It’s Conference Once Again
When this building was planned, we thought we’d never fill it. Just look at it now.
My beloved brothers and sisters, how good it is to be together once again as we begin the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The past six months seem to have passed rapidly as I’ve been busy with many responsibilities. One of the great blessings during this time was to rededicate the beautiful Laie Hawaii Temple, which had been undergoing extensive renovations for nearly two years. I was accompanied by President and Sister Henry B. Eyring, Elder and Sister Quentin L. Cook, and Elder and Sister William R. Walker. During the evening prior to the rededication, which took place during November, we watched 2,000 young people from the temple district as they filled the Cannon Activities Center on the BYU–Hawaii campus and performed for us. Their production was titled “The Gathering Place” and creatively and masterfully recounted significant events in local Church history and the history of the temple. What a wonderful evening it was!
The following day was a spiritual feast as the temple was rededicated in three sessions. The Spirit of the Lord was with us in rich abundance.
We continue to build temples. It is my privilege this morning to announce three additional temples for which sites are being acquired and which, in coming months and years, will be built in the following locations: Fort Collins, Colorado; Meridian, Idaho; and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They will certainly be a blessing to our members in those areas.
Each year millions of ordinances are performed in the temples. May we continue to be faithful in performing such ordinances, not only for ourselves but also for our deceased loved ones who are unable to do so for themselves.
I really understand and appreciate the desire to build temples. But I often wonder at the validity of modern temples and temple ordinances.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:35, 36
35 And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
36 For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.
Time was given to the Saints to build the Nauvoo temple. Regardless if they completed the temple in time, all baptisms for the dead not performed in certain locations were to be invalid after that time.
The only locations Baptisms for the Dead are valid in are Zion, Stakes of Zion(meaning cities), Jerusalem, and places the Lord has appointed for a refuge.
Now you may think I’m reading he cities of Zion hing into it. After all, stakes in the Church are called stakes of Zion. But notice how verse 35 mentions that baptisms for the dead performed “by those who are scattered abroad,” are not acceptable after that time. Scripturally those scattered abroad are those who have not been gathered to Stakes of Zion. Stakes of Zino at the time were cities, Kirtland, Nauvoo, far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, etc. We are wresting the scriptures if we interpret them out of the context in which they were given. To say that Stakes of Zion mentioned in verse 36 means our modern definition of stakes is not correct.
There is only one chance for modern baptisms for the dead. Are temples today located in places the Lord has appointed for a refuge? I really don’t have an answer, I’ve never asked the Lord.
Every conference I keep hearing about new temples being anounced. But when are we going to build the one temple that really matters? The Temple for the Presidency in Zion. Until we build that temple, no other temples will be enough for me.
The Church continues to provide humanitarian aid in times of disaster. Most recently our hearts and our help have gone out to Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami and the resultant nuclear challenges. We have distributed over 70 tons of supplies, including food, water, blankets, bedding, hygiene items, clothing, and fuel. Our young single adults have volunteered their time to locate missing members using the Internet, social media, and other modern means of communication. Members are delivering aid via scooters provided by the Church to areas that are difficult to reach by car. Service projects to assemble hygiene kits and cleaning kits are being organized in multiple stakes and wards in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Thus far, over 40,000 hours of service have been donated by more than 4,000 volunteers. Our help will be ongoing in Japan and in any other areas where there is need.
I really think that any aid we give to oter human beings is wonderful in the Lord’s sight. I really appreciate the help the Church has given to people in times of disaster. I believe the Lord really appreciates it too.
My brothers and sisters, I thank you for your faith and devotion to the gospel, for the love and care you show to one another, and for the service you provide in your wards and branches and stakes and districts. Thank you, as well, for your faithfulness in paying your tithes and offerings and for your generosity in contributing to the other funds of the Church.
I’m just curious if most members interpret gospel to mean church. I don’t know which was intended here. I’m curious why tithes and offerings are being brought up. Firstly since tithing cannot be paid unless we are living the Law of Consecration. Secondly, surely there are other areas besides money that we coud be thanked for.
As of the end of the year 2010, there were 52,225 missionaries serving in 340 missions throughout the world. Missionary work is the lifeblood of the kingdom. May I suggest that if you are able, you might consider making a contribution to the General Missionary Fund of the Church.
I agree that missionary work is the lifeblood of the kingdom. However this brings up a lot of questions for me. Are the missionaries preaching the fulness of the Gospel as defined in the Book of Mormon? Or are they preaching a wide variety of other programs and principles mixed in with the Gospel.
3 Nephi 11:37, 38
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little achild, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
If other programs and principles are being but on par or included as part of the Gospel i suggest we take heed to the warning given in the next verses:
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
I’m also curious why we have a missionary fund. In a previous post I discussed missionary work and providing for missionaries. Doctrine and Covenants 84:77-91 specifically tells us that we are not to provide for ourselves or other missionaries through any type of fund. But rather missionaries are to be provided for in their area of service. Those who receiev them are those who should feed, clothe, and give them money.
By having a missionary fund that provideds for all missionaries regardless of area we violate these commandments. Missionaries go with purse and scrip, a readily available money source. In doing so our missionaries cannot receive the promised blessings associated with missionary work:
1. Shall not be weary in mind.
2. Neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint.
3. A hair of their head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed.
4. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
5. The Lord will be on their right hand and on Their left.
6. The Spirit shall be in their hearts.
7. The angels will be round about them, to bear them up.
We likewise deny blessings to those who receieve missionaries. Verse 90 tells us that those people who receive missionaries who don’t take purse or scrip, and feed them, and clothe them, and give them money; will not lose their reward.
Verse 91 tells us that we can know who is a disciple of Christ because they go without purse or scrip(a.k.a. sure source of money). Is it any wonder so many people turn down missionaries? They(including myself back in 2004-2005) do not work according to the pattern wherein they can be easily identified as Christ’s disciples. Perhaps if our missionaries would live according to scriptural edict they wouldn’t have to walk around wearing name tags with the name “Jesus Christ” emblazoned upon them.
Now, brothers and sisters, we are anxious to listen to the messages which will be presented to us today and tomorrow. Those who will address us have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. That we may be filled with the Spirit of the Lord and be uplifted and inspired as we listen and learn is my prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
My intent with these commentaries is not to bash or be negative towards anyone. Rather I wish to examine the statements and compare to the scriptures. Are we being taught correctly? Lets find out. Please leave comments I don’t care what viewpoint you come from. If you think I’m completely off base please tell me why. If you have anything to contribute please make it known.