Saturday, January 31, 2009
Jesus established his church when he was on the earth. It was called the Church of Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 27:8), and the members were called Saints. Through the persecution and death of Church leaders and the general wickedness of the people, the Church of Jesus Christ was taken from the earth.
Today, the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored, and the Church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of the offices and functions of the Church in the days of Jesus are present in the Church today.
SOME FEATURES THAT IDENTIFY THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
When Jesus established his church, he personally instructed and directed its leaders. He, in turn, received his instructions from his Father in Heaven. Thus the Church of Jesus Christ was directed by God and not by men (see Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus Christ taught his followers that revelation was the "rock" upon which he would build his Church (see Matthew 16:16-18).
Before Jesus went into heaven after his resurrection, he told his apostles: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). True to his word, he continued to guide them from heaven. He sent the Holy Ghost to be a comforter and a revelator to them (see Luke 12:12; John 14.26). He spoke to Saul in a vision (see Acts 9:3-6). He revealed to Peter that the gospel should be taught, not only to many glorious truths to John. These are written in the Book of Revelation. The New Testament records many other ways in which Jesus revealed his will to guide his church and enlighten his disciples.
AUTHORITY FROM GOD
The ordinances and principles of the gospel cannot be administered and taught without the priesthood. The Father gave this authority to Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 5:4-6) and Jesus Christ, in turn ordained his apostles and gave them the power and authority of the priesthood (see Luke 9:1-2; Mark 3:14). He reminded them: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you" (John 15:16).
That there might b e order in his church, Jesus gave the greatest responsibility to the twelve apostles. Peter was appointed chief apostle, and Jesus gave to him the keys to seal blessings both on earth and in heaven (Matthew 16:19). Jesus ordained other officers also with specific duties to perform. After he ascended to heaven, the pattern of appointment and ordination was continued. Others were ordained to the priesthood, but only by those who had already received that authority. Jesus made it known through the Holy Ghost that he approved of those ordinations (Acts 1:24).
THE CHURCH ORGANIZATION
The Church of Jesus Christ was a carefully organized unit. It was compared to a perfectly formed building which was "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20).
Jesus appointed other priesthood leaders to assist the apostles in the work of the ministry. He sent officers called seventies in pairs to preach the gospel (see Luke 10:1). Other officers in the Church were evangelists (patriarchs), pastors (presiding leaders), high priests, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons (see chapter 14, "Priesthood Organization"). These officers were all necessary in order to do missionary work, to perform the ordinances, and to instruct and inspire Church members. They helped the members to "a unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (Ephesians 4:11-13).
The Bible does not tell us everything concerning the priesthood or the organization and government of the Church. However, enough of the Bible has been preserved to show the beauty and perfection of the Church organization. The apostles were commanded to go into all the world and preach. They could not stay in any one city to supervise new converts. Therefore, local priesthood leaders were called and ordained, and the Apostles presided over them. The apostles visited and wrote letters to the leaders in the various branches. Thus, our New Testament contains letters written by the apostles Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude giving counsel and instruction to the local priesthood leaders.
The New Testament shows that this Church organization was intended to continue. For example, the death of Judas left only eleven apostles. Soon after Jesus had ascended to heaven, the eleventh apostles met together. They wanted to choose someone to take the place of Judas. Through revelation from the Holy Ghost they chose Matthias (see Acts 1:23-26). Later, other apostles died or were killed. Paul, Barnabas, and James, the brother of the Lord, were all ordained in their places. Jesus had set a pattern for twelve apostles to govern the Church. It seemed clear that the organization was to continue as he had established it.
FIRST PRINCIPLES AND ORDINANCES
The apostles preached the gospel wherever they went. They taught the people two basic principles: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. After new converts had faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Redeemer and had repented of their sins, they received two basic ordinances: baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. These were the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. They applied to every person who desired to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus had taught them: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Everyone needed these saving ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
ORDINANCES PERFORMED FOR THE DEAD
The Church of Jesus Christ provided for everyone to accept the gospel, whether it was preached to them on earth or after the gospel, whether it was preached to them on earth or after death. Between the time of his death and his resurrection, Jesus went among the spirits of those who had died. He organized missionary work among those who were dead. He appointed righteous messengers and gave them power to teach the gospel to all the spirits of men. This gave them an opportunity to accept the gospel (see 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6; see also Joseph F. Smith—Vision of the Redemption of the Dead (Pearl of Great Price). Living members of his church then performed ordinances in behalf of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29). Such ordinances as baptism and ordinations must be done on the earth.
All faithful members of the Church were entitled to receive gifts of the Spirit. These were given to them according to their individual needs, capacities, and assignments. Some of these gifts were faith, including both the power to heal and to be healed; prophecy; and visions. The gifts of the Spirit are discussed in more detail in chapter 22. Spiritual gifts always exist in the true church of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Jesus told his disciples that these signs or spiritual gifts always follow them that believe (Mark 16:17-18). In his name, many of his disciples did perform miracles, prophesied, or beheld visions through the power of the Holy Ghost.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE AMERICAS
After Jesus was resurrected, he visited the people in America and organized his church among them (see 3 Nephi 11-28). Then he left them and ascended into heaven. For over 200 years, they lived righteously and were among the happiest people who had been created by the hand of god (see 4 Nephi 16).
APOSTASY FROM THE TRUE CHURCH
Throughout history, evil men have tried to destroy the work of God. This happened while the apostles were still alive and supervising the young growing Church. Some of the members taught ideas from their old pagan or Jewish beliefs instead of the simple truths taught by Jesus. In addition to this, there was persecution from outside the Church. Church members were tortured and killed for their beliefs. One by one, the apostles were killed. Because of the persecution, surviving apostles could not meet to choose and ordain men to replace those who were dead. Eventually, local priesthood leaders were the only ones who had authority to direct the various, scattered branches of the Church. The perfect organization of the Church no longer existed, and confusion resulted. More and more error crept into Church doctrine, and soon the destruction of the Church was complete. The period of time when the true church no longer existed on earth is called the Great Apostasy.
Soon pagan beliefs dominated the thinking of those called ‘Christians." The Roman emperor adopted this false "Christianity" as the state religion. This church was very different from the church Jesus organized. Members of this church believed that God was a being without form or substance.
These people lost the understanding of his love for us. They did not know that we are his children. They did not understand the purpose of life. Many of the ordinances were changed, because the priesthood and revelation were no longer on the earth.
The emperor chose his own leaders and called them by the same titles used by priesthood leaders in the true Church of Christ. Church officers were given honor and wealth. Bishops and archbishops fought among themselves to gain more power. There were no apostles or other priesthood leaders with power from God and no spiritual gifts. The prophet Isaiah had foreseen that this condition would come about. He had prophesied: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they had transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant" (Isaiah 24:5). It was the Church of Jesus Christ no longer; it was a church of men. Even the name had been changed. In the Americas, apostasy also occurred (see 4 Nephi).
A RESTORATION FORETOLD
God had foreseen what would happen, and he had prepared for the gospel to be restored. The apostle Peter spoke of this to the Jews: "He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:20-21)
John the Revelator had also foreseen the time when the gospel would be restored. He said: "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:6).
Read Daniel 2:44-45. What did Daniel see? Explain that the Church is the "stone" mentioned in this scripture.
Sing "High on a Mountain Top."
Ephesians 12:19-31 (Church likened to a perfect body)
Hebrews 11:6 (faith necessary)
Luke 10:1 Acts 14:23. Titus 1:7. 1 Timothy 2:7 (officers of Church identitied)
John 8:26—29 (the Father directs Jesus)
Luke 9:1 James 1:17; 5:14-15 (spiritual gifts)
2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 24: 9-12; John 16:1-3; Amos 8:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (apostasy predicted)
Daniel 2:44-45; Matthew 24:14; Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:2-4 (restoration predicted)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Two of my favorite verses of scripture are found in the Doctrine & Covenants. The Lord gives us fundamental counsel and the promise of personal peace when He said , “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear ” [D&C 38:30] and “… prepare every needful thing.” [D&C 88:199]
Today is a time to prepare.
As 2008 draws to a close, for each of us this should be a time of cheerful season festivities and spirited anticipation for a bright new year. Regrettably, I am having a hard time with either – as I watch our great nation slowly commit economic and moral suicide. An associate recently remarked to me that he couldn't wait for 2008 to end so we could begin 2009 and “a better year.” For a host of reasons, my view of 2009 is just the opposite.
Succinctly put, things are bad – yet for many we are being “lulled away into carnal security”, saying “ All is well in Zion ; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well —and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” [2 Ne. 28:21] For those who will not heed the words of prophets past and present, this hell may at a minimum become a crushing financial hell.
The worst financial crisis in two generations has erased $23 trillion, or 38 percent, of the market's value. As a band aid solution, your money that's been pledged by Congress is already equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It's nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country's mortgages.
Without a miracle – which I do not yet see anywhere on the horizon – 2009 is going to be a financially disastrous year for America and for Americans. To protect ourselves and our families, to know the real facts has now become urgent and imperative. As Marq de Villiers said, “Good information is the best antidote.”
Talking heads on cable television tell us the worst is over, things are looking up, and 2009 will be rosy. Nonsense! A recent banner headline in the San Francisco Chronicle screams “Financial Armageddon” – yet it referred only to the state of California 's state government. It could just as well describe our entire national economy.
Financial Experts See Trouble
The list of respected financial experts who now foresee formidable challenges and a crumbling of our historic economic model is numerous and growing.
John Whitehead, former Goldman Sachs chairman and former Under Secretary of State bluntly says:
* “I think it would be worse than the depression.”
* “I see nothing but large increases in the deficit, all of which are serving to decrease the credit standing of America .”
* “I just want to get people thinking about this, and to realize this is a road to disaster.”
* “I've always been a positive person and optimistic, but I don't see a solution here.”
Whitehead predicted it could take "several years" for the current mess to be resolved. “Before I go to sleep at night, I wonder if tomorrow is the day Moody's and S&P will announce a downgrade of U.S. government bonds," he said. "Eventually U.S. government bonds would no longer be the triple-A credit that they've always been."
Eugene Ludwig, former Comptroller of the Currency, concurs:
* “We're dealing with a crisis that makes the S&L crisis look like a peanut.”
* “The financial system rescue will ultimately cost trillions of dollars, certainly if you count the federal economic stimulus.”
According to Olivier Blanchard, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, who told the Swiss business newspaper Finanz and Wirtschaft:
* “The worst is yet to come.”
* “A lot of time is needed before the situation becomes normal.”
And he predicts economic growth will not begin to recover until 2010 and the global financial situation won't return to normal until 2011.
Another warning voice is multi-billionaire George Soros. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Soros gave an ominous prediction: "A deep recession is now inevitable and the possibility of a depression cannot be ruled out."
If they weren't enough, our nation's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has broken historic tactfulness and customary discretion in saying “This is a humbling, humbling time for the United States of America,” calling this ” our worse financial disaster ever.”
The respected German magazine Spiegel wrote that “it really does look as if the foundations of U.S. capitalism have shattered.”
Ethan Harris, co-head of U.S. economic research at Barclays Capital Inc. and a former economist at the New York Federal Reserve, says “This is the worst capital markets crisis in modern history.”
Even President George W. Bush, speaking at the G-20 economic crisis meeting, raised the possibility of a depression that could exceed the Great Depression. “We are faced with the prospect of a global meltdown.”
If those voices aren't enough to convince us that we are in a financial pickle of extraordinary danger, nothing will. There are so many colliding forces it's hard to know where to start, so I'll just start with facts. Our nation's second president, John Adams, said it well: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." How loud do the facts need to shout before we wake up and realize just how gargantuan this economic train wreck is?
Household indebtedness has ballooned from $680 billion in 1974 to over $14 trillion today. Consumer debt alone is over $2.5 trillion, with the average household possessing 13 credit cards.
Across the nation, at every level of state and county and city government the budget woes are running wild. California 's budget deficit this year has ballooned to nearly $15 billion, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger warns that without action this year, the state could be staring at a deficit as great as $40 billion by June 2010. The State of New York faces a projected record $13.7 billion deficit in the state's 2009-2010 budget. Other states and municipalities are not far behind.
Remember when President Bush talked of returning the federal budget to surpluses by 2012? It won't happen now, and maybe never, as the thought of a balanced federal budget is nothing more than wishful thinking. No one with whom I've spoken in Washington really knows the real deficit amount anymore, though all agree the government's annual deficit will top a mind-boggling $1 trillion this fiscal year.
On top of all our recklessly ineffectual Congress has spent this year, it's expected when President-elect Barrack Obama assumes command in January that Congress will have yet another economic stimulus package ready to go – costing you, the taxpayer, another $500 billion or more. That's in addition to the hundreds of billions Congress and the Treasury have already spent.
The Congressional Budget Office put the deficit in October, the first month of fiscal 2009, at a staggering $232 billion. Its figure included $115 billion in bank stock purchases the Treasury Department made as part of the financial bailout. In just the first two months of the current fiscal year, the federal deficit totaled an astounding $401 billion. In November, the federal government ran a record budget deficit, on track to post an all-time high annual deficit of $1 trillion or more. Borrowing by the Treasury could top $2 trillion this year.
The national debt, which stood at about $5.7 trillion in 2007, topped the $10 trillion mark in October and now stands at about $10.6 trillion. All this when manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are now at the lowest level since 1942.
For the United States to run up even more debt – even as much as $7.76 trillion more – someone has to buy that debt. And there is only one country left on earth with that kind of cash, and that's China . Three months ago, China became our nation's largest creditor when Japan quit buying our Treasury junk notes.
China now holds about 10 percent of all U.S. public debt, and has, for all practical purposes, become America 's banker. That thought should scare us to death!
China 's foreign exchange reserves are calculated to be $2 trillion – this while the United States foreign exchange reserves are down to below $75 billion.
The only way all this government debt works is if China keeps buying Treasury bonds. But China is now embarking on its own internal financial stimulus package. Do we really think they can (or will) keep buying our debt at the same time? If China ceases to buy our debt, our political leaders have no backup plan. There is no other nation on the earth we can turn to. We all best keep our eye on China .
The Danger of Terrorist Attacks
If things aren't bad enough with the economy, the United States remains in constant danger from further and more devastating terrorist attacks. According to a bipartisan commission briefing to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, the United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or, more likely, biological weapons before 2013.
The Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism warns that pathogens and nuclear bombs can be obtained if terrorists find scientists willing to share or sell their know-how. The report states:
"The biological threat is greater than the nuclear; the acquisition of deadly pathogens, and their weaponization and dissemination in aerosol form, would entail fewer technical hurdles than the theft or production of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium and its assembly into an improvised nuclear device"
While anthrax remains the most likely biological weapon, contagious diseases — like the flu strain that killed 40 million at the beginning of the 20th century — are looming threats. That virus has been recreated in scientific labs, and no vaccination exists to protect against it.
"We think time is not our ally. The ( United States ) needs to move with a sense of urgency."
The sovereign nation of Iceland has already become the first nation to fall victim to the global financial crisis. Its three main banks are in receivership, yet in mid August the government declared all three “solid”. Iceland 's stock market has lost 90% of its value and the central bank is technically insolvent, its modest pile of assets dwarfed by a mountain of liabilities.
Icelandic households amassed debts exceeding 220% of disposable income – almost twice the proportion of American consumers. Net foreign debt as a percentage of Iceland 's GDP is 246%. Household debt as a percentage of annual income is an astounding 227%.
You may say, “We're not Iceland .” It would be better to ask yourself, “Can it happen here?”
Yes, it can. Will it? No one knows, but with each passing day the global economic catastrophe worsens and serious solutions remain evasive. It is not my desire to be an alarmist, but the indicators cannot be ignored.
Remain Faithful and True
In the recent October General Conference, President Boyd K. Packer counseled that “ Whatever tests lie ahead, and they will be many, we must remain faithful and true.”
Now, possibly more than ever before in our lifetime, each of us will do well to “remain faithful and true” and carefully heed the warning counsel of the Lord and His prophets. For “if [we] are prepared [we] shall not fear.”
Stephen M. Studdert has served as a White House advisor to three U.S. Presidents. In the Church he has served twice as a stake president and as a mission president. He is the author of America in Danger.
Monday, January 19, 2009
He was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Following his father's footsteps he was ordained a minister in 1947, but soon became the most prominent figure of the civil rights movement. He organized and lead many activities throughout the country and was known for his philosophy of nonviolent resistance.
During 1950's and 1960's he was imprisoned several times. In 1963 he headed a march in Washington bringing together 200 000 people and a year later received a Nobel Prize for Peace. He was killed on April 4, 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel which became Civil Rights Museum in 1991.
Long before a day was officially designated for honoring life and work of Martin Luther King African Americans celebrated his birthday as a holiday.
After a lengthy dispute over the proposal for a holiday in his honor, President Reagan passed the bill in 1983. The idea was opposed on the grounds that only two individuals in American history were honored by a holiday in their name (George Washington and Christopher Columbus), and many thought that there were other people more deserving to be celebrated in this way. Finally, on January 20, 1986 the first national celebration of Martin Luther King took place and has become a yearly event since.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Joseph Smith tells of his ancestry, family members, and their early abodes -- An unusual excitement about religion prevails in western New York -- He determines to seek wisdom as directed by James -- The Father and the Son appear and Joseph is called to his prophetic ministry (Verses 1-20)
Verse 1: OWING to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of "Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world-- I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.
Verse 2: In this history I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now (1838) the eighth year since the organizaation of the said Church.
Verse 3: I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, and the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont. . .My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father's arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario.
Verse 4: His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1923, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.
Verse 5: Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, "Lo, here!" and others, "Lo, there!" Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
Verse 6: For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued--priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
Verse 7: I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
Verse 8: During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
Verse 9: My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
Verse 10: In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
Verse 11: While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."Verse 12: Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart, I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scriptures so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
Verse 13: At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
Verse 14: So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
Verse 15: After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongues so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
Verse 16: But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this momen of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually unti it fell upon me.
Verse 17: It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!Verse 18: My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered in to my heart that all were wrong)--and which I should join.
Verse 19: I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godlines, but they deny the poer thereof."
Verse 20: He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. i replied, "Never mind, all is well--I am well enough off." I then said to my mother, "I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true." It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
little girl, Shelby. She wanted to know what the United States
looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on
which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small
pieces, he gave it to Shelby and said, 'Go into the other room
and see if you can put this together. This will show you our
whole country today.' After a few minutes, Shelby returned and
handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The
father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.
'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of
Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our
country just came together.'
Saturday, January 10, 2009
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.
He called all the young executives in his company together.
"It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO," he said. "I have decided to choose one of you."
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today - a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.
He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by - still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO.
"Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed.
Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Here is your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!"
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed.
I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
"When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!"
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
Friday, January 9, 2009
That is my policy otherwise you are weighing your mind heavily and wonder! It's better to ask that gives you 'clear conscience'!!
If not, it give your hair gray and to your body's ache and gradually old. Ha!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
When the Lord restored his true church to earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, he soon commanded the saints to gather together, out of the wickedness of the world. Since that time he has issued new instructions for the saints to stay in their respective countries and build up the church where they are. Is it possible that he can issue new directions in our day and gather the righteous out of the world before destroying the wicked?
Yes it is, and infact, it has been prophesied that he will.
President Harold B. Lee in his conference talk in April 1948 made the following statement:
It would be well – before the frightening events concerning the fulfillment of all God’s
Promises and predictions are upon us, that the saints in every land prepare themselves and look forward to the instruction that shall come to them from the First Presidency of this church as to where they shall be gathered –
Also in 1 Nephi 17:38 it reads; “And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that we live in a very wicked world and the Gadianton Robbers are again leading the majority of the people away from the commandments of our God and destruction awaits us. If he follows his previous examples of separating the righteous from the wicked, he will call the righteous out of their places into an uninhabited place where they can dwell, usually in tents for a time, while he destroys the more wicked ones. Since the wicked won’t obey his command, he has no choice, but to move those who will obey.
Some examples of calling the righteous to a more wholesome place are as follows:
GROUP CURRANT OR IMPENDING DISASTER
Enos Wars and bloodshed, secret combinations
To a “land of promise” Moses 6:17
Enoch Increased wars and bloodshed, secret combinations
Fled to Zion
Noah Destruction of all the wicked by flood
Fled to the Ark
Jaredites Confusion of tongues
Fled to a “land of Promise,” the ancient Americas
Abraham Wickedness in Ur
Fled to Haran to save his life
Lot Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven
Fled into wilderness/mountains
Israel/Joseph Terrible famine
Fled into Egypt
Moses Slavery under Egyptians
Fled into wilderness
Lehi Destruction of Jerusalem because of wickedness
Fled to wilderness and eventually to “Promised land”
Nephi Destruction at hand of wicked brothers
Fled into wilderness
Mosiah 1 War and wickedness (prophesied by Jacob [Jacob 3:4])
Fled into wilderness, eventually to Zarahelma
Mulek Destruction of Jerusalem
Fled to Ancient America
Alma 1 1st time-Destruction at the hands of wicked king Noah
Fled into wilderness
2nd time-Slavery under the hands of Amulon/Lamanites
Fled into wilderness, eventually arrived at Zarahelma
Limhi/Gideon War with the Lamanites
Prepared and then had people flee to defensible city
Righteous of Ammonihah Complete destruction of the city by the Lamanites in one day
People fled/cast out from wicked city to righteous city
Church in Jerusalem, 70 AD Complete destruction by the Romans
Fled to many places
Joseph Smith Increased persecution, mobs
From Palmyra to Fayette
Joseph and Saints Increasing persecution, mobs, violence
From Fayette to Kirtland
Church members forced to flee by mobs
From Independence to scattered places
The Church Apostasy, mobs, persecution in Kirtland
From Kirtland to Far West
The Church Forced to flee by militia/mobs
From Far west to Illinois
The Church Apostasy, persecution, approaching mobs/militias
From Nauvoo to Salt Lake
The descendants of those that migrated from Europe and Britain to America missed out on much hardship and death suffered there from wars.
In 2 Nephi 10:22 the Lord says: For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure.
President Hinckley, in 2001 General Conference, quoted Joel’s prophecy saying it had been fulfilled: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Many dreams and visions have been received and complied into recently published books, warning that the time will come when the First Presidency will issue new gathering instructions. Since it will affect us all I will be happy to give you the information on the books if you contact me. This information has brought to my attention recently and I would feel remiss if I did not pass it on to those we love.
We love you all and pray for your continued happiness.
Paco and Jo ******* Notice ******* Copied and Pasted by me as Tom Osmond - Especially for your INFORMATION - Be Prepared Ye Have No Fear said the Lord our God