Archive for the ‘The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Ladder Day Saints Mormons Ward Council Scriptures’ Category

A Brand New Year 2010   Leave a comment

On behalf of the Plainview Texas Branch, of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, From The Elders Quorum Presidency, Happy New Years! (A little late, we know)

If you have not taken the chance to go through and “Digest” the greatest amount of wonderful Spiritual Food available on the Church websites, That being , (*AND*) …. Please do so! The information available at is frequently updated, but not utilized nearly as much as it should be! Below I will outline some suggestions that the Presidency (Of The Elders Quorum In The Plainview Texas Branch) have to better help the individual, the family and entire brethren of the Church- world wide to apply the Gospel to their lives.

Consider this Quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of The Quorum Of The Twelve;

“Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.”I testify that that is God’s truth. Christ is everything to us and weare to “abide” in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever.For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must befirmly attached to Him…”
With that plain explanation in mind, I now show how I feel that the above mentioned sites can better
“help the individual, the family and entire brethren of the Church- world wide to apply the Gospel to their lives.”

Suggestion Number 1: The First Presidency Message

As any member of the church knows, we have a monthly magazine called the “Ensign / Liahona” in which one of the members of The First Presidency Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, print an inspirational talk. A message specially delivered through divine revelation needed for the time, (Or month) it is printed in. This is a message in which I have seen in my life, seems to always apply to something going on in my life, or in the life of family or friends both in and out of the church. It never fails to enlighten me;

Is it any wonder why this message is the grounds for our Home Teaching Lessons? Knowing that, is it any wonder why we are to take it and apply it in life and callings as Latter-Day “Scripture” ? Even more phenomenal and amazing to me, is how the first message, for the first Ensign of this new year is a back to basics message.

Although the message for this month, given By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, is labeled Hold on a Little Longer the message is really all about our ability to hang on with greater diligence if we have followed the council given us by the General Authorities. Before listing the suggestions, allow me to pull out the abundant information that I had available to use this past Sunday (January 3rd, 2010) but had time insufficient to pleasantly discuss it all. 

“In a world that is ripening in iniquity (see D&C 18:6),members of the Church face the challenge of sustaining a pattern ofobedience to gospel principles that will result in their beingincreasingly different from the general behavioral trends of the world.This will require all of the spiritual reinforcement that can be drawnupon. Prayer, scripture study, participation in worship services, andthe giving of service will become increasingly essential. The influenceof the temple will be important as a part of this spiritualundergirding.”  (“The Importance of the Temple for Living Members” By Elder Dean L. Larsen Of the Presidency of the Seventy; Ensign » 1993 » April)

Our strength against the wiles, the anger of others, the pains of persecution, the vast and many fingers of scorn by them whom willingly take housing in Babylon, will reside in our conviction and conversion. The courage to turn off that which is not edifying, to stop reading that that does not enlighten and encourage and to steadfastly remain resolute in our interior knowledge and understanding will be the measure of our ability to live the gospel. I have seen this to be the case in my own life. To best understand this, I’d like to use the words of Nephi:

And men are instructed sufficiently that they aknow good from evil. And the blaw is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is cjustified; or, by the law men are dcutoff. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by thespiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserableforever.” (2nd Nephi 2: 5)

Behold, he offereth himself a asacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto bnone else can the cends of the law be answered.
Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto theinhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no fleshthat can dwell in the presence of God, asave it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who blayeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the cresurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” ( 2nd Nephi 2: 7-8)

Then there is a landmark one-two (boxing metaphor) that follows, saying……

And because of the intercession for aall, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be bjudged of him according to the truth and choliness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the dpunishmentwhich is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition tothat of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the eatonement—For it must needs be, that there is an aoppositionin all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness,righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neitherholiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things mustneeds be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it mustneeds remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption norincorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no apurposein the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroythe wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and themercy, and the bjustice of God.And if ye shall say there is anolaw, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is nosin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be norighteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousnessnor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these thingsare not bthereis no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; forthere could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to beacted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away” (2nd Nephi 2: 10-13)

I take that all, into this (very short paraphrase) “You’ve Been Told The Way, You’ve Been Shown The Way, The Scriptures Have Instructed The Way, You Can (And Must) Walk The Way”.

Next, lets visit another statement:

“Nurturing our testimonies and growing in spirit require increasedeffort as we move up the spiritual ladder. This is hard work, and weare not always willing to pay the price of promised blessings. As weconsider the atonement of Jesus Christ, which caused him, “even God,the greatest of all, to … suffer both body and spirit” (D&C 19:18),we can ask ourselves the sobering question, Can we expect to repent ofsin, overcome faults, abandon cherished but false beliefs, and growspiritually as we desire to do without effort commensurate with thegrowth and blessings we seek?”

“Personal righteousness is a prerequisite to personal revelation andcontinual spiritual growth. In our zeal to lay a figurative pipeline toheaven, do we sometimes forget the small daily things essential to ourspiritual advancement, like prayer, scripture study, acts of serviceand charity? Can we not be content if our pathway to progress consistsof small, almost imperceptible changes associated with regularrepentance?” ( “I Have A Question” [Ensign; July 1993, 54-55] )

Getting warmer in understanding? There are many things (Listed above) which are things that need be done as a pre-requisite to having all the strength needed to “Hold On A Little Longer” – [January 2010 First Presidency Message] .

“We know that our physical bodies require certain nutrients tosustain life and to maintain physical and mental health. If we aredeprived of those nutrients, our physical and mental vitality areimpaired and we have a condition called malnutrition.Malnutrition produces such symptoms as reduced mental functions,digestive disorders, loss of physical strength, and impairment ofvision. Good nutrition is especially important for children, whosegrowing bodies are easily impaired if they lack the nutrients necessaryfor normal growth. Our spirits also require nourishment. Just as there is food for thebody, there is food for the spirit. The consequences of spiritualmalnutrition are just as hurtful to our spiritual lives as physicalmalnutrition is to our physical bodies. Symptoms of spiritualmalnutrition include reduced ability to digest spiritual food, reducedspiritual strength, and impairment of spiritual vision. We know the principal sources of spiritual food: prayer, studying thescriptures, attending inspirational meetings, singing the hymns ofZion, serving in our callings, fasting, partaking of the sacrament, andmaking other covenants, such as in the temple. We also know that someexperiences can interfere with the assimilation of spiritual food, justas certain poisons can interfere with obtaining needed physicalnourishment from physical food. For example, anything that drives awaythe Spirit of the Lord, such as pornography, profanity, or anger, willprevent us from obtaining the spiritual nourishment we need fromexperiences that would normally be effective as spiritual food. Somephysical substances, like those forbidden by the Word of Wisdom, areharmful to both body and spirit.” ( “Nourishing The Spirit” From An Address Given At Ricks College by Dallin H. Oaks on 13th February 1996 )

What a great bit of information to review, as spoken by Elder Oaks. Sadly, alot of what weakens us, we allow to do so;

One of the most impressive doctrines found in the Book of Mormon isthat Satan’s power over a person increases as that person becomes morewicked, until eventually the person is “taken captive by the devil” andbound with the “chains of hell.” (Alma 12:11.)Satan’s method is to influence the thoughts of men, tempting them andenticing them, always working “in the hearts of the children of men.” (2 Ne. 28:20.)Nephi chillingly describes the method: “He whispereth in their ears,until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is nodeliverance.” (2 Ne. 28:22.)

But Satan’s power is not unrestrained. Joseph Smith taught that Satan has no power over us unless we give it to him. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel.Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 181.)And Nephi explained that the righteousness of a people deprives Satanof his power, “for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, forthey dwell in righteousness.” (1 Ne. 22:26.)
Between the extremes of Satan’s power to captivate and his utterpowerlessness stretches the spectrum of his ability to entice or tempt.As a being of spirit, he works in the realm of spirit, counterbalancedby the Spirit of God. In this way, free agency is preserved, giving usa choice between good and evil. As Lehi taught, “Man could not act forhimself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”(2 Ne. 2:16.) If Satan entices us to do evil, so the Holy Spirit “entices” us to virtue. (See Mosiah 3:19.) Free agency demands that neither the Holy Spirit nor the evil spirit have power to control the person against his will.

Each of these forces, being spiritual, works directly on the mind ofman—or the heart, as the scriptures call it—until the individualwillfully chooses to obey one and ignore the other. Then the balance ofpower shifts and the person begins to move upward to eternal life ordownward to destruction and misery. A person who has elected baptismand received the gift of the Holy Ghost has shifted the balance greatlyin favor of God’s influence, whereas a person whose wickedness hascaused his conscience to be “seared with a hot iron,” as Paul says (1 Tim. 4:2),may have put himself wholly within the realm of Satan’s influence. Thespirit of the Lord may cease to strive with such a person. (See 1 Ne. 7:14.)

In his effort to entice, Satan has great power. As Elder JosephFielding Smith taught, “We should be on guard always to resist Satan’sadvances. … He has power to place thoughts in our minds and to whisperto us in unspoken impressions to entice us to satisfy our appetites ordesires and in various other ways he plays upon our weaknesses anddesires.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph FieldingSmith, Jr., 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957–66, 3:81.)The temptations we all are subject to often take the form ofwhisperings and promptings to our minds and hearts. ( See Also “Questions and Answers,” Tambuli, Apr 1985, 29–31 )

Why is it important to know the mysteries of God? President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) explained:

“Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God: his existence, powers, love, and promises. … 

“If we spend our mortal days in accumulating secular knowledge tothe exclusion of the spiritual then we are in a dead-end street, forthis is the time for man to prepare to meet God; this is the time forfaith to be built. … 

“Secular knowledge, important as it may be, can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [1982], 390).

The knowledge of God and His plan of salvation is the kind ofknowledge that saves, and this kind of knowledge can be obtained onlyin the Lord’s way.

God reveals Himself and His eternal truths—the spiritual food thatthe scriptures call the bread of life and the living water—to those whoseek, who serve, who keep His commandments, and who wait and listen inhumility for His teaching. Study and reason are appropriate to beginthis process, but “the things of God cannot be learned solely by studyand reason. Despite their essential and beneficial uses, the methods ofstudy and reason are insufficient as ways of approaching God andunderstanding the doctrines of his gospel. We cannot come to know thethings of God while rejecting or failing to use the indispensablemethod God has prescribed to learn these things. The things of God mustbe learned in his own way, through faith in God and revelation from theHoly Ghost” (Dallin H. Oaks, The Lord’s Way [1991], 56).

Onlyin this way can we obtain the spiritual illumination, nutrition, andpower necessary to teach and transmit faith and testimony.

Gospel learning is usually initiated by study and reason, but so faras I can observe, intellectual methods, standing alone, are noteffective in transmitting abiding faith and deep spirituality from oneperson to another or from one generation to another.

Missionary work will help in this cause, consider this:

“In this great battle for the souls of men, the rules of engagement inmissionary work are more clearly defined for each of us. Members are toaccompany full-time missionary companionships as they teach the lessonsand play a vital role in the conversion process of others. Missionariesare “to preach my gospel by the Spirit” 17with words from their own hearts, words of truth treasured up by muchstudy and prayer. Our missionaries’ roles in the continuing conversionprocess of others do not end at baptism. They are to continue to teachnew members and others who need spiritual nourishment.”
“Strengthen Thy Brethren” : Robert J. Whetten [Liahona, May 2005, 91-93] )

So, to finish Suggestion 1 and to close this particular post [blog entry] I wish to extend my testimony, and heartfully bear with conviction that following the Prophets, the council of our General Authorities as well as sticking to the basics we can and will rise above the relentless assault of Satan. I know this to be true, and leave that with you brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Leadership Concerning Our "Ward Councils"   Leave a comment

Hello Brethren! Before I start, I wish to take the time to say Merry Christmas!

     On Saturday, December 19th, 2009 the leadership of branch, ward and stake leaders convened to discuss a energized and enthusiastic mission to revamp the Missionary Effort. We had the distinct pleasure to be taught and edified by a General Authority, Elder Webb. The Lubbock Stake was blessed several weeks earlier with a visit from Elder Webb and Elder Christiansen. (I hope I am spelling their names correctly)
     Before much of any information was taught, the Presiding Authorities provided us with the knowledge that at the end of 2010, some new manuals should be in the hands of leaderships. (I believe, but am not sure if it was indicated simply for Branch Presidencies, Ward Presidencies or even Stake…. but they will be out.)

     I absolutely loved the opportunity to sit in the second row and look right up at all the speakers, and perfectly hear their council. (Both the meeting on December 19th, and the other several weeks earlier) Participation was essential. It still is. I knew at both meetings that I could not learn anything if I did not act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost to participate. It is my distinct affirmation, that the Leaders we sustained to the Stake Presidency were indeed called of God. 
     Their love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shows in their concern and drive showing any and all whom are present that they were loved. To (As close as I can recall from my notes) quote President Shumway, “If you are here… you belong here!”.
     Elder Webb mentioned some scriptures, and I took some notes there. I love how the scriptures can and ought relate to our day. The first scripture he used was D & C 44:2 which reads as follows:

      “And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.” 

     Now, my understanding from this scripture is I think what Elder Webb wished others to see. When we discuss in our Ward Councils the Missionary Effort (Which seems to have adopted a name) “Member Missionary” ; Far too frequently, we would ask just for people to grab five names basically off the top of our heads from the High Priests, Elders and Relief Society, giving little, if any, thought or prayer or fasting into it. He may have also wished us to perceive what we needed to see!
     Truly, How often do we “Search, Ponder & Pray” concerning the Lord’s will? As the Primary Song So clearly puts forth:

  ” I love to read the Holy Scriptures and every time I do, I feel the spirit start to grow within my heart, a testimony that they’re true, Search, Ponder & Pray, are the things that I must do, the Spirit will guide and deep inside I know the scriptures are true. So prayerfully I’ll read the Scriptures each day my whole life through, I’ll come to understand, I’ll heed the Lords command and live as He would have me do, Search, Ponder and Pray, are the things that I must do, the Spirit will guide and deep inside I know the scriptures are true.”

    Have we the conviction similar to the songs our children are taught by to have? I fall short for sure. So why is it so important for us to pray about it? Consider the countless invitations the Savior extends;

3 Ne. 27: 29
Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; andshall be opened.  unto him that knocketh, it

D&C 4: 7
Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. 

D&C 6: 5
Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. 

D&C 11: 5
Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

D&C 12: 5
Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. 

D&C 14: 5 
Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. 

D&C 49: 26
Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.

D&C 66: 9 
Lay your hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. Return not till I, the Lord, shall send you. Be patient in affliction. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 

D&C 75: 27

Let them ask and they shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto them, and be made known from on high, even by the Comforter, whither they shall go. 

D&C 88: 63
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 

Previous to this, I mentioned 10 scriptures, where the Lord tells all whom read, to ask! Asking the Lord, whom knows our every desire both before we speak them and why, still wishes us to demonstrate our Faith by calling upon him! Prayer is essential to the Missionary effort… and because it is, Nephi cautions:

2 Ne. 32: 8
And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in yourhearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. Forif ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray

So, the adversary has a tool called “Rationalization” which is not at all rational, but rather foolish… He used it many times in the Scriptures, but, he drives very hard for us all to stay away from calling upon the Lord. Take a moment to study how not calling upon the Lord can stifle our progress… The brother of Jared, prior to building the ships to cross the great waters, failed to call upon the Lord for 4 years, and see what happened:

   And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that theLord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great seawhich divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitchedtheir tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.

   And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

   And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done,and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were withhim. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethrenof their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall rememberthat my Spirit will not always strivewith man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall becut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.(Ether 2: 13-15)
It is there I make my (im sure for the reader) long awaited point on prayer… If we don’t pray about the names of whom we wish to help, if we do not call upon him for that much needed revelation, we can’t, as Elder Webb stated, tell them that “We have been prayed here.” My goodness how great a point does Elder Webb make there.
Some time was turned over to President Robinson, where he expounded on further points, as were found in the last chapter of Matthew.
So, we have the scriptural drive, the spiritual understanding… now we need to understand this;

  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, evenend of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28: 18-20)

We have the means and motivation to do this work. The dream of doubling the stake and effectively implementing the Ward Council where we are, we can do it. In 3rd Nephi , the same significance is shown. The Savior calls out;


And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth.(3rd Nephi 11:18)

And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the HolyGhost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that theFather commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 

 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 

 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. 

And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. (3rd Nephi: 32-36)
So we have the power, the authority and means of moving the work forward! 

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea,by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, accordingto his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, thencometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. (2 Nephi 31:13)

We need to keep His commandments, and fear nothing. But if we dont understand why, we may not see;

Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. 
(2nd Nephi 32: 4)

We couldn’t have asked for a better understanding!! So, to know, we must ask, and to ask means we have faith, and if we have faith, we can hope. This Branch has reached its time to rise up above its minimum requirements. The people here want the word;

D&C 123: 12
For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it

In short brethren, this was a great meeting. We have been given all we need, now we need but use it and seek those whom are ready, the ones, that through fervent prayer, will accept this Gospel now! Its my personal Testimony that both members and Elders can be a powerful influence, and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.