Posts Tagged 'Temple Work'

1 Samuel Chapter 2

Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, had prayed for a son with a promise to lend him to the Lord. She was blessed by the Lord to become the mother of Samuel, whom she gave to Eli, the priest. Eli gave Hannah and Elkanah a blessing. Their story continues as follows:

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.

Hannah praised the Lord in song. In her praises, she told of the strength and greatness of God. God has the power to do what cannot be done, and undo what has already been done. God will bless the saints and destroy the wicked adversaries of His righteousness. I believe that these are true things about the nature of God. He is all-powerful. He blesses the lives of his saints in ways that seem impossible by our understanding. I believe that one day, we will all stand before him to be judged, and the saints will be blessed for their righteousness, while His adversaries will be destroyed for their wickedness.

Elkanah (and Hannah, I believe) returned to his home, while Samuel remained with Eli and served the Lord.

12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.
17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

Eli had sons, but they had become men who followed after the ways of the world. His sons should have served faithfully with him in the temple, but they did not know the Lord. The custom of the priests’ servants in the temple, was that they would claim the portion of the sacrifices, which would go to the priest for his service. But by adapted custom, this servant would also ask the person giving sacrifice for a portion of the raw meat for the priest. If the individual refused to allow it to be taken raw, as they would to follow the pattern the Lord had set forward, the servant would say that it could be given to them or taken from them by force. This was a sin of the servant, because it was not how it should be done.

The servants in the temple had not been following the proper ways to serve, with regard to the sacrifices and portions which should have gone to the priest. Perhaps, they desired to take more than their share, to profit from those who went to the temple to make sacrifices. Whatever their reasons, the ways of men were going against the ways of the Lord, corrupting them for their own purposes.

18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Samuel served the Lord in the temple, from his youth. The word but, causes me to think that because he was raised to serve the Lord in the temple, he was not out to gain from his service. I think that means, that Samuel did things according to the order that the Lord had established and not according to the customs of the men who had been serving there. He wore a temple garment, and Hannah would bring him a coat she made each year when she went to offer sacrifices with her husband.

20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

Eli, with the authority of a priest, gave a blessing to Elkanah and Hannah, that they would be able to have more children, because they had lent Samuel to the Lord. Hannah was blessed to have three more sons and two daughters. Samuel remained and grew up serving the Lord in the temple.

All men who are called to serve as priests in the Lord’s kingdom, are given the authority to bless others. They have the power and authority to call down specific blessings from heaven. This power, which Eli had, has been restored in our modern days. My life has been blessed greatly by men who hold the priesthood and honor it. I know that the faith of Elkanah and Hannah, as well as Eli who gave the blessing, was the key to the priesthood blessing allowing them to have more children. This faith, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they all served by the righteous work done in the temple.

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

Eli, in his old age, heard of wicked things his sons did, even to women who had come to be at the temple. He told them that he had heard that they were causing people to stray with their wickedness. They were probably directly influences some by what they did, as well as indirectly influencing others who would have been watching their example. They could have been influencing some to do what they were doing, as well as influencing others to falter in their faith. Moreover, Eli told his sons that they were not simply sinning against other people, but that they were sinning against God. The Lord would destroy them if they did not listen to Eli’s words. Samuel, on the other hand, grew in favor with God, as well as men.

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.

A man of God, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Eli with a message from the Lord. He reminded Eli that the house of his fathers had been chosen by the Lord, to serve as His priests in the tabernacle. They had been given the authority of His holy priesthood. All of the offerings made in the tabernacle (or temple) had been given to the priests. And yet, Eli was not taking these sacrifices seriously, and was allowing his sons to do what they wanted with them. Eli was profiting, or becoming fat off of, the choices which his sons were making. The Lord was no longer going to allow the family of Eli to dishonor the Him in this way. Eli was given a promise that his house would not continue to have the honor of serving in the house of the Lord. The Lord would no longer recognize the promises made to Eli’s ancestors, that his family would always serve there, but instead they would be cut off. The Lord, told Eli that He would give him a sign, that his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas would both die on a day. The Lord would raise up a priest who would serve Him faithfully. The family of that priest would be blessed for generations, while the house of Eli would not live to see old age, and would no longer have the Lord’s blessing. They would instead, become beggars of the worthy priest.

There is a cycle and pattern over time on this earth. The Lord establishes his people and gives them his laws and statutes. Then, the Lord takes a step back and allows men to use their agency to decide how they will live. At first, men remember the promised blessings, choose the right and prosper accordingly. Then as time passes, and men live in their prosperity, they begin to forget the strictness of the ways of the Lord. Sacred things become common place and pretty soon the Lord is mocked and forgotten. Each time this cycle comes to this point, the Lord steps in again to remind men that His ways are not to be treated lightly. Man has agency, and because so, they may choose if they will adhere to the commandments and directions given by the Lord, but they do not have the ability to choose what will happen as a result. The Lord will not allow men to continually disrespect Him. He will punish those who treat sacred things lightly. He will bless those who are faithful and righteous. We should remember this pattern, and determine if we are becoming casual with the sacred things in our lives. We need to take the Lord seriously and reverence those things that he has established to bless and exalt the righteous. If we choose righteousness, we will be blessed.

Moreover, this was the error of a father with regards to his sons. Parents have a duty to teach their children what is right. Parents are responsible for helping their children to know how to keep sacred things sacred, and how to treat the blessings of the Lord. If a parent knows how to live righteously, and fails to teach their child to follow those things, the sin is upon the parent. When a parent learns of the wickedness of a child, they are responsible for lovingly calling that child to repentance. When necessary, a parent should discipline a child who is willfully disobeying the Lord. Eli did not follow through with any discipline of his sons. As mentioned above, they have their agency, but they do not have the ability to choose the consequences of that agency. If a parent does not do all that they can, to help a child correct the wrong they do, the parent is as at much fault, if not more than the child. This places great responsibility upon us as parents. We should make it a point to understand and know what is right and true, and then we should do our best to teach these things to our children. Otherwise, ultimately, we will be judged accordingly and the outcome will be along the lines of Eli, whose posterity was no longer blessed with the priesthood and opportunities that go along with it.

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Numbers Chapter 8

When the tribes of Israel were organized as the camps of Israel, the Levites were set apart to serve with the tabernacle. They were to be given to Aaron and his sons, to assist them in their priesthood duties, attend to the physical needs of the tabernacle, and to carry the burden of the tabernacle through the wilderness. This chapter gets into further details regarding the duties in the tabernacle and the Levites, beginning with the following:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.
3 And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the Lord commanded Moses.
4 And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the Lord had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

The lamps of the tabernacle were lit according to the direction of the Lord. And the candlestick itself, had been created and designed according to the instruction given by the Lord.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
6 Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.
7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
8 Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.
9 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:
10 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:
11 And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.
12 And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites.
13 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord.
14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
15 And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.
16 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.
17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
18 And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.
19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.
20 And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them.
21 And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the Lord; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.
22 And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.

The Levites were separated from the tribes of Israel, and Moses was instructed to have them washed or purified. They were first sprinkled and dedicated for cleansing, then they were to shave, and wash all their clothing. Then the Levites were to prepare an offering for the Lord, and to be set apart by the laying on of hands, while in front of the host of Israel. Through the laying on of hands, they were ordained to their priesthood office, by the proper authority of God. After they were set apart, they were to give an atonement sacrifice for the Levites. With this, they would be dedicated to the work of the Lord. They were to be serving in the tabernacle in place of all the firstborn of the families of Israel. They were belonging to the Lord, and He gave them to Aaron and his sons, or to the Aaronic priesthood, in order to fulfill the commandments of service in the tabernacle.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
24 This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:
25 And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
26 But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.

The Levites were to be in the service of the Lord in the tabernacle of the congregation, from the age of 25 to 50. After that, they were to continue to minister in the tabernacle of the congregation, without the same service duties of the priesthood.

The service in the tabernacle was necessary for the work of the Lord to be whole. There needed to be a way, for the people of God, to make covenants and perform necessary rituals to make themselves clean and righteous. It is a blessing for individuals to be able to serve, so that others may be saved by God. The Levites were called to help the work of God continue on this earth. We have the same blessings on earth today. The work of God goes forward, through the sacred ordinances and covenants of the priesthood. Through this work, individuals may receive salvation and families can be made eternal. Most of that work is performed in the temples of the Lord. There is a need for able and willing individuals to answer the call to serve in the temples, as temple workers, so that others can make these covenants and be sanctified through their own personal service. I have been blessed by my own family members, who have been able to fulfill callings in the temple. I am sure that the Levites who served, and their families, were greatly blessed for answering the call of the Lord and performing their priesthood duties.

Leviticus Chapter 8

The Lord gave the Children of Israel the commandments and statutes to follow as His covenant people. They were told how to build the tabernacle, so that they could make offerings and sacrifices. Moses was given strict instructions as to how each offering and sacrifice were to be given and received there. The Lord promised the Israelites, that with proper priesthood service, He would be in their midst. Moses was told how Aaron and his sons were to be ordained and anointed to the priesthood, in order to serve the Lord. The book of Leviticus continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3 And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.
6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses.
10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.
12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
13 And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.
14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
15 And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
16 And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the Lord commanded Moses.

The Israelite congregation, the covenant people, were gathered under the direction of Moses, who had been commanded by the Lord to bring them to the tabernacle. There they were to witness the setting apart and consecration of the priests of Israel. Moses brought Aaron, the sons of Aaron, the holy garments made for priesthood temple service, the oil made solely for anointing, the sin offering of a young bull, two rams and a basket of unleavened bread. Aaron and his sons were washed, clothed, and anointed. The footnote for the word robe in verse 7, references 2 Nephi 9:14, “Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.” The robes of the tabernacle, just as the robes of the temple today, are robes of righteousness. The temple clothing sets individuals apart for the work of the Lord.

The Urim and Thummim are a specific tool used by seers to do the work of God, such as translation. I had not thought of this before, but Aaron was given the tools to be a seer for the Lord. He was responsible for the judgment of Israel and because of this, this tool of revelation was necessary.

Moses also anointed the tabernacle as he had been directed by the Lord. The sons of Aaron were washed and clothed as well. A sin offering was made with the bull, which was offered by Aaron and his sons. This was done in front of the congregation of Israel. I think this priesthood ordination was performed publicly, so that the Israelites would know they had done as the Lord commanded. And because the priests of Aaron were to make atonement for all the people of Israel. These holy men would sanctify the people. Doctrine and Covenant 84:23 reads, “Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;”. They needed to be sanctified in order to see the face of God someday.

18 And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
21 And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Then one of the rams was offered as a burnt offering. It was offered by Aaron and his sons, and then sacrificed as commanded by the Lord.

22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
23 And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
24 And he brought Aaron’s sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
25 And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
26 And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the Lord, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:
27 And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the Lord.
28 And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
29 And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the Lord: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses’ part; as the Lord commanded Moses.
30 And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

The second ram was offered for the consecration of the priests. Aaron and his sons made the offering by the laying on of hands and then it was sacrificed as the Lord had instructed. The blood of this ram, was used to consecrate Aaron, his sons and the altar of the tabernacle. The parts of the ram were used as a wave offering, as well as a cake of unleavened bread, a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer. This offering was made by Aaron and his sons and then burnt on the altar by Moses as he had been directed. Then part of the ram was used as a wave offering by Moses. Then Aaron and his sons were sanctified by the anointing oil and blood.

31 And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
32 And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
33 And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
34 As he hath done this day, so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

Aaron and his sons were commanded to boil the rest and then eat the meal of the offering. They were commanded to burn anything remaining, and to stay at the door of the tabernacle for the seven days of consecration. Then they would be sanctified and consecrated for service in the tabernacle. The priests did as they were commanded.

It is such a blessing to have the priesthood on the earth today. It is clear that the duties of the priesthood and the house of the Lord, are very important to the Lord, because of how often we hear of them in the scriptures. I cannot imagine that God would feel any less about them today. Although the law of Moses, has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we still have our own laws of offerings and sacrifices. We should be working each day to keep ourselves clean from the stains of the world, so that we can be worthy of the power of the priesthood. Our worthiness will allow us the opportunities to serve in the holy temples, which is a duty of the priesthood. All those who wish to experience the fullness of the blessings of the priesthood, should do all that they can to worthily serve in the temple.

The Millennium

To view the entire Gospel Principles lesson go here: The Millennium.

The Millennium is the time period of a thousand years, when the Savior will come to reign upon the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 29:11 we read, “For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.” At His coming, all the wickedness in the world will be destroyed. Many people will remain to live through this time.

Who will be on the earth during the Millennium?

First of all, the Savior will be on the earth during the Millennium. In Daniel 7:14 we read, “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” All the righteous will serve him. In addition, all those who are righteous, covenanted people, will be on the earth during the Millennium. They will be doing a great amount of missionary work and temple work to build up the kingdom of God. But they are not the only people who will remain in that day. All people who have lived good lives and did not go about working evil intentionally, will also be on the earth. They will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and choose if they will accept it or not. All righteous people, covenant or not, will have much that we have now. They will still build families and work to provide for them. They will still have to deal with the weaknesses of the mortal body, such as sickness and injury. But, they will live free of the whisperings of Satan and his followers. This will cause it to be a time of peace, which has not existed on the earth. There will be others on the earth, who are righteous beings who by that point have already been resurrected. They will be on the earth to do the work of the Lord along with the saints.

What are the two great works that will be done during the Millennium?

As I mentioned above, the saints will be doing missionary work and temple work. Through missionary work, the gospel will be taken to every soul on the earth and everyone will eventually know that Jesus is the Christ. In addition, missionary work will continue in the spirit world. Then, all people will have the opportunity to choose if they will become a member of Christ’s church and make sacred covenants with him, or to choose something else. (To read more about missionary work, see Gospel Principles: Missionary Work). Those who make covenants with him, will eventually have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the celestial kingdom, and those who do not will inherit the terrestrial kingdom. These covenants will include those of baptism, as well as those made in the temple. Temple work will be the second great work done during the Millennium. This work will be done for those living as well as for those who are dead. Only a small portion of this work is being accomplished now and there is so much left to do. Every soul will have the opportunity to have work done for them, and just like those who are living, they will have the chance to choose if they will accept it or not. (To read more about temple work, see Gospel Principles: Temple Work and Family History).

How can we prepare now for work in the Millennium?

We prepare for this work now, by gaining a testimony for ourselves. We must prepare by listening to the words of His holy prophets. In 1 Nephi 22:20 we read, “And the Lord will surely prepare a way for his people, unto the fulfilling of the words of Moses, which he spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.” Joseph Smith was raised to be this prophet, who brought the fullness of the gospel and leads the people of God through his work and testimony. We need to discover for ourselves the truth of that testimony, so that we can take it to all people. We become the saints of God, committing ourselves to building His kingdom on the earth. We need to live worthy of doing the work of the Lord, and learn how to do missionary and temple work now. We prepare by making the will of the Lord a priority in our lives, so that it will be a priority then.

In what ways will life during the Millennium be different from life on the earth now?

As I said above, there will be differences in life now and that life during the Millenium. One of the differences, is that there will be no more war or fighting. In Isaiah 2:4 we read, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” I can’t even imagine the peace that will exist because there will be no war. Another difference will be in the earth itself. The earth will be renewed to a garden of eden state. In Ezekiel 36:35 we read, “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” The land will be beautiful all over.

In addition, people will not be made to suffer the waiting period of death as they do now. When someone dies, they must wait until their time in the first resurrection. In that day, all who grow old and die, will be changed in a twinkling of an eye, or will become the resurrected being, ready to continue the work on the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 63:51 we read, “Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.” What an amazing promise of the resurrection. Those who were not righteous and died before the Second Coming of the Lord, will be made to wait until the end of the Millennium, before they will be resurrected and receive their reward.

As I reviewed the Topical Guide, I discovered something new. There is a line in the Lord’s prayer, which is directly related to time of the Millennium. In Matthew 6:10 it reads, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Not only will the kingdom of God be established on the earth in its fullness, with the Lord at its head, but the will of God will be accomplished on the earth, just as it is in heaven. I knew this was going to be the state of the Millennium, but I never realized that it was a part of the prayer which the Lord gave as an example to us of how we should pray.

When this kingdom is established, the people on earth will live righteously and Satan will not be able to influence the hearts of men. In 1 Nephi 22:26 we read, “And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.” Therefore, people, who are naturally good people, who would have listened to the tempting whispering of Satan in moments of weakness, will not have those temptations from him. This is a huge difference in the world at that time. Part of the loss of power for Satan, will come from everyone having truths revealed to them. In Doctrine and Covenants 101:32 we read, “Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—”. Everyone will know that he is the Christ, and that there is a God and an eternal purpose for us all. All things will be revealed and those who are willing, will be able to accept them.

What are your thoughts and feelings about the conditions that will exist during the Millennium?

I believe that the daily life will be much the same for us. We will still be working to provide for our bodies and spirits. We will still be building families, having children, building our homes, and dealing with the flaws of human bodies, but we will be doing all these things in righteousness. I look forward to this day with great anticipation and hope. I want to be there to experience it for myself. I know it will be a great blessing to live in the times of the Millennium. I also know that it will be a blessing to serve the Lord on the earth, wether in life or death.

What will be the final destiny of the earth?

The earth was created to be a resting place for all the righteous who inherit the glory of the Celestial kingdom. It’s destiny is of a celestial glory as well and it will be a paradise for those who deserving of it. In Doctrine and Covenants 29:23 we read, “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.” The earth will be a new earth. This glory and rest will come to the earth, after the final battle between good and evil. Satan will be destroyed and cast into outer darkness, never to inflict his torment on the earth again. I have great hope in this promise that the prophets have given. I pray that many souls will find Christ and accept his gospel, so that they too can inherit the blessings of a Celestial earth.

Signs of the Second Coming

To view the entire lesson, go here: Signs of the Second Coming

The Second Coming is something that I personally look forward to with great anticipation. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that the Second Coming is the time when Christ will return again to this earth and rule over all the nations of the world. It is a time when great work will be accomplished. It will mark the beginning of the Millennium, when saints will work hard to complete temple work for all who have ever lived on the earth. It will be a time of great peace and joy.

What are some of the signs of the Second Coming?

The scriptures teach us of several known signs of the Second Coming. In Matthew 24, the Lord taught his disciples about the signs of his return.

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Some of the signs include false Christs who deceive, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, killing of the saints who stand for truth and righteousness, offenses, betrayals, and hatred, false prophets, and great amounts of sin and cold-heartedness. A great sign will be that the gospel will be preached to all the world, which is only made possible by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Then there will be great destruction through all the world both physically and spiritually. Then at the time of His coming, the sun and moon will be dark, the stars will fall from their places, and those who remain will see Christ coming again, with the elect of heaven at his sides. It may seem like a lot of doom and gloom, but the hope and excitement come in the outcome of these signs. In particular, the spreading of the gospel will bring great joy and happiness to people all over the earth, and even more to those who have already died and are waiting for work to be done on their behalf. As the gospel spreads, testimonies of Christ will be strengthened and faith will displace the fear of the awful destruction that is to come.

Another sign of the second coming, was foretold by the prophet Malachi. In Malachi 4:5-6 we read the following:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

This has happened already. Elijah appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery, in the temple. He restored necessary keys for the sealing powers of the priesthood. This sign has been fulfilled and we are now preparing for the Savior’s coming by doing work in the temple.

We also believe that before the Lord comes again, the city of Zion will be built upon the American Continent (see Article of Faith 10). This is a sign that the saints of the latter-days have been anticipating since the restoration began.

What evidence do you see that the signs are being fulfilled?

It doesn’t take much effort to see the calamities of the world getting worse and causing more destruction and casualties than they have in years past. Natural disasters are happening often all throughout the world. Transgressions and sins are becoming popular culture and those things that are good are painted as wrong by the world. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be a righteous individual without ridicule and hardship from others. On a more pleasant note, temples are being built more frequently and in more places around the world. The church continues to grow and the gospel is being taken to most of the world. I truly believe that the Second Coming is not far from us.

How can we remain calm and at peace even when some of the signs are terrifying and dreadful?

In Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 we read, “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” There was a time, when thinking of the signs of the Second Coming, brought me fear and discomfort. I have learned now, that this was because I was living in a way that caused me to fear what would happen for the things I was doing wrong in my life.

Faith is a Sunrise

Faith cannot coexist with fear. When we work to strengthen our testimonies and focus on preparing ourselves, fear is wiped away and faith takes its place in our hearts. I believe that this is true. In simpler terms, I think about how it feels to take a test when I am unprepared and have little faith in my own abilities. I am fearful that I will not do well, and I struggle greatly. When I study and become confident in my knowledge of the material, I do much better and I have a faith that I will do the best I can. This principle is the same for the feelings that come when we think about the Second Coming and the signs that precede it. We remain calm and at peace, when we try to follow the commandments, study the gospel, attend the temple, and follow the counsel of preparation given to us by the church leaders. In 1 Thessalonians 5 we read the following:

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

We would do well to use wisdom in all that we do. We should not be wasting away our days, thinking that we can do whatever we want and prepare later. We need to be prepared for the signs that are negative, because something will effect everyone of us. We also need to prepare for those positive signs as well, because it is the duty of every disciple and follower of Christ to do their part in the work. It is through this preparation and active participation, that we will find a sense of security and peace.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn

A Family Tree

I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting, on the topic of the hearts of the children shall turn, based on the talk given by Elder David A. Bednar in the most recent general conference. We hear this phrase often in the church, and today I’m going to talk about what this means to me.

The work of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind (see Moses 1:39). This is brought about by our making and keeping sacred covenants with God. This work, is centered around families. Elder Russel M. Nelson said, “The earth was created and this church restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally. [Whenever scriptures warn that the “earth would be utterly wasted,” the warning is connected to the need for priesthood authority to seal families together in holy temples.]” (Russell M. Nelson, “Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 92-95.) As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to have a knowledge of the gospel and the blessings that come from the priesthood power and authority being available on the earth today. There are many who have gone before us without this knowledge and, at times, without the priesthood. If they do not have the same opportunity as we do, than the work of God would fall short. I cannot imagine this as a possibility and therefore, I believe in the priesthood authority and power to do work for the dead. This authority of the priesthood is on the earth today because of the work of Elijah, the prophet. In Joseph Smith History 1:38-39 we read the words of Malachi as spoken by the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. “. . . Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (v. 38). . . . And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (v. 39).” Elijah did come to the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, and he restored the sealing power to them. We read about that in Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-15. “After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said (v. 13): Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come (v. 14)—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse (v. 15)—”. Now is the time when the promises of the ancient prophets have been planted in our hearts and our hearts need to turn to our fathers.

How do we turn our hearts to our fathers? The prophet Joseph Smith explained that “. . . the word turn, here should be translated bind, or seal.” In other words, how do we bind or seal our hearts to our fathers? In his talk, Elder Bednar uses the words of Joseph Smith in telling how we, the saints, do this. He said, “By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah . . . .” (History of the Church, 4:569; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 27, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff).

Both Joseph Smith and Elder Bednar spoke of the chain that binds us to our ancestors. This image stuck out to me. When I think of it, I picture the master blacksmith, working hard with his hammer, to forge every link of our eternal chain, which binds our eternal family together forever. A strong chain needs each individual link to be shaped and bonded to the one before it. Likewise, in our eternal family chain, each individual must be prepared and forged to those who have come before them and then attached to those who come after, through the work of the master. This preparation for those who have gone before us, is family history work. We are blessed with the opportunity to assist the Master in His work, by doing family history work. President Brigham Young said: “We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere. Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, p. 406).

Family history work is for all of us. There is nothing in the scriptures or teachings of the prophets, which qualifies when we should be doing this work. In Elder Bednar’s talk he directed a lot of his words to the youth of the church and I think that those of us who are parents, leaders, and teachers of the youth, can do a lot to help the younger generation realize all that they can do to further this work. Doing family history work is something that I have enjoyed for years. I can remember as a young primary child, having the strong desire to find out about my own ancestors. I have been blessed to have a great-grandmother who was a world-renowned genealogist. She published many books during her lifetime. My parents had one of these books, which was a history of my family on my maternal grandfather’s side. I enjoyed reading through the stories in that book and learning about the things my family had experienced. Her example to me, gave me a strong desire to seek out my family for myself. I know that because family is central to God’s plan, there can be a desire in each and every one of His children, no matter the age we are, to be bound to their family eternally.

The incredible work that my great-grandmother did for our family, required hours of searching through physical records, countless trips to the libraries, frequent trips to other states and even to Washington D.C. to look through records in the national archives. But, just as new tools have replaced the blacksmith’s hammer in making chains, new tools have been provided for us to do family history work. The advances in computers have made this work so much easier for us to do. There is no longer the need to spend all our time traveling, digging through books, or scanning the micro-fiche for records. We have amazing tools, including newfamilysearch and familysearch. There are other great tools available online from the comfort of our own homes or at the family history library.

Before listening to Elder Bednar’s talk, I had not thought about getting my daughters involved in family history or on new familysearch, but after hearing what he said, I decided to go to lds.org to see what the church leaders had there for the youth and primary. The youth section of the site, has several videos which explain how to use new family search. There are sweet testimonies of young men and women who have started their own work. These examples are inspiring and motivating. I also looked on the primary section of lds.org, and they have a section titled “Family History 1-2-3“, which links directly to new family search. It is clear that the leaders of the church feel that children should be using newfamilysearch as well. Those of us who are older, should take the time to learn for ourselves how to do our own family history work, so that we can teach and guide our children in this work. Elder Bednar said, “It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord— not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.”

The Lord has blessed us with these tools, so that we can further His work. There are four things that we can and should be doing. First, we need to gather our family history. The least we should do, that has been suggested by church leaders, is four generations of our ancestors, but I think that you’ll find that as you do this work, you will gain the desire to go back even further. Find the records in your home. Ask your family for information. Go to newfamilysearch.org and start your family tree. Use the old family search site to find records of your family members. There are many other resources that can be helpful in this work as well. My parents and grandparents have done a great deal of family history work. I was struggling with where to begin, so I decided to compile the work that they have been doing. It’s been a fun thing to do. Last year, my grandfather passed away and I had the opportunity to gather information from several family members and to create a record of his life from their thoughts on him. It is something that I hold dear and I am so happy to be able to pass that on to my children.

Second, we need to record our own personal and family histories. This one is a big one for me. I’ve attended several family history workshops in the past ten years, and one of the things that has stuck with me the most is that each of us will most likely be forgotten after three generations. How many of us can say that we know all about our great-great-grandparents? What do you want your great-great-grandchildren to know about you? What can you do today, to make their work easier? How much easier would it be for you to have information from your life compiled for them? Keep a journal. Keep your physical records safe. Teach your children to keep journals as well. Keeping records of your living family as well as those who have passed away, is so important. If you question that statement, than I’d ask you to look to the example of Lehi’s family in the Book of Mormon. Lehi was commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem to gather his family records. In 1 Nephi 3:2-4, we read, “And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem (v. 2). For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass (v. 3). Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness (v. 4).” Then in 1 Nephi 5:21 we read, “And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.” Royden G. Derrick, formerly of the Seventy said, “A personal history becomes a family treasure that enables children to emulate the virtues and personal characteristics of their forebears. Their forefathers become the David, the Samson, the Moses, and the Abraham of their lineage. Writing family and personal histories is becoming the popular thing to do. More and more people throughout the world are becoming interested in this exciting pastime to them, but sacred responsibility to us. The hearts of the children are indeed turning to the fathers.” (“The Heritage of Royal Families,” Ensign, May 1979, 26.) Preserve your own records, so that your life can be an example to those who come after you.

Third, we need to perform temple ordinances for our family members. We need to do this often. We need to do this now. I love serving in the temple, but nothing has ever been quite as meaningful and spiritual as doing work for family members. I’d like to share a very special experience for me. In fall of 2009 I prepared several names for a Stake Relief Society night of baptisms. One of these names was Maria Schmidlin. I performed the baptism for her as planned and then held on to the paperwork so that I could follow-up with more of her work. I had several names to do and this one kept going to the bottom of my stack. Finally, in February of this year, I felt the strong impression that I needed to go do a session. For 2 weeks, it seemed like everything I heard at church, from my visiting teachers, and so on, was pushing me to go do a session, so we made plans to go. I planned to do the work for Maria that night. Our drive was worst then usual, causing us to be a bit later than expected, so we started talking about just doing initiatories. Then, I had the impression that we needed to do a session, even if we had to wait longer. We decided to side with the feeling to do the session, and I know now why that feeling was so strong. As I prepared myself for the session, I said a silent prayer to Heavenly Father and I immediately felt the presence of Maria with me. I felt her joy throughout the entire session. I know she was there with me and I know that because I was willing, she was able to accept and receive the necessary ordinances to progress. I feel so privileged to have been able to do that for her. There are temples being built all around the world, which will are here specifically for this purpose. We need to be preparing ourselves for the work that we can do in the temples.

Fourth, we should help others to do this work. If you know how to do family history, take time to show others in your family, in the ward, or even friends who may not be members of the church. I had a great experience with this last year. I had a less-active family in our ward (a father, daughter and grand-daughter) who had heard me talk about family history work. We had a ward Relief Society temple night scheduled and had asked the sisters to prepare names to take for baptisms and confirmations. I was approached by this family to help them prepare to do the work for the father’s wife who had passed away, so that she could be baptized and confirmed. Helping them prepare the name was fairly simple and it gave me the opportunity to share my testimony of this great work. However, the best part of the entire experience, was helping the grand-daughter when she went to the temple the night of our temple trip. It was amazing to watch this young sister do work for her grandmother, and witness her own testimony grow through the process.

You can help others by locating records and other information for them or with them. This is a job that I think the younger generation would be great at. There are a lot of us, who may not be very savvy with the computer. Last year I went to my Mom’s family history library with her. She was serving as the assistant in the library at the time and was really excited to show me how to use the record search pilot, which was a tool to find ancestry documents that has since been added to family search. I’ve been blessed to marry a computer nerd, and he has helped me to learn a lot, so this was pretty simple for me. She got me started on the site and within less then a minute I had located a birth record for a family member that my Mom had not been able to find before. I helped our family by finding this one record. The record was made available because of volunteers giving their time. I know that we don’t all have a lot of extra time in our busy lives to be working on a lot of family history work. The church has a truly inspired way for the busiest of us to actively help others. It is called indexing. Indexing is what made my family record easy to find. Indexing is for anyone who knows how to read and enter data into a computer. You can spend as little as five minutes working on it at a time. In short, indexing is downloading a batch of records that have been scanned and prepared and then using the data entry form to type what you think the record says. Two different people with do the indexing for one record and then an arbitrator looks to see if things match and if their are any questions. Then that information will be made available for searching, and the records can be more easily found by family members. If you have any free moments in your days, I would highly suggest participating in indexing.

In closing, I’d like to quote Elder Bednar again. In addressing the youth he said, “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.” I know that this promise can apply to all of us no matter what our age. I am so grateful for the desire in my own life, to do family history work. I love that we can learn about the lives of those who have gone before, and I love knowing that I have the ability to leave a legacy for my own posterity. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple and for the love of a Father in Heaven who wants each and every one of us to be sealed forever as a part of His eternal Family chain.

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.

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Chapter 10 of 1 Nephi has a bunch of good principles of the gospel. We learn some things about the characteristics of God and there are prophecies of the scattering and gathering of the jews, as well as prophecies of the Son of God. The verse that sticks out to me at this time is verse 19 which says, “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” I think that in my own life I am trying to put this to the test. I have found that when I pray to learn from my scripture study, from the words of the prophets and general authorities, or to learn from attending a session in the temple, I am blessed with a knowledge and understanding of things that I did not have before. I think that a key part to this is the word diligently. This word is defined online (google search) as “conscientiousness in paying proper attention to a task; giving the degree of care required in a given situation; characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks”. Taking care to study out and ponder over teachings found in the scriptures and such, with great care and proper attention, will bring the promised blessing of finding what we seek. I am grateful for this promise from the prophets and I find great joy in putting this into practice in my life.

The Third Article of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baptism

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

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

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

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

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

D&C Section 138 (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of the previous post on this section (D&C Section 138 Part 1).

In the previous post on this section, we learned that President Joseph F. Smith received a vision regarding the souls who the Savior taught in the spirit world (see 1 Peter 34). We learn about the process of revelation and understanding from pondering over the scriptures. We learn about the organization of the work of sharing the gospel in the spirit world. This section continues:

38 Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all,
39 And our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God.
40 Abel, the first martyr, was there, and his brother Seth, one of the mighty ones, who was in the express image of his father, Adam.
41 Noah, who gave warning of the flood; Shem, the great high priest; Abraham, the father of the faithful; Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the great law-giver of Israel;
42 And Isaiah, who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound, were also there.
43 Moreover, Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls;
44 Daniel, who foresaw and foretold the establishment of the kingdom of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people;
45 Elias, who was with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration;
46 And Malachi, the prophet who testified of the coming of Elijah—of whom also Moroni spake to the Prophet Joseph Smith, declaring that he should come before the ushering in of the great and dreadful day of the Lord—were also there.
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.
49 All these and many more, even the prophets who dwelt among the Nephites and testified of the coming of the Son of God, mingled in the vast assembly and waited for their deliverance,
50 For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.
51 These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life,
52 And continue thenceforth their labor as had been promised by the Lord, and be partakers of all blessings which were held in reserve for them that love him.

President Smith saw many of the prophets of old, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. They were in the spirit world waiting in bondage for the redemption and salvation that was to come through Jesus Christ. All the righteous had to wait for the resurrection of the Savior, before they could be resurrected. Some of those who have gone before us have been resurrected already and are doing the work that they have been asked to do. I believe that others are still waiting for the time of the Second Coming when the righteous will be resurrected and will have the opportunity to serve the Lord as he rules on this earth. Until the resurrection, all spirits will remain in bondage. Meaning that they will not be able to progress and work to their fulness, until they are once again reunited with their bodies.

I strongly believe in the words of Elijah. There is much work to be done, and the righteous have a responsibility to do this work for those who no longer are able to do it for themselves. In doing this work, the hearts of those who serve are turned towards their ancestors. And likewise, their ancestors are turning and relying on them for their salvation. This work is only possible because we have holy temples on the earth, in which we can perform saving ordinances for others. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve in the temple.

53 The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work,
54 Including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world.
55 I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.
56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.
58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
59 And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.
60 Thus was the vision of the redemption of the dead revealed to me, and I bear record, and I know that this record is true, through the blessing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, even so. Amen.

I love the lesson here that we will have the opportunity after this life, to pay for the transgressions that we do now. No matter how hard I try, I know that I do things I should not do, that I may not think to repent for. Those things do not go away with time, but remain as a stain on our souls until we are washed clean of them. I know there will be mercy through repentance in this life, which takes away our burden of suffering for specific sins, but it is good to know that we all will be able to pay for what we have done that we have not repented for, and then we will move on to gain whatever reward we deserve.

There were modern day prophets, which he saw, and other righteous saints in the spirit world with the prophets of old. He saw that all of these had been prepared for their great work, before they came to the earth in life. He saw that missionary work, or the work of teaching the gospel and saving souls, continues on after this life. These verses confirm to me the thought that work is an eternal principle. This life is in preparation for even greater work after this life. This stresses to me the importance of being productive and serving in this life. If we live a life of laziness and dependence on others, we will not be willing to work after this life. If we are not willing to work, I am certain that we will not be able to progress and receive all the blessings that eternity has to offer to us.

I am so glad to have scriptures which teach us what is to come after this life. There are multiple witnesses of heaven and who and what will be there. I believe these things are true. I hope to live a life that is worthy to be among these great righteous leaders and to work and learn from them. I am glad to be given opportunities to serve and work in this life. I have grown a lot through the service that I have had the chance to give and my life has been greatly blessed for it. This chapter is one of those that causes me to look forward to life after death, and all the wonderful things that will happen there. It is such a blessing to have this gospel and to have the confirming power of the spirit with me, to know these things are true.


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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