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Following the Prophet

These are links from my blog entry, "Why Follow the God's Prophets? Downfalls of Rejecting their Counsel and Benefits of Following it."

Scripture Study

Whether you are Muslim, Catholic, Sikh, Latter-Day Saint, Protestant, or even Atheist, whether you are studying God's counsel and promises in the scriptures or, in the case of atheism, personally uplifting material, it's something you should NEVER omit from daily routine.  Even for Atheists, the Bible and Book of Mormon have a lot of good morals that are uplifting even from a non-religious standpoint. I have read through the Book of Mormon cover to cover maybe more than 20 times.  Every time through it, I see each story, teaching and principle from a different perspective.  There are always many new details I understand more thoroughly and I get divine help from God as He helps me see, more clearly, the blessings of following His Son and the love They have for me.

Prayer

A conversation with God the Father.  Possible because of Jesus Christ, which is why we pray in His name.  I'll make this one simple.  Do you want to talk to the Pope in person?  That's pretty difficult.  Any Prime Minister?  Also really difficult.  Mark Zuckerberg?  Yeah right.  How about President of the United States?  Sorry, that's going to be near impossible.  The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?  Maybe a tiny bit easier, but still hard.  

How about the most powerful, all loving, all knowing, infinitely merciful, omnipotent Being, the Creator and Designer of the Universe?  Easy!  Anytime, anywhere, for any reason, verbal, written or otherwise, out loud or in the mind and heart.  He is our Father and asks and commands us to pray to Him.  That's how much He cares for and love us!  I know, from first hand experience, the blessings, peace, happiness and understanding that comes from faith based prayer.

Temples and the home

There is a reason why the place we should seek to model our homes after is the temple.  Temples are the most holy and sacred places on earth and the place where we can get the closest to our Father in Heaven.  It is the only place, together with our homes, where the power and love of the Lord can be the strongest, the most life changing, soul building and where the highest and purest happiness and love can stay.  We must - WE ABSOLUTELY MUST - if we want to have the full blessings and benefits God has in store for us, constantly improve and redouble our efforts to make our hearts and homes as pure and Christ-centered as the temple and attend more and more frequently as the time of Christ's coming gets closer.  As Richard G. Scott said, "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done."  I wholeheartedly believe that this must be a pattern of living we apply daily, especially in relation to temple worship, if we want any chance of reaching the potential Heavenly Father put in us before we were ever even born.  God has blessed my wife and I with some of the most profound, purest joys and moments of total unity and love in our home as much as we have given all our efforts to making our home like the temple.

Tithing

Heavenly Father does not need money to bless His children, run the universe or sustain His church and kingdom.  He is not asking for us to pay tithing for His sake, but for ours.  He is trying to teach us the blessings of sacrifice.  He has done exactly that for my wife and I as we have lived this law strictly.  We have wanted to save up for quite a few things over the last few years that are costly, but have ended up not needing to because the Lord has brought people into our lives who literally gave us many of the things we were looking to save for.  I know this is because we faithfully practice this law of sacrifice and He completely and lovingly keeps His end of His promise to us regarding this principle. EVERY. TIME.

Forgiveness

This one is something I have learned so much about over the years, the easy way and the hard way, depending on the occasion.  Anyone who reads The Miracles of Forgiveness with the Spirit will gain a better understanding of how this process works.  It is because of Jesus Christ and His payment for our souls.

Faith in Christ and His Atonement

Who better to have faith in than the Man who condescended from His godly state to live from our perspective?  He who set a perfect example, spent His life completely dedicated with every breath to His Father's plan, saving us, serving us, loving us and giving His whole life and soul for the benefit of God's children, begging us to follow Him so that He may "seal [us H]is"?  Nothing is more secure and joyful than having good, downright, solid, authentic faith in Jesus Christ and His Atoning, rescuing sacrifice, with a testimony born from witnesses from the Holy Ghost.

Faith in God

The reason I finished number 6 the way I did is because to have faith in Jesus Christ is to have faith in God, for He spent His whole life teaching us that He was simply here to do His Father's will.  The reason I put faith in God as a different item as faith in Christ is to emphasize that we need to acknowledge that it is His plan Christ makes possible, His plan Christ willingly and lovingly volunteered to follow, and it is Him who we are commanded to pray to, by Him and His perfect Son.  He is our Father and we need to have faith that His plan is perfect and that we need to come to a perfect faith in His role as our Redeemer.  Our Father does and so should we.

Chastity

The Lord has said "For I, the Lord God, delight in ... chastity..."  Few things in life are more beautiful than intimate sexual relations between a man and woman, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise through obedience to God's laws and purity of heart and mind.  Elder Mark E. Petersen has said "Sex is so sacred, so divine, that when it is used in its proper way, those who participate become joint creators with God. They become partners with the Almighty in the great undertaking and enterprise of bringing forth life."  Creation is one of the two gospel ordinances we are aware of for which we do not have priesthood keys.  So God has said, He and His Son having they keys for it, that we are allowed to participate in that ordinance and all conversation, thoughts and actions pertaining to it if we do it in the bounds of the most sacred, beautiful, pure and joyful union, celestial marriage.  I have personally seen, first hand, the beauty and joy of following this law as well as the terrifying horrors of violating it.  Trust me.  It's there for our protection.

Righteous Priesthood Leadership

President Benson has said "Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership."  I'll supplement that by saying that no father can be as effective as he truly could be unless he exercises righteous priesthood leadership, driven by charity, the pure love of Christ.  The level of self-satisfaction and holiness that automatically accompanies such is indispensable if we want to truly find total happiness, made possible through Christ.

Honesty

 I was once told by a math teacher in high school, Rock Ramsey, that "you should always do what's right, [even if it's for no other reason than] because you want to sleep at night."  To go along with that, President Thomas S. Monson has said that "There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness―and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so."  I can honestly say I know first hand the total peace of conscience that comes from having nothing to hide, from being completely honest.

And I don't just mean outwardly speaking the truth.  No, this extends to speaking the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  It also means speaking it and living it in a way that is does not hide, distort, twist or somehow misrepresent or portray a false or incomplete idea of what the truth is, as well as also the most accurate and morally correct perception of it.  Real faith filled honesty has nothing to hide, no reason to hesitate and is easier to live by.  I have personally seen the full benefits of this and no matter the consequences of it, President Monson's quote above holds true no matter what the costs of that level of honesty.

Church Attendance

It's only fitting to use the words of prophets to illustrate the benefit of church attendance.  Specifically, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. "The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to Heavenly Father."  Another thing to consider is that the whole reason for religion and church meetings in the first place is to 1) Perfect us, 2) Proclaim the gospel and 3) Redeem the dead.  We need to be going to church to seek opportunities to serve and above all, evaluate our relationship with Christ and find more/better ways to become like Him.

Education

The Scriptures tell us "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth."  If we want more of the glory of God in our lives, we need to be educating ourselves.  Our Father in Heaven Himself has said "...seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith."  It has always proved true in my life that the more I know, understand and comprehend, the better I feel and the more wonderful my relationship is with my Father in Heaven.  For more on this matter, feel free to take a look at this entry.

Service

As illustrated in others points so far, Christ was the ultimate example in service, giving His life - as in every moment of His mortal life as well as giving His life and soul as a sacrifice and payment for ours.  Following prophets counsel to become like Christ means we need to follow his example by sacrificing of ourselves for the good of others.  President Monson has said, "happiness comes through serving our Heavenly Father and serving our fellowmen..." Look what the Savior has because of what He did for us.  Look who He is and what He can do, because of what He did for us. This, to me gives new meaning to the phrase "one for all and all for one" as well as "...there is more individuality in those who are more holy." (Neal A. Maxwell) 

Repentance

Nathan Richardson said "I think if we really knew [Father in Heaven], we wouldn’t hesitate to go to Him for repentance... We hear His repeated warnings and often ignore them. Then, when we find ourselves in the very situation He foretold, we are terrified at the thought of asking Him for help... Then the Father comes in and sees our raw sore, which we had tried to hide from Him. He helps us clean it out. He applies the Atonement to our wounds, which begins the healing process. If it doesn’t burn at first, we’re not repenting. Then He helps us tape on a bandage that we could never have gotten on by ourselves. With our red wound now dressed in white, we are left to wonder why we were ever afraid to ask our Heavenly Father for help. I think that if we really came to know Heavenly Father, we wouldn’t be so scared to repent."
I see no need to expound on this quote.  I have had and still continue to have experience with the benefits of true repentance that causes a permanent change in our minds and hearts.

Family Home Evening

My wife and I have two family home evenings each week.  We have two sets of Sister Missionaries in our ward and we have one set over on Tuesday night and the other set on Thursday night (they do a Monday FHE at the church with investigators).  Some of our most wonderful, spiritual, edifying, home strengthening experiences have been in those conversations where we build each other with our testimonies of truth.  These family home evenings have become an invaluable source of strength and direction that brings us closer to our Savior and our Father in Heaven.