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.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Remembering the Savior

                Many people question how to keep the covenant to always remember the Savior.  When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partake of the sacrament, we promise to remember the Savior always.  This means that we constantly look to His example and teachings to guide the choices we make.  We subconsciously ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” or “What would Jesus have me do?”  We put the Lord first in our lives and seek to know Him and follow His will.  When we face trials, we look to Him for comfort and strength.  Heavenly Father promised that if we keep this covenant, we will always have His Spirit to be with us.

                Most of us live very busy lives and usually find it easy to forget the Lord.  An ancient American prophet by the name of Nephi told us why we fall to this temptation to forget the Lord and how we can avoid it.

                “And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
                “Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One – yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
                “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
                “O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
                “Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s path!”  (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Helaman 12:1-5.)

                Our Savior, even Jesus Christ, set the example of always remembering and seeking to be like His Father.  The Savior tells us in John 8:29 that Heavenly Father was with him “for I do always those things that please him.”  We can follow Christ’s example by always doing those things that God wants us to do.

                Members of the Church have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  When we keep the commandments of God, the Father will send the Holy Ghost to us to “teach [us] all things, and bring all things to [our] remembrance….” (John 24:26).  The “Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and [Jesus Christ]” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 111:32).

                Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his counsel on how we can remember the Savior always – “one of the central purposes of the sacrament.”  Elder Christofferson continued, “Remembering the Savior obviously includes remembering His Atonement, which is symbolically represented by the bread and water as emblems of His suffering and death.  We must never forget what He did for us, for without His Atonement and Resurrection, life would have no meaning.  With His Atonement and Resurrection, however, our lives have eternal, divine possibilities.”

                Elder Christofferson elaborated on three aspects of what it means to always remember the Savior:  “1) Seek to know and follow the will of Christ just as He sought the will of the Father….  Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both body and spirit, to the will of the Father….  His focus on the Father is one of the principal reasons Jesus’s ministry had such clarity and power.

                “In the same way, you and I can put Christ at the center of our lives and become one with Him as He is one with the Father (see John 17:20-23).  We can begin by stripping everything out of our lives and then putting it back together in priority order with the Savior at the center.  We should first put in place the things that make it possible to always remember Him – frequent prayer and scripture study, thoughtful study of apostolic teachings, weekly preparation to partake of the sacrament worthily, Sunday worship, and recording and remembering what the Spirit and experience teach us about discipleship.

                “Other things may come to your mind particularly suited to you at this point in your life.  Once we make adequate time and means for these matters in centering our lives in Christ, we can begin to add other responsibilities and things of value, such as education and family responsibilities.  In this way the essential will not be crowded out of our lives by the merely good, and things of lesser value will take a lower priority or fall away altogether.”

                “2) Prepare to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action.   The scriptures make it clear that there will be a great day of judgment when the Lord will stand to judge the nations (see 3 Nephi 27:16) and when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ (see Romans 14:11; Mosiah 27:31; D&C 76:110).  The individual nature and extent of that judgment are described by Alma in the Book of Mormon:

                “`For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
                “`But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance’ (Alma 12:14:15)….

                “Always remembering Him, therefore, means that we always remember that nothing is hidden from Him.  There is no part of our lives, whether act, word, or even thought, that can be kept from the knowledge of the Father and the Son.  No cheating on a test, no instance of shoplifting, no lustful fantasy or indulgence, and no lie is missed, overlooked, hidden, or forgotten.  Whatever we `get away with’ in life or manage to hide from other people, we must still face when the inevitable day comes that we are lifted up before Jesus Christ, the God of pure and perfect justice….

                “We should also take heart when thinking of a judgment in which nothing is overlooked because this also means that no act of obedience, no kindness, and no good deed however small is ever forgotten, and no corresponding blessing is ever withheld.

                “3. Fear not and look to the Savior for help.  In the infant days of the Restoration, Jesus counseled and comforted Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who were working to translate the Book of Mormon and who would soon have the priesthood conferred upon them.  Joseph was 23 years old at the time, and Oliver was 22.  Persecution and other obstacles were frequent if not constant.  In these conditions, in April 1829 the Lord spoke these words to them:

                “`Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
                “`Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. 
                “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
                “`Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.  Amen’ (Doctrine and Covenants 6:34-37).

                “Look unto the Savior in every thought is, of course, another way of saying `always remember him.’  As we do, we need not doubt or fear.  The Savior reminded Joseph and Oliver as He reminds us that through His Atonement He has been given all power in heaven and earth (see Matthew 28:18) and has both the capacity and will to protect us and minister to our needs.  We need only be faithful, and we can rely implicitly on Him….

                “In short, to `always remember Him’ means that we do not live our lives in fear.  We know that challenges, disappointments, and sorrows will come to each of us in different ways, but we also know that in the end, because of our divine Advocate, all things can be made to work together for our good (see Doctrine and Covenants 90:24; 98:3).  It is the faith expressed so simply by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) when he would say, `Things will work out.’  When we always remember the Savior, we can `cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,’ confident that His power and love for us will see us through” (“To Always Remember Him,” Ensign, April 2011, pp. 49-55).

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