Posts Tagged 'Responsibility'

1 Chronicles Chapter 25

In the days of David, the duties of the host of Israel were assigned and recorded. Specifically, the tribe of Levi was given sacred responsibilities in the priesthood. Among those duties and responsibilities, was that of musicians and singers. This chapter recounts the details of those extended this calling for the Lord.

1 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was:
2 Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king.
3 Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the Lord.
4 Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth:
5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
7 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.

The singers and musicians were from the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. They were set apart in the service to use harps, psalteries and cymbals; to prophesy or to play the hymns of their day. Those who would play for the king, were the family of Asaph, including Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asarelah. Asaph was a cymbal player who, according to the Bible Dictionary, founded a family of singers. They are mentioned later in Psalms, because they served David as his personal musicians. Those who would sing and play the hymns of praise to the Lord on the harp, were the family of Jeduthun including Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Hashabiah and Mattithiah. Those who were to play the horn, were the family of Heman, including Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathan, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. The musicians would play in the tabernacle or temple, when called upon by the king. There were 288 included in this group, and they were taught and skilled at playing the hymns.

8 And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:
10 The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
11 The fourth to Izri, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
12 The fifth to Nethaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
13 The sixth to Bukkiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
14 The seventh to Jesharelah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
15 The eighth to Jeshaiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
16 The ninth to Mattaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
17 The tenth to Shimei, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
18 The eleventh to Azareel, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
19 The twelfth to Hashabiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
20 The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
21 The fourteenth to Mattithiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
22 The fifteenth to Jeremoth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
23 The sixteenth to Hananiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
24 The seventeenth to Joshbekashah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25 The eighteenth to Hanani, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
26 The nineteenth to Mallothi, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
27 The twentieth to Eliathah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
28 The one and twentieth to Hothir, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
29 The two and twentieth to Giddalti, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
30 The three and twentieth to Mahazioth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
31 The four and twentieth to Romamti-ezer, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve.

The lots were cast and they were put into 24 groups, to fulfill their duties under the direction of the men mentioned before. Each group was a group of twelve, likely rotating in their service much like the men who served in the other duties of the house of the Lord.

Music plays an important role in inviting the spirit, so it is no wonder that the Lord would want music in his holy temple. It is a tool for preparing our minds for sacred things. Music is powerful and can help to teach us principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in marvelous ways. It has the power to soothe a weary soul, to uplift and enrich, and to move us to engage in the work of the Lord. The responsibility to become skilled at playing and singing, was important, and knowing that these men and families of the levites were called and organized to have that duty can teach us of the value this should have in our own day as well.

1 Chronicles Chapter 24

The book of Chronicles continues to list the men of Israel. In this chapter, the record relating to the tribe of Levi, continues as follows:

1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.
3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.
4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.
5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.

The sons of Aaron, and men of the priesthood, were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died without having any children, leaving Eleazar and Ithamar to perform the priesthood duties. (We learn from Leviticus 10, that they had offered “strange fire”, or fire not taken from the altar, and were destroyed by the Lord for going against his commandments regarding their service in the temple.) Eleazar was the patriarch of almost all the high priests that followed him. David set apart the men of their families in their specific responsibilities. Zadok, who was of the line of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, who was of the line of Ithamar, were made the priests. They were already the high priests of the tabernacle, so this was just a continuation of their duties. Zadok had served at the tabernacle in Gibeon while Ahimelech had served in the camp of David. The sons of Eleazar were many, so they were divided into 16 groups, while the sons of Ithamar were divided into 8 groups, which served in the sanctuary and the house of God. Shemaiah, a Levite, who was the son of Nethaneel the scribe, recorded these things in the presence of the king and leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech and so on. One of the families of Eleazar was established as the leaders of their groups, and one of the families of Ithamar as the leaders of their groups.

7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the Lord, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.

The lots of these families fell to Jehoiarib first, followed by Jedaiah, Harim, Seorim, Malchijah, Mijamin, Hakkoz, Abijah (Abia), Jeshua, Shecaniah, Eliashib, Jakim, Huppah, Jeshebeab, Bilgah, Immer, Hezir, Aphses, Pethahiah, Jehezekel, Jachin, Gamul, Delaiah, and Maaziah. They were assigned their service in the temple by these lots. This was how they were grouped for their service, and these were their called leaders. These groups were needed to give order to the time when each priest was expected to give their service in the temple. They took turns serving according to the commandments given to Aaron when the tabernacle was established. The Lord had established order in the organization of his priesthood on the earth, which continued to be followed at this time. In our day, the organization of the priesthood, continues to be done in order.

20 And the rest of the sons of Levi were these: Of the sons of Amram; Shubael: of the sons of Shubael; Jehdeiah.
21 Concerning Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah.
22 Of the Izharites; Shelomoth: of the sons of Shelomoth; Jahath.
23 And the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth.
24 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah: of the sons of Michah; Shamir.
25 The brother of Michah was Isshiah: of the sons of Isshiah; Zechariah.
26 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi: the sons of Jaaziah; Beno.

The remainder of the tribes of Levi were Jehediah, of the sons of Shubael of the sons of Amram, the patriarch of Moses and Aaron; Isshiah of the sons of Rehabiah; Jahath of the sons of Shelomoth of the Izharites; Jeriah (Jeriah), Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam of the sons of Hebron; Shamir of the sons of Michah of the sons of Uzziel; Zechariah of the sons of Isshiah, the brother of Michah; Mahli and Mushi of the sons of Merari; and Beno of the sons of Jaaziah.

27 The sons of Merari by Jaaziah; Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri.
28 Of Mahli came Eleazar, who had no sons.
29 Concerning Kish: the son of Kish was Jerahmeel.
30 The sons also of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after the house of their fathers.
31 These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.

Continuing, there was Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri of the sons of Merari through Jaaziah. Mahli had a son named Eleazar, who had no sons. Jerahmeel was the son of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. All these sons of Levi, cast lots in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the leaders of the priests and Levites. Casting lots was a way to choose who would do something without any preferential treatment. These things were witnessed and recorded, and therefore there would be no contentions or confusion about their responsibilities.

One reason these lists and records may be in the scriptures for us today, is to see that the things of the Lord are to be done in wisdom and order. Records should be kept, witnesses should be present when needed, and so on. The scriptures teach us that things recorded on earth, may be recorded in heaven. Therefore, these records may eternal in nature. It is no different for our own family history records. It is a blessing to be able to be involved in gathering information about families for the purposes of eternity.

2 Samuel Chapter 12

David had done a lot of good things for the kingdom of Israel, and had led the people to becoming a strong nation in his day. In the previous chapter, we learn of his selfish choice to take the wife of Uriah for himself because he had given into the temptation of sleeping with her. This choice was not acceptable to the Lord.

1 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

The Lord called upon his prophet, Nathan, to go and speak to David. He told him a parable of two men, a rich man and a poor man. The rich man had been blessed with many animals in his flocks and herds, while the poor man had only been blessed with one ewe lamb. He loved the lamb and treated it as he would treat a daughter. A traveler visited the rich man, and the man wanted to prepare a lamb for his guest. He did not want to use one of his own flock, so he took the lamb of the poor man and prepared it for the visitor. Upon hearing this story, David was angry and he told Nathan, that because the man had done this thing, he should die. Additionally, he felt the man should make restitution four times over, for taking the lamb without a thought for the poor man. The law of restitution had been laid out by the Lord, in the law of Moses, specifically giving four sheep for each lamb taken.

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

Nathan told David that this parable was about him. The Lord had blessed David to be king of Israel. He spared him from Saul, and had given him a great home and many wives. If that had not been enough, the Lord would have provided more for David, but it should have been enough. Instead, David had done evil in the sight of the Lord. He executed the plan to have Uriah killed by the hands of the children of Ammon, in order to have Bathsheba as his wife. The Lord cursed David, that the sword would never depart from his house, which I think means that his line would never have peace from fighting their enemies, or that he would never see the end of it in his own lifetime. In fact, the Lord cursed him, that he would have enemies in his own house and that his wives would be taken from him and given to his neighbor. While David kept his transgression secret from the people, the Lord would curse him for all of Israel to see.

David confessed his sin to Nathan, which was good, but he should not have waited to confess until he had been caught. David was not cursed to die right then, which could have been the expectation for his plot to murder Uriah had he been any common man in Israel. However, because of the effects of what he had done, the Lord cursed him and said the child of David and Bathsheba would die. The death of this child would stand as an example to the House of Israel forever. Moreover, David would not be allowed the eternal reward that the righteous hoped for, because of this choice. As mentioned in my previous post, we learn of the reward, or the outcome and the eternal consequence of this choice. It reads Doctrine and Covenants 132:39, “…in none of these things did [David] sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”, which in effect is a kind of eternal separation from God (spiritual death).

15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

After Nathan left, the child became very sick. David fasted and prayed, laying upon the ground. The elders in his household went to him and tried to pick him up from the floor, but he wouldn’t get up and he wouldn’t eat his meals as usual. On the seventh day of his child being sick, the child died. His servants were afraid to tell him that the child had died, because of how he might react to the news. David saw the servants whispering and asked if his son had died. They told him that he had. David got up, cleaned himself up and changed his clothes. Then he went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. After that, he went home and ate. The servants asked why he had fasted and prayed for the child while weeping, but was going about as usual after his son had died. David told them that he fasted and prayed because he didn’t know if the Lord would be gracious and allow the child to live. Since his child had died, he could not bring him back by fasting, because he was gone.

24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

David went to Bath-sheba and comforted her. She became pregnant again and had a son named Solomon, who was loved by the Lord. I think the verse 25 means that Nathan was called to bless the child, as was a tradition in ancient Israel. Nathan called the child Jedidiah.

26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

David sent his men, under the leadership of Joab, to fight the children of Ammon in their royal city. Joab reported that they had nearly taken the city, but that David should gather the rest of his men and go against the city, so that the honor of taking the city would be his. David gathered men and took the city of the Ammonites. David took the crown of the king for himself, and brought a great amount of spoil out of their royal city. The Ammonites were taken from the city and killed, and after the cities of Ammon were emptied, the Israelites were able to return to Jerusalem.

Sin and transgression do not go unnoticed by the Lord. If necessary, God will inspire his chosen priesthood leaders to do and say things when others need correction, chastisement, or, as was the case of David, a greater consequence for the things done. I am sure that this was not something that Nathan enjoyed doing. No man wants to be the bearer of such sad news, especially the curse that came to David for his actions. His heart must have been heavy, but he knew he had to give the message of punishment to David, that God had sent him to give. I believe that this was not a punishment to the child of David and Bathsheba, because he had done no wrong and was innocent in all of this. Instead, I believe that the child received all the rewards available to those who are able to live a full life, including being able to live with God again.

It is sad to the story of David and Uriah. To see someone fall from favor with God, who had been blessed to become a great man and leader, is a heartbreaking thing. While David did make this mistake and make a horrible decision in order to cover up his sin, it is not recorded that he cursed God for what had happened. When the consequence came, he turned to God for help. When he did not receive the desired answer to his prayers, he again did not turn against God, but picked himself up and went back to doing the work that was expected of him. He continued to lead and protect the people of Israel, as he had been anointed to do. If we read Psalm 51 also, we can see that after this meeting with Nathan, David desired forgiveness from God, because he knew that he had done wrong. I think we live in a time, when more people blame God for the bad things that happen in their lives instead of looking at their own responsibility in their trials. It would be a completely different world, if more people would recognize their mistakes and faults and move on, instead of holding things against others, especially against God.

Deuteronomy Chapter 11

Moses continued to instruct the Israelites on the laws, statutes, and ordinances of the Lord, in preparation for their gaining the promised land. These things were so important for them in that day, just as they are important for us to learn of now. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,
3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day;
5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did.
8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

This message was directed towards those adults, who had experienced the miracles and wonders of the Lord during the long journey in the wilderness. Because they had witnessed so much and been greatly blessed by the Lord, He could have greater expectations of them. It is such a blessing and a huge responsibility to have made covenants with the Lord. When we do this, and learn truth through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, we are held to a higher standard than those who have not. One of the things that gives me great peace of mind, is knowing that we will each be judged for what the Lord knows we have a knowledge of. I will not be judged for the same understanding as the prophets who have witnessed greater things, but I will be judged for an understanding that is greater than those who have gone without the gospel in their lives. The Lord was not going to hold the children of the Israelites to the same standard as those who had seen the waters of the Red Sea part, and had witnessed the ground open up when men had openly rebelled against Moses and the word of the Lord.

The Lord wanted the people to follow His commandments, so that they could be blessed with strength. The strength they needed was both physical and spiritual strength (strong of heart, strong in the faith, and strong in spirit). If they did this, the Lord could answer his promise to their ancestors and allow them to inherit the promised land. This was a promise of a loving God, who desired to give blessings. I believe this promise of the fathers, is still a promise today that will be fulfilled completely, when all the people will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, and will turn to Him in faith. Our Father in Heaven loves us also and desires to give us all the blessings He has. Likewise, we are expected to keep His commandments. Modern revelation teaches us of this same commandment to love the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 we read, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” Our own promised land will be the blessing for those who remember to keep these things.

10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
12 A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

The promised land was beautiful and had plenty of rain water to provide for the land and people. As the land of promise, the Lord watched over it and cared for it. I am sure that He continues to watch over that land today. I believe that there is a “promised land” awaiting us after this life. We are promised that the blessings of the celestial kingdom will be the greatest that God gives. He has prepared it for us, and is caring for it now, so that it will be a beautiful place of plenty for all those who earn that reward.

13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.

The children of Israel received a promise of the Lord, that if they would obey the commandments, particularly to love the Lord and serve Him completely, they would have rain in its season. The land would bring forth good harvest, and the fields would be good for their cattle. The people were warned to watch for being deceived in their hearts, to turn to other gods. Serving other gods would bring the wrath of God upon them and remove these promised blessings, leaving them to perish. I think that the fulfillment of either of these promises would show that the earth is the Lord’s and He has power over it and the elements which provide for it. He still has this power today, and I know that we can be blessed with rain and good harvest for our righteousness today.

18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

These great promises required that they remember and cherish the words of the Lord, teaching them to their children at all times of the day, and keeping memorials on their person and around themselves as reminders. In doing this, they would be blessed with a multiplying of their days in the land, as well as the days of their children. This is another power and gift from God that he offered to the Israelites and can provide for His people today. I think that we will receive great blessings if we treasure the words of the Lord, both from the ancient and modern prophets. I believe that we are also greatly blessed by teaching our children and keeping reminders of these things around us as often as possible.

22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

If they were obedient to the commandments, they were promised that nations would be driven out of the land. The Israelites would gain the land of great and mighty nations, wherever they would go. With the help of the Lord, nations would fear them even before they got there to drive them out of the land.

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.

Obedience would bring a blessing from the Lord and disobedience would bring a curse. The Israelites were to place a blessing on mount Gerizim, and a curse on mount Ebal. They would do this later, by reading the law of Moses and in a sense, dedicating the land to the Lord and to righteousness. They would be able to cross the Jordan River, posses the land and live there, as long as they were obedient.

Their is an eternal law of blessings, which teaches that when the Lord promises a blessing for a commandment, He is bound to give that blessing. It is found in Doctrine and Covenants 130, where we can read:

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.

I think also, that when he promises a curse for failure to keep the commandments, He is bound to that curse, because the promises of God are perfect and complete. This is especially poignant for those who have made covenants with the Lord. Modern revelation found in verses such as Doctrine and Covenants 41:1, teach us this principle. “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.”

The mercy of the Lord, however, can be extended when we turn back to Him and keep His commandments. That mercy does not mean that we will not suffer something for our initial disobedience, but it does allow for us to receive forgiveness and eventual relief from the suffering we bring upon ourselves. I am grateful for the hope that promised blessings brings to my life. Moroni 10:32 reads, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” This gives me a great source of strength, when choosing to live righteously can seem so challenging.

Numbers Chapter 18

In the previous writings of Moses, we learned that Aaron and his sons were called to bear the priesthood and do the service of the Lord in his holy tabernacle. The remaining Israelites had not been wholly accepting of the words of Moses and had sought after the priesthood. Again, there was a need to teach some things about the priesthood duties. This begins here as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
2 And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
5 And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

The sons of Aaron would have the responsibility of bearing the priesthood and doing the work of the sanctuary. In the footnote of verse 1 we read, “bear any guilt incurred in failure to bear the full responsibility thereof.” It was their duty and none else. The tribe of Levi, were given to them, to assist them in their callings, by physically bearing and caring for the tabernacle. The Levites were not allowed to touch the things that belonged with the inner sanctuary. Only those worthy, who had been prepared by their ordination in the priesthood, were to be near the items in the sanctuary. No one else, of any of the tribes of Israel or any unauthorized person, was to try to do the work of the tabernacle. If they did, they would die. In order to keep the wrath of the Lord from destroying the people, as he was doing with the plague in Numbers 16, only those who had been called of God, were to take care of these sacred things.

8 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
9 This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
10 In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
11 And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee.
13 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
14 Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
15 Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the Lord, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
16 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

Aaron and his sons had the duty to take care of the heave offerings and other hallowed things of the Israelites. This is referring to the offerings of the Israelites given to the sons of Aaron for their service. Anything that was not used up in the offerings, was holy and for them to have. The offerings of food, were made holy to them by the Lord and they were to eat it. It had been a commandment that the sons of Aaron and his family were to partake of these things. For their service, they were given those things that were the first and best of flock and crop. They were also to receive the tithes for the redemption of all the firstborn.

I was pondering on this responsibility and blessing of being sustained by the offerings given, and I find it a good example that the blessings come after the service we give. They could not take of the offerings and partake, until after they had performed the rites and rituals with them to the standard which the Lord held. Once they had done their duty, the blessings were great and were completely theirs. I think that one of the false teachings of the world today, is that blessings should come before the work has been done. People want to be given things for nothing. My daughters often ask for a reward that has been promised, before they have done what was asked of them. This is not the way it should work. With the things that God asks of us, we are meant to learn and grow. We do not grow when we are given things we have not done the work for. We do not grow when we are removed from difficulty without having to struggle. Part of the purpose for this life, is to learn eternally lasting lessons that build our character and shape us into better people than we were before. With God, the promised blessings are the greatest. It will be the first and best of the flock and crop, which we are given for our faithful obedience.

20 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The sons of Aaron were not to have an inheritance of land among the people, but instead would receive the Lord and his blessings. The Levites were given to them as an inheritance. The Levites would not have an inheritance of land, but would receive the tithes of the people in order to support them.

25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.
27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord’s heave offering to Aaron the priest.
29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

The Levites were to take the tithing of the people, and then they in turn were to give a tenth of that offering, which would go to Aaron who had been given all the heave offerings. The offerings were to be accepted as holy, and none of them were to be polluted or they were to die. To be polluted would have been to do anything with them which was against the commandment of the Lord.

I wonder if this was a area that required more of the faith of those who were not of the Levites or sons of Aaron. To give of the best of what they had, as an offering to the Lord they worshipped, knowing that all of it was going to be given as a gift to others. I know that there is a certain amount of faith required to be willing to pay tithes today. Many struggle financially and giving ten percent of what they have is hard. It takes faith that the Lord will do his will with it, to willingly give it for others to use. There is a hope that the blessings will come to us for being willing to give of what we have worked for. I have great faith in the paying and distributing of tithes and offerings. I believe that the Lord watches over these offerings and makes them holy as he did the offerings of old. I believe that they are then used in His way, because they are His to give. I know that these offerings must have been a huge blessing to the Levites and the sons of Aaron. I know that tithes and offerings given today, have and will continue to bless my life in many ways.

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.

Temple Work and Family History

I’ve been studying this topic a lot this week, because my husband and I have been asked to speak on it in Sacrament Meeting. I am grateful for the opportunity to study it, because I absolutely love doing temple work and the family history work that makes it possible. I know that it is an important topic for our area, because I live where a new temple has been announced and I know that we need to be prepared for the opportunity to serve there.

Why are temples important in our lives?

Temples are the key to our exaltation and eternal life with our families. All of the ordinances of God must be done after the manner which He has given us. In Doctrine and Covenants 22 we read the following:

1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.
2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.
3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.
4 Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.

We must perform our ordinances to make covenants as He has commanded. There are certain ordinances which we can only receive in the temple, which has been dedicated for those purposes. These ordinances include washings and annointings, endowments, and sealings for the living and all necessary ordinances for the dead, including baptism and confirmation. If we did not have temples, these ordinances would not be able to be recognized and accepted by God, which means they would not be eternal. The temple is also the only place where we can gain a full understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are certain truths found in working in the temple, which cannot be found any where else in the world.

What does it mean to be sealed?

In Matthew 16:19 we read, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” To be sealed is to be bound on earth and in heaven. The kind of sealing that occurs in the temple, means bonded for eternity. It must be done in the temple and by the proper sealing power and authority of the priesthood. Families are bonded as families for eternity, when they make covenants in the holy temples. As eternal families, we are able to receive the blessings which were promised to the ancient prophets, including exaltation and the ability to progress through the eternities.

What must a couple do to make the sealing power effective in their marriage?

The way to make this power effective is to live worthy of the promised blessings. If we are living unrighteously, the blessings will not remain intact for our family. A couple needs to honor one another, continually strive to have the influence of the spirit in their home, seek for greater personal righteousness through prayer and scripture study, and mostly be completely faithful to one another. In Mark 10:9 we read, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” If anything other than God, meaning anything of man, is allowed to come before our spouse, the sealing power cannot remain effective.

What responsibilities do we have toward our ancestors who have died without receiving priesthood ordinances?

After our spirits pass from this life, we are no longer able to physically perform the ordinances necessary for our salvation. Therefore, anyone who has died without receiving these sacred ordinances is unable to progress any further. This would be a huge hinderance for the majority of mankind, if it weren’t for the ability to do work for the dead. The responsibility of acting as proxies for those who have died, rests with the faithful and worthy saints of these latter-days. In Doctrine and Covenants 128:15 we read, “And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.” The salvation of our ancestors is dependent on our willingness to do the work for them. We in effect will act as Saviors for them by doing something for their salvation that they cannot do for themselves. In doing this service, we keep the sacred covenants we have made with God in the temple, and are therefore able to be saved. Our own salvation depends on our willingness to help others to be saved.

How does the doctrine of salvation for the dead show God’s justice, compassion, and mercy?

God gives us every opportunity in this life and the next to make the choices which will lead us back to Him. He is no respecter of persons. There is no discrimination in the eternal plan, which would prevent some from the blessings he has in store for all of His children. If our lives give us the opportunity to learn and choose while we are living, great. But if we do not have the opportunity because of the circumstances we are living in, we will still have the opportunity to learn and choose after this life. In 1 Peter 4:6 we read, “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” God’s merciful plan allows those who are living to provide the way for the dead to progress no matter what the circumstances of their lives. In Doctrine and Covenants 138 we read the following:

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

To me, this shows the beauty and glory of His plan for every individual who will have ever lived on the earth. It also stands as a great reminder to me that we are all His children and we all were given the same promises in the pre-mortal existence. We all have the opportunity to choose if we will believe or not, and if we want to follow Christ or not. I am very glad to have the knowledge of agency and the incredible power it gives each of us over our eternal destiny.

What experiences have you had doing temple work for your ancestors?

I have had some good experiences in doing temple work for my own ancestors. There is something completely different between doing work for someone who has died that we do not know, and doing the work for our own ancestor. I have literally felt the love and joy of others and I look forward to being able to reunite with them after this life. The joy that I have felt doing this work for others is beyond any joy I feel in the normal everyday life. It is truly amazing to assist God in His work.

A Family Tree

What are the basic steps of doing family history work?

I have been working on my own family history for a while now. It is such an exciting work for me, and a passion I hope to continue with for the rest of my life. The basic steps of this work are searching for our direct ancestors, finding out a bit about who they are and preparing their names for temple work if necessary, and then finally performing the work that is necessary for their salvation. I would highly suggest that there be more effort in coming to understand and learn about the life and experiences of those ancestors, because it makes the temple experience and our lives in general much more meaningful and joyful.

How has the Lord helped you or members of your family find information about your ancestors?

The most recent example I have of the Lord helping my family to find information about an ancestor, has to do with the work of indexing. Because countless individuals have volunteered their own time and energy to helping index records, I was able to find a birth document, which my family had not been able to locate before. I know that the indexing program has been inspired by God to further the work of salvation and I am very grateful for it.

What are some simple ways for someone with many other responsibilities to participate in family history work?

Like I mentioned above, there is a great program called indexing. If there are too many responsibilities in our own lives and we are unable to take the time to seriously look for our own ancestors, we can take 10 minutes or so every so often, to index for others. Also, a huge part of family history work is recording our own personal and family history. This is just as necessary as doing work for those who have died because our work will benefit our posterity. Writing a journal, recording important family events, taking pictures and so on should be simple enough for us to do with our own families. Another thing is to go to the temple to do work even if it is not for our own family members. I believe there is a season in life for everything, and family history is one of them. All faithful saints should be engaged in the work, but we all can find the part which works for us in our lives at this time.

I love the knowledge that we can help our family members who are the reason that we are born into the life we have. I am in awe of the strength and courage that my ancestors have had and I am so glad that I can learn and grow from their experiences. I am so grateful that I have had the experiences of serving them by doing work in the temple. I believe in eternal families. I believe that I will someday be able to be with my loved ones again and that we will all be able to rejoice together in the saving power of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the merciful and loving plan of our Heavenly Father and for the opportunities that I have to help in His great and marvelous work.

The Fifth Article of Faith

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

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe that all the callings in the church are received as callings from God. We do not lobby for positions and no one receives wages for the work they do as part of these callings. Callings are extended to us, to help us to learn and grow in the way that God intends for us. Those who act as leaders in the church, are instructed to follow the inspiration of the Spirit, in calling others to positions. When one is called to a position, they must be sustained or accepted by the membership of the church. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:65 we read, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church”. Even the prophet is sustained by the membership. We as a congregation, have the opportunity and I would add, obligation to make sure that this is what is right. I have wanted to know for sure that the prophet was truly called of God and meant to lead today. I prayed and fasted over the matter and I was blessed to receive a witness of the spirit that President Thomas S. Monson is truly the prophet, called of God, to lead and guide us today. When I was expected to raise my hand in a sustaining vote, I knew that it was right.

We believe that in order to be placed in a calling or a position in the church, a person must be set-apart. In Doctrine and Covenants 42:11 we read, “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” In order to be a missionary for the LDS church, a man must be called and set-apart by the proper authority of God. In order for a man to perform baptisms, confirmations, blessings, sealings, and so on, he must also be set-apart by the proper authority of God. In order for a woman to teach a Sunday School class for teenagers, she must be set apart by the proper authority of God.

We believe in the priesthood. The priesthood is the power and authority to act in the name of Christ and by the power of God. In 3 Nephi 7:17 we read, “And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.” We believe that it is a right and responsibility, which a man may hold. This is not to say that a woman does not benefit from the power of the priesthood. That is actually quite the opposite. All people can benefit from the priesthood, but it is only men who may be given this power. A man does not receive the blessings of the priesthood he holds, without using it for the good of all those around him. We believe that it is through the use of this priesthood that callings are extended to the members of the church.

We believe that the priesthood can only be given to another, through the power of the priesthood. Men do not buy their right to the priesthood, and they cannot get it from any other source. This was how it was in the time of Adam, and it continues to be so today. We believe that during the great apostasy, there was no priesthood authority on the earth. We believe that the priesthood was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith, during the restoration of the gospel. In Doctrine and Covenants 110:16 we read, “Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” This is why we have the priesthood today. And this is why we are able to perform all the ordinances of the priesthood today. We also believe that the proper way that the priesthood is conferred upon men, is by the laying on of hands. This means that men who hold the priesthood will lay their hands on the head of the man receiving the priesthood, and ordain him to his specific office. In Doctrine and Covenants 107:67 we read, “From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.” There is order in all of the works of God, and this is no different. There is a specific way that a man receives the priesthood because that is the way that it was established by God.

There is only one person on the earth, who holds all the keys of the priesthood, and that is the prophet of God. In the order of the priesthood, there are different offices. Each office holds the keys to administer in the specific responsibilities of that office. In Doctrine and Covenants 107 we read the following:

18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church— . . .
20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

In my study of this, I liked an explanation given by Joseph F. Smith. He said to the men of the priesthood, “Your authority comes through your ordination; your power comes through obedience and worthiness”. The keys that a priesthood bearer holds, can only be used when they live a life worthy of the power of the priesthood. In Isaiah 52:11 the directions for those who hold the priesthood are these, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Those who hold the priesthood are responsible for keeping their lives in harmony with the teachings of the Lord, or they will not be able to use the power to do the work of God.

I am so grateful for the priesthood and the influence it has in my life. I have received great blessings through the laying on of hands and I cannot imagine my life without it. I am so glad that my husband is a worthy bearer of the holy priesthood. I find joy in knowing that God allows man to do His work on the earth, and that we have the opportunity to be baptized, confirmed with the Spirit, and participate in the ordinances in the temple because of the priesthood. I am also glad that I have been given callings throughout my life, because they help me to learn and grow to become more like my Savior.

Family Responsibilities

View the entire lesson here: Family Responsibilities

What responsibilities do husbands and wives share in raising their children?

My family has recently studied “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“, which teaches us that parents share the duty of loving and caring for their children. It says, “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.” Every parent should work to find opportunities to teach their childrenIn Deuteronomy 32 we read the following:

45And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46And 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.

We need to specifically teach our children to keep the commandments of God. We should do our best to teach them whenever the opportunity presents itself. As parents, I think we sometimes feel like our kids should already know things that they haven’t been taught. Then sometimes our kids are forced to learn things the hard way, through making mistakes that they could have avoided if they had simply been taught.

Parents need to do their best to provide for their necessities of life. In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Heavenly Father is the spirit Father of our earthly children, as much as He is of each of us. He puts His trust in us, by allowing us the privilege of raising His children. We deny our faith in God when we do not do all that we are able to provide for our children, because we choose to not recognize His children for what they are.

Children also need to be shown how to be and to help them to know how to be honest and faithful people. They learn this by example from their parents. In Mosiah 4:15 we read, “But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness …”. Parents are responsible for living an honest and true life that their children can follow. This teaching must be done out of love, and parents should recognize that everyone will make mistakes and will need love, guidance, and support to do the best they can.

How can husbands and wives support each other in their roles? Where can single parents turn for support?

Every home is different, but the ideal situation has the father taking on the role of provider, meaning he works to provide the necessities for his children, and a mother taking on the role of nurturer. Sometimes the situations of the family do not allow for this, and it is then that things must be adjusted so that both the physical and spiritual needs are met. Husbands and wives can support one another, by allowing their spouse to do their part. One should not be in control of everything or telling the other how they should do everything, but they should work together to fulfill these responsibilities. Parents can support each other by being grateful for the things done by their partner. Showing this gratitude and helping children to show their gratitude as well, will go a long way in strengthening the relationships in a family. Single parents can turn to other family members and to their ward family for support. Most of all, parents can turn to the Lord for support, whether they are married or single.

What positive examples have you seen of fathers raising their children?

In the scriptures there are many great fathers. Alma the elder is a great example to me, of a father doing his best to raise a wayward son. We learn from him, that we should not give up on our children and stop praying for them. Lehi is another good example of a father. He was an example to his sons of following the spirit, and having faith in God. He had a great love and desire for all his children to follow the strait and narrow path.

In my own life, I have seen many examples of good fathers. The one that comes to mind right now is my grandfather who passed away last year. He was an extremely loving father, who made teaching his children a priority in his life. He worked very hard to provide for his family, but did not let work get in the way of spending quality time with his kids and grandkids.

What positive examples have you seen of mothers raising their children?

One of the best examples in the scriptures, is from the story of the stripling warriors. In Alma 56 and 57, we learn of the teachings of these mothers and the example of faith in God that they were to their sons. In Alma 56:47 we read, “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” It was by their teaching and example, that their sons were able to have faith and not fear.

I have seen many examples in my life as well. The best examples have been of love, patience, and kindness. I have witnessed sweet moments of teaching and love that come from soft spoken words to little children. I have seen countless sacrifices by loving mothers who give up their own wants and needs to bless the lives of their children. I am so grateful to the many examples of good mothers in my life.

How do children help their parents build a happy home?

I often wonder what I did in my home growing up, to help my parents have a happy home. I can recognize the things I should have done more, now that I am a mother. For me, the greatest things that children can do is to love each other. My hardest moments as a mother, come when my children are fighting and unhappy. Happiness in the home, is greater when children obey their parents. In Colossians 3:20 we read, “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” This does not mean that parents should force their children to do things or exercise any unrighteous dominion over them, but that children should do the things their parents ask of them. Children can help by being an example as well. When my girls remind me to say a prayer, or want to share the things they have learned at church, and so on, their example teaches me more then I think I teach them. Children help by being willing to participate in family activities and in taking care of the house and needs of one another. A happier home will come when children serve and love one another and their parents.

What should children do to honor and respect their parents?

As I mentioned above, children should obey their parents. Another way they can honor and respect their parents, is to live in a way that would never bring shame to their parents. Proverbs 10:1 reads, “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Children who are righteous and live wisely will live to make their parents proud, which is a great way to honor them. Children should show respect in their words and actions, both in the home and outside of it. How we speak about our parents can affect how others see them, and we should not do things that would cause others to judge them.

What did your parents do that led you to honor and respect them?

My mother has made family history a priority in her life, which is something that I have admired and loved in her. Her example has pushed me to do what I could do as well. I want to continue to do this work, so that I can make her proud and honor her. My father has taught me the value of music and meaning the things that I sing. These lessons have strengthened not only my performances, but my testimony as well. I have a great respect for my Dad’s musical talents and I hope that my desire to follow his instructions will honor him as well. Most of all, I hope that I honor my parents by how I am raising my own children. I am far from perfect, but I hope that I have learned from the examples that they have shown me, because I am truly grateful for them and the person I have grown up to be because of them.

What can each member of the family do to make home a happy place?

Using all of the things mentioned above, will make a happy home. All family members should follow the commandments, listen to one another, respect and love one another, serve each other, be kind and considerate, and so on. A happy home is a home of peace, love, laughter, enjoyment, health, and more. We need to do as the Savior taught us in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This is an active love that comes through doing our part.

What are some traditions and practices that can make home a happy place?

Things that make a happy home include family prayer and scripture study, family home evening, and going to church together. It is also very important that we find ways to have fun together through playing games, doing projects, and so on. I am so grateful for the family and for the opportunity to learn and grow because of the responsibilities that I have to my own family.

D&C Section 134

In August of 1985, the saints held a general assembly of the church to discuss the Doctrine and Covenants and its contents. This section is described as a “declaration of belief regarding governments and laws” and it was accepted by a unanimous vote of the saints. It was given a preamble as well which said, “That our belief with regard to earthly governments and laws in general may not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood, we have thought proper to present, at the close of this volume, our opinion concerning the same” (History of the Church, 2:247). It is not direct revelation from the Lord, but as I understand it, there is nothing in this declaration that is against the gospel principles and it is fully in line with what we should believe as saints of God. As active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), saints have a duty to be aware and active in their communities as is possible. I have been fortunate to live in the United States, where we have many freedoms and liberties because of our government. I am very grateful for this.

The saints had been wrongly accused of many things in these first years of the restoration of the gospel. Among these false accusations, was one that said they were unsupportive of law and order. This declaration showed the world what the saints believed and how they expected government to work. This section begins:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.
4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

I whole-heartedly believe that government is part of the plan of God. I believe that when Christ comes again, our government will be His government, which is perfectly righteous. I don’t think that any government that is instituted today, is the perfect government, because they are all man-made, but I know that some are better than others because of influences of the spirit on good people. Government helps us to establish and maintain the laws, so that we all can live in safety and peace, therefore it is necessary that we have some type of government. These verses declare that no peaceful government can exist unless the people are free to choose for themselves, have a right to property, and are able to protect life. When these things are taken away, the people become placed in some kind of bondage to another, which is never according to the plan of God.

In my study I found a quote by David O. McKay when he who eventually became President of the church. He said, “That government is best which has as its aim the administration of justice, social well-being and the promotion of prosperity among its members” (in Conference Report, April. 1930, p. 80). I like this quote because it is not social well-being or the promotion of prosperity, but it is “and” or both. The best government will seek to help its people in need and encourage prosperity. A nation can have both of these things, if done correctly, and we see evidence of this time and time again in the Book of Mormon. One example is of the Nephites, not long after Christ had visited them. In 4 Nephi 1 we read,

2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
. . . 7 And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did build cities again where there had been cities burned.
. . . 18 And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.
. . . 23 And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.

I believe that we can have people who are prosperous and who are common (not rich and poor), without taking away any freedoms. I believe that we can persuade men to choose to give of their abundance to the poor, without forcing anyone and taking that choice away. When people choose to give to the poor, everyone prospers, but when people are forced by things being taken from them, no one does.

The saints declared that governments need workers who will handle the laws with equity and justice, and that these same people should be chosen by the will of the people. It is the duty of every righteous man or woman, to seek out good and just leaders and help them to lead their country in the right ways. As far as America goes, I don’t think that enough people realize that if the voice of the people who are trying to live righteous lives, would be heard louder, our leaders would also be influenced to lead righteously. We have the ability to persuade those who are in government positions, if we stand up for what we believe.

In verse 4, the point is that religion is not a man-made institution, but an eternal institution from our eternal creator. As latter-day saints, we believe in the free exercise of religion, not just of our own, but of all religions that do not stop others from their rightful freedoms. We believe that nothing of man should be allowed to interfere with the institution of religion, or stop men from being able to worship freely as they choose. I love the last line of this verse, “the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” There are things that government is responsible for and should be, but forcing people to believe something or stopping them from freedom of thought and desires of the soul is completely wrong. I believe that all men should be allowed to worship freely, as long as how or what they worship does not stop anyone else from that same freedom.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.
6 We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.
7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
8 We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed; and for the public peace and tranquility all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment.

We have a duty to follow the laws of the land in which we live, but we must have the right to choose and think for ourselves. It is the responsibility of a government to have laws and to have consequences for those who choose not to follow the laws. As it says in the twelfth article of faith, latter-day saints believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”. There have been times when the laws of certain lands have taken away the freedom to follow the laws of God, and in these times, I believe it becomes a matter of sincere prayer to God for his help to be able to live His law. Sometimes it takes making a stand for a belief, such as Daniel who continued to pray even though he was commanded by his ruler that he must not pray to God. He was still allowed to choose and suffered the consequences of the law, but God protected him for following His law. I hope that I do not have to experience that kind of contradiction between the laws of this land and the laws of God, but I know that it is a possibility as we draw closer to the second coming. God will bless us if we do our best to obey his laws and live righteously.

It can sometimes feel difficult to respect our leaders who make choices we do not like, but as saints we need to be better than this. We should respect the office which these individuals hold, even when we disagree with their individual policies or decisions. For example, our president should be respected as the leader of our country. He should not be attacked as a person, because this is not a Christ-like thing to do. We do not have to agree with his decisions to respect him as our leader. Likewise, we do not have to agree with the decision of every law that is made, but we should respect and sustain it as a law. If we disagree with a leader or a law, it is our duty to do what we can to change what we do not agree with, not to disrespect or disobey.

Everyone one of us has responsibilities over something in our lifetime. For some it is nations and for others it is a home. We are all held accountable for how we lead and how we act in that responsibility. I have hope in the belief that those leaders who are unjust and unkind, will be held accountable for that in the eternities, because I believe in the justice of God. But as much as I hope for that, I must remember that I need to be the best leader in my home, so that I do not hold the same fate for making bad choices as well.

There is nothing wrong with punishment that is deserving for the crimes committed. Suffering for crimes is like the suffering for our sins that is an eternal principle. As a mother, it can be difficult at times to figure out what punishment is appropriate for the wrongs that are done in my home, but I know that there would be absolute craziness and a lack of respect for any rules if there were not any consequences. As saints, it is our duty to own up to our own mistakes, to take the appropriate consequences as they come and to repent fully for them. We do not consider ourselves above any laws. We are bound to uphold them as citizens of our countries. If we are striving to be honest citizens, then we will not do anything to stop another from proper punishment, and we will not cover up any crimes. We can and should still show love for anyone who has done something wrong, while allowing the consequences to be put into action. Punishment is in place for the benefit of all men and women.

9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.
10 We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.

There is wisdom in keeping the laws and rules of the land in the control of those who lead the land, and separately keeping the laws and rules of any religion in the control of those who lead that religious group. Although, I have a desire for all men to believe as I do and to worship as I do, that does not mean that the leaders of a church should have control over a land. We cannot learn and grow if we are not given the choice to worship freely. I am happy when there are good, religious individuals as leaders in the government, because a righteous influence for good is ideal. But the church should leave the control of government to those who have been chosen to lead it. Likewise, any government should allow the churches to lead their own churches, as long as there is nothing that they do contrary to the laws of the land.

11 We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.
12 We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude.

Any person has the god-given right to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their own property. There are appropriate ways to deal with any abuse or attack that comes against us, and we should be wise in doing what is appropriate. Likewise, governments should have a responsibility to provide help in the appropriate situations. If, however, a government chooses not to help or is unable to help, when assistance is fully deserved, there is a right to our own defense against attacks.

As saints, we are believers in taking the gospel to the world. However, it is a gospel of peace and if preaching the gospel would put the peace or safety of others in jeopardy, it is not the right time for it. We do not believe that people should not be allowed to hear the gospel, but we will respect the laws of the lands. If we live righteously, and if as a church we are being strengthened and fortified, the Lord will open doors for the gospel in places where it has not been allowed before. I believe this is true.

I am so grateful for the safety that comes from having a government in place. I am glad that I live in a country that allows as much freedom as I have. I believe in laws and consequences and I know that we will be blessed by God for being good citizens where ever we live. I believe in freedom, and I am especially grateful to live where I can choose to worship freely and in a time when I do not need to fear for my life because of it. I am very grateful for the saints, who believed as I do now, and who endured through so many trials so that I could live the life of freedom that I have now.


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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