‘Moses, My Son’

The Pearl of Great Price is a remarkable piece of scripture, as all scripture is! It begins with Moses 1, in which we learn a lot of precious truths which had previously been lost.

One is the fact that we are the literal children of God. He repeatedly reveals this to Moses, in saying “…thou art my son…” (Moses 1:4), “…Moses, my son…” (Moses 1:6), “…Moses, my son…” (Moses 1:7) – there is no coincidence about this. God our Heavenly Father, speaking through the premortal Jehovah, was telling Moses and us that he and we are literally His children. For one who understands the great importance of this eternal truth – we now know that we have the great potential to become like Him. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17) – what great power this truth can give us! In fact, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life.” We as God’s children have monumental potential – if we would only do the things necessary to reach such potential.

After showing Moses His creations and His glory – Moses was left to himself for a while, and he collapsed. We read of similar instances when, after hugely spiritual experiences others have felt this exhaustion. For example, Joseph Smith. The day after seeing the angel Moroni in the night, he says “I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.” (JSH 1:48). This also happened after the First Vision – “When the light had departed, I had no strength…” (JSH 1:20). I have even felt this in my own life – I will not mention the experiences in detail but moments of deep heartfelt prayer and worshipping in the Temple have brought these feelings that have been referred to in the examples.

Moses then exclaimed, after coming back to his senses “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I had never supposed.” (Moses 1:10) This is very true – however, it should not be concluded that Elder Oak’s statement is incorrect. Man truly does have great power and potential (only with the support and strength of God of course) – but when compared to the glory and majesty of our Heavenly King, as Moses experienced, then we are truly miniscule compared to that.

Moses then has another informative experience. “Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.” (Moses 1:12) Here, Satan’s plan is two pronged. First, he is obviously trying to get Moses to worship him. However, he is also trying to get Moses to doubt the invaluable truth he has just learned by using the term ‘son of man’ meaning that Moses is not a son of God and therefore lacks the great potential of being like him. If Moses was to lose sight of that important fact – as many people have in the world today – then why not give in to the enticements of Satan? We would have no potential to fulfil, but we know we do! Moses knew this and acted accordingly. He said to Satan “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of His Only Begotten; and where is thy glory that I should worship thee?” (Moses 1:13) He re-emphasises the fact he is a son of God and Satan has no power – hence why worship him?! He then calls upon God, in the name of Jesus Christ, and banishes Satan from his presence. Alone, Satan would have overcome Moses, but he had the power of God with him and thus, Satan was gone. This experience once again highlights the fact that once we realise that we are literally the children of God – we know we have great power on our side.

After this, God’s presence returned to Moses and “Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.” (Moses 1:27-28) Understandably, Moses saw all of these things and wondered for what purpose had all this come to pass – why was the earth created and all inhabitants possessing it – for what reason was Satan present and what was the end goal? After posing this question to the Lord, He says to Moses “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) This is perhaps the most simple and clear phrase to describe what this is all for – to help us become like Him. There is an important distinction in what the Lord says too – note how he says eternal life. President James E. Faust said “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all … , just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7).” Because of this sacred book of scripture, we know that God truly does love His children, He is aware of all their circumstances and His whole purpose is for them to achieve their greatest potential possible.

How marvellous is that for us – even when we slip up, our loving Heavenly Father never turns away from us and cares for each one of us. No matter how many creations He has, He says “…all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” (Moses 1:35) Because of this great scripture we know we are literally sons and daughters of God and this truth can be life-changing, life-saving and life-giving.

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Facing the Future with Faith

Very often, we look back to the past and brood over it for too long. We can reminisce about the old days and wish that those days were still now, or these moments bring back bad memories or can make us feel disappointed and disheartened at opportunities missed. We need to look forward with faith for a brighter tomorrow.

The Saviour, in speaking about the day of His Second Coming, spoke of how people should not return to their home to retrieve things, or possessions, left behind. He then gives a very ambiguous but meaningful phrase – “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32) Who exactly was Lot’s wife? What did she do that we have to remember, as we have been counselled by Christ to do?

Lot and his family were living in Sodom and Gomorrah at the time in which the Lord declared it time for it to be destroyed. However, Lot and his family were slow to leave. Although they were clearly obedient and righteous to some degree (else why would the Lord wish to preserve them?) they felt ‘at home’ in that wicked place. This reluctance indicates a problem that we sometimes may have. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained “As Elder Neal A. Maxwell…said, such people know they should have their primary residence in Zion, but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon.” In Lot’s account we continue “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand…the Lord being merciful unto them…and set him without the city.” (Genesis 19:16) – the men being angels of God – led them out. The Lord told them to “…look not behind thee,” (Genesis 19:17) and to continue to flee. However, “…his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (of Genesis 19:26) She disobeyed, and looked back to her past. This may not have just been a physical ‘looking back’ but also a mental wishing to be back. Elder Holland says “…she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.” Hence, why she was punished for it.

Applying this to our own lives – we need to look forward “…with an eye of faith,” (Ether 12:19) toward our future, knowing that we are in the safe hands of our Father in Heaven. “To yearn to go back to a world that cannot be lived in now, to be perennially dissatisfied with present circumstances…and to miss the here and now and tomorrow because we are so trapped in the there and then and yesterday are some of the sins of Lot’s wife,” continued Elder Holland. Paul had the right idea in writing to the Philippians. Paul, previously known as Saul, had a very high-ranking, privileged life (in worldly terms) and so, could have easily looked back longingly to the ease of his previous years. But he wasn’t like Lot’s wife, in fact he wrote “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul forgot about his past and looked forward to the future. Just like a burnt fire, we can use the glowing embers of experience, but we shouldn’t try to reclaim the ashes.

Now, of course, something that often occurs when dwelling in the past is that past wrongs and embarrassments of others are reclaimed. We should always remember the counsel from the Lord, which says “He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (D&C 58:42). We have also been told by the Lord “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:10). Therefore, we should not bring back old problems to tease or hurt someone. Elder Holland puts it perfectly when he said “If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?” Splat! Well, guess what? That is probably going to result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of your landfill with the reply, “Yeah, I remember it. Do you remember this?” Splat.” – basically, it will end up very dirty and very contentious and “…the spirit of contention…is of the devil…” (3 Nephi 11:29) as Christ taught to the Nephites.

As we put the past behind us, remembering the glowing good times and character-building experiences we endured, our future will be our focus and it will become better. As Mormon wrote to his son, Moroni, to remember Christ and let “the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever…” (Moroni 9:25) and as we do this, the best is truly yet to be!

Mighty Change in Heart

When we are baptised into the Church of God, it does not complete our path of discipleship. We need to continue to endure to the end. There is something that can greatly assist us to, not only endure faithfully to the end, but also ‘enjoy’ life faithfully to the end. That is, receiving a mighty change of heart. This will give us a desire to follow the commandments of God – not just follow them because we have been asked to.

This change of heart can come about in many different ways. It might come as we pray earnestly, studying the scriptures or actively trying to obey a commandment. Here are a few examples:

The people of King Benjamin were not a wicked generation – the King had reigned in righteousness, equity and fairness. However, a mighty change in heart still had to, and did, take place. This indicates it’s certainly not just the wicked who can receive a mighty change in heart. After King Benjamin delivered his powerful sermon from the tower, the people said “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2) This is a perfect example of what happens when we receive a change in heart, you have no disposition to do evil. The change is so powerful that Satan has no effect on you!

Alma the Younger was another person who was given this powerful change in heart. He, unlike the people of King Benjamin, was wicked. At the time he was seeking to destroy the Church of God and yet he was given an experience that would change his life forever. As the story goes, he was stopped by an angel and was unconscious for “the space of two days and two nights.” (Mosiah 27:23) As he was in this state he cried out to God for forgiveness. When he came to, he said “I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit…” (Mosiah 27:24) and the Lord had told him that unless people “become new creatures…they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (Mosiah 27:26) Alma became a ‘new creature’ or, in other words, had this change of heart.

Many more examples are given of this mighty change – however, there are obviously those whose hearts are too hard that they can’t (or won’t) change. Of course, I’m sure God has the power to penetrate any heart, but it’s down to people and their agency as to whether they will let him in or not. The first example that comes to mind is that of Laman and Lemuel. In the story of retrieving the brass plates, Laman and Lemuel begun striking Nephi and Sam with rods because they felt that they’d lost everything. An angel appeared and commanded them to stop, telling them that the Lord would deliver Laban into their hands. Even so, “…after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur…” (1 Nephi 3:31). For a person who was prepared to receive this mighty change (like Alma) this experience would have had a great impact even to the point of conversion, but we see Laman and Lemuel were too hard-hearted to receive that. Another example is that of Pharaoh when Moses was commanded to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. They saw many miracles and wonders in Egypt, wrought by God through Moses and Aaron, even to the point that Pharaoh’s magicians said “This is the finger of God…” but “…Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them…” (Exodus 8:19) – his heart would not be changed.

One of the most tragic occurrences is when one does receive a mighty change of heart, but then later on forgets and loses it. Elder Dale G. Renlund explained this in the October 2009 General Conference. He said, speaking of physical heart transplants “…the patients own body recognises the new, lifesaving as ‘foreign’ and begins to attack it. Left unchecked, the body’s natural response will reject the new heart, and the recipient will die.” It is the same with our new, spiritual heart. If we do not give the proper care and attention we need to, problems and even loss of the spiritual change will occur. Elder Renlund went on to say “Occasional heart biopsies are performed wherein small pieces of heart tissue are removed and then examined under a microscope. When signs of rejection are found, medications are adjusted. If the rejection process is detected early enough, death can be averted.” We ourselves need to perform these biopsies on our spiritual hearts, particularly when there has been a positive change. Our medications are things like reading the scriptures, praying, obedience, fasting and so on. If we become casual or carnal in taking our medication, we are putting our spiritual hearts at risk.

One example of this is Saul in the Old Testament. He was chosen by God to be King over all the Israelites and was very blessed spiritually. In fact it says “that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart…” (1 Samuel 10:9) so he also received a mighty change in heart, so much so that he was found later prophesying among prophets (see 1 Samuel 10:10-12). Saul was blessed and given great success for a time – but it all went wrong. It began with Saul offering a burnt sacrifice to God without the authority – practising unrighteous dominion. Samuel arrived and said, once he discovered this “…Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandments of the Lord thy God…” (1 Samuel 13:13) and, further disobedience led to a loss of this spiritual rebirth. This culminated in 1 Samuel 16:14 JST where it says “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit which is not of God troubled him.” How did this mighty man lose the spiritual experience of his heart’s mighty change to become one of the most tragic figures in the Bible? He did not preserve that mighty change by obeying God’s commandments and by doing so, allowed an evil spirit to enter in and take the new heart’s place.

This also occurred in the History of the Restored Church. In Kirtland, Ohio some of the greatest spiritual experiences of this dispensation were bestowed on the people by the Lord there. One of these experiences was the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. However, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the January 2010 Ensign tells us that “Members of the Church – even some of those closest to the Prophet, many of whom were present at the dedication of the temple – apostatised and condemned Joseph as a fallen prophet.” How could these members witness such marvellous scenes, and undoubtedly experience some sort of changes in their hearts, and then reject it all? One of the latter-day prophets, President Harold B. Lee taught “Testimony isn’t something that you have today and you keep always…Testimony is either going to grow and grow to the brightness of certainty, or it is going to diminish to nothingness, depending upon what we do about it. I say, the testimony that we recapture day by day is the thing that saves us from the pitfalls of the adversary.” We need to, everyday, be nurturing our mighty change in heart, just like we would our testimony. As we preserve our conversion feelings and fuel our testimony with that – we can become powerful witnesses of the truth.

The Armour of God

Many are aware of the ‘armour of God’ that can be found in Ephesians and in the Doctrine and Covenants. Here is the summary:

  • Loins girt about with truth
  • Breastplate of righteousness
  • Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
  • Shield of faith
  • Helmet of salvation
  • Sword of God’s Spirit and His word through revelation

All of these items are vital – if any were missing in our defence, we would fall very quickly as weaknesses would be exposed. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin warned that Satan “seeks to find any chink in the armor of each person. He knows our weaknesses and knows how to exploit them if we allow him to do so. We can defend ourselves against his attacks and deceptions only by understanding the commandments and by fortifying ourselves each day through praying, studying the scriptures, and following the counsel of the Lord’s anointed.”

There are a variety of ways that we can protect ourselves and put on this armour of God. It is interesting, that in the Ephesians account of this analogy, it says in Ephesians 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” This passage seems to indicate the necessity of this particular protection – whether the most important or one of the most important – in order for us to overcome the wiles of Satan. It does make sense as faith is a principle of power. It seems ineffective having a knowledge of the gospel or understanding truth if we do not work on developing our faith.

Is it, therefore, any wonder that all the things we do to put on the armour of God are things that increase of faith? Acts such as reading the scriptures, praying, going to Church, partaking the sacrament and worshipping in the Temple. There are key areas where Satan tries to pinpoint his attacks which affect the majority of the human family, God’s children, that without the armour of God would be vulnerable areas.

One is chastity. The Law of Chastity is a simple law and one which, when one considers the consequences when not followed, makes sense – to those who understand the Lord and His love for His children. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught “One of the most pervasive deceptions in recent years is the notion that immorality is normal and acceptable and has no negative consequences. In truth, immorality is the underlying cause of much suffering and many other problems that are prevalent today, including rampant disease, abortion, broken families, families without fathers, and mothers who themselves are children.” It does seem to be one of the most accepted transgressions of the Lord’s commandments in the world today when in actual fact, for example, the sin of adultery is the sin ‘next to murder’. God delights in chastity. What better thing for Satan to try and pull us away with.

Not only this, but there are a variety of ways in which we can be ensnared. One of these tactics is pornography. President Gordon B. Hinckley warned “You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.” If we submit to this vile tool of Satan, we are literally stripping off our armour and our virtue and putting ourselves under Satan’s power. Stop now! For anyone who is under this seemingly unstoppable habit, it is never too late. Even if it has begun, it can be halted. We need to continually put on the armour of God and to do so we need to keep clean and call upon the Atonement of Christ to cleanse us further.

The second possible weak spot is honesty. President James E. Faust taught “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” Honesty includes a complete change in our way of doing things – to become more honest. When we are not honest, then it becomes more and more difficult to tell the truth.

Of course it is one of the commandments to be honest. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16) The principle of being honest is, again, very simple. However, it is one that many can find difficult to keep fully for one reason or another. As members of Christ’s church, even as any human being,  we should strive to be honest. If we can become more honest, we will find strength to overcome more challenges.

The final example of possible weakness is our use of language. There are a few elements of our language we need to be careful with. We should not take the name of the Lord in vain. We shouldn’t use foul language. Of course, as with chastity and honesty, language is something that Satan has been working on up to today where, to use this kind of language, is something deemed as perfectly acceptable. President Hinckley said “Don’t swear. Don’t profane. Avoid so-called dirty jokes. Stay away from conversation that is sprinkled with foul and filthy words. You will be happier if you do so, and your example will give strength to others.” It is incredible how, when someone shows the example and doesn’t use foul language, it is really noticed by people around them. I’ve personally had a number of instances where people have mentioned they have noticed I don’t swear and appreciate it, or when they mishear me and think I have sworn and are shocked – when many other people around them use the same words freely.

Of course, when we use bad language it drives the Spirit away. “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (James 3:8-9) This verse points out the irony that the mouth that we use to say our prayers to God and even partake of the sacrament with – we sometimes allow it to issue forth things we shouldn’t. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve stated “Profanity and vulgarity…are sins that separate us from God and cripple our spiritual defences by causing the Holy Ghost to withdraw from us.” Foul language can draw the presence of the Spirit away and easily offend others – just what the adversary would want.

As we use the armour of God to protect ourselves and win the war against the fiery darts of the adversary, we will protect our weaknesses and receive more power by our Heavenly Father. Here is another interesting thought to add to that by President Harold B. Lee:
“[The] armoured man hold[s] in his hand a shield and in his other hand a sword…That shield was the shield of faith and the sword was the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures in…which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy.” The armour of God includes offensive as well as defensive preparations. The sword of God’s spirit – meaning the Word of God – can give us power to actively combat the falsehoods of Satan. We can use the scriptures against his lies and therefore, the armour of God becomes, not just a defensive tool that we have to shield us but is also a weapon to vanquish Satan and come off conqueror in our daily, spiritual battle.

The Paupered Prince

This entry is based on a talk given by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy in the December 2009 Ensign.

Christmas is a fantastic time to ponder the Saviour, His life and just exactly what He did for us in fulfilling the mission of His life. Elder Porter poses the question “Why did the Lord Jesus Christ leave that world of light, where he dwelt with the Father in everlasting glory?” Before He came to  Earth, our Redeemer was known as Jehovah and He lived in the presence of the Father as a foreordained prince.

The concept of why this had to be in illustrated beautifully by the story of ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ by Mark Twain. Prince Edward of Wales, heir to the throne of England, accidentally swapped places with Tom Canty, a young pauper. The two (who look practically the same) swap clothes as Prince Edward shows Tom around Westminster Palace. Edward (in Tom’s clothing) gets thrown out of the palace by the guards. Edward then goes through the trials of this pauper – he sees the injustice of the current law and the depressing poverty of his people. Eventually, as the story ends, Edward is restored to the throne (now as King Edward) and because of his experience among the people, he is a hugely compassionate king – because of the suffering he had through.

As it was with Christ, our King. “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Christ descended below all things for many reasons, but one reason is just like in the story of The Prince and the Pauper – so the He could experience what we experience in our mortal lives. In Alma’s sermon to the people of Gideon, he states “…he will take upon him their , that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:12) Now of course, in reality, before He came to Earth Christ (as Jehovah) already has perfect compassion, but this mortal experience and the infinite Atonement gave Jesus the Christ an all-encompassing knowledge of the trials of mortal life. He truly knows how each of us individually feels during our experiences.

However, that’s not all the Atonement was for – Christ to gain a perfect knowledge – but rather to give Christ an incredible power to allow God to forgive us of our sins. When we sin, we create a huge problem that we cannot live with God, as His standard (the only way we can live with Him) is in perfection. Once we have sinned – an infinite gulf separates us, to cross that gulf we need an infinite power. Christ’s Atonement provides that and He (and only He) can plead our case before the Father – “Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.” (D&C 45:4-5) We rely totally on the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The great comfort about the Atonement is that “He is there not only when we cry out from the burden of sin but also when we cry out for any other reason.” continued Elder Porter. The redeeming, healing power of Christ assists, not just with our sins on the day of Judgement – but it is an active, everyday influence in our lives on all our sorrows and griefs. It gives us the strength to overcome such things and to make us more Christ-like. “My prayer and hope is that we will discover the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, that we will understand that the Atonement is not something abstract. Christ literally overcame the world and stands as our friend, a Prince who has lived among us and knows how to make us strong…” continued Elder Porter. The Atonement was not simply a one-off event, effective to only save us from our sins, but also to carry us through life and the trials and experiences we receive.

The Paupered Prince was born, lived, persecuted and died on the cross. He was also exalted back, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to His Heavenly station as Creator and Ruler, “Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…” (Isaiah 9:6) – we are everlastingly indebted and he calls for all of God’s children to come unto Him for rest.

The Value of Work

Work is an eternal principle, essential to our salvation. It has been so ever since the world began. God said to Adam “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19). He was given dominion and instructed to work.

Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires a form of work. We are taught repeatedly to ‘endure to the end’ – we would not have to endure if it was not work! However, we are given support through this spiritual work. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He does not expect you to “…run faster or labour more than you have strength…” (D&C 10:4) but we do need to work our hardest. This does not only apply to spiritual ‘work’ of course but also needing to apply ourselves to honest, diligent work to provide for those we love and to provide ourselves with development in this life.

Not only is work an eternal principle and a commandment, but in the long run it makes life a lot more bearable. As we lose ourselves in working, we can begin to forget our worries. For example, this is an important principle for missionaries. President Ezra Taft Benson taught “There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centred on the work of the ministry.” (PMG page 121) As we lose ourselves in work – life becomes more productive, manageable and enjoyable.

“Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility…” President Uchtdorf taught. An interesting element to this topic is that God is more able to assist the person who puts their effort into a task or a problem than one who simply asks without putting their effort forward. The Lord said “…you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right…” (D&C 9:8). Just as with the brother of Jared and Nephi – who both put their minds to tasks placed before them – we need to diligently work at our problem and then pray to the Lord to help with the rest. He will then fill the part that is required. “God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration.” President Uchtdorf taught.

The need to fill our part with work can be linked to a principle taught in Moroni’s promise – “…ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ…with real intent…” (Moroni 10:4). We need to be willing to act on the answer God gives us, and what better way to help us be more willing to follow an answer by putting effort in to finding an answer.

However, with this admonition to work, we must remember the counsel “But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.” (Jacob 2:18) If we work in our employment or career for public recognition or worldly wealth then we are working for the wrong reasons. Our main priority should be working for our family – to build and fortify the home. This is the task that as priesthood holders we are commissioned to do. President Harold B. Lee said “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf also said “Let us not devote our God-given talents and energies solely to setting earthly anchors, but rather let us spend our days growing spiritual wings.” With the work we do, let’s not focus on worldly work. Whilst we do need to work to supply provisions for our home and family, we must not forget our debt to God in service to Him and spending time with our family to build eternal relationships.

As we work we will progress, be it mentally, physically or spiritually. As work will always improve us, it is an eternal principle. “He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” (D&C 93:28) As we work, we will grow bit by bit until that perfect day.