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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace in Perilous Times

                We live in the perilous days prophesied by the Apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy.  "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
                "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.
                "Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.
                "Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
                "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

                We are only normal if we are troubled by the wickedness in our world; however, we must keep our faith strong and not let fear overtake us.  We can feel peace in spite of the turmoil all around us.  We can learn the requirements for peace in troubled times by those who have previously gone through difficult days. 

An ancient American prophet by the name of Alma recorded the trials of many years of war and then made this interesting statement:  "But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni…" (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 50:23).

                Why were the people happy in spite of their need to protect themselves from their enemies?  I find several reasons for their happiness:  1) They were lead by righteous men; both their national leaders and their military leaders were men of God.  2) They trusted their leaders to do the right things.  3) They kept the commandments of God and prospered in spite of difficult times.

                I believe that many of our national leaders have an agenda to “fundamentally transform” our nation and take away many of our liberties; therefore, I believe that they are not worthy of being trusted.  We are, however, blessed by the presence of living prophets and apostles who can be trusted.  These spiritual leaders are not in positions to affect what our nation does, but they are capable of guiding us in both temporal and spiritual areas of our lives.  Their counsel can help us not only survive these troubling times but also thrive during them.  If we follow their counsel, we can feel peace even in our perilous times.

                George Albert Smith was the prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during World War II, and he gave great counsel to the members of the Church as well as the people of the world.  "In these days of uncertainty when men are running to and fro seeking for some new plan by which peace may be brought into the world, know this:  that the only way to peace for this world is the pathway of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.  There is no other.  … To possess a knowledge of the truth is worth all the wealth of the world, to know that we are on the safe highway when we are in the pathway of duty as defined by our Heavenly Father, and to know that we can continue there if we will, regardless of the influences and inducements that may be offered by those who have not been appointed to be our leaders, is a blessing that is priceless."

                President Smith also counseled, "We live in a day when the scripture is being fulfilled among the nations wherein the Lord said through one of his prophets, that in the latter-day, `… the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.'  (Isaiah 29:14.)  With all the wisdom of the world, no group thus far has been able to point the way for peace with the certainty that it is the way.   We … are fortunate to know that there is a way for peace that alone will produce results, and that way is to keep the commandments of God as revealed to the children of men anciently and in our day.  If that way were followed, all the problems that are so serious in the world could be solved, and peace would come to this unhappy earth."

                Again President Smith counseled, "though the world may be filled with distress, and the heavens gather blackness, and the vivid lightnings flash, and the earth quake from center to circumference, if we know that God lives, and our lives are righteous, we will be happy, there will be peace unspeakable because we know our Father approves [of] our lives."  (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church - George Albert Smith [2011], pp. 259-260.)

                The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith in a revelation received on November 1, 1831, at Hiram, Ohio:  "For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
                "And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:35-36).

                We can all see that peace has been taken from the earth as one war has followed another since the Civil War.  Even though turmoil is in the world, we can have peace in our hearts and in our homes.  We can make our homes our refuges from the world by making them places of prayer, gratitude, kindness between spouses, and love for our children.  We can bring Zion into our homes by living righteously. 

                President Smith counseled, "I pray that our homes may be sanctified by the righteousness of our lives, that the adversary may have no power to come there and destroy the children of our homes or those who dwell under our roofs.  If we will honor God and keep his commandments, our homes will be sacred, the adversary will have no influence, and we will live in happiness and peace until the winding-up scene in mortality and we go to receive our reward in immortality….
                "I pray that in our hearts and in our homes there may abide that spirit of love, of patience, of kindness, of charity, of helpfulness that enriches our lives and that makes the world brighter and better because of it."  (See Teachings, pp. 261-262.)

                In addition to enjoying peace and happiness in our homes, we can have a positive influence in our communities.  We can be lights to other people and lead them to security by our good works.  Our good examples can encourage others to keep the commandments and follow the counsel of the prophets.  

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