True to the Lord
In the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, he not only stated something that was pertinent to the saints in Ephesus, but something that is extremely applicable to us in the latter days. In Ephesians 4:11-15 it says: And he
agave some, bapostles; and some, cprophets; and some, devangelists; and some, epastors and fteachers;
Brothers and Sisters what does it mean to “be no more as children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE”? In these the latter days, we see more and more the polarization of the world’s standards and our standards, we are becoming further and further and more separated from the world, and we truly are a ‘peculiar people’.
The question I now pose to all of you is this, Are we true to the WORLD, or are we true to THE LORD? We learn in Matthew 6:24 that “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and will love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve god and mammon.” So, who are we true to? What little worldly things in our lives are we holding onto and refusing to let go? Whether it be out of habit or we just enjoy that part of our lives? In 1 Nephi 2:4 it says: And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and adepartedinto the wilderness.
So he left behind him:
2. Land of his inheritance
5. “Precious Things”
And took with him:
2. Provisions and Tents (so the necessities)
Nothing else, left it all behind because the lord commanded it. Are we willing to give up whatever to follow and keep the lords commandments?
Each of us has “precious things” we are refusing to let go. I know I do. It can be a number of things, but we all have them. What are the “precious things” in our lives that are stopping us from being completely true to the lord? Now I know for me and the other missionaries going out to serve the lord, we have to leave behind our precious things for 18 months-2 years. Whether that be scholarships, an education, college athletics, dating, or social lives, a number of very good things. But we will be blessed for leaving it all behind us. And we will survive without those things. And I promise as you leave behind you the “precious things” in your life, The Lord will bless you for it, and you will survive without them.
How can we be True to The Lord? May I offer six suggestions on how we can align ourselves with God, and be true to him.
I-Attend the Temple Regularly and Stay Worthy of a Recommend
Brothers and sisters, we need to always keep the temple in our sights. If we can always keep the perspective of being worthy to enter his house and have that thought continually in the back of our minds when will we falter? That answer is, we wont. Elder Holland said, “When people sin they usually look back and say what was I thinking? Well whatever they were thinking they sure weren’t thinking of Christ.” So keep the thought of being worthy to enter The Lord’s house in your minds, always. Youth, go do baptisms as much as you can! We are so blessed to have a temple within a half an hour from us, and many more within an hour. So youth, stay worthy of a recommend, and not only that but use it. And it will be one of the greatest blessings of your teenage years. On days when my friends and I would do baptisms before school, those were the greatest days I could have asked for. I was able to have the spirit with me throughout the whole day, despite all the things that go on in high school. I felt on top of the world, and like nothing could bring me down. And that is the power of temple attendance. So youth, use your recommend. For those of you who are endowed, stay worthy to go and keep your covenants. We have had the opportunity to make sacred covenants. So don’t take them lightly. Attend the temple often to remind yourself of the covenants you have entered into. Everyone should strive for the temple. There is no better place on earth. So get there, and make time for the House of God.
II-Take Your Personal Worthiness Interviews Seriously
They are an opportunity to check in with the lord through his authorized servants. The can be used as a tool to align ourselves and keep ourselves in check with the gospel standards. We are all to be held accountable for our actions in this mortal life. These interviews, whether it be tithing settlement, temple recommend interviews, 6 month interviews for the youth, these are in essence preparation for the final judgment. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in General Conference in April of 1997 said, “Worthiness interviews are conducted in a spirit of loving concern for each son and daughter of a loving god. These interviews represent the rehearsal stage for final judgment.” The savior’s church teaches us to keep commitments and return and report on them seriously, as if The Lord Himself was interviewing you.
III-Keep Your Covenants with Exactness
We are a covenant people. Not only in the sense of children of the Abrahamic Covenant. But in the sense of we are a covenant making, and a covenant-keeping people. We enter into covenants with The Lord at Baptism, Confirmation, and ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood, when we receive our Endowment, and when we are sealed and enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. We are blessed to have the fullness of the gospel in our day and have the opportunity to enter into these covenants. The key to staying true to the lord is keeping out covenants with exactness. The lord understands we will make mistakes but asks us to, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect.” So our job is to strive for that. By keeping our covenants without deviating. If we are doing this we are being 100% true to the lord.
In one of my institute classes we discussed the principle of immediate obedience. My teacher told us the story of when President Hinckley told girls to only have one pair of modest earrings, he was sitting next to a girl who had multiple piercings in her ears, and as soon as the prophet said that, AS SOON as she heard that she immediately took her second set of earrings out. Do we have the willingness to immediately do what the lord asks us to do? Do we have the willingness to be corrected? Our teacher then asked us this, “I know its drastic and will never happen, but if the prophet told us that shoelaces are evil, would we immediately get down and take them out?” And I thought about that and thought yes something as simple as that I would do. But brothers and sisters, why do we not do everything he asks us to do now, with immediate obedience? We need to have the willingness to be corrected, be open to change, trust they see from a different perspective and speak for God, and be humble enough to accept, and even seek correction. Much like the example of leaving behind our precious things earlier, we need to have the faith of Lehi, and that young woman with the piercings to immediately follow what the prophets teach and what the lord commands.
V-Daily Personal Worship
A couple of years back, the first Bishop Knudsen counseled to us to remember our ‘Daily Personal Worship’ to make sure we were having daily spiritual experiences with The Lord. And doing the simple things daily. He also challenged us to put a reminder somewhere that said ‘Daily Personal Worship.’ As a young man I took this to heart and decided to put it as the banner on the background of my phone. Now I had never been good at reading and praying daily, I had always struggled with it. But as soon as I looked at that reminder and remembered to do the simple things and I started to develop a habit. And it made a huge difference in my life. And do you know what that difference was? I was happy. I had peace and joy in my life. There was a change in my attitude, my demeanor, and my actions. It really did make a difference. The study of the gospel of Christ will bring peace and joy into our lives. If you are struggling with something, the scriptures WILL have the answers. And going to The Lord in prayer and listening to the spirit will help. The Lord will answer the prayers of those doing the work on their part, and their part is simple. It is seeking guidance from his scriptures. By learning and studying the doctrines in the scriptures we will have an increased desire to live the commandments of God, because to build our faith, it requires action. Simple Action. And if we have a desire to learn, and do the simple things, our faith will grow and we will have the strength to be true to God.
VI-Heed the Words of the Prophets
In the general conference of 1856 President Brigham Young commanded the rescue of the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies and the Hunt and Hodgett Wagon Companies, which was a large and grand task. On the flip side of this in the book of 2 Kings we read the story of Naaman, who was commanded by the Prophet Elisha to wash in the River Jordan 7 times to cleans his leprosy. In verse 13 of 2 Kings chapter 5 we read, “If the prophet had bid thee to do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean” The living prophets are not asking us to do some grand thing in a physical sense, like go rescue people out on the plains, but we are being asked in our modern day ways to wash in the River Jordan. The tasks we are asked to do may be simple but they will lead to grand things in the end. These men speak for God, they are his mouthpiece in these latter days and as Elder Cook of the twelve said, “It is our solemn responsibility to follow our prophet” the prophets will never lead us astray. As the world us trying to “Toss us to and fro, and carry us about with every wind of doctrine” we can have confidence in our living prophets and apostles, because the doctrines of the gospel WILL NEVER CHANGE. Practices may change but the Doctrines never will. They are eternal unchanging truths and the prophets will never stray from Gods eternal doctrines. They will always keep us on the path. Because President Monson is not only the prophet for the church, he is the prophet for the world. And he speaks for the Savior. They are not ‘old fashioned’ or ‘out of date’ with their teachings. Their teachings are the most important teachings if any on earth. Their teachings supersede any law made by man or any rule made by the world because they teach the Law of God. President Monson speaks for the savior. He truly is the living prophet.
If we can do these things, we will be true to The Lord. And being true to The Lord=Eternal Perspective. And having an eternal perspective helps us live his gospel. They go hand in hand so give your all to him. If we could see what The Lord has planned, and what he has in store for us we would never stray. And as we continue to strive to keep our covenants, obey his prophets, and live his gospel we will see more and more of what he has in store for us. And that will strengthen our ability to be true to him. So give up the world, give up your “precious things”, let go of the carnal man, and come unto Christ. Be true to him.
Now I want to speak to the youth for a moment. You young women are amazing and tend to have more of a willingness to be true to The Lord. So keep it up. And if you have strayed, come unto Christ and he will heal you. I testify of that, his atonement will heal you. Now young men of the Aaronic priesthood, because I love you and because I care about you, and because I see the amazing potential you have to become an incredible modern day Army of Helaman I say this to you, REPENT. Be clean and be ready to serve missions. Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance. If you need to clear things up, clear them up. If you need to go see the bishop go see the bishop. He loves you and he will help you through it. Seek your parents help, they love you unconditionally and will always be there for you. They understand you will make mistakes and they will help you through whatever you are going through so seek their help. Shake off the chains by which ye are bound, and become men. Men of honor, men of truth, and men of god. Live up to your spiritual potential and become what I see you becoming. The Gospel is under attack and you are the hope of Israel. We will win but we need your help. You were all born to become incredible missionaries, now become what you were born to become. Now parents, you are raising up a generation that has so much potential, continue to raise them in the gospel and live your covenant. And young men, in my call to repentance I did it because I love you and see the potential you have. I am so grateful to have served you in the leadership capacities I was able to serve you in and you were all amazing examples to me. Now continue to be examples and strengthen each other. Be a quorum. Be unified. Love each other. Become the men you are starting to become. Now complete that journey and be ye therefore clean and ready to serve.
Be ready to serve because there are two reasons I am going on my mission
1. I am going out to gather Israel and bring the House of Israel to Christ.
2. I am going out to strengthen those who have made covenants, and help those who haven’t made covenants yet make them.
That is why I am going. And that is why you need to be ready to serve. Be ready to bring people to Christ by teaching by the spirit. Be worthy of the spirit and learn to listen and heed to his promptings. And to the rest of you, the best way you can support the missionaries, yes you can financially support us, and pray for us, and write us. Yes, please do that. But the best way you can support us, as President Allred so beautiful taught this morning at general priesthood meeting, and I’m grateful he addressed it because the spirit has also been telling me to address it, but the best way you can support us is by listening to the prophets and become member missionaries. Spread the gospel here at home and bring our neighbors to Christ. The hastening of the work is not just the influx in the number of missionaries. It is the members and the missionaries working together. So work with the full time missionaries here in Stansbury.
Now a lot of people in their farewell talks usually thank a bunch of people, but I feel like the only person who truly deserves my thanks over the pulpit is my mother. I’m so grateful that I was able to grow up in your home and I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done for me. I love you. And thank you. You’re amazing.
Brothers and Sisters I know that this church is true. I know that this gospel is The Lords work. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by a prophet of God, and it is the book that will bring you closer to Christ than any other book on earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that we have living prophets on the earth today. And I know that they do receive revelation and they do speak for God. I know that as I go out and serve the people of Spain, that as long as I can teach by the spirit, and remember why I’m out there that I can bring people to Christ. And I know that this gospel can bring them happiness that’s why I’m going. I want people to be as happy as I am with the gospel I have been blessed with in my life. I know that this church is true. I know it with all of my heart. There is no doubt in my mind that it is true. And I know our savior lives, that he atoned for our sins, and that we can repent. Anything we are struggling with I know that the savior knows what we are going through and that he can help us. I know he lives, without a doubt. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our master, Amen.