I have had a couple of people ask for a copy of my talk from this past Sunday, so I thought I would share it here, for those who are interested. I enjoyed preparing it and learned so much!
The Liahonas of Today
Liahona: Points the way whither we should go in the wilderness (as the scriptures tell us.)
How blessed we are, to have many Liahonas which act as guides through this mortal experience.
1. Scriptures- Our Instruction Manual (this includes the Ensign and Liahona magazines.) There is an answer for every question, issue or problem that we face, in these sacred and holy scriptures. The church publications are also... modern day scripture, specifically for us! In the March 1975 Ensign, Dr. Chauncy C. Riddle said something beautiful and poetic, about scripture study and prayer: "That soul who has bravely ventured into the sea of scriptural interpretation, who humbly seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit and rejects the opinions of men, soon makes a marvelous discovery. In the midst of the tumult of human interpretation there is a rock! He cannot see it, for it is spiritual, but he can plant his feet firmly upon it. Then the winds and waves of opinion can beat upon him from any direction. He is no longer tossed to and fro by every wind and wave, but rests firmly on that rock, and on his own two feet. He now has a foundation for his salvation. He has found the rock of revelation from the Savior."
2. Prayers- The gift of Heavenly Communication. What a wonderful way to know the will of our Father in Heaven! What a wonderful way to be sure that He knows of our love for him! What a wonderful way to teach our children to rely on Him in every circumstance! President Spencer W. Kimball taught, "There is a great need in the world today for prayer which can keep us in touch with God and keep open the channels of communication. None of us should get so busy in our lives that we cannot contemplate with prayer. Prayer is the passport to spiritual power. "
3. Temples- Provide ordinances or keys to help guide us back to our Heavenly Father. Not only are we providing a great service to our fellow brothers and sisters beyond the veil, but as we participate in the sacred ordinances there, and hear those words again, we are reminded of our earthly missions and of our potential. In the April 2009 General Conference, Elder Gary E. Stevenson taught us "You are never lost when you can see the temple. The temple will provide direction for you and your family in a world filled with chaos. It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from getting lost in the “mist of darkness.” 1 It is the house of the Lord. 2 It is a place where covenants are made and eternal ordinances are performed."
4. Our Prophet and Apostles- Watchmen on the Tower. They see what is coming and how we should chart our course, and give important guidance for us. President Monson and the great men who serve with him, give inspired and direct counsel which comes from Heavenly Father, Himself. We can know with surety, that the words spoken by our prophet, apostles and others who help in the work of the gospel, are the words which our Heavenly Father wants us to hear! What an honor and a privilege this is!
5. Bishops and Stake Presidents- Our personal guides via inspiration, as they are our stewards. They are the fathers of our wards and stakes and as such, have the ability to receive revelation which pertains to us, specifically. How blessed we are, to have our bishop and his counselors, to care for each and every member of our ward, and to be our examples and our biggest supporters! There's a short story from The Friend Magazine Sept. 2009, which I'll paraphrase a bit:
Just Like the Bishop (About a little boy asking for help on Sunday Morning)
By Sarah Cutler
(Based on a true story)
Has he not set a good example for thee? (Alma 39:1).
1. Bobby knocked on his sister Alicia’s door. “Will you help me button my white shirt? I want to look just like the bishop.” Alicia smiled as she helped him. “You will look just like the bishop,” she said.
2. Bobby went to his brother Chris. “Will you help me tie my tie? I want to look just like the bishop.” Chris tied Bobby’s tie and said, “You will look just like the bishop.”
3. Bobby saw his sister Sarah fixing Laura’s hair. “Will you help me tie my brown shoes?” Bobby asked. “I want to look just like the bishop.” Sarah tied his shoes. “You will look just like the bishop,” she said.
4. “Don’t forget your suit coat,” Laura said. She helped him put his arms in the sleeves of the coat. “You will look just like the bishop.”
5. Bobby saw Mom looking in the mirror. “Mom, will you comb my hair? I want to look just like the bishop.” Mom sprayed Bobby’s hair with water and combed it. “You will look just like the bishop.”
6. Bobby stood at the front door. “Are we ready to go?” Bobby asked. “I want to be on time, just like the bishop.” “Don’t forget your scriptures,” Dad said. “You will need them to look like the bishop.”
7. Bobby picked up his scriptures. “Am I ready?” he asked. “You look just like the bishop,” Dad said.
8. At church, Bobby sat reverently as he waited for sacrament meeting to start. Then he saw a hand stretched out in front of him. It was the bishop! The bishop shook Bobby’s hand. “Is that you, Bobby?” the bishop asked. “I thought it was me!”
How I enjoy watching my children play! They like to pretend to be Joseph Smith, or sing a song naming the Latter-Day prophets. They know that they can look to the Bishop's example, and they know that President Monson is called of God as a prophet to lead us in right paths!
6. Personal Revelation- Offers personal and inspired guidance from above. We have the ability, through faith, diligence, prayer and fasting, to understand our Heavenly Father's divine and inspired will for ourselves and our families. We can pray anytime, anywhere about anything, and know that Heavenly Father will help us to know his will for our lives! He will answer our prayers! As Elder Bednar said in our recent General Conference for the church: " As you appropriately seek for and apply unto the spirit of revelation, I promise you will “walk in the light of the Lord.” Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it. But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding, and direct and protect you and your family."
I have had recent experience with asking Heavenly Father how best to accomplish the task of laundry at our house. The answer has come, without intensity, and was not immediately, consciously recognized for me...it just dawned on me last week, that that prayer has been answered!" Our laundry is getting done every day, and is not the issue it once was!
7. Patriarchal Blessings- This is our "Can Be" Roadmap. What a blessing a Patriarchal blessing can be! To each of the children and youth in our ward, I would tell you to plan now, to be worthy to receive your patriarchal blessing. Pray before receiving it. Ask those important questions, you feel inspired to ask, and Heavenly Father will answer those questions for you in your very own, personal, patriarchal blessing. This will provide you with a picture of how your life can be, if you live worthily. ( I would also add here, that priesthood blessings in general, can be a needed and very special Liahona in our lives!) President James E. Faust said:
“A patriarchal blessing from an ordained patriarch can give us a star to follow, which is a personal revelation from God to each individual. If we follow this star, we are less likely to stumble and be misled. Our patriarchal blessing will be an anchor to our souls, and if we are worthy, neither death nor the devil can deprive us of the blessings pronounced. They are blessings we can enjoy now and forever.” President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Priesthood Blessings,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 63.
8. The Holy Spirit testifies of truth and can be our constant companion, to guide us through life, if we listen to His quiet whisperings. One of Satan's most powerful tools that he uses to destroy the family, is digital distractions.
In an article by Elder Scott D. Whiting, from the March 2010 Ensign entitled Digital Detachment and Personal Revelation, he said "While modern technological advancements can enhance the work of the Lord and bless us and our families, we must be careful not to fall victim to their destructive side. We must not only avoid the base and degrading content some sources contain, but we must also recognize when electronic distractions keep us from quieter, more significant uses of our time. We must guard against becoming so attached to digital devices that we become detached from God."
In a talk entitled Good, Better, Best, from the October 2007 General Conference of the church, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said "Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best. When the Lord told us to seek learning, He said, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118; emphasis added."
I'd like to challenge everyone, to fast from their digital distractions for one week, and use that time in the best possible way. Invite the Holy Spirit to be your Liahona for that week and experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit of God.
What I have learned, in my study about the Liahona in 1 Nephi:
1. Use em' or lose em'! We must use these remarkable "Liahona's", heeding their counsel, through our faith, diligence and righteousness, or they will lose their efficacy in our lives.
(as referenced in 1st Nephi 16.)
2. By small things, can the Lord bring great things to pass. We've all heard the primary song that states "Faith is like a little seed; if planted it will grow." This is also known as having the faith of a mustard seed. We must be faithful, righteous and diligent and we must heed the counsel given by the Liahona's of our day. We must not be lazy...we must remember the great miracles that can occur from our simple faith! Let us not be slothful because of the easiness of our way. Let's not take the miracles in our lives, for granted. We should look to God and live ( as referenced in Alma 37), always remembering from whence our blessings and miracles come.
3. As a mother, I have envisioned great things for myself and my family...but I fall short of those plans daily and can get discouraged sometimes. I have learned that even when our "trying' seems small, the Lord can magnify our efforts and bring about greatness in our lives, just as He brought about great miracles through the faith required to make the Liahona work. It isn't enough, to just read the scriptures or the Ensign or listen to our prophet speak to us. We must apply that knowledge to our lives, to see the blessings and miracles occur. We must study and ponder! I know, that when we put forth our effort, no matter how inadequate it may seem...our Savior will meet us wherever we are, and lift us to our potential.
4. Have you ever thought about your personal mission on this earth? I know that Heavenly Father sent each of us here, to do something specific and needed...something no one else would do quite so well. We each have a personal mission to fulfill! Consider that thought for a moment! As we seek guidance from our Heavenly Father, through the Liahona's He has provided for us here...we will know and understand what our missions are in this life! We all desire to be told by our Heavenly Father "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." How wonderful will it be, to hear those words and know that we have accomplished the mission for which He sent us here! We can come to understand more about our mission in this life, as we read scriptures, pray, ponder, listen to our leaders, attend the temple and read our patriarchal blessing. As we receive guidance in our own lives, we can mentor our children, family members and friends in discovering their unique missions! (A great scripture for discovering your personal mission is
D&C 88: 77-80.)
I have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true! I know that President Monson is truly a prophet of God, and that Joseph Smith also heeded our Heavenly Father's call. I know that our Bishop cares about us, and that he has been called of God, to lead our ward family! I know that families can be forever and that temples provide those blessings to us! I know the scriptures are true and that we can come closer to our Father in Heaven and our Savior, by studying them. I believe in the power of personal revelation, the power of the priesthood and that patriarchal blessings are sacred and wonderful! I know that I have a mission to fulfill here on earth! Each of us has a mission to fulfill! Heavenly Father will help us understand His will, as we follow the Liahona's He has placed here, to guide our way. May we look to Him and follow His ways.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.