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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Would You Do?

                What would you do if a prophet appeared in your life and told you that Jesus Christ would return to earth within five years?  Would you believe him or mock him?  Would you take action to change your life or would you stay as you are?   The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ contains a story about a prophet suddenly appearing among the Nephites and telling the people that Jesus Christ would be born in five years.

                Nephi was a prophet of God who had recently received the sealing power, the same power possessed by the prophet Elijah.  Nephi and his equally righteous brother had been traveling throughout the land of the Nephites preaching, teaching, and calling the people to repentance.  Still the Nephites remained very wicked while the Lamanites had become righteous.  One day Samuel the Lamanite appeared in a Nephite city and began preaching.  He preached for “many days,” but the people did not appreciate his message and cast him out of their city. 

                Samuel was in the act of returning to his people “when the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart” (Helaman 13:3).  Samuel was obedient and returned, but the people would not allow him to enter their city.  The prophet Samuel was determined to deliver God’s message to the Nephites, and he climbed upon the wall of the city in order to deliver it.     
                Samuel told the Nephites that “an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul.  And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also that ye might have glad tidings; but behold ye would not receive me.
                “Therefore, thus saith the Lord:  Because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephites, except they repent I will take away my word from them, and I will withdraw my Spirit from them, and I will suffer them no longer, and I will turn the hearts of their brethren against them.
                “And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence….
                “But if ye will repent and return unto the Lord your God I will turn away mine anger, saith the Lord; yea, thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not….” (Helaman 13:7-11).

                The Nephites still did not like Samuel’s message, but he continued to deliver the words of the Lord.  He told the Nephites that the Son of God would be born on earth in five years; he told them that they would know when the Christ was born because there would be no darkness in their land during the night before His birth.  He also told them that a new star would appear in the sky, “such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you” (Helaman 14:1-5)
                Samuel was not finished with his prophecy about the birth of Jesus Christ.  He continued with a prophecy about the death of Christ and gave the signs of His death and the destruction that would take place at that time.  Samuel continued with his warning, and many people believed his words; these people went to the prophet Nephi, confessed their sins and were baptized (Helaman 16:1).

                There were also many people who were angry with Samuel because they did not believe his words.  They began to cast stones at him and to shoot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall.  More people became believers when they saw that the stones and arrows could not touch Samuel.  They too sought Nephi to confess their sins and be baptized (Helaman 16:3).

                Most of the people did not believe the words of Samuel and tried to capture him.  When Samuel was finished delivering his message, he jumped down from the wall and went back to his people.  The Nephites heard no more about him.  (Helaman 16:6-8).

                So, I ask you again:  what would you do if you heard a prophet crying repent and prepare the way of the Lord?  Would you hear his words and be baptized?  Would you change from wickedness to righteousness?

                What would you do if I told you that there is a prophet on earth calling us to repentance in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ to earth?  Would you believe me and seek him out or would you get angry and mock him?

                The Lord’s prophet on the earth in our day is Thomas S. Monson; he is the prophet, seer, and revelator for our day and the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In his latest message in December 2015, President Monson encouraged all of us to make room in our lives and hearts for the Savior as we celebrated Christmas.  

                President Monson spoke twice in our last General Conference, October 2015.  He counseled the brethren in the priesthood session to keep the commandments.  “God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness.  Just the opposite is true.  He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible.  He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey.  We remember the words of the familiar hymn:  `Keep the commandments!  In this there is safety; in this there is peace.’” 

                To the general Church membership, President Monson gave counsel to be a good example to others and let our lights shine.  “Recently, as I have been reading and pondering the scriptures, two passages in particular have stayed with me.  Both are familiar to us.  The first is from the Sermon on the Mount:  `Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’  The second scripture is one which came to my mind as I pondered the meaning of the first.  It is from the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to Timothy:  `Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’
                “I believe the second scripture explains, in great part, how we can accomplish the first.  We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.  As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.”  

                There we have the words of the living prophet of God telling us how we can prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  President Monson counseled us to make room for Christ in our lives and in our hearts, to keep the commandments, to be good examples, and to let our light shine for others to follow.

                Now, what will you do with this information?  Will you believe it?  Will you accept it?  Will you follow the counsel of the living prophet?  As to myself, I believe it and accept it as though the words came from the mouth of God.  I will make room for the Christ in my life and in my heart.  I will keep His commandments.  I will be a good example and let my light shine that others may also find the Christ.  I will follow President Monson’s counsel because I know he is God’s prophet on earth today.

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