Posted in Faith, Jesus Christ, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 8: We Look to Christ

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley relates an incident that occurred following the open house of the Mesa Arizona temple. He was asked by a Protestant minister why there were no crucifixes on the temple. President Hinckley responded that for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ while our message was about the living Christ.

“He then asked: ‘If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?’

“I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship. …

“… No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when he said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15.)

If we, as Church members, are to be ‘the only meaningful expression of our faith’ what does that mean for the way in which we must live our lives?

1. Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God.

‘In the premortal life, Jesus Christ, whose main title was Jehovah, was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and thus the eldest brother and preeminent above all other spirit children of God. In that first estate, he came to be more intelligent than all other spirits, one “like unto God” (Abr. 3:19, 24), and served as the representative of the Father in the creation of “worlds without number” (Heb. 1:1–3; D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33; 7:30). LDS leaders have declared that all revelation since the Fall of Adam has been by, and through, Jehovah (Jesus Christ) and that whenever the Father has appeared unto man, it has been to introduce and bear record of the Son (Joseph Smith Translation [JST], John 1:19; Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27). He was known to Adam, and the patriarchs from Adam to Noah worshiped him in humble reverence. He was the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God-Lawgiver on Sinai, the Holy One of Israel. Scriptural records affirm that all the prophets from the beginning spoke or wrote of the time when Jehovah would come to earth in the form of man, in the role of a messiah. Peter said, “to him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 2:25–31; 10:43). Jacob taught that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ” (Jacob 7:11; cf. Mosiah 3:5–10; 13:33; 3 Ne. 20:24).’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

christ-light-art_1437265_inl

From the manual:

‘To all who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: “Be not faithless, but believing” [John 20:27]. Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited the western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.’

What accounts and teachings from the Savior’s life have special meaning to you?

2. Each of us can know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world, resurrected from the grave.

Watch video: He is not here: for He is risen. President Hinckley speaks about the Resurrection from the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. An excerpt from “Special Witnesses of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2001. (2:24)

Watch video: Jesus is resurrected.  Peter and John find the empty tomb. Jesus, now resurrected, appears to Mary.

Read: Jesus Christ and resurrection.

jesus-christ

‘Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings, p. 121). Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

From the manual:

‘The acquisition of understanding and enthusiasm for the Lord comes from following simple rules. … I should like to suggest three, elementary in their concept, almost trite in their repetition, but fundamental in their application and fruitful in their result. …

The first is to read—to read the word of the Lord. … Read, for instance, the Gospel of John from its beginning to its end. Let the Lord speak for himself to you, and his words will come with a quiet conviction that will make the words of his critics meaningless. Read also the testament of the New World, the Book of Mormon, brought forth as a witness “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” (Book of Mormon title page.)

The next is to serve—to serve in the work of the Lord. … The cause of Christ does not need your doubts; it needs your strength and time and talents; and as you exercise these in service, your faith will grow and your doubts will wane. …

The third is to pray. Speak with your Eternal Father in the name of his Beloved Son. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20.)’

How have these principles helped you deepen your spiritual understanding?

3. We need to continually ask ourselves, “What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

Seeking to know and understand the attributes of Jesus Christ is of little worth unless we try to become like him and obtain those attributes. See 3 Nephi 12:48.

names-jesus-christ-bible-list-meaning

From the manual:

‘What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?

Learn of him. Search the scriptures for they are they which testify of him. Ponder the miracle of his life and mission. Try a little more diligently to follow his example and observe his teachings.’

How would your life be different if you did not know of the Savior’s teachings and example?

4. We look to Jesus Christ as the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, and the focus of our faith.

We sometimes speak of faith as the first principle of the gospel. It would be more accurate to talk of ‘faith in Jesus Christ’.

From the manual:

‘We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.’

In what ways is Christ our “one bright hope”? How is He our “beacon to a better way”?

Elder Dallin H Oaks said: ‘Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings.’

 

 

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 16: “Thou Shalt … Offer Up Thy Sacraments upon My Holy Day”

1. The Lord established the Sabbath.

First Presidency Statement on the Sabbath, January 1993

Since the creation of the earth, the Sabbath day has been established by God for the spiritual well-being of His children. Throughout generations of time, the sacred law of the Sabbath has been upheld by the prophets of God as a holy observance to help sanctify and bring joy to those who would keep the commandments of the Lord. So important is this matter that the observance of the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of the Lord on Mount Sinai.

Shortly after the restoration of the gospel, the Lord reaffirmed the importance of Sabbath day observance when He declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
“For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
“Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
“But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
“And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.’ (D&C 59:9–13.)

We sense that many Latter-day Saints have become lax in their observance of the Sabbath day. We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath.

We urge all Latter-day Saints to set this holy day apart from activities of the world and consecrate themselves by entering into a spirit of worship, thanksgiving, service, and family-centered activities appropriate to the Sabbath. As Church members endeavor to make their Sabbath activities compatible with the intent and Spirit of the Lord, their lives will be filled with joy and peace.

Ezra Taft Benson
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson

2. Pay devotions to God by worshiping Him in Sunday Church meetings.

Watch video: Keep thyself unspotted from the world. President Hinckley teaches how to “keep thyself unspotted from the world (D&C 59:9-14).”

D&C 59:9 Thou shalt go to the house of prayer

“To serve the Lord, is one of the great objects of our existence; and I appreciate as a great privilege the opportunity we enjoy of worshiping God on the Sabbath day. And when we do meet to worship God, I like to see us worship him with all our hearts. I think it altogether out of place on such occasions to hear people talk about secular things; these are times, above all others perhaps, when our feelings and affections should be drawn out towards God. If we sing praises to God, let us do it in the proper spirit; if we pray, let every soul be engaged in prayer, doing it with all our hearts, that through our union our spirits may be blended in one, that our prayers and our worship may be available with God, whose Spirit permeates all things, and is always present in the assemblies of good and faithful Saints.” (John Taylor In Journal of Discourses, 22:226.)

D&C 25:12 The song of the heart

“Alexander Schreiner, one of the great tabernacle organists, recalled a story about someone who asked a music director how he could stand to hear Brother Stanton bellow off-key at Church gatherings. The wise old leader replied, ‘Brother Stanton is one of our most devout worshipers, and when he bellows he is a supreme musician. . . . Don’t pay too much attention to the sounds he makes. If you do, you may miss the music.'” (Ensign, March 2000, p. 19)

3. Pay devotions to God by partaking of the sacrament.

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

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

Watch video: Upon my holy day – getting closer to God. Elder Jeffery R. Holland discusses how we can draw closer to God on the Sabbath.

34446

D&C 59:12 Thou shalt offer thine oblations

‘One thing that greatly disturbs me as I go around a little bit is the consciousness of the great number of people who are losing their opportunities and their blessings by the misuse of the Sabbath day. All of our lives we have heard of the great wonders that can be accomplished by even fifteen minutes a day devoted to well-directed study and concentrated thought. We know of many who have raised themselves to great heights of achievement by this simple means. But think how wonderfully we can upgrade our spirituality by making effective use of “The Lord’s Day”  D&C 59:12 which he has set aside especially to enrich our lives.’ (Sterling W Sill, General Conference, April 1957)

4. Pay devotions to God by resting from your labours.

D&C 59:10 Rest from your labours

‘The scripture therefore requires that we not only desist from our usual pursuits, on his holy day, but that we do so with a particular purpose in mind, which is, that we may more properly and without interference pay our devotions unto the Most High. In plain, blunt words, we are commanded to change our usual routine and go to church and worship God on the Sabbath.’ (Mark E Petersen, General Conference, April 1975)

5. The Lord blesses those who keep the Sabbath day holy.

53ce564cf60155c340d7468b07a3445f

D&C 59:16-17 The fulness of the earth is yours

‘I wish I had the power to convert this whole Church to the observance of the Sabbath. I know our people would be more richly blessed of the Lord if they would walk in faithfulness in the observance of the Sabbath. ‘(Earl C. Tingey, “The Sabbath Day and Sunday Shopping,” Ensign, May 1996, 10)

 

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 15: “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”

1. All faithful members of the Church can receive gifts of the Spirit.

767036d89239c8293dcf7e7bd4d6f46f

D&C 46:13 It is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

‘It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, … following the teachings. I do not hesitate to promise, because I know from personal experience, that out of all of this will come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a conviction, a testimony, a certain knowledge.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Ye May Know That He Is,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 31)

D&C 46:14 To others it is given to believe on their words

‘”To some it is given,” says the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants, “by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world”  (D&C 46:13)

It is to these I refer who stand firm upon the rock of revelation in the testimony that they bear to the world. But the Lord says further that there are those to whom it is given to believe upon the testimony of the words of others  (D&C 46:14) Note that. They believe upon the words of others that they may also receive salvation if they continue faithful. For all these, however, there comes a testimony also of daily experience. The members of the Church throughout the world find confirmation of their testimony in every performance of duty. They know that the gospel teaches them to be better individuals, that obedience to the principles of the gospel makes them stronger men and truer women. Every day such knowledge comes to them, and they cannot gainsay it. They know that obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ makes them happier, better, and truer husbands, true and honored wives, obedient children. They know that obedience to the principles of the gospel makes them in every respect ideal home builders. The ideal is there. They sense it in their minds. They cannot gainsay it. They know it, and they know that transgression of these principles will have the opposite effect upon their individual lives and upon their home lives. They know that obedience to the gospel fosters true brotherhood and fellowship among mankind. They know that they are better citizens by virtue of obedience to the laws and ordinances So, as they go through their daily activities and apply religion in their weekly vocations, the truth of the gospel becomes exemplified in their lives, thus with a testimony of the Spirit, the testimony of reason, and the testimony of daily experience, members of the Church throughout the world stand impregnable. (David O McKay, General Conference, October 1960)

D&C 46:15 The differences of administration

‘There are two spiritual gifts in particular—the gifts of administration and of discernment—that the Lord has placed in his church to keep his people from being led astray. The saints need not fall heir to false doctrine; they have no need to accept false ordinances; they need not be led astray by false gifts; and their worship can be kept pure and perfect—as long as these two gifts are in active operation.

Paul says that “there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” Then he names some of the spiritual gifts that are administered or dispensed to the individual saints. He compares these gifts to the members or parts of the body, each gift being a separate member but all of them together forming one body. The church, he says, is “the body of Christ,” and each of the saints is a part or member of that body. Apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, governments—all of these, he says, are found in the true church. And through the officers named, the church is governed and the gospel is administered. (1 Corinthians 12.)

Paul then gives a comparison between charity and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13), followed by a long discussion on the relative importance of prophecy and tongues. Following this, certain conclusions are reached, such as: All things are to be done unto edifying. Only two or three should speak in tongues in one meeting. An interpreter must always be present. Two or three prophets may speak while the other prophets sit in judgment upon their words. All prophetic utterances are subject to and governed by other prophets. Presiding prophets are always in control. There is to be no confusion, no disorder. All things are to be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14.) That is to say, there is order and system in the church. Someone is always in charge. Members do not act independently as their whims dictate. The Lord’s house is a house of order. Someone with discernment sits in judgment on what is said and done, rejecting the bad and approving the good.

Moroni says that “there are different ways that these gifts [of God] are administered.” (Moroni 10:8.) In the revelation on spiritual gifts that has come in our day, the Lord approaches the problem directly. He says: “Ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally.” It is the Lord’s work; he will determine what ought to be done and said in his church. “And that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving.” Manifestly, anyone who walks in such a godly course will be in tune with the Spirit and will know the mind and will of the Lord. As to why the saints must so seek and so live, the divine word says: “That ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts.”

The gifts used in administering and regulating the church are then named: “To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.” All of the gifts of the Spirit must be dispensed in an orderly way, according to the needs and conditions of the moment. All of the affairs of the earthly kingdom must be administered as changing needs and circumstances require.

Also: “It is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.” It is to the gift of discernment that reference is here made. Appointed leaders must be able to divide true doctrine from false, to single out true prophets from the false, to discern between true spirits and false ones.

“And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God. And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit; that unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.” (D&C 46:7-29.)

As long as the Lord’s people enjoy the gifts of the Spirit, including the gifts of administration and discernment, they will never go astray. And “all these gifts, which are spiritual,” Moroni says, “never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” (Moroni 10:19.)’ (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.277-278)

D&C 46:16 The gift to know the diversity of operations

‘The world today is filled with false philosophies and false prophets. This gift gives one the ability to distinguish between those things that are of the devil and those that are of God. To avoid deception requires constant vigilance and acquiring the gift or following those who have received the gift; otherwise, even the elect, according to the covenant, could be deceived.’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 46:17-18 Wisdom and knowledge

‘Gaining knowledge is one thing and applying it, quite another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; and true education-the education for which the Church stands-is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character.

A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and of mathematics; he may be authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practice virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man.’ (Gospel Ideals: Selections from the Discourses of David O. McKay [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953], 440.)

Knowledge-Hierarchy

D&C 46:19 Faith to be healed

‘Though the authority to administer to the sick belongs to the elders of the Church in general, some possess this power in an unusual degree, having received it as an especial endowment of the Spirit. Another gift, allied to this, is that of having faith to be healed, which is manifested in varying degrees. Not always are the administrations of the elders followed by immediate healings; the afflicted may be permitted to suffer in body, perhaps for the accomplishment of good purposes, and in the time appointed all must experience bodily death. But let the counsels of God be observed in administering to the afflicted; then if they recover, they live unto the Lord; and the assuring promise is added that those who die under such conditions die unto the Lord.’ (James E Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 205)

D&C 46:20 Faith to heal

‘Faith to heal the sick is one of the most desirable gifts of the gospel and should be sought after by all Melchizedek Priesthood holders. They should always be ready to exercise this power in behalf of those who need a blessing. They should seek to have and develop the gift of faith, faith to heal and faith to be healed. “And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith,” the Lord has said, “they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.” (D&C 35:9.)

Administration to the sick should be done at the request of the sick persons or someone close to them who is concerned about them, that it might be done through their faith.’ (James A Cullimore, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 28)

D&C 46:21 The working of miracles

“I bear my witness to you that if a record had been made of all those who have been afflicted, those who have been given up to die, and who have been healed by the power of God since the establishment of the Church of Christ in our day, it would make a book much larger than the New Testament. More miracles have been performed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than we have any account of in the days of the Savior and His Apostles. Today, sickness is cured by spiritual power … The dead have been raised. My own brother was announced to be dead, but by the prayer of faith he lives and presides over one of the stakes of Zion. I know, as I know I live, that the healing power of Almighty God … is in the Church of Christ of which you and I are members.” (Heber J Grant, Conference Reports, October 6, 1910, p. 119)

D&C 46:22 The gift of prophecy

“All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance, which is the spirit by which the word of the Lord is understood and his purpose made known.” (Joseph FielChurch History and Modern Revelation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1953, 1:201.)

D&C 46:23 Discerning of spirits

‘First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate, which has been spoken of in our hearing before, particularly as between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions-spiritual impressions, if you will-to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them. It is the gift every missionary needs when he takes the gospel to the people of the world. He must make an appraisal of every personality whom he meets. He must be able to discern the hidden spark that may be lighted for truth. The gift of discernment will save him from mistakes and embarrassment, and it will never fail to inspire confidence in the one who is rightly appraised.’ (Stephen L Richards, Where Is Wisdom? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], 199 – 200.)

D&C 46:24-25 Speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues

“Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:31–32)

087-087-brother-joseph-full

2. God gives gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of His children.

D&C 46:9 And him that seeketh so to do

‘When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:9) Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.’ (Jeffrey R Holland, General Conference, April 2016)

D&C 46:11-12, 26 To some is given one

‘Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety. Those listed in the revealed word are simply illustrations of the boundless outpouring of divine grace that a gracious God gives those who love and serve him. ‘ (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.367-377)

3. We should seek and cultivate gifts of the Spirit.

D&C 46:8 Seek ye earnestly the best gifts

“What are the best gifts, or what gifts ought we seek? The answer: those gifts that would find best service in the office and call that is ours. For the Apostle it may be the testimony of Christ. For the bishop it may be the gift of discernment. For a patriarch it will likely be the gift of prophecy. A faithful father might seek to be endowed with the gift of wisdom, while a mother might yearn in prayer for the pure love of Christ. The newly called missionary might seek to speak with the tongue of angels. And so forth. With the companionship of the Holy Ghost comes the right to a gift, but none are limited to a single gift save those who fail to seek others.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 33)

D&C 46:7 Ask of God

‘Now the Lord would give us gifts. He will quicken our minds. He will give us knowledge that will clear up all difficulties, and put us in harmony with the commandments that he has given us, and with a knowledge that will be so deeply rooted in our souls that the knowledge can never be rooted out, if we will just seek for the light and the truth and the understanding which is promised to us, and which we can receive if we will only be true and faithful to every covenant and obligation pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, October 1958)

D&C 46:32 Give thanks unto God

‘And about what shall we pray in our prayers? We should express joyful and sincere gratitude for past blessings. The Lord has said, “And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.” (D&C 46:32.) A wonderful and assuring spirit comes over us as we express sincere gratitude to Heavenly Father for our blessings-for the gospel and the knowledge of it that we have been blessed to receive, for the efforts and labors of parents and others in our behalf, for our families and friends, for opportunities, for mind and body and life, for experiences good and helpful throughout our lives, for all of our Father’s helps and kindnesses and answered prayers.’ (Spencer W Kimball, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1981, 4)

 

Posted in Holy Ghost, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 7: The Whisperings of the Spirit

quote-listen-to-the-whisperings-of-the-spirit-the-gift-of-revelation-to-which-you-are-entitled-gordon-b-hinckley-139-87-57

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

This section tells how the Spirit inspired President Hinckley when searching for a suitable place to build a temple in Hong Kong.

Have you ever had an experience where the Spirit has whispered to you in the night or in the early morning?

1. The Holy Ghost is the Comforter and the Testifier of truth.

See Experience vs Opinion.

From the manual:

‘The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach [us] things [we] cannot teach one another.’

Elder Bednar likes to ask at the end of meetings or discussions – ‘What did you learn from what was said?’ He then asks ‘What did you learn from what was not said?’

The Holy Ghost’s specific role is to testify of the Father and the Son. See 3 Nephi 28:11.

2. We need the Holy Ghost to guide us in our service at home and in the Church.

From the manual:

‘May I give a special word of counsel to parents who stand as heads of families: we need the direction of the Holy Ghost in the delicate and tremendous task that is ours in strengthening the spirituality of our homes.’

How can we invite the Holy Ghost to direct us as we lead our families?

3. Revelation almost always comes to us through a still, small voice—the whispering of the Spirit.

See video: Receiving Revelation.  You can receive personal revelation from God by living His gospel and having the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit usually communicates with us through our thoughts and feelings. See D&C 8:2-3.

Boyd K Packer taught:

‘The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather, it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all….Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of teh time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening.’

From the manual:

‘Why is it important to know that the Holy Ghost usually communicates in “a still, small voice”? What have you learned from your own experiences about recognizing communications from the Holy Ghost?’

4. The things of the Spirit enlighten, build, and uplift us.

See Spirit or Emotion?

From the manual:

‘How do we know the things of the Spirit? How do we know that it is from God? By the fruits of it. If it leads to growth and development, if it leads to faith and testimony, if it leads to a better way of doing things, if it leads to godliness, then it is of God. If it tears us down, if it brings us into darkness, if it confuses us and worries us, if it leads to faithlessness, then it is of the devil.’

How can these teachings help us recognize the influence of the Spirit?

“We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity, but that is no authority.” (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 159)

Consider what Joseph Smith told Brigham Young:

“Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, that it will lead them aright. Be careful and not turn away the still, small voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their heart open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits—it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good” (quoted in Juvenile Instructor, 19 July 1873, 114)

5. The Holy Ghost will be our constant companion as we live for this blessing.

See video:  Having the Holy Ghost. You can invite the Holy Spirit into your life through prayer, scripture study and being obedient to God’s commandments. (2:56)

Consider the differences between:

  • feeling the Holy Ghost testify to us
  • being given the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.

From the manual:

‘“How do you keep the Spirit of the Lord with you at all times?” Well, you live worthy of it; you live worthy of the Spirit of the Lord. That is what you do. And you will have it. … Just live right. Stay away from the sleaze. Stay away from pornography. Stay away from these things that pull you down. The books you read, the magazines you read, the videos you look at, the television programs you look at, the shows you go to, all have an effect on you and will do if you subject yourself to the influence of those titillating kinds of things which are designed to make you poor and somebody else rich. Stay away from them.’

Are there things in your life that are impairing your ability to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost?

“If a man ‘yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord’ (Mosiah 3:19), then he is born again. His spiritual death ceases. He becomes alive to the things of the Spirit; he returns to the presence of God because he receives the gift of the Holy Ghost; and he is alive to the things of righteousness. He crucifies the old man of sin, becomes a new creature of the Holy Ghost, and walks in a newness of life. This is what is meant by being born again.” (Bruce R McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 350)

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 14: The Law of Consecration

1. The Lord revealed the law of consecration to the Saints.

See Revelations in Context: The Law

D&C 42:30 Consecrate of thy properties

“In principle, consecration means to give all we possess or may possess to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to administer to the poor and needy and to build Zion, the New Jerusalem (see v. 35). Only those who are willing to give everything to the Lord are worthy to receive everything from him. All Church members who have been to the temple have covenanted to live the law of consecration, though at present the institutional expectations of the Church require them to live only the law of tithing (see D&C 119) and to accept those demands on their resources that are made in their home wards and branches. Those who have difficulty living the law of tithing, which gives only 10 percent of our increase to the Lord, will undoubtedly have even greater difficulty living the law of consecration, which gives 100 percent to the Lord. Those individuals who have accepted the law of consecration by covenant yet will not observe the law of tithing or make other sacrifices of time or resources requested of them have broken their temple covenants.

“Consecration requires faith that the principle will work and unselfishness to give our possessions to help the poor or the cause of Zion. A Zion people eventually will not have any poor among them (see D&C 104:16; 4 Nephi 1:3; Moses 7:18), so implementing the law of consecration is necessary in order to establish Zion.

“The principle of consecration can be applied in several different ways. A possible application in the early Church was the system instituted in Ohio and Missouri between 1831 and 1833 (see D&C 51, 56, 72). Another was the united order (see D&C 78:3-12; 92:1; 104:53), and still another was the implementation of various united orders in the Salt Lake Great Basin. But when Zion is established in the last days, the principle of consecration might be applied differently than it has been earlier. The ‘law of consecration’ and the ‘united order’ are not necessarily synonymous terms, and one should recognize the difference between the principle of consecration itself and the many different possible systems under which the financial portions of that principle might be implemented.” (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 2:21-22)

United Order 1

D&C 42:35 Purposes of the law of consecration

‘The law of consecration … is that one’s time, talents, strength, property, and money are given up to the Lord for the express purpose of building up the kingdom of God and establishing Zion on the earth.’ (Ezra Taft Benson, Brigham Young University, 12 April 1977)

D&C 42:40 Let all thy garments be plain

“This [verse] doesn’t refer to the time of Isaiah nor to the time of Alma, but comes right down to the day in which we live. Through His prophets He admonishes us with reference to our duties, and among the things He says are these: ‘And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands.’ What a splendid thing to contemplate in our community. …

“Now, my brethren and sisters, I think that is worthy of our consideration. When discussing the high cost of living, examine your own household, and I am talking to myself while I talk to you. Am I increasing the cost of living by extravagance, or am I teaching my family to make the garments they wear? …

“Let us set an example; let us live within our means; let us be lenders instead of borrowers; let us not place our homes or the lands that produce our living under mortgages, in order that we may ride in fine conveyances or keep up with the pace set by our neighbors who may be able to afford it. Let us be more concerned about the adornment of our minds that are eternal, rather than adornment of our persons with things that are of no lasting benefit.” (George Albert Smith, In Conference Report, Apr. 1915, p. 97.)

D&C 42:42 Thou shalt not be idle

‘In this last dispensation, the Lord has again spoken plainly on the subject. “Thou shalt not be idle,” he said. “For he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” (D&C 42:42.) “And the idler shall not have place in the Church, except he repent and mend his ways.” (D&C 75:29.)

In light of these scriptures, no member should desire or seek to voluntarily shift the responsibility for his own maintenance to another. Rather, each member, through work, should seek to find great satisfaction in personal achievement; and thus, he will be entitled to the fruits of his labors-both temporal and spiritual.

Furthermore, self-reliance, as we understand it, implies at least one additional thought-personal accountability. Abinadi tells us that in spiritual matters, we shall all be “brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to [our] works whether they be good or whether they be evil.” (Mosiah 16:10.)

Just as each individual is accountable for his choices and actions in spiritual matters, so also is he accountable in temporal matters. If we have been frugal and saved for a rainy day, then we can more easily weather the financial storm. If we have lived beyond our means, then we pay the consequences of our own actions when the bills come.’ (Marion G Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Ensign, Apr. 1981, 4)

D&C 51:9 Be alike

‘Under the united order everyone was alike in that they were independent and had full opportunity to use their gifts and talents in building the kingdom of God. They were also alike in that all had equal opportunity to benefit from whatever talents and abilities existed in the community. The idea that everyone was alike in goods possessed or income received is in error. The order was united in love, purpose, and commitment, but unity does not mean sameness. A couple with seven children has needs different from one just beginning married life.’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 78:3-7 Equal in earthly things

‘It was because Enoch and his people were united in temporal things as also in heavenly things, that they met with such success that the Lord took them. Had there been inequality, selfishness, bickerings, and accusations against Enoch, as we have accusations and fault-finding against the brethren whom the Lord has appointed in this day, then Enoch’s city might have found its fate along with all the rest of the world, in Noah’s day.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 2: 75 – 76.)

D&C 78:14 Stand independent

‘When the winds blow and the rains pour, they blow and pour on all. Those who have built their foundations on bedrock rather than sand survive the storms. [See  Matthew 7:24–27] There is a way to build on bedrock by developing a deep personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing how to receive inspiration. We must know—and know that we know. We must stand spiritually and temporally independent of all worldly creatures. [See  D&C 78:14] This begins by understanding that God the Father is the Father of our spirits and that He loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior, and that the Holy Ghost can communicate with our minds and our hearts. [See  D&C 8:2–3] This is how we receive inspiration. We need to learn how to recognize and apply these promptings.’ (Allen F Packer, General Conference, April 2009)

D&C 82:17-19 Every man seeking the interest of his neighbour

“It is verily true that before we can enter into the celestial kingdom we will have to learn how to live in unity with the love of our fellows at heart, desiring their good as well as our own, and not preferring ourselves before them. Here the Lord gave to the Church the plan and the opportunity to prepare themselves by obedience to celestial law. They failed, and the privilege to practice this law of consecration had to be postponed because we were not able to esteem our neighbor as ourselves.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:322.)

3-21-2013 5-58-25 PM

2. The law of consecration is an eternal law.

‘[God] has from the beginning of time provided ways for His disciples to help. He has invited His children to consecrate their time, their means, and themselves to join with Him in serving others.

His way of helping has at times been called living the law of consecration. In another period His way was called the united order. In our time it is called the Church welfare program.

The names and the details of operation are changed to fit the needs and conditions of people. But always the Lord’s way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work.

He has invited and commanded us to participate in His work to lift up those in need. We make a covenant to do that in the waters of baptism and in the holy temples of God. We renew the covenant on Sundays when we partake of the sacrament.’ (Henry B Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Ensign, May 2011)

‘We are not always called upon to live the whole law of consecration and give all of our time, talents, and means to the building up of the Lord’s earthly kingdom. Few of us are called upon to sacrifice much of what we possess, and at the moment there is only an occasional martyr in the cause of revealed religion.

But what the scriptural account means is that to gain celestial salvation we must be able to live these laws to the full if we are called upon to do so. Implicit in this is the reality that we must in fact live them to the extent we are called upon so to do.

How, for instance, can we establish our ability to live the full law of consecration if we do not in fact pay an honest tithing? Or how can we prove our willingness to sacrifice all things, if need be, if we do not make the small sacrifices of time and toil, or of money and means, that we are now asked to make?

As a young man, serving at the direction of my bishop, I called upon a rich man and invited him to contribute a thousand dollars to a building fund. He declined. But he did say he wanted to help, and if we would have a ward dinner and charge $5 per plate, he would take two tickets. About ten days later this man died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and I have wondered ever since about the fate of his eternal soul.’ (Bruce R McConkie, Ensign, May 1975, 50)

3. We can consecrate our lives to the Lord now.

D&C 104:13 Every man accountable

‘If there is one principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ that goes directly to the very foundation of justice and righteousness, it is that great and glorious and God-like principle that every man will have to render an account for that which he does, and every man will be rewarded for his works, whether they be good or evil. ‘(Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 69.)

D&C 19:26 Thou shalt not covet thine own property

‘As we consider ourselves trustees of wealth for the benefit of God’s children, we should not worship property, whether it be of great or small value. If we are guilty of worshiping property, then we have need to repent and straighten out our values.

A person who places the wealth of this world in the scales against the things of God evidences little understanding of eternal values.

We talk about making sacrifices to build the kingdom of God, but the word to me is a misnomer—to be able to participate in building the kingdom is a great privilege and blessing.’ (Franklin D Richards, General Conference, April 1971)

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2017, Joseph Smith, LDS Doctrine, Uncategorized

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 13: “This Generation Shall Have My Word through You”

1. The Lord declared that the people in this dispensation would receive His word through Joseph Smith.

D&C 5:10 This generation shall have my word through you

“I’ve listed the most prolific scriptural producers besides Joseph Smith:

Mormon 338 pages
Moses 308 pages
Jeremiah 170 pages
Paul 122 pages
Nephi 117 pages
Luke 103 pages
Unknown writer of Chronicles 86 pages
Isaiah 81 pages
Unknown writer of 1 and 2 Samuel 81 pages
John 74 pages

“Now consider Joseph Smith’s accomplishments in bringing forth scripture:

Book of Mormon 531 pages
Doctrine and Covenants 1-134 280 pages
Pearl of Great Price 58 pages
Joseph Smith Translation 30 pages

“These 10 most prolific scriptural producers authored a total of 1,480 pages. Joseph Smith alone was responsible for 900. His total pages equal nearly 61 percent of the total pages of the other top 10 producers, and he is responsible for nearly three times as many pages as either of the two next highest scriptural producers, Mormon and Moses. Before Joseph Smith, the world had only the 1,590 pages of the Bible; through this one man, the Lord increased our scriptural library by more than half.

“Yet counting pages serves only to indicate how prodigious the Prophet Joseph Smith’s efforts were; what really matters is the content of the new scriptures that he gave to the world. Joseph Smith gave us new or expanded knowledge about a full spectrum of gospel topics:

  • The nature of the Godhead
  • The role and functions of the Holy Ghost
  • The nature of intelligences
  • The premortal existence
  • The Council in Heaven
  • Jesus Christ’s and Lucifer’s premortal roles
  • The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement
  • Family and parental responsibilities
  • Priesthood keys, organization, and ordinances
  • The laws of consecration and stewardship
  • The temple endowment and temple sealings
  • Work for the dead
  • Spirit paradise and spirit prison
  • The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
  • The three degrees of glory and outer darkness

“In addition to canonized scripture, Joseph Smith also gave us many journals, sermons, lectures, and histories that provide additional gospel teachings and knowledge of the Lord’s work in the latter days. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘This generation shall have my word through you [the Prophet Joseph Smith]’ (D&C 5:10).

“In fact, it could be truly said that the depth and consistency of the gospel’s saving doctrines can be traced to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s accomplishment in bringing forth new scriptures. ‘I never told you I was perfect,’ Joseph Smith said, ‘but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught’ (History of the Church, 6:366).” (Gerald N Lund, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 52-53)

6087b80aa1e499c8e78604bf2ab35e87

2. Many ancient and latter-day scriptures have come through Joseph Smith.

See This generation shall have my word through you by Elder Bruce R McConkie

See Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham. This Gospel Topics essay discusses the book of Abraham, addressing questions that have been raised about the relationship between the papyri Joseph Smith obtained and the text we have today.

092-092-joseph-smith-translating-book-of-mormon-full

D&C 35:20 Thou shalt write for him

“To Sidney He gave a special command that he should write for Joseph. The Lord made known to Sidney what Joseph already understood—that the Scriptures should be given, even as they were in God’s own bosom, to the salvation of His elect. And soon after this time, Joseph began a new translation of the scriptures. While he labored, many truths, buried through scores of ages, were brought forth to his understanding, and he saw in their purity and holiness all the doings of God among His children, from the days of Adam unto the birth of our Lord and Savior.” (George Q Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith, pp. 83–84.)

3. Plain and precious doctrines of the gospel have been restored through Joseph Smith.

See Revelations in Context: Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation. This article discusses the translation process and the ways in which different sections of the Doctrine and Covenants relate to the Bible translation.

See Old Testament Revision 2. This page from the Joseph Smith Papers website introduces Joseph Smith’s Bible translation.

See  Plain and Precious Truths Restored. A careful examination of the Book of Mormon reveals many significant doctrines not found in the Bible.

See The Joseph Smith Translation: “Plain and Precious Things” Restored. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired revisions of the King James Version of the Bible, we receive truths essential to a full understanding of the gospel.

Posted in Family

My mam – 5 March 1939 to 3 March 2017

Mam002.jpg

My mam, Isobel, passed peacefully away this morning after a short illness. She would have been 79 on Sunday.

She was a beautiful, hard-working, intelligent, talented, humorous, kind, sometimes fiery woman. Until recent years, she had a hard life, often scrambling to make ends meet. In later years she was able to live more comfortably but her ‘golden’ years were marred by the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mam was not one to talk about the past – maybe because she was often focussed on getting through the present. I would have liked to know more about her childhood but it was not something that she ever talked about. She was born in Great Lumley to Colin and Elizabeth Owens. A sister Doris  was born 2 years after mam but she sadly died at 2 years old and her brother Colin was born when she was 8 years old.He tells of how she looked after him and he would follow her around almost like a little puppy.

At the end of the War the family moved from Great Lumley to Billingham where Granddad got a job at ICI.

Mam was a very intelligent woman and in different times and different circumstances she could have gone to University, instead it was left to her younger brother Colin to achieve that.

Mam married my Dad, Raymond, in January 1957 when she was only 17 and I was born just over a year later. When I was no more than a couple of months old she flew with me to Cyprus where Raymond was stationed in the RAF. My sisters Julie and Lauri were born there in 1959 and 1960 respectively. I have always thought it was a very brave and hard thing for a 20 year old girl to leave her parental home and fly with a babe in arms to a foreign country.

By 1962 our little family was back in England and my sister Melanie was born in Stockton. At some point Raymond was stationed near Lincoln and we lived for a short while in a double decker bus parked in a field!

My mam would never talk about my father, Raymond, but he left our home when we were very young children and was never seen again. I have no clear memories of him – my earliest memory is a vague one of him and my mam arguing, him slamming the door behind him and my mam sitting in a chair crying. Mam must have only been about 24 or 25 when she was left a single mother with 4 very young children.  We went to live with her parents in Billingham. This was not great for us children as while grandad  was a kind gentle man, Nana was an eccentric battle axe with a propensity for corporal punishment.

mam004

Mam always worked hard to support the family. She worked at different times as a waitress, a dental nurse, a betting office clerk and a transport manager at a crisp factory. Eventually she could afford to move us into our own home. We lived in a house in Tilery for a while.We had an outdoor toilet and took our baths in an old tin bath in front of the fire.

Eventually mam met my step-dad Malcolm Bird and in 1966 my youngest sister Tracey was born.  We then lived in a succession of houses in Old Billingham. We moved so often that sometimes I would come home from school and go to the wrong house!

Money was still tight but mam always did her best for us. She worked hard and scrimped and saved so that we always had a good Christmas and we always had a summer holiday even if it was usually Whitby out of season when we should have been at school.

In 1968 the Mormon missionaries knocked on the door and mam let them in. We were taught the gospel and mam, me, Julie and Lauri were baptised. Mam had always had an interest in religion and we had at various times attended the Church of England, the Methodists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mam was never really active in the Church but I think she would have liked to be but Malcolm was not interested and didn’t want her to go.

Mam had many talents, some born out of necessity. She was a very good seamstress and knitter and made most of our clothes when we were young. I particularly remember her making me a very striking pair of purple flared trousers – all the rage in about 1974! She had a knitting machine and would make jumpers for all of the family and to sell. She was also a good cook and an expert decorator. Sometimes the urge to decorate would descend upon her and we would go to bed with one sitting room and wake up to another.

She was a kind woman. Even while living with dementia in a care home, her kindness was apparent in the way that she looked after and fed the other residents. She did however, have a fiery streak. She was protective towards her children and would tear a strip off any teacher that she felt was less than fair to any of us.

As we children got older and left home, mam and dad had more money for themselves and enjoyed their holidays in Spain and Florida. Mam always liked to travel and visit different places until later in life when she began to lose her confidence.

wp_20150725_19_13_46_pro

Malcolm died in 2000 and mam was again on her own. She then met Ken who was her kind and loving partner for the last years of her life. They loved to go on trips into the countryside in their car or campervan and their daily routine revolved around their beloved dog, Beauty.

Mam was beautiful right to the end. She was always the most beautiful, glamorous mother at parents evenings and she retained her beauty into her old age. Last night, as she was sleeping, she looked deeply peaceful and relaxed and young. I know that she now lives on in the spirit world with all of her wit and intelligence but without the mental shackles that restrained her these last few year.

Love you mam!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in prayer, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 6: How Mighty a Thing Is Prayer

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

‘Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said of him: “He is a bright man with extraordinary judgment, but when he comes up against an insoluble problem, he goes to his knees.”’

What does this insight teach us about prayer?

Would our lives be different if prayer was an element in our decision making?

4037-jesus-understands_edited-630w-tn

1 God is our Father, and He invites us to pray to Him individually.

From the manual:

‘We can draw nearer to the Lord in our prayers. These can become conversations of thanksgiving. I can never fully understand how the Great God of the Universe, the Almighty, invites us as His children to speak with Him individually. How precious an opportunity is this. How wonderful that it actually happens. I testify that our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. It is a miraculous thing, but it is real.’

Why should some prayers be “conversations of thanksgiving”?

‘For what should we pray? We should pray about our work, against the power of our enemies and the devil, for our welfare and the welfare of those around us.  (Alma 34:20, 22–25, 27) We should counsel with the Lord pertaining to all our decisions and activities.  (Alma 37:36–37) We should be grateful enough to give thanks for all we have.  (D&C 59:21 )We should confess His hand in all things. Ingratitude is one of our great sins.’ (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1977)

See The Sin of Ingratitude

 

prayer-hero

2 Family prayer leads to miracles for individuals, families, and society.

Watch video: Prayer. Learn from a humble woman’s example how the power of prayer can work miracles in our lives.

From the manual:

‘If there be any among you who are not having family prayer, let that practice start now, to get on your knees together, if you can possibly do it, every morning and every evening, and speak to the Lord and express your thanks, invoke His blessings upon the needy of the earth, and speak to Him concerning your own well-being.

I give you my testimony that if you sincerely apply family prayer, you will not go away unrewarded. The changes may not be readily apparent. They may be extremely subtle. But they will be real, for God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6.)’

What are some obstacles to consistent family prayer? How can family members work together to overcome these obstacles?

Brigham Young: ‘If I did not feel like praying, and asking my Father in Heaven to give me a morning blessing, and to preserve me and my family and the good upon the earth throughout the day, I should say, ‘Brigham, get down here on your knees, bow your body down before the throne of him who rules in the heavens, and stay there until you can feel to supplicate at that throne of grace erected for sinners’. (Discourses of Brigham Young p46).

What does President Young’s statement mean to you? What if we only talked with our loved ones when we felt it?

See Alma 34:17-28

“…May I ask this important question: How many families in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have regular nightly and morning family prayer? Those who neglect to do so are displeasing the Lord and are entitled to the same rebuke which the Lord gave some of the leading elders of the Church in the early days. No parent should depend solely on the organizations of the Church for the training of the children. They should be taught to pray regularly, secretly as well as in the family circle. The counsel that Alma and Amulek gave to the straying Zoramites is just as essential to the Latter-day Saints today as it was two thousand years ago.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:48)

3 We need to be prayerful and listen, for our prayers will be answered.

Watch video: The Hope of God’s Light. Many of us have wondered if God knows us or if He even exists. Todd was someone who wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get an immediate answer to a prayer. But could God be giving us small but obvious answers? And how patient do we need to be?

From the manual:

‘Believe in the power and majesty of prayer. The Lord answers our prayers. I know that. I have seen it happen again and again and again. Prayer brings us into partnership with God. It offers us an opportunity to speak with Him, to thank Him for His magnificent blessings, and to ask Him for guidance and protection as we walk the paths of life. This great work, which is spreading over the earth, found its roots in the prayer of a boy. He had read in the family Bible, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5–6). That is the promise. Is there any greater promise anywhere in the world than that promise?

Why does prayer have the power to bring us “into partnership with God”?

combination-lock-icon-1

Neal A Maxwell: Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened only by a combination lock. One tumbler falls when there is faith; a second when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God’s judgement – not ours – right for us. (New Era, April 1978)

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 12: “The Gathering of My People”

1. The Lord is gathering His people.

See Encyclopaedia of Mormonism: ‘Gathering’

D&C 45:71 The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations

‘This revelation was given March 7, 1831. The Church was not then a year old, and but very few had accepted the faith; but the Lord revealed through His servant, the Prophet Joseph, the glory that should come unto Zion, and He told him that the people of Zion should be gathered from every nation. Think of this young man called to lead the Church, then but twenty-five years of age, given this promise that there should be established a Zion to which the people should gather out of all nations! What likelihood was there for him to imagine this himself, when he looked at the small flock around him that believed in his words? But it was not his imaginings; it was the revelation of God unto him that there should be established a Zion to which people should come from out of all nations. It was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the second chapter of Isaiah, and fourth chapter of Micah, in language similarly worded, when they looked down through the vista of time and saw there was to be a gathering, and that the people would go up to the “mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,” in order that they might learn of His ways and walk in His paths. Isaiah prophesied to this effect, and we bear testimony it is coming to pass.’ (Anton H Lund, Conference Report, April 1908, First Day-Morning Session. 11.)

D&C 29:8 They shall be gathered into one place

“The spirit of gathering has been with the Church from the days of that restoration. Those who are of the blood of Israel, have a righteous desire after they are baptized, to gather together with the body of the Saints at the designated place. …

“… The Lord has placed the responsibility for directing the work of gathering in the hands of the leaders of the Church to whom he will reveal his will where and when such gatherings would take place in the future. It would be well—before the frightening events concerning the fulfilment of all God’s promises and predictions are upon us, that the Saints in every land prepare themselves and look forward to the instruction that shall come to them from the First Presidency of this Church as to where they shall be gathered and not be disturbed in their feelings until such instruction is given to them as it is revealed by the Lord to the proper authority.” (Harold B Lee, In Conference Report, Apr. 1948, p. 55.)

D&C 110:11 Keys of the gathering of Israel

moses2

‘Moses, who in the majesty of the Melchizedek Priesthood led enslaved Israel out of Egyptian bondage into their promised Palestine, brings back those very keys….

These keys empower those who hold them to lead all Israel, the ten tribes included, from all the nations of the earth … to the mountains of the Lord’s houses, there to be endowed with power from on high.’ (Bruce R McConkie, “The Keys of the Kingdom,” Ensign May, 1983, p. 21-23)

2. The Saints gathered in Ohio.

D&C 37:3 Assemble together at the Ohio

‘Oliver Cowdery had been on a mission to the Lamanites since 15 October 1830 (see D&C 30:5–6; 32:2). This mission took him and his companions on a fourteen-hundred-mile journey through New York and Ohio to Missouri. The Saints were commanded to move to Ohio in preparation to receive further instructions concerning the establishment of Zion after Oliver Cowdery’s return from “the borders by the Lamanites” (D&C 28:9).’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 38:32 For this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio

As early as January, 1831, at Fayette, New York, looking forward to the erection of a temple unto the Most High in Ohio, and of ordinances to be performed therein, this revealed statement from the Lord concerning the endowment was given to Joseph Smith: “for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law (D&C 42); and there you shall be endowed with power from on high.”  ‘

At Kirtland, Ohio, in December of the following year, the Lord gave the commandment to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his followers to “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, (temple) even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (D&C 88:119) One of the purposes for the erection of a temple at Kirtland, Ohio, the first in this present dispensation of the gospel, was to bless the faithful saints with the sacred ordinance of the endowment. While the temple was in process of erection, the Lord again refers to the blessing of the endowment: “But inasmuch as there are those who have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them, if they continue faithful.” (D&C 105:18)’ (Alvin R. Dyer, Who Am I?, p.376 – 377)

D&C 39:15 I have kept in store a blessing

‘The Lord told us, when we were living in the State of New York, to go to the Ohio; there to build a Temple to the name of the Most High. And there the Lord condescended to bestow upon his servants and people a great endowment, (D&C 38:32) a blessing such as was not known among the children of men.( D&C 39:15) And from thence they should go the nations of the earth and publish these things. (D&C 38:33 D&C 110:7-10) We went to the Ohio; and after we had been sufficiently taught and instructed, the Lord commanded us through Joseph, to build a Temple, (D&C 88:119-136) giving the pattern thereof, and the size thereof, the size of the inner and outer courts, the size of the several rooms and apartments, and the form of the pulpits and everything pertaining to it, was given by the inspiration of the Almighty that rested upon Joseph, and upon those associated with him. (D&C 95:1-17) When the Temple was built, the Lord did not see proper to reveal all the ordinances of the Endowments, such as we now understand. He revealed little by little. No rooms were prepared for washings; no special place prepared for the anointings, such as you understand, and such as you comprehend at the period of the history of the Church! Neither did we know the necessity of the washings, such as we now receive. It is true, our hands were washed, our faces and our feet. The Prophet Joseph was commanded to gird himself with a towel, doing this in the Temple. (John 13:1-17 D&C 88:140-141) What for? That the first Elder might witness to our Father and God, that we were clean from the blood of that wicked generation, (D&C 88:138-139) that then lived. We had gone forth according to our best ability, to publish glad tidings of great joy, for thousands of miles, upon this continent. After this we were called in, and this washing of hands and feet was to testify to God that we were clean from the blood of this generation. (D&C 88:138-139) The holy anointing was placed upon the heads of his servants, but not the full development of the Endowments in the anointing. (D&C 132:41) These administrations in the Kirtland Temple were revealed, little by little, corresponding with what I have already been saying, that the Lord does not give the fullness at once, but imparts to us according to his own will and pleasure. Great were the blessings received. We were commanded to seek to behold the face of the Lord; (Ps. 24:6 1 Chr. 16:11 D&C 101:38) to seek after revelation; (D&C 42:61) to seek after the spirit of prophecy, (Num. 11:29 1 Cor. 14:39) and the gifts of the Spirit; (D&C 46:8) and many testify to what they saw.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

D&C 95:8 Power from on high

‘An endowment is a gift or a bequest. In the Church it usually refers to a temple ordinance in which members make certain promises and receive a gift of knowledge and spiritual power in return. The endowment spoken of here, however, is not the same as the ceremony administered in later temples. Priesthood members in Kirtland did participate in a “partial endowment,

the full ordinance being reserved for a future performance when a temple designed for ordinance work itself should be built” (Bruce R. McConkie, “A New Commandment: Save Thyself and Thy Kindred!” Ensign, Aug. 1976, p. 10). The first complete endowment in this dispensation was given by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo on 4 May 1842.

The endowment received in Kirtland included washings and anointings, as well as the washing of feet for official priesthood brethren. The Lord also poured out His Spirit, or in other words endowed them with spiritual power, and many received revelations or other gifts (see History of the Church, 2:308–10).'(Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

220px-kirtlandtemple_ohio_usa

D&C 38:27 Be one

‘Satan would segregate Father’s children into groups with strongly held individual interests. He would encourage a tenacious preservation of those interests regardless of the consequences to others. Father’s plan is expressed in His Son’s words, “Behold, … I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).’ (Richard G Scott, “Removing Barriers to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1998, 86)

D&C 38:39 Pride and riches

“There is something in the human heart of that character that when human beings are prospering they are apt to be lifted up in pride and to forget the cause or the source of their prosperity; they are apt to forget God, who is the fountain of all their blessings, and to give glory to themselves. It requires a constant preaching of the word of God, a constant pleading with the people, a constant outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people to bring them to a true sense of their real condition. … Is it right that we should be prudent, that we should take care of those gifts and blessings which God has given unto us, that we should husband our resources, that we should be economical, and not extravagant? Certainly; this is right, this is proper, we should be culpable if we were not so. But with this there is also something else required, and that is, to keep constantly in view that the management and care of these things is not the object that God had in sending us here, that is not the object of our probation. … I have been in reduced circumstances; been on missions when I did not know where to get a mouthful to eat; turned away by the people who dare not entertain me because of the anger that was kindled against us. I could stand by and weep, being a boy and away from all my friends. But I, nevertheless, was happy. I never enjoyed myself in my life as I did then. I know that happiness does not consist in the possession of worldly things. Still it is a great relief when people can have the means necessary for the support of themselves and families. If they possess these things and the Spirit of God with them, they are blessed.” (George Q Cannon, In Journal of Discourses, 22:100–101.)

3. The Saints gathered in Missouri.

D&C 57:1-3 Independence

“Independence was then a raw frontier settlement, the final ‘civilized’ stop for Santa Fe traders. One of the elders in Joseph Smith’s party described the village as ‘a new town containing a court-house built of brick, two or three merchants’ stores and 15 or 20 dwelling houses, built mostly of logs hewed on both sides.’ Both residents and visitors praised the country’s astonishing beauty and productivity. The famous writer Washington Irving passed through Independence the next year and wrote, ‘The soil is like that of a garden [and the] beauty of the forest exceeded anything that I have seen.’

“For the Latter-day Saints, however, both Jackson County’s newness and its fertility were secondary to its sacredness; for in July, the Lord spoke to the Prophet: ‘Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house’ (D&C 57:3)…

“‘Gathering to Zion’ immediately became a topic for Church leaders and missionaries. W. W. Phelps gave the [Evening and Morning Star] a strong ‘last days’ emphasis with articles in every issue about the new revelations, Enoch’s Zion, the Second Coming, or disasters that would befall a wicked world.

“But more than a refuge against calamity, Zion was to become headquarters for the millennial government of Christ, wrote Phelps… Thus, the Saints gathering in Jackson County could rightfully feel the worth of their labors and the immense importance of that location.” (Max H Parkin, “Missouri’s Impact on the Church,” Ensign, Apr. 1979, 59)

christensen-pioneers

D&C 28:9 Zion

‘The Church had its beginning in New York. Persecution came upon the Saints from the beginning, and they were driven out. The Lord gave them a commandment to assemble in Ohio  D&C 37:3 They established their headquarters at Kirtland in that state. No doubt they had no intention of leaving, when they first went there, but the Lord revealed to them that there was another place, the place which he called “Zion,” on the borders of the Lamanites  D&C 28:9 and so their hearts were turned to that place; however, they never had intended to forsake altogether their headquarters in Kirtland, but persecution came upon them, and they were forced out. With rejoicing they assembled in large measure in Jackson County where it had been made known to them that the great city, the new Jerusalem or Zion would be built  D&C 101:70-71 and they rejoiced over it, but they were not privileged to remain there. Their enemies came upon them with hatred and bitterness in their hearts and drove them out. They moved to another part of the state of Missouri and there again intended and tried to establish themselves, but persecution still followed them, and the hatred of the officials in that state resulted in their banishment and an edict coming from the governor of that state that they would have to leave or be exterminated. They went back eastward, crossed the great river, and made their settlement at Nauvoo, in the state of Illinois. For a season they prospered but not without persecution, not without hatred, and finally that hatred reached its peak, and their prophet and his brother, my grandfather, were martyred. Their enemies thought that would be the end of the Church. The papers so declared it. Their enemies rejoiced, but it did not bring the end. Still the Church grew. So also grew the animosity and the hatred of their enemies, and finally the Saints were driven from their homes, robbed of practically all that they possessed and thus set upon their journey to this western land, destitute, in poverty, and the world said they had gone to their destruction, and rejoiced.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1947)

D&C 30:5-6 Take your journey with your brother Oliver

“Oliver (D&C 28), Peter Whitmer, Jr. (D&C 30), and then Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson (D&C 32) were called in October 1830 to go to Missouri as special missionaries to the Lamanite nations.

“Their knapsacks and satchels loaded with copies of the Book of Mormon, the quartet headed west. After a stop at the Cattaragus Indian reservation in western New York, they made a second proselyting stop at the door of Parley’s former pastor, Reverend Sidney Rigdon, at Mentor, Ohio. Sidney listened, let them preach to his congregation, and two weeks later became a Latter-day Saint. His conversion was considered the most effective advertising received by the Church since its inception; and it triggered a chain reaction which resulted in 130 baptisms before the missionaries departed, and hundreds of others later as the new Ohio converts themselves turned into missionaries. (Porter, “A Study of the Origins of the Church,” p. 281-84; Journal History, Oct. 1830.) On the Missouri frontier, however, government agents refused to allow Indian tribes to listen to the missionaries.

“While the Lamanite missionaries worked in the west, new converts Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge traveled east in December, met Joseph Smith, and added their labors to the New York missionary work. Sidney, probably the most culturally eloquent speaker the young Church had, drew crowds in many important towns before he and Joseph journeyed to Kirtland in January.

“Because of the work of these first missionaries, and others whom records do not identify, the six-month-old Church by December 1830 had about 190 members in New York and hundreds more in the Kirtland area. The white field was being harvested, and the Church stepped unhesitatingly into the role it has never since relinquished, that of a missionary Church committed to preaching the gospel to every nation, tongue, and people.” (William G. Hartley, “Every Member WAS a Missionary,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 24)

D&C 32:1 Be meek and lowly of heart

“Parley P. Pratt was admonished to be meek and lowly of heart. In the year 1837, there were ‘jarrings and discord’ in the Church at Kirtland, and he was overcome with that spirit. He even tried to turn John Taylor from the Prophet by pointing out to him what he regarded as Joseph’s error. Elder Taylor rebuked him as a brother, and Parley P. Pratt went to the Prophet in tears and confessed his sin, whereupon the Prophet frankly forgave him, prayed with him, and blessed him. This was meekness. It was also manliness. Only a really strong character can possess true humility.” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, pp. 170–71.)

D&C 52:2-5 Journey to the land of Missouri

“In the same revelation, twenty-six other elders were called to start on missions to the West. They were to travel by twos, preaching the gospel on the way. All were to meet at Independence, Missouri, where the Lord would reveal the location of the New Zion.

“The idea that there would be a New Zion upon the earth in the latter days may be obtained from a reading of the Bible. It was not the study of ancient prophecies, however, which so fired the Saints with a zeal for Zion. To them God had spoken anew. Zion was to be realized.” (William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, 7th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953], 118.)

D&C 54:8 Unto the land of Missouri

“Revelation given through the Prophet Joseph to Newel Knight sent them ‘westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.’ (D&C 54:8) They arrived in Independence on 25 July 1831 and helped the Prophet ‘lay the first log as a foundation for Zion in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence,’ on 2 August 1831. Newel notes that the first log ‘was carried by twelve men in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel.’ At least five of those twelve were Colesville Saints and members of the Knight family: Joseph Knight, Sr., Aaron Culver, Hezekiah Peck, Ezekial Peck, and Freeborn DeMill. Newel Knight stood with a small group clustered around the Prophet the next day when he dedicated the temple site in Independence.

“Mother Knight had been seriously ill on her journey to Jackson County, but refused to give in to her sickness, even though Newel, deeply concerned, bought lumber to have on hand for her coffin while they travelled. But ‘her greatest desire,’ he says, ‘was to set her feet upon the land of Zion and to have her body intered in that land. … The Lord gave her the desire of her heart.’

“She was the first Latter-day Saint to die in Missouri, and the Prophet preached her funeral sermon on August 7. Father Knight’s record contains a poignant notation: ‘She was Burried in the woods a Spot Chosen out By our selves. I was along By where she was Buried a few Days after and I found the hogs had Began to root where She was Buried. I Being verry unwell But I took my ax the next Day and went and Bilt a pen round it. It was the Last I done for her.’

“She was the first to die but not the last. Her daughter Esther soon followed her, then their uncle Aaron Culver, leaving his wife, Esther, in Newel’s care. Newel’s record shows no complaint. He simply says that the frontier life was ‘new and strange … yet we took hold with cheerful hearts, and a determination to do our best.’ Conferences with the Prophet Joseph left them feeling ‘renewed in spirit.'” (Larry Porter, “The Joseph Knight Family,” Ensign, Oct. 1978, 43)

4. The Saints now gather to the stakes of Zion in their own lands.

D&C 115:6 A refuge from the storm

‘The Lord will stand by His Church and people and keep them in safety until His coming. There will be peace in Zion and in her stakes, for He has proclaimed “that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth”  (D&C 115:6) (Bruce D Porter, General Conference, April 2013)

The Church stands as a bulwark of safety for its members. Though conditions in the world may become very vexing at times, faithful Latter-day Saints will find sanctuary in the stakes of Zion. The Lord has decreed that the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth until it has filled the whole earth (see  Daniel 2:31–45  D&C 65:2 And no human power can stay its course, for God is the author of this work and Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.

 

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Missionary work

Gospel Doctrine -Lesson 11: “The Field Is White Already to Harvest”

embarkmormonad

1. “Serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength.”

D&C 4:1 A marvellous work

“Can you think of a time in the earth’s history greater than this dispensation? Could there be a greater cause than to prepare the earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ? As a stone rolls on until it becomes a great mountain, the kingdom rolls on to its divine destiny-a great movement with great momentum and steady acceleration. When the Lord says “a marvelous work is about to come forth,” he is saying that something wonderful is going to happen, and more importantly, he is giving us the opportunity to be a part of it. “The work is so marvelous that the Lord is going to give us the privilege of participating in it with him, but only if we desire to. He does not twist arms or preach duty or try to instill obedience through guilt. He simply tells us that the work itself will be its own reward. In fact, it will be marvelous.” (S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 126 – 127.)

2. Prepare to serve the Lord.

D&C 4:3 Desires

‘Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of our brethren….

A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.’ (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1997], p.248-249)

D&C 11:8 If you desire

‘So many times you and I have been called to serve in positions and places for which we knew we were unqualified. But the Lord never cares about that. When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, he knew nothing about dividing seas or building tabernacles. What he had was a desire to serve God. We must have a great desire to serve and and proceed with a perfect confidence that the Lord will sustain us in our efforts.’ (Ted L Gibbons, LDSliving.com)

D&C 4:5 Faith, hope, charity and love

‘…labor with love. There is no substitute for love. Often this love is kindled in youth by a mother, expanded by a father, and kept vibrant through service to God. Remember the Lord’s counsel: “And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.” Well might each of us ask himself: Today, have I increased in faith, in hope, in charity, in love? When our lives comply with God’s standard and we labor with love to bring souls unto Him, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer. 8:20)’ (Thomas S Monson, “That All May Hear,” Ensign, May 1995, 49)

D&C 12:8 Humility

‘Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.

Humility directs our attention and love toward others and to Heavenly Father’s purposes. Pride does the opposite. Pride draws its energy and strength from the deep wells of selfishness. The moment we stop obsessing with ourselves and lose ourselves in service, our pride diminishes and begins to die.

My dear brethren, there are so many people in need whom we could be thinking about instead of ourselves. And please don’t ever forget your own family, your own wife. There are so many ways we could be serving. We have no time to become absorbed in ourselves.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2010)

D&C 11:6,20 Keep my commandments

‘President Heber J. Grant used to tell us…that as he approached the end of his ministry, knowing that his life wouldn’t be too far prolonged, he thought if there were some unusual thing that the Father would like him to do, he would be so pleased; and so he sought earnestly to know what would the Father have him do during his remaining years, thinking, I suppose, of some outstanding thing, like the building of a temple or something of the sort. And in answer to his inquiry, the Lord said that the most important thing that he could do as president of the Church was to teach this people to keep the commandments of God.’ (Harold B Lee, “The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 11)

D&C 11:21 Obtain my word

‘Hyrum’s life is a witness to his obedience to this instruction. To the very last day of his life, he devoted himself to obtaining the word through study of the scriptures. In Carthage Jail, he read and commented on extracts from the Book of Mormon. The scriptures were obviously part of Hyrum’s being, and he turned to them during times when he needed comfort and strength the most.

Just think of the spiritual strength we could gain in our lives and how much more effective we would be as teachers, missionaries, and friends if we studied the scriptures regularly. I am sure we, like Hyrum, will be able to endure our greatest trials if we search the word of God as he did.’ (M Russell Ballard, “Hyrum Smith: ‘Firm As the Pillars of Heaven,’ ” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 7)

3. “The field is white.”

D&C 4:4, 11:3, 33:3 The field is white

10153

‘Brothers and sisters, all of you out in the wards and stakes and in the districts and branches, I invite you to become a vast army with enthusiasm for this work and a great overarching desire to assist the missionaries in the tremendous responsibility they have to carry the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. “The field is white [and] ready to harvest”  D&C 4:4 The Lord has repeatedly declared this. Shall we not take Him at His word?’ (Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, April 1999)

D&C 60:1-3 They will not open their mouths

“It was pleasing to the Lord that the elders had traveled to Missouri, and now they were to return speedily to Ohio. But the Lord was not pleased with some of them. President Joseph Fielding Smith noted: “They had been commanded to preach the Gospel along the way and bear testimony among the people, but some had failed to magnify this commandment because of their fear of man. It is true that not every man is a natural missionary, and there are those who shrink from the responsibility of raising their voices in proclamation of the Gospel, and yet this is an obligation that we owe to this fallen world. The elders in the very beginning had been commanded to serve the Lord with all their ‘heart, might, mind and strength,’ for the field is white and ready for the harvest. A penalty was to be inflicted upon those who failed and they were not to stand blameless at the last day. The preaching of the Gospel was to be a means to them by which they were not to perish, but bring salvation to their souls. There are many who have been sent forth who have had a fear of man, yet the Lord has promised to support them in their labors if they will trust in him.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:220–21.)

4. “Open your mouths and they shall be filled.”

D&C 11:9 Say nothing but repentance

“When the Lord calls upon his servants to cry nothing but repentance, he does not mean that they may not cry baptism, and call upon the people to obey the commandments of the Lord, but he wishes that all that they say and do be in the spirit of bringing the people to repentance. Any missionary who fails to do this in his ministry is derelict in his duty.” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:57.)

D&C 15:6 The thing which will be of most worth

‘There is nothing in all this world that can be compared to the value of a human soul, redeemed, sanctified, and made worthy to receive the blessings of God our Father. There is no investment which you men can put your money or your time into that will pay you so well in time or in eternity as to invest in a human soul, whether that shall be in the missionary field or at home, in the care of those precious ones who have come under our supervision. We have already heard scripture in this conference, from the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein he declares that the worth of souls is great in his sight, and if we should labor all our days and as the result of that labor bring, save it be but one of those precious souls, how great will be our joy! I know that I need not convert you to the fact that this is a true doctrine, but we constantly need to be appealed to, to be willing to give ourselves and our means in the accomplishment of this, the greatest work there is in all the world.’ (Melvin J Ballard, Conference Report, October 1925, Afternoon Session 129.)

D&C 18:6 The world is ripening in iniquity

‘During our Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said the great difficulty with our country and our people was, “We had forgotten God.” In a modern revelation to you and to me and to the people of this generation the Lord, speaking through the Prophet Joseph: Smith, has said, “Behold, the world is ripening in iniquity; and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance”  D&C 18:6 Let us therefore as a nation return to church, let us partake worthily of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, let us, come into closest possible communion and cooperation with God, the Eternal Father, and pray that freedom and liberty, that gift of God by us so highly prized, may come to all the people of all nations of the earth. And I pray humbly that we in this land, choice above all other lands, may be a righteous people who deserve the blessings the Almighty has promised to those who love Him and serve Him and keep His commandments, and I do this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’ (Richard R Lyman, General Conference, October 1942)

D&C 31:3-4 Our message

‘This is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. We as a people are Latter-day Saints. We testify that the heavens have been opened, that the curtains have been parted, that God has spoken, and that Jesus Christ has manifested Himself, followed by a bestowal of divine authority.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this work, and it is built upon a “foundation of … apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20).

This wondrous Restoration should make of us a people of tolerance, of neighborliness, of appreciation and kindness toward others. We cannot be boastful. We cannot be proud. We can be thankful, as we must be. We can be humble, as we should be.

We love those of other churches. We work with them in good causes. We respect them. But we must never forget our roots. Those roots lie deep in the soil of the opening of this, the final dispensation, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

What an inspiration it has been to look into the faces of men and women across the world who carry in their hearts a solemn conviction of the truth of this foundation.

When it comes to divine authority, this is the sum and substance of the whole matter.

God be thanked for His marvelous bestowal of testimony, authority, and doctrine associated with this, the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

This must be our great and singular message to the world. We do not offer it with boasting. We testify in humility but with gravity and absolute sincerity. We invite all, the whole earth, to listen to this account and take measure of its truth. God bless us as those who believe in His divine manifestations and help us to extend knowledge of these great and marvelous occurrences to all who will listen. To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it. This invitation I extend to men and women everywhere with my solemn testimony that this work is true, for I know the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, Ensign, Nov 2002, 78)

D&C 33:10 Make his paths straight

“Eastern potentates, when traveling from one part of the kingdom to another, would proclaim their coming and order their subjects to prepare the way for them, by building roads where there were none, if necessary; by leveling hills and filling up depressions, and straightening out the winding paths. Semiramis is said to have had roads constructed especially for her journeys. In modern times the Turkish government built a good road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, when the German Emperor signified his intention of visiting the Holy City. To prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight is to acknowledge His sovereignty and to make all necessary preparations for His reception. He will not come to reign until all necessary preparations for his coming have been made. ‘Hear this, O Earth! The Lord will not come to reign over the righteous, in this world, in 1843 … nor until everything for the Bridegroom is ready’ (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. V., p. 291.)” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 174.)

D&C 42:12 Teach the principles of my gospel

‘Teachers who are commanded to teach “the principles of [the] gospel” and “the doctrine of the kingdom” (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of dos and don’ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families.

Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence on behavior than rules. When we teach gospel doctrine and principles, we can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives.’ (Dallin H Oaks, “Gospel Teaching,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 79-80)

D&C 52:9 Saying none other things

 “The truth of all things is measured by the scriptures. That which harmonizes with them should be accepted; that which is contrary to their teachings, however plausible it may seem for the moment, will not endure and should be rejected.” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 765.)

D&C 18:20-21 Contend against no church

‘When we are commanded to “contend against no church save it be the church of the devil,” we must understand that this is instruction to us to contend against all evil, that which is opposed to righteousness and truth. James declares, that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” and the scriptures also teach “for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.” (Omni 25.) All who go forth to teach should do so in wisdom and not contend with the churches or engage in profitless debates, but teach in the spirit of kindness and try to persuade people to receive the truth.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 78.)

D&C 38:41 In mildness and in meekness

“We live in a time when some misrepresent the beliefs of those they call Mormons and even revile us because of them. When we encounter such misrepresentations, we have a duty to speak out to clarify our doctrine and what we believe. We should be the ones to state our beliefs rather than allowing others the final word in misrepresenting them. This calls for testimony, which can be expressed privately to an acquaintance or publicly in a small or large meeting. As we testify of the truth we know, we should faithfully follow the caution to speak “in mildness and in meekness”  (D&C 38:41) We should never be overbearing, shrill, or reviling. As the Apostle Paul taught, we should speak the truth in love (see  Ephesians 4:15) Anyone can disagree with our personal testimony, but no one can refute it.” (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 2008)

D&C 14:8 The Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance

‘Now we want to carry this message to the world in the way that the Lord wants us to carry it. We want to preach the truth in purity and in perfection, and to do it in the way the Lord wants it done. The only single formula whereby we may do this is for us so to live (and our elders in the mission fields so to live) that we can be guided by the Holy Ghost. We must be guided by the Spirit. We have to have the Lord tell us how he wants us to teach the message of the restoration, and every doctrine of the gospel, and he will do this by revelation from the Holy Ghost if we are worthy to receive it.

One of the chief differences between us and the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, is that the Holy Ghost gives us utterance  (D&C 14:8) if we are faithful, but that the people in the world teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost which giveth utterance  (2 Ne. 28:4). (Bruce R McConkie, General Conference, October 1949)

D&C 31:3 Lift up your heart and rejoice

‘Your level of spirituality is also directly related to how well you fill the Lord’s commandments to “Be of good cheer” and “Lift up your heart and rejoice” (D&C 31:3). How many times in the scriptures did the Lord command us to be of good cheer? He didn’t say, “Be of good cheer if everything is going well, if you have enough money to pay all your bills, if your biorhythms are up,” or whatever. No. For us to be of good cheer is a commandment and not merely a suggestion.

Here is a practical suggestion that has helped me in the past. Take a sheet of paper and write on it a list of the blessings you consider to be important in whatever order they come to your mind. Then place them in order of priority. What is your most precious blessing? Probably somewhere near the top of your list will be the big “Four Fs”-your faith, family, freedom, and friends.

Note how many blessings you have at the top of the list for which you would hope to have the courage to give up your mortal lives to protect. Then note how far down the list you go before you come to any blessing that you can buy for money. The most precious blessings are without price; they are priceless.’ (Joe J Christensen, “Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 59)

5. The Lord promises great blessings to those who labor in His service.

D&C 75:5, 31:5 Sheaves

‘Anciently, grain was cut by hand and tied into large bundles or sheaves which were then carried to the place of threshing. To see a person or an animal “laden with many sheaves” (D&C 75:5) was proof that the person had reaped an abundant harvest and would now enjoy the fruits of his labors.’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 18:15-16 How great will be your joy

‘This is God’s work. He wants us to participate with Him and His Beloved Son in bringing the gospel into the lives of all of His children. The Lord has promised us that our joy will be great if we bring just one soul unto Him (see  D&C 18:15–16) Let us exercise greater faith and work together, members and missionaries, to bring many more souls unto Him. Let every family in the Church include as part of their daily family prayers a plea with the Lord to go before your family members and help them to find someone prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.’ (M Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 2000)

D&C 71:10 If any man lift his voice against you

‘President Harold B. Lee explained that what the Lord “is trying to have us understand is that he will take care of our enemies if we continue to keep the commandments. So, you Saints of the Most High God, when these things come, and they will come—this has been prophesied—you just say,

“‘No weapon formed against the work of the Lord will ever prosper, but all glory and majesty of this work that the Lord gave will long be remembered after those who have tried to befoul the name of the Church and those of its leaders will be forgotten, and their works will follow after them.’

“We feel sorry for them when we see these things happen.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 167; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 126.)’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 84:80 Shall not be weary

‘One major cause of real fatigue, little appreciated by those so afflicted, is trying to serve two masters. This is devastating double duty. If so divided, one inevitably ends up being ineffective, even disloyal, in respect to one master or another-a most fatiguing circumstance.’ (Neal A Maxwell, If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 115.)