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Showing posts from 2012

"I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it" (Joseph Smith)

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure  a boy , of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily  b labor , should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter  c persecution  and  d reviling . But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a  a vision . I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was  b mad ; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality

Of Regrets and Resolutions (Uchtdorf)

When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be...  Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self... The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets. The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2012 October General Conference, Of Regrets and Resolutions, Sat. Morning Session)

our Father (Brigham Young)

"If any of us could now see the God we are striving to serve—if we could see our Father who dwells in the heavens, we should learn that we are as well acquainted with him as we are with our earthly father; and he would be as familiar to us in the expression of his countenance, and we should be ready to embrace him and fall upon his neck and kiss him, if we had the privilege. And still we, unless the vision of the Spirit is opened to us, know nothing about God. You know much about him, if you did but realize it. And there is no other one item that will so much astound you, when your eyes are opened in eternity, as to think that you were so stupid in the body." President Brigham Young J.D. 8:30

building Zion (Brigham Young)

 "When we conclude to make a Zion," said Brigham Young, "we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person" ( JD  9:283). "I have Zion in my view constantly," he said. "We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch. . . to come and build [it], but we are going to build it [ourselves]" ( JD  9:284). quoted by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Devotional, September 11, 1984 viewitem&id=858

the ministry of angels as taught in the Book of Mormon (Holland)

One of the things that will become more important in our lives the longer we live is the reality of angels, their work and their ministry.  I refer here not alone to the angel Moroni but also to those more personal ministering angels who are with us and around us, empowered to help us and who do exactly that (see 3 Ne. 7:18; Moro. 7:29-32, 37; D&C 107:20)...  I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony to the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do.  They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "For a Wise Purpose,” Ensign , January, 1996, 16-17

we must come to know ourselves (John Taylor)

There are many things that seem to us trials and difficulties, that perplex, annoy, and harass our spirits; yet these very things, as one justly observed, are blessings in disguise, so many helps to us to develop our weaknesses and infirmities, and lead us to put our trust in God, and rely upon Him to give us a knowledge of ourselves, of our neighbors, and of the work of God; they have a tendency to develop principles of worth to our minds, and thus they serve as schoolmasters, helps, and instructors, and are to us as many blessings in disguise. In fact all things that we have to do with in the world, whether they are adversity or prosperity, whether they relate to ourselves or to others, if rightly appreciated and understood, may teach us a lesson that will be to our joy, probably not only in time, but in all eternity. We must know ourselves, learn what is in our nature − our weakness, our strength, our wisdom, our folly, and the like things that dwell in others, that we may learn t

the hand of God will be over us for our good (Wilford Woodruff)

If we will do our duty and listen to those that are set to lead us, we shall find that the hand of God will be over us for our good, and it will be against those that are planning for our destruction; and God will strengthen and uphold this people until the day comes for the kingdom of God to spread itself abroad, and until the law of God is issued forth from Zion. We shall find that this will be the case; and inasmuch as we have these privileges and this faith, as Saints of the Most High, we should prize them and lay hold of them with one united heart, and not consider that the battle is to the strong or the race to the swift; for the Lord holds the destinies of all, and we are in his hands. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 6:141

Good tidings of great joy...(Luke 2)

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

A Liar, a Lunatic, or the Son of God (C.S. Lewis)

Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips. One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a

the Love of Christ (Romans 8)

35  Who shall separate us from the  a love  of Christ?  shall  b tribulation , or distress, or  c persecution , or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?   36  As it is written, For thy sake we are  a killed  all the day long; we are accounted as  b sheep  for the slaughter.   37  Nay, in all these things we are  a more  than  b conquerors  through him that loved us.   38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,   39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to a separate  us from the  b love  of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

the merits, mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah (2 Nephi 2:8-9)

Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God,  a save  it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who  b layeth  down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the  c resurrection  of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make  a intercession  for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. 2 Nephi 2:8-9

That which is of God is light (D&C 50)

  24  That  which  is  of  God  is  a light ;  and  he  that  b receiveth   c light ,  and  d continueth  in  God,  receiveth  more  e light ;  and  that  light  groweth  brighter  and  brighter  until  the  perfect  day.   25  And  again,  verily  I  say  unto  you,  and  I  say  it  that  you  may  know  the  a truth ,  that  you  may  chase  darkness  from  among  you; Doctrine and Covenants 50:24-25

an acquaintance with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son (Holland/Joseph Smith)

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught in the  Lectures on Faith  that it was necessary to have "an acquaintance" (that's his phrase) with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son in order to have faith in them. Specifically he said that unless we believe Christ to be "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness," that unless we can rely on these unchanging attributes, we would never have the faith necessary to claim the blessings of heaven. If we could not count on "the excellency of . . . character" (that is also his phrase) maintained by the Savior and his willingness and ability to "forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin," we would be, he said, "in constant doubt of salvation." But because the Father and the Son are unchangeably "full of goodness" then, in the words of the Prophet, such knowledge "does away [with] doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong" ( Lectures on Faith  

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon (Maxwell)

Near the end of his ministry, with so much betrayal about him, the Prophet Joseph said to the members, "I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt LakeCity: Deseret Book Company, 1976], p. 368). His summational statement includes the marvelous Book of Mormon. Though it was not his book, Joseph was its remarkable translator. It was actually the book of prophets who had long preceded him. His intensive labors of translation let these prophets speak so eloquently for themselves-to millions of us!  In fact, more printed pages of scripture have come through Joseph Smith than from anyother human.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell (Ensign, January 1997, p. 41)

the storms of our lives (Maxwell)

The storm fronts that come into our lives will not last forever.  We can surmount the drifts of difficulties and we can hold out if we maintain our perspective and faith.  Just as we know there is sun just beyond today's cloud cover, so we must not doubt the continued, watchful, and tutoring presence of The Son in spite of the stormy seasons in our lives. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (Even As I Am, pp. 102-03)

Mormonism shall stand (Joseph Smith)

Hell may pour forth its rage like the burning lava of Mount Vesuvius . . . and yet shall "Mormonism" stand. . . . God is the author of it. He is our shield. . . . It was by Him we received the Book of Mormon; and it is by Him that we remain unto this day; and by Him we shall remain, if it shall be for our glory; and in His Almighty name we are determined to endure tribulation as good soldiers unto the end. Joseph Smith,  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,  sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 139.

Our experience on Judgment Day (Holland)

My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what  Christ  asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand  one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” 13  And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” 14  Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted

grand expectations, but God's grace is sufficient (Maxwell)

Now may I speak . . . to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short. . . . . . . This feeling of inadequacy is . . . normal. There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. . . . . . . This is a Gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us.   Elder Neal A. Maxwell [ CR , October 1976, 14, 16; “Notwithstanding My Weakness,”  Ensign,  November 1976, 12, 14]

the border of belief and the territory of testimony (Maxwell)

When we first cross the border of belief and enter the territory of testimony, that is a highly significant moment. We come through, as it were, a port of entry. The Spirit has borne witness to us that Jesus is the Christ, that God lives, that other truths related to these are accepted by us. Our later experiences do not really represent the recrossing of that border again and again, but are reminders and reassurances of the earlier resolve.  Elder Maxwell (Deposition of a Disciple, p. 51.)

the pattern of Christ (Benson)

"That man is greatest and most blessed and joyful whose life most closely fits the pattern of the Christ. This has nothing to do with earthly wealth, power, or prestige. The only true test of greatness, blessedness, joyfulness is how close a life can come to being like the Master, Jesus Christ. He is the right way, the full truth, and the abundant life." —President Ezra Taft Benson

the New Testament (Perry)

The world today is so saturated with doctrines of men that it is easy to forget and lose faith in that all-important account of the Savior’s life and ministry–the New Testament.  This sacred volume is the centerpiece of scriptural history, just as the Savior Himself should be the centerpiece of our lives.  We must commit ourselves to study it and treasure it!  There are priceless pearls of wisdom to be found in our study of the New Testament…” Elder L. Tom Perry, ”The Sabbath and the Sacrament,”  Ensign,  May 2011, 6

James 1:5--written primarily for Joseph Smith (Maxwell)

According to Elder Maxwell, James wrote his famous verses first and foremost for Joseph Smith--it was all part of the Divine Plan leading up to the Restoration: "We know of Joseph Smith's special experience in reading James 1:5, 'Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart (JSH 1:12).' James was inspired to so write and Joseph to so respond to [such] words! Others have benefited and will continue to benefit from James 1:5, but its primary purpose was to be part of the spiritual [awakening] leading to the last dispensation." Elder Neal A. Maxwell, C.E.S. Symposium, August 15, 1991

The Principal of Action: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Bednar)

The Apostle Paul defined  faith  as “the substance of things hoped for [and] the evidence of things not seen” ( Hebrews 11:1 ). Alma declared that faith is not a perfect knowledge; rather, if we have faith, we “hope for things which are not seen [but] are true” ( Alma 32:21 ). Additionally, we learn in the  Lectures on Faith  that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness” and that it is also “the principle of action in all intelligent beings.”   1 These teachings highlight three basic elements of faith: (1) faith as the  assurance  of things hoped for that are true, (2) faith as the  evidence  of things not seen, and (3) faith as the principle of  action in all intelligent beings. I describe these three components of faith in the Savior as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present. Faith as the assurance of things hoped for looks to the future. This assurance is founded upon a cor