Archive for the 'Pearl of Great Price' Category

Ponderizing – Week 1 Thoughts

Moses 1:39

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I chose this scripture this week, because my family has been focusing a talk given by Elder Rafael E. Pino during the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His talk is entitled “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel“, and it references the verse I chose.

I have been looking at the bigger picture this week. This is not something new to me. In fact I do it quite frequently. But I have had some specific thoughts about it. First of all, I believe that part of the purpose of life, is to align my will with the will of God, so that I might become more like Him. If my will is to become aligned with God’s will, then my work needs to be a part of His work, the work “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.

First, I need an understanding of what this means. What is immortality? We live in mortal bodies, in a mortal world. This means that we all will some day die. This physical death became a part of the life of mankind, when Adam and Eve fell from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. God’s work was to create a way for mankind to become immortal beings, in order to physically live forever. The atonement of His Son provided the way back. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the Fall of Adam. Hence, all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies.” (Bible Dictionary:Atonement) Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all people are unconditionally provided with resurrection after this life, and therefore, all mankind will overcome physical death and become immortal beings, with bodies of flesh and bone. (Bible Dictionary:Resurrection)

How can I be a part of this work of bringing to pass the immortality of man, when the Savior has already made this possible? I can be grateful for this blessing, because it gives me hope of life after death. I can share my testimony of this with others, and most especially, I can teach this gospel truth to my children. In doing this, I can bring greater hope to others.

What is eternal life? In the Guide to the Scriptures, it is defined as, “To live forever as families in God’s presence. Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.” Jesus Christ made Eternal life possible through his infinite atonement. In the Bible Dictionary, we read, “his grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” (Bible Dictionary:Grace) Eternal life is a gift, that unlike immortality, must be gained. We use our agency in this life, to choose if we will accept this gift. All are blessed to live after this mortal life, but it is up to us to choose how we will live.

How do I make this work a part of my work? First, I must choose to accept His gift of the atonement in my life. How do I do that? Eternal life is accepted when I live my life according to the commandments of God. The Savior has told men to come unto Him and to follow Him. He has shown me the importance of making covenants, such as baptism and temple covenants. The covenants of baptism are the gateway to eternal life and the temple covenants provide the blessings of eternal life, through the sealing power. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered.” (Bible Dictionary: Temple) I have made these covenants for myself, and have taken the necessary steps to claim the blessings. Jesus taught many, the importance of renewing covenants by partaking of the sacrament, which I have the opportunity to do each week. The scriptures also teach me that I need to believe that He is the Christ, and live according to that belief. I do this most, when I live a life of charity towards others. When I do these things, I will come to know Him. In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Second, I make this work my own, when I share this knowledge with others. I need to teach my children that they can have the ability to return and live with God again. I know these things to be true for myself, but if others are not taught, how will they know? I send my children off to school, so that they can become prepared for the rest of their lives. I want them to be successful, happy and have all the blessing that life has to offer them. God sends all people here, to the earth, to become prepared for the rest of their eternal lives. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to help others to know what amazing blessings await them. I will continue to make this my work, by helping others to know of Christ, to know the importance of baptism and temple covenants, and to know the blessings of repentance and partaking of the sacrament. Also, I have the opportunity to be a source of strength to others as they strive to endure to the end.

I hope that as part of this work, my testimony and thoughts shared on this blog, can help others to learn of these things.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

This life is so much more that our current situations. It is so much more than even birth to death. We have so much to live for. I am so grateful for this understanding and I hope that I can have the courage and strength to do my part in the work of the Lord, that I might partake in His glory.

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Ponderizing – Week 1

Brother Devin G. Durrant, of the LDS Sunday School General Presidency, gave the following challenge in the General Conference of the Church of Latter-day Saints this past weekend. He said, “I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.”

I have chosen Moses 1:39 this week, which reads

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I plan on posting about this experience at the end of a week. I invite all of my readers to join me in this invitation to “ponderize” a verse of scripture.

(For more of this category, click here: Ponderizing)

The Thirteenth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

We believe that we should be honest and true people. Our integrity is a precious thing. Being honest and true in all things, keeps our integrity intact. Proverbs 20:7 reads, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” When I think of honesty, I think of what it means to be dishonest. All things that are meant to mislead others or raise ourselves up in a manner of false perceptions or lies, which are those things that are dishonest, are things of Satan. Satan is the father of lies. Satan wants to shadow the truth with a little dishonesty here and there, and when we give in to these things, we are following Him. Honesty on the other hand, keeps us following Christ. Honesty is a very worthwhile attribute, which leads to stronger relationships, building up of trust, and so much more. Personally, one of the most obvious blessings of being an honest person, has been that people have found me trustworthy. I have been blessed with greater responsibilities in work, opportunities to have higher positions, chances to do work that others are not allowed to do, and a feeling of value that has given me a sense of strength and courage.

We believe in being chaste. The concept of chastity is fading away in the world we live in today. There are many who feel that being chaste is a thing of the past, and that we all need to change with the times. Chastity is purity. It is absolutely necessary for us to be clean if we hope to live with God again. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” As temples, our bodies must be clean if we hope to have the spirit dwell in our hearts. Our cleanliness or purity will determine if we can dwell with God, because “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). There is safety in this life and in the life to come, if we remain pure and chaste now.

Benevolence is charity and kindness. We believe in being a people of service and love, and continually striving to live as Jesus did. We believe in living life with our minds set on helping others in whatever way that we can. The Lord blesses each of us with material things, talents, time, and energy. The best way that we can show our gratitude to Him for all that we have, is to use it for good. The world today, tries to focus a lot of attention on what we can do for ourselves, but this is not how the Lord wants us to live. We need to be mindful of those in need. In giving, we can share the light of Christ with all those around us. In James 1:27 we read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is truly how we show our love and devotion to our Father in Heaven.

We believe in being virtuous. Being virtuous is being morally clean. In the topical guide, the word virtuous references Psalms 24.

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.

One who is virtuous is worthy to be in holy places of the Lord, because he has clean hands and a pure heart. We believe that we should not involve ourselves in those things which keep up unworthy, especially those related to our morality. We believe that the Lord has established that physical intimacy outside of marriage, is against his laws. Being a virtuous person will allow us amazing blessings, in particular those that can be received through attending the temple, which are the greatest blessings of all.

We believe in serving others. This is the type of life that the Savior patterned for us. We need to be continually engaged in doing good to others. This doesn’t mean that we should always be performing grand gestures of service, but mostly that we need to be constantly courteous and mindful of those around us. The good we do can be as simple as a smile or a hug. I think that it is extremely important, especially as we are living in a time where the world would have us take huge amounts of time to focus on ourselves, that we do our best to put the needs of others as a priority in our lives. We need to do kind deeds, teach whenever possible (especially the gospel truth), show sympathy and love, and pray for others. We believe that the reason for living this way, is that we will be eternally judged for our works in this life. If we live a life of good works, we will receive the greatest reward later. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” I have experienced great blessing for the good works I have done in my life and I know that our lives will be greatly enriched through the service we give.

Paul taught the followers of Christ, the way to be saints. If we, as members, hope to live up to the name of our church, which claims that we are saints of these latter-days, than we need to be willing to be saints. In his letter to the Philippians he said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phillippians 4:8)” This is the admonition of Paul, of which we want to follow.

Faith is a Sunrise

We are believers or people of faith. There is a lot of what we believe that cannot physically be proven, but rather is felt to the center of our beings. Our beliefs are focused on the hope that God is there and will bless us for living righteously. In Jeremiah 17:7 we read, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Our beliefs are centered on an eternity and the possibility to live with God and our families again after this life. We are Christians, in the pure sense of the word. We believe that we can only receive salvation through Jesus Christ, who gave the eternal sacrifice for our sins and died so that we could live again. As Christians, we have been in a constant battle against the enemies of God. The early saints suffered all things in standing up for the gospel of Christ. We believe that true saints of God will continue to face extreme trials at the hands of those who do not believe. We will have to endure all the trials of our lives in order to receive the great reward that God has offered to us. We believe that if we are faithful in our endurance, God will be there to support and sustain us through all things we face. We need to remain steadfast, strong and firm in our beliefs, so that we can learn from our trials and have the ability to grow and progress. If we continually seek to find and follow those things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy, we will find happiness in this life and joy in the eternities. All things that are good, come from God. In Moroni 7:12 we read, “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.” We believe that in order to come unto Christ and return to live with God again someday, we need to look for the good and avoid the evil at all costs.

I am a believer. I have hope in my salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to live a life worthy of the rewards promised to all the children of God. I look forward with faith and hope in the blessings of eternal life. I am so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I have been blessed to believe in the truths found in the articles of faith.

The Twelfth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

We believe that government is something that was established by God before the world began. God is our ultimate King and Ruler, with His Son, Jesus Christ and Lord over all mankind. Government, when led by good people trying to do what is best for its subjects, is designed for the benefit of everyone. This belief is expressed in Doctrine and Covenants 134:1. “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.”

We are subjects and citizens in kingdoms, nations, countries and so on. In these societies, we are to be held accountable for our own actions. The only way for us to be held accountable is if we have individuals or groups which oversee the creation and enforcement of the laws of the land. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:3 we read, “We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same . . .”. Without leaders of the land, I think that we would have chaos and a lot more evil in the world. Those who rule may be kings, presidents, rulers, or magistrates depending on the type of government. In Titus 3:1 we read of what the saints should be willing to do. “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work”.

We do not believe that any should be allowed to rule in a way where they seek to get gain at the expense of those they lead. Men should be free to think for themselves and have protection for themselves and their loved ones. We also believe that it is a god-given right for us to have our own property and belongings, and that no government should force a person to give these things up, and when absolutely necessary they should be properly compensated. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:2 we read, “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

We believe that it is our duty as subjects, to obey, honor and sustain the laws of the land. This does not mean that we need to be subject to them in religious matters, because they do not govern our souls. In Matthew 22:21 we read, “. . . Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Again in Doctrine and Covenants 134:7 we read, “We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.” If we are committed to following God’s laws, then we will be willing to follow all laws of the land, as long as they do not go against the things of God. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:21 we read, “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”

As saints, we should be willing to respect those who lead our country, even when we may disagree with how they rule. In 1 Peter 2:17 we read the words of Peter. “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” We believe that we, as citizens, should stand up for what we know is right, while remembering that we are all children of God and we each deserve respect in our duties. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:6 we read, “We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.”

I believe that we can learn a great deal from being obedient to the laws of the land. When we are disobedient to these laws, we tend to have physical and tangible consequence that we are made to experience. With spiritual laws, often times the consequence is not one we may immediately recognize or understand, which may make them harder to follow. If we can restrain our passions and desires in a way that keeps us obedient to the laws of the land, we can be better prepared to be obedient to those laws of God. I am grateful for the laws of the land, because they give me a sense of security and safety physically in this life, that I know I would not have otherwise. I am grateful for those leaders who have the difficult work of making decisions for multitudes of people with diverse backgrounds, cultures, desires, and so on. I have a hard enough time leading in my home, and could not imagine trying to take on that responsibility. I believe that it is our duty to pray for these leaders, that they might be inspired in righteous ways and truly do what is best for all of their citizens and subjects. I know that it is also our duty to speak up when decisions are being made, so that we may be an influence for good. We have a responsibility to be aware of what our governments are doing and ways that we can help our societies.

The Eleventh Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in the personal freedom of religion. We believe in being able to worship God how ever we feel is right in our life with the same privileges as anyone else may have. In Alma 21:22 we read, “And he also declared unto them that they might have the liberty of worshiping the Lord their God according to their desires, in whatsoever place they were in, if it were in the land which was under the reign of king Lamoni.” As long as the god-given rights of one are not stopping another from worshipping, there should be no interference from anyone else. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:4, a further explanation is given. “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

We do not believe in any type of force when it comes to how one chooses to worship. Lately there has been a lot of public attempts to stop allowing people to worship freely. Even going so far as not allowing people to say Merry Christmas and such, when it is an outward expression of their beliefs. The way of the world, is to take away the freedoms of worship, so that those who choose not to worship do not have to see that anyone else does worship. This takes away the privileges of those who choose to worship. In effect, these decisions in the public sphere are causing the devout to be forced into hiding their own methods of worshipping God. There is so much good to be found in so many of the religions today, and this comes from a desire to worship God. There is a great need for religious tolerance in our world today. We believe that we are all spiritual sons and daughters of God, and as such, it is our privilege to worship, believe in, communicate with, and praise Him, how we see fit.

I am so grateful to live in a country where religious freedom has been established for so long. I know that there are places in the world where this freedom is not realized by many. I look forward to the day when the oppressions of unrighteous leaders will no longer exist and all people will have the ability to worship God freely.

The Tenth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We believe that the Lord promised the Children of Israel that they would be scattered if they failed to keep his commandments and live righteously. In Deuteronomy 28:64 we read, “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” Then we learn of the outcome of this promise in 2 Kings, chapter 17:

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger:
12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.
15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
20 And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

We believe that it is truth that Israel will be gathered again. In 1 Nephi 10:14 we read, “And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.” We believe that this gathering will literally be fulfilled. In Deuteronomy 30:3 we read, “That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.” The tribes of Israel will be gathered together from all the earth, where they were scattered. Moreover, we believe that this gathering has already begun. In Doctrine and Covenants 110:11, we learn when this gathering started. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the keys of the priesthood restored to them, which gave them the authority from God to do this work. “After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.”

We believe that the tribes of Israel will be restored to the knowledge of the truth, which has long since been denied and forgotten. In 3 Nephi 20 we learn what the Savior taught the Nephites of this:

30 And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;
31 And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

We believe that this restoration started with the gospel being taken to the gentiles, or those who were not of the house of Israel. This started with the translation of the Book of Mormon and the missionaries being sent out to the world to preach of the gospel. We believe that as the gentiles have received the gospel, they have made covenants with God, which has allowed us to be adopted into the house of Israel. We believe that it is our responsibility to take the fullness of the gospel to the rest of the world, which will bring the scattered tribes back together.

We believe that along with the gathering and restoration of the ten tribes of Israel, that Zion will be built. We believe that this Zion will also be knows as the New Jerusalem and it will exist as a partner to Jerusalem, which will be built again by the gathering of the tribes. We believe further, that the New Jerusalem will be upon the American continent. In Doctrine and Covenants 45 we read the following:

66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

In another modern revelation, the Lord revealed that Zion, the New Jerusalem, would be built in the state of Missouri (see D&C 84:3). We believe that this will be the center of Zion, but that Zion as a whole will exist throughout the world, in the hearts of the righteous and covenant people of the Lord.

We also believe that Christ, the Lord and Savior of mankind, will come again and will reign as Lord over the earth. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Then in Doctrine and Covenants 76:63 we read, “These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.” He will bring all the nations under his reign, and all people will know that He is the Christ. I think one of the things I look forward to most, is that all laws will be the laws of God, and all governments will be under his rule. This means that all those things that are wicked and unrighteous about governments today, will no longer exist.

Finally we believe that at the second coming of Christ, the earth will be cleansed of all wickedness. In Malachi 4:1 we read, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” We believe that the earth will be renewed to its perfect state and then it will receive its proper glory, which is paradisiacal. In Isaiah 51:3 we read, “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Then later in Isaiah 65:17 we read, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” That paradisiacal condition will be like the Garden of Eden that existed for Adam and Eve. Then it will have the glory and be prepared for the righteous to dwell upon the face of it.

These beliefs bring me such great joy and excitement. I believe that the work of the Lord is going forth and that the tribes of Israel are indeed being gathered, because the gospel is spreading across the earth. I know that wether I am alive or not, I will rejoice at the second coming of the Lord. I know that the earth will be prepared for his reign, and therefore it must be pure of all wickedness. This will be the beginning of the millennium, and I am so excited for the great work and blessings that will come from that time.

The Ninth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

We believe that God is unchanging. In Malachi 3:6 we read, “For I am the Lord, I change not . . .”. We believe that when Adam and Eve were on the earth, He revealed gospel truth and mysteries of the kingdom to him. In Moses chapter 5 we read

, 4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
. . .
58 And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.
59 And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen.

This revelation made it possible for Adam and his posterity to do all that was necessary to earn the reward of salvation and eternal life. In Amos 3:7 we read, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” We believe that he continued to reveal marvelous things to all the prophets of old, which we can learn about through out the scriptures. In Ephesians chapter 3 paul records the following:

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery . . .

This gift of revelation is recorded often throughout the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 18:3 we read, “And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.” The records of the revelations of ancient times, create a foundation of faith for us today. We believe that this revelation did not stop with the ancient prophets, because God changes not.

We believe that God revealed the everlasting gospel to the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph read James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He followed that direction, asked God, and received great and marvelous revelations to lead and guide the Lord’s people. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:17 we read, “Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments . . .”. We believe that He continues to reveal to the prophets today. Only the prophet and president of the church can receive revelation for the church as a whole.

We believe also that we can receive personal revelation, to guide and direct our personal lives. In Moroni 10:4 we read, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” This is one of the blessings of having the Gift of the Holy Ghost with us at all times. The key us that we must have faith and follow the commandments to receive this revelation. Otherwise we can only be influenced by the Spirit on occasion. We can only receive revelation for ourselves and those who we have a stewardship over, such as our children. As individuals we do not have authority to receive revelations for those who are over us, such as the leaders of the church.

Finally, we believe that God will continue to reveal to mankind through his prophets and personal wisperings of the spirit. In 2 Nephi 27:11 we read, “And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.” I don’t think that God has revealed all things to all people, because so many of us still have a lot of questions about God and His creations and plan. I am so grateful for revelations, especially those that guide my life personally. I look forward to the greater knowledge that God has to give us. I hope that I will be receptive to those revelations when they come, so that I can learn and grow from them.

The Eighth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

The Bible is an inspired collection of writings including revelations from God. We believe, however, that some parts of the Bible have been lost in translation throughout time. This is due to the errors of man and also to the persuasions of Satan to remove certain truths from the record. We do believe that the majority of it has been translated correctly and that it is a true testimony of Jesus Christ. It is made understandable and clear through the record found in the Book of Mormon. We believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that it also includes many of the revelations of God to man, but it is from the perspective of those who lived on the American continent. It was translated by the power of God and is therefore true and correct in its current state. Together, these records will teach us all what we now need to know regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our own personal responsibility to study the scriptures and to seek for answers and guidance in our own lives through their teachings. I am grateful for both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I believe there is eternal truth to be found if we take the time to study them and apply their teachings to our lives.

The Seventh Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe in gifts of the spirit, meaning gifts that we can receive through the power of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians we read the following:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

These gifts were received in new testament times, because the saints lived worthy enough for the spirit to bless them. We too can have the opportunity to gain the gifts of the spirit, depending on our own worthiness and desire to do righteous things. We believe also, that different gifts are given to different people, depending on how they will be able to use them for the good of all. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:11 we read, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.”

Our gifts are to be used for the work of God, in our homes, in the church, or in the community. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:26 we read, “And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.” We believe that if we do not use our gifts, they will be taken away from us. In Ether 12:35 we read, “Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.” It is best for us to discover these gifts and use them, so that we can learn and grow from them.

The gift of tongues is the gift to be able to speak in languages that are not natural to us. Most of the time I hear of this gift, it is missionaries who have gone to foreign lands and are able to teach the word of God to others. The gift of prophecy is most commonly given to prophets I think. I imagine that those who are called to be patriarchs are also given the gift of prophecy as well. This gift allows them the ability to tell people what can happen in their future depending upon their faithfulness. The gift of revelations is the gift that allows the prophets to receive guidance for the entire church, as well as the gift that allows us to receive direction for our own lives and for how to direct those who we have a stewardship over. The gift of visions is not one that we hear of outside of our scriptures very often. There have been many prophets who have had the gift of visions, and have testified of them to their people. This gift allows for more revelation of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. The gift of healings is amazing. This is a more obvious gift, which allows the ability to help another who is physically, emotionally, or spiritually sick. Often times this is used through the use of priesthood power, but I think that many others are blessed with this gift as a natural part of who they are and what they do with their lives. The gift of interpretations of tongues is the ability to understand languages that are not natural to us. This gift allows us to sometimes understand things that we would not normally understand, even so far as language that has not been understood for a very long time. I have read and heard stories of times when people have been blessed with the gift of tongues and the interpretations of tongues, and others have been edified and uplifted by these experiences. In my study, I read a warning that this gift is very easily used by the devil, to lead some away. We must be on guard to make sure those who claim to have this gift are doing it through the Spirit and nothing else. I think that mostly we must recognize if we are uplifted and edified through this gift, and if not, than it is not from the Spirit.

We believe that there are many other gifts of the spirit, which can bless our lives and the lives of others. These gifts and talents are given to us by God, through the Spirit. I am very grateful for the gifts that I have received. I hope that I am doing my best to recognize my gifts, so that I can do the will of God with what He has given me.

The Sixth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

In Ephesians 4:11 we read the following:

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
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:

We believe that at the time when the Savior established his church, there were callings put into place. These included apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so on. In Luke 6:13 we read, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles”. There are twelve who were called, or chosen by Christ, to be special witnesses of Him and to lead his church. Likewise, there are twelve apostles called today, to lead the church and to stand as special witnesses of the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the organization of the church in modern times was occurring, revelation was received and in Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 we read, “The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.”

There have been prophets since the time of Adam. In Exodus 7:1 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” When Christ was living, he was the head of his church on the earth. All the apostles were called to prophesy to the people, and therefore were prophets who spoke to the people with the spirit of revelation. After the death of Christ, the prophets continued to lead His church by the authority of the priesthood and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, the twelve apostles are called as prophets of the Lord as well. In particular, one is called to be the head of the church and to act as the mouthpiece of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:45 we read, “And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.” It is our duty to listen to the prophets and heed their words. They are there to guide and direct us in the path that will lead us back to God and Jesus Christ.

We believe in pastors who are the shepherds or ministers of the church. In Jeremiah 3:15 we read, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Those who minister directly to the membership of Christ’s church, are the bishops, who are called to teach the gospel and lead the individual members of the church. They are also called as judges in Israel. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:17 we read, “And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children”. Bishops come to know the flock of the Savior’s church, on a very personal level, because they care for them individually, the same way a shepherd comes to know his flock.

We also believe in teachers just as existed in the church of ancient times. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” There are those who are called by the authority of the priesthood, to be teachers to the people. In Mosiah 23:17 we read, “And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.” Verse 18 tells us what the teachers were called to do. “Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” Those who were called to be teachers, did just that. They taught all things related to righteousness. In Exodus 18:20 it says, “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Today, we have teachers called to share the joy of the gospel with all people. Those who are called by the priesthood, are teachers of all the things that we keep us safe from temptations, the those things that we must follow in order to receive salvation.

Evangelists is commonly consider to be one who preaches the gospel. In 1 Timothy 4:5 we read, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” There were those who traveled on missions to proclaim the gospel, such as Timothy. We do believe in having traveling preachers of the gospel, more commonly referred to as missionaries, but that is not the only understanding of what an evangelist is. In modern revelation we read that an evangelical minister is a patriarch. (See the footnote for ‘evangelical minister’ for D&C 107:39) According to the Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith said, “Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints”. Patriarch today are called to give blessings to the saints, which tell them what is in store for them if they will live righteously. These blessings are much like the patriarchal blessings of fathers given to their children in ancient times. To bring the two understandings of this office together. A patriarch is responsible for giving blessings which apply the gospel directly to the lives of the members of the church, therefore taking the gospel to the people.

We believe that there are other offices in the church, that were established by Christ, such as seventies, elders, priests and so on. These offices have been restored in the church today. They are offices of the priesthood, and these individuals are called and directed by the power of the priesthood in order to organize and unify the church. We believe that there must be order in the kingdom of God. Likewise, there must be order in the church of Christ on this earth. Christ knew best how the design of His church should be, and therefore we believe that we should follow this design within the church today. I am so grateful for the general authorities of the church, the prophets and apostles, because they guide the entire church in its progress as a whole. We have the opportunity this weekend to listen to the prophet, apostles and other church leaders. I am so excited for their loving words because they help me to grow so much as a person. I am also extremely grateful that we have local leaders, such as bishops, teachers, and patriarchs, who are called to give us more personal and direct attention. Because of these local leaders, the individual members of the church are watched over, guided, taught, and directed in the ways that are right.


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.
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