Beneficial Fruit

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I was thinking today about the beginning of the Book of Mormon –  father and son prophets Lehi and Nephi travel to a land of promise with their large family.  The road is not easy.  Here are just some of the issues:

  • Return to Jerusalem twice (surely over a day’s journey) to get important things that they left behind
  • Robbed by Laman
  • Constant fighting and bickering
  • Broken bow in the wilderness (threat of starvation)
  • Camping in the wilderness.
  • Having children in the wilderness
  • Have to build a boat
  • Travel by boat to the new world
  • Build a home in a new, foreign land

Certainly they saw miracles (visions, revelations, angels, the liahona, women were able to have strength even while having babies in the wilderness) but it didn’t occur to me until today how much hard work and suffering they endured.  Surely a loving Heavenly Father could have had a boat waiting for them when they reached the land Bountiful!

But then we get down to the question of whether or not we want our children to walk or do we want to carry them in our arms for the rest of their lives?  When a toddler learns to walk, they will fall.  It will be a struggle.  When our children learn to tie their shoes, read, ice skate, bike, compete – whatever it may be, there will be difficultly.  Blood, sweat, tears, and more often than not,  pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental).  However, if we don’t let them struggle through, how will they ever learn to do anything?

Which brings me to this absolutely amazing quote that I recently found –

Easy things never produce much beneficial fruit. Neither our Father in Heaven nor His Holy Son take delight in seeing you struggle to overcome obstacles, resolve questions, or find solutions to complex and challenging problems. However, they do rejoice when you willingly recognize that these steps are steps to growth which lead to action that molds your character.

Elder Richard G. Scott, To Learn and to teach More Effectively, 21 August 2007 during BYU Campus Education Week.  (See full transcript here.)

Beneficial fruit.

Read this next and see how it fits in –

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.   If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15: 4-8).

And look at the scripture just a few verses before this last (John 15:2) –

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

“Easy things never produce much beneficial fruit.”  We want our children to succeed,  to be better than we were.  In a modern-day and age, with so many conveniences, that’s hard to do!  So pressure of a different kind has to be placed upon us.  Disease, death, difficulty, unemployment, heartache, temptation, trial, sorrow – trials carefully calculated to help us turn to the true vine, and through Him, do amazing things with our personal pathway.

Just look at the fruit that the Book of Mormon is bringing forth.  I know it’s changed my life, and I’m grateful that though they went through difficult circumstances, they left fruit that refreshes the soul and brings one closer to the Savior.  What a precious gift to give another – the best of oneself.  And only God, with His infinite power, knowledge and love for us as individuals, can help us become the best of ourselves and then, through His power and miracle, let those gifts that we’ve brought forth go forward to bless others.

The Best Way to Recognize the Counterfeit – Study the Genuine

There was a man who worked for the United States Treasury Department. His job was investigating cases where counterfeit money was involved. He was so good at what he did that all it took was a quick look at a bill and he could tell if it was genuine or counterfeit. One evening at a press conference following his breaking up of a major counterfeit ring, one of the reporters directed this statement to him: “You must spend a lot of time studying counterfeit bills to recognize them so easily.”

His reply to this was, “No, I don’t ever study counterfeit bills. I spend my time studying genuine bills; then the imperfection is easy to recognize.”

So it is with the gospel, dear brothers and sisters. We are here to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no need to study the counterfeit, for we have the truth.

This thought was from a CES Fireside by Elder David E. Sorensen, (March 5, 2005) entitled The Blessing of Work which can be found here.

Word of Wisdom Prepares us for Eternal Life

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I’ve been reading in my new George Albert Smith manual over the last couple of days and I found a quote that just knocked my socks off!

It’s from Chapter 19, pg. 207-208 –
“I sometimes wonder if Latter-day Saints realize that the Word of Wisdom has been given to us for our exaltation; not only for our temporal blessing, but to prepare us for spiritual life …

“We are told that the glory of God is intelligence [see D&C 93:36], and we all admire intelligent men and women, therefore it should be our desire to lay the foundation for increased mental power and not do anything to weaken it. It is evident in the lives of some that they deprive themselves of the brain power they might enjoy, by the continued use of things our Heavenly Father has said are not good; they become less intelligent as a result, and fail to make the preparation for Eternal life that should be their ambition.”

Of course, following the Word of Wisdom improves intelligence. All you have to do is eat a fast-food meal every meal for a few days and feel how groggy it makes the brain. (No, I’m not saying that Fast-food is totally against the Word of Wisdom, rather making a point at how it alters your ability to think clearly, as do other ingestable substances.)

One of the great promises of the commandment is that those who live it, will gain “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” [D&C 89:19].

Plus, it makes my body and mind feel so much clearer when I eat healthy foods. Now, maybe if I commit to living it more fully – not necessarily the “thou shalt nots”, but the “thou shalts” my mind will be more focused and my life more productive and thus, I can become more of what I ought.