Study helps: M Russell Ballard – The Trek Continues!

From http://www.lds.org:

To begin a discussion about Elder Ballard’s message, you could invite someone to share an experience when they had a destination but discovered they were on the wrong route. How do examples like these relate to our personal “trek” back to Heavenly Father? Members could then search for counsel and warnings that Elder Ballard gives that can help us know if we are headed in the right direction in our own lives. Give members time to ponder their own paths and to discuss ways we can help and encourage others in their “trek” back to Heavenly Father.

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See: The Parable of the Orienteers

Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment. Some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair.

In this context, please ask yourself: What is your final destination? Where are your footsteps taking you? And is your journey leading you to that “multiplicity of blessings” the Savior has promised?

D&C 97:28: 28 And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.

How can we tell if we are on a road that will lead us to a multiplicity of blessings or one that that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish and despair? What are some of the ‘road signs’ that will indicate to us which way we are heading?

Today I repeat earlier counsel from Church leaders.

  • Brothers and sisters, keep the doctrine of Christ pure and never be deceived by those who tamper with the doctrine. The gospel of the Father and the Son was restored through Joseph Smith, the prophet for this last dispensation.

  • Do not listen to those who have not been ordained and/or set apart to their Church calling and are not acknowledged by common consent of the members of the Church.

  • Be aware of organizations, groups, or individuals claiming secret answers to doctrinal questions that they say today’s apostles and prophets do not have or understand.

  • Do not listen to those who entice you with get-rich schemes. Our members have lost far too much money, so be careful.

What does it mean to keep the doctrine of Christ pure?

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated: “I have spoken before about the importance of keeping the doctrine of the Church pure, and seeing that it is taught in all of our meetings. I worry about this. Small aberrations in doctrinal teaching can lead to large and evil falsehoods” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 620).

Why should we not listen to those who have not been ordained? What dangers lie in wait if we do so?

D&C 26:2 And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

‘We always know who is called to lead or to teach and have the opportunity to sustain or to oppose the action. It did not come as an invention of man but was set out in the revelations: “It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church”  D&C 42:11 emphasis added). In this way, the Church is protected from any imposter who would take over a quorum, a ward, a stake, or the Church.’ (Boyd K Packer, General Conference, October 2007)

Why will the Lord not reveal his secrets to others than his apostles and prophets?

What are the dangers in get-rich schemes? Why are we counseled to avoid them?

‘For at least a decade there have been a succession of frauds worked by predominantly Mormon entrepreneurs upon predominately Mormon victims. Stock manipulations; residential mortgage financings; gold, silver, diamonds, uranium, and document investments; pyramid schemes—all have taken their toll upon the faithful and gullible.’ (Dallin H Oaks, Pure in Heart)

An official Church statement, issued one year ago, states: “We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises—in exchange for money—miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.”

The Church Handbook counsels: “Members should not use medical or health practices that are ethically or legally questionable. Local leaders should advise members who have health problems to consult with competent professional practitioners who are licensed in the countries where they practice.”

Why would the Brethren be concerned enough to warn us about these practices? What might be the outcomes if we ignore this counsel?

We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism. Let it be said that we truly believe the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are for every child of God.

In what ways do racism, sexism and nationalism go against the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? What can we do to completely eliminate them from our families, quorums and wards?

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