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