By Alan on May 18 in Blog tagged act immorally, adversary, agency, Apostle, Atonement is like an eraser, be clean, Bod K. Packer, cheat, choose, communication with Heavenly Father, enemy territory, entertainment, entitlement, gender, guilt, Holy Ghost, How to survive in enemy territory, in homes, infiltrated the world, influence of God, Jesus Christ, language, lie, pain, parents, pornography, prayer, pre-marital sex, righteousness, same-sex marriage, scriptures daily, self-control, self-dicipline, spirit, steal, tatoos, teasing, temptation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the media, think a prayer | Comments Off
How To Survive In Enemy Territory
You are growing up in enemy territory. When you become mature spiritually, you will understand how the adversary has infiltrated the world around you. He is in homes, entertainment, the media, language — everything around you. In most cases, his presence is undetected. Pornography is just one example.
There are things that are the most desirable and of the most worth that youth can do to stay strong, even in enemy territory.
For young men and young women the process is the same. Discovering how the Holy Ghost operates in your life is the quest of a lifetime. Once you have made that discovery for yourself, you can live in enemy territory and will not be deceived or destroyed. No one will ever make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
It is through using the Holy Ghost as a guide and protective influence that individuals are able to do good and stay away from harm.
You can quickly learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. This power of revelation from the gift of the Holy Ghost operates on principles of righteousness.
The important role of righteousness is in keeping the lines of communication with the Spirit open.
You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those channels remain free from disruption. Do not go where the environment resists spiritual communication. You must learn to seek the power and direction that is available to you, and then follow that course no matter what.
Here is a “to do” list for the youth with things individuals can do in their lives to have the direction of the Spirit.
Most of the time, your prayers will be silent.
“You can think a prayer.”
Parents and teachers are oftentimes concerned about the day that their children or youth are left on their own. It is through understanding that the influence of God is always there, that youth are able to have extra strength in their lives.
Sometimes it is hard for young people to confide in their parents. You can always have a direct line of communication with your Father in Heaven. Do not allow the adversary to convince you that no one is listening on the other end. Your prayers are always heard. You are never alone!
Part of being clean is following the Word of Wisdom (no smoking, tea or coffee, drugs or stimulants) and taking care of one’s own body. It does not promise perfect health but that the spiritual receptors within you might be strengthened. Stay away from tattoos and similar things which deface your body. Do not do that which would dishonor yourself, your parents, or your Father in Heaven. Your body was created in His image.
Unworthy people can be uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is virtuous. You must not be embarrassed by the teasing they might get from others around them because, in the end, many will understand and respect them for their values.
Another important topic is that gender is set in the pre-mortal world.
You always have a choice to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and live a morally pure and chaste life, one filled with virtue. If you try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called pre-marital or same-sex marriage situation, God will not stand idle if you indulge in immoral activity. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.
Just as Adam and Eve had the ability to choose for themselves, so do individuals today.
You have that same agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind. Just do not go there, and if you are already there, come back out of it. ‘Deny yourselves of all ungodliness.’
Do not tamper with the life-giving powers in your body alone or with members of either gender. That is God’s standard, and it will not change. As you mature, there is a temptation to experiment or explore immoral activities. Do not do that!
Are you are doing all in your power to overcome immoral conduct, however difficult that may be?
The key word is discipline — self discipline. The word ‘discipline’ comes from the word ‘disciple’ or follower. Be a disciple/follower of the Savior, and you will be safe.”
If you are guilty of serious mistakes, it is “never too late, as you probably have been taught at home and in church about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Atonement is like an eraser. It can wipe away guilt and the effect of whatever it is that is causing you to feel guilty. Guilt is spiritual pain. Do not suffer from chronic pain. Get rid of it. Be done with it. Repent, and, if necessary, repent again and again and again until you — not the enemy — are in charge of you.
Because life is a succession of trials and errors, it is important for all to repent often.
This will bring you lasting peace that cannot be purchased at any earthly price. Understanding the Atonement may be the one most important truth that you can learn in your youth.
If you are associating with others who drag you down instead of building you up, stop and change company. You may be alone and lonely at times. The important question may be asked then, ‘When you are alone, are you in good company?’ If you are doing something that you know is wrong, stop it. Stop it now.
Unwinding a habit that you have allowed to entangle you can be difficult. But the power is in you. Do not despair.
It is through choosing to repent that individuals are able to receive a testimony and know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
You are not ordinary. You have a very special life. You are exceptional. You were born at a time and in a place where the gospel of Jesus Christ can come into your life through the teachings and activities in your home and the Church.
It is through doing what one knows to be right that individuals will bless their own lives, as well as their posterity.
Do not squander these years of your youth and religious instruction. Learn that which is of most worth. It will bless you and your posterity for many generations.”
We warn the youth about entitlement.
They expect that everything will be freely provided for them. If that pattern is in your thinking, get rid of it. If you want to be happy, you must pay the price through obedience. The restraints that you face against wrongdoing are an enormous protection for you.
Once individuals have self-control in their lives, they will not need to be told what to do all of the time, and will find their way and know where they fit in.
Some of you are floundering about and struggling to find what you will do. It does not really matter what you choose to do for a living. What matters most is what and who you will be. You have the guidelines to know that. Remember, the Spirit is always with you to teach you. Do not fear the future. Do not fear what is ahead. Go forward with hope and faith. Remember that supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. Learn to be taught by it. Learn to seek it. Learn to live by it. Learn to pray always in the name of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord will attend you, and you will be blessed. We have deep and profound faith in you.
The most important ‘great things’ are the great things that have happened in the lives of millions of students over the years as they have been willing to do some small things. Small things like attending class and studying the scriptures daily and then living the principles of the gospel in their daily lives. As they have done these small things, great things have been brought to pass in their lives.
From a talk by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he spoke to the youth of the Church.
“We invest in our youth. We know of your worth and potential. I speak as one who has seen the past and would prepare you for the future.”
By Alan on May 30 in Daily Inspiration tagged bad and good, forever, God, push the envelope, remain stationery, same-sex marriage, sin, The Family, theFamily, Today, yesterday | Comments Off
-No matter how much you push the envelope . . .
it will remain stationery”
-No matter how much you question whether God exists or not . . .
He will remain God.
-No matter how much you push same sex marriage for the family . . .
The Family will remain between a man and a woman.
-No matter if you call bad things good . . .
Bad will always be bad and good will always be good!
-No matter if you commit murder, fornication, adultry, sodomy, child abuse, or any other misuse of your sexual powers . . .
It will remain a Sin.
-If one has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins— behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:42–43.)
-God is the same yesterday, today and forever and Jesus is The Way of Life.
To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17). The Lord has declared that “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Alma 11:37).
“Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” 2 Ne. 10: 23
For The Family
By Alan on Mar 03 in Blog tagged apostles, Boyd K. Packer, commandments, confusion, evil desires, female, habits, Jesus, lust, male, mortality, pornography, priesthood, prophet, revelations, same-sex marriage, the way | Comments Off
We are living at a time when there is such confusion and such danger that our young people hardly know which way they can walk. Having been warned through the revelations that it would be this way, the prophets and apostles have always been shown what to do.
The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.” 1 When the keys were restored, they provided priesthood authority to be present in every home through the grandfathers, the fathers, and the sons.
With the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.
It states in part: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” 2
“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And … we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” 3
This commandment has never been rescinded.
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” 4
It is intended that we be happy, for “men are, that they might have joy.” 5
The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.
There is also an age-old excuse: “The devil made me do it.” Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.
To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.
Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 7
There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.
When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives.
If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.
Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life-giving powers released for the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is very plain.
We are free to ignore the commandments, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as “thou shalt not,” we had better pay attention.
The adversary is jealous toward all who have power to beget life. Satan cannot beget life; he is impotent. “He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” 8 He seeks to degrade the righteous use of the life-giving powers by tempting you into immoral relationships.
The Lord used the expression “is like unto” to create an image His followers could understand, such as:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.” 9
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field.” 10
In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,” 11 “the great plan of happiness.” 12
Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.
The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.
We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.
We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage.
(Same Sex Marriage)
We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.” 13
Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.
Paul promised that “God … will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.” 15
Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” 16
Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold the kitten up in front of the children.
It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”
Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.”
But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, “I know how you can tell.”
Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”
And the student answered, “You can vote on it!”
You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?
There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed. 17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.
Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” 18
Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use this key, the adversary cannot hold you. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the tempter. If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you, 19 and priesthood leaders will guide you through those difficult times.
Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” 20 In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.
For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out.
Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of past mistakes.
I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” 21
Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.
“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.” 22
President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.
In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt. 23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”
She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”
“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!” 24
Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”
I promise that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
For The Family
By Alan on Feb 08 in Blog tagged children, Children need a Mother and a Father, cohabitation, compliment, consequences, deficits, different, divorce, Father, legal, mother, parents, physiological impacts on children, problems, rightful opportunity, same-sex marriage | 3 Comments
Parents are NOT “Up For Grabs” . . .
Children Need A Mother AND A Father!
At the core of the case for marriage is the reality that children need a mother and a father. Divorce, among other problems, threatens a child’s relationship with his or her mother and father. Cohabitation, with its inherent instability, does so as well. Same-sex marriage openly endorses the idea that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and the related idea that children should be able to make do without either of them.
These legal revolutions threaten to deprive children of their rightful opportunity to have a relationship, wherever possible, with their own mother and father. This relationship is crucial for a child’s well-being. Mothers and fathers provide different, but equally valuable and important, contributions to their children. We’ve learned about this primarily from research that shows father absence creates deficits in child well-being.
This does not just mean that a child needs to be around two adults, because deficits persist where there is cohabitation and step-parenting. Research suggests that father absence even has physiological impacts on children. We know less about mother absence because motherless homes are rare, but common sense and experience tell us that there will certainly be sad consequences for children deprived of a relationship with their mother.
In parenting as with other matters, men and women are different. They complement one another. Their children benefit from having both of them around where it’s possible for that to happen. It is a matter of basic fairness that they should have the opportunity to know and be raised by their own mother and father.
William C. Duncan
Director of Sutherland’s Center for Family and Society, and director of the Marriage Law Foundation