Welcome to the Talk Of The Week Club. I began this club as a way to share my love of learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My hope and desire is for you to learn and grow in your faith and love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Thursday a new talk will be posted, come back, open your heart and mind, allow yourself to receive and I promise you will be spiritually fed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 36: Christlike Attributes-the Wind beneath Our Wings

As I thought about what I should share with you this week I was completely at a loss until my October Ensign arrived on Monday afternoon. As if an answer to my prayer I began to read it hoping to receive some direction. I was so happy when I found President Dieter Uchtdorf’s talk entitled “Christ-like Attributes-the Wind Beneath our Wings,” which was originally given in the October 2005 session of general conference. THIS WAS IT!

In July, I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament meeting in front of my brand new ward (in a brand new state) on the topic of DEVELOPING CHRIST-LIKE ATTRIBUTES. I was excited, I was scared, and I was an emotional wreck! I am a fairly good writer but when speaking in front of large groups I sometimes find it hard to put two sentences together without stumbling over my words. Along with the Preach My Gospel manual I used the above-mentioned talk to help guide me through what I needed to say. Through much prayer and preparation the thoughts came easily and I was able to deliver my talk.

After reading it again, listening to the mp3 and re-watching it on my computer through lds.org (don’t you just love the internet?!) I felt doubly impressed to share it with all of you as you too strive to live according to the basic gospel principles and develop Christ-like attributes.

: ) Alida

CHALLENGE: This week I suggest choosing a specific attribute you would like to work on. Write it down and include a definition and a description of the attribute. Search your scriptures for passages that teach about the attribute you are working on. Apply that in your life and pray for the Lord to help you more fully draw closer to Christ as you develop the attribute. As you do so, it will become easier to emulate Christ in all your doings. Remember, that learning to be Christ-like is a lifelong pursuit!!!! : )


Christlike Attributes-the Wind beneath Our Wings - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Christlike Attributes—the Wind beneath Our Wings
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Living according to the basic gospel principles will bring power, strength, and spiritual self-reliance into the lives of all Latter-day Saints.

My dear brothers and sisters, my dear friends:
During my professional life as an airline pilot, I sometimes had passengers visit the cockpit of my Boeing 747. They asked about the many switches, instruments, systems, and procedures and how all this technical equipment would help such a huge and beautiful airplane fly.
As with all pilots, I enjoyed the fact that they were impressed by the apparent complexity of this plane and that they wondered what kind of magnificent and brilliant person it takes to operate it! At this point of my story, my wife and children would kindly interrupt and say with a twinkling in their eyes, "Pilots are born with a great measure of natural humility!"
To the visitors in my cockpit, I would explain that it takes a great aerodynamic design, many auxiliary systems and programs, and powerful engines to make this flying machine equal to the task of bringing comfort and safety to those joining the flight.
To simplify my explanation by focusing on the basics, I would add that all you really need is a strong forward thrust, a powerful upward lift, and the right aircraft attitude, and the laws of nature will carry the 747 and its passengers safely across continents and oceans, over high mountains and dangerous thunderstorms to its destination.
In recent years, I have often contemplated that being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites us to ask similar questions. What are the basics, the fundamental principles of our membership in the kingdom of God on earth? After all is said and done, what will really carry us at times of greatest need to our desired eternal destination?
The Church, with all its organizational structure and programs, offers many important activities for its members aimed at helping families and individuals to serve God and each other. Sometimes, however, it can appear that these programs and activities are closer to the center of our heart and soul than the core doctrines and principles of the gospel. Procedures, programs, policies, and patterns of organization are helpful for our spiritual progress here on earth, but let's not forget that they are subject to change.
In contrast, the core of the gospel—the doctrine and the principles—will never change. Living according to the basic gospel principles will bring power, strength, and spiritual self-reliance into the lives of all Latter-day Saints.
Faith is such a principle of power. We need this source of power in our lives. God works by power, but this power is usually exercised in response to our faith. "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). God works according to the faith of His children.
The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves" (quoted by John Taylor, in "The Organization of the Church," Millennial Star, Nov. 15, 1851, 339). To me, this teaching is beautifully straightforward. As we strive to understand, internalize, and live correct gospel principles, we will become more spiritually self-reliant. The principle of spiritual self-reliance grows out of a fundamental doctrine of the Church that God has granted us—agency. I believe that moral agency is one of the greatest gifts of God unto His children, next to life itself.
When I study and ponder moral agency and its eternal consequences, I realize that we are truly spirit children of God and therefore should act accordingly. This understanding also reminds me that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are part of a great worldwide family of Saints.
The organizational structure of the Church allows great flexibility according to the size, growth pattern, and needs of our congregations. There is the basic unit program with a very simple organizational structure and fewer meetings. We also have large wards with great organizational resources to serve one another. All are established within the inspired programs of the Church to help members "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" (Moroni 10:32).
All these varied options are equal in divine value because the doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the same in each unit. I testify as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ that He lives, that the gospel is true, and that it offers the answers to all personal and collective challenges the children of God have on this earth today.
This summer my wife and I visited with members of the Church in many countries throughout Europe. In some parts of Europe, the Church has been present for many years, even since 1837. There is a great heritage of faithful members in Europe. Currently, we have more than 400,000 members in Europe. As we look at all the generations who have emigrated from Europe to America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that total number could easily be multiplied a few times.
Why did so many faithful members leave their home countries in those early days of the Church? Many reasons can be named: to escape persecution, to help build the Church in America, to improve their economic circumstances, the desire to be close to a temple, and many more.
Europe still feels the consequence of this exodus. But the strength that comes from several faithful generations of Church members is now becoming more apparent. We see more young men and women and more senior couples serve missions for the Lord; we see more temple marriages; we see more confidence and courage by the members to share the restored gospel. Among the peoples of Europe and many other parts of the world, there is a spiritual vacuum of Christ's true teachings. This vacuum must, can, and will be filled with the message of the restored gospel as our wonderful members live and proclaim this gospel with greater courage and faith.
With the expansion of the Church in Europe, there are now countries where the Church has been for less than 15 years. I spoke with a mission president serving in his homeland of Russia who has been a member for only seven years. He told me, "The same month I was baptized I was called as a branch president." Did he feel overwhelmed at times? Absolutely! Did he try to implement the full range of Church programs? Fortunately not! How did he grow so strong in such a small congregation, in such a short time? He explained, "I knew with all my soul the Church was true. The doctrine of the gospel filled my mind and my heart. As we joined the Church, we felt part of a family. We felt warmth, trust, and love. We were only few, but we all tried to follow the Savior."
They supported each other, they did the best they could, and they knew the Church was true. It was not the organization that had attracted him, but the light of the gospel, and this light strengthened those good members.
In many countries the Church is still in its beginnings, and the organizational circumstances are sometimes far from perfect. However, the members may have a perfect testimony of the truth in their hearts. As the members will stay in their countries and build the Church, despite economic challenges and hardships, future generations will be grateful to those courageous modern-day pioneers. They abide by the loving invitation of the First Presidency given in 1999:
"In our day, the Lord has seen fit to provide the blessings of the gospel, including an increased number of temples, in many parts of the world. Therefore, we wish to reiterate the long-standing counsel to members of the Church to remain in their homelands rather than immigrate to the United States. . . .
"As members throughout the world remain in their homelands, working to build the Church in their native countries, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church collectively" (First Presidency letter, Dec. 1, 1999).
May I add a word of caution to those of us who live in large wards and stakes. We have to be careful that the center of our testimony is not located in the social dimension of the Church community or the wonderful activities, programs, and organizations of our wards and stakes. All of these things are important and valuable to have—but they are not enough. Even friendship is not enough.
We recognize that we are living in a time of turmoil, disaster, and war. We and many others feel strongly the great need for a "defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth" (D&C 115:6). How do we find such a place of safety? The prophet of God, even President Hinckley, has taught: "Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness" ("Till We Meet Again," Liahona, Jan. 2002, 105; Ensign, Nov. 2001, 90).
Recall with me how Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles, clearly and directly, at the beginning of His mortal ministry, "[Come,] follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). This was also the beginning of the ministry of the Twelve Apostles, and I suspect that they had a feeling of inadequacy, as I deeply have, being one who has also been called to this sacred work. May I suggest that the Savior Himself teaches us here a lesson about core doctrine and priorities in life. Individually, we need to first "follow Him," and as we do this, the Savior will bless us beyond our own capacity to become what He wants us to be.
To follow Christ is to become more like Him. It is to learn from His character. As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the potential to incorporate Christlike attributes into our life and character. The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. To follow Him is to apply correct principles and then witness for ourselves the blessings that follow. This process is very complex and very simple at the same time. Ancient and modern prophets described it with three words: "Keep the commandments"—nothing more, nothing less.
Developing Christlike attributes in our lives is not an easy task, especially when we move away from generalities and abstractions and begin to deal with real life. The test comes in practicing what we proclaim. The reality check comes when Christlike attributes need to become visible in our lives—as husband or wife, as father or mother, as son or daughter, in our friendships, in our employment, in our business, and in our recreation. We can recognize our growth, as can those around us, as we gradually increase our capacity to "act in all holiness before [Him]" (D&C 43:9).
The scriptures describe a number of Christlike attributes we need to develop during the course of our lives. They include knowledge and humility, charity and love, obedience and diligence, faith and hope. These personal character qualities stand independent of the organizational status of our Church unit, our economic circumstances, our family situation, culture, race, or language. Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They cannot be developed without His help. The one help we all need is given to us freely through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Having faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. Christlike attributes come into our lives as we exercise our agency righteously. Faith in Jesus Christ leads to action. When we have faith in Christ, we trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments—even when we do not completely understand the reasons for them. In seeking to become more like the Savior, we need to reevaluate our lives regularly and rely, through the path of true repentance, upon the merits of Jesus Christ and the blessings of His Atonement.
Developing Christlike attributes can be a painful process. We need to be ready to accept direction and correction from the Lord and His servants. This worldwide conference with its music and spoken word offers spiritual power, direction, and blessings "from on high" (D&C 43:16). It is a time when the voice of personal inspiration and revelation will bring peace to our souls and will teach us how to become more Christlike. This voice will be as sweet as the voice of a dear friend, and it will fill our souls when our hearts are sufficiently contrite.
By becoming more like the Savior, we will grow in our ability to "abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13). We will "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better" (D&C 25:10).
This leads me back to my aerodynamic analogy from the beginning. I spoke of focusing on the basics. Christlike attributes are the basics. They are the fundamental principles that will create "the wind beneath our wings." As we develop Christlike attributes in our own lives, step-by-step, they will "bear [us] up as on eagles' wings" (D&C 124:18). Our faith in Jesus Christ will provide power and a strong forward thrust; our unwavering and active hope will provide a powerful upward lift. Both faith and hope will carry us across oceans of temptations, over mountains of afflictions, and bring us safely back to our eternal home and destination.
Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 35: Temple Blessings

As I pondered on what talk to share this week I was drawn to this one; maybe it was because of a sweet testimony borne by a woman this past Fast Sunday who just received her own Endowment. I may have been drawn to it because I had to get my recommend renewed today and it was the most spiritual temple interview I have ever had. I feel so humble to be worthy to enter the Temple of the Lord. Or perhaps I was drawn to this talk because I have been contemplating my 15 year temple marriage and how grateful I am to have been married in the temple and on what I can do to strengthen my marriage and family even more. Since the middle of August I have been working many hours for the Protect Marriage Coalition (http://www.protectmarriage.com/ ) to preserve the sanctity of marriage in the state of California. It has been eye-opening and intense and sometimes hard but it has also been rewarding and strengthening and so my friends I hope that you enjoy and learn from this wonderful talk as much as I have this week. Here are some of my favorite quotes pulled from the talk. May God bless you abundantly in your own temple experiences.

“If it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple . . . , our journey (to UT) would have been like . . . taking a leap in the dark”

"The ordinances and covenants of the temple are the protection for us in our trials and tribulations in our day and for what we will face in the future. It is our heritage. It is who we are."

"Temples are the greatest university of learning known to man, giving us knowledge and wisdom about the creation of the world. Washings and anointings tell us who we are. Endowment instructions give guidance as to how we should conduct our lives here in mortality."

"Just think of it again: when you are kneeling at the altar to be sealed, on one side are all the images symbolizing our premortal life; on the other side are the representations of all the eternities before us."

Challenge: Have a Temple experience this week by attending, praying, journaling or just looking at a Temple. Think about how the Temple helps you in your life and in the life of your family.

MP3 Link
Temple Blessings - Robert D. Hales

Temple Blessings
Robert D. Hales was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given on 15 November 2005.
© Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Complete volumes of Speeches are available wherever LDS books are sold.
For further information contact:Speeches, 218 University Press Building, Provo, Utah 84602.(801) 422-2299 / E-mail: speeches@byu.edu / Speeches Home Page

It is a joy to be here at the Brigham Young University devotional. As you know, this is a very special place of learning. While you are at Brigham Young University, you are learning and preparing for your future—to support yourselves spiritually and temporally; to establish a means for providing for your families; and to use your time, talents, and other resources to serve the Lord and lift and strengthen His children.

I have pondered many subjects to teach during this devotional and have been impressed to talk about the importance of temple preparation and of having an eternal perspective during our mortal probation here on earth. The temple endowment blessings are as essential for each of us as was our baptism. For this reason we are to prepare ourselves that we may be clean to enter into the temple of God. Temple work is an opportunity to perform our personal endowments and covenants for the living and also perform these same ordinances for the redemption for the dead. It is for this reason we are instructed in the scriptures to build temples and prepare our lives to be worthy to partake of the sacred temple ordinances and covenants.
We have been taught in the scriptures that the personal worthiness required of us by the Lord to enter the temple and to take upon us the sacred covenants therein is one of the greatest blessings available to us in mortality. Then, after taking upon us the covenants in the temple, our obedience in living the covenants daily is a demonstration of our faith, love, devotion, and spiritual commitment to honor our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and prepares us to live with Them in the eternities. The temple’s saving ordinances are essential to—and even the central focus of—the eternal plan of happiness.
Today I want to discuss the doctrine of the temple, the effects of the temple doctrine in your life, and the ways that you can prepare yourselves—and, we hope, your eternal companions can prepare themselves—to partake of the full blessings of the holy temple in mortality and in eternal life.
The Temple Doctrine
We need to acquire a testimony and a reverent feeling of the temple being the house of the Lord. The temple is truly a place where you are “in the world and not of the world.” When you are troubled and when you have crucial decisions that weigh heavily on your mind and soul, you can take your cares to the temple and receive spiritual guidance.
To preserve the sanctity of the temple so that the temple may be kept pure and to invite the Spirit to bless those who enter the holy temple for their ordinances and covenants, we are taught that no unclean thing should enter the temple. Reverence in the temple is a vital element in inviting the Spirit to reside within it every hour of every day.
When I was a boy my father brought me from Long Island, New York, to walk on the Salt Lake Temple grounds in Salt Lake City, to touch the temple, and to discuss the importance of the temple in my life. It was on that occasion that I made up my mind that someday I would return to enter the temple and receive the ordinances of the temple.
When your dating relationship is getting serious and you are contemplating marriage, going to the temple grounds is a great place for a date with your future eternal companion to discuss your plans together. It is very important to know the heart and mind of your future eternal companion’s desire to be worthy to go to the temple and always keep their temple covenants—enduring to the end.
The temple is a sacred edifice, a holy place where essential saving ceremonies and ordinances are performed to prepare us for exaltation. It is important that we gain a sure knowledge that our preparation to enter the holy house and our participation in these ceremonies and covenants are some of the most significant events we will experience in our mortal lives.
Throughout history, in every dispensation of time, the Lord has commanded prophets that temples should be built so that His people could receive temple ordinances.
The Bible records that while Moses and the Israelite people wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, they were blessed with a portable temple or tabernacle where sacred ordinance work was performed—and, on occasion, the Lord came to converse with Moses. When Moses reached the promised land, a tabernacle was used to bring these blessings to the children of Israel. King David began preparations for building a temple, but because King David had been disobedient, he was told that he was not worthy and would not be permitted to build the temple. His son Solomon completed a beautiful temple in Jerusalem when he became the Israelite king. Then, during Christ’s ministry, another temple in Jerusalem was being built.
We learn from the Book of Mormon about a temple built in the New World around 588 B.C.:
And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land. . . . But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. [2 Nephi 5:16]
Jacob, in about 544 B.C., recorded:
Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord. [Jacob 1:17]
More than 400 years later, in 124 B.C., Mosiah
proclaimed unto all the people who were in the land of Zarahemla that thereby they might gather themselves together, to go up to the temple to hear the words which his father [King Benjamin] should speak unto them. [Mosiah 1:18]
In the second chapter of Mosiah, King Benjamin addressed his people, who had gathered at the temple. He gave his testimony in a mighty spiritual discourse that changed the hearts of the people to worship the Lord. About 150 years later, in A.D. 34, the resurrected Lord appeared at the temple as recorded in 3 Nephi 11:1–11:
A great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful. . . .
. . . They heard a voice as if it came out of heaven. . . .
. . . And it said unto them:
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. [3 Nephi 11:1, 3, 6–11]
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
The Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood. [HC 4:603]
Joseph Smith also said:
If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. [HC 5:424]
Joseph Smith, as a result of a prayer, was visited by Jesus in the Kirtland Temple on a very special date, April 3, 1836, as recorded in section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Kirtland Temple was the first temple in these latter days, and it played an important role in the restoration of priesthood keys. The Savior, introduced by His Father, our Father in Heaven, appeared in glory and accepted the Kirtland Temple as His house. On that occasion Moses, Elias, and Elijah each appeared to commit the keys held from their dispensations. Elijah restored the keys of his dispensation as promised by Malachi so that we could enjoy the blessings of the temple in our lives.
The Nauvoo Temple was the first temple in which endowments and sealings were performed, which proved a great strength to the pioneers as they endured the hardships crossing the plains to Zion in the Salt Lake Valley. Many of us have ancestors who made that crossing.
When Joseph Smith was taken to Carthage, it was clear why the completion of the temple had meant so much to him. He knew what was going to be required of the Saints and that to have the strength to endure what was ahead of them they had to be endowed with power—the power of the priesthood. He looked across the Mississippi River to the west and said he did not know if he wanted to tell the Saints what was ahead of them. He said, “Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood” (HC 5:555).
Sarah Rich, the wife of Charles C. Rich, wrote in her journal how important the temple endowment was in helping them endure the hardships on the pioneer trek. “If it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple . . . , our journey would have been like . . . taking a leap in the dark” (Sarah DeArmon Pea Rich, “Autobiography, 1885–1893,” Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 66).
Our pioneer ancestors were sealed together as families in Nauvoo. In 56 days, more than 100 endowments were performed each day—more than 5,600 endowments in all. Their covenants with the Lord in the Nauvoo Temple were a protection for them during their journey westward, as it is for each of us today and throughout our lives. The ordinances and covenants of the temple are the protection for us in our trials and tribulations in our day and for what we will face in the future. It is our heritage. It is who we are.
For these early Saints, their participation in the ordinances of the temple was essential to their testimonies as they faced the hardships, the angry mobs, being driven from comfortable homes in Nauvoo, and the long and difficult journey ahead. They had been endowed with power in the holy temple. Husband and wife were sealed to each other. Children were sealed to their parents. Many lost family members to death along the way, but they knew that wasn’t the end for them. They had been sealed in the temple for all eternity.
Upon reaching the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young embarked on building the Lord’s house. The construction took 40 years before the temple was dedicated in 1892. Today President Hinckley, our prophet, has been moved upon by the Lord to build temples throughout the world. There are now 122 functioning temples, allowing faithful members of the Church in many nations around the earth to go to the house of the Lord to receive their temple ordinances and covenant with the Lord in His house.
The Temple Ordinances—Endowments and Sealings
Temples are the greatest university of learning known to man, giving us knowledge and wisdom about the creation of the world. Washings and anointings tell us who we are. Endowment instructions give guidance as to how we should conduct our lives here in mortality.
We are taught in the scriptures that temples are
a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry . . . ;
That they may be perfected in [their] understanding . . . in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth. [D&C 97:13–14]
The primary purpose of the temple is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Temple ordinances guide us to our Savior and give us the blessings that come to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The meaning of the word endowment is “gift.” The ordinance consists of a series of instructions on how we should live and covenants we make to live righteously by following our Savior.
Another important ordinance is being sealed for eternity in celestial marriage. This covenant allows children to be sealed to their parents and children born in the covenant to become part of an eternal family.
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us:
And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven. [D&C 132:46]
When a couple is kneeling at the altar, as a sealer I am aware of my role as a representative of the Lord. I know that what is sealed on earth is literally sealed in heaven—never to be broken if those being sealed remain faithful and endure to the end.
The mirrors on opposite walls in the temple sealing room are canted to create the visual impression of endless images. Looking into these mirrors on one side of the room represents the eternities of time that we have traveled to come to earth. As we turn to the opposite side of the room, we look into the seemingly endless images symbolizing the eternities after we leave this frail existence on earth. The sealing room itself represents our mortal probation here on earth. The lesson to be learned from this temple experience is that we have made the right choices to come to earth and experience mortality and that how we live our life in this brief period will determine how we will live in all the eternities to come! Just think of it again: when you are kneeling at the altar to be sealed, on one side are all the images symbolizing our premortal life; on the other side are the representations of all the eternities before us.
How Do We Make Sure We Never Break Eternal Covenants Made in the Temple?
Knowing of the existence of temples in many dispensations—as recorded in the scriptures—and the necessity of temple ordinances and covenants required to enter into the celestial kingdom, I have often pondered why one who has taken upon them the sacred ordinances and covenants of the temple and has covenanted with their eternal companion as they were sealed for time and eternity in the temple—literally in the presence of God, angels, and witnesses—would ever allow themself to be unfaithful, thus breaking their covenants and in turn breaking the hearts of their companions and children, who were desirous of being an eternal family.
I have also observed over the years couples who have been able to maintain strong and vital marriages as they remain true to the covenants they take upon themselves in the temple. For those who are not now married, as you prepare for a temple marriage, there is great value in thinking about what makes a good marriage and the kind of person who will be able to make and keep temple covenants. Thinking ahead this way is why successful couples have been able to date and learn to know each other and come to know where the heart of that future companion will be for time and all eternity.
First, these successful couples know individually who they are—a son or daughter of God. They set eternal goals to once again live with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They strive to leave the ways of the natural man behind.
Second, they know the doctrine and the importance of the saving temple ordinances and temple covenants and their necessity in achieving eternal goals.
Third, they choose to obtain the eternal blessings of the kingdom of God rather than the temporal or temporary possessions of the world.
Fourth, couples realize that when they are sealed for time and all eternity, they have chosen an eternal companion—their courting days are over! There is no need to look any further!
Fifth, couples think of one another before self. Selfishness suffocates spiritual senses. Remember that. Communicating with the Lord in prayer, they grow together and not apart. They converse with each another, thereby never letting little things become big things. They talk early about the “little hurts” with little fear of offending. In this way, when the pressure in the tea kettle builds and the whistle goes off, there is no explosion of bitter feelings. It is so much better to let off a little steam before the top blows off the pressure cooker. They are willing to apologize and ask forgiveness if they have hurt the one they love. They express their love for each other and become closer. Remember, “There is no fear in love.” They lift and strengthen one another.
Closing Summary and Testimony
If you will live by these observations we have just discussed, it will strengthen your relationship in marriage and allow you to be faithful to your covenants. Might I just share two things that describe a good friend:
1. A good friend is a good companion. A good friend will never have you choose between their way and the Lord’s way.
2. With a true friend it will be easier to live the laws, ordinances, and covenants we have discussed this day. Such a person is truly a good friend and an eternal companion.
You are preparing to meet the tests of mortal life. We voluntarily came from the presence of God the Father to this mortal probation with agency, knowing we would have “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Our objective (see 1 Nephi 15:14) is to take upon us the whole armor of God and withstand “the fiery darts of the adversary” (D&C 3:8) with our sword of the Spirit and shield of faith (see D&C 27:15–18), to endure to the end, and to be worthy to stand and live in the presence of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ for all eternity—to achieve what is called eternal life.
I give you my testimony that God lives; that Jesus is the Christ; and that Joseph Smith, the prophet of our dispensation, restored the priesthood blessings that allow us to partake of the temple blessings we have discussed. Let me remind you that you are living in the last dispensation of the fulness of times. It is an incredible time to be on the earth. May the Lord’s blessings be with you that you may find that special, eternal companion, remaining worthy until that day may come because the promise has been given that in this life or the next, blessings will come to those who remain true and faithful to the laws, ordinances, and covenants we have discussed today. I ask the blessings of the Lord to be with you in all that you do, in all that you say, and in your interactions with those you love and care for. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 34: When My Prayers Seem Unanswered

As it is sometimes this talk may be more for me than any of you. I so wanted to share it with the hopes that maybe some of you are wondering why your prayers seem to be unanswered or maybe you just want understanding of how God answers them. For me I learned some principles that I know will be engraved in my heart forever. I want someday to make a sign to remind me that I am "tight like unto a dish", "holding place in the heart", or that "God is a fourth watch God". Your going to have to listen to see (hear) what I mean.

When My Prayers Seem Unanswered
S. Michael Wilcox
BYU Women's Conference 2005


When My Prayers Seem Unanswered - S. Michael Wilcox

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week 33: Joy in the Journey

I hope this week's talk will bring you all a little more joy.

My friend Megan had this little story on her blog. I thought it was very fitting with this talk today. I hope you all have a wonderful week. (thanks Megan, your always an inspiration to me :)

One day I had a date for lunch with friends. Mae, a little old 'blue hair' about 80 years old, came along with them---all in all, a pleasant bunch. When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who said, 'Ice Cream, please. Two scoops,chocolate.'I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast.'Along with heated apple pie,' Mae added, completely unabashed.We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time.But when our orders were brought out, I didn't enjoy mine.I couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down.The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae.I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered a parfait.I smiled. She asked if she amused me.I answered, 'Yes, you do, but also you confuse me.How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, 'I'm tasting all that is Possible.I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should.But life's so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good.This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven't been this old before.''So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored.I haven't smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many books I haven't read. There's more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.There are many malls I haven't shopped. I've not laughed at all the jokes.I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face.I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace.I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast.I want un-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain.I need to feel wind in my hair. I want to fall in love again.So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner,then should I die before night fall, I'd say I died a winner,because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire.I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired.'With that, I called the waitress over.. 'I've changed my mind, ' I said.'I want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!'

Challenge of the Week: Comment on this post something today that brought you joy.


Joy in the Journey - President Thomas S. Monson