Awesome Men

I recently gave a talk in my congregation's Sacrament Meeting. It was based on Elder David A. Bednar's most recent General Conference talk, Watching with All Perseverance. I recorded an audio copy for my fiancĂ© who is currently serving a mission, and decided to preserve the audio here in addition to the usual text. The genealogist in me thinks this is a wonderful idea. We'll stick with it for a while and see how it goes.

In the Book of Moses, we read about Enoch and the dark times in which he lived. We read about the call Enoch was given to face those days of darkness, before the destruction of the Lord.

6: 27 And he heard a voice from heaven, saying: Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off;

Brothers and sisters, everywhere around us are people blind to the darkness of this world. But as in the days of Enoch, the Lord has anointed and prepared a seer, someone who can discern good and evil for the benefit of his people.

We testify that we have a modern seer in Thomas S. Monson, which makes these next verses so revealing:

6: 36 And he beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

6: 37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.

6: 39 And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.

As Elder Bednar told us in his talk Watching with All Perseverance, we live in a day of warning. We live in a day where we must accept that before long, we as a people will be hated and feared. Because our people alone have the authority to build Zion, we must look upon those who have built Zion before us, and realize they have shown us the way we must go.

Elder Bednar’s talk is striking because he isn’t just teaching us how to withstand darkness in our families. His counsel has a much broader application, in teaching us how to be watching in all perseverance for the coming of the Savior. He teaches us how to be like the followers of Enoch, the builders of Zion who look to their seer for direction. Elder Bednar teaches us to do three things that Enoch’s people also did.

The first is to read and discuss the Book of Mormon. Enoch taught his people:

6: 46 For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language.

The Book of Mormon is our authorized book of remembrance for our day, in our language. It is the book of our people. Anyone familiar with its contents, translation, publication, and mission knows that it will build Zion wherever it goes, out of every hallowed person who embraces it. The Book of Mormon prepares our minds and hearts to be builders in Zion because it teaches us the signs to look for from President Monson, and the prophets who will follow him. If we will read and treasure the words in the Book of Mormon, we will recognize that everything our prophets ask us to do, no matter how small, has a purpose in the building of Zion.

The second thing Elder Bednar tells us to do is to bear testimony of the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ. We learn from the testimony God gave to Enoch that the gospel isn’t as involved as we sometimes like to make it. Listen to these verses from Moses 6 for the list of what we have been commanded to teach and testify:

6: 57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

6: 59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

6: 60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

6: 61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

I testify to you that these verses contain secrets and mysteries that only the Holy Ghost can reveal. Elder Bednar told us to bear testimony of the doctrine of Christ because that is what makes a true testimony, and what makes this the one true Church upon the face of the earth. Anyone whose teachings are not in harmony with this testimony does not teach the truth. If we will bear true testimony, we will become inspired sons and daughters, and we will be able to receive greater light and knowledge from the inspired men and women around us. The most important lesson I ever learned in the Church is how to listen to inspired men and women. May we learn to bear inspired testimony, so we can receive inspired testimony from the Lord.

The last thing Elder Bednar taught us to do is to learn to act upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. He taught us this because too many of us have allowed the faith of others to act around us and act upon us, but to never truly act for ourselves as builders of Zion. We come to God and ask things of Him we are perfectly capable of getting for ourselves, and this does not please Him. We do this because we lack confidence in ourselves, and we misunderstand what faith truly is. Faith is a willingness to submit to the Lord’s power. On our own, we possess no power—therefore, there’s no reason to have confidence in our own power. Ours is not the power we need. Read with me about what Enoch does because of how total his submission to the Lord is:

7: 13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

Enoch goes on to build the city of Zion, where the Lord returns to His people, walks with them, and dwells with them. How glorious it would be to have our Savior return to us, to walk among us because we are sufficiently clean and pure to dwell in His presence! May we cease to strive after our own personal comfort in the gospel, and take up the cause of Zion. May we realize that Enoch saw our day, saw the darkness of it, saw the desires of our hearts as we longed for Christ, and He pleaded with Christ to return to us. And Christ said of us to Enoch:

7: 60 As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;

7: 61 And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;

7: 62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

I testify that Elder Bednar’s message has prepared us for both the terror and triumph of our day, and the days to come. He is a seer, and his words are true. The apostles are servants to our anointed seer, even Thomas S. Monson, and to the kingdom of Zion. I testify that if we will watch our leaders with all perseverance, we will not be led astray by the adversary, who is working harder than ever to destroy us. I know that Christ is stronger and more faithful than the devil. I know Satan will lose this war he has started, as will everyone who stands in the way of Zion and her servants. I testify that Joseph Smith is the prophet of this dispensation, and I am honored to serve under him. I know that as long as I stand by Joseph Smith, I stand by my Savior Jesus Christ. I testify that Heavenly Father loves us, and who He loves, He chastens. I pray we will be chastened and improve every day of our lives, for this is the way to eternal life. In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN

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