Posts Tagged 'Comforter'

Do We Follow Promptings of the Holy Ghost to Seek Spiritual Strength?

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.

The next question in this series is do we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost to seek spiritual strength? What is strength? I think that we most commonly use strength in a physical sense, in which case it means a physical power, energy, or intensity. Other things related to strength are the ability to withstand force or pressure, the influence or power of something, the ability to be clear and logical, a source of support, and a number of people in a group like an army. I’d like to relate this question to these meanings, but looking more at our spiritual strength, because the “Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace”, we just need to seek for it.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for power, energy, and intensity of spirit? In Acts 1:8 we read, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. . .”. When we follow the promptings of the spirit, we build the power of our spirit in the same way doing physical exercise strengthens our body. Our spirits already have the potential of being all-powerful, full of energy and intense beyond our greatest understanding. This is because we are spirit children of God and have been created with that potential. It is our job in this life to stretch and work out spiritually, so that we can reach that potential. The Holy Ghost gives us promptings as to what exercise we should do in order to improve. When we follow them, our spirits gain understanding and testimony that it cannot gain any other way. The things we gain spiritually are not easily lost or forgotten, and unlike things of this world, they will go with us when we leave this life. Part of the reason for living this mortal existence, is to leave with greater power and energy than when we started. However, there is also the effects of not following the spirit. When we choose not to follow the promptings, we not only cannot learn from them, but we begin to loose the strength we already had. Just as the physical body will loose it’s power, energy and intesity if we do not remain physically active, the spirit will begin to become less useful to us. That is when we begin to feel in the ruts of life, as if we are just going through the motions. That is when life seems to go on without us. We need to follow the promptings of the spirit, so that we can experience all that life has to offer us.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for help to withstand the forces and pressure of the world around us which affect our spirit? The world grows increasingly difficult each day. The forces of Satan stand against us with so much force and pressure that it could be completely overwhelming for someone trying to do what is right. Some of these negative forces that we need to withstand are peer pressure, influences of media, breakdown of marriages and families, temptations of all kinds, and more. The Holy Ghost has the power to guard and protect us from these evil forces that bombard us each day. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” If we listen when the spirit tells us to change the song on the radio, that song will not have the power to put negative thoughts into our mind, which gives us that power instead. As we follow the promptings of the spirit, we will see that these forces will have little effect on us.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for the ability to influence others with our testimonies, which are the feelings of our spirits? Once you have a true conversion to the gospel, it makes you want to share it with others that you care about. We can talk until we are blue in the face, but without the power of the Holy Ghost there to change the hearts of others, it will not influence them. In Doctrine and Covenants section 50, we read the following:

13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained?
14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.

In order to influence others, we need to have an understanding of a principle and a firm standing in what we believe. It is necessary that we are worthy at all times for the spirit to prompt us as to what we should say and do in our everyday interactions with others. When we are worthy, we can hear and follow the promptings as to what we should say, which will touch the hearts, minds and spirits of others if they are open to it. If we do not follow the promptings, but choose to rely on our own wisdom and understanding, the effect will not be lasting, if at all. If we follow the promptings of the spirit, we can also influence others without making our words a preachy sermon. Others will recognize it is heart felt and genuine and it will be for their good.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek to have clear and logical understanding of spiritual truths? There is strength in understanding, because it provides us with the ability to have wisdom. The Holy Ghost is the greatest teacher of men, because it can reach us to our very core. In John 14:26 we read, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It can stir the heart and mind up to remembrance of things we knew before, as well as deepen our understanding in a way that the world cannot. In order to gain this understanding that is both clear and perfectly logical, we have to be open to the spirit and it’s promptings. As we search, ponder, and pray, we will likely have impressions of things that we can do to test principles of the gospel in our lives. If we follow these promptings, we will learn from them. It may take time to gain the understanding, but in patience, it will come. I have done this in my own life, and I am always amazed at how perfectly things make sense, which I may have thought ridiculous or unbelievable before. I know that as long as we continue to strive to follow the promptings, this understanding will remain firm and undeniable, because it is truth.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek for spiritual support? The world is tough and can bring us down if we are not paying attention. Our spirit’s need support, just as our bodies do. In Alma 36:3 we read, “. . . for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” The Holy Ghost can be that source of strength for us, if we are willing to allow it to touch our hearts and minds. There is so much about life that leads to depression, apathy, and a sense that there is no reason to act rather than be acted upon. These feelings are spiritually damaging and will not lead to the growth that God has intended for us. As we follow the spirit’s inspirations, we will find a constant companion and friend, ready to buoy and build us up. When it seems like it may be entirely too difficult to make the right choice, the Spirit can give us the confidence to persevere.

Do we follow the promptings as we seek to be part of the spiritual army of God? When we look at the big picture of life, we have to recognize whose team we are on. Our eternal lives are a part of one of two teams, the Lord’s team or Satan’s team. We are either choosing good or bad, light or darkness, righteousness or wickedness. If we have the desire to be a member of God’s kingdom, we cannot help but want to fight against the forces of evil in the world, for ourselves, our families and loved ones, and for the world. When we follow the promptings of the spirit, we make the choice to be on the Lord’s side. When we consciously choose not follow the promptings, we choose to follow Satan. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We cannot be on both sides at once, because they are opposing forces which will never align.

To follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, is to be on the path that God wants us on, which is righteousness. In Proverbs 10:29 we read, “The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.” There is strength in doing what is right and aligning ourselves with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and that strength is a gift from God. I want to be stronger in spirit, so that I can be sanctified by the Lord and receive the blessings of God. I know that by following the spirit, we can have a greater power of spirit, withstand the evil pressures in the world, influence others with our testimonies and examples, gain a clearer understanding of truth, have the support we need to endure, and be a part of the spiritual army of God.

D&C Section 88 (Part 1)

According to church history, there was a conference of some of the high priests of the church during December of 1832. The brethren were concerned about what the Church should be doing, in light of revelations that had been received, which predicted difficult times ahead (see section 87). This revelation was given through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, in response to these concerns. The Prophet later wrote that this was the “olive leaf . . . plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us.” In this section, we should therefore find ways for us to have peace as well.

1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.

The Lord is pleased with us, when we meet together with those who are trying to follow Christ. When we earnestly pray together (or on our own) for answers, the Lord hears us and is glad to answer us according to His will. The prayers of the prophet and the other high priests were recorded eternally. I believe that if we pray with a sincere heart and with truly righteous desires, our prayers will be significant enough to record eternally as well. I think this is something to consider as we pray to our Father in Heaven. We should ask ourselves if we are praying to do the will of the Lord, with full intentions to do all that we are asked to do.

3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—

These faithful men were promised the Comforter. They had already been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through confirmation. If we follow the scripture chain from the word “Comforter” in verse 3, we learn that this was the Second Comforter (see Topical Guide JESUS CHRIST, SECOND COMFORTER). The Second Comforter, is the promise of eternal life. Joseph Smith said, “When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter . . .”. This promise allowed these men, in their faithfulness, to have the glory, even the personage, of Jesus Christ in their presence. The glory of the church of the Firstborn, is the glory of Jesus Christ. In reading further on the word “Firstborn”, I learn that this glory is the same glory as Christ (the Firstborn of God), which is a celestial glory. It is the glory of the first resurrection, which is for those who are righteous followers of Christ.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe that this same promise has been given to other modern prophets and general authorities, who have devoted their lives to serving the Lord. This promise can come to all saints, if they can truly put their own desires aside and commit fully to being an instrument in His hands. It must have been a great blessing to receive this sure promise of the blessings of eternal life.

This section continues:

6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

The light of Christ is in all things, both on the earth and in the heavens. He is the creator of all of these and His power is in all things. It is because of the light and power of Christ, that all things grow and progress. We owe all of our understanding and learning to His light. This light, is what drives people to discover new things they have not heard of before. This light is the thing that encourages people to look for truth in a world of wickedness and lies.

14 Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead.
15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
16 And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.

We owe the progression of all things to the Savior, Jesus Christ, just as we owe the power to be resurrected to Him. Christ was redeemed for all souls and has therefore made the resurrection possible for us all. During the resurrection our spirits will be reunited with our perfected bodies, just as Christ’s body and spirit were joined again. There are no conditions of the resurrection, now that Christ has been redeemed. Meaning, that all people who have ever, or will ever live, will be resurrected at some point.

I know that I owe my very existence and happiness, to the Lord and the priesthood power He holds. I know that I will never be able to give back to Him the way He has given to me, but I am trying each day to live the best that I can. I am so grateful for all of the amazing blessings that the Lord has blessed me with. I am grateful beyond words, for the ability to progress and the possibility to receive the glory of the celestial kingdom and live with my Father in Heaven again.

This section will be continued.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

(To view the entire lesson go here: The Gift of the Holy Ghost)

The Holy Ghost

The gospel principles manual teaches about the holy ghost in chapter 7, which I studied back in April (See 7 The Holy Ghost). One thing to remember specifically from that lesson, is that there is the Holy Ghost, and then there is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This chapter discusses, specifically, the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

What is the difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost?

The Holy Ghost is the spirit of God that all men are born with, otherwise known as a conscience. In the Bible Dictionary this is referred to as the power of the Holy Ghost. It is given to all men, to feel and recognize truth. The power of the Holy Ghost is the converter of our hearts and can give all men the natural desire to find and do what is right. The power of the Holy Ghost will only come in specific moments of our lives before we are baptized, if we are worthy of it. The gift of the Holy Ghost is only given to those who have had a conversion of their hearts, repented, been baptism to be cleansed of sin, and covenanted to follow the commandments. The gift of the Holy Ghost can be with us as a constant companion.

Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost

What must we do to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost?

When we are confirmed (after baptism), it is not said, “here is the gift of the Holy Ghost”, but instead we are told to receive it. In Acts 19:2 we read, “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” The responsibility of whether we feel the guidance through the gift of the Holy Ghost, depends on whether or not we fully receive this gift into our hearts. We can choose not to allow this gift into our hearts. In addition to those first steps that we must do in order to initially receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see above), we must also continue to live worthy of the it. We must obey all of God’s commandments and keep the covenants we have made. This is because the Holy Ghost, as a member of the Godhead, cannot dwell in unholy places. “And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples (Helaman 4:24)-“. It cannot be our constant companion if we are not worthy of it.

Recognizing the Influence of the Holy Ghost

The influence of the Holy Ghost can be received in different ways. We sometimes may say that we hear the whispering of the spirit, but more often that that, the Holy Ghost will touch our hearts or our minds with a feeling or understanding. When these quiet promptings come into our hearts, we need to be prepared to recognize them. The more we recognize, and I would add act upon, these promptings the easier it becomes to recognize them. In Luke 24:32 we read, “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” In my own life, I am most often influenced by the spirit with a warm sensation that touches my heart deeply. When I have chosen to act upon that feeling immediately, I have often been blessed with an even stronger feeling and continuing revelation.

One of God’s Greatest Gifts

What blessings can we receive through the gift of the Holy Ghost?

The Holy Ghost is many things. Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can have constant companionship. This means that whenever I feel alone, weather or not I physically am, I can pray and the spirit will be my companion and I will know it. In Moroni 8:26 we read, “And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” The Holy Ghost is the comforter. I have literally felt loving arms around me when I have prayed for comfort. When I am struggling and pray for help, the spirit has brought peace to my heart and mind that I have not been able to find anywhere else.

The Holy Ghost is the revealer of truth. In Moroni 10:5 we read, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” For me, one of the greatest feelings, is when I can feel my mind being opened with an understanding I did not have before. When there is truth in anything around us, the Holy Ghost can teach our souls of it. The most precious truths that the Holy Ghost will teach us, are those concerning God and His Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost will be a witness of their divinity, their plan, and our role in that plan. If we want to know why we are here and what life is all about, the Holy Ghost will teach us these things as we search and study. Other blessings that come from receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost are what we call the gifts of the spirit (which will be studied in the next chapter of the manual).

Why is the gift of the Holy Ghost one of God’s greatest gifts to us?

The gift of the Holy Ghost will prepare our souls to return to live with God again someday. In Alma 5:54 we read, “Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance—”. It sanctifies us. It is the only thing that has the power to convert and teach us to our very soul. It is the greatest use of our God-given agency, for us to choose to receive it into our hearts. The things that we learn through the gift of the Holy Ghost, are eternal. If God could walk with all men, we would be happy and comforted in all things. However, we cannot learn and progress in that way. Because of His love for us, God has given us this beautiful and most sacred gift. This way we can have His spirit with us, to guide us, comfort us and bring us the happiness that I believe we all naturally desire.

I cannot imagine my life without the glorious blessing of the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know when my life is not on track because I cannot feel the promptings and guidance of the spirit. These are sad times for me and this lack gives me a greater desire to do what is right again. I love knowing when I have done something good and right, by the wonderful, confirming power I feel in my heart. When I feel that, there is no need for acknowledgement from others, because I know that for that little moment in time, I have brought joy to my Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for this gift. The blessings of the spirit are personal and sacred. When I recognize them, I truly feel like the daughter of God that I am.

3 Nephi, Chapter 12 (Part 1)

How is this sermon similar to the Sermon on the Mount?

In this chapter, the Savior begins a sermon at the Nephite temple in Bountiful which is a lot like the Sermon on the Mount.  The verses that follow can be compared to Matthew, Chapter 5.

“And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am (v. 1).  And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins (v. 2).”

The Savior was teaching the twelve Nephite disciples and other Nephites who had been more righteous and had followed the prophets.  He promises those who follow Him and listen to His servants, the gift of the Holy Ghost and that they will be blessed.  The Footnote found in Matthew 5:3 (a) for the word blessed says that when the Savior says “blessed”, other ways to say this are fortunate, or happy.  The promised blessing from the Savior to those who follow Him is happiness.

“Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (v. 3, see also Matthew 5:3).”  When I think of coming unto Christ, I think of allowing our lives to be ruled by his will for us.  In 3 Nephi 9:14 it reads, “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.”  I read this and I can see that it definitely refers to the willingness of our hearts.  Giving up the natural man and our personal desires and to turn our hearts to the Lord.

Another footnote found in Matthew 5:3 for the phrase “poor in spirit” says “poor in pride, humble in spirit.”  In Ether 12:27 we read, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  This tells me that as we come unto Him, we are also allowing the Lord to show us what we are doing wrong in our lives, so that we can become better.  Coming unto the Lord, means to willingly look to Him and allow his gospel to affect our lives for the better, humbling us so that we can truly learn and grow to be more like Him.

“And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (v. 4, see also Matthew 5:4).”  To mourn is to be sad, sorrowful, or grieve for something.  When we follow Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost acts as a comforter in our life.  When we suffer a loss of any kind, He will be there to lift our spirit.  We can also have the blessings that come with being part of the church, such as having our brothers and sisters in the gospel there to help us through difficult times.  If also, we are sad for the realization of things we have done to offend others or God, and we are truly following Christ and repent, we will be blessed with the comfort of forgiveness.

“And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (v. 5, see also Matthew 5:5).”  To be meek is to be “gentle, forgiving, or benevolent”.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Meekness implies a spirit of gratitude . . ., an acknowledgement of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments.”  With this understanding, meekness is a result of being truly grateful for all that God gives to us.  When we are grateful for our blessings, we are more forgiving towards others and their faults and we tend to be more gentle with them and with how we do things in life.

“And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost (v. 6, see also Matthew 5:6).”  When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we are anxious to learn more of the Lord’s gospel.  I think to hunger and thirst is to truly search the scriptures with the intent to learn all that we can from them.  The same goes for how we listen to (or read) the words of modern-day prophets and other church leaders.  If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, we will be hanging on to every word that comes from the mouth of the prophets.  We will be anxiously waiting for a greater understanding of how we should be living and have the true desire in our hearts to live it, once we have learned it.  The blessing promised to those who do this, is the Holy Ghost.  I have experienced this time and time again.  When I am anxiously engaged in following what I learn of the gospel, I am filled with inspiration, comfort, happiness, and so much more from the Holy Ghost filling my heart and mind.  This is a blessing that I would feel truly sad to loose the privilege of having in my life.

“And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (v. 7, see also Matthew 5:7).”  To show mercy is to show compassion and forgiveness.  The mercy obtained, when we are merciful, is the mercy of the Lord when it comes to our sins.  In D&C 64:9-10 we read, “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin (v. 9).  I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men (v. 10).”  We cannot be saved if we are not cleansed of our own sins.  The only way we can become cleansed is through the forgiveness that comes from the Savior’s atonement.  If we do not forgive all men, we are committing a higher sin than whatever they have done, and therefore are not allowing the atonement to work in our own lives.  When we show mercy, we are also forgiven of our own sins and can therefore be saved through the mercy of the Lord.

“And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God (v. 8, see also Matthew 5:8 ).  In D&C 93:1 we read, “VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”  When we give up our sins, turn towards the Lord, pray to God, listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments, we have the promise of seeing God because our hearts are then pure.  If our every desire and intention is to follow the Lord, we are pure in our hearts.

“And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God (v. 9, see also Matthew 5:9).”  The gospel of Christ is a gospel of peace.  When we strive to live the gospel as Christ taught, and then teach others of His peace, we are truly living the gospel and truly a member of God’s family.  Sometimes it can be particularly hard to be a peacemaker in our lives.  Growing up, I was often called the peacemaker in my parents home.  The thing that led me to this the most, was the patience that I was able to have.  I hope to be able to regain that patience, because I understand the importance of bringing peace to my home and teaching others to be peacemakers as well.  If we can master becoming a peacemaker in our homes, it will reflect into the rest of our lives.

“And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (v. 10, see also Matthew 5:10).  And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (v. 11, see also Matthew 5:11);  For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you (v. 12, see also Matthew 5:12).”  The world is easily influenced by the powers of Satan.  When something or someone is trying to live righteously, it is much easier to mock them then to try to live righteously themselves.  I think of the spacious building in Lehi’s vision, when I picture those who persecute and say awful things about those who are trying to follow Christ.  In verse 44, the Savior teaches, “But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;”  If we are to forgive all men, as discussed before, then this is exactly what we must do.  When we are mocked and persecuted for doing what is right, then we need to be kind, serve them, love them and pray for them, so that they can see the light of Christ and want to follow it as well.

Baptism

These teachings are known as the Beatitudes.  This sermon given by the Savior is an exact pattern of how He lived and how we should live in order to return to live with Him again.  This pattern starts with baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Then we turn our hearts to the Lord by making His will our will, and become humble through focusing on our weaknesses and trying to live better.  We depend on the Lord to lift us up when we are burdened with sadness or sin, through the atonement and His forgiveness.  Then we show gratitude for the Lord as we realize that He gives us everything we have by constantly blessing our lives.  We search the scriptures and truly strive to live the gospel that is in them, following the prophets of old as well as our modern prophets and other church leaders.  We show a greater compassion towards others by forgiving them and realizing that we are all Children of God.  We purify our hearts by truly committing every aspect of our lives to following Christ.  Then we strive to bring peace to the world around us, as we live and share the gospel with others.  And when we are persecuted, which we will be at one time or another, we respond the way Christ would have us respond; with love and kindness, serving others and praying that the spirit will touch their lives as well.

The blessing we can receive from living like this are so great.  The Savior promises us that we will be blessed with the Holy Ghost and a testimony of the Savior.  We will be blessed with a remission of our sins and happiness in our lives.  We will be able to return to the kingdom of Heaven, because of the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy towards us and our sins.  We will be blessed in this life with the comfort that the Holy Ghost brings.  We will have the inspiration of the spirit filling our hearts.  And we will eventually be able to see God again and rejoin our Heavenly family as His child in His kingdom.  These are the greatest blessings that we can hope for in this life and we have the perfect example in Christ for how to gain them.

What does it mean to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men (v. 13, see also Matthew 5:13).”  The salt of the earth gives the earth it’s flavor and preservation.  When the Savior gave this sermon, salt was used often to preserve food.  It was also used in all of the sacrifices the people of God had made to Him, as a commandment from God.  “And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt (Lev. 2:13).”

In D&C 101:39-40 we read, “When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men (v. 39); They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men (v. 40).”  We can become the salt of the earth by making covenants with God.  We continue to be the salt of the earth, by keeping those covenants.  If we do not keep our covenants with God, we are as good to the earth and mankind as salt that has lost its savor.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid (v. 14, see also Matthew 5:14).  Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house (v. 15, see also Matthew 5:15); Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (v. 16, see also Matthew 5:16).”  In addition to being the salt of the earth, the Savior expects us to be a light to the world.  When the world is in darkness, a single light will draw people in.  We can be a light to those around us with the gospel of Christ in our lives.  We can draw people to Christ by living as an example to them.  We need to live as an example of Christ to others, just as He lived as an example for us.

(Part 2 – to come)

1 Nephi, Chapter 8

What are some ways Heavenly Father talks to His children?

There are many ways that Heavenly Father talks to us.  The Lord chose to speak to Nephi through a dream or vision.  He has spoken to prophets face to face, as with Joseph Smith.  He has sent messengers or angels to give his messages.  Plus, we each have the personal revelation of the spirit, which is also a way that our Father in Heaven speaks to us.

What is the meaning of Lehi’s dream of the tree?

We can follow the Savior’s example and with the help of the scriptures and gospel truths we can make our way through the darkness of the world toward the Love of God and Everlasting Life.  The scriptures contain the ways that we can gain Eternal Life.  If we hold to the words of the prophets, we will find our way.

Prayer delivers us from darkness

Lehi found himself lost in darkness.  He prayed and found his way.  When I am in total darkness, I first feel a sense of panic knowing I cannot see my way.  Prayer gives me comfort that I will get through it and find some source of light, just as Lehi was able to see the field once he prayed.

Can you find yourself in Lehi’s dream?

The people in verses 21 to 23 wanted to find the path, which led to the tree.  Then ended up finding the path, but lost their way in the mist of darkness.  Their goal was only to find the path.

The people in verses 24 to 25 and 28 pressed forward, clinging to the rod until they made it to the tree, but were ashamed once they ate the fruit.  They thought much about what others might think.

The people in verses 26 and 27 were already in the building, mocking at those eating the fruit.  They are those people  of the world who laugh at those of us who believe in the Love of God.

The people in verse 30 held fast to the rod until they partook of the fruit, because it means everything to them.

The people in verses 31 to 33 were searching for the building and those that did not get lost on the way, made it and then mocked those eating the fruit.

Lehi wanted to get to the tree because he knew the fruit was desirable (as an answer to his prayer). The tree represents the gospel and through the gospel we gain Eternal Life.  

The rod of iron is the scriptures and other words of the prophets and apostles that keeps us following the path.  If I “cling” or “hold fast” to those teachings, I’m sure to find my way, but when I casually use them or forget them all together, I am sure to follow some other path that does not lead the right way. 

Sometimes we think too much about what others think and that if we are too religious we are silly or will offend.  This makes us ashamed and willing to deny our beliefs.  Lehi was not ashamed because he understood the value of the fruit.  Sometimes we don’t quite understand how precious the blessing of Eternal Life is and will be for us.

I am working on being in Lehi’s group of people, but I know there have been times when I may have lost my way a little.  It’s a battle that I must work on every day.  The less I am around people who make fun of my beliefs or treat me different because of them, the happier I am as a person.  Most of my acquaintances now are people who have the same or pretty similar values.  I hope that my children can follow the same ideas and choose friends that are good kids with good values.

1 Nephi, Chapter 5

Why did Sariah complain?

I am a mother of two, very young children and I think I have a pretty good idea what a struggle it would be to out in the wilderness raising a family.  Any mother would find it difficult to allow all four of her sons to leave on such a long and difficult journey.  I’m sure she had sleepless nights worrying for their safety.  She had her husband’s testimony to rely on and her faith in his words, but it is natural to begin to feel helpless and perhaps hopeless when feeling that they should have returned.  If it were me, I would have cried when they returned unharmed.  Sariah’s testimony grew strong because of this experience (v. 8 )

How do you respond to criticism?

When I feel criticized unfairly, I usually get on the defensive.  It makes me upset, sometimes to the point of anger, if the person doesn’t understand my explanation.  I think a lot of people respond to criticism with anger or in some other negative way.  It’s hard to accept someone telling you you’ve done something wrong.

Lehi seems to be a man of great character.  His reaction is ‘I know I am that kind of person, but I have faith it will all work out’. Because he was a ‘visionary man’ he had been show a future in the Promise Land with his family.  He knew the Lord would make this possible and would bring their sons back safe to them.  Lehi took his wife’s criticism and used it to explain why they were experiences these things, and in turn “comforted” Sariah.  I think this means that he put her fears to rest by bearing his testimony of the things he had seen.  I should hope that I would have that much faith things my husband says he knows are true.

What are your reasons for believing?

Sariah said “My sons are no more” (v. 2) because she had thought her sons had died or were lost on their journey back to Jerusalem.  After Lehi reminder her of his testimony (v. 5) and then her sons returned (v. 7), her testimony grew strong (v. 8).  She was a witness to her sons’ willingness to obey a commandment and being able to accomplish it.  

I have a testimony that the spirit is a comforter.  As a youth, I had some difficult times as I was dating. At one point, I really liked someone and thought the feelings were mutual, because we were dating exclusively.  He cheated on me and it hurt me really bad.  I was truly sad about it.  I went to the Lord in prayer for comfort to get through my “heart break”.  After sincere prayer, I felt what seemed to be arms around my shoulders and a feeling of peace I had not felt before.  I knew right then that I could and would get through that difficult time.  Hopefully my testimony of this will help someone else experience this comfort also.

Be a scripture detective

Lehi searched the scriptures that his sons had brought back to him (v. 10).  This word is important.  When I read something I look at the words on a page and get something like a simple understanding or entertainment from them.  To search seems like looking through the words on the page for a deeper knowledge.  When we approach the scriptures with a desire to learn valuable things from them, we are searching, not just reading.  

Lehi’s family needed to know their ancestry, the plan of salvation, and prophecies from the ancient prophets, so that they would know how to live and why to live that way.  This is why we need the scriptures also.  Lehi knew these scripture were important, because he was commanded to obtain them from Laban.  When we know the value of these words, we have a stronger desire to search them for all that they can give to us.

How do the plates of brass compare to our Old Testament?

The plates of brass contained more than the old testament (1 Nephi 12:23), but doctrine found in both are valuable to the gentiles (us) of today.  The scriptures are all needed for the fullness of the gospel and as witnesses to the truth of each other.  For example, there are scriptures in the Bible, supported by those in the Book of Mormon and vice versa.

The importance of knowing who you are

A Family Tree

I don’t know much about my ancestors.  I have geneaology work being done by both my parents, so for the time being I have been working to record family history for family that is living.  I love family history and I hope to get more involved in the work of my ancestry.

Lehi learned that he was a descendant of Jacob.  Jacob was saved from famine by his son Joseph, who was sold into Egypt and saved by the power of God.  Jacob’s descendants later were led out of Egypt by the power of God, just as Lehi was led out of Jerusalem by the power of God.  It was God’s plan for Lehi to be with his family in the wilderness and the lives of his ancestors had been preserved for this purpose.

The Lord uses our ancestors to preserve us, meaning the Lord helps our ancestors so that we can live today with the gospel.  The scriptures are for me and were preserved by Moroni and Joseph Smith so that I could have the gospel today.  Without this there would be no way of reaching the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, which is what I am ultimately striving for.  I use the scriptures and their gospel teachings so that I will not come up too short in the end. Because of the scriptures I know the Savior will make up the difference for my imperfections as long as I do my best.

What is the future of the plates of brass?

Lehi said the plates would never perish and they would go forth unto all nations.  The plates were passed down through the generations of Lehi’s descendants (Alma 37:4) to Moroni.  All of the scriptures have been preserved for us.  The Book of Mormon is now translated in so many languages and is being distributed throughout the world.


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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