Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2017, Joseph Smith, LDS Doctrine, Uncategorized

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 13: “This Generation Shall Have My Word through You”

1. The Lord declared that the people in this dispensation would receive His word through Joseph Smith.

D&C 5:10 This generation shall have my word through you

“I’ve listed the most prolific scriptural producers besides Joseph Smith:

Mormon 338 pages
Moses 308 pages
Jeremiah 170 pages
Paul 122 pages
Nephi 117 pages
Luke 103 pages
Unknown writer of Chronicles 86 pages
Isaiah 81 pages
Unknown writer of 1 and 2 Samuel 81 pages
John 74 pages

“Now consider Joseph Smith’s accomplishments in bringing forth scripture:

Book of Mormon 531 pages
Doctrine and Covenants 1-134 280 pages
Pearl of Great Price 58 pages
Joseph Smith Translation 30 pages

“These 10 most prolific scriptural producers authored a total of 1,480 pages. Joseph Smith alone was responsible for 900. His total pages equal nearly 61 percent of the total pages of the other top 10 producers, and he is responsible for nearly three times as many pages as either of the two next highest scriptural producers, Mormon and Moses. Before Joseph Smith, the world had only the 1,590 pages of the Bible; through this one man, the Lord increased our scriptural library by more than half.

“Yet counting pages serves only to indicate how prodigious the Prophet Joseph Smith’s efforts were; what really matters is the content of the new scriptures that he gave to the world. Joseph Smith gave us new or expanded knowledge about a full spectrum of gospel topics:

  • The nature of the Godhead
  • The role and functions of the Holy Ghost
  • The nature of intelligences
  • The premortal existence
  • The Council in Heaven
  • Jesus Christ’s and Lucifer’s premortal roles
  • The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement
  • Family and parental responsibilities
  • Priesthood keys, organization, and ordinances
  • The laws of consecration and stewardship
  • The temple endowment and temple sealings
  • Work for the dead
  • Spirit paradise and spirit prison
  • The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
  • The three degrees of glory and outer darkness

“In addition to canonized scripture, Joseph Smith also gave us many journals, sermons, lectures, and histories that provide additional gospel teachings and knowledge of the Lord’s work in the latter days. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘This generation shall have my word through you [the Prophet Joseph Smith]’ (D&C 5:10).

“In fact, it could be truly said that the depth and consistency of the gospel’s saving doctrines can be traced to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s accomplishment in bringing forth new scriptures. ‘I never told you I was perfect,’ Joseph Smith said, ‘but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught’ (History of the Church, 6:366).” (Gerald N Lund, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 52-53)

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2. Many ancient and latter-day scriptures have come through Joseph Smith.

See This generation shall have my word through you by Elder Bruce R McConkie

See Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham. This Gospel Topics essay discusses the book of Abraham, addressing questions that have been raised about the relationship between the papyri Joseph Smith obtained and the text we have today.

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D&C 35:20 Thou shalt write for him

“To Sidney He gave a special command that he should write for Joseph. The Lord made known to Sidney what Joseph already understood—that the Scriptures should be given, even as they were in God’s own bosom, to the salvation of His elect. And soon after this time, Joseph began a new translation of the scriptures. While he labored, many truths, buried through scores of ages, were brought forth to his understanding, and he saw in their purity and holiness all the doings of God among His children, from the days of Adam unto the birth of our Lord and Savior.” (George Q Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith, pp. 83–84.)

3. Plain and precious doctrines of the gospel have been restored through Joseph Smith.

See Revelations in Context: Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation. This article discusses the translation process and the ways in which different sections of the Doctrine and Covenants relate to the Bible translation.

See Old Testament Revision 2. This page from the Joseph Smith Papers website introduces Joseph Smith’s Bible translation.

See  Plain and Precious Truths Restored. A careful examination of the Book of Mormon reveals many significant doctrines not found in the Bible.

See The Joseph Smith Translation: “Plain and Precious Things” Restored. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired revisions of the King James Version of the Bible, we receive truths essential to a full understanding of the gospel.

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Uncategorized

Gospel Doctrine 2017 -Lesson 5: “This Is the Spirit of Revelation”

1. Our need for personal revelation

I will, in the commencement of my remarks, take up a subject upon which much has been said in the pulpit and in the chimney corner. It is regarding the Spirit of the Lord manifesting his will to his children. There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.32-33)

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2. Understanding what we should do to receive revelation

D&C 9:8 Study it out in your mind

“‘It is impossible to advance in the principles of truth, to increase in heavenly knowledge, except we exercise our reasoning faculties and exert ourselves in a proper manner. …

“‘Although the gift to translate had been conferred, he (Oliver Cowdery) could not prosecute the work, simply because he failed to exert himself before God with the view of developing the gift within him; and he became greatly disappointed, and the Lord, in his goodness and mercy, informed him of his mistake. …

“‘So in regard to us, respecting the things which we are undertaking. If we expect to improve, to advance in the work immediately before us, and finally to obtain possession of those gifts and glories, coming up to that condition of exaltation we anticipate, we must take thought and reflect, we must exert ourselves, and that too to the utmost of our ability.’ (Lorenzo Snow,  Journal of Discourses, 18:371-72.)

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D&C 138:1-11 Ponder and meditate over the scriptures

‘Pondering, which means to weigh mentally, to deliberate, to meditate, can achieve the opening of the spiritual eyes of one’s understanding. Also, the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon the ponderer as described by President Smith.

And Jesus admonished the Nephites, “Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand.”  3 Ne. 17:3

We are constantly reminded through the scriptures that we should give the things of God much more than usual superficial consideration. We must ponder them and reach into the very essence of what we are and what we may become.’ (Joseph B wirthlin, General Conference, April 1982)

‘I sometimes think that one of the best-kept secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of revelation.’ (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrines of the Restoration, p.243)

D&C 6:5-7,14 The Lord Giveth Bountifully to Faithful Saints Who Ask

“There is no reason in the world why any soul should not know where to find the truth. If he will only humble himself and seek in the spirit of humility and faith, going to the Lord just as the Prophet Joseph Smith went to the Lord to find the truth, he will find it. There’s no doubt about it. There is no reason in the world, if men would only hearken to the whisperings of the Spirit of the Lord and seek as he would have them seek for the knowledge and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for them not to find it—no reason, except the hardness of their hearts and their love of the world. ‘Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ This is my testimony, I know it is true.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, p. 59.)

D&C 88:63-64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father

‘I want you to know that I know God hears and answers prayers. He has answered many of mine. I have lived sufficiently long on this earth to see that some of the prayers which I concluded were not answered were answered for my best good. I am still trying to recognize a “no” answer. I am still trying to recognize and accept silent answers.

I have total confidence and faith in the wisdom and omniscience of a loving, merciful Heavenly Father. To be dependent on Him, yet to communicate with Him, I must make faithful personal effort on a never-ending basis. (Marvin J Ashton, “Know He Is There,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, 54)

D&C 63:23 A well of living water

‘Be believing and your faith will be constantly replenished, your knowledge of the truth increased, and your testimony of the Redeemer, of the Resurrection, of the Restoration will be as “a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” You may then receive guidance on practical decisions in everyday life.’ (Boyd K Packer, General Conference, October 1994)

D&C 93:1,28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light

‘In closing, I refer to the relationship between obedience and knowledge. Members who have a testimony and who act upon it under the direction of their Church leaders are sometimes accused of blind obedience.

Of course, we have leaders, and of course, we are subject to their decisions and directions in the operation of the Church and in the performance of needed priesthood ordinances. But when it comes to learning and knowing the truth of the gospel—our personal testimonies—we each have a direct relationship with God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost. This is what our critics fail to understand. It puzzles them that we can be united in following our leaders and yet independent in knowing for ourselves.

Perhaps the puzzle some feel can be explained by the reality that each of us has two different channels to God. We have a channel of governance through our prophet and other leaders. This channel, which has to do with doctrine, ordinances, and commandments, results in obedience. We also have a channel of personal testimony, which is direct to God. This has to do with His existence, our relationship to Him, and the truth of His restored gospel. This channel results in knowledge. These two channels are mutually reinforcing: knowledge encourages obedience (see  Deuteronomy 5:27  Moses 5:11 and obedience enhances knowledge.’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 2008)

D&C 101:7-8 In the day of their trouble

‘A repentant heart and good works are the very conditions required to have grace restored to us. When someone pleads fervently in prayer for an answer, the answer may be more conditioned on repentance of personal sins than on any other factor.’ (Gene R Cook, General Conference, April 1993)

D&C 5:24 Humble himself in mighty prayer

‘Martin Harris was promised that he could become a witness of the plates or “these things” (D&C 5:2, 11) if he would humble himself and acknowledge the wrongs he had committed (see vv. 24, 28). Even after the lesson learned from the loss of the 116 pages, humility came hard for Martin, though he succeeded, and he finally saw the angel and the plates.’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 112:10 Be thou humble

‘Those who engage in self-congratulation over a supposed strength have lost the protection of humility and are vulnerable to Satan’s using that strength to produce their downfall. In contrast, if we are humble and teachable, hearkening to the commandments of God, the counsel of his leaders, and the promptings of his Spirit, we can be guided in how to use our spiritual gifts, our accomplishments, and all of our other strengths for righteousness. And we can be guided in how to avoid Satan’s efforts to use our strengths to cause our downfall.’ (Dallin H Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 19)

D&C 30:2 Your mind has been on the things of the earth

‘The early leaders of the restored church had to learn that mortal reasoning was secondary to the revelations of God. On several occasions the Lord rebuked Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, and others for not having their minds on the things of God, for yielding to “the persuasions of men” (D&C 3:6; 5:21), and for being “persuaded by those whom [the Lord had] not commanded” (D&C 30:2). Like some members of today, these early leaders had to learn that the gospel includes “many great things . . . which [are] hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord.” (1 Ne. 15:3.)

In the acquisition of sacred knowledge, reason must yield to revelation.’ (Dallin H Oaks, The Lord’s Way, p.21)

 

Posted in Christmas story, Jesus Christ, New Testament, Scriptural advent calendar, Uncategorized

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 21

Matthew 2:1-6

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet,

 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

wise-men

If Jesus had come, as these wise men, riding on a camel, bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh, with a crown on his head, he undoubtedly would have been accepted—king of the Jews. His coming had been long awaited, but they could not accept one, born so humbly and lowly in a stable.
He came born away from home, in obscurity.
He preached—the clearest, most simple, teacher of profound truth that ever came among men.
He healed—
He called followers about him, even apostles.
He suffered—betrayed, denied, and deserted.
He died—a horrible death upon a cross.
He was resurrected—after three days in a tomb. He lives. He will return again. (William J Critchlow, October 1959)

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5 ways to wellbeing

Reblogged from June 2015

MormonBloke

I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers was Nic Marks of the New Economics Foundation who, a few years ago, came up with the Five Ways of Wellbeing. These are 5 actions that can increase wellbeing or happiness. They have been taken up by governments and other organisations around the world. And they are:

Connect: because social relationships are the strongest part really of happiness and wellbeing

Be active

Take notice: noticing what’s going on around us and within us

Keep learning: learning through your life course

Give: volunteering, generosity, altruism are all really good for our own wellbeing as well as other people’s.

It struck me that as members of the Church, we didn’t need the New Economics Foundation to tell us about this.

Connect…

With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in…

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Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

MormonBloke

Here is a definition of electricity:

 ‘A fundamental form of energy observable in positive and negative forms that occurs naturally (as in lightning) or is produced (as in a generator) and that is expressed in terms of the movement and interaction of electrons.’

Do you understand that? I understand most of the words individually but I don’t have a clue what the whole sentence means. I take electricity for granted – I expect that when I press the light switch that the light will come on but I have no idea how it works. I DO know that my life would be very different if we could not use electricity. Our modern society and way of life would not be possible without electrical power.

I am told that electricity functions according to certain laws, or principles, and that failure to follow those laws can result in loss of electrical…

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My story (Reblogged from Feb 2015)

MormonBloke

Paul St Helier 1978001

I grew up in a poor family on a council estate. My father left home when I was very small never to be seen again. At that time I had three younger sisters. My mam worked hard, as a single parent, to support us but we were poor. I can remember being told to hide behind the settee and pretend that there was no-one home when the rent man called.

I learned to read very early and was an avid reader. I would read anything I could get my hands on and can remember reading the Bible from a very young age. We occasionally went to Sunday School at the Methodist chapel on the Green but we were not regular church goers.

When I was about 8 years old we started to attend the Kingdom Hall and to take lessons from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. One day, my mam was expecting…

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Symbolic meanings of numbers in the scriptures (Reblogged from January 2015)

MormonBloke

In my booklet ‘Reading the Preston Temple’ I comment on the symbolic meaning of certain numbers.  Some people have expressed an interest in the symbolic meaning of numbers found in the  scriptures so I thought I would share some thoughts on some significant numbers.

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1 – God, Unity

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: (Deut 6:4)

2 –  symbolizes witness and support.

  • Two witnesses establish truth (Matthew 26:60).
  • The disciples were sent two by two (Luke 10:1).
  • The Ten Commandments were inscribed on two tablets of stone.
  • The Old and New Testament

3 –  Signifies completion or perfection, and unity.

  • Three is the number of Personages in the Godhead.
  • Many significant events in the Bible happened “on the third day” (Hosea 6:2).
  • Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted three years
  • This number operates as a “sign-post” in Scripture study for the reader to “pay attention” to the significance…

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Scriptural advent calendar – December 7

MormonBloke

3 Nephi 1:4-9:

 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.

 And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.

 And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.

 But behold…

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