Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today's Spiritual Message: Celestial Marriage

My wife recommended that today my Sunday message be the talk that I gave in church today. Hope you enjoy it.

  1. TOPIC - Patterns of the Shopper talk / Celestial Marriage
    1. Church lessons/instruction teach general principles
    2. Celestial marriage is the highest and most noble union and is essential to eternal happiness
    3. Marriage is not easy and it requires sincere effort from both parties

    Elder Oaks - CES Fireside 2005 (The Dedication of a Lifetime)

    Last week I was talking with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve about comments we had received on our April conference talks. My friend said someone told him, I surely enjoyed your talk.�We agreed that this is not the kind of comment we like to receive. As my friend said, I didn't give that talk to be enjoyed. What does he think I am, some kind of entertainer?�Another member of our Quorum joined the conversation by saying, That reminds me of the story of a good minister. When a parishioner said, �I surely enjoyed your sermon today, the minister replied, In that case, you didn't understand it.���

    You may remember that this April conference I spoke on pornography. No one told me they enjoyed that talk -- not even one! In fact, there was nothing enjoyable in it even for me.

    I speak of these recent conversations to teach the principle that a message given by a General Authority at a general conference -- a message prepared under the influence of the Spirit to further the work of the Lord -- is not given to be enjoyed. It is given to inspire, to edify, to challenge, or to correct. It is given to be heard under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, with the intended result that the listener learns from the talk and from the Spirit what he or she should do about it.

  3. Comment
  4. As a General Authority, it is my responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don't try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don't ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this same thing in another way. When he was asked how he governed such a diverse group of saints, he said, I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves�� (quoted by John Taylor, in Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, p. 339). In what I have just said, I am simply teaching correct principles and inviting each one of you to act upon these principles by governing yourself.

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  5. Comment about principles
  6. Why do we come to this earth?

    36 Behold, the Lord hath created the aearth that it should be binhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.

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    Elder Christofferson

    The vicarious ordinances we perform in temples, beginning with baptism, make possible an eternal welding link between generations that fulfills the purpose of the earth’s creation. Without this, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [Christ’s] coming.”

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  7. Moses and the lord:
    • Behold, this is my work and my glory . . .

    22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

    23 And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.

    24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.

    25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

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    1 In the acelestial glory there are three bheavens or degrees;

    2 And in order to obtain the ahighest, a man must enter into this border of the cpriesthood [meaning the new and deverlasting covenant of emarriage];

    3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

    4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an aincrease.

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    Elder Ballard Ensign Message (Be Strong in the Lord)

    We read in 2 Nephi: “Wo unto him that has the law given, … that wasteth the days of his probation” (2 Ne. 9:27).

    How does one waste the days of his or her probation? Turning to sin is surely part of it, but there is another, more subtle way, a way that may not seem evil at all.

    In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord gave a similar warning in these words: “Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known” (D&C 60:13). Why would I speak of that with you? Because one of the ways Satan lessens your effectiveness and weakens your spiritual strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing things that matter very little. I speak of such things as sitting for hours on end watching television or videos, playing video games night in and night out, surfing the Internet, or devoting huge blocks of time to sports, games, or other recreational activities.

    Don’t misunderstand me. These activities are not wrong in and of themselves (unless, of course, you are watching salacious programs or seeking out pornographic images on the Internet). Games, sports, recreational activities, and even television can be relaxing and rejuvenating, especially in times when you are under stress or heavily scheduled. You need activities that help you to unwind and rest your minds. It is healthy to go onto the soccer field or the basketball court and participate in vigorous physical activity.

    But I speak of letting things get out of balance. It is not watching television, but watching television hour after hour, night after night. Does not that qualify as idling away your time? What will you say to the Lord when He asks what you have done with the precious gift of life and time? Surely you will not feel comfortable telling Him that you were able to pass the 100,000-point level in a challenging video game.

    One devastating effect of idling away our time is that it deflects us from focusing on the things that matter most. Too many people are willing to sit back and let life just happen to them. It takes time to develop the attributes that will help you to be a well-balanced person.

    We hear of young people, both male and female, who are so focused on academic success or moving up the career ladder that they “don’t have time for dating.” We hear some say that they will postpone marriage or having children until they can afford them. Let me tell you as a father of seven children, you will never be able to afford them. So just trust in the Lord as Sister Ballard and I did. Somehow it works, with His help.

    Remember, you can be exalted without a college degree. You can be exalted without being slender and beautiful. You can be exalted without having a successful career. You cannot be exalted without an eternal mate. So focus the best that you can on those things in life that will lead you back to the presence of God—keeping all things in their proper balance. There are those who may never marry in mortality. But all of God’s blessings will ultimately come to those who are righteous and true to the gospel.

    Oh, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the day of your probation. Do not waste this time away. Plan and prepare and then do.

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    Patterns of the Shopper

  8. Celestial marriage, like the most valuable items, gives a lot more value per ounce, etc.
  9. Elder Nelson

    That proclamation on the family helps us realize that celestial marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other relationship.16 The earth was created and this Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally.17

    Scriptures declare that “it is lawful that [a man] should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.”18 Another affirms that “the man [is not] without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”19 Thus, marriage is not only an exalting principle of the gospel; it is a divine commandment.

    Our Heavenly Father declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”20 The Atonement of His Beloved Son enabled both of these objectives to be realized. Because of the Atonement, immortality—or resurrection from the dead—became a reality for all.21 And because of the Atonement, eternal life—which is living forever in God’s presence, the “greatest of all the gifts of God”22—became a possibility. To qualify for eternal life, we must make an eternal and everlasting covenant with our Heavenly Father.23 This means that a temple marriage is not only between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.24

  10. Temple symbolism: TOGETHER IN CHRIST
  11. The family proclamation also reminds us that “husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other.”25 Children born of that union are “an heritage of the Lord.”26 When a family is sealed in the temple, that family may become as eternal as the kingdom of God itself.27

    Meanwhile, mortal misunderstandings can make mischief in a marriage. In fact, each marriage starts with two built-in handicaps. It involves two imperfect people. Happiness can come to them only through their earnest effort. Just as harmony comes from an orchestra only when its members make a concerted effort, so harmony in marriage also requires a concerted effort. That effort will succeed if each partner will minimize personal demands and maximize actions of loving selflessness.

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    President Hinckley

    Jesus declared, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

    The word man is used in the generic sense, but the fact is that it is predominantly men who bring about the conditions that lead to divorce.

    After dealing with hundreds of divorce situations through the years, I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to solve this grievous problem.

    If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.

    There was a popular song we sang many years ago, the lyrics of which said:

    I want to be happy,

    But I won’t be happy

    Till I make you happy, too.

    (Irving Caesar, “I Want to Be Happy” [1924])

    How true this is.

    Every woman is a daughter of God. You cannot offend her without offending Him. I plead with the men of this Church to look for and nurture the divinity that lies within their companions. To the degree that happens, there will be harmony, peace, enrichment of family life, nurturing love.

    Well did President McKay remind us that “no other success [in life] can compensate for failure in the home” (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).

    Likewise, the truth of which President Lee reminded us: “The [greatest] work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home” (“Maintain Your Place as a Woman,” Ensign, Feb. 1972, 51).

    The cure for most marital troubles does not lie in divorce. It lies in repentance and forgiveness, in expressions of kindness and concern. It is to be found in application of the Golden Rule.

    It is a scene of great beauty when a young man and a young woman join hands at the altar in a covenant before God that they will honor and love one another. Then how dismal the picture when a few months later, or a few years later, there are offensive remarks, mean and cutting words, raised voices, bitter accusations.

    It need not be, my dear brothers and sisters. We can rise above these mean and beggarly elements in our lives (see Gal. 4:9). We can look for and recognize the divine nature in one another, which comes to us as children of our Father in Heaven. We can live together in the God-given pattern of marriage in accomplishing that of which we are capable if we will exercise discipline of self and refrain from trying to discipline our companion.

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    Elder Nelson

    The best choice is a celestial marriage. Thankfully, if a lesser choice has previously been made, a choice can now be made to upgrade it to the best choice. That requires a mighty change of heart37 and a permanent personal upgrade.38 Blessings so derived are worth all efforts made.39

    The full realization of the blessings of a temple marriage is almost beyond our mortal comprehension. Such a marriage will continue to grow in the celestial realm. There we can become perfected.40 As Jesus ultimately received the fulness of the glory of the Father,41 so we may “come unto the Father . . . and in due time receive of his fulness.”42

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