I began to understand what President Gordon B. Hinckley meant when he said: “I am grateful for the emphasis on reading the scriptures. I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine.”2
Through seriously studying the scriptures, I felt a peace settle into my heart. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said of the Book of Mormon, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.”3 In the beginning, when I was struggling with reading the Book of Mormon, I noticed that on the days I did not read, I was not at peace. I came to realize I needed the divine influence of this book in my life daily.
I Have a Question
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“I Have a Question,” Ensign, Mar 1998, 60–61
Questions of general interest answered for guidance, not as official statements of Church policy
Why do we hold fast and testimony meeting on the first Sunday of the month?
Glen M. Leonard, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Mar. 1998, 60–61
Glen M. Leonard,president of the Farmington Utah Stake and director of the Museum of Church History and Art.
For half a century, beginning in the 1830s, fast and testimony meetings convened on Thursday, following a practice approved by the Prophet Joseph Smith. No written directive or explanation can be found that explains why that day of the week came to be used. In latter-day revelation, the Lord commands the Saints to “continue in prayer and fasting” (D&C 88:76). Revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith linked prayer and fasting in two contexts—one with Sabbath observance and the other with anticipated worship in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 59:9–14; D&C 88:76, 119).
In combining prayer and fasting, the Lord restored a practice enjoyed by faithful people in earlier dispensations. References to fasting in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon emphasize the purposes of fasting: drawing closer to the Lord and seeking special blessings from him through prayer (see Esth. 4:16; Isa. 58:3–7; Alma 5:46; and 3 Ne. 27:1).
In 1985 Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, noted that the formal observance of regular public and private fasts was not established until after the children of Israel left Egypt (see Ensign, Nov. 1985, 72). During Zachariah’s reign in Israel, the people observed specific monthly fasts. By the time the Savior began his ministry, many pious Jews were fasting two days a week. Of greater importance to the Savior than specific times and places was his admonition that fasting be observed in a spirit of sincerity (see Matt. 6:16).
Many Christian denominations observe fasts, including observances tied to specific days. Fasting is also observed by peoples in other religions outside Judaism and Christianity.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the importance of fasting as a means of preparing oneself to approach Heavenly Father in prayer in times of special need (see Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook , 37, 109, 255). However, a regular fast observance in the restored Church emerged gradually.
For a year following the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, prayer meetings were held in the temple each Thursday under the direction of the Prophet’s father, Joseph Smith Sr. Once a month, one of those prayer meetings was designated as fast meeting. In these meetings, members prayed for the sick and spoke of their deepest spiritual feelings. At some of these gatherings, the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues were manifest (see Andrew Jenson, The Historical Record, June 1886, 79–80; Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices: An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 , 60–61).
Elsewhere in Ohio in the 1830s, fast meetings were held on other days of the week as needed. For example, in Columbiana County, in eastern Ohio, members gathered in October 1837 for a Monday morning fast meeting following a weekend conference (see Elders’ Journal, Oct. 1837, 15). Later that month, members met in a Saturday fast meeting (see Elders’ Journal, Nov. 1837, 31).
Special fast meetings convened at other times during the early years of the Church. While Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in Liberty Jail, their father called a prayer and fast meeting that began at sunrise and continued until late afternoon to ask “the Lord to bless them and enable them to bear the cruelties that they had to suffer and pass through” (“Autobiography of John Lowe Butler: 1808–1861,” typescript, 16).
As the Saints moved from Ohio to Missouri and then into Illinois, fast meetings continued on an occasional basis in response to specific needs (see History of the Church, 4:389; 5:252; 7:264). In May 1845 the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reemphasized the need to fast regularly and to donate to the bishop for the care of the poor (see History of the Church, 7:264, 413). From then until the mobbings of September 1845, monthly fast meetings were held in Nauvoo on the second Thursday of the month during the early part of the afternoon (see Diary of Hosea Stout, ed. Juanita Brooks , 1:43, 47, 51, 57).
The exodus west interrupted the practice of regular fast meetings, but specific needs prompted designated fasts from time to time. During the drought of 1855–56 in pioneer Utah, President Brigham Young established a regular fast to help ease the suffering caused by hard times. He designated the first Thursday of each month for the observance. The food thus saved was distributed among the poor, averting calamity resulting from food shortages due to drought, severe winters, grasshopper infestation, the influx of LDS immigrants, and the large numbers of California-bound gold seekers in need of supplies (see B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:109–10).
From time to time during his presidency, President Young reiterated the importance of fast day as a means of supporting the poor through donations. He also reminded the Saints that Joseph Smith had established the first Thursday of the month as fast day in Kirtland. “All that was to be eaten that day, of flour, of meat, or butter, or fruit, or anything else, was to be carried to the fast meeting and put into the hands of a person selected for the purpose of taking care of it and distributing it among the poor” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 169).
Toward the end of the century, economic changes in the working world made it difficult to attend a daytime Thursday fast meeting. In 1896 Hyrum M. Smith, then a missionary in England, wrote to his father, President Joseph F. Smith, then second counselor in the First Presidency, about the difficulty members faced getting excused from their jobs to attend Thursday fast meetings. Workers had no paid leave, and “when these came from the pits, they had to go home, bathe, and change their clothes” (see Joseph Fielding Smith, “Prayer and Fasting,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1956, 895). He asked if Sunday would be a more appropriate day.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve prayerfully discussed the question and felt guided to change fast meeting to the first Sunday of each month. In announcing the change, President Wilford Woodruff and his counselors said they recognized the need to make the meeting more accessible to all members throughout the world. The change became effective on 6 December 1896.
Activities that had become part of the fast meeting continued: administering the sacrament, bearing testimonies, blessing children, confirming new members, and relieving the needs of the poor and ill (see James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1966–75], 3:281–84).
Another change taking place in the 1890s in Utah was the transition from a barter economy to a cash economy. As the Saints began to pay their tithes and offerings mostly in cash, the deacons were assigned to call monthly on the homes to collect the fast offerings. Members were no longer expected to bring their offerings to the fast and testimony meeting (see Ensign, Nov. 1974, 15).
The First Presidency, along with local Church leaders, began to call other fasts as needed. For example, Church leaders called special days of fasting and prayer to raise funds to help complete the Salt Lake Temple (see “The Salt Lake Temple,” Contributor, Apr. 1893, 280–81). On 23 December 1889, Church members observed the 84th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birth with fasting and prayer aimed at softening opposition toward the Church (see Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:218–19). In the Salt Lake Temple in 1899, President Lorenzo Snow introduced a new emphasis on tithing during a special fast meeting and solemn assembly of the priesthood of the Church (see Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:358–60).
Several fasts in this century have supported humanitarian efforts. During a fast in January 1921, the Saints contributed toward helping millions of hungry children in Europe and Asia (see Messages of the First Presidency, 5:171, 188–89). Similar fasts were held following World War II. In 1985 two special fasts were held for hunger relief and community development in Africa, South America, and other areas (see Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols. , 502).
While the time and method of observing the fast and of making fast offerings have changed, the eternal principle has remained intact: “to continue in prayer and fasting” as a way to draw close to the Lord and to seek his blessings for those in need as well as for ourselves.
[photo] Bearing testimony is part of the monthly fast and testimony meeting.
A home should have a cookie jar for when it is half past three
And children hurry home from school as hungry as can be,
there is nothing quite so splendid in filling children up,
As spicy, fluffy ginger cakes and sweet milk in a cup.
A home should have a mother waiting with a hug,
No matter what a boy brings home---a puppy or a bug,
For children only loiter when the bell rings to dismiss,
If no one is home to greet them with a cookie and a kiss.
May I suggest now eight brief, practical steps for those who would one day be true sweethearts, based on a foundation of righteous living.
First, have reverence for life, and the life-giving powers of the human body. Your body is a temple. It is a sacred and holy edifice. Have the same spiritual reverence for it that you have for any temple that seeks to be a dwelling place for the Spirit of God. It is also the dwelling place of the seeds of human life, the nurturing of which, with your chosen companion, within the bounds set by God himself, is lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.
Second, during the time of courtship, always be emotionally honest in the expression of affection. Sometimes you are not as careful as you might be about when, how, and to whom you express your feelings of affection. You must realize that the desire to express affection can be motivated by things other than true love. As one writer said:
“Desire can be stimulated by the anxiety of aloneness, by the wish to conquer or be conquered, by vanity, by the wish to hurt or even to destroy, as much as it can be stimulated by love. It seems that sexual desire can easily blend with and be stimulated by any strong emotion, of which love is only one. Because sexual desire is in the minds of most people coupled with the idea of love, they are easily misled to conclude that they love each other when they want each other physically. But if this desire is not stimulated by real love, it leaves strangers as far apart as they were before—sometimes it makes them ashamed of each other, or even makes them hate each other, because when the illusion has gone, they feel their estrangement even more markedly than before.” (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, New York: Harper and Rowe, 1956, pp. 54–55.)
In short, one might simply say: save your kisses—you might need them some day. And when any of you—men or women—are given entrance to the heart of a trusting young friend, you stand on holy ground. In such a place you must be honest with yourself—and with your friend—about love and the expression of its symbols.
Third, be friends first and sweethearts second. Relationships between young men and young women should be built like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is friendship. And the ascending layers are built of things like time, understanding, respect, and restraint. Right at the top of the pyramid is a glittering little mystery called romance. And when weary travelers in the desert see this pyramid far off in the distance, maybe the first thing they see is that glittering jewel on the top; but when they get closer, they see all that must underlie the jewel of romance to hold it up so high. Now you don’t have to be very smart to know that a pyramid won’t stand up very long if you stand it on its point and expect the point to hold up everything else. In other words, be friends first and sweethearts later, not the other way around. Otherwise, people who think they are sweethearts may discover they can’t be very good friends, and by then it may be too late.
Fourth, develop the power of self-discipline and self-restraint. Be like Joseph, not like David. When Potiphar’s wife tried with all her cunning to seduce young Joseph, who lived in her house as her husband’s servant, the record simply says that Joseph “fled, and got him out.” (Gen. 39:12.) Joseph knew that it is wiser to avoid temptation than to resist it.
King David, by contrast, despite his years of faithful devotion to God, somehow developed too much confidence in his own ability to handle temptation. He was tragically willing to flirt with evil, and it ultimately destroyed him. We read that as David walked upon the roof of his house, he saw not far off a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. But David did not flee and get himself out. Rather, he sent and enquired after her, and she came in unto him. For this greatest of the kings of Israel, it was the beginning of the end. (See 2 Sam. 11.)
In your courtships, even when you feel there is a growing foundation of true love, show your profound respect for that love and the possibilities of your life together by restraining your passions. Do not be deceived by the false notion that anything short of the sex act itself is acceptable conduct. That is a lie, not only because one step overpoweringly leads to another, but also because the handling of another’s body is in an important sense part of the sexual act that is kept holy by the sanctuary of chastity. If ever you are in doubt about where the line is between love and lust, draw the line toward the side of love. Nobody ever fell off a cliff who never went near one.
Fifth, in your searching for the fulfillment of your romantic longings, always live for the presence of the Holy Spirit, that you may have it as your constant guide. Don’t date someone you already know you would not ever want to marry. If you fall in love with someone you should not marry, you can’t expect the Lord to guide you away from that person after you are already emotionally committed. It is difficult enough to tune your spiritual receiver to the whisperings of heaven without jamming up the channel with the loud thunder of romantic emotion. In general, remember that you need—as much as you will ever need it for any purpose—the guidance of the Holy Ghost in seeking an eternal companion and in building relationships toward that end. The key to spiritual guidance is not how long you pray, or what steps of prayer you follow, or what words you say. The key to spiritual guidance is found in one word: worthiness.
Some time soon when you have a chance to do a little scripture study, I recommend that you compare section 63:16 [D&C 63:16] with section 121:45–46 in the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 121:45–46]. In the first of these two passages, you will find that “he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts,” they will experience three very significant harmful consequences: One, they shall not have the Spirit; two, they shall deny the faith; and three, they shall fear.
On the other hand, in direct contrast to these three results of filling your minds with lust, note what three things happen as described in D&C 121:45–46 when you “let virtue garnish [your]thoughts unceasingly.” The Spirit will be your constant companion. As for keeping the faith, the doctrine of the priesthood will distil upon your soul as the dews from heaven. And in contrast to the fear felt by the lustful, those whose minds are filled with virtue will find that their confidence waxes strong in the presence of God.
For these and a multitude of other reasons, live for the presence in your life of the Holy Spirit.
Sixth, avoid the habit of feeling sorry for yourself, and don’t worry excessively about those times when you feel socially unsuccessful. Everybody in the world doesn’t have to fall in love with you and marry you—it only takes one. I remember the experience of a choice young woman who had been very popular and successful in many ways in her home town. She passed up two or three chances to get serious with young men because she planned to attend college at a Church school, where she fully expected to find more promising opportunities. After she had been at that school for six months without a date, however, she honestly began to wonder if she had some loathsome disease. Seeing that experience through her eyes was very sobering for me about the risks we take in any large population center, because sheer size and numbers can so easily cause people to make incredibly superficial judgments about others, in ways that emphasize appearance above far more important but less obvious factors.
The opportunities for developing friendships (as sometimes distinguished from having “dates”) with members of the opposite sex are nonetheless plentiful at a college. Often these relationships lead to more promising possibilities than does the big social whirl. In approaching these opportunities, remember: “Worry not that you are not well known. Seek to be worth knowing.” The college-age years are a wonderful time in which to experience a variety of human relationships, to go places and do things, to read widely, to find yourself, to develop the roots of spiritual and emotional maturity. To gain this kind of ripeness and growth simply takes time, experience, and effort.
The discouragement you may feel as another empty Friday night rolls by is often a form of the insecurity we all encounter as we seek to find ourselves. Without the apparent approval of your self-worth that comes through social success, you may begin to doubt whether your life is really worthwhile. That kind of self-doubt is only part of a larger problem that accompanies most of us, married or single all the days of our lives. At times, we wonder if the Lord loves us; we wonder if other people love us. And so we mistakenly seek the symbols of success—whether that is being popular or being rich or being famous within our own sphere.
Sometimes you may let someone take improper liberties with you, or you may indulge yourself in some practice that seems to bring temporary relief but only makes you feel worse in the long run. Some even make poor marriage choices, just to show the world that somebody will have them. Ultimately, however, only the Lord’s approval of your life really matters. If you seek to be worth knowing and seek to do his will, all the rest will take care of itself. Never forget that all things work together for good to them who love God. (See Rom. 8:28.)
Your time for marriage may not come until the autumn of your life and then “be twice more precious for the waiting.” (Eternal Love, p. 17.) Even if your time should not come in this life, the promises of eternal love are still yours in the Lord’s view of time, if only you are faithful.
Seventh, in addition to avoiding fornication and adultery, you must avoid homosexual acts and abortion at all costs. These are extremely serious transgressions. Even persons who only assist others, much less pressure them, to have an abortion are in jeopardy of being denied the privilege of missionary service. They may also be called upon to face a church court, at the peril of their membership in the Church.
Eighth, if through some unfortunate experience in your past you have committed a moral transgression of the kind we have been talking about today, there is a way by which you may receive full forgiveness. There is no more glorious promise in all scripture than the words of Isaiah, speaking as if it were by the voice of the Lord himself: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isa. 1:18–19.)
The steps for the process of repentance are outlined in President Spencer W. Kimball’s masterful book The Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969). If your transgressions are of the serious kind, you will need to see your bishop and voluntarily offer a full and complete confession. As frightening as that experience may seem to you, please know that by this means you will find purpose and a peace of mind more hopeful and uplifting than you can now imagine.
And in wondering how you might stand in the eyes of the Lord after such an experience, I commend to you the counsel of Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who talked in the October 1980 general conference about the repentance process for serious transgressions. The most memorable part of that candid and loving sermon was Elder Featherstone’s expression of his attitude toward those who have had the courage and the faith to confess their sins and even face Church discipline, if necessary. Because I so much share Elder Featherstone’s feeling, I would like to quote a portion of his remarks:
“In Exodus 32 [Ex. 32], Moses had gone up to the mountain. The children of Israel had fashioned a golden calf with a graving tool. The people offered burnt offerings, and they sat down to eat, drink, and play; and there was great wickedness when Moses came down out of the mountain. He cast the tablets out of his hands, and they were broken; he burned the golden calf and caused the idolaters to be slain.
“Then, when the people had repented [and that is the key], Moses went back before the Lord and prayed, ‘Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.’
“I have listened to possibly a thousand major transgressions; and each time after a truly repentant transgressor has left my office, I have either knelt behind the desk or bowed my head in prayer and said, ‘Lord, forgive him or her, I pray thee. If not, blot my name also out of thy book.’
“Though their sins be as scarlet, they may become white as the driven snow (see Isa. 1:18), and the Lord has promised he would remember their sins no more (see D&C 58:42).” (Ensign, Nov. 1980, pp. 29–31.)
One reason I appreciate Elder Featherstone’s feelings so much is that those are also my feelings toward you. I love the students of Ricks College. I don’t want to be where you aren’t.
For all that I have said by way of warning about the social conditions of our day or the limits you must place on yourselves as you seek the right channels for your natural feelings, I also want you always to remember that the teachings of the gospel about romantic love are filled with hope and peace and joy of the most uplifting and everlasting kind. I testify to you with all my heart that the commandments of God are designed for our ultimate happiness, and that being sweethearts in the way the Lord intended is worth waiting for.
Question: How do we keep bad thoughts from entering our minds, and what do we do when they come?
Answer: Some bad thoughts come by themselves. Others come because we invite them by what we look at and listen to. 2 Talking about or looking at immodest pictures can stimulate powerful emotions. It will tempt you to watch improper videocassettes or movies. These things surround you, but you must not participate in them. Work at keeping your thoughts clean by thinking of something good. 3 The mind can think of only one thing at a time. Use that fact to crowd out ugly thoughts. 4 Above all, don’t feed thoughts by reading or watching things that are wrong. If you don’t control your thoughts, Satan will keep tempting you until you eventually act them out. 5
Question: Why is the law of chastity so important? Why is sex before marriage wrong?
Answer: Fundamental to the great plan of happiness and central to the teachings of the Savior is the family. A new family begins when a man and woman make sacred marriage vows and are legally bound together to become husband and wife, father and mother. The perfect beginning is through sealing in the temple. With marriage they commit the best of themselves to be absolutely loyal to each other and to invite children to be nurtured and taught. The father assumes his role as provider and protector, the mother her role as the heart of the home, with her tender, loving, nurturing influence. Together they strive to instill in themselves and their children principles such as prayer, obedience, love, giving of oneself, and the quest for knowledge.
Within the enduring covenant of marriage, the Lord permits husband and wife the expression of the sacred procreative powers in all their loveliness and beauty within the bounds He has set. 6 One purpose of this private, sacred, intimate experience is to provide the physical bodies for the spirits Father in Heaven wants to experience mortality. Another reason for these powerful and beautiful feelings of love is to bind husband and wife together in loyalty, fidelity, consideration of each other, and common purpose.
However, those intimate acts are forbidden by the Lord outside the enduring commitment of marriage because they undermine His purposes. 7 Within the sacred covenant of marriage, such relationships are according to His plan. When experienced any other way, they are against His will. They cause serious emotional and spiritual harm. Even though participants do not realize that is happening now, they will later.
Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin. It engenders selfishness and can produce aggressive acts such as brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, and violent crime. Such stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong. 8
Sexual transgression would defile the priesthood young men hold. For both young men and young women, it would sap your spiritual strength, undermine your faith in Jesus Christ, and frustrate your ability to serve Him. Consistent, willing obedience increases your confidence and ability. It produces character that allows you to face difficult challenges and overcome them. It qualifies you to receive inspiration and power from the Lord. 9
Question: They always tell us we shouldn’t become sexually involved, but they never tell us the limits. What are they?
Answer: Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing—is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body. 10
Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds, no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false.
Satan particularly seeks to tempt one who has lived a pure, clean life to experiment through magazines, videocassettes, or movies with powerful images. He wants to stimulate appetite to cause experimentation that quickly results in intimacies and defilement. Powerful habits are formed which are difficult to break. Mental and emotional scars result.
When you are mature enough to plan seriously for marriage, keep your expressions of feelings to those that are comfortable in the presence of your parents. 11 To help you keep these sacred commandments, make a covenant with the Lord that you will obey them. Decide what you will do and will not do. When temptation comes, do not change your standards. Do not abandon them when circumstances seem to justify an exception. That is Satan’s way to hurt you by making it seem that sometimes God’s law does not apply. There are no exceptions.
Question: Before you are married, how far is too far to go if it is with someone you care for?
Answer: Before marriage there can be no sexual contact with a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancée, or anyone else, period. 12 While a commandment, that standard is for your happiness. That’s why the Church counsels you to go in groups and not to date while you are young. Later, as you prepare for marriage, remember that true love elevates, protects, respects, and enriches another. It motivates you to make sacrifices for the girl or boy you love. Satan would promote counterfeit love, which is really lust. That is driven by hunger to satisfy personal appetite. Protect the one you love by controlling your emotions to the limits set by the Lord. You know how to be clean. We trust you to do it.
Question: How do you go about repenting if a sexual sin is committed? What sins should you tell the bishop?
Answer: All of the sexual transgressions we have discussed require sincere repentance with the participation of the bishop. Should you have done any of this, repent now. It is wrong to violate these commandments of the Lord. It is worse to do nothing about it. Sin is like cancer in the body. It will never heal itself. It will become worse unless cured through repentance. Your parents can help strengthen you. Then you can become clean and pure by repentance under the guidance of the bishop. He may seem to be busy or unavailable. Tell him you are in trouble and need help. He will listen.
A youth in serious trouble said: “I have done things that I knew were bad. I have been taught they were ever since I can remember. I know repentance is a great gift; without it I would be lost. But I’m not ready to repent of my sins, yet I know when I am ready I can.” How tragic. The thought of intentionally committing serious sin now and repenting later is perilously wrong. Never do that. 13 Many start that journey of intentional transgression and never make it back. Premeditated sin has greater penalties and is harder to overcome. If there is sin, repent now—while you can.
I pray that as you have read this you have had feelings to do better. 14 You have a sacred responsibility, 15 and also a singular privilege. 16 You will be fortified in your determination to live righteously as you study the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Listen to your parents, leaders, and the prophet. Have faith in the Savior. He will help you. 17 Remember He said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” 18
Please stay morally clean. The Lord will make that possible as you do your part with all your strength. 19 Jesus Christ lives, and He loves you. He will help you as you do your part. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Snow
As I answered the telephone, the person calling said to me, "Are you the president of the mormon Church?"
"No," I replied.
She then said, "Are you president of the Mormon Church in Canada?"
Somewhat frustrated, she said, "Well, are you the man responsible for the two young men who come door-to-door with the message of Mormonism?"
I replied that I was, and she curtly stated, "Then get them off my back! We have had no peace in our home since these two young men called at our door. My foolish husband believes their message." She mentioned to me that her name was Rogers and gave me her address. I told her that I would respect her wish that the missionaries not call at their home, but that if Mr. Rogers wanted to continue his study of the truth, he could do so at our own residence on Lyndhurst Avenue. I then felt impressed to say to her, "Mrs. Rogers, you're not able to accept the law of tithing, are you?"
She responded, "How did you know? How did you know?" She went on, "Why, of all the foolish doctrines, to think that those of us who can't get by on one hundred per-cent of our income could get by on nine-tenths. I can't buy that nonsense!" She then slammed the receiver in my ear.
As I returned to bed, Frances asked, "Who was that?"
"Some woman who doesn't want the missionaries," I replied.
I forgot about the incident. About two months later I was attending the fast and testimony meeting of the Tortonto Branch, there to bless our newly arrived child, Clark Spencer Monson. The branch president said, "We have a number of ordinances today-- some blessings, some confirmations. We would like now to invite the members of the Rogers family, seated on the front row, to each one be confirmed a member of the Church." Instantly the name Rogers flashed through my mind. I looked at the red-headed woman sitting on the front row. As I did so, I wondereed, "Could this be the Mrs. Rogers who telephoned at two A.M.?" As though we were communicating one with another, Mrs. Rogers' eyes met mine, and she nodded her head affirmatively.
Following the ordinance work and the condlusion of the meeting, I went forward to congratulate the Rogers family. I said toher, "Could you possibly be the Rogers who telephoned me early one morning?"
She said, "Yes, President Monson, and tithing pays."
I replied, "Tithing does pay, just as the missionaries have declared." I was happy to help confirm her a member of the Church.
During the time freedom was curtailed in Eastern Europe, Patriarch Walter Krause travled from Germany to Hungary to pay a home teaching visit to Brother Denndorfer. He later reported to me that when he arrived and introduced himself, Brother Denndorfer said to him, "Before I shake the hand of a servant of the Lord, I first wish to pay my tithing." He then retrieved from a hiding place the tithing he had accumulated during the more-than-forty-year period. "Now I feel worthy to shake the hand of a servant of the Lord," he said.
The best marriage guarantee you can have is the one you sign in the presence of your bishop--and it has to be renewed once a year. Using this recommend in the companionship of your husband or wife is the best antidivorce guarantee available--not just because you have entered the temple but also because of what temple worthiness represents. This guarantee requires supporting each other in Church callings, working out the payment of tithing, praying together, studying the scriptures together, and giving service together.
"...pay your tithes and offerings out of honesty and integrity because they are God's rightful due...Paying tithing is not a token gift we are somehow charitably bestowing upon God. Paying tithing is discharging a debt."