Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lecture on Faith #3 by Joseph Smith

Elder and Sister DeCoursey,

I know that you and I have studied this when you were home, but I wanted to share it again with you.  I get to share lecture 3 and 4 next Saturday at Stake Women's Conference.  I am so thankful for that opportunity,  with Grandma on the Stake Relief Society Presidentcy, I will probably get to do a few things like this.  The teacher always benefits the most.   

These seven lectures can be found in copies of Older Doctrine and Covenants.  I have read these 7 lectures many time now.  I keep gathering additional knowledge each time I do so.  Lecture 3 and 4 are especially worth studing and gaining great knowledge and worth memorizing the Characteristics and Attributes that Our Heavenly Father has and is.  Knowing these will give us "power" that will enable us to know deception immediately, truth without doubt, and obtain the humble confidence, that Pres. Herschel Pedersen is an example of.    

I have included Lecture three only.  I will send Lecture 4 later. 

Just a quick review of what are on Lecture 1-2.  Lecture 1 is very short, Joseph Smith, this master teacher, talks about what the lectures will teach us.  What faith is itself, the object on which it rests, and the effects which flow from it.  Faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. It is the moving cause of all action.  For if you go back and reflect on your life you will see that all things that you have done has been because of faith.  You would not have knocked if you did not think it would be answered, or planted if you thought you would not have something to gather, nor asked if you did not believe you would be heard, or sought unless you had believed that you would find.  

This chapter shows that faith is power.  Hebrews 11:3 "Through the faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are not seen were not made of things which do appear." God himself used faith to power the creation.  "Faith, then is the first great govering principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God.  Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation nor existence!" Lec. 1:24

Lecture 2 is all about how the first thoughts were suggested to the mind of men that there was a God who created all things.  Joseph Smith goes over the book of Genesis, pointing out the history of how long Adam lived.  He lived nine generations.  Noah's father, Lamach was 56 when Adam died.  Noah's father knew Adam and walked and talked with Adam.  Adam walked and talked with God.  Just as I would share with you things on the spiritual nature that I know would influence you.  I am sure Adam shared all he thought his children needed to know.  And that one thing definetly would be that there is a God.  And who he is. 

Noah again began to populate the earth, after the flood, with his sons.  Noah received many manifestations from God.  He lived nine Generations also.  Abraham's father was 128 years old when Noah died, and two years later Abraham was born.  Again Noah would have taught his children as much as he could of God.  Think of the world as it is now.  There is a knowledge or belife of a superem being in every nation in the world. The Characteristics of God, over the years, have been destorted, twisted, forgotten, or completely made up by men over the years. Or made up by the author of him who deceives and destroys the faith in man. 

Bringing us to lecture 3.  For any "rational and intelligent being" to begin to "exercise faith in God unto life and salvation" we must understand three steps.:
      1. The idea that God actually exists.
      2. A correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. 
      3. An actual knowledge that the course of life which he, his children are pursuing is according to
          God's will. 

For with out this knowledge "the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ". verse 5

Lectures on Faith #3:12-26
"From the foregoing testimonies we learn the following things respecting the character of God:
       First, that he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was after it      was created
      Secondly, that he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting
     Thirdly, that he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation.
     Fourthly, that he is a God of truth and cannot lie.
     Fifthly, that he is no respecter of person: but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him.
     Sixthly, that he is love. "

1. Knowledge that HE has all Power- faith can be WITHOUT WAVERING.

"An acquaintance with these attributes in the divine character is essentially necessary, in order that the faith of any rational being can center in him for the life and salvation. For if he did not, in the first instance, believe him to be God, that is, the creator and upholder of all things, he could not center his faith in him for life and salvation, for fear that should be greater than he who would thwart all his plans, and he, like the gods of the heathen, would be unable to fulfill his promised; but seeing he is God over all, from everlasting to everlasting, the Creator and upholder of all things, no such fear can exist in the minds of those who put their trust in him, so that in this respect their faith can be without wavering."

2.  Knowledge that HE is merciful and slow to anger - faith can be EXCEEDINGLY STRONG

"But secondly, unless he was merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness, such is the weakness of human nature, and so great the frailties and imperfections of men, that unless they believed that these excellencies existed in the divine character, the faith necessary to salvation could not exist; for doubt would take the place of faith, and those who know their weakness and liability to sin would be in constant doubt of salvation if it were not for the idea which they have of the Excellency of the character of God, that he is slow to anger and long-suffering, and of a forgiving disposition, and does forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin. An idea of these facts does away doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong

3. Knowledge that HE is unchanging- faith will be UNSHAKENLY CONFIDENT.

"But it is equally as necessary that men should have the idea that he is God who changes not, in order to have faith in him, as it is to have the idea that he is gracious and long-suffering; for without the idea of unchangeableness in the character of the Deity, doubt would take the place of faith. But with the idea that he changes not, faith lays hold up on the Excellencies in his character with unshaken confidence, believing he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that his course is one eternal round. "

4. Knowledge that HE cannot lie- faith will be POWER TO THE MINDS OF MEN.

"And again, the idea that he is a God of truth and cannot lie is equally as necessary to the exercise of faith in him as the idea of his unchangeableness. For without the idea that he was a God of truth and could not lie, the confidence necessary to be placed in his word in order to the exercise of faith in him could not exist. But having the idea that he is not man, that he cannot lie, it gives power to the minds of men to exercise faith in him."

5. Knowledge that HE is no respector of persons - faith strengthened to believe you HAVE AUTHORITY TO LAY HOLD OF THE RICHEST BOONS OF HEAVEN.

"But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons, for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him; because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life, the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege. "

6. Knowledge that HE is love - faith that YOU ARE ON JUST GROUND.

"And lastly, but not less important to the exercise of faith in God, is the idea that he is love; for with all the other excellencies in his character, without this one to influence them, they could not have such powerful dominion over the minds of men; but when the idea is planted in the mind that he is love, who cannot see the just ground that men of every nation, kindred, and tongue, have to exercise faith in God so as to obtain eternal life?"

Knowledge of him gives us a SURE FOUNDATION for our faith to be build upon.

"From the above description of the character of the Deity, which is given him in the revelations to men, there is a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him among every people, nation, and kindred, from age to age, and from generation to generation. 

Let us here observe that the foregoing is the character which is given of God in his revelations to the Former-Day saints, and it is also the character which is given of him in his revelations to the Latter- Day saints, so that the saints of former days and those of latter days are both alike in this respect; the Latter-day Saints having as good grounds to exercise faith in God as the Former-day Saints had, because the same character is given of him to both. "

Sister and Elder DeCoursey, memorize these 6 characteristic.  They are correct.  Power, Merciful, unchangeable, truth, no repector of persons, & love. 

You are loved and thought of often.