What Manner Of Men…   Leave a comment

So, it has been a significant time since I have written. The reasons vary, but I can assure you that none of those reasons included a wavering testimony. It has more or less been just a weakened desire to blog for a while. Its a phase I guess. I’ve gone through the phase before, and I know bloggers who all go through the phase as well.

Recently, I have had a resurgence of my personal testimony, through trials that have come into my life. Through faith, those challenges have been easier to bear. I have had the blessing of a calling in the church for the past several months, as an instructor in the Elders Quorum, and that calling has helped boost my desire to continue to be a good Father, husband, and Brother to all those involved in my life. ELDER DONALD L. HALLSTROM of The Presidency Of The Seventy in his April 2014 Conference talk, said “Relying upon the Savior’s Atonement, we can change.”

I don’t mention the need to change as a dramatic thing that I have to do, or have yet to do, but more as recognition that as a Priesthood holder, I have a duty to continually change for the better. Said the Savior “…what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:27)

Some might argue… “But Rex, The Savior is perfect, and neither you or I can be perfect.”

I say, you are correct. We can’t be perfect, but we can strive to be perfect. The admonition to be perfect given to us by the Savior, is something Satan would have you think, is a waste of time. Satan would have you and I think that because if nobody can ever be perfect here on earth, then why try…..right? This is a thought that years ago ran through my mind, and I’m certain has at some point run across the minds of most good Christians the world over.

Look to the scriptures for some encouragement here, because we have the Iron Rod to guide us the best we can, down the road of perfection. You need only have a testimony of the Word of God, which can come by Faith, and study. The great Prophet Alma, had a fantastic way of relating how that Faith, like a seed with nurturing and care, can grow.

First, experiment and try it, “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” (Alma 32:27)

What words? Continue to read, “Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness. Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.” (Alma 32: 28-32)

The word of God begins to grow in us, and as it grows in us, out of us comes the righteousness that leads to perfection. We dwell upon the Word, and make it a cornerstone of a daily supplement, spiritual foundational re-enforcement to help us perfect ourselves.

To know of its truth, Moroni encouraged, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truthof it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:4-5)

I think that the scriptures have been the largest means of my testimony being strengthened. I know the Lord wants me, and likewise every other Priesthood holder, to be that Manner of Men, that strive to do our best to live the Gospel, bear testimony of it through word and deed, and to teach it to those precious souls over which our Heavenly Father has given us stewardship over.

In closing, allow me to share a portion of a talk from Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, given during the April 2014 Priesthood Session of General Conference, called “What Manner Of Men”:

What is expected of a holder of the priesthood of God? What changes are required of us to become the manner of men we ought to be? I make three suggestions:

  1. We need to be priesthood men! Whether we are young men holding the Aaronic Priesthood or men bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood, we need to be priesthood men, showing spiritual maturity because we have made covenants. As Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). We should be different because we hold the priesthood—not arrogant or prideful or patronizing but humble and teachable and meek. Receiving the priesthood and its various offices should mean something to us. It should not be a perfunctory “rite of passage” that automatically happens at certain ages but a sacred act of covenant thoughtfully made. We should feel so privileged and so grateful that our every action shows it. If we seldom even think about the priesthood, we need to change.
  2.  We need to serve! The essence of holding the priesthood is to magnify our calling (see D&C 84:33) by serving others. Avoiding our most important duty to serve our wives and children, not accepting or passively fulfilling callings in the Church, or not caring about others unless it is convenient is not who we should be. The Savior declared, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37) and later added, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me” (D&C 42:29). Selfishness is the antithesis of priesthood responsibility, and if it is a trait of our character, we need to change.
  3. We need to be worthy! I may not have the ability of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland when he spoke in a priesthood session a few years ago to “get in your face … , nose to nose, with just enough fire … to singe your eyebrows” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 45); but, dear brethren, we need to wake up to how commonly accepted practices in the world choke our power in the priesthood. If we think we can even flirt with pornography or violations of chastity or dishonesty in any form and not have it negatively affect us and our families, we are deceived. Moroni stated, “See that ye do all things in worthiness” (Mormon 9:29). The Lord powerfully directed, “And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life” (D&C 84:43). If there are any unresolved sins preventing our worthiness, we need to change.

The only complete response to the question posed by Jesus Christ “What manner of men ought ye to be?” is the one He succinctly and profoundly gave: “Even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). The invitation to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32) both requires and expects change. Mercifully, He has not left us alone. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. … Then will I make weak things become strong” (Ether 12:27).

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