Elder D. Todd Christofferson is someone that I look forward to hearing from and his talks always seem to have some very rich ideas in them that are worth pondering. He started off talking about Elijah and the priests of Baal, interesting stuff worthy of a whole post but I feel more like skipping ahead.
In the most recent general conference, President Russell M. Nelson declared: “You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.”
The quote is consistent with my experience, at least in principle. There is a wrestle that occurs in the search for truth. The desire of the individual is the key factor in whether or not they find what they are looking for. In this pursuit, one will become very well acquainted with failure as various avenues are explored.Read Full PostGo to Comments
I really loved this talk. I like most talks from Dallin H. Oaks because he doesn’t share a lot of touchy-feely stories, he sticks to the doctrine. One of my favorite quotes is “great leaders kill ambiguity” from Scott Belsky the founder of Behance and Oaks is a great leader.
“Modern revelation defines truth as a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). That is a perfect definition for the plan of salvation and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
This is such a powerhouse statement and it is worth reading in reverse; the Proclamation is part of the plan of salvation and the truth of how things are, were, and are to come. On the contrary, the world is wrong about a lot of things; they are, they were, and they will be in the future.Read Full PostGo to Comments
“Please do not focus primarily upon the logistical aspects of what has been announced. We must not allow procedural details to obscure the overarching spiritual reasons these changes now are being made.”
This is an important statement because it is all too easy to look at the logistics of a thing rather than understanding the spiritual foundation. I love these changes because I think that they take away constraints that have allowed me to focus more specifically on needs rather than utilizing more time worrying about scheduling visits for everyone when other things might be more valuable. True, you could do both, but why place unnecessary constraints on people?Read Full PostGo to Comments
“Some years ago, one of our young married daughters and her husband asked Sister Rasband and me a very important, life-influencing question: ‘Is it still safe and wise to bring children into this seemingly wicked and frightening world we live in?’”
Elder Ronald A. Rasband introduces a common question that might just as well be valid to ask in virtually any time in human history. Regardless of the nature of the culture, this world is inherently and by design a risky and dangerous place. The way I see it, if we are still alive and the work is still in motion, then it is still our duty to bring children into the world. The Rasband’s answer to their children “Yes, it’s more than OK,” was great.Read Full PostGo to Comments
There is an ideology today that I hear quite often and it is poor in principle and flawed in doctrine. You may recognize this ideology as it appears in the following forms:
- “Live your truth”
- “Be who you really are”
- “Be your most authentic self”
What if “your truth” is that only the strong survive and that whatever you can take from the weak you should? What if you are an angry person, short-tempered, or enjoy lusting after the flesh? What if you look at yourself as you are now and realize that you are incredibly narcissistic and do not truly care about the people around you? These ideologies initially feel warm and fuzzy, but they require you to cut yourself off from the greater realities of life and truth.Read Full PostGo to Comments
This year our grandchildren wrote the topic of their message on stones and then, one by one, buried them next to one another, representing a sure foundation upon which a happy life is established.
I think it is cool to do things like this with kids (sure, and adults too). Stories like these that Elder Steven R. Bangerter shared sound like something you would read about in scripture as a parable or relating to an event like the Lamanites literally burying their weapons of war. Acting out symbolic gestures can imprint unique things upon the mind and help draw connections to other doctrines and principles.
Jesus Christ is that precious cornerstone in the foundation of Zion. It was He who revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”
Underestimating the power of what we perceive to be “small things” was a theme in this conference and something that I think humanity has universally struggled with throughout history.Read Full PostGo to Comments
Frequently, our first reaction to hard things is “Why me?
This is true, but why? Hard things happen to everyone all the time, so why don’t we anticipate them? Why do we feel that somehow we should be shielded from hard things while everyone else isn’t?
Joseph Smith confronted a hard thing in Liberty Jail. With no relief in sight and in despair, Joseph cried out, “O God, where art thou?” No doubt some of us have felt as Joseph did.
This dialogue between Joseph and God that M. Joseph Brough relates is remarkably intimate, relatable, and revealing. It is a testament to how close God always is, even when we are deep within dark places. He has the power to immediately end the suffering, but he forbears. He sees more than we do, around us, inside us, and beyond us.Read Full PostGo to Comments
Elder Quentin L. Cook expanded on the details of the new changes to the Sunday Schedule and numerous ways that it can help impact the lives of the saints for the good. I’m thrilled about this new direction, the loss of an hour is barely noticeable when compared to the greater vision of what is trying to be accomplished here.
“With respect to the Sunday meeting schedule, the senior leaders of the Church have been aware for many years that for some of our precious members, a three-hour Sunday schedule at church can be difficult.”
The current 3-hour block came about in 1980, I believe, but that third hour was still part of the weekly worship. Three straight hours does take a lot of people and time to accomplish every 7 days, 365 days per year.Read Full PostGo to Comments
In keeping with the purpose of this blog as my personal study journal, I’m going to be doing something new. This last General Conference was particularly inspiring for me, as I’m sure it was for many.
I want to dig deep into the talks and post of some of my thoughts here as part of my study process and make them available for any others who may be interested (which is why this is a public blog). I may not do a post for every talk, some talks didn’t feel like they had anything in particular for me and I’m not going to try and force insights where I don’t feel any coming naturally just for the sake of including everyone.
I’ll begin with Russell M. Nelson’s introductory remarks at the Saturday Morning Session to kick things off. I think this is an important one, this is the beginning of something great.
“It is time for ‘home-centered’ church.”
What comes to mind first is the idea that this is the start of something that could be a very positive direction for us as a people. My second thought is the words of Nephi who said: “And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.” (1 Nephi 16:29)Read Full PostGo to Comments
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” (Ericson, Edward E. Jr. (October 1985) “Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag,” Eternity, pp. 23–24)
I wonder why we continue to fail to learn this lesson. I also wonder why it is so hard for a generation who gets this to pass it on to future generations.
We see this cycle repeated over and over in the Book of Mormon with a few exceptions. Perhaps we will finally have Zion when we have figured out how to make it stick.Go to Comments
I have compiled a list of parallel themes between Moses’ serpent and Lehi’s Liahona that occur in Alma 33:19-23 and Alma 37:38-47. I’ve been studying this for a little while now trying to figure out how many of these parallels there, what this might mean, and how I might explain it.
After staring at a marked-up comparison between these two sets of scriptures for some time, I thought I’d go through each theme, write some ideas, and then include excerpts from the scriptures. This turned out to be a worthwhile way for me to explore these various themes and I have each of them here to share.
The serpent and the Liahona were both considered to be a type; that which represents something else or a figure of something to come. This means that God caused them to be used for at least two reasons: 1. to solve an immediate problem and 2. to illustrate a greater meaning and truth. Alma is going to explain the details of all this for us.
|Serpent – Alma 33||Liahona – Alma 37|
|…a type was raised up…(vs.19)||…is there not a type in this thing? (vs.45)|
Nephi prophesied that in the last day groups would contend with one another and that they would be built up “not unto the Lord” (2 Nephi 28:3)
These groups have authorities that will “contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning.” (vs.4) They will say, “Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept;” (vs.5) and “Behold, hearken ye unto my precept;” (vs.6)
They will teach that God “will justify in committing a little sin…and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.” (vs.8)
“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines” (vs.9) They will be corrupted “Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their [groups] have become corrupted, and their [groups] are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.” (vs.12)Read Full PostGo to Comments
Where does that idea come from? It is a question that doesn’t get asked often enough. Someone proclaims something and it sounds right, they even have reasoning that feels compelling, but where did that idea originate?
Ideas are essential and powerful; with them, one may create order or chaos. Today, we are surrounded with peddlers of ideas and there are many who stand ready to instantly adopt whatever feels right at the moment.
These words of Isaiah are wise:
Go to Comments
Who among you fears Jehovah and heeds the voice of his servant, who, though he walk in the dark and have no light, trusts in the name of Jehovah and relies on his God?
But you are lighters of fires, all of you, who illuminate with mere sparks. Walk then by the light of your fires and by the sparks you have kindled. This shall you have from my hand: you shall lie down in agony.
- Good works are not substitutes for grace, they are expressions of obedience that foreshadow the disposition of the converted.
- “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;” – Ephesians 5:1 NASB
- Sunday is just another day of the week, the Sabbath must be created, a sign between us and God.
- Prayer is a union of minds, we can unite with God or others around us.
- Key terms from the sermon on the mount:
- Meek = mild = non-violent
- Blessed = happy and prosperous
- Merciful = compassionate = a heart easily moved by the suffering or distress of others
- Pure = clean = free from foreign matter
- Peace = freedom from conflict
- We come unto Christ by drawing near to him, not in physical, but dispositional proximity.
- The word brass in Hebrew is nachosheth which means copper.
- Brass items in scripture include:
- Moses’ serpent
- Laban’s plates
- Temple basin on the back of 12 oxen
- Solomon’s 2 pillars
- Brass items in scripture include:
- “If there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur.” – Pres. Nelson
- The meaning of the tree in Nephi’s vision (the love of God) was the same as what he already knew about God, that he “loveth his children.” The answer didn’t deliver new information in that regard, but it allowed him to see what he already knew in a greater context. (Knowing is one thing, understanding the meaning is another).
- Lehi: “[the fruit] was desirable above all other fruit” – 1 Ne. 8:12
- Nephi: [the tree] is the most desirable above all things.” – 1 Ne. 11:22
- “My joy is more full because of the success of my brethren.” – Alma 29:14
“Knowest thou the condescension of God?”
This question was posed to Nephi in a vision by one he refers to as the Spirit of the Lord. (1 Nephi 11:16) I’ve read this verse many, many times and I’ve often heard young people mispronounce it as “condensation” which always cracks me up.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately though as I’ve been hovering around the tree of life vision for several months now; I keep coming back to it and finding things that interest me.
The wording of this question always struck me as somewhat awkward, and what is being implied by the word “condescension” isn’t clear. In fact, in all of scripture, we only find it 5 times and all of those occurrences are in the first three books of the Book of Mormon.
Lately, I have been struck by how shocking this question may have initially been to Nephi. In the course of his vision, he is shown the same tree from his father’s vision, then a beautiful woman, and then he gets asked this question that at this point seems out of the blueRead Full PostGo to Comments
Every covenant we make with God involves an ordinance and every ordinance involves a ceremony. These ceremonies use symbols to illustrate what the promised blessings are. Some ceremonies are long, some are short, and some will be missed if you blink.Go to Comments
Nope, this post is not about Levi’s blue jeans, I didn’t realize that my last post was my 500th post here at oneClimbs.com so this one is post #501. I had plans to do something really special but nothing really materialized.
July 1st is a big milestone because it will mark 8 years since I started this blog back in 2010 so I’m glad I could sneak 500 in before the anniversary. It is staggering to think how much I have learned since then (well, to me at least) and will continue to learn in the decades to come; man, I just can’t wait! I have about 99 drafts still sitting unfinished and tons of other stuff sitting in my Evernote account and handwritten journals which is where a lot of posts originate.
With so much that I’d like to get done and so little time to do it, I think I understand a little why eternity will be so refreshing and why it is called “heaven.” Putting my thoughts into words and taking the time to try and explain my thoughts has helped me immensely. I highly recommend the practice of putting your thoughts down into words. The main reason I do it publicly is that it forces me to consider an audience.
oneClimbs.com doesn’t generate any revenue, I don’t promote it or seek traffic, it just is what it is and if anyone finds something useful then that’s fine; if not, no biggie. I do appreciate those that leave comments, there have been some great ones that have influenced and inspired me greatly.
Richard N. I love your humor and wit, Particle Man I appreciate your wisdom; a shout out to both of you. My favorite comment of all time was from “Rob” who said:
“This is a revelation that came to me in the midst of a trial I had that was of the caliber of Job’s trials: The Law of Sacrifice is the ‘Scale of Weights’ that measures Love. Love can only be measured when it is balanced in a scale against sacrifice.”
I’ve thought about that line for years, I’ve shared it, and it has taken me on an amazing journey of understanding, thanks, Rob.
Anyway, let’s see what kind of stuff I discover on the way to post #600 and beyond. Back to climbing…Go to Comments
It’s a brief read and worth your time. While it doesn’t mention the Boy Scouts of America or their latest move to allow girls to join, the information in this article can be used to make the case that boys are the losers in this new system. That may sound like strong language but keep reading.
“The boy does not simply grow into manhood, for manhood is a cultural reality built on a biological foundation. Womanhood, by contrast, is a biological reality with cultural expression.
I must insist upon the distinction here. Saint Jose Maria de Escriva could understandably say to each of his male followers, Esto vir! Be a man, and we know what the exhortation implies. Even feminists know, and tremble. It implies that at any moment of a man’s life, his manhood is subject to trial, to be won, again and again, to be confirmed or to be canceled. A man can lose forever his right to stand beside other men. He can fall to being no man at all.”
G. over at Junior Ganymede disagreed with this last point of being no man at all, citing theRead Full PostGo to Comments
These words from Joseph Fielding Smith have been a key guide to my own studies over the years:
“STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN. It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.
You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.
Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it.
If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3:203–204. italics in original)
Personally, I expand the scope of President Smith’s words here to include the writings, speeches, or ideologies of everyone out there and not just church authorities.
There are many philosophies and precepts of men (2 Nephi 28:14,26,30-31) that burst into our awareness through a variety of channels with cheerleaders that demand that these new ideas be recognized immediately by everyone as absolute truths.
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