Since it is clear that there were Christians long before there was a New Testament or even an accumulation of the sayings of Jesus, it cannot therefore be maintained that the Bible is what makes one a Christian. In the words of esteemed New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, “The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ “ In other words, “Scripture itself points . . . away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.” So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation.
These are some of the ways of handling insecurity: avoid situations that may reveal one's self-doubting and insecurity; either move away and escape, or fight, criticize, and find fault with others - leaders, programs, or self - to avoid confronting the real problem inside.
An enormous responsibility rests upon us to communcate effectively, and because of this responsibility, self-doubts and insecurities within can rise to the surface until one of the two approaches is taken: escape and withdraw; or fight, criticize, and find fault. Find the mote (weakness) in your husband's (or wife's) eye and focus on it until that view obscures the view of the beam (weakness) in your own eye. This makes it almost impossible to clearly see or to effectively give help. Or withdraw, saying, "I don't want to communicate. I have nothing to say - nothing to talk about." That is an escape! Or else compensate for your insecurity by focusing on security from the outside - clothes, styling, and membership in select groups - inwardly saying, "These things can compensate for my own feeling of insecurity and make me feel adequate and more secure."
I suggest that none of this works upon the roots at all. None of it works with the underlying causes of strife or of peace. I suggest that the world doesn't know fully what those roots are - those deep spiritual roots which, if exercised, fed, and nourished, could bring about a great internal feeling of security and peace so that, in turn, out of that internal strength and anchorage will flow the ability to be a peacemaker in our relationships with others, particularly when the storms descend.
In my judgement, too much present-day thinking regarding communication is based upon a sunshine philosophy. When the sun is shining and things are going wonderfully, people can communicate easily, naturally, and effectively, but the moment the storms descend (and they descend almost every day on all of our lives in one way or anoteher - at least little storms: conflicting expectations, economic pressures, conditions of stress, time pressures, etc.) we lose our temper, shout out, condemn, do some things that we would never think of doing when the sun is shining.
But sooner or later the stoms come. Then our self doubts surface and relationship problems commence and communication breaks down.
James the apostle asked, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1.) He suggests that conflicting loyalties and passions within are the cause of human strife. In other words, the real root of peace and effective communication when the storms of life descend is obedience to divine law. This is not the easy answer - in fact, it is the hardest answer of all and yet the truest, for it overcomes self doubt.
Much of the world's counsel and solutions to the communication problems between people - and the strife in families, between husbands and wives and parents and children - are superficial. They are not based upon a fundamental understanding that transgression lies at the root of stife and the only way to work upon that root is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, covenant making in the waters of baptism, at the sacrament table, and in the temple where there are several essential covenants - each one, in turn, giving power to obey the higher one. If one is obedient to a lower covenant, more light and power is given. Then comes a higher covenant, until eventually a person is taught how he can return to the presence of God and how he can commune with him here and now.
Such communication begins by your encouraging each one you teach to participate rather than be a passive listener. In this way you can assess their understanding of what is taught, create a feeling of ownership, and also learn from them. More important, their decision to participate is an exercise in agency that permits the Holy Ghost to communicate a personalized message suited to their individual needs. Creating an atmosphere of participation enhances the probability that the Spirit will teach more important lessons than you can communicate.
That participation will bring into their lives the direction of the Spirit. When you encourage students to raise their hand to respond to a question, while they may not realize it, they signify to the Holy Ghost their willingness to learn. That use of moral agency will allow that Spirit to motivate them and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit. They learn to recognize and feel what spiritual guidance is. It is through the repeated process of feeling impressions, recording them, and obeying them that one learns to depend on the direction of the Spirit more than on communication through the other five senses.
-Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.
-Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.
-Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.
-Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.
-Seeking for the gift of discernment—for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.
-Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should.
This same pattern of holy communication and consecrated work can be applied in our prayers for the poor and the needy, for the sick and the afflicted, for family members and friends who are struggling, and for those who are not attending Church meetings.
In baptism we are born once—born of the water and of the spirit. In the sacrament we are reborn, over and over, of the bread and of the wine or water and we are truly what we eat. But, not all at once. Can we eat one meal that will last us a lifetime? Some of us occasionally try. Do we not need daily nourishment? In fact, the phrase in the Lord's prayer, the model prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11) may mean "Give us today a foretaste of the meal we will eat with you when you return to us."
We need it oft, and thus on the Sabbath, we gather together, having been told, that we are to be together, that our communication may become communion. And though we come from every degree on the emotional compass, each of us is more or less empty and more or less in need.
Sisters, we have a faith in unity and the Prophet Joseph Smith makes it clear [and this in a remark to the Relief Society] that it is by "union of feeling [that] we obtain power with God" (Relief Society Minutes, June 9, 1842, Church Archives; cf. TPJS, p. 91). We may have different beliefs and temperaments and backgrounds, but we can all feel one when we are taking the sacrament together. Indeed, it is by union of feeling that we obtain power.