Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feb 1, 2009 #5 “This Is the Spirit of Revelation”

Hi Everyone -

Here is the reading assignment for next week.

Joseph Smith—History 1:27–65; Doctrine and Covenants 3; 5; 10; 17; 20:5–15; 84:54–62; Our Heritage,pages 5–10.

I posted the rest of lesson #3 (the parts we didn't get to cover last week) in the previous blog. I hope you find time to read and ponder. I was really touched with the scriptures that provide us Christ's personal witness to the Book of Mormon.

Also, I was taken back by the admonition to the saints who 'took their gift' for granted. It sort of woke me up and caused me to reflect if I was in that same boat! I love the words "remember the new covenant". I have committed myself to some new actions . . .

I would enjoy hearing about yours . . .

See you in two weeks!

By the way, I really enjoyed last week's class participation. Hopefully you felt uplifted as well.

- Shayne

Jan 25, 2009 #4 Remember the “New Covenant – Even the Book of Mormon’

Goal – Recognize the Lord’s hand in the bringing forth of the BOM and challenge to increase their commitment to use and testify of this great book.

Witnesses to the Book of Mormon
Read D&C 5:11-15
• Consider the experiences of the witnesses. What were they commanded to do?
Read Ether 5:4
• Why was it important to assign 3 witnesses?

Jesus Christ adds his witness to the Book of Mormon in D&C 17:6; 19:26

  • How easy was it for the witnesses to share what they experienced?
  • What are the way’s we can witness the Book of Mormon?

Our Responsibility to “remember the new covenant”
Read D&C 84:54-55
• Why was the church under condemnation?
• What were they instructed to do to lift this condemnation?
Read D&C 84:57
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written
Continue reading D&C 84: 58-62 for further instructions.

Challenge - Reflect in your journal:
• How the Lord is preparing you to fulfill your purpose in building his kingdom? What preparations are you engaging to help build the kingdom of God?
• Think of what it would take for you to not “treat lightly the things that you have received”
• What ways do you “remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon”?

“The strength of the Church is not in . . . its thousands of houses of worship across the world, nor in its universities . . . The strength of this church lies in the hearts of its people, in the individual testimony and conviction of the truth of this work” CR 4/73 Ensign July 1973 pg 49. Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jan 18, 2009 Lesson #3 "I Had Seen A Vision

The Great Apostasy

1. Began in the days of the Apostles:
  • John A. Tvedtnes: "In view of the evidence from the ancient texts ... it seems clear that the general apostasy in the early Church was the result of individual apostasy by dissident Christians who not only rejected the Lord's chosen servants, but sometimes set themselves up in their place. With the passing of the apostles and other recognized authorities of the early Church, these rebellious individuals filled the void and brought their own opinions, rather than the Lord's revealed truth, into the Church." (Rejection of Priesthood Leaders as a Cause of the Great Apostasy, Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research)

2. After the departure of the apostles, spiritual gifts ceased to exist in the Church.
  • President Joseph Fielding Smith: "This condition also led to the universal belief, which the world holds even now, that the canon of scripture is full and there is to be no more scripture, notwithstanding the Lord has revealed through his servants that revelation is to continue." (Essentials In Church History, p8)

3. In the 4th Century, the Church as it had evolved, became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine.
  • Over time the simple principles of the Christian faith were embellished almost beyond recognition with pomp and mystic rites borrowed from pagan worship.
  • Doctrines of the gospel were changed:
  • The doctrine of the Godhead became one of mystery.
  • The ordinance of baptism was changed to sprinkling.
  • Infant baptism was instituted.
  • Changes in the administration of the Sacrament were instituted.
  • Those entering the ministry were forbidden to marry.

God prepared the way for Restoration
"Beginning in the 14th Century, the Lord began to prepare those social, educatinal, religious, economic, and governmental conditions under which he could more easily resotre the gospel for the last time." Bruce R. McConkie Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed (1966), 717.

1- Renaissance

2 - Reformers There were many great ones; I just learned of William Wilberforce last night (Amazing Grace is the show/video about his contribution - excellent watch!)
3 - Americas with independent peoples
4 - Constitution with religious freedom

Many truths were revealed in the First Vision

"I submit that in the few minutes that Joseh Smith was with the Father and the Son, he learned more of the nature of God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord than all the learned minds in all their discussion through all centries of time" President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, 24 Oct. 1998, 6)

Truths revealed through First Vision:
  • God and Jesus live
  • They are two separate beings
  • God answers prayers
  • Revelation has not ceased
  • Satan is real
  • Satan has power but God's is greater
  • No church at that time had fullness
This is a great talk by Jeffrey R. Holland regarding the Nicene Creed and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's believe in the Godhood. It is a must read to begin to understand the significance of the revealed truth of the Godhead in contrast with mainstream Christian beliefs of today.

Journal Questions:
How did God prepare Joseph Smith to be a prophet? How are we using our personal trials and afflictions to become better servants of God?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 11, 2009 Lesson #2 - "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World

The attached Wordal (picture of word associations represented in size by number of references within a given text) was created from all the scripture references given in this lesson for the names, roles and characteristics associated with Jesus Christ.

I thought it was interesting that the word LIGHT was given the most emphasis as you can see by the size of the word light in the picture.

The Light of Christ is sometimes referred to as our conscience, but it is much more than that. Read the second and third paragraphs under the “Light of Christ: on page 725 of the Bible Dictionary to gain a greater understanding of the Light of Christ, then read D&C 88:6–13; D&C 93:2; Moroni 7:13, Moroni 7:16–19

The following are some key points to consider:
  • The Light of Christ “[fills] the immensity of space” and “giveth life to all things” (D&C 88:12–13).
  • It is an uplifting influence that is given to every person who is born into the world (D&C 93:2).
  • It helps us know good from evil and invites us to do good and believe in Christ (Moroni 7:13, Moroni 7:16–19).
Challenge/Goal for next Week - along with Lesson Guide Reading assignment:
1- Spend some time to ponder and journal your insights and impressions of how remembering and understanding Christ's roles, attributes and atonement could impact or change your daily behaviors.
2- Ponder and journal how you can show the Savior your gratitude for His Atonement

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jan 4, 2009 Lesson #1 Introduction to Doctrine and Covenants and Church History

Hi Everyone -
We will be using
the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide this year. I will not be "recreating study guides" but I will share any additional information that I think will be helpful in our studies this year.

Also, here is an invitation to YOU to add via the comments section on this blog any ideas you may have to help motivate or encourage our class learning!

One idea is to categorize your thoughts into the following three buckets:

  1. Ah Haaaas! (I was formerly calling these 'appetizers') Insights connections, patterns, or themes that adds to your understanding & testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. TA Das! Personal accomplishments or acknowledgment of others relative to class purposes and lesson content or personal scripture study.
  3. Uh Ohs? Specific questions or challenges that were answered through the scriptures
Let me know what you think.

Supplemental Information:

• Hymn # 41 Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise - awesome hymn describing the context for D&C study! LDS Hymns

• Meridian Magazine – The Voice of Warning Shall be Unto All People, Scot Facer Proctor http://www.meridianmagazine.com/gospeldoctrine/dc/041228dcintro.html

• Web tool that provides daily scripture reading assigments: http://www.readthescriptures.com/