Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Work

Doctrine & Covenants 11


If I had to pick a favorite section from the Doctrine and Covenants, this would be it. That's because when I read it while participating in the Hill Cumorah Pageant (click here and scroll to the end), it made a huge impact on my life. It was the summer between my first and second years of college. That's a hard time of life - so many options and choices - and I was wondering what I needed to do. Here are some of the phrases that spoke to me:


"Keep my commandments."
"Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word."
"Study my word."
"Build upon my rock, which is my gospel."
"Treasure up [these things] in your heart."
"I speak unto all who have good desires."
"Thou hast a gift."
"You shall be the means of doing much good."

After reading this section, the Spirit confirmed to me that my "job" at that time was to be a good student. I didn't need to worry about whether or not to serve a mission. I didn't need to worry about who to marry yet. I just needed to study and learn as much as I could so that I would be prepared for whatever the future brought. That was a great feeling. I love recalling my experience that summer. It always brings me peace and comfort to know that Heavenly Father is watching over me and will guide me when I need counsel and direction.

A few years ago, Elder Bednar said the following in general conference. I love this new way of looking at one of my favorite scriptures.


One of the most well-known and frequently cited passages of scripture is found in Moses 1:39. This verse clearly and concisely describes the work of the Eternal Father: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (emphasis added).

A companion scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants describes with equal clarity and conciseness our primary work as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. Interestingly, this verse does not seem to be as well known and is not quoted with great frequency. “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (D&C 11:20; emphasis added).

Thus, the Father’s work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Our work is to keep His commandments with all of our might, mind, and strength—and we thereby become chosen and, through the Holy Ghost, receive and recognize the tender mercies of the Lord in our daily lives.

Finishing

Doctrine & Covenants 9-10

D&C 9:1: "Continue until you have finished."
D&C 10: 3 - "Continue on unto the finishing of the work you have begun."

I found two scriptures for my goal for the year!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts from Walden

After Elder Perry mentioned Thoreau's book last general conference, I decided to read it again. This afternoon while clearing off some papers I found some quotes that I liked from Walden. I want to throw away my note, so figured this would be a good place to record the quotes. Maybe some of you will like them also.

"Clothing of character is more important than clothing of cloth. Be wary of enterprises that require new clothes. Become a new man first."

"We should come home every day with new experiences and character."

"If you would avoid uncleanness, and all sins, work earnestly."

"Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features."

Revelation

Doctrine & Covenants 8

What is the "gift of Aaron" that was given to Oliver Cowdery? I thought a bit, and went to Exodus, and realized it was to be a spokesman. Then I found this quote by Joseph Field Smith. (It was nice to know I was on the right track!)

"There was another gift bestowed upon Oliver Cowdery, and that was the gift of Aaron. Like Aaron with his rod in his hand going before Moses as a spokesman, so Oliver Cowdery was to go before Joseph Smith. Whatever he should ask the Lord by power of this gift should be granted if asked in faith and in wisdom. Oliver was blessed with the great honor of holding the keys of this dispensation with Joseph Smith, and like Aaron, did become a spokesman on numerous occasions. It was Oliver who delivered the first public discourse in this dispensation." (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 82

This quote was posted on a website (here) that I'll probably use again. There are a lot of general authority quotes, and the sources are well documented.

D&C 8:10 - "Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith."

1 Nephi 15:11 - "If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you."

2 Nephi 4:35 - Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness."

3 Nephi 27:28-29 - "Whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you. Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."

Elder David A. Bednar - "Please notice the requirement to ask in faith, which I understand to mean the necessity to not only express but to do, the dual obligation to both plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joy

Doctrine & Covenants 7

At first I was just going to skip a blog post on this short section, especially since in didn't really have any Book of Mormon cross-references. But as I re-read it, I realized that there is an important message here for me: as long as my desires are righteous, it doesn't matter what I choose to do (John wanted to tarry on earth to bring souls to Christ and Peter wanted to go quickly to heaven), I can still have joy. And I'm supposed to have joy.

Never fear, the Topical Guide footnotes have a lot of Book of Mormon verses to read. After "men are that they might have joy," this is my favorite (the king speaking to Aaron):

Alma 22:15 - "What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy?"

Now it's time to go serve others and find joy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Great Gifts

Doctrine & Covenants 6

Ask, inquire, seek. Receive knowledge, enlightenment, peace.

D&C 6:13 - "If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

1 Nephi 15:24 - "Whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the fiery darts oft eh adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction."

1 Nephi 15:36 - the fruit of the tree of life is "most desirable above all other fruits; year, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

Stop and Stand Still

Doctrine & Covenants 5

Did you ever realize that sometimes we're just supposed to stop hurrying and scurrying around and stand still and wait for direction from God? (see verses 30 and 34) I think turning to the scriptures would be a perfect use of that "stopping" time, along with prayer and pondering.

D&C 5:16 - "Whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me."

Ether 4:11-12 - "He that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good. And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Serving God

Doctrine & Covenants 4

This is a section most people - especially our missionary preparing sons - are familiar with, but the last time I read it, I wondered what it really meant to serve God with all your heart, might, mind and strength. So I looked the words up in the dictionary. And that helped me. Maybe it will help you.

Heart: love, innermost feelings, courage, character, inclinations, affections
Might: power, authority, energy, intensity
Mind: conscious mental events, intention, desire, disposition
Strength: strong and enduring, physical prowess

Trust in God

Doctrine & Covenants 3

There's a correlation between putting your trust in God and being delivered from adversity. Compare D&C 3:8 with Alma 38:5.

Turn the Hearts

Doctrine & Covenants 2

Did you know that these are the only verses repeated in all four standard works? (At least that's what we learned in seminary inservice. Let me know if there are any others.) That makes them pretty important!

Malachi 4:5-6
3 Nephi 25:5-6
Joseph Smith History 1:38-39
D&C 2:1-3

P.S. I'm REALLY enjoying my time to search for ancestors. It's such a great feeling to find a new connection. And I'm enjoying trying to connect to descendants as well :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prophecies/Promises Prepare for Peace

Doctrine & Covenants 1

We know we're supposed to read the Book of Mormon on a daily basis. When I taught Church History for seminary, I suggested to my students (who were concerned about reading the Book of Mormon AND Bible or Doctrine and Covenants) that they pick a footnote from their seminary reading that took them to the Book of Mormon and just read a verse or two. I'm going to take my own advice. So, these posts will be contain scriptures that jumped out at me as I read and then perused the Topical Guide.

D&C 1:37-38 - Scripture Mastery!
The Promise: All prophecies will be fulfilled.
See also, D&C 82:10 - another Scripture Mastery!!


We need to be prepared for the future.
D&C 1:12 "prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come"

Luke 1:76 - the prophet teaches us what we need to know.
D&C 58:6 - we prepare our hearts by being obedient.
D&C 78:7 - we prepare for the celestial kingdom by keeping the commandments.

What can I do to feel peace ?
D&C 1:35 "peace shall be taken from the earth"

2 Nephi 4:26 - the evil one destroys peace
Mosiah 27:4 - pride disturbs peace
1 Nephi 20:18 - peace is like a river
D&C 88:125 - charity brings peace
Isaiah 32:17 - the work of righteousness is peace
Haggai 2:9 - we find peace in the temple
Mosiah 4:3 - we can have peace of conscience because of our faith in Christ
(I love Elder Scott's talk.)
Luke 1:79 - prophets guide us to the way of peace
D&C 59:23 - works of righteousness brings peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

4 P's

"Persevere in the Pursuit of this most Precious Prize."

President Monson talking about the gift of eternal life - his last words at the last general conference. Do you think that should mean something?

"I Was There"

"I Was There"

I was there

When the morning stars all sang together
And the sons of God shouted for joy.

I was there
When Jehovah was signaled Redeemer
And was chosen to save all mankind.

I was there
When the Lord laid the Earth's first foundation
And commenced the great work of the plan.

I was there
When the eyes of the woman were opened
And the knowledge of good came to be.

I was there
When the angels spake peace to the shepherds
And a virgin gave birth in a stall.

I was there
When my Savior bore sickness and sorrow
And emerged from the darkest abyss.

I was there
When our Father appeared to young Joseph
And the Heavens were opened once more.

I was there
When I prayed on my knees at my bedside
And the Holy Ghost whispered to me:

"You were there."

by Elder Bradley Whitaker

Brad mentioned he wrote this poem after a testimony meeting where someone shared the following idea: "I wasn't there when Joseph Smith say Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but I know it's true through the Holy Ghost." Joseph Smith may not have been able to see us, but I think I agree with Brad, that we were there.

Virtue

Since the Young Women added virtue to their list of values, I've heard several talks on its importance. While preparing to give one myself, (our Relief Society Birthday Enrichment theme was from D&C 25:2 - "walk in the path of virtue") I found the following note in my scriptures:


Virtue: the strength to do well and consistently the tedious tasks of daily life.


That sent me looking for the original quote - which was given in a BYU devotional talk on 18 September 2007 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. His topic was the 13th Article of Faith. Since I had the privilege of attending in person, (it was the day before I took Brad to the MTC), that's the note that I wrote to myself because I loved the idea. Here's what President Hinckley really said:

"We believe in being virtuous. This may have nothing whatever to do with sexual morality; that is covered by the word chaste. Virtuous, in this case, I believe, means having strength—the strength to do whatever needs doing. Great virtue comes in doing well and consistently the everyday, often rather tedious tasks of life. Blaise Pascal said that 'the strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts' (Pensées [1670]).

"Your virtue will be attained through deliberate practice of those things that bring strength and purity to your life—such things as prayer; consistent study of the scriptures; timely payment of your financial obligations, especially an honest tithe; careful adherence to the law of health, which we call the Word of Wisdom; and faithful observance of all the commandments of God. These and other goodly practices performed on a habitual basis will yield great virtue."


The other definition I like comes from Preach My Gospel, through Sister Elaine Dalton's October 2008 general conference talk:

"Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards; the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions. Virtuous women possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost."


What a great quality to try and develop!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Exalted Families

or What's the correlation between temples and oatmeal? And how does that relate to Relief Society?  


The following statement has been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks: "All Church activities, advancements, quorums, and classes are means to the end of an exalted family." (This was from Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk on Celestial Marriage which I read because it was a Teachings for our Time RS lesson.) I think it jumped out because I'm in the middle of preparing for a class on using the oats in our food storage. How does learning different ways to cook oatmeal lead to an exalted family??
As soon as I asked myself that question I was reminded of the decision we made to get up with Weston and make sure he had a hot breakfast before seminary. (The fact that cold cereal was too expensive for daily breakfasts played a part in that decision, but that's beside the point.) At times, particularly when the toddlers were up several times in the middle of the night, that seemed like a sacrifice, but in the end it really wasn't. (President Kimball taught, "And as we give, we find that 'sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!' And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.” April 1978 general conf.) When you can see the results from sending children the message that seminary is a crucial part of strengthening their testimonies and preparing for temple marriage, then lack of sleep really doesn't matter.


I realized that it's the little things we do every day that lead to exalted families - whether it's helping a child with homework or eating together as a family, encouraging siblings to be nice to each other or learning how to work, serving a neighbor and just being a good example. And if I can teach skills to make those little things easier for the sisters in our ward, then a cooking class does meet Elder Nelson's guidelines. (In addition, if we can streamline meal preparation and cost, we'll have more time and resources to actually attend the temple and help our ancestors on their path to exaltation.)  I'm grateful that the purposes of Relief Society are aligned perfectly with our Heavenly Father's purpose.

So, I'm off to make granola bars and experiment with veggie burgers!


Please join Cocoa at Chocolate on my Cranium for her "Stories of Relief Society" blog hop.