Happy New Year! Looking forward to 2014!
There is much to be grateful for, there is much to ponder about, and much to learn, and much light to gather and much darkness to discern and discard.
This past Sunday the Melchizedek Priesthood/Relief Society manual was handed out at church which will used this upcoming year for study. It is the one more installment in the series of Teachings of Presidents of the Church. This manual features the teachings of President Joseph Fielding Smith who served as President of the Church from January 23, 1970 to July 2, 1972. The first paragraph of the book states, " As the Church adds volumes to this series, you will build a collection of gospel reference books for your home. They can help you prepare other lessons or talks and answer question about Church doctrine.
Glancing through the book, you might find a few paragraphs that will jump out to you. It should make for an interesting year to see if we will be brave in making comments in our individual wards. Here are a few quotes from the manual.
The Church and its agencies constitute in effect a service organization to help the family and the individual... We cannot stress too strongly the great need to utilize all of these programs for the benefit and blessing of all our Father’s children.
If all of us do all of the things we should in carrying forward the programs of the Church, the Lord will bless and prosper us so fully that success shall attend our labors, and out of it all peace and joy will be our lot here and eternal glory hereafter.
The Lord is with the Church. He is guiding us. His spirit is resting upon this people.
But there is one great added thing we have received in this age that has never been had before. In this dispensation the Lord has decreed that the Church shall never again be led astray; this time the gospel is here to stay. This time the revealed truth is destined to prepare a people for the second coming of the Son of Man, and the Church will be established in all parts of the earth when the Lord comes to usher in the millennial era of peace and righteousness.
We are members of a world church, a church that has the plan of life and salvation, a church set up by the Lord himself in these last days to carry his message of salvation to all his children in all the earth.
We have attained the stature and strength that are enabling us to fulfill the commission given us by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith that we should carry the glad tidings of the restoration to every nation and to all people.
I know and testify that the Lord’s purposes on earth shall prevail. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is here to stay. The Lord’s work shall triumph. No power on earth can prevent the spread of truth and the preaching of the gospel in every nation.
The Latter-day Saints should put their trust in their leaders, and follow the teachings of the authorities of the Church, for they speak unto them with the voice of prophecy and inspiration. The Lord has declared in the very first section in the Doctrine and Covenants, that whether he speak by his own voice or through the voice of his servants, it is the same [see D&C 1:38]. Therefore, we are under just as great responsibility and obligation to hearken unto the voice of the one who stands at the head to teach the people, or to listen unto the voice of the elders of Israel, as they carry among the people the message of truth, as we are [if] the Lord should send from his presence an angel or should come himself to declare these things unto us..
The sealing power puts the stamp of approval upon every ordinance that is done in this Church and more particularly those that are performed in the temples of the Lord.
Brethren and sisters, this is a glorious dispensation. All other dispensations flow into it. All authorities, all powers, are centered in this dispensation in which we live. We are privileged to partake of these blessings through our faithfulness.
May I now say—very plainly and very emphatically—that we have the holy priesthood and that the keys of the kingdom of God are here. They are found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I testify that if we shall look to the First Presidency and follow their counsel and direction, no power on earth can stay or change our course as a church, and as individuals we shall gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal glory in the world to come [see D&C 59:23].