Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Restoration

I spoke in the Lynnfield Ward today. I received the assigned topic of "the Restoration" and collected a number of eclectic thoughts to put together my talk. For some reason I got really nervous giving this talk. I think the topic ended up coming together in a good way, but my delivery didn't work too well. It happens. I'm copying my notes below.


Introduction


Wife: “I’m not a Protestant!” We’re not protesting anything. Teacher explains that she’s a restorationist.
I think we should be Restaurants.
Apostasy, reformation, & restoration

President Faust
“Some of the early Apostles knew that an apostasy would occur before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the Thessalonians, Paul wrote concerning this event, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.”3
With this falling away, priesthood keys were lost, and some precious doctrines of the Church organized by the Savior were changed. . .
. . . The period that followed came to be known as the Dark Ages. This falling away was foreseen by the Apostle Peter, who declared that “heaven must receive [Jesus Christ] until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”10 Restitution would only be necessary if these precious things had been lost.”

Reformation - Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others
Restoration - Joseph Smith’s first vision

JSH 1:16-17 - “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head,above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. HearHim!”

1 Ne 8 - Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

Winter of 2015


During that time I also did some thinking about missionary work. You might wonder why that is significant, so I'll tell you. As mentioned earlier, our awesome bishop is very zealous when it comes to missionary work. It bothers me that sometimes I find myself feeling like he's looking beyond the mark. I was pondering that one day and thinking about Lehi's vision of the tree of life. That's a scripture used by missionaries to solicit referrals, as Lehi's first desire after partaking of the fruit was to share it. I also thought about Elder Ballard's orange juice analogy. I tried to figure out what my problem was with both of these. Then it hit me: with both the fruit and the orange juice, the person partaking does so with joy and confidence in receiving blessings. While I knew my life was better for having the gospel in it with my mind, the mundane routine had pushed it out of my heart.

So I then did something really stupid. I thought about it and realized that a lot of people who really want to share the gospel have leaned on it to overcome great trials. That way, they know with conviction that others need the strength the gospel gives. I thought, for a split second, that maybe I needed to have that kind of experience so that I could feel that way. I immediately caught myself, though, and gave a fervent prayer that I would not actually have the kind of deep-faith invoking trial I was thinking about. I do not remember exactly when I had this conversation, but it was sometime during the three weeks we were waiting for the birth of our son after his due date.

Then these happened:
  • Wife tried to hemorrhage and die 
  • Blizzard of 2015 
  • Didn’t get bonus 
  • Laid off 

Why?


1 Ne 18
19 And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.
20 And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
22 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.
23 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.
24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
25 And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

President Uchtdorf (October 2013) ‘Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy.
He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked, “What do you require of your members?”
“We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”
The couple went on to explain about Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.
“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.
“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”
“Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.”
“Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.
“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”
“Three hours, every Sunday!”
“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”
“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”
The man said, “Now I’m confused. Why would anyone want to join such a church?”
The couple smiled and said, “We thought you would never ask.”’

Reasons


Priesthood keys - President Faust: “prophets of previous gospel dispensations presented their keys to the Prophet Joseph Smith in this, the “dispensation of the fulness of times” spoken of by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians.18”:
  • Aaronic priesthood - May 15, 1829 
  • Melchizedek Priesthood - “within a month” 
  • Keys of the gathering of Israel - April 3, 1836 
  • Keys of the gospel of Abraham 
  • The sealing keys 
Tithing - President Faust: “I am grateful the Lord has seen fit to establish again the law of tithes and offerings for this people. When we keep the law of tithing, the windows of heaven open for us. Great are the blessings poured down upon those who have the faith to keep the law of tithing.”

Temple worship - President Faust: “A unique feature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is its teaching concerning temples and the eternal significance of all that occurs within them.”

Book of Mormon - President Faust: “the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ. It restored precious truths concerning the Fall, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and life after death.”

Continuing revelation - President Faust: “Prior to the Restoration, the heavens had been closed for centuries. But with prophets and apostles upon the earth once more, the heavens were opened once again with visions and revelations.”

Service opportunities - President Uchtdorf: “Believing in God is commendable, but most people want to do more than listen to inspirational sermons or dream of their mansions above.4 They want to put their faith into practice. They want to roll up their sleeves and become engaged in this great cause.”

Self-Reliance Services


The power of the group
It’s worth the sacrifice to attend a group. Spiritual, social, and temporal benefits
Law of the farm - Stephen Covey: “The only thing that endures over time is the ‘Law of the Farm.’ You must prepare the ground, plant the seed, cultivate, and water if you expect to reap the harvest”
Google: North Shore Stake Provident Living
Help those ministering to others temporally
If you know of resources that can go up there then please let me know

Conclusion


John 6 - After feeding of 5000, walking on water, following, Bread of Life sermon
66 ¶ From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
“There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?”

Testimony