Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lesson 12: Seek Ye for the Kingdom of God

What do you know about Jacob?

  • Was a son of Lehi and Sariah (1 Ne. 18:7)
  • Was born in the wilderness (1 Ne. 18:7)
  • He saw the Savior in his youth (2 Ne. 2:4)
  • He was ordained to the priesthood by Nephi (2 Nephi 6:2; Jacob 1:18)
  • Instructed by Lehi—“Opposition in all things” “Broken heart & contrite spirit” “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy”
  • Saw great visions—destruction of Jerusalem, return of Jews from Babylon, appearance of Christ to them, his rejection by them, crucifixion, Jews to be smitten & afflicted, later come to a knowledge of Redeemer
  • He became custodian of the small plates and succeeded Nephi in the ministry
  • He “labored diligently,” “obtained his errand from the Lord” and “magnified his calling”

Jacob magnifies his calling from the Lord:

What does the word “magnify” mean? (To enlarge, to increase in significance, to cause to be held in greater esteem or respect.) What does it mean to “magnify” a calling in the Church?

What are some phrases that describe how Jacob magnified his calling?

How do we obtain our errand from the Lord?

How can we find out what the Lord wants us to do in our callings?

Why is it so important that we magnify our callings?

What are some good examples you have seen of people magnifying their callings?

How can we better magnify our callings?

How have you been blessed as you have done your best to fulfill your callings?

“In general conference last year, Elder M. Russell Ballard warned against the deterioration of family relationships that can result when we spend excess time on ineffective activities that yield little spiritual sustenance. He cautioned against complicating our Church service “with needless frills and embellishments that occupy too much time, cost too much money, and sap too much energy. … The instruction to magnify our callings is not a command to embellish and complicate them. To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify. … What is most important in our Church responsibilities,” he said, “is not the statistics that are reported or the meetings that are held but whether or not individual people—ministered to one at a time just as the Savior did—have been lifted and encouraged and ultimately changed.”

—Dallin H. Oaks, Good, Better, Best. GC 2007

Jacob warns against the love of riches, pride, and unchastity.


“So often it is the order of things that is fundamental in the Lord’s instructions to us. The Lord is not telling us that we should not be prosperous. This would be inconsistent with the many records we have of Him blessing His people with prosperity. But He is telling us that we should seek prosperity only after we have sought and found Him. Then, because our hearts are right, because we love Him first and foremost, we will choose to invest the riches we obtain in building His kingdom.”

—L. Tom Perry, Apr 87 GC

“Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.” (D&C 11:7.)

I liked this comment by Julie M. Smith:

"It seems that every time the topic of wealth comes up in a classroom, people go into Justification Mode instead of Introspection Mode. They “aim” the verses at the super-rich (that is, they do not consider themselves wealthy, despite the fact that a lower middle class American has more wealth than pretty much everyone in history and the vast majority of people on earth today), they tell you about the GA that they knew once who had a Ferrari, they tell you that the poor would misuse additional money (by buying drugs), they tell you that we shouldn’t encourage dependency by just giving the poor stuff, they tell you that they are saving their money so they can always be self-sufficient and go on a mission when they retire. Why does the wall go up, and what might we do about it?"

“The possession of riches does not necessarily constitute sin. But sin may arise in the acquisition and use of wealth. … ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.’ Book of Mormon history eloquently reveals the corrosive effect of the passion for wealth. … Had the people used their wealth for good purposes they could have enjoyed a continuing prosperity. But they seemed unable for a sustained period to be simultaneously wealthy and righteous” —Spencer W. Kimball

What are the four proper uses of money, according to Jacob?

  1. To clothe the naked.
  2. To feed the hungry.
  3. To liberate the captive.
  4. To administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.


You should really read the whole thing, but here are a few excerpts I loved from President Uchtodorf’s talk, Pride and the Priesthood:

“It is almost impossible to be lifted up in pride when our hearts are filled with charity. “No one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love.” When we see the world around us through the lens of the pure love of Christ, we begin to understand humility.

Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.

Humility directs our attention and love toward others and to Heavenly Father’s purposes. Pride does the opposite. Pride draws its energy and strength from the deep wells of selfishness. The moment we stop obsessing with ourselves and lose ourselves in service, our pride diminishes and begins to die.”

“Let me conclude with words from President Ezra Taft Benson’s inspired message of 21 years ago:

“Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.

“We must cleanse the inner vessel by conquering pride. …

“We must yield ‘to the enticings of the Holy Spirit,’ put off the prideful ‘natural man,’ become ‘a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,’ and become ‘as a child, submissive, meek, humble.’ …

“God will have a humble people. … ‘Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble.’ …

“Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can.”


(See Jacob 2:23–24.) How do many people today try to excuse unchastity?

What counsel and comfort did Jacob give to those who had been hurt by the immorality of others? (See Jacob 3:1–2.)

According to Jacob, how were the Lamanites blessed for being chaste? (See Jacob 3:5–7.) What are the blessings of being morally clean?

“In the second chapter of the book that bears his name, Jacob condemns men for their “whoredoms.” He told them they had “broken the hearts of [their] tender wives, and lost the confidence of [their] children, because of [their] bad examples before them.” What were these grossly wicked “whoredoms”? No doubt some men were already guilty of evil acts. But the main focus of Jacob’s great sermon was not with evil acts completed, but with evil acts contemplated.”

—Dallin H. Oaks, Apr 05 GC

Jacob testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

After calling his people to repentance, Jacob ended his sermon by testifying of the hope of forgiveness through the Atonement. How do the scriptures and the prophets help us gain a testimony of the Atonement? (See Jacob 4:4–6.) How can we obtain the hope in Christ that Jacob spoke of? (See Jacob 4:10–12.)

What do you think it meant that the Jews looked “beyond the mark”? (See Jacob 4:14. The Jews delighted in expounding the difficult texts of scripture, but without faith and the help of the Holy Ghost they could not understand them. They despised the “words of plainness” in the scriptures and looked for salvation in some other way than through Jesus Christ.)

How might we sometimes “look beyond the mark” in our daily living? How can we be more diligent in remembering the importance of the Savior in our lives?

“Today there is a tendency among some of us to “look beyond the mark” rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, seek heroic gestures at the expense of daily consecration, or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described.” —Quentin L. Cook

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Notes on Grace

We had our second Book of Mormon study group on Friday, March 9th, 2012. Our topic was grace, and it was a great discussion. Wayne Carlston was, as usual our fabulous moderator, and has graciously given us access to his notes. I couldn't figure out how to upload a pdf to blogger, so here is the link to the notes on Google Pages:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lesson 10: He Inviteth All to Come Unto Him

I loved Bruce Satterfield's post on this week lesson at Meridian Magazine.

He references many great talks that go along with this week's lesson, including several by one of my all-time favorite prophets, Ezra Taft Benson:

The Book of Mormon is the Word of God

Beware of Pride

I Testify

Here are some of the others:

Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers by M. Russell Ballard

Spiritual Security by Charles Didier

Overcome . . . Even As I Also Overcame by Neal A. Maxwell

And here's another one I loved:

Come Unto Christ by Henry B. Eyring