What is the Priesthood?

The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of our Heavenly Father. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children. He gives worthy priesthood holders authority to administer ordinances of salvation. All of Heavenly Father’s children can qualify to receive these ordinances and access the power and blessings of the priesthood. – Come Follow Me

Study the Doctrine of the Priesthood.

God our Father is a glorified, a perfected and an exalted being who has all might, all power, and all dominion, who knows all things and is infinite in all his attributes, and who lives in a family unit.

God our Father enjoys this high status of glory and perfect and power because his faith is perfect and his priesthood is unlimited.

Priesthood is the very name of the power of God, and that if we are to become like him, we must receive and exercise his priesthood or power as he exercises it.

Given us an endowment of heavenly power here on earth, which is after the order of his Son and which, because it is the power of God, is of necessity without beginning of days or end of years.

We can enter an order of the priesthood named the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.

The priesthood is patterned after the family of God our Heavenly Father.

We have power by faith, to govern and control all things, both temporal and spiritual; to work miracles and perfect lives; to stand in the presence of God and be like him because we have gained his faith, his perfections, and his power, or in other words the fullness of his priesthood.

Power we gain through faith and righteousness. Power to do all things!

– The Doctrine of the Priesthood, Bruce R. McConkie

Object Lesson.  Open up an umbrella and ask the youth how the umbrella is like the priesthood.  Give them time to think and share responses then read the definition of the priesthood (see handout):

What is the PriesthoodWordstrip Game.  What do you already know?  Make wordstrips similar to those shown in this picture.  Place them on the floor of the classroom (I had my Mia Maids get on the floor to sort through them together – it was actually quite fun and we stayed there for the rest of the lesson).  Invite class members to organize the definitions and callings of the priesthood by placing under “Aaronic” or “Melchizedek.”  You’ll be amazed at what they already know!  When they are finished placing all of the wordstrips, make the necessary corrections, using this as a great teaching moment – adding details and answering questions they might have.  This is when your studying beforehand becomes invaluable!  Who are the great men that these priesthoods where named after?  Share bits and pieces of the molding that took place in their lives in becoming the amazing individuals they became.

IMG_1281I asked one of the young women in my class to carry out the following activity on her own.  We need to get the youth teaching more! 

Optional Activity. (Suggestion taken from Come Follow Me.)  Divide the young women into groups. Assign each group to search one or more of the scriptures suggested in this outline or a section of M. Russell Ballard’s talk “This Is My Work and Glory,” looking for things they learn about the priesthood.  Invite them to share what impresses them.  What experiences have the young women had with the priesthood?

What is your testimony of the priesthood?

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What are the keys of the priesthood?

Keys PageIn what ways have you been blessed by the service of those who hold priesthood keys?

Priesthood keys are the authority Heavenly Father has given to priesthood leaders to direct the use of His priesthood on earth. Jesus Christ holds all priesthood keys. “The keys of this dispensation,” which are necessary to lead the Church, were conferred on the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 110:16). Today the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles hold those keys. Priesthood keys are also given to the Presidency of the Seventy; presidents of temples, missions, stakes, and districts; bishops; branch presidents; and quorum presidents—including Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents (Come Follow Me, What are the keys of the priesthood?).  All of the priesthood keys have been restored to the earth (D&C 65:2, 42:11, 132:7).  Their “key” purposes are:  the power to seal, power to administer to the sick, power to baptize, power to administer the sacrament, power to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Oftentimes the keys of the priesthood are confused with the duties that come from holding the priesthood.  Approach the teaching of this doctrine with simplicity and clarity.  Consider using the phrase “Keys are Conferred” or writing it on the board to help the youth better understand.  You might also use this excerpt from Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, (2000), 8–18:

“A key unlocks the door to a house. We cannot appropriately enter a house unless we receive the key or the owner’s permission. Likewise, except for the right that husbands and fathers have to bless their families, a man who holds the priesthood can use it only when he receives proper permission. A priest, for example, has the authority to ordain another to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood, but he cannot do it without receiving permission to do so from his bishop or branch president. This power to give permission is called the keys of the priesthood.

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: ‘These keys are the right of presidency; they are the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth. Those who hold them have power to govern and control the manner in which all others may serve in the priesthood. All [worthy men] may hold the priesthood, but [it] can only use it as authorized and directed so to do by those who hold the keys” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 98; or Ensign, July 1972, 87).”

Peter is shown holding his keys in the picture of Thorvaldsen’s statue (right). Do you remember when President Packer shared the wonderful story about President Kimball?

Before Christ was crucified, he gave the keys of the priesthood to Peter, James, and John. Pictured: Thorvaldsen's Peter found in the Vor Frue Church in Denmark.

Before Christ was crucified, he gave the keys of the priesthood to Peter, James, and John. Pictured: Thorvaldsen’s Peter found in the Vor Frue Church in Denmark.

From President Packer’s April ’08 general conference talk The Twelve:

In 1976 an area general conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Following the closing session, President Spencer W. Kimball desired to visit the Vor Frue Church, where the Thorvaldsen statues of the Christus and of the Twelve Apostles stand. He had visited there some years earlier and wanted all of us to see it, to go there.

To the front of the church, behind the altar, stands the familiar statue of the Christus with His arms turned forward and somewhat outstretched, the hands showing the imprint of the nails, and the wound in His side very clearly visible. Along each side stand the statues of the Apostles, Peter at the front to the right and the other Apostles in order.

Most of our group was near the rear of the chapel with the custodian. I stood up front with President Kimball before the statue of Peter with Elder Rex D. Pinegar and Johan Helge Benthin, president of the Copenhagen stake.

In Peter’s hand, depicted in marble, is a set of heavy keys. President Kimball pointed to those keys and explained what they symbolized. Then, in an act I shall never forget, he turned to President Benthin and with unaccustomed firmness pointed his finger at him and said, “I want you to tell everyone in Denmark that I hold the keys! We hold the real keys, and we use them every day.”

I will never forget that declaration, that testimony from the prophet. The influence was spiritually powerful; the impression was physical in its impact.

We walked to the back of the chapel where the rest of the group was standing. Pointing to the statues, President Kimball said to the kind custodian, “These are the dead Apostles.” Pointing to me, he said, “Here we have the living Apostles. Elder Packer is an Apostle. Elder Thomas S. Monson and Elder L. Tom Perry are Apostles, and I am an Apostle. We are the living Apostles.

“You read about the Seventies in the New Testament, and here are two of the living Seventies, Elder Rex D. Pinegar and Elder Robert D. Hales.”

The custodian, who up to that time had shown no emotion, suddenly was in tears.

I felt I had had an experience of a lifetime.”

Activity Suggestion:  Print out each of the keys below and cut out to make key shape. During class, pass them out to as many students as possible (or have the youth pair up).  Ask them to read and ponder the quote and teach what they learned to the class.  You might also encourage them to answer the question found at the top of this post. By posing the question at the beginning of class, it will help them think on it throughout the learning experience.ProperOrder Preside PowerandAuthority Delegates D&C1327 Governing Lead D&C652 Communication Bless BestowPDF Files:  Proper Order, Preside, Power and Authority, Lead, D&C 6:52, D&C 13: 27, Delegates, Governing, Communication, Bless, Bestow.

 

How do I receive personal revelation?

Faith to Ask.  Power to Act.

Our Father in Heaven knew that we would face challenges and be required to make decisions in this life that would be beyond our own ability to decide correctly.  In His plan of happiness, He included a way for us to receive help with challenges and decisions during our mortal life.  This assistance will come to us through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance.  It is a power, beyond our capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants us to use consistently for peace and happiness.

Let the Holy Spirit guide;
Let him teach us what is true.
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heaven’s view.

Let the Holy Spirit guard;
Let his whisper govern choice.
He will lead us safely home
If we listen to his voice.

Let the Spirit heal our hearts
Thru his quiet, gentle pow’r.
May we purify our lives
To receive him hour by hour.

Hymns 143, “Let The Holy Spirit Guide”

 Another favorite church hymn that teaches this principle is “Choose the Right.” Through the verses we learn that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we make righteous choices; His light will continue to shine over us and our hearts will confide truth and right to us.  Wisdom will mark the pathway we are to follow and God will bless us. We can take comfort in our knowledge that we are not left alone to make decisions in life, that we have His Spirit.  Just as we sing – we will be led to the light as we choose the right and His Spirit will be a companion to guide and confideAs we choose the right way and follow the personal revelation we have been given, we will discover the most important truths of our existence: the living reality of God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ; the truthfulness of the restored gospel; and God’s purpose and direction for us.

Ask yourself, Do I have the faith to ask THEN the power to act?  

One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon comes from the Book of Ether and teaches of Jared and His brother, Mahonri Moriancumer, say it fast three times :), who is otherwise known as the Brother of Jared.  His faithfulness recorded in chapters 2 and 3 is inspiring!  The Lord gives us much by way of commandments and instructions.  If we choose to follow His counsel we will have the ability to solve situations and trials in our own life, just as the Brother of Jared did.  Mahonri’s faith led him to the “promised land” and our faith will lead us to heaven.  The Lord will answer our questions, but also expects us to work for the solutions.  In this work we gain a greater humility and faith.  The Brother of Jared had perfect faith; faith that led him to a perfect knowledge and introduction to the Lord, Jesus Christ.  We will build our faith as our efforts in asking are as great as our exertions in acting.  It has been said, “We must pray like everything depends upon the Lord, then work like everything depends on us!”

Read through the following chapters of Ether with a purpose in mind – What can you learn about seeking and receiving revelation in your life?  How can you help those you teach to recognize personal revelation in their own life?

The Book of Ether

Chapter 2

The Jaredites prepare for their journey to a promised land—It is a choice land whereon men must serve Christ or be swept off—The Lord talks to the brother of Jared for three hours—The Jaredites build barges—The Lord asks the brother of Jared to propose how the barges will be lighted.

 JMORFINGAnd it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families, and also the friends of Jared and his brother and their families, went down into the valley which was northward, (and the name of the valley was Nimrod, being called after the mighty hunter) with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind.  This journey required great work on their part.

 And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters.

 And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.

 And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and he was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw him not.

 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.

 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.

 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.

 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.

 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

 10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

 11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

 12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

 13 And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.

 14 And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.  A good reminder – don’t forget to pray.

 15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.  The Lord commands the people to build another set of ships in which they will cross the ocean to America.  Once again, work is required to accomplish the Lord’s will.

 16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.

 17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and thejaredite-barges-ocean-book-mormon-158492-wallpaper sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

 18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.

 19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.  The Lord answer’s the concerns the Brother of Jared has. The first problem of receiving fresh air:

 20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.

 21 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the Lord had commanded.  Second, the problem of light:

 22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?

 23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.  The Lord does not give the Brother of Jared the solution.  He wants him to discover one on his own.  Third, the problem of reaching their destination:

 24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.

 25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?

Chapter 3

The brother of Jared sees the finger of the Lord as He touches sixteen stones—Christ shows His spirit body to the brother of Jared—Those who have a perfect knowledge cannot be kept from within the veil—Interpreters are provided to bring the Jaredite record to light.

The following is taken from “The Book of Mormon Made Easier” written by David J. Ridges:

“There are many lessons for us in this chapter, both instructional and doctrinal.  Among other things, we will be taught the work ethic for receiving desired blessings. Imagine how much work it would require just to be able to form the sixteen small, clear, white stones mentioned in verse 1, next, he would likely have to hunt animals from which to obtain hides from which to make bellows to heat the fire hot enough to melt the rock to form the stones.  The hides would probably have to be tanned to be workable as bellows.  Perhaps he would have to make tools and mold in which to pour the white hot molten rock…plus the energy and effort to climb to the top of this mountain of “exceeding height” to pray and tell the Lord what he had in mind for the white stones as a means of light for the eight ships.”

 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.

 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.  A prayer of great faith.

 Brother+of+Jared+stoneAnd it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.  Look for the teaching method the Lord uses in the next several verses of asking questions and getting answers (great teaching tip for us):

 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?

 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?

 10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.

 11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?

 12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

 13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

 14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

 15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

 16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

 17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.

 18 And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.

 19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.  The most powerful part of the chapter, the Savior shows all things, including himself, to the Brother of Jared, because of his great faith:

 20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.

 21 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man.

 22 And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read.

 23 And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.

 24 For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.

 25 And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

 26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.

 27 And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.

 28 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.

Now it’s time to “experiment on the words” and discover God’s plan for you by asking then acting.Let The Holy Spirit Guide

The teaching ideas below will help class members understand how to receive personal revelation.  Following the direction of the Spirit, choose one that will work best for your class.

(Suggestion taken from Come Follow Me) Before class begins, write on the board “I know I am receiving personal revelation when __________.” Ask the youth how they would complete this sentence. Invite them to continue to ponder this statement during the lesson and look for additional answers.

Show the following video, “Hearing His Voice,” and ask the youth to look for things the youth in this video did to prepare themselves to receive personal revelation.  What are some other ways we can prepare ourselves?  (see Nephi 17:2-3; D&C 9:7-8).  Encourage class members to accept the challenge that the youth in the video accepted, and invite them to share their experiences in a future class.

TEACHING TIP:  After sharing portions coming from the 2nd and 3rd Books of Ether, invite class members to share experiences to increase understanding and testimony of personal revelation.  For example, give each class member a piece of paper or an index card and something to write with.  Ask them to write down an experience when they received personal revelation and how they knew it was from the Lord.  Did they have courage to ask and the power to act?  Invite students to share their experiences with the rest of the class.

Revelation is communication from God to His children. (Preach My Gospel, 45; True to the Faith, 140)
The Lord blesses every faithful individual with the spirit of inspiration. (James E. Faust, “Communion with the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 7)
The word of God is in scripture, words of living prophets, and personal revelation. (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Power of the Word”, Ensign, May 1986, 80)

Now go and do.

How can I strengthen my testimony?

Gardens are the sacred setting to major events throughout the scriptures and in church history.  Think on the stories surrounding the Garden of Eden, Garden of Gethsemane, Garden Tomb, and Joseph in the Sacred Grove or garden of trees.  For a garden to grow properly it must first begin with healthy soil to support, sustain and nourish roots, in time producing fruitful plants and trees.  Liken this to gaining {or growing} a testimony.  What is a testimony and how can I strengthen my own?T E S T I M O N Y

Essential Parts of a Testimony:

  1. I know that God is Heavenly Father and He loves us.
  2. I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer.
  3. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
  4. He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.
  5. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth today.
  6. I know that this Church is led by a living prophet who receives revelation.

One of my favorite quotes on testimony – “A testimony is a convincing knowledge given by revelation to a person who humbly seeks the truth.  It’s convincing power is so great that there can be no doubt left in the mind when the Holy Spirit has spoken.  It is the only way that a person can truly know that Jesus is the Christ and that His gospel is true.” – Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. (1957–66), 3:31.

1.  When developing a testimony, have patience and desire.  A garden takes time to bloom.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Gardens don’t begin with blooms they begin with tiny seeds that take time to develop. For many of us, those seeds were planted when we were in Primary. As we grew, our testimonies did also. In time our testimonies led us to conversion. Maybe this hasn’t happened for some of us yet – the conversion process doesn’t come easily – we are here to be tried and tested. We must remember that challenges bring growth and growth brings joy. Just as a garden takes time to grow, patience is required in your life.

Richard G. Scott – “How captivating to watch a seed planted in fertile soil germinate, gather strength, and send forth a tiny, seemingly insignificant sprout. Patiently it begins to grow and develop its own character led by the genetic code the Lord has provided to guide it’s development. With care it surely will become what is destined to be: a lily, crowned with grace and beauty; a fragrant spearmint plant; a peach; an avocado; or a beautiful blossom with unique delicacy, hue, and fragrance. When did you last observe a rosebud form? Each day it develops new and impressive character, more promise of beauty until it becomes a majestic rose. You are one of the noblest of God’s creations. His intent is that your life be gloriously beautiful regardless of your circumstances as you are grateful and obedient, you can become all that God intends you to be.”

2. Nurture yourself.

Proper tools and daily tending to your garden are essential.  Cultivate your mind just as you cultivate your garden. Use the proper “tools” we have been blessed with to help your spiritual garden flourish.

Ponder the scriptures.  Nurture your spirit with truth. Read with a question in mind. What might I strengthen my testimony with today? All you need for personal revelation: Scriptures, the Holy Ghost, a pen and a piece of paper.  PONDER the scriptures – especially the Book of Mormon and the words of living prophets. Your daily pondering will strengthen, sustain and provide you with peace and happiness. The scriptures are key to understanding the plan of happiness. Be comforted by the words of the Lord. Learn from inspiring individuals who have made peace with their challenges and live with joy amid adversity.  Scripture study helps us discover the WHY of the gospel. Not just the WHAT and the HOW.  When you understand the why – you will want to follow!

Remember. An important part of gardening is REMEMBERING previous plantings – what thrived and what fruit or vegetable was most enjoyed by the family. The word Remember is used over 240 times in the Book of Mormon. We must remember challenges we have overcome and learned from in the past. We must remember the good that came out of those hard times. Was our testimony strengthened? The Holy Ghost can and will bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.

Serve others.  Service is key to enduring happiness. It is usually through another person that the Lord meets our needs. Joy and peace will come as we look and pray for opportunities to help another. Do not measure your service. Service is service – no matter how big or small. We are helping “pull weeds” from someone else’s spiritual garden.

Matthew 10:39 – “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

President Lorenzo Snow – “Look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to [her] and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.”

3.  Pray always.  Be happy and hold fast to what you already know. 

Don’t wait for harvest season to reap the rewards. Take time to discover each day how beautiful your life can be.

 Elder Holland – “Hold the ground you have already won. Even if that ground is limited.” The size of your testimony isn’t the issue – it’s the faith and integrity you have. Don’t let your questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle. You have more of a testimony than you think you do. Doubt and devils take us from the path. You must fan the flame of faith.

4. Remember that the Lord loves you. 

If you persevere in prayer and faithful service, the Holy Ghost will be a constant companion. Many of us have felt that companionship. If you think back on that time, you will remember that there were changes in you. The temptation to do evil seemed to lessen. The desire to do good increased. Angels were unrestrained from your presence.

Teaching Suggestion:  Print off the following quote cards to learn more on developing and strengthening a testimony.  Be prayerful in selecting those that will be most beneficial to the individuals in your class.  Invite students to read, ponder and share their feelings and impressions on what they learn.  As they share, ask questions to help them think deeply.  Validate their remarks by reinforcing what they have shared with resources you’ve studied in your lesson preparation.  The Holy Ghost will help you recall these teachings.  Remember, when you ask inspired questions, answers expressed can be opportunities to bear and strengthen testimonies.  Elder Boyd K. Packer has taught that “a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!”

Strength - Testimonhy Quest - Testimony Quentin L. Cook - Testimony copy Monson 2 D&C - Testimony Eyring - Testimony Eyring 2 Fast and Testimony - Testimony Jeffrey R. Holland - Testimony John - Testimony Monson - Testimony Cook - Testimony 5 Parts - TestimonyPDF Files: Eyring 2 Eyring – Testimony D&C – Testimony Cook – Testimony 5 Parts – Testimony Strength – Testimonhy Quest – Testimony Quentin L. Cook – Testimony copy Monson 2 Monson – Testimony Let The Holy Spirit Guide John – Testimony Jeffrey R. Holland – Testimony Fast and Testimony – Testimony

Optional Scriptures on Testimony:

John 7:17, “I can gain a testimony by believing in Jesus Christ, asking in faith, and doing His will.”

Alma 32:27-34 (Desire)

D&C 8:2-5 (Testimony, Holy Ghost, Gift of.)

1 Nephi 15:11 (Ask in faith)

Alma 5:44-46 (Alma’s testimony)

General Conference Images

I’ve enjoyed the flood of inspiring quotes and images posted on popular social media sites following General Conference early this month.   If you’re not following “The LDS Church” or “LDS General Conference” on Twitter I highly recommend it!  These images were created by the LDS Church and shared on Twitter during Conference; just moments after the messages were given.  I thought it would be beneficial to create a collection of the images that could be saved in one place on your computer for use in future lessons.  Aren’t they AWESOME?!

Watch, listen, print or download the Conference messages in their entirety here.

Conf Image Pic

Because of Him

I know that God is Heavenly Father and He loves each one of us.  I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer.  I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God.  He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth today, led by a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who continues to receive revelation from God.  I pray I will have the courage and faith to accomplish the things in which my Father has asked me to, fulfilling His great purpose upon the earth in bringing souls unto Christ.  I pray that you – the readers of this blog – no matter your faith or religious denomination, will also feel of God’s great love for you.  He knows the desires of your heart.  He is with you.  The Holy Ghost speaks to you through your heart and mind when truth is taught.  I have personally felt this sweet assurance countless times in my life, and you will also, as you prayerfully seek the truthfulness of all things.  How miraculous, that through his Son, Jesus Christ, each of us may be forgiven of our sins. How grateful I am for the Savior’s Atonement and sacrifice.  I know that through true repentance we will gain greater peace and happiness in this life, and when the times comes, we will return to our Father in Heaven pure and clean to live in His presence eternally.  I know Jesus Christ lives and I stand as a witness of Him.  All of the blessings in my life, both great and small, are because of Him.  This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Read more about the blessings you and I share Because of Him.