New Young Women General Presidency, Interesting Coincidence

Young Women General Presidency: Carol Louise Foley McConkie, Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson and Evelyn Neill Foote Marriott

 

The new Young Women General Presidency was announced today. Just an interesting observation; All of these Sisters have four names. Read more about them here.

History of the Church April 6

1830 – The Church of Christ (now known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York.

Organization of The Church of Christ

He created His Government, Not man

Here is a quote, from the Joseph Smith Papers, Speaking to the Relief Society:

“Said all difficulties which might & would cross our  way must be surmounted, though the soul be tried, the  heart faint, and hands hang down— must not retrace our  steps— that there must be decision of character aside from  sympathy— that when instructed we must obey that  voice, observe the Constitution that the blessings of heaven may  rest down upon us— all must act in concert or nothing can  be done— that the Society should move according to the  ancient Priesthood, hence there should be a select Society  separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuous and holy— Said he was going to make of this Society a  kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day — that it is the privilege of each member to live long.” Joseph Smith Papers

When you read this, what is your reaction? If you are a woman, do you feel proud of your ability to belong to this organization? Do you feel a large amount of responsibility in belonging to the Relief Society? Do you feel like you can do better, feel blessed or think that you need to reread it because your not quite sure what you just read? There is one organization that is sure that what they are reading is a prophesy that has not been fulfilled. They call themselves “Ordain Women”, and they are a movement which seeks to petition the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints to allow female members of the church to be ordained to the same priesthood as the males members who are worthy. This group of people is made up of both women and men.

On their webpage they state that “Mormons” are resistant to allowing women to hold the priesthood because of “Lingering patriarchal patterns, though increasingly contested, still inform Mormon policies with regard to familial and institutional governance. Priesthood has become so associated with maleness that it is difficult for Mormons to see it apart from gender. For many LDS women, asking them if they want to be ordained is like asking them if they want to be men. This was not always so, however. According to the 1842 minutes of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society, Joseph Smith’s original intent was to “make of this Society a kingdom of Priests . . . “ Unfortunately, this vision for the women of the Church was never fully realized. Ordain Women asserts that priesthood must be re-envisioned as a power that transcends gender and is exercised by both men and women for the benefit of all.”

In an article entitled The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: Priesthood, the Word of God, and the Temple, we are taught:

1842, the women of the Relief Society learned of the vital role they would play in the kingdom.  Joseph Smith further taught that there existed “certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed.” 

By 1843, the temple’s full import and design seem to have crystallized in the Prophet’s teachings. The doctrines of sealing and of becoming kings and queens, priests and priestesses were often discussed. Joseph Smith taught that “except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection,” 31 nor can they obtain the highest degree of the celestial glory. (See D&C 131:1–4.)”

When viewed in this context is it safe to assume that women have already been given the authority of the Priesthood as promised in the 1842 meeting?

I have heard all of the excuses such as “Men need the priesthood, so they have to serve, where as to a woman it comes natural”, and” Woman have the babies…” and so forth, but is there a doctrine that states that woman cannot baptize? Is the priesthood a chauvinistic power? I don’t believe that women are incapable of baptismal abilities just as not all men cannot serve as a woman. I have seen more women take advantage of blessings and priesthood blessings and temple attendance more than men.  I see the women of the church honoring and being faithful to the present state of the priesthood order. So why the constant push of mortals to chance and “progress” the Gospel?

I do not know the mind of the Lord. I know that I can find the teachings and decide if I will follow or not. I can decide if I agree or not. I know that I can petition the Lord for answers to his will. But as for changes to His gospel all I can say is it is his. And as a person studies and ponders this and any otehr aspect questions by members and non alike I suggest you gain testimony of this simple principle as taught by President Hinkley:

“Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church.

We see much indifference. There are those who say, “The Church won’t dictate to me how to think about this, that, or the other, or how to live my life.”

No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.

When I was a university student, I said to my father on one occasion that I felt the General Authorities had overstepped their prerogatives when they advocated a certain thing. He was a very wise and good man. He said, “The President of the Church has instructed us, and I sustain him as prophet, seer, and revelator and intend to follow his counsel.”

I have now served in the general councils of this Church for 45 years. I have served as an Assistant to the Twelve, as a member of the Twelve, as a Counselor in the First Presidency, and now for eight years as President. I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

The book of Revelation declares: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15–16).

I make you a promise, my dear brethren, that while I am serving in my present responsibility I will never consent to nor advocate any policy, any program, any doctrine which will be otherwise than beneficial to the membership of this, the Lord’s Church.

This is His work. He established it. He has revealed its doctrine. He has outlined its practices. He created its government. It is His work and His kingdom, and He has said, “They who are not for me are against me” (2 Ne. 10:16).”

General Conference Infographic

The Blessings that come from Daily Scripture Study

For the last year my Church calling has been teaching Sunday school for the 14 to 18 year olds. At the beginning of this year I felt strongly to share with my class the many blessings that come from being diligent in our daily scripture study. As I prepared my lesson I came to see two specific promises that the Lord has for all of His children who desire to seek after him. I shared these promises with my class and encouraged them to take on the challenge of reading their scriptures for an entire year.

I don’t know whether my students took to heart my lesson, but it had a profound impact on me. We are four months into the year, and I have missed but one day. Sadly, on February 26th I waited to read my scriptures in the evening and fell asleep early due to the exhaustion of the day. I woke abruptly at 3 am the next morning and the first thought that came to me was that I had failed in my goal to not miss a day. I was upset at myself and it was a hard lesson I had to learn. Yet, now I know I need to read in the morning, so not to take any chances.

It may sound trite, but I am thankful for failing at my goal to read this entire year. My mistake allows me to further understand repentance, and not just give up because I didn’t achieve what I set out to do.  The Lord is well aware of our imperfections and that we will stumble, hence why he provided us a Savior who suffered much so that we could pick ourselves up and continue on.

I’ve transcribed my lesson below for any that want to further understand the promises and power that comes from daily and diligent scripture study. Hopefully, it will move you to take up the challenge of daily reading so that you can witness, more fully, the Lord’s great power in your own life! ~Paul

THE POWER OF YOUR SPIRITUAL OIL

The Lamp of Spiritual OilIn Matthew 25 the Savior shares a story about ten virgins (or bridesmaids) who were given the honor of attending a wedding. Each carried a lamp as they awaited the coming of the bridegroom. Five of the virgins were wise and had brought sufficient oil for their lamps. Five were foolish and had not.

The bridegroom was delayed until late into the night; when it was announced that he would arrive shortly the foolish virgins asked the wise ones for oil. However, the wise virgins could not, stating that there would not be enough for both if they did so. While the foolish virgins left to find more oil, the bridegroom arrived. The wise virgins were there to welcome him and the foolish ones returned too late to be accepted into the wedding.

Just as the five wise virgins had oil for their lamps for the coming of the bridegroom, we can have spiritual oil to prepare us for when we meet the Lord. There are many ways to fill our lamps with spiritual oil, such as saying our prayers; providing service to others; and following the commandments. The more we strive to provide oil for our lamps the more our oil wells are filled with the richness of righteousness, and the brighter our light will shine.

One powerful way to fill our lamps with oil is by having daily scriptures study. Meaningful scripture study will not only prepare us to meet the Lord, but it will exalt our lives with love and beauty.

Therefore, creating a habit of daily scripture study, which persists throughout our lives, should be one of our highest priorities. By striving to make scripture study a daily concern, the Lord will endow us with his Spirit and we will be able to call upon the powers of heaven. Jacob from the Book of Mormon shares that “we search the prophets. . . and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.” (Jacob 4:6; Hel. 10:4–5.)

Jacob understood the celestial power that comes from “search[ing] the prophets,” as have all prophets, both ancient and modern, who boldly testified of the strength and peace found within the words of the Lord. From these prophetic testimonies, I provide you the following two promises: 1) If you strive to prayerfully read your scriptures the Lord will be a continual guide throughout your life, and 2) If you study the scriptures every day the Lord will bless you with the spiritual and temporal desires of your heart.

With both of these promises you will find great blessings that will enrich your life. In regards to the first promise the Lord promises us that He will always be there for us. Even in our darkest times, when we desire to not be near the Lord, He is there. David of the Old Testament learned this after his serious transgression with Bathsheba:

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

We can see that even when we have made our “bed in hell” that Lord is with us. Therefore imagine the great power that will come when we try to become one with Him!  In Jesus’s intercessory prayer in John 17 we learn his desires that we be like him and be one with his Father:

“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”

Later in his prayer we learn the blessing that comes by being one with God:

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

By prayerfully studying the gospel and coming closer to our Father we are protected from the evil the world. Obviously, we still reside in the world and may witness much wrong, but by filling our lamps with the spiritual oil of the scriptures we will be protected and be given a light to guide us through the darkness of this world.

With consideration to the second promise—your spiritual and temporal desires—I want to show just how the Lord will bless you. Our Father in Heaven is not a God of ambiguity, rather He longs to bless you with the specific desires of your heart.

We learn the truthfulness of the Lord’s desire to bless us by first reading in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 14: 7:

“Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

We find this same sentiment also in the Bible in 1 John 5:14–15:

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

To unearth the desires of your heart I encourage you to ponder on the different spiritual and physical changes you want in your life. Write down each of these desires and then prayerfully decide on the greatest spiritual and the greatest temporal change you want to see in the upcoming year. I testify that if you will do this and then faithfully study your scriptures each day for an entire year that the Lord will bless you with the fulfillment of these specific desires.

These promises are not mere words contrived from my own mind, but rather we can find both these promises in the scriptures:

Promise 1: “. . .Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

Promise 1: “. . . [the iron rod] was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction” (1 Nephi 15:24).

Promise 2: “O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these records are true. . . and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes. And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers” (Mosiah 1:6–7).

Promise 2: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalms 37:3–5).

Both Promises: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).

Furthermore, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches us, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10). When you live a life of meaningful study and prayer the Lord is bound to keep the promises he has made to you.

Your life will be deeply blessed, much like the five wise virgins, if you allow your spiritual oil to accumulate day-by-day, drop-by-drop, until your lamp is burning bright with the words of Christ. In so doing, you will not only uncover the many blessings the Lord wants for you to have, but you will begin to understand the deep love He has for you personally.