A little worried about teaching more at home?

With the announcement of a reduced Church block and more emphasis on teaching at home, that puts additional pressure on parents who want to do a better job of teaching in the home.

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For my wife and I, the first conversation we had after the announcement of the reduced block was what our new Sunday schedule would look like. With an extra hour of time and the expectation that we teach more in the home we don’t want to just come home, put on comfy clothes and watch TV the rest of the day. We want to do a better job of teaching the Gospel and sharing our testimonies with our kids. We are worried about 2 things:

1. Are we good enough teachers to teach our kids the way we need to in today’s society?

2. Will our kids be interested and engaged in the lessons we try to teach?

For both of these questions we know we need preparation and help. Maybe you feel like we do?

The Prophet’s Call

You were probably as inspired as I was when you heard President Nelson say this quote at Conference. We knew something big was about to happen and I felt inspired to be a part of the call of a prophet. I’ve highlighted a few parts that are key to what we can and need to do with our families.

“The long-standing objective of the Church is to assist all members to increase their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, to assist them in making and keeping their covenants with God, and to strengthen and seal their families. In this complex world today, this is not easy. The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and our families at an exponential rate. To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans. Accordingly, we now want to put in place organizational adjustments that will further fortify our members and their families.”

Counterstrategies

Our families need increased faith.

We have additional responsibility to teach them.

Satan is working against us more than ever.

We need counterstrategies and proactive plans.

Counterstrategy #1

In a 2016 worldwide training broadcast on teaching Elder Jeffrey R Holland counseled us not to “over-program, over-plan, over-prepare.”

The key is to plan and prepare and realize that you are teaching people, often kids, and it’s ok if the lesson doesn’t go exactly as you had originally planned. If you spend more time on one topic and don’t get through everything, that’s ok. If you end up talking about something different than you planned, that’s ok.

As Elder Holland said, “the great fundamental reminder that we are teaching people, we are teaching human beings, we're teaching each other, and we are using material—we are using lessons and doctrine—to do that.”

So, don’t stress out if the lesson doesn’t go perfect. Don’t stress out that you have to have the perfect lesson planned.

Having a positive conversation is more important than trying to have a perfect lesson.

Proactive Plans #1

We do need to do some preparation. Trying to have a conversation without ANY preparation is “asking too much of the Spirit. That's asking the Spirit to do His work and our work too." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

It always helps to have tools to create better home Gospel conversations. That is exactly what I’ve created for you on my new Facebook group, Your Lifelong Seminary Class.

Every week you will get a Home Gospel Conversation Kit to have conversations with your kids at home about the principles you learn at Church.

Now you can try it out with the promo code HomeFree to get your first month free!

Go to Join Your Lifelong Seminary Class to sign up to join the Class. Make sure to use the promo code HomeFree! It’s all the preparation help you need to be ready for great family Gospel conversations every week!

A birthday present...I always ask for the same thing.

Limhi and his people were in a pretty bad spot. Somewhat because of things they had done to themselves, and somewhat because of things outside their control. They paid a price and got the one thing most of us are looking for.

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Whenever I am asked what I want as a present (birthday, Christmas, whatever) I always give the same answer: peace.

With 7 kids, custody schedules, sports, school, stress, work, and callings, I almost never have a calm and peaceful day. There is always something that comes up that turns peace into stress and rest into strife. So when I find examples of peace in the scriptures I am always interested.

Here’s what I learned about peace from Limhi.

The cause of the stress.

There were two main causes of the stress and strife that Limhi’s people faced. The first part was not their fault.

1. Limhi and his people were living in the middle of the Lamanite nation. They didn’t choose to live there. Their grandparents (Zeniff and his followers) had moved there and now they were stuck. The Lamanites wouldn’t let them leave and they weren’t strong enough to fight their way out.

They were stuck. Sound at all familiar? Is there something that causes you stress and strife that you are just stuck with?

The second piece of their stress and strife was of their own making.

2. They had chosen to follow wicked King Noah. He was a terrible leader and now they were in bondage to the Lamanites, having lost a battle and their freedom. They had made poor choices and the impact of those were causing them stress and strife.

They were stuck with their own consequences. Sound familiar? Is there something that is causing you stress and unhappiness that is the result of your own behavior?

Let’s look at their solutions.

Limhi and his people had to deal with both things, things that had been put on them and things they had chosen themselves. The second one was the first one to get solved. They had to pay a price for their decisions.

And also Limhi, being the son of the king, having the kingdom conferred upon him by the people, made oath unto the king of the Lamanites that his people should pay tribute unto him, even one half of all they possessed. (Mosiah 19:26)

The price they had to pay was ½ of everything they had. A major sacrifice! Possibly, we are the same. Maybe to get peace in our own lives there is a significant and painful sacrifice we need to make.

Anything come to mind for you?

The second path to peace took a little bit more time and patience. After years of patience and conflict with the Lamanites they finally came up with a plan.

10 And king Limhi caused that his people should gather their flocks together; and he sent the tribute of wine to the Lamanites; and he also sent more wine, as a present unto them; and they did drink freely of the wine which king Limhi did send unto them.

11 And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness with their flocks and their herds, and they went round about the land of Shilom in the wilderness, and bent their course towards the land of Zarahemla, being led by Ammon and his brethren. (Mosiah 22:10-11)

But it didn’t come right away. They had spent a few years in conflict and it wasn’t until a servant of God (Ammon) came and the people made covenants with Him that deliverance came.

32 And now since the coming of Ammon, king Limhi had also entered into a covenant with God, and also many of his people, to serve him and keep his commandments. (Mosiah 21:32)

Anything come to mind for you? Are there covenants you need to live more closely or patience you need to endure through as you wait for deliverance?

Sometimes peace comes after waiting through pain

Elder Richard G. Scott taught,

He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:

When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.

When He answers no, it is to prevent error.

When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act. (Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayers)

Just like Limhi’s people, we must do both things. Act as we wait on the Lord. That is our path to peace.

What is grace? I need it to be saved!

Nephi taught “it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved” (2 Nephi 10:24). That sure makes GRACE seem important. But I wasn’t even sure I knew what it was or how I tried to get it!

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A few years ago, I had a conversation with some friends of another faith while we sat and watched our boys play baseball. They really didn’t like the Church. So much so that they wouldn’t park their cars in the parking lot of an LDS Church—even when baseball practice was in the field right next to the Church.

They had strong negative feelings about the Church. So much so that they made a commitment to God that they won’t step foot on property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…EVER!

After that experience, the thing that has stayed with me is not how different we are in our beliefs, but how similar. Like when we talk about grace.

What is grace?

My favorite definition is found in Gospel Topics under Grace. “Grace is the help or strength given through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Grace). That breaks down into three areas.

1. It is through the Grace of God that we will all be resurrected.

2. It is through the Grace of God that we are forgiven of our sins.

3. It is through the Grace of God that we received additional strength to overcome our daily challenges.

Our Part

What is our part in this process of Grace? Do we have to do anything, or do we get resurrection, forgiveness and daily help no matter what?

Nephi taught, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23).

Now from President Oaks:

“And what is “all we can do”? It surely includes repentance (see Alma 24:11) and baptism, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end. Moroni pleaded, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moro. 10:32).

We are not saved in our sins, as by being unconditionally saved through confessing Christ and then, inevitably, committing sins in our remaining lives (see Alma 11:36–37). We are saved from our sins (see Hel. 5:10) by a weekly renewal of our repentance and cleansing through the grace of God and His blessed plan of salvation (see 3 Ne. 9:20–22).” (Have You Been Saved?)

Grateful and Humble

This amazing gift is beyond our comprehension. Everything from getting through the day to day struggles to every hope we have of salvation are tied to the Savior and His grace.

President Uctdorf said it so well!

“I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly. I cannot even begin to estimate “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height … [of] the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)

“When I think of what the Savior did for us leading up to that first Easter Sunday, I want to lift up my voice and shout praises to the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ!

“The gates of heaven are unlocked!

“The windows of heaven are opened!” (The Gift of Grace)

I join with every follower of Christ to state my gratitude and humility for the goodness, kindness, and grace of God. That is one thing we can all have in common with each other!

How have you seen the grace of God as a part of your life? Comment below

How Do I Get A Testimony?

Last blog post we talked about what a testimony is. For many of us, we have a testimony—we often feel the pull to grow and strengthen it even more.

And possibly more important, we feel the desire to help those we love to strengthen their testimonies too. But how? Elder Bednar taught us it’s kind of like a sunrise.

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Having grown up in the Church I can’t tell you when or where my testimony started. I do remember the first time I read the Book of Mormon all the way through and prayed about it. I was about 13 years old and I will always vividly remember sitting in my room praying. That memory of testimony is burned into my heart. But that wasn’t really when my testimony started.

I remember sitting in Church once when I was about 13 or 14 and having a powerful experience feeling that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. But that wasn’t the real beginning of my testimony.

I can’t even start to pinpoint where my testimony of my Savior and a loving Heavenly Father started. Primary I suppose.

And for many members it is the same. The only problem is, that when you don’t know where your testimony came from or how it started it is hard to go back and recreate the experiences that helped shape your testimony in the first place.

Here is how Elder Bednar described it:

The second experience takes place as we watch night turn into morning. Gradually and steadily the intensity of the light increased, and the darkness of night was replaced by the radiance of morning. Eventually, the sun did dawn over the skyline. But the visual evidence of the sun’s impending arrival was apparent hours before the sun actually appeared over the horizon. This experience was characterized by subtle and gradual discernment of light. (The Spirit of Revelation, April 2011)

Because it is so gradual and almost imperceptible we have to figure out the steps necessary to add more light. Both to bring more light into our own lives and to show an example to others of how to increase the Light of Christ in their life.

Luckily we have some advice from President Uchtdorf.

  • First: Desire to believe. The Book of Mormon encourages us: “If [you] will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, … even if [you] can no more than desire to believe” (Alma 32:27).

Some may say, “I cannot believe; I am not a religious person.” Just consider, God promises us divine help even if we have only a desire to believe, but it has to be a true and not a pretended desire.

  • Second: Search the scriptures. Have questions; study them out; search in the scriptures for answers. Again, the Book of Mormon has good advice for us: “If [you] give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart” through diligent study of the word of God, the good seed “will begin to swell within your breasts” if you will not resist with unbelief. This good seed will “enlarge [your] soul” and “enlighten [your] understanding” (Alma 32:28).

  • Third: Do the will of God; keep the commandments. It is not enough to enter into a scholarly debate if we want to know for ourselves that the kingdom of God has been restored upon the earth. Casual study is also not enough. We have to get in on the action ourselves, and that means learning and then doing God’s will.

We need to come to Christ and follow His teachings. The Savior taught: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16–17; emphasis added). And He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

  • Fourth: Ponder, fast, and pray. To receive knowledge from the Holy Ghost, we must ask Heavenly Father for it. We must trust that God loves us and that He will help us to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. (The Power of a Personal Testimony, October 2006)

Concrete steps. Simple things we all can do. Important steps to adding more light in our life.

Each of us need to make sure that even through it is small and simple, that we have more light in our life this week than we did last.

Pick one of Elder Uchtdorf’s ideas and start putting it in action today. Comment below with which step you will take.

I'd like to bear my testimony. Let me make sure I have it first...

Every time fast Sunday come around we hear this phrase. Sometimes we might even think we would like to bear our testimony. Have you ever felt that you’d like to bear your testimony, but you aren’t quite sure where to find it?

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I remember as a young Deacon that I would love to be the person that ran the mic around. We don’t do that much now, but back then you just stood up and I would run a mic to you and you could bear your testimony from there.

For me, it was such a fun way to spend sacrament meeting.

Didn’t have to sit by my brother.

Didn’t get bored.

And never had to worry about bearing my testimony (the guy with the mic just never did that!)

Now, there isn’t that luxury. And nearly every fast meeting there is that little stress of if I’m going to bear my testimony. If I have something to say. And what exactly I believe with all my heart that I would say.

Today, let’s do a quick check on our own testimonies.

Don’t Worry. It’s a Process.

Bonnie Oscarson reminded us that,

True conversion is a process that takes place over a period of time and involves a willingness to exercise faith. (Do I Believe?, April 2016)

This sounds a lot like how Alma said he got his testimony.

“Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true. (Alma 5:46)

So, if you are struggling, don’t worry! We all grow our testimonies and it is a lifelong process. Celebrate where you are. And keep growing.

Am I focused on the right things?

In growing our testimonies, there are a few key areas to focus on. President Uctdorf taught,

A testimony is very personal and may be a little different for each of us, because everyone is a unique person. However, a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will always include these clear and simple truths:

·         God lives. He is our loving Father in Heaven, and we are His children.

·         Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and the Savior of the world.

·         Joseph Smith is the prophet of God through whom the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the latter days.

·         The Book of Mormon is the word of God.

·         President [Russell M. Nelson], his counselors, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the prophets, seers, and revelators in our day.

(The Power of Personal Testimony, quote altered to include our current prophet, original referenced Gordon B. Hinckley)

If you know these things

That is the start. If we can confidently testify of God, Jesus, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and a modern prophet, we are on a solid and powerful foundation.

This is the beginning of every testimony that we try to teach to children and teens. It is the ongoing foundation where we can build our lives knowing we are building on a solid and true testimony.

Comfort and Peace in Your Testimony

This gave me such great comfort. I might not always be able to testify of every principle or doctrine, every rule and policy of the Church, but I can always come back to that foundation of God, the Savior, and the prophets and know I can find peace, comfort, and stability.

Peace I leave with you. Come unto me all ye that labor…and ye shall find rest. The wiseman built his house upon the rock. God wants us to have this peace, comfort and stability in our own lives.

But what if…

If you feel weak in one of these areas, what can you do?

I will share that in my Sunday Studies next week! We will cover, “How to Build Your Testimony.”

But I want to hear from you on how you have done it!

Application Invitation

If you are reading this from Sunday Studies, reply to the email with a thought on how you have built your testimony of the thing President Uchtdorf mentioned. If you are reading this on the Help Me Understand The Book of Mormon blog, respond in the comments.

Why we should eat our ice cream first! When you feel like you are waiting in line for God.

Indeed, we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing.
Dallin H. Oaks


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Last week my wife and I took a quick weekend trip to a little town we love—McCall Idaho. It is about a 2 hour drive away and there is a dessert place there we really love, Ice Cream Alley.

Leave Early. Ice Cream First

What we have learned about going to McCall is that you have to leave early and you have to eat ice cream first. Why?

  • If you leave late you will be stuck in a line of traffic FOREVER on the two-lane road getting into McCall (lots of weekend travelers)
  • If you wait until after dinner to get ice cream, you will be waiting in line FOREVER to get your ice cream.

So, because we hate waiting in lines, we leave early and we eat ice cream first! Don’t you just hate waiting in lines? It’s the worst!

Waiting for God.

Sometimes we feel the same way waiting for God. The same slightly frustrated anxiousness that we feel waiting in line. We might be thinking, “When is it my turn?” or “What is taking so long?” or “That person has way more than 20 items (or blessings 😊) they shouldn’t even be in this line!”

I was recently reminded:

How often we assume our desired timetable should be the Lord’s timetable! Yet we must learn the importance of “waiting patiently on the Lord” (D&C 98:2)—waiting not in a state of forlorn resignation, but “looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof” (Alma 32:40). (Susan Waldrip Ensign, April 2004)

Maintain Faith

How do we do that? How do look forward with faith while we are waiting and waiting and waiting…

1.      Focus on Growth

“Being human, we would expel from our lives sorrow, distress, physical pain, and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort. But if we closed the doors upon such, we might be evicting our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were part of his education.”—Spencer W. Kimball

Even though we don’t always want it, sometimes waiting and being patient helps us grow. So instead of focusing just on what you want or what you don’t have, take a minute to think about the growth you are experiencing. Write down one thing you have learned while waiting on the Lord.

2.      Give up on fair.

“A good friend, who knows whereof he speaks, has observed of trials, ‘If it’s fair, it is not a true trial!’ That is, without the added presence of some inexplicableness and some irony and injustice, the experience may not stretch us or lift us sufficiently. The crucifixion of Christ was clearly the greatest injustice in human history, but the Savior bore up under it with majesty and indescribable valor.”—Neal A. Maxwell

When we stop believing that answers should come quickly or that things should be more “fair” we usually face challenges better.

3.      Faith in God’s timing

“The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best?” –Neal A Maxwell

Often our frustration is based on artificial timelines that we have placed on things. “I HAVE to get this solved by next week” or “If I don’t figure this out SOON bad things will happen.” It is those personal, human timelines that bring frustration…because we don’t see all that God sees. We only see right now, and often right now STINKS!

You’re waiting right now

You are probably waiting for something right now. It can be frustrating. It can be sad and discouraging. Today, write down your GROWTH. Decide you’re fine with it not being FAIR because you have FAITH that God will make it right.

And now we wait…

8th Article of Faith. Two things that we believe…we believe both of them.

"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”


PRINCIPLE: GOD SPEAKS TO HIS CHILDREN TO SHOW LOVE THROUGH THE GUIDANCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.

APPLICATION: THERE IS AN RESPONSIBILITY TO USE THE GIFT OF THE SCRIPTURES THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US TO IMPROVE OUR LIVES. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE DONE RECENTLY AS A RESULT OF YOUR BELIEF IN THE TEACHINGS OF THE SCRIPTURES?

(EXAMPLE: I RECENTLY HELPED MY NEIGHBOR WITH THEIR YARD PROJECT BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT “WHEN YE ARE IN THE SERVICE OF YOUR FELLOW BEINGS, YE ARE ONLY IN THE SERVICE OF YOUR GOD.”)


We believe in The Holy Bible

The Miracle of the Holy Bible by M. Russell Ballard

“It is a miracle that we have the Bible’s powerful doctrine, principles, poetry, and stories. But most of all, it is a wonderful miracle that we have the account of the life, ministry, and words of Jesus, which was protected through the Dark Ages and through the conflicts of countless generations so that we may have it today.

“It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within its pages the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men’s hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right paths, and to search to find their Savior.

“Honest, diligent study of the Bible does make us better and better.

“How grateful we should be for the Holy Bible. In it we learn not only of the life and teachings and doctrines of Christ, we learn of His Church and of His priesthood and of the organization which He established and named the Church of Jesus Christ in those former days. We believe in that Church, and we believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that same Church, restored to earth, complete, with the same organization and the same priesthood.

“Without the Bible, we would not know of His Church then, nor would we have the fulness of His gospel now.

“I love the Bible, its teachings, its lessons, and its spirit.

“You young people especially, do not discount or devalue the Holy Bible. It is the sacred, holy record of the Lord’s life. The Bible contains hundreds of pages more than all of our other scripture combined. It is the bedrock of all Christianity. We do not criticize or belittle anyone’s beliefs. Our great responsibility as Christians is to share all that God has revealed with all of His sons and daughters.”

We have the Bible and can show our gratitude for it by studying and living the teachings of the Bible!

We believe in The Book of Mormon

A New Witness for Christ by Ezra Taft Benson

“We do not have to prove the Book of Mormon is true. The book is its own proof. All we need to do is read it and declare it! The Book of Mormon is not on trial—the people of the world, including the members of the Church, are on trial as to what they will do with this second witness for Christ.

“I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and therefore Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, with its authorized servants to perform the ordinances of salvation today,”

We are now on trial for how we use and learn from the scriptures. Taking the time to learn, understand, and apply the scriptures has a significant impact on your life now and for eternity.


For the full podcast episode Click to Subscribe or subscribe on the Podcast app on your phone

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7th Article of Faith. We all have gifts and there is a reason for that

"We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing,  interpretation of tongues, and so forth."


PRINCIPLE: THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT HELP US LIVE UP TO OUR FULL POTENTIAL AND COME CLOSER TO GOD.

PRINCIPLE: BECAUSE WE ARE ALL GIVEN GIFTS WE ALL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE THEM TO HELP OTHERS

APPLICATION: WHAT IS ONE OF THE GIFTS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO YOU?

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO USE THAT GIFT TO LIFT OTHERS?


Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments. (See D&C 46:9.)

Each faithful member of the Church has at least one spiritual gift, and the Lord encourages His children to “seek … earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (D&C 46:8).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton “There Are Many Gifts”

Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.

We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us.

Elder Robert D. Hales “Gifts of the Spirit”

If we have these gifts and do not give of them to lift and to strengthen those around us in a caring way, this scripture tells us that “it profiteth [us] nothing.” My wife has taught us in our home a simple phrase: “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.” There are times when we need to be lifted. There are times when we need to be strengthened. Be that kind of friend and that kind of person who lifts and strengthens others. Never make someone have to choose between your ways and the Lord’s ways. And always make sure that you’re making it easier to live God’s commandments for those who are by your side and who are your friends. Then you will understand whether you have charity.

Remember that the reason we want to have the stability and strength of the gifts of the Spirit is that we want to weather the storms when they come. We will be tried in this mortal probation. We don’t want to decide to learn how to swim when the boat is already sinking.

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6th Article of Faith. The Apostasy and the Restoration

"We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."


PRINCIPLE: BECAUSE OF THE RESTORATION WE HAVE ACCESS TO THE FULLEST BLESSINGS OF THE LORD

PRINCIPLE: BECAUSE OF THE RESTORATION OF THE GOSPEL WE CAN BUILD OUR FAITH AND HELP OTHERS IN THEIR FAITH.

APPLICATION: WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY TO HELP SUPPORT YOUR LEADERS AS WE ALL TRY TO DO GOD'S WORK?


The Apostasy

When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy. One example is the Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.

Role of Apostles, Prophets, and leaders

Mosiah 8:13-18

13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.

14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.

15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.

16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

Moroni 7:29-32

29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosenvessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

Additional Reading

Elder M. Russell Ballard Restored Truth

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5th Article of Faith. We are all called to serve.

"We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof."


PRINCIPLE: BECAUSE GOD LOVES US HE CALLS US TO SERVE SO WE CAN GROW.

PRINCIPLE: BECAUSE GOD LOVES US HE CALLS US TO SERVE SO WE CAN HELP OTHERS.

APPLICATION: FIND AN OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE OUT YOUR CALL FROM GOD TODAY BY SERVING OTHERS. WHAT IS ONE ACT OF SERVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE TODAY?


The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8; D&C 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; see also D&C 84:35–38).

Second, in mortality, priesthood is the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel (“Priesthood Authority,” Handbook 2, Administering the Church).

Keys of the Priesthood

The keys of the priesthood are the right to preside and direct the affairs of the Church within a jurisdiction. Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood pertaining to His Church. He has conferred upon each of His Apostles all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on earth. The senior living Apostle, the President of the Church, is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.

The World Needs the Priesthood

The Church provides the organization and means for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children. The priesthood includes the authority to administer ordinances of salvation to all human beings who are willing and worthy to accept them. Without the priesthood and the saving ordinances thereof, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted” (see D&C 2:1–3; see also D&C 84:21–22).

Jesus Christ is the best example of how to use the authority and power of the priesthood to serve and bless others. President M. Russell Ballard taught, “Not only is the priesthood the power by which the heavens and the earth were created, but it is also the power the Savior used in His mortal ministry to perform miracles, to bless and heal the sick, to bring the dead to life, and, as our Father’s Only Begotten Son, to endure the unbearable pain of Gethsemane and Calvary—thus fulfilling the laws of justice with mercy and providing an infinite Atonement and overcoming physical death through the Resurrection” (“This Is My Work and Glory,” Apr. 2013 general conference).

Henry B. Eyring

Brethren, our ordination to the priesthood is an invitation from the Lord to walk with Him. And what does it mean to walk with the Lord? It means to do what He does, to serve the way He serves. He sacrificed His own comforts to bless those in need, so that’s what we try to do. He seemed to take particular notice of people who were overlooked and even shunned by society, so we should try to do that too. He testified boldly yet lovingly of the true doctrine He received from His Father, even if it was unpopular, and so must we. He said to all, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), and we say to all, “Come unto Him.” As priesthood holders, we are His representatives. We act not for ourselves but for Him. We speak not our words but His. The people we serve come to know Him better because of our service.

As soon as we accept the Lord’s invitation “Walk with me,” the nature of our priesthood service changes. It becomes all at once higher and nobler but also more achievable, because we know that we are not alone. (President Henry B. Eyring, “Walk With Me”, April 2017)

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