Joseph Smith’s blessing from his father

Prior to Joseph Smith’s father’s death his family gathered at his bedside, spoke with him and he gave each member of his family a blessing. This account was written by his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. I find it to be a great insight into the prophet, his parents and family. This occurred about 4 years before Joseph and Hyrum’s martyrdom. Here’s an excerpt from the account:

…Hyrum bent over his father and said: “Father, if you are taken away, will you not intercede for us at the throne of grace, that our enemies may not have so much power over us?”

He then laid his hands upon Hyrum’s head and said: “My son, Hyrum, I seal upon your head your patriarchal blessing, which I placed upon your head before, for that shall be verified. In addition to this, I now give you my dying blessing. You shall have a season of peace, so that you shall have sufficient rest to accomplish the work which God has given you to do. You shall be as firm as the pillars of heaven unto the end of your days. I now seal upon your head the patriarchal power, and you shall bless the people. This is my dying blessing upon your head in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

To Joseph he said: “‘Joseph, my son, you are called to a high and holy calling. You are even called to do the work of the Lord. Hold out faithful and you shall be blest and your children after you. You shall even live to finish your work.’ At this Joseph cried out, weeping, ‘Oh! My father, shall I?’ ‘Yes,’ said his father, ‘you shall live to lay out the plan of all the work which God has given you to do. This is my dying blessing upon your head in the name of Jesus. I also confirm your former blessing upon your head; for it shall be fulfilled. Even so. Amen.'”

…he spoke to me [Lucy Mack Smith], and said:

“‘Mother, do you not know, that you are one of the most singular women in the world?’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I do not.’ ‘Well I do,’ he continued, ‘you have brought up my children for me by the fireside, and when I was gone from home, you comforted them. You have brought up all my children, and could always comfort them when I could not. We have often wished that we might both die at the same time, but you must not desire to die when I do, for you must stay to comfort the children when I am gone. So do not mourn, but try to be comforted. Your last days shall be your best days, as to being driven, for you shall have more power over your enemies than you have had. Again I say, be comforted.'”

Smith, Lucy Mack; History of Joseph Smith by His Mother

Joseph Smith on Discouragment

George A. Smith, who served as a counselor to President Brigham Young, received the following counsel from the Prophet Joseph Smith at a time of great difficulty:

“He told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I was sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage and I should come out on the top of the heap at last.”

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Chap. 19

I think knowing about some of what Joseph Smith had to go through makes this all the more meaningful. Great imagery though, I love it. One more quote from that same chapter:

Just a few days before the Prophet was martyred, at a time when he and the Saints knew that his life was in danger, Joseph took the hand of Abraham C. Hodge and said: “Now, Brother Hodge, let what will, come; don’t deny the faith, and all will be well.”

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!

Joseph Smith on repentance and forgiveness

“Ever keep in exercise the principle of mercy, and be ready to forgive our brother [or sister] on the first intimations of repentance… and should we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us.”

Joseph Smith

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 man without eloquence

This video looks a little dated, or at least the opening title screen makes it seem that way but the message is a good one, detailing an experience Brigham Young had that led to his conversion.

What is it that convinces man? It is the influence of the Almighty, enlightening his mind, giving instruction to the understanding.

…Anything besides that influence, will fail to convince any person of the truth of the Gospel of salvation …Sermonizing, dividing, and subdividing subjects, and building up a fine superstructure calculated to fascinate the mind, coupled with the choicest eloquence of the world, will produce no good to them.

…The world, with all its wisdom and power, and with all the glory and gilded show of its kings or potentates, sinks into perfect insignificance, compared with the simple, unadorned testimony of the servant of God. (Brigham Young, 1852)

Watch LDS General Conference Live Online Oct. 6th and 7th

The General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is being held today and tomorrow, there is live streaming video of the sessions available online. You can watch it here:

Watch LDS General Conference live online

Leaders of our church, our beloved prophet President Thomas S. Monson, the Twelve Apostles, and other men and women who lead the church will speak about matters of faith, about the Savior Jesus Christ, about the restored church of Jesus Christ, and about how to find strength in God in spite of issues facing us in the world today.

Sessions
Oct 6th, Saturday
10am-12pm MDT
2pm-4pm MDT

Oct 7th, Sunday
10am-12pm MDT
2pm-4pm MDT

I encourage everyone to check it out and find out more about our church and I promise you will feel the Spirit of the Lord if you seek to do so, and that you will be uplifted. I have been inspired and uplifted this morning while watching the first session.

If aren’t able to watch it live, it is recorded and can be viewed online here:

Watch video of past session of LDS General Conference

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