I would like to share a few thoughts about four lessons that I have thought about while I have been serving in the temple.
Lesson #1 - God blesses his children “one by one.”
Each person who qualifies to be in the temple receives exactly the same blessing.
In the Book of Mormon, when Jesus appeared to the people in the land Bountiful, where were they gathered?
- At the temple
[3 Nephi 11:1] “And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful;”
- Who had the opportunity to “trust their hands into his side and and feel the prints of the nails in his hands and his feet?” [3 Nephi 11:14]
- Every one equally.
- How was it done?
- One by one
[3 Nephi 11: 15] And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth…”
Also, we can see how our Heavenly Father offers opportunities to each of his children each week at sacrament meeting. How do those holding the priesthood offer us the sacrament?
- one by one.
Lesson #2 – God’s directs our lives by His commandments.
- What are commandments?
D&C 82:8-9 says: “And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.”
- Commandments are “directions how you may act before me that it may turn to you for your salvation.”
- After we obey a commandment, we are blessed and
- We receive more direction in our lives.
1 Nephi 16:8-10 says: “And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him….
- After Lehi had fulfilled “all the commandments”-- Lehi received more commandments
“And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.”
- God provided means so Lehi could accomplish what he had been asked to do.
“And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.”
Like Lehi, we can go forth in faith:
“…that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” [1 Nephi 3:7]
- We have to be obedient to receive blessings—because we know:
[D&C 130: 20-21] There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
- We find another example of how God directs his children with commandments in Ether
God said to the brother of Jared: “Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families. And when thou hast done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward.”
- That was God’s commandment to the brother of Jared.
- After the brother of Jared’s faithfulness, God would provide the way.
“And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth.” [Ether 1:41-42]
Lesson #3 – Satan is a real being and he wants to deceive and distract us.
- He wants us to be “miserable like unto himself.” [2 Nephi 2:27]
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught “The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man,… All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. …
The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.” [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 211, 214]
George Albert Smith when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve said:
“There is a division line well defined that separates the Lord’s territory from Lucifer’s. If we live on the Lord’s side of the line Lucifer cannot come there to influence us, but if we cross the line into his territory we are in his power. By keeping the commandments of the Lord we are safe on His side of the line, but if we disobey His teachings we voluntarily cross into the zone of temptation and invite the destruction that is ever present there. Knowing this, how anxious we should always be to live on the Lord’s side of the line.”
[Sheri L. Dew, BYU Devotional, March 21, 2000, ”Living on the Lord’s Side of the Line.”]
Elder James E. Faust once said: “We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat.” [James E. Faust, Ensign, November, 1995, “Choosing the Lord and Resisting the Devil”
Lesson #4 - We need to forgive each other.
We read in Matthew 18 where our Savior told the parable of the “Unjust servant.” After his master had forgiven very large debts of a servant, that same servant went out and demanded smaller debts to be paid back to him by another.
“Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” [Matthew 18:32-35]
Speaking of forgiveness, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:
“Here, as in all things, Jesus set the standard for us to follow. Life is too short to be spent nursing animosities or keeping a box score of offenses against us—you know, no runs, no hits, all errors. We don’t want God to remember our sins, so there is something fundamentally wrong in our relentlessly trying to remember those of others.
“When we have been hurt, undoubtedly God takes into account what wrongs were done to us and what provocations there are for our resentments, but clearly the more provocation there is and the more excuse we can find for our hurt, all the more reason for us to forgive and be delivered from the destructive hell of such poisonous venom and anger. It is one of those ironies of godhood that in order to find peace, the offended as well as the offender must engage the principle of forgiveness.” [Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 1996, “The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom.”]
- The Lord is serious about our forgiving one another.
[D&C 64:10] “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.”
- I want to share with you a lesson taught to me by my friend, Shondell.
Last year in our Relief Society in Utah, our teacher, Shondell shared with us of an experience that she had with the Holy Ghost. Shondell has earned her doctorate degree and is a professional family counselor. She said she was concerned with what the Lord had said in D&C 64:9 and it didn’t make sense to her. This scripture says: “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to aforgive one another; for he that bforgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.” Shondell works with people with terrible problems. Shondell said that she began to speak out loud with the Holy Ghost saying “You are telling me that this lady who has been abused and molested and betrayed will be the greater sinner if she doesn't forgive?” She said that her conversation went on for about a week and each day she would find another example and say “What about this?” to the Holy Ghost. Then she said He finally very sweetly answered her question. The Holy Ghost explained to her that each of us need to forgive everyone because if we don’t forgive others, we are not allowing the Savior’s Atonement into our lives to heal us. When we don’t forgive others, we have the greater sin because we are sinning against our Savior by not letting Him into our lives. Our Savior wants us to forgive everyone so that He can heal us.
Brothers and sisters, I am in Tampico serving a mission basically for three reasons:
#1 –I love the Lord. I know He lives. I know He answers prayers. He has blessed our family abundantly.
#2 – I owe a debt of gratitude to my Savior that I can never repay. I have been “bought with a price” through His atonement.
#3 – I want to be an example to our growing family of one who loves the Lord and who is willing to follow our living Prophet.
Serving a mission is the least that I can do to say “thank you” to my Heavenly Father for all the blessings our family and I have received.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.