Archive for April 2011

Chapter 32: Tithes and Offerings   2 comments

Paying Tithes and Offerings

  • How does our willingness to pay tithes and offerings show gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all His blessings to us?
We have been given commandments to help us prepare in every way to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. He has given us a way to thank Him for our blessings. Willingly paying tithes and offerings is one way we thank Him. As we pay these offerings, we show that we love Him and will obey His counsel.
  • In what ways does the payment of tithes and offerings help us thank our Heavenly Father?

Obeying the Law of Tithing

  • What is an honest tithe?

Anciently, Abraham and Jacob obeyed the commandment to pay a tithe of one-tenth of their increase (see Hebrews 7:1–10; Genesis 14:19–20; 28:20–22).
In modern times the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed, “O Lord, show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing” (D&C 119, section introduction). The Lord answered: “This shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever” (D&C 119:3–4). The First Presidency has explained that “one-tenth of all their interest annually” refers to our income (see First Presidency letter, Mar. 19, 1970).
When we pay tithing we show our faithfulness to the Lord. We also teach our children the value of this law. They will want to follow our example and pay tithing on any money they receive.
  • In what ways is tithing a principle of faith more than a principle of finances?
  • What can parents do to teach their children to pay tithing and understand its importance?

We Should Give Willingly

  • Why is our attitude important as we pay tithing?
It is important to give willingly. “When one pays his tithing without enjoyment he is robbed of a part of the blessing. He must learn to give cheerfully, willingly and joyfully, and his gift will be blessed” (Stephen L Richards, The Law of Tithing [pamphlet, 1983], 8).
The Apostle Paul taught that how we give is as important as what we give. He said, “Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
  • What does it mean to you to be a “cheerful giver”?

Tithing and Other Offerings

  • In what ways does the Church use tithing funds and other offerings?
As members of the Church, we give tithing and other offerings to the Lord.


Tithing is used by the Church for many purposes. Some of these are to:
  1. Build, maintain, and operate temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings.
  2. Provide operating funds for stakes, wards, and other units of the Church. (These units use the funds to carry out the ecclesiastical programs of the Church, which include teaching the gospel and conducting social activities.)
  3. Help the missionary program.
  4. Educate young people in Church schools, seminaries, and institutes.
  5. Print and distribute lesson materials.
  6. Help in family history and temple work.

Other Offerings

Fast Offerings. Church members fast each month by going without food and drink for two consecutive meals. They contribute at least the amount of money they would have spent for the meals. They may give as generously as they are able. This offering is called the fast offering. Bishops use these fast offerings to provide food, shelter, clothing, and medical care for the needy. 
As part of the fast day, members attend a meeting called the fast and testimony meeting, where they share with each other their testimonies of Christ and His gospel.
Other Donations. Church members may donate to other efforts of the Church, such as missionary work, the Perpetual Education Fund, temple construction, and humanitarian aid.
Service. Members also offer their time, skills, and goods to help others. This service allows the Church to help needy members and nonmembers around the world at community, national, and international levels, especially when disasters occur.

We Are Blessed When We Give Tithes and Offerings

The Lord promises to bless us as we faithfully pay our tithes and offerings. He said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith … if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
Latter-day revelation tells of another blessing for those who tithe: “Verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming” (D&C 64:23).
The blessings we have been promised are both material and spiritual. If we give willingly, Heavenly Father will help us provide for our daily needs of food, clothes, and shelter. Speaking to Latter-day Saints in the Philippines, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that if people “will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, the Lord will keep His ancient promise in their behalf, and they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads. I do not see any other solution. They need a power greater than any earthly power to lift them and help them” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 7). The Lord will also help us grow “in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], 124).
Those who pay their tithes and offerings are greatly blessed. They have a good feeling that they are helping to build the kingdom of God on earth.
  • What are some blessings you, your family members, or your friends have received through the payment of tithing and other offerings?

Additional Scriptures

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New Blog Address, Changes In The Ward & Newly Released & Called Brethren   Leave a comment



 Brothers And Sisters,

Heretofore I have addressed, for the most part, most of these blog entries- starting by simply saying “Brethren”. I wish now to exclaim, as I have at the beginning of this blog entry- all blogs from here on out, by saying “Brothers And Sisterss”.

The reason for this change is, first of all, that I know many women read this blog, and according to statistics I can view, it sometimes is more frequently viewed by women than it is by men.

I realize that this blog is titled “The Elders Quorum Blog” , but hereafter it will not be labeled as such. It will now be called “The Vineyard Of The Plainview Ward”. This change coming in light of the declaration given by our GREAT Stake President, President Shumway. I know that the change from Branch to Ward comes by approval (and I think he said by:) of the First Presidency. I know that this is the will of the Lord.

I will forever be placing messages here that are geared to benefit both the Brothers and Sisters in our Ward. A new feature, soon to come, will be the posting of the Visiting Teaching Message on the blog. I have always posted the First Presidency Message (Or similarly called Home Teaching Message) on the blog, and it is a fair proposal to also see some representation of the Sisters. This site will become an unofficial blog to benefit both those faithful readers the world over, and those living in and around the Plainview Ward.

Dear Sisters in Zion, unless otherwise noted and declared by the Relief Society President, all of the lessons posted here each week  (which can be viewed in the left column on the blog home page) are the same lessons that you will be hear in Relief Society.

On Sunday, March 27th 2011- There were some changes made in “Branch Presidency” as well as in the High Priest Group. They are as follows:

Brother Sharp was released as the 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency.
Brother Calderon was released as the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency.
Brother Bird was released as the High Priest Group Leader.

The following Brethren were called to the following positions, and they are as follows:

Brother Sharp was called to be the High Priest Group Leader.
Brother Calderon was called to be the 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency.
Brother Almaraz was called to be the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency.

We have reached a fulfillment of our longing desire to first, find more people to help come to know the truth- to edify them with the doctrine of eternal salvation and exaltation, and secondly, to become greater in numbers (and certainly not just numbers alone.) I would be foolish to think that our growth would never have come this far when I was re-activated in October of 2008. I am grateful that doubt never had residence in my heart and soul. I am so excited to know of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and feel blessed with the responsibility that we have to share the “Good News Of Christ”.

Brothers and Sisters, it is a blessing to be able to do this blog, and it is an even greater blessing to know that what has been posted here, since the dawn of this blog, has not only blessed local members, but also members and non-members the world over.

I know the Church is true. I know that both the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in that sacred grove, after Joseph followed the counsel given to all by James to “…let him ask of God…” when we did not know what to do. I know that the ancient Prophet Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, and tutored him to a great degree- teaching him to have greater faith, to be a more humble man, and to live by every word of God. I know that by the gift and power of God, Joseph Smith translated the record kept by the Nephites, revealing the fulness of the Gospel. I know that if we are, much like President Shumway admonishes us to be, Humble, Obedient and Instructing others with true doctrine, no power on earth can stop the work of the Lord from moving forth. I feel blessed to know we are led by a Prophet, even Thomas S. Monson, who is faithful in doing all that the Lord asks of Him. I pray we all continue faithful as we heretofore have been. Such is my prayer and message, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Lesson For 4-10-11 "Chapter 31: Honesty," Gospel Principles   Leave a comment


     Humbly I seek the direction of the Spirit before I take it upon myself to share the Lesson for next Sunday (Scheduled to be taught by President Derrick), and I wish to share with you a few things that have weighed upon my mind.
     I remember, as a member of the Branch – trying to re-develop a desire and personal affinity of the Gospel, it was requisite that I studied the Gospel regularly. I can also recall my desire to know more and more began to grow as I made it, an every day priority, to study upon the upcoming lessons. I made it a priority to frequently request the following weeks lesson in Sunday school (In Gospel Doctrine Class) so that I could fulfill my role as a Gospel Doctrine Listener and Obeyer. As I studied the following Sunday lesson during the week, I still learned many important things.
     At some point in my return to living the standard of truth, I saw the importance of my duty to understand the lesson for myself, and not just to learn for myself, but to also demonstrate my duty to the teacher to be ready to interact and be part of the classroom environment – answering questions that the teacher would ask. No, I did not wish to never give the chance to anyone else in the class to answer questions, but I did wish for the blessings of Heaven to come into my life as I better knew for myself the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     I also understood, that as I studied the lessons, my ability to grow closer to my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, was magnified. The Spirit became more frequently visible (At least to notice the promptings much more often) because in learning the lessons and becoming more familiar with the doctrine, I grew in my ability to help serve others.
     If there is one thing that I ever wish to be able to hear any student in a class say, it is that they felt the Spirit, and their testimony was strengthened by their decision to attempt to learn all they could each week, by both being present for the lessons taught in class, and, studying that lesson in the week prior.
     Ours is the responsibility to come to know the truthfulness of the Gospel for ourselves. We must have a desire to grow closer to the Lord. The Lord will not drop just anything in our lap. No, its quite the contrary, and to illustrate that, I wish to share with you the admonition the Lord gave Oliver Cowdery when he was trying to understand why he could no longer translate as he did when he first commenced. In Section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants, starting in verse 5, some wisdom is imparted unto us.

“And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.”

I believe (In part) that Oliver had a command of serious faith and because of that (or at least in part) he could do the work of translation. What may have happened, is he lost sight of the detailed requirement of continual application of the gift, (A round the clock appeal of continual faith) to get the job done right. The scriptures note his gift as “…this is the spirit of revelation…” (D & C 8:3) Then the Lord reminds him, before his application of his gift unto the desire to translate, when he says: “…this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou…(D & C 8:4) He also reminds Oliver, “Oh, remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.”(D & C 8:5)

Having that background, look back to Section 9: 7 when the Lord reminds him:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.”

Likewise, we are admonished not to just ask for an understanding of all things when we put no effort into attempting to learn them for ourselves. It is our collective duty, to search the scriptures diligently by the Lord, and our wise Stake President- President Shumway, has oft reminded me of three things that will make our ability to live and learn in the Gospel better, and those are:

1) Be Humble

2) Be Obedient

3) Teach The Doctrine

Without living the Gospel, we can in no wise “Be Humble”. Without regular learning of the Gospel, we can in no wise “Be Obedient” to a Gospel we do not know. Finally, without the former two items, not only can we not “Teach The Doctrine” , but we also can not live it.

I pray we take our duty to ourselves, our families, and most importantly to our God, with the utmost highest level of respect and regard- Let us learn the Gospel, and then teach it. To close this, I wish to share some more scriptures with you, and then the rest of this entry will be the actual Lesson for Sunday, April 10th 2011.

All seven of the following verses, constitute an entire Section in the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 4:

1) Now behold, a amarvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

2) Therefore, O ye that embark in the aservice of God, see that ye bserve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand cblameless before God at the last day.
3) Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are acalled to the work;
4) For behold the afield is white already to bharvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in cstore that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5) And afaith, bhope, ccharity and dlove, with an eeye single to the fglory of God, gqualify him for the work.
6) Remember faith, avirtue, knowledge, btemperance, cpatience, dbrotherly ekindness, fgodliness, charity, ghumility, hdiligence.
7) aAsk, and ye shall receive; bknock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
Now The Lesson:

Honesty Is a Principle of Salvation

  • What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?
The 13th article of faith says, “We believe in being honest.” The Book of Mormon tells us about a group of people who were “distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end” (Alma 27:27). Because of their honesty, these people were noted by their fellowmen and by God. It is important to learn what honesty is, how we are tempted to be dishonest, and how we can overcome this temptation.
Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation. President Brigham Young said, “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 293).
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves” (Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, 65; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, 73).
Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.

To Lie Is Dishonest

Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
The Lord is not pleased with such dishonesty, and we will have to account for our lies. Satan would have us believe it is all right to lie. He says, “Yea, lie a little; … there is no harm in this” (2 Nephi 28:8). Satan encourages us to justify our lies to ourselves. Honest people will recognize Satan’s temptations and will speak the whole truth, even if it seems to be to their disadvantage.

To Steal Is Dishonest

Jesus taught, “Thou shalt not steal” (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is taking something that does not belong to us. When we take what belongs to someone else or to a store or to the community without permission, we are stealing. Taking merchandise or supplies from an employer is stealing. Copying music, movies, pictures, or written text without the permission of the copyright owners is dishonest and is a form of theft. Accepting more change or goods than one should is dishonest. Taking more than our share of anything is stealing.

To Cheat Is Dishonest

We cheat when we give less than we owe, or when we get something we do not deserve. Some employees cheat their employers by not working their full time; yet they accept full pay. Some employers are not fair to their employees; they pay them less than they should. Satan says, “Take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor” (2 Nephi 28:8). Taking unfair advantage is a form of dishonesty. Providing inferior service or merchandise is cheating.

We Must Not Excuse Our Dishonesty

  • What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?
People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even.
These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. When we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous.

We Can Be Completely Honest

  • What does it mean to be completely honest?
To become completely honest, we must look carefully at our lives. If there are ways in which we are being even the least bit dishonest, we should repent of them immediately.
When we are completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, agreement, or covenant, even if it costs us money, friends, or our lives. Then we can face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 252).
  • In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?

Additional Scriptures

* 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