Posts Tagged 'Holy Ghost'

The Role of the Holy Ghost as a Teacher

I was born into a musically talented family. When I was four, I performed for the first time with them. I believe it was for our ward talent show. We wore white ruffled shirts, with red bow ties, red pants, and red sequin suspenders. We sang “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from Annie. It was the first of many performances. I absolutely loved singing with my family. When I was in sixth grade, I auditioned to perform my first solo at school. Even though I had performed many times before, I was a nervous wreck. The reason for that was because, I was born hard of hearing and singing on my own was frightening. My nerves got the better of me and the solo was a wreck. Those watching me laughed and I cried. As a result of that experience I developed a bit of stage fright and really struggled to sing. A few years later, I was coaxed into taking a theatre class in high school. My teacher, was named Mr. Best. He showed a confidence in me that most others had not shown. I felt inspired to audition for a musical and he cast me as the lead. I was not the best in that first show. In fact, my parents were in the front of the audience and they could hardly hear me. But, my teacher continued to teach me and encourage me to get better. By the end of high school, I was comfortable singing on my own and was often performing solos around our area. Mr. Best taught me to develop a talent in spite of the challenges I had, and I am forever grateful to him for having faith in me.

A teacher is generally someone who informs us in a subject or skill. They might show us how something is done. They encourage us to accept something as fact or truth. Sometimes they instruct us by their example. And at other times, they help us to learn something by giving us experiences, just as my teacher did for me.

We all have had and will have many teachers in our lives. For many of us, there are teachers who leave a lasting impression on us. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)*, we have access to the greatest teacher, who can have an eternally lasting impression on us. In Doctrine and Covenants 121:26 we read, “God shall give unto you knowledge … by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost”. Likewise, David A. Bednar said, the Holy Ghost is, “the ultimate teacher from whom we should learn.” (David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost”, October 2010) Through the power of the Holy Ghost, God teaches us. Isn’t that amazing? In his role of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is able to teach us anywhere, anytime, anything. In fact, in Moroni 10:5 we learn that, “by the power of the Holy Ghost [we] may know the truth of all things.” Because the Holy Ghost, is a member of the Godhead and is one with God the Father and the Son, learning from Him, is as if we were sitting at the feet of our Savior, or our Father in Heaven right now, or at any moment in time.

(*NOTE: “All honest seekers of the truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, leading them to Jesus Christ and His gospel. However, the fulness of the blessings given through the Holy Ghost are available only to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy.” –lds.org Gospel Topics)

The Holy Ghost is like no other teacher, because He has the power to do things we cannot even begin to understand, but I’m going to share briefly about a few of the more general ways that the Holy Ghost teaches us. First, the Holy Ghost is able to give us information about any subject or skill we could possibly be interested in. A perfect example of this is given to us in the book of 1 Nephi. Nephi’s father Lehi, had told his family of a vision he had, and Nephi desired to know more. Nephi was blessed to have a vision as well. In 1 Nephi 11:1-3 we read:

1 For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
2 And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
3 And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.

The spirit went on to have a conversation with Nephi, where He asked Nephi questions and then showed Nephi the things He desired to know. Continuing in verses 9 to 11, it says:

9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.
10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?
11 And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof—for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

Nephi was taught by the Spirit, many things about life, the plan of salvation, the life and mission of the Savior, the future of his own people, and much more. This is a profound example of the teaching of the Spirit, and we are not always going to have grand visions of our own to learn from, but we all can be learning from the spirit in small and simple ways.

Second, the Holy Ghost can show us how something is done. I have a friend who quilts. She shared an experience with me several years ago, where she had been asked to make a quilt, but she ran into a problem in the middle of the project. She had researched a lot and was feeling stumped as to how to make it work. Her time was running out, and she could not figure it out on her own. Then she decided to go serve in the temple with a prayer in her heart for a help. After she returned home, the spirit revealed to her exactly how to finish the quilt. In faith, she followed the directions of the spirit and it worked perfectly. I love this example, because it teaches me that while the Holy Ghost teaches us spiritual things, He can also teach us things that are more of this world.

Third, the Holy Ghost encourages us to accept things as truth. David A. Bednar once said, “Testimony is personal knowledge, based upon the witness of the Holy Ghost, that certain facts of eternal significance are true. The Holy Ghost is the messenger for the Father and the Son and the teacher of and guide to all truth (see John 14:26, 16:13) Thus, “by the power of the Holy Ghost [we] may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).” (“Watching with All Perserverance”, April 2010)

In the world, there are many claiming to have truth to share with us. We have so much information, so readily available at every turn, and it can be really hard to know what is true. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach men things they cannot teach one another.” (“The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, October 1986) The source which we all can and should trust, is the Holy Ghost. If ever there is a question of truth, we can turn to the teachings of the spirit. I know that personally, I have depended on this greatly, especially as I was attending college. Some professors wanted to teach their personal beliefs as fact, but with the spirit as my guide, I was able to recognize those things that were false, and have truth revealed to me on several occasions.

The Holy Ghost has the power to show us all truth, but most importantly, He will teach us truth of the gospel. In 2010, Jay E. Jensen, of the Presidency of the Seventy said of the Holy Ghost, “He knows all things. He has several important roles; foremost among them is to teach and testify of the Father and the Son” (“The Holy Ghost and Revelation“, October 2010) When you read about the Holy Ghost in the gospel topics of the LDS church website, it says, “[the Holy Ghost] “witnesses of the Father and the Son” (2 Nephi 31:18) … We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Ghost. His communication to our spirit carries far more certainty than any communication we can receive through our natural senses.”

For me, one of the most personal ways, that the Holy Ghost teaches me true principles, is through music. When I am willing to really think about the words of a song I am singing, or listening to, I am often touched by the spirit and the message seems to make sense, as if I have known it all along. Elder Glenn L. Pace, of the Seventy, spoke on the spirit bringing things to our remembrance when he said, “Sometimes the feeling is like a memory. We first learned the gospel in our heavenly home. We have come to this earth with a veil of forgetfulness. And yet lingering in each of our spirits are those dormant memories. The Holy Ghost can part the veil and bring those things out of their dormancy. Often my reaction to a supposedly newfound truth is, “Oh, I remember that!” (“Do You Know?”, April 2007)” We sing the words, “I know my Father lives and loves me too. The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true, And tells me it is true. He sent me here to earth, by faith to live his plan. The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me that I can, And tells me that I can.” (“I Know My Father Lives”, Text and music: Reid N. Nibley, 1923-2008. (c) 1969 IRI) Our hymns are a great tool for the spirit to teach us many wonderful truths.

I have been blessed with the gift of the spirit, to believe upon the words of others. I don’t tend to question the things that the scriptures or our church leaders say. But in all these things, I have to rely on the spirit’s teachings in order to gain my testimony of them. I have been given a powerful assurance, by the spirit, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real. I know this is true. They are there for us. They love us.

Forth, the Holy Ghost teaches us through His example. Among many other things he shows us, we can learn how to teach, and then learn from teaching, by following His example. The Holy Ghost teaches us individually in ways that are personal. We can follow this example in how we teach others, and the more personal we make a lesson, the more opportunities we will have to learn from the spirit ourselves. He teaches us “line upon line”, as it says in 2 Nephi 28:30. When we teach basic principles and allow others to learn according to their understanding, rather then jumping into deep doctrine right away, all can edified and uplifted from one another. He teaches us with love and gentle persuasion, allowing us to choose for ourselves how we will act. When we teach others this way, we can witness true and lasting conversion, and perhaps learn for ourselves how important it is to listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Teaching others, as the spirit teaches us, is effective, and I when I choose to follow His example, I am amazed at how much I learn from teaching.

Finally, the Holy Ghost teaches us by giving us experiences to learn from. In 2011, Matthew O. Richardson, the Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency taught, “the Holy Ghost teaches by inviting, prompting, encouraging, and inspiring us to act. Christ assured us that we come to the truth when we live doctrine and act accordingly. [See John 7:17] The Spirit leads, guides, and shows us what to do. [See 2 Nephi 32:1–5] He will not, however, do for us what only we can do for ourselves. You see, the Holy Ghost cannot learn for us, feel for us, or act for us because this would be contrary to the doctrine of agency. He can facilitate opportunities and invite us to learn, feel, and act.” (“Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit”, October 2011) Several years ago, the spirit prompted me to use my skills on the computer and my desire to study the scriptures more, to create this study blog. Since then, the spirit has continued to inspire me and encourage me in this endeavor. I cannot begin to count the number of times, that following this prompting has helped me to learn, gain deeper understanding, and strengthen my testimony of the gospel. It has been a huge blessing in my life.

Of course these are only a few of the ways the Holy Ghost teaches us. Knowing the ways he teaches us is great, but more importantly, we have the responsibility to be open to his teachings. Our family reads conferences talks every Sunday and we choose a challenge to help us practice the principles taught. A few weeks ago, the talk we read was directed mainly at the role of parents to lead, guide and walk beside. As we talked about our challenge, we discussed the important role of children to allow parents to do their part, so our challenge became to “lead, guide, walk beside, and to be led, guided, and walked bedsided.” This applies so well to our relationship with the Holy Ghost as our teacher. He can only teach us, if we allow Him to do so.

I was reflecting last week on some of the things that being hard of hearing requires of me. In particular, I have to try harder in order to hear or understand. If possible, I will sit in the front of any class or meeting. I rely heavily on reading lips, so I am often seen turning in Sunday School, to look at someone who is speaking. Often times during prayers, I will turn my head, so that my better ear is towards the person praying. It can take a great deal of effort for me, but I do it, because I want to hear. Thinking about this effort, I realized that I need to make sure I am making greater effort to allow the spirit to teach me. We all need to be making this effort, or we are not accepting the spirit as a teacher in our lives. We need to seek for his guidance. Turning ourselves towards his voice. We need to be giving greater opportunities for His teaching, by doing our daily prayers and scripture study. We need to be listening to the kind of music that would invite the spirit to inspire, uplift and teach us. We need to go to Sacrament each week and renew our covenants, so that we can maintain the promise of having the spirit with us at all times. We need to listen to talks and attend our lessons with the intent to learn from them. This is why we go to church. We go to partake of the Sacrament, so that we can have the blessing of the spirit with us, and to seek instruction by the Holy Ghost through the talks and lessons we give and hear.

When we are able, we need to attend the temple and try harder to listen there. We need to be pondering more. We should be seeking for gifts and practicing those we have, and accepting opportunities to teach others more. When we recognize a prompting, we need to follow it, even if it may not be what we think we want or need in our lives. John Taylor told of an experience he had. He said, “I remember Joseph Smith speaking to me… Says he: “Brother Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost. Now follow its teachings and instructions. Sometimes it may lead you in a manner that may be contrary almost to your judgment; never mind, follow its teachings, and if you do so, by and by it will become in you a principle of revelation, so that you will know all things as they transpire.” (Journal of Discourses 14:356. “Continued Revelation”. John Taylor, March 17, 1872.)” This is the opportunity we all have.

I am amazed that God loves us so much, that He would give us constant access to a being that can teach us all things. I know that without the Holy Ghost, we cannot develop a true and lasting testimony of anything. I am so grateful to Him for all that I know now and for the countless things He will continue to teach me, if I will have a willing heart and mind. I hope that each of us can seek for the teachings of the spirit to be in greater abundance in our lives. In the words of another sweet hymn, “Children, God delights to teach you By his Holy Spirit’s voice. Quickly heed its holy promptings. Day by day you’ll then rejoice.” (“Dearest Children, God is Near You”, Text: Charles L. Walker, 1832-1904.)

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Joshua Chapter 22

When the tribes of Israel had conquered the land on the eastern side of the Jordan, across from Jericho, they took some time to encamp there. It was a good land for cattle and herds, and the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, decided they would like that land for their inheritance. The Lord allowed them to have what they wanted, as long as the promised to help the rest of the children of Israel in gaining the land of their inheritance. They agreed and left their families in their lands while they helped fight. Now that all of Israel had found rest, these tribes had fulfilled their promise.

1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,
2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you:
3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God.
4 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan.
5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, were released from their service and told to return to their homes in their own land. They were given instruction to heed the commandments of the Lord, which Moses had given to them. Then they were given a blessing by Joshua and left to go home.

I think that the instruction given to them here is so important. They were not just told to keep the commandments, but were told to “take diligent heed to do”. The word diligent is defined as “careful and persistent work or effort”, and the word heed means “careful attention”. They were being instructed to be carefully persistent in their attention to the law and commandments. The Lord knew that they would need to be actively engaged every day of their lives, if they were going to remain faithfully His people. Likewise, we must be watchful every day, and be persistent in living the gospel of the Lord. One decision can put us on the path that leads away from God and our own promised blessings. If we take diligent heed to follow the commandments, we will be greatly blessed and have the honor of being called the people of the Lord.

7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them,
8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

The remainder of the tribe of Manasseh, was also given a blessing by Joshua and told them to share the spoil from their enemies.

9 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
10 And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh, had obeyed the Lord and served their brethren by fighting for a long time. They had left their homes and families to do this, and had not returned, even though I am sure the temptation was there for some. They had faithfully fulfilled their oath to the tribes of Israel and were only now being able to return to their homes. They returned to their lands on the eastern side of the Jordan. On their way, they stopped by the Jordan and built and altar.

11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.
12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.
13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,
14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

The other tribes of Israel, heard about the altar that they built, and prepared to fight against these tribes for it. They believed that these tribes had chosen to go against the commandments of the Lord. Phinehas, Eleazar’s son, was sent with ten of the princes of Israel.

It would have been so destructive, if they were indeed building an altar in order to perform sacrifices, because it would have been directly against the word of the Lord. Many of the host of Israel, had been destroyed for this type of disobedience, in their journey to the promised land. It was the duty of the rest of Israel, to get rid of any such disobedience among them.

15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,
16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord?
17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord,
18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the Lord, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.
19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.
20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

These men went to the tribes who had built the altar and asked why they had trespassed against the Lord by building the altar. They accused them of coming out in open rebellion against God. They supposed that if they did not repent of this thing, the Lord would bring his anger against the entire host of Israel, as had been done in the past when one man or group had trespassed against the Lord.

21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,
22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)
23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord himself require it;
24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel?
25 For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord.
26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice:
27 But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.
28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you.
29 God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle.

They responded by telling them that this altar was not made for burnt offerings or sacrifice, but to witness that they were children of the Lord as well, even though the Jordan separated them from the rest of Israel. They knew that they could not make an altar for sacrifice when the altar at the tabernacle had been dedicated for that purpose. They also knew that God would know what the purpose was, and they were well aware that He would not let them live, if they did this things against Him.

30 And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them.
31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.

Phinehas and the princes, were pleased with this explanation and agreed that they had not trespassed against the Lord. They knew this was right, because they could tell that the presence of the Lord was still with the host of Israel. When we are doing what is right, we can also have this confirmation. I am reminded now, of the times when I have suspected one of my children has been dishonest with me, and I confront them because I feel the withdrawal of the spirit. Quite often, I confront them based on these feelings, and once they confess and apologize, I can feel the presence of the spirit, letting me know that things are right among us. Feeling the impressions and companionship of the spirit, is a very important tool to knowing that we are doing what the Lord would have us do.

32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.
33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.
34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God.

They returned to Canaan and told the rest of the host of Israel what had been done. The desire to fight was gone, and the host of Israel blessed God instead.

When our own lives are affected by the actions of others or the circumstances that they might put us in, it is our duty, as it was for the tribes of Israel, to make what we can right. In the areas, in which we can make changes or influence for good, we should do so. This is the only way for us to continue to have the influence of the spirit of God in our lives. If we allow ourselves to be denied the influence of God, because of what someone else has done, we choose to separate ourselves from God and the blessings He has in store for us. I am grateful, every day, for the companionship of the spirit. I thank God for His presence in my life and for the confirmation that even though I make mistakes, I am still on the right path and can be a more righteous person with His help.

Numbers Chapter 7

The Israelites were organized by God, through Moses, into camps. Each camp was made up of some of the tribes of Israel, each with a prince of Israel, or captain, at its head. They were the patriarchs of their families. They were responsible for leading their family tribes under the direction of Moses. (For more on the organization of the camps of Israel see the first and second chapters of Numbers.) This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
2 That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:
3 And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.
4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.
6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.
7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:
8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

When the tabernacle was prepared and ready for its designed purposes, the princes of Israel went to it to give their offerings to the Lord. (This was in the beginning of the second year, as they recorded it.) There was a wagon for every two, and an ox for every one of the twelve princes. The Lord instructed Moses to take the offerings and give them to the Levites. Each of the tribes of the Levites had specific duties of the service in the tabernacle and they were given the offerings according to the duties they had. Those who were going to serve in the temple with the offerings given, received a portion of the offerings as the tithing they received. The sons of Kohath, who did not have a responsibility to carry out at that time, did not receive of the offerings.

10 And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.
11 And the Lord said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on
his day, for the dedicating of the altar.

The offerings were made for the dedication of the altar when it had been anointed. They were to give the offerings of one tribe each day for twelve days.

12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:
13 And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
14 One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense:
15 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

On the first day, Nahshon, of Judah, gave his offering of a silver charger and a silver bowl of flour for the meat offering; a golden spoon of incense; a bullock, ram, and a first-year lamb for the burnt offering; a goat kid for the sin offering; and two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five first-year lambs for the peace offering.

18 On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer:
19 He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
20 One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense:
21 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
22 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
23 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

Nethaneel of the tribe of Issachar, gave his offering on the second day. His was an offering of the same things.

24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer:
25 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
26 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
27 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
28 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
29 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

The third day, the offering was made by Eliab of Zebulun. His offering was of the same items.

30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer:
31 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
32 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
33 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
34 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
35 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

The fourth day was the day for Elizur, of the tribe of Reuben, to give his offering. Again, he gave the same items for his offering.

36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer:
37 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
38 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
39 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
40 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
41 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

The fifth day, Shelumiel, of Simeon, offered his offering of the same things.

42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered:
43 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
44 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
45 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
46 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
47 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

On day six, Eliasaph, of the tribe of Gad, gave his offering, like the others.

48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered:
49 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
50 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
51 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
52 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
53 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

The seventh day, was the day for Elishama, of Ephraim, to give the same offering.

54 On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh:
55 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
56 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
57 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
58 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
59 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

Gamaliel, of the tribe of Manasseh, offered the same offering on the eighth day.

60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered:
61 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
62 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
63 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
64 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
65 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

The ninth day, was the day for the tribe of Benjamin to give their offering by the prince Abindan. This offering was also of the same things.

66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered:
67 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
68 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
69 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
70 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
71 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

On day ten, Ahiezer, of Dan, gave the same offering for his people.

72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:
73 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
74 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
75 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
76 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
77 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

Pagiel, of Asher, gave the same offering on the eleventh day.

78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:
79 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
80 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
81 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
82 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
83 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.
84 This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
85 Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
86 The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
87 All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
88 And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

The twelfth day was the day for Enan, of the tribe of Naphtali, to give the same offering. In total, there were twelve silver chargers and twelve silver bowls, each with flour for the meat offering; twelve golden spoons with twelve portions of incense; twelve bullocks, twelve rams, and twelve first-year lambs for the burnt offerings; twelve goat kids for the sin offering; twenty four bullocks, sixty rams, sixty he-goats, and sixty first-year lambs, for the peace offering. Once these offerings were given, the altar had been anointed and dedicated for its purposes. Moses went in to the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with the Lord, as had been promised (see Exodus 25:22). The voice of the Lord, was heard from the mercy seat.

I think that this is a type for our own lives as well. The tribes of Israel were commanded to bring the offerings (both tithes and sacrifices) to the tabernacle. We are commanded to be holy by giving a full tithe to the Lord. In addition, we are asked to give of offerings of our time, energy, and means. In doing so, the Israelites consecrated and dedicated the tabernacle to the Lord. When we give tithes and offerings, we give so that temples of our day can be dedicated, but moreover, we give in order to dedicate ourselves to the Lord. When the Israelites dedicated the tabernacle, the Lord was able to be there and speak with the prophet, Moses. When our temples are dedicated today, they are houses of the Lord and He visits His prophets there to give instruction and inspiration, just as was given to Moses. Additionally, when we personally dedicate ourselves to the Lord, we make our bodies a place where the spirit of the Lord can be at all times. Then, we can have our own communication with God through the constant companionship of the Spirit. There is great power in being obedient to the law of tithing and to the commandment to sacrifice and dedicate ourselves to the Lord. I have felt the blessings of the spirit from being an honest tithe payer and from giving more of myself to the Lord. It is real. It is a truly amazing blessing and one that every person can claim through keeping the commandments.

Exodus Chapter 23

The Israelites are being led by the Lord, through the prophet Moses. They have been led to Mount Sinai, where they have had a witness of the Lord. At this point in the book of Exodus, the Lord is giving them laws and judgments to follow in order to be an obedient and happy people. These things continue as follows:

1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

As I mentioned in the previous two posts, this is purely my understanding of these things and as I did not live then, there may be some things I don’t understand fully. Anyway, the Lord tells them that they are not to lie about what they have witnessed. They are to be honest in their dealings with others. They are not to speak against one another in an evil way. The footnotes references the word slander from the Topical Guide, which says to see also backbiting, deceit, gossip and lying. Any of these things are unrighteous and should not be a part of the lives of those who follow the Lord.

2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

I think they were not to raise riots and uproars according to wickedness. In the footnote we read, “Thou shalt not follow the crowd to do evil, neither speak up in a lawsuit, being influenced by the majority, to subvert justice.” The people were not to influence the judgment in an unjust way, by allowing the crowd of people to make false statements. This is another verse reminding them that honesty is of great importance, no matter what the situation.

3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

The Joseph Smith translation says that the word poor is actually wicked. That changes the meaning of this, which I was not understanding previously. They were not to favor a wicked man in his cause to do evil. I think that sometimes today, our courts will side with someone who has a lot of money or influence, instead of giving them just rewards for their crimes. I think that this is what the Lord was telling them not to do. Those who placed judgment on others, were to do so justly and not according to the ways of man. In addition, the Lord may have been telling them that they were not to take from others unjustly because they had something they wanted. I think this is a lot like placing an heavy burden of tax or judgment on someone who was undeserving of that, just to have more themselves.

4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.
7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

They were to be honest when they came upon someone else’s livestock wandering. They were not to take it for themselves or let it continue to wander even, but were to return it to the owner, even if they were an enemy. They were to help their enemy with their burdens and not to harass the poor beggars. In short, they were to be charitable and serve those who needed help, no matter who they were. They were not to hurt the righteous or innocent, or their acts would not be justified by God. Those who judged, were to do it justly and with honesty.

8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

The footnote for the word gift, references the word bribe. They were not to allow bribery, because it blinded those who were wise and would go against righteousness.

9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

It was said to not oppress any stranger, in the last chapter I believe, so this must have been an important rule to live by. The Israelites are reminded that they were not always in their own land and knew what it was like to be strangers in a land. They were to treat strangers as they had wanted to be treated themselves.

Also, they were given instruction on how to take care of their land. They were told to plant and harvest fruits and grains for six years, and then on the seventh year, they were to leave the land alone (sabbatical year) for the poor and the animals to eat. They were to do the same with their vineyards and such as well. They were to provide welfare to those in need. Likewise, they were to work only six days of the week and then have a day of rest on the seventh day, the Sabbath. This was wisdom, so that all would be rested and refreshed for another week of work. Again they are reminded to follow after these things of the Lord and nothing from any other god. There is a footnote in verse 13, which references Joshua 23:7. In this verse, it talks about not causing others to swear to their gods. If we believe that we are not to worship false Gods, then we should not push others to go to their gods, but instead we should help to bring them to the Lord.

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.
18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

There were to be three feasts during the year, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of the harvest, and the feast of ingathering. (Deuteronomy 16:16 calls the feasts, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles.) The feast of unleavened bread was a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt, also called the passover feast. The feast of harvest happened when they had harvested from their fields. The feast of ingathering was when all those who worked in the fields were given their break from field labor because the harvest was done. They were to bring the first fruits as an offering to the Lord at three times in a year. Then all the men of the Israelites were to sanctify themselves and make sacrifice to the Lord.

20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

The Lord would send an angel, or a guide, before them, so that they would be led in the way the Lord desired for them. He was to guide them to the promised land. He would be holy and on the errand of the Lord, to be obeyed and not trifled with. They would loose him as their guide, as we loose the gift of the Holy Ghost, if there is any transgression of the laws of God. If they would follow this angel, they would be protected and delivered from all their enemies, with the Lord on their side. This was a promise also given to Abraham if he would be faithful. All his kindred would be blessed to have the Lord on their side, to protect them from their enemies. We can also be blessed with safety from our enemies, if we remain faithful and worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Israelites would be protected from sickness, if they would hearken to all the direction of the Lord. They were told not to worship other gods, or do the works of those who worshipped false gods, but instead they were to destroy those images and overtake those people who worshipped them.

26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The women would not be barren, or unable to have children. It seems also that the children would not die from miscarriage during this time. The people would live to their age of fulfillment. Others would fear the name of the Israelites, because of their strength in the Lord. I can just imagine hearing of the destruction the Israelites brought as they regained their land, and how other nations would fear and tremble over that. The other nations would be driven out of their land a little at a time, so that the land would still be good for them and their flocks. Then they would be able to inherit the land the Lord had promised to their ancestors. They were not to make any agreements or promises with those of other nations, and any others who remained in the promised land would be sinning against God. The Lord tells them that if others remained, their worship of false gods would be a temptation for the Israelites.

The laws of the Lord, given to the Israelites, may seem strange or different to us today. We live in a different time, but the reason for these things is the same. We are given laws of God, in order to help us stay worthy of His presence in our lives. We cannot worship other gods, we cannot be dishonest in our dealings with others, we cannot take advantage of others and so on. We may not be required to give feasts, but we do need to partake of the sacrament regularly so that we can be reminded of the Lord and His atonement. All of our men are expected to take on the mantel of the holy priesthood of God and then be diligent in the responsibilities that come with it. If we are faithful to these things, we will be worthy of our own angel of the Lord, or rather, the Holy Spirit of God. He will be our guide and lead us to the eternal promise land that we are striving towards. I am glad that we have laws to follow, so that we can know if we are on the right path back to our Father in Heaven. I look forward to returning to his presence again one day and I hope to be worthy of all He has promised to me.

Do We Stand for Truth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes on Patience – Gaining Experience Through Trials

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 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. (Romans 5:3-5)

  • Patience is needed in times of trial. If I am patient in the difficult times of life, I will gain experience and knowledge, which lead to a greater hope in Jesus Christ, who is the love of God. Patience in trials, will help me to recognize the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life, and the Holy Ghost will strengthen my faith and hope in the Savior and the Atonement.
  • 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.

    How do we know we are beloved of God?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member 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 I would like to 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.

    The declaration begins “we are beloved spirit daughters of God”. My first question is how do we know we are beloved of God? This is a big one. The word beloved means to be dearly loved. It is used often as a term of endearment, which is a completely personal and real love to the deepest parts of our hearts and souls. Some other words connected to beloved are cherished, adored, treasured, and valued. How then, do we know that we are dearly loved, cherished, adored, treasured and valued by God?

    In Deuteronomy 7:13 we read, “And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.” This was a promise given to those who believed in God and obeyed the commandments. The blessings we receive are an evidence of the Love of God for us. One of these blessings is life itself. God has given us the gift of mortality to learn and grow. He wants us to become like him because he loves us. Another blessings, is the wonderful creations around us each day. God shows his love for us, in the beauty of the world. Beautiful things bring me joy, and I believe that God created these things to make us happy. When I can look at His creations and wonder in awe, I know that God loves me.

    In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loves us so much that he allowed His first-born Son, even Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for us. In Doctrine and Covenants 138 we read the following:

    2 And reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world;
    3 And the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world;
    4 That through his atonement, and by obedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved.

    I believe that this is true. The sacrifice of the Son of God, is a manifestation of the love of God for each of us.

    One of the best evidences of His love for me, is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I believe that this is one of the greatest gift that God can give us in this life. The Holy Ghost is a comforter when times are difficult, a protector when we are faced with temptation and when physical harm may come to us or our loved ones, a teacher when we are seeking for truth, and so much more. When I feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or when others are inspired to do something for me, I know that God loves me and is mindful of me.

    The scriptures teach us that God chastens those he loves. In Doctrine and Covenants 95:1 we read, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—”. We are chastised so that we will become the best us we can be. We are chastised so that we will remember the Lord and repent of our sins. We will only be able to return to be with God again, if we make repentance a part of our lives. Therefore being chastised is a way that God can show us He wants us to return to be with Him because he loves us.

    In Alma 24:14 we read, “And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations.” We can know that we are loved of God, because he has given us the gospel. The restoration of the fullness of the gospel, and the ability to have it freely if we will seek it out, is evidence of his love for us. Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said the following in the April 1988 General Conference:

    God expresses his love for us by providing the guidance we need to progress and reach our potential. Perhaps a simple story will illustrate this point. Recently, a young man purchased a used computer but could not get it to work properly. Soon he became discouraged. His temper grew short and he threatened the inanimate object with painful destruction unless its performance improved. A wise father intervened and took his son to a local vendor, where they obtained an instruction manual. After all, who would know more about a complex computer than the person or company that created it? Who would know most about its capacity and potential? Who would better know the safeguards required to avoid damaging or ruining this fine instrument? Soon the boy enjoyed the full potential of his computer by working within the guidelines given in the instruction book provided by its creator.

    Likewise in our lives, he who knows most about us, our potential, and our eternal possibilities has given us divine counsel and commandments in his instruction manuals—the holy scriptures. When we understand and follow these instructions, our lives have purpose and meaning. We learn that our Maker loves us and desires our happiness.

    His desire for us to learn so that we can find happiness, through the gospel, is evidence of His love for us. I believe that there is no greater love that we can feel than can be found by learning and following the gospel.

    President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said, “[God] loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.” (October 2009 General Conference Address, The Love of God.) I can know that no matter where I may be in life, or what my flaws may be at that time, God loves me.

    Finally, I believe that there was a time when God himself experienced a mortal life to become what he is today. Therefore, I think the love we experience as mortals represents a small portion of the love he has for us. I think of the love of a father in this life. We are His children and He has a natural and eternal love for us unlike anything we have ever known. I think also of the special love a father has for his daughters. I have experienced the feelings of being Daddy’s little girl a few times in my life and that love is overwhelming. As a daughter of my Father in Heaven, I know that he looks at me as his little girl. He wants nothing but the best for me, but he knows he will have to let me do things on my own and make my own mistakes so that I can learn. He can see the woman I will become in the eternities and he gently guides my hand so that I can find my way there. Another love of a father, is the love towards those who bear his children. I believe that every mother in mortality works with our Father in Heaven to bring children into this world. This is not to say that we are all mortal children of God the way that the Savior was, but that we are all made up of a spirit born of God and a body born of earthly parents. I believe that God has a special love for all those who give of their bodies to allow His spirit children to be born into this world. I know that as a child, a daughter, and a mother, God has a great love for me. I know that he loves all his children. I know that we can feel that love, if we seek for Him.

    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 Third Article of Faith

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

    We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    We just had a lesson in our Sunday School class that talked about grace (the saving power of the Atonement and resurrection of Christ). There are other religions who believe that with the grace provided by the Savior, Jesus Christ, we are all saved no matter what. In the LDS faith, we believe that one cannot expect to receive exaltation by grace alone. We believe in the atonement. We believe that the Jesus Christ took upon himself every sin, transgression, sorrow, sadness, illness and infirmity that has ever come upon all mankind. We believe that He fully atoned for all of us, and that through him we can be saved.

    In the kingdom of God, this earth included, there are laws that must exist for everything to work properly. Just as there are laws in nature which govern the world around us, there are laws of God, which are there to govern how we live our lives. Thankfully, we have been given a great gift from God, which we exercised even before we came to this earth. We have the gift of agency, which allows us each to choose for ourselves, how we will live. We choose our attitudes, our behaviors, and for the purpose of this article of faith, we choose if we will follow the commandments.

    We believe that people, with the exception of Jesus Christ, will make mistakes and choose unwisely. A single sin will separate us from God. The scriptures teach us that we cannot return to live with God again, if we are found unclean. In 1 Nephi 10:21 we read, “Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.” Our sins keep us spiritually separated from our Father in Heaven. As members of the LDS faith, we are seeking to return to live with Heavenly Father again through exaltation.

    The Savior’s resurrection allows all mankind to be resurrected, no matter how they lived their lives. However, we believe that His atonement can only apply to those who take it upon themselves. This does not apply to the innocent. We believe that grace is fully applicable to those who are incapable of sinning, such as young children, because they are born innocent. For those of us who are fully capable of understanding what is right and wrong, we must take the necessary steps to receive His grace. In addition to knowing and following the laws of the gospel, we believe that we cannot have the saving grace of the atonement, without accepting Jesus Christ through the ordinance of baptism. In John 3:5 we read, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” We must be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit), in order to be saved. Without these ordinances, our souls will be halted in their progression. We will not be able to enter through the gate into the presence of God, if we have not made the covenants necessary.

    Baptism

    When we are baptized we rid ourselves of our sins, because we have repented before entering the waters of baptism. After baptism, the only way to continue to be worthy to be saved is through repentance. Repentance is a process which includes recognizing our sins, changing our ways or having a change of heart, making any restitutions necessary, and returning to the Savior by renewing our covenants of Baptism, through partaking of the Sacrament. By repenting of sins, we allow the atonement to work for us. We, in effect, trade our sins for the price which was already paid for them by the Savior.

    We believe that His grace is sufficient. Meaning that He did enough for every sin for every person. The gift of grace is already waiting for each and every person who will ever have lived on this earth. We believe that all people have the same privileges when it comes to the atonement, and even if they do not have the opportunity to know the gospel in this life, we believe that the opportunity will come to them and they will be able to have His grace as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 138 we read the following about the Savior’s ministry to the spirit world after His death.

    32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
    33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
    34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

    We believe that all people will have the same privileges when it comes to baptism. We, as members of the LDS church, have the privilege of performing baptisms for the dead (the vicarious baptism taught about above) through the proper priesthood authority. Those who die without ever having the opportunity to learn of the gospel and be baptized in this life, will have the opportunity to choose to accept the gospel and baptism.

    We also believe that there are greater covenants to be made with God, and that through those covenants we can receive exaltation and greater glory in heaven. The key to all of us being saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ is obedience. The laws must be obeyed and when we make mistakes, which we all will, justice of the law must be satisfied. We can either take the sins for ourselves and miss out on being saved, or allow the atonement to work for us and through the repentance process we will be saved. I am so thankful for the covenants which I made at my own baptism. I am even more grateful for the opportunity to repent so that I can be made clean again. I know that all this is made possible through the sacrifice that my Savior, Jesus Christ, made for me.


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

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