President Thomas S. Monson
We hear again of how to measure the success of the church – on the basis of the variety of humanitarian activities across the globe and the construction of the many buildings and temples at home and abroad. As I listened to this proud message of the success of those who call themselves saints, I had the following scripture come to mind:
“And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.”
3 Nephi 27:10-11
Are not the delivery of food, supplies, and medicine, while acts of compassion and care, the works of men? Does the construction of many temples throughout the world qualify as the works of men? I believe that the answer to both questions is yes. As such we will find a temporary satisfaction in them. The true measure of the church of God will be in the works of God found therein. Where are these works and why are they not found in abundance in the church today?
Did we hear of an example of the way prophecy works in how his choice of the Navy was rendered?
President Boyd K. Packer
The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. We heard that the authority of the priesthood has been well deployed but that the power as not. In the Book of Mormon, we find a description of what acting in the name of God brought to the church:
“And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.”
4 Nephi 1:5
Do the men who today represent the equivalent of these disciples of Jesus show forth these works? Is that not what is the true measure of the church of God? Where are these miracles of God in our environs today? Can we not draw from the scripture above that this should be prominent among us?
Sister Julie Beck
The presence of the Spirit is achieved by obeying commandments, being true to our temple covenants, prayer and reading the scriptures. Through this we are able to know all things we should do. I had the scripture flash through my mind of the following;
“For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
2 Nephi 32:5
This admonition follows, in the previous chapter, one of the most forceful descriptions of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that is found in the scriptures. This is achieved through repentance, followed by baptism, first by water, and then the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost as we read in 2 Nephi 31:17-21. This is the only path to the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost.
Sister Beck spoke of the words of the prophet Joel:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”
What would happen in most of the wards of the church today if a man or woman began to prophesy? Or speak of visions? The ready answer is found in the church courts of love.
Elder Keith McMullin
Disasters are a way to ‘stir us up in remembrance.’ What did the tornado of ’99 do from this perspective?
We were told that we are to pattern our lives after the savior. Our duty does not require perfection but only diligence. Duty to God is first followed by duty to our family, community and church. It was certainly refreshing not to hear ‘follow the prophet.’ Our eternal lives depend not on the brethren but on our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Elder Wilford Anderson of the seventy reinforced the need to build our foundation on none other than Jesus Christ.
President Henry Eyring
How does one reach the ‘strait and narrow way?’ Here is what the scriptures say:
Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
2 Nephi 31:17-18
The cleansing power is found through the remission of our sins by fire and the Holy Ghost. Leaving out this key component is tantamount to rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Much was said about the rescue value of the Personal Progress and Duty to God programs for the youth of the church. My heart hurts when I think of the youth of the church who can easily come to perceive that the path to ‘spirituality’ is found with a checklist and a rote answer. The youth of the church, if there is to be any hope for the future, need to be taught how to find Christ.
My thoughts of the first session.