Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Covenants permit divine influence to flow into our souls

From a FB post of D. Todd Christofferson, Sun 3 Nov 2019
Today I am in Paraguay for the rededication of the AsunciĆ³n temple. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the work in Paraguay. It was in 1949 that missionaries began to serve there. To show you my age, this new mission was established when I was four years old. In my lifetime, the Church and the restored gospel in Paraguay have grown from no presence to 11 stakes, 2 missions, and a beautiful temple. 
To me, the fact that we sacrifice to build temples is an undeniable witness that Jesus Christ is the living, resurrected Son of God. I bear my personal witness that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, our living, resurrected Redeemer. I bear witness that it is Jesus Christ who is the Master Builder of celestial men and women in this, the house of the Lord. 
God does not force grace or goodness upon us, but the covenants we make through temple ordinances permit Him to let His divine influence flow into our souls. This brings power in the priesthood, power to declare the word of God, power to gather scattered Israel, and power to offer redemption to the dead. It is the power to resist temptation and overcome evil. It is the power to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. In other words, it is the power to lay hold on eternal life. 
I pray that all of us may repent daily and become increasingly holy. I pray that each of you will be armed with righteousness and the power of God all the days of your life.
I love how he describes God as not forcing his grace or goodness upon us. God offers his covenants to us. As we accept and honor them, we receive of the grace of God. We receive the power enabling us to become increasingly holy. We receive power to know God because we are doing what Jesus would do in our place.

Friday, November 01, 2019

An extraordinary conference of the church


From "Episode 36—The Mission of the Twelve to England"

An extraordinary conference of the church. 16 Aug 1841. Willard Richards noted in his diary, "Business of the church given to the Twelve"

"It was a constitutional change to bring the twelve into responsibility jurisdictional assignments within the organized stakes of Zion.
(Video mark 25:23)

Nine members of the quorum of the twelve that went on the mission to England are the nine who stuck with it. (26:58)

"the twelve should be authorized <​wh​> to assist in managing the affairs of th[e] kingdom in this place. which he said was their duties of their office"
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minutes-16august-1841/2

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

There must be opposition in all things

Kwaku posted a video named "i believe in multiple gods". In it he says
So let's examine good and evil. If God created everything and saw everything that was going to happen and hit that first domino and said, "Let it all rip, let it all go", then He is the creator of good and evil. He is the father of evil.
(15:19
Since Father in Heaven is the father of the spirit of Lucifer. Technically, yes He is the father of evil. That does not make him the reason evil came into the world. Lucifer is the creator of his own evil, not Father in Heaven. In 2 Nephi 2:11 we learn
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

God is the father of all of our spirits. This includes Lucifer. God also knows the beginning from the end. God knew that Lucifer would rebel in our premortal life. God's foreknowledge does not make him responsible for Lucifer's choices. In 2 Nephi 2, Lehi instructed Jacob and his other children that there must be an opposition or else there is no way for us to progress to be like our Father in Heaven.

God has given all of us the gift of agency. We are unlike all the other creations He has made. This gift extends to Lucifer, who ironically sought to destroy our agency (Moses 4:1). It was the rebellion of Lucifer both in heaven and in the garden of Eden that provided the very opposition that agency requires.

(Link to my YouTube comment)

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Case for the Book of Mormon

--
The book has five parts, starting with an introduction stating that the Book of Mormon must be either true or false, a divine work or a fraud, and explaining why. And we are reminded why all this is important, with a quote from Anglican theologian Austin Farrer: “Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish” ("A Case for the Book of Mormon" Tad R. Callister page 9, Introduction to the quote by Trevor Holyoak, Association of Mormon Letters).
Original reference for Austin Farrer:

Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.
(Austin Farrer, Light on C. S. Lewis, Jocelyn Gibb, ed. [New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1966], p. 26. found at "The Need for Defending Our Faith")

--

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) 
... 
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.
... 
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


-

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.)
-