Greed

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In 1 Nephi 3:25, we see Laban’s lust for things of this world. He so desires the riches that Nephi and his brothers have that he would kill to obtain it. This greed is not something that besets only those with dispositions such as Laban. Every man, woman, and child is subject to feelings of greed. In the talk, “Greed, Selfishness, and Overindulgence”, given in the April 1999 General Conference, Elder Joe J Christensen said, “Our prosperity brings some real challenges because many are getting rich, more of us are waxing fat, and as a result of greed, selfishness, and overindulgence, we could lose the Spirit and literally kick ourselves out of the Church.” As seen in this quote, one of the results of greed and selfishness is a loss of the Spirit. It is not the money or material things themselves that causes this loss; it is the love of these things. Exodus 20:3 says, “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” We can’t let things of this world become a God or have a higher priority than Heavenly Father.

Elder Christensen goes on in the same talk to give four suggestions on dealing with materialism and avoiding greed. The first is to not confuse our wants and needs. So many times in a store you hear a child say, “But mom, I need it”. The child does not need the new action figure; they only want it. As adults we often do the same thing. We convince ourselves that we need a new pair of shoes, or we need the latest cell phone. The basic human needs are food, shelter, and clothing. We must learn to separate our wants from our needs.

The second suggestion given by Elder Christensen is to avoid spoiling our children. As parents, we have the opportunity to shape our children. Much of what we do and teach them at a young age will translate into behavior later in life. If we teach our children that they will have a lot of things, then they will most likely continue in their lives thinking that they should have those things. If we teach them young to give to others instead of always receiving, they will be better equipped to avoid the trap that greed is.

The third suggestion is to avoid debt. I have what has been called, an “all-or-nothing” personality. So, for me Avoiding debt is really important. I fear that if I got into debt, my mindset would shift to, “Oh well, I am already in debt so what would another (insert amount here) matter?” Not only can debt pile up quickly, but it can also take away some of our agency. When we are in debt, we are subject to the demands of the lender. This is not what Heavenly Father envisioned for His children.

The last suggestion Elder Christensen gave was to be generous. In the scriptures is given the example of a poor widow; “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” She had little, but was willing to give all she had. The Lord does not expect us to sacrifice our needs, but where we can, we must be generous in our giving. These suggestions will help us to avoid greed and by so doing keep the Spirit with us.

“Hope Ya Know We Had a Hard Time”

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This is an amazingly poignant talk that applies to each of us at some time in our lives. This may seem like an odd post for the Christmas season, but I think it is especially important now. Christmas is often a time of perceived joy and gladness. How often is this joy a facade? So many people go day to day with a plastic smile to hide the turmoil inside. I think during this time of the year, we should be mindful of those who may not feel the joy that is associated with this season.

In our lives, we will each go through hard times. These times are given to us to strengthen us and help us grow. It may not seem so at the time, but the trials are for our good. Heavenly Father knows our weaknesses and our limits. He will push us to our limits. There will be times when we don’t think we can bear it, but our Heavenly Father knows how far He can push us. The scriptures give us comfort and a promise, “. . peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:1, 7–8).

I know that there are dark days, days when the light seems unattainable, but we have a promise from on high. If we can but make it through those dark days, we will eventually find the light again.

Scripture Mastery

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Many high school aged, LDS youth sacrifice every week day to learn the gospel. Around the world, you will find 14-18 year-olds getting up in the wee hours of the morning to go to seminary. This class begins around 6 am and focuses on one book of scripture each year for the four years of high school.

Seminary has been a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for over 100 years! This video features a young man who sacrificed to attend seminary and saw the blessings that come.

One thing that seminary students are encouraged to do is to memorize certain passages of scriptures. These are called scripture mastery scriptures. I did not attend seminary as a high school student. So, I did not memorize those verses. I want to challenge myself to now begin to memorize those.

In the October 2011 general conference, Elder Richard G. Scott gave a talk titled, “The Power of Scripture“. In this address, he said, “Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high.” He also spoke of the power that comes from memorizing scripture. He said, “Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change.”

This year, seminary students are studying The Book of Mormon. So, I want to memorize those scripture mastery. You can find the list of these verses here. Join me in this endeavor! I know that blessings will follow.

God’s Greatest Creation

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“As children of God, we are His greatest creation. ‘Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely seen God moving in His majesty and power.’ -Elder Russell M. Nelson”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a series of videos called “Mormon Messages”. These videos explain different points of doctrine or beliefs held by members of the church. I love these videos because they bring such a spirit of peace into my life. Sometimes, if I am having a bad day, I will just watch one of these videos to let myself stop thinking about my stressors and focus on the bigger picture.

Science helps us see the existence of God

Elder Nelson is an accomplished surgeon and medical researcher. His extensive knowledge and understanding of the human body is evident when he speaks of it. He states with all conviction that, “Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely seen God moving in His majesty and power.” Science only scratches the surface of the miracle that is our body. Our bodies are amazing edifices with the capability to sustain life and heal itself. There are so many intricacies that it is absurd (in my opinion) to claim that this happened by chance. There must be some great organizer. I know that to be our Heavenly Father.

A House for Our Spirits

1 Corinthians 3:16 says:

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

What did Paul mean when he said that our bodies are temples of God? Well, it is first important to know the definition of a temple. The Bible Dictionary says:

“A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary . . . A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth.”

This definition gives illumination to Paul’s statement. We are to treat our bodies as holy sanctuaries. They are a place where the Lord (in this case, His Spirit) can come. They are a place of worship. Our physical bodies are inseparably tied to our spirits, and those spirits comes directly from God.

What is the Holy Ghost or Spirit? What does keeping our bodies clean have to do with this Spirit?

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and does not have a physical body. He is a personage of spirit. The Holy Ghost communicates to us through thoughts and feelings. In Galatians 5:22 it says:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith”

Then, in Doctrine & Convenants 8:2 it states:

“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”

If we defile our bodies with inappropriate outside influences, it is much more difficult to feel or notice those subtle communications. It is easier to be led in the wrong direction.

Alma 7:21 says:

“And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God . . .”

If we do not keep our bodies clean and pure, the Spirit of the Lord cannot dwell within us. We loose the blessing of that guidance.

One thing that I love about the gospel of Christ is that it is a gospel of hope and second chances. It is never too late to begin on your path to/back to your Heavenly Father. We have been given a wonderful gift known as the atonement that allows us to repent (change) and get back to our Heavenly Father.

The Book of Mormon tell us Christ went forth “suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people.” (Alma 7:11)

“Look Ahead and Believe” Elder Edward Dube: October 2013 General Conference

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This is the first time I have heard an address from Elder Dube. I have got to say, I loved this talk and the way it was delivered. He tells a story from his childhood in which he and his mother are working in the fields. He recalls, “It was late in the morning, the sun was up, and we had been hoeing for what I thought to be a very long time. I stopped to look back at what we had accomplished and said to my mother, ‘Look at all we have done!’” His mother doesn’t respond right away. After repeating himself, his mother replied, “Edward, never look back. Look ahead at what we still have to do.” This is a great lesson! We spend so much time in our lives, at least as Americans, looking at our past. We fall into the trap of either beating up on ourselves for things or we give ourselves too much credit.

Elder Dube quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland who said, “The past is to be learned from but not lived in.” That is so hard. Trying to live in the present and not dwell on the past has been something I have struggled with. We remember the past so that we, hopefully, don’t make the same mistakes again.

The other side of that is that we can’t spend all of time thinking about what may or may not happen. We can’t consume our time worrying about whether things will work out the way they should. Elder Dube said that we must “look forward and believe”. We have to have faith that the Lord knows what is best for us and, and things will work out.