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?

 

A Preparatory Priesthood

(Note: These comments were prepared to be shared at a Fathers and Sons outing for the evening fireside.)

We have been asked to speak on the restoration on Aaronic Priesthood, which in other instances has been called the preparatory priesthood. I want to read to you a seemingly unrelated passage of scripture and ask you to consider this question:

How was the priesthood used to prepare this people to be in the presence of God?

Read 3 Nephi 19

Then discuss aspects of the Aaronic Priesthood and how that allows us to prepare to return to the presence of God.

After it has been established that indeed there is a great need for this priesthood, remind the brethren that this priesthood authority and power was not found upon the earth before Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sought the Lord in prayer for power to baptize.

Doctrine and Covenants 13, Joseph Smith – History 1:68-75

From Oliver Cowdery:

“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.”—Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.

Personal worthiness and the preparation that that takes to be able to qualify for the blessings of Heaven are worth every sacrifice that being a bearer of this holy priesthood requires of us.

If you will understand that your priesthood is a preparatory priesthood, both for you and for those you serve,

 

Reverence for Motherhood

An Elders Quorum Lesson – From Being a Righteous Husband and Father

“A man who holds the priesthood has reverence for motherhood”

 

On the chalk board, write this statement across the top: “A man who holds the priesthood has reverence for motherhood”

Define Reverence: We hold reverence for Deity.

Reverence (from Guide to the Scriptures) – Deep respect for sacred things; wonder.

 

Then make two columns:God / Motherhood

Use Scriptures to define the Reverence for God Section:

-Why should we reverence God.

-How do we reverence God.

-What does it mean to reverence God.

 

Use Quotes from Pres. Hunter to define Reverence for Motherhood Section:

-What is motherhood? Why is motherhood so much more than child birth?

-What personal experiences have caused us to reverence motherhood?

-Why should we reverence motherhood?

 

End points are these:

1)  Matt 22:37 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

Doctrine and Covenants 42:22 – “Thou shalt alove thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt bcleave unto her and none else.”

 

2) “You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for her. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – President Hunter

 

 

“Plant This Word In Your Hearts,” Alma 33

I was drawn to this passage this morning in trying to comprehend the mercies of the Son of God upon me. So frequent are the powers of renewal that I have been able to access through faith on the Son of God, that it is amazing — truly amazing — that  he would care enough for me to give me another chance. (I feel like I’m paraphrasing the hymn “I Stand All Amazed,” but this is precisely how I feel this morning.)

After explaining to the people of the Zoramites that they should plant the seed of faith in their hearts, the people inquired further as to how or on what should they place their faith. The bulk of this chapter then is used to show, through the words of other prophets, how their faith should be centered on the Son of God.It is interesting that in these verses that Alma references, not only do they illustrate that we should exercise faith on the Son of God, but they also show that because of their faith in Him, these prophets were able to obtain mercy.

The first prophet quoted, Zenos, illustrates how this mercy was obtained through his prayers. There are keys within this passage as to why his prayers were heard:

  • Thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
  • Thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity.
  • It is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me.

And then the prophet Zenos, in this passage that was quoted, concludes:

Therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.

I am now asking myself if I can do this. Last evening, I allowed myself to be weighed down because of a particular affliction that was purely circumstantial. Could I not have cried for help, and instead of judgments, obtain mercy?

“My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord”

Luke 1:46-55 & 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Psalm 23)

See also “Low Estate

Make a detailed study of these two passages of scripture, notably both from women.In both of these stories there are temples, there are people of covenant with the Lord, there is meekness and lowliness of heart, and devotion to the most high God.

From 1 Samuel 2:

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

The footnote on “rejoiceth” in this verse suggests that to rejoice in the Lord is to express thanksgiving. The Spirit of the Lord causes me to consider strongly the importance of this first verse, but it is not as I would assume.

I keep coming at this verse with an angle of vengeance because of references to “enemies.”  “Horn” is a figurative reference to “power” or “capacity.”  Elsewhere in the Old Testament, we read of horns of the wicked being destroyed and the horns of the righteous being exalted. So where there is this comparison between the wicked and the righteous in the same verse, there is a natural tendency to assume that this is something of a call to arms against the wicked. I run through my mind a list of who are current enemies and what should I do to destroy them. Evidence, this is then, that I am not yet of a mind to leave judgment to the Lord.

“Of you, it is required to forgive all men.” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10) Judgment is the Lord’s and the Lord’s alone to make for all men. So where the spirit of the Lord can confirm to my heart that actions are not to be adopted that I see in others, at the same time, that same Spirit teaches a man to love his neighbor as himself.

In Hannah’s instance, she was being afflicted by the comments of her husband’s other wife who was blessed with children. She states that “my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” Her strength to overcome her opposition was not to fight her opposition.  Her strength was in prayer (read the verse) and in looking to and rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord.

2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

On the first instance of “none” there are three other verses of scripture that reinforce that same statement, that besides God, there is none as holy or as strong. This was a new dimension of understanding on a particularly familiar verse from the Book of Mormon:

Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Nephi 2:7)

Now in this passage of scripture, I had always assumed that the “none” in this verse had reference to “those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” But because it was referenced as a supporting scripture to the above verse, I am lead to believe that it is in reference to Christ. For the verse itself says: “he offereth himself… to answer the ends of the law”. Hence, for  “none else can the ends of the law be answered.” Only Christ the Lord could perform this salvation, and there was none else.

3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

The actions of our words may be enough to condemn us. I have evidence presently before me in both the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 27:15) and the Old Testament(see immediately above) , and I suppose that I may find more elsewhere if I where to look for it that clearly states that God will judge man according to his works.

There is something else in verse three that is conclusive in this statement. To talk proudly, or arrogantly, is to assume knowledge of something in absolute. We speak as if it is the end to all truth on a subject when we speak with arrogance. Oh how humbling is the comparison, that “the Lord is a God of knowledge.” He is more than a well versed university professor, more than one of the great world philosophers. He is a God of knowledge. Omniscient is His understanding. Past, present, and future is His perspective. There is nothing except He knows it.

The next five verses offers a comparison between those that wait upon the Lord for direction, and those who attempt to become great of their own accord. In every instance, those who are well to do as a result of their own strength are removed from that prosperity. Those who are humble and follow the Spirit of the Lord are brought to strength.

4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

 

5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

 

6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

 

7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

 

8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.

 

Now in the next verse, there is a continuation and a conclusion to the above group of verses.

9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

 

Do I believe the above passage of scripture? Of course, the reason why the wicked shall not prevail is because by strength shall no man prevail. The ultimate tests of faith are the works of peace to be performed by his righteous saints.

 

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This last verse is a reminder that in the end, Christ will be given strength or capacity to reign over all. He already has.

Morning by morning, I continue to come back to these passages of scripture. I’ve added to them now the words of Ammon found in Alma 26 where he rejoices in the missionary labors of him and his brethren. Yesterday, I spent the entire day basking in divine light. I am conclusively aware of the answer to my prayers in learning why it is that the Lord has brought me back to my home.