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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 46: “Zion—The Pure in Heart”

1. The word Zion has several meanings.

D&C 97:21 The pure in heart

‘God has given us the perfect definition: Zion is the pure in heart-the pure in heart, not merely the pure in appearance. It is not a society or religion of forms and observances, of pious gestures and precious mannerisms: it is strictly a condition of the heart. Above all, Zion is pure, which means “not mixed with any impurities, unalloyed”; it is all Zion and nothing else. It is not achieved wherever a heart is pure or where two or three are pure, because it is all pure-it is a society, a community, and an environment into which no unclean thing can enter. “Henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean” (3 Nephi 20:36). It is not even pure people in a dirty environment, or pure people with a few impure ones among them; it is the perfectly pure in a perfectly pure environment. “I . . . will contend with Zion . . . and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me” (D&C 90:36).

This makes it so different from our world that it almost begins to sound distasteful. But a moment’s reflection will show that Zion cannot possibly be other than wholly pure. For Zion is the eternal order; it has existed elsewhere from the eternities and will someday be permanently established on this earth. Even the smallest impurity or flaw in anything designed to continue forever would, in the course of an infinite stretching of time, become a thing of infinite mischief. The most perfect structures men have been able to erect have been short-lived because of tiny, all-but-imperceptible flaws. Hence, any flaw, no matter how small, must be removed from a system designed to be timeless; otherwise, there will be no end of trouble.’ (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 27)

D&C 82:14 Stakes

‘Zion is to increase in size, beauty, and holiness. Think upon that challenge as if we spoke of a tent. Stakes must be added, but this is not to be a common tent. The curtains must be more beautiful. The activities within this tent are not to be common or profane. A larger, more beautiful, and holier tent sounds like a description of the ancient tabernacle. Reflect upon the words of President Howard W. Hunter, who invited the Church to “look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership.”

Why the call for beauty? Perhaps Zion will need to expand because its beauty will serve as an attraction to those it seeks to gather. Similarly, the call for increased holiness may be to ensure the Lord’s protecting hand upon the Church. Just as each component in a tent interacts with the other components to accomplish its purposes, perhaps the growth, beauty, and holiness of Zion interact to fulfill its destiny.’ (Richard W Hall, Her Stakes Must Be Strengthened)

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D&C 45:66-67 The New Jerusalem

‘The city has yet to be built, and it will not be built and cannot be built except by a people who are living a celestial law. And after it is built, the fear and dread of the Lord will rest upon the wicked as they see how and in what manner the Lord preserves its righteous inhabitants.’ (Bruce R McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 303.)

2. Zion has existed in previous dispensations.

Watch or read: Israel, Israel, God is Calling Jeffrey R Holland CES Broadcast

3. The Saints of our dispensation have been commanded to establish Zion.

Read: Revelations in Context – Newel K Whitney and the United Firm

D&C 6:6 Establish the cause of Zion

“The commandment to reestablish Zion became for the Saints of Joseph Smith’s day the central goal of the Church. But it was a goal the Church did not realize because its people were not fully prepared. In the wisdom of God, who comprehends the end from the beginning, the redemption of Zion will assuredly come as promised, but not until he has a prepared people who can live by Zion’s laws.” (William O. Nelson, “To Prepare a People,” Ensign, Jan. 1979, 18)

D&C 57:1-3 Independence

‘Let Israel gather to the stakes of Zion in all nations. Let every land be a Zion to those appointed to dwell there. Let the fullness of the gospel be for all the saints in all nations. Let no blessing be denied them. Let temples arise wherein the fullness of the ordinances of the Lord’s house may be administered….

But still there is a center place, a place where the chief temple shall stand, a place to which the Lord shall come, a place whence the law shall go forth to govern all the earth in that day when [Christ] reigns personally upon the earth. And that center place is what men now call Independence in Jackson County, Missouri, but which in a day to come will be the Zion of our God and the City of Holiness of his people. The site is selected; the place is known; the decree has gone forth; and the promised destiny is assured.’ (Bruce R McConkie, New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 595)

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D&C 105:9 Wait for a little season

‘We must live God’s laws if we desire to reap his promises. The Latter-day Saints of Jackson County were a far better people than those who mobbed them and drove them from their homes; but a lack of preparedness hindered them from playing their full part in the great work that God had designed. The mighty event, however, was only postponed. Zion, in due time, will be redeemed; Israel will be gathered; and the preparation made that is necessary to precede the advent of the King of kings.’ (Orson F Whitney, Conference Report, October 1919, Afternoon Session 73.)

D&C 101:6-8 They polluted their inheritances

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

D&C 38:27 If ye are not one ye are not mine

“If we are not united, we are not his. Here unity is the test of divine ownership as thus expressed. If we would be united in love and fellowship and harmony, this Church would convert the world, who would see in us the shining example of these qualities which evidence that divine ownership. Likewise, if in that Latter-day Saint home the husband and wife are in disharmony, bickering, and divorce is threatened, there is an evidence that one or both are not keeping the commandments of God.

“If we, in our wards and our branches, are divided, and there are factions not in harmony, it is but an evidence that there is something wrong. If two persons are at variance, arguing on different points of doctrine, no reasonable, thinking persons would say that both were speaking their different opinions by the Spirit of the Lord. …

“If it is so important, then, that this people be a united people, we might well expect that upon this principle the powers of Satan would descend for their greatest attack. We might well expect, also, that if there be those of apostate mind among us, they would be inclined to ridicule and to scorn this principle of oneness and unity as being narrow-minded or as being unprogressive. We would likewise expect that those who are enemies would also seek to fight against that principle.” (Harold B Lee, In Conference Report, Apr. 1950, pp. 97–98.)

Image result for The Saints of our dispensation have been commanded to establish Zion.

D&C 64:34 The Lord requires the heart and a willing mind

‘It doesn’t say that the Lord requires competence, or a Ph.D. or immaculate housekeeping, or professional success. But it doesn’t say that he’ll be satisfied with a half-hearted you, either. He wants your whole heart, and for good reason. Real power does not lie in external forces, but in the heart’. (Chieko Okazaki, Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 69.)

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

‘In the early 1830’s, the Lord directed the Saints to implement the “royal law” by living the United Order. In this they failed. Because they did not learn to impart of their substance as becometh Saints to the poor and afflicted among them  D&C 105:3 the Lord permitted them to be driven from Missouri, and the requirement that they live the United Order was withdrawn. But the “royal law” was not withdrawn. It remained in full force. At least partially to fulfil it, the Saints, since then, have been bound by the law of tithing and the “fast.”‘ (Marion G Romney, General Conference, October 1954)

D&C 97:13-14 A place of instruction

“Temple work … gives a wonderful opportunity for keeping alive our spiritual knowledge and strength. … The mighty perspective of eternity is unraveled before us in the holy temples; we see time from its infinite beginning to its endless end; and the drama of eternal life is unfolded before us. Then I see more clearly my place amidst the things of the universe, my place among the purposes of God; I am better able to place myself where I belong, and I am better able to value and to weigh, to separate and to organize the common, ordinary duties of my life, so that the little things shall not oppress me or take away my vision of the greater things that God has given us.” (John A Widtsoe, In Conference Report, Apr. 1922, pp. 97–98.)

D&C 105:10 That my people may be taught more perfectly

‘The modern Church even today is instructed to “wait for a little season” to build up central Zion. Why? So that we “may be prepared … and have experience.” (D&C 105:9-10.) We gain knowledge through particular experiences, but only incrementally, “in that thing.” (Alma 32:34.) Hence the ongoingness of it all, and perhaps we can be forgiven for wondering, “Is there no other way?” Personal, spiritual symmetry emerges only from the shaping of prolonged obedience. Twigs are bent, not snapped, into shape.

Without patient and meek endurance we will learn less, see less, feel less, and hear less. We who are egocentric and impatient shut down so much of our receiving capacity.

In any case, brothers and sisters, how could there be refining fires without enduring some heat? Or greater patience without enduring some instructive waiting? Or more empathy without bearing one another’s burdens-not only that others’ burdens may be lightened, but that we may be enlightened through greater empathy? How can there be later magnification without enduring some present deprivation?

The enlarging of the soul requires not only some remodeling, but some excavating. Hypocrisy, guile, and other imbedded traits do not go gladly or easily, but if we “endure it well” (D&C 121:8), we will not grow testy while being tested.

Moreover, we find that sorrow can actually enlarge the mind and heart in order to “give place,” expanded space for later joy.

Thus, enduring is one of the cardinal attributes; it simply cannot be developed without the laboratory time in this second estate. Even the best lectures about the theory of enduring are not enough. All the other cardinal virtues-love, patience, humility, mercy, purity, submissiveness, justice-they all require endurance for their full development.’ (Neal A Maxwell, “Endure It Well,” Ensign, May 1990, 34)

4. The scriptures include glorious promises about the future of Zion.

D&C 97:18 If Zion do these things she shall prosper

“The Saints did not build the temple in Jackson County. The command to build one ‘speedily’ must have sounded to them like a strange demand in light of their situation. Their leaders had been tarred and feathered. Their press had been destroyed and their homes ransacked and burned. Yet the Lord was counseling them to walk into the center of Independence and start laying the foundation of a temple.

“I have often wondered what would have happened if all the Saints in Missouri had dropped whatever they were doing, picked up their tools, and marched, en masse, to Independence and started digging foundations. It would have taken tremendous courage, but the history of the Church might have been much different. Let us never underestimate the protective power of the temple. ‘Every time a temple is dedicated to the Lord,’ Spencer W. Kimball said, ‘the darkness pushes farther back, . . . and light comes into the world.’ (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 534.)” (S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 65 – 66)

D&C 97:25 Zion shall escape

‘My brethren and sisters, why should we hope to escape, who have been baptized into this Church, yet ignore the commandments of the Lord? For there are among us those who do not keep the Word of Wisdom, some of us do not pay our tithing; we do not sanctify ourselves by adding unto our faith, virtue: to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge, temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly kindness. Why should we claim exemption-we who know the truth, we who have been warned, we who will testify that we believe God has spoken-why should we escape if we do not keep the commandments of the Lord? And I say this with a feeling in my heart of deep appreciation that the Latter-day Saints are, notwithstanding all this, the best people in the world…  The Lord is speaking… to the whole Church, crying repentance unto us, calling us to set our houses in order, to keep the commandments of the Lord.’ (Melvin J Ballard, Conference Report, June 1919, Second Day-Morning Session 89.)

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Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Family, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Priesthood, Temples, virtue

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 45: “The Family Is Ordained of God”

1. The family is central to God’s plan.

A mother and father sit down with their six children.

Watch: The Plan and the Proclamation (Dallin H Oaks, general Conference, October 2017)

Watch: The Family is Ordained of God Women from around the world testify of the blessings of the family in God’s plan. (5:30)

Watch: The Family is Central to the Creator’s Plan Various people express their thoughts on the importance of the family. (3:21)

Watch: The Home is a Divine Institution

D&C 131:2 A man must enter into this order of the priesthood

‘No man receives the fulness of the priesthood without a woman at his side. For no man, the Prophet said, can obtain the fulness of the priesthood outside the temple of the Lord.  And she is there beside him in that sacred place. She shares in all that he receives. The man and the woman individually receive the ordinances encompassed in the endowment. But the man cannot ascend to the highest ordinances-the sealing ordinances-without her at his side. No man achieves the supernal exalting status of worthy fatherhood except as a gift from his wife. ‘(Boyd K Packer, “The Relief Society,” Ensign, May 1998, 73)

2. Sacred ordinances make it possible for families to be together eternally.

In the temple we receive the ordinances that will enable us to return to the presence of God. We also make covenants to live the laws of the gospel.

An ordinance is a sacred ceremony that has a spiritual meaning and effect.Ordinances in the Church include naming and blessing of babies, baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, ordination to the priesthood, and temple ordinances.)

Ordinances performed by the power of the priesthood are essential to our exaltation. It is through these ordinances that we receive the power of God in our lives.

Image result for 2. Sacred ordinances make it possible for families to be together eternally.

“How important are the ordinances to us as members of the Church?

“Can you be happy, can you be redeemed, can you be exalted without them? Answer: They are more than advisable or desirable, or even than necessary. More even than essential or vital. They are crucial to each of us.” (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple page 29)

‘The Lord always has commanded His people to build temples, holy places in which worthy Saints perform sacred gospel ceremonies and ordinances for themselves and for the dead. Temples are the most holy of all places of worship. A temple literally is the house of the Lord, a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.

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The Lord has directed in this dispensation, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” The principal focus of temple worship is participating in ordinances and learning about, receiving, and remembering covenants. We think, act, and dress differently in the temple than in other spaces that we may frequent.

A principal purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity. Removed for a short time from the worldly settings with which we are familiar, we can “look to God and live” by receiving and remembering the great and precious promises whereby we become partakers of the divine nature.

Please note that the Sabbath day and the temple, respectively, are a sacred time and a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His exceeding great and precious promises to His children. As instituted by God, the principal purposes of these two divine sources of help are exactly the same: to powerfully and repeatedly focus our attention upon our Heavenly Father, His Only Begotten Son, the Holy Ghost, and the promises associated with the ordinances and covenants of the Savior’s restored gospel.’ (David A Bednar, General Conference, October 2017)

3. The power to create mortal life is sacred.

‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. We are agents blessed with moral agency and are defined by our divine heritage as children of God—and not by sexual behaviors, contemporary attitudes, or secular philosophies.’ (David A Bednar, General Conference, April 2013)

4. Parents have a sacred duty to care for each other and teach their children.

‘We plead with fathers and mothers to teach personal purity by precept and example and to counsel with their children in all such things. We ask parents to set an example of righteousness in their own lives and to gather their children around them and teach them the gospel, in their family home evenings and at other times.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1970)

D&C 68:25-28 Teaching children

‘We are to teach our children the principles and doctrines of the gospel. We need to help them have faith in Jesus Christ and prepare them for baptism when they are eight years old. [See  Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28 We must be faithful ourselves so that they can see our example of love for the Lord and His Church. This helps our children feel joy in keeping the commandments, happiness in families, and gratitude in service to others.’ (David F Evans, General Conference, April 2012)

D&C 93:40 Bring up your children in light and truth

“The spirit of the times is worldliness. Hoodlumism is common. Supposedly good youth from recognized good families express their revolt in destructive acts. Many defy and resist the law-enforcing officers. Respect for authority, secular, religious, and political, seems to be at a low ebb. Immorality, drug addiction, and general moral and spiritual deterioration seem to be increasing, and the world is in turmoil. But in our time the Lord has offered his ageless program in new dress and it gives promise to return the world to sane living, to true family life, family interdependence. It is to return the father to his rightful place at the head of the family, to bring mother home from social life and employment, the children away from unlimited fun and frolic. The home teaching program with its crowning activity, the family home evening, will neutralize the ill effects only if people will apply the remedy.” (Spencer W Kimball, “Home: The Place to Save Society,” Ensign, Jan. 1975, pp. 3–4.)

5. Successful marriages and families are based on righteous principles.

D&C 121:43-44 Righteous principles

‘This, my brethren and sisters who stand at the head of families, is the key to government in the home directed by the Holy Spirit. I commend those words to every parent and do not hesitate to promise that if you will govern your families in the spirit of those words, which have come from the Lord, you will have cause to rejoice, as will those for whom you are responsible.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Feed the Spirit, Nourish the Soul,” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 5)

Watch: Earning the Trust of the Lord and Your Family (Richard G Maynes, General Conference, October 2017)

See: P.A.T.R.I.A.R.C.H.

6. Strengthening families is everyone’s responsibility.

Watch: The Needs Before Us (Bonnie L Oscarson, General Conference October 2017)

‘As a journalist for the Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s Dorothy Thompson witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. Speaking in 1941 she said:

“Before this epoch is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being will either have opposed this onslaught or supported it. For if he tries to make no choice, that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler’s side. If he does not act, that is an act – for Hitler”

I don’t want to talk about Hitler’s onslaught but I want to talk about Satan’s onslaught on the family. Sheri Dew recast Dorothy Thompson’s words but relating them to the family:

“Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family as we know it and as God intended it, or against it. Every living human being will either have opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it. For if we make no choice, that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that in itself will be an act in opposition to the family.”’ (Sheri Dew, No One Can Take Your Place  p 157)

“The family is falling apart all over the world. The old ties that bound together father and mother are breaking everywhere. Can we not do better? Of course we can. It is selfishness that brings about most of these tragedies. As I look to the future, I see little to feel enthusiastic about concerning the family in America and across the world. The situation will get worse unless there is an underlying acknowledgement, yes, a strong and fervent conviction, concerning the fact that the family is an instrument of the Almighty. It is His creation. It is also the basic unit of society”(Gordon B Hinckley,  Look to the Future p 69.)

 

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

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 44: Being Good Citizens

1. Participating in government

D&C 134:1 he holds men accountable

‘No member of the Church can be true to his country, true to his Church, true to his God, who will violate the laws which relate to the moral welfare and spiritual advancement of mankind. Members of the Church should uphold the law everywhere. And it is time all of us-the leaders of this country, the politicians, the statesmen, the leaders in civic affairs in the state and in the cities, as well as parents and private citizens-should so speak of and so uphold the constitutional law of the land that everywhere there will be a renewal of respect for it and a revival of the virtues of honor, honesty, and integrity.’ (Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, compiled by Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 100)

D&C 134:7 Religious freedom

‘There is one thing I wish to say to the congregation, and I would say the same to the whole world if I had the power—it is this: I have heard the Prophet Joseph Smith say on several occasions when speaking on the agency of man, and the liberty and rights of men, that if he were emperor of the earth, having control of the whole human family, he would give every man, woman and child the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, leaving them to be responsible alone to their Creator for their individual acts. These are my sentiments, and they are the sentiments of this people today, and have been from the beginning of the organization of this Church, and I trust will be to the end of time. And this we believe to be a principle emanating from heaven; and while we accord this right to our fellow men, and while we declare it to be a heaven-born right guaranteed unto all American citizens through the Constitution of our country, we claim the exercise of the same right ourselves; and we claim this right and privilege under the Constitution under which we live, and we claim it by the laws of God to man. And whenever any people rise up and attempt to make war upon the rights of men because of their religion, they go beyond their right, they transcend their own powers, whether their power be derived either from God or man.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 23:76-77)

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D&C 98:10 honest and wise men

‘The Church maintains a policy of strict political neutrality, favoring no party or candidate, but every member should take an active part in the political process. We should study the issues and the candidates to be sure our votes are based on knowledge rather than hearsay. We need to pray for our public officials and ask the Lord to help them in making momentous decisions that affect us. Our beliefs regarding earthly governments and laws are summarized in section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants and the twelfth article of faith. We should support public policy that coincides with these moral beliefs.’ (Joseph B Wirthlin, “Seeking the Good,” Ensign, May 1992, 87-88)

Obeying the laws of the land

D&C 134:6 Laws

“Abraham Lincoln once observed: ‘Bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible; still, while they continue in force, they should be religiously observed.’

“This is the attitude of the Church in regard to law observance. …

“There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands.

“It is the duty of citizens of any country to remember that they have individual responsibilities, and that they must operate within the law of the country in which they have chosen to live.” (N Eldon Tanner, In Conference Report, Oct. 1975)

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D&C 58:22 let no man break the laws of the land

‘”The law of Christ” is all-inclusive. It concerns not only rules that shall govern beyond the grave, but also the law of nature here and now-local, national, and international.

Latter-day Saints should strictly obey the laws of the government in which they live. By our own declaration of faith we are committed to do so, for we declare to the world that “we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (A of F 1:12.)

This we do in harmony with the Lord’s command:

Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet. (D&C 58:21-22.)

“Civil authority is of divine origin. It may be more or less adapted to the needs of man; more or less just and benevolent, but, even at its worst, it is better than anarchy. Revolutionary movements that aim at the abolition of government itself are contrary to the law of God. …” (Doctrine and Covenants Commentary [Deseret Book Co., 1954], p. 339.)

When the “rule of law” breaks down in a family, a community, a state, or a nation, chaos reigns.

The kingdoms of heaven are to be free from chaos, because no one will be in any one of them who does not by his own free will obey the laws thereof.

A Latter-day Saint should strictly obey every law of God, including the constitutional laws of the land in which he lives, and do it with a good and honest heart.’ (Marion G Romney, “The Rule of Law,” Ensign, Feb. 1973, 3)

D&C 98:4-6 The laws of the land

“All the laws of God and the laws of nature and the laws of the land are made for the benefit of man, for his comfort, enjoyment, safety, and well-being; and it is up to the individual to learn these laws and to determine whether or not he will enjoy these benefits by obeying the law and by keeping the commandments. My whole purpose … is to show that laws exist for our benefit and that to be happy and successful we must obey the laws and regulations pertaining to our activities; and these laws will function either to our joy and well-being or to our detriment and sorrow, according to our actions” (N Eldon Tanner, in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 62; or Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 31).

3. Strengthening the community

D&C 58:27 anxiously engaged

‘The Church is a relatively small minority even when linked with people who are like-minded. It will be hard to change society at large, but we must work to improve the moral culture that surrounds us. Latter-day Saints in every country should be good citizens, participate in civic affairs, educate themselves on the issues, and vote.’ (Quentin L Cook, General Conference, October 2013)

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‘We are a global church, brothers and sisters. Our membership is found throughout the world. May we be good citizens of the nations in which we live and good neighbors in our communities, reaching out to those of other faiths, as well as to our own. May we be men and women of honesty and integrity in everything we do.

There are those throughout the world who are hungry; there are those who are destitute. Working together, we can alleviate suffering and provide for those in need. In addition to the service you give as you care for one another, your contributions to the funds of the Church enable us to respond almost immediately when disasters occur anywhere in the world. We are nearly always among the first on the scene to provide whatever assistance we can. We thank you for your generosity.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, October 2008)

Read: Gospel topic – Citizenship

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)

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“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.

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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.

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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)

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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 Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, virtue

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 43: “Take upon You My Whole Armor”

1. Put on the whole armour of God.

Read: Gospel Topics – Satan

D&C 76:26 Perdition

Perdition means lost. It means losing something that you had. It means one fallen from high estate. You can’t be Perdition; you can’t be lost unless you were found. And you can’t be fallen unless you were high, fallen from high estate. (Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price.)

D&C 766:29 He maketh war with the saints of God

“The Lord our God has sent us here to get experience in these things so that we may know the good from the evil and be able to close our hearts against the evil. … It is true that some have greater power of resistance than others, but everyone has the power to close his heart against doubt, against darkness, against unbelief, against depression, against anger, against hatred, against jealousy, against malice, against envy. God has given this power unto all of us, and we can gain still greater power by calling upon Him for that which we lack. If it were not so, how could we be condemned for giving way to wrong influences?

“There could be no condemnation for our doing what we could not help; but we can help yielding to wrong influences and being quarrelsome and selfish. We can help giving way to the spirit of theft, and we can resist the spirit of lust. God has given us power to resist these things, that our hearts may be kept free from them and also from doubt; and when Satan comes and assails us, it is our privilege to say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan, for I have no lot nor portion in you, and you have no part in me. I am in the service of God, and I am going to serve Him, and you can do what you please. It is no use you presenting yourself with your blandishments to me. You come and try to insinuate into my heart evil thoughts about the servants of God or about the work of God, and I will not listen to you; I will close my heart against you. …’

“Whenever darkness fills our minds, we may know that we are not possessed of the Spirit of God, and we must get rid of it. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are filled with joy, with peace and with happiness no matter what our circumstances may be; for it is a spirit of cheerfulness and of happiness.” (George Q Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:19–20.)

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D&C 27:15-18 My whole armor

‘Truth is to be the substance of which the girdle about your loins is to be formed, if your virtue and vital strength are to be safeguarded. You should all strive to keep yourselves worthy to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity.

Now what about the breastplate which will safeguard your heart, or your conduct in life? It shall be made of stuff called righteousness. The righteous man strives for self-improvement, knowing that he has daily need of repentance for his misdeeds or his neglect.

His body is not dissipated by the burdens imposed by the demands of riotous living; his judgment is not rendered faulty by the follies of youth; he is clear of vision, keen of intellect, and strong of body.

Your feet, which represent your goals or objectives in life, are to be shod with “the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Preparedness is the way to victory, and “eternal vigilance is the price of safety.” Whether in speech or in song, in physical or moral combat, the tide of victory rests with him who is prepared.

Now to the last piece of the prophet-teacher’s armored dress. We will put “the helmet of salvation” upon our head. Our head or intellect is the controlling member of the body. It must be well protected against the enemy, for “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Salvation means the attainment of the eternal light to live in the presence of God the Father and the Son as a reward for a good life in mortality. With the goal of salvation ever in our mind’s eye, as the ultimate to be achieved, our thinking and our decisions, which determine action, will always challenge all that would jeopardize that glorious future state.’ (Harold B Lee, A Message from the First Presidency, Ensign Jan 1971)

2. Live the law of chastity.

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Watch: We Believe in Being Chaste – Elder Bednar

D&C 42:23 He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her

‘I plead with you boys tonight to keep yourselves free from the stains of the world… You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.

It is a five-billion-dollar business for those who produce it. They make it as titillating and attractive as they know how. It seduces and destroys its victims. It is everywhere. It is all about us. I plead with you young men not to get involved in its use. You simply cannot afford to.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,” Ensign, May 1998, 49)

D&C 121:45-46 Virtue

‘ Deep beauty springs from virtue. It is the beauty of being chaste and morally clean. It is the kind of beauty that you see in the eyes of virtuous women like your mother and grandmother. It is a beauty that is earned through faith, repentance, and honoring covenants.

The world places so much emphasis on physical attractiveness and would have you believe that you are to look like the elusive model on the cover of a magazine. The Lord would tell you that you are each uniquely beautiful. When you are virtuous, chaste, and morally clean, your inner beauty glows in your eyes and in your face. My grandfather used to say, “If you live close to God and His infinite grace—you won’t have to tell, it will show in your face.” When you are worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you are confident and your inner beauty shines brightly. And so “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and … the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion.”’ (Elaine Dalton, General Conference, April 2010)

Marion G Romney said ‘I can think of no blessings to be more fervently desired than those promised to the pure and virtuous. Jesus spoke of specific rewards for different virtues but reserved the greatest gift, so it seems to me, for the pure in heart, for they, said he, shall see their God. (Matt 5:48) And not  only shall they see the Lord but they shall feel at home in his presence.’

3. Be honest.

Watch: Honesty -You Better Believe It

D&C 42:21 Thou Shalt Not Lie

“The seriousness of lying is not measured only in injury or pain inflicted on the one deceived. Lying has a devastating effect also on the perpetrator. It robs the liar of self-respect, and deadens his ability to recognize the difference between truth and error. When a lie is told often enough, even the one who knowingly spread it may begin to believe it. This was the case with the antichrist Korihor in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 30:52-53).” (Robert J. Matthews, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 56)

D&C 97:8 Hearts are Honest

‘Those who are honest are fair and truthful in their speech, straightforward in their dealings, free of deceit, and above stealing, misrepresentation, or any other fraudulent action. Honesty is of God and dishonesty of the devil; the devil was a liar from the beginning. Righteousness is living a life that is in harmony with the laws, principles, and ordinances of the gospel.’  (Joseph B Wirthlin,”Without Guile,” Ensign, May 1988, 80-81)

4. Use language that reverences God and is edifying.

‘How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity.

Choose friends who use good language. Help others improve their language by your example. Be willing to politely walk away or change the subject when those around you use inappropriate language.

Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. When you are tempted to say harsh or hurtful things, leave them unsaid.’ (For the Strength of Youth)

D&C 63:61-62 The name of the Lord

‘This scripture shows that we take the name of the Lord in vain when we use his name without authority. This obviously occurs when the sacred names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, are used in what is called profanity: in hateful cursings, in angry denunciations, or as marks of punctuation in common discourse.

The names of the Father and the Son are used with authority when we reverently teach and testify of them, when we pray, and when we perform the sacred ordinances of the priesthood.

There are no more sacred or significant words in all of our language than the names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1986)

D&C 136:21 Take the name of the Lord in vain

‘In the revelation given to President Brigham Young on January 14, 1847, while the Saints were preparing to leave Winter Quarters for these valleys in the West, the Lord said to them, “Keep yourselves from evil to take the name of the Lord in vain, for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob” (D&C 136:21).

In a general epistle to the entire Church issued by the First Presidency on April 8, 1887, a hundred years ago, they said concerning this problem, which evidently was serious then as it is now, “The habit … , which some young people fall into, of using vulgarity and profanity … is not only offensive to well-bred persons, but it is a gross sin in the sight of God, and should not exist among the children of the Latter-day Saints” (in Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75, 3:112-13).

I once worked with a group of railroad men who seemed to pride themselves on the use of profanity. They tried to make an art of it. I recall handing a written instruction to a switchman. It was his job to take care of the matter as instructed, but he thought it inconvenient that he should have to do so at that time. On reading the order, he flew into a tantrum. He was a fifty-year-old man, but he acted like a spoiled child. He threw his cap on the ground and jumped on it and let forth such a string of expletives as to seem to cause the air to turn blue around him. Every third or fourth word was the name of Deity spoken in vain.

I thought, how childish can a grown man be? The very idea of a man acting and speaking like that was totally repugnant. I could never again give him my full respect.

When I was a small boy in the first grade, I experienced what I thought was a rather tough day at school. I came home, walked in the house, threw my book on the kitchen table, and let forth an expletive that included the name of the Lord.

My mother was shocked. She told me quietly, but firmly, how wrong I was. She told me that I could not have words of that kind coming out of my mouth. She led me by the hand into the bathroom, where she took from the shelf a clean washcloth, put it under the faucet, and then generously coated it with soap. She said, “We’ll have to wash out your mouth.” She told me to open it, and I did so reluctantly. Then she rubbed the soapy washcloth around my tongue and teeth. I sputtered and fumed and felt like swearing again, but I didn’t. I rinsed and rinsed my mouth, but it was a long while before the soapy taste was gone. In fact, whenever I think of that experience, I can still taste the soap. The lesson was worthwhile. I think I can say that I have tried to avoid using the name of the Lord in vain since that day. I am grateful for that lesson.

On one occasion, Jesus said to the multitude, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matt. 15:11).’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Take Not the Name of God in Vain,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 45-46)

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 Doctrine and Covenants, LDS Doctrine, Prophets

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 42: Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets

1. Church correlation

Watch: Ministry of David O McKay – Church Correlation

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Watch: Ministry of Harold B Lee – The Purposes of Priesthood Correlation

D&C 20:59 Come Unto Christ

‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.”

The Church is not just for perfect people, but it is for all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.”15  Moroni 10:32 see also  Doctrine and Covenants 20:59 The Church is for people like you and me. The Church is a place of welcoming and nurturing, not of separating or criticizing. It is a place where we reach out to encourage, uplift, and sustain one another as we pursue our individual search for divine truth.

In the end, we are all pilgrims seeking God’s light as we journey on the path of discipleship. We do not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have; rather, we nourish and encourage all light until it grows clear, bright, and true.’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2014)

D&C 68:25-28 Parental responsibilities

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

We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.

We urge bishops and other Church officers to do all they can to assist parents in seeing that they have time and help, where needed, as they nurture their families and bring them up in the way of the Lord. Wherever possible, Sunday meetings, other than those under the three-hour schedule and perhaps council meetings on early Sunday mornings or fireside later in the evening, should be avoided so that parents may be with their children. As we strengthen families, we will strengthen the entire Church. (First Presidency Letter, 11 February 1999)

2. Revelation extending the blessings of the priesthood to every worthy male member of the Church

Read: Witnessing the Faithfulness

Read: Race and the Priesthood

Read: A Personal Essay on Race and the Priesthood

‘Under President Kimball’s dynamic leadership, many more members served full-time missions, and the Church moved forward throughout the world. In August 1977, President Kimball traveled to Warsaw, where he dedicated the land of Poland and blessed its people that the work of the Lord might go forward. Missionary training centers were established in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, and Japan. In June 1978 he announced a revelation from God that was to have a tremendous effect on missionary work worldwide. For many years the priesthood had been denied to persons of African descent, but now priesthood and temple blessings would be granted to all worthy male members.

This revelation had long been hoped for by faithful people throughout the world. One of the first black persons to accept the gospel in Africa was William Paul Daniels, who learned of the Church as early as 1913. He traveled to Utah, where he received a special blessing from President Joseph F. Smith. President Smith promised him that if he remained faithful, he would hold the priesthood in this life or the next. Brother Daniels died in 1936, still a faithful member of the Church, and his daughter had the temple ordinances performed for her father soon after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood.6

Many more people in Africa developed testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel through Church literature or through miraculous personal experiences, but they were not able to enjoy all the blessings of the gospel.

For many months before the June 1978 revelation, President Kimball discussed with his Counselors and the Twelve Apostles the denial of priesthood authority to persons of African descent. Church leaders were reluctant to open missions in areas of the world where the full blessings of the gospel could not be conferred upon worthy Church members. In an area conference in South Africa, President Kimball declared: “I prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that was extremely important to many of the children of God. I knew that we could receive the revelations of the Lord only by being worthy and ready for them and ready to accept them and put them into place. Day after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in the upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what he wanted. I talked about it to him and said, ‘Lord, I want only what is right.’

In a special meeting in the temple with his Counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Kimball asked that they all freely express their views about giving the priesthood to black males. Then they prayed around the altar with President Kimball as voice. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was there, later said,

“On this occasion, because of the importuning and the faith, and because the hour and the time had arrived, the Lord in his providences poured out the Holy Ghost upon the First Presidency and the Twelve in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything that any then present had ever experienced.” It was made clear to the leaders of the Church that the time had come for all worthy men to receive the full blessings of the priesthood.

The First Presidency sent a letter dated 8 June 1978 to priesthood leaders, explaining that the Lord had revealed that “all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.” On 30 September 1978, the Saints in general conference voted unanimously to support the action of their leaders. This letter is now found in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration—2.

Since the time of this announcement, thousands of persons of African descent have come into the Church. The experience of one convert in Africa illustrates how the hand of the Lord has blessed these people. A college graduate and teacher had a dream in which he saw a large building with spires or towers, into which people dressed in white were entering. Later as he was traveling, he saw a Latter-day Saint chapel and felt impressed that this church was somehow connected with his dream, so he attended a Sunday service there. After the meetings, the mission president’s wife showed him a pamphlet. Opening it, the man saw a picture of the Salt Lake Temple, the building of his dream. Later he said: “Before I became aware I was weeping. … I can’t explain the feeling. I was released of all burdens. … I felt that I had gone to a place where I visited often. And now I was at home.”’ (Our Heritage pp 125-127)

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3. Publication of new Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures

Read: Church publishes first LDS edition of the Bible – Ensign October 1979

Read: The coming forth of the LDS editions of scripture – Ensign August 1983

Read: LDS Church announces new scripture edition – Deseret News February 2013

4. Additional Quorums of the Seventy

‘The order of the Seventy is a special calling of Elders for the preaching of the Gospel in all the world, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles. A quorum consists of seventy members, of which seven are chosen as presidents. The difference between the Seventies and the Elders is that the former are “traveling ministers” and the latter are “standing ministers” to the Church. Seventies are to travel if needs be in the preaching of the Gospel, whereas Elders and other officers of the Church have the responsibility of building up the Church in the wards and branches of the Church. They have the same authority as the Elders in performing Priesthood ordinances. (D&C 107:34-39.)

The Seventies are to constitute traveling quorums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles shall call them.’ (John A Widtsoe. Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 115)

‘In February 1835 the Prophet Joseph Smith called the first Seventies in this dispensation. In the years that followed, the calling of the Seventies developed to meet the changing needs of the growing Church. In 1975 President Spencer W. Kimball reconstituted the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the following year, the 21 men who had been called as Assistants to the Twelve were ordained Seventies and made members of the First Quorum. Ten years later, in 1986, the seventies quorums in stakes throughout the Church were discontinued, and those serving as seventies returned to elders quorums or were ordained high priests.

Three years later, in 1989, the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized. Members of this quorum serve under a five-year call. Members of the First Quorum serve until they reach age 70, at which time they are designated as emeritus members. There may be occasional year-by-year extensions as determined by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Members of these two Quorums of the Seventy are General Authorities and are given assignments by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They serve full time and may be assigned to supervise the Church anywhere in the world.’ (The Quorums of the Seventy, Earl C Tingey, Ensign August 2005)

Areas by Quorum

Third Quorum: Africa Southeast, Africa West, Europe, and Europe East Areas

Fourth Quorum: Central America, Mexico, South America Northwest, and Caribbean Areas

Fifth Quorum: Idaho, North America Northwest, North America West, Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South Areas

Sixth Quorum: North America Central, North America Northeast, North America Southeast, and North America Southwest Areas

Seventh Quorum: Brazil and South America South Areas

Eighth Quorum: Asia, Asia North, Pacific, and Philippines Areas

Posted in General Conference

General Conference Oct 2017 – Sunday afternoon session

President Eyring announced the passing of Elder Robert D Hales.

Elder M Russell Ballard

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Brigham Young – This is the right place.

Among the first saints to arrive in Utah was Jane Manning James.

She said: I want to say right here, that my faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is as strong today, nay, it is if possible stronger than it was the day I was first baptized. I pay my tithes and offerings, keep the word of wisdom, I go to bed early and rise early, I try in my feeble way to set a good example to all.

If we lose our ties to those who have gone before us…we will lose a very valuable treasure.

When they could they lifted the downtrodden.

We need to remember that the trek through life continues for each of us.

More than 30,000 congregations around the world.

Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery…some of us however are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin and despair.

The trek back to our Heavenly Father is the most important trek of our lives.

Keep the doctrine of Christ pure and never be deceived by those who tamper with the doctrine.

Do not listen to those who entice you with get rich schemes.

“We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises-in exchange for money-miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.”

Stay on the gospel path by having faith in every footstep.

Welcome and embrace anyone who is making his or her own trek today no matter where they are on their journey.

We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice.

Elder Tad R Callister

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The Book of Mormon is not only the keystone of the Church, it can also be the keystone of our testimony.

Emma Smith: He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.

God’s fingerprints are all over the Book of Mormon.

The critics must make the argument that he was a theological genius.

The critics must also make the claim that Joseph was a skilled writer.

Use of cement in ancient America.

Joseph must have been a very, very lucky guesser.

The Book of Mormon is one of God’s priceless gifts to us.

It is God’s compelling witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ

[A great defence of the  Book of Mormon]

Elder Joni L Koch

Be one.

As we enter a meeting house we should leave behind our differences.

Oftentimes we put permanent labels on people.

We have no right to portray anybody…as a badly finished product.

Symonds Ryder.

Story of his father supporting bishop following a disagreement about construction of a new chapel.

Elder Stanley G Ellis

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The Lord trusts us.

Do we trust him?

It seems clear that ‘hard’ is ‘good’.

The hard things in our lives should come as no surprise…Joseph Smith:  “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”

We all have challenges. The variable is our reaction to the ‘hard’

We each choose our reaction to ‘hard’.

Do we have the faith to trust him? …Do we have sufficient faith that he will visit us in our afflictions…He wants what is best for us, he will answer our prayers.

The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith.

Hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith and trust the Lord.

Elder Adilson Parella de Paula Parrella

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Story of conversion to the church.

The First Vision. 3 truths:

  1. God calls prophets…By strictly following their counsel we will be protected…

Story of seeking a wife in Brazil. Making a list of 10 girls.

2. The true nature of God. God is a being with flesh and bones as tangible as ours…He is a God who hears and answers our prayers..A God who gave us agency to decide for ourselves to follow him and obey his commandments without coercion…

3. The role of Jesus.

Elder Ian S Ardern

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Caterpillars who eat away at our spiritual roots.

We must do all we can to fortify ourselves spiritually.

The increase in sabbath day observance is just one example of people fortifying themselves spiritually.

Robert D Hales: Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel—living it with all of your “heart, might, mind and strength”—you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness.

Story about the converting power of the Book of Mormon – missionaries in Fiji. Fisherman converted by the Holy Ghost.

As we study from the best books we protect from the menacing jaws of those who seek to gnaw at our spiritual roots.

Jeffrey R Holland: “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. You have more faith than you think you do.”

Elder Jose L Alonso

‘As I have loved you’

The greatest example of God’s love for his children is found in the atonement.

Love is a combination of actions as well as deep feelings.

Love without service is like faith without works – it is dead.

Story of young boy killed by car. Forgiveness of young driver.

Our Heavenly Father loves us. He knows that being able to forgive is as sweet as being forgiven.

We can have joy and happiness as we forgive and serve others.

What kind of family are we? We are a happy family!

Elder Neil L Andersen

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Yes, this is the last session and yes, I am the last speaker.

Trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve is vital.

We come to be taught from on high.

When and how does the inspiration for General Conferences come?

At times the central idea may come quickly…direction often comes in the night…specific words and phrases flow as pure revelation.

Thoughts and feelings will come into your mind.

The teachings of General Conference are the considerations that the Lord would have before us now and in the months ahead.

A message from Elder Hales: When we choose to have faith we are prepared to stand in the presence of God….Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of the Lord.

Elder Nelson prompted to quickly leave the Conference to be at Elder Hales’ bedside.

There is a treasure chest of heavenly direction awaiting your discovery in the messages of General Conference.

Story of Elder Nelson learning Mandarin at age 54 in response to President Kimball’s suggestion that we should reach out to China.

Reference to Elder Nelson and Pesident Eyring responding to President Monson’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon.

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Jesus Christ

General Conference Oct 2017 – Sunday Morning Session

Another session, another tie from President Uchtdorf:

“It is kind of a family tradition that started years ago when between conference sessions, I stained my tie and worriedly searched for a replacement. Fortunately, I had one in my office. My grandsons enjoyed it so much that they changed their ties too, and since then it became almost a sport to do it.”

For this session it is pink with an American stripe. Perhaps we will see a European stripe in the evening session.

Beautiful singing by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir directed by Mack Wilberg.

Sister Jean B Bingham

Having a fulness of joy.

It seems the whole earth is in commotion…It can be difficult to feel the joy that Lehi taught is the purpose of life….Lasting joy is found in our Saviour Jesus Christ and in living the gospel as taught by him.

Memorising the Living Christ document.

Jesus truly is the Light, the Life and the Hope of the world.

As you study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in a myriad if ways your faith in him will increase.

Story of bird flying into house.

Jesus Christ is also the source of peace….Peace will come as we trust that God’s Only Begotten Son can soothe our aching souls.

When we put  our faith into action the Holy Ghost bears witness of truth.

Are our testimonies built on the bedrock of Jesus Christ and his gospel?

What brings you joy?….Take a private moment to reflect on your blessings.

As you centre your life on Jesus Christ you will find joy in your circumstances whatever they may be.

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

Story of man injured falling off a mountain. Miracles in his rescue. Multiple fractures, punctured lung. Described by agnostic surgeon as a miracle.

What about those…..whose miracle never comes?

What about those who die so very young?

‘Has the day of miracles ceased?’

Perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.

Ether 12:18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith;

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego  – Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to adeliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not aserve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Being a child of God is a miracle.

The atonement of Jesus Christ is a miracle.

Our supreme focus should be on the spiritual miracles.

All of us have equal access to these miracles.

Elder David A Bednar

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We can be too easily diverted from focusing on essential spiritual priorities.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Proclamation on Family: ‘ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.’

As we press forward submissively with faith in the Saviour…we are born again…being redeemed of God

Priesthood ordinances and covenants are essential.

God promises us according to our faithfulness the  constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead.

Lorenzo Snow: One of the chief difficulties that many suffer from is, that we are too apt to forget the great object of life, the motive of our Heavenly Father in sending us here to put on mortality, as well as the holy calling with which we have been called; and hence, instead of rising above the little transitory things of time, we too often allow ourselves to come down to the level of the world without availing ourselves of the divine help which God has instituted, which alone can enable us to overcome them.

The sabbath is God’s time…We can look to God and live.

The Lord has always commanded his people to build temples…A temple, literally is the House of the Lord, a sacred space…

A principle purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision.

Sabbath day and temple – sacred time and sacred space – two divine sources of help.

Our sabbath and temple experiences should be spiritual catalysts…..The sabbath and the temple can help us to establish in our homes ‘a more excellent way’

The gospel is….a magnificent tapestry of truth.

The exceeding great promises connected with our ordinances and covenants are sure.

Bishop W Christopher Waddell

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There will be times in our life when we will find ourselves on an unexpected path.

Story of blinded soldier Hyrum Shumway. Served as bishop, stake patriarch and senior missionary.

Hope and peace are always available through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Saviour not only sympathises with us but also empathises with us perfectly.

Mosiah 24: 13 And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as bwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.

The brazen serpent – we have a choice when faced with difficult circumstances.

We are invited to look to the Saviour and live.

Whatever change in life circumstances may come our way…how we respond is always a choice.

Elder W Craig Zwick

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The Lion King. ‘Look beyond what you can see’

We must look at others through the eyes of the Saviour.

We must look past the easy assumptions and stereotypes.

Story of missionary who wanted to go home…Elder, what is hard for you? President, I can’t read.

Elisha and the invisible chariots of fire.

We live in a world that feeds on comparisons…we need to look inward..

Truth…should never be a barrier to kindness.

Story of Beau Richey – teenager killed in ATV accident. Had reminder on phone to read scriptures every day.

Story of wife keeping list on her phone of things that irritated her about her husband. It took me a while to hit select all and even longer to select delete… Her vision changed.

Through the power of Jesus Christ we become able to look spiritually beyond what our eyes can see literally.

President Henry B Eyring

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President Monson’s challenge last conference to read the Book of Mormon.

I have read the Book of Mormon every day for over 50 years.

The spirit he promised has produced a sense of optimism.

We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others.

D&C 6:33-37

33 aFear not to do bgood, my sons, for whatsoever ye csow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow dgood ye shall also reap good for your ereward.

34 Therefore, fear not, little aflock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are bbuilt upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and asinno more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

36 aLook unto me in every bthoughtcdoubt not, fear not.

37 aBehold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the bnails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall cinherit the dkingdom of heaven. Amen.

Story of Teton Dam breaking in Idaho in 1976. Service given by family who had lost their own home.

Aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The Yellow Angels.

Joseph Smith: A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.

Our hearts remain changed only as long as we continue to follow the Prophet’s counsel.

We know that in the last days the world will be in commotion…the Lord will need faithful latter-day saints to take the gospel to every nation, tongue and people.

The Lord expects more from us and from the generations after us.

We are to ponder and apply the Book of Mormon and the words of prophets.

We are to be consistent and persistent in following prophetic counsel.

The best days are ahead for the kingdom of God on the earth.