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Insight Archive

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Zone Conference Talk: Who are you?

About the age of four or five, I had the opportunity to be at a family dairy. They seemed to trust my brother and me to know what we could and could not do. As a result, they allowed us to go off alone to play often. I remember once such instance when we were playing, and we needed to go back to the house. So, my little brother and I began this journey. I was surprised to see the house on the other side of, some sort of field. I thought to myself, "there's a shortcut. We will just walk through and be at the house quicker." So, I climbed through the fence with my little brother close behind me. As we walked, it wasn't uncommon for us to step in a little manure. After all, we were on a dairy farm. Besides, at this point, the manure was dried, so I could step on it, and it wouldn't make a wet mess, or so I thought. So we continued walking. Then I took a step, and the manure was a little moist under the "crusted" top. Then, I took another. With this step, I had an unexpected sinking. And I was neck high in... cow manure. On a dairy farm, the farmers tend to push all of the manure into a large "ditch" or trap to keep the top, where the cows walk, clean, and little me, walked and sank straight into it. I was, quite literally, in a... hole of manure. At that point, I was given two options, continue to sink into the smelly, bacteria infested "quicksand" and accept my awful fate or to cry for help. There wasn't much I could do in that situation, but right before then, I had far more safe options, race my brother, walk slowly, stop and look at the cows, etc... But when I fell into that manure hole, my choice, my agency, was severally limited. Brothers and Sisters, Today, I wish to teach you what I know about agency; or, as they call it in the South, "free-will."
Preach My Gospel defines agency as "The ability and privilege God gives people to choose and to act for themselves." This divine gift, or trait, is given to us because we are literal children of the most righteous being in the entire universe. It works the same way as a child being born with a big nose, or dark skin because that Child's parents have those traits. We had this trait of agency before the foundations of the world, and every person in this generation was among the noble and great ones. Everyone on this earth used their divine gift to enhance the quality of their lives. As a matter of fact, everyone who is living, has lived, or will live has chosen that path. The reason I say bring this doctrine to mind, is to help you understand who you are, and your divine potential. Just as it is said by President And Sister Craven, "When You Know Who You Are You Act Differently." This "one liner," as it was called in a recent e-mail, is often referred to in this positive sense; but, today, I want to help you understand that this one liner can be used in a plethora of ways.

My most recent favorite way to look upon said "one-line-sermon" is to form it into a question. The first question is formed because of my experience with missionary work, "when you know who you are teaching, will you act differently?" Everybody on this planet is a brother or sister. Do you love them with that kind of love? It is easy to think less of someone when they are telling you to "go to hell." But, because they have the same father as you, they have as much right to the divine perfection as you or I. As such, will you bless them as they curse, persecute, or despitefully use you? I keep in mind they are my brothers and sisters, and God's love for them is enough for me to love them. Despite how they use their agency, and choose who and what to follow. Alma taught, "if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil. For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil." (Alma 5: 39-40) This teaching leads me to another question derived for the "one-liner:" When you know you are a child of the devil, will you act differently? If the answer is "no," than you aren't in the fold of God, and you most certainly aren't a disciple of Christ, despite your appearance. Satan's goal is to blind and bind you. He is not full of light and love, but darkness, pride, and hate. His goal is to destroy your agency, because it will destroy your happiness.

If the answer is "yes," you are going to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and cry unto the Lord to help you change your ways (aka repent), and keep those covenants you made, to continue to receive the constant companionship of the Cleanser, even the Holy Ghost which will help you endure to the end. The Lord's goal is to increase our agency. To give to us, even as He has. He desires our happiness.

Brothers and Sisters, when you cry He will come. For me in my situation, I looked quickly at my little brother, who was just as surprised as I was. And yelled at him, over his tears, "Go get help!" When, I saw my foster grandpa come, to get me out of this situation and bring me to salvation, I couldn't help but to burst out in tears. He lifted me up, took me to a large barrel of water, and dunked me in it. I was clean. This situation teaches me about my agency, and the Atonement of Christ. I am a witness of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. I testify to you, as you use your divine trait of agency to apply those principles, your joy will increase. You will stay far from the... hole of manure. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.




    2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

    If you are not performing signs, wonders and miracles, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 9:36-41 ....Tabitha...37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died...40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise."....41...he presented her alive.

    If you cannot pray the dead back to life, you might not be a true apostle.

    Romans 1:11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;

    If you do not possess the ability to impart spiritual gifts, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 3:1-8 ...2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb....6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene---walk!"......8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk...

    If perhaps, you do not have the power to heal men who have been crippled from birth, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 5:3-10 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...9 Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well." 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last....

    If you cannot predict the immediate death of someone who has lied to the Holy Spirit, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 13:8-11.....9 But Saul, who was also know as Paul...10...said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time....

    If for some unknown reason you lack the ability to temporarily blind a sorcerer, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 16:16-18 ...a slave-girl having a spirit of divination... 18 But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out at that very moment.

    If you cannot cast out occult spirits, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 2:43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe, and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

    If you are not capable of performing many signs and wonders, you might not be a true apostle.




  2. Thank you, I appreciate your enthusiasm. I want be able to share this on your post as well. The last clause in that post you have copy and pasted injects pure sorrow deep into my heart. There is absolutely no hope in it. Christ built His Church upon a foundation of Apostles (Ephesians 2: 19-20). Just as a building fails if it is built upon the sand, so does the Church of Jesus Christ without the divine foundation of Apostles. The message I share is one of hope, and I want to share it with the world. I love the Lord Jesus Christ in restoring His foundation and re-establishing His ancient church to the earth. I know my message to be true, and so can you by the Holy Ghost. My invitation to you is to try our fruits, and you can read further about those fruits here: