We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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Here we are living in ‘a great and dreadful day’ with higher learning and so many comforts of life. We have access to so much information and can advance so fast in society. Yet, there are still so many who struggle and suffer, especially for knowledge and truth about their origin and destiny. One of the most important needs we have is the knowledge of who we are, why we are here and where we came from; religion.
If people would just stop and think about life and see those that are truly happy, they will find it is because they have searched their hearts with prayer and in their minds with studying and reading good books, have found peace within knowing that God is there; realizing He has provided the way to return as His children with with an eternal plan where marriages and families can be together forever! May I share?
Over the history of this world, there have been many religious leaders who felt inspired and caused many people to follow. Each of us has the right to learn with the freedom and power to choose ’The Way’ we wish to live our lives and believe. That’s why we came here. They also become set and immoveable and will not hear or listen to many truths that have come forth. If the world only knew what they were missing!
Here are 10 facts about 12 major religions.
These pages summarise the main features of the 12 largest world religions, which together are followed by almost 80% of the world’s population. These beliefs are described without passing any judgment on their truth or otherwise. Not included here are so-called “tribal” and African religions (6%), spiritism, the Eastern religions Cao Dai and Juche (less than 1% in total) and non religious (16%). Source for numbers is www.adherents.com.
Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islam
K’ung Fu-tzu (Confucius)
Brahmins – the priestly class of the invading Aryans
Place & time
Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria), 1860s CE
Nepal, 500 BCE
Palestine, 30 CE
China 500 BCE
India, about 1500 BCE
Arabia, 620 CE
Local religion at the time
Judaism & Roman polytheism
Evolved from more primitive beliefs
Writings of Baha’u'llah & others – principally Kitab-l-Aqdas
Teachings of the Buddha written down much later & not treated as revelation
Bible, especially the New Testament
K’ung Fu-tzu’s writings
Many writings, mainly the Vedas (1000 BCE) & Upanishads (500 BCE)
Qur’an, written down by Muhammed
No. of adherents worldwide
400 million (combined with Taoism)
Nature of religion
Monotheism with revealed teachings – fulfils Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Dharmic. Way of life to achieve enlightenment
Monotheism with revealed teachings – fulfils Judaism
Taoic. Social & political ethics
Dharmic. Devotional rituals & tradition to achieve release from cycle of rebirth.
Monotheism with revealed beliefs – mixture of corporate & personal worship and ethics
Nature of God(s)
Monotheistic, ethical, personal
Pantheistic & impersonal – life force (Brahmin) and many gods/aspects
Monotheistic, personal, ethical
How to please God(s)
Eightfold Path between extremes of asceticism & materialism
Repentance & faith in Jesus
Devotion, good works, knowledge & yoga to reduce karma (caused by bad behaviour) & maya (illusion)
Five Pillars – profession of faith, prayer/worshp, alms, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca
Rewards & punishments
Life is a preparation for the next life (does this mean everyone enters afterlife?)
Life of acceptance & Nirvana
Life with God in this world and the next (or not)
Cycle of rebirth until karma dissolved & released.
Paradise for believers
Prayer & meditation leading to action – little emphasis on ritual (no churches or priests). Informal meeting every 19 days + festivals
Meditation, disciplined living to reduce suffering (recognising “impermanence, suffering & no-self”)
Weekly meetings, sharing faith & serving others
Respect for ancestors
Temples as homes to deities & shrines,
priests & rituals, individual holy men
Five Pillars, Friday prayers at mosque, ritual washing and prayers
With all of this confusion in the world and deciding what to believe, is there any wonder why there are so many religions today? It is not God’s fault but man’s.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
At some point in each of our lives we will each ask these questions:
Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?
When God created this world, he gave Adam and Eve all of the knowledge they needed with answers to these questions. He even walked and talked with them in the Garden of Eden. Many of those truths have since been lost, distorted, and misinterpreted over time causing so many people in the world to have no religion at all; athiest.
Many precious parts were taken out of the Bible during the days of Constantine about 300-400 AD and are missing. But are those truths lost? No.
Jesus Christ gave his words to all that would hear. And for that, He was Crucified. But, after Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven, which is Paradise; a holding place where we go after death until judgement day. He also returned and visited several peoples (or ‘sheep‘, He being the Shepherd) of various nations around the world and gave them His word and covenants, letting them know that He was also their Savior and Redeemer. He commanded them to write His words as a record to come forth at such a time as this when He knew there would be much confusion.
Some records have come already come forth and several others will soon be coming forth.
Those records or books have and will reveal many of the ‘lost’ promising truths and covenants, and blessings for which many religions have no answers.
God Created all things spiritually BEFORE He created them physically.
“And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.”Moses 2:27
“… And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;” Moses 3:5
“And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.”Moses 3:7
Many ‘Plain and precious truths and doctrines’ of the gospel have been restored:
‘We are NOThuman beings having Spiritual experiences.
We ARESpiritual beings having human experiences.’
It is my testimony that God lives and that He created this world with its Creation, Fall and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and worlds without number along with God-given laws, ordinances and doctrines. His plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God (2 Ne. 2:9), a glory of the celestial, which excels in all things – where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever. D&C 76:92. The scriptures also refer to this plan as the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness, and the plan of mercy.
We lived before as spirit children of God and battled in heaven over good and evil. One third of those spirit children followed Satan and were cast out of heaven with Satan into everlasting darkness. Those that won that war chose to come to this earth, to progress and become more like our Heavenly Parents by gaining a physical body and becoming creators of life ourselves.
We are here on earth to be tested as a ‘natural man’ (which is an enemy of God), to gain intelligence (which is the Glory of God), and to be tempted by Satan once again over good and evil and to make choices that will directly effect one’s future; and mansion in heaven where one goes to live after we die, and are judged on condition of living forever in a resurrected state, not subject to physical death. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:13
This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, John 17:3 (D&C 132:24). We must fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim. 6:12) People are free to choose liberty and eternal life, (2 Ne. 2:27) (Hel. 14:31). To be spiritually minded is life eternal. (2 Ne. 9:39) Then are ye in the narrow path that leads to eternal life. (2 Ne. 31:17–20) God gives eternal life to the obedient, (Moses 5:11).
To believe in Christ and endure to the end is life eternal,2 Ne. 33:4 (3 Ne. 15:9). He that hath eternal life is rich, D&C 6:7 (D&C 11:7). Eternal life is the greatest of all the gifts of God, D&C 14:7 (Rom. 6:23). The righteous will receive peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, D&C 59:23 Those who endure to the end shall have a crown of eternal life, D&C 66:12 (D&C 75:5). If the marriage of a man and a woman has been sealed in the house of the Lord, they and their offspring will be together eternally as a family.
All who die without the gospel who would have received it had they lived are heirs of the celestial kingdom, D&C 137:7–9. This is all a part of God’s eternal Plan of life for His children because “God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, Moses 1:39; ’man’ refers to all mankind, both male and female. All men and women are the literal, spiritual offspring of a Heavenly Father. When they are born into mortality, they receive physical, mortal bodies. These bodies were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27). Men and women who are faithful in receiving the necessary ordinances, keeping their covenants, and obeying God’s commands will enter into their exaltation and become as God. And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father. D&C 81:6.
Have you ever seen a baby chick that didn’t become a chicken? A pony always becomes a horse? We as children become like our parents. ”Like Father like son; like Mother like daughter”.
I hope this has made you think about what you might be missing and that you will reach within for answers that are real. Again remember, ‘God is NOT the author of confusion’. I invite you to pray with real intent that you may enter into the rest of the Lord. The Spirit of Christ can be with you and enable you to know good from evil. Satan persuades men to deny Christ and do evil. The prophets manifest the coming of Christ with faith, miracles are wrought and angels will minister unto you. All mankind shoud hope for eternal life and cleave unto charity always doing good.
This I know to be true,
Strengthening The Family – Spiritually
New York Times best selling author Stephen Mansfield
There are nearly seven million Mormons in America . This is the number the Mormons themselves use. It’s not huge. Seven million is barely 2 percent of the country’s population. It is the number of people who subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. London boasts seven million people. So does San Francisco . It’s a million more people than live in the state of Washington ; a million less than in the state of Virginia . It’s so few, it’s the same number as were watching the January 24, 2012, Republican debate.
In fact, worldwide, there are only about fourteen million Mormons. That’s fourteen million among a global population just reaching seven billion. Fourteen million is the population of Cairo or Mali or Guatemala . It’s approximately the number of people who tune in for the latest hit show on network television every week. Fourteen million Americans ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant in 2011. That’s how few fourteen million is.
Yet in the first decade or so of the new millennium, some members of the American media discovered the Mormons and began covering them as though the Latter-day Saints had just landed from Mars. It was as though Utah was about to invade the rest of the country. It was all because of politics and pop culture, of course. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman were in pursuit of the White House. Glenn Beck was among the nation’s most controversial news commentators. Stephenie Meyer had written the astonishingly popular Twilight series about vampires. Matt Stone and Trey Parker had created the edgy South Park cartoon series–which included a much- discussed episode about Mormons–and then went on to create the blatantly blasphemous and Saint-bashing Broadway play The Book of Mormon. It has become one of the most successful productions in American theater history.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Mormons sat in the US Congress, among them Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. Mormons led JetBlue, American Express, Marriott, Novell, Deloitte and Touche, Diebold, and Eastman Kodak. Management guru Stephen Covey made millions telling them how to lead even better. There were Mormons commanding battalions of US troops and Mormons running major US universities. There were so many famous Mormons, in fact, that huge websites were launched just to keep up with it all. Notables ranged from movie stars like Katherine Heigl to professional athletes to country music stars like Gary Allan to reality television contestants and even to serial killers like Glenn Helzer, whose attorney argued that the Saints made him the monster he was. The media graciously reminded the public that Mormon criminals were nothing new, though: Butch Cassidy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame was also a Mormon, they reported.
Most media coverage treated this “Mormon Moment” as though it was just that: the surprising and unrelated appearance of dozens of Mormons on the national stage–for a moment. More than a few commentators predicted it would all pass quickly.
What most commentators did not understand was that their “Mormon Moment” was more than a moment, more than an accident, and more than a matter of pop culture and fame alone. The reality was–and is–that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintshas reached critical mass. It is not simply that a startling number of Mormons have found their way onto America’s flat-screen TVs and so brought visibility to their religion. It is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints has reached sufficient numbers–and has so permeated every level of American society on the strength of its religious value–that prominent politicians, authors, athletes, actors, newscasters, and even murderers are the natural result, in some cases even the intended result. Visible, influential Mormons aren’t outliers or exceptions. They are fruit of the organic growth of their religion.
In 1950, there were just over a million Mormons in the world. Most of these were located in the Intermountain West of the United States, a region of almost lunar landscape between the Rocky Mountains to the East and the Cascades and Sierra Nevada Mountains to the West. The religion was still thought of as odd by most Americans. There had been famous Mormons like the occasional US Senator or war hero, but these were few and far between. There had even been a 1940 Hollywood movie entitled Brigham Young that told the story of the Saints’ mid-1800s trek from Illinois to the region of the Great Salt Lake. Its producers worked hard to strain out nearly every possible religious theme, a nod to the increasingly secular American public. Though it starred heavyweights like Vincent Price and Tyrone Power, the movie failed miserably, even in Utah. Especially in Utah.
Then, in 1951, a man named David O. McKay became the “First President” of the Latter-day Saints and inaugurated a new era. He was the Colonel Harlan Sanders of Mormonism. He often wore white suits, had an infectious laugh, and under- stood the need to appeal to the world outside the Church. It was refreshing. Most LDS presidents had either been polygamist oddballs or stodgy old men in the eyes of the American public. McKay was more savvy, more media aware. He became so popular that film legend Cecil B. DeMille asked him to consult on the now classic movie The Ten Commandments.
Empowered by his personal popularity and by his sense that an opportune moment had come, McKay began refashioning the Church’s image. He also began sharpening its focus. His famous challenge to his followers was, “Every Member a Missionary!” And the faithful got busy. It only helped that Ezra Taft Benson, a future Church president, was serving as the nation’s secretary of agriculture under President Eisehower. This brought respectability. It also helped that George Romney was the revered CEO of American Motors Corporation and that he would go on to be the governor of Michigan, a candidate for president of the United States, and finally a member of Richard Nixon’s cabinet. This hinted at increasing power. The 1950s were good for Mormons.
Then came the 1960s. Like most religions, the LDS took a beating from the counterculture movement, but by the 1970s they were again on the rise. There was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a symbol of Americana when Americana was under siege. There was Mormon Donny Osmond’s smile and Mormon Marie Osmond’s everything and the three-year run of network television’s Donny and Marie in the late 1970s that made words like family, clean, talented, patriotic, and even cute outshine some of the less-endearing labels laid upon the Saints through the years. New labels joined new symbols. A massive, otherworldly, 160,000-square-foot Temple just north of Washington, DC, was dedicated in the 1970s, a symbol of LDS power and permanence for the nation to behold. Always there was the “Every Member a Missionary!” vision beating in each Saintly heart.
By 1984, the dynamics of LDS growth were so fine-tuned that influential sociologist Rodney Stark made the mind- blowing prediction that the Latter-day Saints would have no fewer than 64 million members and perhaps as many as 267 million by 2080.3 It must have seemed possible in those days. In the following ten years, LDS membership exploded from 4.4 million to 11 million. This may be why in 1998 the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The Mormons–a misguided cult in the view of most traditional Christians, most Baptists in particular–had to be stopped.
They weren’t. Four years after the Baptists besieged Temple Square, the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City. This was in 2002 and it is hard to exaggerate what this meant to the Latter-day Saints. A gifted Mormon leader, Mitt Romney, rescued the games after a disastrous bidding scandal. A sparkling Mormon city hosted the games. Happy, handsome all-American Mormons attended each event, waving constantly to the cameras and appearing to be–in the word repeatedly used by the press at the time–”normal.”
The LDS Church capitalized on it all. It sent volunteers, missionaries, and publicists scurrying to every venue. It hosted grand events for the world press. It made sure that every visitor received a brochure offering an LDS guided tour of the city. Visitors from around the world read these words: “No other place in America has a story to tell like that of Salt Lake City–a sanctuary founded by religious refugees from within the United States’ own borders. And none can tell that story better than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Largely unchallenged, the Mormon narrative prevailed.
What followed was the decade of the new millennium we have already surveyed. Mormons seemed to be everywhere, seemed to be exceptional in nearly every arena, seemed to have moved beyond acceptance by American culture to domination of American culture. At least this was what some feared at the time.
But Mormons did not dominate the country. Far from it. Remember that they were not even 2 percent of the nation’s population as of 2012. True, they were visible and successful, well educated and well spoken, patriotic and ever willing to serve. Yet what they had achieved was not domination. It was not a conspiracy either, as some alleged. It was not anything approaching a takeover or even the hope for a takeover.
Few observers seemed to be able to explain how this new level of LDS prominence in American society came about. They reached for the usual answers trotted out to account for such occurrences: birth rates, Ronald Reagan’s deification of traditional values, the economic boom of the late twentieth century, a more liberal and broadminded society, even the dumbing down of America through television and failing schools. Each of these explanations was found wanting.
The Mormon Machine
The truth lay within Mormonism itself. What the Saints had achieved in the United States was what Mormonism, unfettered and well led, will nearly always produce. This was the real story behind the much-touted “Mormon Moment.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had risen to unexpected heights in American society because the Mormon religion creates what can benevolently be called a Mormon Machine– a system of individual empowerment, family investment, local church (ward and stake level) leadership, priesthood government, prophetic enduement, Temple sacraments, and sacrificial financial endowment of the holy Mormon cause.
Plant Mormonism in any country on earth and pretty much the same results will occur. If successful, it will produce deeply moral individuals who serve a religious vision centered upon achievement in this life. They will aggressively pursue the most advanced education possible, understand their lives in terms of overcoming obstacles, and eagerly serve the surrounding society. The family will be of supernatural importance to them, as will planning and investing for future generations. They will be devoted to community, store and save as a hedge against future hardship, and they will esteem work as a religious calling. They will submit to civil government and hope to take positions within it. They will have advantages in this. Their beliefs and their lives in all-encompassing community will condition them to thrive in administrative systems and hierarchies–a critical key to success in the modern world. Ever oriented to a corporate life and destiny, they will prize belonging and unity over individuality and conflict every time.
These hallmark values and behaviors–the habits that distinguish Mormons in the minds of millions of Americans– grow naturally from Mormon doctrine. They are also the values and behaviors of successful people. Observers who think of the religion as a cult–in the Jim Jones sense that a single, dynamic leader controls a larger body of devotees through fear, lies, and manipulation–usually fail to see this. Mormon doctrine is inviting, the community it produces enveloping and elevating, the lifestyle it encourages empowering in nearly every sense. Success, visibility, prosperity, and influence follow. This is the engine of the Mormon ascent. It is what has attracted so many millions, and it is the mechanism of the Latter-day Saints’ impact upon American society and the world.
Mormons make achievement through organizational management a religious virtue. It leads to prosperity, visibility, and power. It should come as no surprise, then, that an American can turn on the evening news after a day of work and find one report about two Mormon presidential candidates, another story about a Mormon finalist on American Idol, an examination of the controversial views of a leading Mormon news commentator, a sports story about what a Mormon lineman does with his “Temple garments” in the NFL, and a celebration of how Mormons respond to crises like Katrina and the BP oil spill, all by a “Where Are They Now?” segment about Gladys Knight, minus the Pips, who has become–of course–a Mormon.
Mormons rise in this life because it is what their religion calls for. Achieving. Progressing. Learning. Forward, upward motion. This is the lifeblood of earthly Mormonism. Management, leadership, and organizing are the essential skills of the faith. It is no wonder that Mormons have grown so rapidly and reached such stellar heights in American culture. And there is much more to come.
President Thomas S. Monson Prophet, Seer, and Revelator The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
You were entrusted to come to the earth in these last days to do again what you did before—to once again choose good over evil.
The flood of pornographic filth, the inordinate emphasis on sex and violence are not peculiar to North America. The situation is as bad in Europe and in many other areas. The whole dismal picture indicates a weakening rot seeping into the very fiber of society.
Legal restraints against deviant moral behavior are eroding under legislative enactments and court opinions. This is done in the name of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of choice in so-called personal matters. But the bitter fruit of these so-called freedoms has been enslavement to debauching habits and behavior that leads only to destruction. A prophet, speaking long ago, aptly described the process when he said, “And thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Ne. 28:21).
Good Versus Evil
You and I have come into the world at a most significant time. We are entering the final stages of a great war. This war commenced before the foundations of the world and has been pursued with awful consequence throughout the world’s history. I speak of the war between the followers of Christ and all those who deny Him as their God. 1
John the Revelator wrote concerning this war:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
“And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”2
It was Satan who instigated this premortal war. He did so by rebelling against our Father’s plan of salvation for His children and rejecting the Christ, who was designated to effectuate the plan. Tragically, a third of our Father’s children followed Satan.3Yet two-thirds did not. You were among these, and with them have come to earth to pursue the Father’s plan of happiness.
Unfortunately, Satan’s war did not end with his expulsion from heaven. As John observed, Satan and his followers were “cast out into the earth”4and have come here with “great wrath.”5The evidence of their wrath can be seen in the blood and horror that has afflicted man from the beginning of time.
So profound and extensive have been the wounds suffered among men that God Himself wept as He surveyed man’s condition.6
We now find ourselves in the last days of this earth’s temporal history. In a coming day, our Father’s Son will return to the earth from which He was rejected and reclaim it as His own.7In that day, He will subdue Satan and his legions and usher in a thousand years of peace and righteousness.8In anticipation of that day, God has restored His kingdom to the earth one last time.
While God’s kingdom has been established on the earth in times past, the people to whom the kingdom was previously committed were unable to keep it. This time, however, is different. The prophetic promise is that this time God’s kingdom will not be lost but will overcome the world.10
To ensure its ultimate success, the final restoration of God’s kingdom has been commenced with unprecedented spiritual power11and is being sustained by that same spiritual power and something more. Reserved to come forth in these last days and labor for our Father and His Son are some of the most valiant and noble of our Father’s sons and daughters. Their valiance and nobility were demonstrated in the pre-earth struggle with Satan. There, “being left to choose good or evil,” they “[chose] good” and exhibited “exceedingly great faith” and “good works.”12Such are the traits that are now needed to sustain the work of God in the earth and to save the souls of men from the intensifying wrath of the adversary.
You are the strength of the Lord’s house, His warriors!
You are those who chose good over evil and who exhibited “exceedingly great faith” and “good works.” And because of your personal history, you were entrusted to come to the earth in these last days to do again what you did before—to once again choose good over evil, exercise exceedingly great faith, and perform good works—and to do so in behalf of the kingdom of God on the earth and your fellowman!
Satan knows that “he hath but a short time.”14Therefore, Satan is marshalling every resource at his disposal to entice you into transgression. He knows that if he can draw you into transgression, he may prevent you from marrying and securing your future children in the faith. He knows that nothing can overthrow God’s kingdom “save it [be] the transgression of [his] people.”15Make no mistake about it—the focus of his war is now on you—you who seek to “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”16
The days that lie ahead are “perilous.”17In this regard, President Boyd K. Packer has observed:
“I know of nothing in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.”18
In referring to the perils of our day, I do not intend to inspire fear, but soberness. Being sober means being earnest and serious in assessing your circumstances and careful and circumspect in weighing the consequences of your actions. Soberness therefore yields good judgment, as well as measured conduct.
So, as we enter the final climactic stages of the war against Satan, be sober. Understand that you cannot partake of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. You cannot participate in pornography or other immoral activity. You cannot lie, cheat, or steal. You cannot use false, demeaning, or dirty language. You cannot deface your body with tattoos and other piercings. You cannot do these things and be victorious in the battle for your own soul, let alone be a valiant warrior in the great struggle for the souls of all the rest of our Father’s children.23
Understand that there is only one way to win the war against Satan, and that is to win it in the same way it was won in the beginning.
When victory was finally achieved in the War in Heaven, a loud voice was heard to declare:
“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. …
“For they [referring to Michael and his angels] have overcome him [referring to the devil] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death.”24
Do not miss the significance of this declaration. Satan was overcome in the beginning by (1) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, (2) testimony of Him that was steadfastly kept to the very end, and (3) consecration of oneself to the Lord and His work. If this was the means for defeating him in the beginning, you can be sure that this is the one sure way to defeat him now.25
These are your days! Do not squander them! Be sober! Take “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall … quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”31Then “fight the good fight of faith.”32And when you have done all, “stand”33still and “see the salvation of the Lord.”34I assure you that His salvation will come, delivering you and yours from every evil.
The Lord prepared a new land to attract the peoples of the world who sought liberty and religious freedom. This new land was blessed with strong leaders who felt duty bound to establish a government that allowed individuals to worship according to their own conscience.
The Founding Fathers of the United States believed that religious faith was fundamental to the establishment of strong government. Many people in the world, however, have forgotten the central importance of religious beliefs in the formation of the policies, laws, and rules of government. Many Americans, for example, do not understand that the founders believed the role of religion would be as important in our day as it was in their day. The founders did not consider religion and morality an intellectual exercise—they forcefully declared it an essential ingredient of good government and the happiness of humankind.
This position was set forth by the first U.S. president, George Washington, in his Farewell Address. He said:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. … Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. … Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
“It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”1
The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States.
The First Vision precipitated a flood of revealed truth. Knowledge was restored about the nature of the Godhead. A new translated scripture gave a second witness and testament of Jesus Christ. The restoration of the priesthood reendowed mankind with the power and authority to act for and on behalf of God in conducting priesthood ordinances and in reestablishing the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. We are blessed to be members of the restored Church.
As we begin this new year of 2013, I found myself reading the scriptures and was impressed with how God has spoken to us and told us how we can make correct choices and know what is good or evil; that there are opposites in all things and everything can fit into one or the other categories.
We are at a critical path in time of this world when correct choices are most important as they will deternine our lives success and destiny. We are being bombarded and marketed by forces from both sides of truth as we live in these “great and dreadful days”.
As a husband, a father and grandfather, and one who has been most blessed to have see the world and meet so many people of all nationalities, colors and creeds, and to have many of them become my friends, I feel the need to “open my mouth”. (D&C 60:2) Also as a publisher of truth for the family, which is the basic unit of society and of God’s children which we all are, I feel the need to speak out that it might cause you to ponder about the course of life that we each are taking and to help us all realize whether we are being led towards light and truth or towards darkness and misery. God told us how we can tell!
As recorded in the scriptures, God is speaking to those “that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hopeby which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.”
We must remember “the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. For behold, God hath said a man being evilcannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold, if a man beingevil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with realintent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”
This has been the case since the beginning of time and it is the same today! Now, here is a warning!
“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evilto be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”
This is the way!
“Whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know thelight by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.”
As we make our New Year’s resolutions, may we look deeper into our lives and see if there are things that should be removed or things that should be included in our daily pursuit of happiness. Let’s ask of ourselves:
Am I spending more time with those that I love?
Is my home like a house of God, and is love spoken here?
Is my mind being filled with violent media and crude entertainment, or is it being uplifted with knowledge of truth and reighteousness?
Do I have faith, hope and charity and do unto others as I would want them to do unto me?
Have I told my spouse and children how much I love them?
Do I fill my body with stimulants and garbage instead of whole and healthy foods with excercise to making it stronger?
Do I know who I am, why I am here, and where I am going after this life?
Do I pray and give thanks for the blessings I receive and reach out to others with a charitable heart and time?
The only things that we take with us after this life is our knowledge, experiences, our works, and the family with those we love.
I know that God lives and that Jesus is The Way; The One who will bring us together to live in peace and harmony.
I extend my prayers and blessings upon all those who follow us here at TheFamily.com and though we gift it freely, we make many friends and pray that we may touch some lives and hearts for good.
You are always welcome here and we hope that you will feel like a second home for you. We will be here for you and will always leave the light on, for good.
In closing, I leave you with what God has said to us:
“How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope. And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure loveof Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purifiedeven as he is pure. Amen.”
A couple of days ago, God gave the people what they wanted. This heated election season is over. We have our president. The people passed over Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, and overwhelming lent their support for Obama and the Democrat agenda.
I can understand the peoples support for the Democrat Party. Much of what they say they stand for sounds moral and compassionate, especially concerning the poor and minority populations. Yet, my convictions and research eventually led me to reject the Democrat ideology, preferring to side with people and political parties more aligned with the morals and values consistent with my Christian faith.
I used to be a Democrat, but I am no longer. I am a registered Republican. Not because I thought the Republican Party was so righteous, but because there came a time in my life as a Democrat, that I could no longer reconcile my politics and my faith.
Since my faith supersedes everything else for me, I find that it is pure madness for me to vote for politicians who uphold policies that are in a direct conflict with my faith. It is foolishness for me to vote against my own values and interests. Christianity is more than a title for me, it is who I am and determines how I live and how I view the world.
Since I am not only a Christian, but a citizen of this nation, I have the right to share and debate my values and ideas, as does everyone else. I am so proud that I can, with my vote, influence this nation in upholding godly principles and values. I will continue to vote with the party and/or persons that supports what I interpret to be godly and biblical values—the Judeo Christian values that were engrafted into our constitution and laws—the values that made this nation the greatest nation on earth and have afforded people of EVERY faith, and people who claim to have NO faith, to live free and prosperous lives here.
Great nations have fallen because of grievous sins and ungodliness and America is not exempt. In Scripture, when Israel was prosperous, it was not because of her own economic ingenious. Israel was blessed when she obeyed God—when she as a nation loved what God loved, and hated what God hated.
The primary reasons why I reject the Democrat platform is because it has within it the most immoral and ungodly principles to guide this nation. Our preference for this course for our nation is a sure sign that we as a nation have not rejected the Republican Party, per se, but we have rejected God. Just like in the days of Samuel, when the Israelites demanded that Samuel “appoint them a king,” God told Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me.”
Rejecting God will be, as our enemies would say, death to America. It is our flat out refusal to love what God loves and detest what He detests that will drive this nation over a moral and economic cliff.
Even though I adamantly reject the Democrats historic racist position concerning black Americans, racism is but one sin. As a Christian, I cannot reconcile my faith with the Democrat’s support of socialism, re-defining marriage, and abortion.
President Obama “impressively” won 93% of the black vote! I am black, but I am among the 7% who did not lend Obama my support. What may be perplexing to some is that blacks are overwhelmingly conservative in their moral values and convictions, so their support of the Democrat Party seems inconsistent. Yet, for these black Christians, they believe that the Republican Party perpetuates the “unforgivable” sins of racism and oppression of the poor. Jesus, they say, admonishes us to care for the “least of these” in society. Never mind what history confirms about the Democrats, these Christians believe that it is the Republicans that are perpetuating hatred and discrimination against so many that have less pigment and/or estrogen than they do. I understand the argument. I lived the argument. I believed the accusations that are waged against Republicans; accusations that Republicans have done so poorly to defend themselves against.
To the “black liberation theology” prodigies, it is the “black man” that must receive it’s just dues from its evil white oppressors that have kept blacks trapped in failing schools, in crime ridden neighborhoods, and without job skills and an education that would make them employable. These evil white oppressors may once have been Southern Democrats and the Ku Klux Klan, but now they are Republicans.
This is what many blacks believe about Republicans. And though you show them proof of otherwise, they will find you tons of revisionist historical literature to defend their past oppressors, the Democrats.
I have been told by a few of my black Christian friends concerning this election that God has upheld the “black man” in righteousness and protected him from the “haters.” I want people to really get this and understand. Obama is not president because he is righteous. There is NOTHING righteous about Obama’s support for child killing, sodomy, covetousness, and idolatry. His black skin does not make him right for black people. Obama does not share the values of most blacks and his policies hurt the people he claims he wants to help.
BUT, what God has said in his Word is coming to pass. Christians are aligning themselves with lawlessness and ungodliness. And because Obama is black, many blacks and others choose not to acknowledge how far into abomination that Obama has taken them. They choose to overlook and ignore what God says in his Word concerning the moral and economic issues we face as a nation, choosing instead to side with Obama’s words over God’s Word:
“Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
God has PROMISED to judge in righteousness and has often used ungodly rulers to execute his judgment. Surely America will be judged for her grievous sins that go up daily as a stench in the nostrils of a holy God. I just pray that God has mercy upon this nation and upon us all.
I have also been told to “get over it” and not be a sore loser. I am told to pray for our president because that is what we as Christians are suppose to do, because everything is in God’s hand anyways. True, God is in control. Obama is president by God’s permissive will.
But I am not so convinced that if Mitt Romney had won the presidency, black Christians would be praying for him as they tell me to do for Obama. Instead I believe that we would continue to hear from the leftist liberals the same old tirade of rants about racism that we have been hearing for the past few months; and hearing blacks call Mitt Romney out for being the “racist that he is” and fearing that he will bring back Jim Crow.
In fact, I don’t remember the black Christian community praying for Bush or any other president the way they do for Obama. In fact, I remember some pretty fancy and ungodly words and terms used to describe President George W. Bush. I won’t repeat them here.
Regardless of this, I WILL pray for our president. I will pray that he repents and turns to God, and leads this nation in the path of righteousness. I pray that he surrounds himself with godly counsel and does not shun and mock the Word of God.
I pray for his success.
BUT, his success should not be measured in how many people he can put on foodstamps, but how many people his policies free from foodstamps. His success should not be measured in how many poverty programs he enacts, but in how many poverty programs he needs to eliminate because Americans are working and successful. His success should be measured not by how many women he gives access and money to have abortions, but how many abortion clinics need to be shut down because their services are no longer needed. His success should be measured not in how much wealth he can redistribute, but how much wealth he can help individuals and businesses generate; thereby keeping America the most prosperous and generous nation on earth. I want Obama to have success because his success is America’s success.
And for the record, I don’t hate Democrats, but I do hate the policies and ideas they have aligned themselves with. I really have a problem with the way the Democrats “pimp” the poor. Yeah, I said it! They are poverty pimps and they use the poor as pawns. They stir up envy and hatred among the poor and pit them against the rich, causing the poor to covet and vote for politicians who will steal from the wealthy and give it to them. They vote for politicians that will “punish” big business, but in the end, it is these job creators that have to lay-off workers, raise prices, send jobs overseas, or shut their doors–ultimately hurting the poor and increasing the poverty base.
I won’t go on much more, but “redistribution of wealth” and “paying your fair share,” are rooted in covetousness and there is no biblical foundation to justify our government stealing from one family to give to another. Unless under your immediate or parental care, no one should be forced to pay for another’s health insurance, home, car, education, food, clothing or anything else. Redistribution of wealth eventually leads to redistribution of poverty because ultimately everyone will be equal, but they will be equally poor.
Some of the current issues in the forefront of the divisions between Democrats and Republicans are non-negotiable for me. Though they are far from perfect and in need of some soul searching themselves, I admire the historic position and legacy of the Republican Party for championing the rights of women, blacks, and the poor. This is part of the reason they still have my support. We as a party have some work to do. But the reason I choose not to vote Democrat has little to do with the fact that they are the party of Jim Crow and the KKK, but that today they are on the wrong side of the EVERY ISSUE that matters to me most. “Choice,” “Reproductive Rights,” “Marriage Equality,” “Fair Share,” are all repackaged code names for the same age old sins: “child-killing,” “sodomy,” and “covetousness.” Nothing new under the sun.
“Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.
This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the new Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail.
I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.
“I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through.”
“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.” Moroni 7:42
(The following scriptures were written between AD 321 and 328)
22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved. Ether 8:22-26
And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. Mosiah 2:22
(But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them. D&C 60:2)
“Sacrifice is the very essence of religion; it is the keystone of happy home life, the basis of true friendship, the foundation of peaceful community living, of sound relations among people and nations. . .
“Without sacrifice there is no true
worship of God.”
I become increasingly convinced of that every day. ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of our substance, give of our time, give of our strength, give of our talent, give of our faith, give of our testimonies.” Gordon B. Hinckley
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of oneheart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” Moses 7:18