Posts Tagged 'Ashamed'

Conference Questions – Our T-shirt Statement

I think I am going through withdrawals from my Relief Society Declaration question series, because I just had to add a new little series to my posts. This past weekend, I watched the 182nd Semi Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a televised conference where all people can watch or listen to the counsel of our modern prophets, apostles and other church leaders. General Conference happens twice a year and I look forward to it with great anticipation every time. I am always filled with the spirit and a desire to be a better person and draw closer to the Savior, when I watch conference. I love to take notes. When I first started being a note taker for learning in church settings, I would write everything I possibly could down. Including what the speakers said, as well as the little lessons the spirit would teach me during the talks. Once that became a habit, I learned that I should really be focused on writing down the things that I am personally taught by the spirit. So, with that as my focus for note taking this weekend, I found myself writing down questions that I should be able to answer. The thought then came to me that these are questions that I could attempt to study on this blog.

So, to kick off this Conference Questions series, I wrote a question down while listening to Sister Ann M. Gibb, the Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of the church. She spoke of seeing a young girl wearing a bold t-shirt that said “I Am a Mormon”. It had caused her to think about what she would want to wear on her own t-shirt. In response I wanted to focus on this question today. What is the (gospel) statement we should proudly wear on our own shirt for others to see? My thought as she spoke was that my own declaration would read: I’m a mormon and a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Him and I love His gospel. I am happy. There is so much more to be said though and that is why I wanted to look a little further.

This question brings to mind the scripture mastery found in Romans 1:16, where Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Before I can even approach the question, I have to wonder if I am the kind of person willing to make such a bold statement for the world to see. As disciples of Jesus Christ, are we making such a statement of ourselves, or are we ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we go to church on Sunday, and then turn around into our daily lives and worry about what others might say about our beliefs and standards? Do we openly share our testimony, or keep it to ourselves? If you wonder about these things, I would suggest you put this theory to the test in some way. I tested this theory in my own life once, when I was going to college right out of high school. I wanted to be like Paul. I wanted to be able to say that I was not ashamed. So, I began to take my scriptures to school with me. Anytime, I had a moment before a class began, I would pull out my scriptures and read them. I would read in the hallways, in the classroom, as I ate lunch and so on. I found that I was happy to show others that I loved the scriptures and as an added blessing, others began to ask me about what it was that I was reading. I was not ashamed of the gospel.

In today’s worldliness, we cannot afford to hide away our beliefs. We need to stand as a light to the world. Another scripture story that this thought reminds me of, is the story of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. In his vision, found in 1 Nephi 8, Lehi he saw a glorious tree with desirable fruit. He ate the fruit of the tree and was filled with joy. In his desire to have his loved ones also enjoy this fruit, he saw a great number of people making their way towards the tree. Some worked really hard to get to the tree and eat the fruit. Then in verse 25 we read, “And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.” These people had the truth of the gospel and experienced its joy, but then looked to see what others might think of their acceptance of it. When they looked around, they became ashamed of the gospel and it led to them leaving the tree for the ways of the world. They gave up the reward because of shame. In Mark 8 we read the following words of Jesus Christ:

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

We give up the glory and honor that the Lord has promised to us, when we choose to turn to the world because we are ashamed of the gospel. So, how do we avoid becoming ashamed of the gospel, so that we can proudly declare it to the world? We trust the Lord, as it says in Psalms 31:1, “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.” Developing a love and trust in the words of the Savior, will help us to not be ashamed. In 2 Nephi 6:13 we read, “Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.” We will not be ashamed if we make covenants and look to the Savior. Our hope in Jesus Christ will keep us strong. In Romans 5:5 it says, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Hope in Christ, gives us greater love for Him and for all mankind. Additionally, we will not be ashamed if we can become humble and teachable. In Doctrine and Covenants 90:17 we read, “Be not ashamed, neither confounded; but be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride, for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.” We need to recognize our imperfections, allow the Lord to show us our weaknesses and then teach us the ways in which we can be made stronger and eventually perfect through the atonement.

When we find that we are not ashamed to make some bold declaration of who we are and what we believe, we should think about what that statement should say. I thought I would study some of the things the prophets have taught us to declare found in the scriptures. Paul writes of some of the things we may declare in the following verses to the saints, found in 1 Thessalonians 5:

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

This declaration could read: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I see the good in all things. I find joy in life and in the gospel. I love to pray. I am grateful to God for all that I have. I follow the modern prophets. I believe in revelation.

In 1 Chronicles we read the following:

8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;

23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

I think that this declaration could say: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I thank Him for all that I have and all that I am. I pray in His name. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I seek for the Lord. He is my strength. I make and keep my covenants.

The resurrected Savior declared his doctrine to the Nephites on the American continent when he said the following found in 3 Nephi 11:

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

This declaration could read: I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love His gospel. I believe in Christ. I have been baptized in Christ. I believe in the Holy Ghost and revelation. I am saved by Christ through humility and repentance.

The declaration we make, sounds a lot like a testimony and we have a lot of really great examples of testimonies in the scriptures. The prophet Job said, in Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth”. His declaration reads, I know my Redeemer lives and will come again. Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, said, in Alma 7:13, “Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.” This declaration says, I know Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He suffered and died for mankind. He saves and delivers us all. In Matthew 16:16, Peter, the apostle to the Lord said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” His would have read, I know that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. He is God’s Son. John, a disciple of Jesus Christ testified, in 1 John 4:14, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” His declaration could have said, The Son of God was sent to be our Savior. Joseph Smith (and Sidney Rigdon) bore a testimony in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22, saying, “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” Joseph’s declaration here says, Jesus the Christ lives. The Savior, Himself, testified in John 17:3 when he said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” His declaration was, I am Jesus Christ. I have been sent by God. Come unto Me and come unto Him. Through us you can have eternal life.

Besides the blessings that come to us for making them, why else should we want to wear such declarations? In Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 we read, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.” We want to seek after the gospel and then share it to convince others of the truth of the gospel and the blessings that come from following it. It is the duty of every disciple of Jesus Christ, who has made covenants of baptism with the Lord, to share the gospel with others. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:29 we read, “And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.” Finding our way and partaking of the fruit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is only a part of the purpose that we have in this life. Sharing the gospel with those around us, will bring us great joy in this life and in the life to come.

I want to seek all that is good, so that I can be one to make bold declarations for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because I believe in Him and the salvation He has promised to those who follow Him. I delight in the fruit of the gospel and I want to share it with others. I want to check the figurative shirt I wear each day and make absolutely sure that I am portraying those things that Jesus would have me show to others. I hope that others can look to the declarations that I make and see the light of Christ. What would you declare?

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

Continually Holding to the Rod

For the next Ensign article towards my Celestial University goal, I decided to read “Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod”, by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 2011 Ensign). This article is a great reference for some further understanding of Lehi’s Vision found in the book of 1 Nephi. I have always enjoyed trying to apply this dream to my own life and see where I am standing in my own life. Elder Bednar explains three groups of people who are heading on or away from paths in this vision. I find that through the history of my life, I have been one of those in the group which cling to the rod when it seems convenient, meaning I have previously only studied the scriptures and really listened to the words of the prophets, when I have felt it fit into my life. I was quick to follow the crowds of people who were leaving the right path to the easy road toward that great and spacious building. My hold was only occasional at times and I could not hang onto the blessings that I knew I needed in my life. One of the points that I get from this article is that I need to continually hold fast to the word of God. I can honestly say that I am holding fast to it now. I hope that I will be constant in this for the rest of my days. I can sense the joy of blessings of eternal life, which I know will come my way if I can endure. To gain these blessings, I have a goal to read the scriptures and words of the modern day prophets consistently for the remainder of my life. I know that if I can keep this goal, I will eventually be able to receive the blessings of eternal life and salvation through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The second point is that I do not want to heed the mocking voices of the world around me. Even those voices of people who I love and admire can draw my attention and focus away from what I know is the most important. I do not want to live in a way where I may think or act like I am ashamed of the gospel. I want to stand tall in my choices to do what is right according to the Lord. I want to remain on the path that God has paved for me, and that the Savior has walked upon. I know that as my testimony grows, I am becoming firmer in my beliefs and therefore have the confidence to be happy being different from the world. I love this gospel and I love choosing the right. I am proud to say that I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi, Chapter 16

Why were Laman and Lemuel so upset?

I think about the school work I have had given back to me with marks in red pen on it.  Sometimes it is uncomfortable to have another person check our work, because we don’t want to be told we are wrong.  Being wrong can make us ashamed and embarrassed.  Sometimes we get corrected even when we aren’t looking for corrections.  We may not want others to, in effect, tell us that they are better than we are.  

Why did Nephi’s brothers think his message was hard?  Nephi had told his brothers about the final judgment (1 Nephi 15), and what would happen to the wicked. They were feeling like this was a personal attack on them.  

Why do the wicked take the “truth to be hard?” They have a conscience, just as everyone does, and know when they are doing wrong.  Being told that someone else knows it, makes us feel ashamed.  Even the wicked can feel ashamed by their works. 

How could this counsel help us when we are corrected?  We must remember if we choose the right, we will not be ashamed before God.

How did Nephi’s brothers respond?  They said they did not believe all he had told them.  They didn’t want Nephi to rule over them.  The voice of the Lord chastened them and they listened this time and humbled themselves (v. 5).  Later in the chapter, they were corrected again.  They were chastened by the Lord and they repented (v. 39).

When we are corrected, the best response is to think about what we’ve done wrong and repent or change the thing that is wrong.  Just knowing something is wrong and then not doing anything, is not enough.  I appreciate and understand corrections more when I am expected to make changes to my work.  Once I make those changes, I feel so much better about myself and the work I’ve done, plus I will think twice before making the mistake again. 

Do we have anything like a Liahona today?

The Liahona was a round ball of curious workmanship which gave directions, had writings on it that changed, and worked according to faith and if its directions were followed.  The Liahona helped Lehi’s family know which way to travel and where to find food. We need Liahonas today.  More for spiritual guidance because our world is in a horribly messy state.

Our Liahona is the scriptures, words of our modern prophets and most of all, the spirit or our conscience.  We need to recognize the directions they give us and follow them.  If we ignore the messages given to us by our modern liahonas than they will stop working for us just as the liahona did for them (1 Nephi 18:12).

Lessons from a broken bow

I’m not sure what would be harder to deal with; moving because of job loss, being in the hospital because of illness or living in a shelter because of natural disaster.  Lehi’s family were constantly on the move, feeling sick because of the lack of food, and always affected by the environment, because they were in the wilderness.  They had it worse than any of the examples I listed.

Lehi’s family, including Lehi, began to murmur when they ran out of food and could not catch more (v. 20).  The complaining was a typical reaction of the natural man, but it did not do anything to fix the situation they were in.  When facing difficult situations, it is easy to have the “why me” mentality.  People suffering great loss will often focus on the loss.

Nephi was not like this.  He talked to his family and then made a simple bow out of the things they had around them.  Then he went to the patriarch of his family, Lehi, and asked him where he should go to get food (v. 22-23).  He had a “fix-it,” positive attitude and was able to get them out of their situation by having faith and following the spirit.   I need to remember this example much more.  Complaining doesn’t solve anything, doing does.

Seek instruction from the proper leaders

Why would Nephi ask his father where to go to find food instead of simply asking God himself?  Nephi knew that there is an order to God’s work.  When Nephi went to his father, it reminded Lehi of his position as leader of his family.  Lehi was humbled and turned to the Lord.  He just needed a little reminder from Nephi.  Lehi was chastened and felt bad for doubting the Lord would provide.  It’s important to allow the priesthood holders in our families to do their priesthood responsibilities.  Guiding the family with the help of the Lord is one of them, along with blessing and such.  I try to remember to ask my husband what we should do and about blessings when needed, but sometimes I forget and I need to try harder to allow him to serve us.


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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