in our lives that further God’s work.

The Lord will move us on that seeming chess board to do His work.

The Lord is in the small details of our lives.

Think of those times, some daily, when the Lord has acted in your life and then acted again…Treasure his involvement.

Heavenly Father can put us in situations with specific intention in mind.

We have a choice to follow or not to follow our Saviour and his chosen leaders.

The Lord knows what each of us is capable of doing and becoming.

Each of us has divinity within us.

The Lord’s hand is guiding you.

Elder O Vincent Haleck

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Story of the widow’s mite.

Heart of the widow – stories of Samoan Saints.

Building of the Samoan temple. Members asked to prayerfully consider what they could give. Modern day widow’s mites. These families had consecrated all they could to the Lord.

The heart of a widow is defined by a willingness to give all for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth.

President Russell M Nelson

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Story of meeting with an African king in Ghana.  Given a Book of Mormon. ‘This is more precious than diamonds or rubies’ ‘If I am converted and join the Church I will bring my whole people with me’

President Monson’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon every day.

I have tried to follow his counsel.

3 questions:

  1. What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?
  2. What would you not know?
  3. What would you not have?

Death allows us to progress to the next world.

The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained within the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon gives purpose to life.

It abolishes forever the false concepts that revelation ended with the Bible and that the heavens are sealed.

We need to feel deep in the inmost parts of our heart that the Book of Mormon is unequivocably the word of God.

This is the book that will help to prepare the word for the Second Coming of the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Conference

General Conference Oct 2017 – Saturday Morning Session

President Eyring announced that President Monson was watching the proceedings from his home.

The choir sang ‘God Bless Our Prophet Dear’

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Inbuilt longing for our spiritual home.

God is our Father, he cares for us and there is a way to return to him.

You are not alone, God still calls to you.

2 reasons why you should turn to the Lord:

  1. Your life will be better. Following our Saviour will not remove all our trials. It will remove the barriers between us and God. Those who incline their hearts to God will be encircled by his peace.
  2. It will help you bless the lives of God’s other children. Blessings will come not so much because of our abilities but because of our choices.The history of God’s work is filled with people who consider themselves inadequate.

How encouraging it is to know that God was able to use them anyway (talking about people in Church history who were imperfect).

Those who love and serve God and fellow man and actively participate in his work will see wonderful things happen in their lives and the lives of those they love.

Life is not a self-driving car, it is not an aeroplane on auto pilot……Discipleship requires a willingness to swim upstream when needed.

Please heed the call of your Saviour, follow him.

The gospel…is the pathway that leads us home.

Sister Bonnie L Oscarson

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Losing ourselves in service to others.

Need to be diligent in the way in which we use our personal devices.

It is sometimes easy to miss opportunities for service because we are distracted.

Serving those who are closest to us.

Changing the world begins with strengthening your own family.

Serving in the ward family.

Ask your Heavenly Father to show you who around you needs your help.

Remember that some of the greatest needs might be those right in front of you….You can find ways to serve, lift and strengthen. Begin where you are.

Who needs me today?

Elder Dallin H Oaks

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John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Thomas S Monson: We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God.

Elder M Russell Nelson:  In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; exaltation is a family matter.

Latter-day Saints have distinctive priorities and practices.

Isaiah 51:7 …fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

The Family Proclamation defines the nature of family relationships.

We sometimes face but need not fear what Isaiah calls the reproach of men.

[Description of what led to the Proclamation]

Gordon B Hinckley: Now, in closing, I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness.

Elder John C Pingree Jr

Fulfilling divine assignments
4 principles:
1. Focus on others.
2. Discover and develop spiritual gifts. As we discover our gifts we have a responsibility to develop our gifts.
3. Make use of adversity.
4. Rely on God .
D&C 30:2 But your mind has been on the things of the aearth more than on the things of me, your Maker, and the ministry whereunto you have been called; and you have not given heed unto my bSpirit,

 

Elder D Todd Christofferson

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Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life.

John 6: 56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, adwelleth in me, and I in him.

57 As the living Father hath asent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall blive by me.

58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

The symbolism of the sacrament.

As the bread is broken we remember the Saviour’s torn flesh.

As we drink the water we think of the blood that he shed

Jesus could not have atoned for the sins of others unless he was sinless…This suggests the need for a mighty striving in our life…We must be willing to give away all of our sins.

To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ means to pursue holiness.

Marion G Romney: Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

Be ye therefore perfect.

Such celestial goals seem beyond our reach.

I’m just not good enough…I’ll never measure up.

As children of God we should not demean or vilify ourselves.

We live in a fallen world, and for now we are a fallen people.

I am grateful that God is merciful and a peacemaker because I need mercy and the world needs peace.

From the beginning the gospel has been for the perfecting of the Saints.

Our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from Heaven, We won’t earn it.

Every one of us is a debtor.

While in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement.

Give your help to anyone trying to walk the path back to God.

May we refuse to let our own mortal follies…make us cynical.