Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Monday, September 15, 2008

Talk given at Grandpa Rex's Funeral on September 8, 2008

Like all of you, I have accumulated many memories of Grandpa Rex and when I recall those memories, they make up a very useful and often enjoyable part of my consciousness.  At the time of death, we "remember" those things that are dear to us.   Today I want to speak of a more profound role of memory that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Marlin K. Jensen said, "If we pay close attention to the uses of the word remember in the holy scriptures, we will recognize that remembering in the way God intends is a fundamental and saving principle of the gospel.  This is so because prophetic admonitions to remember are frequently calls to action: to listen, to see, to do, to obey, and to repent.  When we remember in God's way, we overcome our human tendency simply to gird for the battle of life and actually engage in the battle itself, doing all in our power to resist temptation and avoid sinning."

I would like to share one such "remembrance" with you today.  One day as I was reading in the Book of Mormon about how Father Lehi gave blessings to his children and grandchildren I longed for such a blessing and called Grandpa Rex to ask him if he would bless me.  A couple of months later I sat in his living room and learned as he taught about the Creation, the Fall, and the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior.  Later during the blessing, I was taught further, when he blessed me to understand more fully the Creation, the Fall and the Atonement.  He testified of their truthfulness and the important role they play in the Plan of Salvation.

Grandpa taught me more deeply about the Creation by testifying that the earth was not created from nothing; it was organized from existing matter and created by Christ under the direction of the Father.  The Creation of the Earth was essential to God's plan.  It provided a place where we could gain a physical body, be tested and tried, and develop divine attributes.

He expounded upon the science of the earth: the geology of the rock formations, the role of our beautiful plants that cover the earth, and the animals.  He instilled in me a desire to use the earth's resources with wisdom, judgement and thanksgiving.

Adam was the first man created on earth.  In the book of Genesis we understand that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Gen. 1:27)

In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the consequence of doing so would be spiritual and physical death.  Spiritual death is separation from God.  Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the mortal body.

Because Adam and Eve transgressed and partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,  they were cast out from the presence of the Lord—they experienced spiritual death.  They also became mortal—subject to physical death.  As descendants of Adam and Eve, we inherit a fallen condition during mortality, in which we are tested by the difficulties of life and the temptations of the adversary.  Unfortunately, we do not always choose the right, and we know from the scriptures that "no unclean thing can enter into His Kingdom" (3 Nephi 27:19 and Ephesians 5:5)

King Benjamin teaches "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."  Mosiah 3:19)

The Fall is an integral part of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation.  It has a twofold direction—downward yet forward.  In addition to introducing physical and spiritual death, it gave us the opportunity to be born on the earth and to learn and progress.

Once we understand the doctrine of the Fall, we can understand the Atonement.  The prophet, Jacob of the Book of Mormon taught that we can repent of our sins and become saved and that the "way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free."

Why is salvation free?  Salvation is a gift after we have expended our best efforts.  We are saved by grace, not by our own accomplishments.  In his words, Jacob teaches, "Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth…Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah,  who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise."  Jacob then exhorts his brethren to believe in Christ because those that "believe in Him shall be saved." (2 Nephi 2:6, 8-9)

In the book of Deuteronomy I counted over 35 times when the Lord promised abundant blessings upon the children of Israel if they would only love and obey the Lord.  Moses exhorts, "And now Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him and to serve the Lord they God with all thy heart and with all they soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes."  The same is asked of each of us today: that we love and obey him that we may partake of the blessings of the Atonement. 

In studying Deuteronomy I have found a fulfillment in the sixth chapter, verse 7 where Moses charges Israel to "teach [the commandments] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up."

As I sat in Grandpa's living room, I knew he understood that scripture.  How did he understand it?  He was causing me to "remember" the precious Plan of Salvation.  Coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him is the ultimate purpose of all remembering.

I testify of the truthfulness of the Plan of Salvation, of the Creation, the Fall and the divine Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I add my testimony to Moroni who invites us to "Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him, and deny [our]selves of all ungodliness; and if [we] shall deny [our]selves of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength, then is His grace sufficient for [us], that by His grace [we] may be perfect in Christ."  (Moroni 10:32)  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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