Tag Archives: sin

25 Days of Christ – Day 22


A beautiful talk given by Richard G. Scott, a modern-day apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ, regarding forgiveness and many of the things we have talked about in our 25 Days of Christ.  Enjoy the Spirit of Christ as you read:

“Recently, while traveling on an unfamiliar road, I encountered a large temporary sign declaring Rough Road Ahead, and indeed it was. Had I not been warned, that experience would have been disastrous. Life is like that. It’s full of rough spots. Some are tests to make us stronger. Others result from our own disobedience. Helpful warnings in our personal life can also save us from disaster. A damaged road presents the same obstacles to every traveler until others repair it. The highway of life is different. Each one of us encounters unique challenges meant for growth. Also, our own bad choices can put more barriers in the path. Yet we have the capacity to smooth out the way, to fill in the depressions, and to beautify our course. The process is called repentance; the destination is forgiveness.

“If you have ignored warnings and your life has been damaged or disabled by a rough road, there is help available. Through that help you can renew and rebuild your damaged life. You can start over again and change your course from a downward, twisting, disappointing path to a superhighway to peace and happiness.

“I want to help you find that relief. To do that it is necessary to give you some background information that will make the remedy more logical and the steps to healing more meaningful.

“Every incorrect choice we make, every sin we commit is a violation of eternal law. That violation brings negative results we generally soon recognize….They can have a tremendous effect on the quality of our life here and most certainly will powerfully affect it hereafter. We can do nothing of ourselves to satisfy the demands of justice for a broken eternal law. Yet, unless the demands of justice are paid, each of us will suffer endless negative consequences.

“Only the life, teachings, and particularly the atonement of Jesus Christ can release us from this otherwise impossible predicament. Each of us has made mistakes, large or small, which if unresolved will keep us from the presence of God. For this reason, the atonement of Jesus Christ is the single most significant event that ever has or ever will occur. This selfless act of infinite consequence, performed by a single glorified personage, has eternal impact in the life of every son and daughter of our Father in Heaven—without exception. (see Mosiah 5:10-13)  It shatters the bonds of death. It justifies our finally being judged by the Master. (see 2 Nephi 2:10)  It can prevent an eternity under the control of the devil. (see 2 Nephi 9:7-9)  It opens the gates to exaltation and eternal life for all who qualify for forgiveness through repentance and obedience. (see 2 Nephi 2:5-8)

“The Redeemer can settle your individual account with justice and grant forgiveness through the merciful path of repentance. (see Alma 42:15)  Full repentance is absolutely essential for the Atonement to work its complete miracle in your life. By understanding the Atonement, you will see that God is not a jealous being who delights in persecuting those who misstep. He is an absolutely perfect, compassionate, understanding, patient, and forgiving Father. He is willing to entreat, counsel, strengthen, lift, and fortify. He so loves each of us that He was willing to have His perfect, sinless, absolutely obedient, totally righteous Son experience indescribable agony and pain and give Himself in sacrifice for all. (see Helaman 5:9)  Through that atonement we can live in a world where absolute justice reigns in its sphere so the world will have order. But that justice is tempered through mercy attainable by obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Which of us is not in need of the miracle of repentance?…Our goal surely must be forgiveness. The only possible path to that goal is repentance, for it is written: ‘There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. …’

“…Obedience and faith in the Savior give you power to resist temptation. Helaman taught: ‘It is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, … when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to … endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, … whereon if men build they cannot fall.’ (see Helaman 5:12)

“…What is repentance? How is it accomplished? What are its consequences? These may seem to be simple questions, but it is clear that many do not know how to repent.

“In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball gives a superb guide to forgiveness through repentance. It has helped many find their way back. He identifies five essential elements of repentance.

“Sorrow for sin….That will bring healing sorrow and remorse. It will also bring a sincere desire for change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness….

“Abandonment of sin. This is an unyielding, permanent resolve to not repeat the transgression. By keeping this commitment, the bitter aftertaste of that sin need not be experienced again….

“Confession of sin. You always need to confess your sins to the Lord. If they are serious transgressions, such as immorality, they need to be confessed to a bishop or stake president….Essential to forgiveness is a willingness to fully disclose to the Lord and, where necessary, His priesthood judge all that you have done. Remember, ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.’ (see Proverbs 28:13)

“Restitution for sin. You must restore as far as possible all that which is stolen, damaged, or defiled. Willing restitution is concrete evidence to the Lord that you are committed to do all you can to repent.

“Obedience to all the commandments. Full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into your life with strength to focus on the abandonment of specific sins. It includes things you might not initially consider part of repentance, such as attending [church] meetings, paying tithing, giving service, and forgiving others. The Lord said: ‘He that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.’ (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:32)

“I would add a sixth step: Recognition of the Savior. Of all the necessary steps to repentance, I testify that the most critically important is for you to have a conviction that forgiveness comes because of the Redeemer. It is essential to know that only on His terms can you be forgiven. Witness Alma’s declaration: ‘I was … in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But … I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul.’ (see Alma 38:8)  You will be helped as you exercise faith in Jesus Christ.  That means you trust Him and you trust His teachings. Satan would have you believe that serious transgression cannot be entirely overcome. The Savior gave His life so that the effects of all transgression can be put behind us, save the shedding of innocent blood and the denial of the Holy Ghost.

“The fruit of true repentance is forgiveness, which opens the door to receive all of the covenants and ordinances provided on this earth and to enjoy the resulting blessings. When a repentant soul is baptized, all former sins are forgiven and need not be remembered. When repentance is full and one has been cleansed, there comes a new vision of life and its glorious possibilities. How marvelous the promise of the Lord: ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42)  The Lord is and ever will be faithful to His words.

“Do not take comfort in the fact that your transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden. In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about us.

“Adultery, fornication, committing homosexual acts, and other deviations approaching these in gravity are not acceptable alternate lifestyles. They are serious sins. Committing physical and sexual abuse are major sins. Such grave sins require deep repentance to be forgiven. President Kimball taught: ‘To every forgiveness there is a condition. The plaster must be as wide as the sore. The fasting, the prayers, the humility must be equal to or greater than the sin.’   

“…Sometimes the steps of repentance are initially difficult and painful, like the cleansing of a soiled garment. Yet, they produce purity, peace of mind, self-respect, hope, and finally, a new person with a renewed life and abundance of opportunity.

“This scripture will help you know what to do: ‘Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, … because of their yielding their hearts unto God.’ (Helaman 3:35)

“For your peace now and for everlasting happiness, please repent. Open your heart to the Lord and ask Him to help you. You will earn the blessing of forgiveness, peace, and the knowledge you have been purified and made whole. Find the courage to ask the Lord for strength to repent, now. I solemnly witness that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. I know that He lives. I testify that He loves you personally and will help you.

“Obtain His forgiveness by repenting, now. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

25 Days of Christ – Day 6


“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39.

As wonderful as living with Heavenly Father for eternity is, there is one more gift He planned for us.  And that is to live there together with our families!

The gift of being resurrected – having our spirit and body reunited, never to be separated again – is a free gift bestowed automatically on everyone, the wicked as well as the righteous, because Christ died and was resurrected.

But the gift of eternal life – living forever in the presence of God – is conditional, made possible through Christ’s atonement when He suffered for all our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We accept this gift as we repent of our sins and change our lives to become more Christ-like in our thoughts, words, and actions.

The gift of living forever with Heavenly Father together with our families is the most beautiful gift He offers.  It is the crowning pinnacle of Heavenly Father’s plan, His Plan of Happiness!  But it is also conditional.  Certain principles and ordinances are required.  They include baptism, confirmation, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men), the temple endowment, and the marriage sealing. With each of these ordinances, we enter into solemn covenants with the Lord.

 We are sealed together forever as families by someone who has the priesthood of God, the power and authority to act in God’s name.  Christ organized His church and bestowed His priesthood on His apostles when He was alive on the earth.  He restored His church and again bestowed His authority in these latter days upon His prophet, Joseph Smith.

Today the sealing power of the priesthood that binds families together forever is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This sacred ordinance, or ceremony, is performed in the temple, the House of the Lord.

Because all who have lived on the earth have not had the opportunity to be baptized, or sealed, by proper authority during life on earth, baptisms may be performed by proxy, meaning a living person may be baptized in behalf of a deceased person. Baptisms for the dead are performed by Church members in temples throughout the world. They act as a proxy for the deceased.  In the temples all the necessary ordinances are performed, by proxy, for those who have died without receiving them.

It is a glorious and beautiful plan that was designed long before the world was even created!  God loves every one of His children and desires all to return to Him.  Christ prepared the way so that all who desire to do so and are willing to follow His commandments, receiving the necessary ordinances in person or by proxy, will be partakers in the entire Plan of Happiness!

Obedience, Protection, and Blessings of God


This is from a beautiful talk given at church a few weeks ago.  I hope you enjoy it and that you find it as informative and inspiring as I did!  🙂

(It is a bit lengthy, but worth every bit)

I am grateful for this opportunity.  I have prayed for guidance, and I hope that there will be at least one thing in my message today that will touch, teach, or inspire you.  I prayed that the Holy Ghost will be with me as I talk, and with you as you listen.

The subject of my talk today is Obedience, the first law of heaven.  Many of the brilliant insights in my talk have come from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, and from Elder Eldred G. Smith.  I found their teachings to be very wise.

Bruce R. McConkie, who served as an Apostle said, ” Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest.”

Joseph B Wirthlin, another apostle, told us, “ Nothing is more important … than obedience to God’s commandments. ”   Every blessing we receive is based on our obedience to that law, upon which it is predicated.

The manual, Preach My Gospel teaches, “”Obedience is an act of faith.  As we obey, we increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom.

“The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living builds an armor of protection and safety from the temptations that beset us as we proceed through mortality.”

Remember that “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.”  The way to grow and learn is by overcoming obstacles.

In his address titled Decisions, Eldred G. Smith spoke about the fact that having Satan here to tempt us is an important part of our Heavenly Father’s plan.  He talked about the War in Heaven, when Lucifer (who we know as Satan) and his followers were cast out.  He points out that they were put here on earth to test us.  “Free agency requires that there must be a choice. There must be an opposing force. There is no growth, no movement, no accomplishment, or progress without overcoming an opposing force.”

Lucifer and his agents provide that opposing force, which make free agency possible for us in this life.

The right to make a decision, is ours, and it is the greatest asset we have on earth.  The Lord will not, cannot, and does not intend to take it away from us. He intends for us to use it. He is constantly advising and teaching us how to use it for our own good and further growth; even to attain eternal life.

Elder Smith continues, “”I would think God would be very unjust to put Lucifer here with all his power, to test us and try us, if he did not give us power to resist or overcome him.”  Remember, Lucifer did not come here of his own choosing. He lost that war in heaven and was put here to do a job, and he is doing a good job.

God is just. Lucifer, then, can do on this earth only what he is permitted to do.

Remember the story of Job? (Who, by the way, I regard to be a very real person…)  Elder Smith points out that in each trial Job was subjected to, Lucifer asked for permission to test him. He was given permission to go just so far, one step at a time.  Job lost his wealth on one test, his family on another, his health on another. Then the Lord gave Satan full control over Job, except he could not destroy his soul.

You may have often thought of how hard it would be to endure all that Job did, but have you stopped to consider the other side?  While he started out strong, one step at a time, Job became more strengthened to withstand all.  He grew more capable and more faithful until there was nothing that Satan could do to pull him from the correct path.

If we are to attain a degree of perfection, we too must come to that stage where, if the Lord desired, he could loose Satan on us with his full power, except not to destroy the soul. If we withstand that, then we will have attained a stage of perfection, even exaltation.

As with Job, so with us.  The Lord will not permit Satan to try us beyond our ability to resist or withstand his efforts, if we will accept The Lord’s help.  Many Prophets and church leaders have echoed that same sentiment, and through prayer you can gain testimony in the knowledge that The Lord does not expect anything of you that you cannot do.

Elder Wirthlin taught, “The commandments of the gospel come from a tender, loving Father who wants us to be happy and to return to His presence.  Heavenly Father gives us laws to make us happy, to protect us, and to help us avoid the inescapable pain and misery that always result when we yield to Satan, and give in to temptation. ‘Wickedness never was happiness.’  God is, indeed, our loving Father.  Everything He does is for our good. He knows all things. He knows us much better than we know ourselves, and He knows what is best for us.”

We live in a world filled with evil. Swirling all around us are the whirlwinds of strife and contention, temptation and sin.  Willing obedience provides lasting protection against Satan’s alluring   and   tantalizing   temptations.

Jesus is our perfect example of obedience. Learn to do as He did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Even though He was weakened by fasting, His answer was quick and firm: The apostle,Elder Neal A. Maxwell said this of the Savior’s example in resisting temptation: “Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to Him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!” 

When Satan comes calling, cast him out as quickly as possible. Do not let temptation even begin to entertain you.

Elder Wirthlin continued, “Even though a loving God has provided a pathway to repentance, you simply do not have the time to waste in transgression. Sin wounds the soul; healing slows progress, and takes time that could have been used in productive service and growth. The Lord needs you faithful and worthy, now and in the future, to combat the forces of Satan that are ravaging the earth.

In John 14:15 Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  We show our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus by obeying their commandments. It is by keeping the commandments that we are able to receive all of the blessings of the plan of salvation.

Elder Boyd K. Packer, also an apostle, said: “Obedience to God can be the very highest expression of independence. Just think of giving to him the one thing, the one gift, that he would never take. …

“Obedience—that which God will never take by force—he will accept when freely given. And he will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of—the freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be, at least a thousand fold more than we offer him. Strangely enough, the key to freedom is obedience”

As we give to the Lord, we should give in the same manner that we want The Lord to give to us.

In a general conference address, N. Eldon Tanner, who served in the first Presidency, used the subject of tithing to illustrate his point.  He said, “” How would you like the Lord to figure out his blessings on the same basis that you do when you are figuring out your tithing? If you were in deep trouble, had physical or mental illness, or your family were suffering and causing you much concern, would you want him to say, “Well now, just how much can I keep from giving? How close can I figure this blessing?”

If we love our Heavenly Father we will want to obey him. If we find it hard to obey, we should strengthen our love for Him.  Although it may seem like the same answers that we always discuss, there is power and strength by doing things like daily prayer and scripture study because they help us to learn about, and, in turn, love, our Father in Heaven.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urged, “Do not let pride stand in your way. The way of the gospel is a simple way. Some of the requirements may appear to you as elementary and unnecessary. Do not spurn them. Humble yourselves and walk in obedience. I promise that the results that follow will be marvelous to behold, and satisfying to experience.”

While Satan would have us believe that Obedience is weakness, or that in will enslave us, that is not the case. Obedience is a great sign of strength and will actually make us free.  Free from sin, guilt and confusion.  Free from worry and doubt.  Free from ignorance, and  free to make intelligent choices.  Free to be advanced in the priesthood.  Free to go on a mission.  Free to marry in the temple.  Free to be blessed and strengthened. Free to return to Heavenly Father.

The Lamanite stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon are an excellent illustration of the blessings that flow from precise obedience. Helaman had formed them into an army of 2,060 young men who fought on the side of the Nephites.  When they were fighting for the Nephites, the Nephites could not lose.

200 of the Stripling Warriors were so badly wounded that they fainted from the loss of blood. When they were carried from the battlefield, it was thought they were dead, but they weren’t. It seemed they could not be killed. They qualified for this mighty miracle by their obedience. Their leader, the prophet Helaman, says of them in Alma 57:21: “They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “”The windows of heaven are open wide to the faithful and righteous; nothing closes them faster than disobedience. …”

The obedience of the Stripling Warriors did not mean that they would never experience tough times.  Hard times are a critical part of this life.  They will happen whether we are obedient, or not.  The question is, would we rather have an easier time dealing with difficulties, and be blessed as we grow; or would we prefer to fight against the help we are offered and not progress as we encounter trials?

Elder Wirthlin shared that by obedience to the laws of the gospel, we can lift ourselves above the quagmire of sin that surrounds us in this world.   “In addition to helping you to become better servants of the Lord, obedience to these laws will help you to be better in everything you undertake in life, whether it be your activity in the Church, your family, education, business, profession, science, athletics, or any other worthwhile endeavor. You will be a better family member, and a better friend. You will enjoy your life more; you will be happier and at peace with yourself because you will know that your life is acceptable to your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”

He finished by admonishing that, “To achieve your goals in this mortal life and prove yourselves worthy of eternal blessings, learn to obey. There is no other way. Obedience brings great strength and power into your lives. ”