Monday, November 14, 2005

Spiritual Fortification

Who are some of your spiritual heroes? We all have heroes; let me tell you about one of mine. He is a man of such faith that he qualified through his own diligence and spirituality to bind Satan forever (Alma 48:17). Now is that not our goal? As the true character of my hero, Captain Moroni, is unfolded, his vision and plan of fortification can be crucial to the creation of our vision of who we are and our plan of fortification to achieve and become that polished instrument in the Lords hands. This vision and fortification must be a part of our entire spiritual and physical lives, but today I will be focusing in part to the prevention and/or stopping of impure thoughts, and the viewing of pornography.

Captain Moroni is a man that through the Spirit and great planning organized a strategy of defense that had never even entered into the mind of the people and was one of the major factors for the Nephites preservation. He truly had fulfilled in his life, the promise of the Lord found in D&C 76:10, “For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.”

He had the courage to stand for what he believed in and to lead his people to a victory that to many saw as impossible against an army of the Lamanites that were countless and a leader that regarded not the lives of his own people but cared only for his gain and the fulfillment of his designs.

Yes, this hero and man of spiritual strength was Captain Moroni. I feel that under the direction of his Lord and our Lord even Jesus Christ he is now organizing an attack on wickedness. Our Savior even at this very moment is gathering out his elect because this battle is coming. I will not go into great detail, but the Lord has unfolded to my mind some of the characteristics of this battle between the forces of good and evil. I have need to tremble for what I have seen, and my question to you is, what side you are going to be on? This is a battle that must be fought and we have a responsibility as disciples of our Lord and Savior to be clean and pure and not procrastinate the day of our probation. We have been held and preserved to come to earth in a day that the Gospel has been restored in its fullness, in a day when evil is all around us, in a day that Satan has prepared for since the beginning, and in a day that our influence, loyalty, strength, and faith is needed. We must raise the bar and become saints to the most high God or we will by our own choice fall and follow that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God (2 Nephi 9:8).

I propose that we grab our breastplate, shield, and sword and prepare for this battle. We now must dig the trenches and build the breastwork of timber that surrounds us and our families, even as Captain Moroni fortified every city in the land. The enemy is even now as we speak preparing his army that is countless both seen and unseen for battle. There are many ways that we can prepare ourselves and our families, but with the closeness of the battle and the onslaught of evil that is about to come upon us, we must do even as Moroni, and devise a plan, that will literally and spiritually defend against that which is about to come. The plan is Spiritual Fortification, and with the plan comes a Spiritual Title of Liberty that must be hung, even as Moroni instructed, in every home of those that believe. Also with this plan comes a new way of life, which will assist in our fortification and that of our families.

This plan involves two parts the Vision and the Fortification, and together we too can bind Satan even as Captain Moroni did (Alma 48:17).

The Vision

Everything great that ever was accomplished first came with a vision. Thomas Edison knew that light could be harnessed and turned on or off. He might have found 2000 ways that did not work, but he also found one way that did work, but that never would have happened if it was not for his vision of what could be. I also know without a shadow of doubt that the pioneers had planted within their hearts and mind the vision of the establishment of Zion and with that vision made their way to the Rocky Mountains. Captain Moroni took his coat and rent it and wrote the Title of Liberty upon it, and knelt before God and pleaded with Him that others would have the same vision he had of their liberty and freedom. He then stood on the hill and waived the Title of Liberty and the Lord delivered and many came running and covenanting to protect their families, homes and religion. I guarantee Moroni and his people had a vision, and every day, day in and day out they lived that vision in their minds. That is where the power comes; when the goal is no longer visible we begin to fall. We must establish our vision and loyalty to our Savior.

Take out a piece of paper and right down the questions that I will ask throughout this talk and then answer them. The first question is: Who is it that you would like to become? The next step is planning and creating the fortification.

The Fortification

This applies to both physical and spiritual. Satan is targeting our homes as a means of destroying the family. Within our homes we have a tool of great worth if used properly, but if it is not used properly, Satan has one of his greatest tools against the family, and that is the internet.

Our prophet spoke to the brethren in Priesthood 2004 and said, “While the matter of which I speak was a problem then, it is a much more serious problem now. It grows increasingly worse. It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful. I speak of pornography in all of its manifestations.”

In last conference Dallin H. Oaks said, “Last summer Sister Oaks and I returned from two years in the Philippines. We loved our service there, and we loved returning home. When we have been away, we see our surroundings in a new light, with increased appreciation and sometimes with new concerns.

We were concerned to see the inroads pornography had made in the United States while we were away. For many years our Church leaders have warned against the dangers of images and words intended to arouse sexual desires. Now the corrupting influence of pornography, produced and disseminated for commercial gain, is sweeping over our society like an avalanche of evil.”

To destroy the family, the first step is the destroying of the father and patriarch. The easiest way to destroy the patriarch is to force the spirit to withdraw and he will be left on his own, to be shifted as wheat by Satan and those that follow him both seen and unseen.

The Lord teaches that there is one lesson that we must learn, turn to D&C 121:34-37

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”

We have been counseled over and over again to avoid pornography in all its forms and to install internet filters on our computers at home and at work. President Riggs, our Stake President, told of a training he attended for Stake Presidents where the general authority speaking asked to raise their hands if they had an internet filter on their home computer. Only a few hands were raised and then he counseled that everyone in that room to go home and put a filter on their computers. President Riggs then said that if they as Stake Presidents needed one that we as members of the Stake needed one as well.

The Anit-Nephi-Lehi’s or the people of Ammon buried their weapons of war, and why did they bury them? Let’s look at the covenant that they made when they buried their weapons:

Alma 24:18, And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

From their own account, we see that the hiding their swords in the ground was a testimony to God, they were not buried to make it impossible to get a weapon and to break the covenant that they had made. So if it was simply a testimony, then why bury them, why not just put them in a closet or under a bed? I believe that this was done to reduce the temptation of evil, thus strengthening their testimony. One could go to a neighboring village and get a weapon; one could dig up the weapons. Again they were buried to reduce the temptation of evil.

We too must reduce the temptation of evil by installing Internet Filters on our home and work computers. We also can, just as the people of Ammon did, and view this as a testimony to God, and also to men, that we would never use the internet for evil.

Let me give you the reward that the people of Ammon received for their reducing the temptation of evil in all aspects of their lives. Alma 23:6

And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.

Let’s look again at the covenants that the people of Ammon made to God and man (Alma 24: 18).

-They never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood

-That rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives

-Rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him

-Rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

The whole reason that the covenants were made was that they could have the gift of the Holy Ghost with them at all times. With the Spirit there is nothing they could not do and knowledge was given to their minds. We too want nothing more than the spirit in our lives. (Quote the HG teaches us all things that we should do)

Moroni undoubtedly used to meet with his chief officers regularly to ensure that the fortification they had built physically and spiritually was not compromised and that the spirituality of his leaders was focused on Christ. We too must check our spiritual and physical fortifications and ensure that we and our families are centered on Christ. This is done by renewing our vision of who we are to become and then re-evaluating our plan of fortification. As we draw closer to our Savior and as our vision is put in alignment with His, He will draw closer to us and His power and love will rest upon us.

I bear you my testimony that with the Lord as our guide we can align our vision with His, and our plan of fortification will help us become that polished instrument in His hands. I know that this Gospel is true and that the choice of salvation is ours and that choice must be managed from day to day. I am overwhelmed and find great comfort in the words of Joseph Smith, “The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him.” I leave you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Written by Craig Conover on 11/14/05.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Only "You" Can Change You

Free agency is an amazing gift from God. No one can change for us; we are the only ones that can make lasting changes in our lives.

James E Talmage teaches us in his book The Great Apostasy about free agency: “The father of souls has endowed His children with the divine birthright of free agency; He does not and will not control them by arbitrary force; He impels no man toward sin; He compels none to righteousness. Unto man has been given freedom to act for himself; and, associated with this independence, is the fact of strict responsibility and the assurance of individual accountability.

In 2 Nephi 2:26 we learn about the gift of free agency.

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.”

Lastly, Joseph Smith sheds greater light on the roll that free agency plays in our eternal salvation:

“Every man lives for himself…except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men's religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God, without being born of water and the Spirit. He may receive a glory like unto the moon, [i.e., of which the light of the moon is typical], or a star, [i.e., of which the light of the stars is typical], but he can never come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, unless he becomes as a little child, and is taught by the Spirit of God… It is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith).

Ten years ago President Gordon B. Hinckley made the below statement and then in this last conference referred to again.

"Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike" ("This Is the Work of the Master," Ensign, May 1995, 71).

Where do you stand; have you heeded the words of the Lord spoken to us by our living Prophet? If not, then there is no better time than today to begin following the counsel of our living prophet. I would like to break down his counsel in more digestible pieces. By analyzing little sections at a time, we can gain a greater understanding of the breadth of our mission both temporally and spiritually.

The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” What is the grand millennial mission of the Church?

Daniel 2:44-45

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Lets go now to D&C 65:1-2 to learn more about this stone:

1 HEARKEN, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

2 The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

I know that for me, I want to be a part of this great work. There is no greater desire within my body or soul than to assist anyway that I can. I know that going forward I will stand a little taller; I will lift my eyes and stretch my mind to a greater comprehension and understanding of grand millennial mission of this Church. I am going to also turn to my Savior in prayer and receive my errand or commission in this work. The stone will roll forward with or without me, and I WILL NOT be left behind, and so I consecrate my whole soul unto God.

Cindy, our missionary in Canada, in her last letter had the following experience:

My most spiritual and hardest experience I have had yet was earlier this week. We were visiting a lady and she kept asking lots of questions and it was really getting to me for some reason. When we left my companion and I continued to talk about it and it was really bothering me and I had no idea why. I just kept praying and praying to know why I was having a hard time and I just wanted to be able to talk to my parents about it. Then when we were having companionship prayer I received my answer. It wasn’t the easiest answer to receive but I was really glad I had this experience. I had always thought for sure I had a REALLY STRONG testimony and that it was MY TESTIMONY. I realized that yes I have a strong testimony but it is not strong enough on my own. I realized that it was based a lot off of my parents testimony, which is probably why I just wanted to discuss the questions with them. I kept thinking if I could only talk to them they would have the answer. Im glad I recognized this and what I have to work on because it forces me to really study the gospel and gain that base on my own. That is so important for me before I start a family of my own someday. Even for that reason alone I feel so blessed to be here.

Our parents regardless of how hard they tried could not give or build Cindy’s testimony. They definitely assisted her in laying a foundation, but the testimony that will withstand the storm must be created individually, and built upon a rock.

Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall (Helaman 5:12).

This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission.

The Savior himself taught us many times what the breadth, and the importance of our mission is.

Matt. 10: 38

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Matt. 16: 24

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 10: 21

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Joseph Smith Jr. said, "Scripture is replete with the admonition that disciples of Christ must “take up their cross,” yielding themselves in humility to their Heavenly Father (D&C 56:2, 14-16; 112:14-15), releasing themselves from the ties of worldliness (3 Ne. 12:20), and submitting themselves to persecution and even martyrdom for the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Ne. 9:18; Jacob 1:8)." (Teachings of Joseph Smith)

This quote is filled with action words for us, as disciples, must follow; take up our cross, yielding ourselves in humility, releasing ourselves from the ties of worldliness, and submitting ourselves to persecution and even martyrdom. Let us start today to take up, yield, release, and submit ourselves to our Savior and his work.

Robert D. Hales in Conference Oct 2000 shows us how to be “strong and to move forward without hesitation.”

"The scriptures confirm that the truly converted do more than just forsake the enticements of the world. They love God and their fellowmen. Their minds and hearts are centered on the Savior's atoning sacrifice. From the moment of their respective conversions, Enos, Alma the Younger, Paul, and others turned wholeheartedly to the task of bringing themselves and their fellowmen to God. Worldly power and possessions lost their former significance. The sons of Mosiah refused an earthly kingdom and risked their lives for the sake of others. These faithful sons were driven by the hope that they might be able to help save even one soul--thus winning for themselves and their brethren a place in God's eternal kingdom.

We are all familiar with the story of the three pioneer boys that carried every member of the handcart company across the freezing water. All three lost their lives because of being exposed to such freezing temperatures for so long, but Jesus taught us many times in the scriptures such as: Matt. 16: 25, Mark 8: 35, Luke 9: 24, Luke 17: 33, which all say the same thing:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

I know that if I was faced with that feat, it would be difficult to accomplish such task, but my prayer is that one day I will have the opportunity of carrying those that I love across the freezing water of life and that I will be “strong” and be first to volunteer and to “move forward without hesitation.”

“It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike"

We must follow our Savior and bring souls unto him that they too may be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven, and obtain the joy that the Gospel brings into their lives here on the earth and to come. We have all the prophets now, past, and ancient to look to as examples and to pattern our lives after, but that are not all, we have the only begotten of the Father as the perfect example. We truly are left without excuse.

“Our hope concerning the future is great and our faith is strong. We know that we have scarcely scratched the surface of that which will come to pass in the years that lie ahead.

Our foundation is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The authority of the holy priesthood is here, restored under the hands of those who received it directly from our Lord. The curtains have been parted, and the God of heaven and His Beloved Son have spoken to the boy prophet Joseph in opening this last and final dispensation.

Our burden in going forward is tremendous. But our opportunity is glorious.

I now repeat what I said 10 years ago, let us "stand a little taller, . . . lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference 2005).”

I have a testimony of this great work and leave you my testimony with those spoken by our dear Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Written by Craig Conover on 7/12/05.

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Keeping Our Covenants

The most important thing we can do in this life is to keep the promises or covenants we have made with the Lord.

In order to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom, we must gain the trust of the Lord here on earth.

Today we will be likening the scriptures unto ourselves in an attempt to understand covenants, importance of keeping them, and the power that is given to those that keep their covenants with the Lord.

1. Why: Joseph Smith said, "And may God enable us to perform our vows and covenants with each other, in all fidelity and righteousness before Him, that our influence may be felt among the nations of the earth, in mighty power, even to rend the kingdoms of darkness asunder, and triumph over priestcraft and spiritual wickedness in high places, and break in pieces all kingdoms that are opposed to the kingdom of Christ, and spread the light and truth of the everlasting Gospel from the rivers to the ends of the earth." (Teachings of Joseph Smith, Covenants)

Anti-Nephi-Lehi or the people of Ammon

Nephite Perception: Alma 26: 23-25 Their days have been spent in the grossest iniquity… Let us destroy them

History: Alma 18: 39-42, Alma 19, 12-13, 14-16, 33-35, Alma 22:16-18, Alma 23: 2-5,

Covenants: Alma 24:18- Testimony to God and men that they never would use weapons for the shedding of blood.

Rather than shed blood, they would give up their own lives.

Rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him.

Rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

Reward: Alma 23:6- As many of the Lamanites as believed and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.

2,000 sons of Helaman

Covenants: Alma 53:17- To fight for the liberty of the Nephites

To protect the land unto the laying down of their lives

They never would give up their liberty, but… to fight… to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage

Character: Alma 53:20-21, Alma 56: 44-47, Alma 57: 20-21

History: Alma 53:9-16, Alma 55-58

2. In the midst of this dangerous and chaotic situation, righteous men were sought after to lead the Nephite armies—men like Moroni and Helaman. These Nephite leaders understood that their nation's ability to defend itself was in direct proportion to their obedience to the Lord. They constantly struggled to motivate the population to remember the Lord and keep His commandments. (Richard J. Maynes)

Reward: Alma 56: 56- Not one soul of them fallen to the earth… never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power

Alma 57: 25-26- Many fainted because of loss of blood, but not one soul of them did perish, neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds. "And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe… whosoever did not doubt… they should be preserved by his marvelous power."

Alma 58:39- The Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain

3. Helaman and his young stripling soldiers understood the importance of making covenants with the Lord. They were also recipients of the blessings that come to those who faithfully keep their covenants. (Richard J. Maynes)

4. We have also taken upon ourselves sacred obligations. We have done this in the waters of baptism and in the temples of the Lord. We call these obligations covenants. Covenants are promises we make to the Lord. They are extremely sacred in nature. The most important thing we can do in this life is to keep the promises or covenants we have made with the Lord. When we keep our promises to the Lord, He allows us to progress spiritually.

5. Brothers and sisters, we are all looking forward to the day when we can return home to our Heavenly Father. In order to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom, we must gain the trust of the Lord here on earth. We gain the trust of the Lord through earning it, and that is accomplished through our actual performance in living His gospel and keeping our covenants. In other words, we earn the trust of the Lord by doing His will. (Richard J. Maynes)

Written by Craig Conover on 4/24/05.

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Saturday, February 5, 2005

Elements of Worship

Coloring Key:
Black- Pres. McKay- handout
Blue- Pres. McKay- I just read
Red- My thoughts & other quotes

Elements of Worship Ch 4 of Teachings of David O. McKay
Life O David O McKay

“One of the most impressive services I have ever attended was in a group of over eight hundred people to whom the sacrament was administered, and during that administration not a sound could be heard excepting the ticking of the clock—eight hundred souls, each of whom at least had the opportunity of communion with the Lord. There was no distraction, no orchestra, no singing, no speaking. Each one had an opportunity to search himself introspectively and to consider his worthiness or unworthiness to partake of the sacrament. His was the privilege of getting closer to his Father in heaven. That is ideal!”

President McKay encouraged all Latter-day Saints to pursue this ideal in their worship services and in their personal lives. He said, “To have communion with God, through his Holy Spirit, is one of the noblest aspirations of life.”

Reverence is profound respect mingled with love.

1. Inseparable from the acceptance of the existence of God is an attitude of reverence, to which I wish now to call attention most earnestly to the entire Church. The greatest manifestation of spirituality is reverence; indeed, reverence is spirituality. Reverence is profound respect mingled with love. Reverence is the fundamental virtue in religion. It is “one of the signs of strength; irreverence, one of the surest indications of weakness. No man will rise high,” says one man, “who jeers at sacred things. The fine loyalties of life,” he continues, “must be reverenced or they will be foresworn [or rejected] in the day of trial.”

I found it interesting that The Encyclopedia of Mormonism used this quote in their definition of reverence.

2. Parents, Reverence, as charity, begins at home. In early childhood children should be trained to be respectful… reverential to things sacred, to parents and parental love. Three influences in home life awaken reverence in children and contribute to its development in their souls. These are: first, firm but Gentle Guidance; second, Courtesy shown by parents to each other, and to children; and third, Prayer in which children participate. In every home in this Church parents should strive to act intelligently in impressing children with those three fundamentals.

3. Reverence directs thought toward God. Without it there is no religion. I look upon reverence as one of the highest qualities of the soul. An irreverent man is not a believing man. … Reverence indicates high culture, and true faith in deity and in his righteousness. I am prompted to place reverence next to love. Jesus mentioned it first in the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. …” [Matthew 6:9.] Hallow—to make holy—to hold in reverence. If there were more reverence in human hearts, there would be less room for sin and sorrow and more increased capacity for joy and gladness.

What exactly is reverence, is it just sitting still with your arms to you r side, what is it?

I believe that it is displayed in our actions, but that it is a state of mind, a state of perfect learning, a state ready to be taught divinely.

Joseph Smith Taught: The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching. (HC) 4:425

This kind of teaching can not come without perfect reverence of mind and actions.

Meditation leads to spiritual communion with God through the Holy Spirit.

4. We pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. In our worship there are two elements: One is spiritual communion arising from our own meditation; the other, instruction from others, particularly from those who have authority to guide and instruct us. Of the two, the more profitable introspectively is the meditation. Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as “a form of private devotion, or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.” Meditation is a form of prayer

I know for myself, I need to study this language more than I have been.

5. Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord. Jesus set the example for us. As soon as he was baptized and received the Father’s approval, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” [Matthew 3:17] Jesus [went] to what is now known as the mount of temptation. I like to think of it as the mount of meditation where, during the forty days of fasting, he communed with himself and his Father, and contemplated upon the responsibility of his great mission… Before… the beautiful sermon on the mount, he was in solitude, in communion….Again, after Jesus had fed the five thousand he told the Twelve to dismiss the multitude, but Jesus went to the mountain for solitude (Matt. 14:23.) Meditation! Prayer!

If Jesus can spend 40 days and 40 nights in Meditation, can we spend at least 10 minutes a day?

Ezra Taft Benson said, " When you pray-when you talk to your Heavenly Father-do you really talk out your problems with Him? Do you let Him know your feelings, your doubts, your insecurities, your joys, your deepest desires? Or is prayer merely a habitual expression with the same words and phrases? Do you ponder what you really mean to say? Do you take time to listen to the promptings of the Spirit? Answers to prayer come most often by a still voice and are discerned by our deepest, innermost feelings. I tell you that you can know the will of God concerning yourselves if you will take the time to pray and to listen.

We should find an appropriate place where we can meditate and pray. We are admonished that this should be "in [our] closets, and [our] secret places, and in [our] wilderness." That is, it should be free from distraction, in secret. We should prepare ourselves for prayer. If we do not feel like praying, then we should pray until we do feel like praying. We should be humble (DC 112:10). We should pray for forgiveness and mercy. We must forgive anyone against whom we have bad feelings.

If meditation is a form of prayer than the words of Nephi should help us see the importance of meditation.

2 Nephi 32: 8 & 9

And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the devil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

Can we not liken prayer with meditation, if we desire to have communion with our Savior? I think they go hand in hand. Herold B. Lee would dedicate 1 hour everyday to meditation, he saw the importance. I challenge all of us to find a little time each day to meditate and establish communion with our Savior.

6. Let us make God the center of our lives. … To have communion with God, through his Holy Spirit, is one of the noblest aspirations of life. It is when the peace and love of God have entered the soul, when serving him becomes the motivating factor in one’s life and existence.

This should be our state of nind at all times, and if it is, we will see the powers of heaven active in our lives in all areas.

I thought I would just share something that I found about Josph Smith, he said, “It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink, to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind.

God was the center of his life even more than food and water, I am constantly impressed with Joseph’s zeal for the Gospel.

We go to the Lord’s house to commune with Him in spirit.

7. The place of meeting… makes little or no difference in our approach and attitude toward the Infinite Presence. To know God is there should be sufficient to impel us to conduct ourselves orderly, reverently.

8. There are two purposes for which each chapel is constructed: first, that it might be the place where all may be trained in the ways of God, and second, that in it all might glorify our Father in heaven, who asks for nothing more of his children than that they might be men and women of such noble character as to come back into his presence. When you enter a church building, you are coming into the presence of our Father in heaven; and that thought should be sufficient incentive for you to prepare your hearts, your minds, and even your attire, that you might appropriately and properly sit in his presence.

9. Let us not make Sunday a holiday. It is a holy day, and on that day we should go to the house of worship and seek our God. If we seek him on the Sabbath day, get into his presence on that day, we shall find it less difficult to be in his presence the following days of the week.

The sacrament provides an opportunity to commune with the Lord.

10. The greatest comfort in this life is the assurance of having close relationship with God. … The sacrament period should be a factor in awakening this sense of relationship. No more sacred ordinance is administered in the Church… than the administration of the sacrament. …

“… the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.” [1 Corinthians 11:23–28.]

11. There are three things fundamentally important associated with the administration of the sacrament. The first is self-discernment. It is introspection. “This do in remembrance of me,” but we should partake worthily, each one examining himself with respect to his worthiness… Secondly, there is a covenant made… Thirdly, there… is a sense of close relationship with the Lord. There is an opportunity to commune with oneself and to commune with the Lord. … I believe the short period of administering the sacrament is one of the best opportunities we have for … meditation, and there should be nothing during that sacred period to distract our attention from the purpose of that ordinance. …

Great events have happened in this Church because of such communion, because of the responsiveness of the soul to the inspiration of the Almighty. I know it is real. President Wilford Woodruff had that gift to a great extent. He could respond; he knew the “still small voice” to which some are still strangers. You will find that when these most inspirational moments come to you that you are alone with yourself and your God. They come to you probably when you are facing a great trial, when the wall is across your pathway, and it seems that you are facing an insurmountable obstacle, or when your heart is heavy because of some tragedy in your life. I repeat, the greatest comfort that can come to us in this life is to sense the realization of communion with God. Great testimonies have come in those moments. …

12. … We [must] surround this sacred ordinance with more reverence, with perfect order, that each one who comes to the house of God may meditate upon his goodness and silently and prayerfully express appreciation for God’s goodness. Let the sacrament hour be one experience of the day in which the worshiper tries at least to realize within himself that it is possible for him to commune with his God.… Let us make that sacrament hour one of the most impressive means of coming in contact with God’s spirit. Let the Holy Ghost, to which we are entitled, lead us into his presence, and may we sense that nearness, and have a prayer offered in our hearts which he will hear.

Suggestions for Study and Discussion

• What does it mean to have “an attitude of reverence”? (See pages 30–31.) In what ways is reverence more than just being quiet? How can we develop this “profound respect mingled with love”?

• How can we teach the principle of reverence in our homes and at church? (See pages 31, 33.)

• Why is it sometimes difficult to find time to meditate upon the things of God? What can we do to make time for meditation? What blessings can we receive as a result of our meditation? (See pages 31–32, 35–36.)

• What can we do to prepare ourselves to “go to the Lord’s house … [and] commune with him in spirit”? (See pages 32–36.) How can we prepare ourselves to partake of the sacrament? (See pages 32–36.)

• In what ways can we help our children and others be more reverent in the temple, during sacrament meeting, and in other Church meetings? (See pages 31, 33.) How does coming to a meeting late or leaving early disrupt reverence?

• What is the significance of the sacrament in your life?

Related Scriptures: Psalm 89:5–7; D&C 20:75–79; D&C 63:64; D&C 76:19–24; D&C 109:21; D&C 138:1–11

Taught by Craig Conover on 2/21/05.

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