Scripture Study and Missionary Work

This sunday’s quorum instruction need to be focused on missionary work and the long term effort required to do it well.

  • Key to that effort is a conversion to daily scripture study.
  • Clearly, the Lord has counseled us that if do not make scripture study a part of our lives, we cannot do his work.
  • We cannot be counted as faithful disciples of the Christ if we are not daily and regularly feasting upon his words.
  • My sheep know my voice.

From “A Discussion on Scripture Study,” Elder Henry B. Eyering, July 2005 Ensign:

How has scripture study benefited you personally?

Elder Eyring: Throughout my life, the scriptures have been a way for God to reveal things to me that are personal and helpful. When I was a little boy, I was given a small Bible. If I remember correctly, it was only the New Testament. For some reason, I was drawn to 1 Corinthians 13 [1 Cor. 13], which is about charity. Somehow, even in my childhood, I knew that for me that chapter was about the family I would have someday. Years later, before I was married, I received a patriarchal blessing. In that blessing, the patriarch described the feeling that would be in the home I would someday have. He described exactly what I had felt years before when I read 1 Corinthians 13 [1 Cor. 13].

The scriptures were one of the ways God spoke to me—even when I was a child—about my needs, my situation, and my life. They still are. Since our needs change over a lifetime, God has different things to tell us at different times.

Sometimes I go to the scriptures for doctrine. Sometimes I go to the scriptures for instruction. I go with a question, and the question usually is “What would God have me do?” or “What would He have me feel?” Invariably I find new ideas, thoughts I have never had before, and I receive inspiration and instruction and answers to my questions.

 

Why should we read the Book of Mormon on an ongoing basis?

Elder Eyring: The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and we learn about Him in its pages. We know that it has great power. It has the power to change lives. It has the power to convert. If you read it with an open heart, you will know that it is the word of God and that it is true.

Through the Book of Mormon the Lord can also teach us about being with and serving people. This book reveals the will of the Lord for family life in a way that the other scriptures don’t even approach. I believe that is largely because of its interesting structure. It’s about families; it’s about people’s relationships. It starts with families, it ends with families, and we come to love these families.

Another reason to study it regularly, for me at least, is that I can pick up the Book of Mormon, open to any page, read, and the Holy Ghost bears personal witness to me that it is the word of God. I know the Lord is speaking. I know the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be.

 

What have you done to make your own scripture study meaningful?

Elder Eyring: When I came into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Richard G. Scott suggested I buy an inexpensive set of scriptures and mark the insights and revelations I would gain in my new calling. So I did. But I went a little further.

I asked Heavenly Father what He would have me do as an Apostle. I wrote down what I felt His answers were. I typed, color coded, and pasted those answers in the front of my scriptures. For example, the first one was “I am to be a witness that Christ is the Son of God.” Then I read my scriptures looking for ideas that taught me how to witness that Christ is the Son of God. Every time I came to something, I marked it in blue. Soon I developed my own topical guide around what I thought the Lord wanted me to do. I have learned much through this process.

Going to the scriptures to learn what to do makes all the difference. The Lord can teach us. When we come to a crisis in our life, such as losing a child or spouse, we should go looking in the scriptures for specific help. We will find answers in the scriptures. The Lord seemed to anticipate all of our problems and all of our needs, and He put help in the scriptures for us—if only we seek it.

 

How can Latter-day Saints make scripture study a priority?

Elder Eyring: The only way you can be sure that a busy schedule doesn’t crowd out scripture study is to establish a regular time to study the scriptures. I have found that the beginning of the day and the end of the day are mine. Those are times I can usually control. So my pattern since I was a boy has been to read my scriptures at the beginning and end of the day. I read the Book of Mormon many times before I was 18 because of that pattern.

When I am in situations where I break out of the pattern, it’s hard on me. Once you get used to regular scripture study, you miss it if you don’t have it. It’s like food—you have to have it. I know that I need the scriptures like I need food. I don’t miss a regular meal, and I don’t miss regular scripture study.

 

From “The Blessing of Scripture,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2010 General Conference :

The Scriptures Are the Standard for Distinguishing Truth and Error

God uses scripture to unmask erroneous thinking, false traditions, and sin with its devastating effects. He is a tender parent who would spare us needless suffering and grief and at the same time help us realize our divine potential. The scriptures, for example, discredit an ancient philosophy that has come back into vogue in our day—the philosophy of Korihor that there are no absolute moral standards, that “every man prosper[s] according to his genius, and that every man conquer[s] according to his strength; and whatsoever a man [does is] no crime” and “that when a man [is] dead, that [is] the end thereof” (Alma 30:17–18). Alma, who had dealt with Korihor, did not leave his own son Corianton in doubt about the reality and substance of a divine moral code. Corianton had been guilty of sexual sin, and his father spoke to him in love but plainly: “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?” (Alma 39:5).

In a complete reversal from a century ago, many today would dispute with Alma about the seriousness of immorality. Others would argue that it’s all relative or that God’s love is permissive. If there is a God, they say, He excuses all sins and misdeeds because of His love for us—there is no need for repentance. Or at most, a simple confession will do. They have imagined a Jesus who wants people to work for social justice but who makes no demands upon their personal life and behavior. 2 But a God of love does not leave us to learn by sad experience that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10; see also Helaman 13:38). His commandments are the voice of reality and our protection against self-inflicted pain. The scriptures are the touchstone for measuring correctness and truth, and they are clear that real happiness lies not in denying the justice of God or trying to circumvent the consequences of sin but in repentance and forgiveness through the atoning grace of the Son of God (see Alma 42).

Scripture tutors us in principles and moral values essential to maintaining civil society, including integrity, responsibility, selflessness, fidelity, and charity. In scripture, we find vivid portrayals of the blessings that come from honoring true principles, as well as the tragedies that befall when individuals and civilizations discard them. Where scriptural truths are ignored or abandoned, the essential moral core of society disintegrates and decay is close behind. In time, nothing is left to sustain the institutions that sustain society.

The Scriptures Bring Us to Christ, Our Redeemer

In the end, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ—faith that They exist; faith in the Father’s plan for our immortality and eternal life; faith in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which animates this plan of happiness; faith to make the gospel of Jesus Christ our way of life; and faith to come to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent” (John 17:3).

The word of God, as Alma said, is like a seed planted in our hearts that produces faith as it begins to grow within us (see Alma 32:27–43; see also Romans 10:13–17). Faith will not come from the study of ancient texts as a purely academic pursuit. It will not come from archaeological digs and discoveries. It will not come from scientific experiments. It will not even come from witnessing miracles. These things may serve to confirm faith, or at times to challenge it, but they do not create faith. Faith comes by the witness of the Holy Spirit to our souls, Spirit to spirit, as we hear or read the word of God. And faith matures as we continue to feast upon the word.

Scriptural accounts of the faith of others serve to strengthen our own. We recall the faith of a centurion that enabled Christ to heal his servant without so much as seeing him (see Matthew 8:5–13) and the healing of a Gentile woman’s daughter because that humble mother would accept, as it were, even the crumbs from the Master’s table (see Matthew 15:22–28; Mark 7:25–30). We hear the cry of suffering Job: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15)—and professing, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: … [and] yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25–26). We hear and take courage from the determination of a tender boy prophet, hated and bitterly persecuted by so many adults: “I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it” (Joseph Smith—History 1:25).

Because they expound the doctrine of Christ, the scriptures are accompanied by the Holy Spirit, whose role it is to bear witness of the Father and the Son (see 3 Nephi 11:32). Therefore, being in the scriptures is one way we receive the Holy Ghost. Of course, scripture is given through the Holy Ghost in the first place (see 2 Peter 1:21; D&C 20:26–27; 68:4), and that same Spirit can attest its truth to you and me. Study the scriptures carefully, deliberately. Ponder and pray over them. Scriptures are revelation, and they will bring added revelation.

 

From “The Tradition of Light and Testimony”:

We must be bold in our declarations and testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. We want others to know that we believe He is the central figure in all human history. His life and teachings are the heart of the Bible and the other books we consider to be holy scriptures. The Old Testament sets the stage for Christ’s mortal ministry. The New Testament describes His mortal ministry. The Book of Mormon gives us a second witness of His mortal ministry. He came to earth to declare His gospel as a foundation for all mankind so that all of God’s children could learn about Him and His teachings. He then gave His life in order to be our Savior and Redeemer. Only through Jesus Christ is salvation possible. This is why we believe He is the central figure in all human history. Our eternal destiny is always in His hands. It is a glorious thing to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior, our Lord, and our Master.

-Elder L. Tom Perry, January 2012, BYU-I

Build on this thought. Make a special invitation to be in Elder’s Quorum this Sunday.

Family Home Evening Lesson: Kindness

Prepare juice to share with the children. Read Pres. Smith’s story about giving lemonade to the workers.

Point out how kindness is the power that God has given us to change hearts. I have never seen anyone decide to be good when someone else was being mean to them.

Point out how kindness help someone feel better.

-Emma had a hard day on Saturday. Her dance instructor gave her very nice compliment and the young women gave her a heart attack. Both of these things helped Emma to feel better because someone else showed her kindness.

Prepare three examples of situations where kindness is better than.

 

Teach Your Families

From President Hunter:

A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto. Of necessity there must be in the Church and in the home a presiding officer (see D&C 107:21). By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder (see Moses 4:22). The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. Presiding in righteousness necessitates a shared responsibility between husband and wife; together you act with knowledge and participation in all family matters. For a man to operate independent of or without regard to the feelings and counsel of his wife in governing the family is to exercise unrighteous dominion….

 

You who hold the priesthood must not be abusive in your relationship with children. Seek always to employ the principles of priesthood government set forth in the revelations (see D&C 93:40; D&C 121:34–36, 41–45).

 

President George Albert Smith wisely counseled: “We should not lose our tempers and abuse one another. … Nobody ever abused anybody else when he had the spirit of the Lord. It is always when we have some other spirit” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1950, p. 8).

 

A man who holds the priesthood leads his family in Church participation so they will know the gospel and be under the protection of the covenants and ordinances. If you are to enjoy the blessings of the Lord, you must set your own homes in order. Together with your wife, you determine the spiritual climate of your home. Your first obligation is to get your own spiritual life in order through regular scriptural study and daily prayer. Secure and honor your priesthood and temple covenants; encourage your family to do the same.

 

Take seriously your responsibility to teach the gospel to your family through regular family home evening, family prayer, devotional and scripture-reading time, and other teaching moments. Give special emphasis to preparation for missionary service and temple marriage. As patriarch in the home, exercise your priesthood through performing the appropriate ordinances for your family and by giving blessings to your wife and children. Next to your own salvation, brethren, there is nothing so important to you as the salvation of your wife and children.

 

On Moral Cleanliness

(You’ve got a chalk board presentation to figure out in connection with this lesson.)

On the chalkboard, Write up the subject of the lesson and then the outline of the course in which we will pursue:

Have prepared Quotes to print off (#?) from talks by Elder Holland, President Packer, and others if need be:

Lesson Outline:

  1.  Introduction on the importance of the topic, Three reasons for the discussion:
    1. Failure to understand the seriousness of the issue
      1. This is manifested in our willingness to allow entertainment that makes light of sexual intimacy.
    2. Why we need to teach our children to be morally clean,
    3. To encourage complete moral fidelity within marriage, this is perhaps the most important reason for the discussion.
  2. The significance of sanctity:
    1. Why Sexual Sin is So Serious to the Lord?
      1. Scriptures: Proverbs 6:27-28, 32-33; Alma 39:5
      2. #2 in life’s most serious sins
      3. God wants to be in control of this power as much as possible.
      4. Sexual sin destroys the soul.
  3. The Eternal Nature of the Soul
    1. Unique doctrine of the Soul: Body and Spirit. D & C 88:15, 93:34
    2. Use both quotes from James E. Talmage and Paul about the sanctity of the body in God’s plan for us.
      1. Talmage is in the book.
      2. Paul is 1Cor. 6:13-20
    3. Sexual sin is nothing less than toying with the soul of another.
  4. The symbolic purpose of human intimacy
    1. Discuss its true purpose in the marriage relationship
    2. Deceptions
      1. outside of marriage, conterfeited experiences of the real thing.
      2. inside of marriage, the dangers of rushing into marriage solely for the purpose of permitted sex.
    3. A warning against priesthood brethren in matters of counterfeit intimacy.

 

Introduction:

A lesson on moral cleanliness and sexual purity is a difficult subject to address primarily because of its sacred nature. Indeed, its difficulty in addressing it also demonstrates the importance of having this discussion, because there are so few aside from apostles and prophets who will discuss sexual purity for what it is. Given that our inspired church leaders are the ones who have best articulated reasons for sexual purity and why it is so important in God’s eyes that we be morally clean, we will be studying their words.

My hope is at the end of this discussion you will be able to understand why moral cleanliness is at the very core of true discipleship and how to make these principles more fully a part of your life.

 

The objective of the class then is to prepare the class to understand Pres. Hunter’s remarks. Save President Hunter’s quote for the very end of the discussion:

 

Keep yourselves above any domineering or unworthy behavior in the tender, intimate relationship between husband and wife. Because marriage is ordained of God, the intimate relationship between husbands and wives is good and honorable in the eyes of God. He has commanded that they be one flesh and that they multiply and replenish the earth (see Moses 2:28; Moses 3:24). You are to love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it (see Eph. 5:25–31).

Tenderness and respect—never selfishness—must be the guiding principles in the intimate relationship between husband and wife. Each partner must be considerate and sensitive to the other’s needs and desires. Any domineering, indecent, or uncontrolled behavior in the intimate relationship between husband and wife is condemned by the Lord.

Any man who abuses or demeans his wife physically or spiritually is guilty of grievous sin and in need of sincere and serious repentance. Differences should be worked out in love and kindness and with a spirit of mutual reconciliation. A man should always speak to his wife lovingly and kindly, treating her with the utmost respect. Marriage is like a tender flower, brethren, and must be nourished constantly with expressions of love and affection.

Questions to be asked:

  • What purpose does intimacy play in marriage?
  • What is the connection between the intimate relationship in marriage and the general overall relationship in marriage?

“Coming to Ourselves” by Elder Robert D. Hales

Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service

Immediately, this talks to me about the importance of preparation and not leaving the preparations of your fathers. When this young man (the prodigal son) came to himself, the only job that he could take was one of extreme poverty.

What we are doing is both to prepare our children temporally and spiritually?

How do I get my children to desire the blessings of heaven?

Elder Hales is discussing three things that help us to get back to our Heavenly Father:

  1. Sacrament
  2. Temple Covenants
  3. Service and Sacrifice for the Kingdom.

So if I am understanding Elder Hales correctly, these are all things that we should attain to before we are converted.

 

The Parent-Child Relationship in Record Keeping

When government institutions begin to recognize family structures that ignore the relationship between parents and children, then the very core purposes for governments’ existence ceases. What is more alarming is that there fails to be a need for the sustaining hand of Providence to continue His support. Yes, government will continue for a season, but it will be a terrible thing to try to manage.

George Albert Smith Manual, Ch.14: How to Share the Gospel Effectively

George Albert Smith Manual, Ch.14: How to Share the Gospel Effectively

I have started this morning’s scripture study with a personal observation that in my own life there appears to be a disconnect between my private and public life. Where in private, I enjoy daily the influence of the Spirit, yet in public interactions with others from family members to neighbors to complete strangers, I feel that I hover somewhere between average Joe to reactionary. The question on my mind and in my heart is: How do I change this outward appearance to more accurately reflect what I feel inside?

Charity is at the heart of missionary work. I think it is missing in my own life, but I know how to get it. “Pray to the Father with all the energy of heart, that you may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (Moroni 7:48)

“How I pray that we as the servants of the Lord may have charity for mankind” (George Albert Smith, end of first section)

 

“Sell All That Thou Hast and Distribute”

Yesterday, I was asked to help with a move. The purpose for the move was to gather all their earthly possessions and get them safely to their new home.

I had found out about only the night before. Or so I thought. Near the end of the move, I overheard a family member remark “That is why I’m never getting a divorce.” Out of context? Not appropriate? Perhaps, but then I started putting puzzle pieces together, I realized that I had met the husband nearly 9 months ago at a scouting activity. Perhaps, if I had done more 9 months ago to become acquainted with this man when I had first met him, much earlier in his timeline, I might have been able to prevented a last minute phone call informing me of a move.

Luke 18:18-27

Remember the story of the rich, young ruler who had done kept all the commandments from his youth. Yet the one thing that seemed impossible for him to do was to take of his temporal possessions and give them all to the poor.

I wonder if too many of our marriages fail for that very same reason. How many of us are too much attached to our temporal possessions and yet we do not give enough of our time to the one possession, our family, which is of greater need of our time than any of our earthly pursuits.

 

 

Prayer and Personal Revelation

Prayer is frequently discounted as not being able to be effective because of our failing to be righteous in other areas. Indeed, we can frequently feel that we are not worthy to pray, when in reality the worthiness that we seek can only be obtained through prayer coupled with action.

2 Nephi 32

Alma 33 & 34

What causes us to conclude that such would be the case?

Then how can we know when we received revelation from Heavenly Father?

Why is this one practice, namely developing a relationship with God through prayer, so essential to our salvation?