Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Isaiah Insight #1

I thought I would share an insight we learned from our Isaiah class a couple of weeks ago. This verse is one we are all familiar with. In fact as you read it you can even put it to music!

Isaiah 9:
6 For unto us a child (Jesus Christ) is born, unto us a son is given: and the government (the ruling power of God, the priesthood) shall be upon his shoulder: (The right shoulder, think of the temple) and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, (“Messenger of the Great Counsel”) The mighty God, (The Redeemer) The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew, translates wonderful counselor as, “Messenger of (the) Great Counsel”.

This is significant for us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who believe in a pre-mortal life, where we were taught by Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother and Jesus Christ. We are taught that while we were in the Pre-existence, there was a "Great Counsel" held. We all attended. There, Christ was chosen and foreordained, by the Father, to come to earth and redeem all who would accept Christ and the message that He would bring from the Father. So Isaiah tell us in this verse that Christ is the "Messenger of (the) great Counsel".

Nephi quoted verse 6 word for word. - 2 Nephi 19:6

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Plan of Happiness, not Hopelessness

While we were at the temple with Garrett and Hayley, the officiator made a statement, something to the effect that once a seal is place on a marriage, it will ensure that the children in that marriage will be saved. Latter outside, in front of the temple, my sister and brother-in-law remarked how neat it was that all of our children were able to be in the temple with Garrett and Hayley and wished they could see the same thing happen with all of their children or at least know that they would be saved from the torments of Hell.

I asked them if they have heard what the officiator, Bro. Day, had said about how once the seal had been place on the marriage, it saved the children. They said they had heard that, but didn’t think it would ever happen to them and some of their children. I assured them that it would.

What Brother Day said, reminded me of what Joseph Smith had said, “When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.” (History of Church, vol. 5, page 530.)

So, how does it work? How are children that have chosen not to abide by the standards of the church, and are rebellious to the teachings of their parents and the church, ever going to be saved?

My understanding is this:

The Kolob Years!

We lived with and were taught by our Heavenly Father and Mother.
We saw God Create at least one world. We saw how was it done. It was done by faith and the priesthood.

We all started our preparation for our return to Heavenly Father and Mother in the Pre-mortal life. We chose to accept the Father’s “Plan of Happiness” that was presented to us in the Pre-existence. There was a war in heaven. Imagine that! There was actually war in Heaven, and it continues on earth to this day. It was a war of words.

We and our children bore testimony to our friends in the Pre-existence, who were considering following Lucifer and his lies. We tried to save and convince everyone we could, that Heavenly Father’s plan was the only way to progress and become like Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Our children didn’t just accept Heavenly Father’s plan, but they also accepted Christ as their savior and they were valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ!

How do we know that? Well if they hadn’t had done that, they wouldn’t have earned the blessings of their second estate. They wouldn’t be here on earth with a mortal body, if they had followed Lucifer and his lies.

We were taught more details of our Fathers’ plan after Satan had been defeated and kicked out of God’s presence. We know this because Satan did not know the mind of God when he tempted Eve. (Moses 4:6)

We saw God, pre-ordain and bless his children. I’m sure he blessed them that they would return safely back home to Heavenly Father and Mother. (We do the same thing when we send our kids off to college.)

We were all given a second estate. We were told what would happen while we were here on earth and what to expect! We made the choice to come to earth with our eyes open.

While here on earth, while we are away from Heavenly Father and Mother, we need to gain experience and learn knowledge. It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance. (D&C 131:6)

“There is a greater key—a key that each one of us earnestly seeks to obtain and that will open the locks to the treasure houses of knowledge we desire to acquire. That key is the key of faith. In this work, no lock will open without it.” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection 1976, page 49-49.

The Mortal Years:

“The veil makes us forget events, but that forgetfulness does not cover-up our attributes, our understanding, our talents, our knowledge or our spiritual gifts or spiritual understanding that have been developed in the pre-mortal life. We didn’t come to this earth to gain a testimony. We already had a testimony in the previous world. That is why we chose God’s plan instead of Lucifer’s.” Jack Marshall, BYU Education week. See also D&C 138:50-53. (Notice, there were “’Other Choice spirits’ who received their first lessons”. These spirits are you and me, our children, grandchildren, and on and on.)

We need to teach the gospel to our children every chance we get, especially when they are young. We need to bear our testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel and of Jesus Christ to our children every chance we get, if we want to save them.
“There are several reasons for bearing testimony. One is that when you declare the truth, it will bring an echo, a memory, even if it is an unconscious memory to the investigator, (and your children) that they have heard this truth before—and of course they have. A missionary’s (Parent’s) testimony invokes a great legacy of testimony dating back to the councils in heaven before this world was. There, in an earlier place, these same people heard this same plan outlined and heard there the role that Jesus Christ would play in their salvation.”
“So the fact of the matter is investigators (and our children) are not only hearing our testimony of Christ, but they are hearing echoes of other, earlier testimonies, including their own testimony of Him, for they were on the side of the faithful who kept their first estate and earned the privilege of a second estate. We must always remember that these investigators, every man, woman, and child, were among the valiant who once overcame Satan by the power of their testimony of Christ! So when they hear others bear that witness of Christ’s saving mission, it has a familiar feeling; it brings an echo of truth they themselves already know.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, Mar 2001, from a talk given at the Provo, Utah - Missionary Training Center on 20 June 2000.)

What is the purpose of us coming to the earth?

To gain knowledge and experience opposites.

Suffer the 2nd death for the first time = spiritual death.

Receive a physical Body. The spirit is pure, when it comes into the tabernacle, (body). The tabernacle is subject to sin, but the spirit is not…Satan can only contaminate the bodies. (President Brigham Young, February 17, 1856, JD, Vol. 3:206-207.)

Receive the Holy Ghost. (He will burn the “H” out of you!)

Get all of our earthly ordinances done.

The gate to the Celestial Kingdom is Celestial Marriage. Not necessarily Temple marriage.
D&C 131: 1-3
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 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];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

We also need to look at our children and see them as God sees them.

D&C 76:94-95
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

We should understand and teach our children that they were fore-ordained by God and He has great confidence in them and their power and strength. They are choice spirit children of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. As we teach our children, God blesses them and shows them that he has confidence in them.

President Henry B. Eyring, April 5, 2008, Conference Priesthood Session said, “First, the very fact that you have been offered the oath and covenant, (of the priesthood), (and Celestial marriage) is evidence that God has chosen you, knowing your power and capacity. He has known you since you were with Him in the spirit world. With His foreknowledge of your strength, He has allowed you to find the true Church of Jesus Christ and to be offered the priesthood. You can feel confidence because you have evidence of His confidence in you.”

Teach your children that!

The Millennial Years

Live your life so that you are eligible to come forth at the beginning of the Millennium, which is the morning of the first resurrection. You will get a lot more done if you start earlier in the morning!

What is the purpose of the millennium? What is the purpose of the Spirit World?
1. To save our forefathers by doing their temple work.
2. To save God’s Children and ours!
We will spend the millennium helping our kids get back to Father. We sometimes go through hell with our children in this life and if we need to, we will go to hell, (the spirit prison), to find them and bring them out. We will plead, along with Jesus Christ, to the Father for their salvation. We will help them pay the price.
This is not a second chance, but rather continuation of the plan Heavenly Father created to save his children.

Satan will be bound during the millennium and have no way to distract them, but we will be able continue to act as ambassadors for Christ. Unabated by the influence of Satan, there will be very few who will not recognize their mistakes and have desire to repent. Our testimonies will have “a familiar feeling; and bring an echo of truth they themselves already know.”
Alma, while he was bound, remembered the words of his father about one, Jesus Christ, who could save him. So will those who are in spirit prison. Our children will remember Christ because we taught them of Christ while they were on earth. They will remember Christ because God taught them in the pre-existence.

We will help Christ bring our children and grand children to the highest degree of salvation possible.

D&C 138: 57-59
57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, (you) when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.
58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
59 And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.

Some may not receive the hightest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, if they choose not to marry, but they will be servants of the gods.

D&C 132: 16-17
16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

You will have great respect and love for those ministering angels and servants. Some of them will be your children, grand children or other posterity. They will help you in everything you do in your new kingdom. They will still be sealed to you and they will be saved.

If we can’t exalt them, we can still save them to some degree of glory.

D&C 76:
112 And they shall be servants of the Most High;

Monday, January 19, 2009

Congratulations to Garrett and Hayley!

Congratulations to Garrett and Hayley! They are finally married to each other and have created their very own eternal family. What a wonderful day Saturday was. It was great to meet all of Hayley’s family! I was amazed at how many people came to support Garrett and Hayley at the reception. There were tons of teachers that work with Hayley that came, and lots and lots of people that work with Garrett came to support him. They also had many friends and roommates from their college days that came. There were also friends from their wards and some friends of both sets of their parents and extended family that came. It just shows how many people love and respect them. It was great to meet them all.

The best part was in the temple where both Garrett and Hailey had their parents, grand parents, all of their siblings and all of their sibling’s spouses, along with their friends, to share that special moment with them. They were legally and lawfully married as husband and wife for all eternity, and then blessings were sealed upon them that will help them build their family and their relationship to one another throughout all the eternities.

Congrats you two! You are now one!