Sunday, December 21, 2014

Preparing for Baptism and Confirmation

“All Latter-day Saints enter the new and everlasting covenant when they enter this Church. They covenant to cease sustaining, upholding and cherishing the kingdom of the Devil and the kingdoms of this world. They enter the new and everlasting covenant to sustain the Kingdom of God and no other kingdom. They take a vow of the most solemn kind, before the heavens and earth, … that they will sustain truth and righteousness instead of wickedness and falsehood, and build up the Kingdom of God, instead of the kingdoms of this world” 
-Brigham Young

“I propose that we should never start teaching about baptism until we have the end in mind. What’s the end? Eternal life.”
-Elder Don Clarke



References:

WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR BAPTISM?
  • Those who humble themselves before God
  • Those who desire to be baptized
  • Those who come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits
  • Those who repent of all their sins
  • Those willing to take upon themselves the name of Christ
  • Those determined to serve Christ until the end
  • Those who manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ
  • First Presidency parameters:
    • Make sufficient changes in their lives as outlined in D&C20:37
    • Develop a faith in Christ
    • Repent of transgressions
    • Live principles of moral worthiness
    • Live the Word of Wisdom
    • Commit to pay tithing
    • Receive all missionary lessons
    • Meet the bishop/branch president
    • Attend several sacrament meetings

THE BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW


Purpose: The purpose of the interview is to determine if they meet the qualifications for baptism. Whereas all people require baptism for their salvation, allowing someone to be baptized before they are spiritually ready to commit to the Gospel, or before they have a true testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored church, can be detrimental to their progress.

How to conduct: see Preach My Gospel, Chapter 12. Other interviewing skills include:

CONDUCTING THE BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION

Don't make this harder than it needs to be. The most important things are to coordinate the effort with the ward/branch through the Ward Mission Leader, and to explain the process to the investigator so that he/she has a clear understanding of what to expect. 

EXTRA STUDY:

  • "When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding.
    How many of our children—how many of us—really understand that when we were baptized we took upon us not only the name of Christ but also the law of obedience?"
  • "By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean. The movies and television we watch, the music we listen to, the books, magazines, and newspapers we read will be uplifting. We will choose friends who encourage our eternal goals, and we will treat others with kindness. We will shun the vices of immorality, gambling, tobacco, liquor, and illicit drugs. Our Sunday activities will reflect the commandment of God to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. We will follow the example of Jesus Christ in the way we treat others. We will live to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Laws and Ordinances

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
-Third Article of Faith

"The Church also accepts the scriptural doctrine that following the resurrection each person—then an immortal soul—will be arraigned before the bar of God’s justice and receive a final judgment based on his performance during his mortal probation, that the verdict will turn on obedience or disobedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. If these laws and ordinances have been complied with during mortal life, the candidate will be cleansed from the stain of sin by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and be saved in the celestial kingdom of God, there to enjoy with God eternal life. Those who have not complied with the laws and ordinances of the gospel will receive a lesser reward."
-Marion G. Romney


References:


WHY DO WE HAVE LAWS?

"...everything in the universe, and the universe itself as organized by a divine Creator, is governed by laws, known as the laws of nature; and that we must have laws of the land, or of man, so that we might have order and protect the rights of mankind and punish those who infringe on the rights of others."
-N Eldon Tanner

“And again, very I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
“And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
“And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years. …
“The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. …
“Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” (D&C 88:42-45, 47)


THE LAWS OF NATURE, MAN, AND GOD

"So, regardless of whether or not we know or understand the laws of nature, they always operate the same. A child, though ignorant of the law, will get burned if he touches a hot stove. If we disregard the law of gravity, we may get seriously hurt. If we know and understand the laws of nature and live by them, we benefit thereby and can be free of the hazards facing those who ignore these laws or go contrary to them."
-N Eldon Tanner

“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
“We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.” (D&C 134:1-3)
"Some seem to value God’s love because of their hope that His love is so great and so unconditional that it will mercifully excuse them from obeying His laws. In contrast, those who understand God’s plan for His children know that God’s laws are invariable, which is another great evidence of His love for His children. Mercy cannot rob justice, 2 and those who obtain mercy are “they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment” (D&C 54:6)."


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Role of the Book of Mormon



"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
-Joseph Smith (History of the Church, 4:461.)

"Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls that [the President of the Church] envisions, then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon.”
-Ezra Taft Benson

REFERENCES
  • Introduction to the Book of Mormon
  • 1 Nephi 1:20
  • 1 Nephi 6:4-6
  • 2 Nephi 25:26
  • Jacob 4:1-6
  • Mormon 8:35
  • D&C 20:9
  • D&C 33:16
  • D&C 42:12
  • "The Book of Mormon is the great standard we are to use in our missionary work. It shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ. All other things are secondary." - Ezra Taft Benson
  • "I cannot understand how any intelligent man could think that anyone without the help of the Lord could have produced the Book of Mormon, which has been before us now for more than a hundred years and has stood the test during all that period of time, notwithstanding the ridicule that has been brought against it, for one reason or another. " - Heber J. Grant


THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE KEYSTONE OF OUR RELIGION
  • Joseph Smith declared that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion: either it is true, and Joseph Smith was a prophet who restored the church, or it is false, and he was not a prophet.
  • Witness of Christ
  • Fullness of the Gospel; Contains the Plan of Salvation, confirmation of Christ's ministry
  • Foundation of a personal Testimony
  • Testimony of Christ


THE BOOK OF MORMON TEACHES OF CHRIST
  • Convince all people that Jesus is the Christ
  • Teaches the role of Christ in the Plan of Salvation
  • Teaches our relationship with the Savior

HOW SHOULD WE USE THE BOOK OF MORMON TO TEACH:




Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finding People to Teach

"And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward; and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region—"
-D&C 42:8

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? "
-Luke 15:4



DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION:

TALK TO EVERYONE

video


BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST
  • Show sincere interest
  • Be willing to talk about different kinds of subjects
  • Be open to learning about new things
  • TALK LESS
  • Tips From Top Professionals

CASE STUDY: AMMON AMONG THE LAMANITES



  • Alma 17, 18, 19
  • Personal Sacrifice
  • Embrace the people and good aspects of the culture
  • Stand Firm in Faith and in Adversity
  • Be the Example
  • Finish the Mission

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Commandments: Following the Prophet

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward."
-D&C 58:26

"And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God."
-D&C 98:11

"I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves." -Joseph Smith




OBEDIENCE

"When President Tanner returned from presiding over the European missions, he was asked what, in his opinion, was the most important attribute of a successful individual or missionary. After a short pause, pondering the implication of such a question, he spoke one word: “obedience.” If we do not obey, the power to obey is lessened. Our capability to recognize good is weakened." -Teddy E. Brewerton

"Laws are not masters, but servants, and he rules them who obeys them.”- Henry Ward Beecher






OBEDIENCE VS AGENCY

video

"His backup plan—the plan he has been executing since the time of Adam and Eve—was to tempt men and women, essentially to prove we are undeserving of the God-given gift of agency. Satan has many reasons for doing what he does. Perhaps the most powerful is the motive of revenge, but he also wants to make men and women miserable like he is miserable. None of us should ever underestimate how driven Satan is to succeed. His role in God’s eternal plan creates “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11) and tests our agency. Each choice you and I make is a test of our agency—whether we choose to be obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God is actually a choice between “liberty and eternal life” and “captivity and death.” - L. Tom Perry

"Some who do not understand the doctrinal part do not readily see the relationship between obedience and agency. And they miss one vital connection and see obedience only as restraint. They then resist the very thing that will give them true freedom. There is no true freedom without responsibility, and there is no enduring freedom without a knowledge of the truth. The Lord said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” - Boyd K. Packer


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Recognizing the Spirit

“Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it” 
-Joseph Smith 

video

Doctrinal Foundation:
  • Moroni 7:16
  • D&C 84:46-47
  • D&C 130:22
  • John 14:26
  • Moroni 10:5
  • “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him” (History of the Church, 4:555)
  • “The gift of the Holy Ghost comes after one repents and becomes worthy. … The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from that knowledge.” -James E. Faust




WHO IS THE HOLY GHOST

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. He is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter.

WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF THE HOLY GHOST

Conference Talk: "The Sacred Role of the Holy Ghost" by Elder Kevin R. Duncan

  • Protector
  • Revelator
  • Teacher
  • Comforter
  • Sanctifier

HOW DO I RECOGNIZE THAT I AM FEELING THE HOLY GHOST?




“The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither … voice of a great tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’ and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn.’ The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. (No wonder that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to us, for how could the drunkard or the addict feel such a voice?). Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression." 
-Boyd K. Packer


Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God. …
“If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil. … And if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you.
“You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 260–61).

GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST




  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-10
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Faith
  • Healing
  • Miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Discerning Spirits
  • Tongues/Interpretation


REFERENCES:



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fundamentals of the Restoration

"And we do now proclaim that the great God, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, has restored in this our day the fulness of his everlasting gospel. He has given anew to men on earth every doctrine, truth, and principle; every right, power, and key; all that is needed to save and exalt his children in the highest heaven."
-Elder Bruce R. McConkie




DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION:
  1. Our Heavenly Father (Acts 17:29, 1 Nephi 17:36, D&C 38:1-3, D&C 130:22)
  2. Families are central to the Gospel (D&C 68:25)
  3. Prophets and Dispensations (Amos 3:7, D&C 136:36-38)
  4. The Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)
  5. The Restoration (Joseph Smith History, D&C 135:3)
  6. The Book of Mormon (D&C 20:8-9)


THE NATURE OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER



video


"“In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. … In contrast, many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view, these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy.”  - Dallin H. Oaks


FAMILIES ARE CENTRAL TO THE GOSPEL



IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. - Proclamation on the Family


DISPENSATIONS



Dispensations are time periods in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the holy priesthood and the keys, and who has a divine commission to dispense the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth.

"We are in the last days, but there is really nothing new about that. The promised Second Coming of the Savior began with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. We can be certain that we are in the last days—years and years of them.” - Jeffery R. Holland

Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others have each started a new gospel dispensation. When the Lord organizes a dispensation, the gospel is revealed anew so that the people of that dispensation do not have to depend on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation. The dispensation begun by Joseph Smith is known as the “dispensation of the fulness of times.” - Bible Dictionary

THE GREAT APOSTASY



"In the process of what we call the Apostasy, the tangible, personal God described in the Old and New Testaments was replaced by the abstract, incomprehensible deity defined by compromise with the speculative principles of Greek philosophy. The received language of the Bible remained, but the so-called “hidden meanings” of scriptural words were now explained in the vocabulary of a philosophy alien to their origins. In the language of that philosophy, God the Father ceased to be a Father in any but an allegorical sense. He ceased to exist as a comprehensible and compassionate being. And the separate identity of his Only Begotten Son was swallowed up in a philosophical abstraction that attempted to define a common substance and an incomprehensible relationship." - Dallin H. Oaks




THE RESTORATION

"An unschooled boy, seeking knowledge from the ultimate source, saw two personages of indescribable brightness and glory and heard one of them say, while pointing to the other, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:17.) The divine teaching in that vision began the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God the Son told the boy prophet that all the “creeds” of the churches of that day “were an abomination in his sight” (JS—H 1:19). We affirm that this divine declaration was a condemnation of the creeds, not of the faithful seekers who believed in them. Joseph Smith’s first vision showed that the prevailing concepts of the nature of God and the Godhead were untrue and could not lead their adherents to the destiny God desired for them." - Dallin H. Oaks

THE BOOK OF MORMON





"The coming forth of the Book of Mormonpreceded the restoration of the priesthood. It was published just a few days before the Church was organized. The Saints were given the Book of Mormon to read before they were given the revelations outlining such great doctrines as the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, or work for the dead. It came before priesthood quorums and Church organization. Doesn’t this tell us something about how the Lord views this sacred work?" - President Ezra Taft Benson


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Effective Scripture Study

“When we … read and study the scriptures, benefits and blessings of many kinds come to us. This is the most profitable of all study in which we could engage." 
-President Howard W. Hunter



DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION:




AN APPROACH TO SCRIPTURE STUDY
  • SETTING (History, Culture, Geography, People, Season, Events, etc.)
  • MEANINGS OF WORDS AND PHRASES (Etymology, Idioms, Literary Devices)
  • SPEAKER'S ATTITUDE (Reason for Speaking, Audience, Intention)
  • SCRIPTURAL COMPARISON (Cross References, Parallel Stories)
  • IMPLIED MESSAGE (What is the real lesson being taught?)
  • WHAT OR WHO IS OR IS NOT INCLUDED?
  • ORGANIZATION (Patterns in text, Logical Structure of Argument)
  • REPETITION OF WORDS AND PHRASES
  • EMPHASIS 

EFFECTIVE STUDY HABITS
  1. Have the right attitude; approach studying with clear intent
  2. Find the right place to study
  3. Bring everything you need, nothing you don't
  4. Outline and Rewrite your Notes
  5. Use memory games
  6. Practice by yourself, and in groups
  7. Make a schedule and stick to it
  8. Take structured breaks
  9. Eat healthily, stay balanced
  10. Know the expectations of your class

RESOURCES AND REFERENCES

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Time Management and Setting Goals

"Our Dear Lord has given us 24 hours in a day to accomplish our labors. If we don't finish in time, we may have to work nights." -German Proverb



DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION
-Luke 14:28
-Mark 8:36
-Mosiah 4:27
-Jacob 5
-D&C 60:13
-D&C 88:124
-Preach My Gospel Chapter 8
-Elder Robert D. Hales: "Accomplish personal goals in each of four categories, the center being priesthood duties: spiritual development; physical development; educational, personal, and career development; and citizenship and social development."

-President Thomas S. Monson: "Let us provide time for family, time for work, time for study, time for service, time for recreation, time for self—but above all, time for Christ."

-Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "I thank [Jesus] for his marvelous management of time, for never misusing a moment, including the moments of meditation. Even his seconds showed his stewardship."

-President Spencer W. Kimball: "Jesus also taught us how important it is to use our time wisely. This does not mean there can never be any leisure, for there must be time for contemplation and for renewal, but there must be no waste of time. How we manage time matters so very much, and we can be good managers of time without being frantic or officious. Time cannot be recycled. When a moment has gone, it is really gone. The tyranny of trivia consists of its driving out the people and moments that really matter. Minutia holds momentous things hostage, and we let the tyranny continue all too often. Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves."

TIME MANAGEMENT GRID


TOOLS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT/REACHING GOALS
-Planners, Calendars, Area Book
-Smart Phone Technology
-Get a Mentor: Have someone skilled teach you how to manage time and reach goals
-Pocket Notebook to record your good ideas as soon as you get them

TIPS FOR YOUTH IN SCHOOL
-Establish regular time in your day to study; make it a habit
-If you have study hall, USE STUDY HALL
-Daylight = better studying
-Take structured breaks and make them meaningful (exercise, talk with friends, do a puzzle, etc)
-Tackle the hard tasks first
-Record your tasks as soon as you get them

Case Western Reserve University Time Management Tips

MANAGING GOALS
-Specific, Simple, Significant, Strategic, Measurable, Rational, Tangible, Written, Shared, Consistent
-Break up a large, difficult goal into smaller, achievable goals
-Don't chalk up falling short as a failure

RESOURCES
-Personal Time Management: One Key to a Leader's Effectiveness
-Setting Goals and Managing Time
-Time Management (Mormon Daily Channel)
-A Time to Prepare