Elders QuorumPresident Monson priesthood talk from October 2011, “Dare to Stand Alone”
Doctrine and Covenants 121:36
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“I recently read an article in the New York Times concerning a study which took place during the summer of 2008. A distinguished Notre Dame sociologist led a research team in conducting in-depth interviews with 230 young adults across America.”
“The interviewers asked open-ended questions about right and wrong, moral dilemmas and the meaning of life. In the rambling answers, … you see the young people groping to say anything sensible on these matters. But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so.”
“It is impossible to associate manhood with dishonesty. To be just with one’s self, one must be honest with one’s self and with others. This means honesty in speech as well as in actions. It means to avoid telling half-truths as well as untruths. It means that we are honest in our dealings—in our buying as well as in our selling. It means that an honest debt can never be outlawed, and that a man’s word is better than his bond. It means that we will be honest in our dealings with the Lord, for ‘true honesty takes into account the claims of God as well as those of man; it renders to God the things that are God’s, as well as to man the things that are man’s.’” (President David O McKay, Conference Report, April 1968, pp. 7–8.)
“Some time ago I had occasion to visit with a man from New York City. He has been in the field of finance for many years. His associates are nationwide. During the course of our conversation, he made a remark that has given me much food for thought. He said: ‘Over the years, I have had dealings with many Mormons. I have yet to run into a dishonest one.’
“I countered by saying, ‘If a Mormon truly lives his religion, he must be honest.’ However, I indicated that I was afraid there were some who did not live their religion fully, whereupon he replied, ‘I hope I never have the shattering experience of meeting a dishonest Mormon.’” (Victor L Brown, “The Meaning of Morality”, April 1971 General Conference)
“We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone? . . . It is essential that we are able to face—with courage—whatever challenges come our way.”
“Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. …
“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away, but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its Head—even Jesus Christ.
“While this generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time: [it is that] God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest … children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps” (Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 8, 1987); see also “In His Steps,” in 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year: BYU Devotional and Fireside Addresses (1980), 59)
““You cannot afford to do anything that would place a curtain between you and the ministering of angels in your behalf.”
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
The instructor gave a course overview much like a college class. He said that the student study guide works as the syllabus. He said that the introduction of the student study guide does not mention using it for Sunday school, but mentions family home evening and other home uses.
He introduced the book of Mormon as the textbook for the year.
He recommended the October 2011 Ensign from last year that was dedicated entirely to the Book of Mormon as a good resource for this year’s class.
34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.
This is the final exam, when we meet Moroni at the judgement bar of Christ.
The instructor said that President Benson’s talk on The Book of Mormon - Keystone of Our Religion, given October 1986 and referenced in the October 2011 Ensign was especially good.
Doctrine and Covenants 84::section heading, 54-57
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 22 and 23 September 1832 (see History of the Church,1:286–95). During the month of September, elders had begun to return from their missions in the eastern states and to make reports of their labors. It was while they were together in this season of joy that the following communication was received. The Prophet designated it a revelation on priesthood.
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because ofunbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
“Has the fact that we have had the Book of Mormon with us for over a century and a half made it seem less significant to us today? Do we remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon? In the Bible we have the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word testament is the English rendering of a Greek word that can also be translated as covenant. Is this what the Lord meant when He called the Book of Mormon the ‘new covenant’? It is indeed another testament or witness of Jesus. This is one of the reasons why we have recently added the words “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” to the title of the Book of Mormon.”
“...the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement. He testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.
“There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
Reading is thinking guided by lines and squiggles.
We gain a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet by reading the Book of Mormon. We gain a testimony of Christ by reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon was written for our day.
“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ ( D&C 84:85 ), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance” (President Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7 ).
As we set goals and work to fulfill those goals we grow closer to Christ's commandment of "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Moses 1:39 - God has set forth what his goal is.
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
“I feel that goal-setting is absolutely necessary for happy living. But the goal is only part of the desired procedures. We need to know which roads to take to reach the goal. … [People] need to make commitments with themselves by writing down their goals and keeping a record of the fulfillment of their achievements” (Bishop John H. Vandenberg, in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 94; or Improvement Era, June 1966, 534).
Goals give us purpose and direction in our life.
Changing the world happens one person at a time.
A smoker cannot quit smoking until he decides he is done smoking and then acts to stop. The same is true for adding good habits. We can not do some good habit until we decide that we are going to do it and take steps to do so.