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obedience

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.”


Obedience

I have been thinking about this verse that I read in the Pearl of Great Price all week:

And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him:

I know not, save the Lord commanded me. (Moses 5:6)

This verse sums it up pretty nicely by taking a concept that we ourselves complicate and simplifying it to its most basic core meaning.

Obedience.

I can’t believe how I never actively realized until this week how obedience is shown and taught throughout the: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.

The message is pretty clear now and I see the path I need to take as clear day.

I feel the spirit stronger than I ever have, since being baptized.



The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Priesthood Session Notes

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 1 – M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

  • Priesthood is the divine power that seals
  • How to Talk between Father and Son:
  • Most Nurturing
  • Who Sons and Fathers Become
  • Applies to All Mentors
  • 3 Suggestions for the Son:
    • 1. Trust Your Father:
      • Not Perfect, but loves you and is looking out for your best interests.
      • Your Father will feel responsibility and will make him work harder.
    • 2. Take an interest in your father’s life.
      • Interests
      • Goals
      • Job
      • How he met your mother?
      • Watch your father, you’ll understand your father better.
    • 3. Ask for your father’s advice:
      • Ask on Church, Classes, School, Assignments, Missions, Callings.
      • Asking says to him: “I appreciate your knowledge and experience.”
  • 3 Suggestions for the Father:
    • 1. Listen to your sons. Ask the right questions and what to know.
      • Connect with your son: Driving, Fishing, Conversations before bed, working in the yard.
      • Have one deep conversation with your son at least once a month.
      • Where and when is not important. Just that it happens.
      • Ask how they “feel”
      • Just listen. You don’t have to fix everything.
    • 2. Pray with and for your sons.
      • Important events: New School Year, Birthday, One and One Prayer, Testimony Sharing.
      • Never give up. Even when you can’t do anything.
    • 3. Talk about and warn about bad things: Drugs, Pornography. Discuss the priesthood and moral cleanliness.
  • Trust will flourish. Be open about Sexual Behavior with open and frequent discussions. Be positive about sexual relations in the bounds of marriage.
  • Return Missionaries – All this advice applies to them as well.
  • Pray to Heavenly Father. Honor your Earthy Father.
  • Most important decision is to marry the right girl in the temple.
  • Fathers of return missionaries, this applies to them too.

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 2 – Walter F. Gonzalez, of the Seventy

  • USE the Book of Mormon
  • Take the Book of Mormon Test: Is it of man or of God?
  • 3 Activities to best read and apply:
    1. Feast Upon the Words of Christ. READ IT.
    2. Implement the Teachings
    3. Teach From the Book of Mormon

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 3 – Yoon Hwan Choi, of the Seventy

  • Story of 9 Rowdy Boys, Baptized and went on missions.
  • They went from 9 Boys to a family of 45 members.
  • The boys sang in a group.
  • Choi prayed about them and was inspired to teach them to be missionaries.
  • “Attend all church meetings” – Taft
  • Teach them to change their lives
  • Adam did not always have to know why, he just obeyed.

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 4 – President Deter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency

  • Must remain steadfast in faith.
  • Work Hard.
  • Trust in God.
  • Uchtdorf was teased as a young child. When he looks back, he sees that being teased gave him personal growth.
  • Adversity, when faced with faith, can be overcome.
  • Prinicples:
    • 1. WORK.
      • If you keep at it, steady and constant, things will improve.
      • In the sweat of thy face, thou shalt eat bread.
      • Lord doesn’t expect us to work harder than we are able. Don’t compare your performance to others, he does not.
      • When your wagon is stuck in the mude, God is more likely to help one who gets out to push, than those who pray.
      • Righteous work in the home is sacred and has eternal results. It cannot be delegated.
      • Spend your days growing.
      • Spiritual Wings – as sons of God, we should grow to the horizons.
      • Retirement is not part of God’s plan. You should always be doing something.
      • Excuses with age: Skateboarding, biking, spicy food at the buffet… should not keep you from working.
      • No retirement from priesthood.
      • Wanting to retire from work is not a thought of a disciple.
    • 2. LEARN.
      • Old saying: “Education is not so much a filling of a bucket as a lighting of a fire.”
      • Learning is a commandment.
      • Joseph Smith said as a mortal part of our journey that knowledge in this life crosses into the resurrection.
      • Knowledge takes away anxiety, doubt and darkness.

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 5 – President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor, First Presidency

  • Keeps olive oil on him at all times.
  • Keeps it in his desk (He has a desk!)
  • Keeps it on his nightstand.
  • The olive oil has a date on it: The day it has been concecrated.
  • Always ready.
  • Story: A father called him about his three year old daughter. She had been hit by a car. He plead for a priesthood blessing. He had to fight the doctors to place a drop of oil on her head amidst bandages. Doctors said she was dying. They were wrong. She lived and also learned to walk again.
  • Those prepared are ready to answer.
  • Preparation begins at home, quorums, etc.
  • Steady Obedient Service.
  • Need:
    • To have faith, authority to act in the name of God.
    • Nephi – Given the authority to do miracles. He brought drought/rain, god gave him power and trust.
    • D&C 121 – Moves are pure, Gentleness, Love, Not Selfish. D&C 121 contains a promise in there.
    • Prepare for days when heaven needs you. Service & Opportunity.

Saturday Session 3 (Priesthood), Talk 6 – President Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet

  • Anger
  • Story of a couple fighting and a child who got hurt as a direct result.
  • Anger doesn’t solve anything.
  • Destroys everything.
  • Heber grant story about work.
  • “Man is a fool who takes insult that is not intended”
  • Anger is Satans tool.
  • Story about Brother Marsh, how a result of a quarrel over milk and cream lead to the extermination order.
  • Story about two brothers who shared a 1 room cabin in New York. They got into a fight and drew a line down the center of the room. They did not speak or cross the line for 62 years. This story was told at a funeral.
  • Reads “School Thy Feelings Poem”


Father and Sons Campout – Priesthood Fireside

This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.

I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen.  It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.

There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!

The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service.   There was a great lesson presented.  In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.

They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.

This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.

My Family
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.

My Friends
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.

My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.

The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion.  I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry.  I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.

I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.



Remembering and Recommitting

April has been a month of recommitting and remembering.

Let’s all face it.  When we’re following the straight and narrow path, you are the most happy.

This is done by following the commandments, daily prayers throughout the day, following family home evening, putting effort into your callings, giving thanks and remembering Christ.

Heavenly Father knows our hearts and our needs and he listens to our prayers.   When we are weathered from the world and feel that we are not 100% and yearn to be, he will bless us and give us a way.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  (Matthew 21:21-22)

Throughout the Book of Mormon we consistantly see the word “Remember.”   Searching on scriptures.lds.org for “Remember” shows us at least 88 results.

Recommitting is remembering.

Remember the baptismal covenant.

Remember the plan of salvation/happiness.

Remember to pray.

Remember the scriptures.

Remember Heavenly Father and his love.

Remember Jesus Christ and the atonement.

Remember and be blessed with peace and happiness.



The 178th Annual General Conference: Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ Talk

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Besides President Monson’s talks from 178th Annual General Conference weekend, Elder Dallin H. Oaks who is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is the one that has stuck with me the most.

One of the first things he said that has been ringing in my head ever since was what he said on bearing testimony, which was actually quoted from Spencer W. Kimball:

The minute we begin preaching to others, our testimony has ended.

That took me a few moments of pondering, but it makes absolute sense! Preaching is not bearing our testimonies.

The Truth

During a testimony, what do we mean when we testify and say that we know the gospel is true? When we say “I know this church is true,” what does that mean?

Elder Oaks compares it by two examples:

  1. Scientific- “I know it is cold outside.”
  2. Personal and Subjective – “I know I love my wife.”

Scientific knowledge is based on actual facts. We know it is cold because we can measure the temperature and our bodies react the freezing cold. We can prove this to others easily.

Personal and Subjective knowledge is something that others must trust you on. Knowing you love your wife is only something you could really know. While not capable of scientific proof, it is still important. You can’t say that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence.

Scientific methods will not yield spiritual truths. To gain knowledge – you must desire it, then you ask for it.

  • If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal (D&C 42:61)
  • Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit (Alma 5:46)

Testimonies

  • Testimonies are gained bearing them rather than on your knees asking for it.
  • We need to partake of the Sacrament every week to qualify to have his spirit to always be with us. That spirit gives us testimonies.
  • Children should hear us bear our testimonies frequently. Let them define themselves by bearing their own testimonies and building.
  • When we have a testimony of the restored gospel we also have a duty to share it.  We have a duty to clarify doctrine for others, rather than let others misrepresent. We should speak in mildness and meekness, never be overbearing, shrill or reviling. We should speak the truth in love.
  • Anyone can disagree with our personal testimony but no one can refute it.

Obedience and Knowledge

  • Members who have a testimony and act upon it under direction of church leaders are accused of blind obedience.  Our obedience is not blind but comes from the knowledge we gain through our testimonies.
  • When it comes to learning and knowing the truth of the gospel, our personal testimonies, we all have a personal witness of the Jesus Christ and God through the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • We can be united in following our leaders and independent for knowing for ourselves.

Two Channels to God

  1. Through our Leaders and Prophets. This channel has to deal with doctrine, ordinances and commandments. This results in obedience.
  2. Personal Testimony. The existence of God, our relationship to him and the truth of the restored gospel.
  • These two channels are mutually reinforcing.
  • Knowledge encourages obedience and obedience enhances knowledge,
  • Obedience is not blind when done in knowledge.
  • Choice to follow teachings is not blind obedience.

I began writing this post write after this session but never got around to finishing it until now. Since then, the actual transcript of Elder Oaks’ talk can now be found on lds.org by clicking here.



Going to the Temple

I can’t remember the last time I felt the spirit so strongly.

I am so excited. My ward has been planning a trip to the temple to do baptisms for the youth and new converts. When I first heard about this, I was kind of leary about going yet. There are so many things that made me want to wait and I thought I was going to do just that. I even planned on working on the Saturday that was planned.

I believe that the hand of the Lord was influencing things today as I attended Church today. We made it just as church was beginning today. We were able to sit through and take sacrament together as a family. It was ward conference and there were sustainings and a message from our bishop.

The Bishop had a message about how we are not perfect, but if we are willing we can improve every day and also the importance of us sharing the gospel with everyone.

The new stake president (the man who asked me to speak in another ward last summer) also delivered an influencing message. How we should stop concentrating on the temporal things such as having that large home or car or watching TV and focus on our spiritual needs and how to put our Heavenly Father first.

We had a combined meeting for 2nd hour – and one of the stake councilors spoke about the importance of family and the plan of happiness / plan of salvation.

The third hour we had a combined priesthood meeting and we spoke about the needs of our significant others.

Before third hour, the brother that had baptized me approached me about going to the temple next Saturday. I thought I had already made up my mind and kindly told him I wasn’t going to. But then a feeling came over me that I should go anyway. After talking with him shortly I decided it was something I should do. Everything fell into place from here.

I was found by the Bishop’s secretary and had an appointment for after church for the temple recommend interview. I was beaming with joy at this point.

The whole day so far made me realize many things:

  • How much I love my wife and children and how I want to be with them forever.
  • The joy that comes from coming to church every week.
  • This church has brought nothing but goodness to my life.
  • This church is ABSOLUTELY the Church of Jesus Christ.

After third hour, I met up with my lovely family and asked them to wait while I talked to the Bishop.

It was a wonderful meeting, full of the spirit, I was bursting at the seams with joy. My interview went well, with the usual questions which are similar if not exactly what we are asked for our baptism interview or priesthood interviews.

There is one question that is different that came up and I was waiting for it. The Bishop asked me “Are you worthy to go to the temple?” This seems like a simple question but it is not. I realize that no unclean thing can be before the Lord, let alone enter his house. I had the feeling I should have just said yes, but with trying to be honest to myself and the Lord I said “…pretty much, 95% sure.” And why did I answer this way? Because I am not a perfect person. However, the Bishop again started to explain that part of being worthy is to be willing (note the keyword willing) to be obedient to the Lord. And I do believe I am.

“We are our own worst judge.” I said, and then I said that I am indeed worthy to enter the temple.

The Bishop also mentioned that he has noticed a change in my countenance and I was glad to hear that. I felt a change in the past few weeks. I felt a change because I’ve been doing what they always say:

  • Keep the commandments.
  • Study the scriptures daily.
  • Have family home evening.
  • Pray together as a family.
  • Pray while alone.

I testify that these things make an absolute difference. I’ve tried to follow the advice before.

Trying was bringing change and happiness in my life.

Doing, however, has brought immense joy and peace.

Even though I said I was going to work on a Saturday, I have to say that I am not. To make up for it, I will work late on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I will rest and prepare to enter the temple and on the coming weekend I will dedicate it completely to spiritual things, which absolutely take importance above all temporal issues.

I am anticipating being dunk again. The feeling of being baptized is like none other. I was thinking since I was an Elder I could help by doing the baptisms, but I there is a policy that I have to be a member for a year and have a full temple recommend as well as being an Elder to do so. I am fine with that, I just want to help anyway that I can.

I am excited to enter the House of the Lord.




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