Thursday, October 20, 2016

Conspiring Men (Doctrine and Covenants Section 89)

Recently I have been re-pondering the principles in the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants section 89) This phrase has occupied many of my thoughts.
"In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days." D&C 89:4
I have heard people say that this statement applies to drug dealers.  While I agree with that statement, I wonder if  is it limited just to them, or are there others who are conspiring against our health and well being? Who are these evil and conspiring men?  What are they conspiring?  What makes them evil?

Let's start with a principle that will help frame this discussion.  In Jacob 4:14 it speaks about "looking beyond the mark."  In his October 2016 LDS Conference talk Quentin L. Cook said:
"While there are many examples of looking beyond the mark, a significant one in our day is extremism. Gospel extremism is when one elevates any gospel principle above other equally important principles and takes a position that is beyond or contrary to the teachings of Church leaders. One example is when one advocates for additions, changes, or primary emphasis to one part of the Word of Wisdom. Another is expensive preparation for end-of-days scenarios. In both examples, others are encouraged to accept private interpretations. “If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark.” (Quentin L. Cook, "Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus", October 2016 LDS General Conference)
As I cover this subject, I want to make sure that we are focusing on the core doctrine and principles of the Word of Wisdom and not advocating extremism when it comes to this important passage of scripture.

In that same October 2016 LDS General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson also gave a talk on the Word of Wisdom.  This is his closing statement in general priesthood meeting:
"Brethren, may we care for our bodies and our minds by observing the principles set forth in the Word of Wisdom, a divinely provided plan. With all my heart and soul, I testify of the glorious blessings which await us as we do." (Thomas S. Monson, "Principles and Promises", October 2016 LDS General Conference)
First we receive a caution to not look beyond the mark from an apostle, then we receive instructions on how to avoid doing that from the prophet.  Did you catch it?  President Monson said we observe the principles set forth in the divinely appointed plan of the Word of Wisdom.  We seek out the principles of the word of wisdom and we do them.  So what are principles, and what are the principles in the Word of Wisdom.

In chapter 4 of David A. Bednar's book, "Increase in Learning" he provides a clear description principles by providing these definitions:

  • A doctrinal statement answers the question of "Why?"
  • A principle answers the question of "What?"
  • The application answers the question of "How?"

We start going down the path of looking beyond the mark when we dictate the "How" to people rather than helping them understand the doctrine and principles.  We should apply the "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves" approach.  

As an example, this is also how the idea that you can't eat anything with caffeine in it got started. Don't ingest caffeine is an application, not a principle.  This is an example of looking beyond the mark.  Most people have decided to avoid caffeinated soft drinks (and soft drinks in general), not because it is expressly forbidden in the Word of Wisdom, but because they understand the principle. They know that there are evil a designing people in this world who create things that do not bring health to the navel and add marrow to the bones.  So, those that seek to follow this principle simply avoid those drinks in favor of drinks that support and promote good health.

Rather than focus on what you can't eat (as most Word of Wisdom discussions do), we should focus on the principles of good health in the section.  There are 8 verses that list the the “Do”  (D&C 89:10-17) part of the Word of Wisdom as opposed 5 verses in the “Do Not” portion (D&C 89:5-9)
Is there enough information in these scriptures to help us avoid the evil and conspiring men in our day?

Before re-reading this passage, we should define four words used in this section.  Herb, sparingly, prudence, and fruit.  It would be inappropriate to use a 2016 dictionary to define terms as they were used in 1830, so let's go to the on-line Websters Dictionary from 1828

HERB, noun erb. [Latin herba.]

  1. A plant or vegetable with a soft or succulent stalk or stem, which dies to the root every year, and is thus distinguished from a tree and a shrub, which have ligneous or hard woody stems.
  2. In the Linnean botany, that part of a vegetable which springs from the root and is terminated by the fructification, including the stem or stalk, the leaves, the fulcra or props, and the hibernacle.
    The word herb comprehends all the grasses, and numerous plants used for culinary purposes.


  1. Not abundantly.
  2. Frugally; parsimoniously; not lavishly. High titles of honor were in the king's minority sparingly granted, because dignity then waited on desert. Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love.
  3. Abstinently; moderately. Christians are obliged to taste even the innocent pleasures of life but sparingly
  4. Seldom; not frequently. The morality of a grave sentence, affected by Lucan, is more sparingly used by Virgil.
  5. Cautiously; tenderly.

PRUDENCE, noun [Latin prudentia.] Wisdom applied to practice.

  1. Prudence implies caution in deliberating and consulting on the most suitable means to accomplish valuable purposes, and the exercise of sagacity in discerning and selecting them. prudence differs from wisdom in this, that prudence implies more caution and reserve than wisdom, or is exercised more in foreseeing and avoiding evil, than in devising and executing that which is good. It is sometimes mere caution or circumspection.
  2. Prudence is principally in reference to actions to be done, and due means, order, season and method of doing or not doing.

FRUIT, noun [Latin fructus. The Latin word is the participle of fruor, contracted from frugor, or frucor, to use, to take the profit of.]

  1. In a general sense, whatever the earth produces for the nourishment of animals, or for clothing or profit. Among the fruits of the earth are included not only corn of all kinds, but grass, cotton, flax, grapes and all cultivated plants. In this comprehensive sense, the word is generally used in the plural.
  2. In a more limited sense, the produce of a tree or other plant; the last production for the propagation or multiplication of its kind; the seed of plants, or the part that contains the seeds; as wheat, rye, oats, apples, quinces, pears, cherries, acorns, melons, etc.
    (Note: there are 6 more definitions of this word in the 1828 dictionary, but these first to definitions are sufficient for this discussion) 

Now, with those definitions in your mind, re-read the 8 "Do" verses of the Word of Wisdom.
 10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
 11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
 12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
 14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
 15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
 16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
 17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
Here are the principles I picked out of this section of the Word of Wisdom

  • Eat wholesome herbs (Vegetables)
  • Eat fruit (Fruits, seeds, and grains) 
  • Flesh of beast and fowls is to be used sparingly
  • Eat grains (all grains)

Even though there are only 4 basic principles in this section it opens up hundreds, if not thousands, of different things we should be eating.  Most people get hung up on things the "can't" eat.  I can't eat milk, or I can't eat meat, I can't eat fat, I can't eat carbs, I can't eat sugar, or any of the other fads that come and go.  Instead we should be focusing on what we should be eating to promote good health.

By focusing on the principles of of the word of wisdom, we avoid an entire classes of foods that have been created and processed by people who's motive is not your good health, but is to addict you to their food and keep you as a "user".  It has been said that there is no money in pushing sweet potatoes, kale, and quinoa on people, but there is huge money in pushing chicken nuggets, fries, and diet coke.  Those items are designed to keep you coming back for more.

Let's pause and discuss this idea of sparingly vs. moderation.  Some claim they are living the word of wisdom by saying that they eat meat in moderation.  The word moderation is never used in this passage of scripture.  In fact it is only used once in the entire LDS standard works and that is in Philippians 4:5 and that verse has nothing to do with eating meat.  So where did this idea of moderation come from?  Again, it is caused by ignoring the principle and making up an application.  By definition, this is looking beyond the mark.  The principle is to use the flesh of beasts and fowls sparingly (frugally or seldom).  There is sufficient scientific evidence that eating meat is not healthy.  It should be obvious that this principle of eating meat sparingly should be as religiously followed as avoiding tobacco use.    However, if you start preaching that you can not eat or use any animal product ever, then you may want to evaluate if you are looking beyond the mark.   The best definition I have ever heard of this is that moderation applies to the good things in your life, while sparingly and abstinence apply to the things that are not good.

To complete this discussion, we should look at what have the prophets and apostles have said in general conference about these verses?  Using you will notice that there has been a dearth of references to this section of the Word of Wisdom.  Here are about the only two quotes that specifically address items in the "do" verses.  Neither of them are very recent.
     "In this revelation the Lord counsels us to use meat sparingly. I have often felt that the Lord is further counseling us in this revelation against indiscriminately killing animals, for He has said elsewhere in scripture, “Wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.”  D&C 49:21
     Wheat is particularly singled out as being good for man, as is the fruit of the vine—vegetables and all fruits. This is the wisdom of the Lord on the matter of sound nutrition and diet.
      The Word of Wisdom allows us to know that the Lord is vitally concerned about the health of His Saints. He has graciously given us counsel for improving our health, endurance, and resistance to many diseases. (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Principle with a Promise”, April 1954 General Conference)
    "Young people, learn to use moderation and common sense in matters of health and nutrition, and particularly in medication. Avoid being extreme or fanatical or becoming a faddist.
     For example, the Word of Wisdom counsels us to eat meat sparingly (see  D&C 89:12 Lest someone become extreme, we are told in another revelation that “whoso forbiddeth to [eat meat] is not ordained of God”  D&C 49:181 [The context for verse 18 is verse 19: “For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air … [are] ordained for the use of man for food.”  D&C 49:19 Section 49 was specifically directed to members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (the Shakers) to correct some of their erroneous doctrines. One of their beliefs was not to eat flesh-meat or fish.]
     Another scripture counsels, “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; … cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated”  D&C 88:124
     Honor the principle of the Word of Wisdom and you will receive the promised blessings. “All saints,” the revelation promises, “who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments,” are promised that they “shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones” and “shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint”  D&C 89:18, 20
     The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings. (Boyd K. Packer, The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises, April 1996 General Conference)
So, you have to ask yourself “Why?”  Why has there been no significant mention of the "do" portion of the Word of Wisdom in General Conference recently?  On the surface, it seems strange considering the current state of health of the Church population in the more developed countries.  I would like to offer 3 ideas:

  1. Perhaps with so much else going on, this portion of the word of wisdom is not a real priority.  The people who are really suffering from not following these principles are those who live in the wealthy 1st world countries and have access to an abundance of animal based and highly processed foods.  It would not seem to be prudent to spend much time in general conference on the overweight American problem when there are many members of the Church around the world who do not have enough to eat.  
  2. Perhaps the commandment and the blessing are enough to stand on their own.  It is a basic commandment that has blessings that quickly follow obedience.  Obedience to things that appear on the surface to be temporal usually have blessings that are easy to recognize.  Another example of this would be the law of tithing.  
  3. Perhaps this is a wheat and tares issue.  By imposing the "do" portion of the word of wisdom on members we would uproot some of the weaker members.  By allowing all to grow together until the harvest then it will be easy to see the difference between the wheat and the tares.

Going back to my first question, who are these evil and conspiring men?  They are those who would try to harm our physical bodies by creating, marketing, and distributing food, drinks, or drugs that would harm us.  How do we identify them?  Just like most things, it is easy when you know how.  Any time someone comes up with a new diet or a lifestyle all you need to do is simply run it through the filter of the Word of Wisdom.  Is it in alignment?  Then you are probably on a good path, but if it is in direct conflict with the revelations of God then you are probably building on a sandy foundation with materials provided by evil and conspiring men.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chapter 9.4 - Righteousness

Priesthood power is predicated on righteousness

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:36)
When a leader attempts to lead in any degree of unrighteousness, then their power is diminished.  We all know of unrighteous leaders.  They may have appeared to have great power, but you must ask yourself where that power comes from.  If unrighteousness removes priesthood power, then, by the law of opposition (2 Nephi 2:11) the power of unrighteous leaders must be derived from that Fallen Angel of Heaven (2 Nephi 2:18).  

You can not live the core leadership principle of “Leading with Love” while leading unrighteously.  God is love (1 John 4:16) and leading unrighteously separates you from God and you become subject to the power of Satan.  These two states, Love and Unrighteousness, cannot co-exist.  That is why it is essential for those who are called to be leaders to cultivate the trait of righteousness.   

Consider this quote from N. Eldon Tanner
". . .we just cannot imagine or calculate in any way what a great influence for good we would have in the world if every holder of the priesthood would magnify his calling, and how much happier and more successful each individual would be if he would always choose the right. How sad it is to see one who would rather be popular than do what he knows is right. I have in mind and remember so well a good member of the Church who was elected to the legislature but who wanted to be a good fellow, popular with everyone. He, wanting to be popular, let down his standards and took one drink at a social and then another. It happened again and again. He began drinking with the fellows at lunch and at dinner. And then, unintentionally I am sure, and contrary to his greatest desire, he became an alcoholic and lost the support of his constituency and the respect of his friends and family who loved him and sorrowed for him. He died an early death as an alcoholic. What a sad situation—all because he sought the praise of men more than the praise of God. 
"This is not a single case. We have examples of congressmen and senators who have lost their positions and self-respect and the respect of others because they wanted to be popular or didn’t have the strength to resist the temptations. We have the promise of the Lord that if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things will be added unto us, meaning, of course, the things that are for our good.” (N. Eldon Tanner, “For they Loved the Praise of Men More Than the Praise of God”  (October 1975 LDS General Conference)
For additional insight read, ponder and pray about the entire 11th chapter of 2 Nephi.  Additionally, see the following scriptures: 
  • D&C 95:5-6
  • Luke 12:34
  • D&C 64:22
  • D&C 45:8
  • Acts 8:21
  • Ezekiel 36:26
  • Alma 5:7

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chapter 9.3 - Faithfulness


What is faithfulness?  At face value, the word looks like it means, "Full of faith" or to be believing. Certainly a leader needs to be full of faith, but for some additional clarity let's look at the dictionary definition:

Faithful (adjective)

  1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty:a faithful worker.
  2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
  3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant:faithful friends.
  4. reliable, trusted, or believed.
  5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.
  6. Obsolete. full of faith; believing.

According to the dictionary the "full of faith" definition is obsolete.  Now words like strict and thorough in the performance of duty, true to one's word, steady, loyal, reliable, and trusted are more representative synonyms.

Look how Elder L. Tom Perry tied faithfulness to obedience.
Too often we think of obedience as the passive and thoughtless following of the orders or dictates of a higher authority. Actually, at its best, obedience is an emblem of our faith in the wisdom and power of the highest authority, even God. When Abraham demonstrated his unwavering faithfulness and obedience to God, even when commanded to sacrifice his son, God rescued him. Similarly, when we demonstrate our faithfulness through obedience, God will ultimately rescue us. (L Tom Perry, "Obedience Through our Faithfulness", April 2014 General Conference)

Why does a leader need the trait of faithfulness?  This trait has a direct relationship to the amount of trust you are able to build between you and the people you lead.  In his book "The Speed of Trust” Stephen M.R. Covey said that trust is built on character an competence.  Faithfulness is a trait that helps establish character.  As you are strict in the performance of your duties, true to your word, and loyal, your character will become a person that with worth of trust and builds trust in their relationships.

For additional insight, consider these scriptures:
D&C 107:99–100
Alma 53:20-21
Mosiah 5:15
Alma 48:13
Helaman 10:4
D&C 82:24
D&C 84:80
JS-H 1:59

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chapter 9.2 - Virtue


What is virtue and why would an effective leader need this character trait?

First, what is virtue?  The LDS Guide to the scriptures defines virtue as integrity and moral excellence, power and strength (Luke 8:46), or sexual purity (Moroni 9:9).

It should be obvious that a leader needs the traits of integrity, power, and strength, but what about moral excellence and sexual purity?  What does that have to do with leadership?  I'm sure we can find many examples of great leaders who lacked the ability to resist the inclinations of the natural man and succumbed to the  appetites, desires and passions of the flesh.  Certainly these examples are the exceptions and their inability to live a virtuous life only inhibited their potential leadership.

The reason this is true goes back to the core principle of my leadership pattern, "Leadership is Love in Action".  The type of love we are talking about is charity (see trait #1).  When we have Charity we have the type of love for others that God has for his children.   If we have that kind of love, then we don't see others as objects to fill our selfish desires.  When we view each other through the lens of love for our spiritual brothers and sisters, then our ability to lead with love is magnified.  A virtuous heart makes this all possible.

There is great power and strength that comes to an individual who has a virtuous heart.  Energy that would be spent on un-virtuous acts or attempting to hide a dark part of our life from others could be channeled into greater opportunities.  As those who follow you look carefully they will see what kind of heart you have.  A heart that is pure will inspire others to become better.  After all, that is the outcome of great leadership.

Bishop H. David Burton said:
"Now is the time for us to join in rescuing and preserving that which is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” As we allow virtue to garnish our thoughts unceasingly and we cultivate virtuous traits in our personal lives, our communities and institutions will be improved, our children and families will be strengthened, and faith and integrity will bless individual lives." (H. David Burton, "Let Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts", October 2009 LDS General Conference) 

For additional study see:  Luke 8:46, Moroni 9:9, Ruth 3:11, Psalms 24:3-4, Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 31:10-31, 2 Peter 1:5, D&C 4:6, Alma 31:5, D&C 121:45, Article of Faith 13, Philippians; 4:8

Friday, September 16, 2016

Chapter 9.1 - Charity


From the scriptures, the definition of charity is: The pure love of Christ (Moro. 7:47).  It is the love that Christ has and it is the love that  and that we should have for each other (2 Ne. 26:30; 33:7–9; Ether 12:33–34).  Charity is more than affection, it is the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love.

In my mind the best scripture about charity is in Moroni Chapter 7
 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
So why does a leader need to develop the trait of charity?  Simply put, Christlike leadership is motivated by charity.  Other motivations for serving as a leader might include riches, honor, duty, loyalty, hope of a future reward, and power over others.  However, the highest reason of all is that a leader is motivated by the pure love of others.  It is what the scriptures call “a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Returning to the core principle of my leadership patter, “Leadership is Love in Action”, it is easy to see why this trait is the first trait that every leader should  work to cultivate in their lives.  When we are motivated by pure love, then our actions will be pure and will be favorably viewed by those who follow.  When we act in pure love we place large deposits in the personal emotional bank accounts we have with others (to borrow a concept from Steven Covey).  This allows those of us who are imperfect leaders to occasionally make errors and still be able to act in our leadership role.  Without being motivated by this trait, it is not possible to live the core principle of leadership.

Consider these words by President Thomas S. Monson:
     I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
     I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.
     There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.
     Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. The American educator and politician Horace Mann once said, “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.”11
      Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.  (Thomas S. Monson, “Charity Never Faith”, October 2010 LDS General Conference) 

For additional study see: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and the topical guide under Charity.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Ponderize 2 Timothy 3:7

Consider 2 Timothy 3:7
7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Question:  Why are they not able to come to a knowledge of the truth?

It is helpful to read the verses before verse 7 starting in verse 1 of 2 Timothy chapter 3.
 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away withdivers blusts,
The people that are not able to come to a knowledge of the truth are those that are seeking the pleasures of the world and following the voice of the evil one.

So, what is truth and why should we seek it?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 93:24-27
 24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
 25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
 26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
 27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
From this scripture we learn that truth is knowledge of this as they are.  As they REALLY are.
If we rely on the spirit of Satan to help lead us to truth, then we will never obtain it.
We obtain the fullness of truth when we come to Christ for the answers to our questions.
It is interesting that he points out that the first step is receiving that fullness it to keep the commandments.
By keeping the commandments we minimize the influence of Satan and open up our spirits to receive greater light and knowledge.

It is clear that there is no "temporal" truth.  All truth is spiritual truth.   See D&C 29:34
 34 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; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created. 
That is why our knowledge rises with us in the resurrection (D&C 130:18-19), because it is tied to our spirits and not to our mortal bodies.

Why do we seek for truth?  It is because our deepest desire is to become like our Father in Heaven.  He knows all or by definition, he is omniscient.  To become like him, we must at some time come to a knowledge of all truth.

A careful review of the definition of God in the Bible Dictionary clearly explains this point.
"Although God created all things and is the ruler of the universe, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (through His Spirit), mankind has a special relationship to Him that differentiates man from all other created things: man is literally God’s offspring, made in His image, whereas all other things are but the work of His hands (Acts 17:28–29)."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chapter 9: Leadership Traits.

I believe the greatest discourse on leadership in the scriptures is found in D&C 121:34-46.  This passage of scripture should be read an reviewed often by all leaders.
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
This brings me to the final piece of my leadership pattern.  These are the traits that surround both the core principle and my five key principles of leadership.

I believe that these twelve traits should be developed by all leaders.  While they might not be our strengths, the certainly need to be in your leadership tool bag.  Here are the twelve leadership principles I gleaned from D&C 121:34-46

* Charity
* Virtue
* Faithfulness
* Righteousness.
* Endurance
* Knowledge
* Sincerity
* Confidence
* Persuasion
* Gentleness
* Meekness
* Kindness

In the coming blog posts I take each of these traits individually and discuss what it means and why we should try to better develop each trait.

One additional note.  Those with some knowledge of military history will note that my leadership pattern has some distinct similarities to the the U.S. Army Air Corps Insignia.  When I was developing my leadership pattern I was challenged to draw a picture of it. As I started to try and visualize how to represent it, an old patch that I wore a long time ago came to mind.  It seemed to fit perfectly.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Be a Lighthouse

I heard this thought the other day and it caused me to stop and ponder its meaning, particularly in relation to how we spread the gospel.

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. ― Anne Lamott

It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 5:14-16
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley gave us this council in the April 1982 general conference.  
The most persuasive gospel tract is the exemplary life of a faithful Latter-day Saint. . . If we as a people will walk with integrity, will be honest and moral in our actions, will put into our lives the simple and basic and wonderful principle of the Golden Rule, others will be led to inquire and learn. We shall become as a city set upon a hill whose light cannot be hid. (See  Matt. 5:14)  We shall witness an ever-growing fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”  Isa. 2:3
We are all familiar with Hymn #335 - Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy.
Pay particular attention to verse 2. 
1. Brightly beams our Father's mercyFrom his lighthouse evermore,But to us he gives the keepingOf the lights along the shore. 
2. Dark the night of sin has settled;Loud the angry billows roar.Eager eyes are watching, longing,For the lights along the shore. 
3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,Trying now to make the harbor,In the darkness may be lost. 
(Chorus)Let the lower lights be burning;Send a gleam across the wave.Some poor fainting, struggling seamanYou may rescue, you may save.Text and music: Philip Paul Bliss, 1838-1876
While going "To the Rescue" and leaving the "ninety and nine" may be appropriate and needed at times, our daily responsibility as disciples of Christ is to be that lighthouse for those who are eagerly watching for the lights upon the shore to help guide them.  We can be that light on the shore.  Let our lives be examples that are worth emulating.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chapter 8 - Enabler #2:Continuously Improving

Enabler #2, Continuously Improving, is closely tied to Enabler #1.  However, this is more focused on daily and steady improvement in becoming more like our Father in Heaven.  Jesus Christ gave this commandment to the people he visited in the Americas.
12.  Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect."   3 Nephi 12:48
“Becoming” is a principle of consistency and growth.

Elder Dallas Merrell said:  "Our most fundamental doctrines impel us to improve, individually and as a group. We counsel one with another. We pray together and in secret. We acknowledge our weaknesses, search scriptures, and ponder course adjustments. We receive the righteous benefits from heavenly inspired gifts of science, technology, and art. We bring all truth we are capable of receiving to harmonize our lives with the teachings and perfect example of our leader, Jesus Christ."  (Elder V. Dallas Merrell,  Beyond the Genius of Man, April 1993 general conference."

Christ provided for us the example of how we can grow and improve.  In the Doctrine and Covenants it is called growing from "grace to grace”  See D&C 93:11-20
 11. And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
 12. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
 13. And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
 14. And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
 15. And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
 16. And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
 17. And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
 18. And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.
 19. I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
 20. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.
So, it should be our daily quest to seek to improve a little each day, to be a bit better than we were yesterday.  It is through forming good daily habits and allowing ourselves to become subject to them that we improve and grow.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is—I will form good habits and become their slave.”
― Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman In The World

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chapter 7 - Enabler #1:Continuously Learning

The two "enablers" in my leadership model are those things that make applying the core definition of leadership and the 5 principles possible.  The first enabler, Continuously Learning, centers around the idea of intellectual curiosity.   Intellectual curiosity is a term used to describe one's desire to invest time and energy into learning more about a person, place, thing or concept. It is a deep and persistent desire to know.  A person who is intellectually curious is always asking and seeking the answer to the question of "Why?"

The scriptures are clear that each of us should be continuously expanding our knowledge.  Here are a few examples
36.  The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.  D&C 93:36
7.  And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;  D&C 109:7
19.  And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.  D&C 130:19
28.  He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truthand light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
29.  Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. D&C 93:28-30

It is the act of continually seeking greater light and knowledge that caused the restoration of the gospel.  Think about this statement by Joseph Smith:  “...for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know…” JS-History 1:12

Likewise, we receive greater light when we seek greater light.  Wisdom is added to wisdom and we receive greater wisdom as we seek it.  (Reference Alma 12:9-11).

There are many versions of the quote listed below because many have re-quoted it in different ways.  Here is the earliest reference to this idea that I was able to find.

"Who can see the barely perceptible line between the man who can not read at all and the man who does not read at all? The literate who can, but does not, read, and the illiterate who neither does nor can?"  The Southern Workman, Volume 39, Number 7 page 384, Comment by Joseph D. Eggleston, Jr. state superintendent of public instruction in Virginia.

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers"

Without seeking to learn and understand leadership you cannot improve your leadership.  You will stagnate and eventually your skill will deteriorate until you become ineffective.  When we read and study we expand our knowledge and improve our leadership.  It is this act of continually learning that enables us to more effectively employ the 5 leadership principles.