Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gospel Doctrine OT C15: Fiery serpents

Gospel Doctrine OT c15 Fiery serpents
Numbers 12-14, 21:4-9
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Activity: Stand a class member on one side of the room. Indicate the other side of the room is the Promised Land. The class member must walk to the Promised Land but he must look behind him the whole way. After all is said and done, it would be must easier to make that journey looking forward. Where we are looking is important.

LOOK TO…..
The Prophet c12
Story of Miriam and Aaron – They spoke against Moses as their presiding authority, pointing out that they too had received revelation and the Lord rebukes them.
            Num 12:1-6 – summary, rebuke
                        12:7-8 – how the Lord talks to Moses
?How are we affected when we criticize church leaders?
?How can our criticism of church leaders affect our family and friends?
                        12:9-10 – what happens to Miriam?
                        12:11-15
?How did Moses react to Miriam’s punishment?
?How can we use Moses’ reaction in our own lives? How do you respond to criticism?
?How do you follow the prophet? Bottom line question!

The Promised Land/eternal life c12-13
13:1-3, 17-20 Moses sends 12 men to scout out Canaan, which is supposed to be their promised land. They are gone 40 days. When they come back, this is their report.
13:27-33 men’s reports
?What is the difference in the reports?

Hinckley:  “Ten of the spies were victimsm of their own doubts and fears. The gave a negative report of the numbers and statue of the Canaanites. … They compared themselves as grasshoppers to the giants they had seen in the land.

“We see some around us who are indifferent concerning the future of this work, who ar apathetic, who speak of limitations, who expres fears, who spend their time digging out and writing about what they regard to be weaknesses which really are of no consequence. With doubt concerning its past, they have no vision concerning its future.” (Conf Rep Oct, 1995).

?How do some of us make the same error as the 10 spies?
14:6-9 How was Caleb’s and Joshua’s report different?
?What were Caleb and Joshua looking toward? Promised Land, hopeful future?
?What are some ways we can follow their example, especially in difficult times? Spirititual, mortal, social

Hinckley: “There is no place in this work for those who believe only in the gospel of doom and gloom. The gospel is good news. It is a message of triumph. It is a cause to be embraced with enthusiasm.

“The Lord never said that there would not be troubles. Our people have known afflictions of every sort as those who have opposed this work have ocme upon them. But faith has shown through all their sorrows. This work has consistently moved forward and has ndever taken a backward step since its inception. …

“This is an age of pessimism. Ours is a mission of faith. To my brethren and sisters everywhere, I call upon you to reaffirm your faith, to move this work forward across the world. You can make it stronger by the manner in which you live.” (Conf Rep. Oct. 1995).

14:26-35 because of murmuring- 40 days turned into 40 years. Only Caleb and Joshua were originals to see Promised land.

In the Book of Mormon we read about the Liahona. How did the Liahona work? Scriptures tell us the Liahona was a type. Alma 37:43-47

The Savior c21:4-9
Why didn’t the Lord get rid of the serpents? Because the serpents were not the problem.
?What was the problem?
1 Nephi 17:41
Alma 37:46-47
?If the way is easy-why do we make it so complicated?

Jacob 4:14
?How do we make it complicated?
?What is the mark? Simple, saving principles and ordinances. What are they?
?How can we keep our focus on Christ and not on other things?

Elder Carlos E. Asay: “We, like Israel of old, must rivet our eyes and minds upon the cross of Christ if we hope to gain eternal life, because through his resurrection e will gain the victory over physical death. And his atonement opens up to us a way to overcome our sins, a way to spiritual rebirth, and a way back to the presence of God.


“The direction of our look is critical. … Our looks must not be allowed to wander across the way or to become fixed upon the perishable things of the world. The eye … must be trained to look upward. WE must look to God and live!” (conf rep. Oct 1978)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gospel Doctrine OT C13: Bondage, Passover, Exodus

Gospel Doctrine Old Testament C13
Bondage, Passover, and Exodus (Exodus 1-13)
____________________________________________________________________
Display stuffed lamb, tortilla, herbs, shoes – What do these represent??

Read: Hebrews 11:24-29 Faith of Moses

Summary Ex. 1-6: 
            The Lord calls Moses to deliver Israel from bondage.
            ???Is there anything you want to discuss from this section?
            1:8 new king who knew not Joseph

            1:17 midwives feared God (D&C 3:7)

            2:23-24 God hears prayers and remembers his people and covenants

            -3:3-4 Moses turned toward bush before God spoke
            3:5 Holy ground

***3:7 God will come to our aid (D&C 90:24; Mosiah 24:14-15)

            Joseph’s experience led him to give Pharaoh this answer (Gen 41:15-16)

-4:1-5 such a human reaction (rod into snake)

4:10-11 why doubt God when he is the ultimate creator. Of course he controls all and boy is he patient!

5 This Pharaoh is not Moses stepfather

5:10-13, 22-23 Moses was supposed to save them but their work just became more difficult

???How can we not doubt God when things become hard and remember that he is God? 6:8 I AM the LORD

Summary Ex. 7-10:
7 – we should beware of Satan’s false imitations
8-10 The Lord sends plagues upon Egypt.
Water to blood
Frogs
Lice or gnats
Flies
Cattle dying
Boils and blains
Hail and fire
Locusts
Darkness
Death of first born

Read: Final plague 11:1, 5-6
Identify symbolism in 12:1-14; 22

Exodus 12 details the Lord's very specific instructions to Moses for Israel to observe in order to be saved from the destroying angel's deadly work.  The elements listed below are some of the symbolic meanings beyond their historical use in Egypt; note how they point to larger realities within the Lord's redemptive work throughout all time.
  • Exodus 12:1—their life in Egypt represents bondage to sin.
  • Exodus 12:2—the "Passover" becomes the marking of their new calendar and as such points to the newness of life that we should live in Christ (see Romans 6:1-6 and the later symbolism of Israel's passing through the waters of the Red Sea and the Lord's fiery revelation at Sinai).
  • Exodus 12:3—the use of a lamb, the quintessential representation of Christ himself (see also Revelation 5:6)
  • Exodus 12:5—properties of the lamb point to Jesus' perfect life and priesthood power (note that goats could be used as well; the Day of Atonement held at the end of the Israelite harvest and festival season featured two goats described in Leviticus 16). The Savior is the firstborn Son of God, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish ( 1Peter 1:19).
  • Exodus 12:6—the slain lamb represents the "infinite and eternal" sacrifice of Jesus Christ (cf. Alma 34:10-11).
  • Exodus 12:7—the blood of the lamb marking the door of each house signified who should be spared (atone means to ‘cover'); so shall each individual be spared the fulness of punishment owed for their sins due to the blood of him who did no sin; see D&C 45:4-5. The Savior’s blood, which he shed in Gethsemane and on the cross, cleanses the faithful and saves them from spiritual death (Mosiah 4:2).
  • ***Exodus 12:7—the doorposts representing the daily acts of our lives affected by this marvelous offer in Christ's atonement. By sprinkling our Lord's blood upon the doorposts of our hearts and upon the lintels of our souls, we set our dwellings apart from the world: we make open and visible confession of our allegiance to Him whose blood has eternal saving power; we set ourselves apart from the Egyptians, the Sodomites, and the seekers after Sheol; and we place ourselves with the believing portion of mankind.” Ted Gibbons LDS Living.
  • Exodus 12:8—roasting the meat with fire symbolizes the purifying work of the Holy Ghost and the baptism of fire (see also 2 Nephi 31:13-17).
  • Exodus 12:8—the unleavened bread typified the coming Lord as the bread of life without any impurity (leaven, or yeast, is a corrupting agent). “Leaven, or yeast, was seen anciently as a symbol of corruption because it so easily spoiled and turned moldy. … For the Israelites, eating the unleavened bread symbolized that they were partaking of the bread which had no corruption or impurity, namely, the Bread of Life, who is Jesus Christ (see John 6:35)” (Old Testament Student Manual). The removal of leaven also suggested repentance or the removal of sin from a person’s life.
  • Exodus 12:10—the bitter herbs represent the suffering of sin and the bitterness of soul that results from willful rebellion against God.
  • ***Exodus 12:11— Eat in haste, loins girded, shoes on, and staffs in hand symbolize the journey out of sin and also the preparedness for the Lord's call when deliverance will be announced. Like the Israelites, we need to respond eagerly and immediately to the deliverance that the Savior offers us.
  • Exodus 12:13—the angel of death passing over represents the saving work of the Atonement providing deliverance from spiritual death.
  • ***Exodus 12:22- Warning not to wander – “Once we have installed the protective influence of the atonement in our lives, we must not leave it to go out the door to explore theh world. There is no possible concern or opportunity that could justify setting aside the protection o the blood of Christ and his atonement to become a partaker of the things of the world.” Ted Gibbons LDS Living
  • Exodus 12:30-32—Israel's actual freedom typifies the final release from mortal corruption in the resurrection and rewards granted in the Judgment.
  • ***Exodus 12:42—the injunction to hold this (and other feasts) points to the Lord's wise program of remembrance through mnemonic tools such as our latter-day Sacrament meeting where we partake of similar emblems of Christ's wondrous work of salvation.
  • Exodus 12:46—the lamb was not to have a broken bone stands as one of the more fascinatingly unusual details of an otherwise normal crucifixion when Jesus was brutally hung on the cross at Golgotha (see John 19:31-36).
Many of the above notes can be found in Elder McConkie's The Promised Messiah (pp. 431-32). 
Read: 12:29-30- the final plague is devastating. Think about how worn down they have been. All the plagues and hardship have worn them down. They are weak mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The work of taking thousands of people on a trek is astounding. Think of a time when you have been beat upon until you can’t take it any longer and you are just a hot, crying mess.  Think of preparing your family for a long trip. Then make it a camping trip. Then make it a week long, month long, year long.
Ex. 12:42 ???Why did the Lord want Israel to continue to keep the Feast of the Passover in the future years?
President Hunter talks about the final hours of the life of Christ and says:
“Finally, preparations for the Passover meal were complete, in keeping with nearly fifteen hundred years of tradition. Jesus sat down with his disciples and, after the eating of the sacrificial lamb and of the bread and wine of this ancient feast, he taught them a newer and holier meaning of the ancient blessing from God.
The bread and wine, rather than the animals and herbs, would become emblems of the great Lamb’s body and blood, emblems to be eaten and drunk reverently and in remembrance of him forever.” (Howard W. Hunter, “Christ, Our Passover”, Conf, Apr 1985).
Pres. Hunter also said:
This magnificent gesture of love and unity was a fitting prelude to the paschal meal that followed. From the time the firstborn of the faithful children of Israel had been “passed over” in the destruction brought on Egypt by Pharaoh’s intransigence, the Passover meal, with all its symbolic emblems and gestures, had been faithfully observed by Israel’s families. How fitting it was during the observance of this ancient covenant of protection that Jesus should institute the emblems of the new covenant of safety—the emblems of his own body and blood. As he took the bread and broke it, and took the cup and blessed it, he was presenting himself as the Lamb of God who would provide spiritual nourishment and eternal salvation.” (Howard W. Hunter, “His Final Hours”, 1974).
??? How is the sacrament a “new covenant of safety” for us?
??? How do we treat the sacrament?
“Perhaps we do not always attach that kind of meaning to our weekly sacramental service. How ‘sacred’ and how ‘holy is it? Do we see it as our Passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?

With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. AS such it should not be rushed. It is not something to ‘get over’ so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. And everything that is said or sung or prayed in those services should be consistent with the grandeur of this sacred ordinance.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “This Do in Remembrance of Me”, Conf, Oct 1995)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book Review: The War I Finally Won

The War I Finally Won by [Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker]

"The War I Finally Won" by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a fantastic sequel to "The War That Saved My Life."

Once again, Ada endears herself to the reader with her vulnerability. World War II continues to rage and the aftermath is horrendous. Homes are lost, friends are lost, comforts are lost, lives are lost. Even hope is lost. 

But new friends come, in the form of Ruth, a Jewish German. No one is welcoming or accepting of her at first but soon a sweet friendship grows as well as a new understanding.

I love how this book introduces complex situations and emotions to young children, challenging them to explore and consider situations they may never be in themselves. Things like learning to accept someone different than you. Challenges of living without normal necessary comforts. Loss and death. Loneliness. Emotional and mental frailty. It is through reading books like this that children learn empathy for people and situations that foreign, scary and untouchable.

Another strong part of this book is the historical aspect. I love viewing the war from this perspective. I don't think it is one that is used very often, especially from a child's point of view. 

A couple of my favorite parts are:

example #1:
(Ada is at the top of the church in the middle of the night with Susan looking for fires)
"...I don't believe you're in danger up here, not any more than anywhere else. Think about it. You don't have to feel safe to actually be safe.'
I supposed. I'd never felt safe, so how would I know?"
I love that concept - You don't have to feel safe to actually be safe. That is something that Ada struggles with from the first novel and throughout this one. It demonstrates the power of the story we tell ourselves, what we allow ourselves to believe. Sometimes we are safe, or worthwhile, or beautiful, or whatever else, even though we don't see or believe it. 

example #2:
Mrs. Thornton has the most difficult time accepting Ruth. But in the end, she learns to look at the individual and open herself to understanding.
"I knew about the part of the world I grew up in,' Lady Thorton said, looking directly at me. 'You knew about the part you grew up in. Now we both know more."

This is one of the most valuable lessons of the whole book and why I think young people should read it

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gospel Doctrine OT C11: Joseph sold into slavery

Gospel Doctrine OT c11
Joseph sold to slavery/Potiphar’s wife
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Leah               Zilpah             Bilhah                        Rachel
1.Reuben      7. Gad            5. Dan                      11. Joseph    Ephraim/Mannaseh
2.Simeon      8.Asher         6.Nephtali                 12.Benjamin
3.Levi
4. Judah
9. Issachar
10.Zebulun
Dinah

Genesis 37 Joseph Sold Into Slavery
Scan over Gen 37
???What do you learn from/about the brothers?
            Downfall of favoritism and jealousy
Joseph is obedient and diligent: He is asked to check on his brothers. He
travels 45+12 miles and wanders in fields to find them
Reuben tried to save Joseph
Judah has the idea to sell Joseph to the Middianites

Speaking of Judah, Gen 38 is about him and it is not favorable. It seems like it is set up as a contrast to the Joseph’s experience with Potiphar’s wife.

Genesis 39 Potiphar’s wife
Scan over Gen 39
Joseph was approx.. 17 yrs old when he was sold. He served approx. 13 yrs in Potiphar’s house (3-4 in prison)
???What do you learn? What stands out?

???What do you think about Temptation?
???Can we avoid it? Is it as easy as running away?
Will-power can be depleted. No matter how good you are, if you keep putting yourself in tempting situations, you will be depleted.
1 Cor. 10:12 – “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

"The temptation itself created a cost. Imagine that your morning is full of temptation: muffin, croissant, Facebook, YouTube, saying something nasty to your boss (or kids, in my case), the morning is just full of temptation. And you've been able to resist all of that, good for you, but by the time you've resisted all of them, you've already paid the price. And the price you've paid is the price of depletion."


“The kids who resist temptation don't just sit there and stare at the marshmallow. They do things. They sit on their hands, they watch the ceiling, they sing a song, they turn around, they do things. That, I think, suggests that... there is training. And Walter Mischel did this very nice experiment in which he asked the kids to think about the marshmallows as clouds, and that basically eliminated the temptation to a large degree." (Dan Ariely)

Morality was Joseph’s temptation in this particular story.
Immorality vs Amorality
How do you stay virtuous? How do you teach your children?

God stayed with Joseph . Gen 39:2-3; 39:21-23
Why? What did Joseph do to keep God with him?
Where did Joseph find the strength to stay moral?

"The Lord needs to know if he can trust us to do the right thing in every situation. Joseph of Egypt had a fine position as Potiphar’s principal steward. Then the wife of Potiphar attempted to entice him to sin. Joseph was far from home and family. He was a trusted slave, but still a slave nonetheless. No one would know or care about his morals. To spurn the woman would certainly bring severe complications to his life, but he was true to his noble character. He fled sin, was caught, and imprisoned. He paid a price for his purity; yet to have done otherwise would have been a tragic flaw in his character. Nephi’s strength of character led him to obey a commandment. He could easily have been slain by the wicked Laban. Yet to not obey, when he had the testimony that the Lord would open the way for him to obtain the plates, would have been a flaw in his character. The Lord could trust Joseph and Nephi." (The Cs of Spirituality, Robert E Wells, Oct. 1978)

What do Nephi and Joseph have in common? The testimony that the Lord would open the way.
The bigger picture.







"Clearly the brothers, and apparently also Jacob, had misunderstood the nature of their bowing to Joseph. They understandably, but incorrectly took that to mean they would worship Joseph, or took it as some kind of measure of their relative value of worth. Wonderfully we learn that Joseph was elevated to his position in order to serve them. And, their bowing was an act of receiving their brother’s help, not meant to establish some kind of family pecking order." (Phillip Allred, LDSLiving Mag, Mar 4, 2014) 

Servitude vs. Submission/ willingness to serve
Can this apply to parenthood?


Serving others:
"In this way – the same as Joseph had done during his lifetime – Joseph’s progeny are to become saviors to their brethren of Israel (and by extension the rest of Father’s children). During this last dispensation, Joseph’s descendants are charged with providing the covenants, ordinances, and saving truths of the gospel for the rest of the family. With this in mind, it is exciting to see our modern Temples as veritable spiritual granaries or storehouses where souls are literally delivered and saved while all around a famine seeks to lay waste precious mortal opportunities." (Phillip Allred)


Good quote on Morality, Immorality, Amorality:
It’s not immorality that we hate in movies, it’s amorality. Immorality, accurately portrayed complete with consequences, is a part of many good stories, including those from the scriptures.
But amorality, depicted without context or consequence, is an insidious evil that drags down all of society, particularly its younger members.
When dishonesty or violence or especially jumping into bed together on first acquaintance is depicted as the norm — portrayed as what everybody does — it can lead kids thoughtlessly into the same behaviors.

“Our Love-Hate Relationship with Movies” Richard & Linda Eyre, DesNews, Tues March 4, 2014

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Why write?


I enjoy writing. I really do. 
But sometimes I get burned out. 
I lose inspiration
and direction
and confidence.

Getting started again is the hardest!
But I've had some stones in my shoe, 
spurs in my boot, 
kicks in the rear.

For starters, I've decided to create a special writing space for myself. 

Here is what it currently looks like:

Its going to take a litte lot of work. :)
But look at all those books!
HEAVEN!

Another motivation is this cute poster my daughter and her friend put together for me. 
"For the MOTHER" 
(hahaha!)


I just love that they recap the writing process for me and then tell me "Mom your AWESOME Believe in YOURSELF!!!!!"
I needed to hear that. Thank you!

Motivation #3:
Bryce wrote this awesome story in class. 
"Jack was in his bed. The doll had blue and red cracks all over. A bucket of blood and it was from people. The dolls eyes turned blood red. the doll started running at Jack. He raced out of his room. He saw blood eyes, red and blue..." (I took a little editorial privilege)

Ok, so maybe weaving a tale runs in the family and maybe someone wants to hear it. 

And that brings me to my final motivation - 
hoping that people want to hear what I write.

Whether its fiction or nonfiction, I write because I want to tell a story, but I also write because I want to be heard. 

I love the song "You Matter To Me" from the broadway show "Waitress." 

"Its addictive the minute you let yourself think,
the things that I say just might matter to someone."

So, its time to get serious about writing again. I need to clear thoughts and experiences from my mind so I can make sense of them, grow from them and be heard. I also need to finished a couple of middle-grade stories for my children before they aren't children anymore. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Review: Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River by [Enger, Leif]

Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger, is one of the most beautiful books written. It is very poetic and a little slow to begin and for some in my book club, it was hard to get into. But for me, its like swimming in a beautiful ocean of words. 

If you give yourself a little time to immerse into the story, you will fall in love with 11-year-old Reuben and his family. Beginning with severe bullying and a drastic reaction by taking things into their own hands, the family is propelled into a cross-country trip to save their family. 

One of the best parts of this book for me, besides the beautiful writing, was the religious undercurrent throughout the entire novel. I just loved it. Miracles and prophets and the drive to do the right. Also, the character development and family development were so deep and meaningful. The relationships between Reuben and his sister and brother. And the role of his father as the bedrock of the family. Heart-breaking at times but always real and honest. 

Also, the setting is almost a character in and of itself. From the long stretches of road, to the snow, to the fiery crevasse. And the characters that come on scene to help and to hinder are drawn with distinct characterization. 

This is a wonderful book for young adult/adult. If you find it hard to get into, don't give up. It is worth reading! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Gospel Doctrine OT C9: Provide a Lamb

Gospel Doctrine Old Testament C9
God Will Provide Himself a Lamb (Gen 15-17, 21-22)
____________________________________________

History: Abraham 1:5-7 Evil times
                                1:15 Abraham is saved
                                1:16-19 Jehovah speaks to Abraham
                                1:20 altar and evil priest are destroyed

??What is learned when Jehovah speaks to Abraham?
                -God will deliver him from his evil surroundings v16
-Sometimes deliverance takes us to strange lands v16
-People are evil because they turn their hearts away from the true God. If we want to be delivered and not destroyed, we need to keep our hearts turned toward God v17
        -God will lead him by the hand, give him the priesthood and power v18
                               
??How might Abraham’s experience on the altar of the false priests have helped prepare him for future trials? How can our trials help us prepare for future difficulties?

History: ??What promise did the Lord give Abraham regarding children? That they would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven.

??What was the problem? Sarah was barren. Gen 16:1-2.
She gave Hagar to her husband to bear children. Hagar bore Ishmael.
Abraham has a vision. Gen 17:15-17, 19. Sarah will bear a son a name him Isaac.

??What can the revelation that Abraham and Sarah would have a son teach us about how God fulfills his promises? God will fulfill his promises, though not necessarily in the way or at the tie we might expect. We are often asked to wait by the Lord.

We can look at what Abraham has learned, just in the readings of this lesson, (not taking into consideration the visions he had of the creation and worlds without number), and we see great mercy, love and attention from the Lord. It supports my personal Old Testament theme:
Moroni 10:3 “Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.”

And then comes this. Video: Akedah (The Binding)

CHRISTYPE:
??What Christ-type do you see in the offering of Isaac?
                Abraham as the father, Isaac as the son
                Isaac as us, the ram in the thicket as Christ

Elder Dallin H Oaks said: “This story … shows the goodness of God in protecting Isaac and in providing a substitute so he would not have to die. Because of our sins and our mortality, we, like Isaac, are condemned to death. When all other hope is gone, our Father in Heaven provides the Lamb of God, and we are saved by his sacrifice” (Ensign, Nov 1992)

Of course the sacrifice of Isaac would be difficult on so many levels.
??What are some specific reasons it would be so hard for Abraham?
                -he had to wait for so long for a son. Isaac was his miracle
                -God had promised that the Abrahamic covenant would continue through Isaac and his descendants
                -Abraham’s personal history of almost being offered a sacrifice himself. We talked earlier about how that experience could prepare him? Do you think it did?

Our trials are all different, but can be no less difficult than what others are called to bear.

??What are things you or people you know struggle with?
It may be health issues, depression, work and employment, family issues, struggling with testimony and doubts. The thing that is the same is that we all have trials and we all are asked to sacrifice.

FOR ME: Take it for what it’s worth:  It made a different kind of sense to me to realize, these are not just trials. I’m not just muddling through and trying to come out the best I can. These are trials that require sacrifices in which I prove my faithfulness and obedience; my willingness to sacrifice. (Sterling misses passing the sacrament to his children)

??What have you been asked to give up? Ideal health? Can’t eat what you want? A big home? Extravagant vacations? Family relationships? The need to have concrete answers to spiritual questions? 

Elder Spencer W. Kimball: “Exceeding faith was shown by Abraham when the superhuman test was applied to him His young ‘child of promise,’ destined to be the father of empires, must now be offered upon the sacrificial altar. It was God’s command, but it seemed so contradictory! How could his son, Isaac, be the father of an uncountable posterity if in his youth his mortal life was to be terminated? Why should he, Abraham, be called upon to do this revolting deed? It was irreconcilable, impossible! And yet he believed God. His undaunted faith carried him with breaking heart toward the land of Moriah with this young son who little suspected the agonies through which his father must have been passing.” (Conf Report, Oct. 1952)

FOR ME: Taking it one step further:  Sometimes God’s commands may seem contradictory or too difficult to accomplish. I’m thinking of social issues in and out of the church that are difficult to understand. Same gender issues, women and the priesthood to name a few. We must follow the example of Abraham and live with exceeding faith.

President Hugh B. Brown said that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac because “Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham” (in Truman G. Madsen, The Highest in Us [1978], 49).

D&C 101:4 – “Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.”

Henry B Eyring: “We need strength beyond ourselves to keep the commandments in whatever circumstance life brings to us. For some it may be poverty, but for others it may be prosperity. It may be the ravages of age or the exuberance of youth. The combination of trials and their duration are as varied as are the children of our Heavenly Father. No two are alike. But what is being tested is the same, at all times in our lives and for every person: will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us? (Conf Rep Apr 2004)

I don’t think we will ever be asked to sacrifice a child but we WILL be asked to sacrifice. The response either way should be faithful obedience. Will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us? That is the goal, the measure of our faith





Spencer W. Kimball: “How often do Church members arise early in the morning to do the will of the Lord? How often do we say, “Yes, I will have home evening with my family, but the children are so young now; I will start when they are older”? How often do we say, “Yes, I will obey the commandment to store food and to help others, but just now I have neither the time nor the money to spare; I will obey later”? Oh, foolish people! While we procrastinate, the harvest will be over and we will not be saved. Now is the time to follow Abraham’s example; now is the time to repent; now is the time for prompt obedience to God’s will.” (“The Example of Abraham,” Ensign, June 1975).