Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Priesthood Power of Women



Who has the privilege of the ministering of angels?

What does it mean that the Aaronic Priesthood holds “the key of the ministering of angels” and of the “gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins”? The meaning is found in the ordinance of baptism and in the sacrament. Baptism is for the remission of sins, and the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants and blessings of baptism. Both should be preceded by repentance. When we keep the covenants made in these ordinances, we are promised that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. The ministering of angels is one of the manifestations of that Spirit. ("The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament", Dallin H. Oaks, Oct 1998) 
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the ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. President John Taylor described “the action of the angels, or messengers of God, upon our minds, so that the heart can conceive … revelations from the eternal world” (Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham [1987], 31). 
Nephi described three manifestations of the ministering of angels when he reminded his rebellious brothers that (1) they had “seen an angel,” (2) they had “heard his voice from time to time,” and (3) also that an angel had “spoken unto [them] in a still small voice” though they were “past feeling” and “could not feel his words” (1 Ne. 17:45). The scriptures contain many other statements that angels are sent to teach the gospel and bring men to Christ (see Heb. 1:14; Alma 39:19; Moro. 7:25, 29, 31–32; D&C 20:35). Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen. 
How does the Aaronic Priesthood hold the key to the ministering of angels? The answer is the same as for the Spirit of the Lord.

In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. As explained earlier, through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels.
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The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the “gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins” (D&C 84:27). The cleansing power of our Savior’s Atonement is renewed for us as we partake of the sacrament. The promise that we “may always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77) is essential to our spirituality. The ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are vital to all of this. I testify that this is true, and I pray that our brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood will understand the importance of their sacred responsibilities and act worthily in them, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1998/10/the-aaronic-priesthood-and-the-sacrament?lang=eng


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Monday, October 07, 2019

Jesus at the center of it all

The reason we have general conference two times a year.

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.  (Luke 18:35-43
The blind man had the good sense to have spiritually sensitive people around him.

Those of us with sight.

What does it all mean?

General Conference "will mean little or nothing unless we find Jesus at the center of it all. To grasp the vision we are seeking, the healing that He promises, the significance we somehow know is here, we must cut through the commotion (joyful as it is); and fix our attention on Him.

The prayer of every speaker, the hope of all who sing, the reverence of every guest; we are all dedicated to inviting the spirit of Him whose church this is: the Living Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace. But we don't have to be in a conference center to find him. When a child reads the Book of Mormon for the first time and is enamored with Abinadi's courage or the march of 2,000 stripling warriors. We can gently add that Jesus is the central, omnipresent figure in this marvelous chronicle standing like a colossus over virtually every page of it; and providing the link to all the other faith promoting figures in it."

(Jeffrey R. Holland 5 Oct 2019, at 1:15:31)
https://youtu.be/YFTqZFjqcTE?t=4531

Likewise, when a friend is learning about our faith.

Jeffrey R. Holland 1:15:31




Pent up in an Acorn Shell

From "Joseph Smith Through the Eyes of Those Who Knew Him Best", Truman & Ann Madsen
Latter-Day Saint Scholar and Author & BYU Professor of Ancient Scripture, Joseph Smith Lecture
November 13, 2003

Heber C. Kimball once said that Joseph's greatest sorrow, amidst all his other afflictions, was his inability to communicate.  He said, "I will remark that you will have here with you a few of us that have traveled with him here from the beginning.  And we know his trials.  And we know that the greatest torment he had, and the greatest mental suffering, was because this people would not live up to their privileges.  There were many things he desired to reveal that we have not learned yet, but he could not do it.   He said sometimes he felt pressed upon, as though he was pent up in an acorn shell, and all because the people did not and would not prepare themselves to receive the rich treasures of wisdom and knowledge that he had to impart." 
In one of his climactic discourses, the Prophet said, "Knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven."  (Truman G Madsen)


Friday, September 13, 2019

What does the Church believe about evolution?

From "What does the Church believe about evolution?", New Era Oct 2016
The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution. Though the details of what happened on earth before Adam and Eve, including how their bodies were created, have not been revealed, our teachings regarding man’s origin are clear and come from revelation. 
Before we were born on earth, we were spirit children of heavenly parents, with bodies in their image. God directed the creation of Adam and Eve and placed their spirits in their bodies. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, our first parents, who were created in God’s image. There were no spirit children of Heavenly Father on the earth before Adam and Eve were created. In addition, “for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family.” They fell from that state, and this Fall was an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to become like Him. (See Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet,” Apr. 2015 general conference.)
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

"Joseph, what do you want me to do?"

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The story is told of a council meeting involving the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Twelve Apostles. During the meeting, the Prophet rebuked Brigham Young from head o toe in front of the others, accusing him of something he had not done. When Joseph had finished his rebuke, the other brethren sat silently awaiting Brigham Young's response. Brigham Young rose to his feet. He was a strong man. He could have reacted and said: "Now, look here, haven't you read how you're not supposed to rebuke in public, but only in private?" Or, "Brother Joseph, doesn't it say something in the revelations about persuasion, and long-suffering, and gentleness and meekness?" Or, "Joseph, you are dead wrong. I would never do that." But Brigham Young did not react in any of those ways. He acted and said simply, "Joseph, what do you want me to do?" Joseph burst into tears, approached Brigham Young, threw his arms around him and said, "Brother Brigham, you passed [the test]" (See Truman Madsen, Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 88). [From "Resolving Conflict", by Lon A. Pyper, Accessed Sep 2019]
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Seeing Green

https://youtu.be/JPv-B0wn6F0
After Jill Thomas lost her daughter Penny in a tragic accident, her world seemed to crumble. Her husband was having a crisis of faith in God, her little girl was gone, and hope seemed all but lost.

“I felt nothing. I believed that the ‘answers’ to read your scriptures, say your prayers, and go to church were inspired and true. Yet I was doing those things—I was doing those things very earnestly—and I was feeling nothing. I had a sense that a critical aspect of spirituality was missing, but I didn’t know how to be inspired or guided anymore. I was lost.”

Join Jill in this Hope Works presentation as she explores the creative thought process that taught her to have faith, hope, and joy even in the midst of her suffering.

Hope Works is a series of videos captured at live events where presenters share interesting insights about hope and faith and how it works in their lives.
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From "Seeing Green", Jill Thomas, November 3, 2016



Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Hope of God's Light



https://youtu.be/2w49_1a9X0Q

Many of us have wondered if God knows us or if He even exists. Todd was someone who made fun of people who thought God was real, and he wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get an immediate answer to a prayer. But could God be giving us small but obvious answers? And how patient do we need to be to get those answers?  
You can find hope in God & Jesus Christ and know for a surety that they exist and love you.


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Thursday, August 29, 2019

If Thou Endure Well

Notes from “If Thou Endure Well”, Neal A. Maxwell, December 4, 1984 • BYU Devotional, BYU Link to MP3


"We all have enough strength to endure the misfortunes of others." Francois de La Rochefoucauld (Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes. BrainyQuote.com)

"For there was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently" (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5 Scene 1, William Shakespeare, )

“I can endure my own despair, but not another's hope”(William Walsh, From GoodReads.com)

“Some of your hurts you have cured, and the sharpest you've even survived. But what torments of grief you've endured from evils which never arrived" (Ralph Waldo Emerson, From GoodReads.com)

“That toil of growing up; The ignominy of boyhood; the distress Of boyhood changing into man; The unfinished man and his pain.” (William Butler Yeats, From QuoteFancy.com)

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And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
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Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
(2 Nephi 31:16,20)
"We are not simply to exist to the end. Rather we are to persist in following the example of the Son of the Living God. " - Neal A. Maxwell

“There is no disappointment we endure one-half so great as what we are to ourselves.” (Philip James Bailey, from quotefacncy.com)

Especially for Latter-day Saints, where we have great expectations; and then must endure the difference of what we could be and what we are. And try to make of that some useful, divine discontent rather than corrosive affliction of the self. 

This quality about which we are speaking therefore is graceful endurance. And it includes becoming and growing. It includes but is not limited to hanging on for one moment more. It is, as has been observed, a circumstance in which all virtues at the testing point, take the form of courage. And then after you and I have passed breaking points without breaking, our virtues take the form of endurance.

Besides, this life is not lineal. It is experiential. It is not really chronological, though we use clocks and calendars and wristwatches.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Standard of Truth

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The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. (Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter, 1 Mar 1842, History of the Church, 4:540, p 540)
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