Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The substitute for my Sunday School class today is perhaps one of my favorite people ever. He asked this question:
What is the most important scripture every person can memorize?
Before I give the answer he gave, think about what you would say.
Okay, even though my last post was somewhat of a joke, Romans 13:11-12 really is a great scripture.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Guys, the Second Coming is getting closer. God is hastening the work. Now is not the time to sleep (in class/church/seminary), it’s time to wake up (and serve/learn/endure…).
The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
At the beginning of the year, Brother Rockwood shared this scripture with the class. He said when he was teaching a man, the man said he would get baptized when he felt the Holy Ghost. Now, Brother Rockwood knowing that everyone can feel the Holy Ghost, brought up this scripture, and asked if he had felt any of these things. When he answered yes, the man committed to be baptized the following week.
When this scripture was brought up in mission prep, someone asked what the phrase “against such there is no law” meant. Brother Diamond then explained that there are laws that keep us from killing, keep us from stealing, keep us from doing bad things.
But are there limits to how good we can be? (The answer is no)
Therefore, there is no law that prevents us from going “too far,” which isn’t possible when it comes to love, kindness, etc.
If you are anything like me, it kind of gets annoying when you are trying to figure out what feeling the Spirit is like, and people only suggest “still small voice” and a “burning in the bosom.” You may be thinking, “I’ve never heard a voice, and I’m pretty sure that heart burn does not count.”
In mission prep last Wednesday, we learned about the Holy Ghost. I’m always kind of skeptical about people saying that we’re learning about the Holy Ghost, because most times it’s the repetition of “still small voice” and “warm feeling” and rarely ever presents new information. This time was different, and there were a few quotes that made me so happy to know I’m not just an idiot when it comes to trying to figure out what the Holy Ghost is like.
"Spiritual communication seldom comes audibly. Most of the time it comes through your feeling."
-Boyd K Packer
“I have met persons who told me they have never had a witness from the Holy Ghost because they have never felt their bosom ‘burn within’ them. What does a ‘burning in the bosom’ mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word ‘burning’ in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity.”
-Dallin H Oaks (emphasis added)
After Brother Diamond read that last one, he demonstrated how he felt the first time he read that by nearly collapsing of relief and saying “Oh thank goodness. If that’s an apostle then I should be good.” We all laughed because we knew it was what we were all thinking.
I know that I’ve personally been confused because I never feel a “warmth” per se. And that always frustrated me, because I know that I’ve definitely felt the Holy Ghost very strongly. A scripture that I like about the Holy Ghost is found in Galatians, and I could write a whole other post about it.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
I hope that you read this and have a better understanding of the Holy Ghost, that it doesn’t have to be an audible voice or a literal burning within your chest. there are so many ways the Holy Ghost has made manifest to you.
Brother Diamond also suggested that we think of five key times when we’ve felt the Holy Ghost. You know how sometimes you’re in class and you’re asked if you’ve felt the Spirit, and when you say yes, you’re asked to give an example and go blank? Think of specific examples you can always refer to, whether you’re answering a question in Sunday School or struggling with your testimony.
Know what context the book/chapter you’re reading is in. Matthew is one of the gospels. Romans is an epistle. Mosiah 3 is in the middle of King Benjamin’s address to the people.
2) Doctrine and Principles
Outline the basic lessons taught in the chapter. The way Brother Rockwood put it, “Pull out the things you want to someday teach your children.”
What do you feel about this? If you stop at step two, you might as well be in school hearing a lecture. Read the principles you listed, and ask yourself how you feel about them. Should I work on this characteristic? Do I believe this is true?
James 2:17-18 says that it is not enough to say you have faith. Again, if you stop at the previous step, then you’re going to be shortchanging yourself. If you go to seminary, and feel good and resolve to act on your promptings, but promptly forget them the moment you leave, then you’re not living up to your potential.
Let the scriptures bless your lives. Don’t just speed read a chapter of the Book of Mormon just to say you studied. I testify that sincerely reading the scriptures and applying them to your life will make a big difference in your faith.
I’m going to type up a longer post about stuff from Mission Prep but for now I’m going to briefly talk about seminary.
We played this game called Who Am I (or What) and the first clue was “I am hard to tame.” I kind of got excited and to my two team members I pointed to my tongue. They were kind of confused, but as he read more and more answers, the two guys just looked at me and asked how I had gotten that so quickly. I pulled up James 3, specifically verse 8. The other groups were trying to figure out who in the world it could be, and I don’t know if any of them got it because we just whispered our answers to Bro Rockwood.
Brother Rockwood had made the assignment to read the book of James in the New Testament a while ago, and I guess not many people did it. I’m so glad I did, because I knew that I could reference that scripture now.
Brother Rockwood explained just how important James is. Martin Luther said that it wasn’t very important, but it is very important. It’s a book of acting. It brought about the restoration of the gospel, that’s how important it is. Brother Rockwood described James as a laundry detergent. It’s not one of those big bottles of it, but rather, a cup with a very high concentration.
James is only five chapters long. Study it. It’s fantastic.
Do you know what’s cool?
Joseph Smith Translation.
Not only does it make Bible verses make more sense, but it makes the memorable ones even greater.
God will take care of the temporal things if you think with an eternal perspective.
In seminary the other day we were memorizing John 14:15.
"Okay, I know it’s already super long and you may have to reach out and pull all the powers of memorization you had over the past few years of seminary to get this, but I want you to learn the reference, too. How do we remember it?"
There were a lot of struggles, but then Kristen had a good one.
"Valentine’s Day is on the fourteenth, right? So there’s 14. But you want to love Him even more, so add one to get 15."
Our teacher then said, “That’s great! And then, when you’re in a relationship with a missionary and you find you love his best friend more you write him a letter saying, ‘Dear…’”
Our class all yelled out “John!” and laughed while simultaneously crying.
Needless to say, I don’t think we’ll forget the reference anytime soon.
This morning, my seminary teacher had us read D&C 130:20-21.
Then he held his laptop away from us, but pointed at the screen and said that the picture he had up was the reason for all of his blessings. His wife, his success, his ability to teach seminary all had to do with this. He then revealed it:
"And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord.”
21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement.
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother *without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement…
*JST Matt. 5:22 and 3 Nephi 12:22 - omit the words ‘without cause.’