Maricopa Stake Conference Notes 3 & 4 December 2011

Bishop David H. Burton was the presiding general authority at our stake conference this weekend. He was on assignment from President Boyd K. Packer.

Saturday Priesthood Leadership Session

President Lewis, our stake president, reviewed of “The Family: a Proclamation to the World” on the topic of a father’s responsibilities. “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”

  • Provide for the necessities of life.
  • Provide protection > How do we provide this protection?

This last point brought some open conversation from the congregation. President Tyler Wright (our Elders’ Quorum president) offered a sober experience of how he had to offer physical protection to his family just the night before with the use of a gun. Then he also talked about preparing his daughter spiritually for baptism. Bishop Weyrauch (Maricopa 4th Ward) also mentioned the spiritual protection that we need to provide our families in the face of today’s media influences and all the other messages that are abounding. His remarks were pointed out by Bishop Burton later on, which caused me to give pause and deeper consideration to the thought.

Doctrine and Covenants 109: 22 – We go forth from the temple armed with power.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:27-30 – Unity/Unanimity, vs 30 is the key in explaining how this is to be achieved. It is almost identical to the powers described in Section 121:41 & 42.  The greatest blessing are given as we achieve unanimity.

2 Nephi 32:3 was also referenced. A reminder to feast upon the words of Christ.

President Lewis also offered a few remarks about family scripture study, stating that Saturday and Sunday scripture studies were the best because there was no rush or demand to leave the house as on other days.

This got me thinking about how I use Sundays for family time. Could I attend to all other meetings on days other than Sunday?

Remarks from Bishop David H. Burton:

He endorsed “the gracious of our stake president”.

President Howard W. Hunter’s only talk to the priesthood as president of the Church focused on two points:

  • We who have the privilege of holding the holy Melchizedek priesthood, hold sacred expectations.
  • Perfect moral fidelity within our own homes. There is the expectation that we will not flirt with temptation.
  • Lead out in righteousness in our homes. Many are failing to do this in their homes.

Invitation from Bishop Burton: As time permits in quorum meetings, help quorum members understand this challenge.

Shift to Addressing Youth/ Young Men and Young Women – More than 50% of the youth of the Church now reside in single parent homes. The church as an institution needs to be more proactive. Bishops hold sacred Aaronic priesthood keys to bless the young people.

Differences between Bishop and the Presiding High Priest (which is also the Bishop’s assignment by delegation from the stake president).

  • Bishop’s keys cannot be delegated.
  • Most of the presiding high priest’s duties can be delegated.

Bishop Burton concluded with a Q & A session where some fun statical facts and question were thrown around. As Bishop Burton was speaking without hard numbers, I’ll refrain from making note. Despite general global economic hardship, the Church which just held it annual council on the disposition of the tithes, is in sound financial shape for the upcoming year– an amazing blessing as Bishop Burton noted it.

Post thoughts:

  • It is curious to note that the bulk of our work in the priesthood is focused on creating righteous fathers and husbands in our homes.
  • Preparation. A scout is prepared. We must be prepared in all things.

Saturday Adult Session

This was something of an open mic format where, after an introduction by Bishop Burton, the two counselors in the stake presidency lead discussion on Zion. We were invited to share scriptures and examples on the topic, and I was very much impressed by the Spirit of the Lord that was present during the discussion.

As the meeting was preparing to start, I saw an older couple walk in and set down. This reminded me of how much time I will have after parenthood with young children to enjoy discipleship, but also came the reminder of how pivotal this years are right now as parents in our children’s preparation.

Moses 7:18 – This was pointed out to be the theme of the conference, but was shared voluntarily by a member of the congregation first.

Questions asked that lead to a powerful conversation:

  • What is Zion?
  • Why do we want to be a part of Zion?
  • How do we dwell in righteousness?

Some observations that I made note of:

  • Alma prayed, not that the behavior of his son would change, but that he would come to a knowledge of the truth.
  • Dews from heaven require conditions to be just right for them to distill upon the ground. So our homes, too, require conditions to be just right for the dews of heaven to distill upon the heads of our children.
  • Pray, asking what is the most important thing that we can do each day.

Again, the most memorable part of this adult meeting was the feeling that I had participating in the Spirit of the Lord that was there. While we sat discussing Zion, I couldn’t help but feel that I was already here in Zion. Doctrine and Covenants 45:68 was mentioned by someone, and I found it to be particularly curious in reference to the earlier discussion that we had about a father’s duty to protect his family.

Sunday Morning General Session

Thoughts from listening to Bishop David H. Burton’s remarks:

  • He spoke about following the words of the living Prophet. He said that he had both a “Hinckley Bible” and a “Monson Bible” where he studied and considered the words of the living prophets with as much weight and importance as the ancient written scriptures.
  • Something spiritual happens to us when we share the gospel.
  • Can you strengthen your testimony on all key points? This last thought had nothing to do with anything that Bishop Burton’s remarks, only that I was recalling a recent experience where I bore testimony in a meeting on a point that I really had about 18 years collective experience with, and it really felt like a personal witness or testimony of things that I had experienced. On key doctrines such as the main 5 points of testimony (Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the Priesthood and church of Jesus Christ are restored, and we have a living prophet today), I want to have as strong a personal witness.

Personal Resolution – 22 Nov 2011

In my morning studies, I’m starting into Mosiah 14, which is almost the verbatim reproduction of Isaiah 53. I am resolved in this week of thanksgiving that, living in a time where I am longer required to live according to the laws of Moses, I will do more to remember my Lord Jesus Christ and specifically the atonement which he performed on my behalf. This is my resolution for the week, and the way in which I am proposing to improve in my personal discipleship. I am making record here so as to have a way to gauge it.

Anger – Family Home Evening

We have a need to address anger in our family.

Let’s do a family home evening plan based off of the scripture in 3 Nephi 13:21-22

 21 Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not akill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God;

 22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is aangry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Are there any other lesson materials available to help with this. What if we talked about speaking kind words.

Children

October 2011 General Conference Address by Elder Niel L. Anderson

The decision of when and how many children to have is a decision to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord.

We should not judge another based on their family size.

2.1.3 Covenants

Honoring and keeping our covenants brings great blessings in mortality and qualifies us for exaltation.

Scriptures referencing this idea:

Exodus 19:3-6:

And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

 

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

 

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

The purposes of the Lord for the children of Israel were to create a kingdom of priests or holy people. The reality of that objective is only beginning to be realized in our day. This explains why there are so many ordained Elders in the church in our day. It has always been the objectives or the purposes of the Lord to establish the church this way. (That wasn’t the purpose of this scritpure, but it also strikes me as curious.)

Judges 2:1

And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

 Moroni 10:33

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

This is a fascinating side note, the promise of grace is extended to us by covenant. On what conditions does God extend to us his grace? On the conditions that we are willing to abide his covenants. That is the missing key in understanding the argument between works verses faith.

 

 

 

2.1.2 Ordinances

Ordinances are are sacred physical acts with symbolic meaning which opens the door to rich spiritual blessings. One of the ordinances mentioned is the sacrament. Perhaps a study of ordinances and their purposes will bring a greater spiritual understanding of the sacrament.

If I were to prepare a sacrament meeting that called specific attention to the sacrament, perhaps I would focus on various topics such as ordinances, symbolism, or the Savior’s Atonement. Review this section of the Handbook 2 to gain a good focus on how to present.

Temple ordinances performed vicariously for deceased persons must be accepted and the related covenants honored by the deceased person in the spirit world.

First Presidency Message: Precious Promises of the Book of Mormon

online version

Elders’ Quorum – Sunday 9 Oct 2011

Read the opening story from Pres. Monson’s remarks.

Then ask, have we ever looked at the Book of Mormon for its promises? Or as a book of promises.

I’ve never to consider the Book of Mormon for its promises. Yet it is called the New Covenant (Doctrine and Covenants 84:57). So naturally, if it is a covenant, there must be promises associated with it.

There is a discussion of promises as found in the Book of Mormon listed in this talk:

  1. Promise of a  return to God and the reality of the resurrection (Alma 40:11-12) –
  2. Promise of peace, freedom and blessings (Ether 2:12) –
  3. Promise of  “never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41) – the blessing of “never-ending happiness” is at the end of the verse. It is the state of of those who are faithful until the end of this life, and the promise that awaits them in the life hereafter. I had always bypassed this promise.
  4. Promise of “incomprehensible joy” (Alma 28:8; 29:9) – What kind of joy are we talking about in these verses? Is there anywhere else in all of scripture that helps us to understand what this kind of Joy is? The joy of extending salvation and repentance to others. This turns missionary work into items of joy and reasons for glorifying God.
  5. Promise of the gathering of scattered Israel (3 Nephi 16; 21-22) –
  6. Promise of blessings for our families (3 Nephi 18:21) –
  7. The final promise is a prophetic promise offered by President Hinckley of “an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

It impresses me that President Monson used the Book of Mormon as a tool in his ministering.

Teaching Activities:

Let’s read each of the scriptures referenced in the the talk and look of the promises in each.

Discuss the use of the Book of Mormon in our personal ministries. If nothing else, each of us has a ministry to our own families, our spouses and children.

Additional Promises that I have found in my own study and thought:

  1. 2 Nephi 31:19-20 – The promise of Eternal Life.

Judgment, The Final Judgment Day, Jesus Christ Judge

TG: Judgment: Rev 16:7 – “I hear another… say… Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are they judgments.”

-This establishes the standard for judgment. This statement also recognizes from where all truth flows. It is only appropriate that the final judge of our labors be He who has all truth.

¿? – Will we be held accountable for all our works? 1 Nephi 10:20 – “Therefore, remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.”

¿? -What will become of us after the death of our bodies? 2 Nephi 9:15,  “And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel (Christ); and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.”

Vs. 16 goes one to explain that our state at the Judgment and afterwards will be that as it was before hand. Those that were righteous and prepared will know what to expect and will be righteous still.

This provokes other ideas but I’d like to see them supported by scripture first.

2 Nephi 9:46 – This scripture tells much.

At the last day judgment, justice will be administered to the righteous. We are commanded to be prepared so we don’t shrink with fear because of our guilt.

This verse suggest teaches that at that day we will be perfect, I believe that means immortal, and in being in such a state we will know clearly all our guilt. For if we  arrive at the day, still with that burden of guilt, we will be forced to proclaim: “Holy, holy, are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty – but I know my guilt; I transgressed the law, and my transgressions are mine (not Adam’s); and the devil hath obtained me that I am a prey to his awful misery. “

Let the myth that when we become immortal we also become sinless be dismissed. For it is not so and we will then understand our guilt for our bodies, minds, hearts will be perfect.

Conclusion for the day: Even in briefly  studying these verses, my understanding of the judgment is clearer and I am drawn [to] appreciate more so the need for the gospel of Jesus Christ, to prepare us for that great and final day. BL