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Temporal Preparation Brings Spiritual Strength
 

 

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Temporal Preparation Brings Spiritual Strength
Inwood Ward/Klein Texas Stake
15 April 2012

    I am grateful for this opportunity to speak today and seek the Spirit to be with me in delivering my message.

    Doctrine and Covenants 29:34 states “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal…”

    Bro. Reichert has asked me to speak on how temporal preparation brings spiritual strength.

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated “Man has been placed on earth to work out his salvation both temporally and spiritually. If all that had been needed for his eternal progression was spiritual in nature, this earth life would not have been necessary.” (Mormon Doctrine p. 141-142)

    In chapter 2 of Ether in The Book of Mormon, the brother of Jared builds barges as the Lord commands. They were tight “like unto a dish” and presented two problems – not enough air and no light. The Lord instructs him on how to solve the problem of the air but asks him what he would like Him to do about light. He also reminds him that he won’t be able to put windows in the barges because they would be “dashed in pieces” as they cross the “great water.” He tells the brother of Jared that there WILL be mountain waves, wind, rain and floods and that they won’t be able to complete their journey unless the Lord prepares them to withstand the terrible troubles ahead of them. He said “I prepare you against these things” so that you can make the journey. (Ether 2:25)

    The Savior has warned us in scripture that there will be difficult times in the last days. “Behold I speak for mine elect’s sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”(JS-Matthew 1:29) “And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” (D&C 29:16) “And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.” (D&C 88:90-91)

    One of the ways the Lord prepares us against these things, or the terrible troubles of our day, is through the instruction He gives through his prophets. Latter-day Saints have received counsel to store food and prepare since at least 1845 when they were instructed to prepare an 18-month supply of food and supplies for the journey west from Nauvoo. In 1937, with the formation of the Church’s welfare program, J. Rueben Clark spoke for the First Presidency when he said “Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead.” In the mid-1970’s, 6 areas of personal and family preparedness were introduced. As members of the Church we are responsible for our own spiritual and temporal well-being in these areas: education, health, employment, home storage, finances, and spiritual strength.

    I quote from the welfare handbook:

    Education. “Education can enrich, ennoble, and provide understanding that leads to a happier life. Members should study the scriptures and other good books; improve their ability to read, write, and do basic mathematics; and obtain skills needed for suitable employment.”

    Elder Marion G. Romney made a great promise in April conference of 1980. He said “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.” (Marion G. Romney, May 1980 Ensign) I have a testimony that this is true.

    Elder Scott in this last General Conference said “Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation.” (April 2012) How can we gain spiritual strength from these experiences if we do not know how to write reasonably well so that we can remember them?

    The area of Health. “The Lord has commanded members to take care of their minds and bodies. They should obey the Word of Wisdom, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep. They should shun substances or practices that abuse their bodies or minds and that could lead to addiction. They should practice good sanitation and hygiene and obtain adequate medical and dental care. They should also strive to cultivate good relationships with family members and others.”

    In the Word of Wisdom D&C 89 the Lord promises “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;” (vs 18-19)

    Elder Scott also taught in conference that “spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation.” (April 2012)

    The area of Employment. “Work is the foundation upon which self-reliance and temporal well-being rest. Members should prepare for and carefully select a suitable occupation or self-employment that will provide for their own and their families’ needs. They should become skilled at their jobs, be diligent and trustworthy, and give honest work for the pay and benefits they receive.”

    Elder Hales in April conference said “All of us have an “imperative duty” to assist our youth in preparing for lifelong service by helping them become self-reliant. In addition to the spiritual self-reliance we have been discussing, there is temporal self-reliance, which includes getting a postsecondary education or vocational training, learning to work, and living within our means.” (April 2012)

    This leads to the next area which is:

    Finances. “To become financially self-reliant, members should:
– Pay tithes and offerings.
– Avoid unnecessary debt.
– Use a budget and live within a plan.
– Gradually build a financial reserve by regularly saving a little.
– Teach family members principles of financial management.”

    Elder Hales in April 2009 stated “Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected, and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual things.”

    He went on to say “The foundation of provident living is the law of the tithe. The primary purpose of this law is to help us develop faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Tithing helps us overcome our desires for the things of this world and willingly make sacrifices for others. Tithing is the great equitable law, for no matter how rich or poor we are, all of us pay the same one-tenth of our increase annually (see D&C 119:4), and all of us receive blessings so great “that there shall not be room enough to receive [them]” (Malachi 3:10).”

    And in this last conference, he said “By avoiding debt and saving money now, we are prepared for full-time Church service in the years to come.” (Elder Hales April 2012)

    The area of Home Storage. “To help care for themselves and their families, members should:
– Build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet.
– Store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted.
– Gradually build a longer-term supply of food that will sustain life.”

    The First Presidency in the pamphlet “All is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage” wrote:

    “Our Heavenly Father …. has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.

    We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. …. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow.”

    These 5 areas of temporal preparedness help us achieve the 6th area.

    Spiritual Strength. “Spirituality is essential to a person’s temporal and eternal well-being. Church members should exercise faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, obey God’s commandments, pray daily, study the scriptures and teachings of the latter-day prophets, attend Church meetings, and serve in Church callings and assignments.”

    D&C 38:30 reads “…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

    Obedience to the counsel to be self-reliant and prepared for life brings peace. Peace of mind strengthens faith and a peaceful state of mind makes it easier to feel and understand the Spirit, its promptings and answers to prayer. Those things, in turn, strengthen us spiritually and the cycle continues. Wouldn’t you want that when you are trying to decide whether to evacuate or shelter in place during the next hurricane?

    Preparedness through provident living is essential. It contributes to spiritual growth. Elder McConkie said "Industry, thrift, and self-respect are essential to salvation." (April 1979) Marion G. Romney stated “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in temporal as well as in spiritual things.” (November 1976)

    I had an experience in the temple recently that taught me that temporal preparedness helps us keep baptismal covenants and temple covenants. That realization alone should be enough reason to be temporally prepared.

    President Marion G. Romney taught “The Church’s welfare program [which personal and family preparedness is a part of] is spiritual. In 1936, when the program was introduced, President David O. McKay made this astute observation:

“It is something to supply clothing to the [poorly] clad, to furnish ample food to those whose table is thinly spread, to give activity to those who are fighting desperately the despair that comes from enforced idleness, but after all is said and done, the greatest blessings that will accrue from the Church [welfare program] are spiritual. Outwardly, every act seems to be directed toward the physical: remaking of dresses and suits of clothes, canning fruits and vegetables, storing foodstuffs, choosing fertile fields for settlement—all seem strictly temporal, but permeating all these acts, inspiring and sanctifying them, is the element of spirituality.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 103.)”

    Pres. Romney went on to say, “Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment, that all commandments are spiritual. It also tells us that man is to be “an agent unto himself.” Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth.”

    He also said “Without self-reliance one cannot exercise … innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.

    “… One of the three areas emphasized in the mission of the Church is to perfect the Saints, and this is the purpose of the welfare program. This is not a doomsday program, but a program for our lives here and now, because now is the time for us to perfect our lives.” (Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance”)

    We can see from statements made by apostles and prophets that some of the spiritual blessings we can receive through temporal preparedness are: reverence, respect, greater love in families and for others, wisdom, obedience, righteousness, faith, hope, charity, peace, joy, happiness, the ability to recall revelation, hidden treasures of knowledge, enhanced spiritual communications, the ability to serve better and the ability to keep covenants. Why would we not want to be more prepared and self-reliant?

    Testimony of personal and family preparedness and blessings it brings both temporal and spiritual. May we all strive to do better.

 

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Last modified: 07/15/2013