Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sacred Things

                    Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents and leaders teach the rising generation proper treatment of sacred things.  Children and youth must be taught about things that are holy; they need to know that "sacred things are to be treated with more care, given greater deference, and regarded with deeper reverence."  (See Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, "To Hold Sacred," Ensign, May 2012, p. 109-111.)

When something is referred to as "sacred," this means that it is something of higher value and priority and worthy of respect.  For example, the institution of marriage is sacred, and previous generations referred to it as holy matrimony, meaning that marriage is sacred.  We sometimes say the Holy Bible or the Holy Scriptures, meaning that we consider the Word of God to be sacred.  We sometimes say the Holy Temple, meaning that we consider the House of the Lord to be sacred.

                    Many, if not all, prophets had sacred experiences when they were called to be prophets.  Moses was a shepherd who was drawn to a burning bush high on the side of a mountain.  When he arrived at the spot, he was told by God to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.  Alma was a young priest in the court of an evil king who listened to a condemned prophet named Abinadi as he bore testimony of the Holy Scriptures.  Alma believed the words of Abinadi and evolved from a civil servant to the servant of God.  Joseph Smith was a 14-year-old boy when he decided to pray, seeking an answer as to which church he should join.  He left the grove of trees - now known as the Sacred Grove - with the sacred knowledge that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are separate individuals with glorified bodies of flesh and bone; he also knew that They had a work for him to do.

                    The lives of Moses, Alma, and Joseph Smith were all changed because they had sacred experiences.  Their experiences made them stronger and enabled them to do the work they had been called of God to do.  "Our experiences with the divine may not be as direct or dramatic nor our challenges as daunting.  However, as with the prophets, our strength to endure faithfully depends upon recognizing, remembering, and holding sacred that which we receive from above….
                    "As we seek answers from God, we feel the still, small voice whisper to our spirits.  These feelings - these impressions - are so natural and so subtle that we may overlook them or attribute them to reason or intuition.  These individualized messages testify of God's personal love and concern for each of His children and their personal mortal missions.  Daily reflecting upon and recording the impressions that come from the Spirit serve the dual purposes of helping us (1) to recognize our personal encounters with the divine and (2) to preserve them for ourselves and our posterity.  Recording them is also a formal recognition and acknowledgment of our gratitude to God….
                    "With respect to that which we receive by the Spirit, the Lord said, `Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred' (Doctrine and Covenants 63:64).  His statement is more than a reminder; it is also a definition and an explanation.  Light and knowledge from heaven is sacred.  It is sacred because heaven is its source" ("To Hold Sacred).

                    We live in a world that is struggling.  Many people are abandoning sacred covenants and sacred experiences due to the volume and intensity of secular voices.  The rising generation must be taught to "rely on sacred personal witnesses already received" in order to strengthen their own faith.  When we discard sacred things, our minds are darkened (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:54).  When we treat sacred things properly, we are promised that we will receive more sacred experiences.  "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24).

                    The rising generation will be strengthened by treating sacred things with care, respect, and reverence.  As our children and youth are strengthened, they will in turn strengthen our homes, communities, and nations.

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