The 180th Annual General Conference: Bruce A. Carlson Talk

Saturday Session 2, Talk 4, Bruce A. Carlson, Of the Seventy

  • Ground Affect – plane stalled and crashed – No serious injuries.
  • Harold B. Lee – “The safety of the church lies in the members keeping the commandments.  As they keep the commandments, blessings will come.”
  • When we choose to disobey a commandment:
  1. We have convinced it ourselves it does not apply to us.
    • Partial or selective compliance with God’s laws will fail to bring the blessings of obedience.
  2. It is not important.
    • Obedience to the Lord’s commands, in spite of how trivial or unimportant we believe them to be will surely bring his promised blessings.
  3. It is too difficult to obey
    • At times we may rationalize that the Lord will understand our disobedience because our special circumstances make adherence to his laws difficult, embarrassing or even painful.  However, faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task will bring the lords guidance, assistance and peace.
  • “WHEN THE LORD COMMANDS, DO IT.”

God Has to Follow the Rules Too!

One of the things that I’ve learned over the past half year is that Heavenly Father is bound by laws. At first, it didn’t seem right – that Heavenly Father, a perfect being, of all people would have a follow laws and rules? You’ve got to be kidding me!

But it makes sense.

Things have to be done a certain way for a reason. The universe has to have order. We have the laws of physics. We have the laws of mathematics. We have national laws. We have state laws. We have city laws…

The point is, things work out better when you follow the rules. Our rules are the Commandments, which are made for our benefit. If we can follow the commandments faithfully, it paves a way to many blessings, both spiritually and temporally.

God promises a blessing for obedience to particular commandments. The promise that he makes is called a covenant. A covenant is a sacred agreement or mutual promise between God and a person or a group of people. If we choose to obey our end of the covenant, we receive promised blessings. If we choose not to obey, he withholds the blessings. Not being obedient takes away from ourselves.

If we keep the Lord’s commandments, he is bound by his promise to bless us as stated in Doctrine and Covenants.

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10)

Think about the following scenario: A Father promises to buy his son a pet rat if he gets all A’s on his report card. His son tries his hardest and receives an ‘A.’ This promise was made for the son’s benefit. What would happen if the Father did not follow through with his promise? The son would be disheartened and perhaps not do as good on his next report card? The father is bound by his promise, it is only right.

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

It is comforting and motivating to know that there are blessings in store when following the commandments given to us. I find it absolutely amazing and humbling that our Heavenly Father has to follow the rules as well.

He and his son are our examples. What great role models to have!

A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism

If you are taking lessons from a missionary and decide to get baptized, there are certain things they want done before the actual baptism.

Today, there are four lessons before your baptism. Missionaries want to sure you understand what you are taking on by being baptized.

The four lessons are broken up by topic:

  1. The Restoration
  2. The Plan of Salvation
  3. The Gospel of Jesus Christ
  4. The Commandments

I will write about these four lessons at a future date.

You can decide to be baptized at any time during the four lessons. After committing to be baptized, the rest of the lessons (if any) will be taught before it is done. There is also a baptismal interview that is done before hand. This is done by a missionary district leader.

The following questions asked are:

  1. Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father?
  2. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?
  3. Do you believe that the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?
  4. Do you believe that [the current Church President – which is Gordon B. Hinkley at this time)] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?
  5. What does it mean to you to repent? Do you feel that you have repented of your past transgressions?
  6. Have you ever participated in an abortion? A homosexual relationship? Have you ever committed a serious crime? If so, are you now on probation or parole? *
  7. You have been taught that membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints includes living gospel standards. What do you understand of the following standard. What do you understand of the following standards? Are you willing to obey them?
    1. Are you willing to keep the Sabbath day holy, including partaking of the sacrament weekly and rendering service to fellow members?
    2. What do you understand of the law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relationship outside the bonds of a legal marriage between a man and a woman? Are you willing to obey this law?
    3. What do you understand of the Word of Wisdom? Are you willing to obey this law?
    4. What do you understand of the law of tithing? Are you willing to obey this law?
  8. When you are baptized, you covenant with God that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of Christ and keep His commandments throughout your life. Are you ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?

* – If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you will be sent to the mission president for a follow up interview.

These questions were taken from my own experiences and cross-referenced with Preach My Gospel Chapters 3 and 12. (Thanks Joey)

The Gospel According To St Matthew: Seek First the Kingdom of God

For the past week I have been carefully reading The Gospel According to St Matthew of the New Testament in the Bible. There are mounds of knowledge and information from this one book alone. I find comfort in knowing that the wisdom of Jesus Christ contained in this book has been available to many before me. In this post and those to follow I will occasionally write about what I have taken from the Gospel According to St Matthew.

There are many temporal things in the world that are sought after by men such as: money, houses, cars and fame. You see the shows on MTV: “Cribs” and “Pimp my ride.” The next generation of men and women as well as the generations before have been programmed to want such worldly things. I admit, I too have been influenced to want such things.

In the New Testament, Matthew Chapter 6 reads:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

I have realized that before I seek after the riches of this world, I should seek the spiritual riches first. I should lay up my treasures in heaven. If I were a perfect person, I would not have any want for the temporal. I would not have any want for the things which are temporary. I would only seek the spiritual things, the things that would last forever.

In the New Testament, Matthew it reads:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:24-33)

What I take from these verses are:

No man can both seek temporal riches (wealth) and spiritual riches (God) at the same time. It is wise to not worry about the every day needs of your temporary body. Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for our needs if we put him first.

An example is the Law of Tithing: Paying a full tithe which is 1/10th your increase. Even the concept of 1/10th your increase must be of divine origins-it is an easy number to discern! Move the decimal point 1 plays to the right. My belief is that tithe is necessary because:

  • It helps the Church grow.
  • It is a solemn act of consecration that proves your faith.
  • It humbles us and allows us to remain meek and obedient in other commandments and covenants.
  • It allows you to become more wise with your money; that you may do more with that 90% than you would have with the 100%.
  • You will receive blessings invaluable and definitely valued greater than that 10% given.
  • Your Heavenly Father has given us 100% of what we have, giving back a mere 10% is nothing in comparison.

As stated following in Doctrine and Covenants 130:

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

This says that obedience is a two way street between ourselves and Heavenly Father. If we follow the commandments Heavenly Father has given, Heavenly Father has no choice but to give the blessings which were conditionally promised.

In the Old Testament, Malachi Chapter 3 and in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi Chapter 24 it states:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10)

Heavenly Father promises that if tithe is paid, he will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing.