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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Teachings (1 of 4) 289

Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration

Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.

From the Life of John Taylor

In March 1837, John Taylor went to Kirtland, Ohio, and had the opportunity to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith for the first time and learn more about the principles of  the newly restored gospel. At the time of John Taylor’s visit to Kirtland, many Church members had become critical of the Prophet Joseph. Even some members of the Quorum of the Twelve were caught up in this dissenting spirit, including Parley P. Pratt, who had initially taught John Taylor the gospel. When Elder Pratt approached him and shared some of his doubts about the Prophet, Brother Taylor replied:

“I am surprised to hear you speak so, Brother Parley. Before you left Canada you bore a strong testimony to Joseph Smith being a Prophet of God, and to the truth of the work he has inaugurated; and you said you knew these things by revelation, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. You gave to me a strict charge to the effect that though you or an angel from heaven was to declare anything else I was not to believe it. Now Brother Parley, it is not man that I am following, but the Lord. The principles you taught me led me to Him, and I now have the same testimony that you then rejoiced in. If the work was true six months ago, it is true today; if Joseph Smith was then a prophet, he is now a prophet.” To Elder Pratt’s credit, he soon repented of his  feelings and continued to be a valiant servant of the Lord.

John Taylor remained loyal to the Prophet Joseph Smith from the day he met him, and they were together when the Prophet was martyred. In a discourse given almost 20 years after the Prophet Joseph’s death, Elder Taylor said, “If there is no other man under the heavens that knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God I do, and I bear testimony of it to God, angels and men.” Throughout Elder Taylor’s ministry, he delighted in teaching that “God restored his ancient Gospel to Joseph Smith, giving him revelation, opening the heavens to him, and making him acquainted with the plan of salvation and exaltation of the children of men.”

Teachings of John Taylor

Joseph Smith was foreordained to be the prophet of the Restoration.

There was nothing particular about [Joseph Smith], he was a man like the balance of us. But the Lord, for certain reasons of his own, I suppose, selected him to be his mouthpiece to the nations in this age of the world. Perhaps Joseph, as well as many others, was set apart to a certain office before the world was. Christ was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Abraham was set apart to his office,  and a great many others in the same way; and Joseph Smith came to do his work.

We all look upon Joseph Smith as being a prophet of God. God called him to occupy the position that he did. How long ago? Thousands of years ago before this world was formed. The prophets prophesied about his coming, that a man should arise whose name should be Joseph, and that his father’s name should be Joseph, and also that he should be a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. This prophecy you will find recorded in the Book of Mormon [see 2 Nephi 3:15]. He had very great and precious promises made to him by the Lord.

The Lord restored the fulness of His gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

What condition was the world in before the gospel we now preach was introduced?  .  .  .  Where could we find anything resembling that which was taught by Jesus? Nowhere on the face of the wide earth. Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers etc., were nowhere to be found. Do I know this? I do know it, for I lived in the world at that time! I knew what was going on. I was mixed up with their teachers and was well acquainted with the different societies and organizations. Did they have the gospel as laid down in the scriptures? No.

I did not know that it was necessary to be baptised for the remission of sins until the gospel taught it to me, yet I knew the Bible from A to Z. I could read a great many things in the prophecies, and make calculations about the millennium and the gathering of Israel, but did not know the first principle of the gospel of Christ; and there is not a man here that knew them. I have traveled extensively in the world and have never met with a priest, or scientific man that knew the first principles of the gospel of Christ in any country.

What could the Lord do with such a pack of ignorant fools as we were? There was one man that had a little good sense, and a spark of faith in the promises of God, and that was Joseph Smith—a backwoods man.  He believed a certain portion of Scripture which said—“If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” [See James 1:5.] He was fool enough in the eyes of the world, and wise enough in the eyes of God and angels, and all true intelligence, to go into a secret place to ask God for wisdom, believing that God would hear him. The Lord did hear him, and told him what to do.

A message was announced to us by Joseph Smith the Prophet, as a revelation from God wherein he stated that holy angels had appeared to him and revealed the everlasting Gospel as it existed in former ages; and that God the Father and God the Son had also appeared to him: the Father pointing to the Son said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.” [See Joseph Smith—History 1:17.] Moroni, a prophet that had lived on this continent, revealed unto him the plates containing the Book of Mormon, and by the gift and power of God Joseph was enabled to translate them into what is known as the Book of Mormon.  .  .  .

.  .  .  The Father having presented His Son to Joseph Smith, and commanded him to hear Him, Joseph was obedient to the heavenly call, and listened to the various communications made by men holding the Holy Priesthood in the various ages under the direction of the Only Begotten. He and Oliver Cowdery were commanded to baptize each other, which they did. John the Baptist came and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. Then Peter, James and John, upon whom was conferred in the Savior’s day, the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood came and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon them. Then Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elias and many of the leading characters mentioned in the Scriptures, who had operated in the various dispensations, came and conferred upon Joseph the various keys, powers, rights, privileges and immunities which they enjoyed in their times.

Again, Joseph was commanded to preach this Gospel and to bear this testimony to the world. He was taught the same principles that were taught to Adam, the same principles that were taught to Noah, to Enoch, to Abraham, to Moses, to the Prophets, and to Elijah: the same principles that were taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles in former times .  .  .  , accompanied with the same Priesthood and the same organization, only more fully, because the present dispensation is a combination of the various dispensations that have existed in the different ages of the world, and  which is designated in the Scriptures as the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which God would gather together all things in one, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth. Therefore, whatever of knowledge, of intelligence, of Priesthood, of powers, of revelations were conferred upon those men in the different ages, were again restored to the earth by the ministration and through the medium of those who held the holy Priesthood of God in the different dispensations in which they lived.

Bible Reading - JST OT 289

Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness;

I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground; there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.

Take the millstones, and grind meal; uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen; I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand; thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady forever; so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children;

But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood; they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me.

Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt now know from whence it riseth; and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off; and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsel. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.

Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast labored, even thy merchants, from thy youth; they shall wander everyone to his quarter; none shall save thee.

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.

And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold; all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.

Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?

Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

But thus saith the Lord; even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for the mighty God shall deliver his covenant people. For thus saith the Lord, I will contend with them that contend with thee, and I will save thy children.

And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Yea, for thus saith the Lord, Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement? To whom have I put thee away, or to which of my creditors have I sold you; yea, to whom have I sold you?

Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away; wherefore, when I came there was no man; when I called there was none to answer. O house of Israel, is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem; or have I no power to deliver?

Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness; and their fish to stink, because the waters are dried up, and they die because of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

Daily Reading 289 - 3 Nephi 7:15 - 8:10

And it came to pass that Nephi--having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations;

Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds--went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.

And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.

And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.

And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.

And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed.

And as many as had devils cast out from them, and were healed of their sicknesses and their infirmities, did truly manifest unto the people that they had been wrought upon by the Spirit of God, and had been healed; and they did show forth signs also and did do some miracles among the people.

Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.

Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.

Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.

And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance; and thus the more part of the year did pass away.

And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record--for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity--

And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;

And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.

And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.

And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.

And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.

And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.

And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.

And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Teachings (1 of 4) 288

We need to prepare ourselves spiritually in order to be effective missionaries.

I would say, however, to those going on missions that they should study the Bible, Book of Mormon, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and all our works, that they may become acquainted with the principles of our faith. I would also say to other young men who are not now going on missions, but who will probably have to go at some time in the future, that these things are of more importance to them than they realize at the present time. We ought to be built up and fortified by the truth.  We ought to become acquainted with the principles, doctrines, and ordinances pertaining to the Church and Kingdom of God.

We are told in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants to search after wisdom as we would for hidden treasures, both by study and by faith; to become acquainted with the history and laws of the nation we live in, and of the nations of the earth [see D&C 88:78–80, 118]. I know that when young men are working around here, going to the canyon, working on the farm, going to the theatre, and so on, their minds are not much occupied with these things; but when they are called upon to take a part in the drama themselves, many of them will wish they had paid more attention to the instructions they have received, and had made themselves more familiar with the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

The kind of men we want as bearers of this gospel message are men who have faith in God; men who have faith in their religion; men who honor their priesthood; men in whom the people who  know them have faith and in whom God has confidence.  .  .  .  We want men full of the Holy Ghost and the power of God.  .  .  .  Men who bear the words of life among the nations, ought to be men of honor, integrity, virtue and purity; and this being the command of God to us, we shall try and carry it out.

We must have faith and courage to fulfill our missionary duty.

There is a terrible time approaching the nations of the earth, .  .  .  worse than has ever entered into the heart of man to conceive of— war, bloodshed, and desolation, mourning and misery, pestilence, famine, and earthquakes, and all those calamities spoken of by the prophets will most assuredly be fulfilled.  .  .  .  And it is for us, Latter- day Saints, to understand the position we occupy.  .  .  .

.  .  .  There are some things that make it extremely difficult for men sometimes to  perform the kind of missions that they did formerly, owing to age, infirmities, and circumstances. Yet I have frequently felt ashamed when I have seen the acts of many of these quorums to which I refer, when they have been called upon to go on missions.  One has one excuse, and another, another. It was easier some twenty years ago to raise two or three hundred men than it is now among all those thousands in Israel. How do you account for this?  Partly in consequence of an apathy that exists.

There are lots of able-bodied men who, if they could only have a little more faith in God, and could realize the calamities that are coming upon the earth, and the responsibilities of that priesthood that God has conferred upon them, they would be ready to break all barriers and say, Here I am, send me; I wish to benefit the human family. If Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost, let me be possessed of the same spirit.

I, myself, have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles preaching the gospel; and without purse or scrip, trusting in the Lord. Did he ever forsake me? Never, no never. I always was provided for, for which I feel to praise God my Heavenly Father. I was engaged in his work, and he told me that he would sustain me in it. He has been true to his trust; and if I have not been true to mine, I hope he will forgive me and help me to do better. But the Lord has been true and faithful, and I have never needed anything to eat or drink or wear, and was never prevented for want of means of traveling where I pleased.

I have a great deal more confidence in men who rise here feeling their weakness and  inability, than I have in those who feel that they are well informed and capable of teaching anything and everything. Why? Because when men trust to themselves they trust in a broken reed; and when they trust in the Lord they will never fail.  .  .  .  The Lord is over all, He watches over His people, and if these  brethren will continue to trust in God .  .  .  , His Spirit will rest upon them, enlighten their minds, enlarge their capacities and give to them wisdom and intelligence in time of need.  They need not be under any apprehension with regard to the wisdom of the world; for there is no wisdom in the world equal to that which the Lord gives to His Saints; and as long as these brethren keep from evil, live their religion, and cleave to the Lord by keeping His commandments, there is no fear as to the results; and this will apply to all the Saints as well as to these brethren.

Whatever their feelings may be, [missionaries] go forth as the angels of mercy bearing the precious seeds of the gospel, and they shall be the means of bringing many from darkness to light, from error and superstition to life, light, truth, and intelligence, and finally, to exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our God.

When these brethren go forth, it may be a new work to them. They will have to combat the errors of ages, contend with the prejudices which they themselves state to you held such a powerful influence over them; they will also have to preach to and reason with men who have no regard for truth, much less for the religion which we have embraced, yet these elders go forth as the sent messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They go to proclaim that God has established his work upon the earth, that he has spoken from the heavens, and that the visions of the Almighty have been opened to our view; the light of ages is being revealed to the servants of the Most High, the darkness which has enshrouded the world for ages is being dispersed; and these chosen elders of Israel are sent forth to proclaim these glad tidings of salvation to the dark and benighted nations of the earth.  .  .  .  They go forth and they shall come back rejoicing, bearing precious sheaves with them, and they will bless the name of the God of Israel, that they have had the privilege of taking a part in warning this generation.

Bible Reading - JST OT 288

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.

And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them.

Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.

Who hath formed a god, or molten a grave image that is profitable for nothing?

Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed; and the workmen, they are of men; let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.

The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms; yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint.

The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man; according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.

He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest; he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.

Then shall it be for a man to burn; for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshipeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire;

And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image; he falleth down unto it, and worshipeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

They have not known nor understood; for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it; and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?

He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant; I have formed thee; thou art my servant; O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins; return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it; shout, ye lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.

That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;

That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof;

That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers;

That saith to Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron;

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me; I girded thee, though thou hast not known me;

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.

I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded.

I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.

Thus saith the Lord, The labor of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine; they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior.

They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them; they shall go to confusion together, that are makers of idols.

But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited; I am the Lord, and there is none else.

I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain; I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations; they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together; who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no god else beside me; a just God, and a Savior; there is none beside me.

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth; their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle; your carriages were heavy laden; they are a burden to the weary beast.

They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb;

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god; they fall down, yea, they worship.

They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove; yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Remember this, and show yourselves men; bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;

Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

Daily Reading 288 - 3 Nephi 7:1-14

Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.

And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.

Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great.

Now all this was done, and there were no wars as yet among them; and all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan.

And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.

And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them.

And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire.

Now this secret combination, which had brought so great iniquity upon the people, did gather themselves together, and did place at their head a man whom they did call Jacob;

And they did call him their king; therefore he became a king over this wicked band; and he was one of the chiefest who had given his voice against the prophets who testified of Jesus.

And it came to pass that they were not so strong in number as the tribes of the people, who were united together save it were their leaders did establish their laws, every one according to his tribe; nevertheless they were enemies; notwithstanding they were not a righteous people, yet they were united in the hatred of those who had entered into a covenant to destroy the government.

Therefore, Jacob seeing that their enemies were more numerous than they, he being the king of the band, therefore he commanded his people that they should take their flight into the northernmost part of the land, and there build up unto themselves a kingdom, until they were joined by dissenters, (for he flattered them that there would be many dissenters) and they become sufficiently strong to contend with the tribes of the people; and they did so.

And so speedy was their march that it could not be impeded until they had gone forth out of the reach of the people. And thus ended the thirtieth year; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi.

And it came to pass in the thirty and first year that they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends; nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws, and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they did establish very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Teachings (1 of 4) 287

It is our duty to assist the Lord through missionary work.

Now then, the Lord has been desirous, in this age, as he has in other ages, to gather to himself a people who would do his will, keep his commandments, listen to his counsel and carry out his behests.  .  .  .  The Lord, in this age as on former occasions, sends by whom he will send; he selects his own messengers and sends them among the people. And when the elders of Israel went forth, he said to them in a certain revelation—“Go forth, and mine angels shall go before you, and my spirit  shall accompany you.” [See D&C 84:88.] And they went forth, and God was true to his word, and many of you, at that time in distant nations, listened to the words of life, and when you heard them you knew and understood then, just as Jesus said—“My sheep hear my voice and know me, and they follow me, but a stranger will they not follow, because they know not the voice of a stranger.” [See John 10:5, 27.] You heard the voice of truth accompanied by the spirit of God, and that caused a chord to vibrate within your own bosoms and you yielded obedience.  .  .  .

Now, then, we are gathered together to help, what to do? To look after our own individual interest? No. To accumulate wealth? No. To possess and wallow in the good things of this life? No, but to do the will of God and devote ourselves, our talents and abilities, our intelligence and influence in every possible way to carry out the designs of Jehovah and help to establish peace and righteousness upon the earth. This, as I understand it, is what we are here for, and not to attend to our own individual affairs and let God and his kingdom do as they please. We are all interested in the great latter-day work of God, and we all ought to be co-workers therein.

I was ordained an Elder by the proper authorities, and I went forth to preach this  Gospel. Other Elders went forth as I did to the civilized nations, preaching the same doctrine and holding out the same promises. Some of them were not very learned; some were not very profoundly educated. We send a singular class of people in our Elders. Sometimes a missionary is a merchant, sometimes a legislator, a blacksmith, an adobe maker, a plasterer, a farmer, or common laborer, as the case may be. But all under the same influence and spirit, all going forth as missionaries to preach the Gospel of light, of life and of salvation. They have received the treasures of eternal life, and they are enabled to communicate them to others; and they hold out the same promises.

You who hear me this afternoon as well as thousands upon thousands of others, have  listened to those principles, you have had held out unto you those promises; and when you obeyed the Gospel, you received this same spirit; and you are my witnesses of the truth of the things that I now proclaim in your hearing and of the Spirit and power of God attending the obedience to the Gospel, and you will not deny it. This congregation will not deny it. When you yielded obedience to the laws of God, obeyed His commandments, and were baptized for the remission of your sins and had hands laid upon you for the reception of the Holy Ghost, you did receive it; and you are living witnesses before God. This is a secret that the world does not comprehend.  .  .  .  We are in possession of the principles of eternal life, and are operating for eternity; and then we are operating to build up the Zion of God, where righteousness can be taught, and where men can be protected, and where liberty can be proclaimed to all men of every color, of every creed and of every nation.

Our duty is to preach the Gospel to all men. .  .  .  And we are doing this in spite of the opposition of men, and in the name of God we will do it.  .  .  .  And if they love the devil better than God, they can do so and sup trouble and sorrow and calamity and war and bloodshed. For nation will rise against nation, country against country; and thrones will be cast down; and empires will be scattered to the four winds, and the powers of the earth everywhere will be shaken; and the Lord will come  forth by and by to judge the nations; and it behooves us to know what we are doing, and while we profess to be the saints of God not to be hypocrites, but be full of truth and full of integrity and magnify our calling and honor our God.

This is what God expects of us.  And then to build temples, and what then? Administer in them. Send the gospel to the nations of the earth. And then gather the people in. What then? Build more temples. What then? Have men administer in them.

Missionaries teach eternal truth with the power and authority of God.

There is a very great difference between our mode of promulgating the gospel, and that pursued by the world. Many of these men .  .  .  would be very unlikely instruments for preaching the gospel according to popular notions; but the grand difference between us and them is that we go forth in the name of Israel’s God, sustained by His power, wisdom and intelligence, to proclaim the principles of eternal truth communicated to us by Him; while they go forth to proclaim what they have learned in colleges.

Our Elders go forth in weakness.  .  .  .  When [they] go forth, they have no  preparation beyond the common rudiments of education that all are supposed to learn; but it is not words they go to teach, it is principles. And although before an audience learned in the laws of God, they may feel a good deal of tremor and bashfulness in trying to express themselves, yet, when they go forth and stand before congregations in the world, the Spirit of the Lord God will go with them, the Lord will sustain them and will give unto them wisdom, “that all their adversaries will not be able to gainsay, nor resist.” [See Luke 21:15.] That is the promise made to the servants of the Lord who go forth trusting in Him.

These young men are just like the rest of us: they have received the spirit of life, light and intelligence, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and they are the messengers of the Great Jehovah, whom He has selected, set apart, and ordained to go and proclaim His will to the nations of the earth. They go not in their own name or strength, but in the name, strength and power of Israel’s God. That is their position, and if they cleave to God and magnify their callings, adhere to the principles of truth, and shun  temptation and corruption of every kind, the power of God will be with them, and God shall open their mouths, and enable them to confound the wisdom of the wise, and they will say things that will astonish themselves and those who listen to them.

I would say to these brethren, let it be your study to fulfill your mission. Never mind the world; never mind the dollars and cents, the pounds, shillings, and pence.  You cleave to God, live your religion, magnify your callings, humble yourselves before God, call upon Him in secret and He will open your path before you.