The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ - Mosiah 2:19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you. (emphasis added)
|The Earth -Photo@Corbis|
A Brief History of Life on Earth.
A Note from This Blogger: I am sure that there are elements of truth found in the following scientific analysis. However, their main supposition appears to be that all life on earth evolved, that it was not created. (emphasis added)
A Note from This Blogger: I am sure that there are elements of truth found in the following scientific analysis. However, their main supposition appears to be that all life on earth evolved, that it was not created. (emphasis added)
Module by: Ian Harrison, Melina Laverty, Eleanor Sterling.The diversity of species, ecosystems and landscapes that surround us today are the product of perhaps 3.7 billion (i.e., 3.7×109) to 3.85 billion years of evolution of life on Earth (Mojzsis et al., 1996; Fedo and Whitehouse, 2002 [link]). Life may have first evolved under harsh conditions, perhaps comparable to the deep-sea thermal vents where chemo-autotrophic bacteria are currently found (these are organisms that obtain their energy only from inorganic, chemical sources).
A subterranean evolution of life has also been suggested. Rock layers deep below the continents and ocean floors, that were previously thought to be too poor in nutrients to sustain life, have now been found to support thousands of strains of microorganisms. Types of bacteria have been collected from rock samples almost 2 miles below the surface, at temperatures up to 75 degrees Celsius. These chemo-autotrophic microorganisms derive their nutrients from chemicals such as carbon, hydrogen, iron and sulphur. Deep subterranean communities could have evolved underground or originated on the surface and become buried or otherwise transported down into subsurface rock strata, where they have subsequently evolved in isolation. Either way, these appear to be very old communities, and it is possible that these subterranean bacteria may have been responsible for shaping many geological processes during the history of the Earth (e.g., the conversion of minerals from one form to another, and the erosion of rocks) (Fredrickson and Onstott, 1996).
The earliest evidence for photosynthetic bacteria - suspected to be cyanobacteria - is dated at sometime between 3.5 and 2.75 billion years ago (Schopf, 1993 [link]; Brasier et al., 2002 [link]; Hayes, 2002 [link]). These first photosynthetic organisms would have been responsible for releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. (Photosynthesis is the formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water, through the action of light energy on a light-sensitive pigment, such as chlorophyll, and usually resulting in the production of oxygen). Prior to this, the atmosphere was mainly composed of carbon dioxide, with other gases such as nitrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen and sulphur gases present in smaller quantities.
It probably took over 2 billion years, from the initial advent of photosynthesis for the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere to reach the level it is at today (Hayes, 2002 [link]). As oxygen levels rose, some of the early anaerobic species probably became extinct, and others probably became restricted to habitats that remained free of oxygen. Some assumed a lifestyle permanently lodged inside aerobic cells. The anaerobic cells might, initially, have been incorporated into the aerobic cells after those aerobes had engulfed them as food. Alternatively, the anaerobes might have invaded the aerobic hosts and become parasites within them. Either way, a more intimate symbiotic relationship subsequently evolved between these aerobic and anaerobic cells. In these cases the survival of each cell was dependent on the function of the other cell.
Just as there is a great difference between Our Heavenly Father's version of how the Earth was created compared to the version presented by some scientists, there is a great difference between how Our Heavenly Father and His Prophets who represent Him on the Earth Today describe the important role of the FAMILY!, compared to the way educated scientists and people who influence them describe what FAMILY means.
Soon after the recent 180th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held, protests were held by individuals who call themselves: Gays and Lesbians. They complained specifically about the words of the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Boyd K. Packer spoken at that conference. I have quoted his entire talk. All that he said is relevant to each of you who want to understand this Church's stand on the matter of Family.
This general conference was convened at a time when there is such confusion and such danger that our young people hardly know which way they can walk. Having been warned through the revelations that it would be this way, the prophets and apostles have always been shown what to do.
The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.”1 When the keys were restored, they provided priesthood authority to be present in every home through the grandfathers, the fathers, and the sons.
Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.
It states in part: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”2
This commandment has never been rescinded.“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them."
“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And . . . we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”3
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”4
It is intended that we be happy, for “men are, that they might have joy.”5
Lehi (a Book of Mormon prophet) taught that men are free and must be “free . . . to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day.”6
The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.
There is also an age-old excuse: “The devil made me do it.” Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.
To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.
Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”7
There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.
When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives.
If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.
Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life-giving powers released for the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is very plain.
We are free to ignore the commandments, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as “thou shalt not,” we had better pay attention.
The adversary is jealous toward all who have power to beget life. Satan cannot beget life; he is impotent. “He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”8 He seeks to degrade the righteous use of the life-giving powers by tempting you into immoral relationships.
The Lord used the expression “is like unto” to create an image His followers could understand, such as:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.”9
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field.”10
In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,”11 “the great plan of happiness.”12
Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.
The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.
We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.
We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”13
Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.
Paul promised that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”15
Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”16
Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold the kitten up in front of the children.
It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”
Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.”
But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, “I know how you can tell.”
Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”
the student answered, “You can vote on it!”
You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?
There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.
Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”18
Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use this key, the adversary cannot hold you. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the tempter. If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you,19 and priesthood leaders will guide you through those difficult times.
Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”20 In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.
For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out.
Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of past mistakes.
I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”21
Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.
“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.”22
President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.
In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt.23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”
She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”
Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”24
Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”
I promise that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, (clarification and emphasis added)Several Days after that General Conference had ended a Protest Was Brought About by a Gay-Lesbian Group concerning some of Elder Packer's remarks quoted just above. The following was an official response by the Church to their protest.
Michael Otterson, Official Representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My name is Michael Otterson, I am here representing the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the matter of the petition presented today by the Human Rights Campaign.
While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty, or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different--whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation, or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.
This church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society's leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, our young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness towards those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions to others properly reflect Jesus Christ's second great commandment — to love one another.
As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in his condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.
Further, while the church is strongly on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, it has openly supported other rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment.
The church's doctrine is based on love. We believe that our purpose in life is to learn, grow and develop, and that God's unreserved love enables each of us to reach our potential. None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.
The church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social, and physical feelings. The church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other. It's not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.
There is no question that this is difficult, but church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the church's teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other church members including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God.
Obviously, some will disagree with us. We hope that any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position, and not on distortion or selective interpretation. The church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood.
God's universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgement of our shared human dignity. We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another.
We hope and firmly believe that within this community, and in others, kindness, persuasion and goodwill can prevail.I believe that most of you readers of this post will agree with me and the Church to which I belong, along with perhaps many of you, that this earth and everything upon it came about because of God and His Son Jesus Christ!
As I promised to do throughout the rest of my posts this month, I am now providing you with a link to an Internet page where you will be able to choose what General Conference Speeches you might choose to experience.
To view the speeches you desire to view, click on one of the two buttons labeled "Watch". (The left hand button is the one I suggest you click on unless you know what the other button provides and know you want that. (You may perhaps want to view one or two of these important spiritual messages each day until you have reviewed all of them. I will continue providing this link in each of my blog posts I publish during this month of October 2010.) LDS General Conference Messages: Oct. 2010
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