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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Boyd K. Packer, President of the Twelve Apostles said,
“Satan cannot directly take a life. But apparently his effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful.
Brethren, if that is the case, I am looking tonight for men young and old who care enough about this battle between good and evil to sign on and speak up. We are at war, and I want to be a one-man recruiting station.”
“We Are All Enlisted”!
“We are waiting now for soldiers; who’ll volunteer.” Of course, the great thing about this call to arms is that we ask not for volunteers to fire a rifle or throw a hand grenade. No, we want battalions who will take as their weapons “every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” So I am looking for missionaries who will not voluntarily bind their tongues but will, with the Spirit of the Lord and the power of their priesthood, open their mouths and speak miracles by which faith’s “mightiest works have been, and will be, performed.”
I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, … a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God.
The Lord said,
D&C 60:2“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.”
If we “Turn the World Around” . . . NOIZ will also “turn around” and spell ZION! ”The happiest people that ever lived.”
“The pure in heart (D&C 97:21). Zion also means a place where the pure in heart live. The city built by Enoch and his people that was eventually taken to heaven because of righteousness was named Zion (D&C 38:4;Moses 7:18–21, 69). In the latter-days a city named Zion will be built near Jackson County, Missouri (United States of America), to which the tribes of Israel will gather (D&C 103:11–22; 133:18). The Saints are counseled to build up Zion wherever they are living in the world.
WE ARE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS!
“It shall be said that miracles are done away” (v. 26).
“The blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness” (v. 27).
“The power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts” (v. 28).
“There shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands” (v. 29).
“There shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places” (v. 30).
“There shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations” (v. 31).
I would like to speak today to the parents of teenagers. Your bright and energetic youth are the future, and for that reason they are a prime target of the adversary. Many of you faithful mothers and fathers are praying for answers to help you guide your children through these important years. There are no perfect parents and no easy answers, but there are principles of truth that we can rely on.
From the book of Joshua. It begins, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid” (Joshua 1:9). This phrase from the scriptures would be a good theme for parents as well. In these last days, what the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand.
Imagine for a moment that your daughter was sitting on the railroad tracks and you heard the train whistle blowing. Would you warn her to get off the tracks? Or would you hesitate, worried that she might think you were being overprotective? If she ignored your warning, would you quickly move her to a safe place? Of course you would! Your love for your daughter would override all other considerations. You would value her life more than her temporary goodwill.
Challenges and temptations are coming at our teenagers with the speed and power of a freight train. As we are reminded in the family proclamation, parents are responsible for the protection of their children. That means spiritually as well as physically.
There was a father named Alma who was counseling his wayward son Corianton. Alma loved him enough to speak very directly to the problem. He expressed his deep disappointment that his son had been immoral and explained to him the serious consequences of sin. Alma said to his son, “And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good … ; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities” (Alma 39:12). This early intervention by his father became a turning point for Corianton. He repented and served faithfully thereafter (see Alma 42:31; 43:1–2).
Another father from the scriptures, Eli in the Old Testament. Eli served as the high priest in Israel during the childhood of Samuel the prophet. The scriptures explain that the Lord rebuked him severely “because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (1 Samuel 3:13). Eli’s sons never did repent, and all of Israel suffered because of their folly. The story of Eli teaches us that parents who love their children cannot afford to be intimidated by them.
Parenting is not a popularity contest. Sometimes we are afraid of our children—afraid to counsel with them for fear of offending them.
Years ago our 17-year-old son wanted to go on a weekend trip with his friends, who were all good boys. He asked for permission to go. I wanted to say yes, but for some reason I felt uncomfortable about the trip. I shared my feelings with my wife, who was very supportive. “We need to listen to that warning voice,” she said.
Of course, our son was disappointed and asked why we didn’t want him to go. I answered honestly that I didn’t know why. “I just don’t feel good about it,” I explained, “and I love you too much to ignore these feelings inside.” I was quite surprised when he said, “That’s OK, Dad. I understand.”
Young people understand more than we realize because they too have the gift of the Holy Ghost and can discern. They are trying to recognize the Spirit when He speaks, and they are watching our example. From us they learn to pay attention to their promptings—that if they “don’t feel good about something,” it’s best not to pursue it.
It’s so important for husbands and wives to be united when making parenting decisions. If either parent doesn’t feel good about something, then permission should not be granted. If either feels uncomfortable about a movie, a television show, a video game, a party, a dress, a swimsuit, or an Internet activity, have the courage to support each other and say no.
I would like to share with you a letter from a heartbroken mother about her teenage son. She explained: “All throughout my son’s teenage years, I worried and tried to stop him from playing violent video games. I talked to my husband and showed him articles in the newspaper that cautioned about these games. But my husband felt it was OK. He said that our son wasn’t out using drugs and that I should stop worrying. There were times that I would hide the controllers, and my husband would give them back. It began to be easier for me to give in … than to fight it. I really feel that gaming is just as addictive as drugs. I would do anything to prevent other parents from going through this experience.”
If your spouse doesn’t feel good about something, show respect for those feelings. When you take the easy way out by saying and doing nothing, you may be enabling destructive behavior.
Parents can prevent a lot of heartache by teaching their children to postpone romantic relationships until the time comes when they are ready for marriage. Prematurely pairing off with a boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous. Becoming a “couple” creates emotional intimacy, which too often leads to physical intimacy. Satan knows this sequence and uses it to his advantage. He will do whatever he can to keep our youth from being worthy of having a pure and virtuous lives and worthy of sacred marriages.
It is vital that parents have the courage to speak upand intervene before Satan succeeds. President Boyd K. Packer has taught that “when morality is involved, we have both the right and the obligation to raise a warning voice.”
I have always believed that nothing really good happens late at night and that young people need to know what time they are expected to come home.
There is a great deal of wisdom displayed when parents stay up and wait for their children to return home. Young men and women make far better choices when they know their parents are waiting up to hear about their evening and to kiss them good night.
May I express my personal warning about a practice that is common in many cultures. I am referring to sleepovers, or spending the night at the home of a friend. I discovered that too many youth violated the the law of chastity for the first time as part of a sleepover. Too often their first exposure to pornography and even their first encounter with the police occurred when they were spending the night away from home.
Peer pressure becomes more powerful when our children are away from our influence and when their defenses are weakened late at night. If you have ever felt uneasy about an overnight activity, don’t be afraid to respond to that warning voice inside. Always be prayerful when it comes to protecting your precious children.
Courageous parenting does not always involve saying no. Parents also need courage to say yes to the counsel of modern-day prophets. Our Church leaders have counseled us to establish righteous patterns in our homes. Consider five fundamental practices that have the power to fortify our youth: family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, family dinner together, and regular one-on-one interviews with each child.
It takes courage to gather children from whatever they’re doing and kneel together as a family. It takes courage to turn off the television and the computer and to guide your family through the pages of the scriptures every day. It takes courage to turn down other invitations so that you can reserve that evening for your family. It takes courage and willpower to avoid overscheduling so that your family can be home for dinner.
One of the most effective ways we can influence our sons and daughters is to counsel with them in private interviews. By listening closely, we can discover the desires of their hearts, help them set righteous goals, and also share with them the spiritual impressions that we have received about them. Counseling requires courage.
Try to imagine what the rising generation could become if these five righteous patterns were practiced consistently in every home. Our young people could be like Helaman’s army: invincible (see Alma 57:25–26).
Parenting teenagers in these latter days is a very humbling assignment. Satan and his followers are striving to bring this generation down; the Lord is counting on valiant parents to bring them up. Parents, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid” (Joshua 1:9). I know that God hears and will answer your prayers. I testify that the Lord supports and blesses courageous parents.
Several scriptures back up the role of being good parents and proclaim that worthy husbands and wives who have been properly sealed in marriage in a temple of God may fulfill their role as parents throughout eternity.
The cursing may be upon the heads of your parents:2 Ne. 4:6;
Teach parents that they must repent and be baptized:Moro. 8:10;
Parents are commanded to teach the gospel to their children:D&C 68:25;
All children have claim upon their parents:D&C 83:4;
The sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children:Moses 6:54;
Olive Davis Osmond
A mother’s influence extends from generation to generation.
We honor our mothers and their ever important responsibility to love and nurture our children. Perhaps the reason we respond so universally to our mothers’ love is because it typifies the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Lord has placed upon parents the primary responsibility for the spiritual nurturing of their children. Sometimes this responsibility falls to a single parent. My own mother was relatively young when my father died, leaving her alone with four children. But she faced her adversity with faith and courage, promising us that if we stayed on the road of truth, the end would be better than the beginning.
As a rule the mothers are the very best women that live in the world, the best that can be found anywhere. … The good influence that a good mother exercises over her children is like leaven cast into the measure of meal, that will leaven the whole lump; and as far as her influence extends, not only to her own children, but to the associates of her children, it is felt, and good is the result accomplished by it.
You do not know how far your influence extends. A mother that is successful in raising a good boy, or girl, to imitate her example and to follow her precepts through life, sows the seeds of virtue, honor and integrity and of righteousness in their hearts that will be felt through all their career in life; and wherever that boy or girl goes, as man or woman, in whatever society they mingle, the good effects of the example of that mother upon them will be felt; and it will never die, because it will extend from them to their children from generation to generation. And especially do we hope for this in the Gospel of Jesus Christ he, who is the Son of God was indeed no other than the Only Begotten of God in the flesh, and that, therefore, no other than God the eternal Father is his Father and the author of his existence in the world.
Great responsibility rests upon the mothers.
Motherhood lies at the foundation of happiness in the home, and of prosperity in the nation. God has laid upon men and women very sacred obligations with respect to motherhood.
Women that have the same conception of wifehood and motherhood are not exclusively intended for just this life. … We live for time and for eternity. Our affections and our desires are found fitted and prepared to endure not only throughout the temporal or mortal life, but through all eternity.
We shall prosper and upon the earth; for this is our mission, and the work of your mothers and daughters. Great responsibility rests upon you. Upon you depend the training and the direction of the thoughts and the inspiration of the hearts of your children, for they drink into the spirit of their mothers, and the influence of the mother over the children is the most enduring impression that can be made. There is nothing so imperishable as the influence of the mother; that is when she is good and has the spirit of Christ in her heart, and she has brought up her children in the way they should go.
Our mothers, and the mothers of our children, whose hearts are filled with solicitude for the welfare of their children, having had conferred upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit, can go to their secret chambers and bow down before God and commune with Him as no other mothers on earth can do, if they will only observe the principles they have embraced and will live up to their privileges. By the influence that they will thus gain over the hearts of their children they will lead them in the path of righteousness and truth, and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, in the love of truth, in obedience to His commands, in such a way as others cannot do who are destitute of these privileges, blessings and endowments, so freely conferred upon our mothers.
There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home, and every effort made to sanctify and preserve its influence is uplifting to those who toil and sacrifice for its establishment. Men and women often seek to substitute some other life for that of the home; they would make themselves believe that the home means restraint; that the highest liberty is the fullest opportunity to move about at will. There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life.
… The strongest attachments of childhood are those that cluster about the home, and the dearest memories of old age are those that call up the associations of youth and its happy surroundings.
In the home the mother is the principal disciplinarian in early child life, and her influence and discipline determine in a great measure the ability of her children to assume in manhood and womanhood the larger governments in church and state.
I most sincerely hope that our mothers today will guard very zealously and very carefully the lives of their daughters and of their sons. I would if I had it in my power make it possible for all mothers to have the joy and the unspeakable satisfaction of rearing their sons and their daughters above the reproach of men and above the power of sin.
The love of a true mother comes near to being like the love of God.
No love in all the world can equal the love of a true mother. … I have felt sometimes, how could even the Father love his children more than my mother loved her children? It was life to me; it was strength; it was encouragement; it was love that begat love or liking in myself. I knew she loved me with all her heart. She loved her children with all her soul. She would toil and labor and sacrifice herself day and night, for the temporal comforts and blessings that she could meagerly give, through the results of her own labors, to her children. There was no sacrifice of self—of her own time, of her leisure or pleasure, or opportunities for rest—that was considered for a moment, when it was compared with her duty and her love to her children.
When I was fifteen years of age, and called to go to a foreign country to preach the gospel—or to learn how, and to learn it for myself—the strongest anchor that was fixed in my life, and that helped to hold my ambition and my desire steady, to bring me upon a level and keep me straight, was that love which I knew she had for me who bore me into the world.
Only a little boy, not matured at all in judgment, without the advantage of education, thrown in the midst of the greatest allurements and temptations that it was possible for any boy or any man to be subjected to—and yet, whenever these temptations became most alluring and most tempting to me, the first thought that arose in my soul was this: Remember the love of your mother. Remember how she strove for your welfare. Remember how willing she was to sacrifice her life for your good. Remember what she taught you in your childhood. … This feeling toward my mother became a defense, a barrier between me and temptation, so that I could turn aside from temptation and sin by the help of the Lord and the love begotten in my soul, toward her whom I knew loved me more than anybody else in all the world, and more than any other living being could love me.
… The true mother, the mother who has the fear of God and the love of truth in her soul, would never hide from danger or evil and leave her child exposed to it. But as natural as it is for the sparks to fly upward, as natural as it is to breathe the breath of life, if there were danger coming to her child, she would step between the child and that danger; she would defend her child to the uttermost. Her life would be nothing in the balance, in comparison with the life of her child. That is the love of true motherhood for children. …
I have learned to place a high estimate upon the love of mother. I have often said, and will repeat it, that the love of a true mother comes nearer being like the love of God than any other kind of love.
Perhaps the most perfect ideal in the art of healing is the mother whose tender and gracious love asserts itself in taking away the sting of a deserved or an undeserved punishment. How her love heals every wound! How quick her caresses bind up and soothe! The example of her life is the wisdom which love teaches.
There is nothing between me and the heavens that would compensate for doing something that would grieve or hurt my mother. Why? Because she loved me, she would have died for me over and over again, if such were possible, only to have saved me. Why should I grieve, why should I disappoint her? Why should I take a course contrary to her own life and her life’s teachings to me, for she taught me honor, and virtue, and truth, and integrity to the kingdom of God, and she taught me not only by precept but by example.
I cannot express the joy I feel at the thought of meeting my father, and my precious mother, who gave me birth in the midst of persecution and poverty, who bore me in her arms and was patient, forbearing, tender and true during all my helpless moments in the world. The thought of meeting her, who can express the joy?
God bless the mothers.
God bless the mothers and the sons and daughters; and keep our children from the ways of the world, from transgression and from temptation that will lead them astray. May the power of God be over all the household of faith.
I believe that with the Holy Spirit, every mother has the right to know what to do in her family and in her sphere, over her children, in their guidance and direction; and that mother and every mother possessing that spirit has the gift of revelation, the gift of inspiration and the gift of knowledge, which is the spirit of prophecy, the spirit of discernment, a gift of God to them, to govern their households and lead their children in the path of righteousness and truth.
I feel in my heart to bless you, mothers and sisters, with all my heart and with all the power and right that I possess in the priesthood which is after the order of the Son of God. … I have the right and the authority in the priesthood to bless Israel, and to bless those who are faithful, especially; and I feel in my heart to say I bless you.
“The Lord created all things spiritually before he created them physically.” (Moses 3:5).
The fall of Adam and Eve was foreseen by God, our Heavenly Father, and “was a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us”. We lived as spirit children before this world and accepted this condition when we supported Heavenly Father’s plan of life.
Because of the Fall, we are were blessed with physical bodies, the freedom to choose between good and evil, and a commandment to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’ with the opportunity to gain eternal life. None of these privileges would have been ours had Adam and Eve remained in the garden.
After Adam and Eve ‘fell’ from the presence of God and became mortal, we needed a Savior so we could live again and return to our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior before the world was created.
In order to “choose between good and evil”, Satan, the father of lies who was denied a physical body, was allowed to exist here on earth and to tempt the souls of man to do evil and to live in everlasting misery with him thus completing the law of “opposites in all things”. He teaches that there is no sin, that it’s natural and if it feels good, do it.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”1 Corinthians 2:14
“Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.” D&C 67:12
“For the naturalman is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3:19
“And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe.” D&C 29:43
We are blessed to be living during these last days; often called “a great and dreadful day”. My brothers and I wrote a song for “The Plan” album called “It’s Gotta Be The Last Days.” The lyrics of what “some day it will be”, have now all been fulfilled! The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all righteousness has now been restored to the earth and so has the fullness of all wickedness!
This life is a TEST! Just as answers to a test at school must be hidden, our memory of our pre-exisence life was hidden ‘for a wise purpose’. Our ‘test’ in life is about our freedoms and in choosing good versus evil. We all will make mistakes and Jesus knew it. Thus, He gave His life to pay the price for our sins if we would but with faith come unto Him and repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, and to endure to the end, controlling the natural man and woman.
Marriage is ‘ordained of God’ and a partnership with God. It is most important. When the union of man and a woman co-create a life, one of God’s spirit children enters that child’s physical body as well giving it life. This brings responsibility and accountability for that spirit. The misuse in causing or terninating a life has serious responsibility and consequences!
God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” and so are His commandments. With His ‘Plan of Happiness’, our spirit bodies will one day return back to heaven. The body cannot live without the spirit and so when it’s time to return, we will physically die; but, we continue to live spiritually. Jesus is the way and reason we all will be resurrected because of His atonement. When we do, our spirits will be reunited once again with our physical bodies never to be separated again. We will be judged by our hearts and those choices we have made and will be assigned to dwell in one of God’s mansions in heaven or sent to outer darkness or hell with Satan. Those who have taken upon themselves further binding covenants in the House of the Lord, will be reunited as families for all eternity.
I have enjoyed many years of sharing my music and talents with many people around the world. I have great memories of traveling with my family and making so many forever lasting memories and trusting friends. I still love and enjoy music, creating live events, productions and publishing, and feel it most important ‘at such a time as this’ to ‘not fear man, but to fear God’, and to be honest and share with everyone those truths that last forever that give purpose and reason for living. I have always promised myself to be ‘a publisher of truth’. To fear God is to love God; which I do!
Our success and careers in life are important but most importantly is the success of the eternal assignments of life from within the family as a mother and a father. We are born, nurtured, educated, we explore, experience and learn; we fall in love, marry, and with the proper union of a man and a woman and a partnership with God, we are able to bring forth life that lasts forever; a posterity. Besides being a commandment, this is ‘God’s work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’, of which we are. He is a Creator. As a pony always becomes a horse, a chick a hen, and ‘like father like son’; ‘like mother like daughter’, we become like our heavenly parents; even creators of life. This is why we are here.
We are not here by chance but by design. As God’s spirit children, we experience life now housed within a physical body so we can create; learn good from evil, choose the way we wish to live, and work at overcoming the world ever progressing forward becoming more like our Heavenly Parents. It is God’s Plan of Happiness. Some may have trials in life and not get all of these opportunities and priveleges or be able to enjoy them but, God is mindful of everyone and as only He can, He has ‘the way’ and ‘the plan’ for them and all of us if we but trust in Him. May we not lose our focus by only trying to succeed in life that we get caught up with the pleasures, honors, and greed of this world and forget why we are really here!
Ever since my brothers and I started performing music at a young age, we would always gather together and offer a word of prayer before we set foot on the stage and ask the Lord’s blessings to be with us and those in the audience. We prayed that they might feel the love that we had for them and sence our purpose as a family in sharing the great message of the Lord through our lifestyle and music. As Suzanne and I publish various ways to help “strengthen the family”, we ‘sanctify the Lord God in our hearts and are ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and fear’.
It is our prayer that we all will be seekers of truth, pray always, and “overcome the world” as we prepare for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Again, God is the same yesterday, today and forever and so are His Commandments. Let’s pass this “TEST” of life and turn this “TEST” into a “TEST imony” of Jesus Christ that we may live eternally with Him once again. God’s doctrines are true. If one does not agree, it’s only that they don’t understand them. May we each seek the Lord’s words and ways by reading the scriptures, knock on His door through prayer with any questions with humble tears asking for help with our challenges, and receive through the Holy Ghost those answers and guidance knowing that with faith all things are possible to those that love the Lord is my prayer.
May God be with you till we meet again,
“Strengthening The Family” – Spiritually
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:16
‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’
The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you son?’
‘Yes sir,’ the student says.
‘So you believe in God?’
‘Is God good?’
‘Sure! God’s good.’
‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’
‘Are you good or evil?’
‘The Bible says I’m evil.’
The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! the Bible!’ He Considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it.
Would you help him? Would you try?’
‘Yes sir, I would.’
‘So you’re good…!’
‘I wouldn’t say that.’
‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’
The student does not answer, so the professor continues.’He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’The student remains silent.
‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’
‘Er..yes,’ the student says.
Professor: ‘Is Satan good?’
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’
‘Then where does Satan come from?’
The student falters. ‘From God’
‘That’s right.. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, Son. Is there evil in this world?’
‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make Everything, correct?’
‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’
Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’
The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’
‘So who created them?’
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his Question.
‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.’Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, Professor, I do.’
The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’
‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’
‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’
‘No, sir, I have not.’
‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’
‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’
‘Yet you still believe in him?’
‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, Demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’
‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my Faith.’
‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own.
‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’
‘And is there such a thing as cold?’
‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’
‘No sir, there isn’t.’
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.
‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. ’Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat.
You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’
‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’
‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’
‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’
The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’
‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains. ’You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure.
Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but it has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’
‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’
‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’
‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed..
‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’ The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’
The class breaks out into laughter. ‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’
‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’
‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’
Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’
To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’
The professor sat down.
If you read this all the way through and had a smile on your face when you finished, mail to your friends and family with the title ‘God vs Science’
PS: the student was Albert Einstein
If darkness is the lack of light, then has this world become a more wicked, evil, darker and sinful place?
Or has it just It has lost the Light of Christ because of the lack of wanting to have God and His righteous ways in our lives and in keeping the covenants our forefathers made with God?
There is so much evidence and so many things that occurred in the Heartland model of America that corresponds beautifully with The Book of Mormon events and its people. Those of us who have been on this tour wish to share our feelings with you.
Suzanne and I went on a tour to see these things for ourselves. Here are some opinions and testimonials of those things our group saw and felt that convince us on our Heartland Mounds Tour that these things truly took place in North America.
“The Book of Mormon clearly writes of a ‘Land of Promise’, a land of choice above all other lands. That could only refer to the land of America! The Heartland model offers far more evidence and artifacts that match up with the Book of Mormon descriptions of the ancient civilization than the Meso-American model ever has. Chris Humpherys
“The Lamanites have not gone. They are still here!” D. Wayne Thornock
“It is very clear after viewing the complexity of the existing ruins, that there was a great civilization in the Heartland of America. I know of only one description of this complex of a civilization. That would beThe Book of Mormon. Dee Ray Olson
“I just wish all LDS people would have the advantage to truly investigate the geography of The Book of Mormon. It is inspiring to learn such details and it enhances one’s testimony. Don’t be afraid of learning more and beware of intellectual bias regarding The Book of Mormon geography. Louis Erickson
“I am so impressed with the amazing remains of the Hopewell people who we believe are the Nephites / Lamanites. They appear to be very advanced in their building and craftsmanship. Seeing breastplates of copper and other things mentioned in The Book of Mormon convinces me that they did live in the North America setting . One Cumorah!” Laura Erickson
“I am deeply impressed with so many of the evidences that have come forth and that will yet come forth showing strong correlations with The Book of Mormon history. The Lord promised Joseph Smith that he would cause the ground to bring forth evidence and he has truly done that. To see first hand ancientmetallurgy with breastplates, swords, and many implements of commerce and trade is remarkable. I am thrilled to see bones of all the animals mentioned in The Book of Mormon and they are the same animals that were in the Holy Land where Lehi’s colony came from. These were clean animals, not the unclean as those in Mesa-America. It is humbling to hear of the many gravesites of huge burials of hundreds and thousands of men, women, and children, thrown in. I love the possible sacred site of Bountiful and the sacred feelings of that place. I love this land – the Promised Land – One Cumorah!” Marsha Burnside
“My testimony has been strengthened by standing in sacred places and by learning about the history of my people. As a Native American, I know that life is a sacrey journey and I know that we are sons and daughters of a loving creator. We live in the land that is the most choice land of our Heavenly Father. It is a promised land.”
‘For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all His promises shall be fulfilled.’Mormon 8:22Andrea Barlow – Shoshone – Bannock Tribe
“I haven’t been so excited about something like the Heartland Model in a long time. From the great mound civilizations, the finding of mass graves near Hill Cumorah, the Michigan tablets, the DNA story, all The Book of Mormon geography references, to the history of the political intrigue, it hasn’t done anything but add to my testimony of The Book of Mormon.” Paul Winter
“When I was a missionary in Peru, I was able to see many incredible sites of ancient peoples. But, it was not until the Hopeland Model that I had information about the United States of America that I ‘knew’ when I first read The Book of Mormon. I ‘knew’ The Book of Mormon talked about the USA except for Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Many things are never talked about and yet when you see these sites, the spirit confides what The Book of Mormon testifies. This is the Promised Land! And, the Nephites came here!” Joyce Winter
“It is exciting to participate in a tour in which physical evidence matches and fits so closely to what we read in The Book of Mormon. One’s testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon and the divine call of the Prophet Joseph Smith is strengthened when you view all the wonderful geographical evidence. To me the spirit testifies more strongly the truthfulness of the people.” Rusty Barlow
“I’ve always believed that this land, the U.S.A., is the specific land referred to in The Book of Mormon as the ‘Promised Land’. Our constitution was brought about for this purpose. The physical evidence of this tour was overwhelming in it’s proof of a civilized society who lived here during The Book of Mormon times. They knew and wrote Hebrew and believed in God. This land also had all the ores, animals and seeds spoken of in The Book of Mormon. This was so informative and inspiring.” Susan Iverson
“This has been a very informative trip. I knew very little about the Hopewell civilization. What I have been experiencing this week and how it ties into The Book of Mormon brings a good feeling to me. I want to learn more! Rod Meldrum does a good job in presenting this information to us. The trip has been very inspiring.” Joan Iveson
“The information given us about the Heartland Model for The Mook of Mormon land is very convincing. The artifacts, the way the animals, plants and mounds match up to the information in The Book of Mormon is amazing! The oral history given by Native Americans also fits the Heartland Model. This trip has been very informative and exciting. I love the way this backs up the claims of our wonderful scriptures!” Robyn Pearson
“I have been particularly interested in the complexity of many of the geometric earthworks in Ohio and also the immense size. To me this demonstrates the sophistication and large size of the Hopewell civilization. Also, the recovery of the ‘Holy Stones’ from some of the mounds shows powerful evidence that they had religious traditions as the people of the Old Testament. I believe those people were brought here by God and have provided us with a second witness, even The Book of Mormon.” Lee Pearson
“This information is amazing. I am astonished that this information has not been taught throughout my life. I am certain that any person that even modestly studies this history will be convinced of its validity. Future history will look at this information and acknowledge its substantial impact on converting people to the truth of The Book of Mormon. I would like to thank Brother Meldrum for his diligence and research.” O. Van Thornick
“This tour has been a further testament of how main-stream archeology continues to verify and validate the claims of The Book of Mormon. Would anyone argue that Native Americans were misunderstood and their history was largely ignored as they were driven from their lands and put onto reservations? The Book of Mormon prophecies reveal that these people who are the covenant people of the Lord will one day become a mighty people. What a thrill to see so many faithful Church members who are becoming very knowledgeable about these evidences which prepares them to better defend The Book of Mormon and thus the gospel and the Church. My hope is that members, once armed with the powerful new research, will be emboldened to share the gospel with millions of others, resulting in the gospel rolling forth with greater success. The gospel is the most powerful and realistically is the only method of correcting and returning God’s children to righteousness. My prayer is that this research and these evidences will play a significant part in bringing about a re-commitment to gospel principles. I feel honored to be privileged to associate with such tremendous seekers of truth!” (I would like to especially thank Alan and Suzanne Osmond for their time, talents and spirit of adventure and desire to pursue truth relating to this research. I have grown to love and respect them immensely.) Rod Meldrum
Get Rod’s latest book with picture evidences!
“I love to find truths and to share them with others. When Suzanne and I met Rod Meldrum and learned about and then saw additional truths, we both felt compelled to go and see for ourselves many of the existing evidences of those who came to this promised land of America before Columbus.
There are definitely two forces in this world. One is for good and the other is for evil. Oh, how I hurt inside for those who followed the evil one and destroyed so much of the Native American History! Oh, how I try to understand why government, the Smithsonian, and wicked and conspiring men tried to erase the Native American history and to label them as savages; to kill them, starve them by killing their ‘beasts’ or buffalo that provided them with food, and to those who offered them blankets infested with smallpox which took many lives of their men, women and children is unbelievable. Only God can fix and mend the pain, the tears, and those oh so many broken hearts.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a ‘Mormon’, I pray to my fellow brothers and sisters in the gospel that you will open your eyes, hearts, and minds to these evidences in the Heartland of North America; the place where Adam and Eve first dwelt; the promised land that was preserved for a righteous people and a free nation; the place where these people’s ancient history and records were revealed in Palmyra, New York by an angel; one of the places where Jesus Christ appeared to His “other sheep” after He was crucified for our sins; the place where the New Jerusalem will soon be built to prepare for the return and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ where He will dwell for a thousand years with those who survive the world’s ‘baptism of fire’ fulfilling all righteousness.
I am so thankful that we ignored those who tried to discourage and persuade us not to come on this tour to see these mounds and evidences of these most intelligent and humble people who knew geometry and astronomy and built these amazing earthworks. Their works testify of their beliefs and willingness to serve their Creator and to defend their families in righteousness. They built a land of prosperity and security, working with precious ores and mining copper, zinc, silver and gold with machines confirming that there were horses, elephants, the ‘giant’ people of the Jaradites. They were able to continue living the Law of Moses which they could not do in Meso America for many reasons like the fact that there were no sheep, no barley nor wheat or grapes/vineyards. They did not use a lunar based calendar but a solar calendar, their weeks were not seven (7) days but 13 or 20 days (short count and long count) weeks, they used steps in stead of ramps as indicated in scripture for their temples for modesty, they had no horses or elephants, and no evidence for Semitic DNA ancestry/lineage, all of which are indicated by The Book of Mormon.
While all these things are lacking in Meso-america, all of them have been verified by non-Mormon sources in this Hopewell Civilization we have been learning about on this tour! They were all available in North America! The evidence continues to support the claims of The Book of Mormon, which is the foundation of the gospel in these latter days.
I have a testimony of The Book of Mormon. Until our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, tells us where The Book of Mormon actually took place, and the reasons for so many evidences of the Hopewell civilization and Native Americans that were recorded in that book, then I invite you to “seek and ye shall find” answers to so many questions about North America. Satan, and those who follow him have laid traps and snares to stop us and continually try to stop and destroy us and God’s work and Glory which we are.
May our Native Americans forgive those who have hurt them and their posterity.
Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to be happy today and forever. He has given counsel and commandments through His prophets to help you. One commandment that is vital to your peace and happiness is His commandment regarding sexual purity, known as the law of chastity. The Lord instituted this law from the beginning, and He emphasized its importance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obedience to this commandment is a requirement for baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What Is the Law of Chastity?
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is a beautiful and sacred part of God’s plan for His children. It is an expression of love within marriage and allows husband and wife to participate in the creation of life. God has commanded that this sacred power be expressed only between a man and a woman who are legally married. The law of chastity applies to both men and women. It includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.
In addition to reserving sexual intimacy for marriage, we obey the law of chastity by controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus Christ taught, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5: 27-28).
The law of chastity requires that sexual relations be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman.
Why Should I Keep the Law of Chastity?
Your Heavenly Father has given the law of chastity to protect and bless you. Like all sacred things, physical intimacy must be expressed according to God’s direction. As you keep the law of chastity, you will enjoy happiness, peace, and self-respect. You will enjoy trust and confidence in your family relation- ships, and you will be blessed with self-control. You will enjoy the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Satan leads people to believe that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is acceptable and even desirable. But it is a serious sin; God has always taught His chil- dren to be virtuous and chaste (see Ex. 20: 14and Alma 39: 3-5). This principle is eternal.
Violating the law of chastity is an abuse of the power God has given to create life; it shows a disregard for Him and for His children. It dulls spirituality and often leads to bitterness, heartache, divorce, disease, and abortion. Those who violate this law are exposed to greater influence from Satan. This sin also seriously affects family members and others.
How Do I Keep the Law of Chastity?
God requires a high moral standard of His children. To keep the law of chastity, you must replace undesirable thoughts, words, and actions with wholesome ones.
The following principles will help:
Thoughts. Positive and constructive thoughts will push negative or immoral ones from your life. As you fill your life with whole- some thoughts and activities, you will grow in your ability to replace and overcome negative thoughts. Reading the scriptures, serving your family, working diligently, and engaging in wholesome recreational activities will help you control your thoughts.
Avoid pornography in all forms. It is addictive and destructive. It will rob you of your self-respect and of an appreciation for the beauties of life. Do not allow your mind to dwell on obscene or immoral thoughts or images. Do not view, read, or listen to anything that depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a disrespectful way. Avoid looking with lustful thoughts at others, and avoid suggestive or explicit movies, television shows, Internet sites, music, books, magazines, and activities.
Words. Let your words build up others and strengthen them. Eliminate degrading, vulgar, and sexually explicit words, jokes, and themes from your conversations.
Actions. Always treat others with respect. Be modest in how you dress. If you remember that each person is a child of God, and if you do all you can to help others follow His plan, then you will be strengthened in your desire to keep the law of chastity.
Determine now that you will not do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not arouse those emotions in another person or in yourself. Do not participate in homosexual or lesbian acts or other immoral activities. Replace activities where you may be tempted to violate the law of chastity with constructive activities and hobbies. In marriage, remain absolutely faithful to your spouse in thought and action.
Because living the law of chastity will bring you closer to God, Satan will entice you to break this commandment. He knows when you are lonely, confused, or depressed, and he will tempt you when you are weak. Pray to your Heavenly Father for help, and He will give you strength to resist temptation (see 1 Cor. 10: 13). As you rely on Him and follow these principles, you will be able to overcome temptation.
Blessings of Living the Law of Chastity
As you live the law of chastity, you will be more open to the influence of the Holy Ghost. With the guidance of the Holy Ghost, you will develop greater wisdom, face trials with greater courage, feel God’s support and direction in your life, and be an example to your family and others. The love you have for your spouse and loved ones will be deeper, richer, and more meaningful. You will experience greater peace of mind.
In the scriptures we learn that true happiness comes from obeying the commandments of God (see Mosiah 2: 41) and that “wickedness never was happi- ness” (Alma 41: 10).
If you have broken the law of chastity, God has made it possible for you to repent and become clean again. Repent now of any past transgressions, and commit to live this sacred law. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and true repentance, you can be forgiven and feel peace.
What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?
“We believe in being honest.”
The scriptures tell us about a group of people who were “distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end” (Alma 27:27). Because of their honesty, these people were noted by their fellowmen and by God. It is important to learn what honesty is, how we are tempted to be dishonest, and how we can overcome this temptation.
Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation. “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives”. (B Young)
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves” (Mark E. Petersen).
Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.
To Lie Is Dishonest
We are going to discuss three forms of dishonesty: lying, stealing, and cheating.
Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
The Lord is not pleased with such dishonesty, and we will have to account for our lies. Satan would have us believe it is all right to lie. He says, “Yea, lie a little; … there is no harm in this” (2 Nephi 28:8). Satan encourages us to justify our lies to ourselves. Honest people will recognize Satan’s temptations and will speak the whole truth, even if it seems to be to their disadvantage.
To Steal Is Dishonest
Jesus taught, “Thou shalt not steal” (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is taking something that does not belong to us. When we take what belongs to someone else or to a store or to the community without permission, we are stealing. Taking merchandise or supplies from an employer is stealing. Copying music, movies, pictures, or written text without the permission of the copyright owners is dishonest and is a form of theft. Accepting more change or goods than one should is dishonest. Taking more than our share of anything is stealing.
To Cheat Is Dishonest
We cheat when we give less than we owe, or when we get something we do not deserve. Some employees cheat their employers by not working their full time; yet they accept full pay. Some employers are not fair to their employees; they pay them less than they should. Satan says, “Take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor” (2 Nephi 28:8). Taking unfair advantage is a form of dishonesty. Providing inferior service or merchandise is cheating.
We Must Not Excuse Our Dishonesty
What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?
People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even.
These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. When we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous.
We Can Be Completely Honest
What does it mean to be completely honest?
To become completely honest, we must look carefully at our lives. If there are ways in which we are being even the least bit dishonest, we should repent of them immediately.
When we are completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, agreement, or covenant, even if it costs us money, friends, or our lives. Then we can face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of”.
In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?
In our eternal pursuit of perfection, we must be wary of the adversary’s counterfeit.
We are all familiar with the New Testament scripture “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The pursuit of perfection is holy, and those who center their lives on this pursuit are blessed. But, as with every good and holy thing, Satan is on hand to sabotage our efforts. Because becoming perfect through Christ is a powerful and important doctrine, Satan . . . comes up with a counterfeit. The counterfeit is often set up to look very much like the real thing, but it differs in important ways. . . . Perfectionism is a counterfeit of real spirituality and is easily confused. 1
Satan’s counterfeit promotes the belief that everything must be done perfectly right now. Such an expectation runs counter to the whole purpose of God’s eternal plan—which purpose is for us to gain experiences, to learn from them, and to grow. God’s counsel to the early Saints was to “continue in patience until ye are perfected” (D&C 67:13). Satan’s deceptive and cunning approach is to convince us that if we want God’s approval, we must do more than we know how or are prepared to do. That naturally sets the stage for developing feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged—by ourselves and often by those around us. In this and other areas, Satan’s strategy does not require that we commit great sins. He just needs to keep us distracted from things of eternal consequence.
Quoting Marion G. Romney, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (BS ’54) noted that “Satan is a skillful imitator” and added that he “uses every possible device to accomplish his purpose to degrade and enslave every soul.”2 Satan is adept at robbing us of our courage, confusing us, making us believe that we are not good or capable enough, that our lives are out of control. In contrast to God’s counsel, he wants us to be pushed beyond our strength, to be weary in well doing. He wants us to believe that we must bargain with the Lord for His blessings and that we may not be helped or guided unless we continue in a driven frenzy.
Satan is a wretched soul, and he wants us to be as unhappy as he is. And, if he succeeds, if we give in to what he wants instead of what we truly want, we can miss some of life’s most valuable learning experiences and be diverted from our journey back home. The result, as Nephi said, is that “the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Ne. 28:21) as he seeks “the misery of all mankind” (2 Ne. 2:18).
“Peace be unto thy soul” (D&C 121:7) is an important message for us to remember. We are living in a day of harsh competition and unreasonably high expectations coming from many directions. Inherent in the message of peace is one of wisdom to not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4). It is good to have plans, goals, and high expectations for ourselves. But when we experience tears, exhaustion, and feelings of depression, it may mean that we are self-imposing unrighteous expectations.
As we come to accept that perfection is a developmental process, something we learn “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Ne. 28:30), we can let go of guilt trips and over-complication of our lives. We can better understand the truly wondrous gift of the Atonement, which as Elder Bruce C. Hafen (BA ’66) has said, is not just to erase our mistakes, but to provide a way for us “to learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them.”3
1.“There Is Hope and Help: Dealing with Depression” (presentation, BYU Women’s Conference, Provo, April 30, 2010).
2.“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” in Brigham Young University 1991–92 Speeches (Provo: BYU, 1992), pp. 107–8.
3.“A Disciple’s Journey,” in Brigham Young University 2007–08 Speeches(Provo: BYU, 2008), p. 300.
This essay is adapted from an October 2010 address by Janet S. Scharman,BYU vice president of student life. The full text is included in Virtue and the Abundant Life: Talks from the BYU Religious Education and Wheatley Institution Symposium (Deseret Book).
“Why are the dark things of this world so intriguing? The Devil is the father of lies and is a loser. Satan was denied a body of flesh and bones and has captured oh so many of God’s children in his dark kingdom of endless torment and pain. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Because of Jesus and His Sacrifice for us and His Resurrection, we all will live again and regain our physical bodies once again only they will be made eternal and we will never die again.
The only things we will take with us when we die is our knowledge and wisdom, our memories and experiences, and our spouses and families! That’s it! So why do we so cherish all that ‘STUFF’ and those riches of the world where moth will eat and dust doth corrupt, and where thief may steal?
Jacob said, “O be wise; what can I say more?” Jacob 6: 12
If someone asked you why it is important to have agency, what would you say?
“Thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee” (Moses 3:17).
God has told us through His prophets that we are free to choose between good and evil. We may choose liberty and eternal life by following Jesus Christ. We are also free to choose captivity and death by following Satan. (See 2 Nephi 2:27.) The right to choose between good and evil and to act for ourselves is called agency.
In our premortal life we had moral agency. One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16). If we were forced to choose the right, we would not be able to show what we would choose for ourselves. Also, we are happier doing things when we have made our own choices.
Agency was one of the principal issues to arise in the premortal Council in Heaven. It was one of the main causes of the conflict between the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan. Satan said, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). In saying this, he “rebelled against [God] and sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). His offer was rejected, and he was cast out of heaven with his followers (see D&C 29:36–37).
Agency Is a Necessary Part of the Plan of Salvation
Agency makes our life on earth a period of testing. When planning the mortal creation of His children, God said, “We will prove [test] them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25). Without the gift of agency, we would have been unable to show our Heavenly Father whether we would do all that He commanded us. Because we are able to choose, we are responsible for our actions (see Helaman 14:30–31).
When we choose to live according to God’s plan for us, our agency is strengthened. Right choices increase our power to make more right choices.
As we obey each of our Father’s commandments, we grow in wisdom and strength of character. Our faith increases. We find it easier to make right choices.
We began to make choices as spirit children in our Heavenly Father’s presence. Our choices there made us worthy to come to earth. Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in faith, power, knowledge, wisdom, and all other good things. If we keep His commandments and make right choices, we will learn and understand. We will become like Him. (See D&C 93:28.)
How does making right choices help us make more right choices?
Agency Requires That There Be a Choice
Why is opposition necessary?
We cannot choose righteousness unless the opposites of good and evil are placed before us. Lehi, a great Book of Mormon prophet, told his son Jacob that in order to bring about the eternal purposes of God, there must be “an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad” (2 Nephi 2:11).
God allows Satan to oppose the good. God said of Satan:
“I caused that he should be cast down;
“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:3–4).
Satan does all he can to destroy God’s work. He seeks “the misery of all mankind. … He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:18, 27). He does not love us. He does not want any good thing for us (see Moroni 7:17). He does not want us to be happy. He wants to make us his slaves. He uses many disguises to enslave us.
When we follow the temptations of Satan, we limit our choices. The following example suggests how this works. Imagine seeing a sign on the seashore that reads:
“Danger—whirlpool. No swimming allowed here.” We might think that is a restriction. But is it? We still have many choices. We are free to swim somewhere else. We are free to walk along the beach and pick up seashells. We are free to watch the sunset. We are free to go home. We are also free to ignore the sign and swim in the dangerous place. But once the whirlpool has us in its grasp and we are pulled under, we have very few choices. We can try to escape, or we can call for help, but we may drown.
Even though we are free to choose our course of action, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences, whether good or bad, follow as a natural result of any choice we make (see Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).
Heavenly Father has told us how to escape the captivity of Satan. We must watch and pray always, asking God to help us withstand the temptations of Satan (see 3 Nephi 18:15). Our Heavenly Father will not allow us to be tempted beyond our power to resist (see 1 Corinthians 10:13; Alma 13:28).
God’s commandments direct us away from danger and toward eternal life. By choosing wisely, we will gain exaltation, progress eternally, and enjoy perfect happiness (see 2 Nephi 2:27–28).
“Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed oppositeto the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.”Alma 42: 16