Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday January 27, 2008 - Sunday Services Cumberland Ward

Sacrament Meeting
Youth Speaker He quoted from 1 Corinthians. 15:58 - "58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye astedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." He said that this is the Mutual theme. They recite part of this at mutual (youth group) meetings.
He listed some ways to stay stedfast and I was able to capture a couple of them.
-Good morals
-Be fed (attend church, read, and pray).

2nd Speaker
She quoted from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

She spoke of the necessity to be engaged with our children and to be actively teaching them the gospel in our homes.

She quoted a letter that Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy quoted in his October 2007 General Conference talk Don't Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today. Permission was given to print in with his talk, so I will refer you to his talk to read it, but here is the introduction he gave to it: "I recently read a text which expresses the urgency of not leaving for tomorrow what you can do today. In July of this year Brazil witnessed the most devastating aircraft accident in its history. There were 199 people killed, including passengers, airline workers, crew members, and others who were at the site when the accident happened. The text I mentioned was said to have been posted on the airline communication board by the husband of one of the flight attendants who died in the accident. It is entitled "Tomorrow Never Comes" and is based upon a poem by Norma Cornett Marek."

3rd Speaker
The speaker gave me a copy of their talk and I have included it here below. Everything to Sunday school is their talk.

The need of personal revelation in our daily lives is overwhelming. The thought of going through one day without petitioning the Lord for guidance and direction scares me. Who am I to think I can raise my family, be in harmony with my wife, fulfill my duties in the church, be a good example at work, and keep the commandments of God without talking to Him and receiving revelation on how to do this?

This topic is one I have studied about for several years. You can easily apply the saying, “The more you learn the less you know.” So I will rely heavily on the scriptures and the words of the prophets, seers and revelators. We will be using the scriptures a great deal so instead of having you look up the scriptures to follow along I am going to try something I feel will be more beneficial to us all. If you have a writing instrument and a piece of paper you will be able to jot down the scriptures that will be used for this subject, for your own personal study further into the important subject of personal revelation.

After we experienced our spiritual birth, Heavenly Father counseled and corrected us, and we were instructed, enlightened and edified in his holy presence. Now that we have experienced our physical birth in mortality, He desires to continue to communicate with us and to give us counsel and direction. He does this through personal revelation, which involves PREPARARION, PRAYER, and PROMPTINGS. This is one of the greatest gifts and blessings we can receive.

To receive personal revelation we must prepare ourselves. President Spencer W Kimball told us that, “God reveals himself to people who are prepared for such manifestations.” A. The Savior taught us what we need to do to prepare in D&C 93:1

We must repent, ask though prayer, be obedient, search the scriptures, fast, think pure thoughts, and develop a spirit of reverence. B. Let’s start with, “We must repent.”

In Moroni 8:26 Mormon explains the fruits of repentance in receiving revelation, “And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart, and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost”

Second we must ask through prayer.

In D&C 50:29 the Savior promised, “And if ye are purified and cleansed form all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done”

Third is to be obedient.

Again we receive council from the Savior in D&C 130:21, “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” So we have to obey in order to be blessed.

He also promised in D&C 63:23, “But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom” E. Forth is to search the scriptures.

We must study our scriptures daily. That does not mean we read our scriptures daily. Nephi gave a great promise to all those who searched the scriptures in 2 NE 32:3, “Wherefore I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ, for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”

What a great promise! In need of direction? Search the scriptures for you answer.

Fifth we must fast.

Alma 5:46 tells us that Alma had great desire to know of the truthfulness of the doctrines so he prepared himself through fasting and prayer.

Alma 17:3 the sons of Mosiah had given themselves too much prayer and fasting and as a result they had received the spirit of revelation. So how many times is “much prayer and fasting?” Once a month?

Sixth we must have pure thoughts.

If we desire our Heavenly Father to communicate to us we must remove our impure and worldly thoughts. Turn our minds to spiritual matters and fill it with uplifting thoughts. The Savior councils us again on the matter in D&C 121:45, “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.”

Seventh we must develop a spirit of reverence.

Elder Boyd K Packer counseled, “Inspiration comes more easily in peaceful setting.” He added, “Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit and reverence invites revelation.”

Irreverence makes it hard for the Spirit to teach us and it also shows disrespect to Deity. Receiving revelation is sacred. It is a divine discussion with Deity and must be reverenced if it is to work. The savior councils us on this in D&C 84:54 and D&C 6:12.

Now that we have discussed Preparation let’s talk about Prayer.

To pray is to have a conversation with Deity. This crucial communication should be conducted with great care and in compliance with sacred counsel.

First we must pray often.

We must commune with our Heavenly Father on a regular bases and this communication must not be come casual and repetitive. To do this is to ignore the council of the Savior found in D&C 6:12 “Trifle not with sacred things.”

It is not the amount of time we spend praying but the depth of our desire that results in revelation.

Second we must ponder before we pray.

The Savior counseled in D&C 9:8, “Study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right.”

We cannot expect the Lord to just give us all of the answers all the time. Part of our learning process is to figure out the correct answer on our own by pondering and meditation then to confirm that answer with the Lord.

Third we must ask for the right things.

We must be careful that we ask for that which is right. The Savior counsels in D&C 8:10 that we should, “Not ask for that which you ought not” and he then warns us in D&C 88:65, “And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.”

Forth we must ask in faith.

Faith is the bottom line in the Gospel. One cannot do anything without faith. The Savior gave us a powerful promise concerning faith in our prayers. This is found in 3 NE 18:20, “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.”

Fifth we must ask in humility.

Praying with great humility is essential if our prayers are to be heard and answered. In D&C 112:10 the Savior said, “Be thou humble and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

The Savior also warns those who forget the importance of the principal of humility. D&C 3:4

Sixth we must ask in sincerity and with intensity.

If you really want to learn how to pray study the example of Enos. This is my all time favorite book in the book of Mormon. Every one of us can in some way relate to Enos. I will not dive into this book in this talk but I will leave it for you to study and feel the spirit yourselves.

Now that we have discussed preparation and prayer let us dive into the third topic Promptings.

The Father speaks to us through the promptings of the Spirit. If we have properly prepared we will become sensitive to these promptings. There are specific ways in which the mind and the heart are touched as we receive personal revelation.

First we can have promptings to the mind.

This can happen in a variety of ways. They come as enlightenment, in the form of instant recall, and audible voice, counsel from leaders, dreams. Visions and visitations.

Enlightenment comes as an increase in light, knowledge, and understanding. The Savior instructed Oliver Cowdery in D&C 6:15, “I did enlighten thy mind and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth”

The prophet Joseph Smith describes this process, “When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it you may find if fulfilled the same day or soon those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it you may grow into the principle of revelation until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.”

The scriptures play a big roll. There are times while searching, studying, and pondering the scriptures that we receive personal revelation as did Joseph Smith did when he read James 1:5

Personal Revelation may come in the form of an instant recall of things the Spirit once taught us that may apply to our present situation. In John 14:26 the Savior taught, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

One can hear and audible voice as did Nephi and Lehi did when they were imprisoned.

The Lord speaks through His chosen leaders. The Savior taught this principal in D&C 1:38 when he said, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken…whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same.”

Several Prophets throughout the scriptures have received Personal Revelation through dreams, visions or visitations.

The Spirit also reveals the will of the Lord though our Heart. These feelings may be characterized as peaceful, warm. Compelling, or dark or confusing in nature.

The most frequent confirmation of the Spirit comes through peaceful feelings. Joseph Smith stated, “They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits—it will whisper peace and joy to their souls.”

Second there are the warm and spiritual feelings. In D&C 9:8 we are giving instruction that if you ask if something is right and it is right He will cause that your bosom shall bun within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right.”

Third there is the compelling feeling. It is characterized by a sense of urgency, a sense of restlessness, and a sense of surety. It was the feeling Nephi experienced when he was commanded to slay Laban. The prophet Joseph Smith described this feeling as he spoke about the principle of baptism for the dead in D&C 128:1, “That subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest.”

Fourth we have the dark and confused feeling. This is explained in D&C 9:9 when we are given a stupor of thought with will cause us to forget that thing which was wrong.

The Lord has given us powerful promises concerning personal revelation. These promises are given based upon certain conditions: “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things.”It is a tender experience to petition our Heavenly Father in sincere heartfelt prayer and know that He will respond with personal revelation. His promises are sure but we must properly prepare to be receptive to the promptings of the Spirit in receiving this guidance.

I have a strong testimony of the power of personal revelation. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we need this power in our everyday lives. The Lord will always keep his promises so it is up to us to keep ours.

Sunday School
Book of Mormon Lesson 4
1 Nephi 12-14
1. Nephi sees the future of his descendants and his brothers’ descendants.
2. Nephi sees the formation of the great and abominable church, the colonization of the Americas, the Apostasy, and the Restoration of the gospel.
3. Nephi sees the blessings promised to the faithful; he also sees the destruction of the great and abominable church.

Conference talk - Boyd K Packer - Nov 2007 - The Weak and the Simple of the Church
"We have sustained the general officers of the Church in a solemn, sacred procedure. This common procedure occurs whenever leaders or teachers are called or released from office or whenever there is reorganization in a stake or a ward or a quorum or in the auxiliaries (see D&C 124:123, 144; see also D&C 20:65–67; 26:2). It is unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." One must have the authority to serve in the Church by another in authority. DnC 42:11 - 11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.

J Ruben Clark - It is not where you serve, but how.

"Years ago when I first received an appointment that resulted in my picture being in the newspapers, one of my high school teachers, evidently quite astonished, was heard to say, 'That just proves that you can’t tell by looking at a frog how high he is going to jump!'"

Service is an action word.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday January 20, 2008 - Sunday Services Cumberland Ward

Sacrament Meeting
Youth Speaker
The speaker quoted Joseph F Smith. I did not get it word for word, so I paraphrase here. The more we choose good, the better we become at it and the better we are able to discern good from evil.

Moroni 7:14-16
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is aevil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to ajudge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the aSpirit of Christ is given to every bman, that he may cknow good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

2nd Speaker
She quoted from Cecil Samuelson. Again I paraphrase. Some people have intellect and and have no wisdom. Some are unschooled and yet are wise.

James 1:5
5 aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgiveth to all men liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Third Speaker
Peculiar People
Exodus 19:5-6
5 Now therefore, if ye will aobey my voice indeed, and keep my bcovenant, then ye shall be a cpeculiar dtreasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a akingdom of bpriests, and an choly dnation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 14:2
2 For thou art an aholy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a bpeculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Deut 26:18-19
18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his apeculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19 And to make thee ahigh above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an bholy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.

He pulled one of the definition of Peculiar from the dictionary. Along with being distinctive and all that he also found that peculiar had this definition which may be applicable in the context that we are discussing. "a property or privilege belonging exclusively or characteristically to a person." Most of his talk talked about our distinctiveness, but he gave us the aforementioned definition to let us ponder.

He quoted from the October 2007 General Conference talk by Elder M Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He quoted Elder Ballard's thoughts on the growing interest in the Church and sharing the gospel effectively.

He talked of the confusion that some have about the Church because all they know us as are Mormons. He tries to always state that he belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not just say that he is a Mormon. I think that being call Mormons many times has a feeling of mystery that can give impressions that are untrue.

In what ways are we peculiar - Continuing revelation, plan of salvation, dress standards.

Respect our bodies through dress and appearance. Recognize that they are gifts from God.

Sunday School
Book of Mormon Lesson 3
Vision of the tree of life
Fruit of the tree - Eternal life
-Most sweet
-Desirable above all other fruit
-Joyous to the soul
-The greatest of all the gifts of God
The tree - Christ and the love of God
Rod of Iron - Word of God
-Back then iron was the strongest metal known.
-Even if we are holding the rod we could be holding in different ways. We could hold with both hands firmly. We could hold with one hand and be messing with oth things with our other hand. We could be distracted by things in the grass and just touching the rod with our finger tips.
Filthy water - Evil
-The fifth runs with you the entire length of the rod.
Mist of darkness - worldly ideas and temptations.
Spacious building - Imaginations and pride of man.

Nephi did not immediately understand the vision. He had to ask God and study it out.

Four categories of people Lehi and Nephi saw.
1. Reached tree and tasted fruit and fell away.
2. Partook and did not fall away.
3. Lost in midst of darkness.
4. People in the building that never tried.

There was some discussion as to whether the tree of life if the final destination of life or just baptism. Whether those who go inactive are those who have partaken and then were ashamed.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith - Chapter 2 - God the Eternal Father
Joseph's brother William related that his parents prayed with them as a family and were very serious about the children acting properly during prayer.

The lesson touched on characteristics of God. "When we comprehend the character of God, we comprehend ourselves and know how to approach Him."

The members of the Godhead are three distinct beings. Peter and Stephen both testified of having seen Jesus of the right hand of God.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday January 13, 2008 - Sunday Services Cumberland Ward

Sacrament Meeting
One of the full time missionaries spoke on the plan of salvation.

He talked about the purpose of Adam and Eve in the plan. He quoted scriptures from 2 Nephi 2
11 For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

He talked of how after his resurrection that Christ preached to those in prison. He quoted 1 Peter 3:18-20
18 For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to cdeath in the flesh, but quickened by the dSpirit:
19 By which also he went and apreached unto the bspirits in cprison;
20 aWhich sometime were bdisobedient, when once the clongsuffering of God waited in the days of dNoah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were esaved by fwater.

He talked of where we go after death to wait for the resurrection. He then talked of the
1 Corinthians 15:39-42
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 aThere are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the bcelestial is one, and the glory of the cterrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the bstars: for one star cdiffereth from another star in dglory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in acorruption; it is raised in incorruption:
This scripture outlines that there are different types of flesh of animal. It then tells that there are different types of bodies after we are resurrected.

2 Corinthians 12:2 - references being caught up to the third heaven. Much like was talked about with having different levels we are resurrected to.
2 aI knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the bbody, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the cthird dheaven.

A stake high councilman spoke.

He cited DnC 58:26 - Showing that we should use our agency to chose good whether we have a specific commandment or not. We may not have been commanded to do some good thing or refrain from some bad thing, but we should learn to chose wisely.
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

He read “The Bridge Builder” poem by Will Allen Dromgoole, which President Monson quoted in the first presidency message in the Ensign this month.
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide—
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

Are we building bridges or allowing those around us to fall in the pit.

In commenting on adversity the high councilman stated that the strongest timbers that grow through winds and storms.

In commenting on our free will he stated, we choose how we will respond to life. We choose to be in a good mood or bad. Be anxiously engaged in a good cause. We are not spectators in life.

Sunday School
Book of Mormon Lesson 2 - “All Things According to His Will”
Lehi prophesied of Jerusalem's destruction. The reception to his words was a lot more extreme, but similar to the responses one gets if they suggest that disasters or trials of our day could be a consequence of our wickedness.

Lehi was commanded to get the plates to preserve their literacy, genealogy, and religion.

1 Nephi 3:7 - And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith Chapter 1: The First Vision: The Father and the Son Appear to Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith is known as the prophet of the restoration. The instructor pointed out that the restoration is ongoing and that all the prophets of this dispensation are prophets of the restoration.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday January 6, 2008 - Sunday Services Cumberland Ward

Testimony Meeting
This was our first week back on the 9am schedule. After being on the 1pm schedule all last year.

There were a lot of people that didn't make it. There were also several partial families there where children were allowed to make the choice to sleep in and not come to church.

Sunday School
Book of Mormon - Lesson 1 - "The Keystone of Our Religion"
We covered some of this in the introduction last week, but we continued on.

The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel. This does not mean that it contains every doctrine ever revealed, but contains everything necessary for our salvation.

Being saved is not an instantaneous thing, but is a process of us growing.

Just like the Book of Mormon had witnesses, all of our ordinances have witnesses. One can not just record a baptism on their own, even if they have the authority to baptize. Their must be witnesses to it.

Even though the Book of Mormon is an ancient book, it was written for our day.

We got our new manuals for the next two years. It is the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.

We went through some of the introductory material (time line (add hyperlinks), maps, highlights from Joseph's life.)

We talked briefly about the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that Martin Harris lost. Some expressed that we will have those pages again some day as well as other sealed portions that were not translated. Some of the contents of those pages (the book of Lehi) were included in Nephi's writings. There are places where he talks about not knowing why he is writing some of the things that he is writing since they are covered in his father's book.