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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