We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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Here we are living in ‘a great and dreadful day’ with higher learning and so many comforts of life. We have access to so much information and can advance so fast in society. Yet, there are still so many who struggle and suffer, especially for knowledge and truth about their origin and destiny. One of the most important needs we have is the knowledge of who we are, why we are here and where we came from; religion.
If people would just stop and think about life and see those that are truly happy, they will find it is because they have searched their hearts with prayer and in their minds with studying and reading good books, have found peace within knowing that God is there; realizing He has provided the way to return as His children with with an eternal plan where marriages and families can be together forever! May I share?
Over the history of this world, there have been many religious leaders who felt inspired and caused many people to follow. Each of us has the right to learn with the freedom and power to choose ’The Way’ we wish to live our lives and believe. That’s why we came here. They also become set and immoveable and will not hear or listen to many truths that have come forth. If the world only knew what they were missing!
Here are 10 facts about 12 major religions.
These pages summarise the main features of the 12 largest world religions, which together are followed by almost 80% of the world’s population. These beliefs are described without passing any judgment on their truth or otherwise. Not included here are so-called “tribal” and African religions (6%), spiritism, the Eastern religions Cao Dai and Juche (less than 1% in total) and non religious (16%). Source for numbers is www.adherents.com.
Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islam
K’ung Fu-tzu (Confucius)
Brahmins – the priestly class of the invading Aryans
Place & time
Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria), 1860s CE
Nepal, 500 BCE
Palestine, 30 CE
China 500 BCE
India, about 1500 BCE
Arabia, 620 CE
Local religion at the time
Judaism & Roman polytheism
Evolved from more primitive beliefs
Writings of Baha’u'llah & others – principally Kitab-l-Aqdas
Teachings of the Buddha written down much later & not treated as revelation
Bible, especially the New Testament
K’ung Fu-tzu’s writings
Many writings, mainly the Vedas (1000 BCE) & Upanishads (500 BCE)
Qur’an, written down by Muhammed
No. of adherents worldwide
400 million (combined with Taoism)
Nature of religion
Monotheism with revealed teachings – fulfils Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Dharmic. Way of life to achieve enlightenment
Monotheism with revealed teachings – fulfils Judaism
Taoic. Social & political ethics
Dharmic. Devotional rituals & tradition to achieve release from cycle of rebirth.
Monotheism with revealed beliefs – mixture of corporate & personal worship and ethics
Nature of God(s)
Monotheistic, ethical, personal
Pantheistic & impersonal – life force (Brahmin) and many gods/aspects
Monotheistic, personal, ethical
How to please God(s)
Eightfold Path between extremes of asceticism & materialism
Repentance & faith in Jesus
Devotion, good works, knowledge & yoga to reduce karma (caused by bad behaviour) & maya (illusion)
Five Pillars – profession of faith, prayer/worshp, alms, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca
Rewards & punishments
Life is a preparation for the next life (does this mean everyone enters afterlife?)
Life of acceptance & Nirvana
Life with God in this world and the next (or not)
Cycle of rebirth until karma dissolved & released.
Paradise for believers
Prayer & meditation leading to action – little emphasis on ritual (no churches or priests). Informal meeting every 19 days + festivals
Meditation, disciplined living to reduce suffering (recognising “impermanence, suffering & no-self”)
Weekly meetings, sharing faith & serving others
Respect for ancestors
Temples as homes to deities & shrines,
priests & rituals, individual holy men
Five Pillars, Friday prayers at mosque, ritual washing and prayers
With all of this confusion in the world and deciding what to believe, is there any wonder why there are so many religions today? It is not God’s fault but man’s.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
At some point in each of our lives we will each ask these questions:
Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?
When God created this world, he gave Adam and Eve all of the knowledge they needed with answers to these questions. He even walked and talked with them in the Garden of Eden. Many of those truths have since been lost, distorted, and misinterpreted over time causing so many people in the world to have no religion at all; athiest.
Many precious parts were taken out of the Bible during the days of Constantine about 300-400 AD and are missing. But are those truths lost? No.
Jesus Christ gave his words to all that would hear. And for that, He was Crucified. But, after Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven, which is Paradise; a holding place where we go after death until judgement day. He also returned and visited several peoples (or ‘sheep‘, He being the Shepherd) of various nations around the world and gave them His word and covenants, letting them know that He was also their Savior and Redeemer. He commanded them to write His words as a record to come forth at such a time as this when He knew there would be much confusion.
Some records have come already come forth and several others will soon be coming forth.
Those records or books have and will reveal many of the ‘lost’ promising truths and covenants, and blessings for which many religions have no answers.
God Created all things spiritually BEFORE He created them physically.
“And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.”Moses 2:27
“… And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;” Moses 3:5
“And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.”Moses 3:7
Many ‘Plain and precious truths and doctrines’ of the gospel have been restored:
‘We are NOThuman beings having Spiritual experiences.
We ARESpiritual beings having human experiences.’
It is my testimony that God lives and that He created this world with its Creation, Fall and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and worlds without number along with God-given laws, ordinances and doctrines. His plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God (2 Ne. 2:9), a glory of the celestial, which excels in all things – where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever. D&C 76:92. The scriptures also refer to this plan as the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness, and the plan of mercy.
We lived before as spirit children of God and battled in heaven over good and evil. One third of those spirit children followed Satan and were cast out of heaven with Satan into everlasting darkness. Those that won that war chose to come to this earth, to progress and become more like our Heavenly Parents by gaining a physical body and becoming creators of life ourselves.
We are here on earth to be tested as a ‘natural man’ (which is an enemy of God), to gain intelligence (which is the Glory of God), and to be tempted by Satan once again over good and evil and to make choices that will directly effect one’s future; and mansion in heaven where one goes to live after we die, and are judged on condition of living forever in a resurrected state, not subject to physical death. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:13
This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, John 17:3 (D&C 132:24). We must fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim. 6:12) People are free to choose liberty and eternal life, (2 Ne. 2:27) (Hel. 14:31). To be spiritually minded is life eternal. (2 Ne. 9:39) Then are ye in the narrow path that leads to eternal life. (2 Ne. 31:17–20) God gives eternal life to the obedient, (Moses 5:11).
To believe in Christ and endure to the end is life eternal,2 Ne. 33:4 (3 Ne. 15:9). He that hath eternal life is rich, D&C 6:7 (D&C 11:7). Eternal life is the greatest of all the gifts of God, D&C 14:7 (Rom. 6:23). The righteous will receive peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, D&C 59:23 Those who endure to the end shall have a crown of eternal life, D&C 66:12 (D&C 75:5). If the marriage of a man and a woman has been sealed in the house of the Lord, they and their offspring will be together eternally as a family.
All who die without the gospel who would have received it had they lived are heirs of the celestial kingdom, D&C 137:7–9. This is all a part of God’s eternal Plan of life for His children because “God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, Moses 1:39; ’man’ refers to all mankind, both male and female. All men and women are the literal, spiritual offspring of a Heavenly Father. When they are born into mortality, they receive physical, mortal bodies. These bodies were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27). Men and women who are faithful in receiving the necessary ordinances, keeping their covenants, and obeying God’s commands will enter into their exaltation and become as God. And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father. D&C 81:6.
Have you ever seen a baby chick that didn’t become a chicken? A pony always becomes a horse? We as children become like our parents. ”Like Father like son; like Mother like daughter”.
I hope this has made you think about what you might be missing and that you will reach within for answers that are real. Again remember, ‘God is NOT the author of confusion’. I invite you to pray with real intent that you may enter into the rest of the Lord. The Spirit of Christ can be with you and enable you to know good from evil. Satan persuades men to deny Christ and do evil. The prophets manifest the coming of Christ with faith, miracles are wrought and angels will minister unto you. All mankind shoud hope for eternal life and cleave unto charity always doing good.
This I know to be true,
Strengthening The Family – Spiritually
As we begin this new year of 2013, I found myself reading the scriptures and was impressed with how God has spoken to us and told us how we can make correct choices and know what is good or evil; that there are opposites in all things and everything can fit into one or the other categories.
We are at a critical path in time of this world when correct choices are most important as they will deternine our lives success and destiny. We are being bombarded and marketed by forces from both sides of truth as we live in these “great and dreadful days”.
As a husband, a father and grandfather, and one who has been most blessed to have see the world and meet so many people of all nationalities, colors and creeds, and to have many of them become my friends, I feel the need to “open my mouth”. (D&C 60:2) Also as a publisher of truth for the family, which is the basic unit of society and of God’s children which we all are, I feel the need to speak out that it might cause you to ponder about the course of life that we each are taking and to help us all realize whether we are being led towards light and truth or towards darkness and misery. God told us how we can tell!
As recorded in the scriptures, God is speaking to those “that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hopeby which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.”
We must remember “the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. For behold, God hath said a man being evilcannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold, if a man beingevil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with realintent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”
This has been the case since the beginning of time and it is the same today! Now, here is a warning!
“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evilto be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”
This is the way!
“Whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know thelight by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.”
As we make our New Year’s resolutions, may we look deeper into our lives and see if there are things that should be removed or things that should be included in our daily pursuit of happiness. Let’s ask of ourselves:
Am I spending more time with those that I love?
Is my home like a house of God, and is love spoken here?
Is my mind being filled with violent media and crude entertainment, or is it being uplifted with knowledge of truth and reighteousness?
Do I have faith, hope and charity and do unto others as I would want them to do unto me?
Have I told my spouse and children how much I love them?
Do I fill my body with stimulants and garbage instead of whole and healthy foods with excercise to making it stronger?
Do I know who I am, why I am here, and where I am going after this life?
Do I pray and give thanks for the blessings I receive and reach out to others with a charitable heart and time?
The only things that we take with us after this life is our knowledge, experiences, our works, and the family with those we love.
I know that God lives and that Jesus is The Way; The One who will bring us together to live in peace and harmony.
I extend my prayers and blessings upon all those who follow us here at TheFamily.com and though we gift it freely, we make many friends and pray that we may touch some lives and hearts for good.
You are always welcome here and we hope that you will feel like a second home for you. We will be here for you and will always leave the light on, for good.
In closing, I leave you with what God has said to us:
“How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope. And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure loveof Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purifiedeven as he is pure. Amen.”
The resurrection is the reuniting of the spirit body with the physical body of flesh and bones after death. After resurrection, the spirit and body will never again be separated, and the person will become immortal. Every person born on earth will be resurrected because Jesus Christ overcame death. 1 Cor. 15:20–22
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (or intelligence) 1 Corinthians 15:41
. . . So Also Is The Resurrection.
“That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.
And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestialkingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.
And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—” D&C 88:20–32
May we all continue to learn more truth and light until we have received the fulness of truth and live what we have learned so that we may be able to live in the Celestial Glory where God dwells for time and for all eternity. God is not the author of confusion. Nor can God dwell in a place where there is anything unholy or wicked. Just like levels of light, they are all truth, but the fulness of truth AND LIGHT, you will attain the highest kingdom of Glory just as the glory of the sun which is the fullness of light. ”Seek and ye shall find.” ”Knock, andit shall be opened unto you.“
“Strengthening The Family – Spiritually”
For The Family
“Best speech given by anyone, anywhere in the last 5 years—” David Horowitz
“Because they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever”. 2 Nephi 2:26
Without the Atonement, there could be no freedom: “We proclaim the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ . . . is to all people; it is the message of deliverance from sin and its sorrow, the decree of liberty, the charter of freedom.” James E. Talmage
As with each of the other blessings of the Atonement, this one does not stand alone. It complements, supplements, and overlaps others.
In truth, the freest of all beings is God himself. “God could not make men like himself without making them free,” said David O. McKay.
It is a greater manifestation of divine power to make beings that can make themselves than to make beings that cannot, for the former are men and the latter are puppets, and puppets after all are only things.” Dr. Iverach, a Scottish philosopher.
GOD MAKES MEN FREE
Freedom is described as the power or agency to act for oneself. “The Lord god gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Nephi 2:16) (D&C 29:35) (Moses 4:3)
Man could never enjoy the full powers of agency without the intervention of God. Samuel told the people of Zarahemla, “Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves,” and then he added, “He [God] hath made your free” (Helaman 14:30). Under Christ ye are made free. “And there is no other head whereby ye can be made free” (Mosiah 5:8) The Savior taught that true freedom comes “if the Son . . . shall make your free” (John 8:36). Paul urged the saints of Galatia to retain their “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1).
THE FOUR COMPONENTS OF FREEDOM
How does God endow us with agency, and what part does the Atonement play in making us free? This is best understood by dissecting freedom into its four principal components, namely the need for an intelligent being, a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry out such choices.
The need for an intelligent being. Simply stated, there can be no freedom without a decision maker, an intelligent being. Man is a conscious, thinking entity, thus fulfilling the first requirement for freedom.
The need for a knowledge of good and evil. Man’s initial knowledge of good and evil was triggered at the time of the Fall. The Lord said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22) Eve said, “Were it not for our transgression we … never should have known good and evil” (Moses 5:11) Absent that grant of knowledge, Adam and Eve would have been confined to a state of innocence. It was a vital link, but it was the beginning – the gateway to knowledge. The scriptures reveal that “the eyes of them both were opened” (Genesis 3:7). This was essential, but it was only the commencement, not the end of the road. With increased knowledge comes the opportunity for increased freedom. The Savior’s testimony to the scribes and Pharisees: “Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). They retorted, “We . . . were never in bondage to any man” (John 8:33). How wrong they were. They had secular knowledge, but not the spiritual truth that makes man free. The essence of freedom is to know the Savior and obey his truths. As we do so, we become free from prejudice, falsehood, sin, contention, and every other injurious practice or evil nature known to man. The Fall opened the gate to the road of knowledge, but it was the Atonement that provided the vehicle to proceed through the Atonement where we are cleansed in the waters of baptism, making us eligible for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is such a gift that “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). As we come to know the Savior and his truths we enlarge our capacity for freedom. This is so because knowledge is power; and power, in its consummate expression is godhood; and godhood is the quintessence of freedom.
The third element of freedom is the availability of choices. Only to the human being did the Creator say, “…thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee . . .(Moses 3:17) Were it not for the Atonement, there would have been no choice between eternal life and eternal damnation. The Fall would have opened the gate to one road and one road only. The Atonement is the means of deliverance, the means of freeing our bodies from the grave and our spirits from hell, of offering another road, another choice, another option. The message is clear. We can accept the Atonement, a choice that leads to eternal life (the ultimate in freedom); or we can choose the way of the Evil One, a choice that leads to destruction, chains, and captivity (the ultimate in bondage). As we choose the Lord, he gives us more rope; as we choose Satan, he tightens the noose until we are in his grasp. “Ye are free to act for yourselves – - to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (2 Nephi 10:23). That freedom of choice comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The one element yet lacking for a fullness of freedom is the power to execute or carry out the choices before us. We may have knowledge of good and evil; we may even have choices placed before us; but unless we have power to execute, the power to fulfill, then our freedom is but a façade. The issue is not choice. The issue is simply power – the power to see and hear and do without restraint. While God is certainly a proponent of earthly knowledge, he also wants us to know that powers of a higher source flow from the acquisition of spiritual truths. It is this spiritual power that parted the Red Sea. That caused the sun to “stand still,” rivers to change their course, and mountains to flee (Exodus 14:21-29; Joshua 10:12-14; Moses 7:13) This power is of such magnitude that it has penetrated and softened even the hearts of those who were known to be “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14) Both earthly and spiritual power (which ultimately are but one power) constitute the power of godhood, for gods “have all power” (D&C 132:20) With each new power acquired, we develop greater control not only of the elements but of our destiny. In this way, we become the driver, not the driven – - the cause rather than the effect. We act for ourselves rather than being “acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26) ; and in this manner we become free. While knowledge is essential to the acquisition of power, there is yet another ingredient, often ignored, and sometimes even ridiculed, that is a prerequisite to receiving the “higher” powers – - those powers necessary to enjoy a fullness of freedom. It is obedience.
OBEDIENCE – A KEY TO FREEDOM
Some might contend that freedom comes when there are no laws or restraints. They contend that freedom in its purest form is the right to do anything, anytime, anywhere, without consequence. About twenty-five hundred years ago it was prophesied of those misguided souls who would teach, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7) Does it not seem ironic that such a philosophy is authored by the master slave himself? It was he who was cast out of heaven, who was deprived of a body, who will be bound a thousand years, and who will ultimately be banished to outer darkness. The freedom he promises is illusory; it is a mirage on the desert; it is the very condition that has always eluded his grasp. It was the same lie promulgated by Cain after he slew his brother Abel: “I am free” he said (Moses 5:33) In truth, he was never in more bondage. He was the servant, even the slave of sin.
How then does the Lord propose to make us free? The answer is obedience. Contrary to the belief of many, obedience is not the antithesis of freedom, but the foundation of it. There are two freedoms; the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought. Commandments are no more restrictive to the spiritual man than street signs are to the motorist. Neither prohibits our progress; to the contrary, they enhance it by serving as guideposts or directional signs to help us find and reach our destination. “We are too inclined to think of law as something merely restrictive; the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. God does not contradict himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritation, restrictive rules. He made man free – and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them – or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God.” Cecil B. De Mille.
Freedom requires a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry them out. Each of these is enhanced by obedience to God’s will. As we obey God’s laws we receive increased knowledge of God’s plan, and with increased knowledge comes increased capacity for freedom. Obedience broadens the lost of our choices. It generates power; power comes by obedience. We gain power over the elements as we obey the laws of God. Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel brings increased knowledge, a multiplicity of choices and an enhanced power to execute, all of which results in added freedom.
The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life or death, happiness or misery, is to those who are exalted where there are no bounds or limits to their privileges.
Have you ever thought about the amount of light and energy generated by our sun? The amount is almost beyond comprehension. Yet the heat and light that we receive come as a free gift from God.
The light from the sun breaks through space, bathing our planet as it encircles the sun with life-giving warmth and light. Without the sun, there could be no life on this planet; it would be forever barren, cold, and dark.
As the sun gives life and light to the earth, a spiritual light gives nourishment to our spirits. We call this the Light of Christ. The scriptures teach us that it “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Thus, all mankind can enjoy its blessings. The Light of Christ is the divine influence that allows every man, woman, and child to distinguish between good and evil. It encourages all to choose the right, to seek eternal truth, and to learn again the truths that we knew in our premortal existence but have forgotten in mortality.
The Light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the Light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The Light of Christ will lead the honest soul to “hearkeneth to the voice”.
The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, a separate and distinct member of the Godhead. He is a witness or testifier of the power of God, the divinity of Christ, and the truth of the restored gospel. Many throughout history in all nations have sought diligently to commune with the heavens and gain the light of gospel truth. They have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost confirm the truth of the gospel.
“There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this … ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him.”
The Lord calls the gift of the Holy Ghost “the unspeakable gift.” It is the source of testimony and spiritual gifts. It enlightens minds, fills our souls with joy, teaches us all things, and brings forgotten knowledge to our remembrance. The Holy Ghost also “will show unto us all things what we should do.”
It is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world.
How great a blessing it is to have the ministering influence of a member of the Godhead.” Think of what this means, the ability and the right to receive the ministrations of a member of the Godhead, to commune with infinite wisdom, infinite knowledge, and infinite power!
As with all gifts, this gift must be received and accepted to be enjoyed. Scriptures warn us that the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. The Holy Ghost will warn us of danger, and it will inspire us to help others in need. We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice. When it speaks, wise men and women obey. Promptings of the Spirit are not to be postponed.”
I once had the opportunity to tour a large cave. While there, the guide turned off the lights for a moment to demonstrate what it was like to be in total darkness. It was an amazing experience. I put my hand an inch from my eyes and could not see it. It was frightening in a way. I was relieved when the lights were turned back on.
As light penetrates the darkness and makes physical things visible, so does the Holy Ghost penetrate the spiritual darkness that surrounds us and make plainly visible spiritual things that once were hidden. The Apostle Paul taught that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Some are distracted by the things of the world that block out the influence of the Holy Ghost, preventing them from recognizing spiritual promptings. This is a noisy and busy world that we live in. Remember that being busy is not necessarily being spiritual. If we are not careful, the things of this world can crowd out the things of the Spirit.
Some are spiritually deadened and past feeling because of their choices to commit sin. Others simply hover in spiritual complacency with no desire to rise above themselves and commune with the Infinite.
If they would open their hearts to the refining influence of this unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, a glorious new spiritual dimension would come to light. Their eyes would gaze upon a vista scarcely imaginable. They could know for themselves things of the Spirit that are choice, precious, and capable of enlarging the soul, expanding the mind, and filling the heart with inexpressible joy.
More than ever before we need to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead us right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you what to do and where to go. Keep hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it.
Do we turn away the still, small voice? Do we do things that offend the Holy Ghost? Do we allow influences into our homes that drive the Spirit from our homes? The type of entertainment that we permit into our homes will certainly have an impact on the power of the Holy Ghost. Much of the entertainment of the world is offensive to the Holy Ghost. Surely we should not watch movies or television shows that are filled with violence, vulgar language, and immorality.
I invite you to ponder individually in a humble and prayerful manner and ask yourself: “Do I have the Spirit in my life? Am I happy? Am I doing anything in my life that is offensive to the Spirit and preventing the Holy Ghost from being my constant companion?” Have the courage to repent, if needed, and again enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Do we enjoy the influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes? Are we doing anything as a family that is offensive to the Spirit? Can we more effectively invite the Holy Ghost into our homes?
Our homes need to be more Christ-centered.
We should spend less time in the pursuit of pleasure. We should lower the noise level in our homes so that the noise of the world will not overpower the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. One of our greatest goals as parents should be to enjoy the power and influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes. We should pray and study the scriptures. We could sing the hymns to invite the Holy Ghost into our home. Regular family home evening together will also help.
In these perilous times, we need this unspeakable gift in our lives. We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do.
We can distinguish the gift of the Holy Ghost from all other spirits, for “it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God.”
A friend of mine once told me about his experience in coming to know and understand the gift of the Holy Ghost. He had prayed often and longed to know the truth.
Although he felt at peace with his beliefs, he had never received the certain knowledge for which he hungered. He had reconciled himself to the fact that he might be one of those who would have to walk through this life relying upon the faith of others.
One morning, while pondering the scriptures, he felt something surge through his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. “I was immersed in a feeling of such intense love and pure joy,” he explained. “I cannot describe the measure of what I felt at that time other than to say I was enveloped in joy so profound there was no room in me for any other sensation.”
I urge you with all the tenderness of my heart—do not resist the truth any longer. Give place in your hearts to this heavenly light. Have faith, repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you too shall receive this unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.
If we would open our hearts to the refining influence of this unspeakable gift, a glorious new spiritual dimension would come to light.