Posts Tagged 'Truth'

1 Kings Chapter 22

Jehoshaphat was the son of Asa, both of whom followed after the Lord and ruled in righteousness over Judah. On the other hand, Ahab had ruled in wickedness in Israel, along with his wife Jezebel. Earlier in his reign, Ahab had fought against the Syrians and defeated them twice (see 1 Kings 20). Then, he made a deal with the leader of Syria. The king of Syria promised to return all the lands that had been taken from Israel, and Ahab allowed him to go free, against the will of the Lord. This had brought the promise of destruction upon Ahab’s people. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand.
13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

Three years of peace followed the fighting between Israel and Syria. Ahab saw that the Syrians still held a place called Ramoth, which belonged to Israel. He met with Jehoshaphat and asked him to combine forces against Syria. Jehoshaphat told him his people and army were the same people as the Israelites, so he would join with him. Jehoshaphat wanted to know the will of the Lord, so Ahab turned to the prophets and asked if they should go to battle against the Syrians. The prophets returned with the response, which was to go to battle and the Lord would deliver the land of Ramoth-gilead into their hands. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was a prophet of the Lord, who could pray to ask the Lord. Ahab told him of Micaiah, whom he hated for not prophesying of anything good about Ahab and only the bad. Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the prophet still, so Ahab called for him and the kings sat and heard the prophesies of the prophets. A prophet named Zedekiah gave them iron horns and said that the Lord said they would help them defeat the Syrians. The many prophets continued to say that the Lord would deliver the Syrians into their hands. The servant who had been sent to get the prophet Micaiah, told him to speak only that which was good to the king, but Michaiah told him that he would speak the word of the Lord.

There are many who hate those that would tell the truth, if the truth is not pleasing to hear. I think there are few who have the integrity to tell the truth when it is hard for others to hear. Micaiah was a man of integrity, who clearly feared or honored God more than man. Even though it might be difficult to hear, the truth is always the better way and it will keep the faithful on the path that God wants for them, if they hearken to it.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

The king asked Micaiah if they should go up against the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Micaiah told him that the Lord would deliver it into his hand. The king wanted to know more. Micaiah told him that he had a revelation that Israel was scattered without a leader, and that they should return to their homes in peace. Ahab told Jehoshaphat that he knew Micaiah would prophesy of something bad and not good. Micaiah said that he had seen a vision of the Lord with the host of heaven about him. The Lord asked who would persuade Ahab to go against the Syrains and fall. After some discussion, a spirit stood and said that he would go and convince (or had gone and convinced) the prophets to tell him to go fight the Syrians. The Lord allowed the spirit to go and persuade Ahab, because Ahab had sinned against the Lord. So, Micaiah told Ahab that the Lord had allowed his prophets to persuade him. Zedekiah smote Micaiah, asking why the Lord would do this to him, and yet speak to Micaiah. Micaiah told him he would know this was true when he went into a room to hide. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be put in prison until he returned, but Micaiah said the Lord had not said Ahab would return in peace. Micaiah told all the people to listen or be a witness to his word.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

The kings went to Ramoth-gilead. Ahab decided he would disguise himself and enter the battle, while Jehoshaphat remained as he was. The captains of the Syrians were commanded to fight only with Ahab. They thought Jehosahphat must be the king of Israel, so they went to fight him. Jehoshaphat yelled, and when the captains figured out that he was not the king of Israel, they turned from fighting him. Meanwhile, another man wounded Ahab in the battle, and he told the driver of his chariot to take him away from the battle. While the battle went on, Ahab was propped up and in his chariot and died. Word was sent to the host, for the men to return home.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahab’s body was taken to Samaria, where he was buried. His chariot was washed and the dogs licked up the blood, as was prophesied by Elijah (see 1 Kings 21:19). This was according to the word of the Lord. The rest of the actions of King Ahab, were recorded in another record of the kings, including the building of an ivory house. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned after him.

41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

Jehoshaphat, who had started his reign four years after Ahab when he was 35 years old, reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. He ruled as his father had ruled, and reigned in righteousness. However, he had not removed the places where the people made offerings and burned incense. Jehoshaphat had made peace with the king of Israel, Ahaziah. All the rest of his actions were recorded in the record of the kings of Judah. He had been a mighty man, and had removed the sodomites from the land. A deputy was the king of Edom at the time. Jehoshaphat had made ships to get gold, as Solomon had done, but the ships were broken before they could get to their destination. Ahaziah asked if his men could go along with the men of Judah, but Jehoshaphat refused.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

Then Jehoshaphat died and his son Jehoram reigned.

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the
way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Ahaziah ruled over Israel from Samaria during the reign of Jehoshaphat. He ruled for two years in wickedness, serving Baal and provoking God to anger.

Ahab had been enticed to go and take back the land that belonged to Israel, since the king of Syria had promised to return all of the land to him. This was at the time that Ahab made a deal with the king of Syria, when the will of the Lord was that the Syrians be destroyed. Ahab had been promised that his own demise would come because of this choice, and so it was. The Lord allowed him to be enticed and counseled to go forward with it, because this was the curse he had for going against the will of God previously. Because Ahab allowed their king to go free, his own life was taken in another fight against that same nation.

Ahab chose not to listen to the prophet of the Lord. His own prophets told him those things he wanted to hear, and he was willing to listen to their words, but was angered by the words of the prophets of God. Elijah and Micaiah were prophets who told Ahab the truth, and if he had listened to their words of warning, he would not have been led into this destruction. Those who willing turn away from the words of the prophets, set themselves us for their own personal destruction. This was true then, and it is true for us today, because we have living prophets of the Lord, who are given revelation that applies to us in this day. I am grateful for the living prophets and the blessing of continuing revelation from God.

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The Role of the Holy Ghost as a Teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy Chapter 19

In chapter 17 of Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Israelites of the importance of having righteous leaders. Specifically, he taught them the importance of judges who would do their duty without prejudice and according to the laws of God. It was important that they remembered to carry out judgements of God’s established laws, in a manner that was pleasing to God. Only then, would they continue to be led by the spirit of the Lord. Moses continues the teachings of the Lord, with regard to how they were to handle some of those individuals judged as guilty by the law.

1 When the Lord thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the Lord thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;
2 Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it.
3 Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.

After becoming established in a land free of other nations, they were to create three cities of refuge within the land. These three cities were to be established with roads and borders. They were for those who had committed manslaughter.

4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;
5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:
6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.
8 And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;
9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:
10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

Those who had a place in the cities of refuge, were they who had ignorantly or accidentally killed another, without any premeditation or the intention to murder another. An example of manslaughter is given, where two men are chopping down a tree, and the axe slips from one man’s hand and kills the other accidentally. Those convicted of manslaughter could go to a city of refuge and live without fear of the death being avenged by an angry family member or friend. This because manslaughter was not a crime worthy of death according to God. If the Lord blessed them with more land, they were to add more cities of refuge. God did not want innocent blood shed in the land of promise, which would make them unworthy of the land.

11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:
12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

If a person murdered in cold-blood and then escaped to the city of refuge, the leaders were to take him out of that city. All murderers were to be put to death and not shown pity when they were found guilty. If they did not follow through with this, the people would be held accountable for their choice.

14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it.

The people were not to remove the landmarks left in the land from old times. I believe that the word landmarks is the marks of boundary on the land. The Israelites were not to decide for themselves how they should change the boundaries of their inheritances, but were to leave them as they were first divided in the land.

15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

If only one witness spoke against another person, they could not be judged for that thing. All cases were to be judged bases on the words of two or three witnesses. The Lord has been consistent in the law of witnesses throughout time. In the time of the restoration of the church, the Lord said, “and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established”. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:28) Witnesses are so important to our being able to know truth from those things that are false. Most important, is the witness we can receive from the spirit of the Lord, which is undeniable by our own spirit, and if we listen, He will teach us what is true.

16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

False witnesses were to be judged along with those they testified against. The judges and elders of Israel, were to look hard at the details of the case and decide if the witness was being truthful. If the witness was found to be lying, then he would be judged guilty in the matter and receive the punishment that he had hoped for the one was innocent. As a result, those who were seeking that another be falsely accused and receive punishment, would receive that punishment equally. In doing so, the leaders of Israel would show to the rest of the people, that anyone who bore false witness against another would be held accountable.

The act of intentionally murdering another person, is never right. God established the law against murder, long before the Isrealites existed. Cain was cursed and cast away from the presence of the Lord, when he committed the first murder (Genesis 4:8, 11, 14; see also Moses 5:32, 36, 39). The law is specifically stated in Genesis 9:6, when we read the law as given to Noah’s generation, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Then it was established with the Israelites, when Moses first brought them the ten commandments. In Exodus 20:13 we read, “Thou shalt not kill.” Any man who was guilty of murder was rightfully to be put to death, by the standards of the Lord. The Lord has re-established His law in our day as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 42, we read the following:

18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.
19 And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.

Any person who murders another of God’s children, will be held accountable by God for their sin. Whether or not they are not punished in this life for their crime, they will be judged appropriately at the judgement seat of the Lord and all will be made right by God.

Just as all kings and their rulings, and judges and their judgments, were to be just and righteous, all the punishments for those guilty, were to be just and righteous. When men are punished for accidents, or innocent men are convicted of crimes, there is little hope in the law for those who are trying to live good lives. This kind of government leads to chaos, rebellion, and falling away from those things that are good and true. It was so important for the Israelites to remember these things, so that they could remain faithful to the Lord. It is important for these things today as well. When good laws are established to maintain freedoms and allow people the ability to righteously follow their beliefs, it gives men the ability to openly follow after the Lord. When governments choose to altar these good things, for their own purposes, one things leads to another and apostasy is sure to follow. Those who are striving to live a life of righteousness, need to do all that they are able to ensure that those who are leading them are protecting the freedoms and the good laws of the land.

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 9

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

One of the all-encompassing attributes of God for us to strive towards, is perfection. God is a perfect being. His plan for us is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” Likewise, in Proverbs 30:5 we read, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” There is purity in everything He has ever spoken. As we learn in Deutornomy 32:4, God is right and true to perfection. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” We can fully depend on what He has said, to protect us. In 1 John 1:5 it reads, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” God is the creator of light and the source of all light. In his perfect light, he is the dispeller of all darkness. He is perfectly good and perfectly whole. We have been given a charge by the Savior in Matthew 5:48 which says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” While to some this verse may seem daunting, to me, this verse gives me great hope in the person that I can become. I can be perfect, otherwise why would the Savior have said this. The key is remembering that our perfection will come over time and through eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 we are taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.” This life is just a life of preparation, we cannot become perfect now. We can however, strive towards perfection, by working on our shortcomings with patience in ourselves and with God. We have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards and we have been given the laws to follow, which help us to perfection. Christ’s love, charity, is pure. Colossians 3:14 reads, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” We need to have the love of Christ in our hearts, in order to become more perfect. Just as God’s words are pure and we can trust in Him, we should strive for all that we say to be pure, right and completely true. We can strive to live in the light each day and do our best to dispel the darkness of our lives. This means, that we need to put ourselves in the best situations to have light, and avoid those things that we know are evil and wrong. As imperfect beings in mortality, God knows we are going to make mistakes, so in order for us to reach the potential of perfection, we have been given repentance through the power of the atonement. Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 teaches us about those who are a part of the first resurrection, when it says, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” If we want to strive to be like God, we need to make use of repentance and the atonement every day of our lives.

God is a worker. We cannot number the works of God because they are so many. In Job 37:14 we read, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” He started the work of our earthly existence, with the creation of our world. I am amazed every time I ponder on one of the amazing creations and works of God. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;”. His work is beautiful and leaves me with feelings of great reverence and awe. His work has continued throughout time and goes on today. We are a part of his work. The purpose of His work for us is learned in Moses 1:39, which reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We live in an amazing era in the work of God. The prophecies of old are being fulfilled, such as that said in Isaiah 29:14. “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Likewise, in 3 Nephi 21:9 we read, “For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.” The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is God’s marvelous work. God’s work is without end. God is not a being of idleness. If we are to work towards our potential to be like Him, we cannot be idle. Instead, we need to be an active part of the work of God. We need to be looking for ways to serve others. We need to be creating things of value in our lives. We need to further the work of God through building our testimonies, sharing the gospel, and doing work in the temple, so that all people can have the opportunity to choose eternal life.

These recent posts about our potential, are just a sprinkling of all that God is and all that we can become as His spirit children. I am grateful to have the opportunity to improve upon the person that I am and to become more like Him. It is so important for us to spend time learning the attributes of God and reflecting on our own lives to see where we are. We have been given the great opportunity to make the most of our time on earth. God did not send us here to idle away our days, or to wander aimlessly. He has shown us the way. He has given us the gospel and most especially His Son, Jesus the Christ, so that we might learn how we could live to be the best we can be. God as given us a glimpse of our eternal potential and just how amazing we can be. There are so many times in life, when I get down on myself for who I am or how I am behaving. I am so glad for the gospel and the ability to study the scriptures, which gives me a greater hope of who I will become someday if I am willing to try a little harder. I truly hope that more people will see their potential and turn to God where they can find hope, peace, love and joy.

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

Do We Stand for Truth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teachings for the Latter Days

Our Sunday School lesson for this week is on the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul writes more letters to the saints of his day in these books. I find it interesting that Paul writes that the law is written for the unrighteous. I think that he’s probably referring to the many details of the law of Moses. Those who are righteous, know in their hearts and minds what is right and what is wrong. They know that they should not steal from someone else and they don’t need a law written to tell them that. The laws are written for those who do not naturally live a righteous life. They are written for those who have not come to an understanding of what it means to live righteously. The laws of Christ are more of a choice of lifestyle and not so much the small rules of rituals in our lives. This first letter to Timothy, is meant for us today. He talks of the latter days in chapter 4. This time on the earth, is one where even the best of men will be led away from the faith. It is a time when things that have been established and sanctified by God, such as marriage between a man and woman, are being forbidden and altered to fit the ways of the world. We avoid the traps of Satan in these things, by being strong in the faith. We must make the study and application of the word of God, a priority in our lives and the lives of our families. Paul teaches of being an example of the believers, which I have written about before (see What Type of Example Should We Be?). An example of the believers is one who speaks, teaches, testifies, serves, and lives as Christ would, because they believe in Christ.

Paul teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. This is not to say that money is bad, or that having a lot of money is evil. This means that if there comes a time when money is placed in value above other righteous things, then it is the source of leading us away from God and all that is good. The footnote for the word money, references the world selfishness. I think that this means that anything that would cause us to become selfish and greedy applies here. We can be poor, but have extreme selfishness, greed, and such for things of the world. Anything that draws our attention away from the things of God, breeds selfishness and leads to temptations and evil things. I think that we avoid this obsession with worldly things, by keeping our eyes on the bigger picture. Remembering what things we take with us, such as our knowledge and relationships, will help us to realize that all the things of the world are fleeting. Worldly wealth gets us no where very fast in the eternities. It may be hard to see the big picture if we do not have faith, a strong testimony, and a hope in the things to come. We need to be praying, reading the scriptures, going to church, and I think especially serving in the temple, so that we are continually reminded of the purpose we play in the plan of salvation.

We live in a time, when more and more people are thirsting after knowledge. More often than not, this thirst is in hopes of gaining more in this life. It becomes a reliance on the knowledge and wisdom of men. Those who think that they know all things are the same men who are employed to teach others. The learners are inclined to take all that they are taught as truth, without seeking out for sincere truth and pure knowledge and wisdom. In 2 Timothy 3:7, Paul is discussing the conditions of the last days and he says the people (lovers of themselves) will be, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We need to be wary of falling into this trap. If we make it a practice in our lives to live worthy of the inspirations of the spirit, we will receive a witness of truth in all of our learning. I know that this applies to both things of a spiritual nature, but also to things of a secular nature as well. The spirit is the bearer of all truth in all things. It is a natural thing for us to thirst after knowledge, but we need to continually have thankful hearts to God, and to live righteously so that we will not be caught up in the deceptions of the world. We cannot afford to assume that we know better than God, because it is simply not the case and we will fail if we adapt that belief and the behaviors that come with it. I have been so blessed to have a witness of true knowledge in my life. I am so grateful for the ability to recognize the whisperings of the spirit and the ability that the spirit has to teach me all things.

The Thirteenth Article of Faith

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

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

We believe that we should be honest and true people. Our integrity is a precious thing. Being honest and true in all things, keeps our integrity intact. Proverbs 20:7 reads, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” When I think of honesty, I think of what it means to be dishonest. All things that are meant to mislead others or raise ourselves up in a manner of false perceptions or lies, which are those things that are dishonest, are things of Satan. Satan is the father of lies. Satan wants to shadow the truth with a little dishonesty here and there, and when we give in to these things, we are following Him. Honesty on the other hand, keeps us following Christ. Honesty is a very worthwhile attribute, which leads to stronger relationships, building up of trust, and so much more. Personally, one of the most obvious blessings of being an honest person, has been that people have found me trustworthy. I have been blessed with greater responsibilities in work, opportunities to have higher positions, chances to do work that others are not allowed to do, and a feeling of value that has given me a sense of strength and courage.

We believe in being chaste. The concept of chastity is fading away in the world we live in today. There are many who feel that being chaste is a thing of the past, and that we all need to change with the times. Chastity is purity. It is absolutely necessary for us to be clean if we hope to live with God again. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” As temples, our bodies must be clean if we hope to have the spirit dwell in our hearts. Our cleanliness or purity will determine if we can dwell with God, because “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). There is safety in this life and in the life to come, if we remain pure and chaste now.

Benevolence is charity and kindness. We believe in being a people of service and love, and continually striving to live as Jesus did. We believe in living life with our minds set on helping others in whatever way that we can. The Lord blesses each of us with material things, talents, time, and energy. The best way that we can show our gratitude to Him for all that we have, is to use it for good. The world today, tries to focus a lot of attention on what we can do for ourselves, but this is not how the Lord wants us to live. We need to be mindful of those in need. In giving, we can share the light of Christ with all those around us. In James 1:27 we read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is truly how we show our love and devotion to our Father in Heaven.

We believe in being virtuous. Being virtuous is being morally clean. In the topical guide, the word virtuous references Psalms 24.

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

One who is virtuous is worthy to be in holy places of the Lord, because he has clean hands and a pure heart. We believe that we should not involve ourselves in those things which keep up unworthy, especially those related to our morality. We believe that the Lord has established that physical intimacy outside of marriage, is against his laws. Being a virtuous person will allow us amazing blessings, in particular those that can be received through attending the temple, which are the greatest blessings of all.

We believe in serving others. This is the type of life that the Savior patterned for us. We need to be continually engaged in doing good to others. This doesn’t mean that we should always be performing grand gestures of service, but mostly that we need to be constantly courteous and mindful of those around us. The good we do can be as simple as a smile or a hug. I think that it is extremely important, especially as we are living in a time where the world would have us take huge amounts of time to focus on ourselves, that we do our best to put the needs of others as a priority in our lives. We need to do kind deeds, teach whenever possible (especially the gospel truth), show sympathy and love, and pray for others. We believe that the reason for living this way, is that we will be eternally judged for our works in this life. If we live a life of good works, we will receive the greatest reward later. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” I have experienced great blessing for the good works I have done in my life and I know that our lives will be greatly enriched through the service we give.

Paul taught the followers of Christ, the way to be saints. If we, as members, hope to live up to the name of our church, which claims that we are saints of these latter-days, than we need to be willing to be saints. In his letter to the Philippians he said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phillippians 4:8)” This is the admonition of Paul, of which we want to follow.

Faith is a Sunrise

We are believers or people of faith. There is a lot of what we believe that cannot physically be proven, but rather is felt to the center of our beings. Our beliefs are focused on the hope that God is there and will bless us for living righteously. In Jeremiah 17:7 we read, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Our beliefs are centered on an eternity and the possibility to live with God and our families again after this life. We are Christians, in the pure sense of the word. We believe that we can only receive salvation through Jesus Christ, who gave the eternal sacrifice for our sins and died so that we could live again. As Christians, we have been in a constant battle against the enemies of God. The early saints suffered all things in standing up for the gospel of Christ. We believe that true saints of God will continue to face extreme trials at the hands of those who do not believe. We will have to endure all the trials of our lives in order to receive the great reward that God has offered to us. We believe that if we are faithful in our endurance, God will be there to support and sustain us through all things we face. We need to remain steadfast, strong and firm in our beliefs, so that we can learn from our trials and have the ability to grow and progress. If we continually seek to find and follow those things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy, we will find happiness in this life and joy in the eternities. All things that are good, come from God. In Moroni 7:12 we read, “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.” We believe that in order to come unto Christ and return to live with God again someday, we need to look for the good and avoid the evil at all costs.

I am a believer. I have hope in my salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to live a life worthy of the rewards promised to all the children of God. I look forward with faith and hope in the blessings of eternal life. I am so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I have been blessed to believe in the truths found in the articles of faith.

The Eighth Article of Faith

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

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

The Bible is an inspired collection of writings including revelations from God. We believe, however, that some parts of the Bible have been lost in translation throughout time. This is due to the errors of man and also to the persuasions of Satan to remove certain truths from the record. We do believe that the majority of it has been translated correctly and that it is a true testimony of Jesus Christ. It is made understandable and clear through the record found in the Book of Mormon. We believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that it also includes many of the revelations of God to man, but it is from the perspective of those who lived on the American continent. It was translated by the power of God and is therefore true and correct in its current state. Together, these records will teach us all what we now need to know regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our own personal responsibility to study the scriptures and to seek for answers and guidance in our own lives through their teachings. I am grateful for both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I believe there is eternal truth to be found if we take the time to study them and apply their teachings to our lives.

Joseph Smith-History (Part 1)

This portion of The Pearl of Great Price is part of the History of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was the first modern day prophet, and the instrument through which the church and gospel were restored to the earth. I am so glad to have the opportunity to study this history, because it is one of the most important things that has ever occurred in the history of the world. These things can be found also in the History of the Church (Volume 1, Chapters 1 through 5). I believe that these are the words of the prophet, but they may have been partially recorded by some others who were there to assist him in his work. The record starts with the following:

1 Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world—I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.
2 In this history I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now [1838] the eighth year since the organization of the said Church.

The prophet begins this record, by giving an explanation for it. Apparently there were people who were putting out false statements or reports to make the church look bad. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Whenever good things are happening, Satan does his best to persuade people to bring it down. There were so many things pushing against the church and its members. Joseph Smith took on this project to help to get rid of some of the wild stories and rumors that were going around. This record was written and I think reviewed and edited a number of times before it came to be a part of The Pearl of Great Price pamphlet, and eventually part of The Pearl of Great Price we have now. This record stands as a witness and a testimony of how the restoration of the church began.

3 I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont … My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario—
4 His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.

Joseph Smith Jr., and his family (parents, 5 brothers, 3 sisters, and himself) had relocated from Sharon, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York. I’ve learned over the years, that Joseph Smith Jr. was a good young man. He was raised to care for his family and with a good religious background. His parents were God-fearing people, who read the bible with their family. He was raised working on the family farm and helping to provide for those he loved. He had high standards from pretty young. I remember hearing the story of when he was in need of leg surgery and he refused any alcohol to take away or dull the pain. He was not able to have much in the way of schooling because of his circumstances, so he was not an extremely knowledgable young man.

5 Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
6 For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
7 I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

The different churches were experiences what is now called the second great awakening. There were camp meetings and revivals which were full of excitement and emotions. All the churches in the area were trying to persuade those who had not found religion, to join their sect. The young Joseph Smith, noticed that there was a lot of confusion and contention between the different churches and their leaders. Some of his family members had decided to join one of the churches. Joseph went to several different meetings, but he could not decide who he thought had the true gospel. When he says that they were “more pretended than real”, I think that the churches members and leaders were not living as they preached, and so there was a lot of confusion about what they truly believed. This goes to show the character that Joseph had even as a teenage boy. He did not want to join a church unless he could believe the teachings to be true.

9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

The question that was on Joseph’s mind had to do with the fact that all the churches were claiming to be right, while saying that the others were wrong. Joseph wanted to know which was the right church, or which one was teaching the truth. I think that a key to what was to follow for him, was that he had a sincere desire to know. Sometimes, I am a little interested in knowing something, but I don’t think that the desire is quite so great. Answers will not come if we are only mildly interested in understanding them. The Lord knows the intentions of our hearts, and this was a sincere and great desire for Joseph.

11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

Joseph had been raised with the Bible as scripture, in his life. When he had a question, he turned to what he trusted to be the word of God. In searching the scriptures, he found James 1:5, which after much pondering, taught him that he should ask God. He was touched powerfully by the spirit of God, as he read this verse. This inspiration led him to decide to ask God to get his answer. Joseph was truly an example of how answers to prayers may come to us as well. If we are struggling with understanding, we too can find inspiration in the scriptures. We have plenty of men willing to teach us what the scriptures mean, and it can still be rather confusing. Only the spirit can testify to us of the truth of the gospel. It is important for us to search, ponder and pray about our own questions. If we do these things in faith, our answers will come. Our faith is an important factor in this understanding. If we do not believe the answers will come, there is no promise that the Lord will answer us. Or rather, the answer may come still, but we will not be in the right frame of mind to receive it.

14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

He picked a quiet place to be alone for this prayer. I imagine that he knew he wanted to devote all his attention to this prayer and the answer he would receive, so he did not want to be in a place where he might be interrupted. I think that Joseph was probably also following the example from the scriptures. Throughout the Bible, there are examples of prophets, and even the Savior, going away to the mountains to pray where they could be alone. It would be wise for us to find a quiet place where we can offer up the concerns of our own hearts. This was his first time praying out loud. In my own experience of personal prayers, I find that when I do not pray vocally, my mind wanders and I loose focus. Sometimes, depending on the time of day, I find myself drifting off into sleep. This always results in my apologizing to my Father in Heaven and trying again to pray. However, when I pray vocally, even in a quiet whisper, I am more focused on what I say and I can often feel the spirit stronger.

As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that Joseph was foreordained to bring about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The prophets of old knew about him, and some had prophesied of what he would do, going so far as to know his name. Satan has known the plan, because he was there in that grand council in heaven. He would do anything in his power to stop the work of God from moving forward. Here, Satan tried to stop Joseph from his prayer, with darkness and stopping him from being able to speak. Had his hold been successful, Satan would have been able to keep the light of the gospel from the world for a time, but this was not the case.

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

Joseph actually felt himself physically being destroyed by the powers of Satan. I cannot say that I recall feeling anything quite like that, but I know how it feels to have a dark feeling around you, which to me felt like something I could not get myself out from under it. Just like Joseph, I had to rely on God to release me from that dark feeling. When Joseph felt like all was lost, he saw a glorious vision.

A great light came down upon him and that light took away the darkness. Darkness cannot continue when there is light. Satan’s powers cannot continue in the presence of the light of the Lord. Joseph was freed from the powers of Satan. It makes perfect sense that the light of heaven would be brighter than the sun. In studying Abraham, I have learned that things become greater, more glorious and brighter when they are nearer to God. Therefore, God is in the brightest light that exists.

I believe that at this point, as soon as the light was upon Joseph, he was transfigured to be able to have this vision. Joseph saw God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the air above him. This is a testimony to me that God and Jesus Christ are two separate beings, one in purpose, but not in physical body. God called Joseph by name, which teaches us that God knows us individually and personally. God introduced the Savior to Joseph as His Beloved Son. This is a testimony of the divinity of the Savior, by God himself, and that the Savior has been chosen since the beginning for the greatest purposes. Finally, Joseph was told to listen to Him, the Son of God. I think that this teaches me that God knew His Son would deliver the message just as He had intended it to be. It shows that God is one who delegates His work and allows others to grow from doing things themselves. God would have been able to bring His message to Joseph Himself, but just as all things in the gospel, there is a witness of two or three to establish all things. God and His Son were both there to witness to the young Joseph of the divinity of the Savior, and of the truth of His gospel.

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?

As soon as he was able, Joseph got right to asking the question on his mind. The answer he received was that he should not join any of the existing churches, because they were all wrong. The leaders of those churches preached some of the gospel, but they did not live the gospel. They may have had the word of the gospel, but they did not have the power of the gospel, which I think is the priesthood power and authority of God. The churches of this time had been in an apostasy from the true church of God. This is because they had lost the rights to the priesthood and precious truths had been lost or altered to fit the ways of the world. This is not to say that all people were bad. There were many who were living as righteously as they knew how, and they would and will be blessed for their own choices. We can only be judged according to our own individual knowledge. But there were people who had chosen to corrupt righteous things, and they had done a very good job of leading many people astray with false doctrine.

After receiving this vision, Joseph was left drained of energy, lying on the ground. I know that things of the spirit can drain us emotionally, mentally and physically. I am most tired after attending the temple and going to specially conferences where I can feel the spirit very strong. I think that this is a lesson to me that I need to have my body physically prepared with rest and good food when I want to be spiritually fed. Otherwise, I may wear myself down and be unable to function properly, which does not promote acting on the things we learn. After he got his energy back, Joseph returned home and told his mother that he learned her church was not true. I love that he had the kind of relationship with his mother, where he could openly tell her things that touched him spiritually. We do not all have that kind of relationship. I love coming home from church and being able to share the things I have learned with my own husband and children. It has been such a blessing to me and has strengthened my testimony even more. Joseph also came to the realization that he knew he was going to do work for the Lord, because that would explain why Satan and other things in opposition would fight against him so hard. When we are trying to do what is right, life does not get easier. There will be great opposition and trials when we are standing up for truth and righteousness, but at the same time, the Lord can give us strength to endure all of it.

I am so grateful for Joseph Smith. I believe that he truly did see God and Jesus Christ, and that they told him not to join any church at the time. I believe that Joseph was called to be a prophet of God, and that he restored the gospel of Christ to the earth once more. I am so grateful for his righteous service, and that he had the desire to know what was true, because it led eventually to me having this truth in my own life. I am so grateful that the gospel has been restored to the earth, and that I have the privilege of being a member of the true church of God. I encourage anyone who is not sure if this is true, to sincerely ponder over these scriptures, and to ask God for themselves. I have received my own witness of the spirit and I know that anyone else can as well.

Honesty

View the entire chapter from the Gospel Principles manual here: Honesty

I’ve been trying to help my seven year old gain a better understanding of honesty and why we do not lie, so I think that I can benefit a lot from studying this chapter. To me, honesty is one of the core principles to the gospel that a lot of other things rest on. Why? Because the Lord is honest and Satan is the father of all lies and deceit. In the beginning of the life of man, he lied to Eve to get her to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In 2 Nephi 2 Lehi taught his family about this.

17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

Since he is the father of all lies, we choose to become his children when we are dishonest. We give Satan the power when we lie and deceive others as he has done.

What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?

My mind is not fully capable of imagining what that society would be like, but I believe that when all people are perfectly honest, they are living a life of peace and happiness. Honesty goes to our very core, it is in our hearts, thoughts, actions, and all that we are. When we are honest with others and with ourselves, we are certainly honest with God. Honesty bring harmony and unity, which is the way that it will be in heaven. When we are honest, we can be trusted. This type of society would be in harmony with God, and would probably be allowed to be with Him forever.

As I said above, lying is a form of dishonesty. When we lie, we intentionally deceive others or ourselves. In the ten commandments we are told, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (Exodus 20:16).” To bear false witness is to lie. Therefore, we are given a commandment that we must not lie. I would take it even further and suggest that we lie when we purposely hide truth, in order to get our own way. I think they call this a lie by omission, and it is just as deceitful as a straight-out lie spoken to another. I’m not perfect in this, but I am a huge supporter of honesty. Most of my friends know that if they ask me a question, I will tell the truth, even if it means saying more than they would expect to know. (I suffer from TMI syndrome – Too Much Information) I would much rather be honest, then possible not be. In proverbs 12:22 we read, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” I have hope that people will gain a greater desire to delight the Lord, by dealing truly.

Another form of dishonesty is stealing. To steal is to take something that belongs to another, and claim it as your own. One of the definitions I found for the word “honest” said, “gained or obtained fairly”. When we steal, we are not being fair. It is only fair to allow the person who has earned or paid for something, the owner of that belonging, to keep it until they decide to no longer have it. This is also a commandment found in Exodus, chapter 20. “Thou shalt not steal (v. 15).” My husband and I have talked a lot about this lately, because it seems that some leaders are insisting on taking things that have rightfully been earned from some, to give to others. A better society and a better people, come from them being willing to give of themselves to those in need, not being forced to give. Being forced to have things taken from us, will only encourage more dishonesty so that people can keep what is rightfully their own. This in not the way that God would have us live because it is dishonest.

Finally, cheating is a form of dishonesty. Words that I have found to describe cheating are swindle, defraud, elude, violate (as in rules), and to be unfaithful. All of these things relate to using deceit to get your own way or to satisfy your own desires. Cheating occurs all the time, when things are gained that are not deserved. Lying, stealing and cheating go hand-in-hand, and they are all tactics that Satan uses to tempt people to be dishonest.

What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?

When we excuse our dishonesty, we excuse a sin. If we justify why we lie, cheat and steal from another, we truly give Satan control in our lives. These things have a snowball effect. One lie leads to another, cheating once leads to cheating again, and stealing encourages more stealing. Likewise, cheating can easily lead to stealing, which almost always involves lying to someone along the way. This continues until we realize that we no longer have control over our own lives, and eventually great costs will have to be paid, especially spiritually. In Doctrine and Covenants 3:2 we read, “For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.” Nothing that is dishonest is acceptable to God, because he is perfect in honesty. There are no exceptions to this. There is no excuse of anything dishonest being deserving of any blessing. If we cannot be honest with our fellow men, we are not able to be honest with God, and therefore we must be separated from him. We cannot have the spirit to guide us in our lives, if we choose to be dishonest.

What does it mean to be completely honest?

My favorite definition of complete as far as honesty is concerned, is “perfect in kind or quality” (dictionary.com). Therefore, to be completely honest means to be honest to perfection. It means that there is nothing in our lives that is dishonest. It means that every fiber of our being is truthful: every word we speak is truth, every thing we imply is truth, every thing we own is truly ours, every thought we have is true, every promise we make is kept, and so on. It means that we are like God in honesty. Complete honesty requires repentance, because no person is perfect. We can become completely honest through repentance. This is a possible goal in this life. We may not be perfect in all things, but we can become perfect in this. We know this because it has been done before. We know of the people of the city of Enoch, who were taken up to live with God. We can also read in Alma 27:27, that the people “were perfectly honest and upright in all things”. This is a goal that we should reach for continually.

In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?

Being honest has the added blessing of the spirit, which will testify to us that we are doing what is right. It can lift our mood and strengthen our confidence in our actions. Honesty helps us to stand a little taller and feel better about ourselves. On the other hand, dishonesty brings guilt, shame, and the feeling to withdraw from others, especially those who are trying to live righteously. “Wickedness never was happiness”, and so there is no lasting happiness that will ever come from being dishonest (Alma 41:10).


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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