Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cling to the Rod- 3 Nephi 2:13

3 Nephi 2:13
Cling to the Rod
 13 And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore.

The Gadianton Robbers were ferocious and were winning the war and the Nephites and Lamanites were seriously threatened with destruction. War stinks!


Jeremiah 4:20

    20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.
    21 And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

1 Nephi 14:3

3 And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.

1 Nephi 7:13

    13 And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise; and ye shall know at some future period that the word of the Lord shall be fulfilled concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; for all things which the Lord hath spoken concerning the destruction of Jerusalem must be fulfilled.
    10 Yea, I will visit them in my fierce anger, and there shall be those of the fourth generation who shall live, of your enemies, to behold your utter destruction; and this shall surely come except ye repent, saith the Lord; and those of the fourth generation shall visit your destruction.
23 And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Jesus mission was to save souls from spiritual destruction.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4

4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?

OCTOBER 2011 | Cleave unto the Covenants
Barbara Thompson Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
My grandmother Ellen Hanks Rymer was a young mother in 1912 when she received her patriarchal blessing. When I read her blessing, these lines jumped off the page and stayed in my mind: “Thou wast chosen from before the foundation of the earth, and a chosen spirit to come forth in this day. … Thy testimony shall be magnified and thou shalt be able to testify. … The destroyer has sought to destroy thee, but if thou wilt cleave unto thy God, he [the destroyer] shall not have power to harm thee. Thou through thy faithfulness shalt have great power and the destroyer shall flee from before thee because of thy righteousness. … When the hour of fear and trials come upon thee if thou wilt retire to thy secret closet in prayer thy heart shall be comforted and the obstacles removed.”2
My grandmother was promised that if she would keep her covenants and stay close to God, Satan could have no power over her. She would find comfort and help in her trials. These promises were fulfilled in her life.
Today I want to talk about (1) the importance of cleaving unto covenants and (2) the joy and protection that come from keeping our covenants.

The Importance of Cleaving unto Covenants

The Bible Dictionary tells us that a covenant is a contract made between God and man. “God in his good pleasure fixes the terms, which man accepts. … The gospel is so arranged that principles and ordinances are received by covenant placing the recipient under strong obligation and responsibility to honor the commitment.”3 In the phrase “cleave unto covenants,” the word cleave means “to adhere firmly and closely” to something.4
In the scriptures we learn of men and women who have made covenants with God. God has given instructions on what to do to honor those covenants, and then as those covenants have been kept, the promised blessings have followed.

Joy and Protection Come from Keeping Our Covenants

In the Book of Mormon we read King Benjamin’s sermon. He taught the people about Jesus Christ, that He would come to the earth and suffer all manner of afflictions. He taught the people that Christ would atone for the sins of all mankind and that His name was the only name by which man could obtain salvation.11
Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, told us in our last general conference: “As you and I go to the holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we will be more able to bear every trial and to overcome each temptation. In this sacred sanctuary we will find peace; we will be renewed and fortified.”22
Once again: “Lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.”23 Keeping covenants is true joy and happiness. This is comfort and peace. This is protection from the evils of the world. Keeping our covenants will help us in times of trial.

OCTOBER 1977 | The Tragic Cycle
Marion G. Romney
That the inhabitants of the earth are today floundering in confusion is no secret. That chaos threatens society is common knowledge. If the prevailing course of men and nations is not changed, it will culminate in a cataclysmic disaster. God has so predicted, and history bears witness.
For six thousand years civilizations have risen, flourished, declined, and passed away pursuant to the same cycle of events.
Civilizations rise as their people comply with the laws upon which prosperity, success, and happiness depend. These laws God revealed in the beginning and, through His prophets, He has repeated them in every dispensation since.
Civilizations have flourished as long as these laws are obeyed. Civilizations decline to the extent such laws are disobeyed. Civilizations pass away when these laws are completely disregarded.
Beginning in the days of Adam, and in every gospel dispensation since, the Lord has warned the inhabitants of the earth that their continued violation of the laws of righteousness, which He has revealed, would bring on their destruction.
All history, sacred and profane, testifies to the accuracy of this prediction....Now my beloved brothers and sisters, I realize that these predictions are not pleasing, but nevertheless they speak the truth. They are the words of the true and living God, who said:...
I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.” (D&C 5:20.)
There is but one way these impending calamities can be avoided, and that way is repentance.
You know and I know that the inhabitants of the earth are steeped in sin and iniquity and that they are sinking deeper into the mire every day.
But—and this is the glorious message—the Lord not only gave the warnings; He also revealed anew the means by which the ominous calamities may be averted.
He has revealed anew the same simple truths He taught Adam and Eve in the beginning. Collectively, these teachings constitute the principles, doctrines, and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which begins with a knowledge of and faith in God our Eternal Father in heaven and Jesus Christ His Only Begotten Son in the flesh, our Savior and Redeemer. They include the truth that the inhabitants of the earth, God’s offspring, are in mortality for the purpose of being proved to see if they will keep the commandments of God.
These commandments are not arbitrary edicts of a vindictive tyrant. They but set forth the laws and ordinances which produce—as a matter of cause and effect—peace, success, and happiness. Rejection of and disobedience to them has in the past always brought, and will continue to bring, failure and disaster as a natural consequence.
The closing of the tragic cycle by the coming of the foreboding calamities can be averted if the inhabitants of the earth will repent, believe, and have faith in God as our Heavenly Father, in His Son Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, and will conform to their teachings. A good beginning would be to obey the commandments God gave to the children of Israel through Moses, the ones President Kimball has already quoted from this pulpit this day. The Lord said then and it is still true:
I am the Lord thy God. …
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. …
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. …
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. …
Honour thy father and thy mother. …
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet.” (Ex. 20:2–3, 7–8, 12–17.)
If the inhabitants of the earth will obey these commandments and, in addition, strive with full purpose of heart to comply with the words of Jesus to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37, 39) the predicted calamities can be prevented. But only in this manner can the closing of the tragic cycle in our day be averted.
That it will be so I do not say. I do know, and I say, that as there was a Zion in the days of Enoch in which those who complied with God’s laws were saved, so there shall be a Zion in this last dispensation in which all those who live God’s revealed laws will be saved.
To all of these things which the Lord has spoken, I bear my solemn witness in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
OCTOBER 2009 | Safety for the Soul
Jeffrey R. Holland Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Prophecies regarding the last days often refer to large-scale calamities such as earthquakes or famines or floods. These in turn may be linked to widespread economic or political upheavals of one kind or another.
But there is one kind of latter-day destruction that has always sounded to me more personal than public, more individual than collective—a warning, perhaps more applicable inside the Church than outside it. The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth.1 If we think of this as a form of spiritual destruction, it may cast light on another latter-day prophecy. Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith, the poetic location of our loyalties and our values; then consider Jesus’s declaration that in the last days “men’s hearts [shall fail] them.”2
The encouraging thing, of course, is that our Father in Heaven knows all of these latter-day dangers, these troubles of the heart and soul, and has given counsel and protections regarding them.
In light of that, it has always been significant to me that the Book of Mormon, one of the Lord’s powerful keystones3 in this counteroffensive against latter-day ills, begins with a great parable of life, an extended allegory of hope versus fear, of light versus darkness, of salvation versus destruction—an allegory of which Sister Ann M. Dibb spoke so movingly this morning.
In Lehi’s dream an already difficult journey gets more difficult when a mist of darkness arises, obscuring any view of the safe but narrow path his family and others are to follow. It is imperative to note that this mist of darkness descends on all the travelers—the faithful and the determined ones (the elect, we might even say) as well as the weaker and ungrounded ones. The principal point of the story is that the successful travelers resist all distractions, including the lure of forbidden paths and jeering taunts from the vain and proud who have taken those paths. The record says that the protected “did press their way forward, continually [and, I might add, tenaciously] holding fast” to a rod of iron that runs unfailingly along the course of the true path.4 However dark the night or the day, the rod marks the way of that solitary, redeeming trail.
I beheld,” Nephi says later, “that the rod of iron … was the word of God, [leading] … to the tree of life; … a representation of the love of God.” Viewing this manifestation of God’s love, Nephi goes on to say:
I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, … [who] went forth ministering unto the people. …
Hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, … and they teach all men that they should do good.
And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day.14
Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived”15—and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you. Of this I earnestly testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
As we read about the nearing complete physical destruction of the Nephites and the Lamanites, we might realize that an even worse destruction would be spiritual destruction. We are always at war with Satan. There are always people who follow him and try to cause our spiritual downfall. We have much to loose if we loose our testimonies and our faith in God an all that is good. We can loose our happiness on earth and also our eternal happiness and the great privilege of living with God, our loving father and our children as families in the eternal realms. Our spiritual armor is in our daily actions of learning of Him and being a strong advocate to bless the lives of others through our families and our Church and communities. With personal righteousness, we can grow until our faith becomes a spiritual knowledge that God lives and has a plan for our salvation and the the devil has a plan for our destruction. It is our choice which it will be. “I can follow God's plan for me. Holding fast to the iron rod.”

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