Week 21 is scheduled for study May 17-23, 2021. What makes us faithful in our stewardships? How can we demonstrate that we have learned wisdom in our responsibilities before the Lord? And what attitudes have we developed that show Him we are prepared to return to Him?

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 51 – The Lord wants me to be a faithful, just, and wise steward.

Studying the scriptures helps you recognize the Lord’s voice, for the scriptures were given by Him through His Spirit.

After reading in the manual about this topic, it occurred to me that I have written about this before. Below are three articles that discuss the principle of stewardship, and how it works in a gospel setting. Feel free to read any one of them, or all of them if you feel up to it. I think they will all be instructive in their own right.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 52:14-19 – God gave a pattern for avoiding deception.

Studying the scriptures helps you recognize the Lord’s voice, for the scriptures were given by Him through His Spirit.

Here are these verses in full, just so we can reference them as comments are being made.

14 And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations—

15 Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.

16 He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.

17 And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you.

18 And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me.

19 Wherefore, by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases under the whole heavens.

There are a few things that jump out at me. The first thing is that Satan is deceiving the nations. He has been at this a long time. In that time he has established many patterns that are false that lead people away from the spirit that is conducive to revelation and gaining knowledge. Yet for all this, they appear to be signs that God is near and “participating” in the lives of the people. So let’s look at some of the Lord’s comments that establish a baseline for what can at least be considered seriously as a spiritual manifestation.

In verses 15 and 16 we read that those who have or experience spiritual manifestations need to be contrite. I looked up the word contrite in both the modern day Webster’s Dictionary, and the 1828 edition. The following definition came from the 1828 edition. There is no way you could have gotten this clear of a definition or understanding from the modern day edition.

CONTRITEadjective [Latin , to break or bruise; to rub or wear. See Trite.] Literally, worn or bruised. Hence, broken-hearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorrow for having offended God; humble; penitent; as a contrite sinner.

The literal definition of the word stumped me – to break or bruise; to rub or wear. What? To be contrite is to be worn down or broken down by a recognition of our sins. I love the image of being bruised and beaten by the results of our own behavior. Someone who is reduced in this way until they become humble and penitent is one who is now ready to approach the Savior as a petitioner, and not as someone who still wants to argue that what they did or how they acted is in some way justifiable. They are now willing to take correction and direction.

Go back up and reread verses 15-16. Those who are truly contrite before God are “accepted of me” and is “of God.” But there is still one caveat to the conditions of acceptance – they must be obeying God’s ordinances. Have they been baptized? Are they approaching the sacrament worthily each week? If they are a priesthood holder, do they understand how the priesthood works, and do they exercise their priesthood in a Christlike way? At the time this revelation was given there were no temples, but that can be added to the list for our day. Did you notice that the Lord mentioned the need for them to be obeying his ordinances twice, just like he mandated twice that they needed to be contrite people?

A couple of the spiritual manifestations that have been popular in the world is being “overcome” by the Spirit and dropping to the floor and rolling or trembling in a fit of spiritual contact. There are whole sects known as “Holy Rollers” who believe in this type of manifestation. There are also those who believe in the speaking in tongues. Unfortunately, their speaking in tongues doesn’t fulfill the Lord’s other requirement that any spiritual manifestation “edifieth.” This means it must lead to knowledge in the minds and hearts of those who hear what is spoken. That means they have to understand what is said, and it must agree with the doctrine God has already revealed.

Finally, what does it mean to become strong and “bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom”? The fruits of the gospel can be seen in the godly walk and daily behavior of its members. Is the behavior of those who are exhibiting spiritual manifestations in their life imparting knowledge and truth to those around them? The key here is Satan’s manifestations lead to the mysterious and unintelligible, but God’s ways always bring clarity and truth. Truth is discernible. Do we discern truth in the manifestations we witness? Do those manifestations meet all the requirements the Lord has given for manifestations from Him?

Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 54 – I can turn to the Lord when I am hurt by others’ choices.

Studying the scriptures helps you recognize the Lord’s voice, for the scriptures were given by Him through His Spirit.

I have been shying away from addressing this topic for days, for I really didn’t know what to say about it. Then, just today, a sister responded to a post I made online. She talked about how difficult her life is because of the behavior of those upon whom she relies to be able to live. I had a difficult time finding something to say to her. I finally came up with something I believe is truly feeble. It wasn’t until I came back to today’s lesson that I saw my answer here in the scriptures, just waiting for me to reread them and understand them better. Look at what the Lord told the Saints who had been betrayed by those who had broken their covenants to help them get settled in Ohio. Note that I am only using verses 3-6 and verse 10 here.

And if your brethren desire to escape their enemies, let them repent of all their sins, and become truly humble before me and contrite.

And as the covenant which they made unto me has been broken, even so it has become void and of none effect.

And wo to him by whom this offense cometh, for it had been better for him that he had been drowned in the depth of the sea.

When someone hurts me by betraying their covenants it is like a double sting. It is bad enough when someone is cruel or unkind to us who hasn’t been taught the ways of the Lord. But when they have made covenants with God to do good things, and I rely on those good things for my survival, and they break those covenants, I feel doubly abandoned or betrayed. This was someone I should have been able to put my faith in and rely upon, for they have covenanted with God to help me. So what do I do?

But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.

10 And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. Even so. Amen.

Like most of the promises of God, he doesn’t tell me precisely what to do (except that I need to forgive those who hurt me). He does promise me however that if I am patient in my tribulation and look to Him, I will find rest to my soul. Think of Joseph Smith’s experience in Liberty Jail. Everything was falling apart, the Saints were being driven and scattered, many of those whom Joseph personally loved and once trusted, had turned against the Church and were causing the deaths of those he loved. He was rotting in jail month after month while those he loved suffered. And what did the Lord tell him when he complained about his and their condition? The Lord chastised him and told him to be patient, for he had personal reason to rejoice, for he had personally been faithful, and God will reward our faithfulness.

This means that our personal circumstances don’t affect our standing before God. What He wants to see is how we handle those tribulations. Do we remain Christlike? Are we humble and submissive to His will? Do we seek to be led by Him in all that we do? Are we staying close to the Spirit? These behaviors are eternal in nature. Our circumstances are only temporary. God is always more concerned with that which is eternal, for that is what we are, and it is that which is eternal that will govern our lives forever and ever.

I hope I can find that good sister who is currently suffering because of those who should know better. I will tell her what I have said here. Our suffering can be sore – it can feel really long. Our pain may last to the final day of our life. But God is more interested in how we are handling what He has called upon us to bear. He wants to see if we are seeking strength to endure well from Him, if we are seeking to look outside ourselves and to serve others out of love, even when we don’t feel any of that love being returned. Our reward is already prepared. He has promised us that.

Day 4

Doctrine and Covenants 56:14-20 – Blessed are the pure in heart.

Studying the scriptures helps you recognize the Lord’s voice, for the scriptures were given by Him through His Spirit.

These verses in today’s lesson are the best sermon for being poor (in my opinion) of any in all the scriptures. It is also a great “wake-me-up” for the wealthy. Did you notice that God does not condemn anyone for being poor? What He condemns is our attitude with our poverty. If we are pure in heart he promises that “the poor shall rejoice; And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, forever and ever.” What God condemns are the proud poor, those who are not contrite, not humble, and who are greedy for what they do not possess. He also condemns those who are poor and are lazy, expecting others to take care of them.

A whole book could be written about those who are poor, but who are proud in their poverty, while condemning those who have worked hard and earned much. Even in General Conference the prophets have condemned those who use their poverty to set themselves up as being better than those who have more money than they, lacking any humility before the Lord. Even King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon referred to the poor who covet what they do not have, and therefore will not share with others what they do have.

The Lord really doesn’t care if we have money. What he cares about is our attitude, whether or not we have money. Are we humble? Do we look for ways to care and watch over the needs of those around us? Are we kind, forgiving, and willing to give of whatever we have in more abundance? Attitude is everything to the Lord. And that applies equally to the rich and poor alike. We are not here in mortality for our own sake, to seek to benefit only ourselves. We are here in mortality to help each other return home to God. Mortality was designed to be a family project. We can’t succeed in this alone. God will only accept us together. He will reject us individually. Christlike love can only be found in seeking after and caring for one another.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 51:9 – Honesty

The following link comes from my commentary on lesson 31 of the Gospel Principles manual. The topic for the lesson is Honesty.

Lesson 31 – Honesty w Commentary


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print a PDF copy of the file.

A Faithful, a Just, and a Wise Steward

Week 21