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Archive for the ‘President Gordon B. Hinckley’ Category

“Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

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The Apostle Paul taught:

[7] For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5

* * *

We walk by faith, and not by sight;
no gracious words we hear from him
who spoke as none e’er spoke;
but we believe him near.

We may not touch his hands and side,
nor follow where he trod;
but in his promise we rejoice;
and cry, “My Lord and God!”

Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;
and may our faith abound,
to call on you when you are near,
and seek where you are found:

that, when our life of faith is done,
in realms of clearer light
we may behold you as you are,
with full and endless sight.

Henry Alford (1810-1871)

* * *

Emily Dickinson reminds us that faith can be stronger than experience.

I never saw a Moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

* * *
Long ago I worked for one of our railroads whose tracks threaded the passes through these western mountains. I frequently rode the trains. It was in the days when there were steam locomotives. Those great monsters of the rails were huge and fast and dangerous. I often wondered how the engineer dared the long journey through the night. Then I came to realize that it was not one long journey, but rather a constant continuation of a short journey. The engine had a powerful headlight that made bright the way for a distance of 400 or 500 yards. The engineer saw only that distance, and that was enough, because it was constantly before him all through the night into the dawn of the new day.

The Lord has spoken of this process. He said: “That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:23–24).

And so it is with our eternal journey. We take one step at a time. In doing so we reach toward the unknown, but faith lights the way. If we will cultivate that faith, we shall never walk in darkness.

– President Gordon B. Hinckley, We Walk by Faith, April 2002

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Amen.

The words “Lest We Forget” are form the refrain of Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional.” The phrase offers a warning about the perils of pride and the inevitable decline of imperial power.

* * *

Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson have often quoted excerpts from this poem in their conference talks.

See also:  “God of Our Fathers, Known of Old,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 80

* * *

Forgetting God has been a problem among His children since the world began. Think of the times of Moses, when God provided manna and in miraculous and visible ways led and protected His children. Still the prophet warned the people: “Take heed … lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen” (Deuteronomy 4:9).

– President Henry B. Eyring, October 2007 General Conference

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I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Well-meaning members of my church occasionally make declarations that a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of his gospel can only come through the Holy Ghost — and not through science.

Yes, the Holy Ghost is the ultimate witness of truth, but science has a complementary and even prequisite role.

Consider the following…

True science is not a collection of esoteric facts or models about some physical system. Rather true science is a methodology of discovery and understanding.

The Scientific Method consists roughly of the following steps:

1. Formulate a Question
2. Hypothesis & Prediction
3. Tests & Experiments
4. Data Analysis
5. Conclusion

This methodology is alive and well in the scriptures, as shown in the following examples.

* * *

Faith is a common theme throughout all of the scriptures.  The Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 30 gives perhaps the best working teaching on faith.  The word experiment is given three times in this chapter.

The prophet Alma taught in this chapter:

[26]   Now, as I said concerning faith — that it was not a perfect knowledge — even so it is with my words.  Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

[27]   But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

[28]   Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves — It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

[29]   Now behold, would not this increase your faith?  I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

[30]   But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow.   And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith?  Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

[31]   And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed?  I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

[32]   Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

[33]   And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

[34]   And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect?  Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

[35]   O then, is not this real?  I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

[36]   Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

[37]   And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us.  And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

* * *

A testimony of the Law of Tithing also requires experimentation.

The Lord declared in Malachi 3,

[10] Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

[11] And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

* * *

The Lord even instructed us to develop a hypothesis prior to seeking an answer to prayer.

Doctrine & Covenant Section 9 is revelation from the Lord to Oliver Cowdrey, which applies in larger sense to all of us.

[7] Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

[8] But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

[9] But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong . . .

* * *

Yes, the Holy Ghost provides a necessary, confirming witness.   But we must first formulate the question, devise a hypothesis, and then perform the experiment.

* * *

Science in its common, broadest sense also provides a testimony of the Creator.

Alma declared this principle to an “Anti-Christ” in Alma 30.

[44] But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

* * *

David wrote of the Messiah in Psalm 8.

Verse 3 has the poetic prepositional phrase:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained . . .

(See also Hebrews 2:6-9)

* * *

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

* * *

The mustard seed, the lilies of the field, and sparrows all within their own sphere testified of Christ in the New Testament.

* * *

All truth is ultimately part of one whole in LDS theology.

* * *

Again, the Holy Ghost, or Still Small Voice, is the ultimate witness of truth, but the scientific method is complementary as shown in the following teaching.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Faith: The Essence of True Religion, October 1995, First Presidency Message

The marvelous and wonderful thing is that any individual who desires to know the truth may receive that conviction. The Lord Himself gave the formula when He said, “If any man will do [the will of the Father], he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, an experiment, if you please, in following the teachings. I do not hesitate to promise, because I know from personal experience, that out of all of this will come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a conviction, a testimony, a certain knowledge.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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How many times should we help our brother or neighbor?

I do not have the answers… but here is my attempt…

* * *

I have friends who live in countries where there is government corruption, civil unrest, shortages of fuel, food, and medicine, and epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.

These friends have asked me for financial assistance. I have sent them money, but no matter how much I send… it is never enough.

* * *

Jesus taught that we must forgive our brother “seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

But Jesus never gave a formula for how many times we should give our neighbor financial aid.

The closest he came was in the story of the “Good Samaritan.” (Luke 10:25-37).

The Good Samaritan gave the innkeeper two denarii (silver coins) to take care of the wounded man. The Samaritan then told the innkeeper that he would later return and reimburse the innkeeper for any additional expense.

Jesus never told rest of the story.

But we can assume that the Samaritan did indeed return and paid the innkeeper for the wounded man’s full bill.

Perhaps this parable teaches that we should financially help someone twice.

* * *

I still do not have answers. But here are some thoughts…

1. We must first pay tithes and offerings to the Lord. (Malachi 3:8-10).
2. The money that we otherwise give to the poor must be in addition to our tithing, but it cannot take the place of tithing.
3. We should never go in debt to help the poor.
4. We can still pray for people even when we must apologetically say “silver and gold have I none.” (Acts 3:6)

For ye have the poor always with you… Matthew 26:11

* * *

One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon; a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then, it seems to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly: he took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a withered body, it was tiny and had shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life.

If we were allowed to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. Never been able to fly.

I asked for Strength…
and I was given difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for Wisdom…
and I was given problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity…
and I was given a brain and brawn to work.

I asked for Courage…
and I was given obstacles to overcome.

I asked for Love…
and I was given troubled people to help.

I asked for Favors…
And I was given Opportunities.

“I received nothing I wanted…
But I received everything I needed.”

Live life without fear, confront all obstacles and know that you can overcome them.

* * *

“Continued economic dependence breaks [a man]; it humiliates him if he is strong, spoils him if he is weak. Sensitive or calloused, despondent or indifferent, rebellious or resigned, either way, he is threatened with spiritual ruin, for the dole is an evil and idleness a curse … . The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.”

— President Gordon B. Hinckley

* * *

The Lord has taught:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19)

Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. (Psalm 104:23)

Obviously some people are too young, too old, or too sick to work. We must help these people.

Others are able-bodied but either cannot or will not find employment…

The two scriptures given above were written in a time when men could hunt, fish, raise sheep, cattle and goats, or farm to earn a living.

A variety of socioeconomic, demographic and natural resource factors would seem to preclude a return to “living off the land” for most people….

– Tom Irvine

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Please help me send Bibles to poor people throughout the world: Support Link

* * *

As Christians, we have a particular challenge. There is a saying, “Be ye in the world, but not of the world.” This quote does not actually appear in scripture, but it represents the teachings of Jesus and of the prophets and apostles.

Jesus taught in Matthew 5,

[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
[15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
[16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

* * *

Jesus also taught in The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 18,

[16] And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.

[24] Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up — that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.

* * *

We have a responsibility to bring the light of Christ to our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We can do this by our words and actions. Simple acts of service may be very effective in this way.

Listening to another person is a good example of service. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.”

We also have a responsibility to take our place in the world of business, education, government and other worthwhile efforts.

President Hinckley taught “We have an obligation to train our hands and minds to excel in the work of the world for the blessing of all mankind.”

But we must also learn to be careful to avoid worldliness.

The apostle Paul taught “for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (Excerpt from 1 Corinthians 7:31)

Paul also taught “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Furthermore, James taught that we must keep ourselves “unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

* * *

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

* * *

May the Lord Jesus bless you as you follow these teachings.

Tom Irvine

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Luke 17 – Parable of the Ten Lepers

[11] And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
[12] And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
[13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
[14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
[15] And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
[16] And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
[17] And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
[18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
[19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

* * *

Robert W. Woodruff, a prominent business leader of a former time said that the two most important words in the English language are these: Thank you.

Gracias, danke, merci whatever language is spoken, thank you frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity even a sincerity when thank you is spoken.

-President Thomas S. Monson

* * *

“Gratitude is of the very essence of worship. … When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives”. Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

–President Gordon B Hinckley, “With a Grateful Heart”, Liahona, Aug 1999

* * *

Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.

Doctrine & Covenants 59:7

* * *

And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Doctrine & Covenants 78:19

* * *

I was in second grade during the school year 1968-69. I had a kind teacher named Mrs. Gomes who inspired me.

After that school year, my family moved to another part of town. I never saw Mrs. Gomes again.

But this afternoon, I looked up her phone number. I called her and spoke with her for first time in 42 years. I thanked her for being a wonderful teacher.

So I challenge you to think of someone from your past who has helped you.

Call, visit, or write to that person to thank them. Then share your story with me if you like.

* * *

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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