"Time is going by and it's getting close to Thanksgiving! I like Holidays on your mission it makes it exciting but they don't really feel like holidays...ha this one will though. We are having Thanksgiving dinner with a family from Hawaii - their son is an all-star football player at a local high school that is ranked #5 in the nation - he will probably play for BYU when he is older.
We have another baptism this Saturday so that will be fun, he asked me if I would baptize him and I said of course I will! We had interviews with President Shumway on Wednesday so those were good, he means business. It's like having a CEO for a Mission President, he is a super successful business man and knows so many high-up people....Friends in high places! But he is very spiritual and a great leader.
So my favorite thing to do is listen to old church talks and so I just want to report on a couple of them...
First is the talk, "Ten Commandments of a Peculiar People." By Bruce R. McConkie
1. Thou shalt be morally clean and conform to every standard of virtue (he says..."Immorality is the crying evil of our day.."
2. Thou shalt bridle thy passions and abstain from all lasciviousness (..."True happiness is only found in righteous conduct...")
3. Thou shalt be modest in dress and appearance (...for the young men: "Long hair and grubby living opens the door to rebellion against the established order and to associations which lead away from the Church.." ---total Elder McConkie comment, he doesn't beat around the bush, that's why I love his talks he is so straightforward.)
4. Thou shalt be honest and manifest integrity in all thy doings (..."Neither a dishonest man nor a man lacking in integrity can be saved in the kingdom of God...")
5. Thou shalt pay thy tithes and offerings to the Lord (.."Money is the root of all evil.")
6. Thou shalt go to Sacrament meeting and keep the Sabbath day holy
7. Thou shalt keep the Word of Wisdom ("Now note what was involved in the promise in D&C Section 89: First, "walking in obedience to the commandments," for the World of Wisdom is more than a law of health; and second, those keeping it "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures." These hidden treasures include such things as a testimony of the truth and divinity of the work, personal revelation to guide us in all our affairs and to provide us with the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. And the eternal decree is that the Spirit will not dwell in an unclean tabernacle.")
8. Thou shalt believe true doctrines and reject false educational theories of the world (.."We are saved or damned based upon what we believe.")
9. Thou shalt serve thy fellowmen and sacrifice for the building of the Kingdom of God (.."A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never produces the faith necessary for salvation..")
10. Thou Shalt pour out thy soul to the Lord in mighty prayer
What a glorious and wondrous thing it is to be a member of the church and kingdom of God on earth, to have the revelations of heaven, and to know what is meant by the prophetic utterances and the counsels written by prophets and apostles. We are so blessed. This Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on earth. It is led by the spirit of inspiration. If we follow the counsel and direction that we receive, then these principles about which we have talked will live in our lives. They will live because they are true and because the Lord wants to operate by these standards. Out of that kind of a course we shall get the joy and the peace "that passeth all understanding" while we are here in mortality, and we'll have a guaranteed inheritance of glory, honor, immortality, and exaltation in the realms ahead.
The Second Talk, "Choose to Be Good." By Henry B. Eyring
His talk was about how choosing to be good before we come across a temptation is far wiser and allows us more safety. He says that the best people do good when no one watches or notices and so when we spot people like that and we do notice the thought goes through his mind, "Maybe what I thought was good enough when I get to the other side won't be. Maybe some humble people are living better than I thought I could." That statement is great food for thought and it woke me up and I thought wow, I want to be better. Better than I was, and never be satisfied with how good I can be. He continues to say how the best and truest guides to base our selves off of is those who are called of God and think what they would do if they had the situations we have. And to be guided to do good:
1. Read the scriptures
2. Pray, pray to know what Christ would do if he had my opportunities and ask, "What is there that thou would have me do?"
3. Have Charity
A good quote by President Benson is, "Obtaining a righteous and virtuous life is within the capability of anyone of us if we will earnestly seek for it. To know the Savior is to be like him."
After listening to both talks it gives me such hope that I can improve and my life can become so much better as I use that wonderful gift of the Atonement! Some of you are probably thinking what? I can't live all of those...or it isn't cool to live every single principle...Well I'm here to tell you it is possible and it is "cool" to God if we live every single one. The blessings we can receive from obeying with exactness are exponentionally large, we have a great challenge issued by Christ himself, "What manner of men ought ye to be? Even as I am... Be ye perfect." So let's get to it! Eternal life and Exaltation awaits us if we but follow these standards here while we are in this mortal sliver of existence. Use the Atonement it is their for us to use. The Atonement is not just for the sinners. It is for anyone with afflictions, imperfections, depression, hopelessness, fear, loneliness, challenges, etc. Let the love of the Savior fill your heart as you more earnestly pray to become perfect. God did not place us here to fail and he will NEVER let us down. It is up to us to stay near him and ward off those doubts the adversary throws with our shield of Faith, let's not believe in our darkest hours that God has left us or that he has let us down or we have let him down. He is our Father and loves us and waits to hear from us, and waits to bless us. Christ waits to surround you with his love, so if you are in need get on your knees. Your probably thinking, "Elder Blackburn it is impossible to be perfect so why even try?" We can be perfect in our church attendance, our temple attendance, being chaste, our scripture reading, letting the ones we love know we love them. If ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land. God doesn't require perfection from us but he requires that we give it all we've got, when we were baptized we chose to obey God to take upon us Christ's name and to always remember him, we put our hand to the plough and we are to never look back at our old life in sin. Let's give it our all shall we? We can do it! "I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."