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Lesson for 5-11-14 – Chapter 8: The Church and Kingdom of God   2 comments

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, (2013), 116–26 (To view lesson online)

“Let all men know assuredly that this is the Lord’s Church and he is directing its affairs. What a privilege it is to have membership in such a divine institution!”

From the Life of Joseph Fielding Smith

Joseph Fielding Smith’s service as President of the Church, from January 23, 1970, to July 2, 1972, was the culmination of a lifetime of dedication in the Lord’s kingdom. He joked that his first Church assignment came when he was a baby. When he was nine months old, he and his father, President Joseph F. Smith, accompanied President Brigham Young to St. George, Utah, to attend the dedication of the St. George Temple.1

As a young man, Joseph Fielding Smith served a full-time mission and was later called to be president in a priesthood quorum and a member of the general board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (the forerunner to today’s Young Men organization). He also worked as a clerk in the Church Historian’s office, and he quietly helped his father as an unofficial secretary when his father was President of the Church. Through these service opportunities, Joseph Fielding Smith came to appreciate the Church’s inspired organization and its role in leading individuals and families to eternal life.

Joseph Fielding Smith was ordained an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ on April 7, 1910. He served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for almost 60 years, including almost 20 years as President of that Quorum. As an Apostle, he helped direct the Church throughout the world. He participated in many aspects of the Church’s mission, serving as Church Historian, president of the Salt Lake Temple, president of the Utah Genealogical Society, and a Counselor in the First Presidency.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, a dedicated servant in the Lord’s kingdom

A simple and unassuming man, Joseph Fielding Smith never sought these positions. But when the Lord called him to serve, he willingly and enthusiastically obeyed. He quietly exhibited this dedication one day when, at age 89, he went to a meeting. Walking from his home, he slipped and fell down a flight of steps. Although he hurt his leg, he walked about a quarter of a mile—“limping like an old man,” he said—so he could fulfill his responsibilities. After the meeting, he walked back home, where he finally allowed a doctor to examine him. The doctor found that President Smith’s leg was fractured in multiple places. President Smith later commented on the experience. “The meeting got a little long,” he said. “But then, most meetings do.”2

In a message to Latter-day Saint youth, President Smith shared his reason for being so dedicated to the work of the Church:

“I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son in the flesh of our Father. I have perfect faith in the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and those who have succeeded him.

“I know that we have the truth of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, just as well as I know that I live. If I did not know it, I wouldn’t want to be here or have anything to do with this work. But I know it in every fiber of my body. God has revealed it to me.”3

Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith

1

After centuries of spiritual darkness and apostasy, the Lord has restored His gospel and organized His Church on the earth.

The Lord [has] restored the gospel and organized again his Church upon the earth. The reason for such organization and restoration is the fact that for centuries the world had been in spiritual darkness, without the authority, and without the understanding; they knew not how to worship the living God. …

The everlasting covenant had been broken; the correct understanding of gospel principles had disappeared through apostasy; the right to officiate in the ordinances of the gospel had ceased among men. It became necessary that all this might be restored, and that faith might increase among the people through an opening of the heavens and a restoration of the gospel.

So the Lord sent his messengers from his presence, with the fulness of the gospel, and with power, and the authority of the priesthood to bestow upon men, and gave them commandments … because the Lord knew the calamities which were to come upon the world, and it was his will that a proper warning, and the opportunity to receive the gospel be given unto men that they might repent and turn from their evil ways and serve the Lord [see D&C 1:17–23].4

We announce that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth, the only place where men may come to learn the true doctrines of salvation and find the authority of the holy priesthood.5

My beloved brethren and sisters: I am grateful beyond any measure of expression for the blessings the Lord has given to me, and to the faithful members of his church in the various nations of the earth, and to all his children everywhere.

I thank him every day of my life that he has restored in these last days his everlasting gospel for the salvation of all who will believe and obey its laws.6

2

The Lord Himself directs the work of the Church, and it is our privilege to have membership in it.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in literal reality the kingdom of God on earth.7

I desire to say that no man of himself can lead this church. It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ; he is at the head. The church bears his name, has his priesthood, administers his gospel, preaches his doctrine, and does his work.

He chooses men and calls them to be instruments in his hands to accomplish his purposes, and he guides and directs them in their labors. But men are only instruments in the Lord’s hands, and the honor and glory for all that his servants accomplish is and should be ascribed unto him forever.

If this were the work of man, it would fail, but it is the work of the Lord, and he does not fail. And we have the assurance that if we keep the commandments and are valiant in the testimony of Jesus and are true to every trust, the Lord will guide and direct us and his church in the paths of righteousness, for the accomplishment of all his purposes.8

To all members of the Church throughout the world I would like to say that this church has a divinely appointed mission to perform under the direction and leadership of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and that nothing will stop his plans pertaining to it. It will fulfill the designs of our Father in heaven. I hope the Saints throughout the world daily thank the Lord for being members of his church and for the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith in restoring the gospel for our joy and happiness.9

To the honest in heart in all nations we say: The Lord loves you. He wants you to receive the full blessings of the gospel. He is now inviting you to believe the Book of Mormon, to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, and to come into his earthly kingdom and thereby become heirs of eternal life in his heavenly kingdom.10

There never was a time since the organization of the Church when a man led the Church. It was not so in the days of Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young; it has not been so since. It is the Lord’s work, and do not forget that it is the Almighty who is going to do this work, and not man.11

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth, and that as now constituted and officered it has the Lord’s approval and is moving in the course so directed.

Let all men know assuredly that this is the Lord’s Church and he is directing its affairs. What a privilege it is to have membership in such a divine institution!12

3

The Church is organized to help members find joy and happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come.

The Lord has established all things in order and has given us a perfect system. Men cannot improve upon it. If we would carry out that which the Lord has revealed, as he has revealed it, then all things would be perfect, for the organization is a perfect organization; the theory of it—the plan of it—is without flaw.13

The Lord has set up in his church a priesthood organization headed by apostles and prophets. And he has also given other organizations … to aid and assist in the priesthood.

In every gospel dispensation there are special needs to be met, problems to be solved, and help that must be given to assist and aid the members of the Church in working out their salvation “with fear and trembling” before the Lord. (See Phil. 2:12.) Hence we have auxiliary organizations [Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School] to aid and assist the priesthood. They are so organized as to meet the needs of the people in whatever social conditions may exist. They are part of the government of God and are set up to help members of the Church perfect their lives and do those things which assure them of joy and happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come. …

The Church and its agencies constitute in effect a service organization to help the family and the individual. Home teachers, priesthood leaders, and bishops are appointed to lead those with whom they labor to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom, and the auxiliary organizations are appointed to aid and assist in this great work of salvation.

We cannot stress too strongly the great need to utilize all of these programs for the benefit and blessing of all our Father’s children. …

If all of us do all of the things we should in carrying forward the programs of the Church, the Lord will bless and prosper us so fully that success shall attend our labors, and out of it all peace and joy will be our lot here and eternal glory hereafter.14

4

Our service in the Church expresses love for others and appreciation for the Lord’s infinite service.

The Lord is with the Church. He is guiding us. His spirit is resting upon this people. What he requires of us is that we serve him in humility and with a oneness of heart and soul.15

Our Savior came into the world to teach us love for each other, and as that great lesson was made manifest through his great suffering and death that we might live, should we not express our love for our fellowmen by service rendered in their behalf? Should we not show our appreciation for the infinite service he rendered us, by giving service in his cause?

The man who does only those things in the Church which concern himself alone will never reach exaltation. For instance, the man who is willing to pray, to pay his tithes and offerings, and to attend to the ordinary duties which concern his own personal life, and nothing more, will never reach the goal of perfection.16

Never refuse to serve. When a presiding officer asks your help, be glad to accept and give the best you have to that labor. The Lord expects this of us, and we are under covenant to do so. This course brings joy and peace, and at the same time those who serve receive the greatest blessing. The teacher gains more than the one taught; the blessing returned to us when we accept a call to work in the Church is far greater than the blessing we can impart to others. He who refuses to perform any labor or shirks responsibility when it is given him in the Church is in grave danger of losing the guidance of the Spirit. Eventually he becomes lukewarm and indifferent to all duties, and, like the plant that is not cultivated and watered, he shrivels up and dies a spiritual death.17

Your able service does not go unnoticed by that God whom you serve and in whose work you are engaged.18

“Your able service does not go unnoticed by that God whom you serve and in whose work you are engaged.”

It is my prayer that all of us, working together as true brothers and sisters in the Lord’s kingdom, may so labor as to accomplish the great work that lies ahead.19

5

In this dispensation, the kingdom of God and the work of the Lord will spread throughout the world.

A dispensation of the Gospel is defined as the granting to divinely chosen officers, by a commission from God of power and authority to dispense the word of God, and to administer in all the ordinances thereof. …

There have been times when the Gospel has been taken from men because of their transgression. Such was the case in the days of Noah. Israel turned from the Lord and was left in darkness for many generations preceding the advent of Jesus Christ, and when he came among men he restored the fulness of the Gospel. He sent his disciples to proclaim his message in all the world, but not many centuries had passed before the people had again fallen into error and lost the authority to act in the name of the Lord. This made it necessary for the opening of the heavens and the introduction of a new dispensation to make ready for the second coming of our Lord in the clouds of heaven to reign upon the earth in glory for a thousand years, which event is near, even at our doors.20

The gospel itself has been the same in all dispensations; the plan of salvation is the same for all our Father’s children in every age. From time to time it has been lost by apostasy, but whenever the Lord has had a people on earth, they have been offered the same laws and truths of salvation that he has revealed to us.

But there is one great added thing we have received in this age that has never been had before. In this dispensation the Lord has decreed that the Church shall never again be led astray; this time the gospel is here to stay. This time the revealed truth is destined to prepare a people for the second coming of the Son of Man, and the Church will be established in all parts of the earth when the Lord comes to usher in the millennial era of peace and righteousness.21

We are members of a world church, a church that has the plan of life and salvation, a church set up by the Lord himself in these last days to carry his message of salvation to all his children in all the earth. …

We have attained the stature and strength that are enabling us to fulfill the commission given us by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith that we should carry the glad tidings of the restoration to every nation and to all people.

And not only shall we preach the gospel in every nation before the second coming of the Son of Man, but we shall make converts and establish congregations of Saints among them.22

The kingdom of God and the work of the Lord will spread more and more; it will progress more rapidly in the world in the future than it has done in the past. The Lord has said it, and the Spirit beareth record; and I bear testimony to this, for I do know that it is true. The kingdom of God is here to grow, to spread abroad, to take root in the earth, and to abide where the Lord has planted it by his own power and by his own word, never more to be destroyed, but to continue until the purposes of the Almighty shall be accomplished—every principle that has been spoken of by the prophets since the world began. It is God’s work, which he himself, by his own wisdom and not by the wisdom of man, has restored to the earth in the latter days.23

The gospel is for all men, and the Church shall be established everywhere, in all nations, even to the ends of the earth, before the second coming of the Son of Man.24

I know and testify that the Lord’s purposes on earth shall prevail. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is here to stay. The Lord’s work shall triumph. No power on earth can prevent the spread of truth and the preaching of the gospel in every nation.25

I leave my blessing with you and my assurance that God is with his people, and that the work in which we are engaged shall triumph and roll forth until the eternal purposes of the Lord are fulfilled.26

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Lesson 5/4/14 “What Manner Of Men”   Leave a comment

What Manner of Men?


What changes are required of us to become the manner of men we ought to be?

As we visualize this worldwide meeting, we are reminded that there is nothing comparable to this gathering—anywhere. The purpose of the priesthood session of general conference is to teach priesthood holders what manner of men we ought to be (see 3 Nephi 27:27) and to inspire us to reach that ideal.

In my Aaronic Priesthood years in Hawaii half a century ago and as a missionary in England, we would gather in meetinghouses and (with intense effort) listen to the priesthood session using a telephone connection. In later years satellites allowed broadcasts to selected Church locations with those enormous dish receivers so we could both hear and view the proceedings. We were in awe of that technology! Few could have imagined today’s world, where anyone who has access to the Internet with a smartphone, tablet, or computer can receive the messages of this meeting.

However, this vastly increased accessibility to the voices of the Lord’s servants, which are the same as the Lord’s own voice (see D&C 1:38), has little value unless we are willing to receive the word (see D&C 11:21) and then follow it. Simply stated, the purpose of general conference and of this priesthood session is fulfilled only if we are willing to act—if we are willing to change.

Several decades ago I was serving as a bishop. Over an extended period I met with a man in our ward who was many years my senior. This brother had a troubled relationship with his wife and was estranged from their children. He struggled to keep employment, had no close friends, and found interaction with ward members so difficult he finally was unwilling to serve in the Church. During one intense discussion about the challenges in his life, he leaned toward me—as his conclusion to our numerous talks—and said, “Bishop, I have a bad temper, and that’s just the way I am!”

That statement stunned me that night and has haunted me ever since. Once this man decided—once any of us conclude—“That’s just the way I am,” we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, “That’s just the way I am.”

Well, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us—no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions—the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better.

When we participate in this meeting with the “real intent” to change (Moroni 10:4), the Spirit has full access to our hearts and minds. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they … exercise faith in me”—remember, faith is a principle of power and of action—“I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together” (D&C 44:2). That means tonight!

If you think your challenges are insurmountable, let me tell you of a man we met in a small village outside of Hyderabad, India, in 2006. This man exemplified a willingness to change. Appa Rao Nulu was born in rural India. When he was three years old, he contracted polio and was left physically disabled. His society taught him that his potential was severely limited. However, as a young adult he met our missionaries. They taught him of a greater potential, both in this life and in the eternity to come. He was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. With a significantly raised vision, he set a goal to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and to serve a full-time mission. In 1986 he was ordained an elder and called to serve in India. Walking was not easy—he did his best, using a cane in each hand, and he fell often—but quitting was never an option. He made a commitment to honorably and devotedly serve a mission, and he did.

When we met Brother Nulu, nearly 20 years after his mission, he cheerfully greeted us where the road ended and led us down an uneven dirt path to the two-room home he shared with his wife and three children. It was an extremely hot and uncomfortable day. He still walked with great difficulty, but there was no self-pity. Through personal diligence, he has become a teacher, providing schooling for the village children. When we entered his modest house, he immediately took me to a corner and pulled out a box that contained his most important possessions. He wanted me to see a piece of paper. It read, “With good wishes and blessings to Elder Nulu, a courageous and happy missionary; [dated] June 25, 1987; [signed] Boyd K. Packer.” On that occasion, when then-Elder Packer visited India and spoke to a group of missionaries, he affirmed to Elder Nulu his potential. In essence, what Brother Nulu was telling me that day in 2006 was that the gospel had changed him—permanently!

On this visit to the Nulu home, we were accompanied by the mission president. He was there to interview Brother Nulu, his wife, and his children—for the parents to receive their endowments and be sealed and for the children to be sealed to their parents. We also presented the familywith arrangements for them to travel to the Hong Kong China Temple for these ordinances. They wept with joy as their long-awaited dream was to be realized.

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). Relying upon the Savior’s Atonement, we can change. Of this I am certain. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Posted May 3, 2014 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Uncategorized

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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).

See Others As They May Become   Leave a comment

Hello Brethren, it has been a little while since I have blogged anything, and that is not something to say I am proud of. I have many friends and family that really look forward to these writings. I was prompted last night when I came home to pull up General Conference talks from this past October and decided to watch the Priesthood Session. Of course all the talks were great, but the one that seemed to resonate with me at the time was the talk that President Monson gave. (Thus the title of this blog.)

Said President Monson, “We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.” I realized that can be a two way street. Not only should we see others as they may become, but why not allow ourselves to imagine how we could be when we are converted? I know for many years of my youth in the church, and some years as an adult, I never gave myself a chance of becoming anything worthwhile in my minds eye.

President Monson also gave another hint of direction, “Sometimes letting our brethren know they are needed and valued can help them take that step into commitment and full activity. This can be true of priesthood holders regardless of age. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to live as they should. We can help them to overcome their shortcomings. We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Christ.” This is an example of just how great the Plainview Branch was for me… indeed, the entire Lubbock Texas stake.

Indeed the Lubbock Texas stake was inspiring for me. I had the chance to be moved upon by the Spirit a lot. The Spirit even moved me to make an inspired thing that is called, “The Shumway Sequence” (Below) These were principles the Stake President, President Shumway, continually rehearsed unto the brethren.

  • 1.       ALWAYS STRIVING TO INCREASE TIME SPENT AROUND THE SPIRIT

“…Humble yourselves before the Lord…call upon His holy name…watch and pray continually… and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all longsuffering.” (Alma 13:28)

2.       ALL THINGS ACCOMPLISHED ACCORDING TO THE LORD’S TIMING

“Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you.” (Doctrine & Covenants Section 67:14)

3.       THERE IS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN THE SERVICE YOU ARE GIVING

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

  4.      INCREASE OUR DESIRE TO HAVE A DEEPER LEVEL OF TRUST AND FAITH

“…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 –Faith)

“I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good- yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously ; and this is my Spirit.”

(Doctrine & Covenants Section 11:12 – Trust)

5.       IF YOU ARE HERE NOW, YOU ARE FOREORDAINED TO BE HERE.

“And this is the manner after which [we] were ordained – being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; …therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling…which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.” (Alma 13:3)

All these principles do tie in a bit with what Elder Holland spoke with great conviction of. Loving the Lord!

Allow me now, to close with some of the closing words of President Monson…

We have the responsibility to look at our friends, our associates, our neighbors this way. Again, we have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become. I would plead with you to think of them in this way.

Brethren, the Lord told us something about the importance of this priesthood that we hold. He told us that we receive it with an oath and a covenant. He gave unto us the instruction that we must be faithful and true in all that we receive, and that we have the responsibility to keep this covenant even unto the end. And then all that the Father has shall be given unto us.2

Courage is the word we need to hear and hold near our hearts—courage to turn our backs on temptation, courage to lift up our voices in testimony to all whom we meet, remembering that everyone must have an opportunity to hear the message. It is not an easy thing for most to do this. But we can come to believe in the words of Paul to Timothy:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.”3

Willing and Worthy to Serve   Leave a comment

Brethren,

I wished to share a talk with you, from this most recent General Conference, given by our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I feel impressed for us to read it over again, and even to watch the talk. The talk has a wonderful example of a miracle worked by a man who was “Willing and Worthy To Serve” during WW2 in 1944.

I invite you to prayerfully ponder this talk, and then ask yourself the question, “Am I willing and worthy to serve?”

My beloved brethren, how good it is to meet with you once again. Whenever I attend the general priesthood meeting, I reflect on the teachings of some of God’s noble leaders who have spoken in the general priesthood meetings of the Church. Many have passed to their eternal reward, and yet from the brilliance of their minds, from the depths of their souls, and from the warmth of their hearts, they have given us inspired direction. I share with you tonight some of their teachings concerning the priesthood.

From the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.”1

From the words of President Wilford Woodruff, we learn: “The Holy Priesthood is the channel through which God communicates and deals with man upon the earth; and the heavenly messengers that have visited the earth to communicate with man are men who held and honored the priesthood while in the flesh; and everything that God has caused to be done for the salvation of man, from the coming of man upon the earth to the redemption of the world, has been and will be by virtue of the everlasting priesthood.”2

President Joseph F. Smith further clarified: “The priesthood … is … the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, nor borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day in which we live by ministering angels and spirits from above, direct from the presence of Almighty God.3

And finally from President John Taylor: “What is priesthood? … It is the government of God, whether on the earth or in the heavens, for it is by that power, agency, or principle that all things are governed on the earth and in the heavens, and by that power that all things are upheld and sustained. It governs all things—it directs all things—it sustains all things—and has to do with all things that God and truth are associated with.”4

How blessed we are to be here in these last days, when the priesthood of God is upon the earth. How privileged we are to bear that priesthood. The priesthood is not so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift, and an opportunity to bless the lives of others.

With these opportunities come responsibilities and duties. I love and cherish the noble word duty and all that it implies.

In one capacity or another, in one setting or another, I have been attending priesthood meetings for the past 72 years—since I was ordained a deacon at the age of 12. Time certainly marches on. Duty keeps cadence with that march. Duty does not dim nor diminish. Catastrophic conflicts come and go, but the war waged for the souls of men continues without abatement. Like a clarion call comes the word of the Lord to you, to me, and to priesthood holders everywhere: “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.”5

The call of duty came to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to Samuel, to David. It came to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to each of his successors. The call of duty came to the boy Nephi when he was instructed by the Lord, through his father Lehi, to return to Jerusalem with his brothers to obtain the brass plates from Laban. Nephi’s brothers murmured, saying it was a hard thing which had been asked of them. What was Nephi’s response? Said he, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”6

When that same call comes to you and to me, what will be our response? Will we murmur, as did Laman and Lemuel, and say, “This is a hard thing required of us”?7 Or will we, with Nephi, individually declare, “I will go. I will do”? Will we be willing to serve and to obey?

At times the wisdom of God appears as being foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest and most valuable lessons we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.

When I think of the word duty and how performing our duty can enrich our lives and the lives of others, I recall the words penned by a renowned poet and author:

I slept and dreamt
That life was joy
I awoke and saw
That life was duty
I acted and behold
Duty was joy.8

Robert Louis Stevenson put it another way. Said he, “I know what pleasure is, for I have done good work.”9

As we perform our duties and exercise our priesthood, we will find true joy. We will experience the satisfaction of having completed our tasks.

We have been taught the specific duties of the priesthood which we hold, whether it be the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood. I urge you to contemplate those duties and then do all within your power to fulfill them. In order to do so, each must be worthy. Let us have ready hands, clean hands, and willing hands, that we may participate in providing what our Heavenly Father would have others receive from Him. If we are not worthy, it is possible to lose the power of the priesthood; and if we lose it, we have lost the essence of exaltation. Let us be worthy to serve.

President Harold B. Lee, one of the great teachers in the Church, said: “When one becomes a holder of the priesthood, he becomes an agent of the Lord. He should think of his calling as though he were on the Lord’s errand.”10

During World War II, in the early part of 1944, an experience involving the priesthood took place as United States marines were taking Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands and located in the Pacific Ocean about midway between Australia and Hawaii. What took place in this regard was related by a correspondent—not a member of the Church—who worked for a newspaper in Hawaii. In the 1944 newspaper article he wrote following the experience, he explained that he and other correspondents were in the second wave behind the marines at Kwajalein Atoll. As they advanced, they noticed a young marine floating facedown in the water, obviously badly wounded. The shallow water around him was red with his blood. And then they noticed another marine moving toward his wounded comrade. The second marine was also wounded, with his left arm hanging helplessly by his side. He lifted up the head of the one who was floating in the water in order to keep him from drowning. In a panicky voice he called for help. The correspondents looked again at the boy he was supporting and called back, “Son, there is nothing we can do for this boy.”

“Then,” wrote the correspondent, “I saw something that I had never seen before.” This boy, badly wounded himself, made his way to the shore with the seemingly lifeless body of his fellow marine. He “put the head of his companion on his knee. … What a picture that was—these two mortally wounded boys—both … clean, wonderful-looking young men, even in their distressing situation. And the one boy bowed his head over the other and said, ‘I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the priesthood, to remain alive until I can get medical help.’” The correspondent concluded his article: “The three of us [the two marines and I] are here in the hospital. The doctors don’t know [how they made it alive], but I know.”11

Miracles are everywhere to be found when the priesthood is understood, its power is honored and used properly, and faith is exerted. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.

The call of duty can come quietly as we who hold the priesthood respond to the assignments we receive. President George Albert Smith, that modest but effective leader, declared, “It is your duty first of all to learn what the Lord wants and then by the power and strength of His holy Priesthood to [so] magnify your calling in the presence of your fellows … that the people will be glad to follow you.”12

Such a call of duty—a much less dramatic call but one which nonetheless helped to save a soul—came to me in 1950 when I was a newly called bishop. My responsibilities as a bishop were many and varied, and I tried to the best of my ability to do all that was required of me. The United States was engaged in a different war by then. Because many of our members were serving in the armed services, an assignment came from Church headquarters for all bishops to provide each serviceman a subscription to the Church News and the Improvement Era, the Church’s magazine at that time. In addition, each bishop was asked to write a personal, monthly letter to each serviceman from his ward. Our ward had 23 men in uniform. The priesthood quorums, with effort, supplied the funds for the subscriptions to the publications. I undertook the task, even the duty, to write 23 personal letters each month. After all these years I still have copies of many of my letters and the responses received. Tears come easily when these letters are reread. It is a joy to learn again of a soldier’s pledge to live the gospel, a sailor’s decision to keep faith with his family.

One evening I handed to a sister in the ward the stack of 23 letters for the current month. Her assignment was to handle the mailing and to maintain the constantly changing address list. She glanced at one envelope and, with a smile, asked, “Bishop, don’t you ever get discouraged? Here is another letter to Brother Bryson. This is the 17th letter you have sent to him without a reply.”

I responded, “Well, maybe this will be the month.” As it turned out, that was the month. For the first time, he responded to my letter. His reply is a keepsake, a treasure. He was serving far away on a distant shore, isolated, homesick, alone. He wrote, “Dear Bishop, I ain’t much at writin’ letters.” (I could have told him that several months earlier.) His letter continued, “Thank you for the Church News and magazines, but most of all thank you for the personal letters. I have turned over a new leaf. I have been ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. My heart is full. I am a happy man.”

Brother Bryson was no happier than was his bishop. I had learned the practical application of the adage “Do [your] duty; that is best; leave unto [the] Lord the rest.”13

Years later, while attending the Salt Lake Cottonwood Stake when James E. Faust served as its president, I related that account in an effort to encourage attention to our servicemen. After the meeting, a fine-looking young man came forward. He took my hand in his and asked, “Bishop Monson, do you remember me?”

I suddenly realized who he was. “Brother Bryson!” I exclaimed. “How are you? What are you doing in the Church?”

With warmth and obvious pride, he responded, “I’m fine. I serve in the presidency of my elders quorum. Thank you again for your concern for me and the personal letters which you sent and which I treasure.”

Brethren, the world is in need of our help. Are we doing all we should? Do we remember the words of President John Taylor: “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty”?14 There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants on the stage of priesthood service. Let us hearken to the stirring reminder found in the Epistle of James: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”15

Let us learn and contemplate our duty. Let us be willing and worthy to serve. Let us in the performance of our duty follow in the footsteps of the Master. As you and I walk the pathway Jesus walked, we will discover He is more than the babe in Bethlehem, more than the carpenter’s son, more than the greatest teacher ever to live. We will come to know Him as the Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer. When to Him came the call of duty, He answered, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”16 May each of us do likewise, I pray in His holy name, the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord, amen.

Posted July 27, 2012 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Uncategorized

Where Grandpa Knows Best…   1 comment

I normally dont make it a habit to share emails or anything, but my grandfather shared one with me, with an admonition to read a talk. I’ll post the email he sent me, followed by the talk he was speaking about. Enjoy.

 

“My family,friends,and associates:

I have just lost a good friend that I had been Home Teaching for 7 years and as I thought of his family and loved ones .
I have been trying to come to grips with this. As I read President Henry B. Eyring talk in the last general Conference (Ensign may 2012 page 23 ,etc) The answer to all our problems is found in that talk. This may seem to you that I am preaching to you again. The older you get the more you want to learn and after 80 years this talk has enveloped me in Christ,s love for me and my loved ones. Please read it several times and meditate upon it if you cannot read have somebody else read it to you .
Wanitta and family I love you and this is counsel that you and I need in the time ahead. Our lives will have to change to have meaning
in our lives after we have known Dan
President Eyring had cancer and whether it has been arrested, I don’t know, but it is good advice.
LOVE,
Lloyd Beardsley”

Mountains to Climb

By President Henry B. Eyring

First Counselor in the First Presidency


By President Henry B. Eyring

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing.

I heard President Spencer W. Kimball, in a session of conference, ask that God would give him mountains to climb. He said: “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”1

My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting.

Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost.

The adversity that hit me in that faraway day now seems tiny compared to what has come since—to me and to those I love. Many of you are now passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out as did one great and faithful servant of God I knew well. His nurse heard him exclaim from his bed of pain, “When I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”

You know how the Lord answered that question for the Prophet Joseph Smith in his prison cell:

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”2

There seems to me no better answer to the question of why trials come and what we are to do than the words of the Lord Himself, who passed through trials for us more terrible than we can imagine.

You remember His words when He counseled that we should, out of faith in Him, repent:

“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”3

You and I have faith that the way to rise through and above trials is to believe that there is a “balm in Gilead”4 and that the Lord has promised, “I will not … forsake thee.”5 That is what President Thomas S. Monson has taught us to help us and those we serve in what seem lonely and overwhelming trials.6

But President Monson has also wisely taught that a foundation of faith in the reality of those promises takes time to build. You may have seen the need for that foundation, as I have, at the bedside of someone ready to give up the fight to endure to the end. If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.

My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakable foundation. I do it with great humility for two reasons. First, what I say could discourage some who are struggling in the midst of great adversity and feel their foundation of faith is crumbling. And second, I know that ever-greater tests lie before me before the end of life. Therefore, the prescription I offer you has yet to be proven in my own life through enduring to the end.

As a young man I worked with a contractor building footings and foundations for new houses. In the summer heat it was hard work to prepare the ground for the form into which we poured the cement for the footing. There were no machines. We used a pick and a shovel. Building lasting foundations for buildings was hard work in those days.

It also required patience. After we poured the footing, we waited for it to cure. Much as we wanted to keep the jobs moving, we also waited after the pour of the foundation before we took away the forms.

And even more impressive to a novice builder was what seemed to be a tedious and time-consuming process to put metal bars carefully inside the forms to give the finished foundation strength.

In a similar way, the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life. That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity.

Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith. It can begin in childhood since every soul is born with the free gift of the Spirit of Christ. With that Spirit we can know when we have done what is right before God and when we have done wrong in His sight.

Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare the solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built. The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances, and principles.

One of the keys to an enduring faith is to judge correctly the curing time required. That is why I was unwise to pray so soon in my life for higher mountains to climb and greater tests.

That curing does not come automatically through the passage of time, but it does take time. Getting older does not do it alone. It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.

Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. Moroni, the son of Mormon in the Book of Mormon, told us how that blessing could come to pass. He teaches the simple and sweet truth that acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it:

“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.

“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.

“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.”7

That particle of faith most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moroni taught the power of that faith this way: “And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.”8

I have visited with a woman who received the miracle of sufficient strength to endure unimaginable losses with just the simple capacity to repeat endlessly the words “I know that my Redeemer lives.”9 That faith and those words of testimony were still there in the mist that obscured but did not erase memories of her childhood.

I was stunned to learn that another woman had forgiven a person who had wronged her for years. I was surprised and asked her why she had chosen to forgive and forget so many years of spiteful abuse.

She said quietly, “It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I just knew I had to do it. So I did.” Her faith that the Savior would forgive her if she forgave others prepared her with a feeling of peace and hope as she faced death just months after she had forgiven her unrepentant adversary.

She asked me, “When I get there, how will it be in heaven?”

And I said, “I know just from what I have seen of your capacity to exercise faith and to forgive that it will be a wonderful homecoming for you.”

I have another encouragement to those who now wonder if their faith in Jesus Christ will be sufficient for them to endure well to the end. I was blessed to have known others of you who are listening now when you were younger, vibrant, gifted beyond most of those around you, yet you chose to do what the Savior would have done. Out of your abundance you found ways to help and care for those you might have ignored or looked down upon from your place in life.

When hard trials come, the faith to endure them well will be there, built as you may now notice but may have not at the time that you acted on the pure love of Christ, serving and forgiving others as the Savior would have done. You built a foundation of faith from loving as the Savior loved and serving for Him. Your faith in Him led to acts of charity that will bring you hope.

It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel.

I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment. One of the characteristics of trials in life is that they seem to make clocks slow down and then appear almost to stop.

There are reasons for that. Knowing those reasons may not give much comfort, but it can give you a feeling of patience. Those reasons come from this one fact: in Their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with Them to live in families forever. Only those washed perfectly clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be there.

My mother fought cancer for nearly 10 years. Treatments and surgeries and finally confinement to her bed were some of her trials.

I remember my father saying as he watched her take her last breath, “A little girl has gone home to rest.”

One of the speakers at her funeral was President Spencer W. Kimball. Among the tributes he paid, I remember one that went something like this: “Some of you may have thought that Mildred suffered so long and so much because of something she had done wrong that required the trials.” He then said, “No, it was that God just wanted her to be polished a little more.” I remember at the time thinking, “If a woman that good needed that much polishing, what is ahead for me?”

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up.10 And He always keeps His word.

I testify that God the Father lives and that His Beloved Son is our Redeemer. The Holy Ghost has confirmed truth in this conference and will again as you seek it, as you listen, and as you later study the messages of the Lord’s authorized servants, who are here. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet to the entire world. The Lord watches over you. God the Father lives. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer. His love is unfailing. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Posted May 26, 2012 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Uncategorized

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“Unto Such It Is Given To Know The Mysteries Of God” (Alma 26:22)   Leave a comment

Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.” (Alma 26:22)

     The Story of the tremendous missionary work that was performed by Aaron, Ammon, Omner and Himni among the Lamanites  is an awe inspiring story. The account of their mission is a powerful one. All in all, they spent 14 years teaching the Lamanites, and if you collectively add their experience together, their experience totalled 56 years. What a marvelous sacrifice. But their story did not begin there! Their miraculous story mirrors (In many ways) the Biblical story of Saul. President Uchtdorf  explained the story of Saul well in his talk “Waiting On The Road To Damascus“, but here is a tidbit of the story in which I will relate to Alma, Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni.

      One of the most remarkable events in the history of the world happened on the road to Damascus. You know well the story of Saul, a young man who had “made havock of the church, entering into every house … [committing the Saints] to prison.” (Acts 8:3)

      Saul was so hostile that many members of the early Church fled Jerusalem in the hope of escaping his anger.

     Saul pursued them. But as he “came near Damascus … suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

     “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”  (Acts 9:3-4)

So that scripture sound somewhat familiar to the Story of Alma and the sons of King Mosiah? Indeed it does. Let’s do a little study into the Book Of Mormon and just compare some of the moments to the story of Saul. Speaking of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, the scriptures tell us:

“And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them. And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king—” (Mosiah 27: 9-10)

So now you see some similarities, with what they ( Saul, and Alma and the sons of Mosiah ) had in common as to what they were doing to good people, and to the Lord’s church, now lets see what happened to Alma and the sons of Mosiah when an angel of the Lord stepped in:

“…as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood; And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them.” (Mosiah 27: 11-12)

So we get to the verse from the Book Of Mormon, out of Mosiah which could kind of go side by side with Acts 9: 3-4. It reads as follows:

“Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.” (Mosiah 27: 13)

I know this is a tremendous amount of information to use in the attempt to build-up to the title of this blog entry, but I believe it to be significant.

Ultimately, both stories produced changes in the individuals that were of significant magnitude. When Alma was about attempting to destroy both the people and the church of the Lord, it was 92 B.C. After the encounter with the angel they immediately set to work repairing all the local damage they had done, both temporally and spiritually.

Said Alma, “I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.” (Mosiah 27:24) Continuing to speak to others, also in an attempt to repair possible spiritual damage he could have done, he described his process of change through what he learned and now knew, “And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;” (Mosiah 27:25)

Having stated his understanding that was given him, Alma described to some extent the process of repentance as he had experienced it:

Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.

My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.

I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all.

Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.” (Mosiah 27: 28-31)

So now that you know the context of the past that Saul, and the past of Alma and the sons of Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner & Himni), you know the significance of the future impact they would all make. What I found most interesting, was how they started their missionary work.

And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them.

And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer.” (Mosiah 27: 35-36)

Alma and the sons of Mosiah were given a second chance by the Lord, and it clearly became apparent to me that they wanted the Lord to see just how thankful they were for that great blessing that we as members of the church can experience, repentance.

And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.” (Mosiah 28:4)

They were set in their minds to do all they could to bring others to the truth, and so much so that they were willing to brave the probability of death by preaching to their brethren the Lamanites.

Their faith had them convinced that the Lord would guide them. The scriptures describe just how they felt about sharing the gospel with their brethren:

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” (Mosiah 28:3)

That is an avid description of just how serious they took the gospel. I often wonder if I’ve ever taken the gospel that seriously. I have to be honest and frank here, but no, i’ve never come to the point where “…the very thought that any soul should endure endless torment did cause ‘ME’ to quake and tremble.”

It saddens me frequently that I have taken the gospel for granted that much. Are we all at that point? Do we all appreciate just how important the gospel is to us, and just how important we should hold it, with reverence in our hearts, about how much we should share it with others? I know I have failed at being as good of a missionary as I could be. Some of the choices we have all made have had us question our legitimacy of sharing the gospel, but one thing is certain brethren, the gospel is perfect, and man is not.

We can start to make commitments to be better representatives of the gospel, and we take it one day at a time. Start by studying the gospel every day, and we will be amazed at the progress that will be made.