Easter with Esther

23 Mar Easter with Esther @BroSimonSays
Easter with Esther @BroSimonSays

Easter with Esther @BroSimonSays

I don’t want to pretend to be any kind of an authority on what I am about to share; I just want to post a couple of thoughts that I had about something significant that I noticed on my calendar this week. I’ll try to keep it brief and to the point.

As I was looking at my Google calendar, I noticed two different Jewish and Christian holidays (Holy Days) this week–Ta’anit Esther (Fast of Esther) and Easter. At first, both “holy-days” just seemed to sound the same (Esther and Easter), but the thought quickly occurred to me that they are a lot more alike than just in name.

You see, the Old Testament contains images, symbols, and teachings about the Lord Jesus Christ and His role as the Savior of Heavenly Father’s children. An ancient apostle of Jesus Christ, Matthew, had a great understanding of the Old Testament and was able to see in every detail of the Lord’s life the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. His Gospel was written for the use of Jews in Palestine and uses many quotations from the Old Testament to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

So, as a Christian, I have been taught to study the Old Testament with this thought in mind: “The message of the Old Testament is the message of Christ and his coming and his atonement” (Marion G. Romney, “The Message of the Old Testament,” A Symposium on the Old Testament, p. 5). Consequently, when I study the Old Testament I see Jesus Christ in the persons, objects, sacrifices, events, places, etc. (Click here for a quick list of some examples from the Old Testament. See also 2 Nephi 11:4 (2-6)Mosiah 13:28 (27-32); Alma 25:15-16; Moses 6:63).

When I read the story of Esther, I see Jesus Christ with His love, grace, sacrifice, and Atonement. To me, Esther is a wonderful type and foreshadow of Christ!

Queen Esther Saves Jehovah's People, by Sam Lawlor

Queen Esther Saves Jehovah’s People, by Sam Lawlor

This week our brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith will observe the Fast of Esther and the Feast of Purim. As they do so, they will remember a time of temporal deliverance and salvation.

This week our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith will observe Easter. As they do so, they will remember their eternal deliverance and salvation.

The Resurrected Christ, by Wilson J. Ong

The Resurrected Christ, by Wilson J. Ong

 

The holy-days related to the events of Esther and Easter don’t always fall within the same week (see below), but to me they definitely tell the same story–the greatest story ever told–a story of faith, hope, charity, service, sacrifice, salvation, and more. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son!

Sidebar: I was curious as to how often the holy-days related to the events of Esther and Easter occur within a week of each other. After a little bit of research, I found that from 2016-2049 we are able to celebrate “Easter with Esther” on the following years:

Thu Mar 24 2016 Purim
Sun Mar 27 2016 Easter Sunday

Sun Mar 24 2024 Purim
Sun Mar 31 2024 Easter Sunday

Tue Mar 23 2027 Purim
Sun Mar 28 2027 Easter Sunday

*Sun Mar 25 2035 Purim
*Sun Mar 25 2035 Easter Sunday

Thu Mar 26 2043 Purim
Sun Mar 29 2043 Easter Sunday

Thu Mar 22 2046 Purim
Sun Mar 25 2046 Easter Sunday

(http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/purim http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/easter-sunday)

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A Short Glossary of Obsolete Words in the King James New Testament

29 Dec
A Short Glossary of Obsolete Words in the King James New Testament

A Short Glossary of Obsolete Words in the King James New Testament

This post is actually a re-posting of an article by Eldin Ricks found at LDS.ORG: A Short Glossary of Obsolete Words in the King James New Testament – New Era Apr. 1977 – new-era

The reason that I am re-posting this is so that it can be formatted in a way that is more easily shareable on social media and sharing outlets, like Pinterest. ENJOY!

Notwithstanding the merits of the King James Bible, however, it contains many words and phrases that have become obsolete since its first publication in 1611. The following are definitions of some New Testament expressions that have either fallen out of popular usage or else have undergone in some or all contexts significant change of meaning.

adjure To bind by oath or solemnly entreat. “But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matt. 26:63.)

aforehand Beforehand. “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” (Mark 14:8.)

anon Immediately, at once. “But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.” (Mark 1:30.)

apt Fit, adapted, qualified. “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (2 Tim. 2:24.) This word can also mean “having an inclination or tendency; likely.”

assay To attempt, try. “After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” (Acts 16:7.) This term can also mean “to analyze and judge significance of.”

attendance Attention, application. “Till I come, giveattendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Tim. 4:13.)

barbarian A foreigner, one who speaks a different language. “Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” (1 Cor. 14:11.)

bewray To point out, expose, make evident. “And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speechbewrayeth thee.” (Matt. 26:73.)

bid Invite. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” (Matt. 22:9.)

bowels Compassion, feelings. “For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” (Philip. 1:8.)

broid To braid. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” (1 Tim. 2:9.)

careful To be anxious, full of care. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philip. 4:6.)

carriage Baggage, luggage. “And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:15.)

chambering Lewdness, immorality, filthy living. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Rom. 13:13.)

chargeable Burdensome. “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” (1 Thes. 2:9.) This term carries the connotation of being “accountable.”

charger A large platter. “And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.” (Matt. 14:8.)

charity Bible lexicons define charity as love (Greek:agape), and the Book of Mormon explains that the love that Christ has for the human family is charity. (Ether 12:34.) The Book of Mormon explanation thus permits us to refine the definition of the lexicons and identify charity as Christlike love. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Cor. 13:1.)

coast Border, side, outskirts, region. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matt. 16:13.)

commune To converse, consult. “And it came that, to pass, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.” (Luke 24:15.)

conclude To shut up or enclose. (A second meaning is to decide.) “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. 3:22.)

convenient Suitable, becoming, proper. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are notconvenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph. 5:4.)

conversation Behavior, deportment, citizenship. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philip. 3:20.)

damnation Condemnation. “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath neverforgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” (Mark 3:29.) A form of this word can also be used to mean “prevented from.”

disciple A student, follower, learner. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” (John 6:66–67.)

divers Diverse, different, various. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the father by the prophets.” (Heb. 1:1.)

earnest A pledge or security. “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 5:5.)

ensample Example. “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” (2 Thes. 3:9.)

ensue To follow after and overtake. “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” (1 Pet. 3:11.)

entertain Extend hospitality. “Be not forgetful toentertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Heb. 13:2.)

ere Before. “The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.” (John 4:49.)

espouse To promise in marriage. “To a virgin espousedto a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:27.)

exchanger Money changer, banker. “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” (Matt. 25:27.)

execute Perform, carry out. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.” (Jude 1:14–15.)

express Precise, exact. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3.)

fain Willingly, gladly. “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” (Luke 15:16.)

faint To be discouraged, lose confidence. “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1.)

flux Dysentery. “And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.” (Acts 28:8.)

foreship The bow of a ship. “And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship.” (Acts 27:30.)

furlong About one-eighth of a mile or 220 yards. “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.” (Luke 24:13.)

gainsay To speak against, contradict, resist. “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” (Luke 21:15.)

graff To graft. “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.” (Rom. 11:23.)

guilty of death Deserving of death. “What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.” (Matt. 26:66.)

hale To pull or drag. “When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.” (Luke 12:58.)

halt Lame, crippled. “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.” (Mark 9:45.)

haply Perchance, perhaps. “Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.” (2 Cor. 9:4.)

husbandman A farmer. “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.” (Matt. 21:33.) The connotation of this term implies taking care of items for which one is responsible.

implead To indict, accuse, sue in a court of law. “Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.” (Acts 19:38.)

incontinent Unrestrained, intemperate. “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.” (2 Tim. 3:3.)

instant Urgent, persistent. “Preach the word; be instantin season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2.)

instantly Urgently, persistently. “Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” (Acts 26:7.)

let Hinder, impede, prevent (and other meanings). “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was lethitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” (Rom. 1:13.)

filthy lucre Money or gain obtained by base, sordid, or wicked means. “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre.” (Titus 1:7.)

mean Common, lowly. “But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no meancity: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.” (Acts 21:39.)

meat Food (not necessarily flesh food). “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41–43.)

meet Appropriate, suitable, fitting. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matt. 3:8.)

overcharge Overburden. “But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may notovercharge you all.” (2 Cor. 2:5.)

peculiar Owned, one’s very own, special, treasure; different from all of the rest. The apostle Paul explains that members of Christ’s Church are owned by the Lord and not by themselves. Having accepted (throughbaptism) the purchase price of the atonement, they have deeded their lives over to God and belong to Him completely. (1 Cor. 6:19–20.) It is probably in this sense that the apostle Peter said to the saints of his day, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” (1 Pet. 2:9.)

peradventure Maybe, perhaps, by chance. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yetperadventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Rom. 5:7.)

prick A goad or sharp instrument used to prod reluctant oxen, also a thorn. “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 26:14.)

quicken To bring to life. “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:” (1 Cor. 15:36.)

scrip A wallet or small bag used by shepherds and travelers. “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” (Matt. 10:10.)

severally Separately. “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severallyas he will.” (1 Cor. 12:11.)

shambles Slaughterhouse, butcher’s stall. “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” (1 Cor. 10:25.)

strait As a noun it is a pass or narrow place, as the Straits of Gibraltar; as an adjective it means narrow, rigid, strict. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” (Matt. 7:13.)

study Try earnestly, make a serious effort. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15.)

suffer Apart from the present-day meaning of experiencing affliction, it frequently is used to mean permit or allow. Jesus was using it in the latter sense when he said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14.)

trow To think, believe, suppose. “Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.” (Luke 17:9.)

twain Two. “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and theytwain shall be one flesh?” (Matt. 19:5.)

usury Interest. Today it carries the connotation of excessive interest. “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” (Matt. 25:27.)

untoward Perverse, intractable, crooked. “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40.)

without Outside. On one occasion Paul rebuked the Corinthian saints for not taking Church action against a member of the branch who was guilty of gross misconduct. In the course of his reprimand, Paul observed that he was not in the business of judging the actions of those “without,” meaning those outside the Church, but that saints were obliged to evaluate adherence to gospel standards of those “within,” meaning those inside the Church. “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?” (1 Cor. 5:12.) This term is sometimes used to mean “devoid of.”

wont Accustomed. “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.” (Mark 10:1.)

wot To know. “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3:17.)

Sources Used

Elliot, Melvin E., The Language of the King James Bible.Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967. 227 pp.

Morris, William, editor, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. 1975. 1550 pp.

Weigle, Luther A., The Living Word. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1956. 72 pp.

Wright, Waldis, The Bible Word Book. 2d edition. London: Macmillan and Co., 1884. 680 pp.

EASTER: Creating a Christ-centered Celebration

18 Apr

There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection. ~ President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Dec. 2000.

It may seem strange to consider at first, but after pausing to ponder we come to realize that Christmas would be meaningless without Easter. As important as the divine and miraculous birth of Jesus Christ was (and still is), it would be in vain without His redemptive, atoning sacrifice that shattered the chains of death with a triumphant resurrection (To study more about the Resurrection, CLICK HERE). Perhaps that is why our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson has said:

“No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel: ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.’ ” (“He Is Risen!” Apr. 2010 General Conference)

He is not here: For he is RISEN

He is not here: For he is RISEN

Fortunately, Easter has not become nearly as commercialized as Christmas. Yet it still seems that we are distracted just enough by the little Easter Bunny and his baskets of goodies that we go running off in the wrong direction–like Alice chasing the White Rabbit into Wonderland. I like what the Church has said on this matter. To me, it expresses the proper balance and perspective we need to maintain.

Some LDS families include Easter bunnies and eggs in their family festivities for the delight of children. Such traditions are not officially discouraged, though they have no religious significance to Latter-day Saints. The focus of the holiday is religious. For Latter-day Saints, Easter is a celebration of the promise of eternal life through Christ. They share the conviction of Job: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26). (https://www.lds.org/topics/easter)

The purpose of this post is to provide you with some resources that can help you make sure that the Bunny does not eclipse the Savior this Easter. These resources are all provided by the Church free of charge, and with the hope that we will use them and share them with others.

The most recent news from the Church came today, with and invitation to view the Messiah concert online throughout the Easter weekend. CLICK on the picture below for more information on viewing this inspiring concert.

View Messiah Concert Online throughout ‪‎Easter‬ Weekend! The Messiah concert will be streamed live on mormontabernaclechoir.org/messiah beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Friday, April 18, and will be available to play through Monday at 11:59 p.m.

Easter Music

Music is a great way to worship and remember. Hymns, children’s songs and musical performances all contribute to the wonderful spirit of Easter. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir as created a marvelous playlist of Easter music on YouTube that you can enjoy and share online. I like to let it play in the background as I work in the office.

Easter Teaching Resources

and Lesson Ideas

The Church has also produced correlated material that can be used for children, youth, and adults containing stories, activities, media, and articles to enrich your life and lessons.

Prophetic Teachings of Easter and Resurrection

For those who want to experience an in-depth study of Easter and the Resurrection, the Church has created a colossal list of resources that can be studied at the following link: RESURRECTION

#Because Of Him

Nope. The # sign is not a typo. This week the Church released a couple new Easter videos and began a social-network Christ-centered Easter initiative called, #BecauseOfHim (To learn more about this initiative and get related material, CLICK HERE). You may want to visit your favorite social networking sites and search for #BecauseOfHim to see what you find. Way more inspiring than an egg hunt!

Because of Him #BecauseofHim Day 7

Easter E-cards

Another way to help your family and friends focus on the Savior is to use the E-cards that the Church has produced for sharing on your social-networks and through email. These E-cards are a great resource and are easy to share! Try it now!!!

Easter Memes & Images

There are also many Easter memes that the Church has created that can be shared easily online. People are very responsive to gospel-centered memes and messages during the holidays (Holy days). This is a great opportunity to share in the sharing during the Holy Week!

BibleVideos.lds.org

As you are probably already well aware, the Church has also created a vast library of BibleVideos that are very powerful. A number of these videos are particularly relevant during the Easter season. Here is a list that you may want to view and share this week:

Mormon Channel YouTube Easter Playlist

The Church has created several channels for you to enjoy on YouTube. The Mormon Channel features an Easter Videos playlist that currently has 15 Easter-themed videos. As mentioned previously, the Church continues to release new media so I expect that this playlist will just keep growing. My advice is to subscribe to The Mormon Channel on YouTube so that you can enjoy all the updated content. Below you will find the Easter Videos playlist along with a few of my favorite Easter videos.

None Were with Him

One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so.

His Sacred Name – An Easter Declaration

This Easter, remember the sacred name, life,

and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Because of Him

Jesus Christ is our Savior. Because of Him, we can change for the better and live again with God. This Easter we celebrate His life and Resurrection and invite all to share His miraculous story. http://www.mormon.org/becauseofhim

Sunday Will Come

The Resurrection and the Atonement of Christ are the pinnacle events in the history of the world. The darkness and sadness of Christ’s crucifixion did not endure. Christ was resurrected, enabling the resurrection of all mankind. In our lives we will have our dark days, but because of Jesus Christ we can have hope in overcoming our trials and ultimately returning to live with our Heavenly Father.

He Lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ

See and hear modern-day Apostles testify that Jesus Christ

is the Savior and that He lives today.

My Kingdom Is Not of This World

Jesus is persecuted, mocked and crucified. His followers mourn, and find the tomb empty on the third day. The Son of God breaks the bands of death and ascends to His Father in Heaven.

He is Risen: John the Beloved’s Witness of the Resurrection

The Apostle John provides his eyewitness account of the last events in the Savior’s life and his Resurrection.

To This End I Was Born

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and King of the Jews, was born to offer Himself as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind.

He is Risen

Ponder what the Savior means to all humanity—and to you personally.

And then share the good news.

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A Father’s TIME is LOVE

9 Nov
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”

In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I have a challenge for all of the fathers out there.

This morning, after I had spent about an hour exercising with my five children (ages 2-11), I remembered a quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf that said,“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.” (“Of Things That Matter Most,” Ensign, Nov. 2010. See also, “T-I-M-E Spells Love”)

As I recalled this quote, I thought, “In what ways am I showing my children that I love them with the time that I spend with them?” I understand that many people will discuss the difference of spending quality time with their family rather than worrying about the quantity of time, but why can’t we do both at the same time?

To help all of the fathers, step-fathers, future-fathers, and any other type of fathers out there to make the most of their TIME with their families, I would like to challenge you to create an acrostic using the word TIME that can help you to show your LOVE to your family. For those who have been out of school for a while, an acrostic is a “poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.” So what I want you to do is to take each letter of the word TIME and make it stand for a meaningful way that you can use your TIME to show your family that you LOVE them.

As I went through this thought process today, I found many words that I felt fit very well with our family’s dynamics. However, the more I thought about it the more I was able to refine my list down to one word for each letter that I feel best represents ways in which I personally try to make my quantity of TIME become quality TIME that shows my family just how much I LOVE them. Now, before you read my acrostic below, I would invite you to take a moment and create a list of words for yourself that describe ways that you show your LOVE to your family with your TIME. Of course this will not be an exhaustive list because I am asking you to limit your words to those that fit the letters T-I-M-E. But I think that you will find a good number of ways in which you can or do express your LOVE to your family using those letters. So go for it! Begin making a list of words that start with T, I, M, and E that name the different ways that you show your LOVE to your family.

OK

here

I

go

with

my

acronym

for

TIME:

  • T-Testimony
  • I-Inclusion
  • M-Mother
  • E-Education

I would like to briefly share with you why I settled on each of those words out of the many that I had considered. First of all, my list is no better than yours, and yours will be no better than the next man’s. Each of our lists will be somewhat different because we come from different families and we have different expectations. So please, rather than comparing each other’s words, let focus on learning from each other’s words.

T-estimony

I chose the word TESTIMONY, because I feel that it is one of the greatest treasures that I can help my children to obtain (D&C 76:50-51). In fact, I have a sacred mandate to do so (D&C 68:25-28). One way that we strive to help our children to gain their own testimony is by studying the scriptures with then each day. Two of our children have already been baptized and both of them read the entire Book of Mormon before they were baptized. They have each continued to read it on their own since then. My oldest son is currently studying the Old Testament, and his sister is studying the Doctrine and Covenants. My third child has also decided to study the Book of Mormon before he decides to get baptized. We read at least 15 verses each night so that he can finish before he turns eight. When my oldest son was studying the Book of Mormon for the first time, we were almost at the end of the book and we read Moroni’s exhortation to pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5). Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “So, are you going to pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true?”

My Son: “No.”

Me: (slightly worried) “Why not???”

My Son: “I don’t need to. I already feel that it is true every time that I read it.”

Me: (in my head) “YAAAAAY!!!” (out loud) “You’re right!”

President Uchtdorf’s previous quote continued as follows:

“Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship. (ibid, emphasis added)

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also shared the following relevant insight:

“I pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost as I describe a spiritual early warning system that can help parents in Zion to be watchful and discerning concerning their children. This early warning system applies to children of all ages and contains three basic components: (1) reading and talking about the Book of Mormon with your children, (2) bearing testimony of gospel truths spontaneously with your children, and (3) inviting children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon. Parents who do these things faithfully will be blessed to recognize early signals of spiritual growth in or challenges with their children and be better prepared to receive inspiration to strengthen and help those children.” (“Watching with All Perseverance,” Ensign, May 2010.)

I-nclusion

Everyone wants to be included. When people include us in their activities we feel loved. Recall the feelings that you had when your dad (or father-figure) would include you in something that he was doing. I know, sometimes it was hard work that wasn’t so exciting. But sometimes it was something that seemed fun, or grown-up, or something like that, and we felt LOVE. I have noticed that same feeling coming from my children as I have tried to include them in my activities. In fact, just after this morning’s workout, my oldest son came to me and gave me a very heart-felt thank you for letting him exercise with me. I let him know that I was enjoying his company just as much and that I hoped he would continue to join me for our morning workouts. I look for as many ways as I can to include my children in the things that I do. Some times that even includes them helping me in my church callings and assignments. Their excitement is often a breath of fresh air as they join me on what I consider normal or mundane. Look for ways to include your family in the things that you do! Not only will they feel your LOVE, but it will be a model of inclusion for them in many aspects of their lives. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave the following example:

“The Lord expects a great deal from us. Parents, please teach your children and practice yourselves the principle of inclusion of others and not exclusion because of religious, political, or cultural differences.

“While it is true we declare to the world that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and we urge our members to share their faith and testimonies with others, it has never been the policy of the Church that those who choose not to listen or to accept our message should be shunned or ignored.” (“Doctrine of Inclusion,” Ensign, Nov. 2001.)

M-other

In a talk given by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, a previous Young Women General President, she taught the following powerful truth:

“This morning I would like to speak to our sons and to all fathers. How can a father raise a happy, well-adjusted daughter in today’s increasingly toxic world? The answer has been taught by the Lord’s prophets. It is a simple answer, and it is true—“The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother.” By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion, and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less. Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her.” (“Love Her Mother,” Ensign, Nov. 2011. Emphasis added.)

Sister Dalton was quoting at least two previous Presidents of the Church in her remarks. One of those, President Howard W. Hunter, preceded that quote by teaching:

“A man who holds the priesthood has reverence for motherhood. Mothers are given a sacred privilege to ‘bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of [the] Father continued, that he may be glorified’ (D&C 132:63).

“The First Presidency has said: ‘Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind’ (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:178). The priesthood cannot work out its destiny, nor can God’s purposes be fulfilled, without our helpmates. Mothers perform a labor the priesthood cannot do. For this gift of life, the priesthood should have love unbounded for the mothers of their children.

“Honor your wife’s unique and divinely appointed role as a mother in Israel and her special capacity to bear and nurture children. We are under divine commandment to multiply and replenish the earth and to bring up our children and grandchildren in light and truth (see Moses 2:28; D&C 93:40). You share, as a loving partner, the care of the children. Help her to manage and keep up your home. Help teach, train, and discipline your children.

“You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for her. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” (“Being a Righteous Husband and Father, ” EnsignNov. 1994.)

I find this letter (M) in TIME to be the easiest and most enjoyable letter to LOVE. I absolutely LOVE my wife. She is simply amazing, and she is my bestest friend! I believe the term BFF (Best Friends Forever) was created after my wife and I met. This is the part of the blog post where all the guys will just stop reading if I continue on like this. So, suffice it to say, my children KNOW that I love their mother! And she KNOWS it too!

E-ducation

Formal and informal education–book-smarts and know-how–are great ways to use one’s TIME to share their LOVE with their children. The world that we are living in is very competitive, and the more our children know and can do the better. The LOVE that you share with them as you use your TIME to help them to learn new knowledge, skills, talents, etc. will be passed on through generations of families. By taking the TIME to help your child learn something new now, you could be giving them more TIME in the future with their own kids! This can happen in many different ways. Think on it! How much of what you know and do now is a result of previous generations of fathers educating their families? In a General Conference talk giving by President Ezra Taft Benson, he said:

“Good fathers teach their sons, and good sons listen and obey. Teaching is done by precept and example, and by word and deed. A good model is the best teacher. Therefore, a father’s first responsibility is to set the proper example.” (“Worthy Fathers, Worthy Sons,” Ensign, Nov. 1985.)

Before I let you go, I am going to ask you to do one more thing: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post your personal acrostic for the word TIME in the comments section of this blog post. The reason that I ask this of you isn’t because I don’t trust you to do it on your own, but because I hope that we can all find more ways to spend our TIME with our families in more ways that will really show them how much we LOVE them. It just takes one quick moment of your time (you don’t have to go into detail like I did), and you could affect another man’s family for generations–seriously! And Sisters, you’re also invited to post your acrostic that illustrates what you like that your husband does with his TIME to express his LOVE, or what you wish he did, as well. Either way, your insights are always welcome too 🙂

Thanks for reading. And thanks for leaving your acrostic in the comments section to help others!

“Line Upon Line”: Continuing to Improve as a Teacher

26 Jun

Chapter 6 of the Gospel Teaching and Learning handbook, “Continuing to Improve as a Teacher“, is an excellent reminder of our need to strive for improvement and how to do so. The first paragraph states:

As teachers strive to implement the principles and methods described in this handbook, they should constantly but patiently work to improve. Teachers must learn principles of effective teaching and master effective teaching skills line upon line through study, faith, practice, and experience. (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 78. Emphasis added.)

We find the phrase “line upon line” over and over in the scriptures and the words of the prophets. There are several ways that we can think about how that phrase applies to us as teachers.

One way that I like to interpret “line upon line” is to actually use lines as the object lesson. If we compare ourselves to regular polygons (2-D geometric figures) then this makes a little more sense. Consider what makes these shapes differ and grow–it is simply the adding of a line to the previous shape, “line upon line“.

regular polygons

So lets say that when I started teaching seminary I was a triangle–simple, but VERY useful. As time goes by and I “constantly but patiently work to improve… through study, faith, practice, and experience” I am able to be “added upon” (Abraham 3:26) “line by line“.

As teachers desire to improve and consistently work to teach in a way that is pleasing to Father in Heaven, He will inspire them in their preparation, strengthen their relationships with students, magnify their efforts in the classroom, and bless them with His Spirit to more fully accomplish His work. He will also help them see areas where they can progress as they strive to teach in a way that leads students to understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 78)

You will notice that by continuing to improve “line upon line” your shape eventually becomes more and more like a circle. Why would you want to become more and more like a circle?

Preview for Regular polygons

Well, we are taught in the scriptures that the course of the Lord is “one eternal round“; so according to this object lesson as you are “added upon”, “line by line“, you become more and more like the Lord. Through His grace and tender mercies we are able to become like the Master Teacher–“line upon line“!

Ultimately, the goal of every religious educator should be to represent as well as possible the Savior of the world as “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Speaking to a group of seminary and institute faculty, Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “The attributes which it has been my choice privilege to recognize in you brethren and sisters over [the] years are no more nor less than the image of the Master Teacher showing through. I believe that to the degree you perform, according to the challenge and charge which you have, the image of Christ does become engraved upon your countenances. And for all practical purposes, in that classroom at that time and in that expression and with that inspiration, you are He and He is you” (“The Ideal Teacher” [address to seminary and institute faculty, June 28, 1962], 5–6) (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 78–79)

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“Improvement and progression have one eternal round.”

(Hymns, 284, “If You Could Hie to Kolob“)

The Charted Course of the Church in Education

25 Jun

President J. Reuben Clark’s “The Charted Course of the Church in Education

Address to seminary and institute of religion leaders at the Brigham Young University summer school in Aspen Grove, Utah, on 8 August 1938

The Charted Course of the Church in EducationIt would be well for every teacher of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to study, understand, and apply President J. Reuben Clark’s summation of the responsibilities teachers have to the Church, its mission, and to students. How well are you implementing the principle’s defined in “The Charted Course“?

Those who wish to fully understand the “content” of this seminal sermon should seek to understand also the “context” in which it was given. “The Chicago Experiment: Finding the Voice and Charting the Course of Religious Education in the Church” is a wonderful resource for understanding the great need for this message when it was originally given. Today one only need be “quick to observe” to understand it’s current relevance in church education.

CLICK HERE for a full reenactment of this talk


President J. Reuben ClarkAs a school boy I was thrilled with the great debate between those two giants, Webster and Hayne. The beauty of their oratory, the sublimity of Webster’s lofty expression of patriotism, the forecast of the civil struggle to come for the mastery of freedom over slavery, all stirred me to the very depths. The debate began over the Foot Resolution concerning the public lands. It developed into consideration of great fundamental problems of constitutional law. I have never forgotten the opening paragraph of Webster’s reply, by which he brought back to its place of beginning this debate that had drifted so far from its course. That paragraph reads:

Mr. President: When the mariner has been tossed for many days in thick weather, and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude, and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence, and, before we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are. I ask for the reading of the resolution.

Now I hasten to express the hope that you will not think that I think this is a Webster-Hayne occasion or that I think I am a Daniel Webster. If you were to think those things—either of them—you would make a grievous mistake. I admit I am old, but I am not that old. But Webster seemed to invoke so sensible a procedure for occasions where, after wandering on the high seas or in the wilderness, effort is to be made to get back to the place of starting, that I thought you would excuse me if I invoked and in a way used this same procedure to restate some of the more outstanding and essential fundamentals underlying our Church school education.

The following are to me those fundamentals:

The Church is the organized priesthood of God. The priesthood can exist without the Church, but the Church cannot exist without the priesthood. The mission of the Church is first, to teach, encourage, assist, and protect the individual member in his striving to live the perfect life, temporally and spiritually, as laid down in the Gospels, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” by the Master (Matthew 5:48). Secondly, the Church is to maintain, teach, encourage, and protect, temporally and spiritually, the membership as a group in its living of the gospel. Thirdly, the Church is militantly to proclaim the truth, calling upon all men to repent, and to live in obedience to the gospel, for every knee must bow and every tongue confess (see Mosiah 27:31).

In all this there are for the Church, and for each and all of its members, two prime things which may not be overlooked, forgotten, shaded, or discarded:

First—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, the Creator of the world, the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice for the sins of the world, the Atoner for Adam’s transgression; that He was crucified; that His spirit left His body; that He died; that He was laid away in the tomb; that on the third day His spirit was reunited with His body, which again became a living being; that He was raised from the tomb a resurrected being, a perfect Being, the First Fruits of the Resurrection; that He later ascended to the Father; and that because of His death and by and through His resurrection every man born into the world since the beginning will be likewise literally resurrected. This doctrine is as old as the world. Job declared:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another (Job 19:26–27).

The resurrected body is a body of flesh and bones and spirit, and Job was uttering a great and everlasting truth. These positive facts, and all other facts necessarily implied therein, must all be honestly believed, in full faith, by every member of the Church.

The second of the two things to which we must all give full faith is that the Father and the Son actually and in truth and very deed appeared to the Prophet Joseph in a vision in the woods; that other heavenly visions followed to Joseph and to others; that the gospel and the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God were in truth and fact restored to the earth from which they were lost by the apostasy of the primitive Church; that the Lord again set up His Church, through the agency of Joseph Smith; that the Book of Mormon is just what it professes to be; that to the Prophet came numerous revelations for the guidance, upbuilding, organization, and encouragement of the Church and its members; that the Prophet’s successors, likewise called of God, have received revelations as the needs of the Church have required, and that they will continue to receive revelations as the Church and its members, living the truth they already have, shall stand in need of more; that this is in truth The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and that its foundation beliefs are the laws and principles laid down in the Articles of Faith. These facts also, and each of them, together with all things necessarily implied therein or flowing therefrom, must stand, unchanged, unmodified, without dilution, excuse, apology, or avoidance; they may not be explained away or submerged. Without these two great beliefs the Church would cease to be the Church.

Any individual who does not accept the fulness of these doctrines as to Jesus of Nazareth or as to the restoration of the gospel and holy priesthood is not a Latter-day Saint; the hundreds of thousands of faithful, God-fearing men and women who compose the great body of the Church membership do believe these things fully and completely, and they support the Church and its institutions because of this belief.

I have set out these matters because they are the latitude and longitude of the actual location and position of the Church, both in this world and in eternity. Knowing our true position, we can change our bearings if they need changing; we can lay down anew our true course. And here we may wisely recall that Paul said:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8).

Returning to the Webster-Hayne precedent, I have now finished reading the original resolution.

As I have already said, I am to say something about the religious education of the youth of the Church. I shall bring together what I have to say under two general headings—the student and the teacher. I shall speak very frankly, for we have passed the place where we may wisely talk in ambiguous words and veiled phrases. We must say plainly what we mean, because the future of our youth, both here on earth and in the hereafter, as also the welfare of the whole Church, are at stake.

The youth of the Church, your students, are in great majority sound in thought and in spirit. The problem primarily is to keep them sound, not to convert them.

The youth of the Church are hungry for things of the Spirit; they are eager to learn the gospel, and they want it straight, undiluted. They want to know about the fundamentals I have just set out—about our beliefs; they want to gain testimonies of their truth. They are not now doubters but inquirers, seekers after truth. Doubt must not be planted in their hearts. Great is the burden and the condemnation of any teacher who sows doubt in a trusting soul.

These students crave the faith their fathers and mothers have; they want it in its simplicity and purity. There are few indeed who have not seen the manifestations of its divine power. They wish to be not only the beneficiaries of this faith, but they want to be themselves able to call it forth to work.

They want to believe in the ordinances of the gospel; they wish to understand them so far as they may.

They are prepared to understand the truth, which is as old as the gospel and which was expressed thus by Paul (a master of logic and metaphysics unapproached by the modern critics who decry all religion):

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (1 Corinthians 2:11–12).

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5).

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law (Galatians 5:16–18).

Our youth understand, too, the principle declared in modern revelation:

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation (D&C 58:3).

By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God …

And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.

And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;

And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God …

And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision (D&C 76:12, 19–24, 28).

These students are prepared, too, to understand what Moses meant when he declared:

But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him (Moses 1:11).

These students are prepared to believe and understand that all these things are matters of faith, not to be explained or understood by any process of human reason, and probably not by any experiment of known physical science.

These students (to put the matter shortly) are prepared to understand and to believe that there is a natural world and there is a spiritual world; that the things of the natural world will not explain the things of the spiritual world; that the things of the spiritual world cannot be understood or comprehended by the things of the natural world; that you cannot rationalize the things of the Spirit, because first, the things of the Spirit are not sufficiently known and comprehended, and secondly, because finite mind and reason cannot comprehend nor explain infinite wisdom and ultimate truth.

These students already know that they must be “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and [do] good to all men” and that “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13)—these things they have been taught from very birth. They should be encouraged in all proper ways to do these things which they know to be true, but they do not need to have a year’s course of instruction to make them believe and know them.

These students fully sense the hollowness of teachings that would make the gospel plan a mere system of ethics. They know that Christ’s teachings are in the highest degree ethical, but they also know they are more than this. They will see that ethics relate primarily to the doings of this life, and that to make of the gospel a mere system of ethics is to confess a lack of faith, if not a disbelief, in the hereafter. They know that the gospel teachings not only touch this life, but the life that is to come, with its salvation and exaltation as the final goal.

These students hunger and thirst, as did their fathers before them, for a testimony of the things of the Spirit and of the hereafter, and knowing that you cannot rationalize eternity, they seek faith and the knowledge which follows faith. They sense, by the Spirit they have, that the testimony they seek is engendered and nurtured by the testimony of others, and that to gain this testimony which they seek for, one living, burning, honest testimony of a righteous God-fearing man that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph was God’s prophet, is worth a thousand books and lectures aimed at debasing the gospel to a system of ethics or seeking to rationalize infinity.

Two thousand years ago the Master said:

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Matthew 7:9–10).

These students, born under the covenant, can understand that age and maturity and intellectual training are not in any way or to any degree necessary to communion with the Lord and His Spirit. They know the story of the youth Samuel in the temple, of Jesus at twelve years confounding the doctors in the temple, of Joseph at fourteen seeing God the Father and the Son in one of the most glorious visions ever beheld by man. They are not as were the Corinthians, of whom Paul said:

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able (1 Corinthians 3:2).

They are rather as was Paul himself when he declared to the same Corinthians:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11).

These students as they come to you are spiritually working on toward a maturity which they will early reach if you but feed them the right food. They come to you possessing spiritual knowledge and experience the world does not know.

So much for your students and what they are and what they expect and what they are capable of. I am telling you the things that some of you teachers have told me, and that many of your youth have told me.

May I now say a few words to you teachers? In the first place, there is neither reason nor is there excuse for our Church religious teaching and training facilities and institutions unless the youth are to be taught and trained in the principles of the gospel, embracing therein the two great elements that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph was God’s prophet. The teaching of a system of ethics to the students is not a sufficient reason for running our seminaries and institutes. The great public school system teaches ethics. The students of seminaries and institutes should of course be taught the ordinary canons of good and righteous living, for these are part, and an essential part, of the gospel. But there are the great principles involved in eternal life, the priesthood, the Resurrection, and many like other things, that go way beyond these canons of good living. These great fundamental principles also must be taught to the youth; they are the things the youth wish first to know about.

The first requisite of a teacher for teaching these principles is a personal testimony of their truth. No amount of learning, no amount of study, and no number of scholastic degrees can take the place of this testimony, which is the sine qua non of the teacher in our Church school system. No teacher who does not have a real testimony of the truth of the gospel as revealed to and believed by the Latter-day Saints, and a testimony of the Sonship and Messiahship of Jesus, and of the divine mission of Joseph Smith—including, in all its reality, the First Vision—has any place in the Church school system. If there be any such, and I hope and pray there are none, he should at once resign; if the Commissioner knows of any such and he does not resign, the Commissioner should request his resignation. The First Presidency expect this pruning to be made.

This does not mean that we would cast out such teachers from the Church—not at all. We shall take up with them a labor of love, in all patience and long-suffering, to win them to the knowledge to which as God-fearing men and women they are entitled. But this does mean that our Church schools cannot be manned by unconverted, untestimonied teachers.

But for you teachers the mere possession of a testimony is not enough. You must have, besides this, one of the rarest and most precious of all the many elements of human character—moral courage. For in the absence of moral courage to declare your testimony, it will reach the students only after such dilution as will make it difficult if not impossible for them to detect it; and the spiritual and psychological effect of a weak and vacillating testimony may well be actually harmful instead of helpful.

The successful seminary or institute teacher must also possess another of the rare and valuable elements of character, a twin brother of moral courage and often mistaken for it. I mean intellectual courage—the courage to affirm principles, beliefs, and faith that may not always be considered as harmonizing with such knowledge, scientific or otherwise, as the teacher or his educational colleagues may believe they possess.

Not unknown are cases where men of presumed faith, holding responsible positions, have felt that, since by affirming their full faith they might call down upon themselves the ridicule of their unbelieving colleagues, they must either modify or explain away their faith, or destructively dilute it, or even pretend to cast it away. Such are hypocrites to their colleagues and to their co-religionists.

An object of pity (not of scorn, as some would have it) is that man or woman who, having the truth and knowing it, finds it necessary either to repudiate the truth or to compromise with error in order that he may live with or among unbelievers without subjecting himself to their disfavor or derision as he supposes. Tragic indeed is his place, for the real fact is that all such discardings and shadings in the end bring the very punishments that the weak-willed one sought to avoid. For there is nothing the world so values and reveres as the man who, having righteous convictions, stands for them in any and all circumstances; there is nothing toward which the world turns more contempt than the man who, having righteous convictions, either slips away from them, abandons them, or repudiates them. For any Latter-day Saint psychologist, chemist, physicist, geologist, archeologist, or any other scientist, to explain away, or misinterpret, or evade or elude, or most of all, to repudiate or to deny the great fundamental doctrines of the Church in which he professes to believe, is to give the lie to his intellect, to lose his self-respect, to bring sorrow to his friends, to break the hearts and bring shame to his parents, to besmirch the Church and its members, and to forfeit the respect and honor of those whom he has sought, by his course, to win as friends and helpers.

I prayerfully hope there may not be any such among the teachers of the Church school system, but if there are any such, high or low, they must travel the same route as the teacher without the testimony. Sham and pretext and evasion and hypocrisy have, and can have, no place in the Church school system or in the character building and spiritual growth of our youth.

Another thing that must be watched in our Church institutions is this: It must not be possible for men to keep positions of spiritual trust who, not being converted themselves, being really unbelievers, seek to turn aside the beliefs, education, and activities of our youth, and our aged also, from the ways they should follow into other paths of education, beliefs, and activities which (though leading where the unbeliever would go) do not bring us to places where the gospel would take us. That this works as a conscience-balm to the unbeliever who directs it is of no importance. This is the grossest betrayal of trust; and there is too much reason to think it has happened.

I wish to mention another thing that has happened in other lines, as a caution against the same thing happening in the Church Educational System. On more than one occasion our Church members have gone to other places for special training in particular lines. They have had the training which was supposedly the last word, the most modern view, the ne plus ultra of up-to-dateness; then they have brought it back and dosed it upon us without any thought as to whether we needed it or not. I refrain from mentioning well-known and, I believe, well-recognized instances of this sort of thing. I do not wish to wound any feelings.

But before trying on the newest fangled ideas in any line of thought, education, activity, or what not, experts should just stop and consider that however backward they think we are, and however backward we may actually be in some things, in other things we are far out in the lead, and therefore these new methods may be old, if not worn out, with us.

In whatever relates to community life and activity in general, to clean group social amusement and entertainment, to closely knit and carefully directed religious worship and activity, to a positive, clear-cut, faith-promoting spirituality, to a real, everyday, practical religion, to a firm-fixed desire and acutely sensed need for faith in God, we are far in the van of on-marching humanity. Before effort is made to inoculate us with new ideas, experts should kindly consider whether the methods used to spur community spirit or build religious activities among groups that are decadent and maybe dead to these things are quite applicable to us, and whether their effort to impose these upon us is not a rather crude, even gross anachronism.

For example, to apply to our spiritually minded and religiously alert youth a plan evolved to teach religion to youth having no interest or concern in matters of the Spirit would not only fail in meeting our actual religious needs, but would tend to destroy the best qualities which our youth now possess.

I have already indicated that our youth are not children spiritually; they are well on toward the normal spiritual maturity of the world. To treat them as children spiritually, as the world might treat the same age group, is therefore and likewise an anachronism. I say once more, there is scarcely a youth that comes through your seminary or institute door who has not been the conscious beneficiary of spiritual blessings, or who has not seen the efficacy of prayer, or who has not witnessed the power of faith to heal the sick, or who has not beheld spiritual outpourings of which the world at large is today ignorant. You do not have to sneak up behind this spiritually experienced youth and whisper religion in his ears; you can come right out, face to face, and talk with him. You do not need to disguise religious truths with a cloak of worldly things; you can bring these truths to him openly, in their natural guise. Youth may prove to be not more fearful of them than you are. There is no need for gradual approaches, for “bedtime” stories, for coddling, for patronizing, or for any of the other childish devices used in efforts to reach those spiritually inexperienced and all but spiritually dead.

You teachers have a great mission. As teachers you stand upon the highest peak in education, for what teaching can compare in priceless value and in far-reaching effect with that which deals with man as he was in the eternity of yesterday, as he is in the mortality of today, and as he will be in the forever of tomorrow. Not only time but eternity is your field. Salvation of yourself not only, but of those who come within the purlieus of your temple is the blessing you seek, and which, doing your duty, you will gain. How brilliant will be your crown of glory, with each soul saved an encrusted jewel thereon.

But to get this blessing and to be so crowned, you must, I say once more, you must teach the gospel. You have no other function and no other reason for your presence in a Church school system.

You do have an interest in matters purely cultural and in matters of purely secular knowledge, but, I repeat again for emphasis, your chief interest, your essential and all but sole duty, is to teach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as that has been revealed in these latter days. You are to teach this gospel, using as your sources and authorities the standard works of the Church and the words of those whom God has called to lead His people in these last days. You are not, whether high or low, to intrude into your work your own peculiar philosophy, no matter what its source or how pleasing or rational it seems to you to be. To do so would be to have as many different churches as we have seminaries—and that is chaos.

You are not, whether high or low, to change the doctrines of the Church or to modify them as they are declared by and in the standard works of the Church and by those whose authority it is to declare the mind and will of the Lord to the Church. The Lord has declared that he is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Nephi 27:23).

I urge you not to fall into that childish error, so common now, of believing that merely because man has gone so far in harnessing the forces of nature and turning them to his own use that therefore the truths of the Spirit have been changed or transformed. It is a vital and significant fact that man’s conquest of the things of the Spirit has not marched side by side with his conquest of things material. The opposite sometimes seems to be true. Man’s power to reason has not matched his power to figure. Remember always and cherish the great truth of the Intercessory Prayer:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3).

This is an ultimate truth; so are all spiritual truths. They are not changed by the discovery of a new element, a new ethereal wave, nor by clipping off a few seconds, minutes, or hours of a speed record.

You are not to teach the philosophies of the world, ancient or modern, pagan or Christian, for this is the field of the public schools. Your sole field is the gospel, and that is boundless in its own sphere.

We pay taxes to support those state institutions whose function and work it is to teach the arts, the sciences, literature, history, the languages, and so on through the whole secular curriculum. These institutions are to do this work. But we use the tithes of the Church to carry on the Church school system, and these are impressed with a holy trust. The Church seminaries and institutes are to teach the gospel.

In thus stating this function time and time again, and with such continued insistence as I have done, it is fully appreciated that carrying out the function may involve the matter of “released time” for our seminaries and institutes. But our course is clear. If we cannot teach the gospel, the doctrines of the Church, and the standard works of the Church, all of them, on “released time” in our seminaries and institutes, then we must face giving up “released time” and try to work out some other plan of carrying on the gospel work in those institutions. If to work out some other plan be impossible, we shall face the abandonment of the seminaries and institutes and the return to Church colleges and academies. We are not now sure, in the light of developments, that these should ever have been given up.

We are clear upon this point, namely, that we shall not feel justified in appropriating one further tithing dollar to the upkeep of our seminaries and institutes of religion unless they can be used to teach the gospel in the manner prescribed. The tithing represents too much toil, too much self-denial, too much sacrifice, too much faith, to be used for the colorless instruction of the youth of the Church in elementary ethics. This decision and situation must be faced when the next budget is considered. In saying this, I am speaking for the First Presidency.

All that has been said regarding the character of religious teaching, and the results which in the very nature of things must follow a failure properly to teach the gospel, applies with full and equal force to seminaries, to institutes, and to any and every other educational institution belonging to the Church school system.

The First Presidency earnestly solicit the wholehearted help and cooperation of all you men and women who, from your work on the firing line, know so well the greatness of the problem that faces us and which so vitally and intimately affects the spiritual health and the salvation of our youth, as also the future welfare of the whole Church. We need you; the Church needs you; the Lord needs you. Restrain not yourselves, nor withhold your helping hand.

In closing, I wish to pay a humble but sincere tribute to teachers. Having worked my own way through school—high school, college, and professional school—I know something of the hardship and sacrifice this demands; but I know also the growth and satisfaction that come as we reach the end. So I stand here with a knowledge of how many, perhaps most of you, have come to your present place. Furthermore, for a time I tried, without much success, to teach school, so I know also the feelings of those of us teachers who do not make the first grade and must rest in the lower ones.

I know the present amount of actual compensation you get and how very sparse it is—far, far too sparse. I wish from the bottom of my heart we could make it greater; but the drain on the Church income is already so great for education that I must in honesty say there is no immediate prospect for betterment. Our budget for this school year is $860,000, or almost 17 percent of the estimated total cost of running the whole Church, including general administration, stakes, wards, branches, and mission expenses, for all purposes, including welfare and charities. Indeed, I wish I felt sure that the prosperity of the people would be so ample that they could and would certainly pay tithes enough to keep us going as we are.

So I pay my tribute to your industry, your loyalty, your sacrifice, your willing eagerness for service in the cause of truth, your faith in God and in His work, and your earnest desire to do the things that our ordained leader and prophet would have you do. And I entreat you not to make the mistake of thrusting aside your leader’s counsel, or of failing to carry out his wish, or of refusing to follow his direction. David of old, privily cutting off only the skirt of Saul’s robe, uttered the cry of a smitten heart:

The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord (1 Samuel 24:6).

May God bless you always in all your righteous endeavors. May He quicken your understanding, increase your wisdom, enlighten you by experience, bestow upon you patience, charity, and, as among your most precious gifts, endow you with the discernment of spirits that you may certainly know the spirit of righteousness and its opposite as they come to you. May He give you entrance to the hearts of those you teach and then make you know that as you enter there you stand in holy places that must be neither polluted nor defiled, either by false or corrupting doctrine or by sinful misdeed. May He enrich your knowledge with the skill and power to teach righteousness. May your faith and your testimonies increase, and your ability to encourage and foster them in others grow greater every day—all that the youth of Zion may be taught, built up, encouraged, heartened, that they may not fall by the wayside, but go on to eternal life, that these blessings coming to them, you through them may be blessed also. And I pray all this in the name of Him who died that we might live, the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, amen.

Easter with Peter

31 Mar

My name is Simon, the son of Jonah. My brother is Andrew. He and I were fishermen from Galilee turned fishers of men by Jesus of Nazareth. You probably know me better as Peter (Cephas). The Savior gave me this name as we stood before the idol-encrusted banks of Caesarea Philippi. I had just born witness of His divinity as the Christ—our promised Messiah, the long-awaited Savior of the world—the Son of God. The Holy Spirit had testified to me of His divinity on many occasions, and within the week He bestowed the Keys of the Kingdom upon me. He gently tutored me and prepared me to become His Chief Apostle. The scriptures recount some of my mortal weaknesses, but they also tell of how I overcame them and was made strong by my faith in Jesus Christ.

Today I want to share with you my experience with Jesus the Christ during “The Greatest Week in History”, His final week in mortality. Without the events of that week, particularly those which took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and at the time of the resurrection, everything else is virtually meaningless.

Unfortunately, much of the world has created an Easter season that is meaningless. A bunny has replaced a God and eggs have replaced the “good news” of the gospel. The world has taken the Savior’s Holy Day and created a holiday. In the English language there is only a one-letter difference between the words Holy Day and holiday. That one letter, an “I” in “holiday” and a “Y” in Holy Day, make all the difference when commemorating Easter. Those who make it a “holiday” will focus on the “I”, the “me”—a selfish season. The one who makes it a “Holy Day” will focus on the “Y”, the “W-H-Y” of this season—a Savior-centered reason for the season. My purpose in sharing the Easter story with you is to inspire you to preserve it a Holy Day.

The first thing that you need to know is that Jesus Christ lives! And because He lives, we shall live again also. “Death is conqueredMan is free. Christ hath won the victory!” The events of Jesus’ final week comprise 33% of the four Gospels and 15% of the entire New Testament. During the next few minutes, I will share with you some of these events in an attempt to center your attention to the true meaning of Easter, increase your testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, and deepen your conversion to His gospel.

That significant week began as none other I had ever experienced. We had spent three years together, but I had never before seen such a reception for the Master. It was during Pesach—the Passover season as you refer to it in English. Jerusalem was filled with the faithful who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the holy feasts. On this particular Sunday, the first day of the greatest week in history, the Savior left the small village of Bethany, where he had spent Saturday, the Sabbath, with our friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We ascended the slopes leading toward Jerusalem, less than three miles away. Near the village of Bethphage, the Lord stopped and had us bring a colt that was prepared for His Triumphal Entry to the Holy City—just as the prophet Zechariah had foretold. “A very great multitude” had come out to greet the Master, spreading their garments and branches of trees before Him and crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” All of these acts were symbols of reverence, and the use of the title “Son of David” indicated that the multitude accepted Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah, for this was the sacred title reserved for the Savior. Their shouts of “Hosanna” (“Save now”) were misdirected as they thought more on their temporal deliverance than on their spiritual salvation. He was indeed their King and Savior, but not the king they had expected—Jesus was never what we expected Him to be, but He was always what His Father expected Him to be. The tragic mistake made by the believing Jews at that time was that they expected the Savior to do at His first coming some of the things that He was to do at His Second Coming. They almost certainly expected Him to ride on His royal colt toward the Antonia Fortress or Herod’s Palace and assume His rightful place as ruler of Israel. Instead, He went directly to the Holy Temple and took note of what He saw.

It was not until later in the week, after the Savior had made such statements as “Render … unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” and “My kingdom is not of this world” that the people were to change their cries from “Hosanna to the Son of David” to “Crucify him!” It was not until later in the week that the believers among the common people felt He had betrayed them; therefore they agreed to betray Him.

Early the next morning we returned with Jesus to the Holy Temple.  This time He made a decisive drive calculated to challenge the Jewish religious leadership. He drove from the outer court of the temple those who were trading and making money exchange from foreign currency. The money exchange was sanctioned by the Jewish leaders; and by preventing the merchandising, Jesus was in effect challenging their leadership. The issue was clear: Was the temple to be a place to worship God or to pursue gain? As he cleared the temple courts, he said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves”.  It was three years to the week from the first time the Savior had driven the money changers from the temple. On that occasion, he had accused them of making his “Father’s house an house of merchandise.” On this occasion, now that he has openly avowed himself to be the Messiah, the Savior refers to the temple as “my house” when he quotes the scriptures. Before the week was over, the Master said to the rebellious residents of Jerusalem concerning the temple, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” His shift in the words showing possession is noteworthy. As He taught us in the temple, the blind and the lame came unto Him and He healed them. That evening we returned again to Bethany.

Jesus’ actions and teachings in the temple raised the issue of authority, and both the secular and religious leaders felt threatened. They determined they would challenge Him and discredit Him in the eyes of the people. They spent their time devising taunting questions with which they desired to disgrace Him. The priests challenged him: “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”. Jesus responded by relating a series of parables that offended them. The scribes and Pharisees challenged him with similarly snide subjects. The Savior turned questioner and asked them: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” Their prompt reply was, “The Son of David.” He responded, “How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord. … If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” The Savior then turned to us, in the hearing of the multitude, and told us of the false teachings and practices of the scribes and the Pharisees. He frequently used the word hypocrite— a word meaning “actor on a stage”—in referring to the self-assumed teachers, and he concluded His condemnation by referring to them as “serpents” and a “generation of vipers.” The Savior then lamented over the great city of Jerusalem, reminding the people of the many prophets who had been sent to this area, and how frequently the people had rejected these prophets. He also pronounced the destruction that was yet to come upon the people and upon the temple, stating “there shall not be left here one stone upon another.” Perceiving that Jesus had gained the upper hand, the Jewish leaders consulted again how they might bring about His death. They would have to move quickly before the Passover to avoid a riot, however, since Jesus had become very popular with the Jewish people. How to bring about an arrest without provoking crowd reaction was the problem. An unexpected turn of events that took place supported their plot—one of Jesus’ own Apostles offered to betray Him. Next, the Savior went to the Mount of Olives where we met with Him privately and asked Him to explain His prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the ensuing events that were to follow until the end of the world. After answering our questions, the Savior concluded His teachings with three parables intended to help us prepare for His Second Coming. We then returned with the Savior to Bethany and He prepared for His trying ordeal ahead.

Jesus knew of the plot that was unfolding in Jerusalem and we spent the next day away from the city.

Sometime during the following day (we assume) Judas Iscariot plotted with the chief priests and the Pharisees to betray the Master and deliver Him into their hands. Jesus had arranged to commemorate the Passover meal in a home privately reserved for us. Here Jesus prophesied of His death. Here it was revealed that Judas Iscariot should be the one who was to betray Him. Here the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was instituted. Here the Savior washed our feet and asked us to continue to perform this ordinance. The Savior reminded us that He was soon to leave us, yet He would not leave us comfortless but would send us the “other Comforter,” the Holy Ghost. Leaving the upper room with the eleven (Judas had already left) Jesus led us outside the walls of Jerusalem to a familiar spot on the Mount of Olives—Gethsemane, the olive press—one of God’s great gardens. This is where one of the most important and transcendent events in the history of the world occurred. It was here that He atoned for the original transgressions of “Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of us all, and our glorious Mother Eve”, and it was here that He took upon Himself the sins of all mankind upon the condition of repentance. The events in the Garden of Gethsemane that evening and what happened in the next three days were so significant that the Savior exclaimed, “… for this cause came I unto this hour.” After some instructions, Jesus offered His great intercessory prayer on our behalf. Then taking me, James, and John, He went further into the Garden where He then left the three of us and went off by Himself to pray. There He pled with His Father, “let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” The cup did not pass and Jesus suffered “the pain of all men”, an agony so excruciating that it caused Him to bleed at every pore. It was during His time of great suffering that I and my brethren succumbed to weariness and were not able to wait, and pray, and watch with Him in His time of need. Some time later Jesus returned to us and indicated that His betrayer was at hand. While He spoke, the Savior was met by Judas and “the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders” who had come to take Him to trial. I tried to deliver Him from their hands, but the Savior rebuked me and faced His future with faithfulness. I followed from a distance as I witnessed the awful events of that night which included an illegal trial before the high priest (Caiaphas) and the Jewish high council (the Sanhedrin), where He was first charged with sedition (a disturber of the peace) and then accused of blasphemy (falsely assuming the power of God), which was the most serious charge in Jewish law. When He was asked directly, “Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God”, His answer was clear, “I am.” The apostate high priest cried out, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? … He is guilty of death.” Thus, one of the greatest ironies in history occurred, for Jesus, the divine Son of God, the one person who could not have been guilty of falsely assuming the power of God, was found guilty of blasphemy! And the only person since the fall of Adam who had power over physical death was condemned to die! However, the power to pronounce capital punishment had been taken away from the Jewish council by Roman decree; thus the leaders of the Sanhedrin had Him delivered to Pilate so an official decree of death could be issued. It was during this time that I suffered one of the most difficult moments of my life. I “wept bitterly” when the Lord looked upon me as His prophecy that I would deny Him thrice before the cock crowed was fulfilled.

The ensuing morning, the Savior was brought to trial before Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea who lived in Caesarea but who happened to be in Jerusalem for the Jewish feasts of Passover. Pilate came outside to hear their charges. The charge was now changed from blasphemy to high treason, the most serious offense in the Roman law. To back their charge of treason against the Savior, the members of the Sanhedrin falsely claimed the Master had forbidden the people to give tribute to Caesar (His actual words were, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”), and they also accused Him of making Himself a king. When Pilate asked the Savior directly, “Art thou the king of the Jews?” the Savior answered, “My kingdom is not of this world”. Thus finding “no fault” in Him, Pilate was about to let Him go free when one of the priests claimed that Jesus had been teaching treason “beginning from Galilee to this place.” As soon as Pilate was reminded that Jesus was a Galilean, he sent the Savior to be tried by Herod, the vassal ruler of the province of Galilee, who was also in Jerusalem for the Pesach season. However, the Savior refused to answer any of the questions put to Him by Herod—He would not put on the show that Herod desired. So Jesus was taken again before Pilate by the members of the Sanhedrin, who were determined to have a death sentence pronounced against Him. Pilate could still find no fault in the Master and so declared, “I will … chastise him, and release him.” Pilate also reminded the Jews that it was the custom during the Passover season to release one of the prisoners from prison and that he was willing to release the innocent Jesus. However, the people cried, “Release … Barabbas” (whose name, Bar Abbas, means, “son of God”); thus a murderer and one guilty of sedition was released, while the innocent and literal Son of God was retained. When finally Pilate asked the people what they wanted him to do with Jesus, their awful cry was, “Crucify him!” Pilate’s reply was that he found “no fault” in the man, and he washed his hands of Jesus’ blood (Pilate’s freshly washed hands could not have been more unclean). Then came the self-condemning cry from the crowd, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Even then, Pilate was about to let the Savior go with a scourging and chastisement, when a person cried out the taunt, “If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.” This push proved to be too much for Pilate, who had received what power he had from Caesar. Thus Pilate finally agreed to the crucifixion and turned Jesus over to his soldiers to be scourged and crucified. Then followed the torturous walk to Golgotha, where the tired, physical body of the Savior was given the assistance of another Simon, that of Cyrene, in carrying the cross. Pilate had earlier ordered that the words “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS” should be inscribed on the cross in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. When the Jewish leaders tried to get him to change the inscription from “The King of the Jews” to “he said, I am King of the Jews,” Pilate replied: “What I have written I have written.” It was about 9:00 A.M. when the Savior was nailed to the cross. Despite the piercing pain of the nailing, the Savior could still look upon the Roman soldiers and say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” About noon a great earthquake occurred, which among other things tore the veil of the temple. The light of the sun was also hidden, and there was darkness until 3:00 P.M. It was then that the Savior cried out, “It is finished”. And so Jesus was executed by the brutal Roman practice of crucifixion through which He voluntarily gave up His spirit. Thus, the one who had been given power over death by His Father voluntarily gave up His life so that physical death could be conquered and all of us might live eternally. According to religious tradition, it was not lawful to leave a body unburied on the Sabbath. And the Sabbath, which began at sundown, was the Passover, and the Jewish leaders despised the idea that a man should remain on a cross on the Sabbath, particularly the Paschal Sabbath. Thus, as sundown approached, we took His body from the cross and promptly and partially prepared it for burial. The body was laid in the tomb offered by one of His disciples, Joseph of Arimathaea. Thus ended the sixth day—the darkest day in the history of the world.

It was now the Jewish Sabbath. Jesus’ body remained in the tomb, but in spirit He ministered in the realm of departed spirits. I have written about this in the book of 1 Peter, chapters 3 & 4. The Lord also revealed to Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the Church in this dispensation, what actually occurred on that momentous day, which in eternity promises to be one of the most important days of all time. The Book of Mormon also tells us of some of the activities of Jesus on this seventh day when His body lay in the tomb. It was on this day that the Savior spoke out of the darkness to the survivors on the American continent. He did not appear to them on that occasion, but He spoke to them. Among many people on the earth the seventh day was a day of physical darkness, but it was only the brief darkness that was to herald the most glorious dawn in history.

“It was yet dark” on “the first day of the week” when Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” came to the tomb of the Savior with their sweet spices to anoint His body. However, they found the tomb empty, and an angel soon explained to them why the body of the Savior was not therein: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. …” And so the darkness and despair of His death were changed into the light and joy of His resurrection, breaking forever the bands of physical death and guaranteeing to all life after death.

What event in all history is there to compare with this? I am one of the Lord’s Special Witnesses of the His resurrection! Before the day had ended, many witnesses could testify of the reality of the resurrection, not only because of the appearances of the resurrected Christ but also because “many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.” The people of the Book of Mormon also had additional witnesses, for just as Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied, after the resurrection of the Savior on the eastern continent many bodies of the saints in the Americas also “did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them.” Within the next few weeks, the resurrected Christ appeared several times, including appearances to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, to Me, to ten of the Apostles on the day of His resurrection, to the eleven Apostles (including Thomas) a week after His resurrection, to seven of the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, to the eleven Apostles on a mountain in Galilee, to more than 500 brethren at one time, and to His Apostles at the time of his ascension into heaven. The Book of Mormon tells of additional appearances of the resurrected Christ, including one appearance to 2500 persons and later appearances to even larger groups. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most carefully documented events in history, as it should rightfully be, for it was the crowning event in the most important week in the history of the world.

Had the gospel ended with Jesus’ burial, there would be no gospel story, no “good news”—no Easter “Holy Day”. The great message of these testators is that Jesus is resurrected and was seen by many, many witnesses. On the most memorable Sunday in history, Easter, Jesus Christ emerged alive from the tomb. My witness, and the testimony of these many witnesses, constitutes the gospel story, the “good news”. My fellow Apostle John listed the following reason for including in his writings the major events of the last week in the earthly life of the Savior: “… these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”—and we will! God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Beloved Son this Easter “Holy Day”!

The Savior's Atonement and Resurrection are remembered on Easter

The Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection are remembered on Easter

Sources: www.scriptures.lds.org, Daniel H. Ludlow, “The Greatest Week in History”, Ensign April 1972

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