Saturday, February 27, 2010

Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge

Below are my notes for my Sacrament meeting talk tomorrow, after I organized them from my Wave and put them into a document.

Intro
            Olympics – staying up late, ice dancing
            What is the Olympic spirit?
The Olympic motto is the hendiatris Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for "Swifter, Higher, Stronger". 
Practice and dedication to out perform your competitors 
Hard, continuous work. Years of training.
Know what to do, practice, becomes automatic. 
Not just know, not just do, but ARE Olympians

Why do we want spiritual knowledge?

President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the importance of spiritual knowledge, saying:
“We should make daily study of the scriptures a lifetime pursuit. … The most important [thing] you can do … is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. … Learn the doctrine. Master the principles. …
“You must … see that … searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 47).

3 Nephi 27:27 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/3_ne/27) - What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am 

Know > Do > Are 

John 17:3 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/john/17) - And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

D&C 130:18-19 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/130/18-19#18) - Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. 

D&C 131:6 - It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance 

What is spiritual knowledge?

D&C 93:12-13, 28, 36 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/93) - grace to grace, knoweth all things, glory of God is intelligence  

Milk vs. meat (need scripture) – Trivia, repetition

No “ivory tower” for spiritual knowledge – obtained by living it!

How do we acquire spiritual knowledge?

Moroni 10:3-5 - And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things 

D&C 9:7-8 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/9/7-14#7) - Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.  

D&C 11:11 For, behold, it is I that speak; behold, I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.

D&C 11:12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

D&C 11:13-14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive. 

Analogies with physical light help us understand the power of spiritual light. A bulb ignited in a dark room overpowers darkness. Yet if the darkness is too intense, it can overpower light, as with a bulb plunged into a bucket of black ink. Spiritual light overcomes the darkness of ignorance and disbelief. When transgression severely clouds a life, the focused spiritual truths of repentance cut the blackness as a laser penetrates the darkest ink.

1 Cor 2:11, 14 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_cor/2) - For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

  1. Be teachable
Mosiah 3:19 -  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a childsubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

  1. Desire/Seek the Word
Alma 32:27 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/32) - But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. 

Word -> seed 

Search for principles 

  1. Apply principles 
Keep a "spiritual" journal 
            President Hangen’s talk at Stake Conference
            Brother Macinanti’s two six shooters – one says “I love you” and the other “I’m sorry”

Ether 12:6 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/12) - And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.  

Spencer W. Kimball, who at the conclusion of a conference, taught:
“While sitting here, I have made up my mind that when I go home from this conference this night there are many, many areas in my life that I can perfect. I have made a mental list of them, and I expect to go to work as soon as we get through with conference” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1975, p. 164).

Elder Scott:
Now I share an experience that taught me a way to gain spiritual guidance. One Sunday I attended the priesthood meeting of a Spanish branch in Mexico City. I vividly recall how a humble Mexican priesthood leader struggled to communicate the truths of the gospel in his lesson material. I noted the intense desire he had to share those principles he strongly valued with his quorum members. He recognized that they were of great worth to the brethren present. In his manner, there was an evidence of a pure love of the Savior and love of those he taught.
His sincerity, purity of intent, and love permitted a spiritual strength to envelop the room. I was deeply touched. Then I began to receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught by that humble instructor. They were personal and related to my assignments in the area. They came in answer to my prolonged, prayerful efforts to learn.
As each impression came, I carefully wrote it down. In the process, I was given precious truths that I greatly needed in order to be a more effective servant of the Lord. The details of the communication are sacred and, like a patriarchal blessing, were for my individual benefit. I was given specific directions, instructions, and conditioned promises that have beneficially altered the course of my life.
Subsequently, I visited the Sunday School class in our ward, where a very well-educated teacher presented his lesson. That experience was in striking contrast to the one enjoyed in the priesthood meeting. It seemed to me that the instructor had purposely chosen obscure references and unusual examples to illustrate the principles of the lesson. I had the distinct impression that this instructor was using the teaching opportunity to impress the class with his vast store of knowledge. At any rate, he certainly did not seem as intent on communicating principles as had the humble priesthood leader.
In that environment, strong impressions began to flow to me again. I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.
Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.
What I have described is not an isolated experience. It embodies several true principles regarding communication from the Lord to His children here on earth. I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.

Conclusion