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, June 5, 2021

How Can I Please God?

            My Come, Follow Me lesson for this week took me to Doctrine and Covenants 60-62. During the summer of 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith took a group of 185 people from Kirtland, Ohio, to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. The group was known as Zion’s Army, but they did not fight any battles. The Lord used the journey to prepare future leaders of His Church.

            Prior to leaving for Missouri, the Prophet held a conference in June 1831 with the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kirtland. The elders were organized into companionships and sent to Jackson County with the charge to “Preach by the way” (Doctrine and Covenants 52:10). Many of the elders were obedient and followed the instructions diligently, but others did not.

As the elders prepared to leave Jackson County to return to Kirtland, the Prophet received another revelation, where the Lord again instructed the elders to preach the gospel as they traveled. The Lord began the revelation by chastening the elders who did not fulfill their responsibility.

With some [elders] I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man (Doctrine and Covenants 60:2).

            The talent mentioned by the Lord is the knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All those who receive those gifts are under obligation to share them with others. There are many members of the Church of Jesus Christ who feel great sympathy for the disobedient elders because we are also hesitant to open our mouths to share the gospel. There could be numerous reasons for our hesitation. We could hesitate “because of the fear of man” just like the early elders. We may not feel worthy enough or capable enough to teach the gospel.

Whatever our reason, we should have more trust in the Lord because He “knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor [us]” (Doctrine and Covenants 62:1). The Lord gives many reassurances that can help us to share the gospel. Some of those assurances are: “I, the Lord, rule in the heavens above.” “I am able to make you holy.” “All flesh is in mine hand.” And “be of good cheer, little children, for I am in our midst.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 60:4, 7; 61:6, 36.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844) taught that our “greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 330). In recent years, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then of the First Presidency, explained how we can fulfill this important duty.

My dear young friends, perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to “open [your] mouths” [Doctrine and Covenants 60:2] might today include “use your hands” to blog and text message the gospel to all the world! But please remember, all at the right time and at the right place.

… With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.

The most effective way to preach the gospel is through example. If we live according to our beliefs, people will notice. If the countenance of Jesus Christ shines in our lives, if we are joyful and at peace with the world, people will want to know why. One of the greatest sermons ever pronounced on missionary work is this simple thought attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words” [in William Fay and Linda Evans Shepherd, Share Jesus without Fear (1999), 22]” (“Waiting on the Road to Damascus,Ensign, 2011, 76-77).

            I have been sharing my knowledge and testimony with my words in this blog since September 2009. I believe that it is only fitting that I again share my testimony that Heavenly Father is real and is a divine, resurrected Personage. He created a plan for the happiness of all His children, He loves each of us, and He wants all of us to return to His presence for eternity. I know through the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is His Son and has redeemed all of us from the Fall of Adam and Eve. He has also prepared the way for us to become clean from our sins and be worthy to return to the Father’s presence.

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and is taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I also know that Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet on the earth today, and we can become more like Jesus Christ by following his example and counsel. I know that the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated by the power of God and teaches the truth. I know that we can grow closer to the Savior by studying the Book of Mormon than by any other book in the world.

I know that I am pleasing God as I “open [my] mouth” and share my knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that you will hear His voice in my words, study the Book of Mormon, and search out the missionaries to learn more about His work.

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