Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beware of False Prophets

Doctrine & Covenants 49
"is not ordained of God"

Watch out for the wisdom of the world. Those who say you shouldn't marry or eat meat are giving false advice. Marriage is ordained of God. God also ordained animals for the use of man. However, we should be wise and use what has been given prudently.

President Boyd K. Packer taught:

"Young people, learn to use moderation and common sense in matters of health and nutrition, and particularly in medication. Avoid being extreme or fanatical or becoming a faddist.

"For example, the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat meat sparingly (see D&C 89:12). Lest someone become extreme, we are told in another revelation that 'whoso forbiddeth to [eat meat] is not ordained of God' (D&C 49:18).

"Another scripture counsels, 'Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; … cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated' (D&C 88:124).

"Honor the principle of the Word of Wisdom and you will receive the promised blessings. 'All saints,' the revelation promises, 'who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments,' are promised that they 'shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones' and 'shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint' (D&C 89:18, 20).

"The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings."

(Note: Tthis was the same talk with the coach driver story.)

Elder Russell M. Nelson taught:

"I know 'that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.' I know that the earth was created and that the Lord’s Church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities. And I know that one of Satan’s cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.

"Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully."

Good Counsel

Doctrine & Covenants 48
Saving Money

Here's some great advice to us all:
"It must needs be necessary that ye save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness." (verse 4)

Journals

Doctrine & Covenants 47
Keep a Regular History

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Our Hearts Knit as One"


I thought Wayne had some great insights in a talk he gave this month, and thought his kids ought to hear them as well. He wrote his talk after reading talks by Elder Christofferson and President Eyring from the October 2008 general conference.

"Picture Zion, if you will, as a large tent. Maybe you picture a circus tent or a large army tent. The tent covers a piece of ground. In like manner, Zion covers portions of the earth. Now to hold the tent in place there are a number of stakes that pull the sides out and secure the tent. Notice that we spell stake, s-t-a-k-e, not s-t-e-a-k. S-t-a-k-e is spelled like tent stake, and I believe it is so for a purpose. Our family was camping one summer in Shenandoah National Park. While we were there a hurricane headed our way. One night it hit us as a tropical storm. The wind was a fierce 45 miles per hour and we had 8 inches of rain. But we were dry and safe inside our tent, in part because we had staked it well and the stakes were firm and secure. Have you ever seen what happens to a tent in a stiff wind when one of the stakes comes out of the ground or is missing? It is not long before the tent is ripped and blown over. In the same way that stakes hold up and protect a tent from the winds of a storm, a stake of Zion, when firm in the ground, holds up and protects Zion. For this reason it is so important to have strong and firm stakes of Zion."

"Leo Tolstoy once wrote in Anna KarĂ©nina, 'All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Now let me connect this truth by scriptures. In 2 Nephi 31:9 and 21 – 'And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter. And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.”' In other words, there is only one way to be happy. In Mosiah 4:29 – 'And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin, for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.' Or, in other words, they who are unhappy, are unhappy in their own way. As we and our families follow the eight simple things* the stake has encouraged us to do, our families will be happy and resemble one another in this pattern of righteousness."

"President Eyring said, 'With unity the Lord will be able to perform what the world will think as miraculous. The saints can accomplish any purpose of the Lord when fully united in righteousness.' I was privileged to taste in a small measure this great promise while I was serving on my mission. I was a member of a small district of 6 missionaries, 3 companionships. We were together for 3 months. There was an incredible sense of unity, love, oneness, righteousness, and selflessness within that little district. There was a great deal of respect for all those in that district. During the 3 months we were together we were privileged to bring into the waters of baptism 179 people. That was a miracle. Because of our love for each other we felt that there was nothing we could not accomplish for the Lord. An interesting sidenote: I couldn’t tell you how many baptisms my companion and I had during those 3 months. I only remember what we accomplished as a district."

"One outward manifestation of unity in a ward is how close together families sit. Are there large gaps in the pews between families? Do people try to sit as far back as possible? While not as easy or evident, family unity can also be gauged or detected in this same way. Are husband and wife sitting next to each other or on opposite ends of the family? Is one child at the end of the row trying to distance themselves from the rest of the family?"

* Brandon Stake 8 Simple Things (to protect our families)
  • family prayer twice a day
  • personal prayer twice a day
  • family meal times
  • family scripture study five times a week
  • daily personal scripture study
  • family home evenings on Mondays & regular family councils
  • family attendance at all Sunday church meetings
  • temple attendance monthly

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26th

Doctrine & Covenants 115, 118
Being Obedient

Michelle just came in to say she read two sections that mention today's date. (She's a little further along in the book than I am.) And that gave me a chance to share one of my favorite church history stories with her. Maybe you're familiar with it.

On April 26, 1838, Joseph Smith received a revelation commanding the saints to start building the temple at Far West in exactly one year. A few months later, the 12 Apostles were told to depart on a mission "over the great waters" on that same date. When these two revelations were given, the saints were living in Far West. However, by the next spring, the saints had been driven out of Missouri and Joseph Smith was a prisoner in Liberty Jail. Here's the story from the seminary student guide:

"As the time drew nigh for the accomplishment of this work, the question arose. “What is to be done?” Here is a revelation commanding the Twelve to be in Far West on the 26th day of April, to lay the cornerstone of the Temple there; it has to be fulfilled. The Missourians had sworn by all the gods of eternity that if every other revelation given through Joseph Smith were fulfilled, that should not be, for the day and date being given they declared that it would fail. The general feeling in the Church, so far as I know, was that, under the circumstances, it was impossible to accomplish the work; and the Lord would accept the will for the deed.’ (Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 13:159.)

“But the Apostles were not to be put off their commanded duty: ‘On the night of April 25, 1839, the little band of apostles with a small company of faithful brethren, high priests, elders and priests, arrived at Far West. Shortly after midnight, on the morning of April 26th, they assembled on the temple lot in Far West, and there they held a conference.’ (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, pp. 196–97.)"

After singing, praying, setting apart new apostles, and laying the cornerstone, Brigham Young and his brethren safely left for their mission to England.

When the Lord asks us to do something, if we have faith, we can accomplish it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gifts of the Spirit

Doctrine & Covenants 46

I love this quote by Elder Marvin J. Ashton (October 1987 general conference):

"Taken at random, let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important:

"The gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bering a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Favorite Phrases

Doctrine & Covanants 45

Here are some of the phrases that I like:

vs. 32 - "My disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved."
vs. 35 - "Be not troubled."
vs. 44 - "They shall look for me, and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off."
vs. 49 - "They that have laughed shall see their folly."
vs. 55 - "Satan shall be bound" because no one will let him in their hearts.
vs. 58 - "Their children shall grow up."
vs. 62 - "Great things await you."
vs. 66 - "The New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of regufe, a place of safety for the saints."

And one thought, from verse 70: The wicked are really afraid of the righteous. They know it takes great strength to go against the majority and so they are envious of others' convictions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Assemble

Doctrine & Covenants 44
Meeting Together

One of the blessings of meeting together is that as we unite in faith, the Lord can pour out his Spirit upon us. One of our favorite scriptural accounts of this is found in Acts 12 where the united prayers of the Church help Peter escape from prison.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Humor in the Scriptures

Doctrine & Covenants 43
Funny Phrase

For some reason I just found this humorous. Maybe you will too.

vs. 18 - "Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep."

(That night we were reading in the Old Testament and all got a giggle out of the name Zeboim - Nehemiah 11:34. We don't mean to offend anyone, but that just struck us as an unusual name. However, it's also so unique one of our kids might actually use it when naming their child!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Law

Doctrine & Covenants 42
Hearken, Hear, and Obey


vs. 14 - Don't teach without the Spirit. In fact, you can't teach spiritual things without the Spirit, because he's the real teacher, not you. For a couple of great talks on this subject, try Elder Holland and Elder Perry.

vs. 29 - "If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments."
I love this poetic version of the Ten Commandments. You can find it set to music here.

Thou shalt have no gods but Me.
Before no idols bow thy knee.
Take not the name of God in vain.
Do not the Sabbath day profane.
Honor thy parents all thy days.
Take not life in wanton ways.
Be faithful in thy marriage trust.
And never steal or be unjust.
Always tell the truth—and love it.
What is thy neighbor’s, do not covet.
And the greatest commandments of all:
With all thy heart, love God above;
And as thyself thy neighbor love.

vs. 36 gives us the reason for the welfare program - "That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple." The riches of the Gentiles are to be used to help the poor of the house of Israel as we strive to become a Zion people.

Isn't it neat how the scriptures give us practical, useful ideas and counsel?
vs. 40 - "Let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the work of thine own hands."
vs. 41 - "Let all things be done in cleanliness."
vs. 42 - "Thou shalt not be idle." I love this quote by Elder Maxwell, and also President Kimball: "Even if work were not an economic necessity, it is a spiritual necessity."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Without Guile

Doctrine & Covenants 41
"no guile" Whenever I hear the phrase "without guile" I think of Brad. This is one of his special characteristics.

Edward Partridge was told he had a pure heart and was like Nathanael of old (see John 1:47) because there was no guile found in him. Guile means skillful deceit or treacherous cunning; artifice, slyness, fraud, duplicity, trickery. "No guile" would be the opposite of that - openness, candor, honesty, sincerity. To me it also has the connotation of seeing only the good in others, and I think that's a wonderful quality to develop.

James Covill

Doctrine & Covenants 39-40
His heart WAS right.

We don't know too much about James Covill. Apparently, he heard and accepted the gospel and was promised great blessings. However, he later let temptations and the cares of the world lure him off the gospel path, and the blessings were revoked. It's not enough to believe once, we have to keep our hearts "right" until the end.

Alma 5:26 - "If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

Great Eternal Now

Doctrine & Covenants 36-38

I remember being intrigued when I first heard the following thought and it really makes a lot of sense. It's definitely something to ponder!

"The Lord Himself said that He `knoweth all things, for all things are present' before Him. (D&C 38:2.) We read, too, that `all things are present with me, for I know them all.' (Moses 1:6.) Therefore, God's omniscience is not solely a function of prolonged and discerning familiarity with us-but of the stunning reality that the past and present and future are part of an `eternal now' with God! (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:597.)"
(Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, pp. 7,8.)

Read another great talk by Elder Maxwell describing how this principle relates to the doctrine of foreordination.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Open Your Mouth

Doctrine & Covenants 29-35
"Open your mouth"

D&C 28:16 - "Thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing."
D&C 29:7 - "Mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts."
D&C 30:1 - "You have feared man and have not relied on me for strength as you ought."
D&C 31:3 - "Declare glad tidings of great joy."
D&C 32:3 - "I myself will go with them and be in their midst."
D&C 33:8, 9, 10 - "Open your mouths."
D&C 34:10 - "Lift up your voice."
D&C 35:4 - "Thou shalt do great things."

I'm seeing a theme here - open your mouth and share the gospel. Elder Perry gave a great talk on this last week at general conference. Here are his suggestions for what to say when we open our mouth:

What would each of us say if we had to open our mouth three times? If I may, I would like to offer a suggestion. First and foremost, we should declare our belief in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. His redeeming act blesses all mankind with the gift of immortality and the potential of enjoying God's greatest gift to man, the gift of eternal life.

The second time we open our mouths, we should tell in our own words the story of the First Vision—that is, our knowledge of a boy not quite 15 years of age who went into a grove of trees and, after sincere and humble prayer, he had the heavens open to him. After centuries of confusion, the true nature of the Godhead and God's true teachings were revealed to the world.

The third time we open our mouths, let us testify of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon complements the Bible in giving us a greater understanding of the doctrines of our Savior's gospel. The Book of Mormon is the convincing evidence that Joseph Smith is truly a prophet of God. If the Book of Mormon is true, there was a restoration of the priesthood. If the Book of Mormon is true, then with the power of that priesthood, Joseph Smith restored the Church of Jesus Christ.

The Armor of God

Doctrine & Covenants 27
A Prophecy and an Exhortation

Verses 5-14 describe one of my all-time favorite prophecies. Here's what Elder Bruce R. McConkie had to say about it (quotes from the seminary teacher manual):

"The sacrament is to be administered in a future day, on this earth, when the Lord Jesus is present, and when all the righteous of all ages are present. This, of course, will be a part of the grand council at Adam-ondi-Ahman."

"Every faithful person in the whole history of the world, every person who has so lived as to merit eternal life in the kingdom of the Father will be in attendance and will partake, with the Lord, of the sacrament."

Don't you want to be part of the meeting? Verses 15-18 give us a clue to the preparation we need. And here's a quote from President Harold B. Lee that explains how and why putting on the armor of God will help us:

“We have the four parts of the body that . . . [are] the most vulnerable to the powers of darkness. The loins, typifying virtue, chastity. The heart typifying our conduct. Our feet, our goals or objectives in life and finally our head, our thoughts. . . .
“We should have our loins girt about with truth. What is truth? Truth, the Lord said, was knowledge of things as they are, things as they were and things as they are to come. . . ‘Our loins shall be girt about with truth,’ the prophet said.
“And the heart, what kind of a breastplate shall protect our conduct in life? We shall have over our hearts a breastplate of righteousness. Well, having learned truth we have a measure by which we can judge between right and wrong and so our conduct will always be gauged by that thing which we know to be true. Our breastplate to cover our conduct shall be the breastplate of righteousness.
“[By] what shall we protect our feet, or by what shall we gauge our objectives or our goals in life? . . . ‘Your feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.’ . . .
“How fortunate are you if in your childhood in the home of your father and mother you were taught the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, the son of the living God, the meaning of baptism and what you gain by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Fortunate is the child who has been taught to pray and who has been given those steps to take on through life. Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace! . . .
“And then finally the helmet of salvation. . . . What is salvation? Salvation is to be saved. Saved from what? Saved from death and saved from sin. . . .
“[The Apostle Paul] had his armoured man holding in his hand a shield and in his other hand a sword, which were the weapons of those days. That shield was the shield of faith and the sword was the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures in the which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy that is more to be feared than the enemies of the light. . . . More to be feared than the enemies that come in the daylight that we can see are the enemies that strike in the darkness of the night that we can’t see with our eyes.” (Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 9 Nov. 1954], pp. 3–7.)
And here's a link to a FHE idea using these verses.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Study the Scriptures

Doctrine & Covenants 26
"Let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures."

Trying to be like Emma

Doctrine & Covenants 25
Counsel for Women

  • Walk in the paths of virtue.
  • Murmur not.
  • Seek learning.
  • Write.
  • Comfort husband.
  • Delight in him.
  • Don't worry about the world.
  • Seek for heavenly things.
  • Cleave unto covenants.
  • Keep commandments.
  • Rejoice!

Important Counsel

Doctrine & Covenants 23-24

Pray vocally.
Provide for our families, but also magnify our callings. We'll have enough strength to do it.
Be patient in affliction, "for, lo, I am with thee."

(Great message from Elder Holland.)

Prophets

Doctrine & Covenants 21-22

Don't seek to counsel God, but instead give heed to the prophets. He will bless all those who labor in his kingdom.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We can do it!

Doctrine & Covenants 20
Christ is the perfect example

verse 22 - "He suffered temptations, but gave no heed unto them."

1 Corinthians 10:13 - "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able."

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

verse 33 - "Pray always."

Repentance

Doctrine & Covenants 19
Repentance is Greek for "to have a new mind." (Elder Eyring)

"Canst thou be humble and meek and conduct thyself wisely?" Isn't that a great question from verse 41.

As we follow the counsel we find in this section:

repent
learn of me
listen to my words
walk in the meekness of my Spirit
pray vocally
pray always
declare glad tidings
trust in me
have faith
be baptized
receive the Holy Ghost
pay our debts
share with others

we'll gain that change of heart and mind and receive the blessing of peace.

The Greatest Gift

Doctrine & Covenants 12-18
~a scripture chain~

D&C 14:7 - "And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

1 Nephi 15:36 - The fruit of the tree of life "is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

1 Nephi 22:31 - "If he shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day."

3 Nephi 15:9 - "Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."

D&C 18:45 - "The blessings which I give unto you are above all things."