A Thread For Talks and Lessons

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DarkJedi
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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Aug 2018, 10:18

I recently gave a talk about family history and temple work. My aim was to not do the usual guilt trip "it's a commandment" thing (because I don't believe it is) and to focus more on us as a big human family.

I started with my fairly usual testimony of the sacrament and explained that I had once been in a SM where the topic was missionary work and the best talk was about why we do missionary work instead of the usual who, when, where,how stuff (It really was a good talk) and said I planned to follow that model.

Then I said I was not a travel agent for guilt and whether or not you do family history or go to the temple is between the individual and God and nobody else - like lots of other things in the church. I used the following Uctdorf Quote:
Why Then Obey?
If grace is a gift of God, why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important? Why bother with God’s commandments—or repentance, for that matter? Why not just admit we’re sinful and let God save us?
Brothers and sisters, we obey the commandments of God—out of love for Him!
Trying to understand God’s gift of grace with all our heart and mind gives us all the more reasons to love and obey our Heavenly Father with meekness and gratitude. As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. “The Spirit of the Lord [our God]” brings about such “a mighty change in us, … that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
Therefore, our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace. Virtue will garnish our thoughts unceasingly, and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God.
And I said that even though I find family history tedious and have to be in the mood, I have nevertheless done a great deal of research and that I am a direct Mayflower descendant, my ancestors fought in all major wars from the Revolution onward and struggled and worked and farmed and faced adversities we probably can't comprehend fully in our day of technology and convenience. I told them that there were no families more broken than mine, but I knew my earthly heritage, but I also know my spiritual heritage and quoted BKP:
You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!
Following is directly from the talk:
Not only are you a child of God, so is everyone else here in this room and every other human who lives, has lived, or will live on the earth.
It doesn’t matter if you were born here in the United States, or in the most primitive of places.
People of different skin, hair or eye color, different religious or political beliefs, very much like you or very much different from you are all children of Heavenly Parents who love them just as much as they love you.
We’re all of divine heritage.
In Acts Paul referred to us as “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29) and later to the Romans he said:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.(Romans 8:16)
Said the Psalmist:
Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalms 82:6)
I have struggled from time to time with the idea of the “great apostasy.”
Isn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ eternal, having always existed?
And won’t it continue to exist forever?
Since the time our Lord walked the earth, have there not always been believers in His word?
I think the answers to all of these questions is yes.
Even during the so called dark ages, it is apparent there were believers in Christ.
They may not have understood all there is, but neither do we.
They did understand the very essence of the gospel:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
How, then, could there be an apostasy if there were always believers in Christ?
Of course the answer is that the apostasy was not total, either in believers or in knowledge.
They certainly had part of the gospel, but not all of it.
Our latter-day saint theology holds that we all lived together with our Heavenly Parents as spirit children before coming here.
One of the greatest misunderstandings of the apostasy, as far as I can tell, is the loss of the idea of the pre-mortal existence.
Much of our understanding of the gospel hinges on the theology of our pre-mortal lives.
Said Joseph Smith:
At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it. (TotPofC:JS 209)
The plan of salvation is something we knew about and agreed to be a part of, understanding what we have now forgotten - that we were to come here to learn and grow through our experiences.
The great plan included the fall, which was not a sinful tragedy but rather a necessary part of the plan which brought death to the world.
Death itself is not a tragedy, either, but is another step forward in eternal progression.
Adam’s sin was not an act of rebellion, it was a necessary part of the plan that we all knew was going to happen.
Because of the lack of belief in the eternal context of the fall, that it was always part of the plan, in Christian theology the atonement of Jesus Christ became the back up plan instead of the primary plan it really is.
I don’t believe the restoration is as much about correcting false doctrine or theology as it is about restoring the eternal context of the doctrines.
Casting Adam out of the garden was also part of the plan.
Nephi taught:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Ne 2:25)
However, joy is not something that just comes to us.
Another key part of the plan is that we experience pain, sorrow, and suffering for without knowing these things we could not know their opposites.
Mark Twain, a contemporary of early church leaders, understood this:
What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.
Because God so loved the world, his plan was presented in the council in heaven.
Because of his plan, his purpose - to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life - can be fulfilled.
The loving God described by Paul - who surely knew of the love and mercy that transitioned him from Saul to Paul after very grievous mistakes - is not the same sovereign God who craves our servitude and worship as described in the Christian creeds the boy Joseph was told were abominations.
In The Christ Who Heals, How God restored the Truth That Saves Us Fiona and Terryl Givens summed it up like this:
Heavenly Father established his covenant with us in the beginning, having in mind our eventual unification with him and Heavenly Mother. As children of divine parents, we were invited to be perfected and sanctified with the assistance of an atoning Savior, so that having acquired ‘the divine nature’ we could live in holy sociality with other celestial beings. We were understood to be children of the Most high, and our Heavenly Parents’ concern for us was and is intimate, familial, and compassionate. The Fall was anticipated as a deliberative step our first earthly parents would undertake to pave the way for our embodiment, that we might enter upon the educative, soul-stretching enterprise of life in this pain-strewn world.
We believe that the first principles of the Gospel are: first Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance.
Complicating matters further may be our understanding and translation of certain words like repentance.
Elder Theodore M. Burton of the Seventy explained the meaning of repentance in a 1988 Ensign article.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the word used in it to refer to the concept of repentance is shube.
That is the message of the Old Testament. Prophet after prophet writes of shube—that turning back to the Lord, where we can be received with joy and rejoicing. The Old Testament teaches time and again that we must turn from evil and do instead that which is noble and good. This means that we must not only change our ways, we must change our very thoughts, which control our actions.
The concept of shube is also found in the New Testament, which was written in Greek. The Greek writers used the Greek word metaneoeo to refer to repentance. Metaneoeo is a compound word.
In the context in which meta- and -neoeo are used in the New Testament, the word metaneoeo means a change of mind, thought, or thinking so powerful that it changes one’s very way of life. I think the Greek word metaneoeo is an excellent synonym for the Hebrew word shube. Both words mean thoroughly changing or turning from evil to God and righteousness.
Confusion came, however, when the New Testament was translated from Greek into Latin. Here an unfortunate choice was made in translation; the Greek word metaneoeo was translated into the Latin word poenitere. The Latin root poen in that word is the same root found in our English words punish, penance, penitent, and repentance. The beautiful meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words was thus changed in Latin to a meaning that involved hurting, punishing, whipping, cutting, mutilating, disfiguring, starving, or even torturing! It is no small wonder, then, that people have come to fear and dread the word repentance, which they understand to mean repeated or unending punishment.
The meaning of repentance is not that people be punished, but rather that they change their lives so that God can help them escape eternal punishment and enter into his rest with joy and rejoicing. If we have this understanding, our anxiety and fears will be relieved. Repentance will become a welcome and treasured word in our religious vocabulary.
Our Heavenly Father’s part is to bring us joy, our part is to turn to him.
This life, said Amulek in Alma 34, is the time for us to prepare to meet God. (verse 32)
All we have to do is look around us to see that not everyone is engaged in the lifelong process of repentance in turning toward God through His Son’s atoning sacrifice.
But again in his infinite wisdom and love, there is a part in Heavenly Father’s plan to accommodate this situation.
We can have the saving ordinances performed vicariously, and in a way we may not fully understand they can repent and experience the same grace we will.
Quoting the Lord in Ether 12, Moroni wrote:
...my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me….
In his April General Conference address, Elder Quenten L. Cook reminded us of an important event that occurred in the Kirtland Temple and recorded in D&C 110.
Among other things Elias appeared and committed the keys of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, which includes the restoration of the Abrahamic covenant.
That covenant, as contained in the Book of Abraham, in part says:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (2:9-11)
Paul told the Galatians:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (3:26-29)
Elder Dale G. Renlund told us in April:
...as we participate in family history and temple work today, we also lay claim to “healing” blessings promised by prophets and apostles. These blessings are also breathtakingly amazing because of their scope, specificity, and consequence in mortality. This long list includes these blessings:
Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice
Increased influence of the Holy Ghost to feel strength and direction for our own lives
Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding
Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going
Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts
Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord
Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be
Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone
Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others
Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary
And Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole
Finally, keeping our own temple covenants can affect our own posterity.
Joseph Smith taught:
When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.
And Orson Whitney said:
Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.
That is my testimony as well.
Our Heavenly Parents love us so much that built into the great plan of happiness is not only the opportunity but the means by which we can each return to them and progress eternally.
As we partook of the sacrament today we took upon us the name of Christ - again.
His atoning sacrifice is eternal and it applies to each and every one of us and everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live upon the earth.
His is a message of hope, not only to those who lived in a time and place where they were oppressed by such as the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, but to each of us today.
We can be forgiven through the Way, the Truth and the Light.
So it doesn’t matter if you do your family history and temple work out of blind obedience, or because you want a reward or fear a punishment or because you love God and your neighbors or any other reason.
As we are sealed together we not only become united as earthly families, but we become united in the much, much larger mosaic of the human family headed by loving Heavenly Parents who want nothing more than for all of us to return to them.
May we recognize that divinity in everyone and the love of Godly parents for each of us is my prayer...
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Minyan Man
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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Minyan Man » 28 Aug 2018, 11:30

Thanks for sharing DJ, I too like the idea that we are all connected. Either by adoption or by direct lines.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6151
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Aug 2018, 15:58

Minyan Man wrote:
28 Aug 2018, 11:30
Thanks for sharing DJ, I too like the idea that we are all connected. Either by adoption or by direct lines.
I did want to develop the adoption idea a bit more but there were two factors sort of in the way: time and I didn't want to conflict with the heavier emphasis I had put on being literal spirit children. That is why I included the Paul quote, though.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Nov 2018, 14:47

I recently gave a talk with the assigned topic "Coming closer to Christ by following the living prophet." There were two reference talks from April General Conference that I did not use in the talk itself. They were talks about prophets by Elders Stevenson and Anderson.

I began with my usual (of late) testimony of the sacrament, that its promises are to all who partake and that by partaking we have re-covenanted with God. Since it was close to Thanksgiving I invited the audience to take a few moments over the holiday to ponder “that sacred holy offering by man least understood” (Hymns 175) and “stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers...confused at the grace that so fully he proffers.” (Hymns 193)

Following is the slightly redacted text, mostly word-for-word:

Let me begin today by telling you a bit about my own history.
I was a 21-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, when I joined the church just over 37 years ago.
I was what some call a “golden contact.”
Before contacting the missionaries I had already studied the church and had read a book which some of you might be familiar with called A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
It is a book that unlike some other popular tomes of the day, despite some of its datedness and although the author is long dead, is still in print.
And it is still a great resource.
In those days the missionaries used flipbooks.
The so called discussions of the day were scripted and went in a defined order, beginning with the First Vision.
I still fairly vividly recall my first discussion,which was held at the local church building.
I had read the First Vision in the book, but the story affected me differently when told by the missionaries.
That experience was what I still consider one of the top spiritual experiences of my life.
I can’t say I came away from there “knowing” that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but I did and do believe Joseph Smith’s experience.
Over the last few years I have turned more of my attention to my interest in church history, of which there is now much more readily available information than there once was - although I find myself sometimes surprised at how extensive my personal library actually was.
Thanks to efforts like the Joseph Smith Papers Project, the Saints series of books, many available resources on LDS.org, and faithful authors like Richard Bushman and Terryl Givens I think I have come to understand Joseph Smith and what he really believed and taught.
As I have read and studied his four personal accounts of the First Vision - something he rarely talked about and most early members of the church church knew nothing about - I recognize his humility, his own angst, and his humanness.
I am partial to the 1832 account.
In that account Joseph asserts that between the ages of about twelve and fifteen he had
"...pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind the contentions and divi[si]ons the wicke[d]ness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the of the minds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins..."
After relating things he had learned from his study of the New Testament, Joseph said:
"therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in <​the​> attitude of calling upon the Lord <​in the 16th year of my age​> a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the <​Lord​> opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph <​my son​> thy sins are forgiven thee."
Joseph's main concern in this account seems to have been that he wanted to be forgiven of his sins.
That is not unusual for people.
The Lord later told Joseph in what we call section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth."
I recognize that Joseph Smith’s weaknesses are a stumbling block for some, and I don’t have any answers for you - you have to figure that out for yourselves.
I can give you one tip that might help though - quit focusing on a testimony of Joseph and start focusing on a testimony of Jesus Christ.
For me Joseph’s weaknesses bring hope because if God can work with someone as flawed as he, there is certainly hope for me.
One last note about Joseph before I move on - I also believe Joseph because, if for no other reason, he could have walked away at any time and faded into the vast frontier wilderness and quietly farmed the remainder of his days - but he didn’t.
I’ve learned something else over the decades:
It’s not necessary that we “know” everything, and in fact it is probably impossible.
Our theology is in fact that we learn line upon line and that our learning does not stop unless we choose to stop learning.
Likewise, "For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." (D&C 46)
That section of Doctrine & Covenants goes on to list several other gifts - things like healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues.
And like Nephi of old, when asked if he knew the condescension of God it is OK to say: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. (1 NE 11:16-17)
For, like Paul, "now we see through a glass, darkly...."
It’s OK for us, just as it was OK for Joseph Smith, to have questions and continue to seek truth and knowledge - something he did his entire life.
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
"It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true."
The footnote in that paragraph points us to Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
And Alma 32:21 "...faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
In that same address, Pres. Uchtdorf said:
"In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth."
I do believe the church and church leadership does respect those searching for truth, but sometimes I think we members could do better at showing that respect and helping each other discover truth wherever it is found.
Back to my story, like others who were “investigating” the church at the time, I had been assigned some fellowshippers.
Frankly I always thought the term “investigator” a little odd and I’m sort of glad the term is discouraged nowadays.
I recall talking to one of my fellowshippers and saying something along the lines of I had no problem believing Joseph Smith was a prophet, but I wasn’t sure about there being a current prophet.
I do not recall my friend’s response other than him bearing a testimony and I do not recall exactly what I did in my own head with my question at the time but I do recognize that I essentially shelved it and moved on.
I did not think it impossible that Spencer W. Kimball was a prophet, and I even heard him speak and it was his signature the machine put on my missionary call letter a couple years later.
So please do not misconstrue this confession as more than what it is.
It was absolutely nothing personal about Pres. Kimball as an individual, and it was definitely much more about me not having received a witness at that point.
It was not that I did not believe or want to believe, but it was as simple as having an unanswered question.
Fast forwarding a couple decades, I suffered a crisis of faith.
Those of you who are in the midst of such a crisis or who have transitioned fully understand the word suffer in this case.
I came to a point in my life where I doubted all that I thought I knew about God, the church, and religion in general.
I was for a number of years angry at a God whose very existence I doubted.
When I needed so much more, where was this God of the Lost Car Keys I had heard so much about in many years of testimony meetings?
Like the prodigal son in the parable - and I am indeed a wasteful son as are all of us - I one day came to myself.
With a far different and better understanding of who and what our Heavenly Father is - mighty oaks of understanding - the anger at him subsided.
I had not learned what I thought I knew of him from him, it had come from elsewhere.
Sometimes it had come from, and I use this term very loosely, what “the church teaches” which is often not at all what the church teaches.
Other times it was from well meaning individuals who did not themselves fully understand.
I bear you my witness that we cannot begin to comprehend the depth and breadth of the love our Heavenly Parents have for us.
They want nothing more than for us to return to them.
We are their children.
Paul referred to us as “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29) and later to the Romans he said:
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."(Romans 8:16)
And said the Psalmist:
"Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Psalms 82:6)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about hope, and in the absence of faith and knowledge there is always hope.
As an apostle, Elder Russell M. Nelson said at a BYU devotional: "Regardless of how desperate things may seem, remember—we can always have hope. Always!" (BYU Devotional Jan. 1995)
Elder Nelson went on to say that the hope he spoke of comes from the atonement of Christ, and this past April in one of his first addresses as president of the church he said:
"Without our Redeemer’s infinite Atonement, not one of us would have hope of ever returning to our Heavenly Father. Without His Resurrection, death would be the end. Our Savior’s Atonement made eternal life a possibility and immortality a reality for all."
Since I just quoted from a living prophet you might be wondering what became of my question, and how has my faith in that respect transitioned?
Fact is I still don’t know, I still see through the glass darkly, but I do believe and I hope.
As I began the process of faith transition and repentance - meaning change or turning toward God in this case - a little over five years ago Thomas S. Monson was president of the church.
Much like Pres. Kimball, I had nothing personal against Pres. Monson.
Yes, I disliked the odd little lilt in his voice at the end of many sentences as he spoke and I sometimes wondered at the end of a talk he would give as an apostle “What was the point of that talk?”
You know the ones, the stories of little Tommy and the widows in his Salt Lake City ward.
But in my transition I recognized something in Pres. Monson that I hadn’t before.
He always talked about one thing - ALWAYS - and that was loving one another.
All the stories about the widows and all the other stories were about loving one another.
As president he became much more direct on the subject - and gave up the little lilt!
He even gave one of the greatest talks on the subject “Love, The Essence of the Gospel” in 2014.
Quoting Pres. Monson:
"We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all…love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”
Of course, Jesus’s own words on the subject are clear:
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34)
Only part of that commandment was actually new - the Jews had known for thousands of years that the second great commandment was to love their neighbors.
Jesus even said we should love our enemies. (See Matt 5:43-44)
John tells us "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (1 John 3:11)
And I believe John meant from the very beginning.
I realize Pres. Monson talked about things in addition to love, but to me his legacy is his teaching about love.
I believe it should be easy to sustain a prophet who consistently gives the message of our Savior.
Likewise, it is so with our current president, Russell M. Nelson.
I know not everybody favors the two hour block, heck some of you aren’t over going to a three hour block to begin with.
But, if it gives me more time on my Sabbath to study and learn what I want to learn and come closer to my God and my Savior, I’m all for it.
And quite frankly it beats wasting the hour in the foyer.
Emphasizing the full name of the church?
I’m in if it helps us to focus more on Jesus Christ and helps others to understand we really are Christians and followers of Jesus Christ.
Ministering?
I submit to you it is what home teaching was meant to be all along and really could be called “love your neighbor as Christ has loved you.”
Whether these great changes are revelation, inspiration or just things an old man has wanted to do for a long time makes no difference to me because I believe all of these things can bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ if we let them.
And that brings me to one final point.
In the April 2014 General Conference - the same one where Pres. Monson said Love was the essence of the gospel - Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf asked the rhetorical question “Are you sleeping through the restoration?”
He said:
"Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.” ... the exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ."
There is no question I slept through some of the restoration, I didn’t even go to church for 10 years.
The gospel and the doctrine do not change, but policies and traditions do.
The ship is turning, although such course changes are slow they are almost imperceptible - unless you are paying close attention.
I invite you to listen to those we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators and recognize that they aren’t talking to us about things now like they did 30 years ago.
Since my return to activity in the church in 2014 there has been a significant uptick in frequency in one topic in General Conference: Jesus Christ.
I also hope you noticed that every talk in the general session of stake conference last week was centered on Jesus Christ.
I cannot take credit for that, but I rejoice in it.
There have been several messages in this talk.
It is my hope and prayer you heard the one you needed to hear, even if that had very little to do with the words I spoke.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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