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Trust in God, Then Go and Do

President Henry B. Eyring
Of the First Presidency

Eyring_Henry_B_smallGod sends messages and authorized messengers to His children.  I am to build trust in God and His Servants enough that we will go out and obey His counsel.  He wants that because He loves us and wants our happiness.  And He knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness.

That lack of trust has brought sorrow to Heavenly Father’s children from before the world was created.  We know through the revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith that many of our brothers and sisters in the premortal world rejected the plan for our mortal life presented by our Heavenly Father and His eldest Son, Jehovah.

We don’t know all the reasons for Lucifer’s terrible success in inciting that rebellion.  However, one reason is clear.  Those who lost the blessing of coming into mortality lacked sufficient trust in God to avoid eternal misery.

The sad pattern of lack of trust in God has persisted since the creation…

[In the First Vision] the Father revealed to us that He lives, that Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son, and that He loved us enough to send that Son to save us who are His children.  And because I have a testimony that He called that unlettered boy as an Apostle and Prophet, I trust His Apostles and Prophets today and those they call to serve God.

That trust has blessed my life and the lives of my family.  Years ago I heard President Ezra Taft Benson speak in a conference like this on a Sunday.  He counseled us to do all we could to get out of debt and stay out.  He mentioned mortgages on houses.  He said that it might not be possible but it would be best if we could pay off all our mortgage debt.

I turned to my wife after the meeting and asked, “Do you think there is any way we could do that?”  At first we couldn’t.  And then by evening I thought of a property we had acquired in another state.  For years we had tried to sell it without success.  

But, because we trusted God and a few words from the midst of His servant’s message, we placed a phone call Monday morning to the man in San Francisco who had our property listed to sell.  I had called him a few weeks before and he had said then, “We haven’t had anyone show interest in your property for years.”

But on the Monday after conference, I heard an answer that to this day strengthens my trust in God and His servants.

He said: “I am surprised by your call.  A man came today inquiring whether he could buy your property,” I asked, “How much did he offer to pay?”  It was a few dollars more than the amount of our mortgage.

A person might say that was only a coincidence.  But our mortgage was paid off.  And our family still listens for any word in a prophet’s message that might be sent to tell what we should do to find the security and peace God wants for us.

Cleansing the Inner Temple

President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve

Packer_Boyd_K_smallWe teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage.  You must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong.  From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”

Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural.  Not so!  Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?  Remember He is our Father.

Paul promised that “God…will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;  but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church.  As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”

Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil:  that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Years ago, I visited a school in Albuquerque.  The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class.  As you can imagine, that interrupted everything.  She had him hold the kitten up in front of the children.

It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”

Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter.  It’s just a kitty.

But they persisted.  Finally, one child said, “I know how you can tell.”

Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”

And the student answered, “We can vote on it.!”

You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.  A law against nature would be impossible to enforce.  For instance, do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?

There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.  History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot.  To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.

Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course.  We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel.  If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it.  We cannot change; we will not change.  We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God.  If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.

The Holy Ghost and Revelation

Elder Jay E. Jensen
Presidency of the Seventy

Jensen_Jay_E_smallWhen the Savior visited the Americas He called twelve disciples.  One of His messages to them and the people was about the Holy Ghost.  After teaching them, the Savior departed and promised to return the next day.  The people worked through the night to gather as many as possible to hear Him.


The disciples gathered the people into twelve groups to teach them what the Savior taught them.

Foremost among their teachings was the importance of the Holy Ghost (see 3 Nephi 11-18).  Then the people knelt and prayed.  Their heartfelt desire was to be given the Holy Ghost (See 3 Nephi 19: 8-9).

The Savior appeared to them and reinforced the importance of the Holy Ghost as He prayed to the Father:

“Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen;,,,;Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words” (3 Nephi 19:20-21).

Based on this Book of Mormon event, I understand better why President Wilford Woodruff said “that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon man…It is not restricted to men, nor to apostles or prophets;;  it belongs to every faithful man and woman, and to every child who is old enough to receive the gospel of Christ.”

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and with the Father and the Son, He knows all things (see D&C 35:19, 42:17).  He has several important roles, foremost among them is to teach and testify of the Father and the Son (see 3 Nephi 28:11).  Other roles are He reveals the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5), and He leads to do good (D&C 11:12).

President Monson exemplifies this important role of being led to do good.  He follows the example of the Savior “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).  He has taught the importance of not ignoring a spiritual prompting from the Holy Ghost to visit someone and minister to them and rescue the one.

Be an Example of the Believers

Sister Mary N. Cook
Of the Young Women General Presidency

Cook_Mary_N_smallBe an example of the believers in purity.  The only way for us to become pure is through the Atonement of our Savior.  For each of us, the process of becoming pure is through the Atonement of our Savior.  For each of us, the process of becoming pure begins with faith, repentance, and our first covenant of baptism.  To help our children live their baptismal covenant, Elder Robert D. Hales advised:  “We teach that the moment they step out of the water, they step out of the world and into the kingdom of God.  By covenant, they agree to obey His commandments…”

“Covenants place us under a strong obligation to honor our commitments to God.  To keep our covenants, we must give up activities or interests that prevent us from honoring those covenants.”

For the Strength of Youth
is a marvelous tool to help youth understand this sacred obligation of covenant making and the blessings of purity that come from covenant keeping. It contains words of latter-day prophets—the iron rod that will safely guide them along the straight and narrow path, turning them away from Satan’s entrapments that can delay their progress.  In this book, you will also find the many blessings that come from obedience and seeking that which is “virtuous [and] lovely.”

Parents, obtain a personal copy of this book and read it often.  Live the standards yourself.  Have thoughtful gospel conversations with youth that will help them develop their own desire to live and discover for themselves the meaning and purpose of the standards.

The standards found in the sections: “Entertainment and the Media” and “Dress and Appearance” can be extremely challenging, because they are becoming increasingly at odds with the standards of the world.

Lines of Communication

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Oaks_Dallin_H_smallThe Lord has given His children two lines of communication with Him—what we may call the personal line and the priesthood line.  All should understand and be guided by both of these essential lines of communication.

The Priesthood Line

Unlike the personal line, in which our Heavenly Father communicates with us directly through the Holy Ghost, the priesthood line of communication has the additional and necessary intermediaries of our Savior Jesus Christ, His Church, and His appointed leaders.

Because of what He accomplished by His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power to prescribe the conditions we must fulfill to qualify for the blessings of His atonement.  That is why we have commandments and ordinances. That is why we make covenants.  That is how we qualify for the promised blessings.  They all come through the mercy and grace of the Holy One of Israel, “after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23).

During His earthly ministry Jesus Christ conferred the authority of the priesthood that bears His name and He established a Church that also bears His name.  In this last dispensation, His priesthood authority was restored and His Church was re-established through Heavenly ministrations to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  This restores priesthood and this re-established Church are at the heart of the priesthood line.

The priesthood line is the channel by which God has spoken to His children through the scriptures in times past.  And it is this line through which He currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and apostles and other inspired leaders.  This is the way we receive the required ordinances.  This is the way we receive calls to service in His Church.  His Church is the way and His priesthood is the power through which we are privileged to participate in those cooperative activities that are essential to accomplishing the Lord’s work.  These include preaching the gospel, building temples, and chapels, and helping the poor.

In respect to this priesthood line, our belief and practice is similar to the insistence of some Christians that authoritative ordinances (sacraments) are essential and must be performed by one authorized and empowered by Jesus Christ (see John 15:16).  We believe the same, but of course differ with other Christians on how to trace that authority.

Some members of former members of our Church fail to recognize the importance of the priesthood line.  They underestimate the importance of the Church and its leaders and its programs.  Relying entirely on the personal lie, they go their own way, purporting to define doctrine and to direct competing organizations contrary to the teachings of prophet-leaders.  In this, they mirror the modern hostility to what is disparagingly called “organized religion.”  Those who reject the need for organized religion reject the work of the Master, who established His Church and its officers in the meridian of time and who re-established them in modern times.

Organized religion, established by divine authority, is essential, as the Apostle Paul taught,

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the So of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph.


 

 

4:12-13).

We should all remember the Lord’s declaration in modern revelation that the voice fo the Lord’s servants is the voice of the Lord (see D&C1:38, 21:5, 68:4).

The Divine Gift of Gratitude

President Thomas S. Monson
 
Monson_Thomas_S_smallThis is a wonderful time to be on earth.  While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good.  There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach.  Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.  If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.  Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.

How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude?  President Joseph F.  Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer.  Said he, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil.  Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.”  He continued, “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place.  How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayer life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”

President Smith is telling us that a prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude.

Do material possessions make us happy and grateful?  Perhaps momentarily.  However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy:  our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us.  Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted.

The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”

We often take for granted the very people who most deserve our gratitude.  Let us not wait until it is too late for us to express that gratitude.  Speaking of loved ones she had lost, one woman declared her regret this way: “I remember those happy days and often wish I could speak into the ears of the dead the gratitude which was due them in life and so ill-returned.”

The loss of loved ones almost inevitably brings some regrets to our hearts.  Let’s minimize such feelings as much as humanly possible by frequently expressing our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for his blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives.  This requires conscious effort—at least until have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude.