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Nov 21

Enduring to the End

Have you ever had to go through something hard? Some experience where there was no way around it, only through? Maybe something like a traffic jam. How well would you say that you endured to the end?

When we talk about enduring to the end, what does that refer to? What are we talking about?

Marvin J. Ashton described it this way:

“Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. Sometimes we are inclined to put up with a situation rather than endure. To endure is to bear up under, to stand firm against, to suffer without yielding, to continue to be, or to exhibit the state or power of lasting.”

“If Thou Endure It Well,” in General Conference Report, October 1984

It’s not really just gritting your teeth and hanging in there until the ordeal is over. It is staying strong through it, standing up against it, not letting it affect you.

Hartman Rector, Jr. also had some enlightening thoughts on the meaning of this concept. He said:

“What does that mean? I believe it means basically three things.

One: We must continue to repent for the rest of our lives because we will still make mistakes, and we must go home clean or we can’t dwell with the Father and the Son (see D&C 84:74).

Two: We must continue to forgive others. If we do not forgive others, we cannot obtain forgiveness ourselves (see D&C 64:9–10). And three: Yes, we must be nice. If we’re not nice, I don’t think we’re going to make it. In other words, we must have charity, which is really love plus sacrifice. We must serve our fellowmen, women, and children, and if we do all else but we do not serve the poor, the needy, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the sick and afflicted, both temporally and spiritually, according to their wants, we cannot retain a remission of our sins from day to day.”

“Endure to the End in Charity,” in General Conference Report, October 1994

Where does enduring to the end fit into the Gospel? Dennis L. Largey explains:

“The doctrine of endurance to the end is taught twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon in teachings by Christ, an angel, and seven prophets. The doctrine spans the entire Book of Mormon time period and probably was taught in the plates of brass as well. The requirement of endurance to the end appears consistently in context with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. One could easily make the case that the Book of Mormon teaches that there are five first principles and ordinances of the gospel, the fifth being enduring to the end.”

Dennis L. Largey, “Enduring to the End,” in Doctrines of the Book of Mormon: The 1991 Sperry Symposium, pp. 57-59

For a scriptural treatise on this topic, one could refer to the entire chapter of 2 Nephi 31. Such is beyond the scope of this article. However, we can refer to verses 15, 16, and 20, which say:

15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Again, this is a very small summary of how enduring to the end fits into the Gospel. The whole of 2 Nephi 31 should be studied to understand it on a deeper level.

Just given what we have discussed here, however, one can see its importance. So the next time you’re having a hard time, whether in a trial or challenge, do your best to endure it well. Not only that, but it is also something we will need to do diligently and continuously throughout the rest of our lives. We would do well to endure to the end in righteousness.

See also:

2 Nephi 9:24
3 Nephi 15:9
3 Nephi 27:6,19
D&C 63:20

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Nov 19

LDS Study Tools – Gospel Topics

Gospel study tools can be very useful in our quest to understand the Gospel. What we’d like to do is suggest tools and methods of studying that will help in your pursuit of the truth. Today, the tool we’re presenting is the “Gospel Topics” study tool on the Church website. It has a long list of topics down the left side. When you select one, an article on that topic appears on the right side.

This could be great for personal study and understanding. Or, it could be used to help in writing a talk. Maybe it could be used in other insightful and uplifting ways.

Here is a short video introducing the Gospel Topics section of the Church website:

Here is the tool:

Gospel Topics on churchofjesuschrist.org

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Nov 18

Write It Down

Many of us receive impressions from the Spirit from time to time. When that happens, what do we do with those impressions? Do we ponder over them? Do we treasure them? Do we care enough about them to write them down and keep a record of them?

Let’s take a look at what the scriptures say about writing down impressions as they come.

In 1 Nephi 6:3, Nephi informs us:

3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.

From this we can see that it was more important to Nephi to write down the things of God than anything else. He wrote the things down that were of the greatest importance. What could be more important than direct, personal communication from Heavenly Father?

The Nephite people did the same thing and felt the same way. In 2 Nephi 25:23, we are told:

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

They wrote for their posterity, to help them come unto Christ. In verse 26, we learn:

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

They kept records to help their children know the Gospel. They wanted their children to really know Christ.

We learn that the same thing was done in Jacob 1:4, which tells us:

4 And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.

Again, we see that they wrote down their spiritual and sacred experiences so that they would be preserved for the benefit of the people.

King Benjamin explained in detail the purpose of keeping records of sacred and spiritual experiences in Mosiah 1:2–7, which explains:

2 And it came to pass that he had three sons; and he called their names Mosiah, and Helorum, and Helaman. And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord.

3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.

6 O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.

7 And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers.

King Benjamin taught his sons how important the plates were. He also taught them the great value in maintaining and keeping the records. He even warned what would happen if the records were not kept properly.

In Omni 1:17, we in fact see what happens to a people when proper records are not kept:

17 And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.

From these verses, we can learn the importance of writing down things that we learn from the Lord through the Holy Ghost. Elder Richard G. Scott had this to say about an experience he had with personal revelation:

“…strong impressions began to flow to me again. I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.”

“Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, ‘Was there yet more to be given?’ I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, ‘Is there more I should know?’ And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.”

“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” General Conference Report, October 2009

Not only should we write down our thoughts and impressions, but we should ask if there is more that the Lord would have us to know. In many instances, such as with Elder Scott, there may be much more there for us. Who knows who might benefit from our doing this?

See also:

1 Nephi 5:21
Jacob 1:4
3 Nephi 27:23
Mosiah 2:8–9
2 Nephi 25:23,26
Mosiah 26:33
Ether 4:1
D&C 68:4

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Nov 16

To Teach Children

How often in the scriptures do we see a pattern of parents teaching the Gospel to their children? Many parents in the scriptures do this from personal knowledge, the scriptures, and their own journals.

In fact, it almost seems from Moses 6:5–6 that the first scriptures were journals from which Adam and Eve taught their children the Gospel. Not only that, but to read and write, as well. Here’s what it says:

5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;

6 And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.

In 1 Nephi 5:21, it says that the records were used to preserve the commandments of the Lord unto their children:

21 And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

Nephi, son of Lehi, “was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.” Again, following the pattern of parents teaching their children.

King Benjamin taught his sons similarly, that they might be well-learned and wise in Mosiah 1:2–7, which says:

2 And it came to pass that he had three sons; and he called their names Mosiah, and Helorum, and Helaman. And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord.

3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.

6 O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.

7 And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers.

We in fact do we see this as a pattern in the scriptures. However, it is also a firm commandment. We can see this in the Doctrine & Covenants 68:25. It says:

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

Let us be as the examples in the scriptures. Let us teach our children the Gospel with all diligence. Let us teach them to follow Christ and to be good examples.

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Nov 11

Free Gospel Study Journal

Would you like to have the perfect scripture study journal? One that you will never lose? The Gospel study journal offered at LDSScriptureStudy.com is just what you’re looking for. You can have your notes online, printed out, or both.

The Gospel study journal will:

  • allow you to quickly retrieve notes and thoughts that you have recorded.
  • make it easy to share thoughts and ideas with others.
  • make it easy to remember the entire thought you had when you made the note.
  • allow for new inspiration – not bind you to only what you’ve already learned.
  • help keep your scriptures from wearing out because of over-marking them.
  • help prevent losing all of your notes should your scriptures get lost.
  • provide some structure but without being overly rigid.

The journal entries you create can be linked together. You can tag them with keywords. You can link scripture references to them. Entries may also contain citations from other books which you feel are relevant.

To create your free Gospel study journal, visit http://www.ldsscripturestudy.com/

For a more detailed explanation of how the study journal works, see “The Study Journal.”

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Nov 10

Apart? Or As One?

Sometimes, keeping the peace can be difficult. This is especially true when we feel like the other person is not trying. There’s a driver who cuts us off. A sibling, our spouse, or our child is being hard to get along with. Guess who wants us to be angry with, upset at, or at odds with others?

Let’s take a look at 3 Nephi 11:29 for a moment. It says:

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

We learn something similar in Doctrine and Covenants 10:63, which tells us:

63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.

Satan wants us to be divisive and create contention with each other. He wants us to be hostile to each other and to break down relationships. He wants us to be separate and apart from each other.

The Lord, on the other hand, as we learn in 4 Nephi 1, specifically verse 17, the Lord’s people are to be ‘one’. Verse 17 informs us:

17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

They were all of one heart. They were united. They even had all of their goods common.

Also, in the Intercessory Prayer, Christ asks to bless his disciples that they may be one in John 17:21. It says:

“21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Even more pointedly, we learn from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 38, verse 27 that, “Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

The Lord would have us be united. He encourages loving connections between people. He wants us to be at peace with each other. He wants us to love one another and love him.

Look at the greatest commandments according to Christ himself in Matthew 22:36–39, in which he declares:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Who can you forgive? Who can you reach out in love to? Whose life can you touch the way Christ would? Find them. Do it.

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Nov 08

The Scriptures We Are Missing

It amazes me the amount of scripture that we know that is missing. There are missing scriptures mentioned in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. And then there is the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon as well.

Here is what Elder James E. Talmage had to say on the topic:

Missing Scripture.—Matthew’s commentary on the abode of Joseph, Mary and Jesus at Nazareth, “and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene” (2:23), with the fact that no such saying of the prophets is found in any of the books contained in the Bible, suggests the certainty of lost scripture. Those who oppose the doctrine of continual revelation between God and His Church, on the ground that the Bible is complete as a collection of sacred scriptures, and that alleged revelation not found therein must therefore be spurious, may profitably take note of the many books not included in the Bible, yet mentioned therein, generally in such a way as to leave no doubt that they were once regarded as authentic. Among these extra-Biblical scriptures, the following may be named; some of them are in existence to-day, and are classed with the Apocrypha; but the greater number are unknown. We read of the Book of the Covenant (Exo. 24:7); Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numb. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13); Book of the Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of Enoch (Jude 14); Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41); Book of Nathan the Prophet, and that of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29); Book of Ahijah the Shilonite, and visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chron. 9:29); Book of Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:15); Story of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22); Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); the Acts of Uzziah, by Isaiah, the son of Amoz (2 Chron. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19); a missing epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9); a missing epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3); missing epistle to the Colossians, written from Laodicea (Col. 4:16); a missing epistle of Jude (Jude 3).”

Jesus the Christ, James E Talmage, p. 113

And in 2 Nephi 4:1–2, we read:

1 And now, I, Nephi, speak concerning the prophecies of which my father hath spoken, concerning Joseph, who was carried into Egypt.

2 For behold, he truly prophesied concerning all his seed. And the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater. And he prophesied concerning us, and our future generations; and they are written upon the plates of brass.

In Alma 33:3 and many other places, the writings of the prophet Zenos are referenced.
In Alma 33:15, the words of Zenock are also mentioned.

And of course the writings of the isles of the sea (2 Nephi 29:11).

And then the sealed portion of the plates from Ether 4:4–6, we read:

4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

My personal belief is that we will someday receive much of these scriptures either again, or for the first time. What a wonderful thing to look forward to!

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Nov 01

Core LDS Doctrine Fixed, Policies Changeable

In studying about different levels of “authoritativeness” of Church doctrines, I found this article by Anthony Sweat, Michael Hubbard MacKay, and Gerrit J. Dirkmaat of the BYU faculty. It proposes some different types of doctrine, from the core, unchangeable everlasting truths of the Gospel to Church policies that apply to the current needs of the Church in a given moment. It is an excellent article that helps one determine for themselves when something is authoritative or not. It also explains how to handle changes when they occur. I highly recommend this article to anyone interested in this topic.

Here is an excerpt:

“Many … wonder and have pressing questions related to Latter-day Saint ‘doctrine,’ such as ‘If God is unchanging and truth is eternal, then why does Church doctrine sometimes change?’ or ‘Why don’t we still teach some of the doctrines that were taught in the early Church? Were they wrong, or are we?’ When discussing the Latter-day Saint faith, some imply or assume that everything ever spoken by any Church authority past or present constitutes eternally binding Church doctrine. Additionally, upon hearing an idea brought up in the Church, some want to know, ‘Is that teaching an official doctrine? How can I know?’ These questions and many others about Latter-day Saint doctrine have caused difficulty for many, both within and outside the Church.”

Read the full article here:

Doctrine: Models to Evaluate Types and Sources of Latter-day Saint Teachings

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Oct 31

What Are the Scriptures?

Scriptures are a great reference to the standards of the Gospel. They teach us wonderful principles about how to live. However, they do not contain all the wisdom and knowledge there is to know for each person. They are to open the mind. They are to make us ask questions. They are a gateway to all the wisdom and knowledge that lies beyond the veil.

The pattern for revelation is: first, you are doing something that causes you to have a question in your mind. Next, you ponder over that question, and seek information and resources that may help you answer it. While this is happening, you do things to bring the Spirit. At the right moment, you will receive the answer to your question.

So, you see, you need an instrument to catalyze thought and questioning. That’s what the scriptures do. So this is why scriptures to me are absolutely positively without a doubt unquestionably essential.

2 Nephi 28:30 explains a bit more about the Lord’s thoughts concerning the matter:

“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

“The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today.  Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time.  We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, p.8)

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Sep 05

LDS Scripture Study

We’ve got a way to completely overhaul your scripture study. Take a look at what our study journal has to offer.

The Gospel study journal:

  • provides you with the full LDS scriptures online
  • allows you to quickly retrieve notes and thoughts that you have recorded.
  • you can print your journal notes out at any time.
  • makes it easy to share thoughts and ideas with others.
  • makes it easy to remember the entire thought you had when you made the note.
  • allows for new inspiration – not bind you to only what you’ve already learned.
  • helps keep your scriptures from wearing out because of over-marking them.
  • helps prevent losing all of your notes should your scriptures get lost.
  • provides some structure without being overly rigid.

The journal entries you create can be linked together. You can tag them with keywords. You can link scripture references to them. Entries may also contain citations from other books which you feel are relevant.

Take a look at the QuickStart Guide or watch this video to see how easy it is to use:

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