Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Talk from Church

So a few weeks ago I get a call, and I get asked to speak in church...... YUCK. Not a huge fan of it, but I said yes, and just kinda went from there. I studied it the entire week and a half it was and I wasnt able to full express my thoughts, So I gave my "Mormon Mom" a call and she pull it all together for me. Studying about this topic made me realize how thankful I am for the loving people in my life and for the gospel knowledge I have in my life now. Here is the final product!

I was going to just summarize this for you all, but I thought it would be best to have it all there.. So enjoy!

In the Church we often sing the hymn, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” President Gordon B. Hinckley expounded on the background of that song in a talk he gave with the same title. He said,

“It was written more than a century ago by a man of humble circumstances who lived in Sheffield, England. He worked in the steel mills and was discharged because he joined the Mormon Church. But there burned in his heart a great and fervent testimony; and out of an overflowing spirit of gratitude, he penned these moving lines. They have become a grateful expression of appreciation for millions over the earth. I have heard them sung in many different languages as a reverent prayer of thanksgiving for divine revelation.

How thankful we ought to be, how thankful we are, for a prophet to counsel us in words of divine wisdom as we walk our paths in these complex and difficult times. The solid assurance we carry in our hearts, the conviction that God will make His will known to His children through His recognized servants, is the real basis of our faith and activity. We either have a prophet or we have nothing; and having a prophet, we have everything.”

I would like to focus today on the last line in that quote, We either have a prophet or we have nothing; and having a prophet, we have everything.” Perhaps I might address more fully the “everything” we really have.

In Amos 3:7 it is written, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

The most important blessing we receive by having a prophet of God on the earth today is that of authority.

The Lord gives his prophets, seers, and revelators both the priesthood authority and the keys they need to act in his name. The keys are the right of presidency. President Joseph F. Smith wrote:

“It is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their fullness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor.”

Our modern day prophet literally holds ALL the keys necessary for our salvation and exaltation concerning our progress here on earth. He is the key holder of the Aaronic Priesthood which gives him the right to administer in the ordinances of the gospel of repentance and baptism, and allow the ministering of angels. These ordinances then prepare us to receive the Melchizedek ordinances of which he also holds the keys. These Melchizedek Priesthood keys allow us to “know the mysteries of kingdom and the knowledge of God” receiving the higher ordinances of the temple.

His “right to presidency” turns all those keys on our behalf and allows us choose to return back to the presence of our Father.

He also has been given, through the laying on of hands, the same keys that were given to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. These keys allow for the gathering of Israel and the restoration of the Ten tribes to commence, given by the original key holder Moses, himself. Also given are the keys to the sealing power, binding in Heaven that which is bound on earth, under the direction of Elijah the prophet. This is literally everything!

As you can see it is evident that without a prophet we have nothing, and with him we have everything, as a people, a nation, and a church.

The Lord has always been willing to reveal His will to His children on earth whenever they have been willing to receive it.

President Spencer W. Kimball explained, “For thousands of years there have been constant broadcasts from heaven of vital messages of guidance and timely warnings, and there has been a certain constancy in the broadcasts from the most powerful station. Throughout all those centuries there have been times when there were prophets who tuned in and rebroadcasted to the people. The messages have never ceased.”

Elder Mark E. Petersen taught that the Lord raises up prophets in every age to meet the challenges of the times. He said,

“Did not Moses minister to the particular needs of his people? Did not Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel do likewise? Did not Peter and Paul give answers to the immediate problems of their day, tailored to fit the conditions that faced their own neighbors and friends? . . .

“He [God] certainly revealed himself anciently. If he is unchangeable, as the scriptures say, should he not do as much for modern people as he did for the ancients?

“Throughout Bible times he made himself known. Especially when his people began to drift astray did he manifest himself in power to bring them back to the fold.

“This he did through new prophets whom he raised up from time to time, and to whom he gave new revelations, which revitalized and gave added meaning to the divine word previously given.”

More recently President Ezra Taft Benson made the following statement, “"The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from god to us today. God's revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Every generation has the need of the ancient scripture, plus the current scripture from the living prophet.”

Through his prophets the Lord will continue to give guidance and counsel which, if heeded, will solve all of the world’s problems and heal all the world’s ills.

Individually with the turning of those priesthood keys, we are given the blessing of divine guidance or the gift of Revelation. Each of us can receive personal revelation regarding issues that concern us personally. In addition to that, our prophet holds the keys of revelation regarding the direction of Christ’s Church upon the earth today. This gift of divine revelation is one of infinite worth. Can you imagine where we would be without the help and guidance from our Father?

In 1965 President Marion G. Romney said, “Our affluent society is filled with much anxiety because the inhabitants of the world ‘. . . seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, . . .’ (D&C 1:16.) I ask you candidly, how could current attitudes of men and nations throughout the world be more accurately described?”

As true as that statement was in 1965, I believe it is an even more accurate description of our society today. Earthly wisdom is not always enough to solve the problems confronting mankind. No sooner does one problem seem solved than a worse one surfaces elsewhere. Wisdom greater than man’s wisdom is needed to solve the problems of our times, we need the direction of God to help us come to the solutions we seek. Our need to hear his voice has never been greater. For this reason we can truly be “thankful for a prophet.”

Holding the keys of the gift of Revelation, our modern day prophets are also known as Revelators. Elder John A Widtsoe explained the function of a revelator as follows:

“A revelator makes known, with the Lord’s help, something before unknown. It may be new or forgotten truth, or a new or forgotten application of known truth to man’s need. Always, the revelator deals with truth, certain truth and always it comes with the divine stamp of approval. Revelation may be received in various ways, but it always presupposes that the revelator has so lived and conducted himself as to be in tune or harmony with the divine spirit of revelation, the spirit of truth, and therefore capable of receiving divine messages.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 258.)

God reveals his secrets to a human revelator, who in turn may reveal those truths to others. Elder Mark E Petersen explained, “People who are not members of this church may not sense the great significance attached to his ministry. Even some Latter-day Saints have not yet discovered it. But the president of the Church is in fact a prophet raised up in these last days to give inspired guidance, not only to Latter-day Saints, but to all mankind everywhere.”

Therefore a prophet becomes a “Watchman on the Tower” or the “Voice of Warning” for all people.

In the book of Moses we read of an intimate experience as Enoch was called to be the Lords prophet, seer, and revelator of his time. We can use this experience to compare the prophets of old to that of our modern day prophets.

In Moses Chapter 6: 31-38 we read:

31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he abowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: bWhy is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people chate me; for I am dslow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?

32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy amouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.

33 Say unto this people: aChoose ye bthis day, to serve the Lord God who made you.

34 Behold my aSpirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the bmountains shall flee before you, and the crivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore dwalk with me.

35 And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with aclay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.

36 And he beheld the aspirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the bnatural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A cseer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were aoffended because of him.

38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the atent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a bwild man hath come among us.

Our modern day prophet is called of God, not because of status but by the qualification of worthiness. He becomes the mouth piece for the Lord, directed by the Spirit. He holds the keys of the priesthood from which all power flows. He sees as God sees not as man sees. He preaches repentance and expounds doctrine that oft times is not the popular view of society, therefore men may be “offended because of him.” He not only testifies of Christ through the spirit of prophesy, but officiates in all the sacred ordinances of the gospel. And finally I am happy to declare of President Thomas S. Monson, “a wild man hath come among us.” I am grateful he does not bend to the will of the people but stands strong for truth and voices the will of the Lord.

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. related an experience he had and teaches a great lesson in the following statement he made in 1948:

“Sometime ago a pamphlet came across my desk which unfortunately I threw away. On the outside page it was stated, ‘We need a prophet,’ and as I read it then, and as I think of it now, I think how blind the world is. We have a prophet, an American prophet, one who spoke our language, one who was imbued with Christian ideals, and that prophet gave us the great righteous principles of which we know and of which the world partly knows; he gave them in our own language over a hundred years ago. . . .

“Now our Prophet, Joseph Smith, and the prophets since his time—and there has always been a prophet in this Church, and prophets, and you sustain the brethren here, conference after conference, as prophets, seers, and revelators—the Prophet himself, through the Lord by revelation, gave certain great principles that would save the world if the world would but listen. We do not lack a prophet; what we lack is a listening ear by the people and a determination to live as God has commanded. That is all we need. The way has been made perfectly clear.”

This lesson is still timely for us as well, we have a prophet what we need to do is listen to him and do his will. How do we do this?

Delbert L. Stapley, of the Council of the Twelve, helps us to understand better how we can do it, he says,

“To get a clear picture and a clear understanding of what is expected of us, we should study the four standard works of the church. We should also study the writings of the prophets, including those of the Prophet Joseph Smith, down to the present time. We must abide by the teachings, not only of the dead prophets, but also of the living prophets.”

In conclusion, how thankful I am for a prophet. I know because we have a prophet on the earth today we have everything. I know that we need to learn what our prophets have asked of us, and listen to their words and do the will of the Lord as give to us through them.


Mandi said...

good job joshy!!!

Greg Dowden said...

Great Talk!!! And inspired by one of my favorite hymns! :)