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I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—
I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.
And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish.
The Plan of Happiness – It’s Heavenly Father’s Plan Of Life
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
What you have seen and heard with this film is of most importance. It is something that each of us try to share with one another because as the Lord said, “where much is given, much is expected.” We truly have been blessed!
My family and I have tried to share with our music and word, the ‘Plan of Happiness’ to individuals and families all over the world. The message is the same for all of us; that we are children of God who loves us and has placed us here on earth in families to prove ourselves and to give us the “power” to choose ‘the way’ we wish to live our lives. Free agency is something we fought for even before we came to this world and we continue to do so today. Good and Evil are the choices.
Yes, we will make mistakes. Jesus knew we would and that is why He came to this world to show us the way to love one another and to follow Him. He knew that some of our debts would require much more than we alone would be able to pay and so He died for us and took upon Himself our sins. In return He has asked us to follow Him and to repent and take upon ourselves His name by being baptized even as He was and receive the Holy Ghost.
I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I know that the Holy Ghost will lead and guide us through life just as our GPS systems lead us on unfamiliar highways. I know that Jesus is to return again soon. Even though the angels of heaven know not when He shall return, the Lord has given us “signs of the times” that we might be warned and prepared. Those signs are now upon us and I pray that everyone who watched this video, those who heard our album called “The Plan”, those who have felt Him calling you and those that have prayed for guidance and are seeking answers may know in your hearts that we are NOT ALONE!
Read your scriptures and pray with all your hearts seeking for answers for therein lies the keys to further truth and knowledge. If you seek, ye shall find. If you knock, it shall be opened up unto you. If you would like to know more about what we believe, click here.
With life there is ‘The Plan’. There is also ‘The Way; The Way to get back to our Heavenly Father. Jesus is ‘The Way‘, the one who will bring us together. He is the One, He is ‘The Way’!
In recent months, peace has been a very prominent topic on the minds of people throughout the world. When world peace was threatened, many countries found themselves engaged in war. The news media have shown vivid images of the ravages, suffering, and destruction of war and the turmoil it causes in individuals. It causes deep anxiety and disrupts families, employment, and schooling. It consumes resources that could be used to better advantage elsewhere. We pray now for a lasting peace when men “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: … neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isa. 2:4.)
In the scriptures, peace means either freedom from strife, contention, conflict, or war, or an inner calm and comfort born of the Spirit that is a gift of God to all of his children, an assurance and serenity within a person’s heart. The dictionary definition states that peace is a state of tranquillity or quiet, freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions, and harmony in personal relations.
While we yearn for peace, we live in a world burdened with hunger, pain, anguish, loneliness, sickness, and sorrow. We see divorce with all of its attendant conflict and heartache, especially among the innocent children caught in the middle. Wayward, disobedient children cause their parents grief and anxiety. Financial problems cause distress and loss of self-respect. Some loved ones slip into sin and wickedness, forsake their covenants, and walk in their “own way, and after the image of [their] own god.” (D&C 1:16.)
The value of peace within our hearts cannot be measured. When we are at peace, we can be free of worry and fear, knowing that with the Lord’s help, we can do all that is expected or required of us. We can approach every day, every task, and every challenge with assurance and confidence in the outcome. We have freedom of thought and action, freedom to be happy. Even those incarcerated for lengthy periods of time as war prisoners can be at peace in their own minds. Many of them have learned from their captors that they cannot deprive them of freedom to think, even when the most harsh limitations are imposed. Few, if any, blessings from God are more valuable to our spiritual health than the reward of peace within. In modern-day revelation the Savior said, “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, evenpeace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” (D&C 59:23.)
Despite dismal conditions in the world and the personal challenges that come into every life, peace within can be a reality. We can be calm and serene regardless of the swirling turmoil all about us. Attaining harmony within ourselves depends upon our relationship with our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and our willingness to emulate him by living the principles he has given us. He has extended to us an invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)
The phrase “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39), that the Savior uttered when he calmed the storm-tossed sea, can have the same calming influence upon us when we are buffeted by life’s storms. During the Passover feast, the Savior taught his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.) Referring to the teachings he had given to his disciples, Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul gave us one key to finding the peacepromised by the Lord. Paul taught, “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6.)
One faithful mother of a large family learned to find peace by accepting the Savior’s invitation to come unto him and find rest. She lived in obedience to the commandments of God and had faith in the Lord, JesusChrist. Then she developed the practice of doing everything within her power to solve problems and meet challenges, and then, when she felt that she could do nothing more, she would cast her burdens upon the Lord and place the outcome in his hands.
LDS President David O. McKay said, “The peace of Christ does not come by seeking the superficial things of life, neither does it come except as it springs from the individual’s heart.” He said further that this peace is “conditioned upon obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. … No man is at peace with himself or his God who is untrue to his better self, who transgresses the law of what is right either in dealing with himself by indulging in passion, in appetite, yielding to temptations against his accusing conscience, or in dealing with his fellowmen, being untrue to their trust. Peace does not come to the transgressor of law; peace comes by obedience to law, and it is that message which Jesus would have us proclaim among men.”
Earth life is a period of probation to provide an opportunity for choices. Two mighty forces are pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand is the power of Christ and his righteousness. On the other hand is Satan and the spirits who follow him. President Marion G. Romney said: “Mankind … must determine to travel in company with the one or the other. The reward for following the one is the fruit of the Spirit—peace. The reward for following the other is the works of the flesh—the antithesis of peace.” Further, he said: “The price of peace is victory over Satan.” We can know which one to follow because God has given everyone the Spirit of Christ to know good from evil and to protect themselves from sin. (See Moro. 7:15–18.) We sometimes refer to the Spirit of Christ as our conscience. If we follow its promptings, we can be free of sin and filled with peace. If we do not, but instead let our carnal appetites control us, we never will know true peace. We will be tossed “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. … there is no peace, saith … God, to the wicked.” (Isa. 57:20–21.) If we damage or violate our conscience by ignoring it, we can lose that gift because we no longer are sensitive to it. We will be beyond feeling, beyond the influence of that Spirit. (See 1 Ne. 17:45; Eph. 4:19.)
Though we abhor war, peace nearly always has been more a dream than a reality. During most of the world’s history, strife, dissension, and conflict have flourished and displaced peace. The times when peace has reigned, it began in the hearts of righteous, obedient individuals and grew until it engulfed a society. We have at least two scriptural accounts of periods of absolute peace and a third that is yet to come.
The first of these periods of peace was among the people of Enoch, who lived before the great flood. They continued in righteousness, and “the Lord came and dwelt with” them. He “called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness.” They “built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion” that, in the “process of time, was taken up into heaven.” (Moses 7:16–21.)
The second period of peace followed the ministry of the resurrected Jesus among the Nephites. They abolished the works of evil and obtained the fruit of the Spirit. Quoting from the Book of Mormon: “The disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ. … And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.” (4 Ne. 1:1.) Consequently, “there were no contentions and disputations among them” (4 Ne. 1:2) “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness.” (4 Ne. 1:15–16.) “They were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4 Ne. 1:17.) “And every man did deal justly one with another.” (4 Ne. 1:2.) “And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Ne. 1:16.)
Peace prevailed among the Nephites for almost two centuries. Then some of them deserted the teachings of Jesus Christ and turned to selfish pride and wickedness. Within another two centuries, the Nephite nation that had enjoyed this long period of perfect peace had destroyed itself in savage civil war.
A third period of perfect peace will come during the Millennium. “Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.” (D&C 45:55.) As they live the gospel of Jesus Christ, the righteousness of the people will banish Satan from their midst. We look forward to that day of universal peace and justice, when Christ will reign upon the earth.
These three instances show that peace, whether in a city, a nation, or other society, develops from peace that begins within the hearts of individuals as they live by the precepts of the gospel.
Peace is more than a lofty ideal. It is a practical principle that, with conscious effort, can become a normal part of our lives as we deal with matters both large and small. One habit that prevents inner peace is procrastination. It clutters our minds with unfinished business and makes us uneasy until we finish a task and get it out of the way.
Can anyone’s mind be at peace if he or she is unfaithful in even the least degree to marriage vows?How much mental anguish results from a little lying, cheating, or stealing even if they are never discovered? Do we have peace of mind if we knowingly violate traffic laws? Or do we watch nervously for the ever-present policeman? Do we have peace of mind if we are not honest with our employers and do not give fair value for the pay we receive? Are we at peace if we are less than honest regarding our tax returns?
Church members are obligated to seek inner peace not only for the blessing it is to them but so they can radiate its influence to others to establish peace. They are to “manifest brotherly love, first toward one another, then toward all mankind; to seek unity, harmony and peace … within the Church, and then, by precept and example, extend these virtues throughout the world.”
If sin has deprived us of peace within, we can repent and seek forgiveness of our sins. The Lord said that he “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.” (D&C 1:31–32.) Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “The essence of the miracle of forgiveness is that it brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul. In a world of turmoil and contention this is indeed a priceless gift.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 363.)
My brothers and sisters, we can be at peace if we “let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly.” (D&C 121:45.) The power is in us as spirit children of our Heavenly Father. He and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, have provided the way for us to be at peace. We can enjoy that peace of God which passeth human understanding. (See Philip. 4:7.) We can enjoy it personally, within our families, in our communities, in our nations, and in our world if we will do the things that produce it. This peace leads to happiness.
Our Heavenly Father lives and he knows and loves each one of us. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, and yes, the Prince of Peace.
JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
For The Family
“You’re probably wondering what happened to Sid Going following his mission,” Elder Andersen said. “Most important: an eternal marriage to his sweetheart, Colleen; five noble children, and a generation of grandchildren. He has lived his life trusting in his Father in Heaven, keeping the commandments and serving others.”
He ended up playing for the same rugby team he had the chance to play with before his mission and became one of the greatest halfbacks in its history, playing for 11 seasons and serving for many years as team captain.
Today, Brother Sidney Going and his wife Colleen are missionaries in Sidney Australia.
“Your mission will be a sacred opportunity to bring others to Christ and help prepare for the Second Coming,” Elder Andersen said.
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus and His Apostles were gathered together on the Mount of Olives. The time had come for Jesus to leave the earth. He had completed all the work that He had to do at that time. He was to return to our Heavenly Father until the time of His Second Coming.
After He had instructed His Apostles, Jesus ascended into heaven. While the Apostles looked up into the heavens, two angels stood beside them and said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go” (Acts 1:11).
From that time until the present day, the followers of Jesus Christ have looked forward to the Second Coming.
What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?
When Jesus Christ comes again to the earth, He will do the following things:
He will cleanse the earth. When Jesus comes again, He will come in power and great glory. At that time the wicked will be destroyed. All things that are corrupt will be burned, and the earth will be cleansed by fire (see D&C 101:24–25).
He will judge His people. When Jesus comes again, He will judge the nations and will divide the righteous from the wicked (see Matthew 25:31–46;
John the Revelator wrote about this judgment: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The wicked he saw “lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:4–5; see also D&C 88:95–98).
He will usher in the Millennium. The Millennium is the thousand-year period when Jesus will reign on the earth. The righteous will be caught up to meet Jesus at His coming (see D&C 88:96).
His coming will begin the millennial reign. In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God [see Revelation 3:12], and they will officiate for their dead.
Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. … And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then [children] will be sealed to [parents] until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of Priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene”.
He will complete the First Resurrection. Those who have obtained the privilege of coming forth in the resurrection of the just will rise from their graves. They will be caught up to meet the Savior as He comes down from heaven. (See D&C 88:97–98.)
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, other righteous people who had died were also resurrected. They appeared in Jerusalem and also on the American continent. (See Matthew 27:52–53; 3 Nephi 23:9–10.)
This was the beginning of the First Resurrection. Some people have been resurrected since then. Those who already have been resurrected and those who will be resurrected at the time of His coming will all inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 76:50–70).
After the resurrection of those who will inherit celestial glory, another group will be resurrected: those who will receive a terrestrial glory. When all these people have been resurrected, the First Resurrection will be completed.
The wicked who are living at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord will be destroyed in the flesh. They, along with the wicked who are already dead, will have to wait until the last resurrection. All of the remaining dead will rise to meet God. They will either inherit the telestial kingdom or be cast into outer darkness with Satan (see D&C 76:32–33, 81–112).
He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth. When Jesus comes, He will establish His government on the earth. The Church will become part of that kingdom. He will rule all the people of the earth in peace for 1,000 years.
When Jesus Christ first came to the earth, He did not come in glory. He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger of hay. He did not come with great armies as the Jews had expected of their Savior. Instead, He came saying, “Love your enemies, … do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44).
He was rejected and crucified. But He will not be rejected at His Second Coming, “for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 88:104).
He will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
How Will We Know When the Savior’s Coming Is Near?
When Jesus Christ was born, very few people knew that the Savior of the world had come. When He comes again, there will be no doubt who He is. No one knows the exact time that the Savior will come again. “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36; see also D&C 49:7).
The Lord used a parable to give us an idea of the time of His coming:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
“So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:28–29).
The Lord has also given us some signs to let us know when His coming is near. After revealing the signs, He cautioned:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. …
“… Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44).
How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?
The best way we can prepare for the Savior’s coming is to accept the teachings of the gospel and make them part of our lives. We should live each day the best we can, just as Jesus taught when He was on the earth. We can look to the prophet for guidance and follow his counsel. We can live worthy to have the Holy Ghost guide us. Then we will look forward to the Savior’s coming with happiness and not with fear. The Lord said: “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen” (D&C 35:27).
We should be concerned about our preparedness rather than the exact timing of the Second Coming.
These are the last days. As foretold by God’s holy prophets since the world began, they are challenging times, and they are going to become even more challenging.
“When Shall These Things Be?”
I would like to discuss a subject that is on a lot of people’s minds. My intention is not to alarm or to frighten, but to discuss the significant and interesting times in which we are now living, to consider some of the events and circumstances we can anticipate in the future, and to suggest a few things we can all do to fortify ourselves and our families for the challenges and trials that will surely come into all of our lives at one time or another.
Toward the end of the Savior’s ministry, His disciples came to Him with several questions centered on one key prophetic event: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3).
Two thousand years ago Christ’s followers were concerned about that. Every generation of believers since then, I think, has been concerned about the last days to one degree or another. So the Lord’s response to His disciples is meaningful to all of us. To the first question—“When shall these things be?”—He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:3–4). That is very significant.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:5–7).
Some of these things seem to be occurring with ever-increasing regularity. If we measured the natural disasters that have occurred in the world during the past 10 years and plotted that year by year, we would see an acceleration. The earth is rumbling, and earthquakes are occurring in “divers places.” Human nature being what it is, we don’t normally pay much attention to these natural phenomena until they happen close to where we are living. But when we contemplate what has happened during the past decade, not only with earthquakes but also with regard to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and the like, we see an accelerating pattern.
Can we use this scientific data to extrapolate that the Second Coming is likely to occur during the next few years, or the next decade, or the next century? Not really. I am called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting, trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. And I would humbly suggest that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. The Savior said that “of that day, and hour, no one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only” (JST, Matt. 1:40).
I believe that when the Lord says “no one” knows, He really means that no one knows. We should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree.
But while the exact timing of the Second Coming remains in doubt, there is no question that scriptural prophecy relative to that momentous and sacred event is being fulfilled, sometimes in remarkable ways. For example, let’s consider the 24th chapter of Matthew, verse 8, where it reads: “All these [the trials and calamities mentioned earlier] are the beginning of sorrows.”
There are times when there is persecution—even violence on occasion—against the Church. I have personally worked through the aftermath of violence against the Church and know that to establish the Church requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, and courage.
Continuing His discussion of His own Second Coming, Jesus said:
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:10–11).
Some Latter-day Saints may not be aware of it, but there are “false prophets” rising within and without the Church. They believe they have had revelations, that they know something the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles don’t know. We need to be very careful of such people. Members who are ever approached by anyone claiming special authority or revelation from God outside the sustained priesthood authority should turn and run from them as fast as they can. The Savior said that in the last days even the very elect could be pulled away from the truth by such false prophets.
A few groups have drifted away from the gospel under the direction of those who claim to have received special instruction through personal revelation, and some have declared themselves to be prophets. I know of one group that is led by a bright, capable, articulate young man who claims to have received a revelation that he is the prophet and that he was called of God to establish the true Church. Sadly, there are those who have chosen to follow such individuals, who in turn lead them directly away from the principles of truth and righteousness. Perhaps that is why it is so interesting to me that when the Master was asked about the sign of His Second Coming and the end of the world, He first responded by warning His listeners to beware of false prophets.
Keep your eyes riveted on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot. Let me tell you why. Every week that I am in town, I attend a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake Temple. If you could see the process by which decision and direction comes from that meeting, you would have a deep sense of confidence and comfort that the will of the Lord is being taught by the leaders of the Church.
So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church. While individuals may falter, the body of general Church leadership will remain steadfast and true. If someone tells you that they have received revelation that the First Presidency and the Twelve have not received, run away from them.
The Lord’s next comment, found in verse 12 of Matthew 24, is similarly interesting: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Think about what that means. Today we are living in a society in which many men and women see no real purpose in marriage. Common-law relationships, in which people live together without legally and lawfully making a formal commitment to one another through marriage, are escalating at an ever-increasing rate. In the United States, the birth rate of children to unwed mothers is at an all-time high, as is the divorce rate.
In a recent article titled “Redeeming Our Time,” William J. Bennett, former U.S. secretary of education, notes: “During the same thirty-year period [1960–1990], there was a 560 percent increase in violent crime; more than a 400 percent increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling in divorces; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200 percent increase in the teen-age suicide rate; and a drop of 75 points in the average SAT scores of high school students.
“Today, 30 percent of all births … are illegitimate. By the end of the decade, according to the most reliable projections, 40 percent of all American births … will occur out of wedlock” (Imprimis, Nov. 1995, 3).
With so little of long-lasting, fully committed love in the world today, one would think you could turn to entertainment media to find a better, happier, more satisfying model for living. After all, history indicates there have always been storytellers and dramatists who have encouraged their audiences with stories of a better world where maidens are fair, princes are charming, and everyone always lives happily ever after. Unfortunately, current entertainment forms tend to portray life even uglier, and harsher than it really is. Movie critic Michael Medved laments the demise of larger-than-life heroes on film and television programs, claiming that we are now living in an age of smaller-than-life antiheroes. Sadly, one doesn’t have to look far to find all manner of violence, ugliness and illicit sexuality coming over the public airwaves. At the same time, wholesome, clean, uplifting, inspiring programs are few and far between. Hollywood and the television industry must be held accountable for their influence on the social landscape, and I believe that influence is considerable.
I believe the entertainment industry cannot portray on film people gunned down in cold blood, in living color, and not have it affect the attitudes and thoughts of some of the people who see it. I believe human sexuality cannot be continually portrayed as just another physical appetite that has to be satisfied—whenever and with whomever the urge strikes—without diminishing respect for God and His commandments. And I believe that the desensitizing effect of such media abuses on the hearts and souls of those who are exposed to them results in a partial fulfillment of the Savior’s statement that “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
In order to keep the light and love of Christ burning in our hearts, we have to be careful in our choices of what we will watch and what we will read. Pornography is rampant and is absolutely destructive. Not too long ago I was assigned by the First Presidency to interview a man who had been excommunicated from the Church for adultery. It had required eight years for him to work his way through the long and sometimes painful process of reinstatement in the Church. As he sat before me in an interview to determine his worthiness for a possible restoration of his priesthood and temple blessings, I asked him this simple question: “My dear brother, looking back on this traumatic time in your life, how did it happen?”
Tears began to flow freely down his cheeks as he tried to respond. At last he was able to speak. “Brother Ballard,” he said, “it all started the day I picked up a pornographic magazine in the barbershop. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen anything like that, and it intrigued me. I wanted to see more and more. And then I wanted to see things that were progressively more explicit. And then it wasn’t enough to just look at pictures—I wanted to actually participate in some of the activities I was looking at. Eventually I was untrue to my wife and my family, and unfaithful to covenants I had made with my Heavenly Father in His holy house.”
The man continued through his tears: “I’m not trying to shift blame for the choices I made. I knew better than to do what I did, and I alone am responsible for my sins. But there’s no question in my mind that exposure to pornography played a significant role in my spiritual decline.”
And then he said: “When you talk to the brethren [and sisters] of the Church, please warn them. Please tell them to be careful about the things they read and watch.”
I extend that warning to all: please be vigilant in your entertainment choices. Some of the things that are being shown in our theaters and broadcast to our homes via television and videos and over the Internet are insidious and dangerous. Rather than falling within the definition of things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” (A of F 1:13), they are more clearly described in the seventh chapter of Moroni, where the prophet Mormon teaches that “whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God … is of the devil” (Moro. 7:17).
I’m aware that some LDS members think they know better than members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles do about this subject. And some will argue their case based on artistic merit, or on the fact that “everyone is seeing it,” or will insist they are not one of those people who will be influenced one way or the other by on-screen sex or violence. To them I have only one question: Are you going to follow the true and living prophets or not? It really isn’t any more complicated than that. The standard of the LDS Church with regard to morality is clearly outlined in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (1990), which even adults do not outgrow, even though they are no longer in Young Men and Young Women. Those who choose to read anything that contains material that is contrary to the moral standards of the Church are placing themselves and their own wisdom above the counsel of God’s prophets—a course of action that would indeed be very unwise. As soon as people begin to think that they know better than God or His oracles, or that counsel given doesn’t apply to themselves, they are stepping onto a slippery slope that has claimed far too many victims already. It takes faith—real faith, unequivocal and unreserved—to accept and attempt to live prophetic counsel even when it’s not completely understood. Such profound and basic faith has the power to guide us safely through every challenge we may face in life.
Of course, Satan doesn’t want us to feel or exhibit that kind of faith, and so he makes us feel uncomfortable with obedience. He plants defiance in our hearts with justification and rationalization, subtly convincing us that it is possible to live the spirit of the law even if we are in violation of its letter. Eventually he can make it seem wrong—or at least politically incorrect—to obey, branding it with derogatory labels like “blind faith.” But we must never forget this about Satan: he is a liar. He is the father of all lies, and has been from the beginning. He was cast out of Heavenly Father’s presence because of his disobedience, and now he has one goal, one eternal commitment that has never changed from the time of the War in Heaven until the present day. His sole purpose is to make you and me as miserable as he is, and the best way for him to accomplish that is to entice us into disobedience. Although there are all kinds of misery in this world, the only kind that is eternal is misery of the soul. And that kind of misery is centered in sin and transgression. Be careful; stay morally clean in mind and body. Do not compromise the standards of chastity.
When we are not doing what we know we ought to be doing, and when we are not living the way we know we ought to live, we have a tendency to be unhappy. And make no mistake about it—we know when we are not doing what we ought to do, because every one of us has a conscience. We are born with the Spirit of Christ, and we know instinctively what is right and what is wrong when it comes to our personal behavior (see Moro. 7:16). It offends that Spirit when we allow ourselves and our values and standards to be manipulated by aesthetic propaganda in behalf of Satan’s lies.
Consider the following words from the Apostle Paul in connection with much of what we see and hear in contemporary media:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
“Having a form of godliness; but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.
“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”(2 Tim. 3:1–7).
Now please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to say that all of film or television or publishing or music is evil, because we all know that is not true. There is good in some of the media, and it can be a wondrous and marvelous thing and a blessing to our lives. But a considerable amount of it is evil; there can be no other word to describe it.
This is the time to make our voices heard. As we look at the media today from any vantage point, I think we would have to say that Satan’s influence has a far more dominant influence than has the Lord’s. We are in a war. This war is the same war that raged in the premortal world. Satan and his followers are committed in their evil direction. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, have given a plan for our Heavenly Father’s children, and we have the responsibility as leaders and members of the Church to take this glorious plan to all of God’s children throughout the world. It is my judgment that much success will come as we become more expert and more able to harness the wonderful technology that our Heavenly Father has given us to proclaim His message.
As our opportunities increase with modern satellites, computers, fiber optics, and the Internet, the doors to the world are literally opened wide. Upon our shoulders rests the responsibility to teach the world that God’s way is the only way to find peace, joy, and happiness.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:13–14).
I hope we are all aware of what is happening in terms of missionary work around the world. In the past six years we have carried the gospel to 39 new countries. This work is moving; it is beginning to cover the earth. While it is true that many of our Heavenly Father’s children have never had the opportunity to hear the message of the Restoration, it is also true that the circumstances preventing them from receiving the gospel could quickly change—just as they did in Eastern Europe. Who would have dreamed a decade ago that the Iron Curtain would be gone, almost overnight? It was remarkable—even miraculous—and today our missionaries are teaching the gospel where, for 50 years, we were prohibited from establishing a gospel presence. So it is happening. Christ’s gospel is going to all the world. Be alert! Be aware! Stay awake!
I want to touch upon another matter before closing. One of my fine missionaries who served with me when I was the mission president in Toronto came to see me some years later. I asked him, “Elder, how can I help you?”
“President,” he said, “I think I’m losing my testimony.”
I couldn’t believe it. I asked him how that could be possible.
“For the first time I have read some anti-Mormon literature,” he said. “I have some questions, and nobody will answer them for me. I am confused, and I think I am losing my testimony.”
I asked him what his questions were, and he told me. They were the standard anti-Church issues, but I wanted a little time to gather materials so I could provide meaningful answers. So we set up an appointment 10 days later, at which time I told him I would answer every one of his questions. As he started to leave, I stopped him.
“Elder, you’ve asked me several questions here today,” I said. “Now I have one for you.”
“How long has it been since you read from the Book of Mormon?” I asked.
His eyes dropped. He looked at the floor for a while. Then he looked at me. “It’s been a long time, President,” he confessed.
“All right,” I said. “You have given me my assignment. It’s only fair that I give you yours. I want you to promise me that you will read in the Book of Mormon for at least one hour every day between now and our next appointment.” He agreed that he would do that.
Ten days later he returned to my office, and I was ready. I pulled out my papers to start answering his questions, but he stopped me.
“President,” he said, “that isn’t going to be necessary.” Then he explained: “I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.”
“Well, that’s great,” I said. “But you’re going to get answers to your questions anyway. I worked a long time on this, so you just sit there and listen.”
And so I answered all his questions and then asked, “Elder, what have you learned from this?”
And he said, “Give the Lord equal time.”
May we engrave that thought on our minds and carry it with us as we walk through this process of mortality. Let us give the Lord equal time. Let us give Him His due share of our thoughts, our time, our talents, and our attention. I know that we are all very busy. There are many demands for our attention, and our time is limited by a wide variety of constraints. But as we learn to manage our time, let us be sure that we give the Lord His portion.
Joseph Smith’s Vision of…
God The Father and Jesus Christ
Establish a time and place to study the scriptures on a daily basis, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time. Pray regularly. Serve faithfully in whatever capacity you are called to serve in, including home and visiting teaching, which is the very essence of gospel service. Hold weekly, meaningful family home evenings in which gospel lessons are taught and pleasant family activities are shared. In the great scheme of things, these things take so little time. But the long-term benefits to us and our families are infinite and eternal, and they will do much to prepare us and our children for the steadily increasing challenges of the future.
These are the last days. As has been foretold by God’s holy prophets since the world began, they are challenging times, and they are going to become even more challenging. So wherein is our safety? Where is our peace? Where is our joy? Where is our inner security?
My testimony is that safety, peace, joy, and security are found only in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God. Bringing people to Him is the sum and substance of our ministry. So we embrace His teachings, we give up all of our sins, we repent, we do all that is in our power to do to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do (see 2 Ne. 25:23). And as we give ourselves to Christ, fully and completely, we find safety, peace, joy and security in Him.
Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems or sickness or family challenges or employment difficulties? Not at all. But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner. If we keep the eye of faith focused on Christ, we gain a broader view and an eternal perspective, and with that we can understand adversity from within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children. And we can find comfort in this life in the eternal safety, peace, joy and security that He promises.
Not too long ago I attended a missionary fireside in Idaho, after which I was introduced to a beautiful 18-year-old woman who was fighting a battle with cancer. For the third time, her cancer had come out of remission, and I was asked if it would be possible for me to give her a blessing. Her father, a convert to the Church along with the rest of the family, said: “Brother Ballard, we are aware that our daughter is in the hands of Heavenly Father, and we’re not asking you to do anything that would be contrary to His mind and will. We just want to feel that we’ve done everything we possibly can to appeal to Him for her life.”
Of course I understood. Any parent would understand that feeling. We went into a private room where I was able to visit with this extraordinary young woman for a few minutes. I wish I could communicate the sweet and wonderful spirit that I felt from her. This beautiful young woman looked into my eyes and with powerful simplicity said: “Brother Ballard, I’m not afraid to die. I would like to live. There are things that I would still like to accomplish in this life. But I know that Jesus is my Savior and my Redeemer, and during these past few years He has become my best friend. I trust Him, and I trust you as His representative. Whatever He wants for me, I’m prepared.”
We gave her a blessing, during which we petitioned God for a miracle but, at her request, left the matter with Him. My wife, Barbara, was with me, and as we returned to our car, tears came to our eyes as we said to each other, “Oh, thank heavens for the gospel. Thank heavens for a plan that makes it possible for an 18-year-old woman to know what it means to come unto Christ. Whatever happens, she is going to be fine.” She died on 23 June 1995 with the peace of the Lord accompanying her and her family.
That’s the blessed assurance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is His Church, the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth. May we stay anchored to it and not allow any voice or any wind of doctrine or any secret, so-called revelation or any special information that “the Brethren don’t understand” lead us away from what we know to be true. Our safety, brothers and sisters, and our peace—our inner peace, the peace that we all seek—lie in striving to live as the Savior would want us to live and in knowing within our hearts and minds that we are doing the best we can to try to keep His commandments.
Of course, such discipleship comes at a price. It isn’t always easy to come to Christ. There are sacrifices that need to be made by all who seek to follow the Savior, and sometimes those sacrifices are quite painful. To be called by God to serve Him in any capacity is the greatest honor a person can have, and we all do it willingly and with all our hearts because we love Him and we love His Son. Let us accept Their teachings, strive to understand Them, labor to put sin out of our lives through repentance, and endeavor to honor Them through our own righteous living, and always follow the inspired leadership of the Church.
You Never Know When You Might Need To Help Someone.
Watch this moving video “Sanctify Yourselves.” When a little league football player is struck by lightning, his 18-year-old assistant coach, Bryce Reynolds, was prepared to use his newly-conferred Melchizedek Priesthood authority to call upon the healing powers of heaven.
Where did Bryce get the power and the authority
to do this wonder?
It was from Jesus Christ Himself.
The Lord Jesus Christ Ordained His Twelve Apostles
with this wonder.
Jesus was Crucified and All of The Apostles were Killed.
Jesus was Resurrected and visited “His Sheep” or children in several other nations and it was recorded before He
ascended to heaven.
In 1820, Joseph Smith was 14 years old and with Faith, though lacking wisdom, he asked of God which Church he should join and he saw a vision.
God the Father and His Son Jesus Appeared To Joseph Smith.
15 May 1829, John the Baptist also Returned and gave Joseph Smith the Aaronic Priesthood.
Elijah the Prophet held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ. He appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and conferred the keys of the priesthood on Peter, James, andJohn (Matt. 17: 3).
On April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland (Ohio) Temple, Elijah the Prophet appeared again, with Moses and Apostles Peter, James,and John, who came from heaven and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys thereof upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
(D&C 27: 12-13; 128: 20).
As demonstrated by his miraculous deeds, the power of Elijah is the sealing power of the priesthood by which things bound or loosed on earth are bound or loosed in heaven.
Thus the keys of this power are once again operative on the earth and are used in performing all the ordinances of the gospel for the living and the dead.
This is done in The House of the Lord, His Temples.
Joseph Smith ordained others to both Priesthoods and it has been handed down over time to several other Prophets.
Our Living Prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson with Counsilors President Henry B. Eyring, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf who hold all of the Priesthood Keys.
They hold the Authority to Ordained, Baptize, Bless and Administer the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
New Members and Converts can become Members of The Church of Jesus Christ.
First, starting at the age of eight, which is the age of accountability, with Faith and Repentance
they are Baptized by emersion.
They then Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by one who has the Authority.
At the age of Twelve, Worthy Young Men are Ordained into the Aaronic Priesthood.
The can then begin their leadership as young
Aaronic Priesthood leaders.
At 18 years of age, a young man who is worthy is Ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood and given leadership callings.
If they continue to be worthy, they can be called to serve as full time Missionaries and go wherever they are called to serve somewhere around the world to teach the
Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is where that young man, Bryce Reynolds in the Video, got the authority to exercise his priesthood that helped save another’s life.
He knew he had the Priesthood authority.
… and so he used it!
His Authority Line goes back to Jesus Christ.
He holds the KEYS to the
Priesthood of God.
No one can just assume this Authority.
Based upon one’s worthiness, it MUST be given to him by one who has the Authority and the keys given to him that can be traced back to Jesus Christ. This ordination is done the same way that Jesus did by the laying on of hands.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
All of this has been in preparation for the second coming of the Lord, as spoken of in Malachi 4: 5-6.
President Monson and the First Presidency of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
hold these keys today.
Many ‘Mormons’ are becoming very visible in the world today in sports, entertainment, business, medicine and technology, and even politics. Their church is worldwide and is the fastest growing church today with almost 14 million members world wide.
The name Mormon is a nickname for our Church. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which bears Jesus’s name. It is His Church. When Jesus and His Apostles were all killed, The Church of Jesus Christ went away. It was restored once again by the original Apostles, Peter, James and John plus John the Baptist who returned to earth and restored Jesus’s Church in these latter-days.
Jesus is the Son of God and came to this world to pay a price for our sins so that we might be forgiven of our sins and return to our Heavenly Parents once again. “That at the name of Jesuseveryknee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And thateverytongue should confessthatJesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.”Philip. 2: 10-11
Mormon was an ancient prophet who abridged all of the writings of those prophets that came to the American continent from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. and wrote the history and those spiritual manifestations they received from the Lord that they were commanded to write. They were written on gold plates which later came forth and were translated into The Book of Mormon in 1830, a Second witness, like the Bible but not to replace the Bible, but to fulfill prophecy and to be another witness that Jesus is the Christ. “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one ortwo more, that inthemouthoftwoorthreewitnesses every word may be established.”Matt. 18: 16 One= The Bible. Two= The Book of Mormon. Three= Other records yet to come forth from the Lost Ten Tribes and from the Isles of the Sea.
Yes, we Mormons are Christians. “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that ourchildren may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”2 Ne. 25: 26
If you would like a FREE copy of the Book of Mormon, CLICK HERE.
If you would like to visit one of our Churches and meet the People, CLICK HERE.
If you want to know more about the Mormons, then ask a Mormon HERE!
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is returning to us again soon. No one, even the angels in heaven, knows when Jesus will return but, we have been given signs of the times to watch for and most of them have been fulfilled.
I encourage you and your families to read about us, visit us, ask questions and get to know us better as we join with ALL Christians in preparing for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared yeshallnotfear.”D&C 38: 30