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Archive for the ‘Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’ Category

Last Sunday I gave a talk in my church at the request of my bishop. The assigned topic was “The Five Elements of Missionary Preparation,” presumably for the benefit of young men and women.

I have been concerned, however, that many of our young people who earnestly want to serve missions cannot do so for medical and other reasons beyond their control. They often feel disheartened as a result. I thus wanted to reassure them that there are plenty of other ways for them to serve the Lord and their fellow man.

From there, it was an easy step to reach out to all those in the congregation who are suffering from health problems or other afflictions.

I am including a link to my written talk. The one I actually gave had some minor variations. And I gave the talk with a depth of emotion that the written words may be unable to convey.

Yes, I strayed from the assigned topic, but several of the members were moved to tears. We are a very perfection-driven people in my church. We need to pause and admit that we are imperfect people living in a fallen world. And acknowledge that salvation comes only through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Download Link/Tom_talk2013.pdf

– Tom Irvine

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We are the summation of our thoughts, words, and actions.

Our words and deeds arise from our thoughts.

What we do and say also shapes our thoughts.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us many scriptures on these topics through his apostles and prophets. Here are sample scriptures and some verses from hymns.

Thoughts

Jesus, the very thought of thee, With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see, And in thy presence rest.

1 Chronicles 28

[9]  And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Poverbs 23:7

For as he (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Doctrine & Covenants 121:45

Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.

Words

Psalm 139:4

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Proverbs 16:24

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Matthew 12:36-37

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Ephesians 4:29-31

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

1 Peter 3:10

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.

We sometime sing a hymn in my church that has the lines:

Let us oft speak kind words to each other
At home or where’er we may be;

Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

Deeds

Psalm 15:1-2

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.

Proverbs 20:11

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.

James 1:22

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only

Another hymn ask the questions:

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

[Chorus]
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

* * *

The apostle Paul taught that gratitude should accompany our thoughts, words, and deeds.

And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him.

– Colossians 3:17

* * *

“In this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be “perfect” men and women in at least this one way now-by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today.”

–Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, May 2007

* * *

“The kind of life you live, your disposition, your very nature, will be determined by your thoughts, of which your acts are but the outward expression. Thought is the seed of action.”

–President David O. McKay, “Developing a Christlike Character,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay

* * *

“We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.”

–President David O. McKay
(C. A. Hall, The Home Book of Quotations, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935, p. 845.)

* * *

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

― Albert Schweitzer

* * *

“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unpremeditated’ as to those which are deliberately executed. …

“In the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. … Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master. … Man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”

“Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”

– James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, excerpts

* * *

“That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * *

May we glorify God through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

And may God bless you,

Tom Irvine

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[26] And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

[29] And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25

* * *

Excerpt from “Make Thee an Ark”
by Elder W. Don Ladd
October 1994 LDS Conference

The most important thing we can do—young or old—is develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do, we will always be comfortable with ourselves. Any questions of self-esteem and self-worth will diminish, and we will have a quiet confidence that will see us through any trial. And the Savior’s promise to us is “Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world” (D&C 50:41).

Whatever the anxiety or fear or frustration, we have only to remember the Lord’s comforting words to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul” (D&C 121:7). To each of us, He will always be there to say, “My son, my daughter, my child, peace be unto thy soul.”

The entire address is given at:  Make Thee an Ark

* * *

Alma the Younger cries to Jesus Christ in repentance:
Alma 36

[18] Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
[19] And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
[20] And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

* * *

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught

In one way or another, sooner or later, all mortals will plead, as Alma did at his turning point, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me” (Alma 36:18).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught

When confronting our transgressions and our souls are harrowed up with true pain, may we all echo the repentant Alma and utter his life-changing cry: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” (Alma 36:18).

See:
Neal A. Maxwell The Children of Christ

Jeffrey R. Holland Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul

See also: Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, A Pattern for Peace

* * *

And it came to pass that she (Abish) went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!

Alma 19:29

* * *

King Benjamin taught that we should keep Jesus Christ in our hearts:

For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart? (Mosiah 5:13)

* * *

For the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name. (Alma 9:17)

* * *

[28] If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

[29] If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.

Doctrine & Covenants 136

* * *

Excerpt from “A Personal Relationship with the Savior”
by Elder James E. Faust, Ensign Magazine, November 1976

Recently in South America, a seasoned group of outstanding missionaries was asked, “What is the greatest need in the world?” One wisely responded: “Is not the greatest need in all of the world for every person to have a personal, ongoing, daily, continuing relationship with the Savior?” Having such a relationship can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God.

We should earnestly seek not just to know about the Master, but to strive, as He invited, to be one with Him (see John 17:21)

To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples. “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)

Complete text:  A Personal Relationship with the Savior

See also:  That We Might Know Thee

* * *

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His wounded feet and hands and side, amazed at the love He offers me” (Liahona, March 1998).

Complete text:  First Presidency Message, The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Are we Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Christ. We worship Christ. We take upon ourselves in solemn covenant His holy name. The Church to which we belong carries His name. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer through whom came the great Atonement with salvation and eternal life.

Complete text: What are People Asking about Us?
* * *

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony

Building a testimony on the foundation of a sincere, personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and on our faith in them, should be our highest priority.

Complete Text:  Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony

* * *
Elder Alexander B. Morrison:

Regardless of what happens to us, we are never alone. When we are torn by despair, crushed by loneliness, when we cry out for a friend, we can turn to Jesus, our ever-present guide and eternal friend. We can talk to Him, and He will understand, for He has felt the same pain, the same sorrow as we feel.

Feed My Sheep: Leadership Ideas for Latter-day Shepherds (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 168

Elder Morrison served as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, 4 April 1987 – 1 April 1989.

* * *
When we live a Christ-centered life, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ” (2 Ne. 25:26). We “receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love” (Jacob 3:2). Even when Nephi’s soul was grieved because of his iniquities, he said, “I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support” (2 Ne. 4:19–20).

We remember Alma’s counsel: “Let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings” (Alma 37:36–37).

– President Ezra Taft Benson, “Come unto Christ”

* * *

“You young adults, you are the best of any generation. Maintain your purity. Be the standard bearers in the great move to bring all men unto the Master. Prepare your minds by filling them with the eternal truths contained in the holy scriptures. Be obedient to parents and to God. Listen to and sing the music of heaven. Reject the vulgar and base sounds and beats of Satan’s music. He would like to gain your favor with his sensual and carnal rhythms and thereby lead you down to hell. Resist temptation by building a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. No other relationship will give you greater joy and happiness” (William R. Bradford, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 146; or Ensign, May 1976, p. 98).

Young Women Manual Lesson 2: Coming to Know the Savior

* * *

The following hymn is a plea directly to Jesus Christ.

And note that the Lord said “The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.” (Doctrine & Covenant 25)

LDS Hymn 172

In humility, our Savior

Meekly

1. In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken
On the cross at Calvary.

2. Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain they presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

Lyrics by Mabel Jones Gabbott, Music by Towland H. Prichard

* * *

LDS Hymn 117

Come unto Jesus

1. Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He’ll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.

2. Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you,
Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.
His love will find you and gently lead you
From darkest night into day.

3. Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you,
If you in meekness plead for his love.
Oh, know you not that angels are near you
From brightest mansions above?

4. Come unto Jesus from ev’ry nation,
From ev’ry land and isle of the sea.
Unto the high and lowly in station,
Ever he calls, “Come to me.”

Text and music: Orson Pratt Huish, 1851-1932

* * *

LDS Hymn 156, Sing We Now at Parting, verse 3

Jesus, our Redeemer,
Now our praises hear.
While we bow before thee,
Lend a list’ning ear.
Save us, Lord, from error.
Watch us day by day.
Help us now to serve thee
In a pleasing way.

* * *

LDS Hymn 136, I Know that My Redeemer Lives, excerpt

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.

* * *

LDS Hymn 185, Reverently and Meekly Now, verse 4

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

* * *

Sweet bells they ring, they ring out the news today,
That Christ was born, was born on Christmas day,
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me for ever and love me, I pray.

Away In A Manger, verse 3

* * *

Furthermore, this relationship between Jesus and John illustrates that we often are not aware of our eternal natures; the Savior, since he is aware of our eternal natures, knows better than we what will bring us happiness. A personal relationship with Jesus can help us unmask ourselves to ourselves. Then we will not only have access to the general commandments that apply to us all, but we will also be able to use his light to guide us in our own personal decisions and problems.

To love is not enough. To be loved is not enough. But to be loved by perfect love, to be loved by Christ, to establish a personal relationship with him is enough to set us on a path through which we can know “what manner of spirit” we are and grow to the point where we can “have according to our desires” because we “joy in that which we have desired.” “Herein,” promises John, “is our love made perfect.” (1 Jn. 4:17.)

by Sheryl Condie Kempton, Ensign, 1976.

Complete Text: To Be Loved by Perfect Love: John’s Special Message of the Savior

* * *

Season of Awakening by Elaine A. Cannon, Young Women General President, Young Women Fireside 1981

We believe that each of you should develop a sweet and saving relationship with the Lord, because when you have that, everything else will begin to fall into place—things like personal purity, temple endowment, honoring your parents, and learning all you can about the plan of life and the principles to live it.

Complete Text: Young Women Fireside 1981

* * *

Making the covenant to be a disciple of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and the path is not always easy. As we repent of our sins and strive to do what He would have us do and serve our fellowmen as He would serve them, we will inevitably become more like Him. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective—and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.

As the Savior asked His disciples when He visited the American continent, “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” And then, answering His own question, He said, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).

Elder Daniel L. Johnson, Becoming a True Disciple, October 2012 General Conference

* * *

Amaleki, a descendant of Jacob, declared:

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved. (Omni 1:26)

* * *

The Savior extends His generous invitation simply because He loves us and He knows we need Him. He can help us and heal us. He understands us because of His own experiences. The scriptures report: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … , that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). We want to come unto Christ because it is only in Him and through Him that we can return to the Father.

– Margaret D. Nadauld, “Come unto Christ”

* * *

Regardless of your circumstances, you can center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life.

– Elder Richard G. Scott, April 2013 General Conference

* * *

A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many.

– Elder Neil L. Anderson “Trial of your Faith”

* * *

Observing God’s love from afar
Is only a passing delight;
But when we experience Christ’s presence,
Our darkness is turned into light.

—Hess

* * *

See also:
Jesus Christ, our Everlasting Father

Peace through Jesus Christ

President Ezra Taft Benson, Come unto Christ

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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