Sunday, June 21, 2009

A New Quote

Today in Relief Society we had the lesson from the Joseph Smith manual on temple ordinances and blessings. The teacher shared that she wondered why Joseph Smith was killed before the Nauvoo Temple was completed, particularly since it was so vital to him that the saints sacrifice and work to accomplish that task. She came across the answer in a quote by Wilford Woodruff that I had never heard and yet is just perfect. So, I thought I'd share it just in case someone else had wondered the same thing.

"I used to have peculiar feelings about his [Joseph Smith's] death and the way in which his life was taken. I felt that if, with the consent and good feelings of the brethren that waited on him after he crossed the river to leave Nauvoo, Joseph could have had his desire, he would have pioneered the way to the Rocky Mountains But since then I have been fully reconciled to the fact that it was according to the program, that it was required of him, as the head of this dispensation, that he should seal his testimony with his blood, and go hence to the spirit world, holding the keys of this dispensation, to open up the mission that is now being performed by way of preaching the gospel to the 'spirits in prison.'"—Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 24:54, January 27, 1883.

Joseph Smith had accomplished everything he was sent to earth to do, and the spirits in prison were waiting for him to bring light and knowledge to them. They needed to be prepared to accept the ordinances that those on earth would do for them when the temple was completed. So, Heavenly Father allowed Joseph and Hyrum to be martyred. Isn't that a wonderful testimony of the love of God for ALL of his children?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Responsibilities and Stewardships

Doctrine & Covenants 82-83

We all have responsibilities.  It's good to be reminded of them occasionally.  And we need to remember that the more we know we ought to be doing, the more we'll be held accountable for actually doing it!  

Here is some wisdom from God: "You are to be equal."  He goes on to explain that this is for the benefit of the "church of the living God" and also for our own benefit, "that every man may improve upon his talent."  We are to be seeking the interest of our neighbors and doing everything with an "eye single to the glory of God."  Thinking of it that way seems to make it feel a bit easier.  We don't want our children to be in need.  Heavenly Father doesn't want his children to be in need.  And, at least while we're here on earth, he needs our help, particularly with widows and orphans.


Doctrine & Covenants 79-81

Advice for missionaries (and all of us):

Proclaim glad tidings of great joy.
The Comforter teaches truth and shows us the way to go.
Let your heart be glad.
Succor the weak; lift up the hands which hang down, strengthen the feeble knees.
Promote the glory of God.

And then the blessing that comes from obedience: "And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and aeternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Equality and Unity

Doctrine & Covenants 78

This section contains one of our family's favorite promises:
"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more" (D&C 78:19).

Part of the commandment to be equal in earthly things is to prepare us to be equal in heavenly things. If we can't get along and share with each other here and now, how are we going to feel about doing it forever? So, I appreciate this reminder to prepare. I guess this commandment also deals with helping us overcome feelings of selfishness. I'm working on that, and it's hard, isn't it? However, I've learned that as we develop charity for others, we want to have more so that we can share more. And that's what the Lord wants for us as well.


Doctrine & Covenants 77

This section is a compilation of question about Revelation answered by the Prophet Joseph Smith through revelation. I learned something new when I substituted in seminary a while ago. For some reason I thought the "beasts" in John's vision (Revelation 4:6) had a negative connotation and I struggled with that. However, they really don't. They represent the highest and most majestic in each class - the lion of wild animals, the calf (or ox) of domesticated animals, the eagle of birds, and man. (Unfortunately, I was reading a lot of material, and I couldn't find the exact resource when I realized that this was something I wanted to remember.) And each of these "beasts" - the best of the best - worshipped God. What do we learn from that?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Delight to Honor"

Doctrine & Covenants 76

Last week I attended my first Sunday School lesson in years, and was reminded of the wonderful things found in this section. What do you first think of when you hear the words Section 76? We asked that question in family night last night and the first answer was "He lives!" - referring to the scripture mastery found in verses 22-24. The second answer was a long spiel from Jeff (I wish I could remember it all!) that basically meant "the three degrees of glory." Are those the answers you came up with?

However, our lesson was on verses 5-10. When was the last time you looked at these marvelous promises?

"For thus saith the Lord - I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

"Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

"And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

"Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

"And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.

"For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will - yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, not yet entered into the heart of man."

Of course, there are some things we need to do in order to deserve these blessings, but they're things we should be doing anyway. Wayne cross-referenced these verses to one of his favorite ones: D&C 93:1 -

"Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am."

We defined those five phrases to include repentance, change of heart, baptism, attending church, prayer, reading scriptures, following the prophet, listening to the Holy Ghost - and then doing all the things we learn.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stewardships and Missionaries

Doctrine & Covenants 70 - 75

70: Ideally we should all be equal in temporal things - "none are exempt" - and we should reach this state ungrudgingly! This commandment was given as a reward for diligence and faithfulness. That's something interesting to ponder.

71: We are to open our mouths in porclaiming the gospel. If we keep the commandments, "no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper."

72: The Lord requires accountability for our stewardships. Those that are faithful and wise won't shirk from this requirement.

73: "Gird up your loins and be sober."

74: "Little children are holy."

75: The Lord expects us to labor in his kingdom. We are also to take care of and provide for our families. If we are faithful and diligent in these responsibilities, we have his promise that he will always be with us. We can be "filled with joy and gladness."