Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2021

Our foundation should be in Christ (Bushman)

Sometimes this deep infusion of Christ into modern revelation [i.e., including through the Book of Mormon] does not achieve its purpose in people’s lives. Some people’s faith is based more on Joseph Smith than on Jesus Christ. When they begin to question the Prophet, they lose faith in the Savior. We all know of Latter-day Saints whose faith is shaken by new facts, such as the existence of the alternate accounts of the First Vision which I have talked about today. When this new information builds up, they grow concerned. Could it all be wrong? Their consternation goes so far that they consider leaving the church, painful as that would be.  For a long time, I would try to answer their specific questions, try to persuade them there was another way of understanding the facts that were bothering them. I reminded them that people like me and many other informed Latter-day Saints are aware of all the disruptive information and still believe in Joseph Smith. We would talk for hours, but nothi

Henry Ford Gems

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. Don't find fault, find a remedy. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Henry Ford 

George McDonald Gems

A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it. I find that doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans. A man's real belief is that which he lives by.  What a man believes is the thing that he does, not the thing that he thinks. George McDonald

Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham (Hugh B. Brown)

When asked why Abraham was commanded to go to Mount Moriah and offer his only hope of posterity, President Hugh B. Brown, an Apostle, said, ‘Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham.’ The Lord already knew what Abraham would do, but Abraham didn’t know the depth of his own faith in God until he was actually stopped from making the sacrifice in the very act of performing it. It was then that Abraham realized how far he was willing to go in the service of his God. This was a growth lesson for Abraham.

the principle of sacrifice (Ballard)

If I have a fear, it is that the principle of sacrifice may be slipping away from us. This principle is a law of God. We are obliged to understand it and practice it. If being a member of this Church becomes too easy, testimonies will become shallow, and the roots of testimony will not go down into the soil of faith as they did with our pioneer forefathers.   Elder M. Russell Ballard

bear testimony that Joseph was a prophet (Cowley)

A humorous but instructive account of an experience of Elder Matthew Cowley illustrates the spiritual power that accompanies an earnest expression of belief in and loyalty toward the Restoration, which of course began with the First Vision. "I was called on a mission.  And I will never forget the prayers of my father the day that I left...his last words to me at the railroad station [were], 'My boy, you will go out on that mission; you will study; you will try to prepare your sermons; and sometimes when you are called upon, you will think that you are wonderfully prepared, but when you stand up, your mind will go completely blank.' I have had that experience more than once.' Elder Cowley then asked his father what he should do in such instances.  His father replied, 'you stand up there and with all the fever of your soul, you bear witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God, and thoughts will flood into your mind and words to your mouth, to round out

following the example of Joseph (Russell M. Nelson)

How can we become the men and women--the Christlike servants--the Lord needs us to be?  How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith's transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.   The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions.  Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father.  He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation. In like manner, what will your seeking open for you?  What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph.  Find a quiet place where you can regularly go.  Humble yourself before God.  Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father.  Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.   President Russell M. Nelson

it takes revelation to know there will be no more revelation (Joseph Smith)

From what we can draw from the Scriptures relative to the teaching of heaven, we are induced to think that much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we do not possess now...We have what we have, and the Bible contains what it does contain: but to say that God never said anything more to man than is recorded, would be saying at once that we have at last received a revelation: for it must require one to advance thus far, because it is nowhere said in that volume by the mouth of God that He would not, after giving what is there contained, speak again; and if any man has found out for a fact that the Bible contains all that God ever revealed to man, he has ascertained it by an immediate revelation. Joseph Smith, Letter to The Church March 1834 

what are you deprived by living the gospel? (Maxwell)

 “What are you actually and specifically deprived of by serious gospel living?” Ponder these several examples. By complying with the revealed Word of Wisdom, you are much more likely to be deprived of lung cancer, and surely deprived of becoming an alcoholic. You are much more likely to miss out on AIDS if you keep the seventh commandment and refuse to use drugs. Before you die, my young brothers and sisters, you will thank Heavenly Father many times for the advantages of abstinence! Regarding certain destructive things, abstinence is so much easier than moderation! Meanwhile, you will see those about you who are surfing life’s pleasures indulgently. They will eventually crash against the reefs of reality. By responding to the strong gospel emphasis on education, you will also be deprived of being ignorant. You will be deprived of that large dose of human despair that “cometh because of iniquity” (Moroni 10:22). You will also miss out on the exhausting and finally futile calisthenics o

patience (Joseph F. Smith)

God’s ways of educating our desires are, of course, always the most perfect. . . . And what is God’s way? Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we wanted them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come. In nature we have our seedtime and harvest; and if children were taught that the desires that they sow may be reaped by and by through patience and labor, they will learn to appreciate whenever a long-looked-for goal has been reached. Nature resists us and keeps admonishing us to wait; indeed, we are compelled to wait.   Joseph F. Smith

it is all right (Brigham Young)

When the Latter-day Saints make up their minds to endure, for the kingdom of God’s sake, whatsoever shall come, whether poverty or riches, whether sickness or to be driven by mobs, they will say it is all right, and [they] will honor the hand of the Lord in it, and in all things, and serve Him to the end of their lives, according to the best of their ability. . . . If you have not made up your minds for this, the quicker you do so the better. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:338

we don't have all the data (Maxwell)

 

Fear not (Kevin J. Worthen)

"[A]s President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, 'Fear is the antithesis [the complete opposite] of faith.' This is evident from the scriptures themselves. The scriptures define faith as 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,' 'which are true.' Faith is a real manifestation of what is really true. The polar opposite of that would seem to be the lack of substance or evidence of things that are false—or false evidence appearing real: fear. We need to recognize that the feeling of despair and hopelessness that characterizes irrational fear is a tool of the adversary. Indeed, it is one of his primary tools. I am convinced that just as we have articles of faith, Satan and his minions must have articles of fear to aid them in their work. They might read something like this: 'We believe that the first principles of despair and damnation are doubt God, doubt yourself, doubt others, and, most of all, be afraid—be very afraid of the future

meekness can be just as contagious as rudeness (Maxwell)

  “Like Jesus, we can decide, daily or instantly, to give no heed to temptation (see D&C 20:22). We can respond to irritation with a smile instead of scowl, or by giving warm praise instead of icy indifference. By our being understanding instead of abrupt, others, in turn, may decide to hold on a little longer rather than to give way. Love, patience, and meekness can be just as contagious as rudeness and crudeness.” – Neal A. Maxwell

truth (Wilford Woodruff)

"This I count one of the greatest blessings that God has given to the children of men, to have the plain truth pointed out to them. You look at the religions of the day, and see their confusion and the mystery that hangs around them: you may present the truth to them as plainly as you can, and so simply that an intelligent child might understand, and still they cannot comprehend it. You ask a man among them about the character of God, and about his attributes, and what can he tell you? They will preach about God, about the Son, and the Holy Ghost, long sermons, to prove that those three personages are one; and when they get through, they know nothing about it, and conclude it is a great mystery. Where is the man or woman that comprehended anything about God or about eternity until Joseph Smith revealed the fulness of the Gospel? I could read of those things in the Bible which we now believe in and receive; but I was surrounded by the traditions of the world and could not comprehen

faith does not spring from the miracle, but the miracle from faith (Dostoevsky)

“The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Faith does not . . . spring from the miracle, but the miracle from faith. Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Do your best today (Harold B. Lee)

 "There is only one day that you and I have to live for, and that's today.  There is nothing we can do about yesterday except repent, and there may be no tomorrow.  The thing for us to do when we arise from our beds as God gives us a new day is to take whatever comes into our hands and do it to the best of our ability."  Harold B. Lee

convenience vs. covenant (Ballard)

Sometimes we are tempted to let our lives be governed more by convenience than by covenant. It is not always convenient to live gospel standards and stand up for truth and testify of the Restoration. It usually is not convenient to share the gospel with others. It isn’t always convenient to respond to a calling in the Church, especially one that stretches our abilities. Opportunities to serve others in meaningful ways, as we have covenanted to do, rarely come at convenient times. But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants. As we look at the lives of these early Saints, we see that their covenants were the primary force in their lives.  M. Russell Ballard, “ Like a Flame Unquenchable ,”  Ensign,  May 1999.

the peaceable things (L. Aldin Porter)

I fear that we have become so enamored with recreation, with fame and fortune, with videos, with television, and with what money can buy that we have little time for eternal things. We cannot take the time to obtain a knowledge of the doctrines of eternity—for that requires sacrifice, effort, and struggle. Furthermore, we have learned to live in a world of clamor and noise and haste and hurry to the extent that we have often become immune to the Spirit of the Lord and the “peaceable things of the kingdom." L. Aldin Porter, October 1994 General Conference

you will know for yourself (Joseph Smith)

Search the Scriptures and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you;...you will then know for yourselves and not for another.  You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there by any room for speculation.  Joseph Smith

Peace after the way of man is perishable. Peace after the manner of God will prevail. (Monson)

  “In a world where peace is such a universal quest, we sometimes wonder why violence walks our streets, accounts of murder and senseless killings fill the columns of our newspapers, and family quarrels and disputes mar the sanctity of the home and smother the tranquillity of so many lives. “Perhaps we stray from the path which leads to peace and find it necessary to pause, to ponder, and to reflect on the teachings of the Prince of Peace and determine to incorporate them in our thoughts and actions and to live a higher law, walk a more elevated road, and be a better disciple of Christ. “… Peace after the way of man is perishable. Peace after the manner of God will prevail.” —President Thomas S. Monson

the ways of God (Bednar)

Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.   David A. Bednar,  The Windows of Heaven https://www. churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ general-conference/2013/10/ the-windows-of-heaven?id=p12# p12

the purpose of Scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God (Christofferson)

In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ—faith that They exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which animates this plan of happiness; faith to make the gospel of Jesus Christ our way of life; and faith to come to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent” (John 17:3). The word of God, as Alma said, is like a seed planted in our hearts that produces faith as it begins to grow within us (see Alma 32:27–43; see also Romans 10:13–17). Faith will not come from the study of ancient texts as a purely academic pursuit. It will not come from archaeological digs and discoveries. It will not come from scientific experiments. It will not even come from witnessing miracles. These things may serve to confirm faith, or at times to challenge it, but they do not create faith. Faith comes by the witness of th

that we may obtain mercy; help in time of need (Hebrews; Craig)

“Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4.16  “Of course, all of us will fall short of our divine potential, and there is some truth in the realization that alone we are not enough. But the good news of the gospel is that with the grace of God, we are enough. With Christ’s help, we can do all things. The scriptures promise that we will “find grace to help in time of need.” … “The surprising truth is that our weaknesses can be a blessing when they humble us and turn us to Christ. Discontent becomes divine when we humbly approach Jesus Christ with our want, rather than hold back in self–pity.” —Sister Michelle D. Craig

Adulting (growing up) (Bingham)

"Adulting—one current term for 'growing up'—does not necessarily mean progressing by the world’s definition of success. Some say becoming an adult includes indulging in behaviors that are clearly damaging to children but somehow have been accepted in the world as appropriate for those of legal age. That criterion is not a godly one! Becoming an adult does mean taking responsibility for your actions, looking to contribute to the happiness of others rather than just focusing on yourself, and keeping commitments to God and man. This is what Helaman, the great prophet in the winding-up days before the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, taught his sons Nephi and Lehi as “'they began to grow up unto the Lord.'”  Jean B. Bingham, How to Be Happy Now and Forever ( https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/jean-b-bingham/how-happy-now-forever/ )

pray for help to improve (Cannon)

 

Blessings of reading the Book of Mormon daily (Nelson)

My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions. President Russell M. Nelson

everything in the Gospel is intended to bless us with the Spirit (Bednar)

Everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Consider the reasons we pray and study the scriptures. Yes, we yearn to communicate in prayer with Heavenly Father in the name of His Son. And yes, we desire to obtain the light and knowledge available in the standard works. But please remember that these holy habits primarily are ways whereby we always remember Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son and are prerequisites to the ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost. The commandments from God we obey and the inspired counsel from Church leaders we follow principally focus upon obtaining the companionship of the Sp

Moses, Mary, Moroni, Alma and others were not that different from us (Nielsen)

 "When we hear stories of God’s mighty servants who came before us—like Moses, Mary, Moroni, Alma, Esther, Joseph, and many others—they seem bigger than life. But they were not that different from us. They were regular people who faced challenges. They trusted the Lord. They made the right choices at pivotal moments. And, with faith in Jesus Christ, they performed the works required in their time."   Elder Gifford Nielsen

Is every Christian expected to bear witness? (MacDonald)

 “Is every Christian expected to bear witness? A man content to bear no witness to the truth is not of the Kingdom of Heaven. One who believes must bear witness. One who sees the truth, must live witnessing to it. Is our life, then, a witnessing to the truth? Do we carry ourselves in [the] bank, on [the] farm, in [the] house or shop, in [the] study or chamber or workshop, as the Lord would, or as the Lord would not? Are we careful to be true?... When contempt is cast on the truth, do we smile? Wronged in our presence, do we make no sign that we hold by it? I do not say we are called upon to dispute, and defend with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show that we are on the other side… The soul that loves the truth and tries to be true, will know when to speak and when to be silent; but the true man will never look as if he did not care. We are not bound to say all we think, but we are bound not even to look [like] we what we do not think.”  George MacDonald

the test of observance of Christ's teachings (Tolstoy)

no man will be kept in Hell longer than needed (Talmage)

Hell is no place to which a vindictive judge sends prisoners to suffer and to be punished principally for his glory; but it is a place prepared for the teaching, the disciplining of those who failed to learn here upon the earth what they would have learned. True, we read of everlasting punishment, unending suffering, eternal damnation. That is a direful expression; but in his mercy the Lord has made plain what those words mean. "Eternal punishment" he says, "is God's punishment, for he is eternal"; and that condition or state or possibility will ever exist for the sinner who deserves and really needs such condemnation; but this does not mean that the individual sufferer or sinner is to be eternally and everlastingly made to endure and suffer. No man will be kept in hell longer than is necessary to bring him to a fitness for something better. When he reaches that stage, the prison doors will open and there will be rejoicing among the hosts who welcome him into a

God's purpose in driving Adam out of the Garden (Irenaeus)

"Wherefore also He drove [Adam] out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied [Adam] the tree of life, as some venture to assert, but because He pitied [Adam], [and did not desire] that he should continue a sinner forever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable.  But He set a bound to [Adam's state of] sin, by interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease ...so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live in God."   Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.xxxiii.6, cited in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The ante-Nicene Fathers, 1:457.

Jesus did not finish His work at death (Joseph F. Smith)

Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead; although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work. And when will he? Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that have been or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time, except the sons of perdition. That is his mission. Joseph F. Smith

God did not grow bored and leave (Maxwell)

 

to do right (Amasa Lyman)

If we conclude that we will all do right, let us make up our minds for the struggle; for it will require all our power. We are not going to do right without an effort; we will not attain to that which is right without an effort; neither will we retain the blessings when we have them without an effort, and one that is constant and unremitting—as constant as the life that we seek and the blessings that we calculate to secure to ourselves. When we engage in this struggle, it should not be with half a purpose, nor with our affections divided; a part of our regards running out to the things that are around us, and that is but of little moment, without regard for God and his work and the consummation and perfection of our own salvation; but we should commence this struggle with all the energies of our souls concentrated upon this one point —that we will do right, and as fast as we learn the right, do it. We have been told what it is to do right, and that is to learn the will of God and do it

I shall not call my faith into doubt (Farrer)

“I shall not call my faith in doubt...Since God has shown me a ray of goodness, I cannot doubt Him on the ground that someone has made up some new logical puzzles about him. It is too late in the day to tell me that God does not exist, the God with whom I have so long conversed, and whom I have seen active in several living men of real sanctity... but there must be much in our teaching of Christianity and our living of it which is at fault if good people react in total disbelief.”  Austin Farrer

The ancient records read as if they were written in defense of the Mormon claims (Nibley)

“The vast mass of fresh facts and voluminous documents that have to do with the Primitive Church read as if they were written in defense of the Mormon claims. The weight of evidence is so overwhelming in our favor that we need only to point to it and it will plead our case with a force that no one can deny.”   Hugh Nibley

The Holy Ghost is our friend (Snow)

There is a way by which persons could keep their conscience clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman.  It will reveal it to them even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them.  We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right.  This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint.  We know that it is our right to have manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. ...From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong.  That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light and not be

be a good one (Lincoln)

  “Whatever you are, be a good one.” ―  Abraham Lincoln

we are sovereign (Maxwell)

 

Jesus descended below all things (Holland)

  On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment he received, the rejection he experienced, and the injustice—oh, the injustice—he endured. When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (see   2 Cor. 4:8–9 ). When those difficult times come to us, we can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before he could ascend above them, and that he suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that he might be filled with mercy and know how to succor his people in their infirmities (see  D&C 88:6 ;  Alma 7:11–12 ). To those who stagger or stumble, he is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end he is there to save us, and for all this he gave his life. However dim our days may seem they have been darker for the Savior of the world. In fact, in a resurrected, otherwise perfec

A society that permits anything will eventually lose everything (Maxwell)

 "Once society loses its capacity to declare that some things are wrong per se, then it finds itself forever building temporary defenses, revising rationales, drawing new lines—but forever falling back and losing its nerve. A society that permits anything will eventually lose everything! Take away the consciousness of eternity and see how differently time is spent. Take away an acknowledgment of divine design in the structure of life and then watch the mindless scurrying to redesign human systems to make life pain-free and pleasure-filled. Take away regard for the divinity in one’s neighbor, and watch the drop in our regard for his property. Take away basic moral standards and observe how quickly tolerance changes into permissiveness. Take away the sacred sense of belonging to a family or community, and observe how quickly citizens cease to care for big cities. Can we turn such trends around?...  It will take the same kind of spunk the Spartans displayed at Thermopylae when they t

obedience; progression and eventual accomplishment (Maxwell)

  “...obedience [is not] a mindless shifting of our personal responsibility. Instead, it is tying ourselves to a living God who will introduce us—as soon as we are ready—to new and heavier responsibilities involving situations of high adventure. Obedience, therefore, is not evasion; it is an invasion—one that takes us deep into the realm of our possibilities. What God says He has in store for us will, in literal actuality, require a peculiar people (as mortals measure peculiarity), a people particularly suited for everlasting chores elsewhere. Therefore, it isn't that God seeks to shape us capriciously, just to prove that He is in charge; He is fitting us for special chores for which there are rigorous and nonwaivable specifications. There will be only one recruitment effort among us for any aspirants to such adventure, only one set of standards to be followed, and only one narrow and precise path of development for those so recruited. But when we are safely beyond the narrowness o

he Lord can't reveal to you and I what we can't understand (Brigham Young)

  “The Lord can't reveal to you and I [what] we can't understand;…for instance when Joseph first received revelation, The Lord could not tell him what he was going to do. He didn't tell him he was going to call him to be a prophet, seer, revelator, high priest and founder of [the] Kingdom of God on the earth. Joseph would have said… ‘just what does that mean? You are talking that I can't understand.’ He could merely revealed to him that the Lord is pleased to bless him and forgive his sins and there was a work for him to do on the earth… The first time He sent [an] angel to visit him, he could lead his mind a little further. He could reveal to him that there were certain records deposited on in the earth to be brought forth for the benefit of [the] inhabitants of the earth. He could reveal after this that Joseph could get them; then he could reveal that he should have power to translate the records from the language and characters in which it was written and give it t

no revelation can be other than partial (McDonald)

No revelation can be other than partial. If for true revelation a man must be told all the truth then farewell to revelation… Relatively to a lower condition of the receiver, a more partial revelation might be truer than that which would be constituted a fuller revelation to one in a higher condition; for the former might reveal much to him the latter might reveal nothing… I believe God is ever destroying concealment ever giving all that he can all that men can receive at his hands .   George McDonald, “The Consuming Fire,” Unspoken Sermons: Series 1, II and III, 2016, 19-21)

One life is all we have (Joan of Lorraine)

Maxwell Anderson, who wrote a moving drama about this young woman, has her say in his play as the flames begin to consume her: “One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it, and then it’s gone. But to surrender what you are, and live without belief—that’s more terrible than dying—more terrible than dying young” (“Joan of Lorraine” [1974], 80).