Posts Tagged 'Intelligence'

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 4

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

God, our Heavenly Father, is omniscient or all-knowing. We therefore, have the potential to become all-knowing. In 1 Samuel 2:3 we read, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” God knows about everything thing he has created. In Moses 1:35 we read, “But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” The Lord knows of every plant and animal. The Lord is aware of us. He knows us completely. As we work to be more like God, we need to work on knowing our own creations better. Do we recognize the things that we make with our hands and minds? Are we trying to get to know our children as well as God knows us? In Luke 16:15 we read, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” God is aware of the deepest desires of our hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7 reads, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Again in 1 Chronicles 28:9 we read, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” God knows more than just our desires. He knows what we need, more than we know what we need. In Matthew 6:8 we read, “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” We need to become more in tune with our own relationships with our family and what they desire and need, by looking deeper. When we look outside of ourselves more, we will recognize the needs of others and be on the right path to becoming like God.

Since they go right along with being all-knowing, the next attributes we can strive to have more of, in order be like God, are the attributes of intelligence and wisdom. God is more than all-knowing, He is intelligent and uses that intelligence with perfect wisdom. God’s glory is intelligence. We learn this in Doctrine and Covenants 93:36, which says, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” In Doctrine and Covenants 88:41 we read, “He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.” We cannot even begin to understand the things that God understands, because of the eternal and infinite nature of his intelligence. Mosiah 4:9 says, “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” It would be outrageous for any person to consider himself as having more knowledge, intelligence or wisdom than God. There is so much more for us to learn than we could possibly imagine. In 2 Nephi 2:24 we learn that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.” Often times, the natural response to something difficult is to question why God would do something to us, or why He would allow something to happen to us. The question can always be answered with this scripture, and it is that God does all things in wisdom. He knows us, comprehends us as well as our pasts and futures. He knows what we will learn from every difficulty we face in life. In our search to become more like God and get closer to our potential, we should be seeking after greater knowledge and intelligence. Not the way the world would have it, but the way God can give it to us. We should seek to have the spirit with us, so that we can learn truth of all things. Then when we have more intelligence, we need to try to be wise with the choices we make. There is no point to having a greater understanding or comprehension, if we are not trying to use it wisely. The blessing of wise choices and actions, is that we are then capable of understanding and learning even greater things. God wants us to become more intelligent and wise and He will bless us if we strive for this with sincere desire and faith.

(Coming soon: Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 5)

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

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Do We Love Learning?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom to Choose

This is the forth chapter of the Gospel Principles manual for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To view the entire lesson, go here: Freedom to Choose

Agency Is an Eternal Principle – If someone asked you why it is important to have agency, what would you say?

Agency was given to us, by God, to allow us the opportunity to choose for ourselves if we would follow Him. It is an eternal principle which existed before life on this earth. We learn of our agency in the scriptures. In Doctrine and Covenants 29:36 we read, “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;”. We used our agency and chose to follow the Savior. Agency is the thing that allows us to be free. It is the principle that causes us to learn, grow and ultimately to progress. Without agency, we cannot become more intelligent. Rather we are forced to remain in the same state forever, which is to be under the control of another. As an eternal principle, agency gives us the ability to become like our Father in Heaven, who is free to act for Himself in all things. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we read, “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Our agency gives us the eternal opportunity to be free like God, or be captive like the Devil. Abraham 3:24-25 says the following:

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

Agency also makes us responsible for our own decisions and therefore able to prove ourselves worthy to God by choosing to follow His commandments.

Agency Is a Necessary Part of the Plan of Salvation – How does making right choices help us make more right choices?

To every choice there is a consequence, either good or bad. There are many times when we are choosing between two good things and either consequence would be good. Then there are plenty of times when our choices are between that which is good and that which is bad. There is a feeling of peace and contentment when I know that I have made the right choice. This feeling is one that I long for often in my life. There is so much uncertainty and struggle in life, that a moment of peace can give me the strength to take the next step forward. Knowing that I can get peace from making the right choice, gives me a simple enough reason to continue making right choices. I know from study of the gospel, that the peace is a gift from God, through the blessings of the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Agency Requires That There Be a Choice – Why is opposition necessary?

We learn from the scriptures that there has to be opposition in all things in order for us to progress. In 2 Nephi 2:11 we read, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” As an example of the importance of this, I have not experienced much death in my life so far. In fact, the only family member in my side of the family, who had passed away before 2010, was my great-grandmother. She died the day I was born, so I don’t really recall the experience that my family went through at her passing. In 2010, my Grandfather died from complications resulting from cancer. It was not entirely expected and progressed so quickly that the family was not really prepared for his death. I realized as we went through the process, that I never really knew the value of life until experiencing this so personally. I had an idea of principles and concepts, but I could not understand what I had not experienced. Our entire growth in knowledge and intelligence, depends on the experiences of life. We have to go through the opposition, in order to understand the joy. Doctrine and Covenants 29:39 reads, “And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—”. We must learn to choose the good, in order to learn from our choices. The Savior had to suffer through the greatest opposition of all. Matthew 26:39 reads, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” By choice he followed God’s will and suffered even death for us so that we would have the ultimate ability to choose our eternal outcome.

What are some examples of actions that limit our choices? What are some examples of actions that give us more freedom?

Each consequence of our choices can either give us the freedom to choose more, or the limit to the choices we can make. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:86 we read, “Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.” An action that limits our choices, is anything which causes us to give of our freedom to choose, to another. We give this, when we put ourselves in some kind of bondage. As a temporal example, choosing to live life based on credit, gives the creditors the right to choose how our finances can be used. Many people have suffered greatly for this mistake in the recent years. On the other hand, living a life free of debt, gives us the freedom to spend our money how we choose and the freedom to keep the things that we own without someone waiting to take it all away from us.

Another example of an action which limits our choice, is partaking of something that impairs our own judgment. There are things which can affect us in a way where we become either dependent on that thing, or we physically cannot control our own thoughts and actions any longer. These things can be taken into our bodies, such as harmful substances, alcohol, and other drugs; or they can be things we choose to become addicted to, such as gambling or pornography. Before we can understand what is happening, we become bound to that thing and are unable to have the self-control to do something else. I have experienced my own types of addictions in life and I understand that the struggle to overcome them, no matter what they may be, is difficult and can feel next to impossible at times. The Savior taught of the power sin has over us. In John 8:34 we read, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” We cannot have freedom if we choose to become a servant to sin and to the master of sin itself, Satan. On-the-other hand, when we keep ourselves free from addictions of any sort and from sin, we are completely free to act according to our own will, and more importantly, according to the will of God.

I am amazed at the wonderful gift of agency that we have been given. It is natural and right to be able to choose for ourselves and to be responsible for the path our life takes because of these choices. I cannot imagine the way life would be if agency did not exist. I know that agency gives purpose to our life and makes us better beings. I am so glad that I can gain knowledge and experience through my choices, good and bad.

What is the Purpose of Our Lives?

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 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.

One of the greatest things about the gospel, is that it teaches us the answer to this burning question. What is the purpose of our lives? The answer can be given through the plan of God, which was presented to all of us in the pre-mortal existence, or the time when we lived with God before we were born on this earth. The purpose of His plan was to bless us with the greatest blessings possible. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” To give us these blessings, we had to be allowed the opportunity to come to earth, gain a body and experience mortal life with all its blessings and hardships. In Abraham 3:25, the Lord said, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 98:14 we read, “Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.” This life is a time for us to prove ourselves obedient to the commands of God.

Part of the purpose of our lives is to keep the commandments, which we can find throughout the scriptures. One of the commandments is to believe in Christ, who is the Savior of us all. 1 John 3:23 reads, “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” Why is part of the purpose of life to have faith in Jesus Christ? Because he is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the power of His infinite atonement, the Savior made it possible for us to live with God again and to have immortality and eternal life. John 14:6 reads, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Without faith in Him, we cannot use the atonement in our lives, which means we cannot be made clean enough to live with God again through repentance. I think that coming unto the Father means also, to believe and come to know God as well. When we have faith in Christ and follow Him, we come to know God as well. In John 17:3 we read, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The purpose of our eternal lives is to know God and Jesus Christ, and so it should therefore be part of our mortal purpose as well.

If we believe in Christ, the next step is to repent of our sins. This is part of the purpose of life. We will all make mistakes, because that is part of the human condition. Through repentance we change our will to be like that of God’s will, so that we can become more like him. We are here to learn how to be like our Father in Heaven, who is perfectly righteous. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:28 we read, “But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.” We are here to gain all things, which can only be done when we repent and apply the cleansing power of the atonement. The scriptures teach us time and time again about the importance of repentance in our lives. In Alma 12:24 we read, “And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.” We were given this time to repent and prepare.

Baptism

The next commandment and step in the purpose of our lives, is to be baptized. John 3:5 teaches us this commandment, “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.” Baptism must be followed by faithful endurance. Doctrine and Covenants 18:22 says, “And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” In Proverbs 19:16 we read, “He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul . . .”. If we are faithful to the commandments, we will be worthy of the blessings that God wants to give us. To endure, we must live as active and worthy members of God’s kingdom on earth. We need to be in the service of God. Doctrine and Covenants 115:5 reads, “Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;”. It is our duty, to stand as a witness of God at all times, and to serve Him in all areas of our lives. Mosiah 2:17 teaches us about service. “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Part of the purpose of our lives is to serve our fellow men.

We learn from the story of the creation, another part of our purpose here. In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We are here to learn how to have a righteous dominion over the things that we are given. This means over the animals, the plants and other living things on the earth, as well as all other things that are given to us by God. This earth and the things on it, will be the inheritance of the righteous. In Doctrine and Covenants 63:20 we read, “Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come;”. I believe that after this life, if we are faithful, we will also be given the opportunity to rule over our own kingdoms, worlds, spiritual children, and other creations. In this life, we need to prove ourselves capable of taking care of these things and having dominion over them.

Another part of the reason and purpose for our lives is to gain experience. It is to learn about trials as well as peace and joy. In Doctrine and Covenants 29:39, it teaches us why. “And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—”. We could not know for ourselves what is sweet, or what is joy, if we could not live through the things that are bitter, difficult, and trying. Through this experience we gain knowledge and wisdom, which when perfect, are traits of our Father in Heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:18 we read, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” We are here to gain the intelligence that we will take with us after this life.

Ultimately, our purpose is to have the happiness and joy that God promised was available to us. We are taught this principle very plainly in the book of 2 Nephi, chapter 2. In verse 25 we read, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” We exist on this earth, as mortal men and women, to have eternal joy. We can have this joy by proving ourselves worthy and prepared through keeping the commandments, finding faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, coming to know God, being baptized and confirmed, enduring as we serve and stand as a witness, being a good steward of the things God has given us, and gaining intelligence through experiencing the trials and blessings of life.

I am so grateful for the knowledge of why I am here, which I have because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It gives me a greater reason for living, to know what I am living for. I know that my life matters and has a purpose. I have felt joy in my life, through living these principles and experiencing life with faith and hope. I know that if I can do my best to live up to that purpose, I will receive blessings of joy beyond what I could ever imagine.

(To learn more about the purpose of our lives, go here: Plan of Happiness)

Abraham Chapter 3

Abraham was a prophet, called by God to preach and to lead his righteous family and followers to Egypt. So far in the Book of Abraham, we have read a few times where the Lord has protected and guided Abraham directly. Abraham’s record continues:

1 And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees;
2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

The Urim and Thummim is an instrument that God has given to prophets throughout the history of the world, which assists them in translation and receiving revelations. This instrument requires the power and authority of the priesthood in order to be used. The Lord gave Abraham a Urim and Thummim in which he learned about all the stars, including the star of Kolob, which governs all the other stars we can see. From the footnote for Kolob, it references other scriptures which teach us about heaven, and the place where God is. I think that Kolob is the closest place to God.

4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.
5 And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years.
6 And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night.
7 Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest.
8 And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still;
9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
10 And it is given unto thee to know the set time of all the stars that are set to give light, until thou come near unto the throne of God.

We learn here, that a revolution on Kolob, is one thousand years to us on earth. We also learn here that the moon is greater than the earth in its movement of time. According to these verses, Abraham was taught that the moon revolves more slowly than the earth, which is the proper order of time because it is above the earth, which I think means that it is closer to Kolob. Then he was taught that the next greater planet will move even slower because it is closer to Kolob. These things were revealed to Abraham to know the nature of time for the earth, planets and stars.

11 Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made;
12 And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof.
13 And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.
14 And it was in the night time when the Lord spake these words unto me: I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds.
15 And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.

The Lord revealed all his creations to Abraham, with the touch of his hands. Then the Lord told Abraham that he was shown these things so that he would preach them to the people when he got to Egypt. The Lord reveals these things to the prophets, so that everyone else can learn of them. Abraham was given this knowledge to be able to teach the people and bring them closer to God. I have to wonder if the topic of the universe and time was a major topic of learning at this point in Egypt, and if this was the way that the spirit would be able to touch the hearts of mankind most.

Abraham was promised again that his seed would be great in number. This promise is an eternal promise of the blessings of eternal life, which include a posterity that goes on forever. This promise is extended to everyone who makes covenants in the temple through the sealing power of the priesthood. I am hopeful of the blessings that come from the covenants that I have made in the temple.

16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.
17 Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and the moon be above the earth, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.
18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.
19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.

Here the Lord teaches Abraham about our eternal nature. Just as one planet is above another because of it relation in space to Kolob or to Him, one spirit will be above another because its intelligence is closer to that of God, who is the greatest. This makes perfect sense to me. We are all on different levels of spiritual intelligence. We learn line upon line, from our individual experiences. This is okay. I don’t think that this makes any one of us greater than another in the eternal view of things, because we are all working towards becoming like God. The important thing is that we are all striving to grow closer to Him. It is not important where we are in relation to others right now, it only matters what we are each trying to become.

20 The Lord thy God sent his angel to deliver thee from the hands of the priest of Elkenah.
21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

God is the being of the most intelligence, or the greatest. As the greatest, he was the creator of all that we now know, and became the leader of other spirits of great intelligence. Those spirits were chosen to be leaders in this life, such as the prophets of God. Abraham was told that he was among the greatest and was chosen before this life, or foreordained. In this group of the greatest, there was one who was like God, and He led the other foreordained leaders in creating the earth and everything on it. This leader was Jesus Christ. I have heard it said that God is the architect who designed the world, Christ is the general contractor, and there are several great spirits who were called to be the workers and who literally built the world. I think that it helps me to understand these verses more. I believe that many spirits were given the opportunity to learn and grow in their state of progression, by being given the work of creating different parts of the world we have now. This is one of those things that I am curious to know about after this life. I think it will be great to know who created the beautiful things I enjoy, and to know if I played any part in that work.

Abraham was told of the plan for the spirits in heaven. He was told about the choice we had to keep our first estate, which means to follow our spiritual leader, Christ, and choose to gain a body and live on this earth. Christ was the first, who was chosen in the pre-existance, to be our Savior and to lead us all back to God. All people who live on the earth, have kept their first estate. The Lord taught Abraham, that all those who made this choice, would be added upon. I believe that this means that we are given the opportunity to progress and gain intelligence, where those who did not choose to follow Christ, are halted in their progression. The second spirit who offered himself to be sent by God, was Satan, who led away many spirits in the pre-existence. Those spirits did not keep their first estate. Our second estate is to make and keep covenants in this life. We will be added upon forever if we choose to make and keep our covenants with God. I believe that these things are true. The knowledge of where we came from, our reason for being here, and where we are going, gives me a greater hope in this life. I am so grateful for the gospel and for the opportunity to learn and grow in intelligence, so that I may one day become like God and live with Him again.

D&C Section 130

This section includes instructions given by the prophet, Joseph Smith, to the early saints. This was during the early part of 1843, while he was in Illinois. I understand that the prophet had listened to a talk given by Orson Hyde, and this section is a record of the corrections to what had been said. It must have been amazing to be in the presence of one who had come to know deity and had been taught by angels.

1 When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.
2 And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.
3 John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

Joseph Smith described the appearance of the Savior in what is known as the first vision, as well as when He stood upon the alter of the temple. From these descriptions we know that we are as the Savior in appearance, except that we do not have his glory. I believe that his glory is what makes Him unable to be seen with the natural eye. This is not an principle that all Christians understand. Some feel that He is some unexplained manifestation, other that He is a spirit or a power. We know that we are created in the image of God the Father and of His Son. The prophet quotes 3 John 14:23, which reads, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Joseph explains that this means that They will appear physically to those who love Them, not that they will spiritual inhabit them. This does not mean that we all can expect to have a personal visit from the Savior, but that if we are true and faithful, we may have that opportunity.

4 In answer to the question—Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside?
5 I answer, Yes. But there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it.
6 The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;
7 But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.

I think that this means that even though all of God’s children may reside in one heaven with God, that we have each been given our own planet to experience this life. Those who are angels after this life, will only return to this planet to assist with the work here. They do not remain here on this earth after they had died, but they live with God in heaven, celestially and eternally.

8 The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.
9 This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

A Urim and Thummim is a tool that is used to interpret or translate by the power of God, the words and works of God. When it says that heaven is one, to me it means that where God is, all are able to understand fully the works and words of God. Those who live on the earth will have the earth to use as a means to fully understand these things as well, because the earth will be in a perfected, celestial state.

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;
11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

In Revelations 2:17, this same stone is mentioned, which in the foot note indicates a Urim and Thummim. This stone will be the celestial tool which will make all things known to those who inherit a celestial glory. Those who are faithful will be able to receive a new name from God. These things are important to receiving the fullness of the blessings which have been promised to the faithful. The preparation for this in our lives, is to become worthy and then to receive endowments in the house of the Lord, the temple. It is only through temple ordinances that this will be possible.

12 I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina.
13 It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832.
14 I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following:
15 Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.
16 I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face.
17 I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.

The prophet had already revealed to the saints, the prophecies concerning the beginning of the Civil War, which were over the issue of Slavery. Here is a reminder of that fighting which was to come. Joseph also says here that he had asked the Lord about the timing of the Second Coming. The response was not so much a non-answer, as it was a reminder that it would be better for him to be concerned with other things rather than focusing his attention on when it would happen. It sounds like Joseph was told that even if he lived to his old age and died naturally, he would be blessed to see the Savior’s face, so it did not matter when the second coming was exactly. This is important for us to understand. If the prophet had been told the date of the coming of the Savior, it would require less faithful righteousness on the part of the saints. What I mean is that if we knew that we needed to be as righteous as we could for tomorrow, we would spend all day today repenting, probably choosing to live our lives however we want all the days before. When we don’t know when it will happen, we learn to live as righteously as we can each and every day in preparation for that unknown time.

18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.

For myself, I have found that I am ready and willing to have a deeper understanding of the gospel and hopefully a higher intelligence to the things of God. These verses make feel like this search for a greater knowledge will be a great blessing after this life. I know that I can gain a greater intelligence through scripture study, listening to the lessons from the prophets, and especially going to the temple. I also understand that we should be looking for a greater intelligence in the things of the world around us, because all of these things are created and inspired by God. Learning more of the things that would seem to be secular, increases our intelligence and advantage as well. I think that the key is to seek for the intelligence of the spiritual first, and then the intelligence of the secular, with a hope that all knowledge will be for our good.

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

This is such an important gospel principle. God is a just being. Because He is just, there are laws that have been created. Every law has blessings connected to it, and if we obey the law, He is bound to bless us. We can actively show our faith in this principle through our obedience to the commandments. Obedience is the key to unlocking all the blessings of heaven, that God has in store for us.

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
23 A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him.

Finally, just in case this was not already made clear in previous revelations, the prophet teaches us that the Godhead includes God, the Father, who has a body of flesh and bones; God, the Son, who also has a body of flesh and bones; and the Holy Ghost, who is a Spirit. We learn from this that the reason for the Holy Ghost being a spirit, is so that He may come into the hearts of each and every man. I have a firm belief that this is true.

I love the gospel. I am so grateful to have the fulness of it in my life, through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have faith in the words of the prophet, Joseph Smith, and I believe that they are true to the doctrine of Christ. I hope for the blessings that have been promised to the righteous, and I look forward to the amazing things that are still yet to come both while I am living in this life, and after it.

D&C Section 93

It feels like forever since I posted on a section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I guess that is what happens when kids are out of school for the holidays. I am glad to be back.

This section was received through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, while in Kirtland, Ohio in 1833. At this time, the saints were hopeful for Zion to be established, but also suffering from persecution both outside of the church and within it. It was a difficult time, and this revelation came as a source of strength to the saints.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
3 And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—
4 The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.
5 I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

There is hope in living righteously, no matter what we may be facing in our lives. This hope comes from the mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All those who are faithfully, are promised to see the face of our Lord and to know that He is the Christ.

6 And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed.
7 And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
8 Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—
9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
10 The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
18 And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.

Here there is reference to a John, an apostle of Jesus Christ during his ministry on the earth. When the Savior came to them as the resurrected Lord, John said that there were many things that the Savior did, which were not recorded at that time (see John 20:30). Our record in the New Testament, is the testimony of John, the apostle. He gives us a record of seeing the glory of the Lord, which we have so that we can have faith on his testimony and be blessed for believing it. It is my understanding that John, the apostle, promises the faithful will have the fullness of the record of John, the Baptist, revealed to them. As far as I know, these have still not been revealed to us, but I am sure that the prophesy will come to pass, and with his testimony we will find a greater faith and knowledge of the Savior.

This witness from John, teaches or reminds us of some of the things the Savior has done. First, I think it is important to see that as a resurrected Lord, the Savior was in the fullness of His glory. At the time of our own resurrections, we will receive our own glory and it will be a fullness according to our own works of righteousness. John tells us that the glory showed him that the Lord was there in the beginning and that he had created the world under the direction of God, the Father. It is interesting to read that Jesus Christ was not immediately given all the glory of God, the Father. He was given His glory over time, until he had received the fullness. We progress in the same fashion, one step at a time, and we have the promise that if we are faithful and live as the Savior lived, we too can receive the fullness of Glory. This comes a little at a time, as we do good works and are obedient to the will of God.

19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.

We should know from this, that we are to worship the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His example and to live as He lived. We should be striving each day to do one more thing that will bring us closer to Him. When we do this, we will receive the grace of God a little at a time, and we will become more like the Savior.

21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn;
22 And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.

I think that this means that those who are baptized in the name of Christ are of His church, but I am a little unsure on this. If anyone reading this has further insight, I would love to read it.

23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
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.

Here is a basic truth of the plan of salvation. All of us were there, in the beginning. We do not know exactly when the beginning was, but we can know from this that our spirits were with God before we came to this earth. The spirits of the pre-existence, are spirits of truth. I believe that we all had true knowledge and we knowingly chose to come to the earth and follow Jesus Christ. I believe that as we seek for truth in this life, that the veil which covers our mind is lifted little by little. I think that when the spirit testifies to us of truth, we are just having a reminder of what we already know to be truth. This knowledge is what is truly going to be or what really has happened. The power that comes from learning the truth of things, is uplifting and gives us strength to endure. The spirit is the only one who can give us these reminders of what is true, by touching our hearts and minds. We can only have the influence of the spirit, if we are being obedient to the commandments of God. Therefore, our obedience to the commandments will bring us truth and knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. Eventually, we will have the ability to know all things, just as the Lord knows 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.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.

Man was with God, as I said above. Intelligence is eternal. This concept is hard for the understanding of mortal minds. I think we can have a very basic idea or what that means, but I don’t think anyone will truly understand and know the concept of an eternal intelligence until we have passed on from our mortal state. I think that I understand these verses to mean that all of us have truth, or knowledge of what is true, available to us. We have the ability to choose to search for it and recognize it as part of our agency. If we choose not to search for it, and therefore do not receive it, we will be judged for it. The manual I am studying, gives a great quote that basically points out that we choose what things in this life to being knowledgable about by studying and testing the laws and principles of that thing. It stands to reason then, that we must study and test the laws and principles of God and religion, in order to gain a true knowledge of it. We do this by trying to be obedient to the commandments of God. (see “Absolute Truth”, Ensign Sept. 1978.)

33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

Our eternal nature is spiritual. We were spirits before we came to this earth. When we came to the earth, we gained our mortal bodies. Our spirits and bodies are only separated by death. If they are separated we cannot inherit all that God wants to give us, or we cannot have a fulness of joy. Through Jesus Christ, the resurrection has been made available to us so that we may receive that fulness. If we choose to destroy the temple that God has given us, or our bodies, by living a life of sin which abuses our bodies in many ways, we will be held accountable to the destruction from God.

36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

This intelligence is more than just being smart or having knowledge. Those who are truly intelligent have knowledge and use it to do the will of the Lord. Intelligence is being able to apply knowledge to the eternal perspective that is according to the plan of salvation. This is what we all should be striving for, because the glory of God is intelligence, and we are trying to become like Him.

38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
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.

There are many out in the world, who do not understand that we are not to be held accountable for the fall of Adam. The Savior has paid the price for that sin through the atonement. The Lord has freed us from paying the price for the sins of those who come before us. We are therefore, only responsible for the sins which we commit. When we come to the world, as little children, we are innocent, because of the atonement. Our innocence is only lost through disobedience to God’s laws once we are accountable. It is the responsibility of parents, to teach children the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The modern prophets have counseled us time and time again, that the way to keep families together and to keep our children on the straight and narrow path, is to teach them in the home. I believe that this is truth. I know that the more effort I make to teach my children the gospel, and to show them how to live it by my word and example, I will help them to have a stronger foundation and to be able to withstand the temptations that will come their way.

41 But verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, you have continued under this condemnation;
42 You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction.
43 And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house.
44 Verily, I say unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, that in some things he hath not kept the commandments concerning his children; therefore, first set in order thy house.
45 Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me—
46 I called you servants for the world’s sake, and ye are their servants for my sake—
47 And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.—You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord;
48 Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place.
49 What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.
50 My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.
51 Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him.
52 And let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Frederick G. Williams make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

Even the prophet and his counselors are not perfect in all things. The Lord chastened the prophet, Joseph Smith, and other prominent men of the early church, because they were not teaching their families all that they should. The gospel is centered around families. It is of the most importance that we do what is needed to keep our families strong and free from the temptations and traps of Satan. If we do this in our homes, our influence in other areas of our lives will be for good. In verse 49, we are given a key to doing what is right, and that is to pray. We need to pray privately as well as with our families. We need to learn to have more sincere and honest prayers. We must always have a prayer in our heart. It is important to remember that as parents, we cannot make our children choose the right. They have their agency and must be allowed to choose for themselves, but if they are not taught at home, we will be held accountable for the wrongs which they do.

I am so grateful for the hope that can be found in the gospel. I am grateful for the impressions of the spirit which teach me what is true. The Savior has paid the price for my sins and has given me an example of how I should be living. I love to learn of these things in the scriptures. I understand the importance of teaching my children the gospel. I hope and pray that my teaching and my example will help them to choose the right when they are faced with temptations. I know that if more parents understood the weight of their own responsibility to teach what is good, the world would be a better place. I know that prayer is vital to the success of parents and families.


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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