Far West Missouri… President McKay's visit at Far West "In connection with President McKay's visit at Far West, it is to be noted that while there the President appeared somewhat overwhelmed. The place made a deep impression upon him; so much so that he referred to Far West a number of times in the ensuing days as a place of deep impression.
Far West Missouri… "The feeling that President McKay had at Far West registered upon me once again, but now with greater impact. The events that transpired there are significant: (a) The Lord proclaimed Far West a holy and consecrated land unto him, declaring to Joseph Smith that the very ground he stood on there was holy.
Far West Missouri… (b) The Prophet Joseph Smith contended with the devil face to face for some time, upon the occasion of the power of evil menacing one of his children in the Prophet's home just west of the temple site. Lucifer declared that Joseph had no right to be there, that this was his place. Whereupon the Prophet rebuked Satan in the name of the Lord, and he departed and did not touch the child again.
Far West Missouri… (c) The overwhelming feeling that President McKay had when he visited this sacred place.
Far West Missouri… I have often pondered the holy significance of Far West, and even more so since President McKay's visit. The sacredness of Far West, Missouri, is no doubt due to the understanding that the Prophet Joseph Smith conveyed to the brethren, at these early times… that Far West was the spot where Cain killed Abel. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., and John J. Stewart, The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 335.)
Adam and Eve 16 And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God. (Mark 1:35; …) And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said: I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words. But behold, Cain hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him?
Did We Choose Our Families? We have no scriptural justification, however, for the belief that we had the privilege of choosing our parents and our life companions in the spirit world. This belief has been advocated by some, and it is possible that in some instances it is true, but it would require too great a stretch of the imagination to believe it to be so in all, or even in the majority of cases. Most likely we came where those in authority decided to send us. Our agency may not have been exercised to the extent of making choice of parents and posterity. (Joseph fielding smith jr., The way to perfection, p. 44‑45.)
Bruce R. McConkie (The Mortal Messiah, 1:23) TLDP:497 Being subject to law, and having their agency, all the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike.
The whole house of Israel… Cain was a liar, a schemer, a rebel who maintained a close affinity to Lucifer.
Cain had the Honor… “Cain had the great honor of being Adam’s son, and he, too, was privileged with the same blessings as his father. What a mighty man he could have been! How his name might have stood out with excellent luster as that of one of the valiant sons of God! How he might have been honored to the latest generation! But he would have none of it!
“Cain’s great sin was not committed in ignorance. We have every reason to believe that he had the privilege of standing in the presence of messengers from heaven. In fact the scriptures infer that he was blessed by communication with the Father and was instructed by messengers from his presence.
No doubt he held the Priesthood; otherwise his sin could not make of him Perdition. He sinned against the light. And this he did, so we are told, because he loved…
Cain had the Honor… Satan more than he loved God. “From the Bible one might infer that Cain was the first born child of Adam, but the Bible gives only a meager history. In the Book of Moses we obtain a more extended view and a better insight into conditions in that early day. Adam and Eve were the parents of numerous children, sons and daughters, even before Cain and Abel were born,
Cain had the Honor… as we gain the information from that story” (The Way to Perfection, 97–98).
The whole house of Israel… Abraham and Moses and all of the prophets sought and obtained the talent for spirituality. Mary and Eve were two of the greatest of all the spirit daughters of the Father. The whole house of Israel, known and segregated out from their fellows, was inclined toward spiritual things. And so it went through all the hosts of heaven, each individual developing such talents and abilities as his soul desired. (The Mortal Messiah, 1:23) TLDP:497
Melchizedek came into this world with such faith and spiritual capacity that "when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire." (Gen.14:26, Inspired Version) CR1974Apr:103; MPSG1976-77:221-22
Premortal Development The concept of a chosen and favored people, a concept scarcely known in the world and but little understood even by the saints of God, is one of the most marvelous systems ever devised for administering salvation to all men in all nations in all ages. Israel, the Lord's chosen people, were a congregation set apart in preexistence. In large measure, the spirit children of the Father who acquired a talent for spirituality, who chose to heed the divine word then given, and who sought, above their fellows, to do good and work righteousness-all these were foreordained to be born in the house of Israel. They were chosen before they were born.
Premortal Development This is the doctrine of election. They were true and faithful in the premortal life, and they earned the right to be born as the Lord's people and to have the privilege, on a preferential basis, of believing and obeying the word of truth. Believing blood, the blood of Abraham, flows in their veins. They are the ones of whom Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28.) Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.182
To this problem there is no easy answer. Every person stands alone in choosing his beliefs and electing the course he will pursue. No two persons are born with the same talents and capacities; no two are rooted in the same soil of circumstances; each is unique. The cares of this world, gold and honor and power and renown, the lusts of the flesh the chains of past sins and a thousand other things-all exert their influence upon us. But in the final sense the answer stems back to premortality. We all lived as spirit beings, as children of the Eternal Father, for an infinitely long period of time in the premortal existence.
There we developed talents, gifts, and aptitudes; there our capacities and abilities took form; there, by obedience to law, we were endowed with the power, in one degree or another, to believe the truth and follow the promptings of the Spirit. And the talent of greatest worth was that of spirituality, for it enables us to hearken to the Holy Spirit and accept that gospel which prepares us for eternal life. Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.33
How many of you have ever wanted to develop a new talent? Have you ever taken piano or soccer lessons? Tonight I want to talk to you about developing a talent—not just any talent, but one very special talent I bet you have never even thought about. I would like to talk to you about developing your talent for spirituality.
Did you know that spirituality is a talent? Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once said, “Above all talents … , chief among all endowments—stands the talent for spirituality” (The Millennial Messiah , 234). Spirituality is learning how to listen to the Spirit and then letting it govern our lives. Carol B. Thomas, Developing Our Talent for Spirituality, Ensign (CR), May 2001, p.88
Intimidating to Teach If we knew some of the assignments given to some of them (seminary and institute students) in the preexistance, it might be almost too intimidated to teach them . (Neil A. Maxwell, An Evening with a General Authority, Sept. 1975)
You and I Were Held in Reserve For nearly six thousand years the lord has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away but the kingdom of god will remain intact to welcome the return of its head--even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the lord cleansed the earth by a flood, there is a major difference this time, and that is that god has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your god. And through the ages the prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day.
You and I Were Held in Reserve Billions of deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of good and the forces of evil been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devils power, with the greatest mass murderers of all time living in our day. But, no is the great day of the lords power, with the greatest number of priesthood holders on the earth. And the showdown is fast approaching. Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good pick up new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain. The forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this fight. And how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our foreordained mission?! (Ezra Taft Benson, InHis steps, BYU Sunday, march 4, 1979).
Abel hearkened… 17 And she again conceived and bare his brother Abel. And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Of the fruit of the ground… 18 And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord. 19 And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
The firstlings and the fat thereof… 20 And Abel he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering;
What does this mean? 21 But unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Alma 5:14,19) 22 And the Lord said unto Cain: Why art thou wroth? Why is thy countenance fallen?
We choose our feelings…?! 23 If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. (DC 136:31; 2 Cor 4:17) And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. (DC 88:32; Alma 29:4) And thou shalt rule over him;
24 For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world. 25 And it shall be said in time to come—That these abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.
26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord. 27 And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren. 28 And it came to pass that Cain took one of his brothers' daughters to wife, and they loved Satan more than God.
Inspired Version (JST) Luke 15:1-7 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine, and go into the wilderness after that which is lost, until he find it?
Love is the Lord’s way… The Lord’s way of love and acceptance is better than Satan’s way of force and coercion, especially in rearing teenagers. • Remember the Prophet Joseph Smith’s words: “Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 240).
How should I act or react when someone I love wanders? Act with faith; don’t react with fear. When our teenagers begin testing family values, parents need to go to the Lord for guidance on the specific needs of each family member. This is the time for added love and support and to reinforce your teachings on how to make choices. It is frightening to allow our children to learn from the mistakes they may make, but their willingness to choose the Lord’s way and family values is greater when the choice comes from within than when we attempt to force those values upon them. The Lord’s way of love and acceptance is better than Satan’s way of force and coercion, especially in rearing teenagers. Elder Robert D. Hales, Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty, Ensign (CR), May 1999, p.32
What hope do I have that they will be rescued and reclaimed?
Wicked Influences overruled… The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible. It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control.
Wicked Influences Overruled They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should. It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled. Elder Boyd K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66
Until he find them… “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold.
Until he find them… Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.” Elder Robert D. Hales, With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families, Ensign (CR), May 2004, p.88
Dear are the sheep that have wandered… A principle in this statement that is often overlooked is that they must fully repent and “suffer for their sins” and “pay their debt to justice.” I recognize that now is the time “to prepare to meet God.” If the repentance of the wayward children does not happen in this life, is it still possible for the cords of the sealing to be strong enough for them yet to work out their repentance? In the Doctrine and Covenants we are told, “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
Dear are the sheep that have wandered… “And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.” We remember that the prodigal son wasted his inheritance, and when it was all gone he came back to his father’s house. There he was welcomed back into the family, but his inheritance was spent. Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy. President James E. Faust, Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered, Ensign (CR), May 2003, p.61
Repentance Will Save us… In the battle of life, the adversary takes enormous numbers of prisoners, and many who know of no way to escape and are pressed into his service. Every soul confined to a concentration camp of sin and guilt has a key to the gate. The adversary cannot hold them if they know how to use it. The key is labeled Repentance. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the adversary. I know of no sins connected with the moral standard for which we cannot be forgiven. I do not exempt abortion. The formula is stated in forty words: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:42-43.) Elder Boyd K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66
The Promise of Complete Forgiveness Save for the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. CR-Nov. 1995, BKP p.18-21
Forgiveness will come eventually to all repentant souls who have not committed the unpardonable sin (see Matt. 12:31). Forgiveness does not, however, necessarily assure exaltation, as is the case with David (see D&C 132:38-39; see also Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:25-27; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 339). Elder Boyd K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66
Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy. President James E. Faust, Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered, Ensign (CR), May 2003, p.61
Spiritual Promises There are some great spiritual promises which may help faithful parents in this church. Children of eternal sealings may have visited upon them the divine promises made to their valiant forebears who nobly kept their covenants. Covenants remembered by parents will be remembered by God. The children may thus become the beneficiaries and inheritors of these great covenants and promises. This is because they are the children of the covenant. (See Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, pp. 110-11.)
We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them. Elder Boyd K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66
President Brigham Young said: “Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., 2:90-91.)
'we Are Recognized for Our Virtues', LDS Church News, 1997, 02/15/97 "We don't have to do anything heroic," President Hinckley said during the conference. "We just need to live the gospel, that's all we have to do."
Be patient… We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments. It includes thrones, kingdoms, principalities, powers, and dominions.41 It is the end for which we are to endure.42 It is the eternal perfection that God has in store for each of us. Elder Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, Ensign (CR), November 1995, p.86
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret. 31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
32 And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him.
33 And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands. 34 And the Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?
35 And the Lord said: What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood cries unto me from the ground.
36 And now thou shalt be cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. 37 When thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
38 And Cain said unto the Lord: Satan tempted me because of my brother's flocks. And I was wroth also; for his offering thou didst accept and not mine; my punishment is greater than I can bear.
39 Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the Lord, and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that he that findeth me will slay me, because of mine iniquities, for these things are not hid from the Lord. 40 And I the Lord said unto him: Whosoever slayeth thee, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And I the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
41 And Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord, and with his wife and many of his brethren dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
42 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Enoch, and he also begat many sons and daughters. And he builded a city, and he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 43 And unto Enoch was born Irad, and other sons and daughters. And Irad begat Mahujael, and other sons and daughters. And Mahujael begat Methusael, and other sons and daughters. And Methusael begat Lamech.
44 And Lamech took unto himself two wives; the name of one being Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. 45 And Adah bare Jabal; he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and they were keepers of cattle; and his brother's name was Jubal, who was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. 46 And Zillah, she also bare Tubal Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. And the sister of Tubal Cain was called Naamah.
47 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah: Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech; for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
48 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech shall be seventy and seven fold; 49 For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam;
50 Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath's sake.
51 For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother. 52 Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech, and his house, and all them that had covenanted with Satan; for they kept not the commandments of God, and it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them, and their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men. And it was among the sons of men.
53 And among the daughters of men these things were not spoken, because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion; 54 Wherefore Lamech was despised, and cast out, and came not among the sons of men, lest he should die. 55 And thus the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men.
56 And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made;
57 For they would not hearken unto his voice, nor believe on his Only Begotten Son, even him whom he declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world. 58 And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.
59 And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen. (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 5:16 - 59)