Sunday, June 29, 2014

Living Far Below My Privileges. Compiling Quotes.

You Cannot Utilize What You Do Not Understand

What has been your past experience or attitude when you have listened to or taught a lesson on the  priesthood? Be honest. Was your first reaction something like, “This doesn’t apply to me. This is for the men and boys over 12.” Or when you have read your scriptures and come to a part that mentions  priesthood, have you thought to yourself, “I’ll just skip this part. I don’t need to know this”? In the recent 2013 Worldwide Leadership Training, Elder Oaks emphatically stated: “Men are not the priesthood!” To me, that is a wake-up call as well as an invitation to all of us to study, ponder, and come to better understand the priesthood. Sisters, we cannot stand up and teach those things we do not understand and know for ourselves.
Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, BYU Womens' Conference 2013

The Call to Seek, Learn and Understand in a Holy Way

We rejoice that we are privileged to live in this season of the history of the Church when questions are being asked about the priesthood. There is great interest and desire to know and understand more about the authority, power, and blessings associated with the priesthood of God.
We hope to instill within each of us a greater desire to better understand the priesthood. I testify
that the Lord is hastening His work, and it is imperative for us to understand how the Lord accomplishes His work so that we may receive the power that comes from being aligned with His plan and purposes
I would invite you to ponder Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46. Look for the principles in
these verses that govern the righteous exercise of priesthood power. Look for warnings and promises from the Lord, and apply them to yourself. In order to qualify for the blessings of priesthood power, we would do well to ponder these verses and ask ourselves questions such as:
• Is my heart set upon the things of this world?
• Do I aspire to the honors of men or women?
• Do I try to cover my sins?
• Am I prideful? 
• Do I exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon my children, my husband, or others?
• Am I earnestly striving to practice righteous principles such as:
o Persuasion
o Long-suffering
o Gentleness
o Meekness
o Unfeigned love (meaning genuine, sincere, or heartfelt love)
o Kindness
• Does virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly?
• Do I long for the Holy Ghost to be my constant companion?
Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, BYU Womens' Conference 2013


29 And again, the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages belonging unto the high priesthood.

30 And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood, which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons.

~Doctrine and Covenants Section 84

It is truly said that Relief Society is not just a class for women but something they belong to—a divinely established appendage to the priesthood.
~ Dallin Oaks, April 2014 Gen. Conf.

Keys, Authority and Power

This [the Relief Society] is an organization that cannot exist without the priesthood, from the fact that it derives all its authority and influence from that source. When the Priesthood was taken from the earth, this institution as well as every other appendage to the true order of the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth, became extinct.” Eliza R. Snow Deseret News April 22, 1868

We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be?  
~ Dallin Oaks, April 2014 Gen. Conf.

Those who have priesthood keys—whether that be ... a bishop who has keys for his ward or the President of the Church, who holds all priesthood keys—literally make it possible for all who serve faithfully under their direction to exercise priesthood authority and have access to priesthood power.
~M Russell Ballard, BYU address, August 20, 2013

There is no office growing out of this priesthood that is or can be greater than the priesthood itself. It is from the priesthood that the office derives its authority and power. No office gives authority to the priesthood. No office adds to the power of the priesthood. But all offices in the Church derive their power, their virtue, their authority, from the priesthood.”
~Joseph F. Smith

"When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power"
~M. Russell Ballard, Liahona, April 2014

No, It's Not "Motherhood-Priesthood"

Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. … In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife.”
~M. Russell Ballard, ibid.

Moses was commanded to place holy garments and priestly vestments upon Aaron and others, thus preparing them to officiate in the tabernacle.   
~Carlos Assay, Ensign, August 1997
12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
 13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

 14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
 15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.

~Exodus 40

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Compassion, Doctrine and Covenants 121

Christlike compassion doesn’t mean that I agree, or that I excuse. It doesn’t mean that I stop standing firmly where I stand or saying, with clarity, what I believe. But it does mean that I treat others with kindness, with a sincere desire to understand, with a willingness to see their fears and passions as real to them as mine are to me. 
To see rather than to dismiss, to feel unthreatened because I am anchored in the Spirit, to speak gently and clearly with unfeigned love. And when we disagree, to make my love more obvious* so that you understand that even though we may deeply disagree and see things very, very differently that does not change my love for you and that I will not harm you.

*Interesting to note that Doctrine and Covenants 121 was received shortly after some of the most painful excommunications in early LDS church history and at a time when Joseph Smith was facing some of the most egregious persecutions born of extreme fear and unwillingness to seek to understand by those who thought he was dead wrong and dangerous.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pretty strong words... Luke 15

Der Berufung des Matthaus by  Pieter Claesz Scoutman 1593(?)-1657 

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

The "servant" here is actually a slave.  A man or woman nowadays can work two jobs or work for two different people.  But a "servant" in this context cannot.  His time belongs totally to his master, as does his energy and direction.  A servant of God, therefore, cannot serve God part-time.  Agreeing to become his servant means full-time, wherever we are, we are serving him.

And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things and they derided him.

They, who enjoyed spending resources on satisfying their own desires for material things or for ease and comfortable experiences looked down their noses at this idea.  They likely thought this idea was financially impractical and/or overly idealistic.  Do I?  What keeps me from fully embracing servanthood?  Fear of loss of stuff?  Desire for ease?  Comfort? Worry about not having enough?

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts;

I can try to justify my less than full commitment, or my torn allegiances using the reasoning and assumptions of the culture in which I live, but I can't fool God.  God knows exactly what it is I love more than I love giving my whole self to serve.  I need to be as conscious of that about myself as He is.  I need to wrestle that.

for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Whoa.  Abomination is a strong word.  It's easy for me to point to things that OTHERS esteem in their lives, but that I don't, and say, "Yes.  That's for sure."  But it's foolish to think that because I might be able to  pick out those stumbling blocks in someone else's life I don't have any of my own.   And suddenly it's not just "mammon" it's  "that which is highly esteemed among men". It is not only things and experiences and comfort that money can provide, but also honors, recognition, goals, hopes, desires that the world has taught me are worthy of esteem that I long for or cling to and whose pursuit, conscious or unconscious, divides my loyalty.

How to change my heart, let go, and fully serve?