Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let Your Faith Show

When we speak of faith—the faith that can move mountains—we are not speaking of faith in general but of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can be bolstered as we learn about Him and live our religion. The doctrine of Jesus Christ was designed by the Lord to help us increase our faith. In today’s vernacular, however, the word religion can mean different things to different people.

The word religion literally means “to ligate again” or “to tie back” to God.  The question we might ask ourselves is, are we securely tied to God so that our faith shows, or are we actually tied to something else?

Clinicians, academicians, and politicians are often put to a test of faith. In pursuit of their goals, will their religion show or will it be hidden? Are they tied back to God or to man?

I had such a test decades ago when one of my medical faculty colleagues chastised me for failing to separate my professional knowledge from my religious convictions. He demanded that I not combine the two. How could I do that? Truth is truth! It is not divisible, and any part of it cannot be set aside.

Whether truth emerges from a scientific laboratory or through revelation, all truth emanates from God. All truth is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet I was being asked to hide my faith. I did not comply with my colleague’s request. I let my faith show!

Spiritual truth cannot be ignored—especially divine commandments. Keeping divine commandments brings blessings, every time! Breaking divine commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!

President Monson’s counsel is timeless! So I plead with you, my dear brothers and sisters: Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!

This Week's Challenge:  This week find a way for your faith to show.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that every faithful member of the Church “has a right to receive the revelations that are expedient and necessary for his [or her] guidance individually.” He always sought this personal guidance, especially in his efforts to teach and safeguard his sons and daughters. 

The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings. Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten.

We believe the Holy Ghost is a revelator and that he will bear testimony to honest people everywhere that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)

There is no need for anyone to remain in darkness; the light of the everlasting gospel is here; and every sincere investigator on earth can gain a personal witness from the Holy Spirit of the truth and divine nature of the Lord’s work.

The Holy Ghost is the Messenger, or Comforter, which the Savior promised to send to his disciples after he was crucified. This Comforter is, by his influence, to be a constant companion to every baptized person, and to administer unto the members of the Church by revelation and guidance, knowledge of the truth that they may walk in its light. It is the Holy Ghost who enlightens the mind of the truly baptized member. It is through him that individual revelation comes, and the light of truth is established in our hearts.

These excerpts taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 14, The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Baptism, the third principle and first ordinance of the Gospel, is essential to salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God. Baptism is, first, the means by which the repentant individual obtains remission of sins. Second, it is the gateway into the kingdom of God. The Lord, talking with Nicodemus, tells us so in John 3:1–11. …

… Baptism is by immersion in water. … Baptism cannot be by any other means than immersion of the entire body in water, for the following reasons:

(1) It is in the similitude of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of all others who received the resurrection.

(2) Baptism is also a birth and in the similitude of the birth of a child into this world.

(3) Baptism is literally, as well as a figure of the resurrection, a transplanting, or resurrection from one life to another—the life of sin to the life of spiritual life.

… All men and women … need repentance. … They are in spiritual death. How are they going to get back? By being buried in the water. They are dead, and are buried in the water and come forth in the resurrection of the spirit back into spiritual life. That is what baptism is.

Every person baptized into this Church has made a covenant with the Lord to keep His commandments, and in this commandment, reiterated in the dispensation in which we live, we are told that we are to serve the Lord with all the heart and all the mind, and with all the strength that we have, and that too in the name of Jesus Christ. Everything that we do should be done in the name of Jesus Christ.

One of the great purposes of the true church is to teach men what they must do after baptism to gain the full blessings of the gospel.

Every soul baptized, truly baptized, has humbled himself; his heart is broken; his spirit is contrite; he has made a covenant before God that he will keep his commandments, and he has forsaken all his sins. Then after he gets into the Church, is it his privilege to sin after he is in? Can he let down? Can he indulge in some of the things which the Lord has said he should avoid? No. It is just as necessary that he have that contrite spirit, that broken heart, after he is baptized as it is before.

Challenge this week:  Remember your baptismal covenants and decide what you are going to do with them this week.

These excerpts taken from Teachings of President of the Church, Chapter 13, Baptism.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What Matters Most

What matters most is what lasts the longest. 

In the same way that certain steps are essential in the very brief performance of an Olympic athlete—jumps or maneuvers for ice skaters and snowboarders, negotiating the turns of a bobsled run, or carving through the gates of a downhill slalom course—so it is in our lives, where certain things are absolutely essential—checkpoints which move us through our spiritual performance on earth. These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel: baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances, and partaking of the sacrament each week.

“In the[se] ordinances … , the power of godliness is manifest.”

And in the same way that the discipline of training prepares an athlete to perform elements in his or her sport at the highest level, keeping the commandments will qualify you to receive these saving ordinances.

Do you sense the urgency?  

My young friends, wherever you are in your “four-minute performance,” I urge you to ponder, “What do I need to do next to ensure my medal?” Perhaps during this conference, the Spirit has whispered to you what that may be: to prepare more thoughtfully for an ordinance in your future or to receive an ordinance that you should have received a long time ago. Whatever it may be, do it now. Don't wait. Your four minutes will pass quickly, and you'll have eternity to think about what you did in this life.

Self-discipline is needed. Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training. A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord’s standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required.

These excerpts are taken from Elder Stevenson's April 2014 General Conference address, Your Four Minutes.