Sunday, December 3, 2006

Journey Toward Righteousness

Written by Craig Conover on 12/3/2006
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Journey Toward Righteousness

Several weeks ago my wife and I were reading about several topics in We Believe by Rulon Burton. Kiera decided to do a little research on birth control. After several minutes she came over to me and said that I had to hear this. We read with wonder and amazement on how clear the topic was laid out by Prophets and Apostles. As we discussed the topic together we tried to figure out how so many did not understand the seriousness of the issue and how lightly it is taken. I kept being prompted to compose a talk on the subject and as I prepared the talk I felt strongly that a preface was needed to help those that read this talk to truly seek the spirit and walk by faith and turn to the Lord and have the words of the prophets unfolded to their eyes, because the Lord is very clear on this subject.

Nephi in his closing remarks before he left this world to return home to his God said,

But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught. (2 Nephi 33:2)

This hit me hard because it made me realize that we as latter-day saints are as guilty of this as anyone else, and if not worse, because we have the fullness of the gospel. How often do we hear great counsel from our prophet or apostles and then return almost immediately to our old ways completely forgetting the counsel, this is a form of esteeming something as a thing of naught. This happens many times at church, or even conference, we may choose to delay or start tomorrow or next week and then we forget. Another way to cast aside the words of God would be to come to the conclusion of what is meant by the Lord through our own wisdom (relying solely on the flesh), which is where rationalization comes into play. Nephi asked his older brothers Lamen and Lemuel,”

8 … Have ye inquired of the Lord?

9 And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? (1 Nephi 15: 8-10)

Nephi is telling us that we must turn to our God with a sincere heart and be taught by him. Joesph Smith teaches us "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" (History of the Church, 4:425). If we fail to "go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching" we will be putting our trust in the arm of flesh of which Nephi says, "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm (2 Nephi 4:34)." Henry B Eyring instructs us,

"I must add to my pleading a warning. You have the right and the obligation to choose for yourselves. You can search the scriptures or not. You can choose to work hard enough, to ponder, and to obey His commandments, so that the Holy Ghost can be your companion. Then you will come to know the Savior better and better and your heart will swell with love for Him, or you can choose to delay. You can choose to drift, deciding past efforts will be enough. My warning is a simple matter of cause and effect. Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world. If we do not choose to move toward Him, we will find that we have moved away… There is also a warning for us as we are faced with the choice whether or not to try harder to have our hearts drawn out in prayer continually to God. Perhaps the thought will come into your mind that tonight is not the time to begin an earnest effort to pray with more faith. Or the thought may come that prayer is not important to you. You may know with certainty the source of such thoughts:"

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 evil 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. [2 Nephi 32:8–9]

We now know that we will not allow ourselves to follow Satan and so we will pray always unto the Father in the name of Christ and receive divine teaching. I believe that the key is learning by faith, of which true faith leads to action. David A Bednar teaches us in his talk Seek Learning by Faith:

Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to and results in hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way (see Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord, " Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54). The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present.

Faith as the evidence of things not seen looks to the past and confirms our trust in God and our confidence in the truthfulness of things not seen. We stepped into the darkness with assurance and hope, and we received evidence and confirmation as the light in fact moved and provided the illumination we needed. The witness we obtained after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6) is evidence that enlarges and strengthens our assurance.

Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and grows wider. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops and evolves and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little…

True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action…

A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost—and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost. Thus, learning by faith involves the exercise of moral agency to act upon the assurance of things hoped for and invites the evidence of things not seen from the only true teacher, the Spirit of the Lord. (Seek Learning by Faith, February 3, 2006)"

Now that we understand how to learn by faith which will draws us to our knees to obtain divine teaching and then to stand and do that which was learned, we can now begin the talk. Let us be careful not to be like the wicked Nephites and harden our hearts against the words of God.

“Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it...” (Mormon 9:4)

The Family: A Proclamation to the World should be clear enough when it says "We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force (The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)" We should listen when a statement is made from the Prophet, First Presidency and all the Twelve Apostles. I may be wrong but I did not see anywhere in the statement “when it is convenient multiply and replenish the earth” and yet that seems to be the case; whether a couple is trying to get to know each other first, finishing school, waiting to make more money, or any other type of conveniences. The words are simple and direct, "We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” Interestingly declare is defined as follows: “1. To make known formally or officially. 2. To state emphatically or authoritatively; affirm. 3. To reveal or make manifest; show. 4. To make a full statement of” (Dictionary.com). To declare is significantly stronger than merely suggesting.

Joseph Fielding Smith gives us some insight on families and the purpose of our existence.

“The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity. Our purpose in life is to create for ourselves eternal family units. There is nothing that will ever come into your family life that is as important as the sealing blessings of the temple and then keeping the covenants made in connection with this order of celestial marriage” (Joseph Fielding Smith, We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 202).

A prophet of God is telling us our purpose in life, how can we change that to, my purpose in life is to have a small family so that our family can enjoy the fruits of the world, or anything of such manner. Anything that may distract us from our families both in bringing spirits into this world or the rearing of those spirits that we have been given already by our Father in Heaven must be evaluated closely. If it does not match up with our purpose in life we should re-evaluate our priorities.

Heber J Grant gives us further guidance as to the importance and purpose of families.

“The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and a mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant.” President Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, David O. McKay (First Presidency) (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 204)

The thought that came to my mind when I was preparing this talk with this quote was that we would do anything to help the children we now have to succeed in life, and my question is, will we not do that with all the children the Lord has for you to have. I believe the answer is yes, we must bring spirits into this world so that they too can "come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls." And together as a family we will be exalted and obtain our crown of glory.

Joseph Smith taught us about the organization of families before the earth was created and how it has been frustrated by wickedness.

“As the Prophet uses it, the term “first organization” seems to refer to the first time the spirit children of God were organized into proposed families, groups, etc,. as they were to be developed in the flesh on the earth. If man would keep the commandments of God and seek the promptings of the Holy Spirit in forming the associations of life in the flesh, the “first organization” would find actual expression on earth. By sealing those associations in righteousness under the power of the Holy Priesthood, man could then perpetuate the relationships formed on earth into eternity. Hence, the tentative arrangements that were effected in the pre-earth state were referred to as having been carried out in the “first organization.” In a manifestation to Brigham Young after the Prophets death, Joseph Smith was reported to have instructed his successor as follows:

Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom… Be sure to tell the people to keep the spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world. Our father in Heaven organized the human family, but they are all disorganized and in great confusion. ” ( Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p. 122).

Brigham Young gives us further understanding of how the families organized by God have been disorganized and in great confusion. I think it is important to note that the first thing that happens is the Holy Spirit is lost or ignored and then the disorganization happens.

“There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?- To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p 197)”

This is a scary thought to know from a Prophet of God that if we do not do all we can do to bring spirits into our family circle, that they could be driven into the families of the wicked and experience and be taught utmost wickedness. Debauchery is defined as “extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures” (Dictionary.com). Again the word duty is used and so I wanted to get a better understanding of the meaning of the word, and so I looked it up. It is defined as “1. An act or a course of action that is required of one by position, social custom, law, or religion… 2a. Moral obligation… 2b. The compulsion felt to meet such obligation” (Dictionary.com). Let us do our duty and bring as many souls into our family circles as the Lord will permit us to have!

This next quote hit very hard and is something that I think of often.

“How will those feel who fail to obey that first great command [multiply, and replenish the earth] when they stand in the presence of the creator, who says to them, as He said to those in olden times, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." How can they comply with that invitation if they have no children to take to the Father? They must remain childless throughout eternity. They have been blind to their rights and privileges. It is only by a proper understanding of the laws of God, and by compliance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, only by doing what the Lord has said we should do, that we will enjoy the fulness of happiness that our Father in heaven has promised those who are faithful. I do not feel to censure, but with all my heart I pity the man and woman who grace their home with the lesser animals of God's creation, and keep away from their firesides those angels from His presence who might be theirs through time and through all eternity. I realize there are some men and women who are grieved because they are not fathers and mothers, they are not blessed of the Lord in that particular, they have no children of their own, and by no fault of their own. I believe the Lord will provide in such cases. If they will do their duty in keeping the other commandments, their reproach will be taken away. I raise my voice among the sons and daughters of Zion, and warn you that if you dry up the springs of life and abuse the power that God has blessed you with, there will come a time of chastening to you, that all the tears you may shed will never remove. Remember the first great commandment [Gen.1:28]; fulfill that obligation.” Elder George Albert Smith (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 204)

Can we imagine eternity without children or the small family that we conveniently had and then choose to have no more; I believe it will be a time of grave disappointment and lamentation. This is a plead for all the sons and daughters of Zion to turn back to the commandment the Lord gave and bring the souls that have been foreordained to us into the world. If we heed this command our joy will be full in this life and the life to come and we will be blessed with eternal increase.

David O McKay is very clear in his statement,

“We seriously regret that there should exist a sentiment or feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. We have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth that we may have joy and rejoicing in our posterity.

Where husband and wife enjoy health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity, it is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children. We believe that those who practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by.” David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner (First Presidency) (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206)

Dictionary.com defines sentiment as “A thought, view, or attitude, especially one based mainly on emotion instead of reason.” what is amazing is that the First Presidency said “a sentiment” which is as small as even one thought or whim. The Lord is teaching us that if we are healthy and desire to limit or plan our families either artificially or by any other way then we can know that our thinking and desires are contrary to the teaching of the Church. Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk in the May 2005 conference about pornography and taught us a little bit about evil and the thoughts that run out the Spirit.

But the test of what is evil is not its degree but its effect. When persons entertain evil thoughts long enough for the Spirit to withdraw, they lose their spiritual protection and they are subject to the power and direction of the evil one. (Conference May 2005, pornography)”

How can we become like our Father in Heaven without the Spirit to help us grow and develop. I can promise that as we eliminate thoughts of preventing spirits from coming into our homes and use the Spirit as our tool we will learn to love each of our children even more than before could be possible and we will begin our journey toward Godhood where we will begat, rear, and love a countless number of children, but we must begin that journey today. There may also be trying times that lie before a husband and a wife that decide to begin their journey toward their exaltation by letting the Lord decide the size of their family and these trials may come as financial or take some other form but let them have absolute faith in Christ and he will provide a way. Nephi 3:7 teaches us this principle of faith. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” Let me relate a story that my mother told me about my great, grandmother. This story may or may not have been recorded but lives on in the memory of my mother and father and will forever give them strength and now we can all share in my great grandmother’s strength and make it our own.

Her and her husband were blessed with two or three (we will assume three) children when her doctor told them that they were not to have any more children because of her health. This bothered my grandmother and she went home and read her patriarchal blessing that promised her a family. She knew that two or three was not a family and she decided to have another one. This time the doctor sat my great grandfather down and told him that if he wanted to have a mother to raise his children than he needed to not have anymore children. [I believe that many of us would have been satisfied with this counsel by her doctor, but she did not rely on the arm of flesh, she choose to rely on God that can give and take away life as He sees fit to control her life and say what a family meant for her.] Each time she read her patriarchal blessing and said, “this is not a family.” My great gradmother and grandfather ended up having eight children and was given the family that God wanted them to have.

If we think that having faith means that the Lord provides for us and that very little pain would be required of us, we are wrong. If Nephi had this thinking he would have had the desire to go and get the brass plates and when they failed in their attempt he would have been frustrated and questioned the original command of the Lord or thought it too hard. We can recall two others that had this thinking and when Laman fled from Laban, Laman and Lemuel “were about to return unto [their] father in the wilderness. But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us” (Nephi 3:14-15). They then tried a second time and again faced disappointment and this time Laman and Lemuel began to beat Nephi and Sam with a rod and were visited by an angel and still they saw the command too great. Nephi then led by the Spirit was able to slay Laban and obtain the plates. He had faith and he knew that if he did all he could do then the Lord would provide. Family life is not easy or convenient but with the Lord he will provide a way and will bring greater joy into your heart with every new spirit you bring into your family; that I can promise.

Joseph Fielding Smith tells us,

“Is it proper and right in the sight of God for parents intentionally to prevent, by any means whatever, the spirits, the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, from obtaining earthly tabernacles? I have, of course, only reference to parents lawfully married, and specifically to Latter-day Saints.

In a general way, and as a rule, the answer to this question is an emphatic negative. I do not hesitate to say that prevention is wrong. It brings in its train a host of social evils. It destroys the morals of a community and nation. It creates hatred and selfishness in the hearts of men and women, and perverts their natural qualities of love and service, changing them to hate and aversion. It causes death, decay, and degeneration instead of life, growth, and advancement. And finally, it disregards or annuls the great commandment of God to man, "Multiply and replenish the earth” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206).

I am now speaking of the normally healthy man and woman. But, that there are weak and sickly people who in wisdom, discretion and common sense should be counted as exceptions, only strengthens the general rule” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 202).

Wow, this is a powerful statement. A prophet of God first of all says that “prevention is wrong and then makes this powerful statement, “that there are weak and sickly people who in wisdom, discretion and common sense should be counted as exceptions, only strengthens the general rule.” This wording of “weak and sickly people” gives a greater definition of the health of the mother. Again remember that the Lord has power to heal anyone who has sufficient faith, there are personal conditions that would not qualify as weak and sickly, and rather than changing the words of God to fit the situation, we should rely on God to provide a way to accomplish his first and great commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.

My wife was diagnosed after our second child with three blood disorders which could be very dangerous if we chose to have more children. Our doctor believed that this condition is what took the life of our fist little girl, Alexis, who was still-born after 31 weeks. He called Lacie, our next little girl, our miracle baby because we did not have any problems and she was healthy and strong. He explained the dangers of having more children and explained that if we decided to I would have to give her a shot everyday of her pregnancy. Kiera was already pregnant and so we began the shots. Alexa was born and after several days in NICU she was able to come home. We choose to rely on the Lord, putting our trust in God and not in the arm of flesh, and were blessed with another girl named, Ashlyn. The Lord has blessed our family with four wonderful girls and if He is willing many more spirits to join our little family.

The Prophet then tells us what happens to individuals, communities, and nations that practice prevention and it is worth quoting again, “It brings in its train a host of social evils. It destroys the morals of a community and nation. It creates hatred and selfishness in the hearts of men and women, and perverts their natural qualities of love and service, changing them to hate and aversion. It causes death, decay, and degeneration instead of life, growth, and advancement. And finally, it disregards or annuls the great commandment of God to man, "Multiply and replenish the earth."

President David O. McKay adds to this threat.

The increasing tendency to look upon family life as a burden, and the ever-spreading practice of birth control, are ominous threats to the perpetuation of the United States. In the light of what the restored gospel teaches us regarding pre-existence, the eternal nature of the marriage covenant, and of family relationship, no healthy wife in the Church should shun the responsibilities of normal motherhood.” Dictionary.com defines perpetuation as 1. To cause to continue indefinitely; make perpetual. 2. To prolong the existence of; cause to be remembered. These quotes are very scary and we have an obligation to warn the world. “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81) (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206).

President Harold B. Lee said,

[W]e declare it is a grievous sin before God to adopt restrictive measures in disobedience to God's divine command from the beginning of time to "multiply and replenish the earth." Surely those who project such measures to prevent life or to destroy life before or after birth will reap the whirlwind of God's retribution, for God will not be mocked” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206).

Prophet and President of the Church, tells us that it is not simply a decision we make to adopt restrictive measures or not to adopt restrictive measures but if we make the wrong decision it is a “grievous sin before God.” Ultimately the decision is between husband, wife and the Lord. The 1989 General Handbook of Instructions states at page 11-4: "Husbands must be considerate of their wives, who have a great responsibility not only for bearing children but also for caring for them through childhood. Husbands should help their wives conserve their health and strength. Married couples should seek inspiration from the Lord in meeting their marital challenges and rearing their children according to the teachings of the gospel." Be sure that your decision is approved of the Lord. George Q. Cannon shows the importance of being sure with your decision.

We have heard that many of the diabolical practices of the world have been introduced . . . among some who profess to be Latter-day Saints, to prevent the bearing of children. No sin, unless it be that of murder, will meet with a greater condemnation from God than this evil of tampering with the fountains of life. Such sins will destroy the strength of any people that practices them, and the nation whose people yield to such vices is in great danger of destruction. No Saint can practice or encourage such corruption without incurring the displeasure of an offended God” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206).

First, Dictionary.com defines diabolical as 1. Of, concerning, or characteristic of the devil; satanic. 2. Appropriate to a devil, especially in degree of wickedness or cruelty. It would be safe to reword it as follows, We have heard that many of the satanic practices of the world have been introduced . . . among some who profess to be Latter-day Saints, to prevent the bearing of children. Then was given the seriousness of the issue, “No sin, unless it be that of murder, will meet with a greater condemnation from God than this evil of tampering with the fountains of life.”

Joseph F. Smith further defines the issue,

Those who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of wedded life should see to it that they do not abuse the course of nature; that they do not destroy the principle of life within them, nor violate any of the commandments of God. The command which he gave in the beginning to multiply and replenish the earth is still in force upon the children of men. Possibly no greater sin could be committed by the people who have embraced this gospel than to prevent or to destroy life in the manner indicated. We are born into the world that we may have life, and we live that we may have a fulness of joy, and if we will obtain a fulness of joy, we must obey the law of our creation and the law by which we may obtain the consummation of our righteous hopes and desires-life eternal” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 206).

Spencer W. Kimball is clear with methods of sterilization, “Sterilization and tying of tubes and such are sins, and except under special circumstances it cannot be approved.”

The path is clear for all married couples that are not weak and sickly. We must have greater faith in the Lord and his great plan of salvation and view our existence as the Lord sees us. We are taught in the scriptures, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Or even “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12: 25). We are not our own and we must always remember that. Great promises are given to a husband and a wife that embrace the Gospel, are sealed in the temple, and who do not abuse those powers given to them and rear up a family unto God.

Joseph Smith said,

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them-Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths-then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 208).

Joseph Fielding Smith said,

The doctrine of the eternity of the marriage covenant and the "continuation of the seeds forever and ever," is one of the most glorious principles of the Gospel. It is, in fact, the crowning principle which brings the fullness of exaltation to men and women who are willing to accept this eternal, holy and sacred ordinance. It is only in the celestial kingdom that the privilege of marriage and eternal increase will be found. Even in that kingdom there will be servants who are denied this privilege and glory. (D&C Sections 131 and 132:16-17) All who refuse to accept this principle and live in accordance with this covenant cannot be enlarged, but must remain separately and singly through all eternity. They cannot become sons and daughters of God” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 208).

Herein lies our obligation to live by all the words of God and to lose our lives that we may find them in the Lord. We must transform our lives and strive to inherit those God-like characteristics that will qualify us to be able to obtain the highest degree of glory in the Celestial kingdom and have eternal increase with our beloved eternal companions.

President Brigham Young

“Those who are faithful will continue to increase, and this is the great blessing the Lord has given to, or placed within the reach of, the children of man, even to be capable of receiving eternal lives.

To have such a promise so sealed upon our heads, which no power on earth, in heaven, or beneath the earth can take from us, to be sealed up to the day of redemption and have the promise of eternal lives, is the greatest gift of all” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 208).

Melvin J. Ballard said,

“What do we mean by endless or eternal increase? We mean that through the righteousness and faithfulness of men and women who keep the commandments of God they will come forth with celestial bodies, fitted and prepared to enter into their great, high and eternal glory in the celestial kingdom of God; and unto them, through their preparation, there will come children, who will be spirit children. I don't think that is very difficult to comprehend and understand. The nature of the offspring is determined by the nature of the substance that flows in the veins of the being. When blood flows in the veins of the being, the offspring will be what blood produces, which is tangible flesh and blood, but when that which flows in the veins is spirit matter, a substance which is more refined and pure and glorious than blood, the offspring of such beings will be spirit children. By that I mean they will be in the image of the parents. They will have a spirit body and have a spark of the eternal or divine that always did exist in them.

Unto such parentage will this glorified privilege come, for it is written in our scriptures that "the glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." So, it will be the glory of men and women that will make their glory like unto his. When the power of endless increase shall come to them, and their offspring, growing and multiplying through ages that shall come, they will be in due time, as we have been, provided with an earth like this, wherein they too may obtain earthly bodies and pass through all the experiences through which we have passed, and then we shall hold our relationship to them, the fulness and completeness of which has not been revealed to us, but we shall stand in our relationship to them as God, our Eternal Father, does to us, and thereby is this the most glorious and wonderful privilege that ever will come to any of the sons and daughters of God” (We Believe, under Family and Parenthood, 208).

I testify that through the great plan of salvation is how we can be perfected and be raised with our eternal companions and if we magnified those God-given powers and privileges of procreation and raised up a family while in this life of probation and endured to the end, then we will be given the greatest gift God could give and that is eternal lifes and exaltation. I absolutely love my children and thank the Lord for the great privilege he has given me to be honored as a father in Zion. My love for my children and my eternal joy is truly increased with every sweet spirit that our home is blessed with, and I know that once we change our attitude and desires and put the Lord in control of our families, then the Holy Spirits influence in our life will be increased and more constant than ever before. I love this Gospel and all that it gives and teaches me and I love my Savior and will forever be in his debt for his mercy and goodness to me and my family, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.