Posted in Faith, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

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

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

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

What is your earliest recollection of spiritual feelings?

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

Watch: Testimony – President Gordon B Hinckley

From the manual:

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the manual:

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

Read: Experience vs opinion

What do we mean when we say ‘I know’?

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

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

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

Read: Personal revelation and testimony – Sister Barbara Thompson

From the manual:

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

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

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

From the manual:

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

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

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

Posted in 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)

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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.

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‘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.

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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 Faith, LDS Church History, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 4: The Pioneer Heritage of Faith and Sacrifice

“Whether you have pioneer ancestry or came into the Church only yesterday, you are a part of this whole grand picture of which those men and women dreamed. … They laid the foundation. Ours is the duty to build on it.”
As the Church becomes an increasingly global organisation and overflows its Rocky Mountain home, an increasing proportion of its members will not have ancestors who crossed the plains or founded small communities in the desert. Many, however, will be gospel pioneers in their families, schools, work places and communities. We may not all have great ancestors, but we can all become great ancestors.

From the life of Gordon B Hinckley

President Hinckley speaks about his pioneering ancestors and then honours those who are gospel pioneers around the world today.

1 With vision, labor, and confidence in the power of God working through them, the early Latter-day Saint pioneers brought their faith to reality.

From the manual:
Behind us is a glorious history. It is bespangled with heroism, tenacity to principle, and unflagging fidelity. It is the product of faith. Before us is a great future. It begins today. We cannot pause. We cannot slow down. We cannot slacken our pace or shorten our stride.
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How do you feel when you consider the legacy of faith and sacrifice that pioneers and other Saints have given us?
Who are the pioneers of the Church in your area? (See my blog Saints ain’ts and complaints for some of the pioneers in my area of the church.)
How can we pass on this same kind of legacy to those who will follow us?
2 Early Latter-day Saint pioneers looked to the future with a grand dream of Zion.
From the manual:
I stood the other day on the old docks of Liverpool, England. There was practically no activity the Friday morning when we were there. But once this was a veritable beehive. During the 1800s, tens of thousands of our people walked over the same stone paving on which we walked. They came from across the British Isles and from the lands of Europe, converts to the Church. They came with testimony on their lips and faith in their hearts. Was it difficult to leave their homes and step into the unknown of a new world? Of course it was. But they did it with optimism and enthusiasm. They boarded sailing vessels. They knew the crossing at best was hazardous. They soon found out that for the most part it was miserable. They lived in cramped quarters week after week. They endured storms, disease, sickness. Many died on the way and were buried at sea. It was an arduous and fearsome journey. They had doubts, yes. But their faith rose above those doubts. Their optimism rose above their fears. They had their dream of Zion, and they were on their way to fulfill it.
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What dream or vision drives you forward and helps you to endure the difficult times?
The LDS hymn ‘Come, Come Ye Saints was written by English pioneer William Clayton on the plains of Iowa while concerned about his family back in Nauvoo. See: William Clayton and Come, Come Ye Saints in the Friend magazine.
‘Life isn’t always easy. At some point in our journey we may feel much as the pioneers did as they crossed Iowa—up to our knees in mud, forced to bury some of our dreams along the way. We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision. Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow our passage. Always, there is a Devil’s Gate, which will swing wide open to lure us in. Those who are wise and faithful will steer a course as far from such temptation as possible, while others—sometimes those who are nearest and dearest to us—succumb to the attraction of ease, comfort, convenience, and rest. Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and more challenging than the one we have just traversed. Tapping unseen reservoirs of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebears, inch ever forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all pioneers who have endured in faith, singing: “All is well! All is well!” (Hymns, no. 30).’ (M Russell Ballard, General Conference, May 1997)
3 The rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers speaks of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From the manual:
My brethren and sisters, I would hope, I would pray, that each of us … would resolve to seek those who need help, who are in desperate and difficult circumstances, and lift them in the spirit of love into the embrace of the Church, where strong hands and loving hearts will warm them, comfort them, sustain them, and put them on the way of happy and productive lives.
What can we do to rescue and lift those who are in need today?

“I received a letter this morning. I think I would like to read it to you. I hope that you will not consider it egotistical for me to do so.

“What a wonderful Conference! Your closing remarks concerning Brigham Young’s rescue parties touched our family’s heart and we resolved to set out on our rescue mission without delay. We pulled out of the stake center [Sunday afternoon] and headed directly to the humble home of a struggling single parent mother of two who hasn’t been out to Church in years (and who has carefully evaded her visiting teachers). We happened to catch her in her driveway, and we told her that you and the bishop had sent us. Her heart was touched. She said that she works at a hospital till 2 A.M. most Sundays. When we asked if we could bring her children to Church with us, she explained that her ten-year-old daughter has no Sunday clothes and that her fourteen-year-old son had felt embarrassed to attend because he felt he didn’t fit in. We told the mom we would take care of the needed clothes. We then invited them to Sunday spaghetti dinner that took place thirty minutes later, introduced the boy to our nephew who is in his quorum, and arranged to pick the boy up for Mutual this week. The mom and sister promised to go to Church with us in two weeks when the mom has her Sunday off. (Don’t worry, we won’t let them forget!)’

“That is the whole thing, when all is said and done, to go out and get in our cars and drive from a Church parking lot to someone who has been neglected for a long time and needs a little attention, to lift and cheer and comfort and love and bless. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matt. 25:40).” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 224.)

4 Each of us is a pioneer.
From the manual:
It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries. Their tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us all, for each of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family, and many of us pioneer daily in trying to establish a gospel foothold in distant parts of the world.
In what ways is each of us a pioneer?
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In a sense, each of us is a wanderer far from home, crossing a  wilderness in search of a promised land. This theme is repeated in the stories of the Jaredites, the family of Lehi, the children of Israel and Brigham Young and the pioneers. To get to our promised land we will each of us have to make sacrifices just as the pioneers did.
5 We honor the sacrifices and heritage of the pioneers by following their example and building on their foundation.
From the manual:
With so great an inheritance, we must go forward. We must never let down. We must hold our heads high. We must walk with integrity. We must “do what is right [and] let the consequence follow”
How can the examples of the early pioneers help us as we face challenges?

‘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)

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 7: “The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel”

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.

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.)

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D&C 88:118 By study and also by faith

‘As a partial self-appraisal of our spiritual-procrastination standing, what is our attitude when we attend the meetings of the Church? Is it to learn “by study and also by faith”  D&C 88:118 which seamlessly translates what we learn into what we do? Or do we have an “I’ve heard it all before” mentality that immediately blocks the Spirit’s access to our minds and our hearts and enables procrastination to become a major part of our character?’ (Donald L Hallstrom, General Conference, October 2007)

D&C 20:69 By a godly walk and conversation

“The call to discipleship is a call to a higher righteousness. The Saints are asked to put off the natural man, put away the toys of a telestial world, and grow up in the Lord. They are summoned to be obedient, to keep the commandments, to manifest ‘by a godly walk and conversation that they are worthy’ of membership in the Church and kingdom of God (D&C 20:69). They covenant to take upon them the sacred name of Jesus Christ, to bear the same with fidelity and devotion, and to behave as becomes Christians. In short, they covenant before God and man to see to it that their actions evidence their Christian commitment. Disciples are expected to have clean hands.” (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 55.)

D&C 8:10 Faith

“As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know. …

“[We] have had this great power given unto us, this power of faith. What are we doing about it? Can you, can we, do the mighty things that the Savior did? Yes. They have been done by the members of the Church who had the faith and the righteousness so to do. Think of what is within your power if you but live the Gospel, if you but live so that you may invoke the power which is within you.” (J Reuben Clark Jr, In Conference Report, Apr. 1960, p. 21.)

D&C 35:9 Healing the sick

“The need of faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power of the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administering brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed. … The major element is the faith of the individual when that person is conscious and accountable. ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole’  Matthew 9:22 was repeated so often by the Master that it almost became a chorus.”[“President Kimball Speaks Out on Administration to the Sick,” Tambuli, Aug. 1982, 36–37; New Era, Oct. 1981, 47.]

D&C 63:9 Faith cometh not by signs

‘If the purpose of miracles is to convert, then Jesus wasted his miracles all on believers…To impress people with miracles is one thing; to give them a testimony of the gospel another. As the experience of the Apostles showed, if people will not accept the gospel by the word without miracles, they will not accept it with miracles: ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead’ (Luke 16:31). ‘ (Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, p. 140-1)

2. Through sincere repentance, we can partake of the blessings of the Atonement.

D&C 58:42, D&C 1:32 Repentance and forgiveness

‘Where would we be, in fact, without God’s long-suffering? Given the divine sorrow each of us has caused our God and our Savior, what a divine comfort to know that “he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42). No more reassuring and important words could be said to any of us.

What ineffable love! What stunning patience! How wrenching it would otherwise be to be resurrected and forever wincing over having displeased Him. Oh, the marvel of His divine mercy and His plan of happiness!’ (Neal A Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, June 1996, 17-18)

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D&C 18:11 He suffered the pains of all men

‘Jesus Christ suffered the pains of all men who have ever lived, or ever will live, upon the earth. This concept is incomprehensible to the mortal mind. Comprehending it is like trying to conceptualize the never-ending expanse of the universe:

How can we begin to comprehend the cumulative suffering of all mankind, or as taught by Elder Orson F. Whitney, “the piled up agony of the human race”? What is thrown on the scale of remorse, as observed by Truman Madsen, when we aggregate “the cumulative impact of our vicious thoughts, motives, and acts”? What, as Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone inquired, is the “weight and immensity of the penalties of all broken laws crying from the dust and from the future-an incomprehensible tidal wave of guilt”? How many searing consciences has this world produced and to what depths of depravity has this earthly sphere sunk? Can anyone possibly fathom the horrendous consequences of such sin? Not only did the Savior fathom it-he felt it, and he suffered it.’ (Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 134)

D&C 19:16-19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father

‘The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history. It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters turned. But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness!’ (Neal A Maxwell, “Willing to Submit,” Ensign, May 1985, p.70)

D&C 1:33 My Spirit shall not always strive with man

“Now the Lord has withdrawn His Spirit from the world. Do not let this thought become confused in your minds. The Spirit He has withdrawn from the world is not the Holy Ghost (for they never had that!), but it is the light of truth, spoken of in our scriptures as the Spirit of Christ, which is given to every man that cometh into the world, as you find recorded in Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

“Now because of the wickedness of the world, that Spirit has been withdrawn, and when the Spirit of the Lord is not striving with men, the spirit of Satan is. Therefore, we may be sure that the time has come spoken of in Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants. … Peace has been taken from the earth. The devil has power over his own dominion. The Spirit of the Lord has been withdrawn. Not because the Lord desires to withdraw that Spirit, but because of the wickedness of mankind, it becomes necessary that this Spirit of the Lord be withdrawn.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Predicted Judgments, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 21 Mar. 1967], pp. 5–6.)

D&C 29:17 My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not

‘If we do not repent, then the Lord clearly lets us know that there will be discipline and a denial of blessings and advancement. The Lord teaches that he cannot forgive people in their sins; he can only save them from their abandoned sins. The Lord clearly says, “My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.” (D&C 29:17.) Hear in this instance means to accept and abide his teachings.’ (Spencer W Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign, Oct. 1982, 5)

3. Baptism is an essential ordinance.

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D&C 20:37 Requirements for baptism

‘Mankind everywhere must subscribe to these conditions. There are no other conditions prescribed by the Lord by which we may obtain entrance into his kingdom and obtain salvation. These requirements are very plain, simple, and easy to be understood.'(George F Richards, Conference Report, October 1934, Afternoon Meeting 73.)

D&C 76:51 A testimony of Jesus

‘A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church. A testimony is one of the few possessions we may take with us when we leave this life.

To have a testimony of Jesus is to possess knowledge through the Holy Ghost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

A testimony of Jesus is to know the divine nature of our Lord’s birth–that He is indeed the Only Begotten Son in the flesh.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that He was the promised Messiah and that while He sojourned among men He accomplished many mighty miracles.

A testimony of Jesus is to know that the laws which He prescribed as His doctrine are true and then to abide by these laws and ordinances.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, which caused Him to suffer in both body and spirit and to bleed from every pore. All this He did so that we would not have to suffer if we would repent. (See D&C 19:16, 18.)

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that He came forth triumphantly from the grave with a physical, resurrected body. And because He lives, so shall all mankind.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that God the Father and Jesus Christ did indeed appear to the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish a new dispensation of His gospel so that salvation may be preached to all nations before He comes.

To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that the Church, which He established in the meridian of time and restored in modern times is, as the Lord has declared, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)

Having such a testimony is vital.’ [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, pp. 1-2]

D&C 20:72-74 Baptism by immersion

‘…the world had lost sight of the fact that baptism was for the remission of sins, and they had changed the mode instituted by the Savior and His apostles. They were practicing different kinds of baptism. Instead of immersing the whole body in water, as we do, some practiced baptism by sprinkling or pouring water upon the head, and none believed that baptism was anything more than “the outward sign of an inward grace.” It was not regarded as necessary to salvation, and as having been instituted for the remission of sins. But the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, declared this to be its purpose, and Joseph and Oliver, while translating the plates, when they came upon this doctrine, which was new to them also, marveled over it, and they went into the woods and prayed, asking the Lord for light upon the subject.’ (Orson F Whitney, Conference Report, April 1909, First Day-Morning Session. 14 – 15.)

D&C 20:71 Accountability

“Baptism is for the remission of sins, and no man can repent of a sin until he is accountable before God” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:50).

4. Through the ordinance of confirmation, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

D&C 130:22 A personage of Spirit

‘The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and, as such, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, He knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts. See  Alma 12:7  18:16–18  Doctrine and Covenants 6:15–16 The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy. Since He knows the challenges we will face, He can guide us and teach us all things we must do to return and live with our Heavenly Father once again.[See  2 Nephi 32:5

Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who have glorified bodies of flesh and bones, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who communicates to our spirits through feelings and impressions. See  Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 As a spirit being, He has the unique responsibility of being an agent through which personal revelation is received. In scripture, the Holy Ghost is often referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit of Promise, or simply the Spirit.’ (Craig C Christensen, General Conference, October 2012)

D&C 33:15 The gift of the Holy Ghost

‘We have the right to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but we can’t have that guidance if we wilfully refuse to consider the revelations that have been given to help us to understand and to guide us in the light and truth of the everlasting gospel. We can’t hope to have that guidance when we refuse to consider these great revelations which mean so much to us both temporally and spiritually. Now if we find ourselves in this condition of unbelief or unwillingness to seek for the light and the knowledge which the Lord has placed within our reach, then we are liable or in danger of being deceived by evil spirits, the doctrines of devils, and the teachings of men. And when these false influences are presented before us, we will not have the distinguishing understanding by which we can segregate them and know that they are not of the Lord. And so we may become prey unto the ungodly, to the vicious, to the cunning, to the craftiness of men.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, October 1952)

D&C 35:5-6 By the laying on of hands

‘So far we are agreed with other Christian denominations. They all preach faith and repentance. The gospel requires baptism by immersion for the remission of sins…But I further believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Evidence by Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.’ (Joseph Smith,History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5: 499.)

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D&C 20:41 Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost

“To gain salvation every accountable person must receive two baptisms. They are the baptism of water and of the Spirit. (John 3:3–5.) The baptism of the Spirit is called the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; 2 Ne. 31:13–14; 3 Ne. 11:35; 12:1–2; Morm. 7:10; D. & C. 20:41; 33:11; 39:6.) By the power of the Holy Ghost—who is the Sanctifier (3 Ne. 27:19–21)—dross, iniquity, carnality, sensuality, and every evil thing is burned out of the repentant soul as if by fire; the cleansed person becomes literally a new creature of the Holy Ghost. (Mosiah 27:24–26.) He is born again.

“The baptism of fire is not something in addition to the receipt of the Holy Ghost; rather, it is the actual enjoyment of the gift which is offered by the laying on of hands at the time of baptism. ‘Remission of sins,’ the Lord says, comes ‘by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.’ (D. & C. 19:31; 2 Ne. 31:17.) Those who receive the baptism of fire are ‘filled as if with fire.’ (Hela. 5:45.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 73.)

D&C 20:77 Always have his Spirit to be with them

‘I have had a lifetime of building faith in Christ, and hearing the promise in the sacrament prayer: “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” That prayer is very personal to me now. I need the Spirit of Christ through the Holy Ghost to be with me more now than I ever have, and I feel that promise being literally fulfilled, week by week. You cannot imagine the gratitude I feel, each Sabbath, as I partake of the sacrament, renew the promises I made at baptism, and feel the Savior making an answering promise to me. I cannot find words to tell you how strong and how comforting that sense of companionship is as I go about my duties.’ (Chieko N Okazaki, Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 221.)

D&C 39:6 The peaceable things of the kingdom

‘Feelings of peace are promptings and proof that the Spirit is bearing witness to us in response to our petitions. The Lord said to Oliver Cowdery through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23).’ (L Lionel Kendrick, “Personal Revelation,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 13)

D&C 42:14 If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach

‘This means that even if you use all the right teaching techniques and what you are teaching is true, without the Spirit real learning is not going to take place.’ (David M McConkie, General Conference, October 2010)

D&C 11:13 Enlighten your mind

“There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. … From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark.” (Lorenzo Snow, In Conference Report, Apr. 1899, p. 52.)

D&C 84:33 Unto the renewing of their bodies

‘Brethren, I bear testimony to the fact that that promise has been realized in the lives of many of us. I know that it has been realized in the life of President David O. McKay, that he has been sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body, and some of the rest of us are better off today than we were many years ago so far as physical health is concerned-and we attribute that fact to his blessing.’ (Hugh B Brown, Conference Report, April 1963, General Priesthood Meeting 90.)

5. We must endure to the end in faith to receive eternal life.

D&C 14:7 The greatest of all the gifts of God

‘There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all men, just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is “the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7.) We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, “if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.” If we so endure, the promise is, “you shall have eternal life.” (D&C 14:7.)’ (James E Faust, “The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12)

D&C 24:8 Be patient in afflictions

‘God does not deny us the experience we came here to have. He does not insulate us from tribulation or guarantee immunity from trouble.

Much of the pain we suffer and inevitably impose upon others is self-induced through our own bad judgment, through poor choices.

And for that, help is offered. To the penitent sinner comes the assurance that God will forgive, forget, and never mention our sins of which we have truly repented.

But much that happens to us in this life we cannot control; we only respond. Knowing what God has promised can provide the courage and faith we need. We are assured in the scriptures that we may know of a surety that the Lord does visit his people in their afflictions. (See  Mosiah 24:13–14 ) And that “whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.”  (Alma 36:3)

Jesus said to those who mourned the loss of a loved one, “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” ( John 16:22).’ (Marion D Hanks, General Conference, October 1992).

 

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, Jesus Christ

Christ-like attributes – patience

The word patience or patient appears more than 80 times in the scriptures. It is a Christ-like virtue. If we want to become like Christ we need to develop patience.

What is patience? Preach My Gospel says it ‘is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated or anxious.’ When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully:

And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. (Alma 17:10 –11)

Patience is being steadfast despite opposition difficulty or adversity: Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. (Alma 26:27)

At a time when persecution intensified toward the newly organized Church, the Lord said to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” (D&C 24:8.)

Patience in affliction and adversity means to persist firmly and never forsake what we know to be true, standing firm with the hope that in the Lord’s due time we will understand what we don’t understand now. In the words of Joseph Smith, “Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 185.)

It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. We need to trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises in his own due time. Elder Neal A Maxwell taught that patience is being “willing to watch the unfolding process of God with a sense of wonder and awe – rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.”

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Patience is related to hope and faith – you must wait for the Lord’s blessings to be fulfilled. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than his. Either way we are questioning the reality of God’s omniscience” (Ensign, Oct. 1980, p. 28).

Why is patience important?

A certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action. However, I believe that a lack of patience is a major cause of the difficulties and unhappiness in the world today. Too often, we are impatient with ourselves, with our family members and friends, and even with the Lord. We seem to demand what we want right now, regardless of whether we have earned it, whether it would be good for us, or whether it is right.” (Patience, a Key to Happiness by Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 1987)

Posted in Book of Mormon, Faith, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 46 – By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled

1. Moroni explains the importance of faith.

Ether 12:4 Hope

“The concept of hope plays a vital role in Latter-day Saint thought. Firmly centered in Christ and his resurrection, it is the ‘hope of eternal life’ (Titus 1:2) repeatedly alluded to by Paul. It is the opposite of the despair found among those who are ‘without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world’ (Eph. 2:12). As the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni writes, ‘If ye have no hope, ye must needs be in despair’ (Moro. 10:22). For those, however, who accept Christ’s Atonement and resurrection, there comes a ‘brightness of hope’ (2 Ne. 31:20) through which all who believe in God ‘might with surety hope for a better world’ (Ether 12:4).” (James K. Lyon in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 656)

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Ether 12:6 The trial of your faith

“Thus there ought to be expectations that in this laboratory of life we will actually see each other in the process of being remodeled, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. We will obviously be aware of others who are also in the ‘furnace of affliction.’ However, we will not always have a smooth, ready answer to the question, ‘Why me?’ ‘Why now?’ ‘Why this?’-for as Moroni observed, ‘Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.’ (Ether 12:6. Italics added.)

“As we see ourselves, and others, passing through fiery trials, the wisdom of Peter, who had his own share of fiery trials, is very useful: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ (1 Peter 4:12.)” (Neal A Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p. 44)

Ether 12-8-22 Faith and Miracles

“Faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. …

“… It was by faith that the worlds were framed. God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order by reason of the faith there was in Him. So with man also; he spake by faith in the name of God, and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed, prisons fell, lions’ mouths were closed, the human heart lost its enmity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror, and death its dominion; and all this by reason of the faith which was in him” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith).

2. The Lord teaches Moroni that He gives us weakness that we may be humble.

Ether 12:23 Because of our weakness in writing

“The weakness that troubles Moroni is his inability to express in writing what he feels inside, what he can express in speech through the power of the Spirit. He is obviously moved by the literary power and skill of the brother of Jared. His own writing pales by comparison, and he feels below the task of translating and abridging the work of this great writer and prophet. We can understand Moroni’s feelings of inadequacy. A comparable task for us might be to paraphrase and abridge all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays, preserving some of the continuity and brilliance of the originals. We, too, would worry that others would mock at our words.” (Gary Hatch, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 111)

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Ether 12:26 Fools mock, but they shall mourn

‘Yahweh responds to Moroni’s sincere concern that his personal inadequacies may jeopardize the great work. The Lord assures him that, although some will mock, “my grace is sufficient for the meek.” The Book of Mormon’s effectiveness will continue in spite of efforts to discredit it. Indeed, the history of the Book of Mormon has been one of divided approaches. Those who perceive it as true accept it as a witness of Christ, while others who cannot “see” reject it.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Ether 12:27 Weakness

“When we read in the scriptures of man’s ‘weakness,’ this term includes the generic but necessary weakness inherent in the general human condition in which the flesh has such an incessant impact upon the spirit (see Ether 12:28–29). Weakness likewise includes, however, our specific, individual weaknesses, which we are expected to overcome (see D&C 66:3; Jacob 4:7). Life has a way of exposing these weaknesses” (Neal A Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith [1994], 84).

Ether 12:30 The brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed

“In the New Testament the Savior said that “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” (Matthew 17:20). Many people have assumed that the Savior was simply giving a dramatic illustration to portray the great power of faith. However, He may have been referring to an actual incident, forEther 12:30 says that the brother of Jared “said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove–and it was removed.” [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 325]

Ether 12:41 Seek this Jesus

‘You too can seek our Heavenly Father and “this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have [testified]” (Ether 12:41) in the scriptures and in this general conference. As you seek a personal witness—your personal revelation—you will discover that Heavenly Father has provided a special way for you to know the truth for yourself: through the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit we know as the Holy Ghost.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 2014)

3. Moroni records Ether’s prophecies concerning the promised land.

Ether 13:3 The New Jerusalem

‘The establishment of Zion and the New Jerusalem will come “down out of heaven” (Ether 13:3) in both a literal and a symbolic way. In the symbolic way, the New Jerusalem will be built upon heavenly principles and under the influence of revelation to the Lord’s chosen officers. . . . There is, however, an additional meaning–a very literal meaning–to this phrase. Enoch’s city–the city of Holiness that was taken up into heaven (see Moses 7:13–21) will come down from heaven and be united with the earthly New Jerusalem.’ ([Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, Brent L. Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV, p. 307]

4. War rages throughout the land. The Jaredite civilization is destroyed.

Ether 13:13 Cast him out

“Ether was deprived of social status whereas Mormon was granted it by the Nephites. Ether, the heir apparent to the Jaredite throne, was rejected by the people in power, and they even tried to kill him. The fact that Ether was the grandson of a deposed king and that he was making accusations against king Coriantumr must have created a strong bias against him. Because both his person and his message were unwelcome in Coriantumr’s court, Ether had to flee for his life (Ether 13:20-22). He lived without influence among the people rather than as a king in a castle. In fact, he was considered to be an enemy, and lived as a recluse in a cave. He warned the people, observed the war by night, and recorded the tragic events (Ether 13:13-14).”  (E. Dale LaBaron, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 154)

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Ether 13:22 Coriantumr repented not

‘The king again rejects the prophet and attempts to kill him. The warnings in the prophecy are now on Coriantumr’s head. Ether’s remaining record documents the fulfillment of that terrible pronouncement.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Ether 13:25 Every man with his band fighting for that which he desired

“Preceding the second coming, will there be such similar and widespread violence, disorder, and anarchy again? Yet even in the midst of such destruction, the Lord’s purposes unfold, not only generally but individually, as He keeps His individualized promises to His servants.” (Neal A Maxwell, Plain and Precious Things, p. 90)

Ether 14-15 The final Jaredite battle

‘Coriantumr and Shiz allowed all of their followers to be killed without ending the conflict. We cannot fully comprehend the horror of the final Jaredite battle in which even women and children were armed and sent to war (see Ether 15:15). This does, however, provide a graphic picture of what people become when the Spirit of the Lord withdraws and no longer strives with them (see verse 19).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Ether 15:29 All had fallen…save it were Coriantumr and Shiz

‘Two circumstances peculiar to Asiatic warfare explain why the phenomenon is by no means without parallel: (1) Since every war is strictly a personal contest between kings, the battle must continue until one of the kings falls or is taken. (2) And yet things are so arranged that the king must be the very last to fall, the whole army existing for the sole purpose of defending his person. . . . As long as the war went on, the king could not die, for whenever he did die, the war was over, no matter how strong his surviving forces. Even so, Shiz was willing to spare all of Coriantumr’s subjects if he could only behead Coriantumr with his own sword.’  [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 235-236]