Saturday, August 30, 2014

Old Testament Lesson 33: Sharing the Gospel with the World

Jonah 1-4, Micah 2, 4-7
Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Fasting Jews gather to worship in their synagogues. Of all the sacred scripture available to them, they read the book of Jonah on this day. Why?

The main message of Jonah is that God's gospel is for ALL people and that no matter what your mistakes may be, if you return unto Him there is mercy and forgiveness waiting.
Today's lesson focuses on the Book of Jonah and its relevance to us today. We will also study the words of the prophet Micah.
Jonah 1:1-3 it's a fair assumption that Jonah was not singing "I'll Go Where You Want me To Go" when he received his mission call. Why not? What made a prophet of God turn down his mission call?
Ninevah is right on the banks of the Tigris in Northern Iraq. Ninevah is on the opposite bank from where modern day Mosul is today. Going there, as it is today, would have been fraught with danger. 
From an earthly perspective, it is no surprise that Jonah decided to get on a ship and head in the opposite direction toward Spain. But it was not the danger of the mission that turned Jonah away from his proselyting duties. Rather it was Jonah's worry that these heathens, who had caused his people so much pain, would be forgiven and given the same gospel blessings he had. He wanted to see Ninevah destroyed. Read Jonah 4:2 Why did he flee? Because he knew that God was a "gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness." This is quite amazing from a prophet and shows that Jonah is not really understanding of the true power of the Atonement. The Atonement was not a demonstration of God's love for his chosen people Israel. The Atonement was a demonstration of God's love for EVERYBODY! (cf. John 3:16) Jonah did not understand this. He was angered that those not "chosen" could be shown mercy and salvation. Jonah believes that sinners should be punished. It is a thought prevalent among all religions today including our own. Sinners should be punished. But the Lord believes sinners should be given a chance to repent and shown forgiveness. For all our cries of justice, the Lord ever answers with mercy.
So in fleeing, Jonah is declaring he wants nothing to do with a God who will not punish people. Why was Jonah swallowed by a great fish? Many will suggest it was punishment. NO!  The great fish was a means of salvation for Jonah. Rather than a punishment the great fish saved Jonah. Jonah was shown mercy by the Lord and by the sailors who tried everything they could to save him. Jonah 1:17 The Lord had "prepared" the great fish. Jonah sat in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Imagine, being in the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea, trapped. Would you really think you were going to escape? You are waiting to die. You are as good as dead - living but as good as dead. 3 days Jonah experienced this only to be delivered on dry land. What should that teach us about the Atonement? Surely it teaches us that no matter what depths you plunge to, no matter what darkness you become a part of, no matter how long you are gone, you can still be delivered! Jonah got that lesson. At least on a personal basis. He cried unto the Lord in his darkness and he was rescued. The lesson he did not get was no matter who you can be rescued.
As Latter Day Saints I think we are all aware of the saving graces of the Atonement in our own personal lives. But do we sometimes judge and discern for ourselves who is and who isn't worthy of that Atonement? Have you held back from sharing the gospel with a neighbour because they are just not the type? Have we given up on a less-active because they just don't appreciate it or make it difficult for us to do our duty? Do we sometimes react like the elder brother of the prodigal son when the Father's mercy and love enfold the repentant, quietly wishing our consistent righteousness would be noticed more?  
Jeffrey Holland speaking of the older brother of the prodigal son said,
"In the story of the Prodigal Son, we can miss, if we are not careful, the account of an elder son, for the opening line of the Savior’s account reads, “A certain man had two sons”—and He might have added, “both of whom were lost and both of whom needed to come home.”
This [older] son is not so much angry that the other has come home as he is angry that his parents are so happy about it. …
No, he who has virtually everything, and who has in his hardworking, wonderful way earned it, lacks the one thing that might make him the complete man of the Lord he nearly is. He has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning. It is his brother. As his father pled with him to see, it is one who was dead and now is alive. It is one who was lost and now is found.
Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies…It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.”"
Jonah, for all his weaknesses was a prophet of God. His record is not here for us to condemn him, but rather as a reminder to ask ourselves whether we are active messengers of this gospel of mercy or whether we withhold it for those whom only we deem prepared and worthy? It stands as a true testimony of God's love for all - a witness that God's mercy and love, his Atonement, covers ALL who are willing to repent.

Jonah waits hopefully for Ninevah's destruction
Compare Jonah 3:1-3 with Jonah 1:1-3. Jonah has at least learned enough to go on the mission he is called to. He decides going to Ninevah is not so nearly as bad as rotting in the belly of a fish for 3 days and nights. He preaches repentance but is thoroughly disappointed when the people of Ninevah repent and are saved.

The book of Jonah finishes in a very odd way. It finishes like no other book of scripture - with a question.

It also follows chiasm patterns:
A.Go and preach against the wicked Ninevites
   B.Jonah sins; not wanting Ninevah to be saved
      C.Jonah repents and is delivered by the Lord
      C.Ninevah repents and is delivered by the Lord
   B.Jonah sins; not wanting Ninevah to be saved
A.The Lord asks "Should not I spare Ninevah?"

Remember the point of chiasmic literature is to focus the reader on the central point. Interestingly though the end question here is also asking the reader to consider the books central theme of repentance and mercy. Should God cease being God by not offering mercy and salvation? If Ninevah is not to be saved, who else must therefore not be saved, by the same logic?
Jonah's answer is never recorded. It does not matter because the purpose of scripture is to ask the reader the question. Like Jonah, we all must learn that to be worthy of the Lord's mercy we must be able to be merciful.

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and preached repentance to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel as well as the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Like Isaiah, much of his prophecy has dual meaning, warning the people of his day while also prophesying of latter-day events.
Micah 2:1 describes a time when people eat, sleep and breath evil. Even when they sleep they are devising wicked plans to gain property and wealth and power over other people. Despite those perilous times what promises does the Lord make with his people in Micah 2:12-13? How are these promises being fulfilled today?

Micah 5:7 How does the Micah describe the Lord's people? How can the image of dew or showers upon the grass be compared to the effects of church members on the world? What does it mean that these dews "tarrieth not for man"?
Micah 5:8 How does Micah describe the Lord's people? What does this image suggest about the strength and power of the Lord's work? Who could stop it?
In 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith declared,
“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
That seems like a lot to live up to? Does the load seem heavy you are called to bear? How might Micah 6:6-8 be a comfort to those of us who can feel overwhelmed?

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. That's it. And in return we have a God who will love us and show mercy to us. Micah 7:18-19.
So today we have discussed how the Atonement and God's mercy covers EVERYONE who wishes to repent and embrace the gospel message, we have spoken of how in the Latter-Days we will be called to help spread this message and gather in those who wish to hear this message. The message is a simple message. Elder Russel M Nelson described it as a message that was announced 194 years ago with just seven words: "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him". Whatever age we are, whatever we do in life, whatever our circumstances, we can share this message. It does not have to be forced or contrived. We just have to be willing to go where he wants us to go, and do what he wants us to do and say what he wants us to say. His message is a message of love and compassion and mercy and it is a message for everyone.

Let me finish with a story told by Elder Henry B Eyring,

"A family moved into a house near us. The   home was new, so I was part of the crew of   Latter-day Saints who spent a number of   nights putting in landscaping. I remember the   last night, standing next to the husband of   the family as we finished. He surveyed our work and said to us standing nearby, “This is the third yard you Mormons have put in for us, and I think this is the best.” And then he quietly but firmly told me of the great satisfaction he got from membership in his own church, a conversation we had often in the years he lived there.
In all that time, the acts of kindness extended to him and his family never ceased because the neighbors really came to love them. One evening, I came home to see a truck in his driveway. I had been told they were moving to another state. I approached to see if I could help. I didn’t recognize the man I saw loading household things into the truck. He said quietly as I drew near, “Hello, Brother Eyring.” I hadn’t recognized him because he was the son, now grown older, who had lived there, married, and moved away. And because of the love of many for him, he was now a baptized member of the Church. I don’t know the end of that story because it will have no end. But I know that it begins with love."

Old Testament Lesson 32: I know that my Redeemer Liveth

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Old Testament Lesson 31: Happy is the Man that Findeth Wisdom

The Book of Proverbs may give the impression that Solomon sat down and wrote a book of his wisdom. More likely is that his wisdom was gathered in snippets and eventually collected together. Proverbs is not even entirely written by Solomon and there are other influences. The book is not considered as revelation from a prophet but is deemed inspired counsel of a wise man under the guidance of the Spirit.
There are many themes found in Proverbs, including our marital relationships, communication with others, avoiding sin, trusting God, finding wisdom, and more. The lesson today will focus on 7 of those themes. However there are many other pearls of wisdom that can be found in Proverbs that may not be covered in these themes (eg. Proverbs 3:27-28; 8:22-31; 17:6; 29:18 and Proverbs 31) Some can even make you smile a little (Proverbs 6:9; 18:9; 21:9; 25:17) Thus while this lesson aims to be informative I hope it serves merely to whet the appetite for a more complete feast of this fascinating book.

1. Wisdom
Proverbs 1:7; 2:1-6; 4:7
Why is wisdom so important? 
How do we gain wisdom? Where did Solomon get his wisdom from?
James 1:5

"Wisdom to govern the house of Israel was given to Solomon, and the Judges of Israel; and if he had always been their king, and they subject to his mandate, and obedient to his laws they would still have been a great and mighty people-the rulers of the universe, and the wonder of the world." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 251)

2. Trust in The Lord
Proverbs 3:5-6; 16:25
How does the Lord direct our paths?
What experiences have taught you to trust in the Lord?

At the funeral services for the five little angels, I counseled: "There is one phrase which should be erased from your thinking and from the words you speak aloud. It is the phrase, 'If only.' It is counterproductive and is not conducive to the spirit of healing and of peace. Rather, recall the words of Proverbs: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.' "
Before the closing of the caskets, I noted that each child held a favorite toy, a soft gift to cuddle. I reflected on the words of the poet Eugene Field:
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair,
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!"
So toddling off to his trundle-bed
He dreamt of the pretty toys.
And as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue,-
Oh, the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face.
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through,
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue
Since he kissed them and put them there.
The little toy dog and the soldier fair may wonder, but God in His infinite mercy has not left grieving loved ones to wonder. He has provided truth. He will inspire an upward reach, and His outstretched arms will embrace you. Jesus promises to one and all who grieve, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."(Thomas S. Monson "Think to Thank," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 19-20)
3.The Words We Speak
Proverbs 15:1-2
 "To men within the sound of my voice, I say, if you are guilty of demeaning behavior toward your wife, if you are prone to dictate and exercise authority over her, if you are selfish and brutal in your actions in the home, then stop it. Repent. Repent now, while you have the opportunity to do so.
"To you wives who are constantly complaining and see only the dark side of life, and feel that you are unloved and unwanted, look into your own hearts and minds. If there is something wrong, turn about. Put a smile on your faces." (Gordon B. Hinckley News of the Church 1984)

4. Pride
Proverbs 16:18-19
"Contentions result from the prideful power struggle that comes from pitting ourselves-our possessions or our intellect against others. The proud are easily offended, hold grudges, withhold forgiveness, and will not receive counsel or correction" (CR, April 1989, pp. 85-86)" (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987-1992], 3: 348)
I was always taught and I am ever thankful for having learned this teaching. "You are never offend-ED. You CHOOSE to take offence" I have been saved much drama and stress in life with that simple advise. There seem to be people all over society that are easily offended or almost seek to take offence. Life is a lot more peaceful and loving when you choose not to be offended.
5. Friendship
Proverbs 17:17
 "Among life's sweetest blessings is fellowship with men and women whose ideals and aspirations are high and noble. Next to a sense of a kinship with God comes the helpfulness, encouragement, and inspiration of friends. Friendship is a sacred possession. . . . One of the principal reasons which the Lord had for establishing His Church is to give all persons high and low, rich and poor, strong and feeble an opportunity to associate with their fellowmen in an atmosphere of uplifting, religious fellowship. This [association] may be found in Priesthood quorums, Auxiliaries, Sacrament meetings. He who neglects these opportunities, who fails to take advantage of them, to that extent starves his own soul." 
"True friends enrich life. If you would have friends, be one." (David O'McKay Living with Enthusiasm [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 49-50)
6. Raising Children
Proverbs 22:6
What do you think Lehi or Jacob would say about this and their errant sons? 
How does this scripture give hope to parents and what key element is missing from this equation? 

"There is an old and true proverb which says, "As the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined." May I repeat a story I have told in general conference. Not long after we were married, we built our first home. We had little money, and I did a lot of the work. The landscaping was entirely my responsibility. The first of many trees that I planted was a thornless honey locust, and I envisioned the day when its shade would assist in cooling the house in the summer. I put it in a place at the corner where the wind from the canyon to the east blew the hardest. I dug a hole, put in the bare root, put soil around it, poured on water, and largely forgot it. It was only a wisp of a tree, perhaps three-quarters of an inch in diameter. It was so supple that I could bend it with ease in any direction. I paid little attention to it as the years passed. Then one winter day when the tree was barren of leaves, I chanced to look out the window at it. I noted that it was leaning to the west, misshapen and out of balance. I could scarcely believe it. I went out and braced myself against it as if to push it upright. But the trunk was now nearly a foot in diameter. My strength was as nothing against it. I took from my toolshed a block and tackle, attaching one end to the tree and the other to a well-set post. I pulled the rope. The pulleys moved just a little, and the trunk of the tree trembled slightly. But that was all. It seemed to say to me, "You can't straighten me. It's too late. I've grown this way because of your neglect, and I will not bend."
Finally in desperation I took my saw and cut off the great heavy branch on the west side. I stepped back and surveyed what I had done. I had cut off a major part of the tree, leaving a huge scar about eight inches across and only one small branch growing skyward.
More than half a century has passed since I planted that tree. My daughter and her family now live there. I recently looked again at the tree. It is large, its shape is better, and it is a great asset to the home. But how serious was the trauma of its youth and how painful the treatment I had used to straighten it. When the tree was first planted, a piece of string would have held it against the forces of the wind. I could have and should have supplied that string with ever so little effort, but I did not. And it bent to the forces that came against it.
Children are like trees. When they are young, their lives can be shaped and directed, usually with ever so little effort. Said the writer of Proverbs, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). That training finds its roots in the home." ("Four Simple Things to Help Our Families and Our Nations," Ensign, Sept. 1996, 6-7)
Elder Richard G. Scott said: “You must be willing to forgo personal pleasure and self-interest for family-centered activity, and not turn over to church, school, or society the principal role of fostering a child’s well-rounded development. It takes time, great effort, and significant personal sacrifice to ‘train up a child in the way he should go.’ But where can you find greater rewards for a job well done?” (Ensign, May 1993, 34).

7. Happiness and Good Humour
Proverbs 15:13; 17:22
"I dislike very much, and I believe people generally do, to see a person with a woe begone countenance, and to see him mourning as though his circumstances were of the most unpleasant character. There is no pleasure in association with such persons. In the family it is always a good thing for the parent to be cheerful in the presence of his wife and children. And out of that cheerfulness may arise many good gifts. The Lord has not given us the gospel that we may go around mourning all the days of our lives. He has not introduced this religion for this purpose at all. We came into the world for certain purposes, and those purposes are not of a nature that require much mourning or complaint. Where a person is always complaining and feeling to find fault, the Spirit of the Lord is not very abundant in his heart. If a person wants to enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, let him, when something of a very disagreeable nature comes along, think how worse the circumstance might be, or think of something worse that he has experienced in the past. Always cultivate a spirit of gratitude. It is actually the duty of every Latter-day Saint to cultivate a spirit of gratitude.
We should enjoy our religion. No religion has in it such prospects as has the religion of the Latter-day Saints. Nothing was ever introduced to man equal to it in its grand and glorious advantages. We ought to enjoy our religion to such an extent as to be happy most all the time." (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984], 62)
President Hugh B. Brown said: “I would like to have you smile because after all we must keep a sense of humor whatever comes. I think of all the people in the world we should be the happiest. We have the greatest and most joyous message in the world. I think when we get on the other side; someone will meet us with a smile (unless we go to the wrong place and then someone will grin), so let us be happy. But let our happiness be genuine—let it come from within” (The Abundant Life [1965], 83).
Ecclesiastes is written with the world's view in mind. Thus much of the writings are indicating that from the world's view and living as the world does there is not much hope. The main conclusion is short and sweet and as all conclusions should - comes at the end of the book!
Ecclesiastes 1:14
          All is vanity and vexation of spirit
Ecclesiastes 12:13
           Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: "Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man".


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Old Testament Lesson 30: "Come to the House of the Lord"

Re-store: 1. to bring back into existence or use; reestablish
Today's lesson focuses on two righteous leaders who had the courage and strength to restore the temple and scriptures to the people. 

2 Chronicles 29
v.1-2 Hezekiah righteous Jewish king
v.3 What did Hezekiah make a priority in his life and how do we know it was a priority?
"in the first year of his reign, in the first month" he opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. How is our relationship with the Lord? Do we need to open the doors to Him? Do we need to repair our relationship with Him? Has our relationship been allowed to fall into a little disrepair?
 “Members of the Church today face great challenges, both temporal and spiritual. Have we, on occasion, also ‘turned away [our] faces from the habitation of the Lord . . . [and] shut up the doors . . . and put out the lamps.’ Are we also ‘negligent’? Often so many pressures demand our time and attention. However, considering the times and the forces arrayed against our families, should we not follow Hezekiah's example and ‘sanctify the house of the Lord . . . in the first year of the first month?’ (Emphasis added.)” (S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 62)

v.16 How did Hezekiah mend the people's relationship with the Lord? Cleansed the inner part, brought out all uncleanness from within and it was put into the brook Kidron. Why is that final detail in there? Because it shows a complete and utter abandonment of the uncleanliness. The brook Kidron once crossed was considered to be where you have at that point left Jerusalem. Essentially if you got this far, you were not planning on turning around. Likewise, if you bring your unclean things here, you are not planning on bringing them back with you. Thus taking all that was unclean symbolized the commitment to a complete and full and permanent cleansing.
v.17 We are told it took 8 days to cleanse the temple from within right up to the front porch. The people then took another 8 days of cleansing. What else might they have needed to cleanse other than the temple? Likewise, other than personal cleansing within, what else may we need to cleanse in and around our daily lives? In Hebrew culture, the number 8 symbolizes "new beginnings". That it took them two 8 day periods to fully cleanse again emphasizes their commitment to starting afresh with the Lord. What latter-day new beginning also has the number 8 associated with it? Baptism.
v.20 In our previous studies we have seen how the righteous are always noted in scripture for rising early. Hezekiah is no exception.
v.21-24 Part of the cleansing in former days is the sanctification through blood sacrifice. This practice was set up to foreshadow the ultimate and final, the last and ever-lasting, blood sacrifice, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Goats were often used as symbolic sacrifices for our sins. Thus the term "scapegoat" originated wherein someone else took the punishment for someone else.
v.24 "for all Israel" Why did Hezekiah make offerings on behalf of the Kingdom of Israel as well as his own kingdom of Judah? Was it just symbolic or did it have some practical use? Is this similar to our vicarious baptisms for the dead?
v.36 "for the thing was done suddenly" How quickly can we change if we truly want to? What delays personal cleansing?

2 Chronicles 30
Hezekiah invites all of Israel and Judah to cleanse themselves and come to the temple. Some do accept but many reject the invitation with mocking and scorn. Those that do accept are not fully temple worthy but through the righteous desires of their hearts, the prayers of Hezekiah and the sanctification of the offerings, they earn the mercy and healing of the Lord.

What was the result of Hezekiah's determination and priorities? The temple was restored.  Many people repented and were healed. Their prayers were heard. 

Spencer J Condie said,
"From King Hezekiah, as from King Benjamin (see Mosiah 2–5), we can learn a very positive lesson on leadership: circumstances do not always need to remain the same. Leaders can make a difference! Faith in the Lord and high expectations can bring about a mighty change of heart among an entire people." (“Some Scriptural Lessons on Leadership,” Ensign, May 1990, 27–28)

Sadly the great majority of the northern kingdom who mocked the idea of temple attendance and ordinances providing them protection, were (just a short three years later) attacked by Assyria and within three years after that initial attack they were carried away captive. This is the beginning of the lost ten tribes. 2 Kings 18:9-12. Interestingly enough in 1841 Joseph Smith was told to issue a similar invitation to all the world and the saints in Doctrine and Covenants 124:2-4, 10-11, 27-28. How did that turn out?

2 Chronicles 32
Sennacherib, King of Assyrria decides he wants to invade and sack Jerusalem.
v.3-8 What does Hezekiah do? cuts off anything that might give life to this invader of their sanctified lives. How can we cut off the oxygen or the water supply that feeds sin as it tries to invade our freshly sanctified lives? Notice Hezekiah does not rest on his sanctified laurels, he strengthens himself more. He rebuilds the wall higher and he builds a second wall of defence. He also prepares for a fight, adding more weapons. He organizes his people, appointing leaders and he inspires them, reminding them of who they ultimately look to for protection. How might we learn from this in our own homes and families?
Who are the servants of the Lord?
What is the heritage of the servants of the Lord? See 3 Nephi 22:17

v.9-20 Did Sennacherib attack them in open battle? No. He could not the defences were too high. So how did he attack them? He himself didn't directly attack them. He sent his servants among them to weaken their faith. He wrote letters to the people to weaken their resolve and even spoke to those on the walls in their own language to frighten them into giving in.
v.21 How did Hezekiah respond? Prayer. What was the result? How powerful can prayer be in our lives? see also 2 Kings 19:35

2 Chronicles 34
Hezekiah eventually dies, first his son Manasseh and then his grandson, Amon rule unrighteously. But then his great-grandson Josiah begins to reign at the age of 8 years old. Notice the symbolism of a new beginning. Josiah reigns in righteousness refusing to be turned.
v.3 after 8 years of ruling he starts to find his voice and seeks the God of David.In the twelfth year, being 20 years old Josiah begins to purge the land once more of false gods and the high places and altars that housed them
In his 26th year he takes the tithes and offerings that have been collected and uses it to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. As they gathered the tithes and offerings of the temple what else did they find?
v.14 the book of the law of the Lord, as given by Moses.
It condemns the people to death for forsaking the Lord. When Josiah consults the prophetess Huldah, she confirms that future generations will die as a result but that he will be preserved because of his faithfulness and his humility. Josiah might be tempted to retreat within his self-preserved bubble but instead what does he do?

George Albert Smith remarked,
I am not concerned whether or not you have the books of the great libraries of the world in your home, provided you do have these books [the scriptures]. Think of the millions of volumes that there are in our own Congressional Library at Washington, in the British Library, and in the libraries of other countries, millions of volumes—and yet all that God has revealed and published to the children of men that is necessary to prepare them for a place in the celestial kingdom is contained within the covers of these sacred books. How many of us know what they contain? I frequently go into homes where I see all the latest magazines. I find the books that are advertised as best-sellers on the bookshelves. If you were to throw them all away and retain only these sacred scriptures, you wouldn't lose what the Lord has caused to be written and made available for us all to enjoy. So, brethren and sisters, among our other blessings let us not forget that the Lord has made it possible for us to have, enjoy, and understand the scriptures and to have his word that has been given down through the ages for the salvation of his children. (The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 52)

v.29-33 Josiah commits the people to live the Law of the Lord. They do all the days of his life.

Throughout this lesson, the temple's complete restoration to full usage and focus on the scriptures is hailed as the central component of people becoming sanctified and being able to draw upon the powers of heaven. Are those powers available to us today? How might we more fully restore the temple in our lives?

President Howard W. Hunter encouraged:
“Let us be a temple-attending people. Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.
“If proximity to a temple does not allow frequent attendance, gather in the history of your family and prepare the names for the sacred ordinances performed only in the temple. This family research is essential to the work of the temples, and blessings surely will come to those who do that work” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 8; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8).

When personal circumstances or proximity do not allow us to attend the temple regularly, what other way, according to President Hunter, can we show the Lord that our hearts are in the right place?

"Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us." (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 239)

 Brigham Young once said,
If every one of the Latter day Saints lived up to their privileges, they would not fear the world, and all that they can no, any more than they fear that the cranes, that fly croaking three quarters of a mile above them, will drop their eggs upon them to dash their brains out. You might as well fear that event, as to fear all the forces of hell, if the people were sanctified before the Lord, and would do His will every day.
Are these ideas strange to you? Read and learn how the Lord protected the children of Israel in former days, even during their wickedness, and rebellion against Him.
Whenever a good man would say, "Cease your wickedness, turn from your idols, and seek to the Lord," and they hearkened to his counsel, then the Lord would fight their battles, and kill their enemies by scores and hundreds of thousands. And on one occasion the angel of the Lord slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of those who came against His people to destroy them, "and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." So reads the Bible. The Lord fought their battles.
Again, Elisha's servant saw that there was more for them than all who were against them; he saw that the sides of the mountains were covered with "chariots of fire."
When the Lord commands those invisible beings, shall I say, those who have had their resurrection? yes, millions and millions more than the inhabitants of this earth, they can fight your battles.
Now, since one angel could fight their battles in former times, and overcome the enemies of the people of God, whom shall we fear? Shall we fear those who can kill the body, and then have no more that they can do? No, but we will fear Him who is able not only to destroy the body, but has power to cast both soul and body into hell fire. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 255 - 256)