Posts Tagged With: Religion and Spirituality

Joseph Smith-An example of friendship and character

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Joseph Smith-History 1:28. In this verse Joseph Smith is recounting a time after the First Vision when he is experiencing severe persecution because he would not deny that he had seen a vision. There are many things that can be learned from this verse.

“…persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends…”

It won’t always be strangers who treat us cruelly or unfairly because of our beliefs. Sometimes it will be those who are closest to us. When we face persecution from friends or family members, how do we deal with it? Do we continue to reaffirm what we know to be true, or do we change who we are to make it easier to maintain the relationship?

“…and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me…”

There will be times in our lives, too, where we may be on the other side. We may have a friend or family member who we believe is doing something wrong. We may even describe them as deluded, out of their mind, crazy, or just plain ignorant to believe what they believe. In those circumstances, do we continue to treat them with the respect and affection we should, or do we resort to persecution like Joseph Smith experienced?

“…I was left to all kinds of temptations…I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature;…”

So often, we hold those in leadership positions to a higher standard of behavior. As a leader it is reasonable to expect them to set a good example, it is not reasonable to expect them to be infallible. They are subject to the same human experience that we all are.

“…I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been…”

This may be my favorite part of this verse. At first reading it may seem silly to even think of levity as something one should feel guilty of. There is no commandment I am aware of that strictly outlaws levity. But the seriousness of the sin is not what is important here. It is what is unspoken that I find most important. Joseph Smith felt that he had sinned. That feeling was probably a prompting from the Holy Ghost that he listened to and acted on. How many times have you been prompted by the Holy Ghost to not do something that you enjoy? How often have you listened to that prompting? Do we acknowledge that those promptings are from the Holy Ghost and act appropriately in response?

If you continue reading in further verses you learn that Joseph Smith went to the Lord to ask for forgiveness of his sins. This is a great example to all of us of how we should ask forgiveness even of those sins that may seem trivial or minor.

It is my hope that I can continue to be diligent in standing up for my beliefs, being a friend to those around me, supporting my leaders even with their weaknesses, and listening to the spirit to repent of those things that need to be repented of.

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“…And Let Them be for Signs,…”

I’ve read the creation story in Genesis several times, but this last time through I noticed something I hadn’t paid much attention to before.

Genesis 1:14 says (emphasis added):

¶And God said, Let there be alights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for bsigns, and for cseasons, and for days, and years:

Isn’t it interesting that God sets the stars, moon, and sun aside to be used by Him as signs for His people even before He says that they will help us to measure time?

I think most people, even those who aren’t Christian, know of the significance of the star in the story of Christ’s birth. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I also believe that there was a night of no darkness in the Western Hemisphere at the same time. At the time of Christ’s death, there was great darkness that lasted for multiple days. For the people alive at that time it may have seemed as if all those heavenly bodies had been removed. And, there will be more signs in the heavens at the time of His second coming.

What do you think? Is it important to understand that God set apart the sun, moon and stars to be signs for us?

Photo Credit: lolo_stock

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More Diligent and Concerned at Home

{My notes from a talk given by David A. Bednar during the October 2010 General Conference titled More Diligent and Concerned at Home.}

This was not the next talk on my list to re-read and post notes on, but it is the one I needed to read next. Since deciding to make “Consistency” my word for the year, I have been on the search for quotes and ideas to help encourage me. One of the first places I looked was LDS.org and this was the very first talk that came up in the search results.

 

Elder Bednar starts his talk by speaking about a revelation in which many leading brethren of the church were encouraged to put their families in order. Doctrine & Covenant 93:40–50 includes the phrase “more diligent and concerned at home” (verse 50).

Elder Bednar went on to explain 3 ways we could all become more diligent and concerned at home. They include expressing and showing our love, bearing our testimony and living it, and the 3rd one that caught my attention was to be consistent. In his words:

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But… our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

Our ability to truly grow as individuals really is dependent on how consistent we are in our actions.

Elder Bednar also spoke about how important it is to make sure that our actions are consistent with our words. When I chose “Consistency” as my word for the year, I hadn’t thought of this implication. I was mostly concerned with focusing my attention on doing the needful things every day. I do appreciate his words, however, and the reminder that our actions need to be consistent with our words. How effective is it really to tell my children that they need to keep their things cleaned up if I don’t clean up after myself? How effective is it to tell my children to use calm voices and not yell at each other when I yell at them. I’ve found yet another way that I can focus on this word and feel its impact throughout this year.

I am grateful that this talk was given, and I am even more grateful that I was directed back to it at a time when I could most appreciate its importance.

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Stay on the Path

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President gave a talk titled Stay on the Path during the Saturday morning session of General Conference. From her talk:

“No child needs to walk the path alone so long as we speak freely to our children of the plan of salvation. Understanding the plan will help them hold to the truths that they are children of God and He has a plan for them, that they lived with Him in the premortal existence, that they shouted for joy to come to this earth, and that through the Savior’s help, we all can return to our Heavenly Father’s presence. If they understand the plan and who they are, they will not fear.

“When we are holding tight to the iron rod, we are in a position to place our hands over theirs and walk the strait and narrow path together. … We do not need to be perfect—just honest and sincere. … When a parent says, “We can do it! We can read the scriptures daily as a family,” the children will follow!”

The world will teach our children if we do not, and children are capable of learning all the world will teach them at a very young age. What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today.”

Alright, I’ll admit that this talk was hard to listen to. Not because of the message it contained, but because Sister Wixom has one of those voices that is just sickly sweet. I am very glad, however, that I took the opportunity to go back and read it because it does contain a simple yet strong message.

As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children about the Plan of Salvation and the best way to do that is to live it and set an example of staying on the correct path from the beginning. If we don’t teach them, the world will, and quite frankly I am scared of what my children can learn from the world.

It is also very reassuring to hear that we can’t expect ourselves to be perfect. But, if we are making an honest and sincere effort than we will see the benefits.

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Because of Your Faith

Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk titled “Because of Your Faith” at the Saturday morning session of the October General Conference. Here are a couple of quotes from that talk.

“The personal value, the sacred splendor of every one of you, is the very reason there is a plan for salvation and exaltation.”

“My thanks to all you wonderful members of the Church—and legions of good people not of our faith—for proving every day of your life that the pure love of Christ ‘never faileth.'”

I enjoyed the heart-felt gratitude that Elder Holland expressed in this talk. I especially enjoyed hearing him tell about how his parents sacrificed their wants so that he would be able to come home from his mission and attend school. That is the kind of parent and the kind of person I want to be. Someone who is always looking for ways to help others, even without recognition, and even if it means sacrificing something I may want at the moment.

I hope we can all take to heart his message and continue to show that there is charity, the true love of Christ, in all of us.

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