A Servant of the Lord

8 Oct

In Galatians 5:22, we read:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith

I thought of this as I read President Boyd K. Packer’s article: “Prayer and Promptings” from the Church magazine, the Ensign.

Boyd K Packer is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Just as Jesus Christ called Twelve to testify of His teachings in His time, so has He called Twelve to testify today. The Apostles are the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the direction of the President, Thomas S. Monson. They are each called of God and given His authority to guide and teach us.

But how do we know these men are really called of God? By reading their words and measuring them against the standard given to us by Paul in his epistle to the Galatians, and also the standard described in the Book of Mormon, in Moroni 7:16:

… for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

In “Prayer and Promptings,” President Packer teaches us that we can be guided and influenced by the Holy Ghost. “This process is not reserved for the prophets alone,” he says. “The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children.” We are never asked to trust solely in leaders such as himself. We are asked to trust in the Lord and receive our own assurance from Him that we should follow the counsel of our leaders. He emphasizes, just as the leaders of the Church always have, a personal relationship with the Spirit, with Christ, and with our Heavenly Father.

President Packer’s article is inspiring. He tells stories of people who have followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and encourages us to be worthy to do the same. He asks us to listen for that influence in our own lives, and testifies that we can have it.  Following his counsel has brought me closer to my Savior, and that is how I know that he is a true Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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4 Responses to “A Servant of the Lord”

  1. zo-ma-rah November 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Interesting post. I did notice you only addressed that these men are “called of God.” But it seems as though you were implying that that meant they were called to lead the Church as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Now I’m not sure if that’s really what you meant.

    But i would say it being “called of God” and being a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator are diffrent things. While the scripture you quoted Moroni 7:16 can be used to determine if something is from God, it is not enough to determine if someone is a prophet, seer, or revelator. The only way to do that is to examine their fruits, which would be prophecies, visions, and revelation. The odd thing is that there aren;’t any of those from these men. They have not given us any prophecies, visions or revelations. So if their fruit is a lack of those things, how then can we say they are such.

    Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying they are not inspired. But there is a huge difference between inspired and Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.

    This makes me wonder. Are we bound to obey the words these men teach if it is contrary to the revelations of God? For example when one of teh Twelve teaches us to pay ten percent of our income as tithing. Yet the Word of God in D&C 119 teaches us that tithing is a yearly consecration of ten percent of one’s interest(not income). And that is done after an initial consecration after all of one’s surplus property.

    These men do give inspiring messages and we should listen to them. But must we heed them when they teach contrary to the Word of the Lord?

  2. sismeaders November 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Thanks for the comment! Your questions made me dig and question a little myself, and I’m glad. The Bible Dictionary and the gospel topics page at lds.org have been really helpful resources. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

    The Twelve Apostles, including Boyd K. Packer as President of the Quorum, are indeed prophets, seers, and revelators.

    A prophet is, above all, a preacher of righteousness, who exhorts the people to follow the commandments. He is not a foreteller, but a forthteller, reminding us not of what will happen tomorrow, but of the consequences of sin and of what God has promised (especially regarding the Messiah).

    A seer is someone who interprets and makes available the word of God (i.e. the scriptures). At times, that includes the miraculous translation of ancient records, as Mosiah or Joseph Smith. But I believe that also includes helping us to apply the teachings of Jesus (which were adapted to the people of his time) to our lives and our times.

    …and I’m out of time, so I’ll post a secondary reply next time I get online and finish this up. Feel free to comment again in the meantime!

  3. sismeaders December 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Okay. Sorry it took so long to get back. I don’t know if you’re still reading this, but for my own sense of completion I wanted to finish replying. 🙂

    The third role of the apostles is as a revelator. The Holy Ghost is called a revelator because “it will show unto [us] all things what [we] should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). Boyd K. Packer, and the other apostles, are revelators as they advise us each conference on different topics, leading us in the way of righteousness.

    And so, I consider myself bound to obey the words these men teach, and I do so with confidence that they will never contradict the word of God. In your example of tithing, I think the word “interest” has a different connotation today than it did then. I pay ten percent of my earnings because I was asked to by the Lord’s prophets, seers, and revelators, and because I have asked my Heavenly Father if I should follow their teachings and have received feelings of peace and joy — the fruits of the Spirit — as I have done so.

    So: that is my very lengthy response to your comment. And again, thanks for commenting! I really appreciate the discussion. If you have any more, please feel free to post away!

  4. zo-ma-rah December 8, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Hey sorry, I forgot about this. Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you putting some research into this. That is really the whole purpose of my writing. I’m not trying to convince anyone. I’m not trying to show everyone I’m right and they are wrong. But I write to bring up issues, so the people will then go to the Lord for answers. He is the only one we can rely on for answers. And if the Lord has told you to follow the teachings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, then who am I to say God is wrong?

    I agree that most people take “interest” in section 119 to mean overall income. Yet since, as you admitted, it had a different connotation back then, should we not interpret in the connotation it was revealed with? If it was revealed to mean the surplus left over after necessary expenses, then why should we interpret it differently? Of course while the meaning of “interest” may be open to interpretation, verse 1 of section 119 is less so. Verse one tell us that we are to pay ten percent yearly only after we have consecrated all of our surplus property. How can we say we pay a fill tithe when we do not do this. Verse 2, IIRC, say that that initial consecration is the beginning of tithing. So if we have not done that, how can we pay 10% of anything and consider it tithing. Doing so seems more like we are picking and choosing what to obey. I haven never made that initial consecration so I can’t say I’m obedient to the Law of Tithing.

    I hope that doesn’t come across argumentative. It is just a few ideas to ponder. A great blog entry I’ve read about tithing is here: http://truthmarche.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/wealth-tithing-and-my-view-of-the-lords-financial-system/

    I’m curious. You said that, “I do so with confidence that they will never contradict the word of God.” I’m wondering how you can make this firm declaration. There are many many cases where modern teachings and policies directly contradict scripture. Tithing is just one of many. Others include: Law of Consecration, Gather of Israel, Building of Zion, Plural Marriage, Priests administering sacrament with Elders present, Deacons and Teachers administering sacrament. There are many more. We could discuss them in more detail if you wish.

    I’m just wondering how you reconcile it when a modern teaching contradicts the Word of God in the scriptures. Especially when Joseph Smith taught us that any new revelation that contradicts a previous revelation is false.

    Again I hope that doesn’t come across as argumentative. I just look forward to hearing your opinions.

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