The Merciful Obtain Mercy
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the First Presidency
Strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself…
I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment.
Of course, we know this is wrong. The doctrine is clear. We all depend on the Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. Christ’s Atonement is infinite and eternal. Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught, “forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for thereremaineth in him the greater sin”, and, “blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Of course these words seem perfectly reasonable-when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.
But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous, and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt…
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm-please apply the following:
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters…
Let us put down our stones.
Let us be kind.
Let us forgive.
Let us talk peacefully with each other.
Let the love of God fill our hearts.
Let us “do good unto all men”…
Remember: In the end, it is the merciful who obtain mercy.
Thanks Be To God
Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Our Heavenly Father loves His children.He has blessed each with physical and spiritual gifts. Let me speak of each. When you sing “I Am a Child of God,” think of His gift to you of your own physical body. The many amazing attributes of your body attest to your own “divine nature.”
Each organ of your body is a wondrous gift from God. Each eye has an auto-focusing lens. Nerves and muscles control two eyes to make a single three-dimensional image. The eyes are connected to the brain, which records the sights seen.
Your heart is an incredible pump. It has four delicate valves that control the direction of blood flow. These valves open and close more than 100,000 times a day-36 million times a year. Yet, unless altered by disease, they are able to withstand such stress almost indefinitely.
Think of the body’s defense system. To protect it from harm, it perceives pain. In response to infection, it generates antibodies. The skin provides protection. It warns against injury that excessive heat or cold might cause.
The body renews its own out-dated cells and regulates the levels of its own vital ingredients. The body heals its cuts, bruises, and broken bones. Its capacity for reproduction is another sacred gift from God.
Be we reminded that a perfect body is not required to achieve one’s divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail or imperfect bodies. Great spiritual strength is often developed by people with physical challenges, precisely because they are so challenged.
Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely “seen God moving in his majesty and power.” Because the body is governed by divine law, any healing comes by obedience to the law upon which that blessing is predicated.”
Yet some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere. Ask yourself, “Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions!
If the body’s capacity for normal function, defense, repair, regulation, and regeneration were to prevail without limit, life here would continue in perpetuity. Yes, we would be stranded here on earth! Mercifully for us, our Creator provided for aging and other processes that would ultimately result in our physical death. Death, like birth, is part of life. Scripture teaches that “it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.” To return to God through the gateway we call death is a joy for those who love Him and are prepared to meet Him. Eventually the time will come when each “spirit and . . . body shall be reunited again in . . . perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame,” never to be separated again. For these physical gifts, thanks be to God!
Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Presidency of the Seventy
For the past 20 months, our family has been blessed with the privilege of having a very special baby.
Little Paxton, our grandson, was born with a very rare chromosomal deletion, a genetic disorder that distinguishes him, literally, as one in hundreds of millions. For our daughter and her husband, an uncharted, life-changing journey began when Paxton was born. This experience has become a crucible for learning special lessons tied to the eternities.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve has taught:
“For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny.
In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames.
“Eventually the time will come when each “spirit and … body shall be reunited again in … perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame” (Alma 11:43). Then, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him.”
To all of you who have challenges, concerns, disappointments, and heartaches with a dear one, know this, with infinite love and everlasting compassion, God our Heavenly Father loves your afflicted one and He loves you!
Some might ask when faced with such suffering, “How could Almighty God let this happen?” And then that seemingly inevitable question, “Why did this happen to me?”Why must we experience disease and events that disable or call precious family members home early or extends their years in pain? Why the heartaches?
At these moments we can turn to the great plan of happiness authored by our Heavenly Father. That plan when presented in the pre-earth life prompted us all to shout for joy. Put simply, this life is training for eternal exaltation and that process means tests and trials. It has always been so and no one is spared.
Trusting in Gods will is central to our mortality. With faith in Him, we draw upon the power of Christ’s Atonement at those times when questions abound and answers are few.
The Vision of Prophets regarding Relief Society: Faith, Family, Relief
Sister Julie B. Beck
Relief Society General President
In recent years I have been impressed to speak often about Relief Society-its purposes and qualities, the value of its history, its work and its partnership with bishops and Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. It seems important now to focus some attention on the vision of prophets regarding Relief Society.
Just as the Lord’s prophets have continually taught elders and high priests their purposes and duties, they have shared their vision for the sisters of the Relief Society. From their counsel, it is clear that the purposes of Relief Society are to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need. Faith, family, and relief-these three simple words have come to express the vision of prophets for sisters in the Church…
Understanding about how we can increase faith, strengthen families and homes, and provide relief comes as we seek, receive, and act on revelation… Since the days of Joseph Smith, who the Lord used to restore His Church, prophets have spoken of the essential need for sisters to be full participants in the Lords’ work. They have shared their vision of strong, faithful, purposeful women who understand their eternal value and purpose. When the Prophet Joseph established Relief Society, he directed its first president to “preside over this society, in taking care of the poor-administering to their wants, and attending to the various affairs of this institution.” He envisioned the organization as “a select society, separate from all the evils of the world”…
Relief Society is not a program. It is an official part of the Lord’s Church that is “divinely ordained of God” to teach, strengthen, and inspire sisters in their purpose regarding faith, family, and relief. The influence of Relief Society has always extended far beyond a Sunday class or a social gathering. Relief Society is meant to be a way of life for Latter-day Saint women, following the pattern of female disciples who served with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles in His ancient Church.We have been taught that “it is as obligatory upon a woman to draw into her life the virtues that are fostered by the Relief Society as it is an obligation for the men to build into their lives the patterns of character fostered by the priesthood”…
As sisters become more aligned with the purposes of Relief Society, the vision of the prophets will be fulfilled. President Kimball said: “There is a power in this organization [of Relief Society] that has not yet been fully exercised to strengthen the homes of Zion and build the Kingdom of God-nor will it until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society.” He prophesied that “much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different-in happy ways-from the women of the world.”
The Doctrine of Christ
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
We have seen of late a growing public interest in the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is something we welcome because after all, our fundamental commission is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, His doctrine, in all the world. But we must admit there has been and still persists some confusion about our doctrine and how it is established. That is the subject I wish to address today.
Since the beginning, it has been the purpose of the Lord and the labor of His prophets to proclaim God’s plan of redemption. The Savior’s apostles two thousand years ago struggled mightily to preserve His doctrine against a barrage of false tradition and philosophy. New Testament epistles cite numerous incidents demonstrating that serious and widespread apostasy was already underway during the apostles’ ministry.
The centuries that followed were illuminated by occasional rays of gospel light until in the Nineteenth Century a brilliant dawn of Restoration broke upon the world and the gospel of Christ, full and complete, was once again on the earth. This glorious day began when, in a pillar of light “above the brightness of the sun,” God the Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ visited young Joseph Smith and initiated what would become a virtual flood of revelation linked with divine power and authority.
In these revelations we find what might be termed the core doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ re-established upon the earth. Jesus Himself defined that doctrine in these words recorded in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ:
This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
And whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost..
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them (3 Nephi 11:32-35, 39).
This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure; it is clear; it is easy to understand, even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” This is to say that while there is much we do not yet know, the truths and doctrine we have received have come and will continue to come by divine revelation. In some faith traditions, theologians claim equal teaching authority with the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and doctrinal matters may become a contest of opinions between them. Some rely on the ecumenical councils of the Middle Ages and their creeds. Others place primary emphasis on the reasoning of post-apostolic theologians or on Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis. We value scholarship that enhances understanding, but in the Church today, just as anciently, establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority.
The Race of Life
President Thomas S. Monson
President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My beloved brothers and sisters, this morning I wish to speak to you of eternal truths-those truths which will enrich our lives and see us safely home.
Everywhere, people are in a hurry. Jet-powered aircraft speed their precious human cargo across broad continents and vast oceans so that business meetings might be attended, obligations met, vacations enjoyed or family visited. Roadways everywhere-including freeways, thruways and motorways-carry millions of automobiles, occupied by more millions of people, in a seemingly endless stream and for a multitude of reasons as we rush about the business of each day.
In this fast-paced life do we ever pause for moments of meditation-even thoughts of timeless truths?
When compared to eternal verities, most of the questions and concerns of daily living are really rather trivial. What should we have for dinner? What color should we paint the living room? Should we sign Johnny up for soccer? These questions and countless others like them lose their significance when times of crisis arise, when loved ones are hurt or injured, when sickness enters the house of good health, when life’s candle dims and darkness threatens. Our thoughts become focused, and we are easily able to determine what is really important and what is merely trivial.
I recently visited with a woman who has been battling a life-threatening disease for over two years. She indicated that prior to her illness, her days were filled with activities such as cleaning her house to perfection and filling it with beautiful furnishings. She visited her hairdresser twice a week and spent money and time each month adding to her wardrobe. Her grandchildren were invited to visit infrequently, for she was always concerned that what she considered her precious possessions might be broken or otherwise ruined by tiny and careless hands.
And then she received the shocking news that her mortal life was in jeopardy and that she might have very limited time left here. She said that at the moment she heard the doctor’s diagnosis, she knew immediately that she would spend whatever time she had remaining with her family and friends and with the gospel at the center of her life, for these represented what was most precious to her.
Such moments of clarity come to all of us at one time or another, although not always through so dramatic a circumstance. We see clearly what it is that really matters in our lives and how we should be living.
Said the Savior, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”