Recently I was reviewing some material from my years as an early morning seminary teacher. I came across a handout I had prepared for my students at the end of our year studying Doctrine and Covenants and Church history. Since our Come Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 topic this year focuses on both, I thought perhaps that the key lessons I had learned may be helpful for others to read and consider.
Jesus Christ—My Savior and Redeemer—Lives
One of the most powerful testimonies of the divinity of Jesus is found in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
This scripture helps me to know that Jesus loves me. When I make mistakes I should repent quickly, learn from them, and avoid making them again so that I can be forgiven and have the Spirit with me. In atoning for the sins of all mankind, Jesus did “tremble because of pain, to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19). Christ is our best friend.
Because of my Savior’s atoning sacrifice, I will “treasure up wisdom” and “shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). I will be obedient and prepare myself to live with God. In fact, I have the power to “bind” God: my obedience obligates Him to bless me, and He wants to do it (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10; 130:20-21).
For example, I should pay my “fire insurance premiums.” The Lord doesn’t need my money, but I need the blessings that come from exercising my faith in paying tithing (see Doctrine and Covenants 64:23). If I keep my priorities straight, I will recognize that heavenly approval is worth more in the long run than the possessions of the world or “the honors of men,” for “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteous” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:35-36). I can ensure an inheritance from the greatest benefactor in the universe as I honor and righteously exercise priesthood powers (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-39).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. As the Lord has proclaimed, this is the only “church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30). This Church has the authority, knowledge, and ordinances to lead me to the celestial kingdom and eternal life with my family and friends. By staying faithful, “all that my Father hath shall be given unto [us]” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:38). Exaltation is worth any apparent sacrifice in popularity or temporal success.
Putting on the Whole Armor of God
Every day I should do things that bring me closer to the Lord and enable me to take on the “whole armor” of God (Doctrine and Covenants 27:15). For me, the six daily practices of putting on the armor are: prayer, scripture study, journal writing, service, exercise, and good friends. Daily putting these into action in my life help me resist evil and stay in good standing with God.
Through my prayers and scripture study, the Holy Ghost will guide both my mind and my heart (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3). Hearkening to each prompting will ensure that the Comforter will continue to come because I am doing the Lord’s will.
Journal writing helps me record the spiritual truths spoken by the Lord’s servants (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:38). It is important to record in my journal what I learn from parents, leaders, and friends. By writing them down, they become a permanent part of my personal scriptures and are always available to guide and comfort me.
I should not be commanded “in all things”; instead, I should look for opportunities to serve and “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [my] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-27). I ought to do more than just the minimum required. I will also live worthy to serve a full-time mission and accept the call to do so when it comes by serving God with all my “heart, might, mind and strength” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2). I will get as much education as possible, for “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:18).
Through daily exercise, I ensure that I prepare to act when called by God. Because evil and designing men are conspiring to lead me astray, obeying the Word of Wisdom helps me avoid temptations and blesses me with “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:19).
I will associate with good friends because I want to marry the person who will become my best friend. So, I will date wisely and for the right reasons. My goal is to marry in the temple for time and all eternity. I will live to be worthy and accept nothing less than to enter “this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]” (Doctrine and Covenants 131:2).
Preparing for Christ’s Second Coming
Because I have been given much, I too must give (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:3). The armor of gospel knowledge and my membership in the restored Church of Jesus obligate me to serve and share at home, with friends and associates, and with the world. Others know who I am and are watching to see if I will stumble or compromise. As I remain faithful to gospel principles, I will do more to bring peace to the world and prepare it for Christ’s Second Coming than wars fought by soldiers or negotiations by diplomats.