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, September 11, 2012

Helping Hands

                    I attended an interesting lesson taught in a recent Relief Society meeting in our ward about being helping hands for the Lord.  The topic was visiting teaching, and the lesson came from Daughters in My Kingdom, Chapter 7:  "Pure Religion" - Watchcare and Ministering through Visiting Teaching, pp. 103-23.  As we discussed how we could become better visiting teachers and shared personal experiences that happened either as visiting teachers or while being visited, I thought about the National GOP Convention, particularly the last night when several different people shared their own stories of receiving compassionate service from Mitt and Ann Romney.  

The "talking heads" on television seemed to be shocked with the stories that were coming out about service performed by Mitt and Ann.  In comparison, I was not surprised at all with the stories even though I had never heard them previously.  You see, I know many, many other men and women who spend their lives serving and helping other people - not to be recorded by cameras and reporters but to be of service to their brothers and sisters.  I remember some of my thoughts and feelings while I listened to those experiences.  I wanted to know more about Mitt and Ann Romney, and I was pleased to hear that they were living our shared religion.  Without taking anything away from the Romney family for their good works, I recognized that some variation of each of those stories had played out in wards and stakes all over the world as visiting teachers, home teachers, bishops, and stake presidents go about doing good.

The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always counseled members to go about doing good.  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "[We are] to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all, wherever [we find] them."  (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Joseph Smith [2007], 426.)

President Brigham Young counseled, "Let us have compassion upon each other, and let the strong tenderly nurse the weak into strength, and let those who can see guide the blind until they can see the way for themselves."  (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Brigham Young [1997], 219.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, "Who, even in the wildest stretch of imagination, can fathom the uncountable acts of charity that have been performed, the food that has been put on barren tables, the faith that has been nurtured in desperate hours of illness, the wounds that have been bound up, the pains that have been ameliorated by loving hands and quiet and reassuring words, the comfort that has been extended in times of death and consequent loneliness?"  (See Ensign, Mar. 1992, 4.)

President Thomas S. Monson said, "We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness….  We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children.  He is dependent upon each of us."

Jesus Christ showed us the way that we should live our lives while He lived upon the earth.  He showed us how to minister and how to watch over and strengthen each other.  He ministered to individuals, one by one, and taught that we should leave the ninety and nine to save the one that was straying (Luke 15:3-7).  Christ was concerned with individuals in His teaching and healing.  While visiting the Americas after His resurrection, He spent time with each individual in a multitude of 2,500 people (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 11:13-17; 17:5-25).

We can follow the example of Jesus Christ and be obedient to counsel from prophets as we go about doing good and helping others.  We can be instruments in the hands of God as He seeks to bless all the people of the earth.

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