Sunday, April 6, 2014

The True and Living Church

This weekend was the 184th Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The members of the church received counsel on how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ more fully and how to be prepared against the changing moral standards of the world and how to respond to those who challenge our standards and teachings. 

The church was established by revelation and organized on this day 184 years ago on April 6th, 1830. The Lord Jesus Christ in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith gave instructions about when the church should be organized, and what the name of the church should be as well as commanding the church to give heed to the words of the Prophet.

 Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.

 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.…

For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day cSaints.  (Doctrine and Covenants 21:3-6; 115:4)

Since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith there has been a prophet at the head of the church along with 12 Apostles.  The prophet and his two counselors form the 1st Presidency of the Church, they along with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers and revelators and hold all of the priesthood keys to govern God’s church on the earth today. They have authority to administer all of the saving ordinances necessary for us to return to live with Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ after this life as eternal families.

Every six months the church holds general conference where the prophet and apostles as well as other general officers of the church give us counsel on what we need to be doing to help us avoid the temptations and wickedness of the world that we live in and how we should teach our children to believe in God and keep his commandments. Here are some of those teachings from the past two days.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on what we need to do to be steadfast in defending our faith in Jesus Christ and testified of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in our day:

“Herein lies a message for every young man and women in this church. You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school or go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that ridicules against a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it because the alternative is to have our houses left unto us desolate, desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods and desolate nations…

”Christ like love is the greatest need we have on this planet, in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, and it must be; then by the word of him of whom love is personified we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others…

“I testify that the true and living Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth and you are members of the true and living church trying to share that gospel. I bear witness of it and I bear witness of the church with a particular witness of restored priesthood keys, which unlock the power and efficacy of saving ordinances. I am more certain that those keys have been restored and those ordinances are once again available through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain that I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference.

“Now be strong and live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and compassion, but defend them.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference, April 2014)

To Elder Holland’s testimony of the restored church, I add the Lord’s own words to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.

 30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleasedspeaking unto the church collectively and not individually— (Doctrine and Covenants 1:29-30)

Elder Aidukaitis asked the question “How can we know the truth in the midst of the many evils today?”

“First we can know the truth by observing its fruits…we invite all to study the fruits and the works of this church. Those who want to know the truth will be able to recognize the difference that the church and its members make in the communities where they are established. They will also note the improvement in the lives of those who follow its teachings. Those who will examine the fruits of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are delicious and desirable.

“Second we can know the truth by experimenting on the truth ourselves…we are invited to test the word and we are told the outcome of the test if we follow the instructions.

“There is a third way to know the truth and that is by personal revelation. The Lord says that he will “tell it in your hearts and your minds by the Holy Ghost which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart believing and we will receive. But we must ask in faith or we will receive nothing.” (General Conference, April 2014)

President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counseled the church to develop a greater love of God and for all of Heavenly Father’s children. After quoting the scripture about the two great commandments to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves he said:

“We cannot love God if we do not follow our fellow travelers on this mortal journey, likewise we cannot love our fellow men if we do not love God, the father of us all. We are all spiritual children of our Heavenly Father and as such are all brothers and sisters. As we keep his truths in mind, loving all God’s children will become easier. Actually love is the very essence of the Gospel and Jesus Christ is our exemplar…there are many attributes of the manifestations of love such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding and forgiveness. In all of our associations, these and other attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts….

“All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond.” (April 2014 General Conference)

Many more things were taught about service, keeping the commandments, priesthood keys and how men and women can benefit from the priesthood. The sessions of general conference are available on and I invite you to listen to the talks there. They will also be available in the May Ensign of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we read, watch or listen to the conference talks we need to pray to know how we can follow the teachings and what we need to do to change our lives to be in harmony with those teachings. As we do these things we will be blessed and our families will be protected from the storms that are all around us.

I am grateful for the spirit we enjoyed as we participated in the conference sessions. I testify that those who spoke to us are prophets and apostles of God and that they speak for God today. I testify that we will be blessed as we give heed to their teachings and counsel. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is the head of the church today and that through his prophet, Thomas S. Monson, he continues to provide the revelation we need to be safe and prepared for anything that may come to us.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

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