Stake Conference Pt 2 (Building Zion)

Mosiah_4_14-15I decide to make this part of the Stake Conference message a separate post because It a little longer and takes my thoughts into a couple of new directions.

For decades now I have had the thoughts of building Zion on my mind. Since I first taught Gospel Doctrine when I was about 22-26 (I taught the whole 4 year cycle without a partner to take every other week – like wimpy people these days 🙂 ) I love the concept of trying to be one with God, building Zion in your own heart, then creating Zion in your family. Raising a family up to the Lord. I didn’t want them to “quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin,” I wanted to teach them to love the Lord, and hopefully they will create their own Zion in their own home when they move out.

From there, you help build Zion in your own community, through your neighborhood, church or whatever groups, then your town, state, country, etc.

We need to build our own area as a Stake of Zion.Elder Hales

One of the things that some people don’t understand about Zion is the idea that there will be no poor among them.  How is that going to happen? Jesus said the poor will always be among us (John 12:8). The answer is through self-reliance. A Zion people will live as a self-reliant people, they will teach it among their people.  A Zion people are of one heart, and they think and feel the same way. That doesn’t mean people will never fall on hard times, but as a self-reliant people they will do what needs to be done to take care of their family, and when they need help their neighbors will help them out. Just as you willingly want to help your neighbor, they willingly want to help you. In Zion, caring for those in need isn’t a compulsion forced upon us by the State, it’s a voluntary act of charity. There is no blessing in your life when you are forced to do the right thing, you are blessed by your voluntary acts of goodness, charity and love for one another.

A State stealing your money to redistribute it plays no part in charity.

A Zion people know that dependence on others weakens your Spirit. Help from others is a blessing to be cherished in a time of need, but will utilized only as truly needed. It can not become a crutch.

We all commit to live a life consecrated to Christ and the building of Zion. We will all do our part as committed brothers and sisters in Christ, and we will do it without coercion. We can start building Zion in our own families, neighborhoods and towns. We can be mentors to others who need help. We can teach self-reliance, but as Elder Hales said (See above), we have to be self-reliant if we are going to help others, and we need to be in the right situation to really be able to service.

So, get your years supply! 🙂

Once we as a people (and hopefully as a church) commit to build Zion, we will do it. I will look up more quotes on this later, because there have been some very important teachings along these lines.

 

 

Stake Conference

Today I attended the Stake Conference for the Northern California Region, (Or a Regional Conference, however it’s officially known.) and it was really great. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake.

These are some things I was taught (whether by the words of the speakers or by the Spirit – meaning not everything I say here came from the speakers but were manifested to me through the Spirit.) …

We need to live our life based on and act on true teachings. The speaker talked about how even as late as the 19th Century doctors didn’t think sickness could be spread through unwashed hands. They didn’t know about micro-organisms. Germ theories hadn’t been developed yet.

Doctors though Malaria was spread by “bad air” (The origin of the word). Just because people believed it didn’t make it true. Because they didn’t know what caused it, and their theories were not based on truth malaria killed people rampantly all over the world for over 4,000 years! How could you fight it and stop it if your assumptions were incorrect?

In our world today we have to constantly fight against the philosophies of men. We have people all over in all walks of life including science, philosophy and religion who are corrupting our youth because they don’t know (or won’t acknowledge) the truth. When you try to develop answers to the world problems based on false assumptions you will fail, and sometime cause more harm than good (George Washington was bled to death by his doctors – based on the best medical theories of the day).

Science might come out with all sorts of wonderful explanations for the how our universe came to exist, but until they accept the truth of God, they will never be on the right path. Scientists can freely worship at the altar of Darwin, but when God created the earth, He placed complex animals on the face of it. (See Genesis 1:20-26). One day I’ll post something about this on my Science blog….

Anyway… We need to turn off the static in the world around us and listen to the Spirit. Spiritual communication happens through Spiritual means, and the physical can’t always comprehend it. We need to give our spirit a chance to listen to the Holy Spirit as He tries to communicate with us.

We also can just think we are going to set our own standards and expect that it’s good enough for the Lord. the First Counselor in the YW presidency talked about a 15-year-old girl who basically thought she could just set her own standards and that she was doing good enough. She could play in a Communist Ball league on Sundays and go steady with a boy when she was only 16. But the truth of the matter was that these were not the Lord’s standards and she knew it. She had to change her life to get back on the Lord’s side. His standards wouldn’t change, she needed to get back on track. It was hard at first. It meant abandoning old friends, breaking up with a boy she really liked, and getting new friends. The problems is, new friends don’t always just come to you, sometimes, you have to go out there and get them yourself. Invite them into your life. Choose people who live your standards, and let them find out that you proudly live them yourself.

Sometimes people forget how important it is for us to have the Spirit in our lives – but the Lord tells us to renew our covenant with Him every week so we may always have His Spirit to be with us. Are we willing to live in such a way as to have the Spirit with us? What are you willing to do to keep the Spirit with you? What bad habits, practices or desires are you willing to abandon to have the Spirit guide you in this life?

I will skip now to the end (See my Part II post) when Elder Perry bore his testimony.

He testified boldly about the Savior as a special witness of Christ. The part that touched me the strongest was his testimony of missionary work. The Spirit touched me and told me to challenge my Little Keeka to consider serving a mission. Maybe she needs to, maybe she just needs to be challenged to do it, I don’t know, but I did as commanded by the Lord and she has been challenged. So, Keek – everyone knows now!

 

 

Praying with real intent

The other day in Sunday School I received a little bit of inspiration that I’ve felt like I should share with everyone.

James 1:5-6
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

This scripture immediately brought Moroni 10:4 to my mind.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

What really hit me hard was that not only do we need to pray with faith, but with real intent. What intent? Well, what the Spirit told me was that we need to have intent to do the do what the Lord tells us. We must have real intent to follow up on the answer.  God knows our intent, you can’t fake it. You need to be intent on doing whatever the Lord asks. What good does it do you or the Lord for him to tell you the truth and for you to not act upon it.

What if Joseph Smith had only asked the Lord what church was true without a firm commitment to join the church the one the Lord told him to join? Of course, Joseph didn’t expect to get the answer he got, but once he had it, he was committed to do what the Lord told him to do regarding the answer he received.

Anyway, nothing too profound, but something I thought I’d like to share.

 

The fact that God knows us, doesn’t deminish our agency

I seriously never thought that Van Jones would make an appearance in my faith blog, but here he is…

I have never really understood people who think the fact that God knows you, and knows what you are going to do and what choices you are going to make takes away your freedom to choose.

God knows everything. He is our Father. He knows each of us individually. The fact that He knows what choices we will make doesn’t mean He has predestined us to do anything. More accurately, we have chosen our own destiny by freely making choices in our life.

We can’t choose the repercussion of our choices, instead we choose the repercussion by our choices.