Monday, November 1, 2010

Gathering: Securing Your Testimony

Many have asked for the notes and links associated with the 5th Sunday combined meeting we had yesterday. Here they are in their raw form.

Public Issues:
  • The one above is the one I referred to yesterday, but it's on the old website, so who knows how long that'll stay active. The new site has a "search by topic" page that includes all ten of the issues listed on the old page, plus a bunch of other topics:
Elder Maxwell's full talk:

"Brother Holland and the others have talked about the pioneers days. They had the easy part, and from now on its going to be different, and its going to be rougher. When you think of the Hole in the Rock or Rocky Ridge or the other places where the pioneers served, in many ways their part was easier than our part is going to be." - Elder Boyd K. Packer, Utah County regional conference address back in September 2010

"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21)." 

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had"never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ."

"Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran also observed,"A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it" (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened."

"It may well be, as our time comes to"suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41), that some of this special stress will grow out of that portion of discipleship which involves citizenship. Remember that, as Nephi and Jacob said, we must learn to endure"the crosses of the world" (2 Nephi 9:18) and yet to despise"the shame of [it]" (Jacob 1:8). To go on clinging to the iron rod in spite of the mockery and scorn that flow at us from the multitudes in that great and spacious building seen by Father Lehi, which is the"pride of the world," is to disregard the shame of the world (1 Nephi 8:26–27, 33; 11:35–36)."

- gather yourself to the temple

"In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin directed the Saints of his time and place to gather,"every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple." As Church members, we have recently received counsel from modern-day prophets which, if followed, will turn the doors of our homes more fully towards the temple.
The First Presidency has invited"adult members to have a current temple recommend and visit the temple more often" where time and circumstance permit and encouraged members"to replace some leisure activities with temple service." They also encouraged"newer members and youth of the Church who are 12 years of age and older to live worthy to assist in this great work by serving as proxies for baptisms and confirmations." Even our young children have been encouraged to visit the temple grounds and touch the temple. President Thomas S. Monson once counseled,"As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us."

- focus first on becoming
  - in time of distress, what we know will be likely less supportive than what we have become

"We have considered, first, the empowering blessings and, second, the endowment of faith that God grants to those who keep their covenants with Him. A final aspect of strength through covenants that I will mention is the bestowal of divine power. Our covenant commitment to Him permits our Heavenly Father to let His divine influence, "the power of godliness" (D&C 84:20), flow into our lives. He can do that because by our participation in priesthood ordinances we exercise our agency and elect to receive it. Our participation in those ordinances also demonstrates that we are prepared to accept the additional responsibility that comes with added light and spiritual power."

"Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, "Here am I.""

- make your home a gospel sharing home

"Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."8 For me this suggests a sacred relationship between the temple and the home. Not only can we turn the doors of our homes to the temple, or the house of the Lord; we can make our homes a"house of the Lord."

"Recently, in a stake conference, all present were invited by the visiting authority, Elder Glen Jenson, an Area Seventy, to take a virtual tour of their homes using their spiritual eyes. I would like to invite each of you to do this also. Wherever your home may be and whatever its configuration, the application of eternal gospel principles within its walls is universal. Let's begin. Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray,and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention? That concludes our tour. Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some"home improvement"--hopefully not an"extreme home makeover."

- focus on faith hope and charity - remember who you are: first a child of God (your first and highest identification) and then a disciple of Christ (the second identifier, the one that leads to action, but not to contradict the first by being rash or conceited).

"If the challenge of the secular church becomes very real, let us, as in all other human relationships, be principled but pleasant. Let us be perceptive without being pompous. Let us have integrity and not write checks with our tongues which our conduct cannot cash."

What blessings
-"Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even these, however, must leave a record so that the choices before the people are clear and let others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, that others will step forward, having been rallied to righteousness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds--a majority which was, till then, unconscious of itself."
- safety / deliverance from plagues of the last days
-"peace which passeth all understanding"

"Properly humbled and instructed concerning the great privileges that are ours, we can cope with what seem to be very dark days and difficult developments, because we will have a true perspective about"things as they really are," and we can see in them a great chance to contribute. Churchill, in trying to rally his countrymen in an address at Harrow School in October of 1941, said to them:

Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days--the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race. [Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, p. 923]

Brothers and sisters, so we should regard the dispensation of the fullness of times--even when we face stern challenges and circumstances,"these are great days"! Our hearts need not fail us. We can be equal to our challenges, including the aforementioned challenge of the secular church."


  1. Didn't know about those links to the Church's official position on those issues. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. These notes are great for people who work on Sunday, or are in YM/YW or Primary.