A woman named Christa once worked for a small seed company. She loved her job. It was a source of immense wonder that each tiny seed she sold had the capacity to transform itself into something quite miraculous—a carrot, a cabbage, or even a mighty oak tree.
Christa loved sitting at her computer taking orders and answering questions. But one day she received a complaint that puzzled her.
“The seeds don’t work,” the customer said. “I bought them two months ago and still nothing.”
“Did you plant them in good soil and give them enough water and sunlight?” Christa asked.
“No, but I did my part,” the customer replied. “I bought the seeds. After all, they are guaranteed to grow.”
“But you didn’t plant them?”
“Heavens no. That would mean getting my hands dirty.”
Christa thought about this and decided that planting guidelines would have to be written. She resolved what the first guideline would be: “You must follow planting instructions for the seeds to sprout. You can’t set them on the shelf and expect them to grow.”
It wasn’t long before another complaint puzzled her.
“The seeds aren’t producing,” a customer claimed.
“Did you plant them in good soil?” Christa responded. “Did you give them the appropriate amount of water and sunlight?”
“Oh, yes,” the customer insisted. “I did all that―exactly as it says on the package. But they don’t work.”
“Did anything happen at all? Did they sprout?”
“Nothing happened,” the customer said. “I planted them just as directed. I was hoping to have tomatoes for dinner. Now I am very disappointed.”
“Wait,” Christa replied. “Are you saying you planted the seeds today?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” the customer replied. “I planted them a week ago. I was not expecting to see tomatoes on the first day; I was patient. Let me tell you, there has been a lot of watering and waiting between then and now.”
Christa knew she would have to add another guideline: “These seeds conform to the laws of biology. If you plant the seeds in the morning and expect to eat tomatoes later that week, you will be disappointed. You must be patient and wait for the work of nature to unfold before you.”
All went well until Christa received another complaint.
“I’m very disappointed in your seeds,” the customer began. “I planted them just as the package recommended. I gave them water, made sure they had sunshine, and waited until finally they produced their harvest.”
“Sounds like you did everything right,” Christa said.
“That’s all very fine,” the customer replied. “But what I got was zucchini!”
“My records show that those were the seeds you ordered,” Christa said.
“But I don’t want zucchini; I want pumpkins!”
“I’m not following.”
“I planted the seeds in my pumpkin patch—the very same soil that produced pumpkins last year. I praised the plants every day, telling them what beautiful pumpkins they would become. But instead of large, round, orange pumpkins, I got long, green zucchini. Tons of them!”
Christa knew then that guidelines might not be enough and that it was necessary to state a principle: “The seed you plant and the time of the planting determine the harvest.”
The Law of the Harvest
The Apostle Paul taught about God’s harvest:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7–9).
In recent times, the Lord has given us additional wisdom and insight into this immutable law:
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21).
What we sow, we reap.
God’s harvest is unimaginably glorious. To those who honor Him, His bountiful blessings come in “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. … For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
Just as earthly seeds require effort and patience, so do many of the blessings of heaven. We cannot put our religion on a shelf and expect to harvest spiritual blessings. But if we plant and nurture gospel standards in the daily life of our family, there is a high probability that our children will grow up to produce spiritual fruit of great value to them and to future generations.
God’s answers to our prayers do not always come immediately—sometimes they do not appear to come at all—but God knows what is best for His children. Assuredly, one day we will see more clearly; and on that day we will recognize the goodness and generosity of heaven.
In the meantime, our goal and great joy is to walk in the footsteps of our Master and Savior and to live good and refined lives so that the promised and precious harvest of God’s priceless blessings can be ours.
What we sow, we reap.
That is the law of heaven.
That is the law of God’s harvest.
Teaching from This Message
Discuss with those you visit how the law of God’s harvest applies to relationships, conversion and testimony, or career and educational goals. You could read and consider scriptures related to this law, such as Proverbs 11:18; 2 Corinthians 9:6; and Alma 32. Encourage them to review previous goals and set new goals to achieve righteous outcomes. Help them develop a plan to act consistently in order to reach their long-term purpose.
Plan Your Harvest
God’s law of the harvest is that if we want something later, we have to work for it now. If we want to grow a garden, we need to plant the seeds, water them, and protect them from weeds. If we don’t do this, we won’t have any harvest later!
This garden shows some good “fruit” you may want in your life. On the lines below, write some things you can do this month to help you receive these blessings.
There are a lot of great ideas and ideals in the world.
There are a lot of horribly ignorant ideas and ideals in the world.
Gratefully, I thank God for scriptures, living prophets, and a conscience to help me know what is right and what is wrong.
God’s laws are delivered by God, or those whom He appoints. I see a strong resemblance between much of constitutional law and the basic fundamentals taught in the bible.
Man has no authority to change God’s laws.
Homosexuality is wrong! Does that make me a ‘homophobe?’ Not even remotely! It means I believe in God. That I believe in the Bible. Do I have the right to judge a homosexual? NO, I do not! I have heard people claim that you are born to be homosexual. Like choosing vanilla, or chocolate ice cream, it is a choice. Just as it is a choice to have ice cream, or not have ice cream. So it is with the practice of homosexuality.
More people should stand for something, and recognize that freedom of speech does not entitle anyone to a sexual preference parade which is visible to 4 and 5 year olds who ask “What is gay?” Sexual preference discussions are highly inappropriate for children of that age. And the ridiculous argument that “God made me. I am gay, so it is okay.” Opens the reasoning for the serial killer who thirsts for a kill “God made me. I love to kill, so it is okay.” Am I comparing the two? Nope, just showing how stupid the argument is!
Is it fair to receive something for nothing? No it is not. Should we care for those in need? Yes! Should we require they do their part? Yes!
Is it right to kill another person? Well that depends on the circumstances. Some might argue that it is never okay to kill. I argue, that if anyone presents a credible risk to my wife, my children, my friends, my Country, and even me, then you don’t want to be on the opposite side of that confrontation, and that is the only reason people are free to speak out against the military, because WE (the military) defended their right to do so!
Is it right to put the life of any animal, before any human? No! We were given dominion over them. Is it right to abuse them or to kill them and waste their carcasses for sport? No!
Is it right for us as citizens to keep assault rifles, or any other weapon? Yes! Our government is by the people, for the people and of the people, in no particular order.
Is it right to incarcerate people for drug use? I don’t think so. Is it right to incarcerate someone who hurts another person or damages another’s property? Yes!
There are some things, left open to debate, but certain fundamental core values are not! Else, you are debating God, and you are best to do that in the privacy of your own home. There are nearly countless examples of how that can go very wrong.
Am I a Republican? Yes, because as an American, I acknowledge that America is a Republic, not a Democracy! A Democrat in a Republic is still a Republican. Do I agree with everything associated with the ignorantly identified Republican party? Not even half of it. Do I agree with everything associated with the ignorantly identified Democratic party? Obviously, not!
Much of the passive/compassion that the Democrat party purports to defend is good. Without the industrious nature associated with most Republicans, the Democrats would not be able to fund their programs. Without the kindness of the Democrats, the Republicans would effect an eradication of the non-producing members of society. But, both parties are killing each other. As citizens we need to expect more of our government and cease supporting the hard-lines which are killing this Country. Naturally, the Democrats will force out the Republicans and the Country will go bankrupt without anyone exercising their entrepreneurial aspirations, because it makes no sense to work for something that is given freely. And the industrious Republicans who are forbidden to openly practice their religious observances, should they stop believing in the God of the Holy Bible, they will run over every Democrat who sought to rob them of their hard labor.
A Country without a God, welcomes anarchy. Anarchy happens when a Country’s people do not believe in a higher accountability than the laws of the land they live upon.
Personally, I don’t think any form of tax deduction should ever be allowed. I also believe that in a capitalist society, which is the only type of society which can truly thrive, we should all be taxed the same, regardless of income. Since, less than 1/10 of the population can afford to pay their fair dollar share, I agree with a flat tax rate. It encourages poor people to work harder. It rewards those willing to work harder. The sliding scale is without any intellectual reasoning. Would a treehugger operating a coffee shop charge nothing for their coffee to everyone making less than $50,000 per year? And, also charge $10,000 per cup to someone making over $50,000 per year? No! That would be stupid! They would not even be willing to charge on a sliding scale based upon income. Because, in this scenario people making over $50,000 could spend $50 on a high quality bag of beans. And it makes greater sense for them to get their coffee elsewhere. Though, the wise person would not have wasted a penny on coffee in the first place, since it only harms your body.
Likewise, with the current tax system, it is only encouraging the industrious to preserve wealth through alternate means.
I love this Country and to see it falling apart, it pains me.
My attempt to cover 150 psalms in 40 minutes, was modified to point out parallelisms of the Hebrew poets and how the practice of prayerfully searching scriptures can bring a greater understanding of our purpose in life–which hopefully is to serve others.
(((every so often, I insert a thought or idea which might seem random, but follows the pattern in Psalms.)))
[[red-italicized ==reading by a class member]]
Lesson 25: “Let Every Thing That Hath Breath Praise the Lord”
Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 117–22
Has anyone here ever experienced déjà vu?
Or, have you ever had a dream about something, that eventually happened?
What about a recurring dream, that seems to intensify, or maybe make more sense the older you get?
I’d like to start by reading Psalm 41:9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
Who do you think this is referring to? (Jesus is speaking of Judas.)
Remember when Cain offered a sacrifice, but it was rejected? It wasn’t done right. It wasn’t pure.
I have a testimony that Jesus was perfect back then, before Mary gave birth to him. I believe He lived His mortal life without committing any sins. I believe He is now perfect. I firmly believe that He will always be perfect.
There is a technique that the Hebrew poets used, to make their point. This lesson refers to it as parallelism. One common characteristic of parallelism is the repetition of a thought in different words. Such repetition expands or intensifies the meaning of an idea. One example of this kind of parallelism is in Psalm 102:1-2
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
The same thought is expressed in different words five times
“hear my prayer,”
“let my cry come unto thee,”
“hide not thy face from me,”
“incline thine ear unto me,” and
“in the day when I call answer me speedily”).
The repetition intensifies the message.
Now, think of Abraham, being commanded to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was a righteous man.
In the Marines, we have what some might call a proud attitude about not allowing the enemy to see us die.
And we all want an honorable death. Each of us, defining the meaning of an honorable death, for ourselves as individuals. In bootcamp it is considered an honor, for us to be able to sing the Marine Hymn. The melody is always butchered because we aren’t really singing, it is more of a yelling with a drawl. Every real Marine believes in God. If you ever have the opportunity to listen to a platoon full of recruits singing that hymn, you will have no doubt the pride we take in the words—
“If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.”
It won’t sound like a song, it sounds like a bloodcurdling scream, and you will see fire in their eyes and a smile on their faces knowing they are speaking the absolute truth.
We believe we have job security in the hereafter, guarding the streets in heaven. With this understanding, we concede that when our shifts are over, we all go back to hell and wait for our next shift to start.
Several psalms speak of singing as making a “joyful noise unto the Lord”
1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
How can we make hymns more meaningful? (maybe research their meaning?, look up the scriptures referenced at the bottom of the hymnal page? Search for hymns based upon scriptures you are currently reading/studying? Listen to how the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings them? Listen to them, instead of the Devil’s music?[LOL])
Going back to my earlier statement.. I believe Jesus was without sin. I believe that He is perfect. I believe that He will always be perfect.
Who crucified our Savior?
Why did they crucify him?
How was he arrested, or taken into custody?
Why did Judas do that?
Why was he greedy?
What did he want?
Do you think maybe his wife and kids were hungry?
Maybe they needed some clothes, or had to pay some bills?
What was the driving force behind his greed?
Was he beaten as a child?
Was someone holding his wife hostage?
Does anyone here know, for themselves the state of mind or the true intent of Judas’s heart, when he delivered Jesus to the Italians (romans lol)? We don’t know it and we can’t know it. And it would condemn us to judge him to be evil.
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Purpose of this Lesson is–
To help us show our gratitude for the Savior and for the many blessings that He and our Heavenly Father have given us.
God has given us scripture, with point after point of how to enjoy life, how to serve him, how to serve each other… the options are many and the course is unique to each of us.
My intent was not to exonerate Judas, but to illustrate how scripture proves the purity of Christ, even if the writers of those scriptures, or the translators of scriptures deliver an inadequate portrayal, causing us… or rather, giving us the opportunity to inquire of the Lord, to gain a greater understanding.
Because, ultimately… was it Judas, the Jews and the Romans who crucified Jesus? Or, was it all of us, individually, spitting upon our Savior, with our inaction? Our pacified acceptance of the moral degradation of a society built up upon this promised land? Our, willful negligence to respect the Sabbath and hammering that nail into His sinless feet, as we tell ourselves “I am pretty good. 98% isn’t too bad.” Then we laugh and mock him up on the cross, when we don’t share the gift of the testimony He has allowed us? When we speak ill of anyone, he has completely bled out.
What do you think happened to the men who were tasked with torturing our Savior? Have you seen The Green Mile? Of course, I mean the edited for tv version… Men who are workers of death, in my experience, seem to be some of the most spiritual people I have ever known.
Believing we have a Loving Father in Heaven, I have no doubt that the men who delivered our savior up on that cross, god chose each of them and their names aren’t known to us. Think about that.
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
I believe this inadequacy is what brings us closer to God, because we have to search for answers. We always appreciate more, the things we have to work for. A really neat thing about the book of Psalms… it is a collection of poems originally sung as praises or petitions to God. Many were written by David. This book is like a hymnal from ancient Israel. Its lyrics constitute some of the world’s best inspirational literature, expressing faith in the Lord and an earnest desire to live righteously.
Many psalms prophesy of Christ’s mission as the Messiah. The resurrected Savior declared, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44). Discuss the fulfillment of a few of the following prophecies about Christ that are written in the book of Psalms:
Jesus Christ is the only person whose birth, life, death, and resurrection were prophesied before his birth.
Why do you think such detailed prophecies were given about the Savior’s life? (These prophecies made it clear that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.)
How were these prophecies a blessing to those who received them? (The prophecies helped people learn of the Savior and gain testimonies of him even before he was born [see Mosiah 3:13]. The prophecies also helped some people recognize him when he came.)
2. “The Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee” (Psalm 116:7).
In addition to prophesying of the Savior’s life and mission, many psalms express gratitude for blessings such as the creation of heaven and earth; the Savior’s mercy, forgiveness, and love; the scriptures; and the temple.
The Creation of Heaven and Earth
Discuss the following psalms that express gratitude to the Lord for the creation of heaven and earth:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
What words did David use in Psalm 19:7–10 to describe the scriptures? (Synonyms for the scriptures include law, testimony, statutes, commandment, and judgments. Adjectives describing the scriptures include perfect, sure, right, pure, true, and righteous. The scriptures are also described as more desired than gold and sweeter than honey.)
What blessings can the scriptures bring into our lives, as recorded in Psalm 19:7–11?
They convert our souls (verse 7).
They make the simple wise (verse 7).
They cause our hearts to rejoice (verse 8).
They enlighten our eyes (verse 8).
They give us warning (verse 11).
How have the scriptures blessed your life in these or in other ways?
How have you been blessed as you have trusted him?
The psalms bear powerful witness of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. They also remind us of the great blessings that he and our Heavenly Father have given us. And they suggest ways we can express gratitude for those blessings.
(hand-out page 2, part 2)
Praise God in His sanctuary—Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
(end hand-out page 2, part 2)
The final Psalm, made me think of this tune… I think it is good anytime of year!
I am grateful for the limitations of scripture that force me to seek answers through prayer and study. I encourage you all to bear your testimonies more frequently, whether in word or deed, or screaming it out in blood-curdling fashion… itNoJC,a!!
My mother, Mildred Bennion Eyring, grew up in the farming community of Granger, Utah, USA. One of her brothers, Roy, followed the family business of raising sheep. As a young man he spent many weeks away from home. Over time he became less interested in the Church. Eventually he moved to Idaho, USA, married, and had three children. He died at the age of 34 when his wife was 28 years old and their children were small.
Even though Roy’s little family was in Idaho and my mother had moved about 2,500 miles (4,025 km) to New Jersey, USA, she often wrote them letters of love and encouragement. My uncle’s family affectionately referred to my mother as “Aunt Mid.”
Years passed, and one day I received a phone call from one of my cousins. I was told that Roy’s widow had died. My cousin said, “Aunt Mid would want you to know.” Aunt Mid had long since passed away, but the family still felt her love and reached out to tell me.
I was struck by how much my mother had filled a role in her family similar to the role the Nephite prophets had filled in their families by staying close to relatives they wanted to bring to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nephi wrote a record that he hoped would influence the children of his brothers to return to the faith of their patriarch, Lehi. The sons of Mosiah showed that same love as they preached the gospel to the descendants of Lehi.
The Lord has provided ways for us to feel love in families that can continue forever. Young people in the Church today are feeling their hearts turn to their families. They are searching for names of family members who did not have the opportunity to receive the ordinances of salvation in this life. They take those names to the temple. When they enter the waters of baptism, they have the opportunity to feel the love of the Lord and of the family members for whom they are performing proxy ordinances.
I can still remember the love in the voice of my cousin who called and said, “Our mother has died, and Aunt Mid would want you to know.”
Those of you who perform ordinances for family members are reaching out in love, as did the sons of Mosiah and the prophet Nephi. Like them, you will feel joy for those who accept your offering. You can also expect to feel the same great satisfaction as Ammon, who said of his missionary service among distant family members:
“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel” (Alma 26:16).
I bear testimony that the feelings of love you have for your family members—wherever they may be—are a fulfillment of the promise that Elijah would come. He did come. Children’s hearts are turning to their fathers, and fathers’ hearts are turning to their children (see Malachi 4:5–6; Joseph Smith—History 1:38–39). When you feel the urge to find the names of your ancestors and take those names to the temple, you are experiencing the fulfillment of that prophecy.
It is a blessing to live in the time when the promise of hearts turning is being fulfilled. Mildred Bennion Eyring felt that urge in her heart. She loved her brother’s family, and she reached out to them. They felt their hearts turn in love to Aunt Mid because they knew she loved them.
Teaching from This Message
You may want to read the prophecies about the spirit of Elijah with those you visit (see Malachi 4:5–6; Joseph Smith—History 1:38–39). Discuss ways to become involved with family history, including tools such as indexing, photography, and blogging. If those you visit are unfamiliar with FamilySearch.org, consider taking some time to show it to them.
Getting to Know My Grandmother
By Jewelene Carter
The author now lives in Virginia, USA.
For one of my Young Women projects, I volunteered to help my grandmother find her ancestors by scrolling through sheets of microfilm at the family history center in Mesa, Arizona, USA. As we sat side by side and searched for our family, I began to wonder: “Do I really know very much about my grandmother who’s right beside me?”
We found many family members, prepared their information, and went to the Mesa Arizona Temple to perform their baptisms and confirmations. Not long after, my grandmother gave me a bound compilation of her family history.
Because she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, it is very painful for my grandmother to type. I enjoy helping her on the computer. Together, we write the stories from her life for our family’s spiritual benefit. I love being a part of her life and learning so much about Church history as we collaborate on these projects.
Love at Home
Kindly heaven smiles above
When there’s love at home;
All the world is filled with love
When there’s love at home.
(“Love at Home,” Hymns, no. 294)
Heavenly Father wants us to love our families so that we can be happy. The more we serve our families, the more we will love Heavenly Father and our family members.
Draw hearts like this one on a piece of paper and cut them out. Write happy notes or draw pictures on them and secretly deliver them to the members of your family. Watch how happy it will make them!
We all know, or should know, that we have no right to judge another person. We can judge for ourselves the course of action and behaviors we will engage.
Elder Kofford gave a talk in the April 1999 General Conference, which has helped me immensely. Anytime, anyone is speaking ill of another person, they are lying! Even if there is a factual basis for their remarks, no one has the ability to portray the whole story. Just as people lied about Jesus and had him imprisoned, or when people lied about Joseph Smith and had him imprisoned, when someone is speaking ill of another, that is the Spirit of the Devil working. If you should ever hear such chatter, consider this ‘If the devil is sharing this, clearly he does not want me to know something good about this person.’
As Christians, we know the Devil doesn’t want us to partake of the Atonement. As Latter Day Saints, we know the Devil doesn’t want us to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, in this true and living church.
When anyone speaks ill of another person, KNOW that if you look into that lie, you will discover a nugget of gold that will enrich your spiritual well-being.
There are those among us who would recoil in horror at the thought of stealing another person’s money or property but who don’t give a second thought to stealing another person’s good name or reputation.
I wonder if you have any idea how easy you are to love and how much I love you. Just before this session started, some of our grandchildren stopped by our hotel room. They had obviously been talking about Elder Marlin Jensen’s talk of this morning. One of them said, “Are you scared, Grandpa?” I lied and said, “Not very.” Another one said, “Don’t worry, Grandpa, if you mess up, we’ll still love you.” But then reality came back into the room when someone added, “But, Grandpa, it would be very embarrassing.” So I am going to try very hard not to mess up.
On June 26, 1858, what I believe to be the largest standing army in the history of the United States up to that date began its prearranged entry into Salt Lake Valley. They had come to quell a nonexistent rebellion. Almost anyone remotely familiar with the history of the Church can tell you that they marched in relative silence within a few yards of where this building now stands, through a city described by one writer as “deserted,” and encamped some distance to the west. What followed is far less well known. In due course the army moved approximately 40 miles south of Salt Lake City to the village of Fairfield, a small farming community in Cedar Valley, home to what is estimated to have been less than 200 people. Their local spiritual leader was John Carson, my great-grandfather.
Imagine how this small congregation must have felt. After all, how would you like to wake up some morning and find that several thousand soldiers, together with over 3,000 wagons, 10,000 oxen, and 12,000 mules, had moved into your ward? The challenges were immediate. From our oral family history, and subject to all of the romanticizing and inaccuracies of such histories, we learn that Bishop Carson was gravely concerned about the welfare of the people over whom he presided. All of the challenges that attended army encampments of that time descended upon Fairfield almost overnight.
To protect the members of the congregation as much as possible, Bishop Carson met with the commander of the fort, who often dined at his hotel and with whom he developed a good relationship based upon mutual respect. The two leaders surveyed the situation and then by agreement drew a line upon the ground. No army personnel would cross into the civilian community without specific approval of their superiors. And members of the congregation would not cross into the fort without specific approval from Bishop Carson. The line on the ground represented an unspoken command: “Over this line you may not cross.”
When we were children, a line on the ground had special significance. Whenever boyhood tempers caused disagreement, the time-honored solution called for a line on the ground. The antagonists stood on opposite sides of the line, attempting to act as intimidating as possible. Someone would say, “Step over the line and you’ll be sorry,” though they usually didn’t say it in those genteel words. In those moments I learned the great value of a line on the ground and the consequences of stepping over it. In the years that have followed, I have come to understand that figurative lines on the ground are placed there by a loving Heavenly Father who seeks to protect us from Lucifer’s army.
While each of us may have dozens of lines on the ground in our life today, I would like to discuss just one of them—the line that says, “Keep each person’s name safe in your home.”
During the early years of my service as a General Authority, I was privileged to be in company with Elder Marion D. Hanks on one occasion when he related the following story. I use it here with his permission:
Oscar Kirkham was one of the great men of the Church and among the Church’s most respected Scouters. He served in the First Council of the Seventy and was a significant presence wherever he went. Often in meetings he would rise to a “point of personal privilege” and then, when recognized, would proceed to say something good about someone. Near the end of his life, he spoke briefly at Brigham Young University on the theme “say the good word.” On the morning that Elder Kirkham died, Elder Hanks was invited to the Kirkham family home. There he was handed a small, inexpensive notebook in which Elder Kirkham had kept his notes. The last two entries were: “Say the good word” and “Your name is safe in our home” (see Marion D. Hanks, foreword to Say the Good Word, by Oscar A. Kirkham , 4).
What a blessing it would be if all of us could follow that counsel, if each of our names truly could be safe in the home of others. Have you noticed how easy it is to cross over the line and find fault with other people? All too often we seek to be excused from the very behavior we condemn in others. Mercy for me, justice for everyone else is a much too common addiction. When we deal with the name and reputation of another, we deal with something sacred in the sight of the Lord.
There are those among us who would recoil in horror at the thought of stealing another person’s money or property but who don’t give a second thought to stealing another person’s good name or reputation.
The old adage “Never judge another man until you have walked a mile in his footsteps” is as good advice today as it was the day it was first uttered. Someone once said,
There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill behooves any of us
To find fault with the rest of us.
The principle is not new, nor is it unique to our day and time. The book of Psalms from the Old Testament contains this urgent warning from the Lord: “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off” (Ps. 101:5).
James, a servant of the Lord in the meridian of time, repeated this eternal truth when he said: “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. …
“… Who art thou that judgest another?” (James 4:11–12).
And in this latter day, the Lord renewed His long-taught command in a revelation given through the prophet Brigham Young: “Cease to speak evil one of another” (D&C 136:23).
It is most significant to me that this simple commandment is set forth just a few verses from the Lord’s words on the penalty for disobedience: “Be diligent in keeping all my commandments, lest judgments come upon you, and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you” (D&C 136:42).
To those who doubt the importance of the commandment, may I pose two simple questions: (1) How can you say you love your fellowman when behind his back you seek to diminish his good name and reputation? (2) How can you say you love your God when you cannot even love your neighbor?
Any feeble attempt to justify such conduct only brings more forcibly to mind those explosive words of the Savior found in the book of Matthew:
“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? …
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:34, 36–37).
I would like to say a few words to the Primary children who may be listening. Children, I’ve been trying to teach your moms and dads something very important, but I need your help. I’ll make you a deal. If you will promise to listen very carefully, I promise not to talk very long.
Do you remember the story of Bambi, the little deer, and all of his friends in the forest? If you do, you will remember that one of Bambi’s good friends was a rabbit named Thumper. Thumper was about your age. He was a neat rabbit, but he had one problem. He kept saying bad things about people. One day Bambi was in the forest learning to walk, and he fell down. Thumper just couldn’t resist the temptation. “He doesn’t walk very good, does he?” Thumper blurted out. His mother felt very bad and said, “What did your father tell you this morning?” And then Thumper, looking down at his feet and kind of shifting his weight, said, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” That’s a good piece of advice that all of us need to follow. What I need you to do, young people, is this. If you hear anyone in your family start to say something bad about someone else, will you please just stamp your foot and say in a loud voice, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Now, even though that isn’t correct English, everyone will understand exactly what you mean. Now, Moms and Dads, that ought to make it a little easier to live the commandment.
I pray that the Lord will bless each of us that we may never cross over the line on the ground and that we may live so that it can be said, “Your name is safe in our home.”
On this special Easter Day, I close with my solemn declaration, born of the Spirit, that Jesus Christ is indeed our Savior and our Redeemer and that salvation comes by and through His atoning sacrifice and in no other way. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.