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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Talk - Temporal Preparedness

We visited an LDS ward in Southern California today and enjoyed the talks very much. Here are some things I learned from a talk by Brother Baker who is in the bishopric.
He started off his talk by telling a story about a roadtrip he and his family took when he was 15 years old. They were driving between Northern California and the Bay Area. It was raining and they were worried about mudslides. At one particular area they saw the mud starting to slide and young Brother Baker said "Dad, floor it!" from the back seat. Luckily his dad did not take his back-seat driver advice because the mudslide before them ended up being around 30 feet long and 2 feet deep. His dad took that moment to give some wise advice to his teenage son. First, don't be a backstreet driver and second, don't take risks like that. Young Brother Baker asked his dad if the Holy Ghost had warned him not to try to beat the mud slide. His dad answered, "No son, it was just common sense." Like this story, we do not need to be commanded in all things. I think we should seek to be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit and think and we will know what to do in our lives.
He also mentioned that at their Youth Conference Elder L. Tom Perry had given a talk titled "Don't Do Dumb Things." Oh, so true. We should all remember that!
Brother Baker broke his talk on Temporal Preparedness into a few sections:
1) Are there any temporal commandments?
2) Are there any historical references?
3) Is this specific to us in our time?
4) What is our call to action?
1) Are there any temporal commandments?
All commandments are spiritual.
D&C 29:34 "Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all thigns unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
35 Behold I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural or temporal, neither carnal nor sensual."
Marion G. Romney expounds: Doctrine & Covenants 29:34-35 tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment, that all commandments are spiritual. It also tells us that man is to be "an agent unto himself." Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth. Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act. Thus far, we should have learned that self-reliance is a prerequisite to the complete freedom to act. We have also learned, however, that there is nothing spiritual in self-reliance unless we make the right choices with that freedom. What, then, should we do once we have become self-reliant in order to grow spiritually?
The key to making self-reliance spiritual is in using the freedom to comply with God's commandments.
The term "temporal commandment" in the church can be more specifically defined as commandments of self-reliance. To clarify, we become temporally prepared via spiritual commandments.
2) Are there any historical references?
Adam & Eve (in the Garden of Eden) - Alma 12:31
They were physically and spiritually separated from God and had to provide sustenance for themselves via the sweat of their brown. They had to become self-reliant.
Noah - Genesis 6:13
He listened to the commandments of God. He built the ark via God's instructions and became self-reliant.
Joseph - Genesis 41:47
Used spiritual gift to interpret Pharoah's temporal dream. He gathered food storage for all nations, and self-reliance for his family and for Egypt.
Pioneers & Early Saints - Quote by Brigham Young - "Our situation is such in these last days; our salvation, spiritually, is so connected with our salvation, temporally, that if one fails, the other necessarily must be seriously affected, if not wholly destroyed. Though the saints should possess all the common gifts of the spirit of God, and yet remain destitute of these comforts (food and raiment) so much needed for the sustenance of their bodies, they would be comparitively miserable. Now comes the concert of action; if the church will arise unitedly; if the brethren will individually feel that great work of the Lord is depending on themselves as instruments, to assist in carrying it forward; and will unite all their means, faith and energy, in one grand mass, all that you desire can speedily be accomplished."
We learn from this that the spirit and temporal body affect each other. Also that self-reliance leads to sustenance of body and spirit.
3) Is this specific to us in our time?
Duty to God - The Duty to God will assist young men to meet the future challenges of life and to achieve the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Young Women Personal Progress - As the girls work on this they strive to come unto Christ and "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places."
Missions: Young Men, Young Women and Couples - Be financially prepared to serve missions. There are many temporal rules while serving a mission. It is an opportunity to serve others via self-reliance.
Word of Wisdom - A spiritual commandment with temporal blessings. See D&C 89:18.
Family Home Storage - Quote by Elder L. Tom Perry - "Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life... As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year's supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness." We should prepare temporally for ourselves and our family. That can provide comfort for us and the ability to serve others later.
4) What is our call to action?
We are called to serve. The scriptures are very clear in their command that it is the duty of those who have, to give to those who are in need. See Jacob 2:17-19.
Marion G. Romney said "...these things (service) all come naturally because of the purity of our hearts. In that day there will be no need for a commandment, because we will have experienced for ourselves that we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service.
Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what godhead is all about? Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually week.
There is an interdependence between those who have and those who have not. The process of giving exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process, both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by imparting of their surplus, participate in the sacred principle of giving. Once a person has been made whole, or self-reliant, he reaches out to aid others, and the cycle repeats itself.
We are all self-reliant in some areas and dependent in others. Therefore, each of us should strive to help others in areas where we have strengths. At the same time, pride should not prevent us from graciously accepting the helping hand of another when we have a real need. To do so denies another person the opportunity to participate in a sanctifying experience.
In conclusion....
-All commandments are spiritual
-Temporal self-reliance provides freedom and is key to spiritual growth
-Freedom gives us the agency to comply with God's commandments
-Self-reliance allows us opportunities to fulfill commandments by giving service to others

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