precious advice
Week 26 is scheduled for study June 21-27, 2021. Often what the Lord directs at one, He means for all. This week’s lessons fall under that category. This week the Lord offers some precious advice.

Day’s 1 and 2 of the three lessons for this week both have to do with revelation and the part it plays in our lives. The following two articles are instructive treatments about what revelation is, how to receive it, how to recognize it, and how revelation works. If you read and digest these before you tackle the lessons for day’s 1 and 2 you will have a much better experience with your lessons this week.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 67:1-9; 68:3-6 – God stands by His servants and the words they speak in His name.

Although many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were addressed to specific people in specific circumstances, they “are profitable for all.” As you study, look for truths and principles that are profitable for you.

There is one principle of good vs. evil that life and the scriptures always verifies, and that is that when push comes to shove, Satan always abandons his supporters to fend for themselves, but God always upholds His servants. He fights their battles and vindicates their words. God truly is faithful in all things, and this is rarely shown so plainly as in the verses for today’s lesson.

Joseph Smith was a simple man who lived in a simple day and age. The first dictionary, an initial attempt at standardizing the English language in America was published just three years prior to these revelations. Odds are very high that none of these men had ever even heard of Noah Webster, let alone used his dictionary. Yes these are the same men who are questioning the language usage of the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. So the Lord threw down the proverbial gauntlet and challenged any of them to do better than His prophet. And that challenge came with a warning – if they couldn’t do better than the prophet then they had better be prepared to witness to the world that the revelations given to Joseph were true.

Notice that the Lord doesn’t argue that Joseph’s use of the English language was impeccable. He only argued that what Joseph had recorded in the revelations was true. That, after all is what is important. We run into this kind of thing with all the modern prophets. People find fault with them about something or other, but the truth remains that no matter their personal shortcomings, they are still prophets. This tells me that the principle behind this lesson is that truth is truth, even if it is presented in less than perfect language, and a prophet it still a prophet, even if he isn’t as perfect as the Savior.

The lesson the Lord wants taught here is that what His servants do in His name is as valid as if He, Himself has given it to us. It is our responsibility to listen and obey, not to judge the Lord’s chosen servants.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 68:1-8 – Inspiration from the holy Ghost reflects the will of the Lord.

Although many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were addressed to specific people in specific circumstances, they “are profitable for all.” As you study, look for truths and principles that are profitable for you.

I would like you to think through a little piece of logic with me for a moment. Is it revelation when the Lord moves the prophet to tell the members of the church or the world something? Are we held accountable for what the prophet tells us the Lord wants us to do? Do you believe the prophet is receiving his inspiration through the Holy Ghost?

Now bring it home. When you are moved upon by the Spirit to feel something, believe something, or do something, whether it is by saying or acting out something, is the source of your inspiration any different than that of the prophet’s? (That is a yes or no question, for no amount of debate will alter the answer.) When the Spirit “speaks” to you, whether through an emotion, a prompting, an urge, a feeling, a vision, a voice, or in any other manner that knowledge may come, is it or is it not the voice and the will of the Lord for you in your life at that moment? (Again, this is a yes, or no question, for no amount of arguing will change the answer.)

I believe that both forms of communication from the Lord are considered revelation. The prophet receives his own for his own life, but his called responsibility also includes receiving revelation for the world. Our right, by virtue of the covenant of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, is to receive revelation for our self, our family (if we have one), and our Church calling. So often we are loath or reluctant to call what we personally experience revelation, but how it comes, and from whom it comes doesn’t change what it is. Just as we will be held accountable for being obedient to what the prophet tells us we need to do, we will also be held accountable for what the Spirit personally tells us to do. We should never discount our own communications from the Spirit, for they are just as valid and important to our welfare as what we receive from God at the hands of His servants, the prophets.

Disclaimer: Remember that there is a hierarchy in the kingdom. We cannot receive revelation for others unless we are specifically responsible for them in the eyes of the Lord. So I cannot receive revelation for you, nor you for me. I cannot receive revelation for my ward, stake, or the Church. The Lord has others appointed to those callings. God is merciful and generous with what He wants to reveal to us, but He is also very tidy and organized, and we need to recognize that He has set boundaries and rules to how this revelation thing is done. As long as we each know our place and what we are responsible for we will all get along fine.

Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-28 – Parents are responsible to teach their children.

Although many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were addressed to specific people in specific circumstances, they “are profitable for all.” As you study, look for truths and principles that are profitable for you.

I can’t even count the number of times I have been told by someone that their four and five year old children are too young to learn about the gospel of Christ, and they will teach them when they are older. They are too young to pray, too young to learn about tithing, too young to work, too young to serve, etc. It is all poppycock! Children are capable at the age of one and two years to learn a language they have never heard before. They are mastering the movement of their own bodies. They’re not stupid. Either we are just lazy or we really have been misled somewhere along the line.

The gospel is not a social club that only 18 year olds can join. It is a way of living that includes people of EVERY age, including small children. Many people are convinced that a child is an empty vessel that the parents have no right to fill with anything. The child should be protected from all forms of morality until they are old enough to choose for themselves what they want to believe. Again, poppycock!

The whole point of having parents and a family setting is to have the safest possible network available to teach those new to mortality how to protect themselves against the wiles of Satan and his minions. My children, each in their turn, told me at some point in their youth that they didn’t want to have to make decisions about this, that, or the other. I told each of them the same thing: if you aren’t willing to make the choice then others are all too happy to make the choice for you. And when they do it will always be in their favor, not yours.

I suggest you read again the Lord’s directive to parents in Zion in today’s lesson. He is pretty clear that it is the parent’s responsibility to teach the children in the ways of the gospel of Christ so they are prepared for baptism and a life of goodness and service by the time they are eight years of age. That’s right. By the time they become accountable for their own sins, the Lord expects that their parents have already taught them the gospel and shown them how to make good choices. I am not saying they need to know everything about the gospel, the scriptures, church history, etc. But there should be a basic understanding of the differences between good and evil, right and wrong, a basic understanding of Christ, his atoning sacrifice, and the love the child’s parents have for Him. They should know they need to look to the prophet for guidance, to pray to their Heavenly Father who loves them, and to read the scriptures for comfort and direction in life. They also should be looking forward to the day they too can receive this precious gift of the Holy Ghost, so they can also be led by a member of the Godhead back to their Heavenly Father.

That may seem like a lot. It is. This is why we can’t wait until the children are already in high school before we begin the process. They need to be raised with the understanding that living a Christ-centered life is our family’s choice, because that kind of life brings happiness. They are more capable of learning such things than we care to believe they are. And the fruits of such a labor really can be everlasting.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-35

Let’s look at just two verses from this passage.

30 And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.

31 Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.

I will keep this short and just offer an opinion or two. Today’s electronic devices, as well as our reluctance as a society to pressure children with expectations and standards is harming our youth. Previous generations were hoeing and plowing field on their own even before baptismal age. They were taught to work hard and that hard work is all that enabled them to eat as a family. Hard work was a matter of survival. That was just the way life was. Now we have so much comfort around us that our children rarely even pick up their own rooms, let alone hold important responsibilities that contribute to the survival and prosperity of the family.

Children today expect to be treated like adults, and often are. They expect that if they want something the world owes it to them to give it to them quickly. There is little appreciation for what real life is like, unless they are blessed with parents who take the pains to teach them how to work and serve, and to care for themselves.

As a culture, we are raising a generation of idlers, who sit and play games and surf the Internet for hours every day. Such a lifestyle encourages greed and sloth. This displeases the Lord. Unfortunately, many of us were also raised in comfort and ease. It wasn’t comfort and ease by today’s standards, but by our parents’ standards we were raised in comfort. They certainly never were allowed to sit for hours and watch television or had electronic games to play. In their day you always ate at home. Fast food was a novelty meant only for those with money to throw around. And even then there wasn’t much of anything from which to choose, for culturally we ate all our meals with our family around our own dinner table. This means it is more difficult than ever for us to teach our children the importance of work and labor, for it may not have been a heavy part of our own childhood.

So what do we do? How do we teach our children today to seek “earnestly the riches of eternity?” What is the process in cultures that revolve around portable electronic devices, to teach our children the importance of service, and the joy found in helping others? With so much noise surrounding us, how do we teach our children to cherish time alone with their own thoughts in productive thinking? How do we prevent our loved ones from growing up in wickedness? What do you see in your life as the answer to avoid this rebuke from the Lord?

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Worth … the Riches of the Whole Earth

Week 26