Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Come What May

"That trial has not been a problem for either of us because, when we live righteously and have received the ordinances of the temple, everything else is in the hands of the Lord. We can do the best we can, but the final outcome is up to Him. We should never complain, when we are livingworthily, about what happens in our lives.
Fourteen years ago the Lord decided it was not necessary for my wife to live any longer on the earth, and He took her to the other side of the veil. I confess that there are times when it is difficult not to be able to turn and talk to her, but I do not complain. The Lord has allowed me, at important moments in my life, to feel her influence through the veil.
What I am trying to teach is that when we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously in order to maintain the blessings promised by those ordinances, then come what may, we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent." (Elder Richard G. Scott, Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Time of Need, Ensign, May 2009). 

Feeling Offended

"And when Cain and Abel offered up their sacrifice, Cain offered his at the instigation of the devil; and his sacrifice, of course, was not accepted. God knew his heart and the feelings by which he was actuated, and therefore rejected his offering. Then came Lucifer, the devil, and says to Cain, 'I told you the Lord would treat you wrong; He has treated me wrong;' and he instigated him to kill his brother, which he did." (John Taylor,  Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 26:, p.88 - 89)

Giving Your Best

"The The Bible does not give us the particular reasons for the acceptance of Abel's and the rejection of Cain's offering; but the Talmud, an ancient Jewish record, informs us that "while Abel selected the finest and best-conditioned animals of his flock, Cain offered fruit of an inferior quality, the poorest which the earth afforded. Therefore, Cain's offering was unheeded, while the fire of acceptance fell from heaven, consuming the gracious gift which his brother had presented to his Maker." (Franklin D. Richards, 26 vols., 23:, p.315)  

Similarities of Law of Moses Sacrifice

"Adam and Eve were taught the law of sacrifice and were commanded to practice it by giving offerings. They obeyed without questioningAdam and Eve were taught the law of sacrifice and were commanded to practice it by giving offerings. These included two emblems: the firstlings of the flock and the first fruits of the field. They obeyed without questioning (see Moses 5:5-6). President David O. McKay pointed out: “The effect of this [law] was that the best the earth produced, the best specimen in the flock or herd should not be used for self, but for God” (“The Atonement,” Instructor, Mar. 1959, 66). At a time in history when it was a struggle to make sure the family had food, those who sought to worship the Lord were asked to sacrifice the best part of their source of life. It was a real test of Adam and Eve’s faith, and they obeyed.
Likewise, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the holy prophets from Adam to Moses offered to the Lord sacrifices in a similar way.
The Law of Moses - Because of the rebellious nature of the children of Israel in the days of Moses, the practice of the law of sacrifice was changed; it became a strict law requiring daily observance of performances and ordinances. During the time of Moses there was an expansion in the number and variety of offerings under the law of sacrifice. The Mosaic sacrifices consisted of five major offerings that fell into two primary categories—obligatory and voluntary. The difference between the obligatory and the voluntary offerings might be compared to the difference between the law of tithing and the law of fast offerings.
One thing remained the same in all of these offerings: everything about Mosaic sacrifice focused on Christ. Like Christ, the priest acted as the mediator between the people and their God. Like Christ, the priest had to have the right parentage to officiate in his office. Like Christ, the offerer through obedience willingly sacrificed what was required by the law.
The part of sacrifice that most strongly paralleled the Savior was the offering itself. Notice with me some of these parallels.
First, like Christ, the animal was chosen and anointed by the laying on of hands. (The Hebrew title Messiah and the Greek title Christ both mean “the Anointed One.”) Second, the animal was to have its life’s blood spilt. Third, it had to be without blemish—totally free from physical flaws, complete, whole, and perfect. Fourth, the sacrifice had to be clean and worthy. Fifth, the sacrifice had to be domesticated; that is, not wild but tame and of help to man (see Lev. 1:2-3, 10; Lev. 22:21). Sixth and seventh, for the original sacrifice practiced by Adam and the most common sacrifice in the law of Moses, the animal had to be a firstborn and a male (see Ex 12:5; Lev. 1:3; Lev. 22:18-25). Eighth, the sacrifice of grain had to be ground into flour and made into breadstuffs, which reminds us of our Lord’s title the Bread of Life (see John 6:48).
Ninth, the firstfruits that were offered remind us that Christ was the firstfruits of the Resurrection (see I Cor. 15:20). (See also Bible Dictionary, “Sacrifices”; Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols. [1992], 3:1248–49.)” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, The Law of Sacrifice, Ensign,  October 1998).

Cain's Sacrifice

“… Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type,…” (TPJS, p58)


Thursday, February 21, 2013


“Apostasy usually begins with question and doubt and criticism…They who garnish the sepulchres of the dead prophets begin now by stoning the living ones. They return to the pronouncements of the dead leaders and interpret them to be incompatible with present programs. They convince themselves that there are discrepancies between the practices of the deceased and the leaders of the present. … They allege love for the gospel and the Church but charge that leaders are a little ‘off the beam’! … Next they say that while the gospel and the Church are divine, the leaders are fallen. Up to this time it may be a passive thing, but now it becomes an active resistance, and frequently the blooming apostate begins to air his views and to crusade. … He now begins to expect persecution and adopts a martyr complex, and when finally excommunication comes he associates himself with other apostates to develop and strengthen cults. At this stage he is likely to claim revelation for himself, revelations from the Lord directing him in his interpretations and his actions. These manifestations are superior to anything from living leaders, he claims” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), p. 462).
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity. That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 156-57.)

"Youth who start out to indulge their appetites and passions are on the downward road to apostasy as sure as the sun rises in the east. I do not confine it to youth; any man or woman who starts out on that road of intemperance, of dissolute living will separate himself or herself from the fold as inevitably as darkness follows the day" (President David O. Mckay, CR, April 1945, p.123).
President David O. McKay reminded us, “The spirituality of a ward will be commensurate with the activity of the youth of that ward.” (Elder Robert L. Backman, Revitalizing Aaronic Priesthood Quorums, Ensign, November 1982, p.38)

Creating Yourself

 “… every human being has been given two creators. One is God, and the other is himself… The creation of man is still going on. .. Someone has asked this interesting question: ‘How would you like to create your own mind?’ But isn't that exactly what everyone does? William James said, ‘The mind is made up by what it feeds upon … While Cain was training himself to. . . love Satan more than God . . ." (Moses 5:18), he was giving dominion to his lower soul. This is a process that many frequently follow. Sometime ago a young man discussed with me an improper marriage which he was contemplating. I asked him why. He said he was in love. But love alone is an insufficient basis for marriage. Anyone can fall in love with anything. Many people have fallen in love with idleness, profanity, adultery, and drunkenness. Cain fell in love with Satan. A chain smoker was recently ordered by his doctor to give up smoking. He had fallen in love with cigarettes, and he felt very sorry for himself that he was now being forced to give up his bad habit. He said, "What good could it possibly do me to quit smoking when I have to stand over myself like a policeman with a club, ordering myself to do something that I don't want to do?" It is pretty difficult to force ourselves to be decent or successful while we are in love with sin and failure. “ (Elder Sterling W. Sill, CR October 1963)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is my offering a sacrifice?

C.S. Lewis said, “If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them” (Mere Christianity (1952), 67).

Where Man's Testimony of the Father began

Lectures on Faith 2

What testimony had the immediate descendants of Adam, in proof of the existence of God? The testimony of their father. And after they were made acquainted with his existence, by the testimony of their father, they were dependent upon the exercise of their own faith, for a knowledge of his character, perfections, and attributes. Lecture 2: 23, 24, 25, 26.

Had any other of the human family, besides Adam, a knowledge of the existence of God, in the first instance, by any other means than human testimony? They had not. For previous to the time that they could have power to obtain a manifestation for themselves, the all-important fact had been communicated to them by their common father; and so from father to child the knowledge was communicated as extensively as the knowledge of his existence was known; for it was by this means, in the first instance, that men had a knowledge of his existence. Lecture 2: 35, 36. Read more

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Law of Sacrifice

Elder M.Russell Ballard's CES talk on the Law of Sacrifice
"There are two major, eternal purposes for the law of sacrifice that we need to understand. These purposes applied to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and the New Testament Apostles, and they apply to us today as we accept and live the law of sacrifice. The two major purposes are to test and prove us and to assist us in coming unto Christ."

Read more here!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Obedience, Sacrifice, Consecration

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Obedience, Consecration, and Sacrifice, Ensign May 1975
"Accordingly, I shall now set forth some of the principles of sacrifice and consecration to which the true saints must conform if they are ever to go where God and Christ are and have an inheritance with the faithful saints of ages past. It is written: 'He who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.' (D&C 88:22.) The law of sacrifice is a celestial law; so also is the law of consecration. Thus to gain that celestial reward which we so devoutly desire, we must be able to live these two laws.
Sacrifice and consecration are inseparably intertwined. The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church: such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth. The law of sacrifice is that we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the truth’s sake—our character and reputation; our honor and applause; our good name among men; our houses, lands, and families: all things, even our very lives if need be.

To read more click McConkie

The Threshing Floor

So what IS the threshing floor? 

A threshing floor is where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest and then winnow it.
Sheaves of grain would be opened up and the stalks spread across the threshing floor. Pairs of donkeys or oxen (or sometimes cattle, or horses) would then be walked round and round, often dragging a heavy threshing board behind them, to tear the ears of grain from the stalks, and loosen the grain itself from the husks.
After this threshing process, the broken stalks and grain were collected and then thrown up into the air with a wooden fork-like tool called a winnowing fan. The chaff would be blown away by the wind; the short torn straw would fall some distance away; while the heavier grain would fall at the winnower's feet. The grain could then be further cleansed by sieving.

"Elder Richard G. Scott said: 'Search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them... It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle'(Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86). 

Learning is not complete until you have applied what you are learning. To apply a doctrine or principle means that with the help of the Holy Ghost you can make a connection between the principles learned and your thoughts and behaviors and then choose to live accordingly.

Understanding a doctrine or principle can change the way you conduct your life. President Boyd K. Packer noted: 'The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. . . . That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel' (Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).

Applying gospel truths will help you become more like the Savior. But learning how to identify and understand gospel truths takes practice and effort. These truths can be discovered by asking questions like the following:

  • What is the moral or point of the story?
  • Why did the writer include this story or scripture?
  • Why were these events or teachings preserved in scripture?
  • What did the author intend for me to learn?
  • What are some of the fundamental truths taught in this passage?


Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “To testify is to know and to declare. The gospel challenges us to be “converted,” which requires us to do and to become.” (Ensign, Nov. 2000)