Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday July 23, 2006

Sacrament Meeting
With Pioneer Day coming up tomorrow we had a couple of people speak on Pioneers.

Both speakers found the story of a Sunday school class long ago where the class was talking about what a mistake sending out the Martin handcart company was. There was a brother in the room, who apparently had heard this sort of talk before and had had enough of it.
He was in that company and told of how close the people in that company had come to God after that experience.
He said that he had heard a lot of people complaining about sending out that company so late, but he had never heard a complaint from those who were in that company.

He told of having had occasion several times to be so exhausted and sick that he looked out ahead of him at a patch of sand or grass and determined that he could go only that much further and then he would have to stop. Once he got to those spots he could then feel the cart start to push him. He tried several times to see who was pushing and could never seen anyone.

The speakers also talked of first generation members being pioneers.

There was talk of how Joshua told the children of Israel that they live in cities they did not build and eat crops that they did not plant. In some ways we are like that as we look at those that went before us. Pioneers, Founding Fathers, and so forth. Do we forget the work that they did and what they went through? Do we forget the ways that God watched over them?

Sunday School
There is a story related by Thomas S. Monson 1st councilor in the First Presidency in the teacher's manual about a young man that was preparing to go on a mission. He said that Spencer W. Kimball received a letter about the young man stating that the mission would be a great financial burden for his family and he has only one possession, which was a stamp collection. He indicated that he was willing to sell the collection if necessary. President Kimball told them to tell him to sell his collection. He then set forth that all of the stamps from the thousands of letters that come into church headquarters each month should be collected and presented to the young man at the end of his mission. He would then have the finest stamp collection of any young man in Mexico.

We talked about that Elijah was told to go live by the brook and that birds would feed him. I wonder what that was like.

We also talked about the woman who had only a handful of meal and a little oil in a cruz who Elijah asked to feed him. The barrel didn't waste and the cruz didn't fail until the drought was over.

We talked about Elijah's competition against the 850 priests of Baal to make fire. I often wonder about the taunting Elijah did. Was it just a human weakness or was it to get the people's attention?

The lesson was on Elder Bednar's April 2006 conference talk on always having the Spirit to be with us.

If one is only baptised with water that is only half a baptism. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5) If one is baptized by water and has not received the Gift of the Holy Ghost then you have not completed the ordinance and have not entered the kingdom of God.

It was brought up that we separate ourselves from the Holy Ghost by our choices. He may still call after us, but the further we are away, the harder it is to hear him.

We talk at times like spiritual experiances are rare experiences, but the promise is "that they may always have his spirit to be with them.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday July 16, 2006

Sacrament Meeting
Several of the youth were called upon to speak about their experience working for Habitat for Humanity. One girl talked about how neighbors sat outside and watched and how people driving by would circle around and look at what was going on.

A talk was given on kindness. She asked, "What if someone is offensive? Love them. What if someone is wayward? Love them. No matter the circumstance the answer is the same."

Another gave a talk based on a talk by N Lendon Tanner from 34 years ago.

Elder Tanner quoted Brigham Young, "We are not, in our current state, called to judge anyone else. If we were we would ruin everything."

We are quick to judge others by a standard that we ourselves are unwilling to be judged by.

Sunday School
We talked about the ten tribes breaking off from the rest of Israel.

We talked about the qualities of good leaders. The instructor proposed these five qualities based on 1 Kings.
  1. They give service.
  2. They trust and obey God.
  3. They have faith in God.
  4. They teach from the scriptures.
  5. They are followers of the prophet.
Hezekiah removed the high places and groves. The instructor said that the high places were holy places that had been desecrated. Groves were idolatry where immoral acts were also performed.

We studied from chapter 14 of the Wilford Woodruf manual.

We talked of Zion's camp. Many often think that they would've gone if they had been called upon to do the things the pioneers were. Yet we don't even do our home and visiting teaching.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday July 9, 2006

Sacrament Meeting
One of the speakers relayed ideas from a talk given by President Ezra Taft Benson given in 1987 General Conference.

Here are a few of the points:
The Constitution and Declaration of Independance were given by God for the whole world. (D&C 98:5 and D&C 101:77)

The Declaration of Independance ends with "...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor". This sounded a bit like the law of consecration to me.

In his talk he noted that John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)

We should be reading the constitution to be able to defend it. We should also be familiar with what the prophets have said about the constitution.

Sunday School
We should magnify the spiritual gifts that we have and then ask for more gifts.

We talked about Solomon's wisdom and the dividing of the child between the two women. The teacher said that even if the child was given to the woman whose child it was not it was wise to give it to the one that had the child's best interest in mind.

We see the fall of Saul, David, and Solomon. It is not our job to judge them. It is our job to learn from their mistakes. One this we can learn is that our strengths can lead us to pride.

Someone pointed out that our journals give us accountability to ourselves to some extent. As we reflect on the day we can see where we have stumbled.

We also talked about that if Wilford Woodruff had kept a journal there would've been a lot of things that Joseph Smith said that would have been lost.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday July 2, 2006

Sacrament Meeting (Fast and Testimony)
The Lord doesn't always give us what we want, but he always gives us what we need.

Sunday School
I had it in my head that all of the psalms were written by David. Our instructor shared a chart with us today that showed a breakdown of who wrote how many. It was listed in Religion 301,Old Testament Student Manual Genesis–2 Samuel p. 310.
Psalms with no superscription .............................................. 18
Psalms attributed to David .................................................... 73
Psalms attributed to Solomon ................................................ 2
Psalms attributed to Asaph
(a musician in David’s court) ................................................ 12
Psalms attributed to the sons of Korah (Levites) ................ 11
Psalms attributed to Heman
(a leader of the temple music)................................................ 1
Psalms attributed to Ethan
(a leader of the temple music)................................................ 1
Psalms attributed to Moses .................................................... 1
Psalms with song titles............................................................ 4
Hallelujah (“Praise Ye Jehovah”) Psalms .............................. 18
Psalms of Degree (see Reading 28-4 for a definition).......... 15

I didn't find anything else to blog about in Sunday school, since Testimony meeting ran over and caused us to have limited time. Also, I have a tough time seeing the value of the book of Psalms.

The lesson was on the 1st Presidency message out of the July 2006 Ensign.

Out of every principle of our beliefs Joseph Smith picked to list the definition of the Godhead first when writting the articles of faith.

In our discussion today it was brought out that there is sometimes a discrepency about God's personality, since in the Old Testament we see a punishing God and in the New Testament we see a loving God. Some get caught up in God being one or the other. Are we as fathers punishing fathers or loving fathers. The answer is that we are both. Our punishing should be loving.
  1. 1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I alove I also chasten that their sins may be bforgiven, for with the cchastisement I prepare a way for their ddeliverance in all things out of etemptation, and I have loved you.
  2. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and achasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
  3. 43 aReproving betimes with bsharpness, when cmoved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of dlove toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
God the Father has only spoken to man a few times that we have recorded. Each time it was to introduce his Son.

We read the scripture John 4: 24
24 aGod is a bSpirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in ctruth.

Many people use this to prove that God does not have a body, but the same could be said for man. Man is a spirit. Man is also flesh and bone, but our spirit is who we are.

We also read Matt 12:32
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be aforgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
I had always read this scripture from the perspective of the unpardonable sin, which is obviously what it is all about. When I read it today I noticed the phrase "neither in the world to come." People often talk about people dying and going directly to Heaven or Hell, which goes against the idea of Christ returning and judging his people. This scripture's implication seems to support the doctrine of being able to repent to some extent after death.