Friday, May 28, 2010
Moving The Work Of The Lord Forward!
It is still an exciting time in Plainview Texas as we make the Missionary Work an individual responsibility. The Gospel is worth sharing with friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and all kinds of other types of wonderful interactions we have the chance to share the Gospel with. The question may arise in your head, or perhaps already has, on "How do I best share the Gospel with another?" Let us remember a Scripture that was on the Mastery List in our Seminary classes, but I would like to do so by quoting a General Authority, Elder Delbert L. Stapley, when he said to the members in the Ensign magazine (December 1971, Page 94): I believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can save the world if its members will live as saints of God should. Each time we let down in living gospel principles, someone is sure to observe our conduct and form an unfavorable opinion about us and the spiritual values of the Church. Our faithfulness gives meaning to the doctrines we teach. The Savior emphasized this statement by saying: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16.) Well brethren, how do we do that? How do we live every day so that all whom observe us, know of our integrity, our standards, our views, and not only learn to respect them and admire them, but actually begin to see how much joy living the Gospel brings to us in each and every single day in life? I'll tell you about an experience I had, not to long ago. A few weeks ago, at work, there was a discussion abroad amongst all the mechanics and even the other Sales Associates at work about some things that were less than worthy of discussion at work, and even for most normal people of the world. As I crossed the corner, and came about to the cash register, some of the mechanics dispersed... the Sales Associates stayed along with the Support Manager for the shop. The discussion altogether quit, and it was, but pure silence save only the opening of the sliding door of an occasional customer coming in. I asked, very curiously why it was that when I came back that the conversation silenced, some dispersed and others remained and they too remained silent. They all looked about at each other, seeming to hope someone else would command the explanation of sorts that would be acceptable to curb my curiosity. Finally, the silence broke as the Support Manager rang out, "...because we know that you don't talk like that, think like that, nor like hearing anything like that. You are a man of God Rex, and we respect that." I tell you my heart was filled with joy as I realized that there were things that I was doing that caught their attention, and even the things which I did not do, also caught their attention, but the things that I did not do, were those things that the world had deemed acceptable. The plummeting of moral standards, the actual "Moral Decay" Elder Holland spoke about in this past General Conference is acceptable to the world, and sadly evident, some of my co-workers. But what I see is that as I am there, and they do not talk or act in manners that are less than worthy of friendly conversation, it is actually helping to change their carnal natures. Brothers and Sisters, that is Missionary Work. Missionary Work is not knocking on doors, handing out Book of Mormons or pass along cards alone, it is literally living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every thought, word and deed. Elder Stapley also referred to our responsibility as saving the entire world. Although it is quite a big piece of responsibility when one chops it down to the individual, the collective basis of members living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that the world cannot ignore, will stand as a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, and with the Holy Ghost as our guide and Testimony as our words, it is one testament outside of biblical or modern prophetic writ, that the world cannot deny. My last addition of Elder Stapley's words follows: To save the world is a great responsibility. This responsibility rests not only upon the leadership of the Church, but upon the membership of the Church as well. The true gospel of Christ is the hope of the world. It is the only plan that will unite the ethnic and national groups and break down the barriers that divide mankind today. History has proven that man cannot forsake God or his Son, our Savior, and live in peace and security. No individual or people can be in rebellion against God’s commandments and be in harmony with him. Today there is open rebellion in many areas of the world against the established order of decency and obedience to the laws of God and man. As members of the Church, what are we doing toward saving the world? First of all, we must live the commandments. We must be honest with ourselves and others. We must be morally clean and not live a double moral standard. We must not have two personalities—one for Sunday and another for the other six days of the week. A recent convert wrote a letter in which he stated that he found the Mormon religion “a breath of sweet fresh air,” and then he gave eight reasons for leaving his former church and joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will list them and comment briefly on each. 1. Wholesome family life. The home determines one’s attitudes and purpose to a greater degree than friends and companions, school or college, business or social life. It is the first great training ground for youth. An ideal LDS home is one where you will find high standards maintained with confidence, peace, companionship, and happiness. 2. Self-reliance and responsibility. All Church members from the cradle to the grave are taught self-reliance and responsibility. Achieving eternal life is a personal obligation. 3. Moral and physical discipline. The apostle Paul counseled the Galatian saints, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, … murders, drunkenness. … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” (Gal. 5:19, 21–22.) President David O. McKay always taught that in the control of morals there must be self-mastery, self-discipline, and self-control. President Joseph F. Smith said, “No man is safe unless he is master of himself, and there is no tyrant so merciless or more to be dreaded than an uncontrollable appetite or passion.” (Gospel Doctrine [Bookcraft, 1939], p. 247.) The Savior warned, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41.) 4. Obedience of children to parents. The apostle Paul counseled the Ephesian youth, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:1–3.) Also to the Hebrew saints he said of the Christ: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8.) Obedience goes beyond that of earthly parents. It obligates all of us as children of our Father in heaven to be obedient to his laws and commandments. 5. Striving for perfection and excellence in all things. The gospel is for the perfecting of the saints. The Savior counseled, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.) Jesus asked his disciples this question: “… what manner of men ought ye to be? …” He answered his own question by saying, “… verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27. Italics added.) He lived so perfectly that he challenged his followers to “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.” (2 Ne. 31:12.) 6. Chastity and holy observance of the marriage covenant. It was very heartening to read about the new Miss America, Laura Lea Shaefer, who courageously responded to questions in her first formal press conference by saying that she didn’t believe in and is against premarital sex. She feels that using marijuana leads to hard drugs and that abortions should be illegal. She added: “I am not a typical coed, but I feel my peers and the majority of young people feel the way I do.” What a choice example to the youth of America are her personal standards of conduct! Infidelity is a violation of the marriage covenant and so often results in divorce, which undermines the security of children, frequently leading them into drug use, immorality, other sinful practices, and withdrawal from church attendance and activity. If all couples faithfully observed their marriage covenants, there would be fewer problems and sorrows in the world today. Children would naturally expect their marriages to be sacred and secure if their parents set the example of love and trust and eternal family goals. 7. High standards in education. We are taught, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” (D&C 93:36.) The Lord counseled, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) We are also taught: “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:18–19.) 8. “Last, but not least,” this recent convert said, “is common sense.” Common sense suggests ability without sophistication or special knowledge. It is just good, sound, practical sense in judgment. All have been born with a measure of common sense. It is a matter of using it, of thinking things through instead of acting in too much haste. These eight significant and important reasons are good points for all of us to remember and follow in our personal lives. The gospel only can inspire people to live its standards of moral and spiritual conduct. We do not sacrifice anything when we give up the ways of the world and faithfully keep the commandments of God. For such worthiness in mortal life entitles us, after we depart this life, to the celestial mansions of our Heavenly Father. What could be a more glorious and satisfying reward? Brothers and Sisters, I bear solemn witness to you, in the fulfillment of my calling I have seen the Lord bless my life more fully in performing the work of sharing the Gospel when I have been fully living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and doing all I can to deny the world, Babylon, residence in my mind, heart, home or habits. May we all be more diligent in the performance of our duties, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, Amen.