The Power of Scripture
Elder Richard G. Scott
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Our Father in Heaven understood that for us to make desired progress during our mortal probation, we would need to face difficult challenges. Some of these challenges would be almost overpowering. He provided tools to help us be successful in our mortal probation. One set of those tools is the scriptures.
Throughout the ages Father in Heaven has inspired select men and women to find, through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, solutions to life’s most perplexing problems. He has inspired those authorized servants to record those solutions as a type of handbook for those of His children who have faith in His plan of happiness and in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We have ready access to this guidance through the treasure we call the standard works. That is: the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Because scriptures are generated from inspired communication through the Holy Ghost, they are pure truth. We need not be concerned about the validity of concepts contained in the standard works since the Holy Ghost has been the instrument which has motivated and inspired those individuals who have recorded scriptures.
Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
The scriptures provide the strength of authority to our declarations when they are cited correctly. They can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar. They are always available when needed. Their use provides a foundation of truth that can be awakened by the Holy Ghost. Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world.
Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change. For example, committing to memory this Psalm has been for me a source of power and understanding:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalms 24:1-5).
Pondering a scripture like that gives great direction to life. The scriptures can form a foundation of support. They can provide an incredibly large resource of willing friends who can help us. A memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend, that is not weakened with passage the time.
Personal Revelation and Testimony
Sister Barbara Thompson
Of the Relief Society
Often as we grow from childhood to adolescence and then to adulthood, we have challenges and experiences along the way which cause us to know that we need the divine help that comes through the Holy Spirit. As struggles come we may ask ourselves, “What is the answer to my problem?” and “How can I know what to do?”
I often remember the account in the Book of Mormon about Lehi teaching his family the gospel. He shared with them many revelations and teachings about things to come in the latter days. Nephi had sought the guidance of the Lord in order to more fully understand the teachings of his father. He was lifted, blessed, and inspired to know that the teachings of his father were true. That enabled Nephi to carefully follow the commandments of the Lord and live a righteous life. He received personal revelation to guide him.
On the other hand, his brethren were disputing with each other because they did not understand the teachings of their father. Nephi then asked a very important question: “Have ye inquired of the Lord?”
Their response was weak: “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.”
Nephi took that opportunity to teach his brethren how to receive personal revelation. He said, “Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said? If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.”
The way to receive personal revelation is really quite clear. We need to desire to receive revelation, we must not harden our hearts, and then we need to ask in faith, truly believe that we will receive an answer, and then diligently keep the commandments of God.
Following this pattern does not mean that every time we ask a question of God the answer will immediately appear with every detail of what to do. However, it does mean that if we diligently keep the commandments and ask in faith, answers will come in the Lord’s own way and in His time.
The Time Shall Come
Elder L. Whitney Clayton
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
These prophecies, that:
- the kingdom of God like a stone cut out of a mountain would fill the earth;
- the name of Joseph Smith would be known throughout the world; and
- the Church would fill the Americas and fill the world;
might have seemed laughable years ago. The little band of believers eking out a living on the American frontier and moving to escape persecution, didn’t look like the foundation of a faith that would cross international borders and penetrate hearts everywhere.
But that is just what has happened. Let me give an example.
On Christmas Day, 1925, in Buenos Aires, Elder Melvin J. Ballard dedicated the entire continent of South America for the preaching of the gospel. By August 1926 a handful of converts had been baptized. They were the first members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized in all of South America. That was 85 years ago.
There are 23 stakes of Zion in Buenos Aires today, with dozens of stakes and tens of thousands of Church members in cities and towns across Argentina. Now there are well over 600 stakes and 2,400,000 Church members throughout South America. While we watch, the kingdom of God is filling the continent and the name of Joseph Smith is being published both by us and by his detractors in countries he may never even have heard of during his lifetime.
There are nearly 3,000 stakes in the worldwide Church today, from Boston to Bangkok and Mexico City to Moscow. We are approaching 29,000 wards and branches. In many countries, there are mature stakes, with members whose ancestors were converts. In others, small groups of new members meet as tiny Church branches in rented houses. Every year the Church spreads farther across the globe.
These prophecies about filling the world and being known world over: preposterous? Perhaps. Unlikely? Undoubtedly. Impossible? Emphatically no.
It is happening before our eyes.
President Gordon B. Hinckley observed:
“It was said that at one time the sun never set on the British Empire. That empire has now been diminished. But it is true that the sun never sets on this work of the Lord as it is touching the lives of people across the earth.
“And this is only the beginning. We have scarcely scratched the surface . . . Our work knows no boundaries . . . Those nations now closed to us will someday be open.”
Today we can see that the fulfillment of a Book of Mormon prophecy draws close:
“And . . . it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
“For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them . . .”
“Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, Without Delay”
Elder José Luis Alonso
Of the Seventy
Each day, we have the opportunity to give help and service—doing the right thing, at the right time, without delay. Think of the many people who have a difficult time obtaining a job, or who are ill, who feel lonely, who even think that they have lost everything. What can you do to help? Imagine that a neighbor, caught out in the rain with his car broken down, calls you for assistance. What is the right thing to do for him? When is the right time to do it?
I recall an occasion when we went as a family to downtown Mexico City to buy clothing for our two children. They were very young. Our older son was just barely two years old, and the younger son was a year old. The street was crowded with people. While we were shopping, leading our children by the hand, we stopped for a moment to look at something, and without realizing it, we lost our older son! We did not know how, but he was not with us. Without a moment’s delay, we took off running to look for him. We searched and called out for him, feeling great anguish, thinking that we might lose him forever. In our minds we were pleading for Heavenly Father to help us find him.
After a little while, we found him. There he was, innocently looking at toys through a store window. My wife and I hugged and kissed him, and we made the commitment to watch over our children diligently, so that we would never lose one again. We learned that in order to go to our son’s rescue, we did not need planning meetings. We simply acted, going out in search of the one who had been lost. We also learned that our son never even realized that he was lost.
Brothers and sisters, there may be many who, for some reason, are lost from our sight and who do not know that they are lost. If we delay, we could lose them forever.
For many who have need of our help, it is not necessary to create new programs or take actions which are complicated or costly. They only need our determination to serve—to do the right thing at the right time, without delay.
Counsel to Youth
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
By the time we graduated from high school, many of our classmates had marched away to war, some of them never to return. The rest of us were soon to enter the military. We did not know about our future. Would we survive the war? Would there be enough of our world left when we returned?
Against the certainty that I would be drafted, I joined the Air Force. Soon I was in Santa Ana, California, for preflight training.
I did not then have a firm testimony that the gospel was true, but I knew that my seminary teachers, Abel S. Rich and John P. Lillywhite, knew it was true. I had heard them testify, and I believed them. I thought to myself, “I will lean on their testimonies until I gain one of my own.” And so it was.
I had heard about patriarchal blessings but had not received one. In each stake there is an ordained patriarch who has the spirit of prophecy and the spirit of revelation. He is authorized to give personal and private blessings to those who come recommended by their bishops. I wrote to my bishop for a recommend.
J. Roland Sandstrom was an ordained patriarch living in the Santa Ana Stake. He knew nothing about me and had never seen me before, but he gave me my blessing. In it I found answers and instruction.
While patriarchal blessings are very private, I will share a short quote from mine: “You shall be guided through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and you shall be warned of dangers. If you heed those warnings, our Heavenly Father will bless you so that you might again be united with your loved ones.”
That word if, though small in print, loomed as big as the page. I would be blessed to return from the war if I kept the commandments and if I heeded the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Although that gift had been conferred upon me at baptism, I did not yet know what the Holy Ghost was or how promptings work.
What I needed to know about promptings I found in the Book of Mormon. I read that “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore . . . , feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
Perhaps the single greatest thing I learned from reading the Book of Mormon is that the voice of the Spirit comes as a feeling rather than a sound. You will learn, as I have learned, to “listen” for that voice that is felt rather than heard.
Nephi scolded his older brothers saying, “Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words.”
Some critics have said that these verses are in error because you hear words, you do not feel them. But if you know anything at all about spiritual communication, you know that the best word to describe what takes place is the word feeling.
You Matter to Him
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! If you ever doubt that, consider these four divine principles:
First, God loves the humble and meek, for they are “greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Second, the Lord entrusts “the fulness of [His] gospel [to] be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.” He has chosen “the weak things of the world [to] come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones” and to put to shame “the things which are mighty.
Third, no matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to be, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.
Fourth and finally, please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him. Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and deed.
Be assured that if you but hold on, believe in Him, and remain faithful in keeping the commandments, one day you will experience for yourselves the promises revealed to the Apostle Paul: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.
God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.
May we ever believe, trust, and align our lives so that we will understand our true eternal worth and potential. May we be worthy of the precious blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us is my prayer.
[i] See Hebrews 13:5.