Luke 10:25-29 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?”
“Remembering Him as we fast may make it easier to endure those short 24 hours without food or drink ..” May we each learn to receive the blessings of obeying the law and covenant of the fast.
This past summer we were invited to participate in the Magrath Camp of Israel Trek, along with many of you and your youth, for an entire weekend. That weekend happened to be a fast Sunday.
What is Perfect (or complete) Love? Mormon taught us, in his letter to his son Moroni (Mor 8.16-17): “[..] Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear. And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; [..]”
When this earth life experience ends, will your love and concern for your own friends and family members stop? Of course not. For each of these individuals we experience shared joy in their successes, and sorrow with them in their trials. We pray for them and worry about them.
So, what can we do? Brothers and Sisters, the answer lies in the Temple. Repent and get yourself worthy to receive a temple recommend. Carry it with you – especially to the Temple – as often as possible. Have your family sealed to you there. President McMahon asked us to teach you to: “Come to the temple and return often. 'Be' in the temple until it feels comfortable”. There your prayers will be heard and answered. There you will find peace and direction and guidance for your own lives and for those you love. There you will start to develop and feel the 'perfect love' our Father has for us.
In our day, the ancient Law of Sacrifice has been replaced by a new higher Law of Sacrifice, now requiring of us our own “broken heart and contrite spirit”. What is meant by this phrase? How do we know and show we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? And why is this considered to be a sacrifice? I came across this quote (by a Brother Bryce Hammond in 2008) which better captured the intent of my thoughts: “When Christ came to earth, he restored the Melchizedek priesthood with its accompanying higher ordinances. The Mosaic law was also fulfilled in Christ at that time, and the type of sacrifices performed in temples were consequently changed. Blood sacrifices were no longer required. Intermediary animals were also now not required. All of the Lord’s covenant people [are now] able to approach the Lord directly and offer a self-sacrifice of their time,their talents, and everything that they [have], including the only true sacrifice we can give God, our individual will. The form of the sacrifice changed, but the meaning and symbolism remain[s] exactly the same.”
Two weeks ago many of your youth along with ever so many other dedicated stake members, on the trail and behind the scenes, participated in an amazing Camp of Israel re-enactment – Magrath Stake Trek 2014. I was blessed to be able to go, along with my good wife, as one of the 20 'Ma and Pa' families. We were assigned an amazing youth captain and 11 additional 'trek children', a handcart and our family food, water and supplies. We did not find out who was assigned to our 'trek family' until the morning we arrived to depart on trek. One of our young 'trek daughters' later confessed, to her own parents, to thinking to herself; “Oh no, we got the OLD parents!”. I suspect many of her 'trek siblings' initially entertained the same thought. For my part, despite not knowing their names and faces before we started, I experienced an unexpected overpowering feeling of family love and concern for our 'trek family', days before we even met them. That 'trek family' bond only increased as we worked and talked and prayed together along the trail. I suspect that this spirit was a result of the preparation, faith and prayers of our dedicated stake leaders and the stake fast held for our youth that weekend that you all participated in. The entire event for me, while physically challenging, was a spiritual feast at every turn. Getting a chance to get to know just a few of your amazing children was a marvellous experience for my wife and I. It was also telling that almost to a person afterwards, each participant felt that their own 'trek family' had been the 'best family on trek'.
“ .. the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive. And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? ”
“Straight is the Gate – the Path to Eternal Life – Baptism, Marriage, Family, Eternal Life”
When I was in my first year of courses at the University of Alberta, way back in the year 1980, I had a chance to take one particular first year course called 'Organizational Theory'. Because of the unique way this course was designed, it was very popular with the students. Although it required a lot of work and consistent attendance, it was designed to permit every class member to achieve a grade of 100%. In this class, marks were awarded for weekly lecture attendance, for participation in the course labs, for completion of specific assignments and for weekly short quiz format exams, based on the class topic of that week. By simply attending the class lecture each week, marks were awarded. For participating in the corresponding labs, additional marks were given. The weekly quiz was a pass/fail. You had to get 100% correct on that module to get any credit that week, but you were allowed to retake the quiz as many times as you needed or had time for. The weekly assignments were cumulative. For each one you turned in, you earned a certain number of marks. If you needed to catch up in your marks, you could catch up by completing additional assignments. The course was designed to encourage the organization – the class – to act in a specific way – i.e. to learn and put into practice organizational theory. Most students received their 100% grade .. along with a sound understanding of that course subject.
In our family scripture studies of late, I have wondered exactly what is meant by the verses that say: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” In the New Testament (in Matthew 22:14) it is given at the end of a parable about those invited to a wedding feast who were refused entry, because they chose to arrive dressed inappropriately (i.e. they chose to arrive unprepared). In modern day scripture, it is given again in answer to a prayer by the prophet Joseph Smith while a prisoner in Liberty Jail (D&C 121) - after describing the fate of those who chose to persecute the saints, states “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?”
Getting it “Just Right” (before the Lord)
Introductory story: Remember Goldilocks and her porridge - too cold, too hot vs just right, her chairs - too big, too little vs just right, and her beds - too hard, too soft vs just right ..
My mom (and my grandkids) couldn't be at all my public speaking assignments, so I post them here for them/her and you to read ..