Biblical Worldview: Christopher Columbus and the Holy Spirit

Biblical Worldview: Christopher Columbus and the Holy Spirit

Christopher Columbus: Part 2, Book of Faith and Prophecies

Part 1- Epic Hero: Columbus and the Israel Connection

 

by Shirley R. Heater

keycolumbus3… our Lord opened to my understanding (I could sense his hand upon me), so that it became clear to me that it was feasible to navigate from here to the Indies; and he unlocked within me the determination to execute the idea…. Who doubts that this illumination was from the Holy Spirit? I attest that he [the Spirit], with marvelous rays of light, consoled me through the holy and sacred Scriptures…. encouraging me to proceed, and, continually, without ceasing for a moment, they inflame me with a sense of great urgency (Brigham 1991:179).

columbusIn His Own Words
Columbus’s title for what is called his Book of Prophecies, conveys the essence of his vision: Notebook of authorities, statements, opinions and prophecies on the subject of the recovery of God’s holy city and mountain of Zion, and on the discovery and evangelization of the islands of the Indies and of all other peoples and nations. To Ferdinand and Isabella, our hispanic rulers (West and Kling 1991:2,101).

The book is a personal collection of letters, scriptures (from both the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Apocrypha) and quotations from Biblical commentators such as St. Isidore, Rabbi Samuel and St. Augustine, and other sources. It was prepared for the benefit of the King and Queen of Spain to assure them that his mission, and their support, had been a fulfillment of prophecy. Columbus divided his material into four parts. The first is introductory, followed by three sections entitled: “Concerning the Past,” “Concerning the Present and Future” and “Concerning the Future. In the Last Days.”

Columbus compiled this work in 1501-1502 between his third and fourth voyages to the New World, using many handwritten notes as well as marginal notes he had made in books in his personal library. These notes lead West and Kling to conclude that there can be little doubt that Columbus’s systematic study of Bible history and prophecies began at least as early as 1481, concurrently to forming his great plan” (1991:91). Columbus’s Book of Prophecies culminated a lifetime of deep religious conviction and intense scriptural study and interpretation.

columbus4Today the original manuscript resides in Spain in the Biblioteca Colombina at the Cathedral of Seville. In 1894-four hundred years after Columbus’s first voyage to the New World-it was finally published in Spanish. Two translations of Columbus’s Book of Prophecies are now available in English for the first time (Brigham 1991; West and Kling 1991).

Kay Brigham presents a reproduction of the original Latin and Spanish manuscript followed by the English translation; a companion biography is published separately (Brigham 1990). Delno West and August Kling place a transcription of the original text with the English translation on facing pages, introduced by historical/biographical information and commentary. Other writings by Columbus include logs he kept of each of his voyages. His logs have been published many times and are well studied. They reveal a fascinating picture of a man skilled in the “mariner’s arts,” astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, in drafting spherical maps, and drawing “the cities, rivers, mountains, islands and ports”–a man learned in “geographies, histories, chronologies, philosophies and other subjects” (West and Kling 1991:105). Many biographers and historians have focused on his numerous accomplishments in these areas.

However, more significant is his deep spiritual life, knowledge and interpretation of scripture, especially his fervent conviction that he had been chosen by God to fulfill one of the most significant missions in history, a “holy enterprise”-taking the message of Christ to the nations, which would then usher in the return of the Savior.

columbuslandsThe spiritual side of Columbus has been treated as at odds and in conflict with “scientific rationale.” The content of the Book of Prophecies with its emphasis on the spiritual has been virtually ignored or dismissed as “mad ravings,” “delusions,” “bizarre,” an “accute embarrassment “temporary ‘dark and sordid stupor’ … or a clever ploy … to convince the gullible queen that he was ‘the chosen man of destiny to conquer an Other World”‘ (Sale 1990:188-189).

This unbalanced treatment of Columbus is now changing with the English translation of his Book of Prophecies. Restoration Christians, as well as non-Restoration Christians, will find it significant, because “[t]he discovery of America was a triumph of Christianity” (Slater and Adams 1992:2). Many Christians believe that this nation is God’s instrument for taking the gospel to the world, a vision also shared by Columbus.

 

Led by the Holy Spirit
holyspirit
Nephi’s vision in the Book of Mormon clearly shows that “a man among the Gentiles”-Columbus was led by the Holy Spirit to make his voyage of discovery.

And I looked and beheld a man
among the Gentiles which were
separated from the seed of my
brethren by the many waters;
And I beheld the Spirit of God, that it
came down and wrought upon
the man;
And he went forth upon the many
waters, even unto the seed of my
brethren which were in the
promised land.     1 Nephi 3:147

Columbus’s own testimony that he was led by the Holy Spirit was made available in English when Peter Marshall and David Manuel published in their book, The Light and the Glory (1977:17), excerpts from an earlier private translation of the Book of Prophecies by Kling (see also West and Kling 1991:105). Brigham’s recently published translation reads:

… our Lord opened to my understanding (I could sense his hand upon me), so that it became clear to me that it was feasible to navigate from here to the Indies; and he unlocked within me the determination to execute the idea…. Who doubts that this illumination was from the Holy Spirit? I attest that he [the Spirit], with marvelous rays of light, consoled me through the holy and sacred Scriptures…. encouraging me to proceed, and, continually, without ceasing for a moment, they inflame me with a sense of great urgency (Brigham 1991:179).

columbuswglobeColumbus’s “sense of great urgency” is embodied by West and Kling as “his vision.” They characterize him as a “seer” who saw himself as gifted with “spiritual intelligence.” They point out in their introduction that “few know the story of [Columbus’s] vision.” This has led some to propose that because advances in reasoning and technology made the timing ripe, had Columbus not made the voyage someone else would have.

However, West and Kling emphatically disagree with the latter supposition, believing that “one important ingredient was missing: a vision so strong that nothing could deter its holder from the attempt” (West and Kling 1991:3, 22). The timing was ripe for the discovery of the New World however, it was God’s timing. And He selected the man to do the job. Columbus’s vision grew as he gathered numerous scriptural passages, seeing the role of his discovery in their prophetic fulfillment. The vision permeates the most predominant themes of his selections: islands of the sea, hidden lands, ends of the earth, the scattering and gathering of Israel, Zion and Jerusalem. And as we realize that Columbus was moved upon to fulfill his vision in God’s timing, the Book of Mormon also reveals that God’s timing was involved in keeping knowledge of the New World from other nations.

columbus5Hidden Lands
In[ancient American history found in] the Book of Mormon, a Christian prophet named Lehi explains God’s wisdom in keeping their lands hidden:

And behold, it is wisdom that this
land should be kept as yet from
the knowledge of other nations;
For behold, many nations would
overrun this land, that there
would be no place for an inheritance.
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a
promise,
That inasmuch as they which the
Lord God shall bring out of the
land of Jerusalem shall keep his
commandments,
They shall prosper upon the face of
this land;
And they shall be kept from all other
nations, that they may possess
this land unto themselves.
And if it so be that they shall keep his
commandments, they shall be
blessed upon the face of this land,
And there shall be none to molest
them, nor to take away the land of
their inheritance;
And they shall dwell safely for ever.       2 Nephi 1:16-2

Lehi goes on to say, that when the time comes that “they shall dwindle in unbelief,” i.e., “reject the Holy One of Israel” (vv. 22-23), the Lord would bring judgment upon them and “bring other nations unto them” (vv. 23-24). This calls to mind a particular reference which Columbus included in his Book of Prophecies: “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,… a nation meted out and trodden down…” (Isaiah 18:1-2). The “land shadowing with wings” in this Isaiah reference has long been equated by Book of Mormon believers (and others) with the New World because the shape of the North, Central and South American continents resembles a bird with its wings spread. Besides fitting the description, the location of the New World is “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.”

columbusreachesamerica2Columbus believed that God had kept knowledge of these lands hidden until he–Columbus-was led to make their discovery. He cites such scriptures as Matthew 11:27 [251: “0 Lord … because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them to the little ones” [babes; innocent; i.e., Columbus] (West and Kling 1991:107), and comments, “This I offer on my own behalf, together with the results that one has discovered by personal experience” (West and Kling 1991:109).

Brigham points out that Columbus also saw himself in a poem by a first-century Spanish-Roman writer who prophetically described, “An age will come after many years, when the Ocean will loose the chains of things, and a great land will lie revealed; and a mariner… will discover anew world.” Columbus’s son, Ferdinand, made a marginal note beside Columbus’s copy of the poem which reads, “This prophecy was fulfilled by my father… the Admiral in the year 1492” (Brigham 1990:116).

Lehi prophesied “that there shall be none come into this land save they should be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:10). In addition to Columbus, Nephi saw that others would also be brought to the New World.

 

And it came to pass that I beheld the
Spirit of God, that it wrought
upon other Gentiles;
And they went forth out of captivity
upon the many waters;
And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles
which had gone out of captivity
were delivered by the power of
God out of the hands of other
nations.         I Nephi 3:148,155

The other Gentiles which Nephi saw in his vision were most likely the Puritans and Pilgrims who fled their homelands in Europe to find governmental and economic control. God had decreed that this land would be a land of liberty for those who served Jesus Christ (Ether 1:29-35).

 

REFERENCES CITED
Brigham, Kay
1990   Christopher Columbus: His Life
and Discovery in the Light of His
Prophecies.
CLIE Publishers, Terrassa, Barcelona.

1991   Christopher Columbus’s Book of
Prophecies: Reproduction of the Original Manuscript With English
Translation. Quincentenary Edition.
CLIE Publishers, Terrassa, Barcelona.

Judge, Joseph
1986   Where Columbus Found the
New World. National Geographic,
Nov. 1986, pp. 566-599.

Marshall, Peter and David Manual
1977   The Light and the Glory. Revell,
old Tappan, New Jersey.

Sale, Kirkpatrick
1990   The Conquest of Paradise:
Christopher Columbus and the
Columbian Legacy.
Alfred A. Knopf,
New York.

Slater, Rosalie J., and Carole G. Adams, eds.
1992   Principly Speaking, Vol. 2, No. 2.
foundation for American Christian
Education, San Francisco.

West, Delno C. and August Kling
1991  The Libro de las profecias of
Christopher Columbus: An en face
edition. Vol. 2, Columbus
Quincentenary Series, University of
Florida Press, Gainesville.

This article taken from the Zarahemla Record, issue 63 Sept/Oct 1992

Bible Study

 

 

 

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Bible Stories: Enoch, Zion, Holy Spirit, and Journey of Faith

Bible Stories:

Dinner Topics for Monday

Enoch, Zion, Holy Spirit, and Journey of Faith

Walk with Me

Behold, my Spirit is upon you. (Moses 6:34)

And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him.  And he heard a voice from heaven. (Moses 6:26-27)

What is it like to hear a voice from heaven? What is that voice like, and how can we hear it?  Elijah learned that the Lord was not in a great and strong wind, not in an earthquake, not in a fire, but in a still small voice.

So this still small voice said to Enoch, “Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off.”(Moses 6:27)

The Lord spoke to Enoch, because Enoch heard Him, and the people did not.  What can cause people’s hearts to wax hard, and their ears to become dull of hearing, and their eyes unable to see?  The Lord is not in the shriek of cell phones, not in the din of TV, not in the fake social media, not in the roar of the crowd, but in a still small voice.

And the Lord told Enoch, “Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you . . . and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.(Moses 6:33-34)

And Enoch walked with God, and built a great city, and it was called Zion.

And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.(Moses 7:16)

And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, ZION IS FLED. (Moses 7:68-69)

 

Dinner Talk Topic:

Enoch accepted the invitation to walk with God.  Will we?

 

Copyright © 2010 C.A. Davidson

 

Character Education: Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Character Education:

Moral Compass, Holy Spirit, and Good vs. Evil

Beware of the Evil behind the Smiling Eyes

Neil L. Andersen

 

keyAs we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We will then see evil for what it is. ~Neil L. Andersen

I’d like to tell you of an experience of a faithful Latter-day Saint who is a good friend of mine. I’ll refer to him only as “my friend” for reasons you will understand.

fbiWorking as a special agent for the FBI, my friend investigated organized crime groups transporting illegal drugs into the United States.

On one occasion, he and another agent approached an apartment where they believed a known drug dealer was distributing cocaine. My friend describes what happened:

“We knocked on the door of the drug dealer. The suspect opened the door, and upon seeing us, tried to block our view. But it was too late; we could see the cocaine on his table.

“A man and a woman who were at the table immediately began removing the cocaine. We had to prevent them from destroying the evidence, so I quickly pushed the drug suspect who was blocking the door to the side. As I pushed him, my eyes met his. Strangely, he did not appear angry or afraid. He was smiling at me.

drug-dealer-smiling-eyes“His eyes and disarming smile gave me the impression that he was harmless, so I quickly left him and started to move toward the table. The suspect was now behind me. At that instant, I had the distinct, powerful impression come into my mind: ‘Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.’

criminal-gun-smiling-eyes“I immediately turned back toward the suspect. His hand was in his large front pocket. Instinctively I grabbed his hand and pulled it from his pocket. Only then did I see, clutched in his hand, the semiautomatic pistol ready to fire. A flurry of activity followed, and I disarmed the man.”2

Later, in another case, the drug dealer was convicted of murder and boasted that he would have also killed my friend had he not turned around at that very moment.

I have often thought of the communication that came into his mind: “Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes.” This is what I want to talk to you about tonight.

christ-good-vs-evilLet’s begin with what we know. Good comes from God; evil comes from the devil.3 They are not, however, equal forces that are fighting each other in the universe. At the head of all that is good is the Christ—He who is the Only Begotten of the Father, who created our world and numerous others. Our Redeemer is a resurrected and perfect being.4 I know He lives.

The devil, on the other hand, “persuadeth men to do evil.”5 “He [has] fallen from heaven, … [has] become miserable forever,”6 and now works “that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”7 He is a liar and a loser.8

The power of the Savior and the power of the devil are not truly comparable.9 On this planet, however, evil has been allowed a position of influence to give us the chance to choose between good and evil. The scripture says: “God gave unto man that he should act for himself. [And] man could not act for himself … [unless] he was enticed by … one or the other.”10

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth.

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

Sailor w-Jesus by Warner Sallman

The choice between good and evil is at the very heart of our experience on earth. In the final review of our lives, it will not really matter if we were rich or poor, if we were athletic or not, if we had friends or were often forgotten.

We can work, study, laugh and have fun, dance, sing, and enjoy many different experiences. These are a wonderful part of life, but they are not central to why we are here.11 The opportunity to choose good over evil is precisely why we are here.12

Not one of us would say, “I want to choose evil.” We all want to choose the right. However, the choice of good over evil is not always easy, because evil frequently lurks behind smiling eyes. Listen to these warnings:

“Take heed … that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God.”13

“Ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you.”14

“Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.”15

The message is: Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes!

I have known a few young men who began with every intention to stay firm in their loyalty to the Savior but who slipped from the path because they did not see the evil behind eyes that appeared quite harmless. They saw the fun, the pleasure, the acceptance, but they did not see the other consequences.

How, then, can we discern the evil behind something that doesn’t appear evil?

You already know the answers, but here are a few thoughts:

parentsFirst, talk to your parents. Does that sound like a revolutionary idea? We fathers know we are far from perfect, but we love you, and along with your mothers, have a deep interest in your choosing the right.

Next, follow the prophet. These 15 men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are given divine power to see what we sometimes do not see. President Hinckley has given us clear and specific counsel about the evil behind the smiling eyes.16 And you have the inspired guidance in the booklet For the Strength of Youth.17 As you apply President Hinckley’s counsel, the Lord has promised that He “will disperse the powers of darkness from before you.”18 You will see the evil behind the smiling eyes, and its appeal will leave you.

Let the Holy Spirit be Your Guide

forgiveness4doveVery importantly, let the Holy Ghost be your guide. The Lord has promised us that as we live righteously, the still, small voice will come into our mind and into our heart.19 You have felt this influence. You know this voice.20

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a spiritual gift. It is sensitive and will not be associated with unworthiness. You cannot offend or ignore it one day and expect it to strengthen you the next day. But as you heed its promptings and remain righteous, it will grow stronger within you. The Holy Ghost warned my friend of physical danger; the Holy Ghost will also warn you of spiritual danger.

Finally, gain your own testimony of the Savior. Pray passionately. Read the Book of Mormon when no one is watching. Take time alone to think about who Jesus really is and how His life and sacrifice are important to you.

As we increase our understanding and love for the Savior, His light will illuminate everything around us. We then will see evil for what it is.22

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Words cannot describe His greatness and glory, His majesty and magnificence. As we remain worthy, we will be blessed to see the evil behind the smiling eyes.

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Character Building Tips: Meditation for Understanding God, Faith, Life

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Dinner Topics for Monday Perspective Perspective is to awaken the epic hero within you, To subdue the unwilling flesh and sinew. A single pause to choose what is just Can replace years of pain with peace and trust. Turn from … Continue reading

Quotations: Holy Spirit, Virtue, and Vice

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Quotes by Alexander Pope

key“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

“What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.”

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

“Words are like Leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.”

Defining Moment

lineofdemarcationThere is a Line of Demarcation, well defined, between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s. If you stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will have no desire to do wrong, but if you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord. ~George Albert Smith

Gospel Teachings: Teaching Children to follow the Holy Spirit

Gospel Teachings:

Teaching Children to follow the Holy Spirit

A Child’s Guiding Gift

By Mary R. Durham

keyHow do we teach our children to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit?

“Thou shalt teach [the Lord’s words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”7 Immersing our families in the Spirit will keep our children’s hearts open to His influence.

A young father was literally sinking. He, his two children, and his father-in-law had gone for a walk around a lake. They were surrounded by majestic pine-covered mountains, and the sky was blue, filled with soft white clouds, emanating beauty and serenity. When the children grew hot and tired, the two men decided to put the children on their backs and swim the short distance across the lake.

person-drowningIt seemed easy—until the moment when the father began to feel pulled down, everything becoming so heavy. Water pushed him to the bottom of the lake, and a frantic feeling came over him. How was he going to keep afloat—and do so with his precious young daughter on his back?

His voice disappeared in the distance as he called out; his father-in-law was too far away to answer a desperate plea for help. He felt alone and helpless.

Can you imagine feeling as alone as he felt, unable to reach anything to hold on to and struggling in a desperate situation for your life and your child? Unfortunately, all of us experience some degree of this feeling when we are in situations where we desperately need to find help in order to survive and to save those we love.

Near panic, he realized that his water-saturated shoes were weighing him down. While working to stay afloat, he began to attempt to get his heavy shoes off his feet. But it was as if they were held on with suction. The laces were swollen with water, cinching the grip even tighter.

In what may have been his last moment of desperation, he managed to pry the shoes from his feet, and at last the shoes released their hold, quickly falling to the bottom of the lake. Free from the heavy weight that had been dragging him down, he immediately propelled himself and his daughter upward. He could now swim forward, moving toward safety on the other side of the lake.

At times we may all feel as if we are drowning. Life can be heavy. We live in “a noisy and busy world. … If we are not careful, the things of this world can [drown] out the things of the Spirit.”1

walking-at-night_lightHow do we follow the example of this father and kick off some of the weight of the world we carry, so we can keep our children’s heads and our own worried minds above the water? How can we, as Paul counseled, “lay aside every weight”?2 How can we prepare our children for the day when they can no longer cling to us and our testimonies—when they are the ones swimming?

An answer comes when we recognize this divine source of strength. It is a source often underestimated, yet it can be used daily to lighten our load and guide our precious children. That source is the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost.

At age eight, children can experience baptism. They learn about and make a covenant with God. Those they love surround them as they are immersed and come out of the font with a feeling of great joy. Then they receive the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, a gift that may guide them constantly as they live for that blessing.

Elder David A. Bednar said: “The simplicity of [confirmation] may cause us to overlook its significance. These four words—‘Receive the Holy Ghost’—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon.”3

Children have a natural desire to do good and to be good. We can feel their innocence, their purity. They also have a great sensitivity to the still, small voice.

Jesus-angels-childrenIn 3 Nephi 26, the Savior showed us the spiritual capacity of children:

“He did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people. …

“… They both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things.”4

How do we as parents increase the spiritual capacity of our little ones? How do we teach them to kick off worldly influences and trust the Spirit when we are not with them and they are alone in the deep waters of their lives?

Let me share with you some ideas.

First, we can bring to our children’s attention when they are hearing and feeling the Spirit. Let’s go back in time to the Old Testament to see how Eli did just this for Samuel.

Young Samuel twice heard a voice and ran to Eli, saying, “Here am I.”

“I called not,” responded Eli.

But “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.”

By the third time, Eli perceived that the Lord had called Samuel and told Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”5

samuel-prophet-boySamuel was beginning to feel, recognize, and hearken to the Lord’s voice. But this young boy didn’t start to understand until Eli facilitated this recognition. And having been taught, Samuel could become more familiar with the still, small voice.

Second, we can prepare our homes and our children to feel the still, small voice. “Many teachers of foreign languages believe that children learn a language best in ‘immersion programs,’ in which they are surrounded by other speakers of the language and called upon to speak it themselves. They learn not just to say words, but to speak fluently and even to think in the new language. The [best] ‘immersion’ setting for a spiritual education is in the home, where spiritual principles can form the basis for daily living.”6

“Thou shalt teach [the Lord’s words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”7 Immersing our families in the Spirit will keep our children’s hearts open to His influence.

Third, we can help our children understand how the Spirit speaks to them. Joseph Smith taught, “If He comes to a little child, He will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.”8 One mother discovered that since children learn differently—some learn visually, auditorily, tactilely, or kinesthetically—the more she observed her children, the more she realized that the Holy Ghost teaches her children in ways they each learn best.9

holyspiritAnother mother shared an experience of helping her children learn to recognize the Spirit. “Sometimes,” she wrote, “[children] don’t realize that a recurring thought, a feeling of comfort after they cry, or remembering something at just the right time are all ways that the Holy Ghost communicates [with them].” She continues, “I’m teaching my [children] to focus on what they feel [and act on it].”10

Feeling and recognizing the Spirit will bring spiritual capacity into our children’s lives, and the voice they come to know will become clearer and clearer to them. It will be as Elder Richard G. Scott said: “As you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear.”11

We need not fear as we see our children enter the waters of life, for we have helped them rid themselves of worldly weight. We have taught them to live for the guiding gift of the Spirit. This gift will continue to lighten the weight they carry and lead them back to their heavenly home if they live for it and follow its promptings.

Gospel Teachings: Keep the Commandments of God

Gospel Teachings:

Keep the Commandments of God

Thomas S. Monson

keyHe who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible.

 

My message to you tonight is straightforward. It is this: keep the commandments.

10commandmentsGod’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey. We remember the words of the familiar hymn: “Keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace.”1

Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to say:

Thou shalt not lie; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; and so on.2 We know the commandments. He understands that when we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated.

Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive His promised blessings. But while He gives us laws and commandments, He also allows us to choose whether to accept them or to reject them. Our decisions in this regard will determine our destiny.

I am confident that each of us has as his ultimate goal life everlasting in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is imperative, therefore, for us to make choices throughout our lives that will lead us to this great goal. We know, however, that the adversary is committed to our failure. He and his hosts are relentless in their efforts to thwart our righteous desires. They represent a grave and constant threat to our eternal salvation unless we are also relentless in our determination and efforts to achieve our goal. The Apostle Peter warns us, “Be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”3

Although there is no time in our lives when we are exempt from temptation, … young men are at an age when you may be particularly vulnerable. Teenage years are often years of insecurity, of feeling as though you don’t measure up, of trying to find your place with your peers, and of trying to fit in. You may be tempted to lower your standards and to follow the crowd in order to be accepted by those you desire to have as friends. Please be strong, and be alert to anything that would rob you of the blessings of eternity. The choices you make here and now are forever important.

Listen to the Voice of the Spirit

holyspiritWe read in 1 Corinthians: “There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.”4 We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices.

I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety.

Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head after you were baptized, confirming you a member of the Church and saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.”5 Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised, “Thine ears shall hear a word … , saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.”6 May we ever be in tune, that we might hear this comforting, guiding voice which will keep us safe.

Slippery Slope of Satan’s Lies

slippery-slopeDisregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day. They include the plague of permissiveness, the plague of pornography, the plague of drugs, the plague of immorality, and the plague of abortion, to name just a few. The scriptures tell us that the adversary is “the founder of all these things.”7 We know that he is “the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men.”8

I plead with you to avoid anything that will deprive you of your happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come. With his deceptions and lies, the adversary will lead you down a slippery slope to your destruction if you allow him to do so. You will likely be on that slippery slope before you even realize that there is no way to stop.

You have heard the messages of the adversary. He cunningly calls: Just this once won’t matter; everyone is doing it; don’t be old-fashioned; times have changed; it can’t hurt anyone; your life is yours to live. The adversary knows us, and he knows the temptations which will be difficult for us to ignore. How vital it is that we exercise constant vigilance in order to avoid giving in to such lies and temptations.

quote-soares-stand-firm-moral-courageGreat Courage is needed

Great courage will be required as we remain faithful and true amid the ever-increasing pressures and insidious influences with which we are surrounded and which distort the truth, tear down the good and the decent, and attempt to substitute the man-made philosophies of the world.

We cannot Change God’s Commandments

If the commandments had been written by man, then to change them by inclination or legislation or by any other means would be the prerogative of man. The commandments, however, were God-given. Using our agency, we can set them aside. We cannot, however, change them, just as we cannot change the consequences which come from disobeying and breaking them.

May we realize that our greatest happiness in this life will come as we follow God’s commandments and obey His laws! I love the words found in Isaiah chapter 32, verse 17: “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Such peace, such assurance can come only through righteousness.

The Painful Hold of Sin

We cannot allow ourselves the slightest bit of leeway in dealing with sin. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that we can participate “just a little” in disobeying the commandments of God, for the sin can grab us with an iron hand from which it is excruciatingly painful to free ourselves. The addictions which can come from drugs, alcohol, pornography, and immorality are real and are nearly impossible to break without great struggle and much help.

Repentance Is the Way Back

jesusforgivemedIf any of you has stumbled in his journey, I assure you that there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Although the path is difficult, your eternal salvation depends on it. What could be more worthy of your efforts? I plead with you to determine right here and now to take the steps necessary to fully repent. The sooner you do so, the sooner you will be able to experience the peace and the quietness and the assurance spoken of by Isaiah.

A short while ago I heard the testimony of a woman who, with her husband, strayed from the path of safety, breaking commandments and, in the process, nearly destroying their family. When each of them could finally see through the thick haze of addiction and recognize how unhappy their lives had become, as well as how much they were hurting their loved ones, they began to change. The repentance process felt slow and was, at times, painful, but with the help of priesthood leaders, along with help from family and loyal friends, they made their way back.

I share with you a portion of this sister’s testimony of the healing power of repentance: “How does someone go from being one of the lost sheep and gripped by [sin], to this peace and happiness we now feel? How does that happen? The answer … is because of a perfect gospel, a perfect Son and His sacrifice for me. … Where there was darkness, there is now light. Where there was despair and pain, there is joy and hope. We have been infinitely blessed by the change that can only come through repentance made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

quote-monson-commandmentsOur Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Despite the fact that the path is difficult, the promise is real. Said the Lord to those who repent:

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”9

“And I will remember [them] no more.”10

Throughout our lives we will need to nurture strong testimonies by studying the scriptures and by praying and by pondering the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When firmly planted, our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do.

I testify that all of us are beloved sons of our Father in Heaven, sent to earth at this day and time for a purpose, and given the priesthood of God so that we can serve others and perform God’s work here upon the earth. We have been commanded to live our lives so that we remain worthy to possess that priesthood.

May we keep the commandments! Wonderful and glorious are the rewards which are in store for us if we do.

Bible Story: Gift of Spirit of God

Dinner Talk Topics for Friday

Month-Defining Moment

 

keyBut the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ~John 14:26

The Lord has made the promise to all who will repent and remain faithful, exercising a spirit of humility and diligence, that they will be entitled to the guidance of the Spirit of God. This Spirit will lead them and direct them throughout their lives. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

 

enochGift of the Holy Spirit: Walk with God

And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him. And he heard a voice from heaven. (Moses 6:26-27)

What is it like to hear a voice from heaven? What is that voice like, and how can we hear it? Elijah learned that the Lord was not in a great and strong wind, not in an earthquake, not in a fire, but in a still small voice.

So this still small voice said to Enoch, “Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off.”(Moses 6:27)

The Lord spoke to Enoch, because Enoch heard Him, and the people did not. What can cause people’s hearts to wax hard, and their ears to become dull of hearing, and their eyes unable to see? The Lord is not in the shriek of cell phones, not in the din of TV, not in the raucous revelry of M-TV, not in the sensational imagery of electronic media, not in the roar of the crowd, but in a still small voice.

And the Lord told Enoch, “Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you . . . and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.(Moses 6:33-34)

Dinner Talk Topics

holyspiritgiftEnoch accepted the invitation to walk with God. Will we? *Companionship of Holy Spirit

1. What must we do to be able to hear the voice of the Spirit?

2. What must we do to be worthy to have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit?

3. David R. Stone tells us, “Seduced by our culture, we often hardly recognize our idolatry. We do not need to adopt the standards, the mores, and the morals of Babylon. We can create Zion in the midst of Babylon. We can have our own standards for music and literature and dance and film and language. We can limit how much of Babylon we allow into our homes by the media of communication.

We can live as a Zion people, if we wish to. Will it be hard? Of course it will, for the waves of Babylonian culture crash incessantly against our shores. Will it take courage? Of course it will . . . . We can be courageous and, walk in the Lord’s paths and follow His footsteps. “[1]

How can we walk with God and dwell in Zion, even though spiritual Babylon is all around us?

 

[1] David R. Stone, “Zion in the Midst of Babylon, Ensign (May 2006): 90-93

Search Your History: Amazing Grace and Family Reunion

Dinner Topics for Friday

keyThis is an interesting and useful service that teenagers can do with their time.

I Once Was Lost but Now am Found

Michael Judson

IndexingisVitalIn 1779, English clergyman John Newton published the lyrics to the now-famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” When I listen to this song, the phrase “I once was lost but now am found” always strikes me, and I can’t help but think of the many who have lived but who are now “lost” from memory.

Of course, they are not lost to our Heavenly Father. He knows them and wants to bless them .

That process used to be very difficult and laborious. Now, thanks to computers and indexed records, the work is becoming much easier and faster, and millions of additional names are published each week for people to find. But there are billions more individuals  for someone to index their information and make their records findable to their living family members.

In  October 2012 , Richard G. Scott said, “This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions.”

Blessings from the Holy Spirit

Many indexers have felt this influence from beyond the veil as they spiritually prepare themselves and diligently work to type names and other information from historic documents. A powerful example from Sister El Stone of Sacramento California  illustrates this blessing. While participating in a  challenge to index one million records in a single month, she one day had the following special experience.

“When I first started, I was so conscientious, trying to get everything right and not make a mistake,” she said. “I got going and got faster, of course, and I was pretty proud of myself. I had entered in everything, and it all looked great. Just as I was getting ready to hit the submit button I heard, very clearly, the voice of a young girl, who said, ‘I am not a son.’ And there was a 13-year-old girl, named Ellen, and I had marked her as a son.”

Richard Scott said further, “Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution.”

Indexers know the powerful difference they make in the lives of those living on both sides of the veil. To illustrate this blessing, FamilySearch has produced a short video called, “Indexing Is Vital.”

We encourage you to watch the video and freely share it with your family. To view this video and download it for your own use, click here.

Christian Teaching: Chastity and Holy Spirit

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Boyd K. Packer

birdnnestThe back windows of our home overlook a small flower garden and the woods which border a small stream. One wall of the house borders on the garden and is thickly covered with English ivy. Most years this ivy has been the nesting place for house finches. The nests in the vines are safe from foxes and raccoons and cats that are about.

One day there was a great commotion in the ivy. Desperate cries of distress came as 8 or 10 finches from the surrounding woods came to join in this cry of alarm. I soon saw the source of the commotion. A snake had slid partway down out of the ivy and hung in front of the window just long enough for me to pull it out. The middle part of the snake’s body had two bulges—clear evidence convicting it of taking two fledglings from the nest. Not in the 50 years we had lived in our home had we seen anything like that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—or so we thought.

A few days later there was another commotion, this time in the vines covering our dog run. We heard the same cries of alarm, the gathering of the neighborhood finches. We knew what the predator was. A grandson climbed onto the run and pulled out another snake that was still holding on tightly to the mother bird it had caught in the nest and killed.

I said to myself, “What is going on? Is the Garden of Eden being invaded again?”

There came into my mind the warnings spoken by the prophets. We will not always be safe from the adversary’s influence, even within our own homes. We need to protect our nestlings.

rattlesnakeWe live in a very dangerous world that threatens those things that are most spiritual. The family, the fundamental organization in time and eternity, is under attack from forces seen and unseen. The adversary is about. His objective is to cause injury. If he can weaken and destroy the family, he will have succeeded.

Isaiah said, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”2

That peace is also promised in the revelations in which the Lord declares, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”3

Teach yourself and teach your families about the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You will do no greater eternal work than within the walls of your own home.

 

Agency is defined in the scriptures as “moral agency,” which means that we can choose between good and evil. The adversary seeks to tempt us to misuse our moral agency. We are free to choose what we will and to pick and choose our acts, but we are not free to choose the consequences. They come as they will come.

Alma taught that “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”6 In order to understand this, we must separate the sin from the sinner.

For example, when they brought before the Savior a woman taken in adultery, obviously guilty, He dismissed the case with five words: “Go, and sin no more.”7 That is the spirit of His ministry.

Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, when exaggerated, it transforms itself into a vice. We need to be careful of the “tolerance trap” so that we are not swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity.

All are born with the Light of Christ, a guiding influence which permits each person to recognize right from wrong. What we do with that light and how we respond to those promptings to live righteously is part of the test of mortality.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”8

Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation.