Doing Your Duty
One of the speakers talked about his grandfather's and home teachers' example after his parents divorced.
"Priesthood is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls." - The Powers of Heaven, David A. Bednar, April 2012 General Conference
The speaker talked of a story where racing greyhounds were trained so much to chase a mechanical rabbit so much that when a real rabbit came onto the track they ignored it.
How trained do we get on chasing things that when real, important things cross our path that we don't attend to them.
“We chase mechanical rabbits, too.
“We chase paychecks, and don’t give a second look to the glint of the rising sun on a snow-topped peak.
“We chase our way through the appointments of a crowded desk calendar, and fail to take time to chat with the next-door neighbor or to drop in on a sick friend.
“We chase social pleasures on a glittering noisy treadmill—and ignore the privilege of a quiet hour telling bedtime stories to an innocent-eyed child.
“We chase prestige and wealth, and don’t recognize the real opportunities for joy that cross our paths. …”
“The world is full of foolish schemes. They contravene and hinder the purposes of the Lord. Some seek to change the God-given roles of the sexes. Some invite mothers to leave the home to work. Others entice fathers to find recreation away from their families. These questionable practices weaken the home!
“Some fathers provide a good house, clothing, cars, and food, and forget what real fatherhood is. Fatherhood is a relationship of love and understanding. It is strength and manliness and honor. It is power and action. It is counsel and instruction. Fatherhood is to be one with your own. It is authority and example.” (A Theodore Tuttle, The Things That Matter Most, Ensign December 1971)
“The father is the protector of the home. He guards it against the intrusion of evil from without. Formerly he protected his home with weapons and shuttered windows. Today the task is more complex. Barred doors and windows protect only against the intrusion of a corporeal creature. It is not an easy thing to protect one’s family against intrusions of evil into the minds and spirits of family members. These influences can and do flow freely into the home. Satan can subtly beguile the children of men in ways we have already mentioned in this conference. He need not break down the door.
“Fathers, you will have to live close to the Lord. Develop a sensitivity to the impressions of the Spirit.
“There is yet another intrusion into the home that needs to be mentioned. It is an unwise father who carries to his family his daily business cares. They disturb the peace existing there. He should leave his worries at the office and enter his home with the spirit of peace in his heart and with the love of God burning within him. If there is friction, his presence should soothe it. If there is turmoil, he should resolve it.” (A Theodore Tuttle, The Role of Fathers, October 1973 General Conference)
“By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion, and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less. Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her.” (Elaine S. Dalton, Love Her Mother, October 2011 General Conference)
Even when we can't bring a lot of religion into our professional environment we can be an example of righteousness.
12 Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.
Duty is what others expect of you, but more importantly it is what you expect of yourself.
"Only if a citizen is allowed to make decisions of conscience and lifestyle free from state control or coercion can he be held totally accountable for his actions."
"If men and women of character fail to participate in the political decisions that shape their lives, others with more selfish motives will inevitably rush in to fill the void."
John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the Savior and then testify of the Savior.
The Jews perhaps needed to be eased into the idea of the Christ. They had different ideas of what the Messiah was going to be.
For a time John and Jesus both had their own sets of followers. Perhaps John had more of a new investigator class or a gospel principles class. Perhaps he was finding people to teach, teaching them very basic doctrines, and baptizing them.
After John was killed was there a missionary program that still taught people and prepared them for the deeper doctrines of Christ? It is likely not possible that Christ, in his human form, could find all the people that were to be taught and teach them all of the basics while still setting up his church and teaching all of the advanced doctrines he had for the people.
John was in the wilderness to protect him from Herod's decree to kill all children under 2. His parents had taken him to the wilderness to hide him and that is where he was raised.
John preached repentance because he was baptizing and you had to repent first.
Also, to prepare the way of the Lord people's hearts need to be softened through repentance to accept Him.
Priesthood leaders are necessary to focus on what the people don't understand. Often we do not know that we are off track and it is throwing the rest of our lives off track. Some of what John was telling the people were things they didn't understand was wrong and they needed to raise their life to a higher level in preparation for the higher law the Savior was bringing.
In order to truly repent we must have a mighty change of heart and not just not doing the sin.
"Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world." ()
5 ¶Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Agency - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 3, Freedom of Choice, an Eternal Principle
"[Ezra] saw that when he made the choice to work hard, local farmers hired him to thin their beets and pitch their hay."
Galatians 6:7 - “applies to spiritual pursuits as well as physical labor.”
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
“[President Benson] spoke of agency as the ability to ‘make important decisions that will have bearing on our salvation’ and that will ‘affect our happiness in eternity.’”
“The premortal Jesus Christ followed Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation, which preserved our freedom of choice.”
“Lucifer is the enemy of all righteousness and seeks the misery of all mankind.”
“The central issue in that premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force.”
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
“The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality.”