Thursday, May 17, 2012

Open Your Mouth

Is there a principle of the Gospel that you wish they (whoever "they" is) would stop talking so much about? This is the one for me. I have, however, been praying for missionary opportunities and the privilege of seeing someone receive baptism before the end of the year, so I guess reading these passages (D&C 29-32) is, at least in part, an answer to my  prayers.

Working with the young single adults in my calling has also been a partial answer as they are anxious to have more missionary experiences and are aggressively pursuing them. We have many in the ward who are ward missionaries; I have been meeting with the elders quorum presidency for training and have seen many others in the ward who raise the issue of missionary work quite often.

In Section 29, Joseph Smith is given a revelation in the presence of some of the elders of the Church. Verses 4-6 tells us that we "...are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing." We are then informed that Christ will be in our midst to plead our cause (be our advocate - another evidence that he is a lawyer) that we may inherit the kingdom. We accomplish all this by being united in asking in faith. The word "united" indicates that we need not approach this responsibility alone, but seek others to assist and bring their wisdom and inspiration into the mix.

Primary among those for whom we have responsibility to teach the Gospel with rejoicing is our own children. (v. 46) For a time we have them when they cannot be tempted by Satan. (v. 47) During that time we can teach them right from wrong and help them develop a strong sense of their own conscience. I have often wondered about the proposition that they cannot be tempted prior to age 8 because it is obvious that they are perfectly capable of choosing to do wrong. Show me a three-year old and I will show you an accomplished liar. I have come to realize, however, that it is during this time that they are using their logical abilities to test their surroundings, including their parents. It is during this time that they must be lovingly and patiently taught the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of each.

An interesting insight is found in Section 30 where the Lord says not to fear man more than God and the ministry to which God has called us. "[Y]ou have not given heed unto my Spirit, and to those who were set over you, but have been persuaded by those whom I have not commanded." The Lord concludes with the admonition , "You shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you."
I sometimes fear what man can say or the reactions of others when I speak because I fear that I may offend or cause them to be prejudiced against the Gospel. I fear that my explanation of spiritual matters will be inadequate to bring their faith to a level where they can accept the principles of the Gospel. I know my faith has been developed beyond the elementary aspects of the Gospel, so it is sometimes difficult to give a simple explanation.  Fear is always the reason for failing to act on the Lord's injunction to open my mouth.

Section 31 gives us even more reasons to open our mouths. "Therefore," the Lord says, "thrust in your sickles with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you." That  is a result I can relate to and live with. Section 32 tells us to teach from the scriptures and not pretended revelation. To my mind this means that we should not put words into God's mouth. If it is in the scriptures, we should feel free to teach it, if it is not, but in our minds it should be, we should keep it to ourselves. The promise is that our audience, whoever that may be, will give heed to the scriptures and the Lord will bless them.

So what do I do, now? I must open my mouth about the wonderful blessings the Gospel has brought to me and not worry about trying to explain everything.  I am to be prepared to answer questions and to gauge interest and, to the extent that I follow this counsel, I am finding that it is much easier.