|responsible to someone or for some action; answerable|
The Lord is sure to help us answer for what we ourselves could not do. He led the way in that example, a great sacrifice it was.... a powerful and profound amount of pain and suffering to answer for our actions as mankind was from the beginning, an enemy to God.
Now that we have the understanding of yield, and submission, and accountability- I suppose we ought to know for what and unto what degree we are to be accountable for. The Lord, throughout the entire standard works of his Gospel, the Scriptures, gives us laws and commandments. We learn precepts, wisdom, traditions and the means of making them all to work for our benefit.
Did I just say benefit? Yes! The Gospel is for our benefit! Its not a code of restrictions, although some of the people in the world, perhaps a few of us here and there see the Gospel as a restrictive lifestyle as opposed to the real way it should be viewed- a real guide to the real path of happiness. Its no wonder why the scriptures, the word of God is referenced the way it is. As Nephi said:
"... I beheld that the
Every portion of his description was of a good thing. The word of God, the scriptures.... His very Gospel led to the tree of life: "The Love Of God." how much better could we hope to get? None.
Our beloved Stake President, President Shumway, has expressed the will of the Lord for the Lubbock Texas Stake- And make no mistake, it is the will of the Lord. All things in "The Vision Of The Vine" are in store for the Lubbock Texas Stake and the will of the Lord will happen whether we are on the bandwagon or not. Though this work is not going to be easy, it certainly will be worth it.
It reminds me of a phrase my Step-Father continually told me and my siblings growing up. In talking about all the work involved in the Gospel, he said that the Lord could probably be quoted somewhere along the lines of eternity as saying,
"I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."
Really, the keys to "The Vision Of The Vine" are told us not just by President Shumway's council, but also throughout the scriptures. No man can be taught a doctrine he is not willing to learn, and to learn something, one must understand it. You cannot understand something unless you dedicate some portion of time in studying it. It's a principle that we all know well, because it was the first thing that allowed us to take Moroni's challenge. Like our fore bearers, we read, then asked our Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ if those things of which we were reading were true. In doing so, we demonstrated to the Father that we were Humble enough to seek direction outside our own temporal wisdom.
Humility is the first of those three keys, and make no mistake, we cannot even touch the door handle of the next step, or key, in "The Vision Of The Vine" until we have adopted and put into action that first key.
The second key that President Shumway has said was crucial to "The Vision Of The Vine" , is one that we all should know well, because it is "The first law of Heaven" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland; The will of the Father in all things: 17 Jan 1989) That first law of Heaven is "Obedience". We can all too easily push off the significance of just how important this law is, and in doing so, rob ourselves the chance to grow more- even when that law of obedience means throwing all we have thought was wisdom in us, and seeking for the wisdom of the Lord. To best illustrate this law, allow me to share another segment where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talks about just how hard and uncomfortable that can be!
It is as follows:
As the Great Exemplar and Daystar of our lives, is it any wonder that Christ chooses first and foremost to define himself in relation to his father--that he loved him and obeyed him and submitted to him like the loyal son he was? And what he as a child of God did, we must try very hard to do also.
Obedience is the first law of heaven, but in case you haven't noticed, some of these commandments are not easy, and we frequently may seem to be in for much more than we bargained for. At least if we are truly serious about becoming a saint, I think we will find that is the case.
Let me use an example from what is often considered by foes, and even by some friends, as the most unsavory moment in the entire Book of Mormon. I choose it precisely because there is so much in it that has given offense to many. It is pretty much a bitter cup all the way around.
I speak of Nephi's obligation to slay Laban in order to preserve a record, save a people, and ultimately lead to the restoration of the gospel in the dispensation of the fulness of times. How much is hanging in the balance as Nephi stands over the drunken and adversarial Laban I cannot say, but it is a very great deal indeed.
The only problem is that we know this, but Nephi does not. And regardless of how much is at stake, how can. he do this thing? He is a good person, perhaps even a well-educated person. He has been taught from the very summit of Sinai "Thou shalt not kill." And he has made gospel covenants.
"1 was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but . . . I shrunk and would that I might not slay him" (1 Nephi 4:10). A bitter test? A desire to shrink? Sound familiar? We don't know why those plates could not have been obtained some other way--perhaps accidentally left at the plate polishers one night or maybe falling out the back of Laban's chariot on a Sabbath afternoon.
For that matter, why didn't Nephi just leave this story out of the book altogether? Why didn't he say something like, "And after much effort and anguish of spirit, I did obtain the plates of Laban and did depart into the wilderness unto the tent of my father?" At the very least he might have buried the account somewhere in the Isaiah chapters, thus guaranteeing that it would have gone undiscovered up to this very day.
But there it is, squarely in the beginning of the book--page 8--where even the most casual reader will see it and must deal with it. It is not intended that either Nephi or we be spared the struggle of this account.
I believe that story was placed in the very opening verses of a 531-page book and then told in painfully specific detail in order to focus every reader of that record on the absolutely fundamental gospel issue of obedience and submission to the communicated will of the Lord. If Nephi cannot yield to this terribly painful command, if he cannot bring himself to obey, then it is entirely probable that he can never succeed or survive in the tasks that lie just ahead.
"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded" (1 Nephi 3:7). I confess that I wince a little when I hear that promise quoted so casually among us. Jesus knew what that kind of commitment would entail, and so now does Nephi. And so will a host of others before it is over. That vow took Christ to the cross on Calvary, and it remains at the heart of every Christian covenant. "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded." Well, we shall see.
Did you catch the significance of what Elder Holland was sharing?
That is just what Obedience is! Now, Am I, or anyone else on this planet perfect? Absolutely not. Can we do more to secure the blessings the Lord has prepared only through obedience to the principles of which He has set? You bet we can!
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
Joseph Smith taught the following in April 1843, later recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
He also taught in similar manner:
“All blessings that were ordained for man by the Council of Heaven were on conditions of obedience to the law thereof.” (Discourse given by Joseph Smith on July 16, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Franklin D. Richards, in Franklin Dewey Richards, Scriptural Items, ca. 1841–44, Church Archives.)
That is a good measure of what Obedience is, but the Prophet Joseph Smith taught much more on that subject. I invite you to read about it, in The teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 13: Obedience, "When The Lord Commands, Do It."
The final of the three keys to "The Vision Of The Vine" is Teach (And might I add Live) the pure doctrine. There was a phrase mentioned by President Gordon B. Hinkley, in which he said, "Keep the doctrine pure." We are all teachers in some way and teachers can keep the doctrine pure by using the scriptures, as well as official words and documents that have been written and given to us from the prophets and apostles. They also share the fruits and blessings that will be received as the doctrine is taught with purity.
It is my testimony to you that we can see "The Vision Of The Vine" through. Plainview is that torch between the Lubbock and Amarillo Stakes, and when we adhere to the 3 Keys Of The Vision Of The Vine, Tied In harmony with our living the principles that President Shumway has placed great emphasis on, which I later drafted into a document I named "The Shumway Sequence" we will see the hand of the Lord work miracles in our lives. I know we will see it, but we must be willing to do all things the Lords way, as instructed to us through our beloved Stake President, President Shumway, and his wise counselors President Kimball and President McCombs. I know this to be true, down to the fibers of my soul. I leave that testimony with you, in the only name under Heaven in which mankind can be saved, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.