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, October 18, 2014

Becoming More Like Christ

                When Jesus Christ lived on the earth and walked with His disciples, Thomas asked the Christ how to know the way to go.  Jesus Christ answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  We can learn to follow Christ by learning and teaching the gospel as the Savior did.  We can become better gospel learners by developing Christlike attributes; we can become better teachers by learning how Jesus Christ taught his gospel and seek to become like Him.

                We can learn to teach as the Master Teacher taught by using the scriptures to help other people become more Christlike.  Jesus Christ used the scriptures to teach His gospel.  Prophets in these latter-days counsel us to use the scriptures and the words of the living prophets when we teach the gospel.  Before we can teach the scriptures, we must first study them.  We can learn the stories and examples from the scriptures and liken the scriptures to ourselves.

                The Savior used the scriptures to teach the people of Nazareth:  “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.  And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
                “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
                “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
                “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
                “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
                “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.  And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
                “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself:  whatsoever we have heard in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
                “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
                “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
                “But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
                “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:17-27).

                In these verses the Savior referred to several Old Testament scriptures, teachings that were familiar to the listeners.  The Savior also
used the scriptures to teach the Nephites on the American continent.  “And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things.  Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
                “For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. 
                “And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
                “Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.
                “And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved.  Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
                “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them:  Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Christ, 3 Nephi 23:1-6).

                The presiding Brethren of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put a high priority on the subject of teaching and learning.  In fact this was the topic of the worldwide leadership training broadcast just a few years ago.  The Brethren realize that our success in sharing the gospel message depends on it being taught, understood, and lived in a way that happiness and salvation can be realized.

                Just prior to the Ascension of Christ into heaven, He gave His final instructions to His disciples:  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
                “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20; emphasis added).

                Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles quoted the above scripture and explained it by paraphrasing a statement made by President Gordon B. Hinckley:  “What the Savior stresses in that passage is that however much there is to do in living the gospel --- and there is much we are to do to live it --- none of that can be accomplished until we have been taught those truths and have learned the way of the gospel.  For several years now, President Hinckley has been counseling us to hold our people close to the Church, especially the youth and the new converts.  He said we all need a friend, a responsibility, and nourishing `by the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4; see also Gordon B. Hinckley, in … Ensign, May j1997, 47).
                “Inspired instruction in the home and in the Church helps provide this crucial element of nourishing by the good word of God.  And the opportunity to magnify that call exists everywhere --- fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, missionaries, priesthood and auxiliary leaders and teachers, classroom instructors, including our wonderful seminary and institute teachers, who join us today.  Well, the list goes on and on.  In fact, in this Church, it is virtually impossible to find anyone who is not a teacher….”

                Elder Holland cited a few lines from a Primary hymn “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301): 
                Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
                Help me find the way.
                Teach me all that I must do
                To live with him someday.
                “That is our common task in this Church.  That is our shared responsibility. We are all children of God, and we must teach each other; we must help each other “find the way.”  That is what we are going to try to do today” (“Teaching and Learning in the Church,” Liahona, June 2007).

                “Latter-day prophets have instructed us to use the scriptures to teach the doctrines of the taught the importance of teaching with the scriptures.  President Ezra Taft Benson said:  `Always remembers, there is no satisfactory substitute for the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.  These should be your original sources.  Read and ponder more what the Lord has said, and less about what others have written concerning what the Lord has said’ (The Gospel Teacher and His Message [address to religious educators, 17 Sept. 1976], 6).

                “President Gordon B. Hinckley said:  `The truest source of divine wisdom is the word of the Lord in these sacred volumes, the standard works of the Church.  Here is found the doctrine to which we must hold fast if this work is to roll forth to its divinely charted destiny” (in … Ensign, May 1982, 45).  

                We can become more like Christ when we know more about Him and come to know Him.  We can hear the word of God when we study the scriptures.  We can receive assistance from God in applying the scriptures in our lives when we sincerely ask Him in prayer.  I know that Jesus Christ lived and walked the earth.  I also know that He was resurrected and lives again.  He is a real Personage who loves each of us and desires us to become more like Him.

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