Hope you enjoy...
I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to address you today on our topic…
The Salt of the Earth, The Light of the World.
In preparation, I read several conference talks pertaining to this topic, and found it very interesting the different ways we can apply it to our lives. One reference was that we shouldn’t let our light go out or “flavor” die. We, as church members, should not just sit back and blend in. Salt does not blend in. In fact, it says if "salt has lost its flavor, it is good for nothing", and that we need to be a light to the World. We need to be an example and stand for our values and what is important.
Veteran’s day seems to be a very appropriate day to speak of being a light unto the world and standing up for and defending what is right. I love Veteran’s day. I am very appreciative and thankful to all those men and women who have served and continue to serve us in the military.
In John 15:12 -13 it says…
14 “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
And this is what has, and is being been done to preserve our country, our freedom and our lives.
I have had many things go through my mind this week and what my Heavenly Father wanted me to share with you. One thing that came to me over and over is something that President Frank Rodarte Senior said to me when I was called to serve in the Stake Young Women’s Presidency several years ago. He told me that we needed people who were willing to speak plainly and boldly to the youth. I feel the need to speak plainly with you today.
When reading the Book of Mormon, have you wondered why people didn’t listen to the warnings or teachings of their prophets. I remember as a youth trying to figure out how people could consider themselves followers and yet turn away from those people who were called to lead them. It was so obvious and clear and yet, I look at our time now and see some of the same patterns that we recognize in the scriptures. One example would be when the First Presidency came out with “The Family Proclamation”. Not only did portions of it receive criticism from people outside the church, but many members didn’t agree or fully support it either.
Most of us have heard of the towers that were built on the edges of cities for protection. The purpose was for men to stand guard in the towers, and watch for possible dangers that were coming. They could then give a warning to the people and make preparations for their defense. Our prophets have been likened many times to the watchmen. They are inspired and given early warning of things that we need to prepare for.
And each prophet that has served us, was called with special talents and abilities specific for that time and to give us heed so we can be ready.
President Monson – teaches os of kindness and caring in a world where there is a total disregard for others and men's hearts have waxed cold.
President Hinckley – took the church into the public eye and educated people on who we are as LDS/Mormons.
And I had the blessing of being taught by my parents and Grandfather the teachings of another great prophet, Ezra Taft Benson. He was a man who not only served in the United States Cabinet as US Secretary of Agriculture, but was a valiant defender of the constitution and spoke of its importance often. He said…
“I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sister, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do have a fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead with you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country.” BYU Devotional, December 1, 1952
I have heard many members say that we must pray for our country, and I agree. But I also believe that we have become a passive people.
We are to busy to get involved. Running kids to sports, working long hours, family functions, church responsibilities and on top of that we don’t want to say anything to criticize or offend others. There have been many times in the scriptures and the history of our country that people were called to speak up, even though they knew it would be an unpopular thing to do. Enoch who felt he was slow of speech. Jonah who attempted to run away from the Lord’s errand. Joseph Smith who eventually gave his life in building up the church, not to mention our founding fathers and many others who fought for our freedoms. How do we repay them? By passively sitting back and “hoping” for the best. We have a responsibility to stand up, speak up and share what we believe and know. We do not have to be contentious. There is enough of that in the world. We do not need to condemn and criticize others, but we should not remain quiet.
We have been told that our constitution is a divinely inspired document. And yet we allow it to be distorted and transformed. Ezra Taft Benson tells in a conference address “Our Divine Constitution” how we can “befriend” the constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven. He said…
“First and foremost, we must be righteous…
Two great American Christian civilizations – the Jaredites and the Nephites were swept off this land because they did not “serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” October 1987 General Conference
Are we being righteous? Are we teaching our children how to be a righteous people? Many times we fear calling right, right and wrong, wrong, because we don’t to hurt feelings or seem critical. Our kids need to know there are consequences in the choices that we make… go or bad. In “The Family Proclamation to the World” we are told…
"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."
Another part of being righteous is living the gospel all during the week. Do we attend church on Sunday and then live our lives a little differently the rest of the week. Do we read our scriptures, say our prayers and obey the commandments, not just when convenient, but also when the choices are hard. And when we do make a mistake, are we quick to repent?
Ezra Taft Benson then goes on to say…
“Second he said, we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Have we read the Federalist papers? Are we reading the constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it?” Our Divine Constitution, General Conference 1987
To me, this says we must become educated. Heavenly Father gave you a wonderful mind and the ability to find things out for yourself. Don’t take my word for it. To many times we blindly accept what we are told without doing the research and taking it to our Heavenly Father for confirmation. If it is important, and I do believe this is, isn’t it worth your time and effort to know that? I use to make a joke with my kids that I would give them $5 if they ever got kicked out of class for standing up for what they believed in. It wasn’t a serious challenge, but I wanted them to know that they didn’t just have to accept what people told them. That it was okay to ask questions and find their own answers. They also knew that I would be the first person sitting in their class with them if I ever found out they were disrespectful to their teachers or school leaders. But it opened the door for some really interesting conversation in our house. We are not at the mercy of the world’s views. We have information at the touch of our fingers and the ability to ask people we trust when we don’t understand issues. So there really is no excuse for being uninformed. And once you understand the constitution and how it applies to us, then you need to figure out how does it align with current legislation and people running for office, and then get involved! Vote!
"We engage in the election, the same as any other principle; you are to vote for good men, and if you do not do this, it is a sin: to vote for wicked men would be a sin. Choose the good and refuse the evil. Men of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs." Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1944.
We need to recognize that Satan is real. That anywhere there is great opportunity for power, there is great opportunity for corruption. It is up to us to remain vigilant.
Ezra Taft Benson said in October 1988 General Conference…
“I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.”
Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? It is not a story about the people of the world, it is a story about Christ’s church in the last days. The parable tells us that half of the church members will not be ready. We, the members of the church in the last days are the ones who have been invited to the wedding. We are the ones who are to be a light to the world.
Which half are you in?
Have you filled your lamp with oil?
Are you ready to be a light to the world?
What is happening today is all part of the continuing war that started in heaven, and which is now in its final phases.
Are you a valiant Soldier in the Army of Christ?
If not – then you are not living your religion as you should. And you are not valiant in following the Word of the Lord and the many prophets who have given us warning.
Your lamp is out, your oil is gone, and you are fast asleep.
The signs of the destruction of our society and our government are all around us.
• Our children are drug addicts
• Murder is an everyday occurrence
• The moral integrity of our homes and families are being attacked from all quarters
• Marriage is no longer a sacred institution
• Lies, deceit, and corruption are a way of life
• Even Christ’s message is being challenged
• Satan is winning the battle, and the Army of Christ is asleep
It can be hard at times not to get frustrated or fearful of what the future holds. But I love this by Harold B. Lee…
“Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardships, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers.
We urge members of the church and all Americans now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the constitution, and of adherence to its principles. I have faith in the future of this promised land of America.” Ye Are the Lighto of the world pgs 350-351
I love my country. I am so grateful for the freedoms that we have and that it was because of those freedoms, we have the gospel on the earth today. The Lord will succeed. I love what my daughter said when we were talking about the things that have been going in our country. She said “do you want to look back and know that you took and stand and fought for what you knew was right? Or how do you think you would feel to know that you just sat back on te sidelines and let others do the work."
I firmly believe the things that I have share with you today. I challenge you to go home and study these things out for yourselves. I ask that you pray for the leaders of our country, for the leaders of our church and for the members. That we will stand strong and be a light to the world. That they can look to us as an example of what it means to be free, and that it is possible. Pray that we can be a tool in the Lord’s hands. That we can teach our children the principles of the gospel and those which our country was founded on. And they can know the sacrifices that have been made in their behalf. We are truly blessed to live at this time. As I sat on the back lawn of my grandfather’s house and told him I was concerned of the future, he told me “Lorri, it will be an incredible time. You will see miracles happen”. I know this to be true and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.