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
The resurrection is the reuniting of the spirit body with the physical body of flesh and bones after death. After resurrection, the spirit and body will never again be separated, and the person will become immortal. Every person born on earth will be resurrected because Jesus Christ overcame death. 1 Cor. 15:20–22
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (or intelligence) 1 Corinthians 15:41
. . . So Also Is The Resurrection.
“That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.
And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestialkingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.
And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—” D&C 88:20–32
May we all continue to learn more truth and light until we have received the fulness of truth and live what we have learned so that we may be able to live in the Celestial Glory where God dwells for time and for all eternity. God is not the author of confusion. Nor can God dwell in a place where there is anything unholy or wicked. Just like levels of light, they are all truth, but the fulness of truth AND LIGHT, you will attain the highest kingdom of Glory just as the glory of the sun which is the fullness of light. ”Seek and ye shall find.” ”Knock, andit shall be opened unto you.“
“Strengthening The Family – Spiritually”
For The Family
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus and His Apostles were gathered together on the Mount of Olives. The time had come for Jesus to leave the earth. He had completed all the work that He had to do at that time. He was to return to our Heavenly Father until the time of His Second Coming.
After He had instructed His Apostles, Jesus ascended into heaven. While the Apostles looked up into the heavens, two angels stood beside them and said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go” (Acts 1:11).
From that time until the present day, the followers of Jesus Christ have looked forward to the Second Coming.
What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?
When Jesus Christ comes again to the earth, He will do the following things:
He will cleanse the earth. When Jesus comes again, He will come in power and great glory. At that time the wicked will be destroyed. All things that are corrupt will be burned, and the earth will be cleansed by fire (see D&C 101:24–25).
He will judge His people. When Jesus comes again, He will judge the nations and will divide the righteous from the wicked (see Matthew 25:31–46; ). John the Revelator wrote about this judgment: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The wicked he saw “lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:4–5; see also D&C 88:95–98).
He will usher in the Millennium. The Millennium is the thousand-year period when Jesus will reign on the earth. The righteous will be caught up to meet Jesus at His coming (see D&C 88:96). His coming will begin the millennial reign.“In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God [see Revelation 3:12], and they will officiate for their dead. Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. … And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then [children] will be sealed to [parents] until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain from Adam to the winding-up scene.”
He will complete the First Resurrection. Those who have obtained the privilege of coming forth in the resurrection of the just will rise from their graves. They will be caught up to meet the Savior as He comes down from heaven. (See D&C 88:97–98.)After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, other righteous people who had died were also resurrected. They appeared in Jerusalem and also on the American continent. (See Matthew 27:52–53; 3 Nephi 23:9–10.) This was the beginning of the First Resurrection. Some people have been resurrected since then. Those who already have been resurrected and those who will be resurrected at the time of His coming will all inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 76:50–70).
After the resurrection of those who will inherit celestial glory, another group will be resurrected: those who will receive a terrestrial glory. When all these people have been resurrected, the First Resurrection will be completed.
The wicked who are living at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord will be destroyed in the flesh. They, along with the wicked who are already dead, will have to wait until the last resurrection. All of the remaining dead will rise to meet God. They will either inherit the telestial kingdom or be cast into outer darkness with Satan (see D&C 76:32–33, 81–112).
He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth. When Jesus comes, He will establish His government on the earth. The Church will become part of that kingdom. He will rule all the people of the earth in peace for 1,000 years.When Jesus Christ first came to the earth, He did not come in glory. He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger of hay. He did not come with great armies as the Jews had expected of their Savior. Instead, He came saying, “Love your enemies, … do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). He was rejected and crucified. But He will not be rejected at His Second Coming, “for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 88:104). He will be greeted as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). He will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
How Will We Know When the Savior’s Coming Is Near?
When Jesus Christ was born, very few people knew that the Savior of the world had come. When He comes again, there will be no doubt who He is. No one knows the exact time that the Savior will come again. “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36; see also D&C 49:7).
The Lord used a parable to give us an idea of the time of His coming:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
“So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:28–29).
The Lord has also given us some signs to let us know when His coming is near. After revealing the signs, He cautioned:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
“… Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44).
How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?
The best way we can prepare for the Savior’s coming is to accept the teachings of the gospel and make them part of our lives. We should live each day the best we can, just as Jesus taught when He was on the earth. We can live worthy to have the Holy Ghost guide us. Then we will look forward to the Savior’s coming with happiness and not with fear. The Lord said: “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen” (D&C 35:27).
At TheFamily.com we strive to share various ways of helping families become stronger and to take responsibility for their actions.
We do believe that family is the fundamental unit of society and that the Father and Mother need to teach their children to become self reliant and to live providently. Families need to be prepared for emergencies and make sure that physically, they have enough to eat and drink and can take care of any medical issues and needs without going to the store for a period of time should any emergencies arise.
Children should become stronger mentally with good education and to stay away from pornography and drugs. There is aggressive Spiritual Warfare going on today and members of the family need to know the difference between good and bad so they can choose wisely. Parents need to teach them values and correct principles so they understand the difference. Working hard and getting a good job besides being charitable is most important and learning to be kind and giving to those in need.
Time is the BEST thing you can give your children and spouse! We highly recommend an evening together as a family which has proven to make a big difference in many homes.
We encourage families set aside Monday night as “family home evening” to spend TIME with each other. This is a time and place for families to study the gospel together and to do other activities that strengthen the family by learning and sharing, to teach values and correct principles, to create family memories, and to increase unity and love.
The home is the most important place for learning and teaching children where they can SEE a sermon from their parents instead of just HEARING one; and where parents can develop a closer relationship with their greatest investment, their posterity!
No other organization can take the place of the family. Parents are to nurture their children with love and gospel teaching.
It is the perfect place to share personal and funny stories, one’s feelings and experiences with how parents dealt with issues that their children may be facing, and the best time to find their eternal relationship with God and their Savior Jesus Christ through family prayer together to prepare, spiritually.
We can promise you that this is what has helped keep our families stay so close together throughout these many years. Nothing can compensate for failure in the home. The BEST gift you can give to your children is your TIME!
The Lamb of God is the Savior of The World for All Families.
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus and His Apostles were gathered together on the Mount of Olives. The time had come for Jesus to leave the earth. He had completed all the work that He had to do at that time. He was to return to our Heavenly Father until the time of His Second Coming.
What did Jesus do during those forty days? He visited “His other Sheep” … those of other nations!
“And othersheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be onefold, and one shepherd.” John 10: 16
“Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is awitness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.”2 Ne. 29: 7-8, 12
“And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Saviorof the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” 1 Ne. 13: 40
“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so comein like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1: 11
Have you ever asked, “Why Me?” Then, Please Watch This:
The very experience of enduring chastening can refine us and prepare us for greater spiritual privileges.
One of our Apostles, D. Todd Christofferson, explains that our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations.
His expectations for us are expressed by His Son, Jesus Christ, in these words: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). He proposes to make us holy so that we may “abide a celestial glory” (D&C 88:22) and “dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57). He knows what is required, and so, to make our transformation possible, He provides His commandments and covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most important, the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son.
In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”1
Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler “who meets their needs when summoned” or a therapist whose role is to help people “feel good about themselves.”2It is a religious outlook that “makes no pretense at changing lives.”3“By contrast,” as one author declares, “the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism.”4
I would like to speak of one particular attitude and practice we need to adopt if we are to meet our Heavenly Father’s high expectations. It is this: willingly to accept and even seek correction. Correction is vital if we would conform our lives “unto a perfect man, [that is,] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Paul said of divine correction or chastening, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6). Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct.
Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path.
Consider first of all repentance, the necessary condition for forgiveness and cleansing. The Lord declared, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). Again He said, “And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer” (D&C 105:6; see also D&C 1:27). In a latter-day revelation, the Lord commanded four senior Church leaders to repent (as He might command many of us) for not adequately teaching their children “according to the commandments” and for not being “more diligent and concerned at home” (see D&C 93:41–50). The brother of Jared in the Book of Mormonrepented when the Lord stood in a cloud and talked with him “for the space of three hours … and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord” (Ether 2:14). Because he so willingly responded to this severe rebuke, the brother of Jared was later given the privilege of seeing and being instructed by the premortal Redeemer (seeEther 3:6–20). The fruit of God’s chastisement is repentance leading to righteousness (see Hebrews 12:11).
In addition to stimulating our repentance, the very experience of enduring chastening can refine us and prepare us for greater spiritual privileges. Said the Lord, “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31). In another place He said, “For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified” (D&C 101:5; see also Hebrews 12:10). As Elder Paul V. Johnson said this morning, we should take care not to resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.
The followers of Alma established a Zion community in Helam but then were brought into bondage. They did not deserve their suffering—quite the contrary—but the record says:
“Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
“Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people” (Mosiah 23:21–22).
The Lord strengthened them and lightened their burdens to the point they could hardly feel them upon their backs and then in due course delivered them (see Mosiah 24:8–22). Their faith was immeasurably strengthened by their experience, and ever after they enjoyed a special bond with the Lord.
God uses another form of chastening or correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. President Hugh B. Brown, formerly a member of the Twelve and a counselor in the First Presidency, provided a personal experience. He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”5
God knew what Hugh B. Brown was to become and what was needed for that to happen, and He redirected his course to prepare him for the holy apostleship.
If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need, whether it be comforting, strengthening, or chastening. If we are open to it, needed correction will come in many forms and from many sources. It may come in the course of our prayers as God speaks to our mind and heart through the Holy Ghost (see D&C 8:2). It may come in the form of prayers that are answered no or differently than we had expected. Chastening may come as we study the scriptures and are reminded of deficiencies, disobedience, or simply matters neglected.
Correction can come through others, especially those who are God-inspired to promote our happiness. Apostles, prophets, patriarchs, bishops, and others have been put into the Church today, just as anciently, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). Perhaps some of the things said in this conference have come to you as a call to repentance or change, which if heeded will lift you to a higher place. We can help one another as fellow Church members; it is one of the primary reasons that the Savior established a church. Even when we encounter mean-spirited criticism from persons who have little regard or love for us, it can be helpful to exercise enough meekness to weigh it and sift out anything that might benefit us.
Correction, hopefully gentle, can come from one’s spouse. Elder Richard G. Scott, who just addressed us, remembers a time early in his marriage when his wife, Jeanene, counseled him to look directly at people when he spoke to them. “You look at the floor, the ceiling, the window, anywhere but in their eyes,” she said. He took that gentle rebuke to heart, and it made him much more effective in counseling and working with people. As one who served as a full-time missionary under then-President Scott’s direction, I can attest that he does look one squarely in the eye in his conversations. I can also add that when one needs correction, that look can be very penetrating.
Parents can and must correct, even chasten, if their children are not to be cast adrift at the mercy of a merciless adversary and his supporters. President Boyd K. Packer has observed that when a person in a position to correct another fails to do so, he is thinking of himself. Remember that reproof should be timely, with sharpness or clarity, “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy” (D&C 121:43).
Remember that if we resist correction, others may discontinue offering it altogether, despite their love for us. If we repeatedly fail to act on the chastening of a loving God, then He too will desist. He has said, “My Spirit will not always strive with man” (Ether 2:15). Eventually, much of our chastening should come from within—we should become self-correcting. One of the ways that our late beloved colleague Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin became the pure and humble disciple that he was, was by analyzing his performance in every assignment and task. In his desire to please God, he resolved to determine what he could have done better, and then he diligently applied each lesson learned.
All of us can meet God’s high expectations, however great or small our capacity and talent may be. Moroni affirms, “If ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is [God’s] grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32). It is a diligent, devoted effort on our part that calls forth this empowering and enabling grace, an effort that certainly includes submission to God’s chastening hand and sincere, unqualified repentance. Let us pray for His love-inspired correction.
May God sustain you in your striving to meet His high expectations and grant you a full measure of the happiness and peace that naturally follow. I know that you and I can become one with God and Christ. Of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son and the joyous potential we have because of Them, I humbly and confidently bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”Ether 12: 27
Atonement means reconciliation of man with God. Atoning means suffering the punishment for sin, thus removing the effects of the transgression of the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of making a perfect atonement for all humankind. He was able to do this because He was chosen and foreordained in the great council held before this world was created, because He was the literal Son of God in the flesh, and because He was completely obedient to the Father’s will. His Atonement includes the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane for the sins of humankind, the shedding of His blood, and His death and subsequent Resurrection. Because of the Atonement, all will arise from the grave with an immortal body. The Atonement also provides the means by which our sins may be forgiven and we may live forever with God. However, this reconciliation is possible only if we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, receive the ordinances of salvation, and keep the commandments of God.
Because of His love for us, our Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to show us the way and help us return to His presence: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, we will all be resurrected. Jesus Christ is our Savior, for He saves us from physical death:
“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. …
“O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
“And our spirits must have become like unto him, … shut out from the presence of our God. …
“O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit” (2 Ne. 9:6, 8–10).
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we may be freed from spiritual death as well as physical death. If we repent of our sins, He takes from us the suffering we must otherwise endure because of our individual transgressions. “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all,” said the Savior, “that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I” (D&C 19:16–17).
This redemption is conditioned on our having faith in His Atonement, our repenting from our sins, our keeping the covenants we make with the Lord, our obeying all His commandments, and our enduring to the end. Obeying the sacred covenants and all the commandments qualifies us to receive the remission of our sins, allowing us to live clean and pure lives in the presence of God as resurrected and exalted beings:
“O how great the plan of our God! … The spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls. …
“… And the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (2 Ne. 9:13–14).
We hope you had a Happy Easter. May we remember the true reason for this season! Our Savior Jesus Christ Lives! I bear My Testimony to the world … that I know … that Jesus Christ is truly our beloved Savior and Redeemer … sent to us from our Heavenly Father.
“On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps seventy billion people. They need the same gospel, and releases (or deaths) occur here to aid the Lord’s work there.
Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this. Therefore, though we miss the departed righteous so much here, hundreds feel their reach there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help hundreds there.
In Gods ecology, talent and love are never wasted. The hopeful understand this, too.”
-Neal A. Maxwell- (An Apostle of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)
Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the mortal body. The Fall of Adam brought physical death into the world (see Moses 6:48). Because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all mankind will be resurrected and redeemed from physical death.
Death is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation (see 2 Nephi 9:6). In order to become like our Eternal Father, we must experience death and later receive perfect, resurrected bodies.
When the physical body dies, the spirit continues to live. In the spirit world, the spirits of the righteous “are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:12). A place called spirit prison is reserved for “those who [have] died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets” (D&C 138:32). The spirits in prison are “taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that [are] necessary for them to know” (D&C 138:33-34). If they accept the principles of the gospel, repent of their sins, and accept ordinances performed in their behalf in temples, they will be welcomed into paradise.
At such a time as this, I want to address all of the many people, friends, followers, supporters and those who often call themselves fans; those who have followed us, trusted us, supported us, loved us, fed us, hugged us, traveled to see us, screamed and cheered for us and blessed us and our careers.
Do you know what joy and blessings you have been and have given to us Osmonds throughout all of our careers, and the impact that you have made in so many of our lives? You gave us your time, your attention, your hugs, your applause and standing ovations, your money, your respect, your letters, your laughter, your tears, your listening ears, your hearts and your prayers for so many years. I just want to take a moment to write and acknowledge each and every one of you and in behalf of all of the Osmonds, myself , and our families whose lives you have also touched, with all my heart, I want to say thank your for being such an important part of our lives!
Our Mother, Olive, and Father, George, were also called “Mother and Father” by our fans. They took time to talk to you and share stories and experiences with you to help you along with your lives to be happy. Oh how we miss them. They served two missions to share those things that are most important to us in this life.
You see, we all came to this world to get a body, to make choices and to learn, to love, to laugh and to listen, to give, to be tested and to die, and then go back to our heavenly parents and to report on the choices we made and how our time was spent here on earth and to be reunited with their families again. We can’t think of anything greater to take back to heaven than the friendships, the joys and memories that we have had by being with all of you and for having you in our lives, our prayers, our hearts and minds with blessings and great memories . For us to be able to share with you our music, our friendship, our opinions, our entertainment and humor, our songs, websites and newsletters and most importantly our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ for which we know is true and which many of you have found and have accepted and joined us in knowing for yourselves.
Oh, what responsibility, what honesty, loyalty, truth, faith and courage we must continue to have for each other as we continue forward and face these hard times ahead. Yes, it’s called being honest and true! Our worries and concerns for you and ourselves as well, puts great responsibility and pressure upon all of us with an absolute need for powerful prayers in order to watch out for each other and to prepare to meet our maker above. I pray that you might listen, be inspired, be informed, with those truths and information that we have received and to share with each other that we may be blessed, be safe and protected, fed and preserved, convinced and proven, with the blessings and a guiding light from on high to guide us and direct us all to safety. Together with you and your loved ones, we can choose ‘the way ‘and the path through these last days that will lead us to that glorious day when our Savior, Jesus Christ, returns to live with us once again, and find the way through that narrow gate that takes us back to our God.
You know and we know, that we are open and not shy about sharing our testimonies with you of the truthfulness of our beliefs, the gospel of Jesus Christ, with our prophets, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, with a focus on the family, which is God’s plan of life. We constantly have done this and continue to do so. We share these things without any shame, reason, gain, or ulterior motive except to show you our love and share those truths that we cherish, and have found and hold dear. There isn’t enough money, gold records, standing ovations, number one hits or any live and world wide media events that you could give us that would keep us from warning and speaking out boldly so that all may hear. We are told that we must warn and share with our neighbors, families and friends, those things which each of us must do before we die and go to heaven; to understand these choices and to make a good choices; to have the opportunity to understand them and get them done and accomplished. What we did and chose to do in our pre-existent life before we came to this world determined where we are today. What we choose to do now will affect where we will go in the life to come. It is so important that I wish to share with those things with you those we love that really are most important!
Many of these “precious parts” and truths were in the Bible, but were taken away leaving many confused as was recorded in The Book of Mormon in 1st Nephi Chapter 13. Click these links and see for yourselves. 1 Ne. 13: 7-8, 26, 28-29, 32, 34-35, 40
Yes, we all will live again because of our Savior Jesus Christ who died for us. Me need to accept Him as our Savior. His Atoning sacrifice will help us pay our debts for our mistakes and sins. But, what we do, our actions and what we choose, how we feel and think in our hearts and who’s most important that we take with us as families, besides those great memories and experiences from this life. It is what we all need to realize, focus on, and to live those commandments that we must learn to obey. We can change and repent if it need be, in order to be successful; and to be totally converted to the way of the Lord in order to go to the highest mansion in heaven where God dwells. Once we have repented, the Lord remembers our mistakes and sins no more.
We believe that families are forever! We believe that we really are all children of God who came to earth to get a body of flesh and bones like God has, and to learn to make good choices, to control our desires and appetites and to progress as human beings by choosing to be like our heavenly parents; to overcome the natural man, to fall in love and to marry not just ’till death do you part’, but for time and for all eternity so that we may prove ourselves to God and become more like Him. If we are willing to keep all of God’s commandments and not defile those God given co-creative powers, that godly gift to create life; but to marry and keep God’s commandment to multiply and replenishing the earth and bring forth children from God’s heaven above into this world, as they are deserving of having a father and a mother, too! It is then that we will be on the right path. This is the purpose of this life. God is not the author of confusion. If we do this the way God designed, and follow His plan of life, we will continue to live in the heavens after and will continue to be blessed with these Godly given creative powers, or not.
In the heavens are many mansions. John 14: 2 There is a mansion or heaven like unto the glory of the stars, one like unto the glory of the moon, and one like unto the glory of the sun. So also is the resurrection. Which ever glory you go to by choosing to live and to obey those truths and commandments associated with that level of live of your choice, you will be happy there. We will be able to visit these various mansions and levels of light or truth but only if we are able to live and obey the laws and commandments by which they are governed. There is also a hell for those who choose everlasting darkness and the ways of Satan who by the way, has no body and no glory, but chose the way of eternal damnation. Just like water in a reservoir, his progression of life is stopped or damned.
We know that repentance and baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost is necessary for us to be washed clean and be able to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit that will lead and guide us. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and is a Spirit personage so that he can dwell within us so that we will not feel left alone. We can only receive these things and be given them by those who have the priesthood and authority to do so from Jesus Christ. They are those of His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been restored once again from when Jesus organized it with with the same organization that existed in the primitive church; namely prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. We have a living prophet that speaks for the Lord until He returns, and he will lead and guide us in these latter days.
Yes, marriage is important between a man and a woman. If we are to become creators like our heavenly parents, which all children usually do, we must also be able to create life which takes a man and woman to accomplish. This is why we marry for time and for all eternity so that our marriage and those creative powers remain with us so we can have eternal increase. This is required in order to progress to one’s fullest capability of God’s Plan of Life. This is what makes us like God, our Father. We are able to create life! Like Father like son. Like Mother like daughter.
We can receive more and all of the sacred ordinances which are available in the House of the Lord, or the Temple. These temples will prepare us to meet God and to progress our lives throughout all eternity. Elijah came back and restored these sacred sealing ordinances and promises that are necessary “And he shall turntheheartofthefathers to thechildren, and theheartofthechildren to their fathers, lest I come and smitetheearth with a curse.” Mal. 4: 6
The Temple s is where marriages and families are sealed together forever. This is also where our ancestors, and those who never knew of Jesus or died young, and where each and every person that has ever has lived, must have their temple work completedand those sacred ordinances performed by proxy or “the world will be wasted at its coming”. By accepting these ordinances, they can also receive the highest glory of the resurrection and progress on into the eternities as well. Families are sealed together through this process so that those who never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus and His gospel will not be left out.. They will hear and have the same opportunity to choose to follow Jesus, or not. These truths and blessings are taught after one has died and goes to the spirit world where he or she will hear and be taught about the Lord’s plan and His commandments and promises. Because the work was done for them by us in the Temples, they will be able to accept it or not and not be held back but or be stopped but will progress on with their everlasting progression. This is “God’s work and His Glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” . . . and woman!
Friends, family, fans, or who ever you are, I know these things are true! Because of Jesus’s sacrifice, WE ALL WiLL LIVE AGAIN! When the Lord comes back, if you are still around, you can still belong to whatever church you desire, but remember, that in order to get to the highest resurrection or kingdom in heaven, it is truly dependent upon you receiving these ordinances that go back to the beginning of time and that are sealed not only on earth but also in heaven and by being able to live them.You can only receive them by those who have the authority and priesthood bestowed them. They received that priesthood from the master himself, Jesus Christ. The heavens are governed by laws. Your choices and commandments that you are willing to live will decide where you will go. It is all a choice. We all will live again because of Jesus and no one is forcing anyone to get to a higher heaven. But, it’s there for those who are willing and choose to live the laws and seek it.
We know from the scriptures and from our Prophets who speak in behalf of the Lord, and who have prophesied of things that have been and of things which are yet to come. We have been told how this world will end. We know who wins this great war and battle of life. We know that it will be a “great and a dreadful day”. Yes, there will be things that we have never seen before but, for those who know of them, and who are prepared, they shall not fear and it will be much easier to accept, and to understand and the Lord and His angels will protect them. There will be wars and rumors of wars. The skies, the seas and the mountains will move out of their places. When Jesus will come no one knows.Even the angels in heaven don’t know. But, Jesus will appear in Jerusalem where the Jews father’s crucified Him, and it will be there where Jesus will appear to their children and show them his nail scarred hands and feet. They will then fall to their knees and weep and confess that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus will then live with us and rule this world in peace for a thousand years. Satan will be bound.
We need to continue to be friends and family and share those things to help us be prepared knowing that the end is near. We are all God’s children.We are all brothers and sisters. I have spoken openly and honestly trusting that these things I’ve shared will be received with understanding and openly by you. I do not judge or think we are better than anyone else. These things are open for all to chose and have for yourself.
My friends and those who know me know that I don’t lie. I share this so that my heart and conscience will always know that I opened my mouth and shared with all (D&C 60: 2) , and that my purposes in doing so was clear and pure because we have been told in the scriptures to warn our neighbors. When we die someday, and we all will, we each will live again, be judged after we report back to our lord Jesus and Heavenly Father and Mother.
As we see the weakening of Christian faith in society , our own faith must become even more firm and sure. We are the generation the Lord has saved for this day,” We were chosen to be here at this time of life when the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth with all of it’s everlasting ordinances and blessings necessary, which are here and can be ours, to get to the highest kingdom in heaven and to receive the best resurrection we can. These ordinances and the Temple doors are open and are made available to you but not forced upon you. Yes, you must be worthy and choose to obey God’s laws and keep His commandments. It is your choice. My wife and I both work at one of these Temples and see all nationalities, colors of skin and families from all over the earth come here. We welcome you and invite you to have the “fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” with all of the blessings of eternity. We can have it if we but serve our Lord Jesus Christ and follow HIm. He is The Way! That is the important action item here; to “choose ye this day whom ye will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I leave you this as a testimony from my heart of these truths, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
For The Family
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For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22
I testify that Jesus is truly the Lord of the universe, “that by [Christ], and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).
Having purchased us (see 1 Cor. 7:23) with His atoning blood (see Acts 20:28) in the great and marvelous Atonement, Jesus thereby became our Lawgiver (see Isa. 33:22). It is by obedience to His laws and His commandments that we may return one day to His presence and that of our Heavenly Father.
The foregoing cosmic facts should bring us to our knees even now—long before that later Judgment Day, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. I testify that Jesus fulfilled these great roles as Creator and Lawgiver out of His desire to immortalize all of Heavenly Father’s children, with the most valiant to live in His Father’s house, which has many mansions.
When Christ comes again, it will not be to the meekness of the manger; it will be as the recognized Redeemer and the Lord of the universe! Then, in a great solar display, stars will fall from their places in a witnessing way (see D&C 133:49), with much more drama than at His birth, when “the stars in the heavens looked down where he lay” (“Away in a Manger,”Hymns, no. 206).
Yet in the vastness of His creations, the Lord of the universe, who notices the fall of every sparrow, is our personal Savior, of which I give apostolic testimony in the holy name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Elder Neal A. Maxwell Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles