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Ponderize D&C 11:21 - Seek to obtain

Last Sunday a teacher pointed out a very interesting word in D&C 11:21 that I had glossed over up to this point.  Re-read this scripture and think about the word “obtain” 
"Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. (D&C 11:21)
What does it mean to “obtain my word”?  In the past I have thought that it simply meant to study your lesson so you are prepared.  
As I thought about that scripture, D&C 84:84 came to mind.  Does this scripture support or contrast with the one in section 11? 
"Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man”  (D&C 84:85)
The two key words from this scripture are “treasure” and “continually”.  The first phrase of that scr…
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Ponderize Matthew 21:28-32 - Asking for a release

What do you do when you feel like it is time for you to be released from your church calling?  What do you do?  Can you ask the bishop of your ward for a release?

Referencing Handbook 2 - Chapter 19 under “Releasing Members from Church Callings"

"Releases from Church callings should come by inspiration, except when a person’s change of residence necessitates a release or when a calling is for a specific time period, such as full-time missionary service.
Releases from Church callings are made by the same level of authority that extended the callings."

I can not find anywhere in the handbook where it gives instructions to the members on asking for
releases.  So, what are you to do?  If feelings of frustration, bitterness, or even anger are coming because of you church calling then this is not in harmony with the purpose of the calling.  This can lead to dissension and disputations.  None of this is helpful in building God’s kingdom.

As I pondered this my mind first went …

Ponderize Alma 7:23 - We don’t believe in “moderation in all things”

I realized today that it has been nearly 20 years since I have eaten anything produced by a McDonalds.  I still recall staring at menu at a Mc’D’s in Illinois and realizing that there was nothing on the list of items offered that I wanted to eat.  There was nothing that would make me more healthy, live longer, improve my quality of life, make me feel better, or be a reasonable exchange between what I paid and the product I received.  So, I determined on that day to never go back, and I haven’t.  My only regret is that I didn’t highlight this day  so I could celebrate it as an anniversary each year.
The other day I was talking to someone about a whole food plant based lifestyle and they asked the question, "Aren't we supposed to have moderation in all things?" to defend their attraction to bacon.  The simple answer is "No".  I have found that this statement is commonly used by someone who is attempting to defend a behavior that they know is not healthful.  I have…

Ponderize D&C 137:9 - Purism vs. Pragmatism

“For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” [D&C 137:9]
As I thought about this scripture I pondered about the apparent dichotomy between purism and pragmatism.  For reference, here are the definitions: 
     purist - a person who insists on absolute adherence to traditional rules or structures, especially in language or style.       pragmatist - a person who is guided more by practical considerations than by ideals.
Some of the questions that came to mind are: Is there room in the Church for a a bit of pragmatism?  Are we more focused on the results, or the process?  Do the ends sometimes justify the means?  It it better to obey the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law? While I won’t answer all of these questions here, here are a few thoughts on the subject.  
The prophets and apostles have a responsibility to maintain the purity of the gospel.  Elder Packer said: 
      "The commandments found in the script…

Ponderize D&C 121:42-44 - Gentlness, Meekness, Love, and Kindness

After re-reading President Monson’s April 2017 conference talk titled “Kindness, Charity, and Love” I have been thinking about why he would choose this subject as one of his final talks to the people of the Church.  It is not a new topic for him, but considering that he has spoken on a variety of topics as a prophet, why would he choose this one as his final 5 minutes standing before the priesthood?  During that talk he quoted both Moroni 7:44-47 and D&C 121:42-44.
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—
This scripture contains the key virtues of priesthood service, namely, persuasion, patience, gentleness, meekness, love, and kindness. As I thought about these virtues, I remembered that Elder Renlund gave an incredible talk in April of 2015…

Ponderize D&C 107:27 - Unanimity, Presiding, and Counseling Together

Recently I had an experience that caused me to reflect on this idea of unanimity, presiding, and counseling together.   As I searched the scriptures and conference talks related to this topic I came up with several quotes.  These quotes are below, followed by some of my own thoughts.

     "It is possible to rise to the lofty standard set by the Lord for priesthood holders in making decisions in quorums. It is possible when there is great faith and love and the absence of contention. Here is the Lord’s requirement for His endorsement of our decisions: And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other-- D&C 107:27” (Henry B. Eyring, “Learning in the Priesthood”, April 2011 LDS General Conference)

This idea of unanimity in counsels intrigues me.  How does counseling together until una…

Ponderize Luke 14:28 - Counting the Cost

Goodreads is a great web site for me to select good books to read and to track my reading.  Each year they have a reading challenge.  Members of the site are encouraged to set a reading goal for the year and post that goal on the site.  I participated in 2016.  At the end of the year I noticed that the percentage of those who finish their goal is very small.  Here is the site and the statistics.  
https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/3890-2016-reading-challenge
You will notice that only about 1% of the people completed the challenge that they set for themselves.  So, do we say that 99% of the people failed?   I don’t think so.  If you look, there were nearly 40 million books read.  3 million people read 40 million books last year.  This is fantastic!  I wouldn’t call anyone a failure that set a goal, read some books, and came up short of their goal.  The real failure would have been not starting at all.  Perhaps the average goal of reading 46 books in a year is much too high.  Many peo…