A Warning from Prophets

Ancient and modern prophets have warned repeatedly of what follows, if people and nations turn away from God, abandon their moral foundations and allow wickedness to rule their lives and their societies. Numerous examples offer critical instruction and a desperate warning for the time we live in.

Ancient and modern prophets have warned repeatedly of what follows, if people and nations turn away from God, abandon their moral foundations and allow wickedness to rule their lives and their societies. Numerous examples offer critical instruction and warning for the time we live in.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in his time, declaring to the people, “…Amend your ways and your doings, …if ye thoroughly execute judgement between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, and fatherless, and the widow, …neither walk after other gods… Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:3-7)

In the Book of Mormon during a time just before the birth of Jesus Christ, we read of a civilization in dire circumstances, where many of the people had become hardened with great wickedness. Ultimately, two nations of people faced destruction at the hands of a large army of men, known as the Gadianton robbers, who had banded together to support one another as they robbed, plundered and terrorized the two nations. The people who desired peace and righteousness eventually united. Their righteous leader declared, “As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.” (3 Nephi 3:15)

In the New Testament, Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” (Mathew 23:37-38)

The people from the civilizations mentioned above who responded to the prophet’s warnings, found peace and protection in following the words of God. However, many who chose not to listen to the prophets were eventually destroyed. Will we hear the warning today?

The ancient prophet Mormon foresaw the modern world, and wrote, “…there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, …unto envying, and strifes and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; …For behold ye do love money, and your substance, … more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.” (Mormon 8:36-37)

James, who is commonly believed to be the brother of Jesus, wrote: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. …Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8,10)

King Benjamin, beloved by his people, taught them: “And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.” (Mosiah 4:10)

What promise do we have if we follow the prophets’ warnings, repent and forsake our sins, and choose God? “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)

This is not the easy path, but it is the better path and it ultimately leads to peace and eternal joy. I know that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has the power to cleanse us, heal us, change our hearts and minds, and pardon sin. He is our judge and also our advocate. His plea on behalf of those who choose to follow Him is this: “spare these… that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life”. (D&C 45:3-5)

 

 

 

Gospel Principles Lesson Outlines

gospel-principles-manual

I’ve been teaching gospel principles class for a while and decided to post my lesson outlines. In my outlines I’ve organized the main points from the lessons that I wanted to cover. I’ve also included the questions, scriptures, video clips and quotes I chose to use as well as my testimony for each lesson. Obviously this is not intended to replace your own personal preparation, rather to provide lesson plan suggestions.

I hope my fellow gospel principles teachers will find this to be helpful. As always, allow the Spirit to guide with the best way to present the lesson. Its less important to cover all of the material and more valuable to encourage an uplifting and edifying discussion in your class. Pray for a spirit of love and unity in the class, that the needs of the people there will be met, and that the Holy Ghost will be present to bear witness of truth.

Download My Lesson Outlines (.doc files)

Lesson 1: Our Heavenly Father

Lesson 2: Our Heavenly Family

Lesson 3: Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior

Lesson 4: Freedom to Choose

Lesson 5: The Creation

Lesson 7: The Holy Ghost

Lesson 9: Prophets of God

Lesson 10: Scriptures

Lesson 12: The Atonement

Lesson 16: The Church of Jesus Christ in Former Times

Lesson 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today

Lesson 19: Repentance

Lesson 20: Baptism

Lesson 21: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Lesson 25: Fasting

Lesson 30: Charity

Lesson 31: Honesty

Lesson 32: Tithes and Offerings

Lesson 35: Obedience

Lesson 36: The Family Can Be Eternal

Lesson 40: Temple Work and Family History

Lesson 41: The Postmortal Spirit World

Lesson 42: The Gathering of the House of Israel

Lesson 43: Signs of the Second Coming

Lesson 44: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Lesson 45: The Mellenium

Lesson 46: The Final Judgement

These are a few scriptures that have been meaningful to me as I consider what it means to truly be a teacher or a preacher of the gospel. I know I’m dependent on God in receiving guidance to help the people in the class, in order that comments and thoughts will be shared and that testimonies will be borne which will be of worth to the people there.

“And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.”
Alma 1:26

 

“Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things. And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.”
D&C 100:5-8

If you have any suggestions on gospel principles lesson plans or teaching please comment!

A way to overcome evil

God has given us a way for us to overcome the evils in our world. The people of Alma understood it and showed us how to do it.

And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized. And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region round about Sidom, and were baptized. (Alma 15:13-14)

So Alma had established the church of God and baptized many and in a later verse of that chapter there is an interesting phrase suggesting they had great success:

…Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts (Alma 15:17)

So the verse says “the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts”. Some of the definitions of “check”: to restrain, control, reduce or diminish. How did this reduction and restraint of the pride of the people come about? That is explained in the same verse.

…[they] began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction— (Alma 15:17)

They humbled themselves and met together at church often. I believe the last part is also extremely significant: they were “watching and praying continually”. What does it mean to “watch”? That was my question today so I did some cross-referencing and found a few other scriptures that shed some light. Matthew 26 records the Savior’s counsel to his apostles to “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”. Amulek teaches in Alma 34 that we should be “watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil”. Luke writes Christ’s words, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching”.

This may be obvious to some but for my purposes here I want to be clear, I found these definitions of “watch”: to be alert, on the lookout, to keep awake, remain vigilant, to be careful or cautious.

Combining the definitions of watchfulness with the usages of the word in the scriptures and the words in Alma 15:17– the people of Alma were continually vigilant and alert, praying to be delivered from the influence of Satan, they were awake (spiritually) and cautious at all times. They were careful and watchful not only in regard to temptation but also regarding those things which would cause them death (spiritual death?) and destruction.

Fast-forward about 3 years later, and we see the fruits of their efforts:

“…the church had been established throughout all the land—having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God [was] preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord [poured] out his blessings upon the people.” (Alma 16:21)

We Determine our Eternal Destiny

Yesterday in gospel principles class in church we talked about agency, the freedom to makes choices, a gift we’ve all been given by God. This is a gift we had in the pre-existence as well.

Agency is the same principle over which the war in heaven was fought, and a major principle over which wars are fought today. The book of Moses explains how during the war in heaven Satan rebelled, sought to dethrone God and eliminate man’s ability to make choices, and to instead force them to follow and worship him:

“Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4:3-4)

I’ve always thought it very ironic that in the pre-existence Satan used his agency to attempt to destroy the agency of others. We know he was successful in doing this to many of God’s children, as the Doctrine & Covenants tell us that because of Satan’s rebellion against God, “a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from [God] because of their agency”. This third lost their right to receive a physical body and lost the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of eternal life.

Because we are here, we know that the rest of us made the right choice in following God’s plan of salvation. Our choice guaranteed that we would receive a physical body and required that we come to Earth and be tested again, whether we would choose to follow Christ or whether we would allow Satan to deceive and overcome us.

We read part of 2 Nephi chapter 2, which explains that the only way for us to truly be tested and for righteousness to exist, is that there must be “opposition in all things”. Without opposition, “…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad”. And so it is for us in this life that we must experience trials, hardship and temptations.

Verse 16 has an interesting phrase, which says God gave us the ability to act for ourselves, and that “man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other”, meaning enticed by good or by evil.

One person in the class a made the point that the word “enticed” in this verse is important because tempation can be enticing to the physical body and carnal mind. If it wasn’t enticing no one would sin and it wouldn’t really be a difficult choice to not sin. On the other hand following God’s commandments is enticing to the spirit because of the power of the Holy Ghost and the promise of blessings and eternal life if we are faithful.

We read about how we can discern which potential choices are good and which aren’t:

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7:17)

We talked about how certain actions can limit our choices. One member of the class is a nurse and talked about working in the hospital and seeing people who were addicted to smoking and now required breathing machines, and how they lost their ability to choose to smoke or not smoke because of their addiction. We talked about other addictions and how they enslave and and limit one’s ability to choose. We also discussed how avoiding those types of addictions, following God’s commandments opens up more choices for us, and how making good choices strengthens us to be able to make more good choices. One example was how choosing to learn a skill or get an education can open up more options for a career.

We read a few more scriptures, one in the book of Alma that tells us the way to be sure we always make good choices is to “watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit…” Another scripture in 2 Nephi explains it is ultimately up to us whether we are free or in bondage in the eternities:

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

At the end of the class we read this quote, which a friend of mine recently showed me and which I feel sums up the great consequence of our choices:

“Thoughts lead to acts, acts lead to habits, habits lead to character—and our character will determine our eternal destiny.”
–Ezra Taft Benson

I know that our freedom to choose is a gift from God, and that we really can determine our own eternal destiny by the choices we make. These choices always begin with our desires and our thoughts. God’s way is not to force or manipulate, he lets us choose for ourselves. He uses love, kindness, encouragement and gentleness to persuade us to do good and to choose to follow Christ. When we choose to follow Christ in the big and small things in our life, we become strengthened, more able to do good and to help other people do good. Making right choices and following God’s commandments helps us become more like the Savior, makes us more free and will enable us to live with our Heavenly Father again and receive eternal life, through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

He never fails us

…I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men.

And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. (Ether 12:33-34)

My first few drafts of this post included my attempts to define charity and then trying to expound on the writings about charity found in 1 Corinthians 13, Moroni 7, and my favorite – Ether 12. I’ve decided to simply quote what inspired this post in the first place, Elder Jefferey Holland’s words on charity which reference the verses above:

“…it is not just that we should try to be charitable ourselves. We should. We are supposed to be Christ-like, we are supposed to be charitable, we are supposed to demonstrate charity, but what [Moroni] is saying is, that were it not for real charity, capital C, the one time in all the world that real charity was demonstrated, i.e., the pure love of Christ — if it were not for that, “we could not inherit that place which thou has prepared in the mansions of thy Father.” That’s the charity that faileth not. Ours does as much as we try. We give it our best effort and we fall short. But one time, in one way, with one person, the pure love of Christ was demonstrated. Real charity was given to this world. And that’s why we can say that charity never faileth.

He never fails us. The message of the Book of Mormon is that Christ does not fail us! That’s what we’re trying to tell a world. That’s what we’re trying to say with the basic missionary text of this dispensation. That Christ is the pure love. He is the only one that has ever really mastered it while the rest of us are still trying. But it will never fail. His salvation will not fail, His ordinances will not fail, His church will not fail. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times. [The fullness of the gospel] will never be taken from the face of the earth again. That’s the message of the Book of Mormon.

Life has its share of fears and failures. Sometimes things fall short. Sometimes people fail us, economies fail us, businesses or governments fail us. But one thing in time and eternity does not fail us, the pure love of the Lord Jesus Christ as manifest in His Atoning sacrifice. That’s why we can inherit the place which Thou has prepared, Father, for us in the mansions on high.”

–Elder Holland
“Mission of the Book of Mormon”, 1997 Mission Presidents’ Seminar

Relying on the Promises of God

The scriptures consistently give me an increased sense of hope and well-being that is found few other places. I’ve learned that there’s an important reason to not only read the scriptures, but rather “search” them and rely on them in order to obtain hope:

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. (D&C 1:37)

God Keeps His Promises to Us Personally

As the years go by more and more scriptures have become meaningful to me on a personal level. I’ve been able to lean on certain scriptures and phrases from the words of God to get me through tough times. It’s evident to me that God uses the scriptures to speak to us. It’s also evident to me that when I take a specific scriptural promise to heart, and if I’m living with integrity, faithfully living God’s commandments associated with that specific promise, God will fulfill that promise in my life according to his timeline. That’s how he works, because he loves us and because he is a God of truth and wants us to trust and rely on Him. He tells us:

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10)

And also has said clearly, “…Behold I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word.” (D&C 17:1)

So what promises in the scriptures can and should be searched for, sought after and relied on? The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon explained, “…I did liken all scriptures unto us”. (1 Nephi 19:23)

It might seem a little unusual at first that a promise that God made to the ancient Israelites could have direct application to us in our vastly different modern world of today, but truth is eternal. Every promise that God gives in the scriptures can and should be likened to us, or in other words they can be compared and applied to us personally in our individual lives with whatever challenge we may be experiencing or with whatever righteous gift or blessing that we need or want.

Using God’s Promises as Spiritual Armor

A while ago I decided to more actively pursue the promises in the scriptures that were meaningful to me or that I felt I needed to have fulfilled in my life. I wrote several of them down on 3×5 cards so that I could quickly and easily access and read throughout the day and make them part of my everyday thoughts and desires. By reading them often and memorizing many of them, they have been a source of strength even when I’m not consciously thinking about them and also as a shield against discouragement as well as negative and faithless thinking. Here’s a few examples:

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa 41:10)

“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” (D&C 112:10)

“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalms 34:17)

“…I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88)

These are just a few of the promises God has given us in the scriptures that I rely on daily. There are hundreds more I could add, but the promises that are the most meaningful and valuable are the ones that God will personalize to us individually through the power of Holy Ghost. In my experience these kinds of personal promises are most often found through prayer when seeking specific blessings and then searching/studying the scriptures, then allowing the Holy Ghost to teach by considering them with deep reflection.

God’s Laws Each Have Promised Blessings

It’s no coincidence that each commandment that God gives us comes with a promised blessing for following it. A good example is the law of tithing, giving back one tenth of your income to God. The heavenly law as well as the associated promises for following it is spoken of in the book of Malachi (3:10-12):

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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.”

Here’s the rest of the promise:

“..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. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Aren’t these amazing promises for such a simple commandment? A blessing that is so abundant you won’t be able to contain it all? And a promise that the “devourer” will be rebuked in your life, i.e. possibly protection from major financial problems, or possibly protection from other “devouring” calamities in the last days. What a great assurance and blessing to have.

Relying On the Promises of God

While many in the world look for fulfillment and comfort in things that only lead to confusion, regret and sorrow, the Lord is rescuing, healing and lifting up those who humbly follow Him and do His will. By living according to God’s commandments and also taking his promises to heart and seeking them, you will receive them. Let your focus, your thoughts, your faith and desires be squarely placed on God’s promises. If you do this, miracles will happen in your life and family, and the mercy and grace of God will be with you. Your faith and relationship with God will grow and you come to realize for yourself that God “hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.” (1 Ne 9:6)

“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever.” (D&C 1:38-39)

A God of Miracles

“And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing …Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.

For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Mormon 9:7-11)

I like how Moroni says “if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary…”. Regardless of what we think or try to make of him in our minds, God is who he is. It’s amazing to me to consider that the same God who parted the Red Sea to save the Israelites is watching over us now. When I think about that, and also about the great things our loving father has already done for me, any doubts and fears fade away that I have about my future and the good things that are ahead for me.

Moroni wrote that he saw our day and knew of the unbelief and hardheartedness that would exist in our society. In particular I find it sad that so many will rely on the limited knowledge of man alone when facing difficult health issues or other struggles and would forget that God has promised help and healing to those who have faith in him and rely on him. We live in a day of miracles, no challenge is too difficult and that can’t be met and overcome with God’s help.

Angels are declaring it unto many…

I love the lessons learned from prophets of God who have preached repentance throughout time. I have no doubt that we as individuals and as a society would be blessed greatly if we would hear this call now.

Repentance has been defined as “…a change of mind and heart that gives us a fresh view about God, about ourselves, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness.” (ref.)

Old Testament Prophets Preached Repentance

The prophet Jonah was called by God to preach repentance to the people of Ninevah. Jonah first tried to run away and avoid this heavenly commission, he consequently ended up in the belly of a “fish” (or a whale). He prayed to the Lord mightily for mercy and the Lord delivered him. Jonah then went to Ninevah and did as he was commanded “…and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” The king of Ninevah sensed the truth of his preaching and his heart was softened. He joined Jonah’s cause and spread the call of repentance throughout the land, telling his people to “cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands”, also proclaiming, “Who can tell if God will …turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 1-3)

Through Jonah’s preaching the great work was brought about of convincing the people of Ninevah to turn their hearts to God. They repented and were spared destruction.

We learn from the Book of Mormon that Melchizedek, king of ancient Jerusalem in Old Testament times, was called to preach repentance:

“Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days;” (Alma 13:17-18)

The Savior’s Commission to Preach Repentance

John the Baptist went before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. The Book of Mark states that “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4)

After His resurrection, Jesus Christ briefly returned to Jerusalem and taught “…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:45-47)

After the Savior’s ascension into heaven, in the book of Acts there is the account of Peter preaching the Lord’s gospel of repentance and baptism boldly to the people of Israel:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

…Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:22-38)

Repentance preached in our day

With the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith, God has again sent prophets to preach repentance to all nations as Jesus has commissioned, and they will continue to do so until peace, righteousness and “…love of God and neighbor rules the world” (Elder Jefferey Holland, Oct 2012).

The prophets are not alone in their call to repentance:

For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory. And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of angels, of his coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon…

And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; (Alma 13:24-25,27)

Alma also taught earlier in Alma chapter 5:

Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

…I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

Cry Unto the Lord

There’s a large number of scriptures related to prayer that use the word “cry” in place of “pray”. The use of this word is interesting given the varied yet similar meanings of it. It suggests that these are the kind of prayers that might involve speaking out loud, that they might contain a degree of desperation and that they are probably full of tears. Possibly above all else, they are heartfelt and sincere prayers. This provides some insight into the level of these prophets’ reliance on the Lord. Here’s some examples:

King David, though he had fallen in sin, his heart was broken and he cried unto the Lord for mercy, “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.” (Psalm 86:3)

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 30:2)

“O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.” (Psalms 30:2)

The prophet Jonah, “…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2)

The words of Alma regarding his people, “…they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.” (Mosiah 21:14)

The Apostle Paul writes that Melchezidek “…offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;” (Hebrews 5:7)

As Nephi concludes his writings he speaks of his prayers for his people, “…For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.” (2 Nephi 33:3)

Job, renowned for the magnitude of his patience and suffering, simply states “…he heareth the cry of the afflicted.” (Job 34:28)

Amulek recounts the words of Old Testament-era prophet Zenos, “Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?

For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me.

Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.”

“…And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.” (Alma 33:4-5, 11)

I’m certainly not a prophet, just an average guy trying to navigate a life that is sometimes amazing and great, sometimes very difficult and painful. But I have seen the Lord respond to my cries, and He’s done so in ways that leave me in awe of His mercy and miraculous power. He has strengthened me when I’ve been sick, shown me the way when I’ve been lost and lifted me up when I’ve been down. He has filled me His with love, comfort, confidence, compassion, and his voice has been like a verse from the hymn, How Firm a Foundation:

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

I know that the Lord hears and answers all of our prayers, and I believe He sends an extra portion of help and comfort to us when we literally cry unto Him in our struggles, our disappointments and our mistakes, as well as when we cry unto Him for a needed blessing or healing.