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

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley: Chapter 25 – Move Forward with Faith

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch: If Ye Be Willing and Obedient

In October 1971 General Conference Elder Gordon B Hinckley told the story related in the lesson manual.

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1. Faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can become the wellspring of purposeful living.

When we have faith in the Saviour  it means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. In today’s uncertain world, we may not know what tomorrow will bring, but faith in Jesus Christ can give us spiritual peace, even in the face of calamity and heartbreak.

‘As you study Christ’s life and teachings in a myriad of ways, your faith in Him will increase. You will come to know that He loves you individually and understands you perfectly. In His 33 years of mortality, He suffered rejection; persecution; bodily hunger, thirst, and fatigue; loneliness; verbal and physical abuse; and finally, an excruciating death at the hands of sinful men. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary, He felt all of our pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, and infirmities.’ (Jean B Bingham, General Conference, October 2017)

From the manual:

When I discuss faith, I do not mean it in an abstract sense. I mean it as a living, vital force that comes with recognition of God as our Father and Jesus Christ as our Savior. …

… Faith in a Divine Being, in the Almighty, is the great moving power that can change our lives.

What experiences have helped you learn about the power of faith?

2. Faith is the basis of testimony and the strength of the Lord’s work on the earth.

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

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

“…faith makes us confident of what we hope for and convinced of what we do not see. The scientist does not see molecules, atoms, or electrons, yet he knows they exist. He does not see electricity, radiation, or magnetism, but he knows these are unseen realities. In like manner, those who earnestly seek for God do not see him, but they know of his reality by faith. It is more than hope. Faith makes it a conviction-an evidence of things not seen.” (Howard W Hunter, “To Know God,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 97)

From the manual:

Let us not be afraid. Jesus is our leader, our strength, and our king.

This is an age of pessimism. Ours is a mission of faith. To my brethren and sisters everywhere, I call upon you to reaffirm your faith, to move this work forward across the world.

How can we reaffirm our faith and move this work forward?

3. With faith, we can rise above fear and any obstacle or challenge in our lives.

When we go and do the things the Lord has commanded, even when we are weary, trusting that He will help us to do exactly as He asks, the Lord helps our unbelief, and our faith becomes powerful, vibrant, and unshakeable.

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Watch: Reunited by Faith 

A young man exercises faith, and is instrumental in bringing his mother back into full Church activity. (3:25)

Watch: Seek the Higher Ground

Learn how to find safety from life’s temporal and spiritual storms by following the Savior’s example and seeking higher spiritual ground. (3:45)

“Mine has been the opportunity to meet many wonderful men and women in various parts of the world. A few of them have left an indelible impression upon me. One such was a naval officer from Asia, a brilliant young man who had been brought to the United States for advanced training. Some of his associates in the United States Navy, whose behavior had attracted him, shared with him at his request their religious beliefs. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. They told him of the Savior of the world, of Jesus born in Bethlehem, who gave his life for all mankind. They told him of the appearance of God, the Eternal Father, and the resurrected Lord to the boy Joseph Smith. They spoke of modern prophets. They taught him the gospel of the Master. The Spirit touched his heart, and he was baptized.

“He was introduced to me just before he was to return to his native land. We spoke of these things, and then I said, ‘Your people are not Christians. You come from a land where Christians have had a difficult time. What will happen when you return home a Christian and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?’

“His face clouded, and he replied, ‘My family will be disappointed. I suppose they will cast me out. They will regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, I assume that all opportunity will be foreclosed against me.’

“I asked, ‘Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?’

“His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone from his handsome brown face as he answered, ‘It’s true, isn’t it?’

“Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, ‘Yes, it’s true.’

“To which he replied, ‘Then what else matters?’ ”

(Gordon B Hinckley, In Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 72; or Ensign, July 1973, p. 48.)

From the manual:

Who among us can say that he or she has not felt fear? I know of no one who has been entirely spared. Some, of course, experience fear to a greater degree than do others. Some are able to rise above it quickly, but others are trapped and pulled down by it and even driven to defeat. We suffer from the fear of ridicule, the fear of failure, the fear of loneliness, the fear of ignorance. Some fear the present, some the future. Some carry the burden of sin and would give almost anything to unshackle themselves from those burdens but fear to change their lives. Let us recognize that fear comes not of God, but rather that this gnawing, destructive element comes from the adversary of truth and righteousness. Fear is the antithesis of faith. It is corrosive in its effects, even deadly.

When has faith helped you rise above fear?

Image result for With faith, we can rise above fear and any obstacle or challenge in our lives.

4. As we exercise our faith, the Lord will help it increase.

Faith comes from hearing the word of God and is a spiritual gift. It increases when we not only hear, but act on the word of God as well. Faith is like a muscle. If exercised, it grows strong. If it is not used, it becomes weak and flabby.

From the manual:

This is my prayer for all of us—“Lord, increase our faith” [see Luke 17:5]. Increase our faith to bridge the chasms of uncertainty and doubt. …

… Lord, increase our faith to rise above the feeble detractors of this Thy great and holy work. Strengthen our will. Help us to build and expand Thy kingdom according to Thy great mandate, that this gospel may be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations. …

… Grant us faith to look beyond the problems of the moment to the miracles of the future. Give us faith to pay our tithes and offerings and put our trust in Thee, the Almighty, to open the windows of heaven as Thou hast promised. Give us faith to do what is right and let the consequence follow.

Grant us faith when storms of adversity beat us down and drive us to the ground. In seasons of sickness may our confidence wax strong in the powers of the priesthood. May we follow the counsel of James:

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (James 5:14–15; italics added). …

Lord, when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, give us faith to smile through our tears, knowing that it is all part of the eternal plan of a loving Father, that as we cross the threshold from this life we enter another more glorious, and that through the atonement of the Son of God all shall rise from the grave and the faithful shall go on to exaltation.

Give us faith to pursue the work of redemption of the dead that Thine eternal purposes may be fulfilled in behalf of Thy sons and daughters of all generations.

Father, grant us faith to follow counsel in the little things that can mean so very much. …

Lord, increase our faith in one another, and in ourselves, and in our capacity to do good and great things. …

Father, increase our faith. Of all our needs, I think the greatest is an increase in faith. And so, dear Father, increase our faith in Thee, and in Thy Beloved Son, in Thy great eternal work, in ourselves as Thy children, and in our capacity to go and do according to Thy will, and Thy precepts, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

What words in this prayer have special meaning for you? 

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Posted in atonement, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine, New Testament, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley: Lesson 24 – The Atonement of Jesus Christ: Vast in Its Reach, Intimate in Its Effect

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch: Testimony of Gordon B Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley testifies of Jesus Christ and his love for the Master. (2:39)

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1. Our Heavenly Father’s love is expressed in the gift of His Only Begotten Son.

‘I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity.’ (Bruce R McConkie’s final testimony).

‘Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us because we are actually his children, not merely one of his creations. Because of his love, he sent us to earth to grow and progress. But on earth he knew there would be many dangers. By sinning we would cut ourselves off from our heavenly home and by dying we would be separated from our physical bodies. Heavenly Father, in his great love, sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue us from sin and death and to make it possible for us to return to him (see Abraham 3:27).

Imagine how hard it must have been for Heavenly Father to see Jesus suffer so terribly. But he allowed it because of his love for us and his desire for us to progress.’ (Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson 9)

From the manual:

My heart is subdued when I think of the great love of my Heavenly Father. How grateful I am to know that God loves us. The incomprehensible depth of that love found expression in the gift of His Only Begotten Son to come into the world to bring hope into our hearts, to bring kindness and courtesy into our relationships, and above all to save us from our sins and guide us on the way that leads to eternal life.

What are your thoughts and feelings as you read President Hinckley’s summary of what the Savior has done for us?

2. Through the Savior’s redeeming sacrifice, all people will rise from the grave.

See: The Infinite Atonement

‘What He did could only be done by Deity. As the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, Jesus inherited divine attributes. He was the only person ever born into mortality who could perform this most significant and supernal act. As the only sinless Man who ever lived on this earth, He was not subject to spiritual death. Because of His godhood, He also possessed power over physical death. Thus He did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He broke the cold grasp of death. He also made it possible for us to have the supreme and serene comfort of the gift of the Holy Ghost.24 [See  John 15:26

The Atonement and the Resurrection accomplish many things. The Atonement cleanses us of sin on condition of our repentance. Repentance is the condition on which mercy is extended. [See  Alma 42:22–25 After all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs, the Savior’s grace is activated in our lives through the Atonement, which purifies us and can perfect us. [See  2 Ne. 25:23  Alma 34:15–16  Alma 42:22–24  Moro. 10:32–33 Christ’s Resurrection overcame death and gave us the assurance of life after death. Said He: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  John 11:25 The Resurrection is unconditional and applies to all who have ever lived and ever will live. [See  Acts 24:15 It is a free gift. President John Taylor described this well when he said: “The tombs will be opened and the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and they shall come forth, they who have done good to the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil to the resurrection of the unjust.”‘ (James E Faust, General Conference, October 2001)

Image result for Through the Savior’s redeeming sacrifice, all people will rise from the grave.

From the manual:

Whenever the cold hand of death strikes, there shines through the gloom and the darkness of that hour the triumphant figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, He, the Son of God, who by His matchless and eternal power overcame death. He is the Redeemer of the world. He gave His life for each of us. He took it up again and became the firstfruits of them that slept. He, as King of Kings, stands triumphant above all other kings. He, as the Omnipotent One, stands above all rulers. He is our comfort, our only true comfort, when the dark shroud of earthly night closes about us as the spirit departs the human form.

How have you found comfort at times of loss?

3. Through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, we are offered the opportunity of exaltation and eternal life.

Watch: The Priesthood and the Savior’s Atoning Power (Dale G Renlund, General Conference, October 2017)

‘We can never fully repay our Savior for his sacrifice made to help us achieve salvation and exaltation. It would behoove each of us to search our hearts and lives and consider how good and gracious our Lord has been. George Herbert said, “Thou that has given so much to us, give us one thing more … a grateful heart.”’ (Delbert L Stapley, General Conference, April 1974)

Image result for Through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, we are offered the opportunity of exaltation and eternal life.

From the manual:

When all is said and done, when all of history is examined, when the deepest depths of the human mind have been explored, nothing is so wonderful, so majestic, so tremendous as this act of grace when the Son of the Almighty, the Prince of His Father’s royal household, He who had once spoken as Jehovah, He who had condescended to come to earth as a babe born in Bethlehem, gave His life in ignominy and pain so that all of the sons and daughters of God of all generations of time, every one of whom must die, might walk again and live eternally. He did for us what none of us could do for ourselves.

What are your feelings as you ponder the Savior’s sacrifice for you? 

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

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley: Chapter 23 – The Blessings of the Holy Temple

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch: Ministry of Gordon B Hinckley: Temple Building

Image result for Temples are expressions of our testimony, and they represent the ultimate in our worship.

1. Temples are expressions of our testimony, and they represent the ultimate in our worship.

President Howard W Hunter: Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. We should hasten to the temple as frequently, yet prudently, as our personal circumstances allow. We should go not only for our kindred dead but also for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that are within those hallowed and consecrated walls. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.

‘Ordinances that are received worthily and remembered continually open the heavenly channels through which the power of godliness can flow into our lives. Covenants that are honored steadfastly and remembered always provide purpose and the assurance of blessings in both mortality and for eternity.’ David A bednar, General Conference, October 2017)

From the manual:

These unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship. These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology.

What are some blessings you have received through these ordinances?

2. Through temple ordinances, we receive the crowning blessings of the gospel.

In the ‘Church News’ on the 26th April 2008, President Monson announced that two temples were to be built in Arizona.  His remarks during that announcement were significant for us all.  He said:

“It is my personal priority to make sure members of the Church have access to the blessings of the temple.  It is here where members learn of their divine origin and destiny; where they are strengthened spiritually as individuals and as families.  Temples are sanctuaries from the storms of life.”

‘Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 2011)

From the manual:

Small wonder, my brethren and sisters, that with the opening of … temples I have seen the tears of strong men who have embraced their wives at the altars in these sacred houses. I have seen the tears of fathers and mothers as they have embraced their children at these same altars. Through the power here exercised they have come to know that neither time nor death can destroy the bonds which bind them together.

From your experience, why do temple ordinances stir such deep feelings?

3. The temple is a sanctuary of service where we receive saving ordinances in behalf of those who have died without receiving the gospel.

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From the manual:

Boys and girls in large numbers have … been reminded that these temples are not only for their parents but also for them. When 12 years of age, they may enter the house of the Lord and stand as proxies in baptisms for those beyond the veil of death. What a great and unselfish service this is. What a wonderful thing for our youth to be involved in this totally selfless act in behalf of others who are powerless to help themselves.

What can parents and youth do to work together in this service?

4. Great blessings await us as we keep ourselves worthy and go to the temple frequently.

We often think of the temple as a place where we carry our ordinances for the dead. This is true and is important but the temple is not just for the dead but also for the living. I am talking not only about the ordinances performed for the living which enable us to return to live with our Heavenly Father but also to the spiritually uplifting, strengthening influence in individual lives that results from regular temple attendance.

The temple truly is the House of the Lord and if we go there in the right spirit we can find him there. Temple work helps us to focus our thoughts on the Father and on His son. When we attend the temple regularly we find that we draw closer to Heavenly Father and to the Saviour.

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‘In the temple the Spirit is the teacher. It instructs us, most frequently, through the symbols that comprise the endowment. We must be alert and pay attention to all that we see and hear, thus allowing the Spirit to teach us and to bring us understanding. If we go to the temple and just sit, without making an effort to learn, we will miss some of the greatest blessings the temple has to offer.’ (S Michael Wilcox, House of Glory.)

‘Finally, let me share with you one more experience among the Saints of the Pacific that remains deeply and spiritually rooted in my soul. Some years ago I was a young counselor to a bishop in a new ward in American Samoa. We had 99 members, consisting of subsistence farmers, cannery workers, government employees, and their families. When the First Presidency announced in 1977 that a temple was going to be constructed in Samoa, there was joy and thanksgiving expressed by all of us. Going to the temple from American Samoa at that time required traveling either to Hawaii or New Zealand. This was a costly journey that was beyond the reach of many faithful Church members.

During this period of time members were encouraged to donate to a building fund to assist in the construction of temples. In this spirit, our bishopric asked the ward members to prayerfully consider what they could give. A date was set for families to gather to offer their donations. Later, as these donations were opened in private, our bishopric was humbled and touched by the faith and generosity of our wonderful ward members.

Knowing each family and their circumstances, I felt a deep and abiding sense of awe, respect, and humility. These were, in every way, modern-day widow’s mites given freely from their “want,” with a joy in the promised blessing of the construction of a holy temple of the Lord in Samoa. These families had consecrated all that they could to the Lord, with the faith that they would not be left wanting. Their gift manifested their widow’s hearts. All who gave did so willingly and joyfully because the widow’s heart within them could see with the eye of faith the great crowning blessings in store for their families and for all of the people of Samoa and American Samoa for generations to come. I know that their consecrated offerings, their widow’s mites, were known and accepted by the Lord.’ (O Vincent Haleck, General Conferemce, October 2017)

From the manual:

I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein.

What can we do to make time to serve and worship in the temple? 

Posted in Fellowship, Missionary work, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 22: Reaching Out with Love to New Converts and Less-Active Members

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

President Hinckley’s concern for new converts and less-active members was a result of his experience in seeing how the gospel blesses lives. A news reporter once asked him, “What brings you the greatest satisfaction as you see the work of the Church today?” President Hinckley replied:

“The most satisfying experience I have is to see what this gospel does for people. It gives them a new outlook on life. It gives them a perspective that they have never felt before. It raises their sights to things noble and divine. Something happens to them that is miraculous to behold. They look to Christ and come alive.”

How has the gospel given you a new outlook on life?

1. We have a great responsibility to minister to the individual.

“It is a time-honored adage that love begets love. Let us pour forth love-show forth everlasting increase; cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundredfold. Friendship is like Brother Turley in his blacksmith shop welding iron to iron; it unites the human family with its happy influence.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 316).

From the manual:

We are becoming a great global society. But our interest and concern must always be with the individual. Every member of this church is an individual man or woman, boy or girl. Our great responsibility is to see that each is “remembered and nourished by the good word of God” (Moro. 6:4), that each has opportunity for growth and expression and training in the work and ways of the Lord, that none lacks the necessities of life, that the needs of the poor are met, that each member shall have encouragement, training, and opportunity to move forward on the road of immortality and eternal life.

Why must “our interest and concern … always be with the individual,” even in a worldwide church?

2. Every convert is precious and is a great and serious responsibility.

‘So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

After your initial welcome, consider ways you can continue to minister to them. I once heard of a ward where, after the baptism of two deaf sisters, two marvelous Relief Society sisters decided to learn sign language so they could better communicate with these new converts. What a wonderful example of love for fellow brothers and sisters in the gospel!’ (Gerard Caussee, General Conference, October 2013)

Image result for Every convert is precious and is a great and serious responsibility.

“In building the kingdom of God, every positive act, every friendly greeting, every warm smile, every thoughtful, kind note contributes to the strength of the whole. It is my prayer that we may be open and outgoing, friendly, and helpful to all who come among us. But let us give special care and concern for the new converts to the Church. When we detect a halting step or a stumble as they begin their journey on the gospel path, let us be there to lift and support with words of kindness and concern; let us be available to give gentle, loving counsel that will strengthen and sustain. Let us conscientiously look for occasions to show that love which the Savior admonished us to have when He said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another’ (John 13:34).” (Carl B Pratt, “Care for New Converts,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 12)

What can we learn and apply from the letter that President Hinckley shares in section 2? 

3. Every convert needs friendship, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God.

‘Deep down we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. Life teaches us that we can achieve happiness when we seek the happiness and well-being of others.’ (Elaine S Dalton)

“A faithful friend is a strong defense. And he that hath found . . . one hath found a treasure” (Ecclesiasticus 6:14).

Image result for Every convert needs friendship, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God.

From the manual:

With the ever-increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with “the good word of God” (Moro. 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things.

What are some ways we can befriend new converts? 

4. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose by coming back to Church activity.

Watch: A Yearning for Home – President Uchtdorf, General Conference October 2017

‘Experiences of activators suggest that there are eight key factors in helping less-active Latter-day Saints participate fully in gospel ordinances and opportunities.

  1. Positive experiences with active Church members are vital. Through friendship, negative feelings toward the Church and other members can be resolved.
  2. People are most likely to respond to those they trust. Activated members say they strongly identify with activators who are willing to make sacrifices for them and accept them rather than judge them. It is important for the less-active to sense that an activator’s efforts are genuine and not merely the fulfillment of duty.
  3. The three most important attributes of a successful activator are disclosure, warmth, and commitment. Disclosure means that the activator is willing to discuss his or her own life and experiences. Warmth connotes a friendly, trusting attitude. Commitment means consistency in visiting and willingness to fulfill promises.
  4. Successful activators feel a moral responsibility for the people they activate. They care about others’ spiritual lives.
  5. Activators need to be involved in the four distinct processes of reactivation: (1) Diagnosis—helping determine why an individual is not participating more fully in the Church; (2) Problem resolution—helping the less-active person learn to overcome problems through obedience to gospel principles; (3) Social integration—helping the person become accepted and involved in the community of Latter-day Saints; (4) Forgiveness and self-acceptance—helping less-active members sense that the Lord accepts them and forgives them of their mistakes. Bishops often must be involved in this part of the process.
  6. Activators play a key role in helping less-active members interpret their own experiences and challenges in terms of the gospel.
  7. Activation involves reintroduction to spiritual things with which less-active members may have had limited experience. These members need to be placed in situations where they can feel the Spirit of the Lord and understand how it can lead them to truth.
  8. Building people’s confidence in their own ability to change and become righteous is an important part of activation. (Don L Searle, Ensign Feb 1990)

From the manual:

My beloved brethren and sisters who may … have drifted, the Church needs you, and you need the Church. You will find many ears that will listen with understanding. There will be many hands to help you find your way back. There will be hearts to warm your own. There will be tears, not of bitterness but of rejoicing

 How can we help people return? 

5. For Latter-day Saints who return to Church activity, it will feel good to be home again.

Image result for For Latter-day Saints who return to Church activity, it will feel good to be home again.

What do you learn from the account that President Hinckley shares in section 5?

Watch: The Faith of Youth- The Ennis Family

The Ennis family had become less active, but they responded when ward members reached out in love. (3:35)

Posted in Missionary work, service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 21: The Latter-Day Miracle of Missionary Work

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“How profoundly grateful I am for the experience of that mission. I touched the lives of a few who have, over the years, expressed appreciation. That has been important. But I have never been greatly concerned over the number of baptisms that I had or that other missionaries had. My satisfaction has come from the assurance that I did what the Lord wanted me to do and that I was an instrument in His hands for the accomplishment of His purposes. In the course of that experience, there became riveted into my very being a conviction and knowledge that this is in very deed the true and living work of God, restored through a prophet for the blessing of all who will accept it and live its principles.”

How has a mission changed your life or the life of someone close to you?

1. We are to reach out to the world in missionary service, teaching all who will listen.

Watch: Why Mormons send missionaries around the world Mormons send missionaries to help others and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2:55)

Watch: Unto all the world – Hastening the work in Europe

“After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 330).

‘While the duty to warn is felt especially keenly by prophets, it is a duty shared by others as well. In fact, “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:81 We who have received a knowledge of the great plan of happiness—and its implementing commandments—should feel a desire to share that knowledge since it makes all the difference here and in eternity. And if we ask, “Who is my neighbor that I should warn?” surely the answer will be found in a parable that begins, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves,”  Luke 10:30 and so forth.’ (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2017)

From the manual:

Let us as Latter-day Saints reach out to others not of our faith. Let us never act in a spirit of arrogance or with a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, may we show love and respect and helpfulness toward them. We are greatly misunderstood, and I fear that much of it is of our own making. We can be more tolerant, more neighborly, more friendly, more of an example than we have been in the past. Let us teach our children to treat others with friendship, respect, love, and admiration. That will yield a far better result than will an attitude of egotism.

How can we overcome misunderstandings about the Church and its members?

2. We are to help the full-time missionaries bring others to a knowledge of the truth.

‘If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). And returned missionaries, find your old missionary tag. Don’t wear it, but put it where you can see it. The Lord needs you now more than ever to be an instrument in His hands. All of us have a contribution to make to this miracle.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2013)

It is important that members and full-time missionaries work closely together. Successful member missionary work relies on a true partnership between members and missionaries. The Mission and the local unit can sometimes fall into the trap of working in isolation with little contact or mutual understanding. In the ‘balanced effort’ of missionary work, the ward mission leader acts as the yoke that brings together members and missionaries into a powerful team. Without this harnessing of joint efforts the harvest will be meagre.

Image result for The Latter-Day Miracle of Missionary Work

From the manual:

The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found.

Why do missionaries “succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found”? 

3. Full-time missionary work brings lasting happiness to those who serve.

‘On July 23, 1837, the Prophet Joseph met with Elder Thomas B. Marsh, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Marsh was apparently frustrated that the Prophet had called two members of his quorum to go to England without consulting him. As Joseph met with Elder Marsh, any hurt feelings were put aside, and the Prophet received a remarkable revelation. It is now the 112th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. It gives incredible direction from heaven with respect to humility and missionary work. Verse 10 reads, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

This revelation occurred the exact same day that Elders Kimball, Hyde, and John Goodson, full of humility, were declaring the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Vauxhall Chapel in Preston, England. This was the first time missionaries had proclaimed the restored gospel outside of North America in this dispensation. Their missionary effort resulted in almost immediate convert baptisms and led to numerous faithful members.

Subsequent parts of the revelation guide the missionary effort in our day. They read, in part, “Whosoever ye shall send in my name … shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation … inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.”

The humility that undergirded this incredible missionary effort allowed the Lord to establish His Church in a remarkable way.

Gratefully, we continually see this in the Church today. Members, including the rising generation, give up their time and defer education and employment to serve missions. Many senior members leave employment and make other sacrifices in order to serve God in whatever capacity they are called. We do not allow personal issues to distract or divert us from accomplishing His purposes.’ (Quentin L Cook, General Conference, October 2017)

Image result for Full-time missionary work brings lasting happiness to those who serve.

From the manual:

Along with the need for young elders and sisters, there is a growing need for couples in the mission field. Older married couples are doing a wonderful work in the missions. Many more are needed. Particularly we need those with foreign language abilities. They can serve in many responsibilities under the direction of sensitive and considerate mission presidents.

With an increasing number of people retiring while they are still possessed of health and vitality, there are many who can fill a tremendous need in the work of the Lord.

We [have] retired men and women serving in a meaningful missionary capacity for this Church throughout the world. The number is growing. They go where they are called. They serve where they are needed. Friendships are established; skills are shared; opportunities are opened for those who will never forget the men and women who have come among them in a spirit of entire unselfishness to teach and do good. They receive no money. They go at their own expense. The measure of their devotion is unlimited. The fruits of their efforts are beyond calculation.

How can families help older couples prepare to serve?

4. As we introduce others to the gospel, the Spirit of the Lord helps overcome differences between us.

‘Involve newcomers quickly in the Lord’s work. They have been called to his vineyard not just to admire but to perspire—not to “ooh” and “aah” but to “hoe and saw.” Let us make of them friends—not celebrities; colleagues—not competitors. Let us use their precious enthusiasm to beckon still others to come within.’ (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1980)

From the manual:

Because we have all come of the same parentage [as children of God], we respond to the same truth. The fact that one’s skin may be of a slightly different color, that one’s eyes may have a slightly different set, that one may wear a different type of clothing does not in any sense make of him or her a different kind of individual. Men and women the world over respond to the same stimuli in essentially the same way. They seek warmth when they are cold; they know the same kinds of pain; they experience sadness, and they know joy.

How have you seen the Spirit of the Lord help people overcome differences?

5. As we go forward in faith, the Lord will bless our efforts to introduce others to the gospel.

From the manual:

With our charge divinely given, with blessings divinely promised, let us go forward in faith. As we do so, the Lord will bless our efforts. Let us do our part in sharing the gospel with those around us, by example first and then by inspired precept.

How can you increase your desire and faith to share the gospel?

Posted in Love, service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 20: Fellowship with Those Who Are Not of Our Faith

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch: Mike Wallace and President Hinckley on 60 Minutes

1. When we remember that all people are children of God, we reach out more to lift and help those among us.

Image result for When we remember that all people are children of God, we reach out more to lift and help those among us.

‘When I was a young boy, during the aftermath of World War II, Germany was broken and in ruins. Many people were hungry, sick, and dying. I remember well the humanitarian shipments of food and clothing that came from the Church in Salt Lake City. To this day, I can still remember the smell of the clothing, and I can still taste the sweetness of the canned peaches.

There were some who joined the Church because of the goods they received at that time. Some members looked down on these new converts. They even called them an offensive name: Büchsen Mormonen, or “Canned-Food Mormons.” They resented these new members because they believed that once their temporal needs had been met, they would fall away.

While some did leave, many stayed—they came to church, tasted the sweetness of the gospel, and felt the tender embrace of caring brothers and sisters. They discovered “home.” And now, three and four generations later, many families trace their Church membership back to these converts.

I hope that we welcome and love all of God’s children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not good to make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the Church a special measure of humanity, compassion, and charity so that they feel, at long last, they have finally found home.

When we are tempted to judge, let us think of the Savior, who “loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. …

“[And] he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, … [for] allmen are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”

As I read the scriptures, it appears that those who receive the Savior’s strongest reproach are often those who hold themselves in high esteem because of their wealth, influence, or perceived righteousness.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, April 2010)

From the manual:

We must never forget that we live in a world of great diversity. The people of the earth are all our Father’s children and are of many and varied religious persuasions. We must cultivate tolerance and appreciation and respect one another.

How can we cultivate greater appreciation and respect for others?

2. We should live with respect, appreciation, and friendship toward people who are not of our faith.

Watch: Different Beliefs President Gordon B. Hinckley urges respect for all those with diverse beliefs and teachings. (1:23)

“…we should respect our fellow human beings-not in spite of their beliefs, but because of them! A man or woman who carefully obeys all the laws and teachings of the Catholic or Buddhist or Shinto or Lutheran religion is obviously striving to do right. We should not condemn their beliefs, but rejoice in their righteous desires-for they will be just that much readier to have the Holy Ghost come to them to bear witness of even greater truths than they had previously known.” (Gerald E. Jones, “Respect for Other People’s Beliefs,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 70)

Elder Marvin J. Ashton beautifully observed: “Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.”

From the manual:

How very important that is—that while we believe in worshipping God according to our doctrine, we do not become arrogant or self-righteous or prideful but that we extend to others the privilege of worshipping according to their desires. Much of the trouble in the world comes from conflict between religions. I am happy to be able to say that I can sit down with my Catholic friends and talk with them, that I can sit down with my Protestant friends and talk with them. I would stand in their defense, as this Church has done and will continue to do, in defending them in this world.

I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.

How can we show greater friendship and love toward those who have different beliefs?

3. Without compromising our doctrine, we can work with others in good causes.

Watch: Fear Not to Do Good – President Eyring, General Conference, October 2017

Watch: October 2017 World Report

From the manual:

Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. … We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.

How can we become a greater influence for good in our community?

4. When we treat others with love, respect, and kindness, we show that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Image result for When we treat others with love, respect, and kindness, we show that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Watch: Bring Forth Fruit With Patience A recent convert tells of his conversion and his gratitude for the gospel and the priesthood. (4:08)

“Someone said, ‘We have committed the Golden Rule to memory. May we now commit it to life.’ The Savior’s teaching, ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,’ should be the basis for all human relationships…The time is now to rededicate our lives to eternal ideals and values, to make those changes that we may need to make in our own lives and conduct to conform to the Savior’s teachings. From the beginning to the end of His ministry, Jesus asked His followers to adopt new, higher standards in contrast to their former ways. As believers, they were to live by a spiritual and moral code that would separate them not only from the rest of the world but also even from some of their traditions. He asks nothing less of those who follow Him today.” (David B Haight, Ensign, Nov. 1987)

From the manual:

Let us be true disciples of the Christ, observing the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us strengthen our own faith and that of our children while being gracious to those who are not of our faith. Love and respect will overcome every element of animosity. Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe.

Why is our behavior toward others “the most persuasive argument for that which we believe”? 

Posted in Leadership, Priesthood, Prophets, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 19: Priesthood Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“I do not know why in His grand scheme one such as I would find a place. But having this mantle come upon me, I now rededicate whatever I have of strength or time or talent or life to the work of my Master in the service of my brethren and sisters. Again, I thank you … for your actions this day. The burden of my prayer is that I will be worthy. I hope that I may be remembered in your prayers.”

How can we best support and sustain the Lord’s Prophet and President of the Church?

1. The Lord calls each President of the Church after testing, refining, and polishing him.

Image result for When a President of the Church dies, the senior Apostle becomes the next President.

From the manual:

I have worked with the Presidents of the Church from President Heber J. Grant onward. … I have known the counselors of all of these men, and I have known the Council of the Twelve during the years of the administrations of these Presidents. All of these men have been human. They have had human traits and perhaps some human weaknesses. But over and above all of that, there has been in the life of every one of them an overpowering manifestation of the inspiration of God. Those who have been Presidents have been prophets in a very real way. I have intimately witnessed the spirit of revelation upon them. Each man came to the Presidency after many years of experience as a member of the Council of the Twelve and in other capacities. The Lord refined and polished each one, let him know discouragement and failure, let him experience illness and in some cases deep sorrow. All of this became part of a great refining process, and the effect of that process became beautifully evident in their lives.

What impresses you about the Lord’s “refining process” for preparing and calling a President of the Church?

‘Very few priesthood holders ever become prophets, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all require the same refining experiences to make us better servants and better stewards over the Lord’s affairs in mortality.’ (Kelly Merrill, LDSLiving.com)

Read: First Presidency Message: Prophets to Guide Us

2. When a President of the Church dies, the senior Apostle becomes the next President.

When a President of the Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved. Counselors in the First Presidency return to their places in the Quorum of the Twelve (if they were members of the quorum). The Quorum of the Twelve becomes the presiding quorum in the Church. The President of the Twelve becomes the presiding authority in the Church. Members of the Twelve assemble in the temple in a spirit of fasting and prayer. Guided by revelation, they come to a unanimous decision regarding the reorganization of the First Presidency. In accordance with this decision, they sustain the senior member of the Twelve as the President of the Church. They then lay their hands on his head and ordain him and set him apart as President of the Church.The new President chooses two men (usually members of the Quorum of the Twelve) to be his counselors. Vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by the reorganization of the Presidency are filled.

Watch: Succession in the Presidency Elder Haight teaches about succession in the Presidency (D&C 107:21-38). (1:07)

“There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency. The president is not elected, but he has to be sustained both by his brethren of the Council and by the members of the Church” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:156).

From the manual:

Transition of authority [to a new President of the Church], in which I have participated a number of times, is beautiful in its simplicity. It is indicative of the way the Lord does things. Under His procedure a man is selected by the prophet to become a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He does not choose this as a career. He is called, as were the Apostles in Jesus’ time, to whom the Lord said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” (John 15:16.) The years pass. He is schooled and disciplined in the duties of his office. He travels over the earth in fulfilling his apostolic calling. It is a long course of preparation, in which he comes to know the Latter-day Saints wherever they may be, and they come to know him. The Lord tests his heart and his substance. In the natural course of events, vacancies occur in that council and new appointments are made. Under this process a particular man becomes the senior Apostle. Residing latent in him, and in his associate Brethren, given to each at the time of ordination, are all of the keys of the priesthood. But authority to exercise those keys is restricted to the President of the Church. At [the prophet’s] passing, that authority becomes operative in the senior Apostle, who is then named, set apart, and ordained a prophet and President by his associates of the Council of the Twelve.

What are your impressions as you review President Hinckley’s description of the way a new President of the Church is chosen? 

3. The Lord has provided principles and procedures for governing His Church if the President is not able to function fully.

Watch: God is at the Helm (President Hinckley, General Conference April 1994)

“Despite any health challenges that may come to us, despite any weakness in body or mind, we serve to the best of our ability. I assure you that the Church is in good hands. The system set up for the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles] assures [us] that it will always be in good hands and that, come what may, there is no need to worry or to fear. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we follow, whom we worship, and whom we serve, is ever at the helm.” (Thomas S Monson, Church News, February 2013)

From the manual:

The Counselors in the First Presidency carry on with the regular work of this office. But any major questions of policy, procedures, programs, or doctrine are considered deliberately and prayerfully by the First Presidency and the Twelve together. These two quorums, the Quorum of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, meeting together, with every man having total freedom to express himself, consider every major question.

What principles and procedures has the Lord established for governing the Church if the President is not able to function fully in all his duties?

4. Apostles are special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.

‘All men who are ordained Apostles and sustained as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have all priesthood keys conferred upon them.’ (Boyd K Packer, What Every Elder Should Know – and Every Sister As Well)

Image result for Apostles are special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.

‘The role of an Apostle today is the same as it was anciently (see Acts 1:22; 4:33). Our commission is to go into all the world and proclaim “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (see Mark 16:15, 1 Corinthians 2:2). An Apostle is a missionary and a special witness of the name of Christ. The “name of Christ” refers to the totality of the Savior’s mission, death, and resurrection—His authority, His doctrine, and His unique qualifications as the Son of God to be our Redeemer and our Savior. As special witnesses of the name of Christ, we bear testimony of the reality, divinity, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His infinite and eternal Atonement, and His gospel.’ (David A Bednar, Religious Educator 12 No 2 2011)

From the manual:

As with all of us, they are men who are human. They have their strengths and their weaknesses. But henceforth, for the remainder of their lives, as long as they remain faithful, their one chief concern must be the advancement of the work of God on the earth. They must be concerned with the welfare of our Father’s children, both those within the Church and those out of the Church. They must do all that they can to give comfort to those who mourn, to give strength to those who are weak, to give encouragement to those who falter, to befriend the friendless, to nurture the destitute, to bless the sick, to bear witness, not out of belief but out of a certain knowledge of the Son of God, their Friend and Master, whose servants they are.

How have you benefited from the teachings of living prophets and apostles?

5. The First Presidency and the Twelve seek revelation and total harmony before they reach decisions.

Image result for The First Presidency and the Twelve seek revelation and total harmony before they reach decisions.

‘In trying all matters of doctrine, to make a decision valid, it is necessary to obtain a unanimous voice, faith and decision. In the capacity of a Quorum, the three First Presidents must be one in their voice; the Twelve Apostles must be unanimous in their voice, to obtain a righteous decision upon any matter that may come before them…. Whenever you see these Quorums unanimous in their declaration, you may set it down as true’. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:91-92)

From the manual:

No decision emanates from the deliberations of the First Presidency and the Twelve without total unanimity among all concerned. At the outset in considering matters, there may be differences of opinion. These are to be expected. These men come from different backgrounds. They are men who think for themselves. But before a final decision is reached, there comes a unanimity of mind and voice.

How can we apply these principles in our families and in the Church?

6. A stake president is called by inspiration to serve as an adviser to bishops and a leader for the people.

Read or watch: The Stake President (Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, April 2000)

‘The Church officer who presides over several wards (congregations) that comprise a stake is the stake president. A stake president is selected by the General Authority assigned by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles to preside at that stake’s conference. He typically interviews many Melchizedek Priesthood leaders in the stake and then seeks inspiration from God to determine whom to call. The General Authority calls the stake president and instructs him to nominate two counselors who are interviewed and called. These three men constitute the stake presidency. They serve voluntarily, receiving no financial remuneration from the Church. Counselors to the stake president advise and assist him in his responsibilities and counsel with him in decision making. As with all officers in the Church, members of the stake presidency must be sustained by the vote of the members over whom they preside (D&C 20:65; see Common Consent). Each stake president supervises and is responsible for the progress of the Church in his stake, including all Church activities, callings, ordinances performed, and programs.

Members of the stake presidency hold the office of high priest, and they serve as the presidency of the high priest quorum and supervise all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. This means they hold the proper priesthood authority to act as the Lord’s agent in behalf of the members (see Keys of the Priesthood).

What the stake president performs and authorizes within the scope of his calling is recognized as official and binding by the Church. For example, the stake president authorizes ordinations of worthy men to offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood, such as elder and high priest. He submits to the First Presidency for their approval the names of men to be called as bishops. When the approval is granted, the stake president issues the call and ordains the man a bishop, after he has been sustained by his ward. The stake president calls the presidents of the women’s organizations of the stake. He sets them apart after they have been sustained by vote of the stake. Both stake and full-time missionaries are set apart and later released by stake presidents. With a few exceptions, stake presidents may delegate to their counselors, or to high councilors, the authority to perform ordinances, issue calls to serve, ordain others to priesthood offices, and give spiritual blessings. Stake presidencies are to draw upon the scriptures and are to seek inspiration through prayer. The stake president is the one ultimately responsible for decisions made, but the stake presidency is to act as a unified quorum when decisions are made and actions taken. The stake presidency is accountable to members of the General Authorities of the Church for the administration of their stake.

During semi-annual stake conferences, members of the stake gather to hear instruction and inspirational messages from the stake presidency and other leaders. Stake presidents provide additional spiritual direction through counseling individuals and families and by visiting members’ homes.

The stake president also presides over certain council meetings in which the spiritual Welfare of Church members is the focus, such as meetings to address the needs of the poor or to prepare for emergencies, or councils that conduct disciplinary procedures for Church members who have transgressed fundamental standards of the gospel. Through personal interviews, stake presidencies certify the worthiness of members to enter temples and to be ordained to Melchizedek Priesthood offices, after they have been recommended to the stake president by their bishop. Bishops are to report their stewardship and the Welfare of their congregations to their stake president.

Stake presidents are charged with fiscal responsibility for the stake. Clerks are called to help with record keeping and payments, but the expenditures of all wards, priesthood quorums, and auxiliary organizations within the stake are the responsibility of the stake president. Financial assistance provided to needy individuals is administered by ward bishops, supervised by the stake president. In addition, since most wards meet in Church-owned buildings, the maintenance and operation of all physical facilities in the stake fall under the auspices of the stake president.

The stake president serves until he is released. As is the case with all callings in the Church, he neither campaigns for the position nor chooses the time of his release.’ (Stake President: The Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

From the manual:

He carries the very heavy responsibility of seeing that the doctrine taught in the stake is kept pure and unsullied. It is his duty to see that there is no false doctrine that is taught nor false practice that occurs. If there be any Melchizedek Priesthood holder out of line, or any other person for that matter, under some circumstances, he is to counsel with them, and if the individual persists in his or her practice, then the president is obliged to take action. He will summon the offender to appear before a disciplinary council, where action may be taken to assign a probationary period or to disfellowship or excommunicate him or her from the Church.

How can we better support and sustain the Stake President?

7. Bishops are shepherds of the flock.

Read or watch: The Shepherds of the Flock Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, April 1999

Image result for Bishops are shepherds of the flock.

Read or watch: The Shepherds of Israel Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, October 2003

From the manual:

The bishops of the Church … are in a very real sense the shepherds of Israel. Everyone [in the Church] is accountable to a bishop or a branch president. Tremendous are the burdens which they carry, and I invite every member of the Church to do all that he or she can to lift the burden under which our bishops and branch presidents labor.

How can we better support and sustain the Bishop?

Posted in Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, virtue

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 18: Virtue—a Cornerstone on Which to Build Our Lives

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

What is the meaning of President Hinckley’s ‘parable’ of the Key Bank Building?

1. Virtuous living brings marvelous and wonderful blessings.

See: Christ-like attributes – Virtue

From the manual:

Is there a valid case for virtue? It is the only way to freedom from regret. The peace of conscience which flows therefrom is the only personal peace that is not counterfeit.

How might you respond to someone who argues that there is not a valid case for virtue?

‘In our journey toward eternal life, purity must be our constant aim. To walk and talk with God, to serve with God, to follow his example and become as a god, we must attain perfection. In his presence there can be no guile, no wickedness, no transgression. In numerous scriptures he has made it clear that all worldliness, evil and weakness must be dropped before we can ascend unto “the hill of the Lord.”‘ (Spencer W Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], chap. 2)

2. When we rise above the filth and immorality of the world, we enjoy greater happiness, security, and peace of mind.

Watch: Shun immorality President Hinckley encourages church members to avoid the immorality we have in the world today.

Image result for When we rise above the filth and immorality of the world, we enjoy greater happiness, security, and peace of mind.

From the manual:

We believe in chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage. That sums it up. That is the way to happiness in living. That is the way to satisfaction. It brings peace to the heart and peace to the home.

Why is chastity “the way to happiness in living”?

3. Pornography is addictive and destructive, but we can rise above it.

Image result for Pornography is addictive and destructive, but we can rise above it.

From the manual:

You live in a world of terrible temptations. Pornography, with its sleazy filth, sweeps over the earth like a horrible, engulfing tide. It is poison. Do not watch it or read it. It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear you down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possibly of evil actions. Stay away from it. Shun it as you would a foul disease, for it is just as deadly. Be virtuous in thought and in deed.

How can we find the strength to be virtuous in though and dead in this world of terrible temptations?

4. With discipline and effort, we can control our thoughts and actions.

“The pain of self-discipline will never be as great as the pain of regret.” Anonymous

Image result for With discipline and effort, we can control our thoughts and actions.

From the manual:

Mental control must be stronger than physical appetites or desires of the flesh. As thoughts are brought into complete harmony with revealed truth, actions will then become appropriate. … Each of us, with discipline and effort, has the capacity to control our thoughts and our actions. This is part of the process of developing spiritual, physical, and emotional maturity.

What are some practical things we can do to keep our thoughts clean?

5. Those who have been involved in immoral behavior can be forgiven and can rise above the past.

Watch: Return to Virtue Elaine S. Dalton, a leader of the Young Women organization, urges young people to develop the strength that comes from living a virtuous life.

From the manual:

Let me … assure you that if you have made a mistake, if you have become involved in any immoral behavior, all is not lost. Memory of that mistake will likely linger, but the deed can be forgiven, and you can rise above the past to live a life fully acceptable unto the Lord where there has been repentance. He has promised that He will forgive your sins and remember them no more against you (see D&C 58:42).

“When you have fully repented, you feel an inner peace. You know somehow you are forgiven because the burden you have carried for so long, all of a sudden isn’t there anymore. It is gone and you know it is gone” (Elder F Burton Howard, in Conference Report, Apr. 1983)

Posted in Learning, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 17: Continue in the Great Process of Learning

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

President Hinckley’s fellow servants in Church leadership marveled at his gift for accumulating knowledge and applying it in his work. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed: “I have never met an individual who can become so well informed through reading and through contact with people. When he spends an evening at dinner with someone, he leaves knowing something about that individual’s expertise.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell, also of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: “What makes President Hinckley unique is that he remembers what he has read and distills that which he wishes to retain. His is an integrated intellect. He can draw upon what he knows to make prudent decisions.”

How can we make accumulating knowledge and applying it in our work a lifelong habit?

1. The Lord wants us to educate ourselves so we can progress individually and contribute to society.

From the manual:

The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. … You will bring honor to the Church and you will be generously blessed because of that training.

How can learning and training bless us and also bring honour to the Church?

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

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

“Nope,” the farmer replied.

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

Again the farmer answered, “Nope.”

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

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

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

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

2. With planning and self-discipline, parents can create an atmosphere of learning in their homes.

Image result for The Lord wants us to educate ourselves so we can progress individually and contribute to society.

From the manual:

Begin early in exposing children to books. The mother who fails to read to her small children does a disservice to them and a disservice to herself. It takes time, yes, much of it. It takes self-discipline. It takes organizing and budgeting the minutes and hours of the day. But it will never be a bore as you watch young minds come to know characters, expressions, and ideas. Good reading can become a love affair, far more fruitful in long term effects than many other activities in which children use their time. 

1. Read to your child starting at an early age. Many people have fond memories of their parents reading them bedtime stories, and reading to your child will help foster a love of words and reading.

2. Fill your child’s room with books. Kids who grow up with books all around them learn to think of books as friends and allies in their pursuit of adventure and learning.

3. Be a good reading “role model” for your children. Let them see you reading, and how much you enjoy reading books and magazines.

4. As your children grow, introduce them to books that match their interests and hobbies. Show them how a good book can expand their knowledge in a particular area, and expand their horizons as well.

5. Encourage your child to find new books on their own to read. While showing your child books is a good way to build their interest level, a child who finds new books on their own can benefit from an increased sense of independence.

6. Get your child a library card. Show them how a library can be a place of wonder and excitement, and can open up whole new worlds of learning to last a lifetime. And then put the library in your schedule, so you will be sure to visit frequently together.

7. Offer to reward your children if they read. For example, if your child reads 30 minutes every day for a week, offer to give them their favourite treat.

3. Education unlocks the door of opportunity for youth and young adults.

Image result for Education unlocks the door of opportunity for youth and young adults.

From the manual:

It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. … Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for. It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your sons and daughters to gain an education which will bless their lives.

How does education “unlock the door of opportunity” for youth and young adults?

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

4. The schooling of the spirit is as important, if not more so, than the schooling of the mind.

Watch: Elder and Sister Bednar – Secular and Spiritual Learning Elder and Sister Bednar talk about developing the desire to learn. (7:20)

From the manual:

Each day we are made increasingly aware of the fact that life is more than science and mathematics, more than history and literature. There is need for another education, without which the substance of secular learning may lead only to destruction. I refer to the education of the heart, of the conscience, of the character, of the spirit—these indefinable aspects of our personalities which determine so certainly what we are and what we do in our relationships one with another.

How can we educate the heart, character, and spirit?

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

5. No matter how old we grow, we can acquire knowledge, gather wisdom, and keep on growing.

Watch: The Glory of God is Intelligence Seeking learning is a lifelong pursuit and one that increases our ability to serve the Lord. (3:17)

From the manual:

Education is the great conversion process under which abstract knowledge becomes useful and productive activity. It is something that need never stop. No matter how old we grow, we can acquire knowledge and use it. We can gather wisdom and profit from it. We can be entertained through the miracle of reading and exposure to the arts and add to the blessing and fulfillment of living. The older I grow, the more I enjoy the words of thoughtful writers, ancient and modern, and the savoring of that which they have written.

What have you learned recently that has been especially valuable to you?

‘It is never too late to learn. I believe this with all my heart. Sister Hinckley and I are growing old. We are in our mid-80s. I am constantly amazed at what a voracious reader she is. She reads two newspapers a day, goes through magazines, is an ardent student of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, and I saw her the other evening reading a lengthy biography.

I know of no other practice which will make one more attractive in conversation than to be well-read in a variety of subjects. Said the Lord to you and to me: “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. … Organize yourselves. … Cease to be idle” (D&C 88:118-119, 124).

The best books are the scriptures. Said the Lord: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Read the Church magazines. There are many other worthwhile things to read. Reading will sharpen your mind. It will clean up your intellect. It will improve your speech to get into the thoughts of the great men and women of the ages, including those of our own age.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “A Conversation with Single Adults,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 62)

Read: The Journey of Lifelong Learning – Elder Robert D Hales

Posted in Book of Mormon, Holy Ghost, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 16: The Power of the Book of Mormon

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

Throughout his ministry, President Hinckley emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon. In August 2005, as President of the Church, he challenged Latter-day Saints to read the entire book before the end of the year. He later reported: “It is amazing how many met that challenge. Everyone who did so was blessed for his or her effort. As they became immersed in this added witness of our Redeemer, their hearts were quickened and their spirits touched.”

How has regular reading of the Book of Mormon blessed you?

Image result for Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley - Chapter 16: The Power of the Book of Mormon

1. Hand in hand with the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ.

Read: They Shall Grow Together: The Relationship of the Book of Mormon, The Bible and the Joseph Smith Translation (BYU Religious Studies Centre)

Bible stories teach us
How to live like Jesus.
Book of Mormon stories, too,
Tell what He would have us do.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
Bible prophets tell us
Things to bless and help us.
Book of Mormon prophets, too,
Testify of all that’s true.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
© 2001 by Janice Kapp Perry

From the manual:

As the Bible is the testament of the Old World, the Book of Mormon is the testament of the New. They go hand in hand in declaration of Jesus as the Son of the Father.

What examples have you seen of the Book of Mormon and the Bible going “hand in hand” in testifying of the Savior? 

2. By the power of the Holy Ghost, we can receive a witness of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.

‘This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.

We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.

If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.

My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ (President Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 2017)

Image result for By the power of the Holy Ghost, we can receive a witness of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.

From the manual:

Why do you think the promise in Moroni 10:3–5 is more important than physical evidence of the Book of Mormon?

3. A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a conviction of other truths.

Watch: Book of Mormon Testimonies Prophets and Apostles discuss the importance of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

“We should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings. If we really do our homework and approach the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we can expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men. I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Image result for A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a conviction of other truths.

4. The Book of Mormon offers teachings that can help us find solutions to the problems of today’s society.

We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?

From the manual:

[The Book of Mormon] narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions to those problems.

What are some passages in the Book of Mormon that have helped you in times of personal challenge?

5. The Book of Mormon has the power to change our lives and our perspective.

Watch: A Book of Mormon Story A young bishop in England describes how the Book of Mormon came to life for him and changed his perspective forever. (5:15)

From the manual:

If someone asked you about the Book of Mormon, what could you say about how it has influenced your life?