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Showing posts from September 12, 2010

Profile of a Prophet

I would suggest just reading (or listening to) the entire talk by Hugh B. Brown. Text is pasted on a "page" of this blog and original transcript and audio is available at: http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=114.  
"...Then we proceeded to prepare what I may call a 'profile of a prophet.'  Perhaps you students would like to amplify what I must condense today and draw your own standard or definition of a prophet and see whether Joseph Smith measures up.

We agreed between us that the following characteristics should distinguish a man who claims to be a prophet:
1. He will boldly claim that God had spoken to him.

2. Any man so claiming would be a dignified man with a dignified message—no table jumping, no whisperings from the dead, no clairvoyance, but an intelligent statement of truth.

3. Any man claiming to be a prophet of God would declare his message without any fear and without making any weak concessions to public opinion.

4. If he were speak…

We believe in doing good to all men

"A story is told of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who served as both a judge and the mayor of Nauvoo. He was confronted with the case of Anthony, a man of African descent and a former slave. Anthony was accused of a rather serious violation of the law. When Joseph confronted Anthony, he pleaded for mercy, indicating that he needed the money from his illicit activities to purchase the freedom of his child, who was still living in slavery. Joseph expressed his sympathy for Anthony’s plight but insisted that the law must be observed and that a fine would have to be imposed.  The next day, in a sincere effort to do good to his fellowman, Joseph gave Anthony a fine horse that he could use to buy the child's freedom."

Gordon B. Hinckely, "True to the Faith", BYU Devotional, September 18, 2007



http://byub.org/talks/transcripts/devo/2007/9/devo2007918-102.pdf

He does speak...but men need the faith to hear Him

I would suggest just reading (or listening to) the entire talk by Hugh B. Brown. Text is pasted on a "page" of this blog and original transcript and audio is available at:  http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=114

…Perhaps I can do this more quickly by referring to an interview I had in London, England, in 1939, just before the outbreak of the war. I had met a very prominent English gentleman, a member of the House of Commons, formerly one of the justices of the supreme court of England. In my conversations with this gentleman on various subjects—“vexations of the soul,” he called them—we talked about business, law, politics, international relations, and war, and we frequently discussed religion. He called me on the phone one day and asked if I would meet him at his office and explain some phases of the gospel. He said, “I think there is going to be a war. If there is, you will have to return to America and we may not meet again.” His statement regarding t…

The tapestry of our lives

My life is but a weaving
                between God and me. I let Him chose the colors,                He worketh steadily. Oftimes He worketh sorrow                and I within my heart Forget He sees the pattern,                while I only part. The dark threads are as needful                in the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver                in the patter He has planned. Not till the loom is silent                and the shuttles cease to fly, Shall God unroll the canvas                and explain the reasons why.
“Now, as you and I look at our lives . . . , we sometimes do not understand that through which we are passing, but, being submissive, we can trust Him. “The day will come, brothers and sisters, when the tapestry of your life will be unfolded, and you will see divine design all through it, and praise God for the experience and the tutoring which, in His goodness, He has given you” (“Willing to Submit” [address given at BYU—Hawaii devotional, 9 Feb. 1988], 8). (…

Remember Lot's wife

“...the Savior cautions, ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’Hmmm. What did He mean by such an enigmatic phrase?To find out, I supposewe need to do as He suggested. Let’s recall who Lot’s wife was. The original story, of course, comes to us out of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when the Lord, having had as much as He could stand of the worst that men and women could do, told Lot and his family to flee because those cities were about to be destroyed.‘Escape for thy life,’ the Lord said, ‘look not behind thee . . . ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed’ (Genesis 19:17; emphasis added).
With less than immediate obedience and more than a little negotiation, Lot and his family ultimately did leave town, but just in the nick of time. The scriptures tell us what happened at daybreak the morning following their escape:
The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities. [Genesis 19:24–25]
…Surely, surely, with the Lord’s counse…

The tender mercies of the Lord

"The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.  The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all of his works."  Psalms 145: 8-9 (emphasis added)


"...the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 1 Nephi 1:20


"We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it se…

Tutoring of an omniscient God

“God knows even now what the future holds for each of us. In one of His revelations these startling words appear, as with so many revelations that are too big, I suppose, for us to manage fully: 'In the presence of God, . . . all things . . . are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord' (D&C 130:7). The future 'you' is before him now.  He knows what it is He wishes to bring to pass in your life.  He knows the kind of remodeling in your life and in mine that He wishes to achieve.  Now, this will require us to believe in that divine design and at times to accept the truth which came to Joseph Smith wherein he was reminded that his suffering would be 'but a small moment' (D&C 121:7).  I’d like to talk to you about some of those small moments that will come your way in life and that come to each of us...we so blithely say in the Church that life is a school, a testing ground.  It is true, even though it is trite.  What we do…

Trust God

Perhaps I'm still too young for this poem...and yet, I don't feel quite as youthful as I once did.  Regardless, the principal it teaches is timeless and applicable to all:
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith, "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half;" Trust God, see all: nor be afraid!
Robert Browning [Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864), stanza 1]

The trap of self-pity

“One man has said that 'hell is being frozen in self-pity.'  Indeed, at times when we think our lot is hard or when we feel ourselves misunderstood, it will be so easy for us to indulge ourselves in feeling some self-pity.  A contrasting episode comes to us out of ancient Greece: several hundred Spartans were holding the pass at Thermopylae, that narrow pass, and the Persians came in overwhelming numbers and urged the Spartans to surrender.  Hoping to intimidate them further, the Persians sent emissaries to the Spartans, saying they had so many archers in their army they could darken the sky with their arrows. The Spartans said, 'So much the better. We shall fight in the shade.'  Now, brothers and sisters, the disciple has to be ready to fight in the shade of circumstance.  One of the ways we can have perspective that will permit us to fight in the shade of circumstances is to read the scriptures and have involvement—intellectually and spiritually—with the case studies…

Faith and doubt

"...where doubt and uncertainty are there faith is not, nor can it be.  For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time; so that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not there faith is weak; and where faith is weak the persons will not be able to contend against all opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them."

Joseph Smith, Lectures of Faith, Lecture Sixth

Ample provision

"The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever 'the morning stars sang together' for joy; the past, the present and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal 'now'; He knew of the fall of Adam, the iniquities of the antediluvians, of the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, their power and glory, apostasies, their crimes, their righteousness and iniquity; He comprehended the fall of man and his redemption; He knew the Plan of Salvation and pointed it out; He was acquainted with the situation of all nations and with their destiny; He ordered all things according to the council of His own will; He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption, according to their several circumstances, and the laws of the kingdom of God, whether in this wo…

Choosing faith over fear

“I have learned while writing this talk something about how fear works against faith in my life. I’ve realized that fear weakens my faith more than I had recognized.  When my faith is strong, I am happy, confident and even energetic as I approach each day.  I am able to remain calm as difficulties arise, to keep the relative importance of things in perspective, and to feel the comfort and guidance of the Spirit when I most need it.  But then there are the times when I am anxious about the problems I face and worried about what is coming next.  Those are hard times, lonely times.  I don’t feel capable of handling what the day will bring.  At times like that I am likely to choose badly and make small problems worse by my reactions.  I have learned that these are times of fear…
In my experience, fear is like that cold.  Fear is out there all the time, ready for me to let it in.  I often find myself a little anxious and worried, a little discouraged and doubtful.  I often have moments whe…

Fear thou not

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching in His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fail; But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint… Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Isaiah 40: 28-31; 41: 10, 13

It all works out

"It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. . . . Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. . . . If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers." 


Gordon B. Hinckley, quoted in Latter-day Counsel, “Excerpts from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, October 2000, 73; see also “Put Your Trust in God,” Ensign, February 2006, 63

The folly of taking counsel from our fears; worrying destroys our peace and happiness; learning to be happy regardless of present circumstance

"In the short speech of not more than five minutes, which I delivered in the old Bowery, when that judge publicly insulted this people, there were men and women in the congregation who suffered more in the anticipation of what might be the result of it in the future, than the generality this people suffered in being actually mobbed.  They could see, in imagination, all hell let loose upon us, themselves strung up, their ears cut off, their bowels torn out and this whole people cut to pieces.  After they had time to think, they found themselves still alive and unhurt, to their great astonishment.  They suffered as much as though they had been sent to the bottomless pit...I know this people have suffered more by the contemplation of trouble, than they have when actually passing through it...People suffer more in the anticipation of death than in death itself."


Brigham Young, February 20, 1853 (Journal of Discourses Volume 1)


"I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art th…

First things first

Its not very spiritual, but its worth a good chuckle and shows that conference addresses for the Saints were sometimes quite entertaining (even when Brigham wasn't speaking). It also speaks to letting the "cares of the world" get in the way of the important stuff. Ok, perhaps I just like it because it has the "d" word. Somehow, I relate more to George A. Smith now that I know he used "colorful" language now and then:

"There are many here, as religious as this congregation looks, who have not got a good fence around their farms and yet will kneel down in the morning, perhaps, to offer a prayer. By the time they have got one knee to the floor, peradverture somebody thunders away at the door and cries out 'Neighbor, there are twenty head of cattle in your wheat; they have been there all night and are there now.' The man with no fence is roused up, and instead of praying he is apt to think, 'Damn it', and to start off to get the cattl…