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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“All across the world families are falling apart. The place to begin to improve society is in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger”, said President Gordon B. Hinckley at the general Relief Society meeting in September 1995 who explained why we have been given “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” now! Since that time, it has been reprinted in many languages for families throughout the world. It has also been presented to government leaders in many lands.
Look around at our communities and nation today and you will understand why we need to heed the counsel and warning from our prophets and the scriptures and remember that “The Family is central to God’s plan.”
Is this happening in your family?
The proclamation states that marriage and family are “ordained of God” and “central to [His] plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. Why is the family central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children? (See D&C 131:1–4; 1 Corinthians 11:11.)
The proclamation also states that we are all spirit children of God, created in His image (see also Genesis 1:26–27). When a Mother and Father create a body for a child, one of Heavenly Father’s Spirit children enters that body. Everything is created spiritually before it is created physiclally. We are taught from the scriptures about our potential and reminds us that we all are members of Heavenly Father’s family which should affect the way you feel about our earthly families and give us the desire to become stronger families.
Sacred ordinances or promises with God make it possible for families to be together eternally.
Knowing that we will live forever after this life should help us understand that the experiences we encounter in this life will help us in our eternal progression. It helps us understand why marriage is necessary for the family to be eternal together. The Holy Temples, the House of the Lord, is where marriages are performed for time AND for all eternity and where promises or covenants with the Lord are made so that families may be together forever. Knowing this forever purpose of the family will help parents prepare their children to follow in the same like manner and affect the way we treat family members now.
The same priesthood power that created worlds, galaxies, and the universe can and should be part of our lives to succor, strengthen, and bless our families, our friends, and our neighbors—in other words, to do the things that the Savior would do if He were ministering among us today. And the primary purpose of this priesthood power is to bless, sanctify, and purify us so we can live together with our families in the presence of our heavenly parents, bound by priesthood sealings, participating in the marvelous work of God and Jesus Christ in forever expanding Their light and glory. This-is-my-work-and-my-glory.
The power to create mortal life is sacred.
God has spoken through our Prophets declaring the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. This is why obedience to God’s commandments is so important.
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.
Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Children are the inheritance of the Lord to us in this life and also in eternity. Marriage and Eternal life is not only to have forever our descendants from this life. It is also to have eternal increase.”
Marriage is ‘ordained of God’ and a partnership with God and 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 terminating a life has serious responsibility and consequences!
We can understand why our Heavenly Father commands us to reverence life and to cherish the powers that produce it as sacred. If we do not have those reverential feelings in this life, how could our Father give them to us in the eternities?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apolstes taught: “The body is an essential part of the soul. We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life. In sexual transgression the soul is at stake—the body and the spirit.”
It is most important that parents help children understand the importance of moral cleanliness. They should review with their children the teachings of sexual purity.
Parents have a sacred duty to care for each other and teach their children.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout eternity.”
Children are blessed when they have parents who love and care for each other. Parents are responsible to teach their children. (See Mosiah 4:14–15; D&C 68:25–28; 93:40.) Parents should find effective ways to teach these principles as they were taught; perhaps in family home evenings, family prayer, mealtime, bedtime, traveling together and working together.
The role of the Church is a secondary role in teaching children with Sunday School and other activities.
Successful marriages and families are based on righteous principles.
The proclamation teaches that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings can bring happiness into your home. “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
What are the primary responsibilities of fathers? One responsibility is to “preside … in love and righteousness”. (See D&C 121:41–46.) Boys and young men can prepare themselves now to provide for their families by encouraging them to gain a formal education and learn practical skills. Young women can also prepare themselves to fulfill the responsibility of being mothers and returning to the old and sacred values which begin in the home. It is here that truth is learned, that integrity is cultivated, that self-discipline is instilled, and that love is nurtured. Mothers, guard your children. Nothing is more precious to you as mothers, absolutely nothing. Your children are the most valuable thing you will have in time or all eternity. You will be fortunate indeed if, as you grow old and look at those you brought into the world, you find in them uprightness of life, virtue in living, and integrity in their behavior. This is also important for fathers to nurture their children because as parents, you should help each other as equal partners.
The proclamation concludes by warning of the serious consequences of family disintegration and by calling upon all people to strengthen the family. Individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
President Gordon B. Hinckley told a gathering of mayors and other public officials: “To you men and women of great influence, you who preside in the cities of the nation, to you I say that it will cost far less to reform our schools, to teach the virtues of good citizenship, than it will to go on building and maintaining costly jails and prisons. … But there is another institution of even greater importance than the schools. It is the home. I believe that no nation can rise higher than the strength of its families.” Families must be strong in order for nations to survive.
The proclamation also warns that those “who abuse spouse or offspring … will one day stand accountable before God.” Church leaders have spoken out against abuse of any kind. The following quotation can be applied to both men and women:
“Never abuse your wives. Never abuse your children. But gather them in your arms and make them feel of your love and your appreciation and your respect. Be good husbands. Be good fathers.” Gordon B. Hinckley
Suzanne and I have both been blessed with “goodly parents” that put us first and taught us by example the way to become. We saw more sermons than we did in hearing them from our kind and hard working fathers and loving, nurturing and caring mothers who sacrificed their lives for us. It is now much easier for us as parents to know how to raise our children having watched our parents deal with the many challenges of raising a family today. Yes, it can be challenging in raising a family today but the blessings are literally “Out Of This World”!
For those who have wayward children and may have made mistakes themselves in the past, remember that a most important part of God’s plan of life through the atonement of Jesus Christ is that of repentance and forgiveness. To receive forgiveness through repentance, remember, Jesus is The Way.
When we were young as a nation, our forefathers promised to remember God and to keep His commandments. God in turn promised to protect us as a nation and to give us prosperity. We are concerned that the covenants or promises that we have made with God have been broken and are not being kept. If we see trubulation and hard times come into our lives and to our families, then it is only because we have broken our promises with God. He then, does not have to keep His covenants and promises either!
We are living during the last days, a “great and dreadful day”, when Satan is desperate to win as many souls of mankind and our families that he can. May we remember God, our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and put prayer and thanksgiving back into our homes, schools and nation. May we love one another and stop aborting innocent children who each have a spirit body within and keep God’s commandments so that we may be worthy of His love and blessings once again.
New York Times best selling author Stephen Mansfield
There are nearly seven million Mormons in America . This is the number the Mormons themselves use. It’s not huge. Seven million is barely 2 percent of the country’s population. It is the number of people who subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. London boasts seven million people. So does San Francisco . It’s a million more people than live in the state of Washington ; a million less than in the state of Virginia . It’s so few, it’s the same number as were watching the January 24, 2012, Republican debate.
In fact, worldwide, there are only about fourteen million Mormons. That’s fourteen million among a global population just reaching seven billion. Fourteen million is the population of Cairo or Mali or Guatemala . It’s approximately the number of people who tune in for the latest hit show on network television every week. Fourteen million Americans ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant in 2011. That’s how few fourteen million is.
Yet in the first decade or so of the new millennium, some members of the American media discovered the Mormons and began covering them as though the Latter-day Saints had just landed from Mars. It was as though Utah was about to invade the rest of the country. It was all because of politics and pop culture, of course. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman were in pursuit of the White House. Glenn Beck was among the nation’s most controversial news commentators. Stephenie Meyer had written the astonishingly popular Twilight series about vampires. Matt Stone and Trey Parker had created the edgy South Park cartoon series–which included a much- discussed episode about Mormons–and then went on to create the blatantly blasphemous and Saint-bashing Broadway play The Book of Mormon. It has become one of the most successful productions in American theater history.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Mormons sat in the US Congress, among them Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. Mormons led JetBlue, American Express, Marriott, Novell, Deloitte and Touche, Diebold, and Eastman Kodak. Management guru Stephen Covey made millions telling them how to lead even better. There were Mormons commanding battalions of US troops and Mormons running major US universities. There were so many famous Mormons, in fact, that huge websites were launched just to keep up with it all. Notables ranged from movie stars like Katherine Heigl to professional athletes to country music stars like Gary Allan to reality television contestants and even to serial killers like Glenn Helzer, whose attorney argued that the Saints made him the monster he was. The media graciously reminded the public that Mormon criminals were nothing new, though: Butch Cassidy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame was also a Mormon, they reported.
Most media coverage treated this “Mormon Moment” as though it was just that: the surprising and unrelated appearance of dozens of Mormons on the national stage–for a moment. More than a few commentators predicted it would all pass quickly.
What most commentators did not understand was that their “Mormon Moment” was more than a moment, more than an accident, and more than a matter of pop culture and fame alone. The reality was–and is–that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintshas reached critical mass. It is not simply that a startling number of Mormons have found their way onto America’s flat-screen TVs and so brought visibility to their religion. It is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints has reached sufficient numbers–and has so permeated every level of American society on the strength of its religious value–that prominent politicians, authors, athletes, actors, newscasters, and even murderers are the natural result, in some cases even the intended result. Visible, influential Mormons aren’t outliers or exceptions. They are fruit of the organic growth of their religion.
In 1950, there were just over a million Mormons in the world. Most of these were located in the Intermountain West of the United States, a region of almost lunar landscape between the Rocky Mountains to the East and the Cascades and Sierra Nevada Mountains to the West. The religion was still thought of as odd by most Americans. There had been famous Mormons like the occasional US Senator or war hero, but these were few and far between. There had even been a 1940 Hollywood movie entitled Brigham Young that told the story of the Saints’ mid-1800s trek from Illinois to the region of the Great Salt Lake. Its producers worked hard to strain out nearly every possible religious theme, a nod to the increasingly secular American public. Though it starred heavyweights like Vincent Price and Tyrone Power, the movie failed miserably, even in Utah. Especially in Utah.
Then, in 1951, a man named David O. McKay became the “First President” of the Latter-day Saints and inaugurated a new era. He was the Colonel Harlan Sanders of Mormonism. He often wore white suits, had an infectious laugh, and under- stood the need to appeal to the world outside the Church. It was refreshing. Most LDS presidents had either been polygamist oddballs or stodgy old men in the eyes of the American public. McKay was more savvy, more media aware. He became so popular that film legend Cecil B. DeMille asked him to consult on the now classic movie The Ten Commandments.
Empowered by his personal popularity and by his sense that an opportune moment had come, McKay began refashioning the Church’s image. He also began sharpening its focus. His famous challenge to his followers was, “Every Member a Missionary!” And the faithful got busy. It only helped that Ezra Taft Benson, a future Church president, was serving as the nation’s secretary of agriculture under President Eisehower. This brought respectability. It also helped that George Romney was the revered CEO of American Motors Corporation and that he would go on to be the governor of Michigan, a candidate for president of the United States, and finally a member of Richard Nixon’s cabinet. This hinted at increasing power. The 1950s were good for Mormons.
Then came the 1960s. Like most religions, the LDS took a beating from the counterculture movement, but by the 1970s they were again on the rise. There was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a symbol of Americana when Americana was under siege. There was Mormon Donny Osmond’s smile and Mormon Marie Osmond’s everything and the three-year run of network television’s Donny and Marie in the late 1970s that made words like family, clean, talented, patriotic, and even cute outshine some of the less-endearing labels laid upon the Saints through the years. New labels joined new symbols. A massive, otherworldly, 160,000-square-foot Temple just north of Washington, DC, was dedicated in the 1970s, a symbol of LDS power and permanence for the nation to behold. Always there was the “Every Member a Missionary!” vision beating in each Saintly heart.
By 1984, the dynamics of LDS growth were so fine-tuned that influential sociologist Rodney Stark made the mind- blowing prediction that the Latter-day Saints would have no fewer than 64 million members and perhaps as many as 267 million by 2080.3 It must have seemed possible in those days. In the following ten years, LDS membership exploded from 4.4 million to 11 million. This may be why in 1998 the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The Mormons–a misguided cult in the view of most traditional Christians, most Baptists in particular–had to be stopped.
They weren’t. Four years after the Baptists besieged Temple Square, the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City. This was in 2002 and it is hard to exaggerate what this meant to the Latter-day Saints. A gifted Mormon leader, Mitt Romney, rescued the games after a disastrous bidding scandal. A sparkling Mormon city hosted the games. Happy, handsome all-American Mormons attended each event, waving constantly to the cameras and appearing to be–in the word repeatedly used by the press at the time–”normal.”
The LDS Church capitalized on it all. It sent volunteers, missionaries, and publicists scurrying to every venue. It hosted grand events for the world press. It made sure that every visitor received a brochure offering an LDS guided tour of the city. Visitors from around the world read these words: “No other place in America has a story to tell like that of Salt Lake City–a sanctuary founded by religious refugees from within the United States’ own borders. And none can tell that story better than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Largely unchallenged, the Mormon narrative prevailed.
What followed was the decade of the new millennium we have already surveyed. Mormons seemed to be everywhere, seemed to be exceptional in nearly every arena, seemed to have moved beyond acceptance by American culture to domination of American culture. At least this was what some feared at the time.
But Mormons did not dominate the country. Far from it. Remember that they were not even 2 percent of the nation’s population as of 2012. True, they were visible and successful, well educated and well spoken, patriotic and ever willing to serve. Yet what they had achieved was not domination. It was not a conspiracy either, as some alleged. It was not anything approaching a takeover or even the hope for a takeover.
Few observers seemed to be able to explain how this new level of LDS prominence in American society came about. They reached for the usual answers trotted out to account for such occurrences: birth rates, Ronald Reagan’s deification of traditional values, the economic boom of the late twentieth century, a more liberal and broadminded society, even the dumbing down of America through television and failing schools. Each of these explanations was found wanting.
The Mormon Machine
The truth lay within Mormonism itself. What the Saints had achieved in the United States was what Mormonism, unfettered and well led, will nearly always produce. This was the real story behind the much-touted “Mormon Moment.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had risen to unexpected heights in American society because the Mormon religion creates what can benevolently be called a Mormon Machine– a system of individual empowerment, family investment, local church (ward and stake level) leadership, priesthood government, prophetic enduement, Temple sacraments, and sacrificial financial endowment of the holy Mormon cause.
Plant Mormonism in any country on earth and pretty much the same results will occur. If successful, it will produce deeply moral individuals who serve a religious vision centered upon achievement in this life. They will aggressively pursue the most advanced education possible, understand their lives in terms of overcoming obstacles, and eagerly serve the surrounding society. The family will be of supernatural importance to them, as will planning and investing for future generations. They will be devoted to community, store and save as a hedge against future hardship, and they will esteem work as a religious calling. They will submit to civil government and hope to take positions within it. They will have advantages in this. Their beliefs and their lives in all-encompassing community will condition them to thrive in administrative systems and hierarchies–a critical key to success in the modern world. Ever oriented to a corporate life and destiny, they will prize belonging and unity over individuality and conflict every time.
These hallmark values and behaviors–the habits that distinguish Mormons in the minds of millions of Americans– grow naturally from Mormon doctrine. They are also the values and behaviors of successful people. Observers who think of the religion as a cult–in the Jim Jones sense that a single, dynamic leader controls a larger body of devotees through fear, lies, and manipulation–usually fail to see this. Mormon doctrine is inviting, the community it produces enveloping and elevating, the lifestyle it encourages empowering in nearly every sense. Success, visibility, prosperity, and influence follow. This is the engine of the Mormon ascent. It is what has attracted so many millions, and it is the mechanism of the Latter-day Saints’ impact upon American society and the world.
Mormons make achievement through organizational management a religious virtue. It leads to prosperity, visibility, and power. It should come as no surprise, then, that an American can turn on the evening news after a day of work and find one report about two Mormon presidential candidates, another story about a Mormon finalist on American Idol, an examination of the controversial views of a leading Mormon news commentator, a sports story about what a Mormon lineman does with his “Temple garments” in the NFL, and a celebration of how Mormons respond to crises like Katrina and the BP oil spill, all by a “Where Are They Now?” segment about Gladys Knight, minus the Pips, who has become–of course–a Mormon.
Mormons rise in this life because it is what their religion calls for. Achieving. Progressing. Learning. Forward, upward motion. This is the lifeblood of earthly Mormonism. Management, leadership, and organizing are the essential skills of the faith. It is no wonder that Mormons have grown so rapidly and reached such stellar heights in American culture. And there is much more to come.
President Thomas S. Monson Prophet, Seer, and Revelator The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Can we talk? Are you prepared for this world and for the next?
In life, when we are young, our parents usually work hard to teach and train us so that we will be prepared to meet life’s challenges as we grow up in this world. It is a joy for parents to see their children learn and improve and have all the opportunities that they had, or didn’t have, and more. They send us to schools, help us develop our talents, do things with us and take us places and have fun. They are to teach us truths and principles of right and wrong and how to be organized, get a job, and learn to work for those goals we desire. They usually correct us in our mistakes and try to set good examples of how we should act and behave in order to help us ‘get on our feet’ and to become independent and to live full lives. They spend much time and hopefully pray for our success and happiness so that we can receive the blessings that this life has to offer, or at least should have!
Those parents and their children who have prepared and have planned for their futures have put forth the effort and investment of learning and working for success in this world will usually find those things for which they had planned. But have they learned for themselves and taught their children about the next life? Have we been prepared for life after death, how to deal with it; or do we even believe in such a thing?
This is a most important question that everyone must ask of themselves and to find their own answers which are available. I remember when I did and expressed it in a song!
I wrote in my journal about a song that I wrote expressing these feelings called, “Are You Up There.” My journal records:
“I was in my bed in California late one evening having read scriptures, prayed, and pondered for a great amount of time as to what it was that was in my bosom that I NEEDED to “say”. I could feel it as though it were a physical object inside of me trying to get out. I would stare at the piano keys that were located at the foot of my bed. I was wide-awake but totally still and quiet for around 4+ hours. At about 2 or three o’clock A.M., something happened.
It was an emotional experience as I asked myself . . . “What are you trying to say?” “What is it?” It was like a light turned on . . . and got brighter. Here I was sitting up in bed with my pencil and pad of paper in hand and I started to write. Not only did I write lyrics to an inspired song but also, as I looked at the piano keys, I could see what the music cords and melody were to be. I hardly ever went back to check what I had written or made changes! When I finished I re-read the song and started to cry. I will NEVER forget that experience as long as I live! Someone was helping me. “
Are You Up There?
It could all end tomorrow, and where would I be? Does life go on or will it be the end of me? Seems a bit unfair to think that all I’ve learned and done belongs to no one.
Why should I cherish living if there’s no so called plan?
Why, I would have no future if it were left to man.
I can’t believe that we just happened and don’t know what for. There must be more.
Why should I trust in a love that I can’t have forever? Does it seem right to live a game of take-away? Should I want for children if there isn’t any more for them to live for?
Maybe I’m a pessimist – then maybe I’m not. One thing that I’d like to know is what I’ve got. I don’t want a miracle or to see you in the air, but are you up there?
Are you everywhere? Do you really care? Are you up there?
“I prayed to my Heavenly Father giving Him thanks as I knew that I had been inspired from another source, a very, very good source, for I could NOT have written these words or music myself. I could hardly sleep the rest of the night. I would lie there for the next few hours and re-collect my experience and thoughts. I wanted morning to come very badly so I could share this experience and song with my Brothers!”
Everyone hopes and wants to believe that this life has purpose and reasons to live; that someone cares and is watching over us. Even the atheist when facing death cries out, “Oh my God, please help me.” We can fear death or prepare for it by asking and studying the Holy Scriptures which have God’s and Jesus Christ’s words recorded about these things. We also can pray and ask if God is there and if the things the scriptures teach are true. Will you be talking or praying in vain? No!
As the lyrics to the song asks, it makes reason to believe that ‘there must be more’; that we didn’t just happen and that there was a ‘PLAN of Life’. Well, there is!
According to my faith and beliefs, we all lived before this world was with our Heavenly Parents and were born with a spirit body. We were taught truths and learned many things. We were told about God’s ‘Plan of Life’ and the creation that would happen. We had free agency to choose to come to this world or not via our earthly parents in order for us to obtain a body of flesh and bones in which would house our spirit bodies and be able to create life. This was all very sacred.
Without getting into a lengthy doctrinal article here, we all as children of God were prepared before we came to earth to gain a physical body like God, learn truths and choose between good and evil, and to become more like our Heavenly parents and to be given the opportunity or not to be proven or tested; to become parents and co-creators ourselves with God in bearing children here on earth. We were taught the laws of chastity and marriage and “to multiply and replenish the earth” in order to fulfill “God’s work and glory in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” This is what God does as a creator.
The Lord Jesus, the Son of God , came to earth to teach us and show by example the way we must follow and become in order to redeem us from our sins. He knew we would make mistakes and that it would take a God, or son of God, to be able to pay the price for our sins, which He did for us! “God is not the author of confusion “and “our ways are not God’s ways”, but we are His children and must obey His laws; and if not, we will pay a price. As always, we have our free agency and the power to choose.
In today’s world, there is a tendency to ignore and even deny God’s existence and to choose evil versus good, which anyone can do. That doesn’t mean that He isn’t still there! “The natural man is an enemy to God.” It takes effort and good choices and work in order to do good. God has always shown to us those things we must do in order to return to live with Him once again. He taught Adam and Eve and has spoken to us through His prophets over time about those sacred things and His plan of life. He gave us the Ten Commandments through Moses and spoke through other prophets. Jesus Christ was born and came to fulfill those commandments and we now must follow His words and laws that He gave us.
We have been promised all that God has with posterity and the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through our various lineages of which we were born. Our lineage is important and our posterity will derive us blessings. Though God separated us into twelve tribes and confounded our languages at the time of the Tower of Babel, it was all done for a wise purpose. God has not forgotten us but remembered each of us and His various tribes that He gave His words and promises to and commanded them to be recorded as with The Bible and The Book of Mormon. He will soon gather all the tribes together once again along with their records which have been hidden up to come forth. Jesus will also be returning once again.
God has continually told us that we can all return to heaven after we die to come forth after the resurrection to be judged of our works. He also has told us that, “In my house are many mansions.” “There is a glory like unto the stars, the moon and the sun. So also is the resurrection.” We will live in one of His mansions above of which laws we are able to live, or in everlasting darkness; hell.
Now the question:
So, have you prepared yourself to dwell with God once again? “The next world?” Have you read His words and listened to His prophets so that you know those things that you must do while here on earth in order to achieve the highest degree of glory In His Kingdom after this life? We are to follow Jesus’s example and with faith, repentance, and baptism by one holding the authority from Jesus, (children under the age of 8 years of age are innocent and have no need to be baptized), and to receive the Holy Ghost. There are also sacred covenants that the Lord’s people take upon themselves in The House of the Lord and have since the beginning of time. These are most important promises between you and God. This knowledge has always been upon the earth since Adam and Eve.
These truths are not secret but sacred and are available today but you must be worthy of receiving them. They are performed in the Holy Temples or The House of The Lord. Without them, you will not be able to return to live in the Celestial Kingdom, the highest kingdom of Heaven where God dwells, without them. Yes, God has prepared other kingdoms for those who cannot or are not willing to live the higher laws yet promises that you will be happy. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Some records from the Bible with many precious parts have been taken out of it and were lost from the Bible during the time of Constantine about 3-400 AD. The Lord knew this would happen and “will not be frustrated”. Thus, He had the tribes in various parts of the world record His words as He visited them after He was resurrected. These records with those missing truths will come forth before we are to be judged.
Again, it is WE, who must choose. God’s blessings are available to ALL, if they but seek them, learn them, and live His laws and keep His Commandments.
THIS IS WHAT WE EACH SHOULD BE SEEKING TO LEARN AND PREPARED TO LIVE!
cov·e·nant (kv-nnt) noun: A binding agreement; verb: To promise by or as if by a covenant.
The Lincoln Memorial, often referred to as a temple, with it’s ninety-nine foot marble sculptured edifice spiritually manifests that the United States of America is truly “One Nation Under God” and set apart as a choice land commissioned with a divine purpose.
There is compelling evidence that America founded by the Almighty, is embedded in divine purpose through a national covenant between God and the people of this nation with specific obligations, promised blessings and divine instruction.
If we keep and obey Gods Commandments and live by His inspired Constitution, then God covenants with with us these three specific socio-political blessings:
2) Protection, and
It is a covenant that enhances and maximizes God’s gift of agency unto personal salvation by providing an environment where His children might choose freely, becoming who and what they desire to be and in providing the environment where freedoms of religion enables them to progress spiritually.
America “is a choice land” to “be free from bondage,” as long as we “serve the God of the land”. (Ether 2:12)
America has struggled through bloody conflicts, glorious victories, devastating scourges, healing redemptions, long silences, great proclamations, deep tragedies, and phenomenal miracles. For example, ancient prophets saw the discoverer Columbus and that the first settlers and founders willfully received the land and nation under covenant; that George Washington’s scripture of choice was an ancient prophecy about the gospel destiny of America, and knew the many battlefield miracles he witnessed were connected to a covenant with the Almighty; that Thomas Jefferson testified that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution profoundly reflect and codify the American Covenant; and how Abraham Lincoln fulfilled some of the greatest prophecies related to God’s kingdom on earth.
Additionally, it is the astonishing and miraculous relationship (forged in life and death) between the founders of this nation and the temple of God all the way throughout the present day with miracles, revelations, tokens, and symbols of God’s work throughout our history.
If we are to continue to have the freedoms that evolved within the structure that was the inspiration of the Almighty to our Founding Fathers, we must return to the God who is their true author. If we keep our promises, God will keep His promises.
We have taken God out of our country, our homes and our schools!
America is essential for our freedoms and it was founded upon God!
WE ARE FACING THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN HISTORY!
LET”S FAST AND PRAY TOGETHER!
May we ACT and choose well the one who will best lead our nation into the future and
sustain the Constitutional principles of freedom and our promises to God.
Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples?
What goes on in Mormon Temples?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 100 operating temples around the world. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at all of these temples and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.
In temples, Church members participate in ordinances designed to unite their families together forever and help them return to God. In the temple, members:
Learn eternal truths.
Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents (Malachi 4:5-6).
Provide ordinances such as baptism for those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Peter 4:6
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaim that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” When a man and woman are married in the temple, their family can be together forever. This is a common goal of Latter-day Saints.
Life’s greatest joys are found in the family. Strong family relationships require effort, but such effort brings great happiness in this life and throughout eternity. In our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, a man and a woman can be sealed to one another for time and all eternity. Those who are sealed in the temple have the assurance that their relationship will continue forever if they are true to their covenants. They know that nothing, not even death, can permanently separate them.
The covenant of eternal marriage is necessary for exaltation. The Lord revealed through Joseph Smith: “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” (D&C 131:1-4).
After receiving the sealing ordinance and making sacred covenants in the temple, a couple must continue in faithfulness in order to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and exaltation. The Lord said:
“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; . . . and if [they] abide in my covenant, . . . it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world” (D&C 132:19).
Those who are married should consider their union as their most cherished earthly relationship. A spouse is the only person other than the Lord whom we have been commanded to love with all our heart (see D&C 42:22).
Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither person exercising dominion over the other, but with each encouraging, comforting, and helping the other.
Because marriage is such an important relationship in life, it needs and deserves time over less-important commitments. Couples can strengthen their marriage as they take time to talk together and to listen to one another, to be thoughtful and respectful, and to express tender feelings and affection often.
Marriage partners must be loyal to one another and faithful in their marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. The Lord has said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). The phrase “none else” teaches that no person, activity, or possession should ever take precedence over the marriage relationship.
Married couples should stay away from anything that could lead to unfaithfulness in any way. Pornography, unwholesome fantasies, and flirtations will erode character and strike at the foundation of marriage.
Couples should work together to manage their finances and cooperate in establishing and following a budget. Wise money management and freedom from debt contribute to peace in the home.
Finally, couples must center their lives in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As couples help one another keep the covenants they have made, attend church and the temple together, study the scriptures together, and kneel together in prayer, God will guide them. Their companionship will sweeten through the years; their love will strengthen. Their appreciation for one another will grow.
Later this week yet another new temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint–this one in Kansas City, Missouri–will open its doors for public tours before being dedicated. After dedication, the building will no longer be open to the public, but only to members of the church “in good standing.”
To some, it seems like a curious thing for a place of worship not to open its doors to all comers. It may be a good time to try to explain.
Mormon temples come in all shapes and sizes. They range from the iconic six-spired granite edifice on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, to the towering white marble structure familiar to Beltway commuters in Washington, D.C., to the smaller temples in unlikely places like Nuku’alofa in Tonga, or Hong Kong.
In all, Latter-day Saint temples now number around 150 built or under construction –more than half of them finished or started within the past dozen years. All of them, no matter what the architecture or location, have one external identifying feature in common. Above or close to the front entrance, etched in capital letters, is the inscription: “Holiness to the Lord. The House of the Lord.”
Bible scholars will recognize the words. In the days of Moses the phrase “holiness to the Lord” was inscribed on a kind of headband or crown worn by the high priest, whose duties and vestments are described in detail in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Leviticus. While the office of high priest has long ceased to exist among the Jews, there is a world of meaning in the same words now inscribed on every Latter-day Saint temple.
The English word “holy” doesn’t entirely capture the intent conveyed by the ancient Hebrew. English usage of “holy” certainly associates objects or people with the sacred, as in worship. But the original Hebrew (kah-dash), Greek (hagios) and Latin (sanctum) each carry the additional sense of something separate or “set apart” for sacred purposes. Latter-day Saints understand the words “Holiness to the Lord” in exactly this way. Temples are places consecrated, dedicated and set apart for sacred purposes, and when temple-goers walk through the doors they have already set themselves apart mentally.
Set apart from what? From the distractions of the world, from the profane and materialistic, and instead–as the apostle Paul urged Jesus’ followers–in order to set their affection “on things above, not on things on the earth.”
A few years ago a leader of my church put it rather well: “Holiness is the strength of the soul. It comes by faith and through obedience to God’s laws and ordinances. God then purifies the heart by faith, and the heart becomes purged from that which is profane and unworthy. When holiness is achieved by conforming to God’s will, one knows intuitively that which is wrong and that which is right before the Lord. Holiness speaks when there is silence, encouraging that which is good or reproving that which is wrong.”
Isn’t this the same reason why we walk through the doors of any church? No, not exactly. There are many thousands of Latter-day Saint chapels, or meetinghouses, around the world, and of course just like other churches they are treated with reverence and respect. Our buildings typically include a chapel for public Sunday services, classrooms, a basketball court and a kitchen to service recreational activities through the week. For Latter-day Saints, these buildings are part house of worship, part community center and all are welcome to join us in worship and communion.
No Latter-day Saint would ever regard the temple as a community center. For a temple-going Latter-day Saint, crossing the threshold of a temple is accompanied by a wholly different feeling than walking through the doors of a chapel for Sunday worship. To begin with, we don’t go to the temple on a particular day of the week. There is no schedule for temple attendance and no expectation of frequency beyond a person’s own motivation. Temple attendance is not a matter of calendar but of a personal desire for a higher commitment to God. In a weekly Sunday service, our taking of the “communion,” or “sacrament” as we call it, is an act of reconciliation, a reminder of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and a symbolic gesture that invites the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives for the coming week. In the temple, however, “Holiness to the Lord” engenders something more – an understanding that we are not simply going to try to live our faith for another week, but that we are about to make personal promises to God to consecrate and dedicate our whole lives to him.
Ultimately we show our loyalty and devotion to God by observing what Jesus described as the second great commandment –by loving our neighbor. Men and women through the ages have sought places of spiritual sanctuary, free from the temptations of the outside world, where they can draw close to God. Monastic orders and convents are one manifestation of this. But Latter-day Saints see the temple not as a place of permanent retreat, but as a place of personal covenants, where for an hour or two they can immerse themselves in communion with God, render ceremonial service for those who have departed this life, and unite families together for eternity through sacred ordinances. Paradoxically, the resultant effect of temple worship is not withdrawal or isolation from the world, but to impel the believer to re-enter the world better prepared to serve members of one’s family, church, neighborhood and beyond.
Former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley described it this way when speaking to a large gathering of men in the church in October of 1995:
“If every man in this church…were to go to the house of the Lord and renew his covenants in solemnity before God and witnesses, we would be a better people. There would be little or no infidelity among us. Divorce would almost entirely disappear. So much of heartache and heartbreak would be avoided. There would be a greater measure of peace and love and happiness in our homes. There would be fewer weeping wives and weeping children. There would be a greater measure of appreciation and of mutual respect among us. And I am confident the Lord would smile with greater favor upon us.”
With all of this in mind, a few moments’ thought should make it obvious why temples are not open to the public. In my whole life I have never heard a church member refer to a temple as “secret.” The term of choice is “sacred,” and Mormons understand the difference. It is important for Latter-day Saints to maintain that sacredness. Large “visitors welcome” signs routinely flank our chapels, but they are not to be found at temples, other than those few that have adjacent visitors’ centers. Rather than places for casual visits from the public, temples are places where we continue a spiritual journey already begun. While we do not invite the public into the temple, we do invite sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect for the sacred – values which are sadly diminishing even in our religiously pluralistic society.
Micheal Otterson is an On Faith panelist for The Washington Post
For The Family
I only think of the things I want to do, and I haven’t done.”
“Happyis the man that hath his quiverfull of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Ps. 127: 5
The seed of Abraham are People who, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, receive the promises and covenants made by God to Abraham. Men and women may receive these blessings if they are literally of Abraham’s lineage or if they are adopted into his family by embracing the gospel and being baptized.
Just as Abraham with the Ark of the Covenant was sealed so that his wife and posterity would be with him for all eternity, we also marry for all eternity with the same Priesthood powers and covenants at the altars in
The House of The Lord, our Temples.
Son of Amoz, a prophet in Jerusalem during 40 years, 740-701 B.C. He had great religious and political influence during the reign of Hezekiah, whose chief advisor he was. Tradition states that he was “sawn asunder” during the reign of Manasseh; for that reason he is often represented in art holding a saw.
Isaiah is the most quoted of all the prophets, being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John (in his Revelation) than any other Old Testament prophet.
Likewise the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants quote from Isaiah more than from any other prophet. The Lord told the Nephites that “great are the words of Isaiah,” and that all things Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel and of the gentiles would be fulfilled (3 Ne. 23: 1-3).
The writings of Isaiah deal with events of his day as well as events beyond his time, some of which have already come to pass and others are yet to be.
The bulk of Isaiah’s prophecies deal with the coming of the Redeemer,
He is "The Way".
both in his first appearance (“For unto us a child is born,” Isa. 9: 6) and as the Great King at the last day, as the God of Israel. A major theme is that God requires righteousness of his people, and until they obey him they will be smitten and scattered by their enemies. But in the end, Israel will be restored; the barren land will be made fruitful and able to support a large population; and the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, will dwell in the midst of his people, who will be called Zion.
Some notable references are the following: Ch. 1, which is a prologue to the rest of the book; Isa. 7: 14; Isa. 9: 6-7; Isa. 11: 1-5; Isa. 53: 1-12; and Isa. 61: 1-3, which foreshadow the mission of the Savior; chs. 2, 11, 12, and 35, which deal with events in the latter day, when the gospel is restored, Israel is gathered, and the thirsty land blossoms as the rose; ch. 29, an exposition of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (cf. 2 Ne. 27); and chs. 40 – 46, which extol the superiority of Jehovah as the true God over the idol gods of the pagan worshippers.
The remaining chs., 47 – 66, deal with events in the final restoration of Israel, the cleansing of the earth, and the establishment of Zion, with the Lord dwelling among his people.
A major difficulty in understanding the book of Isaiah is his extensive use of symbolism, as well as his prophetic foresight and literary style; these take many local themes (which begin in his own day) and extend them to a latter-day fulfillment or application. Consequently, some prophecies are probably fulfilled more than one time and/or have more than one application.
Some notable references to Isaiah in the N.T. are Luke 4: 16-21; John 1: 23; Acts 8: 26-35; 1 Cor. 2: 9; 1 Cor. 15: 54-56. When the angel Moroni came to Joseph Smith on September 21-22, 1823, he quoted Isa. 11 and said it was about to be fulfilled (JS-H 1: 40).
The reader today has no greater written commentary and guide to understanding Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.
As one understands these works better he will understand Isaiah better, and as one understands Isaiah better, he more fully comprehends the mission of the Savior, and the meaning of the covenant that was placed upon
Abraham and his seed by which all the families of the earth would be blessed.
“And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through alleternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” D&C 132: 19
Just like Abraham of Old.
“Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.
This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.
Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.” D&C 132: 29-33
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Just as Abraham was married by the new and everlasting covenant and was sealed to his wife by the Spirit of Promise for all eternity with exaltation and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever, those worthy couples that marry for time and all eternity in the House of the Lord or our Temples are also given these same covenants, promises, and blessings. These truths and covenants are the same as Abrahams and have once again been restored to the earth.