Holy Scriptures:  The Power of God unto Our Salvation
Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve

All photographs Copyright 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

When we want to speak to God, we pray.  And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the Holy Scriptures, for His words are spoken through His prophets.  He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of His Holy Spirit.

If you have not heard His voice speaking to you lately, return with new eyes and new ears to the scriptures.  They are our spiritual lifeline.  Behind the darkness of the iron curtain, the Saints survived because they heard His voice, through the scriptures.  In other parts of the world members who couldn’t attend Church for a time continued to worship God because they heard His voice, through the scriptures. 

Throughout all the wars of the past century and the conflicts that rage today, Latter-day Saints survive because they hear His voice through the scriptures.  For the Lord has said, “the scriptures shall be given… to the salvation of mine own elect;  For they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming;  for they shall be purified, even as I am pure” (D&C 35:20-21)

Over two millennia ago, Isaiah wrote of the word of God: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever” (Isaiah 30:8). That time is now.  This world needs the scriptures today.  Before the coming of the Savior, it was necessary that all God’s children be tutored in the preparatory Law of Moses, which allowed “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”  Many in this world still live by that fearsome code, and the evidence of it is around us.

We boldly declare that the answer to the terror, destruction, and even genocide of those last days is found in the scriptures.  The gospel in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament.  The prophecies in the Bible came to pass in the Book of Mormon.  The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price bear witness that the fullness of the gospel is now upon the earth.

“Sunday Will Come”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
Of the Quorum of the Twelve

In all the history of the world there have been many great and wise souls, many of whom claimed special knowledge of God.  But when the Savior rose from the tomb, he did something no one had ever done.  He did something no one else could do.

He broke the bonds of death not only for Himself, but for all who have ever lived — the just and the unjust.

When Christ rose from the grave, becoming the first fruits of the resurrection, he made that gift available to all.  And with that sublime act, He softened the devastating, consuming sorrow that gnaws at the souls of those who have lost precious loved ones.

I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.

On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark.  Frightful storms lashed at the earth.

Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced.  Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse.  On that day, they stood triumphant.

On that Friday, the veil of the temple was rent in twain.

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair.  The superb man they had loved and honored hung lifeless upon the cross.

On that Friday, the apostles were devastated.  Jesus, their Savior — the man who had walked on water and raised the dead was, Himself, at the mercy of wicked men.  They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.

On that Friday, the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.

It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.

I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.

But the doom of that sad day did not endure.

The despair did not linger.

Because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death.  He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

And, in an instant, the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried.  The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise.  For Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, stood before them as the first fruits of the resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.

Each of us will have our own Fridays — those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. 

We all will experience those broken times where it seems we can never be put together again.

We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death — Sunday will come.

In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation.  No matter our grief.

Sunday will come.

In this life or the next. Sunday will come.

Look Toward Eternity!

Sister Elaine S. Dalton
Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency

What does it mean to be worthy?  In the Book of Mormon, Lamoni’s father implored, “What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken?” (Alma 22:15)  Then the king made a commitment to the Lord by saying:  “I will give away all my sins to know thee.”  Once Lamoni’s father understood who he was and the great plan of which he was a part, worthiness became his heart’s desire…

One young man I know said, “It’s just too hard.  Living the standards in my world is not realistic.  It’s just too hard.”   Yet knowing that we are the sons and daughters of Deity, we must strive for worthiness.  Another group of youth adopted the motto:  “I Can Do Hard Things.”  They understand their identity, their mission, their source of guidance, and they receive strength through keeping their covenants. They also understand that when they make a mistake, they can change! 

Satan wants all of us to think that repentance is not possible.  This is absolutely not true.  The Savior has promised forgiveness.  Each week, worthily partaking of the sacrament makes it possible for each of us to become clean and pure as we covenant to “always remember [the Savior] and keep His commandments” (See For the Strength of Youth).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is one of simplicity — and we are given the tools that make the pathway straight and narrow.  The way is clear:  “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim and Sanctify Our Lives

Elder Shayne Martell Bowen
Of the First Quorum of Seventy

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In Idaho Falls, Idaho, there is a beautiful airport.  One of the largest in the region, this airport allows easy access to the upper Snake River Valley…It is a very useful, integral part of the city and region.

Near the airport is another very useful and beautiful part of the city; Freeman Park.  The Snake River runs along this park for about two miles.  There is a walking path that goes through the park and follows on around the river for miles.

Freeman Park has acres and acres of green grass filled with baseball and softball diamonds, swing sets for children, picnic shelters for family reunions, beautiful lanes filled with trees and bushes for strolling sweethearts.  Looking down the river from the park, the majestic Idaho Falls Temple can be seen, white and clean, standing on high ground.  The sound of the rushing waters of the Snake River as it works its way through natural lava outcroppings makes this park very desirable.  It is one of my favorite places to walk with my sweetheart, relax, contemplate and meditate.  It is very peaceful and inspiring.

Why do I talk about the regional airport and Freeman Park in Idaho Falls?  Because they are both built on the same kind of ground; both of these beautiful, useful places used to be sanitary landfills.

A sanitary landfill is where garbage is buried between layers of earth… [A] definition of landfill is “to recall from wrong or improper conduct, to rescue from an undesirable state.”

I have lived in Idaho Falls, nearly my whole life.  I have contributed a lot of garbage to those landfills over the course of more than 50 years.

What would the city fathers think if on a given day I showed up on one of the runways of the Idaho Falls Airport or the middle of one of the grassy fields in Freeman Park with a backhoe and started digging large holes?  When they asked me what I was doing, I would respond that I wanted to dig up the old garbage that I had made over the years.

I suspect they would tell me that there was no way to identify my personal garbage, that it had been reclaimed and buried long ago.  I’m sure that they would tell me that I had no right to dig up the garbage, and that I was destroying something very beautiful and useful that they had made out of my garbage.  In short, I don’t think they would be very pleased with me.  I suppose that they would wonder why anyone would want to destroy something so beautiful and useful in an attempt to dig up old garbage.

Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable?  Or what about the one who is making an honest effort, but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern?  Or what about the person who has changed their life but just can’t forgive themselves?

…The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us.  His atonement is infinite.  It applies to everyone, even you.  It can clean, reclaim and sanctify; even you.  That is what infinite means.  Total, complete, all, forever.

The Law of Tithing

Elder Daniel L. Johnson
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

Why does the Lord require His people to pay tithing?  The Lord is our Father and, as our Father, He loves us.  Because He loves us, He wants to bless us both temporally and spiritually.  Listen to some of His statements as written in the scriptures:  “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of blessings” (See D&C 41:1).   And another:  “For thus saith the Lord — I, the Lord am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end” (D&C 76:5).

In order to bestow His blessings on His children in a just and equitable manner, the Lord has instituted laws that govern those blessings that He wants all of us to enjoy.  He has revealed this principle of laws to His prophet of the restoration:  “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which al blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20-21). And, again:  “I the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C: 82:10).

The Lord knew from the beginning that we, His children, would be faced with temporal and spiritual adversities during this mortal life.  Indeed, these adversities are a vital part of this mortal probation.  He knew that we would stand in need of His blessings throughout our lives in order to not only survive our individual trials, but also to enjoy a degree of comfort and, even prosperity.

Thus, the law of tithing, which was instituted from the beginning.

The Power of a Personal Testimony

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Let me share with you a personal experience from my own youth about the power of righteous motives.

After the turmoil of the Second World War, my family ended up in Russian-occupied East Germany.  When I attended fourth grade I had to learn Russian as my first foreign language in school.  I found this quite difficult because of the Cyrillic alphabet, but as time went on I seemed to do all right.

When I turned 11, we had to leave East Germany overnight because of the political orientation of my father.  Now I was going to school in West Germany, which was American occupied at that time.  There in school all children were required to learn English and not Russian.  To learn Russian had been difficult, but English was impossible for me. I thought my mouth was not made for speaking English.  My teachers struggled.  My parents suffered.  And I knew English was definitely not my language.

But then something changed in my young life.  Almost daily I rode my bicycle to the airport and watched airplanes take off and land.  I read, studied, and learned everything I could find about aviation.  It was my greatest desire to become a pilot.  I could already picture myself in the cockpit of an airliner or in a military fighter plane.  I felt deep in my heart this was my thing!

Then I learned that to become a pilot, I needed to speak English. Overnight, to the total surprise of everybody, it appeared as if my mouth had changed.  I was able to learn English.  It still took a lot of work, persistence, and patience, but I was able to learn English!

Why?  Because of a righteous and strong motive!

Our motives and thoughts ultimately influence our actions.  The testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the most powerful motivating force in our lives.


The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness

Elder Richard G. Scott
Of the Quorum of the Twelve

 

True enduring happiness, with the accompanying strength, courage, and capacity to overcome the greatest difficulties, will come as you center your life in Jesus Christ.  Obedience to His teachings provides a secure assent in the journey of life.  That takes effort.  While there is no guarantee of overnight results, there is the assurance that, in the Lord’s time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and happiness will be yours.

The challenges you face, the growth experiences you encounter, are intended to be temporary scenes played out on the stage of a life of continuing peace and happiness.  Sadness, heartache, and disappointment are events in life.  It is not intended that they be the substance of life. 

I do not minimize how hard some of these events can be. When the lesson you are to learn is very important, trials can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining focus of everything you do.  Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding.  It is your understanding and application of the laws of God that will give your life glorious purpose as you ascend and conquer the difficulties of life.  That perspective keeps challenges confined to their proper place — stepping stones to further growth and attainment.

The lord is intent on your personal growth and development.  Your progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether you welcome it or not.  Trust in the Lord.  Ask to be led by the Spirit to know His will.  Be willing to accept it.  You will then qualify for the greatest happiness and the heights of attainment from this mortal experience.