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

Gospel Doctrine 2017: Lesson 27: “They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham”

1. The Saints settle in Jackson County, Missouri, and are later driven out.

D&C 57:2-3 This is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion

‘It is of this city, a city that shall be built before the Second Coming, that the Lord said to Enoch: “I shall prepare, and Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.” (Moses 7:62.) It is in this city, the New Jerusalem in Jackson County, that the house of the Lord unto which all nations shall come in the last days shall be built, “which temple,” the Lord said in September 1832, “shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.” (D&C 84:1-5.)

Because the saints were “hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression,” the Lord withdrew the time limitation (D&C 124:49-54), and the command now in force is: “Zion shall be redeemed in mine own due time.” (D&C 136:18.) When that is to be remains to be seen, but that it will surely come to pass, as part of the preparation of the Lord’s people for his glorious return, is as certain as that the sun shines or that the Great God is Lord of all. When the appointed time comes, the Lord will reveal it to his servants who preside over his kingdom from Salt Lake City, and then the great work will go forward. They will direct the work; they hold the keys of temple building; the temple will be built by gathered Israel and particularly by Ephraim, for it is unto Ephraim that the other tribes shall come to receive their temple blessings in due course. Some Lamanites may assist and some Gentiles may bring their wealth to adorn the buildings, but the keys are with Ephraim, and it is Ephraim that is now stepping forth and that yet shall step forth to bless the rest of the house of Israel.’ (Bruce R McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 281.)

D&C 63:24 Not in haste

‘President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that land in Zion was to be purchased. “This fact was taught the early members. They were warned against creating antagonism among their neighbors, many of whom were extremely bitter towards the members of the Church. The Lord said the land could not be obtained by the shedding of blood. Those who had the privilege of assembling there should not go up to Zion in haste, but gradually. The reason for this advice is apparent, for haste would lead to confusion, unsatisfactory conditions and pestilence, and then, also, it creates consternation and fear in the hearts of their enemies and arouses greater opposition. Satan desired to destroy them and in his anger endeavored to stir them up to strife and contention as well as the older settlers in Missouri.” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:232.)’ Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

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2. The Lord instructs the Saints who were driven from Jackson County.

Read: Revelations in Context – Waiting for the Word of the Lord

Read: Joseph Smith Papers – Historical Introduction D&C 101

Watch: The Lord Tests His People President Faust teaches that the Lord tests His people (D&C 101:1-19). (1:23)

D&C 101:2 I, the Lord, have suffered affliction to come upon them

‘The Lord has told us in this book that he would scourge this people, and would not suffer them to go on in wickedness as he does the world. He will make a difference in this respect between those who profess his name and the world. The world may prosper. They have not the religion of Heaven among them; they have no revelators and prophets among them; they have not the baptism of the Holy Ghost, nor the gifts and blessings of God among them, and consequently though they transgress the revealed word of God, he suffers them to go on, apparently without checking them, until they are fully ripened in iniquity, then he sends forth judgment and cuts them off, instead of chastening them from time to time. Not so with the Saints. God has decreed, from the early rise of the Church, that we should be afflicted by our enemies, and by various afflictions, and he would contend with this people and chasten them from time to time until Zion should be clean before him. He has done this, and more especially while we were in the States. We were inexperienced, and did not then understand the necessity of strictly obeying every word spoken by the mouth of God, and we had to suffer because of this.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 15:335)

‘This great tribulation would not have come upon Zion had it not been for rebellion: Firstly, there were rebellions against the one to whom were entrusted the keys, & from thence it has spread down to the lowest & least member! not this alone, but those who were void of understanding were continually telling that which was not true, & putting false coloring to the things of  God! I mean those whose mouths are continually open, & whose tongues cannot be stayed from tatling! & the church will never have peace while such remain in her, therefore, brethren purge them out, & have no confidence in any except such as will lay down their lives for this sacred cause for none others are worthy of it. It was necessary that these things should come upon us: not only justice demands it, but there was no other way to cleanse the church. (Oliver Cowdery, Letter to Missouri, 10 August 1833; josephsmithpapers.org)

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D&C 101:4 They must be chastened and tried

“Don’t be afraid of the testing and trials of life. Sometimes when you are going through the most severe tests, you will be nearer to God than you have any idea, for like the experience of the Master himself in the temptation on the mount, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross at Calvary, the scriptures record, ‘And, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.’ (Matthew 4:11.) Sometimes that may happen to you in the midst of your trials.” (Harold B lee, In Conference Report, Munich Germany Area Conference 1973, p. 114.)

3. Zion’s Camp is organized and marches to Missouri.

Read: Joseph Smith and Zion’s Camp (Ensign June 2005) The gospel lessons learned during the two months of Zion’s Camp defined and refined the Prophet Joseph Smith and others as leaders of the Church.

Read: Revelations in Context – The Acceptable Offering of Zion’s Camp

Watch: Zion’s Camp Several events from the march of Zion’s Camp show how it fulfilled the purposes of God.

Read: We also marched – the women and children of Zion’s Camp Much like the women of the Mormon Battalion and other military expeditions, the Zion’s Camp women contributed in various ways to the overall character of the group and its success and helped prepare for later mass migrations to the West. The women helped with the traditional domestic duties of cooking and laundering and caring for children. They also provided a civilizing influence on the camp. This article tells the stories of twelve women and several children known to have traveled with the more than 200 men of Zion’s Camp. Also, a woman (Ruth Vose) made the largest financial contribution to the funding of the march.

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‘According to its ostensible purpose, [Zion’s Camp] was a failure. But most of the men who were to lead the Church for the next half-century, including those who would take the Saints across the plains and colonize the Intermountain West, came to know the Prophet Joseph and received their formative leadership training in the march of Zion’s Camp. As Elder Orson F. Whitney said of Zion’s Camp:

“The redemption of Zion is more than the purchase or recovery of lands, the building of cities, or even the founding of nations. It is the conquest of the heart, the subjugation of the soul, the sanctifying of the flesh, the purifying and ennobling of the passions.” (The Life of Heber C. Kimball, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, 1945, p. 65.’) [Dallin H Oaks, Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 61-62]

D&C 103:9 They were set to be a light to the world

‘It is easy to despair when we see about us the moorings of society slipping. We must remember, however, that the Lord sent His Saints into the world “to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men.” (D&C 103:9.) This is a time when “Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.” (D&C 82:14.) The contrast between the Church and the world will be increasingly marked in the future, which contrast, we hope, will cause the Church to be more attractive to those in the world who desire to live according to God’s plan for us, His children.’  (Ezra Taft Benson, “May the Kingdom of God Go Forth,” Ensign, May 1978, 33)

4. The Lord reveals that His people must “wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion.”

Watch: Gather in Stakes The Lord has commanded us to gather in stakes (D&C 101:20-22,63-75). (1:17)

D&C 103:7 They shall never cease to prevail

“There cannot be a doubt in any faithful man’s mind concerning the truth of this promise—the promise of victory and deliverance on the one hand, the promise of punishment, disaster and trouble on the other. The Latter-day Saints have in their experience proved fully the truth of these words. They have seen them fulfilled to the very letter. When they have been faithful in keeping the commandments of God they have prospered and they have had deliverance. When they have been unfaithful they met with trouble and serious difficulty. It is necessary that the wicked should have the opportunity to exercise their agency in relation to the work of God; for they have an agency as well as we. It is their privilege to assist in building up the word of God, or they can exercise their agency in fighting the work of God. They have the privilege to do everything in their power to destroy it, and they will be permitted to do this until the cup of their iniquity is full.” (George Q Cannon, In Conference Report, Oct. 1899, p. 48.)

D&C 105:3-4 They have not learned to be obedient

“In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord reveals that Zion cannot be established ‘unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom.’…

“The Lord commanded the Saints in 19th-century New York, for example, to make sure that they took care of the poor and unfortunate among them. He also commanded them in the same revelation to be united, for if they were not one they were not his people. He gave these commandments to them as they were preparing to leave New York to go to Ohio in 1831. This was the first step in gathering to Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. Within eight months of these instructions some of these members were already in Independence. Two years later mobs drove them out. Subsequently the Lord explained in a revelation the reason he had allowed this to happen: they had not done as he had instructed-they were not taking care of the unfortunate, and they were not united.

“Thus it would appear that taking care of the unfortunate and being united according to the model of the celestial kingdom are high on the Lord’s list of expectations for his people. When we covenant with him to sacrifice and to consecrate ourselves and all we have to his service, we need to make these covenants manifest in our lives.

“In the revelation explaining why ‘mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion,’ the Lord said it was so that ‘they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.’ Today, nearly 163 years later, we may well ask ourselves if we as individuals and families are preparing more perfectly for the establishment of Zion.” (Robert J. Woodford, “The Remarkable Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 47-48)

Posted in service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 14: Losing Ourselves in the Service of Others

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch video: Preparation of Gordon B Hinckley: Forget Yourself and Go to Work A missionary letter from his father motivates Elder Gordon Hinckley to dedicate himself to the Lord’s work. (2:03)

1. Our lives are gifts from God and are to be used in the service of others.

“We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service fall short of the ultimate ‘profit’ unless they are motivated by the pure love of Christ. If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be unconcerned with self and heedless of personal advantage. It must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children.” (Dallin H Oaks, Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 47.)

From the manual:

If we would claim to worship and follow the Master, must we not strive to emulate his life of service? None of us may rightly say that his life is his own. Our lives are gifts of God. We come into the world not of our own volition. We leave not according to our wish. Our days are numbered not by ourselves, but according to the will of God.

How can we make serving others a way of life?

2. Service is the best medicine for self-pity, selfishness, despair, and loneliness.

Watch or read: What Have I Done For Someone Today? – President Thomas S Monson

From the manual:

I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work and service in behalf of others. I do not minimize your problems, but I do not hesitate to say that there are many others whose problems are more serious than yours. Reach out to serve them, to help them, to encourage them. There are so many boys and girls who fail in school for want of a little personal attention and encouragement. There are so many elderly people who live in misery and loneliness and fear for whom a simple conversation would bring a measure of hope and brightness. …

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

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

How has service brought you happiness? 

3. When we reach out to help others, we find our true selves.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

Image result for When we reach out to help others, we find our true selves.

Watch video: Whoever Will Lose His Life for My Sake Shall Find It

From the manual:

I testify that as each of you reach out to help others, you will find your true selves and bless greatly the world in which you live.

Why does losing ourselves in the service of others help us “find [our] true selves”?

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4. The Church provides many opportunities for unselfish service.

Watch or read: The Greatest Among You – President Dieter F Uchtdorf

‘In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines.’ (President J Reuben Clark)

From the manual:

Brothers and sisters, you will never be happy if you go through life thinking only of yourself. Get lost in the best cause in the world—the cause of the Lord. The work of the quorums, and of the auxiliary organizations, temple work, welfare service work, missionary work. You will bless your own life as you bless the lives of others.

What blessings has Church service brought into your life?

Posted in self reliance, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 13: Peace and Contentment through Temporal Self-Reliance

1. As we work with integrity, our lives are blessed forever.

From the manual:

I believe in the gospel of work. There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.

What have you learned through hard work?

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2. We have a responsibility to help others lift themselves and become self-reliant.

Read: The Perpetual Education Fund – A Prophet’s Rescuing Hand

From the manual:

It is our solemn obligation … to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). We must help them to become self-reliant and successful.

How can we help others become self-reliant?

3. Prophets have encouraged us to prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally for catastrophes to come.

Watch: Temporal preparation President Hinckley encourages church members to be prepared for future calamities.

Read or watch: Becoming self-reliant

From the manual:

We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for ourselves and take care of our own needs. And so we encourage our people to have something, to plan ahead, keep … food on hand, to establish a savings account, if possible, against a rainy day. Catastrophes come to people sometimes when least expected—unemployment, sickness, things of that kind.

What are some small, gradual things we can do to prepare ourselves?

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4. We enjoy independence and freedom as we avoid debt to the extent possible and set aside money for times of need.

Read: Debt – A Self-defence Guide

Read: All is Safely Gathered In

J Reuben Clark gave some great advice about interest in 1938:

‘Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you. ‘ (in Conference Report, Apr., 1938)

Steps to using a budget

1. List all your expenses – go through your bank statement and list everything you spent money on. Look at the cash you withdrew from the cash machine and write down what you spent it on. This exercise will also help you to review your spending habits. Do you really need to buy a newspaper? Do you really need all of those channels on your TV? How much are your phones and electronic devices costing you? Look at your shopping habits – are you buying lots of food that you then throw away because it has gone out of date? You can avoid this by shopping to menus?

2. Prepare a budget – use this information to prepare a budget showing all of your income and expenditure. There is a simple pro-forma in the ‘All Is Safely Gathered In’ pamphlet.

Don’t forget to pay the Lord first – make sure that you include your tithes and other offerings in your budget.

Plan to save – if you save what is left there won’t be anything left! So decide on a fixed sum or percentage to save and build that into your budget. BYU suggests that we should save 10% of our income,

Then adjust your spending to fit your income. Don’t forget to take into account irregular or annual payments such as road fund tax, birthdays, Christmas etc.

3. Implement your budget – discipline yourself to keep to the budget you have set. You will sleep better at night.

4. Compare your budget and your actual expenditure – at the end of the week or the month review how well you did. You may find that there were some items of expenditure that you forgot about – build them into the next budget. If you kept to the budget – pat yourself on the back and then keep keeping to it!

Within a family setting, this will only work if both husband and wife are committed to it – family finances and budgeting should be a joint responsibility. Marvin J Ashton wrote:

New attitudes and relationships towards money should be developed constantly by all couples. After all, the partnership should be full and eternal. Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power of authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility. (Marvin J Ashton, One for the Money)

Build a reserve

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‘Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.’ (All is Safely Gathered In)

As mentioned above, save a specific amount. Aim to build up an emergency cushion of 3 months essential obligations (mortgage, fuel, Council tax etc). Save for missions, weddings, education, a deposit on a house, retirement. Shop around for the best rates of return but be careful to avoid get rich quick schemes. If something seems to be too good to be true, it is because it is too good to be true.

Watch: Becoming provident providers Elder Robert D. Hales encourages us to stay out of debt and live frugally as he recounts a story from the early days of his marriage, when his wife exemplified the principles of provident living.

 

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 26: “Go Ye into All the World, and Preach My Gospel”

1. The Lord poured out great blessings during the Kirtland period.

While the Prophet Joseph was living in the Kirtland area, he received numerous revelations, 65 of which are included in the Doctrine and Covenants. The revelations taught the Lord’s will in connection with welfare, sign seeking, moral conduct, dietary principles, tithing, priesthood authority, the role of a prophet, the three degrees of glory, missionary work, the Second Coming, the law of consecration, and many other subjects.

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2. The Saints in Kirtland made great sacrifices to share the gospel.

Read: Revelations in Context: ‘I Quit Other Business’: Early Missionaries

Read: Revelations in Context: A Mission to the Lamanites

Read: Revelations in Context: Take Special Care of Your Family

Watch: This Grand Opportunity  Elizabeth McCune and the First Sister Missionaries

The Saints in the 1830s had very little money. At tremendous sacrifice they had constructed a temple. The United States at that time was gripped by a spirit of financial speculation, which resulted in a financial crash in 1837. In Kirtland, people turned against the Prophet Joseph Smith and a great sifting took place between the faithful and those whose eyes were set upon the things of the world.

It was in these difficult times, on Sunday, 4 June 1837, that the Prophet Joseph Smith came to Elder Heber C. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve, while Brother Kimball in the Kirtland Temple, and whispering to [him], said, ‘Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me: ‘Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my Gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation.’ ”

Imagine, one man who had very little telling another who had practically nothing that he was to go across the sea to open the work there.

One can understand Heber C. Kimball’s response. Feeling his weakness he said, “O, Lord, I am a man of stammering tongue, and altogether unfit for such a work; how can I go to preach in that land, which is so famed throughout Christendom for learning, knowledge and piety; the nursery of religion; and to a people whose intelligence is proverbial!”

Brother Kimball said at the time: “The idea of such a mission was almost more than I could bear up under. I was almost ready to sink under the burden which was placed upon me.”

“However, all these considerations did not deter me from the path of duty; the moment I understood the will of my Heavenly Father, I felt a determination to go at all hazards, believing that He would support me by His almighty power, and endow me with every qualification that I needed; and although my family was dear to me, and I should have to leave them almost destitute, I felt that the cause of truth, the Gospel of Christ, outweighed every other consideration.” (Ibid., p. 104.)

Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, and Joseph Fielding responded with similar faith, and these four were joined in New York by John Goodson, Isaac Russell, and John Snyder.

Tuesday, June 13, was the scheduled departure date for the four who were to leave Kirtland. One who looked in on the Kimball household that morning described the prayer that was uttered by the father who was leaving and who  laid his hands upon his childrens’ heads to give them a blessing

“While thus engaged his voice was almost lost in the sobs of those around, who tried in vain to suppress them. The idea of being separated from their protector and father for so long a time was indeed painful. He proceeded, but his heart was too much affected to do so regularly. His emotions were great, and he was obliged to stop at intervals, while the big tears rolled down his cheeks.”

After eighteen days and eighteen hours on the water the ship pulled into the Mersey. They spent a few days in Liverpool seeking direction from the Lord, and then felt the confirming whispering of the Spirit directing them to go to Preston. There they found a city in a state of excitement over elections for members of Parliament. Queen Victoria had ascended the throne three days earlier and had called for a national election.

As they came up the street in Preston, a banner unfurled before them with the words “Truth Will Prevail.”

This they adopted as the motto of their mission. It may seem a strange motto for a political party today but it is a motto that we could do well to adopt

In a dark and troubled hour the Lord said to those He loved: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Heber C Kimball and his colleagues took heart from the simple motto truth will prevail. They then worked as hard as they could with body mind and spirit to share the Gospel. The Lord then blessed them with success in their work.

D&C 42:6 Go forth in the power of my Spirit

‘The power of a missionary is not determined by his or her height, weight, or physical prowess. Nor is it determined by his or her smoothness of tongue or cleverness of mind. It is, however, determined by his or her receptivity to the Spirit and willingness to heed its promptings.

To go forth in the power of the Spirit means that a missionary must be taught and led by the Spirit and must teach by the Spirit. Therefore, the conscientious missionary courts the Holy Spirit every day of his mission. Such courting involves the exercise of faith, prayer, study, work, and righteous living. All of this is done with these promises in mind: (1) “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:14) and (2) “If ye will . . . receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:5). There is also the instruction that “if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14).

Missionaries must bear in mind that the Spirit or Holy Ghost enables a missionary to speak persuasively with “the tongue of angels” (2 Ne. 32:2). It serves as a conduit, if you will, through which the message passes from a missionary’s heart to the heart of the listener. It is the power that converts.’ (Carlos E Asay, The Seven M’s of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 4)

D&C 88:81 Warn the people

‘We who have received a knowledge of the great plan of happiness—and its implementing commandments—should feel a desire to share that knowledge since it makes all the difference here and in eternity. And if we ask, “Who is my neighbor that I should warn?” surely the answer will be found in a parable that begins, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves,”  Luke 10:30 and so forth.’ (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2017)

3. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve taught thousands in England.

Read: Brigham Young in England

Read: History of the Church in Great Britain

D&C 112:21 Power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation

‘When I read Church history, I am amazed at the boldness of the early brethren as they went out into the world. They seemed to find a way. Even in persecution and hardship, they went and opened doors which evidently have been allowed to sag on their hinges and many of them to close. I remember that these fearless men were teaching the gospel in Indian lands before the Church was even fully organized. As nearly as 1837 the Twelve were in England fighting Satan, in Tahiti in 1844, Australia in 1851, Iceland 1853, Italy 1850, and also in Switzerland, Germany, Tonga, Turkey, Mexico, Japan, Czechoslovakia, China, Samoa, New Zealand, South America, France, and Hawaii in 1850. When you look at the progress we have made in some countries, with no progress in many of their nearby countries, it makes us wonder. Much of this early proselyting was done while the leaders were climbing the Rockies and planting the sod and starting their homes. It is faith and super faith.

These men of valor began to walk the earth with dignity and honor, with mantles on their shoulders and keys in their hands and love in their hearts.’ (Spencer W Kimball, “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 6)

4. Many Saints in Kirtland remained valiant despite persecution.

‘Saints who looked back on this period learned some compelling lessons of which we today need to be aware. One of the pointed lessons we learn from the Kirtland apostasy is that no one should consider himself secure from the loss of faith. Pride, criticism, speculation, envy, greed—these are enough to cause the most faithful to stumble. Parley P. Pratt, for example, declared that “envyings, lyings, strifes and divisions” caused “trouble and sorrow” in Kirtland. He admitted that he was a victim of these failings. But the Lord knew his faith—his “integrity of purpose”—and helped him in his victory against an opposing spirit.

Orson Hyde recalled that, because he acted foolishly during this period of darkness, he temporarily lost “the light of the Holy Ghost.” Luke S. Johnson admitted that his mind became darkened and he neglected his Church responsibilities after he had “partaken of the spirit of speculation.

And yet, through it all, 87 percent of the Kirtland Saints continued to nurture their faith. They continued to sustain Joseph Smith as a prophet, sacrificing nearly all their material possessions rather than forsake the restored gospel. Despite opposition, they sacrificed their homes, the sacred temple they had built, and even their lives to carry the work of the Lord forward. We would do well to emulate their example.’ (Milton V Backman, A Warning from Kirtland, Ensign, April 1989)

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Priesthood

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 25: Priesthood: “The Power of Godliness”

1. Order in the restoration of the priesthood and its offices

Read: Revelations in Context: Restoring the Ancient Order

Read: Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women.

Read: Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

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‘What is the Priesthood? It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, not borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day … by which they may baptize for the remission of sins and lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and by which they can remit sin, with the sanction and blessing of Almighty God. It is the same power and Priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while He was upon the earth; that whatsoever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven, and whomsoever they should bless should be blessed, and if they cursed, in the spirit of righteousness and meekness before God, God would confirm that curse’ (Joseph F Smith, Conference Report, October 1904, p. 97)

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2. The oath and covenant of the priesthood

Read: The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood by S Brent Farley

‘As all of us know, a covenant is a contract and an agreement between at least two parties. In the case of gospel covenants, the parties are the Lord in heaven and men on earth. Men agree to keep the commandments and the Lord promises to reward them accordingly. The gospel itself is the new and everlasting covenant and embraces all of the agreements, promises, and rewards which the Lord offers to his people.

And so when we receive the Melchizedek Priesthood we do so by covenant. We solemnly promise to receive the priesthood, to magnify our callings in it, and to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. The Lord on his part promises us that if we keep the covenant, we shall receive all that the Father hath, which is life eternal. Can any of us conceive of a greater or more glorious agreement than this?’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1970, Afternoon Meeting 91.)

D&C 84:33 Magnifying their calling

‘We need to serve! The essence of holding the priesthood is to magnify our calling (see  D&C 84:33) by serving others. Avoiding our most important duty to serve our wives and children, not accepting or passively fulfilling callings in the Church, or not caring about others unless it is convenient is not who we should be. The Savior declared, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”  (Matthew 22:37) and later added, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me”  (D&C 42:29) Selfishness is the antithesis of priesthood responsibility, and if it is a trait of our character, we need to change.’ (Donald L Hallstrom, General Conference, April 2014)

“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 1986)

D&C 84:34 Sons of Moses and of Aaron

“‘Sons of Moses,’ and ‘sons of Aaron’ do not refer to their literal descendants only, for all who are faithful and obtain these Priesthoods, and magnify their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit and become the ‘sons’ of Moses and of Aaron, and the seed of Abraham, as well as the Church and Kingdom, and the elect of God (v. 34). Paul expresses this thought as follows, ‘Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham’ (Gal. 3:7).” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 504.)

D&C 84:38 All that my Father hath

‘Who in the name of the Lord can apprehend such language as this? Who can comprehend that, by obeying the celestial law, all that our Father has shall be given unto us-exaltations, thrones, principalities, power, dominion-who can comprehend it? Nevertheless it is here stated.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 209 – 210.)

 

3. Principles for using the priesthood

Read: Revelations in Context: Within the Walls of Liberty Jail

Read or watch: Walk with Me by President Henry B Eyring

D&C 121:34 Why are they not chosen?

“I know of many cases where a man has gradually failed to magnify his priesthood and moved away from activity in the Church. As a result, a man who has been very active loses his testimony and the Spirit of the Lord withdraws from him, and he begins to criticize those in authority, and to persecute the saints, apostatize, and fight against God.” (N Eldon Tanner, In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 52.)

D&C 121:35 Aspire to the honours of men

‘If there are any among you who aspire after their own aggrandizement, and seek their own opulence, while their brethren are groaning in poverty, and are under sore trials and temptations, they cannot be benefited by the intercession of the Holy Spirit…

We ought at all times to be very careful that such high-mindedness shall never have place in our hearts; but condescend to men of low estate, and with all long-suffering bear the infirmities of the weak. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen… ‘ (Joseph Smith, Epistle to the Saints, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 299)

D&C 121:39 Unrighteous dominion

‘We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent. Learning opportunities are lost when controlling persons pridefully assume they have all the right answers for others. The scriptures say that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to engage in this “unrighteous dominion,”  Doctrine and Covenants 121:39 so we should be aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Women too may exercise unrighteous dominion, though the scriptures identify the problem especially with men.’ (Larry Y Wilson, General Conference, April 2012)

Posted in Obedience, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 12: Obedience: Simply Live the Gospel

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“I have been interviewed by many [news] reporters. The one thing they say is, ‘Now what is going to be your theme during your presidency?’ I simply say, ‘The same theme which I have heard repeated in this Church by the presidents of the Church and the apostles for as far back as I can remember: Simply live the gospel, and every one who does so will receive in his heart a conviction of the truth of that which he lives.’”

How can you increase your desire to live the gospel?

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1. We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations that go with that covenant.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we have voluntarily entered into holy covenants, promising to obey the Lord’s commandments. Willing, righteous obedience leads to celestial life, indeed there is no eternal progress without it.

From the manual:

We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations which go with that covenant. We cannot be ordinary people. We must rise above the crowd. We must stand a little taller. We must be a little better, a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more courteous, a little more thoughtful, a little more outreaching to others.

What are some ways the covenants you have made with God influence your daily living?

2. The Lord expects us to live the gospel in every aspect.

Obedience to the commandments seems to be one of man’s challenges.  Sometimes it is not convenient – some of us have got too comfortable in our armchairs to go and do the work of the Lord. we find it too much hassle to go to the temple. Some of us say to ourselves, ‘I’ve done my share, someone else can do it now.’ Some of us are reluctant to leave our comfort zones. And then we wonder why we don’t feel the same sense of excitement about the gospel that we used to.

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From the manual:

We live in an age of compromise and acquiescence. In situations with which we are daily confronted, we know what is right, but under pressure from our peers and the beguiling voices of those who would persuade us, we capitulate. We compromise. We acquiesce. We give in, and we are ashamed of ourselves. … We must cultivate the strength to follow our convictions.

How do we sometimes compromise our convictions?

3. God will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments.

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See: Christ-like attributes – obedience

“The treasure house of happiness is unlocked to those who live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity. Like a mariner without stars, like a traveler without a compass, is the person who moves along through life without a plan. The assurance of supreme happiness, the certainty of a successful life here and of exaltation and eternal life hereafter, come to those who plan to live their lives in complete harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ—and then consistently follow the course they have set” (Spencer W Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 259).

From the manual:

The gospel is not a philosophy of repression, as so many regard it. It is a plan of freedom that gives discipline to appetite and direction to behavior. Its fruits are sweet and its rewards are liberal. 

How would you respond to someone who feels that the commandments are too restricting?

4. Church leaders point out the way and invite members to live the gospel.

Video: I will go and do (1 Nephi 3:7) President Gordon B. Hinckley speaks about being willing to go and do the things the Lord commands.

From the manual:

I have … served in the general councils of this Church for [many] years. … I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

5. Small decisions can lead to tremendous consequences.

From the manual:

I approached a large farm gate one day. I lifted the latch and opened the gate. The movement at the hinges was so slight as to be scarcely discernible. But the other end of the gate cut a great arc sixteen feet in radius. Looking at the movement of the hinges alone, one would never dream of the magnified action that came as a result of that tiny movement.

So it is with the decisions in our lives. Some small thought, some small word, some small action can lead to tremendous consequences.

‘A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted [members]… He encourages us to “be not weary in well-doing, for [we] are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” May we be faithful in fulfilling the duties of whatever calling we have in the kingdom. Let us pay heed to the “small things” that make all the difference. Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments as we have made sacred covenants to do. As our heritage and our growth clearly show, we are, indeed, “laying the foundation of a great work.”

Let us dedicate ourselves to doing the Lord’s work to the best of our abilities. May we honor the faith of our fathers by giving our own faithful service to this great cause.’ (Joseph B Wirthlin, “Faith of Our Fathers,” Ensign, May 1996, 34)

6. By living the gospel, we strengthen the Church and help God’s work grow across the earth.

Video: Cling to God’s values (Numbers 6:1-21) President Hinckley encourages saints to cling to God’s values.

From the manual:

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

How can living the gospel help us cope with uncertainties in the world?

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Joseph Smith

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 24: “Be Not Deceived, but Continue in Steadfastness”

1. We should recognize the deceptions of Satan that can lead us into apostasy.

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Read: Revelations in Context – The Faith and Fall of  Thomas Marsh

Video: Satan Seeks to Deceive Us Elder Oaks admonishes how Satan seeks to deceive us (D&C 50:1-9). (1:23)

Video: If They Harden Not Their Hearts This video depicts how pride led to the apostasy of Lyman Johnson and Thomas B. Marsh (D&C 112:1-16). (11:21)

‘[N]o member of the Church has the right to publish any doctrines, as the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without first submitting them for examination and approval to the First Presidency and the Twelve. There is but one man upon the earth, at one time, who holds the keys to receive commandments and revelations for the Church, and who has the authority to write doctrines by way of commandment unto the Church. And any man who so far forgets the order instituted by the Lord as to write and publish what may be termed new doctrines, without consulting with the First Presidency of the Church respecting them, places himself in a false position, and exposes himself to the power of darkness by violating his Priesthood. ‘(Messages of the First Presidency, 2:235)

D&C 50:3 Satan hath sought to deceive you

‘Satan gives revelations to deceive the children of men… our protection is in following the order of the Church on who should receive revelation for what subject. In this, both men and women have equal responsibility to follow the duly ordained leaders of the church who have the obligation to lead and, on occasion, to correct.

Early in the second year of the Church, the Lord revealed that “there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world.” (D&C 50:2.) The revelation on spiritual gifts tells the elders who were going forth on missions to be righteous and prayerful “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.” (D&C 46:7.)

Other revelations give instructions that help priesthood leaders discern the spirits and avoid being deceived. Thus, in section 52 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read that “he that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.” (D&C 52:16.) In contrast, “he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me.” (D&C 52:18.)… As the Lord said: “That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.” (D&C 50:23; see also D&C 50:30-35; Teachings, pp. 203-4.)’ (Dallin H Oaks, “Spiritual Gifts,” Ensign, Sept. 1986, 72)

D&C 64:8 “My Disciples, in Days of Old, Sought Occasion against One Another”

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “The Lord declared that when he was in his ministry his disciples sought occasion against one another and failed at times to forgive in their hearts. It was this condition which prompted Peter to ask the Lord how many times he should forgive his brother, ‘till seven times?’ The Lord answered him, ‘I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven.’ (Matt. 18:21–22.) As the disciples of old brought upon themselves affliction and chastening, so we, when we do not have in our hearts the spirit of forgiveness, bring upon ourselves affliction and chastening from the Lord.” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:235.)

2. We can remain valiant in our testimonies and avoid deception.

Video: Lord, I Believe

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D&C 28:2  No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith

‘When visions, dreams, tongues, prophecy, impressions or any extraordinary gift of inspiration, convey something out of harmony with accepted revelations of the Church or contrary to the decisions of its constituted authorities, Latter-day Saints may know that it is not of God, no matter how plausible it may appear. Also, they should understand that directions for the guidance of the Church will come, by revelation, through the head. All faithful members are entitled to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for themselves, their families, and for those over whom they are appointed and ordained to preside. But anything at discord with that which comes from God through the head of the Church is not to be received as authoritative or reliable. In secular as well as spiritual affairs, saints may receive divine guidance and revelation affecting themselves, but this does not convey authority to direct others, and is not to be accepted when contrary to Church covenants, doctrine or discipline, or to known facts, demonstrated truths, or good common sense. ‘(Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose in Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, by Roy W. Doxey, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 297 – 298.)

D&C 43:3 There is none other appointed

The Prophet Joseph Smith stated that “it is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church … to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

D&C 26:2 Common consent

‘It may seem rather a dry and formal matter to some of the people to come together and lift up their hands to sustain the authorities of the Church, but it is a necessary duty and if we look at it properly, we shall take pleasure therein. It may seem a little monotonous, but as I have said, it is necessary, for it was designed by the Almighty in the organization of this Church, that the voice of the people should respond to the voice of the Lord. It is the voice of the Lord and the voice of the people together in this Church that sanctions all things therein.’ (Charles W Penrose, Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 283.)

D&C 1:37 Search these commandments

‘Moreover, it is the duty of the members of this Church to make themselves familiar with the revelations as they have been given, and with the commandments as they have been taught in these revelations, or have been presented in them and given to the people, that we might know the truth which makes us free. And if we will study them, if we will put them into practice, if we will keep the commandments of the Lord, we will know the truth and there shall be no weapon formed against us that shall prosper. There shall be no false doctrines, no teaching of men that will deceive us. There are many cults and many false faiths, there are many strange ideas in the world, but if we will search these revelations then we will be fortified against errors and we will be made strong. False teachings will have no effect upon us for we will know that truth which makes us free’. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1931, First Day-Morning Meeting 16.)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 23: “Seek Learning, Even by Study and Also by Faith”

1. The School of the Prophets provides a pattern for us to follow in our learning.

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Video: School of the Prophets President Hinckley teaches about the School of the Prophets (D&C 88:117-137). (1:21)

‘The teacher must learn before he can teach. Therefore, in ancient and modern times there have been schools of the prophets, in which the mysteries of the kingdom have been taught to men who would go out to teach the gospel and to fight the battles of the Lord. These “prophets” need not be called to an office; they go out as teachers of truth, always and everywhere.’ (John A Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 257)

Read: Revelations in Context: A School and an Endowment

D&C 88:78 Teach ye diligently

‘We need to do a more thorough job in the teaching process to get the Spirit down into the hearts of the people. It is more than intellectual, it is more than a mental assessment. It must be a thing of the heart, a thing of the spirit…

We must strengthen ourselves and our people to get our teachers to speak out of their hearts rather than out of their books, to communicate their love for the Lord and this precious work, and somehow it will catch fire in the hearts of those they teach.’  (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 619 – 620.)

2. We should learn “by study and also by faith.”

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Video: Preparation of Brigham Young: A Seeker after Truth This one-minute video deals with Brigham Young’s desire to study things out and learn by faith.

D&C 88:117-141 “Therefore … Organize Yourselves”

‘The School of the Prophets founded by the Lord (see D&C 86:127) was organized in February 1833. The Prophet and the Apostles and other elders were to “teach one another words of wisdom … out of the best books … by study and also by faith” (v. 118). Those who attended “had many manifestations of the presence of the Spirit of the Lord,” including speaking in foreign tongues (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 567).

President Brigham Young said that “the members of that school were but few at first, and the Prophet commenced to teach them in doctrine to prepare them to go out into the world to preach the gospel unto all people, and gather the select from the four quarters of the Earth, as the prophets anciently have spoken. While this instruction prepared the Elders to administer in word and doctrine, it did not supply the teachings necessary to govern their private, or temporal, lives; it did not say whether they should be merchants, farmers, mechanics, or money-changers. The Prophet began to instruct them how to live, that they might be better prepared to perform the great work they were called to accomplish.” (In Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 567.)

A “school in Zion” was organized in Independence, Missouri, in August 1833 with Parley P. Pratt as its instructor (see Notes and Commentary on D&C 97:3–5), and Brigham Young patterned a school of elders after these early schools when the Church moved to Utah.

In the later verses of Doctrine and Covenants 88, wrote Smith and Sjodahl, “rules are given for the conduct of the School of the Prophets. This school was to be established for the benefit of all who were called to the ministry of the Church (v. 127). Note the order and etiquette to be observed in everything pertaining to the school. It was to be a house of God and to be respected as such.” (Commentary, p. 567.) Though the rules of order and conduct in these verses were given specifically for the School of the Prophets, many have universal application.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

3. We should continue to learn throughout our lives.

Video: Unto the Least of These This 14-minute video tells the story of Olivas Aoy, an early Latter-day Saint and pioneer in education in El Paso, Texas.

Many years ago the US government placed agents throughout the country to help farmers learn to be more productive. One agent in the South went to visit an old farmer in his area, but he found that convincing the farmer to change proved rather difficult.

He asked the farmer, “Wouldn’t you like to know how to get your cows to give more milk?”

“Nope,” the farmer replied.

“Well, wouldn’t you like your pigs to have larger litters of baby pigs?”

Again the farmer answered, “Nope.”

“Well, wouldn’t you like to learn how to get more corn per acre?”

The same answer was given as before: “Nope.”

Exasperated, the county agent asked, “Well, why not?”

The farmer replied simply, “I already knows more than I does.”

Elder Packer: ‘Elder Harold B. Lee and Elder Marion G. Romney were always teaching, and they would, in a sense, go out of their way to tell me something or teach me something. I think the reason they did it—I’m not sure they ever saw me in this position or calling—is that I had one virtue: I wanted to learn, and I didn’t resent it. And if you don’t resent it, and if you want to learn, the Lord will keep teaching you, sometimes things you really didn’t think you wanted to know.’

‘You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.’  (Gordon B Hinckley, “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 8)

D&C 6:7 Seek not for riches but for wisdom

‘Now, we have before us, on the one hand, the riches of eternity, and, on the other hand, the riches of the earth. Which will you choose? If you choose the riches of eternity, then all other things will be added unto you. If you choose the riches of the earth, you may lose all else, yea, even the riches of the earth. There are many, very many among the Latter-day Saints who are rich today, and others who are growing rich; but they do not derive their happiness from riches. There are five sources from which the Saints derive inestimable happiness, and in which the principle and power of wealth has no influence whatever: The first is the possession of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the second is the contemplation of spiritual things in that Gospel; the third is the blessings of the house of God, in which the endowments are given, and the principle of marriage for eternity is revealed; the fourth is the preaching of the Gospel to a fallen world, thus bringing to pass the redemption of mankind; and the fifth is administering the necessities of life to the worthy poor. This is what brings happiness, pure and unsullied happiness, to the Latter-day Saints. Let us seek after these things.’ (Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, April 1910, Second Day-Morning Session 67 – 68.)

D&C 19:23 Learn of me, and listen to my words

‘These words give me the feeling of such closeness to, such intimacy with the Savior, looking at him, listening to him, learning from him, walking with him, and feeling his peace like his very arms around me. Within each of us is an intense hunger for this intimacy with and closeness to him. I think we all want to feel his spirit around us.’ (Chieko N Okazaki, Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 199.)

4. In the temple we gain an education for eternity.

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In the temple we come into the Lord’s house, described in D&C 109:8 as as “a house of learning” where we are taught eternal truths and where we may seek inspiration for specific personal concerns.

Temple attendance has a calming, settling, consoling influence that distills peace and contentment. It provides an environment for inspiration in answer to prayers. The accompanying family history work yields similar blessings. We all need to make the temple an important and frequent part of our learning.

“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something” (Dallin H Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, 32).

“Spiritual learning takes precedence. The secular without the foundation of the spiritual is … like the foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow. … One need not choose between the two … for there is opportunity to get both simultaneously” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 390).

Posted in Family, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 11: Home—the Basis of a Righteous Life

Family relationships are the most sacred of all relationships.

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Read: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

From the manual:

The family is divine. It was instituted by our Heavenly Father. It encompasses the most sacred of all relationships. Only through its organization can the purposes of the Lord be fulfilled.

How might this truth affect our relationships with family members?

Fathers and mothers have the privilege of caring for their children and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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President Harold B. Lee said, “The greatest of the Lord’s work you brethren will ever do as fathers will be within the walls of your own home.”

From the manual:

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

How has gospel teaching in your home blessed your family?

Through family prayer, children grow with faith in the living God.

‘Praying together, seeking to know the will of our Father in Heaven, and desiring strength to do His will draws Him near to us. This practice unifies family members in a common direction and purpose. How simple the Lord has made it for us! All we have to do is sincerely ask in faith in his name, and He will hear and answer our prayers. Yet, if the prophet bid us do some great thing for such blessings, would we do it? Holding regular family prayer is such a simple thing to do to receive these great blessings. (Rex D Pinegar, General Conference, October 1994)

From the manual:

I know of no other practice that will have so salutary an effect upon your lives as will the practice of kneeling together in prayer. The very words, Our Father in Heaven, have a tremendous effect. You cannot speak them with sincerity and with recognition without having some feeling of accountability to God. 

What blessings have you experienced by having regular family prayer?

Family home evening can draw parents and children together in learning the ways of the Lord.

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Pres Howard W Hunter: Take seriously your responsibility to teach the gospel to your family through regular family home evening, family prayer, devotional and scripture-reading time, and other teaching moments. Give special emphasis to preparation for missionary service and temple marriage. As patriarch in the home, exercise your priesthood through performing the appropriate ordinances for your family and by giving blessings to your wife and children. Next to your own salvation, brethren, there is nothing so important to you as the salvation of your wife and children.

From the manual:

I am grateful that we as a Church have as a basic part of our program the practice of a weekly family home evening. It is a significant thing that in these busy days thousands of families across the world are making an earnest effort to consecrate one evening a week to sing together, to instruct one another in the ways of the Lord, to kneel together in prayer, there to thank the Lord for his mercies and to invoke his blessings upon our lives, our homes, our labors, our land. I think we little estimate the vast good that will come of this program.

What blessings have come to your family through family home evening?

Parents should begin to teach their children when the children are very young.

“I have heard men and women say that they were going to let their sons and daughters grow to maturity before they sought to teach them the principles of the gospel, that they were not going to cram the gospel down them in their childhood, before they were able to comprehend it. When I hear men and women say this, I think they are lacking faith in the principles of the gospel and do not comprehend it as they should. The Lord has said it is our duty to teach our children in their youth, and I prefer to take His word for it rather than the words of those who are not obeying His commandments …. I may know that the gospel is true, and so may my wife; but I want to tell you that your children will not know that the gospel is true, unless they study it and gain a testimony for themselves. Parents are deceiving themselves in imagining that their children will be born with a knowledge of the gospel.” (Heber J Grant)

Video: Learn in thy youth (Alma 37:35) President Gordon B. Hinckley shares a story of the effects of neglecting a young tree. (3:02)

From the manual:

Review President Hinckley’s story of the honey locust tree (see section 5). What applications could this story have for you?

If children rebel, parents should continue to pray for them, love them, and reach out to them.

President Howard W Hunter: A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all these and your child is still wayward or troublesome or worldly, it could well be that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent. Perhaps there are children who have come into the world that would be a challenge to any set of parents under any circumstances. Likewise, perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to, almost any father or mother. My concern today is that there are parents who may be pronouncing harsh judgements upon themselves and may be allowing these feelings to destroy their lives, when in fact they have done their best and should continue in faith.

From the manual:

Once in a while, notwithstanding all the things you try to do, there is a rebellious child. But keep at it. Do not ever give up. You have never lost as long as you try. Keep at it.

What are some ways that parents and others can reach out in love?

We strengthen our families as we seek heaven’s help and nurture a spirit of love and respect for each other.

Do we say, “Yes, most of the time I treat my family as Christ would . . . except when I get mad or when they misbehave.”  Treating our families as Christ would during the pleasant times does not count.  Being kind only counts during the unpleasant times.  If we want to get credit for being kind, we must be kind even when we are angry and even when our family members misbehave.  We must always be kind to our family members, even when we think they don’t deserve it.

From the manual:

I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes.

Why is it important for parents to discipline their children with love rather than anger?

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

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

1. Why was the Word of Wisdom revealed?

See Revelations in Context – The Word of Wisdom

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

D&C 89:4 Conspiring men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read: Brother Notaro and the Word of Wisdom

Alcoholic Holding A Glass Of Alcohol Next To An Empty Bottle

D&C 89:5 Strong drink

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

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

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

D&C 89:8 Tobacco

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-10-21-00-pm

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

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

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

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

D&C 89:9 Hot drinks

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

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

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

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

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

He once said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caffeinated drinks

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

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

Cornucopia

D&C 89:11 In the season thereof

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

D&C 89:12 To be used sparingly

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

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

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

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

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

4. Promised blessings for obedience to the Word of Wisdom

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

D&C 89:18 Health

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

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

D&C 89:20 Run and not be weary

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

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

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

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

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