Posts Tagged 'Learning'

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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Ponderizing – Week 10 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is 2 Nephi 28:30.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

God is our creator. He knows how every particle of our being works together and allows us to breathe, move, think and love. He knows how we learn, and while we all learn at different paces and our learning is focused in different areas from one another, there is an eternal principle that applies to all people. We learn by building on the things we already know. This is why it takes time to build a vocabulary. This is why we study our alphabet and sounds for quite a bit of time before we start to read. This is how we are able to retain the basics in order to understand deeper concepts. In keeping with this eternal principle, and because God desires for us to learn and gain understanding and knowledge, God distills his teachings upon us in this manner: line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.

If God intended for us to have all knowledge at once, or even in just a short span of time, we would not have needed to live any longer than that short amount of time. Yet, we live and are learning to the day we leave this mortal life. And, I believe, that our learning may continue after this life, for as long as is necessary for us to gain a perfect knowledge. In his perfect understanding of His creations, God gives us time to learn and time to grow in knowledge.

This verse teaches us that we can choose what to do with the teachings that come for God. The first option, is to hearken to God’s precepts and to listen attentively to His counsel. The second option, is to decide that there has been enough knowledge given by God. The promised consequences of choosing the first option, are wisdom and more teachings to learn from. On the other hand, the promised consequences for choosing the second option, is that the knowledge one already has, will be taken away. This may seem unloving of God, to remove our knowledge from us. It is not, however, something that changes the perfectly eternal love of God for his children. In fact, it is a gift of love, because there will be a day when all will be judged. Those who have a knowledge of His teachings, will be held accountable for how they lived their life according to that knowledge. In His great and eternal mercy, God removes those things which we cannot seem to handle, so that we will not be held accountable for actions against those things that we clearly have not understood.

This life is a gift of preparation for our eternal lives. We were given this opportunity to work towards something. We choose if we will move forward in our personal progression, or if we turn away from that. There is no option for standing still when time continues to move forward. We have a blessed opportunity to learn from God each and every day of our lives, so that we can become better people.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

I am so grateful for the patience and wisdom of God. He is truly long-suffering with me. He is loving and knows me perfectly. I know that there are many things I am taking a long time to learn, but thankfully, I also know that God will only give me what I can handle at this time. When I have chosen to live according to what I learn, I know He will give me more to learn from. I hope that more of God’s children will have a desire to learn rather than to give up on God in His role as their teacher. I know He is our loving Father and that His greatest desire is for us to grow in the light and truth of His teachings, because it will bring us back into His presence and allow us to continue to progress in the eternities. He wants to see us grow into beings of great wisdom and knowledge. We need to be patient with God in what he gives us to learn. Likewise, we need to be patient with ourselves in our level of learning. Finally, we need to remember to be patient with others, who are also learning line upon line in their own lives.

Deuteronomy Chapter 32

In the previous chapter, Moses was commanded by the Lord, to make a record of the teachings he had given. As part of that record, we have this chapter, which is known as the song of Moses. It begins:

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

I love the imagery of learning that is given to us in verse 2. When we are tender in our learning of the gospel, the teachings of Moses are simple as the dew in the morning, which is there waiting for us as we arise. When we have grown a little, his teachings are a light rain, and when we have grown in our gospel learning, the teachings are like rain showers on established grass. In all things, we grow line upon line and our learning builds upon what we have already come to know and understand. Likewise, if we do not allow the rain to come upon us in any quantity, our grass will wither and die.

The words of the scriptures, are a testimony of the Lord and His greatness, spoken to heaven and earth. When people go wrong, it is because they choose that for themselves. Those who live a perverse and crooked life, are not behaving as children of the Lord should. We are all His children, because He has created us and given us all, including His grace through the power of His atonement. However, when we are disobedient to His laws, we choose to no longer be considered His children and refuse the promised blessings for after this life.

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

If any of the Israelites wondered about the history of their people, they should have been able to go to their fathers and elders, to learn of it. I know there are some people today, who would claim that we should not look to our history for learning, but everything about the scriptures teach us that this is not true. We need the stories of the people in history, to know how we should live now. They are a great example for us.

The people of the Lord, have always been led by his hand as His chosen people. He has taught His people and protected them.

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

When the righteous people have been greatly blessed, they forget the Lord who gave them all. Time and time again, the people of the Lord have turned to other gods and false idols, both old and new. The people forget the Rock of salvation, or the Lord, who brings their salvation.

19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
27 Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this.
28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.

The Lord would hide himself from the people, because they forgot him and turned to other gods and wickedness. They would have mischiefs, fire, animals, poison, swords and terror come upon all the people, to destroy them. The people would be scattered and forgotten. These things would come because they would choose not to listen and heed the word of the Lord.

29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
36 For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Wisdom is being obedient to the counsel of the Lord. The people would not understand that the Lord was the reason for their deliverances. They would choose wickedness over righteousness. I think the idea that the vine was the vine of Sodom, is to say that the fruit of the wicked, is wickedness. Instead of sweet fruit of the vine, they would have fruit of gall and bitterness. The Lord would bring vengeance and recompense upon the people and those who deserved wrath at His judgement, would receive it. Some day, the people would see that false gods could not be there for them in their need, but that the Lord is the only god. The Lord is the only living god. He can bring life, death, resurrection, and deliverance. Those who served the Lord, and would be his people, would be avenged and receive the Lord’s mercy.

I think of the rock mentioned in these verses. Our rock, is the thing that we choose to build our foundation upon. The only true rock that will not fail us, is the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The rock that the disobedient people would choose, would not remain in their times of difficulty. We can choose to place our faith and trust in a lot of things in this world, but only the Lord will remain a sure foundation for us.

When Lot first chose Sodom as a place for him to settle, it seemed a good idea. The land of Sodom was very desirous and it says in Genesis 13, that it was as the garden of the Lord. There are a lot of things in this world that look pleasing at first, and we are naturally drawn to them. Like Sodom, however, if these things are not pointing us towards righteousness, they will lead to an awful result of bitterness and destruction.

44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

Moses and Joshua spoke these things to the people of Israel. At the end of his words, Moses told them to take his words to heart, or to listen and follow all that he had taught them, and to teach their children to be obedient to them also. He promised them that if they were obedient, they would have their days prolonged in the land. Then Moses was told by the Lord, to go into the mountain to die and be gathered to his people, just as Aaron had done. Before he died, he was going to be allowed to see the land that he was not allowed to enter because he had trespassed against the Lord.

I love music. For me, a song can be in my mind and heart much easier than words alone. I don’t think I am alone in this, because we teach basic principles to our children through music, such as the ABC’s. Calling this chapter the song of Moses and reading that they were to take these things into their hearts seems quite fitting. This is part of why it is important for us to learn and know righteous and inspired hymns, which help us to remember the principles of the gospel, the purposes of life, and the amazing things that the Lord has down for his people. I am so grateful for beautiful music and the messages that I can learn from it.

God speaks to all people of the earth, and always has. While not everyone has always had the privileges of knowing the gospel, it is still for all people. I believe that their is one God who created all people. He knows and loves us all, and speaks to the world today through His chosen prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Just as He led the people through Moses, he leads today through the modern prophets. It is amazing to live in a time when a prophet can lead us and teach us the word of the Lord for our day.

Notes on Patience – Learning in Order to Teach

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

And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved. (Alma 5:13)

  • I cannot plan to teach patience to others, especially my children, unless I understand it enough myself. If I fly off the handle when they do something I think is wrong, they will learn to behave the same to others. If I have humility, faith and put my trust in God, then I can teach my children what it is to have patience, because these are things that lead to it.
  • Notes on Patience – Lessons from God

    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

    Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

    And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. (Mosiah 4:11)

    And it came to pass that when they had humbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord he did send rain upon the face of the earth; and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine. (Ether 9:35)

    Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel. (Alma 26:16)

  • God’s patience and long-sufferance with me are much greater than I ever will have to bear with Him. It may sometimes seem like my prayers are not answered for a long time, but God is waiting for me to learn lessons, remember him, and most times for me to be willing to go through the repentance process, so that he can bless me with the answers I seek. His patience with me, allows me the opportunity to become humble and repent for the things I have done, so that I can have a greater reward after this life through the atonement of His Son. We can see examples all through the scriptures of his patience with His people on earth, in which he gives every opportunity (more than any of us truly deserve) for repentance before the negative consequences he has promised. God is truly a patient God and that is one of the things that we should be striving to become in order to be like Him.
  • Do We Rejoice in the Blessings of the Temple?

    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.
    Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
    Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

    The next question in this series is do we rejoice in the blessings of the temple. I absolutely love the temple. In the LDS church, we have temples all over the world, which are dedicated to the work of salvation. There are certain saving ordinances that can only be performed in the temple, both for the living and those who have died. All are invited to enjoy the blessings of the temple and can do so, if they are found worthy to enter the holy and sacred house of the Lord. In Psalms 24 we read the following:

    3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
    4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
    5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (emphasis added)

    To answer the question for today, we have to understand what some of the blessings of the temple are. The first one I think of, based on my description above of what the temple is ultimately for, is the eternal blessings that come from the ordinances performed there. With the covenants made in the temple, we have promised blessings that await us. The one that I look forward to the most, is eternal families. We believe that through the work in the temple, our earthly family relationships can be ours for eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 138:48 we read, “Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.” It may be hard to see this as a blessing to rejoice in right now, but there is great hope that comes from this knowledge. It is a huge blessing to be able to look at my loved ones and feel that even if we are parted because of death or distance, we will see each other again some day and enjoy the blessings of heaven with one another.

    The temple is a house of glory. When we make covenants with the Lord, the faithful are promised to receive great glory. In the LDS faith, we believe in an order to the kingdom of God. That order divides His kingdom into three degrees of glory. They are the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial glories. The one we are aiming for, which is the glory in which the faithful, covenant, and righteous will dwell, is the celestial glory. We believe that within that glory, there are three degrees. All the faithful, who have made their first covenants (baptism by water and the spirit), will qualify for the lowest degree in that glory. Those who have made greater covenants will be worthy of the greater degrees of glory. Ultimately, we believe that the covenants of celestial marriage, will allow the faithful to be worthy of the highest degree of glory within the celestial kingdom. Doctrine and Covenants 131 starts with the following:

    1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
    2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

    I find additional hope in this knowledge. This highest degree of glory, is where our Father in Heaven dwells. In Doctrine and Covenants 97 we read the following:

    15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
    16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.

    I see it as a great blessing to have hope in living with God again someday, because I have made and kept the covenants in this life to be worthy of His glory.

    So, I guess when I think of these two things I have already mentioned, the blessing in this life is hope for things to come after this life. In Romans 8:24 we read, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Do we rejoice in the blessing of hope? I certainly do. My life has so much more purpose because of this hope. I find that I devote more energies to my family than that natural woman inside me would give. I am more devoted to learning about and living at the level of personal righteousness that God would have me live. This gives me more strength and a greater desire to face each day and challenge with courage and confidence.

    The temple is a house of prayer. I cannot even begin to number the blessings that come from prayer. But prayer is something that is not excluded to the temple. Why rejoice in the blessings of prayer from the temple then? The temple is the house of the Lord. Aside from our homes, there is no place that is more sacred on earth. The peace of the temple shuts out the volume and distractions of the world. It is in that setting that we can feel closest to the spirit. Because of that peace, we can show the greatest reverence in our conversation with our Father in Heaven. There, we should be able to hear the answers we are seeking, with ease. There is a video I watched yesterday, which went right along with this topic.

    Our Eternal Life

    There were a few things that I got from this, worth mentioning here. First, I know that most people are seeking for happiness. We want to have our own ‘happily ever after’. Most people do not realize where the real, lasting happily ever after can be found. I know that this can only be found through the temple. In Isaiah 56:7 we read, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” God wishes to bless us with the things that we desire physically and spiritually. When we are worthy to enter the temple, our desires will naturally be more focused on the things of an eternal nature and our dreams will be what God wants for us as well. When we take our dreams and desires with us to the temple and ask God in sincere faith, he will give us answers and will bless us for our faithful obedience. These answers and blessings will lead us to our dreams becoming a reality. They will lead us to becoming the person that God would have us be. Who wouldn’t want to rejoice in the blessings of getting what they truly desire, or in knowing (not just believing) that those dreams will be fulfilled someday?

    Doctrine and Covenants 110:7 reads, “For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” Another blessing of the temple, that goes right along with answers to prayers and fulfillment of our dreams, is the blessings of revelation received. What I mean by this, is that we can receive inspiration we were not even seeking. There have been many times when I have been blessed with some unexpected inspiration, that once followed has led to incredible blessings in my life. One of those thoughts that came from watching the video above, was that the temple is God’s way. Therefore, in the temple, He will guide us to do His will, and to be an instrument in His hands in ways that we had not thought of before. The Lord will manifest his will through the inspiration we receive in the temple.

    The video reminded me of additional blessings that come from the temple, for which I am always grateful. When I’ve talked to others about the feelings they get in the temple and from temple service, they often talk about the renewed strength they feel.When we serve in the temple, God blesses us with the fortification and energy of strength to face the world outside. In the temple, we focus on the eternal perspective of life, and that alone gives me greater faith in living my daily life according to God’s desire for me. That faith crushes the fears that I am faced with every day. I am a natural worrier and my tendency is to look always to the worst case scenario first. When I am in the temple, God helps me to recognize that be aware of what that worst case can be is fine, but focusing faith on my Savior will give me the power to have everything work out for the best. In Exodus 15:2 we read, “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” What a blessing it is to be renewed with a greater faith in Jesus the Christ, and to put aside the worries of life to focus on the power of Him who wants me to succeed and be happy.

    Another thing that this video caused me to think about, was the blessing of time. In Alma 40:8 we read, “. . . all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.” The eternal perspective we gain in the temple, teaches us that this life is really just a moment in the never-ending life that we are living. Because of this knowledge, there are two lessons that bring tremendous blessings, if applied. First, the experiences of this life have greater value. A blessing of the temple, is learning that we need to spend the time we have focusing on what is most important. This includes things like our relationships with family members, gaining knowledge of all things, and nurturing a greater love for others, which are the things that we will take with us into the eternities. Second, the lesson that we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Acts 15:11 reads, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” The grace of God is eternal. We need to trying our best, but God does not expect us to achieve perfection in this life. The path to perfection is eternal. We will continue to progress after we leave this mortal world. If God expected perfection in all things right now, or rather if we all could achieve it in this life, we wouldn’t need to be here. The blessing of time, or rather a better understanding of what time is, brings me so much peace and happiness.

    The temple truly is a house of learning. There is so much to be gained there. In Isaiah 2:3, we read, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” There is an infinite amount of knowledge that we do not have. In the temple, we are given an understanding that we cannot receive in other places. The more often we go, the more we realize just how much we do not know. God blesses us with a knowledge line-upon-line, as we are prepared to receive it. 2 Nephi 28:30 reads, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” The things that I have learned in the temple, are a blessing beyond measure to me. Gaining the knowledge is empowering and humbling at the same time. In addition, we learn through the covenants we make, that we must use that knowledge for good. We have a duty to build up the kingdom of God and we will not retain that knowledge unless we use it in our lives. The blessings of learning from the temple continue as we live according to the things that we have learned there, to the point that we cannot even realize just how great they are.

    I think that the list of blessings from the temple could go on for a while. Deuteronomy 26:11 reads, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee . . .”. As people of faith, we should rejoice in the blessings that come from the temple. If you are worthy to enter the Holy House of the Lord, I would hope that you would have a desire to go often and be reminded of these amazing blessings. If you have not yet been to the temple of the Lord, I encourage you to put your life in order to be able to enjoy these blessings for yourself. I am so grateful for the temple. I cannot imagine living in a time or place where this privilege was not available to me. I am inspired by many stories of people who have sacrificed so much to be able to go just once in their lifetime. I am blessed to have several temples close enough to drive there in a matter of hours. The temple that is closest to me has been closed for renovations for a while now, but will be rededicated this coming month. I am excited to take my children to the open house, which is a time before the dedication when anyone can enter the temple and see what it looks like and where we perform our sacred ordinances. I hope that many people will take advantage of this opportunity to see this beautiful temple and feel the spirit that is there.

    I feel so much joy when I am in the temple. It is one of the places that I can feel the closest to heaven, and I know that the blessings that I receive from it cannot be numbered. I know that God loves His children. He has given us this great blessing, to give us a place where we can draw closer to Him, make sacred covenants and promises to Him, and show Him just how much we love Him in return.

    Here are some additional posts I have done regarding the temple and related topics:

  • Temple Work and Family History
  • Eternal Marriage
  • The Family Can Be Eternal
  • 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.

    Are We Dedicated to Strengthening Our Homes?

    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.

    Our homes should be a sacred place to us and a place where the spirit can dwell. I believe a strengthened home, is one that is protected against the world and the evil that is there. It is a safe haven, where love and peace can be found. As an LDS woman, I strive to make my home as close to the temple as I can. I know that this is the best way to work towards building the strength of my home. In instruction on the temple, the Lord has said the following found in Doctrine and Covenants section 109:

    8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
    9 That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High—

    Our homes should be a house of prayer. We need to make time to go to the Lord personally in prayer, at least morning and night. Really, we should be turning to him at all hours and in all places and times of our lives. In Alma 13:28 we read the following about prayer (emphasis added):

    27 And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;
    28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
    29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.

    I know that prayer can give us personal strength, guidance, patience, love, hope and more. These qualities will make for a better attitude in us personally and help us to bring them to others in our home. In addition, we need to teach our children the importance of their own personal prayers. In Doctrine and Covenants 68:28 we read, “And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” Each individual in the home has such a great influence on the strength of it, that we cannot shirk this responsibility and hope for the strength we need to endure life well. Second to personal prayer, for those who are married, should be couple prayer. A husband and wife should pray together to bring the Lord and Spirit into their marriage. With prayer, a couple can face any of the difficulties they face in life, and they can know that God is there supporting together. And finally, we need to make prayer important as a family. In 3 Nephi 18:21 we read, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” I’ve known for years that praying as an entire household was important, but I just learned recently that praying with other individuals in our family, other than just our spouse, is also very important. We should pray with our children and siblings should pray together. When a relationship is strained, or when we need any kind of help, there is no better thing than to invite God in through prayer. Because our homes are made up of individuals, married couples, and families, making prayer a matter of faithful diligence for all the members of a household, will strengthen the home as a whole.

    Our homes will be strengthened when we make fasting a part of our lives. Again, this applies to individuals, couples, and families as a whole. Fasting is an act of faith and hope in the blessings of God. When we fast, we draw closer to Him, because we put our spiritual selves above our physical appetites. Omni 1:26 reads, “And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” When we fast with a willing heart, we become more humble and soften our hearts to the inspiration of the Spirit. Humility and guidance of the spirit are both necessary for a righteous home to be strengthened.

    Faith is a Sunrise

    Both prayer and fasting are actions of faith. A house of faith is one of strength. In 1 Nephi 7:12 we read, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” If we desire to have a strong home, the Lord will give that to us according to our faith in him. To increase in our faith, we must be more willing to follow His commandments and draw closer to him. As individuals and families, we must be more trusting of the Lord. I know from personal experience, that real strength comes from being faithful each day, to the best of our ability, and remaining true in the more difficult and challenging situations.

    If our house is like the temple, it should be a house of learning. In 2 Nephi 28:30 we read, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” The Lord blesses those who seek for knowledge and wisdom, with just the right amount they need to gain understanding. The scripture does not say that it should be a house of scholars, it says learning. This is an ongoing, steady process that we need to be engaged in continually. Parents should be studying things that are both spiritual and secular. There is no way to properly teach children, without having an understanding of things ourselves. It is the duty of parents to teach their children and not leave this up to others. In Proverbs 22:6 we read, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 93:40 it says, “But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.” This teaching in not particular to things of the gospel, because there is truth to be found in all things. However, the most important things that should be taught, are gospel truths. In Isaiah 54:13 we read, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (See also 3 Nephi 22:13) It is the responsibility of every member of a household, to be learners. We read of learning for children in Alma 37:35, which reads, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” Learning is such an important part of having a strong home, because our knowledge or intelligence is one of the few things that we will take with us after this life. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:7 we are instructed, “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.

    A house that is strong, is a house of glory. A house of Glory, is one where God is worshipped, reverenced, honored, praised and thanked for all that he does. In 2 Nephi 33:6 we read, “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” Having a heart full of gratitude towards God, is to glory him. When we humble ourselves and recognize that God is the reason for all that we are and that he blesses us beyond measure every single day of our lives, we glory in Him as we show our gratitude to Him. A house full of glory is strengthened, because our perspective is focused on what God would have us do, and not on being selfish and prideful. We cannot be a house of strength if we rely on man and the wisdom of man. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:61 we read, “Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.” God will give us strength as we glory him.

    A house of order, could mean a couple different things, but I think in this case it is a house where every individual understands their own duties and lives them the best they can. There is a way that God has established the family and their are specific responsibilities that are expected of individuals and families, which when followed draw them together and make them stronger. There are of course, times when this ideal does not work out perfectly, but the ideal is what will give a home the greatest strength. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is a great source for understanding this kind of order that should exist in a home. It says the following:

    We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

    The man and woman of the home, should be married lawfully before starting their family. Then, as possible, a married couple has a responsibility to keep the same original commandment given to Adam and Eve, which is to have children. The proclamation goes on to say:

    HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. . . . Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

    In a house of order, a husband and wife will remember to take care of one another first and their children second. Children should not come before a spouse and in addition, no one (and nothing) else should come before family. Parents have a duty to raise and teach their children what is right. Continuing in the proclamation, it says the following:

    By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

    In the home, a father has a duty to preside, provide and protect their families. While a mother has a duty to nurture and guide the growth of children. Within the strengthened home, a husband and wife will do all they can to work together and love and support one another in these responsibilities. Then whenever necessary, they help each other so that children are not neglected in any of these things.

    Children have the responsibility of helping others in the home, being teachable, loving and respecting others, and honoring and obeying their parents. In Ephesians 6 we read the following:

    1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
    2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
    3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

    Each individual has their responsibilities and the family as a whole also has duties and responsibilities. As a whole, we have the duty to love one another, and to show love to those outside of our home as well. In John 23:34 we read, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” As a household, we need to be willing to support each other and work together to build our home. As these things are done in order, to the best of our ability, our homes will be strengthened.

    Finally, our homes, should be a house of God, where all that we do (incomings, outgoings, and salutations) will be done in the name of the Lord. Everything we do, should reflect what the Lord would have us do. In John 14:23 we read, “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.” God will make our homes, His home, if we follow the commandments and live as he would have us live. A strong home, is one that comes as close to the home of God, or heaven, as possible. In the song “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” it teaches us the following:

    1. Home can be a heav’n on earth
    When we are filled with love,
    Bringing happiness and joy,
    Rich blessings from above—
    Warmth and kindness, charity,
    Safety and security—
    Making home a part of heaven,
    Where we want to be.

    2. Drawing fam’ly near each week,
    We’ll keep love burning bright.
    Serving Him with cheerful hearts,
    We’ll grow in truth and light.
    Parents teach and lead the way,
    Children honor and obey,
    Reaching for our home in heaven,
    Where we want to stay.

    3. Praying daily in our home,
    We’ll feel His love divine;
    Searching scriptures faithfully,
    We’ll nourish heart and mind.
    Singing hymns of thanks, we’ll say,
    “Father, help us find the way
    Leading to our home in heaven,
    Where we long to stay.”

    These are the things that we should do, to strengthen our homes. I am so grateful for the foundation of gospel principles that I have in my life, which teach me these things are true. I have witnessed my home becoming stronger every day, as my family and I work together to follow these principles. I am so glad for the Relief Society and its focus on helping women to know how we can apply these principles to the best of our abilities. My home is a blessing to me, and I cannot thank God enough for it. My family mean the world to me, and I know that it is vitally important that I help to provide a strong home, full of peace and love, for them.

    Line Upon Line

    I am so grateful for the perfect way that God helps us to learn. In 2 Nephi 28:30 we read the following:

    For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

    I used to have summer courses in college which were 6 week classes meant to cram in an entire semester worth of work. I have a difficult time recalling much of anything from these classes now. I did fine at the time, but it was the times when I could truly build upon my knowledge one thing at a time, that really led me to learn the subjects. Heavenly Father knows that this is the best way for us to gain knowledge. Each of us it blessed with knowledge at our own pace. There may be times in life when we will feel great amounts of understanding come our way, and less at others times when we just aren’t in the best place for too much at once. I know that with gospel learning, I am blessed as I am living what I learn. When I take the time to put my new understandings into practice in my life, I am given more understanding. This understanding will be mine forever, unless I chose to lean unto my own understanding and in any sense indicate that I have enough learning from God. I have a great desire to be a constant learner until the end of my days, which really means eternally. I love to learn and I absolutely love the pattern of learning gospel truths by the gift of the Spirit.


    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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