More Scripture Chains

There are 11 basic doctrines that seminary students are supposed to know something about by the time they graduate.  For the past couple of years, we’ve been trying to keep track of the scriptures that we come across that relate to these doctrines.  Here are this year’s: (numbers listed alone are in the Doctrine and Covenants)
  1. Godhead: There are three separate personages in the Godhead: God the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.  They are one in purpose and doctrine.
    1. 8:2-3
    2. 76:22-24
    3. 82:10
  2. Plan of Salvation: The plan of salvations includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all of the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel.
    1. 19:16-19
    2. 58:26-27
    3. 58:42-43
    4. 14:7
    5. 18:10, 15-16
    6. 64:23
    7. 76:22-24
    8. 82:3
  3. Creation and Fall: The earth was created by Jesus Christ and was not made out of nothing.  Adam was the first man created on earth and was created in the image of God.  As a result of the Fall, we all can experience joy and sorrow, know good and evil and have children.
    1. 18:10, 15-16
    2. 19:16-19
    3. 59:9-10
  4. Atonement of Jesus Christ: Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ everyone will be resurrected and overcome physical death.
    1. 19:16-19
    2. 58:42-43
    3. 18:10, 15-16
    4. 64:9-11
    5. 64:23
  5. Dispensation, Apostacy, and Restoration: A dispensation is a period of time when the Lord reveals His gospel doctrines, ordinances and priesthood.  When people turn away from the principles of the gospel and don’t have priesthood keys, they are in a state of apostacy.  The Restoration is God’s reestablishment of the truths and ordinances of His gospel among men on earth.
    1. 19:16-19
    2. 58:26-27
    3. 76:22-24
  6. Prophets: We sustain the President of the Church as prophet, seer, and revelator and the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church.
    1. 58:42-43
    2. 1:37-38
    3. 76:22-24
    4. 82:3
  7. Priesthood: The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God.  God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children.
    1. 25:12
    2. 19:16-19
    3. 58:26-27
    4. 59:9-10
    5. 76:22-24
  8. First Principles and Ordinances: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
    1. 58:42
    2. 8:2-3
    3. 18:10, 15-16
    4. 19:16-19
    5. 64:9-11
  9. Ordinances and Covenants: An ordinance is a sacred, formal act that has spiritual meaning.  A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man.
    1. 14:7
    2. 59:9-10
    3. 64:23
    4. 82:3
    5. 82:10
  10. Commandments: Commandments are the laws and requirements that God gives to mankind.  Keeping the commandments will bring blessings from the Lord.
    1. 58:26-27
    2. 1:37-38
    3. 10:5
    4. 14:7
    5. 25:12
    6. 59:9-10
    7. 64:9-11
    8. 64:23
    9. 82:3
    10. 82:10
  11. Marriage and Family: “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” and “the family is central” to His plan of salvation and happiness.
    1. 25:12
    2. 58:42-43
    3. 14:7
    4. 18:10, 15-16
    5. 58:26-27
    6. 59:9-10
    7. 64:9-11
    8. 64:23
    9. 76:22-24
    10. 82:3
    11. 82:10


You parents out there… I don’t know how you do it. We had two boys (3 and 4) over for a good portion of the day yesterday and I’m still looking for the piece of gum that one of them left for me – in a place he couldn’t quite recall. Needless to say, General Conference was on… in the background.

Below are some notes I took from this morning’s meeting. I can’t type fast enough to quote word for word so I’ll have to come back and add links.

Brother Sheldon Child spoke on tithing. Paying your tithing will be the best investment you will ever make. He mentioned the children of Israel and what the Lord told them about paying tithing. He first told them that they had robbed Him. They didn’t get it so they asked wherein they had robbed Him. His response: “In tithes and offerings.” The Lord then made the Israelites a promise that if they would pay their tithing and offerings that He would then open the windows of heaven and pour out so many blessings that there wouldn’t be room enough to receive them. (Malachi 3:8-10)

Something difficult to remember is that the Lord blesses us in ways that He sees fit. It won’t necessarily be in a way that we expect or even hope for. To show faith by paying tithing and offerings and accepting the will of the Lord is not always easy, but will be the best investment we will ever make.

If nothing else, I know that Sister Tanner loves the Young Women of the Church. She is a great example of truth, righteousness, motherhood and womanhood. She KNOWS what it means to be a woman. She understands her role as a woman, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother. She will be missed as the Young Women General President.

She spoke of how we are blessed with miracles. They are real. They come in His way and on His timetable. Sometimes it is not until we have reached our extremity. Miracles do come, but they may not come until the fourth watch. As Brother Child mentioned, the Lord works in his time, not in ours.

Elder Packer, among others, spoke regarding the succession of the Presidency.

I’ve been amazed at the number of speakers that have testified of the way that the Presidency is called. There were also many who spoke of the type of person President Monson is. I think it’s amazing to me because of how long President Monson has been a member of the Presidency, allowing church members to get to know him. We should know President Monson as well as we knew President Hinckley. Granted, it’s very different to not see President Hinckley on the stand, to hear him speak during each session. He’s been the prophet since my sophomore or junior year in high school so he’s really all I remember listening to. During all that time, however, there has been a special place in my heart for President Monson. I love listening to his parables and stories. He knows because he’s been there. He’s been where I am. I know all of this because of the time that I’ve had to get to know him.

What I failed to remember, until early this morning, is that there are so many out there who have known no other prophet of God than President Hinckley. The number of converts baptized during the last 10 years, all members born within the last 10 years, those who are coming back into activity over the last 10 years, are all familiar with President Hinckley. They love him. He knew how to draw people in and make them feel loved. To those people, it’s important that President Monson be able to do the same. That he be able to reach their hearts and speak to their spirits the way that President Hinckley did.

It’s my testimony that any prophet of God will be able to do everything that President Hinckley did. We heard him speak many times of the fact that our Heavenly Father was making all of those things possible – that it wasn’t just the mortal man. He was merely a conduit for the electrification of the Spirit of God. He was good at being a conduit, and so is President Monson. President Monson is a man of God. He is a prophet. He loves all men, women and children. He understands the responsibility and the authority of the priesthood as well as role that all priesthood holders have within the walls of their homes and within the boundaries of their callings.

Seek Learning By Study and Also By Faith

This is the talk that I gave at our Ward Conference Fireside tonight. I really enjoyed putting this talk together and learning from President Kimball, Elder Bednar and President Hinckley.

Seek Learning, Even By Study and Also By Faith
Doctrine and Covenants 109:7-9

President Spencer W. Kimball quoted D&C 93:36 which says “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” And then quoted D&C 121:42 “Pure knowledge … shall greatly enlarge the soul.” And then asked three questions:

1. What is this knowledge, intelligence, and light and truth that our Heavenly Father would have us receive?
2. Does it consist solely of the truths God has revealed through His prophets?
3. What place does knowledge gleaned from secular sources and with secular means have in the scheme of eternal progression?

Define Secular: of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred.

He then answered these questions by saying, “In considering these questions, we must recognize that secular knowledge alone can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom to anyone.”

He gives the examples of the Apostles Peter and John and how they were termed ignorant. They knew the vital things of life, they knew that Jesus was their Redeemer and is the Son of God. This knowledge, however, does not excuse us from going to school and gaining a secular education. On the contrary, President Kimball goes on to say that “Secular knowledge can be most helpful to the children of our Father in Heaven who, having placed first things first, have found and are living those truths which lead one to eternal life. These are they who have the balance and perspective to seek all knowledge – revealed and secular – as a tool and servant for the blessing of themselves and others.”

In Doctrine and Covenants 109:7 it says…

There are two different types of learning identified in this phrase:

1. Learning by study
2. Learning by faith

I think it’s safe to say that we know what it means to seek learning by study. If you study, you’ll learn. That’s what text books and curriculums were developed for.

More importantly, it’s also the reason that we have the scriptures. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin has said, “The more we study the scriptures and pray, the more likely we can enthusiastically share our testimonies of the gospel with others.”

On the Church website, under the topic of testimony, it says:
“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the sacred opportunity and responsibility to obtain their own testimonies. Having obtained a testimony, each member has a duty to nurture it throughout life.”

I have found that the words of Nephi in 1 Nephi 3:7 are all too true in this instance:
“…for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

If we, as Latter-day Saints have a responsibility and a duty to gain, nurture and share our own testimonies of the gospel, then it only makes sense that the Lord would provide the resources to do so.

It’s interesting that we’re taught to seek learning by faith. It almost seems backwards. Shouldn’t we study something and then believe in it, rather than learning something because we believe in it?

There was an excellent address given by Elder Bednar to the Church Educational System educators in Feb. 2006 entitled “Seek Learning by Faith” that I will be pulling the majority of the rest of my comments from. It was printed in the September 2007 Ensign in case you’re interested in going back and learning more.

He suggests that learning by faith is to act and not to be acted upon and gives two examples.

The first example is that of Adam in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:9 it says “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Don’t think for a second that the Lord didn’t already know where Adam was. So why then did he ask the question? “A wise and loving Father enabled His child to act in the learning process and not merely be acted upon. There was no one-way lecture to a disobedient child…. Rather, the Father helped Adam as a learner to act as an agent and appropriately exercise his agency.”

The second example is that of Nephi’s desire to know about the things his father, Lehi, had seen in the vision of the tree of life. If we look in 1 Nephi 11:2 we see that the Spirit said unto Nephi, “Behold, what desirest thou?” “Clearly the Spirit knew what Nephi desired. So why ask the question? The Holy Ghost was helping Nephi to act in the learning process and not simply be acted upon.” All throughout chapters 11-14 “the Spirit both asked questions and encouraged Nephi to look as active elements in the learning process.”

“A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicate to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost. Thus, learning by faith involves the exercise of moral agency to act upon the assurance of things hoped for and invites the evidence of things not seen from the only true teacher, the Spirit of the Lord.”

“The learning I am describing reaches far beyond mere cognitive comprehension and the retaining and recalling of information. The type of learning to which I am referring causes us to put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19), to change our hearts (see Mosiah 5:2), to be converted unto the Lord, and to never fall away (see Alma 23:6). Learning by faith requires both “the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34). Learning by faith is the result of the Holy Ghost carrying the power of the word of God both unto and into the heart. Learning by faith cannot be transferred from an instructor to a student through a lecture, a demonstration, or an experiential exercise; rather, a student must exercise faith and act in order to obtain the knowledge for himself or herself.”

In James 2:17-18 we read …

We are taught here that faith without works is dead. The way that we show our faith is by our works. Put it all together and we learn that to seek learning by faith is to DO the things which the Lord will have us do so that the Spirit of the Lord will be our constant companion and teacher. The Bible Dictionary teaches us that the Holy Ghost “Gives one a testimony of Jesus Christ and of his work and the works of his servants upon the earth.” To have the direction, guidance, comfort and wisdom of the Spirit with us as a constant companion is a blessing that the Lord has given us. President Hinckley instructed us to Be Smart.

In January 2002, he said the following:

”You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.

“you beling to a church that teaches the importance of education. You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, ‘Teach ye diligently … of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgements which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms – that ye may be prepared in all things.”

“Mind you, these are not my words. These are the words of the Lord who loves you. He wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship. Be smart. Don’t be foolish. You cannon bluff or cheat others without bluffing or cheating yourselves.”

In a nutshell, to seek learning, even by study and also by faith means that we are to study the words of God and then apply them and put them into action in our lives so that He can continue to teach us through the Spirit.

I would like to close with one more quote from President Kimball:

“And let us remember that it is not so much what we know that is important, as what we do and what we are. The Master’s plan is a program of doing, of living, not merely knowing. Knowledge itself is not the end. It is how we righteously live and apply that knowledge in our own lives and how we apply it to help others that describes our character.”

February's Topic – Charity

Recommended Reading List:
1 Nephi 11:21-23
John 13:34-35
Moroni 7:45
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (for what charity is NOT)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (for what charity is)
Matthew 25:31-46
1 John 4:18
Doctrine & Covenants 121:45

Additional resources:
Choosing Charity: That Good Part – Ensign, Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, Nov 2003
Charity: Perfect and Everlasting Love – Ensign, Elder Gene R. Cook, May 2002 (this one is really good!)

January's Topic – Faith

The recommended reading list is meant as a guide and springboard to jump start your study of faith. There are many references throughout the scriptures. It will be fun to share what we have found together, as well as personal experiences. Don’t feel like you can’t come if you haven’t read everything. We can learn from each other!!

Recommended reading list:
Alma 32
James 1:5-6
James 2
Romans 10:14-17
Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-16
Genesis 14:26-36 (JST)
John 12:39-42
Bible Dictionary entry on “Faith”

Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith

If you really want to go for it:
Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball


The chapter heading for Alma 32 tells us that faith is a hope in that which is not seen which is true. Verse 21 adds on that principle by telling us that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things. Knowledge and faith are different. If you know something, there’s no need to have faith in it. In verse 27 Alma tells us to exercise our faith, even if we only have a desire to believe. Our desire is like a seed. It might feel small, but can grow to be something great. Seeds don’t grow on their own though – they have to be watered, given sunlight and even talked to. Sometimes weeds grow around our seeds. They have to be pulled and disposed of before they choke our faith.

In James 1:5-6 we’re told that we can gain wisdom by asking God for it. We’re also told, however, that we need to “ask in faith, nothing wavering.” This implies that God will give us the wisdom we seek if we believe that he will and don’t doubt the fact. It also says that the Lord gives to “all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” When we ask in faith, we will receive liberally.

James 2 talks about faith and works. Verse 18 tells us that we can show our faith by our works. It gives the example of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham showed his faith by taking Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him. When he was about to kill Isaac, an angel appeared and said that he didn’t have to do it – now he knew that Abraham feared God and that was enough. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” At the end of verse 26 it says that even as the body is dead without the spirit, faith is dead without works. This means that you can’t just say that you believe and be saved. You actually have to do something. You have to show that you have faith by your works.

Romans 10:14-17 suggests that once we have received the word we are to share it. How are others going to know about it if we don’t share it? This block, if used backwards, gives a process for bringing others into the fold:
First – Missionaries are sent.
Second – Missionaries teach and preach.
Third – Listeners hear about God and Christ.
Fourth – Listeners believe.
Fifth – Listeners pray.
And as we read in James, if we ask we shall receive. The same will happen with the listeners.

Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-16 tells us that faith can be a gift of the spirit.

Genesis 14:26-36 (JST) talks about the faith of Melchizedek and how he received the highest order of the priesthood because of it. He was then able to ordain Abraham.

John 12:39-42 can be compared to Isaiah 6:10.

The Bible Dictionary says that our faith must be centered in Christ in order to produce salvation. Miracles do not produce faith – it’s the other way around. One of my favorite points made in this section is that “Although faith is a gift, it must be cultured and sought after until it grows from a tiny seed to a great tree.” This is a reminder that faith is a gift. It’s something that you have to ask for or have a desire for, but once you’ve asked for it, it’ll be given to you. Once it has been given to you, you have to do something with it though. You can’t just sit at home all the time and say that you believe and expect that all good things will happen to you.

I found another scripture on faith that I really liked. 1 Peter 1:7-9. It says that the trial of your faith is more precious than gold. Your faith is something that can’t be taken away from you.