Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 25, 2010

“Along with filters on computers and a lock on affections, remember that the only real control in life is self-control.”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign, May 2010, 45

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 24, 2010

To understand the pioneers and their accomplishments, we must examine their motives. … They came for freedom and peace, as others have done. They came to make homes for themselves, as others have done. They came to worship God and practice their religion to the satisfaction of their consciences, as others have done; but here is one thing they came for which, so far as I know, has no counterpart in any other pioneer movement: they came with the avowed purpose of establishing a society so that they would be able to take back to the civilization from which they had fled, yes, even to their persecutors, the principles of life and conduct which were the source of their own inspiration, cohesion, success, and happiness. …

What then did the pioneers bring? They brought industry in a measure that has seldom been equaled. They taught and practiced the gospel of work as the foundation for success and happiness. …

They brought education and a love for the artistic and beautiful. …

They brought with them a high order of loyalty and a great capacity for firm devotion to the cause they espoused. …

-President Stephen L Richards (1879–1959) First Counselor in the First Presidency, April 1947 General Conference; Reprinted Ensign, Jul 2010, 52–53

Friday, July 23, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 23, 2010

“The tuition of diligence and of learning by study and also by faith must be paid to obtain and personally ‘own’ such knowledge. Only in this way can what is known in the mind also be felt in the heart. Only in this way can a child move beyond relying upon the spiritual knowledge and experiences of parents and adults and claim those blessings for himself or herself.”

David A. Bednar, “Watching with All Perseverance,” Ensign, May 2010, 43

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 22, 2010

"Once we realize how the Lord feels about this book [the Book of Mormon], it should not surprise us that He also gives us solemn warnings about how we receive it. After indicating that those who receive the Book of Mormon with faith, working righteousness, will receive a crown of eternal glory (see D&C 20:14), the Lord follows with this warning: 'But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation.' (D&C 20:15.)"In 1829, the Lord warned the Saints that they are not to trifle with sacred things (sSee D&C 6:12). Surely the Book of Mormon is a sacred thing, and yet many trifle with it, or in other words, take it lightly, treat it as though it is of little importance."In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, 'And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon' (D&C 84:54–57)."

Ezra Taft Benson, "The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 21, 2010

“Sometimes we feel that we are weak and lack the strength to rescue others, but the Lord reminds us, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:40).”

Koichi Aoyagi, “Helping Hands, Saving Hands,” Ensign, May 2010, 37

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Sacrament Meeting Talk from July 18. 2010

This is my talk from last Sunday as I prepared it. I added a few personal stories, but have chosen to leave them out for, well, personal reasons. Enjoy!

Let’s start with one of my favorite stories from the scriptures. In Mosiah Chapter 17, we are introduced to Alma, who was one of King Noah’s priests who believed the teachings of Abinadi. Alma fled from Noah’s servants and hid in the wilderness, where he wrote down “all the words which Abinadi had spoken” (MOSIAH 17:2-4) Then, in Chapter 18, we read that Alma “repented of his sins ... and began to teach the words of Abinadi” (vs 1-3). The people who believed Alma went to hear him teach in a place called Mormon (vs 4-6).

Starting in verse 7, we read 7 And it came to pass *after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

We have already entered into that covenant with our Heavenly Father when we were baptized. However, the blessing of having His spirit poured out upon us is contingent on us serving Him. How do we serve Him? By Lifting one another’s burdens, mourning with those that mourn, and comforting those that stand in need of comfort.

Unnfortunately, We have talked much, maybe too much, over the past three weeks about lifting, mourning and comforting. However, I noticed an interesting footnote in this scripture that I think sums up what we, as church members, can gain from this scripture. the footnotes for Verse 8, where it says “the fold of God” direct us to “Brotherhood and Sisterhood” in the Topical Guide. And, when you turn to “Brotherhood and sisterhood” in the Topical Guide, it cross-references to Friendship. So being in “the fold of God” means to be a friend.

So, what is a friend? The For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet says that a true friend is someone who “will encourage you to be your best self.” Proverbs (17:17) says a friend loveth at all times. It also warns us (in 22:24) to “make no friendship with an angry man.” Elder M Russell Ballard said that “Friendship should never be offered as a means to an end; it can and should be an end unto itself.” (Liahona Jan 2002)

However, I would like to expand the definition of a friend a little bit today. Maybe a friend can be someone who we haven’t met yet.

There was an article recently in the Financial Times of London about the Church. In the article, Utah State Senator Ben McAdams tells a story about when he first moved to New York for Graduate School: “My wife and I packed up a van and drove our stuff across country. When we showed up at our place, there were 15 people there to help us unload. We’d never met any of them before, but they moved us in and invited us over for dinner. We had an instant social network.” Certainly, the people in their new ward did not yet consider this new family to be their “friends.” Yet, they had the spirit of friendship, and made the burden of moving across the country lighter.

In this month’s Ensign, President Henry B Eyring said “In the next few days you will have many opportunities to be a friend.... It may be as you walk on a dusty road. It may be as you sit down in a railroad car. It may be as you look for a place to sit in a Church congregation. If you are watching, you will see someone carrying a heavy burden. It may be a burden of sorrow or loneliness or resentment. It may be visible to you only if you have prayed for the Spirit to give you eyes to see into hearts and have promised to lift up the hands that hang down.
The answer to your prayer may be the face of an old friend, one you have not seen in years but whose needs suddenly come into your mind and heart and feel as if they are your own. [...]
When we reach out to give succor and to lift a burden, [Christ] reaches with us. He will lead us to those in need. He will bless us to feel what they feel. As we persist in our efforts to serve them, we will more and more be given the gift of feeling His love for them. That will give us courage and strength to reach out again and again in faithfulness.”

I believe that this is what Elder Holland meant in Oct 2008 General Conference when he said "But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day.... Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

Friendship is a wonderful gift. The more often we give it, the more often we receive it. I hope we are all grateful for quality friends. And may we all seek to be truly good friends—to bring out the best in each other and help each other live righteous lives. (Monte J. Brough, “True Friends,” New Era, Nov 2002, 37)

Daily Thought -- July 20, 2010

“Obedience to the Lord’s commandments provides us confidence in our chosen path, qualifies us for His guidance and direction as we pursue our efforts, and offers us the potential to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and return to our Father’s presence.”

Bruce A. Carlson, “When the Lord Commands,” Ensign, May 2010, 40

Monday, July 19, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 19, 2010

"Last summer my wife and I took our twin grandsons to Kirtland, Ohio. It was a special and precious opportunity for us to spend time with them before they left on their missions."During our visit there, we learned to better understand the circumstances of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Saints who lived in Kirtland. That era of Church history is known as a time of severe trials but also supreme blessings."In Kirtland the Lord bestowed some of the most remarkable heavenly manifestations and spiritual gifts this world has ever experienced. Sixty-five sections of the Doctrine and Covenants were received in Kirtland and surrounding areas—revelations that brought new light and knowledge about topics such as the Second Coming, caring for the needy, the plan of salvation, priesthood authority, the Word of Wisdom, tithing, the temple, and the law of consecration."It was a period of unparalleled spiritual growth. . . ."One of the many revelations Joseph received in Kirtland was a revelation he called the 'olive leaf . . . plucked from the Tree of Paradise, and the Lord's message of peace to us' (introduction to D&C 88). This remarkable revelation includes the sublime invitation, 'Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me' (D&C 88:63). As the Saints of Kirtland drew near unto the Lord, He truly did draw near unto them, pouring out the blessings of heaven upon the heads of the faithful."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Hold on a Little Longer," Ensign, Jan. 2010, 5–6

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 18, 2010

“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).”

D. Todd Christofferson, “The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign, May 2010, 34

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 17, 2010

"It might have seemed inconceivable to young Joseph that he was looking upon God our Heavenly Father and His Son—that the Lord had come to visit and instruct him."The Son, bidden by the Father, spoke to the kneeling boy. Joseph was told that all the churches were wrong. They had corrupted the doctrine; they had broken the ordinances and had lost the authority of the priesthood of God. He was told that the leaders of the man-made churches were displeasing to the Lord and that the time for the restoration of all truth and authority had come, including the organization of the Church. Then, to his infinite astonishment, he was told that he, Joseph Smith—young, unlearned, but humble—was to be the instrument through whom the Almighty would reestablish His work in these, the latter days—the gospel never to be taken away again. Such was the glorious beginning of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ."Some three years later, as he was beginning to mature, Joseph Smith had another heavenly visitation. This time an angel sent from the presence of God stated that he was Moroni and revealed to the young man the resting place of a set of gold plates upon which certain ancient inhabitants of America had recorded the history of their peoples. In the course of time, these records were translated by the gift and power of God and published early in 1830."

David B. Haight, "Joseph Smith, The Prophet," Ensign, Dec. 2001, 28

Friday, July 16, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 16, 2010

"God bless you wonderful mothers and fathers in Zion. He has entrusted to your care His eternal children. As parents we partner, even join, with God in bringing to pass His work and glory among His children. It is our sacred duty to do our very best.”

L. Tom Perry, “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Ensign, May 2010, 31

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Daily Thought --July 15, 2010

In the next few days you will have many opportunities to be a friend for [Christ]. It may be as you walk on a dusty road. It may be as you sit down in a railroad car. It may be as you look for a place to sit in a Church congregation. If you are watching, you will see someone carrying a heavy burden. It may be a burden of sorrow or loneliness or resentment. It may be visible to you only if you have prayed for the Spirit to give you eyes to see into hearts and have promised to lift up the hands that hang down.

The answer to your prayer may be the face of an old friend, one you have not seen in years but whose needs suddenly come into your mind and heart and feel as if they are your own. I’ve had that happen to me. Old friends have reached out to me across the miles and the years to offer encouragement when only God could have told them of my burden.

Living prophets of God have asked us to be faithful friends to those who come into the Church as converts and to go to the rescue of those who have drifted away. We can do it, and we will do it if we always remember the Savior. When we reach out to give succor and to lift a burden, He reaches with us. He will lead us to those in need. He will bless us to feel what they feel. As we persist in our efforts to serve them, we will more and more be given the gift of feeling His love for them. That will give us courage and strength to reach out again and again in faithfulness.

-Henry B. Eyring, “Faithful Friends,” Ensign, Jul 2010, 4–6

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 14, 2010

"In visits I watched Aaronic Priesthood quorums in action. I have seen young men following patterns of learning, making plans to do what God wants of them, then moving out to do what they have committed to do and sharing with others how they were changed spiritually. And as I watched and listened, it became clear that fathers, mothers, leaders, friends, and even neighbors in a congregation were touched by the Spirit as they heard youth testify how they had been strengthened. The youth were lifted as they bore testimony, and so were those who were trying to help them rise."

Henry B. Eyring, "Help Them on Their Way Home," Ensign, May 2010, 24

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 13, 2010

“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home. Parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles are made more powerful guides and rescuers by the bonds of love that are the very nature of a family.”

Henry B. Eyring, “Help Them on Their Way Home, Ensign, May 2010, 23

Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 12, 2010

"We live in a day of ‘wars [and] rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.’ As prophesied, ‘the whole earth [is] in commotion’ and ‘Satan is abroad in the land.’ He seeks to destroy all that is good and righteous. He is Lucifer, who was cast out of the presence of God. Against all of that, we have very positive feelings about what lies ahead.”

Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2010, 6

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 11, 2010

“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”

Julie B. Beck, “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010, 11

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 10, 2010

"[The] early Saints were indeed homeless, but they were not hopeless. Their hearts were broken, but their spirits were strong. They had learned a profound and important lesson. They had learned that hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance. They had discovered that the true source of hope is faith—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Wilford W. Andersen, "The Rock of Our Redeemer," Ensign, May 2010, 16

Friday, July 9, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 9, 2010

"Duty . . . is what we are expected to do and to be. It is a moral imperative summoning forth from individuals and communities that which is right, true, and honorable. Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous. It is not reserved to the mighty or high in station but instead rests on a foundation of personal responsibility, integrity, and courage."

Keith B. McMullin, "Our Path of Duty," Ensign, May 2010, 14

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 8, 2010

Twelve years ago today, I entered the MTC. Someone gave me this quote before I left, and it not only helped me in my missionary service, but it also has helped me in y other callings as well.

"There is no substitute for love. Often this love is kindled in youth by a mother, expanded by a father, and kept vibrant through service to God. Remember the Lord’s counsel: “And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work” (D&C 4:5). Well might each of us ask: Today, have I increased in faith, in hope, in charity, in love? When our lives comply with God’s standard and we labor with love to bring souls unto Him, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20)."

-Thomas S. Monson, “That All May Hear,” New Era, May 1996, 4

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 7, 2010

"The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants."

Boyd K. Packer, "The Power of the Priesthood," Ensign, May 2010, 9

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 6, 2010

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays but Sunday will come."

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 5, 2010

“When you were confirmed a member of the Church, you received the right to the companionship of the Holy Ghost. He can help you make good choices. When challenged or tempted, you do not need to feel alone. Remember that prayer is the passport to spiritual power.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Preparation Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2010, 66

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 4, 2010

"Freedom of choice is the freedom to obey or disobey existing laws—not the freedom to alter their consequences."

-D. Todd Christofferson

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 3, 2010

“Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign, May 2010, 57

Friday, July 2, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 2, 2010

“Keep the commandments of God. If you have sinned, the sooner you begin to make your way back, the sooner you will find the sweet peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness. Happiness comes from living the way the Lord wants you to live and from service to God and others.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Preparation Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2010, 66-67

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Daily Thought -- July 1, 2010

“All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Happily Ever After,” Ensign, May 2010, 127