Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Married Santa Claus

What better day to honor the father of my children than that of Father’s Day. While searching for some profound wisdom I could share about Fathers I found the following nugget:

“There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.”

For some reason this quote really hit home for me, perhaps it is because I am married to Santa Claus.

For the past several years my husband has really been Santa Claus. While serving in the Bishopric of the ward, the activities committee came to him with a very big problem. Search as they might, they simply could not find anyone willing to play the role of Santa for the ward Christmas party. Albeit reluctant at first, my husband consented to fill the position required. That night he saw first hand the expression of childlike innocence and unconditional love that was given by the children, to one they held in such high esteem. He was hooked, and now each Christmas Eve my very own Santa makes visits to children in our area and unselfishly provides service for anyone who calls. Yes, Santa is precisely who he is.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'

Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus.

“He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

My very own Santa, the love of my life, the father of my children, this wonderful man is an example of love, generosity, and devotion. It is simply who he is. He shows unconditional love for me, his wife, as well as for his children, and those who become his children by osmosis. He generously gives to any who has a need, and goes the extra mile to even supply all our wants too. His devotion to his God, his church, his family, his job, and his friends is seen in the life he lives.

“Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”

My husband has charm. He swept me off my feet the minute I saw him. Those who are fortunate to call him their friend have been made better because of his influence in their life. He has a sense of humor and a quick wit. He is a wonderful conversationalist. All of these qualities pale next to his dedication and love for the Lord. He is prayerful and humble. He is faithful and obedient. He is valiant. He brings light into the home and his presence is continually sought after by his children. He always has, and always will, make his family his biggest concern. He gives all of our lives meaning.

“Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”

Yet, most of his deeds go unnoticed. Things like, his daily drive to work made as a sacrifice for a better life for his family. He has given support both financially and emotionally to children that are not his own. He has supported missionaries anonymously as they desired to serve the Lord but could not afford the monthly payments. He has supplied numerous family Christmas celebrations for those who would have gone without. Every week he feeds the masses and opens up his home because of the love he has in his heart for his young adult friends. He has become a counselor and a father figure to many who have felt a void in their lives in that area. As an employer he is fair and giving. He is patient and kind. He is compassionate and true.

“You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.”

My husband has strength and power in his righteousness. He honors his priesthood and the covenants he has made. The fidelity he gives to the Lord, his wife, and his family allows us to part the veil and helps us to see eternity. He understands who he is, and values the important job he has been given as the patriarch of our family. He gives us all clarity and vision. He helps us to see the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

“No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever.”

The way my husband lives his life, and the influence he is for good, will be his legacy forever. My fondest desire is to be by his side in the eternities creating, building, and progressing, with our family close at hand. He is a wonderful father. Through him and the covenants we have made together, we have been promised that the desires of our hearts will be made sure. Yes, we certainly must thank our Heavenly Father for the very opportunity we have been given to receive these blessings in our lives. For the sacrifice He made of His son, who lives so that we too may live forever. That is the perfect example of a Fathers love for His children. The father of my children looks to that example and applies it in his life. For this I will be eternally grateful.

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

I should know I am married to him.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Pioneer Father

Perhaps I am the only girl in the whole wide world that hates shopping. That said, occasions like Father’s Day are particularly hard for me when it comes to the gift buying and giving category. It is not that I don’t want to do it; I am simply at a loss as to what to buy the men in my life who seem to have everything they could need, and certainly are at a point in their lives where they could buy whatever they want. That leaves buying gifts very challenging. Beyond cooking them a special meal, I always feel at a loss for ways of showing my gratitude to them. Typically they both receive electronics or maybe even clothing. This year in lieu of my usual offering, I have decided to pay tribute to them with words from my heart. Today is the post for my Father, and tomorrow is the one for the Father of my children. So until next year, where I will probably be found at Best Buy or The Mens Wearhouse, Happy Fathers Day.

Typically the development of the Father/Child relationship might be something like this:

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

I guess I have always been a sixty year old at heart because I have always understood that my Dad knows literally everything.

Growing up, if anything was ever broken or needed fixing in the house my dad became a MacGyver. He could fix anything. He would even make parts out of the treasures he would find in his garage for the broken items when no parts were available to buy. Having felt the blessings of this talent my whole life, after I was married the first time my husband suggested we call a repair man for a broken item I almost died. I had never realized that not everybody was as talented in that area as my Dad was.

By the standard set by President David O. McKay when he taught, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home”, my Dad would be deemed highly successful. He showed my brother and I unconditional love, while at the same time he taught us the meaning of the word respect. This foundational teaching has stayed with us our whole lives, and has helped us to teach our children that same reverence and respect that many others have failed to learn. He taught us to respect things that are Holy, to respect other people, to respect property, and mostly to respect ourselves. Many times I have been tempted to do something I knew wasn’t right, but the thought of disappointing my dad was the one thing that made me ultimately choose the right.

My Father loves my Mother. That is the greatest gift he could have ever given to his children. His support for her and loyalty to her sets a standard for all of us. When my father became unable to work because of an injury he received on his job, he and my mother switched roles for awhile. During this time in his life, it became necessary for my grandmother to receive constant care. My mother’s mother moved in with them and my father took care of her everyday. Although it was not easy, my fathers example of love and service to my mother and grandmother is something I will never forget. In the last few years that my mother worked as a school teacher my father went to work with her everyday, helping her in her classroom. Those Kindergarten children were blessed to have not only the expertise of my mother, but the influence of my father in their lives as well. I am sure that the role of both a mother and a father was one that was rarely seen by the children my mother taught. How lucky they were to have been influenced by that great model of parenting.

Courage, perseverance, and strength are three words that I would use to describe my dad. As a child growing up, my father faced many challenges. His childhood memories are not the most pleasant. He always made sure that my brother and I had the best of everything. My father showed courage when he decided to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints against the wishes of his family. He persevered in his commitment to the gospel despite many who opposed him, and married my mother in the House of the Lord, for time and all eternity. He had the strength to effect change in his life so that his future generations would be the beneficiaries of that mighty change. I boastfully think of him as my pioneer ancestor. He forged a path for the rest of us to follow, and I will be eternally grateful.

How thankful I am to have been blessed with such a man as my father in my life. Because of him I have come to understand my Heavenly Father better and to feel the love He has for me. I know that when I am broken he can heal me. I know I have Heavenly parents that love each other and that I am their daughter and respect the blessings that go with that knowledge. I understand that courage, perseverance, and strength are needed if I am to return to live with Him someday. These things I know because my father taught them to me by the way he lives his life.

May my own father rejoice in the fruits of his labors which is the firm testimony of Jesus Christ, which his children and his grandchildren have today. For generations his name will be known for good among our household of faith. The love I have for my righteous father will be a light that pierces all darkness, unto me forever.

Thank you for being the best father you could be... Dad I love you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fathers and The Patriarchal Key

The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. The way that power is governed is through keys. Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood, and although all His apostles have been given the keys necessary for governing His Church, only the Prophet alone has the authority to exercise them. It is through these administrative keys that His Kingdom is governed on the earth.

Priesthood keys are given to worthy priesthood holders as they are called to serve in presiding roles of responsibility. These keys are in essence temporary permission granted to exercise authority in priesthood duties of those the leader has been given stewardship over. When a person is released from the specific leadership position, the keys that were once turned in their behalf are no longer necessary, but are passed on to another who is called to serve in the Kingdom in their place.

There is one key however that is eternally given, never to be relinquished. That key is the patriarchal key, given to fathers by the Father, to further the work of the Lord within the walls of their own home. President Harold B. Lee said, “The most important work you will ever do will be done within the walls of your own home,” and President David O. McKay cautioned that “no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” This key when exercised in righteousness has a power that is eternal in its focus. “That joyful work and calling is to do whatever is necessary to chart a course for you and your family to unitedly return and live with Heavenly Father.” (Durrel A. Woolsey)

In a talk titled, An Eternal Key, Durrel A, Woolsey explained the important role a father must play when he stated, “Dad, you need to be a hero in your family. They need a hero. They will have strong peer pressure and temptation to adopt the so-called heroes of today who are not worthy of their attention and most certainly not their emulation. The heroes or superstars in the sports and entertainment world, and there are many, frequently become examples of dishonesty, instability, and infidelity. They flagrantly and indifferently flaunt those weaknesses of character and immorality before a doting and accepting world, as Korihor said, ‘according to the management of the creature.’ (Alma 30:17.)”

He then outlined the following commitments that a father must make to become the hero of the home.

1) Give a generous amount of time to your family.

2) Complete fidelity, loyalty, and faithfulness to your companion are absolute essential.

3) Rely on the scriptures for guidance and instructions.

4) Follow the living prophet.

In summary he states, “You must become the family hero, worthy of not only their attention but their emulation. This will require your constant investment of sufficient time, complete emotional and physical fidelity, with unity of purpose between you and your eternal companion. This will require your constant dependency upon the Lord, demonstrated through scripture study and prayer. This will require that you follow the Brethren in every sense of the word—hearing, understanding, and doing. This simple formula will unite and strengthen your beloved family and bring countless blessings from our Father.”

To the fathers of the world, this Patriarchal key is given and “where much is given much is expected.” Our Heavenly Father is the perfect example of one who exercises righteous dominion regarding this sacred key. Only by applying the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ can one come to know the Father and His will for them in this life. This personal journey of righteous living is part of the process that is essential for the salvation of the family unit. A righteous father is of eternal importance. I am thankful that our Father organized the plan for my happiness in this beautiful way.

Thank you to the two important Patriarchal key holders in my life, my own father and the father of my children. Through the righteous example they show to me I have come to understand the role of my Heavenly Father more completely and the love He has for me individually.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Old Testament Higher Laws

As students of the Old Testament we often perceive the teachings contained therein as having an emphasis on the lesser or lower law of sacrifice, while we think of the New Testament, or teachings of Jesus Christ’s personal ministry, as ones that require a higher form of commitment. The example to illustrate this principle that is often used, is that of the Sermon on the Mount, both given to the people in the land of Jerusalem, and then once again by the resurrected Lord to the people on the American continent. This famous teaching recalls the commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai, known as the Ten Commandments, but gives additional instruction requiring the disciple to consecrate more of himself to the will of the Father by living the spiritual aspect of the law as well as the physical. For example it is stated:

3 Nephi 12:27 Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery;

28 But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.

29 Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart;

We are taught the importance the Lord places not only on the action, but also upon the intent. This is one example of why we are taught we need to cleanse the inner vessel.

Alma 60:23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.

The intent with which we do something, or conversely don’t do something, seems to be just as important to the Lord as the act itself.

Looking for this teaching in the Old Testament is a little more difficult but it can be found. The Old Testament contains the same laws as the New Testament; they are just packaged a little differently. A good illustration of the principle of intent is found in the book of Genesis, in the story about Joseph and the dealings with his brothers.

Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, or Israel, was sent on an errand, by his father, to check on the other brothers as they attended to their duties with the flocks. Although Joseph was visibly the favorite son of his father, he was apparently not the favorite among the brothers themselves. His visions and dreams, in which he saw himself as ruler over his brothers, and even his father, had placed him in a very precarious position among his siblings. How the brothers felt about Joseph is manifest in their actions in the following account:

Genesis 37:19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

By this account it is revealed that most of the brothers saw this as an opportunity to rid themselves of their younger brother who professed to someday rule over them, and they had the intent in their hearts to kill him.

Reuben, alone, wanted no part of the scheme.

21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

The intent that Reuben had was to temporarily get rid of him so that the brothers could not do the evil that they had designed.

What happens next is a great illustration of the principle of intent versus performing the act. Casting him in the pit, Judah comes up with another plan to rid themselves of their brother:

23 ¶ And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

The desire of their heart was to get rid of their brother in any way possible. Whether it was caused by jealousy, or simply pride wherein they intended for his visions and dreams to be proven false, we are not told. But in any case, in their hearts they designed to do evil. The Lord had other plans in mind for these brothers.

28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

Although the evil act was not actually done by the brothers themselves, but by the passing band of Midianites, the consequence of the act is soon felt by all of them. In an attempt to cover up their intents they formulated a lie to tell their father about the fate of Joseph. By the lesser law the brothers really did not commit the treacherous act, but by the higher law, their intent is apparent. The importance the Lord places on intent is then illustrated by the process of repentance that was required of the brothers simply because of the intent of their hearts.

Joseph, who was sold into slavery, became the perfect illustration of the admonition of the Lord, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” His intent to progress in any circumstance soon elevated him to a position of importance in Pharaohs kingdom, where ultimately he acted as a savior for the whole house of Israel.

The great process of repentance that is required of the brothers teaches us that the thoughts of our hearts are just as important to the Lord as the actual deed itself.

Mosiah 4:30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

So, what is my point in using this illustration of the “higher law” in the Old Testament you may ask?

Besides the great message of seeking to cleanse the inner vessel by recognizing our intents and not just our actions, my hope would be for us to look deeper at the great teachings the Old Testament has to offer and ponder on the gift it is to us for scriptural guidance.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

After all, The Old Testament is one of my favorite books to read!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The LDS Church A Gerontocracy

Several years ago a news reporter by the name of Mike Wallace conducted an interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley which was then aired on the news program called “60 Minutes”. In the interview he suggested that some people might say that the LDS Church is a “gerontocracy, this is a church run by old men.” To that query President Hinckley replied, “"Isn't it wonderful? To have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment, who isn't blown about by every wind of doctrine?"

I was reminded of President Hinckley’s statement while recently studying in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings.

Solomon, the son of David, had just recently died and the Kingdom was at a very volatile point politically. The folly of King Solomon, in his quest for riches and power, had created an undue burden on the people who were subject to him by way of heavy taxation even to the point of slavery.

Upon Solomons death the kingdom became divided in their opinions as to who should rule, and the nation of Israel, as a whole, were tenuously at the brink of civil unrest. The northern portion of the kingdom, consisting of ten of the tribes of Israel, who had suffered the most by the bondage of debt created by Solomon, were in favor of a new ruler, not from the house of David, by the name of Jeroboam. The southern portion of the kingdom, consisting of the tribe of Judah and part of Benjamin, were still in favor of honoring the lineage of David by supporting his son Rehoboam’s position to rule in his stead.

Amid this political conflict an opportunity arose in which the northern tribes, led by Jeroboam, presented Rehoboam with some conditions which, if he chose to initiate, could align the two kingdoms once again and he could become the supported ruler of all. The fate of the nation was in Rehoboams hands.

1 Kings 12:3 ... And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,

4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

Rehoboam countered the request made by the people with a command to go away for three days while he considered the proposition. The people departed and left Rehoboam to contemplate what he would do. Rehoboam then decided to consult with his advisors, two groups of men who could give him counsel.

1 Kings 12:6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?

7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:

9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?

10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Two differing opinions from two different groups of men were given to be considered. What do you think he did?

1 Kings 12:13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;

14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

The Lord, who knows the heart of each of us, knew that would be the choice of Rehoboam, and had even sent the prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam before the demands were made and instructed him that he should reign in the northern kingdom, which became known as Israel. In fulfillment of that prophecy the people of the northern kingdom responded to Rehoboams declaration “What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David.”

And so the Kingdom became divided, Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.”

President Faust, in recalling the interviewer’s question about a “church run by old men” quipped, “So if any of you think the present leadership is too old to lead the Church, President Hinckley may need to give you some further counsel about the wisdom that comes with age!” He was a spry 85 year old man himself at the time.

President Faust then testified about the leadership of the Church, “I believe that never before in the history of the Church has there been more unity than exists among my Brethren of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the other General Authorities of the Church, who have been called and chosen and who are now guiding the Church. I believe there is ample evidence of this. The present leadership of God’s earthly kingdom has enjoyed the Savior’s guiding inspiration longer than any other group. We are the oldest group ever to lead the Church.

My association with some of these men for almost half a century qualifies me, I think, to state with confidence that my Brethren, without exception, are good, honorable, and trustworthy men. I know their hearts. They are the servants of the Lord. Their only desire is to labor in their great callings and build up the kingdom of God on earth. Our Brethren who are serving in this day and time are proven, tried, and true. Some are not as physically strong as they used to be, but their hearts are so pure, their experience so great, their minds so sharp, and their spiritual wisdom so deep that it is a comfort just to be in their presence.”

For myself, I take great comfort in knowing we can be labeled as a church run by a gerontocracy. The wisdom in that combined group of men is priceless. After all, they receive their direction from one older than us all.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Stronger Shield of Faith

The following counsel was given by President James E. Faust in May 2000 from a talk titled, The Shield of Faith.

“I believe the future will be great and marvelous in many respects. Opportunities for education and learning have increased and will continue to increase dramatically. One person defined it this way: 'Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.' Now and in the future, vast amounts of information are becoming more accessible worldwide through electronic devices in the home, the workplace, or the local library. However, great will be the challenges and endless the problems, because with this wave of knowledge, life actually becomes more complicated. Brigham Young said, ‘It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise.’

Never before in the history of the world has the need for faith in God been greater. Although science and technology open up boundless opportunities, they also present great perils because Satan employs these marvelous discoveries to his great advantage. The communication highway that spans the globe is overloaded with information for which no one bears responsibility for its truth or its source.

Without moral progress, stimulated by faith in God, immorality in all its forms will proliferate and strangle goodness and human decency. Mankind will not be able to fully express the potential nobility of the human soul unless faith in God is strengthened.

President Harold B. Lee once said: ‘No matter what his progress in science, man must always be subject to the will and direction of Divine Providence. Man has never discovered anything that God has not already known.’

I do not believe that this great outpouring of knowledge happened by chance. All of this secular knowledge did not come solely from the creative minds of men and women. Mankind has been on the earth a long time. Over the centuries, knowledge came at a snail’s pace.

I believe that the appearance of God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in 1820 to Joseph Smith unlocked the heavens not only to the great spiritual knowledge revealed in this dispensation but also to secular knowledge.

Now comes the challenge to prevent the scientific, technical, and intellectual from stifling the spiritual enlightenment in our lives. As someone once said, ‘The greatest of undeveloped resources [in our country] is faith; the greatest of unused power is prayer.’ Technology may help us communicate with each other and the world, but not with God.”

I wish to sound a voice of warning to this people. I solemnly declare that this spiritual kingdom of faith will move forward with or without each of us individually. No unhallowed hand can stay the growth of the Church nor prevent fulfillment of its mission. Any of us can be left behind, drawn away by the seductive voices of secularism and materialism.

To sustain faith, each of us must be humble and compassionate, kind and generous to the poor and the needy. Faith is further sustained by daily doses of spirituality that come to us as we kneel in prayer. It begins with us as individuals and extends to our families, who need to be solidified in righteousness. Honesty, decency, integrity, and morality are all necessary ingredients of our faith and will provide sanctuary for our souls.

Simple faith in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost is like a supercharger operating in our lives. As Elder Charles W. Penrose said: ‘Some people will not believe anything they cannot grasp with their human reason or cannot see with their natural eyes. But blessed is the man of faith, blessed is the woman of faith! For by faith they can see into things that cannot be discerned by the natural eyes. They can reach out to the regions of immortality, grasp eternal realities and lay hold upon the things of God!’ This is so because through faith, our natural gifts and powers of achievement are increasingly enhanced.

Faith intensifies and magnifies our gifts and abilities. There is no greater source of knowledge than the inspiration that comes from the Godhead, who have all understanding and knowledge of that which has been, is now, and will be in the future.”

As the war that began in the pre-mortal realm continues, the possession of a solid and impenetrable shield as a piece of our spiritual armor is of vital importance for our protection. Only by strengthening our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can we make our shield unpierceable to the darts of the adversary. There is no wonder then why we are taught that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the Gospel, and a major doctrine to be studied and nurtured. Faith is the power by which all things were created, and will be the power by which all things are redeemed.

I believe that the outcome of this mighty conflict will be decided by faith as well. Perhaps it is time for us all to add strength to our shield of faith.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Political Neutrality in The Kingdom

Those who know me personally know that conversing on the subject of political matters simply isn’t my choice of topics. I would much rather engage in a stimulating doctrinal discussion any day of the week over politics. There are times however when politics and religion do seem to overlap. One such discussion ensued in my Institute class a few weeks back. The discussion centered on what was the “Kingdom” and who was part of that organization.

In the study of the Doctrine and Covenants, Christ continually gives reference to “the kingdom”, especially in reference to His church.

Doctrine and Covenants 45:1 Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; hearken ye and give ear to him who laid the foundation of the earth, who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which live, and move, and have a being.

He also designates who is a part of that kingdom when he states “for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.” This blessing is made possible through the grace of God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are again told, “Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.” This kingdom is one known as a Theocracy, a government guided by God through revelation to a prophet.

“We often hear the Church referred to as a democracy, when in reality, instead of being a church where the body is governed by officers elected by the members, the Church is a theocracy, where God directs his church through representatives chosen by him.

Our fifth article of faith states, ‘We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’

Now, this is the way in which Joseph Smith was chosen by the Lord as President of his Church and set apart by those authorized by the Lord to do so.” (N. Eldon Tanner, The Administration of the Restored Church)

The belief in a Theocratic government caused the early saints of the restoration to suffer much by way of persecution. The saints that had gathered together in Missouri, and then again in Nauvoo, made the people in the surrounding areas feel uncomfortable because they viewed them as political opposition. Those who were not members of the LDS Church became fearful of what would happen if the LDS members decided to politically vote as a “block” or group because of their belief in a theocratic form of government. The fear, that the Church as a whole would become involved in politics, even followed them to the Salt Lake Valley, where they were eventually driven because of mob rule and corrupt government officials. I believe that today history is actually repeating itself once again because of the stance the LDS Church has taken on the moral issue of defending traditional marriage. Many feel that our theocratic beliefs will “force” us to vote one way which takes away our agency and choice at the polls.

Although as a Church we do believe in a Theocracy, where ultimately we will be ruled by the perfect ruler, Jesus Christ Himself, until that day comes the official position of the LDS Church is that of political neutrality.

The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church’s neutrality in matters of party politics applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The Church does not:

  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

  • Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
  • Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
  • Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

In the United States, where nearly half of the world’s Latter-day Saints live, it is customary for the Church at each national election to issue a letter to be read to all congregations encouraging its members to vote, but emphasizing the Church’s neutrality in partisan political matters. (

On the earth at this time there is a separation of church and state. In the 12th Article of Faith it reads, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Our responsibility lies in upholding the laws that govern us in our individual nations, and participate responsibly in selecting officials that will uphold the values we proclaim to be true.

It is just as important to understand our role as members of His kingdom, or His Church on this earth, that of the important task of preparing the earth for the day that Christ will actually return and rule as both the ecclesiastical and political leader of the world. He gives the explanation of that role as “behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.”

Doctrine and Covenants 103:5 But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.

6 Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.

7 And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.

8 But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.

9 For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;

The role we have been given is very specific and requires action and obedience to His word. Until that time when the Kingdom of Earth is reunited with the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ reminds us that “the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him.” This promise gives us hope. Christ continues with the comforting assurance that “the kingdom is yours. And behold, and lo, I am with the faithful always.”

Faith is simply too important a principle to leave out of our lives. The building of His kingdom depends on our faith and action, we can retain no neutrality when it comes to that position.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is Progressivism Progress?

Spurred by a discussion on my post called The Fruit of Secular Humanism, I have decided to talk somewhat about my feelings on Progressivism as well. Thanks for indulging me.

I have pondered the comments from others regarding progressivism over the last couple of days, and have done quite a bit of research myself on the topic. I would have to admit that many LDS people have a limited perspective in many areas, including progressivism. True progressivism is simply an ideology that advocates progress or improvement. Our lives here on this earth are meant to be progressive, in that we were placed on this earth to be “added upon” or improved. This process of improvement is one in which the light we have formerly received may gain further light and knowledge, until we have progressed toward “the perfect day.” This is progress in the right direction.

The difficulty that we face in that progressive journey is discerning what is light versus what is darkness. At times there might even seem to be a very large grey area as well. We have been taught through our study of the scriptures that, “that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you.”

This is a great measuring device given to us by the Lord to help us understand what is light and what is not. The ingredient that is necessary to facilitate this standard for understanding truth is the Spirit. Again we are taught, “And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God.” ( Side bar: The absence of calling upon the Spirit as a form of measure is part of the philosophy of Secular Humanism. This is one great flaw in that ideology.) By the Spirit, we can receive direction when presented with any ideology or philosophy we may be introduced to. The Lord instructed us in the following passage:

Doctrine and Covenants 50:31 Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God.

Once that discernment is given then action is required.

32 And it shall be given unto you, power over that spirit; and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God—

However we are also given stipulations on the manner in which we are to use our voice against it.

33 Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.

When understanding is given, it should be done with rejoicing and thankfulness, allowing a humble attitude to prevail.

34 He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a truly progressive doctrine. All of the teachings contained therein direct us to a higher form of living, not only as individuals but as a group. This higher goal we must have in mind is that of a Zion society, one where we all share the mind and heart of the Father.

Today however, the term Progressivism is more commonly associated with the political movement by that name. As with any group we might have a desire to be affiliated with, we should show caution and apply the same measure of discernment that was given to us by the Lord, through the Spirit.

After many hours of study on a variety of political platforms the conclusion I have arrived at was best expressed in a comment on a Blog called Connor’s Conundrums. Doug Bayless, in his response to the post called, “The Progressive Predicament” shared the following insight:

“This is an excellent exposition on the dangers of buying into a label or “movement” so much that you end up abandoning rationality, pragmatism, and likely the principles that attracted you to the “movement” in the first place.

And yeah, I totally agree with your assessment of what Progressivism degenerates into amongst many of its more zealous acolytes.

But though you correctly skewer those who would take those willing to self-label as “progressive [period]” and then use them to promote the kind of unwise, self-defeating, mob-rule that the U.S. Founders warned against, I happen to know — through other comments you’ve made on your site — that you’re aware that “conservatives”, “libertarians”, and all the other group-think political groups skew towards the same types of mistakes.

The game that our citizens so often get caught up in when we try to deal with politics wherein we try to embrace and absolutely defend certain deeply flawed secular movements against certain other deeply flawed secular movements reminds me of things President Kimball warned against in his “The False Gods that We Worship” message.

Personally, I think we would do well to promote the truth and goodness that exists in each political party and culture and eschew the evil, idolate, and unwise ideals that also crop up amongst “conservatives” as often as “progressives”.

As for me I’m finally becoming comfortable admitting that I’m “conservative” on certain issues, “progressive” on certain issues, “libertarian” on certain issues, and heck, probably even classically “anarchist” on some issues (maybe).

I don’t believe it serves any useful purpose trying to espouse *all* the particular views of any secular mediator (like Sean Hannity or Barack Obama or Stephen Covey or Ron Paul or ‘the Green Party’ or whatever) without putting each to Paul’s Thessalonians admonition “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

I believe that to truly fulfill my Christian values and the promise of my American citizenship, I need to take issues one at a time on their merits and weigh them against the principles I currently have faith in. At the current time I don’t see any party or movement that does that perfectly. For me it’s kinda that age-old conundrum “Was Jesus liberal or conservative?” (by current conventional wisdom, I’d answer it really depends on the issue) or “What party would Jesus join?” (I’m convinced that the answer to that would be “none of ‘em” just like during his mortal ministry when it was so odd and disappointing to some that he called both a publican and a zealot to be Apostles but didn’t lead or join such movements)”

Since all Social Systems seem to have their particular flaws, the instruction that the Lord has given us on how to recognize light is especially timely for us today.

His word of comfort can give us peace as we contemplate these important choices.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:40 Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

41 Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;

42 And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.

Ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, as he returns to take his place as King of Kings. This will give us the perfect form of government... a true Theocracy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Fruit of Secular Humanism

On February 17, 1981 Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a BYU devotional address called, The Three Pillars of Eternity. In it he expounds upon the doctrine of the three pillars, the creation, the fall and the atonement. He also beautifully connects three persons who are involved in all aspects of the three as Elohim, Michael, and Jehovah. These three are interconnected in a way that will ultimately “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Leaving one part of the equation, or one of the three participants out, would thwart the plan of the Father. There is an additional one, we are taught of, who eternally will oppose the plan, although he has become an active participant through his opposition of it, for “he knows not the mind of God.”

According to the LDS Bible dictionary this slanderer, demon, adversary, and spoiler is the “enemy of righteousness and of those who seek to do the will of God.” “Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical teaching that the devil is a reality and that he does strive to lead men and women from the work of God. One of the major techniques of the devil is to cause human beings to think they are following God’s ways, when in reality they are deceived by the devil to follow other paths.”

I believe that one on the other paths that has been introduced to the world is that of Secular Humanism. Secular Humanism is a philosophy of man defined as “a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.”

Upon the surface the “fruit” of Secular Humanism looks, “good for food” and “becomes pleasant to the eyes” and comes from a “tree to be desired to make one wise” so that it might be easy enough to swallow, but the satisfaction given from partaking can only be temporal. This fruit has part of the ingredients for lasting sustenance missing and one will soon hunger again. The surface philosophies of tolerance, good will, and building a better world for our selves and our children are exactly what any “faithful” LDS member should desire. These are the truths that are mixed in with the errors, making the appearance desirable. But if we bite a little deeper we see the following teachings come to view about Secular Humanists:

They hold a world view which centers upon human concerns.

Secular humanists are generally nontheists.

They feel that many religious believers will no doubt share with us a belief in many secular humanist and democratic values, and we welcome their joining with us in the defense of these ideals.

Human beings are responsible for their own destinies.

They hold a conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.

They advocate a commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith.

They have a primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.

Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.

I believe that there is a vital ingredient missing in all these “visually appealing” ideals, and that is the presence of the Father. This way of thinking has also sought to usurp the place of the Son, requiring the honor for any achievement to be given solely to mankind. The story is the same and may sound familiar.

Moses 4:1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

Again, the Father is left out of the equation, the desire for the elevated spot removes the Son from His place in the equation, and the “I” or “Me” mentality ascribes to the glory.

In the Garden Lucifer used “deductive reasoning” on Eve, suggesting for her to leave Father out of the whole decision regarding the partaking of the fruit. Eve then being taught the art of “deductive reasoning” from Lucifer used it on Adam. Adam acting on his own, in disobedience to the commands of the Father then partook of the fruit which facilitated the Fall.

The Atonement was the plan that the Father had in place “if they yielded to temptation” and the Son sustained that plan. The process of the Atonement has saved us from both spiritual deaths and physical death, placing us back in the Garden where we belong. We individually are now being offered the fruit. Will we partake?

Doctrine and Covenants 29:40 Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.

41 Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.

42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.

43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;

I am thankful for our great leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who encourage us to remember the three pillars of eternity, and the three main players. All of the elements must be present to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” If we choose to leave out any part of these three then we are simply choosing to oppose the plan the Father has for us and our eternal happiness. It is a scary thought to ponder that by opposing the plan we fall in to a crowd of individuals who made that same mistake before, and we know their fate.

“The Devil is miserable in his situation, and “stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness” (2 Ne. 9: 9). He tries to imitate the work of God by transforming himself nigh unto an angel of light (2 Cor. 11: 12-15; 2 Ne. 9: 9; D&C 128: 20). He is also a worker of miracles, by which he deceives many upon the earth (Rev. 13: 1-15). In fact, the scripture says he deceives the whole world (Rev. 12: 9). He can cite scripture to make his point seem plausible (Matt. 4: 1-11). All of this is his scheme to make man miserable like himself. Protection against the influence of the devil is found by obedience to the commandments and laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of all the prophets and apostles is that truth, righteousness, and peace shall in the end prevail over error, sin, and war; the faithful shall triumph over all their afflictions and enemies, and shall triumph over the devil. There shall be a complete and lasting victory of righteousness over wickedness on this earth, which will be done by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.” LDS Bible Dictionary

For myself, I am waiting for Father to give me further instructions.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Unkind Feelings Resolved

In the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in the form of the Lord’s Prayer. One line in that prayer deals specifically with relationships that we are to foster with our fellow brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

In modern vernacular that verse may be stated simply, forgive us in the same manner we forgive others. This is the spring board for the discussion that ensued in my Institute class regarding the counsel given in Section 46 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Historically speaking the early saints were curious about who should be allowed to attend their sacred services of Sacrament meetings and Confirmation meetings. On a side note, Confirmation meetings were gatherings when those who had recently been baptized received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, or were confirmed members of the Church. At that time people were baptized and then allowed a “proving” time to see if they could live up to the covenants they had just made before they actually received the gift of the Holy Ghost. In any event these two types of meetings were considered sacred enough for Joseph to inquire of the Lord who should be allowed to attend. The Lord’s response is contained in the first seven verses of Section 46.

1 Hearken, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning.

2 But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.

3 Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.

4 Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation.

5 And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom—I speak this concerning those who are not of the church.

6 And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out.

7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.

This instruction for Church attendance, placed in the very first part of the Section that is known for the beautiful instruction about the consecration of our Spiritual Gifts, might at first seem out of place. The beauty of this placement is seen as one comes to understand that the Lord chooses his teaching methods perfectly, to instruct us more fully in all aspects of His gospel.

Even though the Lord makes it very clear that the meetings of the Church are open for any who desires to attend, He also is very specific about who should be allowed to partake of the ordinance of the Sacrament itself, which is administered during the meetings. In verse four He states, “if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation”

The footnote reference in Section 46, for verse four, adds some clarity about what is meant by the words “trespass” and “reconciliation”.

3 Nephi 12: 23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

Is the Lord actually instructing us that if we have any unkind feelings towards those in our congregation we truly cannot partake of the Sacrament worthily?

For me, this question was a very big eye opener when pondering how important the ordinance of the Sacrament really is. The Sacrament is the ordinance that we participate in which allows Jesus Christ to grant us the gift of His Spirit. It is a foreshadow of another event where we are gathered together as one, in fellowship with other Saints requiring this purity of feelings towards one another, where we are participating in an ordinance in which we desire to gain something from Jesus Christ as well. Both of these situations are of great importance to our individual growth and to the blessings of Zion as a whole.

But in reality, what does this have to do with our Spiritual Gifts?

The Lord, before teaching us the potential we have of becoming a Zion society by consecrating our Spiritual Gifts for the good of the Church, wants us to understand the importance of unity in our relationships. He wants us to understand that before those Spiritual Gifts He has given us can benefit the “whole”, the “whole” must be in harmony one with another. There can be no feelings of malice, or hatred, or simply unkind feelings, if the Spirit is to be “unrestrained” and the Gifts facilitated through it are to work in unison benefiting all who would partake.

This clarity of teaching was something I did not consider fully enough before. I am grateful for the Gift of the Spirit of learning; for there is so much more I need to know before I really understand!

Our challenge for today is to repair damaged relationships and allow the Spirit to work miracles in our lives.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spiritual Consecration

As we have been discovering in class, by studying the early history of the LDS Church with regard to the revelations received by the prophet Joseph Smith through the valuable resource we now know as the Doctrine and Covenants, it is plainly manifest that the saints of that time had a realistic goal in mind. The goal that they so desperately wanted to achieve, enough to “pray for it continually”, was that of a Zionist Society, one in which they could share the sociality of the Savior continually in their midst. They understood the reality of this goal because of the restored doctrine taught to them through the revelations contained in the Pearl of Great Price, more specifically in the book of Moses as Joseph Smith, through the blessing of continued revelation, added back those “plain and precious truths” that were inadvertently removed from the records of the Old Testament. The goal of Zion was taught more fully through the example of the great prophet Enoch and the progress he made with his city.

With Zion in their hearts they prayed to know what they could do to gain the same blessings as these earlier saints and obtain rest from this world. In answer to their prayers and desires for that blessing the Lord, in His Eternal wisdom, gave unto them the law that would correspond with their desired blessing. The law that was given was the Law of Consecration. This Celestial Law of Consecration was designed to help them live with “one heart and one mind” making sure there was no poor among them. First the Lord gave to them the temporal or worldly aspect of the law. This required that they learn to sacrifice what they perceived to be their individual earthly possessions for the building up of the kingdom, for the greater good of the whole. They were then taught so beautifully the principle of “stewardship” versus ownership, acknowledging the true owner of all is the Lord Himself.

In Section 46, the saints then learned about the Spiritual side of the Law of Consecration by learning about the Gifts of the Spirit. In verse 10 the Lord is very specific about who those gifts are given to:

10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

Just like He is the owner of all that the Earth has to offer and we are simply his stewards that are given the responsibility of taking care of His creations, He is also the giver of gifts and He gives them to His Church, through the medium of the Holy Ghost. Each of us individually are given gifts that can be used by all, for the building up of His kingdom here on the earth.

9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

As we each become consecrated individuals we become something much bigger than just “us”. Working together with our “one heart and one mind” we become like a fine tuned machine or instrument, all using our gifts for the benefit of one desired goal, ZION. This the apostle Paul described so beautifully to the people of Corinth with the analogy of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one abody, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the ahead to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be amore feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The prophet Moroni also knew how important it was that we, as His Church, understand this great principle of Spiritual Consecration, for his final words before burying up the record is in regard to this very principle.

Moroni 10:17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.

18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.

19 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.

30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.

We have been told three different places in our scriptures almost the exact same thing in regard to these Spiritual Gifts, the Doctrine and Covenants, The Book of Mormon, and The New Testament. Three times we have been instructed. This is important stuff to know, but more importantly to share!

But this is not all the cool stuff in Section 46...more insights tomorrow.