Archive for January 2011

Sons & Daughters Of God- Tempered Against Evil   Leave a comment

 Brothers & Sisters,

There has been such an outpouring of the Spirit in my life the past few weeks, and not one that I should be surprised about. Before that outpouring of the good things, came the testing of resolve against all bad things.

In our lives, we all have this spiritual swing of ups and downs; Should we ever assume it is going to be otherwise, we will continue to live in a state of denial that will prevent much progression. Denial, fear and dismay are feelings someone else wants us to feel, but are not feelings we must feel. They will slip in, here and there- yet if there is anything I have learned as my life has progressed, it is that we have the ability to deny those feelings residence at any level and fiber of our being.

As I watched a recent Mormon Messages Video, “I am a Son of God” – which is the story of Moses as found in the first Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price- I read about and saw a personage who exhibited all those very feelings. Imagine if you will, Moses being able to look upon the very face of Satan. When Satan demands Moses to worship him, can you not help but feel the very DENIAL that Satan continued to be in at that day, many years after his fall? Think about it.

Consider then, Moses sees this, and as Moses disregards the commandment given him by Satan , imagine the visual DISMAY that must have permeated the features visible on the face of the Father of Lies- trying to fool himself, especially when thinking that Moses would resign his will to keep the commandments and fall down and worship him. Elder Jeffrey Holland said it best, when he said, “But Moses wasn’t having it. He had just seen the real thing…”.

I can only imagine the feeling of right, and justification that must have been native to the heart of Moses, when the last of the events he had to endure with Satan had come and gone. Imagine now, for yourself, that the laws by which Satan are bound, give us, as they did Moses, the upper hand against him. Think of the FEAR that had to be upon the face of the author of that feeling, when he was commanded “…in the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence Satan…“.

Sure, Moses was rocked by the fear of the event for a small portion of time, and saw “…the bitterness of Hell…” but, Moses knew and felt even stronger “The Spirit Of God” dwelling within him as he did just as God has commanded him and all men, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God” not having any other Gods before Him.

What a grandeur of moments, and Spiritual glee that can come upon our souls as we read about great stories of the survival of the un-official fifth principle of the Gospel, “Enduring To The End”. The scriptures are full of such blessed stories, and all of them I am grateful to God to have in my life.

I know that the scriptures are true, and through careful pondering of them… keeping them close to our hearts, we all can better understand the mysteries, wisdom, and power of God. Such is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

* Attention Friends: Many Of You Get This Via E-Mail; I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For Additional Interactive Features Such As Videos (And Many Of The Blog Entries Have Videos That Are Not Supported Through Email), News Alerts, (For Those In Plainview Branch) Lesson Schedules, Cleaning Schedules, Announcements And Much More. Find Interactive Links To Many Church Websites.To Visit The Blog, Visit The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWEQ.BLOGSPOT.COMFor Additional Testimony From Personal Members Of The Branch, Visit The (Un-Official) Plainview-Review Branch Blog At The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWREVIEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

Open House and Rededication Dates Announced for the Atlanta Georgia Temple   Leave a comment

Open House and Re-dedication Dates Announced for the Atlanta Georgia Temple

News Release

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced open house and rededication dates for the recently renovated Atlanta Georgia Temple.

The temple was closed 1 July 2009 for renovation. Among the changes was the addition of large windows in the celestial room, adding more natural light, and art glass windows in other parts of the temple.

The public is invited to visit the temple during an open house from Saturday, 9 April 2011, until Saturday, 23 April 2011, excluding Sundays. The temple will be formally rededicated on Sunday, 1 May 2011 in two sessions. Both of the re-dedicatory sessions will be broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district.

In conjunction with the rededication of the temple, there will also be a cultural celebration featuring music and dance on Saturday, 30 April 2011.

The Atlanta Georgia Temple was originally dedicated 1 June 1983 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency. He rededicated the temple baptistry in 1997 as president of the Church.

The temple serves more than 50,000 Latter-day Saints living in and around Georgia.

The temple is located 25 miles northeast of the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.

The temple is located 25 miles northeast of the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.

Latter-day Saint temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services.

Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity.

In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and strengthen their commitment to serve Jesus Christ and those around them.

Formal temple work will commence in the temple Tuesday, 3 May 2011.

* Attention Friends: Many Of You Get This Via E-Mail; I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For Additional Interactive Features Such As Videos (And Many Of The Blog Entries Have Videos That Are Not Supported Through Email), News Alerts, (For Those In Plainview Branch) Lesson Schedules, Cleaning Schedules, Announcements And Much More. Find Interactive Links To Many Church Websites.To Visit The Blog, Visit The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWEQ.BLOGSPOT.COMFor Additional Testimony From Personal Members Of The Branch, Visit The (Un-Official) Plainview-Review Branch Blog At The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWREVIEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

Testimony From California: By Christopher Lloyd Graham   Leave a comment

Brethren,

I opened up an invitation to all of the members of the church on Facebook, to share a portion of their testimony, (whether large or small wasn’t important,) just to give them the chance to bless us with another conversion to the gospel. When we hear the testimony of another Saint, we gain an additional witness from another. Remember the words from the hymn, “The Spirit of God, Like a fire is burning…” and that fire rests within our testimonies as well! Testimony is very important brethren! It is now, that I would like to thank our dear Brother Christopher Lloyd Graham, and share his testimony with you, written below:


The lord puts me here…with many many fears… thousands of tears… and many cheers.

He sent me here for a mission…to find my tuition…put my body into submission…to make an ultimate decision,

He give me friends…some stay untill the end…some defend….other will help and recommend,

He gives us trials… Many denials… fake smiles…feeling reconcile,

He gives us blessings…moments for confessing…love for moments of pressing…and examples of guessing,

He provides a family… sisters… brothers… mom and dad…all for constantly, hopefully, true feling thankfully,

He provides books…the bible it hooks… The Book of mormon you should have partook… and the guidance is more complex than it looks,

He excepts love…its a blessing from up above…small symbol is a dove…the vfeeling covers like a glove…so be a true love,

Then there is church… is to learn…is to ponder…and to see the things we cannot see–to SEARCH
he gives us the means…to be what we have been…to be his flammable gasoline…light us up and what us Gleam,

He gives me so much…so many people to touch…he wants us to grab that clutch…and show our spirits a whole bunch,

He sent his son…his only begotten one…the plan of salvation won…satan is done…jesus is the greatest loved one son,

So i share this small testimony, that this church is true, and i know my heavenly father lives, and that he loves me and provides the listed above so that we can return unto him in humility, honesty, and trust. I believe that everyone that passes your life was meant to leave something, if not be your everything. With this my new years resolution to be the best i can be for all of you. A friend, a missionary, a son, a brother, a best friend or boyfriend. or just a person to talk to. I LOVE YOU ALL and wish you a great year. listen to the spirit for it will guide you and show you the right way to go. I say these things in the name of the son Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
Again, I’d love to thank our Brother, Christopher Lloyd Graham… his Testimony was helpful and enlightening! If you would like to speak more with this Brother in Christ, find him on his Facebook page! I invite all to share their testimony, like our dear Brother Graham did. Thanks again!

* Attention Friends: Many Of You Get This Via E-Mail; I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For Additional Interactive Features Such As Videos (And Many Of The Blog Entries Have Videos That Are Not Supported Through Email), News Alerts, (For Those In Plainview Branch) Lesson Schedules, Cleaning Schedules, Announcements And Much More. Find Interactive Links To Many Church Websites.To Visit The Blog, Visit The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWEQ.BLOGSPOT.COMFor Additional Testimony From Personal Members Of The Branch, Visit The (Un-Official) Plainview-Review Branch Blog At The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWREVIEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

The Oath & Covenant Of The Priesthood   Leave a comment

I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For The Special Apostolic Videos Attached To This Blog:

Brethren,

After a super-charged, spiritually motivated meeting with our Stake Presidency this past Sunday, I took their counsel to heart. More importantly, I have found that upon our meeting this past Sunday morning at 7 a.m.- that I did not know enough about the blessings and the many great things that come with the Oath and Covenant Of The Priesthood. I think, many of us in that meeting (Elders Quorum Presidents & High Priest Group Leaders) were surprised when we we asked about what we could remember about the 84th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants.

I feel that is a great thing to ponder for any Priesthood holder. Take a moment to consider for yourself what you remember before reading on.

President Shumway had us share some of what we remembered then, and we were all amazed to see that much of what we shared concerning the Oath & Covenant of the Priesthood were the curses and detrimental things that befall those who reject it, or turn all-together from it.

He then had us prod our memory about some of the blessings that come to those who accept this great honor and Covenant. Although I’d love to list them all, I will only list one verse that President Shumway focused on before he closed counsel to us. That is the 77th verse of the 84th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants, which reads:

And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;

Having shared this with you, I now wish to have you watch the following two videos, on which Elder Perry of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks on the Oath & Covenant Of The Priesthood of God.

First, we have: Elder Perry on the Priesthood, Part One: The Oath and Covenant


http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/R2wMnmwiIIQ?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0

Next we have: Elder Perry on the Priesthood, Part Two: The Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods


http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/9SV8JpwDfUI?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0

I pray our understandings of the very power by which we act in His name, will become greater. I felt the Spirit stir me in getting this counsel from President Shumway, and I know you will as you study and pray about it!

I leave this with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

* Attention Friends: Many Of You Get This Via E-Mail; I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For Additional Interactive Features Such As Videos (And Many Of The Blog Entries Have Videos That Are Not Supported Through Email), News Alerts, (For Those In Plainview Branch) Lesson Schedules, Cleaning Schedules, Announcements And Much More. Find Interactive Links To Many Church Websites.To Visit The Blog, Visit The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWEQ.BLOGSPOT.COMFor Additional Testimony From Personal Members Of The Branch, Visit The (Un-Official) Plainview-Review Branch Blog At The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWREVIEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

High Council Speaker- Brother Wallace : "Home & Visiting Teaching"   Leave a comment

Brethren, We got the great blessing today of seeing Brother Wallace from the High Council. I seriously loved his talk, and felt for those of you that were unable to attend, you would love to read it, so here below, is the transcript. Thanks again to Brother Wallace, and the Lubbock Stake High Council!

Home and VisitingTeaching (Plainview Branch)
      Good morning,Brothers and Sisters.  What a blessing itis for me to be here with you in the Plainview Branch.  This is actually the first time for me to beattending your services, although I believe my wife has been here several timesin calling as Stake Young Women’s President, and I am grateful for thisopportunity.  I appreciate the wonderfultalk by Bro. Tombs.  I have known him andhis brothers since we moved here 8 years ago, and I was blessed to be one ofhis Priesthood leaders until about a year ago when I was called to the HighCouncil.   
     I must admit thatthere are many of you here today that I do not know, but I hope that will soon changesoon as we serve together as a Stake to bring about the work here in this partof the Lord’s vineyard.  I know itprobably feels at times, like you are out of touch in the Stake, being so farfrom Lubbock, but it is my testimony, that most of the growth of the Stake is goingto come and is coming from outside of Lubbock, within our branches.  I grew up in several small branches, one inupstate NY and the other while living in Philippines many years ago.  I also served in many very small brancheswhile on my mission, and I know that when the members work together, and do allthey can in their callings and in obeying our Heavenly Father, that each branchwill become a ward, for that is how the Lord blesses us.  I am excited that part of my responsibilitiesas a High Councilor is my assignment to the Quaker Heights Spanish-SpeakingBranch, and watch their growth as the Lord blesses them.
     With that, I also bringyou the love of our Stake Presidency, and remind you of their great concern foryou and your families.  As members of theStake High Council we are continually encouraged to strengthen our testimoniesof the Lord’s vision for this stake.  Inaddition, we are also asked gain a personal vision of our own callings andassignments while called to serve.  Iwould encourage each and every one of you, as members of this Stake and Branch togain your own personal vision for you and your families, and especially togather your families together and develop a Family Mission Plan so that you canshare your testimonies with those you love and associate with.  As you do, blessings will be poured out fromHeaven upon you and those around you, and this branch will grow.  May I also echo the words of PresidentShumway that every one of “you belongs here; that you belong in this church, inthis ward, and with these saints”.  Ifthere is anything holding you back from all the blessings of our HeavenlyFather, I would encourage you to look inside yourself and commit to do better,to utilize your strengths in overcoming your weaknesses.  I can personally testify that while it is notalways be easy, it will be worth it, and Heavenly Father will pour Hisblessings upon you and upon your families.  I support our Stake Presidency and theirsacred callings, and know that through Priesthood authority that our Stake willgrow, especially as we collectively put forth our hands, and love and serveothers.
     Our message thismonth, as assigned by the Stake Presidency is on The Blessings of Home andVisiting Teaching, and perhaps how we as individual members can gain atestimony of this inspired program.  Now,I’m not going to stand here and tell you that we all need to do our home andvisiting teaching.  Well, maybe I am,because that’s the message that our Stake Presidency wants us to give, and itis something I need encouragement with as well! I think that what President Harold B. Lee said in 1964 is very fittingto what our Stake Presidency envisions for the growth of our stake, especially inrelation to the vines.  Pres. Lee statedthat “Missionary work is but hometeaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home teaching isnothing more or less than missionary work to Church members.”     That’s pretty simple.  As home and visiting teachers, we are as missionariesto the members, bringing our families the Word of God.
     Growing up in thechurch, I have been a home teacher since the time I turned 14, when I was assignedas a junior companion to Bro. Sharp, a High Priest.  It was during those days that I learned a lotabout preparing gospel lessons, making phone calls to set up appointments, andI have great memories of traveling to the furthest borders of our ward(approximately 40 miles), to a small, old farmhouse where a very old couplelived.  I remember home teaching Bro. andSis. Paige even during snow blizzards, when the snow was piled along the roadside so high it was like traveling through a tunnel.  I also remember warm and tasty pies and cakethat Sis. Paige would serve us.  Often,following that visit we would travel another 30 miles in another direction tovisit the Bradley family that lived on the eastern shore of one of the FingerLakes.  Our total round trip was wellover 100 miles, and embarrassingly, I often fell asleep on the final leg home.
    Before continuing, I first mustmake a confession.  And that is, that Ihave not always been the best home teacher, and even today, I still strugglewith this responsibility.  With our fast-pacedlives, it is difficult to find the time, especially with all our familyresponsibilities, with school activities and work; and even our church callingsmany times get in the way.  When do wehave time to relax?  At our house, oftenour home teachers want to visit us at times that are inconvenient.  At times, I feel as if I am bothering those thatI home teach.  I know them well enough,and talk with them often, especially at church, so, isn’t that enough?  Why do I need to go visit their homes monthly?  And well, sometimes, I feel that we are doingit just for the numbers.  Well, Brothersand Sisters, those are my excuses, so what are yours?
    These thoughtsremind me of an experience I had many years ago, which occurred before Sis.Wallace and I married, and blended our two families together, and it was onethat taught me a great principle.  At thetime I was a single father, living in Upstate New York trying eagerly to completea Ph.D. at Cornell University all, while raising my two young sons.  I was living on the second floor of a tinyapartment located in a small village about 15 miles from the campus.  The apartment was old, but had a smallbalcony with an old iron railing just outside the living room.  Being a poor student and single father, I waspretty stressed out and needed as much sleep as I could get. 
     Early one spring morning,however, around 5:00 a.m., I was awakened by a loud rattle coming from outsidemy apartment.  The noise that I heard startledme enough that I was concerned that there may be construction or something elsegoing on outside on my balcony.  As I laythere in an early morning daze, I also thought that perhaps I had been dreamingand being tired, I tried to drift back asleep. Almost immediately, the rattling startled me again.  This time, with my heart racing, I jumped up frommy bed and walked to the sliding glass door, and peered outside in time to see onlythe passing of a tiny bird.  Not noticinganything out of the ordinary, I wandered sleepily back to my bed.  About 5 minutes later, when I had almost driftedback to sleep, the rattling shook the house again.  Confused and annoyed, I walked back out to myliving room to see what the noise was. Again I saw nothing except a little bird flying away. 
     Now I was getting frustratedand being too lazy to walk back to my bedroom, I just laid myself down on the nearbycouch.  As I lay there in anearly-morning daze, I was startled a third time by the rattling.  This time, however, I was prepared to catch whoeverwas disturbing my early morning sleep.  Withoutmoving, I slowly and carefully opened my eyes and was surprised to see only atiny little woodpecker sitting on the balcony’s old iron railing.  I thought to myself, could he be making that loudracket?   
     As quickly as Iasked myself that question, the answer came with a resounding boom and rattleof the railing.  I watched in amazementas this little woodpecker quite rapidly and uselessly pecked at the ironrailing.  Once my amazement subsided, Istarted to get irritated, so I jumped up and opened the sliding glass door andscared him off into the nearby woods. This effort of mine would have been sufficient had this happened forjust one morning, but this foolish little woodpecker came back and repeated hismerciless rattling every morning for the next 2 weeks.  
     I knew that my patiencewas being tested, but this foolish little woodpecker also got me thinking aboutmy role and effort as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I have often pondered to myself, why did thiscrazy little bird peck tirelessly at an old iron railing instead of a nice softtree?  Am I like this little woodpecker, foolishlypounding my head against the “old iron railings” in my own life?  Am I doing all I can to increase my faith, toserve others, to be obedient and to keep my covenants?  Am I doing the best at my churchcallings?  Am I a good home teacher?  Or, am I making poor choices like thiswoodpecker by choosing “old iron railings” instead seeking out the softer woodof the Gospel of Jesus Christ and doing all I can to assist in bringing aboutthe “immortality and eternal life of man”?
     As earthly membersof Heavenly Father’s kingdom, and especially as home and visiting teachers, we areasked to be instruments in God’s hands.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlesstates:It is not … enough for usto be convinced of the gospel; we must act andthink so that we are converted by it…  This is achieved not just by doing what isright, but by doing it for the right reason—for the pure love of Christ … Charity,‘the pure love of Christ is not an act but a condition or state of being.  Charity is attained through a succession ofacts that result in a conversion.  Charityis something one becomes”.  How then,Brothers and Sisters, do we become “charitable” home or visiting teachers?  Does it make it harder to be charitablebecause we do it out of assignment?  Arewe fearful to teach the Word of God?
    Alma, that great servantof the Lord in the Book of Mormon stated, and let me paraphrase him:  O thatI were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forthand speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth…!  Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as withthe voice of thunder… that they should repent and come unto our God, that theremight not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.”
     As instruments andservants of a loving Heavenly Father, our errand as home and visiting teachersfor today is clear.  God sends us an authorizedmessage, through living Prophets and Apostles and each month they speak to us,through articles in the Ensign and Liahona; which contain the living and  most current messages that we are asked tobring to those we visit and home teach.   When we are thoughtfully and spirituallyprepared, we do speak “with the trump ofGod, with a voice to shake the earth”.
     Brothers andSisters, none of us is perfect; we all have “old iron railings” which may be shortcomingsthat impede our path to receiving the full blessings of the gospel.  Some of these “old iron railings” come in theform of excuses we use to avoid strengthening our commitment to the gospel.  They come in the form of disobedience to thecommandments, or by not reading our scriptures or praying daily, by not havingregular family home evenings, or by not serving others by doing our home andvisiting teaching.  
    Perhaps we struggle with our role as a home and visiting teachers, anddon’t think that what we do makes a difference. Perhaps it doesn’t, but more than likely it will make a difference.  We usually never know how what we do impactsthose whom we serve!  I remember back towhen I was living in New York, and was assigned to serve as a senior companionalong with my oldest son.  Just like inmy youth, again I had to travel over 40 miles to home teach, this time a singlemother living out in the country.  I remembercomplaining silently to myself that it was a long way out there, but, havingbeen a single father, I knew somewhat of her needs and felt a particularresponsibility to her.  My son and I hometaught her for over a year.  We didn’t doanything really special for her, we helped out on her house or moved a fewthings here and there; we gave her a blessing or two, and taught her a fewgospel lessons.  But we didn’t know theimpact we had in her life until just before we moved, when she thanked us forbeing great home teachers.  Did I doanything out of the ordinary?  Did I “go forth and speak with the trump of God, witha voice [that shook] the earth”? Probably not, but just my actions of being there was enough to show thatI cared, and that she felt and was loved as a daughter of God.
    Am I now perfect in my home teaching? No, but I shouldbe.  And it shouldn’t be that hard forme.  I am assigned to home teach myBishop and his family, and the family of a member of the Stake Presidency, and aSister that wants no contact from the church, and to a brother that is also assignedto visit our family as well.  It shouldbe easy for me then, shouldn’t it?  But Istill struggle to be a good home teacher. 
     In 1998, PresidentThomas S. Monson stated the following regarding home teaching:  Let usreview the counsel of the Lord and His prophets concerning this vital endeavor.”…Priesthood holders [are assigned] ashome teachers to visit the homes of members every month.  They go in pairs; often a youth holding theAaronic Priesthood accompanies an adult holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Thehome teaching program is a response to modern revelation commissioning thoseordained to the priesthood to “teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch overthe church … and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to prayvocally and in secret and attend to all family duties; … to watch over thechurch always, and be with and strengthen them; and see that there is noiniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying,backbiting, nor evil speaking.”
     President David O. McKay admonished: “Home teaching is one of our mosturgent and most rewarding opportunities to nurture and inspire, to counsel anddirect our Father’s children. … It is a divine service, a divine call. It isour duty as home teachers to carry the divine spirit into every home and heart.To love the work and do our best will bring unbounded peace, joy, andsatisfaction to a noble, dedicated teacher of God’s children.”
     Finally,I have another personal story that relates to us, as Member’s of HeavenlyFather’s Church, and our need to follow righteous pathways and do what isright.  I was born and raised in upstateNew York, and during my high school years, our LDS ward was blessed with prettygood athletic young men.  One year, wehad a very good Young Men’s softball team. We beat everyone we played within our Stake and within our Region.  As a result, we were blessed to travel to theChurch Area Championships in South Carolina. What a great adventure for my friends and me!  Our leaders, which included my father, loadedall of us and our equipment into 3 station wagons (which were the precursors totoday’s mini-vans and SUVs), and we made the long journey southwards fromUpstate New York.  As luck would have it,we met our athletic match in South Carolina, and failed to move on at thetournament.  Disappointed in the loss,but happy with our adventure, we began our long journey home late in theevening after the tournament.  As luckwould have it, our vehicles were soon enveloped by a thick fog that slowed ourjourney down to almost a standstill.  Concernedfor our safety, our leaders stopped and pulled off to the side of the road todiscuss our predicament (remember, it was the mid 70s and we had no cell phonesin those days).  Perhaps somewhat foolishly,they decided the best course was to continue onward into the foggy night.  In making that decision, they all agreed tofollow the lead car’s taillights, thus ensuring each other that this would besafest in keeping the cars together.  We traveledthis way for several hours, and when the thick fog lifted, we discovered thatall three cars had somehow become separated in the fog.  Without anyone to follow, our car pursued itsown path and headed towards home.  Soonafter our arrival home, the second car drove safely in.  But the third car was nowhere to beseen.  After almost 8 hours, the thirdcar, with a very exhausted driver and youth arrived safely home.  But where had they been, we allwondered?  Had they broken down on thehighway somewhere, or had they just pulled to the roadside and slept for awhile?  Reluctantly and feeling somewhatembarrassed, they explained the reason for their lateness.  According to the plan, their driver had been followingthe taillights of the car in front of him. Somehow, in the thick of the fog, he had become confused.  As soon as the fog lifted, they realizedtheir mistake when they sheepishly noted that they were completely in the wrongstate, and that what they thought were the taillights of the lead car, hadactually been the taillights of someone heading in the opposite direction. 
     Brothers andSisters, how many times do we follow the wrong taillights?  How many times are we led astray, and followpaths that lead us to a loss of the Spirit? Only by keeping the correct taillights in front of us, will we beblessed.  There are times when the taillightsare easy to follow, and there are times when Satan tries to confuse us bylaying thick fog between us and the taillights. Heavenly Father’s joy in this life is that we wade through all the thickfog, discern the correct taillights to follow, which lights, of course, are thedoctrines and principles found in the True and Everlasting Gospel of JesusChrist.  Those lights are followed bybeing obedient, by keeping our covenants, by reading our scriptures and prayingdaily alone, and together as a family, and yes, one of those taillights we needto follow leads us directly to those that we home and visit teach.  The Lord promises us in the Doctrine andCovenants that He is “bound when ye do what I say; but when yedo not what I say, ye have no promise.”   
      I have a firm testimony of home and visitingteaching.  Again, I am not always thebest at doing my home teaching, but I am very thankful to those of you thatare, that emulate the Savior.  Our example of what home and visiting teachersexemplify, as even the Savior himself said: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, dothnot leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which islost, until he find it?  And: “Either what woman having ten pieces ofsilver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house,and seek diligently till she find it?” We may be home and visiting teachers to lost souls, but every soulis in need of nurturing.  I am thankful for home teachers thatwatched over my mother in her last years while I lived and raised my familysome 2000 miles away. 
     Bare a strongtestimony of the calling of a home and visiting teacher.  Testimony of the love our Savior JesusChrist, and the restoration of the Gospel on this earth.

 * Attention Friends: Many Of You Get This Via E-Mail; I Encourage You To Visit The Actual Blog For Additional Interactive Features Such As Videos (And Many Of The Blog Entries Have Videos That Are Not Supported Through Email), News Alerts, (For Those In Plainview Branch) Lesson Schedules, Cleaning Schedules, Announcements And Much More. Find Interactive Links To Many Church Websites.To Visit The Blog, Visit The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWEQ.BLOGSPOT.COMFor Additional Testimony From Personal Members Of The Branch, Visit The (Un-Official) Plainview-Review Branch Blog At The Following Web-Address:HTTP://PLAINVIEWREVIEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

"Never Leave Him" : Lesson For 1-23-11   Leave a comment

Neil L. Andersen, “Never Leave Him”, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 39–42


Neil L. Andersen

As you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him.

My beloved brothers and sisters across the world, I express my deep admiration for the faith and courage I see in your lives. We live in a most remarkable time—but a challenging time.

The Lord Alerts Us to Dangers Ahead

The Lord has not left us alone in our quest to return to Him. Listen to His warning words alerting us to the dangers ahead: “Take … heed, watch and pray.”1 “Beware lest ye … be deceived.”2 “Be watchful and careful.”3 “Beware lest ye also … fall from your own stedfastness.”4

No one of us is immune from the influences of the world. The Lord’s counsel keeps us on guard.
You will remember Jesus’s experience in Capernaum as disciples who had followed the Savior would not accept that He was the Son of God. The scripture reads, “From that time many of his disciples … walked no more with him.”5

Jesus then turned to the Twelve and asked, “Will ye also go away?”6

Will Ye Also Go Away?

In my own mind I have answered that question many times: “Absolutely not! Not me! I will never leave Him! I am here forever!” I know you have answered the same way.

But the question “Will ye also go away?” makes us think about our own vulnerability. Life is no spiritual picnic. The words of the Apostles from another setting come quietly into our mind: “Lord, is it I?”7

We enter the waters of baptism with joy and anticipation. The Savior beckons, “Come unto me,”8 and we respond, taking His name upon us. Not one of us wants this journey to be a brief flirtation with spirituality or even a notable but finite chapter. The road of discipleship is not for the spiritually faint of heart. Jesus said:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”9

“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”10

As we follow the Savior, without question there will be challenges that confront us. Approached with faith, these refining experiences bring a deeper conversion of the Savior’s reality. Approached in a worldly way, these same experiences cloud our view and weaken our resolve. Some we love and admire slip from the strait and narrow path and “[walk] no more with him.”

How Do We Remain True?

How do we remain true to the Savior, His gospel, and the ordinances of His priesthood? How do we develop the faith and strength to never leave Him?

Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”11 We need the believing heart of a child.

Through the power of His Atonement, we are to become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”12 This is the mighty change of heart.13

We soon see why a change of heart is necessary. Two words signal danger ahead: the words are offended and ashamed.

Choose Not to Be Offended

To those troubled by the Savior’s divinity, Jesus asked, “Doth this offend you?”14 In the parable of the sower, Jesus warned, “He … [endureth] for a while: [but] when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”15

Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds its way onstage. People we believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life doesn’t turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit 150 years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very real to us at the time.16

In our weakened moments, the adversary seeks to steal our spiritual promises. If we are not watchful, our injured, childlike spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former bloated ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior.

When Parley P. Pratt, in 1835, was judged unfairly, bringing embarrassment and shame to him and his family, the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled, “Parley, … walk such things under your feet … [and] God Almighty shall be with you.”17

Another example: In 1830, Frederick G. Williams, a prominent medical doctor, was baptized. He immediately gave of his talents and prosperity to the Church. He became a leader in the Church. He donated property for the Kirtland Temple. In 1837, caught up in difficulties of the times, Frederick G. Williams made serious mistakes. The Lord declared in a revelation that “in consequence of [his] transgressions [his] former standing [in the leadership of the Church had] been taken away from [him].”18

The beautiful lesson we learn from Frederick G. Williams is that “whatever his personal weaknesses, he had the strength of character to [renew] his loyalty to the [Lord,] the Prophet and … to the Church, when it would have been so easy to have disintegrated in bitterness.”19 In the spring of 1840, he presented himself at a general conference, humbly asking forgiveness for his past conduct and expressing his determination to do the will of God in the future. His case was presented by Hyrum Smith, and he was freely forgiven. He died a faithful member of the Church.

I recently met the president of the Recife Brazil Temple, whose name is Frederick G. Williams. He recounted how his great-great-grandfather’s decision of character had blessed the family and hundreds of his posterity.

Choose Not to Be Ashamed

Offended has a corrosive companion called ashamed.

In the Book of Mormon, we learn of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. The vision speaks of those noble souls who “[pressed] forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron,” arriving and “[partaking] of the fruit of the tree.”20

Nephi described the tree as “the love of God,”21 bearing fruit that “filled [the] soul with exceedingly great joy.”22

After tasting of the fruit, Lehi saw “a great and spacious building … filled with people … old and young, … male and female; and their … dress was exceedingly fine; and they were … mocking and pointing their fingers [of scorn] towards those who … were partaking of the fruit.”23 An angel explained that the mocking, the scoffing, the fingers of scorn represented the pride and wisdom of the world.24

Nephi declared plainly, “We heeded them not.”25

Sadly, there were others whose courage faltered. The scripture reads, “After they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those [who] were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.”26

As disciples of Christ, we stand apart from the world. There may be times we feel uncomfortable as the fingers of scorn mock and dismiss what is sacred to us.27 President Thomas S. Monson warned, “Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith.”28 Nephi said, “[Heed] them not.”29 Paul admonished, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; … Be not … ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.”30 We never leave Him.

While accompanying President Dieter F. Uchtdorf to Eastern Europe last year, I marveled at the faith and courage of the Saints. One priesthood leader in Ukraine told us of being called to the branch presidency in the spring of 1994, only six months after his baptism. This would require becoming public with his faith and helping to register the Church in the city of Dnipropetrovs’k. It was at a time of uncertainty in Ukraine, and openly showing faith in Christ and in the restored gospel could mean difficulty, including the possibility of losing his job as a pilot.

The priesthood leader told us, “I prayed and prayed. I had a testimony, and I had made a covenant. I knew what the Lord wanted me to do.”31 Courageously, he and his wife went forward with faith, unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Where Much Is Given, Much Is Required

Some ask, “Do I have to be so different from others?” “Can’t I be a disciple of Christ without thinking so much about my behavior?” “Can’t I love Christ without keeping the law of chastity?” “Can’t I love Him and do what I want on Sunday?” Jesus gave a simple answer: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”32

Some ask, “Aren’t there many of other faiths who love Christ?” Of course there are! However, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having a witness of His reality not only from the Bible but also from the Book of Mormon; knowing His priesthood has been restored to the earth; having made sacred covenants to follow Him and received the gift of the Holy Ghost; having been endowed with power in His holy temple; and being part of preparing for His glorious return to the earth, we cannot compare what we are to be with those who have not yet received these truths. “Unto whom much is given much is required.”33
The Lord said, “Thou mayest choose for thyself.”34

I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him.35

Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.

Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts.
Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.

Will we be astonished at times to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s Church and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak?36 Yes. But this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Never Leave Him

I love these words from a favorite hymn:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!37
 

Perfection does not come in this life, but we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep our covenants.
President Monson has promised, “Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe.”38 We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave Him.

The Savior asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?”39

Peter answered:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

“… We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”40
I too have that witness. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Posted January 20, 2011 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Never Leave Him Christ Jesus

"…Canst Thou Read [The Scriptures] Without Rejoicing…?"   Leave a comment

Brethren! It’s a great New Year, and 2011 seems filled with promise beyond even that of which I felt. I admit my slackened initial opinion of this year came because of my failure to live up to some of the New Years Resolutions I made. Finally, I said to myself, that the execution of it was a challenge, and in the reading of my scriptures- and the increase of daily reading- I have found that of which inspired the title to this blog.

The Scriptures are the means of us drawing closer to the Lord, and our Heavenly Father. Inside the words given us by the Lord, especially in the Book Of Mormon, is the fullness of the Gospel. The blessed knowledge that one can come to a merciful God, whom installed a plan of Salvation that through the work, order and authority of His church and His annointed- using the Priesthood, we can reach Heaven; The Lord is able to save us all.

The Gospel is so ideal to our spiritual progression, that if we treated it with the anxiety we find ourselves directing to Monday Night Football (Or any program for that matter), we might actually be continually filled, and not with any portion short of our need, causing that thirst for things of a Spiritual Nature that we seem to know we need, yet have a hard time in continually directing ourselves to, “in all diligence.” . If we could drive ourselves to the scriptures, like our bodies do to food when we are hungry, we would well fit into that category of which Elder Holland spoke of when he said, quoting the Savior,

“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived… and in the last days neither your heart, nor your faith, will fail you.” (Emphasis added)

We know also very well the damaging side effects of Spiritual starvation, and it is a reprehensible list. Oft times, the lack of blessings that we suffer, whether we have come to the knowledge of it or not, is due to our lack of diligence. Indeed, as I previously mentioned, in upping my spiritual ante with goals and resolutions and then NOT acting on them, am I not inviting Satan to “call” my bluff? Like a game of poker, Satan has chips of a corruptible nature, and can seem to force the “all in” much more than any Texas Hold Em player would care to think of.

So, we need to stave the onset of those opprobrious side effects of inaction, and contentment with the one source of information and teaching that is always right, and never wrong… the scriptures.

May I recall to your mind the account of the people of Zarahemla. The people of King Mosiah, The Nephites, stumbled upon the great city Zarahemla and found a good people, who were descendants of one of the sons of Zedekiah. After finding them, the record states, “Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” (Omni 1:15)

This discovery was a great one, worthwhile to both the Nephites, and the then called people of Zarahemla. But it was those people that taught us a lesson about the rich significance of a scriptural and genealogical record for continual reflection. As this states, we can assume that these were led from Jerusalem on or around the time Lehi was being led out. But Lehi had something they did not, the plates of brass. The effect of that difference mislead the people of Zarahemla.

The people of Zarahemla saw that “…their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.” (Omni 1:17)

This time is somewhere between 279 and 130 B.C., leaving the possibility of many hundred years of watered down stories and no record keeping.

The solution was absolute, and could go one of two ways. Fortunate for them, and the people of Mosiah, they felt that, “…it came to pass that Mosiah caused that they should be taught in his language….after they were taught… Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers; and they are written, but not in these plates.”(Omni 1:18)

How neat this must have been for Mosiah and his people. Others were brought into the fold, another small portion of history learned, and a record kept of the end result in not having, and not using (should they of had it) the scriptures.

So in my personal studies, I came across that scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants, which gave part to the title of this blog, and it says this:

“Behold, canst thou read this [The Scriptures] without rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness?”

If we are truly seeking the Savior, we can give a resolute answer to His question. We can’t help but jump for joy, and feel the Spirit testify to us of the truthfulness of the Gospel when we search, ponder and pray. I leave that message with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.