Archive for the 'Relief Society Declaration' Category

Are We Striving for Exaltation?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple,understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

This series of posts has been a lot of fun for me to go through. It’s been great to focus on the Relief Society declaration and all that it means to me in my life. I’m a little sad to see it coming to an end. The last question of this series is are we striving for exaltation? It goes right along with the previous posts and is a perfect final thought for this series.

What is exaltation? Every person will receive the blessings of immortality that comes with the resurrection, because the Savior has fulfilled the requirements for that and it doesn’t matter what we do. However, there are additional blessings to be received after this life, and they come from the choices we make in this life. Exaltation is what happens when God raises us to a level or glory above where we can reach for ourselves. In Matthew 25:34 we read, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”. Exaltation is receiving our inheritance of the kingdom of God, which has been prepared for us. It is there that we have a fullness of joy. In Psalms 16:11 we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Exaltation is the reward which allows us to live in the presence of God and at His right hand. It is often described in the scriptures as receiving the crown prepared for us. In 2 Timothy 4:8 it says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. . .”. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 59:2 it says, “For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them.” Exaltation is the ultimate reward of the rest that the Savior has promised to us in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Exaltation is the companionship of the Godhead as we live in their glory forever more.

With this understanding of what exaltation is, what are we doing to strive for it? Striving for something, is not simply allowing it to come to us, but making a great effort to obtain it. To strive for exaltation, we must be actively working to do what the scriptures teach us we need to do in order to obtain it.

I think that first, we need to believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. When we come to know Christ, we come to know God. We cannot hope to achieve our potential if we do not understand what that potential is by having faith in Jesus the Christ. In John 17:3, the Savior teaches us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Once we come to have a belief and faith in Christ, we need to live as He did and follow His perfect example. In that example, the Savior showed us that we need to be baptized in His name. In 3 Nephi 11:33 we read the words of the Savior to those on the American continent. He said, “And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

One of the things I found in my study of this, is the reward of salvation from honoring the priesthood of God. This makes perfect sense to me, but probably wouldn’t have come to my mind immediately as a way to strive for exaltation. In Doctrine and Covenants 84 we read the following:

35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

To receive the priesthood, means to allow the power of God to act in our lives. It means to honor it by honoring the men who hold it, by following our modern prophets and apostles, by living according to the covenants we make through it, by allowing the atonement to be a part of our everyday lives, and more. Part of honoring the priesthood, is making sacred covenants with God and taking upon us the ordinances that must be performed with the priesthood authority given to us by God. One mentioned above, was baptism. Others include receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our temple covenants in the endowments and sealings. In Doctrine and Covenants 132, great rewards of exaltation are promised to those who enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, or the new and everlasting covenant.

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

Continually striving to honor the Lord by living according to the priesthood power he has allowed us to have or by making and keeping these sacred covenants with him, will push us towards that reward of exaltation. It will give us the opportunity to be as God and have forever families and rule in glory with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.

There are two things that we need to do, which are often found hand in hand: keep the commandments and endure to the end. In Doctrine and Covenants 25:15 we read, “Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.” I love that it has the word continually in there. We cannot just keep the commandment once and receive that great reward. Rather, we must continually return to Christ through repentance and strive each day to do our best to keep the commandments, for the remainder of our days. That is endurance. Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 says, “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.” We need to endure through the everyday temptations of Satan as we are instructed in James 1:12 which reads, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” When we endure these temptations, we choose which side we would rather be on. Through our endurance, we can overcome evil and love that which is good. In Revelation 3:21 it says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

This continual path of striving to keep the commandments and endure, will not be easy. In fact, it will probably be harder than any other path we could choose to take in this life. There are many more trials in life, then just those that Satan puts before us. Yet, even with these difficulties, we learn and grow so much more from trials than if we did not have them. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:4 we read, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.” These promised blessings are for the faithful, who are truly striving each day to do what is right. Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 teaches us, “And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.” Again in section 81, verse 6 of the Doctrine and Covenants we learn, “And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father.”

Our efforts in striving for exaltation, really come down to the little decisions of every day. The gospel in this is simple. We either choose to do the things that God has asked us to do, or we choose to follow the path that Satan has made easily accessible to all of us. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we learn this gospel truth. “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Then again we are reminded of the consequences of our choices in 2 Nephi 9:39 which reads, “O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.” Our eternal reward is dependent upon the thoughts, words and deeds which we choose to have while here in mortality.

Faith is a Sunrise

I hope and have great faith in the promises of exaltation. I cannot imagine anything better then being allowed to live in the presence of God and have my own eternal family. I know that in order to receive this, I have to believe in God and Jesus Christ, honor all that is truly sacred which is all connected to the amazing power of the priesthood, keep the covenants which I have made with God, keep the laws and commandments that He has given to us, and endure to the end of my days. I know that I cannot allow things to act upon me, but that I must choose these things for myself and be striving for the blessings of exaltation each and every day. I know that I am not expected to be perfect right at this moment, but that if I am willing to make my best effort and rely upon the Lord and the atonement in repenting and returning to the Lord always, that the blessings will come. It is after I put forth the effort to live righteously each day, that my Savior will take me from the imperfect state that I will be in, and raise me to that state of glory and reward that I will deserve. We, as disciples of the Lord, can receive exaltation through our Savior, Jesus Christ, if we will do our best to strive for it each day.

Do We Understand Our Divine Destiny?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

My next question in this series is do we understand our divine destiny? I thought I’d break this question down first to know just what to look for. To understand something is defined as perceiving “the significance, explanation or cause of” that thing. Are we aware of just how significant our divine destiny is? Do we have a knowledge of what that divine destiny is? Do we know why we have that divine destiny?

Starting first with a knowledge of what our divine destiny is, something divine is like God, devoted to God and sacred. Our destiny is those things that will happen to us in the future. More specifically, the destiny we are referring to is what will happen to us after this life in mortality. Our divine destiny therefore, is what is going to happen to us after this life, that will be like our Father in Heaven and sacred. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have been given the scriptures to teach us what that divine destiny is.

In 2 Nephi, chapter 9, the plan is laid out for us.

6 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.
14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.
15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.
16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
17 O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled.
18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

The destiny which awaits us after this life, begins with resurrection. We cannot become like God, unless we are resurrected as He was. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected and because he overcame death, we all have the divine destiny to be resurrected. After that resurrection, we will all be judged for our works. Those who lived righteously, will fulfill their divine destiny because of their deeds in this mortal life. The divine destiny of those who follow Jesus Christ, is an inheritance of the kingdom of God and joy for eternity. This is not where the divine destiny ends. The inheritance of all that God has to give, includes great power. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:19, we read of the promises to those who take upon themselves the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life. It reads, “… Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—…and if ye abide in my covenant, … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (emphasis added)” The power of God to have spiritual seed forever, is the divine destiny of all the faithful and covenant people of God. This means that part of our divine destiny, is to be spiritual parents of countless children who may inhabit worlds without end. It is the opportunity to forever be with our families we love so dearly. That is joy that is eternal.

This is what we can hope for as we travel this mortal journey. Are we aware of just how significant this divine destiny is, or why we even have a divine destiny? We learn from the scriptures, that this is the purpose of our being here. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The work of God and the purpose of sending us here to this earth, is to give us the opportunity to gain immortality and eternal life. The first, immortality, has been accomplished for all mankind, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He experienced the resurrection and caused that all of us will be resurrected no matter what. The second, eternal life, is the rest of our divine destiny that I wrote of above. In Abraham 3, the purpose for us being here is written as follows:

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

We are here to prove that we can be faithful and obedient to God, so that we can have the glory of God forever, or in other words, so that we can fulfill our divine destiny.

I wonder what it would be like to have just a glimpse of life in the pre-mortal world. From the gospel of Jesus Christ, we know that we are here because we chose to follow the Savior at that time. This life is our first estate that the scripture above talks about. We were obedient to God’s plan and used our agency to follow it. Our spirits, with the unveiled knowledge we had gained in the pre-existence, wanted to have this opportunity to show that we could choose for ourselves to return to live with God again. That desire is there in each of us. As we walk this life, we can sometimes loose our way because life and all it entails, fills our view and clouds the goal. I wonder how it would be if we could truly understand, that we all were excited to strive for our divine destiny. We were striving for that, because we understood then what our alternative was. Obviously, having that glimpse would negate the purpose of our being here to learn and grow through our choices, but it is something interesting to think about.

The plan of God offers an opportunity to use our agency, which requires a choice. The choice of our divine destiny, or a destiny without God and godliness. Alma 41 describes the other destiny in the following passage:

2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—
5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.

Once we are resurrected, we are judged, and all that is good will be restored to good, endless happiness, and an inheritance of the kingdom of God. This is our divine destiny. But, all that is evil is restored to evil, endless misery, and an inheritance of the kingdom of the devil. The alternative to all the blessings of heaven, is an eternity of misery. If we could know in our hearts that this gospel of our destiny is true, I don’t think a single soul would seek after the things of the devil. That is the test of this life. It is living in faith, that will bring us our reward.

As people of God, we need to come to a personal understanding of our divine destiny. I believe that we are all seeking for happiness, but it is only when we seek after things that are Godly, that we will be rewarded with Godliness and true happiness for all eternity. It is so important for us to search the scriptures and learn what God wants for us individually. I have a testimony of the plan of salvation and I know that if I really, truly do my best to keep my eye on the goal of a divine destiny, my Savior and Redeemer will help me to achieve it. I want to live today, in a way that will keep me in line with that ultimate prize. I know that the blessing of returning to be with God again and receiving power and glory that He offers to us, is what makes this life worth living well.

Do We Rejoice in the Blessings of the Temple?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

The next question in this series is do we rejoice in the blessings of the temple. I absolutely love the temple. In the LDS church, we have temples all over the world, which are dedicated to the work of salvation. There are certain saving ordinances that can only be performed in the temple, both for the living and those who have died. All are invited to enjoy the blessings of the temple and can do so, if they are found worthy to enter the holy and sacred house of the Lord. In Psalms 24 we read the following:

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (emphasis added)

To answer the question for today, we have to understand what some of the blessings of the temple are. The first one I think of, based on my description above of what the temple is ultimately for, is the eternal blessings that come from the ordinances performed there. With the covenants made in the temple, we have promised blessings that await us. The one that I look forward to the most, is eternal families. We believe that through the work in the temple, our earthly family relationships can be ours for eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 138:48 we read, “Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.” It may be hard to see this as a blessing to rejoice in right now, but there is great hope that comes from this knowledge. It is a huge blessing to be able to look at my loved ones and feel that even if we are parted because of death or distance, we will see each other again some day and enjoy the blessings of heaven with one another.

The temple is a house of glory. When we make covenants with the Lord, the faithful are promised to receive great glory. In the LDS faith, we believe in an order to the kingdom of God. That order divides His kingdom into three degrees of glory. They are the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial glories. The one we are aiming for, which is the glory in which the faithful, covenant, and righteous will dwell, is the celestial glory. We believe that within that glory, there are three degrees. All the faithful, who have made their first covenants (baptism by water and the spirit), will qualify for the lowest degree in that glory. Those who have made greater covenants will be worthy of the greater degrees of glory. Ultimately, we believe that the covenants of celestial marriage, will allow the faithful to be worthy of the highest degree of glory within the celestial kingdom. Doctrine and Covenants 131 starts with the following:

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

I find additional hope in this knowledge. This highest degree of glory, is where our Father in Heaven dwells. In Doctrine and Covenants 97 we read the following:

15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.

I see it as a great blessing to have hope in living with God again someday, because I have made and kept the covenants in this life to be worthy of His glory.

So, I guess when I think of these two things I have already mentioned, the blessing in this life is hope for things to come after this life. In Romans 8:24 we read, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Do we rejoice in the blessing of hope? I certainly do. My life has so much more purpose because of this hope. I find that I devote more energies to my family than that natural woman inside me would give. I am more devoted to learning about and living at the level of personal righteousness that God would have me live. This gives me more strength and a greater desire to face each day and challenge with courage and confidence.

The temple is a house of prayer. I cannot even begin to number the blessings that come from prayer. But prayer is something that is not excluded to the temple. Why rejoice in the blessings of prayer from the temple then? The temple is the house of the Lord. Aside from our homes, there is no place that is more sacred on earth. The peace of the temple shuts out the volume and distractions of the world. It is in that setting that we can feel closest to the spirit. Because of that peace, we can show the greatest reverence in our conversation with our Father in Heaven. There, we should be able to hear the answers we are seeking, with ease. There is a video I watched yesterday, which went right along with this topic.

Our Eternal Life

There were a few things that I got from this, worth mentioning here. First, I know that most people are seeking for happiness. We want to have our own ‘happily ever after’. Most people do not realize where the real, lasting happily ever after can be found. I know that this can only be found through the temple. In Isaiah 56:7 we read, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” God wishes to bless us with the things that we desire physically and spiritually. When we are worthy to enter the temple, our desires will naturally be more focused on the things of an eternal nature and our dreams will be what God wants for us as well. When we take our dreams and desires with us to the temple and ask God in sincere faith, he will give us answers and will bless us for our faithful obedience. These answers and blessings will lead us to our dreams becoming a reality. They will lead us to becoming the person that God would have us be. Who wouldn’t want to rejoice in the blessings of getting what they truly desire, or in knowing (not just believing) that those dreams will be fulfilled someday?

Doctrine and Covenants 110:7 reads, “For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” Another blessing of the temple, that goes right along with answers to prayers and fulfillment of our dreams, is the blessings of revelation received. What I mean by this, is that we can receive inspiration we were not even seeking. There have been many times when I have been blessed with some unexpected inspiration, that once followed has led to incredible blessings in my life. One of those thoughts that came from watching the video above, was that the temple is God’s way. Therefore, in the temple, He will guide us to do His will, and to be an instrument in His hands in ways that we had not thought of before. The Lord will manifest his will through the inspiration we receive in the temple.

The video reminded me of additional blessings that come from the temple, for which I am always grateful. When I’ve talked to others about the feelings they get in the temple and from temple service, they often talk about the renewed strength they feel.When we serve in the temple, God blesses us with the fortification and energy of strength to face the world outside. In the temple, we focus on the eternal perspective of life, and that alone gives me greater faith in living my daily life according to God’s desire for me. That faith crushes the fears that I am faced with every day. I am a natural worrier and my tendency is to look always to the worst case scenario first. When I am in the temple, God helps me to recognize that be aware of what that worst case can be is fine, but focusing faith on my Savior will give me the power to have everything work out for the best. In Exodus 15:2 we read, “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” What a blessing it is to be renewed with a greater faith in Jesus the Christ, and to put aside the worries of life to focus on the power of Him who wants me to succeed and be happy.

Another thing that this video caused me to think about, was the blessing of time. In Alma 40:8 we read, “. . . all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.” The eternal perspective we gain in the temple, teaches us that this life is really just a moment in the never-ending life that we are living. Because of this knowledge, there are two lessons that bring tremendous blessings, if applied. First, the experiences of this life have greater value. A blessing of the temple, is learning that we need to spend the time we have focusing on what is most important. This includes things like our relationships with family members, gaining knowledge of all things, and nurturing a greater love for others, which are the things that we will take with us into the eternities. Second, the lesson that we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Acts 15:11 reads, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” The grace of God is eternal. We need to trying our best, but God does not expect us to achieve perfection in this life. The path to perfection is eternal. We will continue to progress after we leave this mortal world. If God expected perfection in all things right now, or rather if we all could achieve it in this life, we wouldn’t need to be here. The blessing of time, or rather a better understanding of what time is, brings me so much peace and happiness.

The temple truly is a house of learning. There is so much to be gained there. In Isaiah 2:3, we read, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” There is an infinite amount of knowledge that we do not have. In the temple, we are given an understanding that we cannot receive in other places. The more often we go, the more we realize just how much we do not know. God blesses us with a knowledge line-upon-line, as we are prepared to receive it. 2 Nephi 28:30 reads, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” The things that I have learned in the temple, are a blessing beyond measure to me. Gaining the knowledge is empowering and humbling at the same time. In addition, we learn through the covenants we make, that we must use that knowledge for good. We have a duty to build up the kingdom of God and we will not retain that knowledge unless we use it in our lives. The blessings of learning from the temple continue as we live according to the things that we have learned there, to the point that we cannot even realize just how great they are.

I think that the list of blessings from the temple could go on for a while. Deuteronomy 26:11 reads, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee . . .”. As people of faith, we should rejoice in the blessings that come from the temple. If you are worthy to enter the Holy House of the Lord, I would hope that you would have a desire to go often and be reminded of these amazing blessings. If you have not yet been to the temple of the Lord, I encourage you to put your life in order to be able to enjoy these blessings for yourself. I am so grateful for the temple. I cannot imagine living in a time or place where this privilege was not available to me. I am inspired by many stories of people who have sacrificed so much to be able to go just once in their lifetime. I am blessed to have several temples close enough to drive there in a matter of hours. The temple that is closest to me has been closed for renovations for a while now, but will be rededicated this coming month. I am excited to take my children to the open house, which is a time before the dedication when anyone can enter the temple and see what it looks like and where we perform our sacred ordinances. I hope that many people will take advantage of this opportunity to see this beautiful temple and feel the spirit that is there.

I feel so much joy when I am in the temple. It is one of the places that I can feel the closest to heaven, and I know that the blessings that I receive from it cannot be numbered. I know that God loves His children. He has given us this great blessing, to give us a place where we can draw closer to Him, make sacred covenants and promises to Him, and show Him just how much we love Him in return.

Here are some additional posts I have done regarding the temple and related topics:

  • Temple Work and Family History
  • Eternal Marriage
  • The Family Can Be Eternal
  • How Do We Sustain the Priesthood as the Authority of God on Earth?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.
    Love life and learning.
    Stand for truth and righteousness.
    Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.

    The next question in this series is how do we sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on Earth? Notice that I did not make this question how do I know that it is the authority of God, or is the priesthood the authority of God. That is because I know that it is and cannot question it. I have had many experiences in my life with the power of the priesthood and the spirit has confirmed to me that it is God’s authority for man to act in his behalf on this earth. I needed with this post, to ask a question that I would be able to apply directly to my life at this time or at least cause me deeper reflection. Of course the first step to sustaining it would be to believe that it is that authority, so if you do not know that for yourself, I suggest that you seek for a confirmation of that truth for yourself. (Some of my previous posts directly related to the priesthood: The Priesthood, Priesthood Organization, The Church of Jesus Christ Today. Other resources related to the priesthood authority can be found here: Gospel Principles, Restoration, Topical Guide-Priesthood, Authority)

    As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I often raise my hand in church when it is announced that a young man or man will be ordained or advanced in the priesthood. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:65, we read, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church;”. This vote is a witness that I sustain them in the priesthood. It is important to understand what it means to sustain them and sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on Earth. In order to approach this question, I looked up the definition of the word sustain. The online search provided the following explanations: “Strengthen or support physically or mentally”, “Cause to continue or be prolonged for an extended period or without interruption”, or to “Uphold, affirm, or confirm the justice or validity of”.

    What can we do to strengthen or support the priesthood? I don’t think that we strengthen the priesthood in a way that gives it more or greater power, because the power of it comes from God and not from man, but there are ways to support it. When we support something, we bear the weight of it. The power of the priesthood is a great responsibility to those who hold it. In the church we often talk of bearing the priesthood of God, so in order to support it, worthy men need to be willing to receive that responsibility. Doctrine and Covenants 84:40 says, “Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.” Receiving and bearing the priesthood, is to make an oath and covenant with the Lord. In addition, they need to be capable of fulfilling their duties as bearers of the priesthood. To give it the support it needs, they need to be able to do this in a way that is adequate to fulfill its purposes. In Isaiah 52:11 we read, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” The priesthood is of the Lord and so it cannot be borne by those who are not prepared and worthy for it. Therefore, men who are willing and able to bear the priesthood, need to make and keep themselves worthy to use it in the way that God has intended. As a woman, I do not directly bear the priesthood of God. Something of which I am actually okay with. However, I still need to be a supporter of the priesthood. I can support in several ways as well. One is, that I can do my part to help men be worthy and able to bear the priesthood. As a wife, I need to keep myself on the right track, so that I do not draw my husband from the things that would keep him worthy of this privilege. When necessary, I need to be willing to stand up for what is right and help the men around me become more worthy. I know that my influence for good in this respect is great. If I was a mother to boys, which I am not (yet), I would have the duty to raise them to be worthy of this opportunity. As a woman, my support can come from showing that I approve of men having the priesthood, and in fact, I should encourage the use of it often. Doctrine and Covenants 107:1 reads, “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.” Both men and women support the priesthood, by learning what its purposes are, and caring that those purposes are fulfilled. In Ephesians 4 we learn of the callings within the priesthood and their purposes.

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    The purposes of the priesthood are the perfecting of the saints, work of the ministry and edifying the body of Christ for unity of faith and unity in knowing the Son of God. This way we will be firm in the faith, so that when life hits us, we will not falter because of the ways of the world. Therefore, I sustain the priesthood by encouraging men to be worthy to bear it, being a good example of righteous living, learning about the reason for the priesthood, caring for its success on earth, and encouraging the men in my life to use the priesthood.

    What is our role in causing the priesthood to continue or be prolonged without interruption? Doctrine and Covenants 13:1 reads, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth. . .” A promise was made to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, that the priesthood would not be removed from the earth again, but that does not mean that we will always be able to access it if we are not living righteously and faithfully. Priesthood power requires both a worthy bearer to use it, and a faithful receiver of its blessings. We sustain it by not only being worthy to use it, but by believing in it. The priesthood is the power from God and we have to have faith in Him for it to work. In the book of Matthew we read the following:

    57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
    58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

    Even the Lord, Jesus Christ, did not work the miracles of the priesthood during his ministry, when those who should have received its blessings did not have faith and believe in Him. The faith we have today, also needs to be in Jesus Christ, because the priesthood is His power on earth. If we loose that faith, the priesthood will not work in our lives. We sustain the priesthood of God, by believing in God and His power.

    How do we uphold, affirm, or confirm the justice and validity of the priesthood authority of God? One of the things that we need to do today, is recognize and witness that God’s authority and power are on earth today, as they were in times of old. In Exodus 40:15, we learn of the priesthood authority as it was given to Aaron. It says, “And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” Many people are willing to believe that the prophets of old had the priesthood authority, but they are not willing to accept that it can exist in our time as well. In Moses 6:7 we read, “Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.” It has been restored in its fullness and can be used today. There are many who believe that it was never removed from the earth, but it was. Those who feel this way, claim to have priesthood power from God, but they do not. During the apostasy that followed the death of the apostles of Jesus’s time, the priesthood was taken from the earth. The people were not living worthy to act on God’s authority. I believe that the authority was once again restored with the power of the priesthood, when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery asked God about baptism. (See D&C 13:1 found above) In Doctrine and Covenants 27:12 we read, “And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;”. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood power through the laying on of hands, first by John the Baptist for the Aaronic priesthood and then, by Peter, James, and John for the Melchizedek priesthood. In order to uphold, affirm or confirm the justice and validity of the priesthood, we need to have our own testimony that this is the truth. We need to know and share that the priesthood of old was indeed the power of God. We need to believe and share that we do in fact have the priesthood on earth today and that it is also the true power and authority of God. The spirit will testify to those who accept the blessings of the priesthood in their lives, of its truth and power. To sustain it, we need to be willing to share what we know about it and the blessings of it, with those who are willing to listen and learn for themselves.

    I am so grateful for the priesthood. This past few months of study about it, has caused my testimony to be strengthened in many ways. I know that priesthood of God was given to man in the beginning of time on Earth. Adam was the first bearer of the priesthood on Earth and it continued on the earth during all times when men were worthy to bear it. After the great apostasy, the priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the hands of those with the authority from God to ordain them. The priesthood is on the earth today and we, both men and women, should be willing to sustain it, so that the work of God will continue to roll forth.

    Do We Stand for Righteousness?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.
    Love life and learning.
    Stand for truth and righteousness.

    The next question in this series, is do we stand for rigtheousness? When I wrote my post on standing for truth, I wondered if I should combine these two posts because they really are so closely related to one another. I felt that I should keep them separate, but it was pretty difficult. I think that you’ll find, when you stand for truth, righteousness is right there as well. (To read that post, go here: Do We Stand for Truth?)

    As I said in my most recent post from this series, to stand for anything, means that we actively place ourselves in a position to defend, uphold and be a witness for it. Righteousness is the standard of God or in other words being morally right. Righteousness is not perfection in this life, but is the perfection of God that we should be working towards. Righteousness is holiness, good works, honesty, integrity, truth, uprightness, and all other things that allow us to walk the path that the Lord has walked. We live a righteous life, still erring as the mortal beings we are, as long as we are striving to turn to the Lord in humility and repentance for our wrongdoings so that we can be like Him. Standing for righteousness is to strive to be in the right in the sight of God, to support all that is right in the sight of God, and to witness for all that is right in the sight of God.

    Standing for righteousness means to consciously place ourselves where righteousness is found and remain firm in defense of it. We need to be aligning ourselves with righteousness, meaning we need to be doing works of righteousness or good works. If we are not doing good works, we are doing the works of unrighteousness. In Proverbs 11:18 we read, “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.” One of the great things about aligning ourselves with righteousness, is as we are trying, it will give us the power to stay firm and strong. Conversely, wickedness to those who stand for unrighteousness, has complete power over them. In Proverbs 13:6 we read, “Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.” There is great power in setting ourselves in the path of righteousness.

    Those who stand for righteousness, strive to live the commandments of God. In Deuteronomy 6:25 we read, “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” The Savior, Jesus Christ, showed us by example just how important it is to follow the commandments of God. In Matthew 3:15 we read, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” He lived a life of perfection as to the standards of God, and yet, to fulfill his mission of righteousness, he had to be baptized. We cannot consider ourselves above the Lord. We too must live according to the commandments of God, in order to stand for righteousness in our own lives.

    The next step to standing in the place of righteousness by the way we live our lives, is to defend it. Moroni 9:6 reads, “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” We are not taught in this verse to place ourselves right and then let Satan do his thing. We are instead taught that we need to be engaged in the defense to the point where we may conquer Satan, who is the “enemy of all righteousness”. To stand for righteousness, we need to be physically, and spiritually active in fighting against Satan and his powers of destruction. We need to be alert to his tactics and protect ourselves as well as others around us, so that he will not gain power over us. Recognizing how Satan is using the ways of the world to silently pull people his direction, is extremely important these days. One of these ways that has been on my mind of late, is how he is convincing people that the gospel should change with the times. He is putting the idea in the hearts of good people, that the gospel is wrong because it doesn’t fit in with the world today. This is plainly not true. The gospel will not change, because it is eternal. The gospel is all that is right and good. When we recognize that, then in order to stand for righteousness, we have to be willing to separate ourselves from the worldly views that Satan has produced. We need to be willing to represent those things that may seem old-fashioned to many and make them a priority in our lives.

    One of the ideas I found used a lot when looking up righteousness in the scriptures, was the idea of seeking for it. In Zephaniah 2:3 we read, “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Again in Matthew 6:33 we read, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” In the sermon that the Savior gives to the Nephites, so much like the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 12:6).” It is not enough to find righteousness on the way. We need to seek after it as if we could not survive (mortally or eternally) without it. It is then, that we will have the spirit with us to the point of being filled. When we find things of righteousness, we need to continue to follow them. In 1 Timothy 6:11 we read, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness. . .”. Where can we find things of righteousness to follow? We can find them in the scriptures, in the gospel taught at church and learned in the temple, and anywhere there are goodly works being accomplished. We stand for righteousness when we actively seek for and follow it.

    In order to stand for righteousness, we cannot falter when we are faced with adversity. We must instead, remain on that path and continue doing good works. In Matthew 5:10 we read, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There are so many good examples in the scriptures of people who continued to have patience through their persecutions, living righteously, and then were greatly blessed for it. I am mindful of the good people of Alma, who lived according to the way that Alma had taught them after leaving wicked King Noah. They were place under bondage of the Lamanites and had heavy burdens placed on them, because they were a righteous people. Mosiah 23:18 reads, “Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” They followed the teachings of Alma, turned to God and continued to live righteous lives. The Lord blessed them to be able to endure their trials, until it was time for them to escape to safety in Zarahemla. To stand for righteousness, we need to remain firm and upright in living it.

    We stand for righteousness, when we stand for the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:18 we read, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” The Savior, in his perfect righteousness, blessed every soul that would ever live. His righteousness is the pattern that we should look towards as an example. In Romans 10:4 we read, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” There is no greater example of it, because he is righteousness. Alma 38:9 reads, “And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.” Live as he taught, teach others to live his teachings, and build up righteousness in the world around you. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, is a sure way to stand for righteousness.

    What then, are the blessings from standing for righteousness? Righteousness brings peace. In Isaiah 32:17 we read, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” There is a peace of soul that comes to us when we stand for righteousness. I have felt it in my own life. It is a knowledge from the spirit, that things will be okay and that blessings will come that will be far greater than I can even imagine. In Proverbs 21:21, it teaches is that, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” If we choose to stand for righteousness in this life, we will find eternal life and honor when our mortal life ends. This is because righteousness in its perfection, is of God and is eternal. In Psalms 111:3 we read, “His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.” The righteousness of God will exist for eternity, and we will be blessed with all that God has in store for us, when we choose to stand for it.

    I look forward to the promise given in Doctrine and Covenants 76:5, which reads, “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.” I pray that I will find myself in the mercy of the Lord, because I know that without his mercy, I am nothing. I know that in order to receive his mercy, I need to be seeking after righteousness, aligning myself with righteousness, defending righteousness, and being a witness for righteousness. I am so grateful for the example of the Savior, that I can look to and follow, as the perfect model of righteousness.

    Do We Stand for Truth?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.
    Love life and learning.
    Stand for truth and righteousness.

    The next question in this series, is do we stand for truth? What does it mean to stand for anything? It means that we actively place ourselves in a position to defend, uphold and be a witness for something. In this case, we are talking about truth. Standing for truth is to rise above anything that is not truth and remain or endure in that upright position for truth, no matter what comes our way. It means to continue to defend and uphold it rather than to fall into destruction.

    What is truth? In Doctrine and Covenants, section 93, the definition of truth is laid out for us along with a lot of information about truth that is helpful to consider.

    24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
    25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
    26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
    27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
    28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
    29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
    30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. …
    36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
    37 Light and truth forsake that evil one. …
    39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
    40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth. (empasis added)

    According to this definition, truth is knowledge of all things as they are, no matter where they can be found in time or eternity. Truth is eternal. We learn this also in Psalms 117:2 which reads, “…the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.” Truth is intelligence. Anything all all things that are not truth are of Satan, because truth is of God. All that is godly, is truth. Just as we are striving towards that reward of godliness, we are striving towards the fullness of knowledge and a glorification in truth. We cannot receive all truth, unless we keep the commandments of God. In other words, in order to stand for truth, we must be living according to the commandments of God. When we stand for truth, we stand against Satan, because he has no power in truth. Our disobedience to the commandments of God, takes truth away from our lives and removes the light of Christ. Finally, from this passage of scripture we learn that it is a commandment from God, that we rear our children in truth. We stand for truth, when we teach our children what truth is or rather what is true, and also when we stand firm to protect it in our homes.

    There is no benefit in our lives, mortal or eternal, to lead a life of anything but truth. In Proverbs 12:19 we learn that, “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” All that is false, falls away and we are left with nothing in eternity, but the ties that we allow Satan to bind us with because of it. In truth we find the freedom that is given to us by God, but in all that is false, we become subject to Satan and give up that freedom. We learn this principle also in John 8, where we read the following:

    31 Then said Jesus … If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. …
    44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

    In order to stand for truth, we cannot live with lies and falsehoods. While Satan is the father of lies and all that is false, the Lord is truth. In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

    Jesus is THE truth. Therefore, Jesus is the “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” as we learned above. Again in Ether 4:12 we read, “And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.” We can only stand for truth, when we stand for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to defend him and uphold all that his gospel stands for, looking to Him in all things. We need to persuade men to do good and believe on the words of Christ.

    In John 3:21 we read, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” To stand for truth, our actions must reflect that which is truth. We stand for truth when we are doers of the word of Christ, coming unto Him and all that is light. In 1 Nephi 16:2 we read, “And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” We cannot stand for truth, if we are wicked or unrighteous, therefore in order to stand for truth, we must be living righteously.

    The Holy Ghost is godly, and as such, is also truth. In John 15 we read the following:

    26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
    27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

    To stand for truth, we stand as a witness for the things that the Holy Ghost testifies to us. When we receive a witness from the Holy Ghost, we have a duty to stand for those things because they are true. We stand for those true things by not allowing things of the world to separate us from them. Rather, we stand for those things by nurturing our testimonies and sharing them with others through our thoughts, words, and actions.

    One of those things that are true, which I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of, is the Book of Mormon. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:26 we read, “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God—” Furthermore, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:45, it says, “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” If we are to stand for truth, and have gained our own testimony of the Book of Mormon, through the witness of the spirit, than we need to stand for the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of the Lord. I know that it is light and witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. To stand for the Book of Mormon, is to stand for Jesus Christ and the truth. We stand for the Book of Mormon and its truth, by living and teaching its precepts to others.

    There are many other things in this world that are true and of God, and we should be seeking for those things. But why should we be so concerned for seeking after these things and standing for truth in this life? We need to stand for truth in life, because our attitudes will continue with us after this life. We all will have to stand for something as we arrive at the judgment day. In Romans 14 we read the following:

    10 … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
    12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    In that day, nothing that is unworthy will be able to remain standing. In Pslams 1:5 it says, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” My hope is that I will be able to remain standing so that I can receive the reward I am longing for, which is to be allowed to stand on the right hand of God and his Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that in order to do this, I must stand for all that is true now by continually striving to keep the commandments, teaching my children what is true, making truth a priority in my home, avoiding lies and falsehoods, looking towards and defending my Savior, persuading others to do good, believing the witness of the spirit, nurturing and sharing my testimony in word and deed, living and teaching the gospel as it is found in the scriptures, and seeking for truth.

    I believe that God is truth. There is a lot in the world these days that pretends to be truth, that is not. I know that we can learn and discern what is truth, by asking ourselves if it is leading us to God. I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, we have a duty to seek out truth and help others to find it as well. I know that we cannot do this if we give into the temptations of the adversary and the world. I believe that their will be great rewards for those who find their place in truth and then stand firm and endure in it as best as they can. I look forward to the day, when I will stand at the judgment bar and I hope with all that is in me, that I will feel that I am worthy to stand in the face of the Lord, because I have done my best to stand for all that is true in this life.

    Do We Love Learning?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.
    Love life and learning.

    Something that I have always loved is to do is learn. I fully believe in the idea that we should be continual learners until the day we die. This is because I believe that we can always be better or do something more than we have done before. This next question is such a fun one for me. Do we love learning? My immediate answer is, if we don’t, we really should.

    The scriptures teach us a lot about learning and what we should be focusing that learning upon. I particularly love Doctrine and Covenants 90:15 which reads, “…and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” There is great benefit in having a well-rounded knowledge. If we hope to become like God, and God is the founder of all that is good, as well as being all-knowing, then it makes perfect sense that we should be learning all that we can from all that is good. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 we read, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” You cannot separate secular learning from spiritual learning in the eternal perspective. That is a distinction that man has made and I think it is part of the reason that we are loosing so much valuable spiritual learning in every-day life. If we make all our learning a matter of study and faith, we will know what is good and we will find a sincere love for learning.

    There are many ways to learn. Of course, I think we all should recognize the blessings of learning in a school-type setting. Gaining an education in the those things we learn from standard schools, is a benefit to all areas of our lives, even if we don’t recognize it at the time. I truly believe that in order for us to create, lead, guide and love as God does, we need to have an understanding of all things. And I truly believe that we will take our understanding and knowledge with us when we leave this mortal life. I believe the words found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” If we do not love the learning we can gain through school, we are denying ourselves that portion of understanding, which I fully believe God has. Even if we are not currently in school, we can continue to learn things of a secular nature, through books, online courses, asking others to teach us what they know and more.

    For greater spiritual learning, we have personal study of the scriptures and other gospel books, which I have found to be a significant blessing and motivator in my own life. There is also family study of these, which helps us to learn from one another, become strengthened as a family unit, and gives us great opportunities to share and strengthen our testimonies. Likewise, we can study as couples, which I think is a great tool for a couple to grow together and keep their passions, goals, and desires in line with one another. The scriptures are there for our learning. In 1 Nephi 19:23 we read, “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” Likewise in 2 Nephi 4:15 we read, “And upon these [the plates] I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.” I have a great love for the scriptures and this is because I love learning from them. The scriptures are not some made up books for us to simply find entertaining, but rather the greatest books we could ever hope to learn from in this life.

    We also have the great opportunity to learn at church or through programs such as institute, firesides and conferences. There was a talk I listened to recently, given by John Bytheway, where he talked about the need for us to go to church with an imaginary bucket we want to fill. Sometimes, we take something much smaller, or nothing at all, with which to put greater knowledge and understanding into, and we leave with so much less than we could get out of our Sunday worship. He suggests that if we go with the idea that we are going to fill our bucket and really get as much as we can out of each meeting, we will find our Sundays so much more enriching. I really think that his idea is right.

    We continue to have the opportunity for learning in our counsels (meetings), in the family setting, out in the world, and at church. There is, of course, general conference, where we can learn what the Lord wants for His people. We can learn things of the spirit, by sharing our testimonies with others and listening to the testimonies of others. And finally, one of the greatest places to learn things of a spiritual nature, is in the temple. It is in the temple where we learn the things that God wants us to know that we simply cannot learn any where else in the world.

    I often wonder if I am taking full advantage of all the opportunities that God has given me, to learn the things of both spiritual and secular nature. I have considered this a lot more lately, because over the last year, I have been involved in a program called Celestial University. The program was started in the ward I was in before moving earlier this year, but I was committed to seeing it through after we moved. I chose to try for a “degree” in theology, which meant that I would focus my goals for the year on studying and learning things of the gospel. I found, however, that I was able to work on study in all areas of my life and have really been blessed by it. Part of this program, focused on the goals that require us to learn from experience more than from a lesson or a book.

    One of the ways that we learn the best is through experience. In Genesis 30:27, Laban, the father-in-law of Jacob (Israel), says, “I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” We can find a love for learning by experience when we recognize the blessings that come from it. I know that this life would not be worth it, if all we did was learn from books and teachers. While there is great benefit in this type of learning, I think the greater blessings come from living the things we have been taught and experiencing the consequences of our choices, both for good or bad. Psalms 119:71 reads, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” This is how we gain understanding and wisdom of the things of this world and of the spirit. The understanding and wisdom will bring us the joy and happiness we desire. When we learn by experience, we can do greater things, just as our Savior has done. In Hebrews 5 we read the following:

    8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
    9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    The Savior, whose life we should emulate, had to learn obedience through the experience of suffering in order to be made perfect. We should try to find a love for learning through experience as well, so that we will make greater attempts to become more like our Savior.

    We show our love for learning, when we maintain a spirit of humility. If we are proud and take the attitude of ‘we know better’, than we are not teachable and nothing is gained. In Alma 32:12 we read, “I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.” We cannot learn, and therefore love learning, unless we recognize that we are not perfect in our knowledge and understanding. We would do good, to humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to the teachings of others and especially the teachings of the spirit.

    We should love learning about the commandments of God, because they are of such great importance. In Alma 37:35 we read, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” Our lives will be easier if we learn these when we are younger, so that we can live them. In Deuteronomy 5:1, Moses, who gave us the ten commandments directly from the Lord, taught, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.” When we learn the things that God would have us learn, we are able to have greater peace and happiness in this life. In Matthew 11:29 we read, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” That thought is also found in Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, which reads, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” Becoming wise from our learning is only a benefit if we are willing to live what we learn of the things God has taught us. In 2 Nephi 9:29 we read, “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” It is conditional. If we learn, but do not obey the things of God, we will not benefit from that learning. In fact, if we learn of the counsels of God and then choose not to hearken to them, we are doing ourselves a greater disservice in the more eternal perspective of our lives.

    There is wisdom in learning. In proverbs 1:5 we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;…” If we aren’t continually striving for greater knowledge, we will get nowhere in this life or the next. I believe that when we seek, the Lord will openly bless us with the learning that we seek. In Matthew 7 we read the following:

    7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (See also 3 Ne. 14:7)

    God has also given us this as a guide in more modern times. In Doctrine and Covenants we read 1 we read the following:

    24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. …
    26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; …

    Of course, we receive greater wisdom and knowledge from learning the things of God first. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 we read, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” In are love for learning, we need to be mindful of what is better for us to learn. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:7 we read, “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.”

    Why do we learn and why should we have a love for learning? Because, we will benefit from it in this life and after it. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:19 it says, “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” If this is too deep and all we can focus on, is the here and now, then we should recognize the great benefits that come from us continuing to learn. When we learn, we are not only giving ourselves greater opportunities in life, such as better occupations and the ability to make better decisions, but we will have greater opportunities to use our knowledge for good. We can only teach others, if we know for ourselves. Learning will help us to be better teachers as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. Learning helps us to be able to contribute more to our communities and in our churches. I know that when we are able to help those around us because of the things we have learned, we feel so much happier and a greater love for learning.

    I am so glad that I have been given the capacity to learn and I know that this is a reason for this mortal life being what it is. We have trials and difficulties so that we can learn. We have joys and blessings, so that we can learn. We have the scriptures so that we can learn. We have the gospel and prophets today, so that we can learn. We have the amazing gift of agency, so that we can learn. We have the even greater gift of the spirit, so that we can learn. And all of these make us better people now and in the eternities. Learning will make us more like our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that I am blessed when I learn. I believe that as women and people of faith, we are happier when we have a love for learning.

    Do We Love Life?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.
    Love life and learning.

    The next question in this series, is do we love life? I know that there have been plenty of times in my life when I have felt in a bit of a rut. It can be really easy to feel like we are just going through the motions, but this is not what life is all about. We are here to learn and grow, which we cannot do if we are just passing the time day to day. What is it that helps us to love life, so that we don’t remain in the state of passing time? It is those things that bring us real lasting joy and happiness. As we learn from Nephi, “men are that we might have joy”. (see 2 Nephi 2:25)

    I am sure that what brings me joy and happiness in this life may differ a bit from anyone else I talk to, but I think that the majority of people would at least include their family in the list. Family is the core of all that is important in life. In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it says that “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children”. I know that as I make my family a priority and really dedicate myself to them, I find the greatest joy and really love life. To love life, is also to seek after the things that are the best. We love life, when we develop our talents and share them with others. A loved life, is one that is active in those things that are good for us. We do not love life, if we idle away our time, or sit by and let ourselves be acted upon, instead of being active ourselves.

    One of the ways that we maintain these feelings of joy is to have a gratitude for life and all it has to offer us. In other words, it is to be grateful to our creator for the life we have been given and the multitude of daily blessings we can enjoy within it. In Job 33:4 we read, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” We can discover what life is really about, when we turn to God in gratitude. We show that gratitude by choosing to live life, the way that God intended us to. In proverbs 21:21 we read, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Also, in 1 Peter 3 we can read the following:

    10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
    11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

    Ultimately, we can have a greater love of this life and a greater hope in the blessings of eternity if we live well, because we honor God when we do. The Love of God can be found within our hearts, when we live righteously. In Proverbs 8:35 it says, “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.”

    The first commandment is to love the Lord. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) In order to love life, we must love the Lord. This is because he has said, “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (3 Nephi 9:18, emphasis added) The Lord is the life that we should love, because he has given us life and made all things possible for us.

    We can have a greater love of life, if we can see the larger picture. This mortal life, with all its difficulties and challenges, is just a small moment in the greater span of our eternal life. I cannot help but appreciate my life right now, when I think of all that it is preparing me for in my eternal life. Romans 8:6 reads, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Keeping a spiritual perspective brings peace and with that comes the ability to love life that much more.

    I am grateful for the life that I have been given. I hope that I can show that gratitude more, so that I may be filled with greater peace and love. I know that we can love our lives and as believers in Christ, we can know that this is what he truly wants for us. I hope that more of us can seek for those things that bring real joy and happiness so that we can love our lives and live it the best we can.

    Do We Delight in Giving Service and Doing Good Works?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
    Delight in service and good works.

    To delight is to take great pleasure, satisfaction, or joy in something. I truly delight in several things in my life such as crossing off items on my todo list each day, making a new meal and my family enjoying it, studying the scriptures and understanding something new, hearing about something good my daughters have done, and so on. These things bring my great happiness. As disciples of Jesus Christ, and people who strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is nothing better then the joy that comes from doing what is right and good. This is not some new notion for modern times. The prophets of old wrote about this several times in the scriptures. In Psalms 40:8 we read, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” When we delight in the will of God, which is service and good works, we have a love for his commandments. This concept of delighting in service and good works, causes me to think about what it is I do and create with the time that I have been blessed with. In Isaiah 55:2 it says, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (emphasis added)” We should feel completely satisfied by the good that we do and seek for in this life.

    I’ve thought a lot about the things that I create in my life. We are creating something every day and often times we are creating multiple things each day. I believe that even when we feel like we are doing nothing, we are creating something we should not want to create. When I choose not to do what I should be doing, I create something that Satan can use against me, such as a bad habit. We really should avoid this kind of creating, because it leads to sins of all types. We will not find true delight in sinning. In 2 Nephi 9:49 we read, “Behold, my soul abhorreth sin, and my heart delighteth in righteousness; and I will praise the holy name of my God.” Rather that creating things that support Satan and his cause, we should be creating the things that support God and his cause. We really should find delight in serving others and doing works that are good.

    Our duty as covenanted saints and disciples of Christ, is to give all that we can to the service of God. In Romans 12:1 we read, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” When we delight in these things, we willingly give of our bodies to the service of the Lord. In Ephesians 6 we read the following:

    5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
    6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
    7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
    8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
    9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

    We need to serve others, not as if we are serving them, but as if we are serving God. Know that God will bless accordingly, no matter who you are in this life. I think we should ask ourselves how God would serve this person or group? After all, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) If we think about doing a service for God, because we are indeed serving him when we serve others, then the effort to accomplish that service will bring the delight that comes from trying harder to accomplish something, as well as a knowledge that we are making our Father in Heaven proud of or happy with the things we do.

    When we serve with God in mind and seeking for delight, I think we are more inclined to do more than would ever be expected of us. In Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 we read, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” When we give our all and don’t stop at only serving a portion of what is needed, our joy will be full at that last day when we stand before God.

    Our example of good works and service will bring others closer to God. In Matthew 5:16 we read, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Others will be able to recognize where the light within us comes from us, when we strive to do good works. Our influence is great. In Doctrine and Covenants 64:33 we read, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Great things come from every small good work we do. There is no greater satisfaction or delight that we can have, then in bringing others to God. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 we read, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” And also in Mosiah 5:15 we read, “Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.” I know that when we do service and good works, others will see our light and we will seal the covenants we have made with the Lord. He will give us our salvation and eternal life, and this should give us something amazing to delight in, both in this life and in the kingdom of God.

    I feel that I have a lot to improve upon in my choices every day, to get to where the Lord wants me to be with this. I think that if I can change my perspective to choose more of things that I can delight in, which would also be a service to my Father in Heaven, then I will be on the right track. I am grateful for the divine attributes of womanhood, which help me to be more mindful of the needs of others, especially if I am living worthy of the guidance of the spirit. I have had so much delight in the service and good works that I have done in my life and I look forward to improving and filling my life with even more.

    Do We Find Joy in Womanhood?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
    Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
    Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
    Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
    Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.

    Joy is the reason we are here. According to 2 Nephi 2:25, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” We are here on this earth to have the joy that God promised the faithful, before we came. We can have great joy in this life, if we live in a way to be able to recognize and receive it. As women, I think we spend a lot of our lives getting down on ourselves. We think a lot about all the things we should have done, but didn’t get finished. We focus a lot on our flaws and the things that make us so far from perfection. It seems to be a common part of the female characteristics within us. We may be willing to forgive others, but we find it extremely difficult to forgive ourselves. If we spend so much of our time focusing on the perceived failures, flaws and imperfections in ourselves, we cannot possibly recognize the joy that our lives have to offer us, or rather that God has to offer us because of the good we are and do.

    Womanhood is a blessing. President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:

    “Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

    “Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth.” (“Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11.)

    He may have been talking to the young women in saying this, but the thought is true for all women. To find the joy in womanhood, we need to first recognize what the natural and divine characteristics of women are, otherwise called our divine nature. We can find these qualities as we live in a way that is virtuous, honor our bodies, cultivate our minds, enlarge our understanding, and nurture our spirits.

    There are qualities that are inhierantly different for men and women and therefore are part of what we should celebrate in womanhood. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” it says the following about one of those qualities:

    By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

    Men are divinely created to be the providers and protectors and they have the qualities that make them good at this. Women are divinely created to be nurturers. Not just to our children, but to all people. We have the qualities within us to make us great at this. As women, I believe we are blessed with the ability to draw close to the Lord with greater ease than men. We are more in tune with things of the spirit. Because of this, we tend towards the more gentle side of things. We have the ability to be more forgiving, loving, kind, and charitable. These nurturing qualities should be praised and never pushed aside for the things of the world.

    We have been blessed with the amazing ability to bear children, which is nothing short of a miracle. President Spencer W. Kimball said the following:

    Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord’s spirit children and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments. Could there be a more sacred trust than to be a trustee for honorable, well-born, well-developed children? (“The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976.)

    As mothers, we have the power within us to be extremely influential. Our children look to us for care, learning, guidance and direction. I cannot count the number of times when I have heard grown men and women talk about the amazing influence of their mothers. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve once said the following:

    . . . women are the compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. (“The Sanctity of Womanhood,” General Conference Address, April 2000)

    Families need these wonderful qualities of a woman to keep them together. I believe that this is why a mother is part of the eternal design of families.

    Moreover, our husbands depend on our nurturing care for support and strength. I believe that most great men are where they are because of the support of great women. They may not always realize it, but they need us just as we need them. In 1 Corinthians 11 we can read the following:

    11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
    12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

    Together, men and women are able to receive all the blessings that God has in store for us. Our role in that partnership as women, cannot be replaced. One of the first things we read in the bible has to do with this relationship in mortality. In Genesis 2:24 we read, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” We become first to our husband, who leave their families to be in union with us. If this relationship is treated properly, we should be able to find great joy in our part of it as women.

    To find joy in womanhood, I love to read and listen to the words of the general authorities to us as women. They have the amazing ability to build us up and give us the guidance we need. In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball was quoted as saying, “Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! … To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103). I know that this is true even today. We live in a world that is challenging and has evil around every corner. Our amazing influence as women can touch our family members whether we are married or not, have children or not, or even if our family is not near us now. Our influence reaches those we work with, go to school or church with, and even those we pass on the streets each day. I know that if we seek to find more joy in womanhood, we will have a greater desire to do good. I hope that I can remember to rejoice in my own womanhood and use my divine qualities to be a greater influence for good in the lives of those around me.


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
    Testimony

    Testimony

    I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

    Testimony

    NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

    Current Study

    Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

    Learn More:

    I'm a Mormon

    The Book of Mormon

    You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

    Book of Mormon Request

    Archives

    Follow me on Facebook:

    My Wonderful Husband and Artist


    %d bloggers like this: