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

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‘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.)

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 21: “Looking Forth for the Great Day of the Lord to Come”

1. The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory.

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D&C 29:9 They that do wickedly shall be as stubble

‘For those who say “We’re not going to burn,” it would be prudent to remember that it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark!’ (A Theodore Tuttle, Conference Report, April 1970, Afternoon Meeting 86.)

D&C 45:44 And, behold I will come

‘Our faith grows as we anticipate the glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth. The thought of His coming stirs my soul. It will be breathtaking! The scope and grandeur, the vastness and magnificence, will exceed anything mortal eyes have ever seen or experienced.

In that day He will not come “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,”  Luke 2:12 but He will appear “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:44 We will hear “the voice of the archangel, and … the trump of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 The sun and the moon will be transformed, and “stars [will] be hurled from their places.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:49 You and I, or those who follow us, “the saints … from [every quarter] of the earth,”Doctrine and Covenants 45:46 “shall be quickened and … caught up to meet him,” Doctrine and Covenants 88:96 and those who have died in righteousness, they too will “be caught up to meet him in the midst … of heaven.”Doctrine and Covenants 88:97

Then, a seemingly impossible experience: “All flesh,” the Lord says, “shall see me together.” Doctrine and Covenants 101:23 How will it happen? We do not know. But I testify it will happen—exactly as prophesied. We will kneel in reverence, “and the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:49 “It shall be … as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:22 “[Then] the Lord, … the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

There will be unforgettable reunions with the angels of heaven and the Saints upon the earth.See  Moses 7:63 But most important, as Isaiah declares, “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,”  Isaiah 52:10 and He “shall reign over all flesh.”  Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

In that day the skeptics will be silent, “for every ear shall hear … , and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:104 that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2015)

D&C 34:7 The time is soon at hand

‘Certainly there is no point in speculating concerning the day and the hour. Let us rather live each day so that if the Lord does come while we yet are upon the earth we shall be worthy…The God of heaven has ordained that day. The prophets of all dispensations have spoken of it. We know not when it will come, but its dawning is certain.’ (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 577.)

2. The Millennium will be a time of joy and peace.

D&C 101:23 Prepare for the revelation which is to come

‘Jesus will come in a cloud, or as is expressed here in the 40th chapter of Isaiah-“The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” It is also expressed in the revelations of St. John, that when he comes in a cloud every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. [Rev. 1:7.] It seems then that the second advent of the Son of God is to be something . . . accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth like Palestine, and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all-all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time, every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves, they also who pierced him, those who lived eighteen hundred years ago, who were engaged in the cruel act of piercing his hands and his feet and his side, will also see him at that time.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, March 26, 1876, 18:170)

D&C 101:24 Every corruptible thing ..shall be consumed

“As I understand this scripture, it means that the elements of corruption that have come into the world because of the Fall of Adam-these corrupt elements that bring decay, disintegration and death-will be purged and destroyed by the manifestation of Christ’s glory, when He comes. Hence, there will be no death, in the sense of the body’s disintegration. Men will not grow old so as to become bent and broken in body, but they will blossom in perpetual youth. There will, however, be a transition in which the person who is old in years will be changed from the millennial state to the state of resurrected life, where the fuller powers of celestial glory are organized into man.” (Hyrum L. Andrus, The Glory of God and Man’s Relation to Deity [Provo: BYU Extension Publications, 1964], 16)

D&C 101:25 How Will the Earth Be Burned by Fire?

‘The glory of a celestial being, of which the sun is typical (see D&C 76:70), is so radiant that to bring that glory to the earth will cause great burning. The cleansing of the earth by fire will be caused by the coming of the Savior to earth (see D&C 5:19; McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:368–69; Notes and Commentary for D&C 133:40–49). Those who are not changed to withstand the presence of the Savior will perish by fire.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:26 The enmity of beasts

‘It is then that the enmity of the beasts of the field as well as that of all flesh will cease; (Isa. 11:6-9 Isa. 65:25 D&C 101:26) no more one beast of prey devouring and feasting upon another that is more harmless in its nature; no more will this enmity be found in the fish of the sea, or in the birds of the air. This change will be wrought upon all flesh when Jesus comes; not a change to immortality, but a change sufficient to alter the ferocious nature of beasts, birds and fishes. In those days the lion will eat straw like the ox; (Isa. 65:25) he will no more be the terror of the forest, but will be perfectly harmless, and gentleness will characterize all the wild and ferocious animals, as well as the venomous serpents, so much so that the little child might lead them and play with them, (Isa. 11:8) and nothing should hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord; (Isa. 11:9) all things becoming, in some measure, as when they were first created. For it will be remembered that animals did not devour one another until after the fall, neither was there any death, until after the fall. (Moses 6:48) What did they eat, then? The Lord said, “To every beast of the field, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.” (Gen. 1:30) The grass, and the herbs, and every green thing were their food. And Adam and Eve ate fruits and vegetables, not animal flesh. (Gen. 1:29) The whole earth will be restored; and man will be restored; and not only upon man, but upon all flesh the Spirit of God will be poured out (Joel 2:28) and they will eventually be restored to all that was lost by the fall of our first parents.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

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D&C 101:27 Whatsoever any man shall ask

‘People sometimes pray for things they should not have. The Millennium will change that. People will ask only for righteous things, and all requests will be honored by Heavenly Father.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:28 Satan shall not have power to tempt any man

‘It will make a great difference when Satan will have his power taken away during that period, but the inhabitants of the earth will still have their agency. We are taught that during that thousand years, men will not be compelled to believe and that there will be many, at least in the beginning, who will belong to the Protestant and Catholic churches. The Lord will not take away from them their right to believe as they will. However, if they persist in their unbelief under the conditions which will prevail, they will be condemned. Before that period is over all will have received the truth. We read again from Isaiah: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 9.)’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 5: 144)

3. We must prepare for the Second Coming.

Read: Preparing for the Second Coming

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D&C 61:38 The coming of the Son of Man

“Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:254.)

‘I have been called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting yet trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. I would humbly suggest to you that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. The Savior said that “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). I believe when the Lord says “no man” knows, it really means that no man knows. In 1844 Joseph Smith declared: “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers” (History of the Church, 6:254). You should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree.’ (M Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted)

D&C 45:9 Messenger before my face

‘We live in these days of the Lord’s “marvellous work and a wonder”  Isaiah 29:14 see  2 Nephi 25:17 We have been blessed to bring the gospel to our families and our posterity and to assist in preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. The Lord described the purposes of the Restoration “to be a light to the world, … to be a standard for [us, His] people, … and to be a messenger before [His] face to prepare the way before [Him]”  D&C 45:9 Our responsibility is not trivial; it is not by chance that we are who we are; the keeping of our covenants in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout all the eternities.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2009)

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 20: The Kingdoms of Glory

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The kingdoms of glory and “the testimony of Jesus”

Read: Kingdoms of Glory

Read: Revelations in Context: The Vision

D&C 76:19 While we meditated upon these things

“Prophets have used the words diligently, pondering, meditating, and feasting to explain how we should approach the scriptures. Clearly we should read with careful thought and much pondering. Even when we are not reading we should reflect constantly on God’s word. The prophets have promised that this will lead to new spiritual insights and to greater righteousness.

“The scriptures show us that we can ponder in two ways: we can meditate on the scripture itself, or we can relate what we read to our personal lives.

“This kind of reflection can help all of us make commitments that will decrease darkness and increase light. We must ask questions as we read, questions such as, How does this apply in my life today? or What lesson can I learn from this?” (Dean Jarman, “Well of Living Water,” New Era, Nov. 1973, 29)

D&C 76: 20-244 The Testimony of Eyewitnesses

‘This testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is a modern witness of the reality of the existence of the Father and the Son. Joseph and Sidney not only saw but heard, and their testimonies stand as a witness to all people. The phrase “last of all” is explained by Smith and Sjodahl as follows: “This is the last testimony to the fact that He lives, a resurrected and glorified Being; not the final testimony but the last up to the time of this vision” (Commentary, p. 448).’ )Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 76:51 Believed on his name and were baptised

‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men’s religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit’. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 283 – 284.)

Perdition

‘What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.358)

The telestial kingdom

“We are living in a telestial world, complete with telestial arts and entertainment which can fill our minds with telestial images. Those telestial images often stimulate telestial thoughts, which, if not rejected, will lead to telestial behavior. The eventual result can be a telestial person. We would be more healthy spiritually if we never consumed any evil. Every bit harms us.

“The prophets of the Lord understand this process and have given us this sharp admonition: ‘Come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things.’ (Alma 5:57.) (Lex de Azevedo, “A Closer Look at Popular Music,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 40)

‘Those who enter into the telestial kingdom, where their glories differ as do the stars of heaven in their magnitude, and who are innumerable as the sands of the seashore, are the ungodly, the filthy who suffer the wrath of God on the earth, who are thrust down to hell where they will be required to pay the uttermost farthing before their redemption comes. These are they who receive not the gospel of Christ and consequently could not deny the Holy Spirit while living on the earth.

They have no part in the first resurrection and are not redeemed from the devil and his angels until the last resurrection, because of their wicked lives and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, even these are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

In both the terrestrial and the telestial glories the inhabitants thereof will be limited in their powers, opportunities, and progression, because, like the sons of perdition, “they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).’ [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22] 1974, pp. 33–35.)

‘Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.’ (Neil A Maxwell,”Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8),” Ensign, May 1999, p. 24)

D&C 76:81-85. Those Who Inherit the Telestial Glory Will Pass through Hell

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“That part of the spirit world inhabited by wicked spirits who are awaiting the eventual day of their resurrection is called hell. Between their death and resurrection, these souls of the wicked are cast out into outer darkness, into the gloomy depression of sheol, into the hades of waiting wicked spirits, into hell. There they suffer the torments of the damned; there they welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; there the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked. (Alma 40:11–14; D. & C. 76:103–106.)

“Hell will have an end. Viewing future events, John saw that ‘death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) Jacob taught that this escape from death and hell meant the bringing of the body out of the grave and the spirit out of hell. ‘And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death,’ he said, ‘shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other.’ (2 Ne. 9:10–12.) It was in keeping with this principle for David to receive the promise: ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.’ (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27.)

“After their resurrection, the great majority of those who have suffered in hell will pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as sons of perdition, will be consigned to partake of endless wo with the devil and his angels. …

“Who will go to hell? This query is abundantly answered in the scriptures. Since those going to a telestial kingdom travel to their destination through the depths of hell and as a result of obedience to telestial law, it follows that all those who live a telestial law will go to hell.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 349–50.)

The terrestrial kingdom

‘Those destined to inherit the terrestrial kingdom are: (1) those who died “without law”–those heathen and pagan people who do not hear the gospel in this life, and who would not accept it with all their hearts should they hear it; (2) those who hear and reject the gospel in this life and then accept it in the spirit world; (3) those “who are honorable men of the earth, who [are] blinded by the craftiness of men”; and (4) those who are lukewarm members of the true church and who have testimonies, but who are not true and faithful in all things. (See D&C 76:71-80.)’ [Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.146]

“For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. …

“… Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.” (Bruce R McConkie“The Seven Deadly Heresies,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1981], pp. 77–78.)

‘Into this kingdom will go all those who have lived clean lives, but were not willing to receive the gospel; also those who have lived clean lives but who, notwithstanding their membership in the Church, were not valiant, and those who refused to receive the gospel when they lived on the earth, but in the spirit world accepted the testimony of Jesus. All who enter this kingdom must be of that class who have been morally clean.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.209)

The celestial kingdom

Watch: Be valiant in your testimony

D&C 76:70 These are they whose bodies are celestial

‘We know quite a lot about celestial beings, as we have had a number of them appear to us upon this earth. And each time they have come, those who have received them have said that they are impossible to describe.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith had his vision of the Father and the Son, he said, “[Their] brightness and glory defy all description.” (JS-H 1:17) That is, we don’t have any background of knowledge; there isn’t a vocabulary to use in describing a celestial accomplishment.’ (Sterling W Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 47)

D&C 76:53 Those who are just and true

“Those who are just and true.” What an apt expression for those valiant in the testimony of Jesus! They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.

To these the Lord has promised that “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 121:29). [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, p. 2]

D&C 137:2-3 Why is God’s Presence Described As “Blazing” and “Like unto Circling Flames of Fire”?

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith in his account of the First Vision wrote that God’s “brightness and glory defy all description” (JS—H 1:17). He also taught that “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ [Heb. 12:29]. …

“… Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.” (Teachings, p. 367.) President Joseph Fielding Smith stated: “God is full of energy, and should we mortals stand in his presence, unless his spirit was upon us to protect us we would be consumed. That is how much energy there is in a celestial body.” (Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 275.)’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

Posted in Family, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, Temples

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 10: Nurturing the Eternal Partnership of Marriage

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

One evening when President and Sister Hinckley were sitting quietly together, Sister Hinckley said, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.” Commenting on that expression from his wife, President Hinckley said, “I’ve tried to recognize [her] individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes, let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does.”

Why is it important for husbands and wives to recognise each other’s individuality.

Heavenly Father designed marriage from the beginning.

Watch: Man and Woman President Gordon B. Hinckley testifies that man and woman are God’s design. (0:57)

Watch: Renaissance of Marriage Hear what President Eyring says we all must do to have a renaissance of happy marriages and productive families. (2:36)

From the manual:

How wonderful a thing is marriage under the plan of our Eternal Father, a plan provided in His divine wisdom for the happiness and security of His children and the continuity of the race.

How can this knowledge influence the relationship between a husband and wife?

In the temple, a husband and wife can be sealed together for all eternity.

Eternal marriage is a very distinctive and valuable part of the Church. It involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple by an officiator who has the authority to seal couples together for eternity. This is a sacred and simple ceremony to unite husband and wife in the bonds of everlasting love and in the hopes of eternity.

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From the manual

[The] temples … offer blessings that are had nowhere else. All that occurs in these sacred houses has to do with the eternal nature of man. Here, husbands and wives and children are sealed together as families for all eternity. Marriage is not “until death do ye part.” It is forever, if the parties live worthy of the blessing.

What are the blessings of an eternal marriage in this life and in eternity?

Read: The Eternal Blessings of Marriage – Elder Richard G Scott

Read: Eternal Marriage – Elder Marion D Hanks

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Husbands and wives walk side by side on an eternal journey.

We believe that life is more secure and more joyous when it is experienced in the sacred relationships of the eternal family. A person who lives a righteous life in mortality and who has entered into an eternal marriage may look forward to an association in the postmortal world with a worthy spouse, and with those who were earthly children, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.

From the manual:

Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither exercising dominion over the other, but, rather, with each encouraging and assisting the other in whatever responsibilities and aspirations he or she might have.

Why does marriage need to be “a partnership of equals”?

“The marriage sanctioned by God provides men and women with the opportunity to fulfill their divine potentials. ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:11). Husbands and wives are unique in some ways and free to develop their eternal gifts, yet as coequals in the sight of their heavenly parents they are one in the divine goals they pursue, in their devotion to eternal principles and ordinances, in their obedience to the Lord, and in their divine love for each other. When a man and woman who have been sealed together in a temple are united spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically, taking full responsibility for nurturing each other, they are truly married. Together they strive to emulate the prototype of the heavenly home from which they came. The Church teaches them to complement, support, and enrich one another. . . . If a husband and wife are faithful to their temple marriage, they will continue as co-creators in God’s celestial kingdom through the eternities.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., Daniel H. Ludlow, ed. [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 2:487.)

“I urge the husbands and fathers of this church to be the kind of a man your wife would not want to be without. I urge the sisters of this church to be patient, loving, and understanding with their husbands. Those who enter into marriage should be fully prepared to establish their marriage as the first priority in their lives.

“It is destructive to the feeling essential for a happy marriage for either party to say to the other marriage partner, ‘I don’t need you.’ This is particularly so because the counsel of the Savior was and is to become one flesh: ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh

“‘Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.’ (Matt. 19:5-6.) It is far more difficult to be of one heart and mind than to be physically one. This unity of heart and mind is manifest in sincere expressions of ‘I appreciate you’ and ‘I am proud of you.’ Such domestic harmony results from forgiving and forgetting, essential elements of a maturing marriage relationship. Someone has said that we should keep our eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterward. (Magdeleine Scudery, as cited in The International Dictionary of Thoughts, Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969, p. 472.) True charity ought to begin in marriage, for it is a relationship that must be rebuilt every day.” (Teachings of James E. Faust, 366.)

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God will not withhold any blessings from worthy individuals who are not married.

From the manual:

Somehow we have put a badge on a very important group in the Church. It reads “Singles.” I wish we would not do that. You are individuals, men and women, sons and daughters of God, not a mass of “look-alikes” or “do-alikes.” Because you do not happen to be married does not make you essentially different from others. All of us are very much alike in appearance and emotional responses, in our capacity to think, to reason, to be miserable, to be happy, to love and be loved.

How can President Hinckley’s promises and counsel in section 4 help persons who are not married?

Happiness in marriage comes from showing a loving concern for the well-being of one’s companion.

In 1831 the Lord revealed the law of the Church to the newly gathered Saints and commanded, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). This is the only place in scripture where the Lord asks us to love anything or anyone with all our hearts besides Himself. President Hinckley has… said that a husband should regard his wife “as the greatest treasure of his life.” In Matthew 6:21 we read, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”

From the manual:

Nurture and cultivate your marriage. Guard it and work to keep it solid and beautiful. … Marriage is a contract, it is a compact, it is a union between a man and a woman under the plan of the Almighty. It can be fragile. It requires nurture and very much effort.

What are some ways a husband and wife can “nurture and cultivate” their marriage?

Read: The Parable of the Tableware

Read: Nurturing Marriage – Elder Russell M Nelson

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, LDS Church History, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 18: “Establish … a House of God”

1. The Lord commanded the Saints to build the Kirtland Temple.

See Revelations in Context: A School and an Endowment

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D&C 88:119 Establish a house

‘Where could any of us locate a more suitable blueprint whereby we could wisely and properly build a house to personally occupy throughout eternity? Such a house would meet the building code outlined in Matthew-even a house built “upon a rock,” a house capable of withstanding the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world.

Some might question: “But that revelation was to provide guidance for the construction of a temple. Is it relevant today?”

I would respond: “Did not the Apostle Paul declare, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ ” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Perhaps if we consider these architectural guidelines on an individual basis, we can more readily appreciate this divine counsel from the Master Builder, the Creator of the world, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.’  (Thomas S Monson, “Building Your Eternal Home,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 2)

2. The Saints were blessed for their great sacrifices in building the temple.

D&C 109:5 We have done this work through great tribulation; and out of poverty

“Work had begun on the temple on June 5, 1833. For the next three years the Saints endured many trials and hardships in order to build a house for the Lord.

“Most of the people had few possessions and little money. But every able man worked one day each week on the temple. They worked in the quarry, cutting sandstone to form the walls of the temple. They worked as carpenters, painters, teamsters, and in many other jobs. Sometimes as many as a hundred men worked on the temple at a time. The women spun, knitted, wove, and sewed to make draperies and carpets. They also made clothing and food for the construction workers.

“Everyone was busy, but it was not just the Saints’ time and talents that the Lord required. The large three-story building cost between $40,000 and $60,000, an enormous amount of money at a time when the average worker earned only around two or three dollars a day. Many of the Saints gave almost everything they had to build the temple. (Sherrie Johnson, “A House for the Lord,” Friend, June 1993, 48)

“When the Saints received the initial instructions to build this temple, the Kirtland branch numbered only about one hundred members. Many converts, including most who joined the Church in Kirtland township, had migrated to western Missouri, the main gathering place for the Saints. Subsequently, in 1833 Latter-day Saints were not only few in number but they also owned fewer than two hundred acres and lacked money for such a project as building a temple. In 1833 only ten members of the Church were assessed a land or personal property tax (the latter tax being an assessment on horses, cattle, or merchandise). Moreover, not one member in that community had practical architectural knowledge of the kind needed for planning a major building. They did not lack faith, however; they believed the revelation that they would receive guidance from the Lord.” (Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 209.)

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3. Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple.

‘[After the dedicatory prayer [D&C 109] and the choir singing “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning”] I then asked the several quorums separately, and then the congregation, if they accepted the dedication prayer, and acknowledged the house dedicated. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative, in every instance.

The Lord’s Supper was then administered; President Don Carlos Smith blessed the bread and the wine, which was distributed by several Elders to the Church; after which I bore record of my mission, and of the ministration of angels.

President Don Carlos Smith also bore testimony of the truth of the work of the Lord in which we were engaged.

President Oliver Cowdery testified of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and of the work of the Lord in these last days.

President Frederick G. Williams arose and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer, an angel entered the window and took his seat between Father Smith and himself, and remained there during the prayer.

President David Whitmer also saw angels in the house.

President Hyrum Smith made some appropriate remarks congratulating those who had endured so many toils and privations to build the house.

President Rigdon then made a few appropriate closing remarks, and a short prayer, at the close of which we sealed the proceedings of the day by shouting hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb, three times, sealing it each time with amen, amen, and amen.

President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself, after which I blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and the assembly dispersed a little past four o’clock, having manifested the most quiet demeanor during the whole exercise.'(History of the Church, 2:427-428)

Read: 6 things to remember about the Kirtland Temple

D&C 109:7 By study and also by faith

‘We seek learning by studying the accumulated wisdom of various disciplines and by using the powers of reasoning placed in us by our Creator.

We should also seek learning by faith in God, the giver of revelation. I believe that many of the great discoveries and achievements in science and the arts have resulted from a God-given revelation. Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration.

The acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of his gospel. In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient.

A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation. I believe this is what the Book of Mormon prophet meant when he said, “To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”  2 Ne. 9:29 It is surely what the Savior taught when he said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  (Matt. 16:17)’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1989)

4. The Lord accepted the Kirtland Temple, and ancient prophets restored priesthood keys.

D&C 95:8 Power from on high

‘Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us the strength to keep our temple covenants. How do we personally gain that strength? We strive to obtain a testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the reality of the Atonement, and the truthfulness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We sustain our leaders, treat our families with kindness, stand as a witness of the Lord’s true Church, attend our Church meetings, honor our covenants, fulfill parental obligations, and live a virtuous life. You may say that sounds like just being a faithful Latter-day Saint! You are right. The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve. It is simply to faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophets.

Then, as endowed temple recommend holders, we establish patterns of Christlike living. These include obedience, making sacrifices to keep the commandments, loving one another, being chaste in thought and action, and giving of ourselves to build the kingdom of God. Through the Savior’s Atonement and by following these basic patterns of faithfulness, we receive “power from on high”  Doctrine and Covenants 95:8 to face the challenges of life. We need this divine power today more than ever. It is power we receive only through temple ordinances. I testify that the sacrifices we make to receive temple ordinances are worth every effort we can make.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, April 2012)

D&C 110:1–3. Why Did the Prophet Use Figurative Language to Describe the Glorified Christ?

‘A complete description of the glorified Savior in human language is probably not possible. But by comparing the indescribable things of a spiritual realm to things within our comprehension, the Prophet could give us some sense of the glory and appearance of the Lord.The language of the Prophet’s description is similar to that of the descriptions written by Daniel (see Daniel10:4–8) and by John the Revelator (see Revelation 1:13–17).’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 110:4 Our advocate with the Father

Read: Our advocate with the Father

D&C 110:7. What Was the Relationship between the Sacrifice of the Saints in Building the Kirtland Temple and the Appearance of the Savior?

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things” (Teachings, p. 322). Elder Franklin D. Richards related the sacrifices of the Saints in building the temple to the blessings that followed:“The Saints did all the work they could on the building,and then went out and obtained work here and there,and with the money they earned they purchased those things that were necessary for its completion. It was done by sacrificing all that they had; and when we had done all that we could do, Oh! how joyous it was to know the Lord accepted the work, when He stood upon the breastwork of the Temple, conversed with the Prophet Joseph and Oliver, and revealed to them their duties, and informed them that the Gospel should go from there and be preached throughout the nations of the earth.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 17.)’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

 

 

Posted in Finances, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 17: The Law of Tithing and the Law of the Fast

1. The Lord has commanded us to pay tithing. He has promised great blessings to those who obey this commandment.

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See: Revelations in Context: The tithing of my people

D&C 119:4 One tenth of all their interest annually

‘Tithing is so simple and straightforward a thing. The principle, as it applies to us, is actually set forth in one verse of section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants. That fourth verse consists of thirty-five words. Contrast that with the cumbersome and complex tax codes enacted and enforced by governments. In the one case it is a brief statement from the Lord, the payment left to the individual and motivated by faith. With the other it is a tangled web created by men and enforced by law. ‘(Gordon B Hinckley, “The Miracle Made Possible by Faith,” Ensign, May 1984, 47)

D&C 59:21 Gratitude

‘The payment of tithing helps us develop a submissive and humble heart and a grateful heart that tends to “confess … his hand in all things”  D&C 59:21 Tithe-paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart and a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ. We become eager to serve and bless others with an obedient heart, submissive to the Lord’s will. Regular tithe payers find their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened, and they develop a firm, abiding testimony of His gospel and of His Church. None of these blessings are monetary or material in any way, but surely they are the Lord’s richest blessings.’ (Carl B Pratt, General Conference, April 2011)

D&C 120:1 The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes

‘Before my call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, I read many times in the Doctrine and Covenants about the council appointed to oversee and disburse sacred tithing funds. The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes was established by revelation and consists of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric (see D&C 120). As I prepared in December of 2004 to attend my first meeting of this council, I eagerly anticipated a most remarkable learning opportunity.

I still remember the things I experienced and felt in that council. I gained a greater appreciation and reverence for the Lord’s laws of finance for individuals, for families, and for His Church. The basic financial program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—for both income and disbursement—is defined in sections 119 and 120 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Two statements found in these revelations provide the foundation for the fiscal affairs of the Church.

Section 119 simply states that all members “shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, … saith the Lord” (verse 4).

Then, concerning the authorized disbursement of the tithes, the Lord said, “It shall be disposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord” (D&C 120:1). The “bishop and his council” and “my high council” referred to in this revelation are known today as the Presiding Bishopric and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, respectively. These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposes as directed by the Lord’s ordained servants.

I marvel at the clarity and brevity of these two revelations in comparison to the complicated financial guidelines and administrative procedures used in so many organizations and governments around the world. How can the temporal affairs of an organization as large as the restored Church of Jesus Christ possibly operate throughout the entire world using such succinct instructions? To me the answer is quite straightforward: this is the Lord’s work, He is able to do His own work (see 2 Nephi 27:20), and the Savior inspires and directs His servants as they apply His directions and labor in His cause.

In that first council meeting I was impressed by the simplicity of the principles that guided our deliberations and decisions. In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members.

As the meeting progressed, I found myself wishing that all members of the Church could observe the simplicity, the clarity, the orderliness, the charity, and the power of the Lord’s own way (see D&C 104:16) for conducting the temporal affairs of His Church. I have now participated in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes for many years. My gratitude and reverence for the Lord’s pattern has grown each year, and the lessons learned have become even more profound.

My heart swells with love and admiration for the faithful and obedient members of this Church from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. As I travel the earth, I learn about your hopes and dreams, your varied living conditions and circumstances, and your struggles. I have attended Church meetings with you and visited in some of your homes. Your faith strengthens my faith. Your devotion makes me more devoted. And your goodness and willing obedience to the law of tithing inspires me to be a better man, husband, father, and Church leader. I remember and think of you each time I participate in the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes. Thank you for your goodness and faithfulness as you honor your covenants.

The leaders of the Lord’s restored Church feel a tremendous responsibility to care appropriately for the consecrated offerings of Church members. We are keenly aware of the sacred nature of the widow’s mite.

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:41–44).

I know from firsthand experience that the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is vigilant in caring for the widow’s mite. I express appreciation to President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors for their effective leadership in discharging this holy stewardship. And I acknowledge the voice (see D&C 120:1) and hand of the Lord that sustain His ordained servants in fulfilling the duty to represent Him.’ (David A Bednar, “The Windows of Heaven,” Ensign, November 2013)

2. The Lord has commanded us to fast and to pay generous fast offerings.

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D&C 59:13 That Thy fasting may be perfect

“Now, while the law requires the Saints in all the world to fast from ‘even to even’ and to abstain both from food and drink, it can easily be seen from the Scriptures, and especially from the words of Jesus, that it is more important to obtain the true spirit of love for God and man, ‘purity of heart and simplicity of intention,’ than it is to carry out the cold letter of the law. The Lord has instituted the fast on a reasonable and intelligent basis, and none of his works are vain or unwise. His law is perfect in this as in other things. Hence, those who can are required to comply thereto; it is a duty from which they cannot escape; but let it be remembered that the observance of the fast day by abstaining twenty-four hours from food and drink is not an absolute rule, it is no iron-clad law to us, but it is left with the people as a matter of conscience, to exercise wisdom and discretion. Many are subject to weakness, others are delicate in health, and others have nursing babies; of such it should not be required to fast. Neither should parents compel their little children to fast. I have known children to cry for something to eat on fast day. In such cases, going without food will do them no good. Instead, they dread the day to come, and in place of hailing it, dislike it; while the compulsion engenders a spirit of rebellion in them, rather than a love for the Lord and their fellows. Better teach them the principle, and let them observe it when they are old enough to choose intelligently, than to so compel them.

“But those should fast who can, and all classes among us should be taught to save the meals which they would eat, or their equivalent, for the poor. None are exempt from this; it is required of the Saints, old and young, in every part of the Church. It is no excuse that in some places there are no poor. In such cases the fast donation should be forwarded to the proper authorities for transmission to such stakes of Zion as may stand in need.” (Joseph F Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 243–44.)

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

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

1. The Lord established the Sabbath.

First Presidency Statement on the Sabbath, January 1993

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

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

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

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

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

Ezra Taft Benson
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson

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

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

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

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

D&C 25:12 The song of the heart

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

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

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

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

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

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D&C 59:12 Thou shalt offer thine oblations

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

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

D&C 59:10 Rest from your labours

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D&C 46:15 The differences of administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D&C 46:17-18 Wisdom and knowledge

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

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

Knowledge-Hierarchy

D&C 46:19 Faith to be healed

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

D&C 46:20 Faith to heal

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

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

D&C 46:21 The working of miracles

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

D&C 46:22 The gift of prophecy

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

D&C 46:23 Discerning of spirits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D&C 46:7 Ask of God

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

D&C 46:32 Give thanks unto God

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

 

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

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

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From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

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

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

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

See Experience vs Opinion.

From the manual:

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

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

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

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

From the manual:

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

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

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

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

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

Boyd K Packer taught:

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

From the manual:

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

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

See Spirit or Emotion?

From the manual:

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

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

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

Consider what Joseph Smith told Brigham Young:

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

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

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

Consider the differences between:

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

From the manual:

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

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

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

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 14: The Law of Consecration

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

See Revelations in Context: The Law

D&C 42:30 Consecrate of thy properties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D&C 42:42 Thou shalt not be idle

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

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

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

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

D&C 51:9 Be alike

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

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

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

D&C 78:14 Stand independent

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

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

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

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2. The law of consecration is an eternal law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D&C 104:13 Every man accountable

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

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

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

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

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