Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Services This Week at Sullivan Hollow Second Ward Weber Heights Stake Ogden Utah 30 September 2012

Elders Quorum
Chapter 19, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith
I gave the lesson today.  I have included it below.  I have made some modifications to it to improve on where I failed in delivery or where I ran out of time to include all of the material I had prepared.

How many verses in the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants 89) talk about alcohol, tobacco, and coffee?  There are five or of twenty-one verses and yet this is where we tend to focus all of our time.  When we talk about the Lord’s law of health that is what we mention.  When the media reports on our health practices that is what they focus on, with an occasional mention that we don’t drink caffeine, which is not specifically in the Word of Wisdom, even though it is a drug that I believe we are abusing when using it for recreation.

Potentially, the reason we spend all the time there is because those substances are easily quantified.  Alcohol - NO.  Tobacco - NO.  Coffee - NO.  To make sense of the rest of the chapter we have to use our brains, the spirit, and more of our agency to get the benefits.

“I sometimes wonder if Latter-day Saints realize that [the Word of Wisdom] has been given to us for our exaltation; not only for our temporal blessing, but to prepare us for spiritual life. … “( In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, 19)

“… I firmly believe that by reason of neglect of this simple requirement, faith has diminished in the hearts of some of our people—that, by a more general observance of the Word of Wisdom, faith will be increased among the Latter-day Saints, and greater knowledge will flow to us as a result; for by obedience to it, there will come a disposition to obey other laws of our Father, and compliance with each insures a blessing.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1908, 83–84)

He mentions developing a disposition to obey.  What does that mean?

I believe this life is to learn to mold our character, making us do what is right out of reflex and not by having to think about it at every decision.  I think this is a disposition to obey.

Doctrine and Covenants 89:4
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

Do we have men that conspire to make a profit on selling us stuff they know is bad for us?  Do those men hide the dangers under artificial flavors and additives to make us crave their products more?  “Once you pop, you can’t stop.”

I believe these conspiring men are more than just the obvious drug dealers of alcohol and tobacco.  Keep in mind that some of the same men that own alcohol and tobacco companies also own food companies that supply a lot of what we eat.

Does God spell it out exactly for us in the Word of Wisdom or does he teach us a general principle and expect us to apply it more specifically to our lives and add our own guidelines?

Doctrine and Covenants 58:26
 26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

When I was on my mission we had the white handbook.  These were rules over and above the commandments.  The rules were described to me as the fence that helps keep us off the commandment wall.  We never had to worry about trying to climb the commandment wall if we stayed behind the fence of the missionary rules.

Just like the missionary rules, we should set personal standards for ourselves that go beyond the standard the commandments set for us.  In the case of the Word of Wisdom, we should read it and find out what it is saying beyond the high level of don’t drink and don’t smoke.

I hear lots of debates about caffeine or no caffeine.  Can we drink herbal tea?  Can we drink soda pop?  Hot chocolate is a hot drink, isn’t it?

Elder Oaks said, “As a general authority, it is my responsibility to teach general principles.”

I think the Word of Wisdom also teaches us general, baseline principles and we need to figure out for ourselves the more specific principles that build on the general principles to make us strong and not just baseline.  While doing this we should realize that some have only understood the baseline and are not necessarily accountable for what you found in your search.

We have been given general principles.  We have also been given the Holy Ghost.  Once we put our personal agenda aside and what we want, then the Holy Ghost can tell us what our standards should be.  So long as we keep putting our lusts before the will of the Lord, the Holy Ghost is not going to be able to penetrate our heart to show us what is true.

Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-3
1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—
3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

“...adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints,”  What does that mean?  To me it feels like the Word of Wisdom was given to be the minimum acceptable performance and not the end goal.

I look upon the Word of Wisdom as kind advice of our Father in heaven, who desires to see His children become more like Him. … I take it as the fatherly counsel of one who, knowing what I needed, said to me: “My son, these things are not good for you, and if you will avoid them I will give you the companionship of my Holy Spirit and joy while you live in the world and in the end eternal life.” How foolish I would be then to partake of these forbidden things, having the assurance that it is the counsel of the Lord I should abstain therefrom. I would feel under condemnation if I should partake of them, when He who knows better than anybody else says that they are harmful, and has warned me against them. …

“… He thought it of enough importance to give it unto us, and to warn us, and if He who knows all things thought it necessary to give advice and counsel upon these temporal matters, how carefully we, who know not what the morrow has in store for us, should observe that divine counsel. I feel that the Latter-day Saints have in the Word of Wisdom a law that will exalt them and lift them above those who fail to keep it.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, 19–21)

“Do you believe that the Lord gave to us the Word of Wisdom? Do you really think that he knows what is good for us? Do you think it would please him if we would observe that law? He says it would. Do you think he meant it?: (In Conference Report, Oct. 1935, 121)

Sunday School
3 Nephi 8-11
The people that were spared, who were arguably not the wicked, still lamented not listening to the prophets.

We now offer a broken heart and contrite spirit instead of animal sacrifice.  It puts more of the responsibility on us.

You train a horse by breaking it first.  You are not breaking it because you are cruel, but because you know it will be a better horse after.  A wild horse is a poor companion.

It is better to humble and break our own bad habits than to have the Lord have to give us catalysts to instigate out humility and learning.

The Lord comes to us individual in subtle and quiet ways, just like the still voice that came to the people in Bountiful at the coming of the Savior to the people in the Book of Mormon.

Sacrament Service
We often say "why me?".  Why not me?

Bad things can happen to anyone, why not me?  Why do we think we have the right to be immune.  We have the right to the Lord’s help to bear or struggles, but we do not have the right to be free from struggles.  That’s why we are here to struggle and learn to overcome our struggles or to succeed in spite of our struggles.  To succeed with our struggles still clinging to us.

From the Bulletin
Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. Whom God calls, God qualifies.” (President Thomas S Monson, “Our Sacred Priesthood Trust”, April 2006 General Conference)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church Services This Week at Sullivan Hollow Second Ward Weber Heights Stake Ogden Utah 16 September 2012

Ward Council
Handbook 2 section 14.1-Hymns and Uplifting Music

Elders Quorum
Doctrine and Covenants Section 84:33-39

Elders are called to teach by virtue of being ordained an elder.  We are set apart to teach no matter if we have been given any specific assignment.

Chapter 18 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith manual

We can skip home teaching for a month or two, but before we know it we may realize we have skipped it for a year or two.

“The Lord, in His kindness, seeing the attitude of His children, and knowing that they would need guidance, gave to us the Ten Commandments, and other commandments that have been given from time to time, to help us to find happiness. You observe people running to and fro in the world, seeking happiness but not finding it. If they would only pause long enough to accept the Lord’s advice happiness would follow, but they will find it in no other way.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1941, 25)

Sunday School
3 Nephi 1-7
The critics of the believers at the end of Helaman are telling the people that there is no way that they can know these thing.  They additionally say that the believers just want them to believe so they have power over them.  They also say the believers are blind followers.  How can one be a blind follower and also have power over anything?

Sacrament Service
The children presented the Primary program today.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Church Services This Week at Sullivan Hollow Second Ward Weber Heights Stake Ogden Utah 9 September 2012

Elders Quorum
Ch 17 George Albert Smith manual
“We are informed that without faith we cannot please God [see Hebrews 11:6]. It is the moving cause of all action, and Scripture is replete with evidences of the power of faith. It was Noah’s faith that enabled him to build an ark, and as a result of obedience to the commandments of God he and his household were saved, while those who lacked faith were buried in the great flood” [see Genesis 6:13–22; 7:1–24]. (From the manual)

One thing that gets in the way of our faith is trying to rationalize why a miracle could not be possible.  Many of the stories in the scriptures seem impossible and yet they happened.

“… It has been by faith that the men who have stood at the head of this work have been inspired, from time to time, to give the instructions that we have needed. It is by faith that we are edified … by those who minister in the name of the Lord, and the Comforter quickens their understanding, bringing things past to their remembrance and showing them things to come; thus evidencing the spirit of revelation.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1913, 102–3)

A missionary who had met with President Lee and the Twelve, years ago, said that someone asked president lee in that meeting why there are not more miracles today as there were in ancient times.  President Lee expressed that there are many miracles happening and if the elders of the church were more dedicated, miracles would more prevalent.

Sunday School
Helaman 13-16
Helaman 13:27-28
27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

"costly apparel" - preachers, movie stars, politicians, athletes

Helaman 13:29
29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?

"foolish and blind guide" - blind in that they can not see God's will or plan.

"how long will you choose darkness?" - we would rather choose a path that is not lighted than to go where guide has shown us.

Helaman 14:13 - merits are things that entitle one to a reward
13 And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

If the Lord didn't care about us he wouldn't give us instruction and chasten us.  He would just let us do what we want and suffer the consequences.  The consequences of our choices are natural consequences and not God being mean to us.

Sacrament Service
A couple of service missionaries spoke as a team about:
How can our homes feel more like the temple?

Suggestions they had:

  • Have gospel centered pictures displayed in our homes.
  • Have a priesthood holder dedicate the home with the priesthood.
  • Have a sacred place where family members can read, prayer, and/or ponder.
  • When we answer our door welcome those that are there with love.  Perhaps even salesmen.
  • Have scriptures all over your home. Where at anytime one can pause and
  • read them.

A stake high councilman spoke on revelation.

A home that is prepared like the temple is a place where revelation can be received.

Anyone who has received the holy ghost has received revelation.

We can be taught in dreams and visions.

Many revelations come as an impression or thought to one's mind.

From the Bulletin
"How wonderful it is that we believe in modern revelation. I cannot get over the feeling that if revelation were needed anciently, when life was simple, that revelation is also needed today, when life is complex. There never was a time in the history of the earth when men needed revelation more than they need it now." (President Gordon B Hinckley, Inspirational Thoughts, Ensign, September 2007, 6)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Church Services This Week at Sullivan Hollow Second Ward Weber Heights Stake Ogden Utah 2 September 2012

Ward Council
Handbook 19.1.1
New converts should be given an appropriate calling or another responsibility to serve as soon as possible. Some new members may be ready for callings as soon as they are baptized and confirmed. Others may need to receive simple assignments that would help them prepare to receive callings. A member of the bishopric interviews new converts before calling them to teach children or youth.

People who are not members of the Church may be called to some positions, such as organist, music director, and assistant Scout leader. However, they should not be called to teaching or administrative positions or as Primary music leaders. The allowance to call nonmembers to some positions does not apply to excommunicated members, who may not have any callings. (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, Callings in the Church) 19.1.1 last paragraphs

Section 76
Acts 7
Section 138

1 Nephi 3:7
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall
prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi, Chapter 3)

When we do what Heavenly Father asks us to do He makes us strong to be able to do more than we think we can.

Dollar Tree by Sandy's Foods in Ogden is hiring.

Elders Quorum
The lesson was based on Elder David A Bednar’s New Era article, “Because We Have Them before Our Eyes”, April 2006
The scriptures are like a written ‘recording’ of the ‘voice’ of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. As we study the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read. As we return repeatedly to the holy scriptures, we gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice.”

Studying the scriptures is like learning a new language.  A language we use to understand what God is trying to communicate.

Enos 1:1-4

Why do we read the scriptures?  Goals, curiosity, seeking the Lord's will.

Make a specific place to read your scriptures so you don't tend to be remind of other things and get your brain off topic.

Why is pondering the scriptures important?  Our minds are more focused and more connections are made in our brain between the scriptures and things in our lives.

Breakdown a complicated subject and explain it to a child.

The instructor also quoted from Elder Henry B Eyring’s book, “To Draw Closer to God”

“When I was the president of Ricks College years ago, I remember having a man who was my priesthood leader come to my house each month to interview me about my home teaching.  He brought with him a notebook in which he wrote notes.  He recorded not only my report as a home teacher, but my observations about the gospel and life as well.

“I remember at first being very flattered.  Then one Sunday he and I were visiting what was then called junior Sunday School.  He was a few rows in front of me.  The speaker was a little girl, no more than six or seven, probably not yet old enough to have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I glanced over at the man and noticed with surprise that he had that same notebook open.  As the little girl spoke, he was writing with as much speed and intensity as he had in the study of my home.  I learned a lesson from him that I haven’t forgotten.  He had faith that God could speak to him as clearly through a child as through the president of a college.

“I watched him over the years.  He kept listening, even to children and novices called to teach him.  He lived the commandments, he seemed to grow in wisdom, and he served for a time as the bishop.  Tragedies of both illness and sin came to him family.  Many years have gone by now, I don’t know all the facts, but the facts I do know tell me that all his children have come back to productive happy lives through the blessings of heaven, the power of the Atonement, and the ministrations of that humble father.  Those miracles came, I believe in large part, because he could hear the voice of God in words of the weak and the simple.”

Write down the ideas that your fellow brethren had in class and implement them in your life.

Sunday School
Helaman 6-12
It says the people were grossly wicked.  Is that gross like a measurement or gross like disgusting?

A testimony is like a car.  When you are using your parents' car it means less than when the car is your own.

When you are going along and doing things in life because of your parents testimony it is very different when you have to make choices because of your own testimony.

Also, as parents, if our testimony is soft then we are establishing a weak foundation for our children to build their own testimonies upon.

Malachi 4:6
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Will the earth be smitten by a curse because God smites it or is it just a natural consequence of not having the work done.  Could a curse be the lack of blessings?  When He comes will the earth be cursed because it will not be prepared and consequently be unable to receive what the Lord has prepared for them.

From the Bulletin
“The question is sometimes asked, ‘Are Mormons Christians?’ We declare the divinity of Jesus Christ. We look to Him as the only source of our salvation. We strive to live His teachings, and we look forward to the time that He shall come again on this earth to rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In the words of a Book of Mormon prophet, we say to men today, ‘There [is] no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent’ (Mosiah 3:17).” (President Ezra Taft Benson, He Lives!  The Witness of Latter-day Prophets, Ensign, March 2008)