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Friday, May 27, 2011

May 2011 Conference Issue: Thomas Monson

Color Key:
Quotes from the Ensign article will be in blue.
Quotes from the Bible will be in red.
All my own words are black.

“Priesthood Power” (Being Worthy)
By Connie Raddon

The May Ensign is a written copy of all the talks that were given at General Conference in April.  The article I chose from the May 2011 Ensign is from the Priesthood Session of Conference, entitled “Priesthood Power”.  This talk was given by Thomas S. Monson, the current president of the LDS Church.

Monson is speaking to all the males in the LDS church who hold the Mormon priesthood.  One of the themes woven throughout the talk is “worthiness”.  The LDS church measures your personal worthiness by how well you keep the Ten Commandments.  As well as pay your tithing, attend all your church meetings, hold a calling (a job in the church) and fulfill that calling, serve others, keep the Word of Wisdom, and attend the temple regularly.

The following are the mentions of being worthy, or words that means the same thing as being worthy.

 “May we be worthy recipients of the divine power of the priesthood we bear.”

“Tonight I wish to address matters which have been much on my mind of late… In one way or another, they all relate to the personal worthiness required to receive and exercise the sacred power of the priesthood which we hold.”

“The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and…the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.  That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood of the authority of that man.”  (D&C 121:36-37)

In other words, when we sin, the heavens withdraw and the Spirit of the Lord withdraws.  So the only way we can have the Spirit of the Lord with us, or the power of the Mormon priesthood, is to be worthy.

“A testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through obedience to the commandments…

“Be careful, lest you destroy your eligibility to be so married [in the temple].”

“Any man in this Church who… exercises unrighteous dominion over [his wife] is unworthy to hold the priesthood.”

“They were otherwise worthy people…”

“Our actions must be above reproach.”

“There is nothing else to compare with [the gift of the priesthood] in all this world.  Safeguard it, treasure it, live worthy of it.”

Being worthy is referred to nine times in just this one talk! 

The Bible says that we are NOT worthy.  The only thing we deserve is death – both physical and spiritual. 
Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, not even one.”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The only way we are made righteous is by grace through faith.  Not by our obedience to the Ten Commandments, the Word of Wisdom, etc.  This way, no human can ever have any reason for boasting.

Romans 3:27-28 “Where then is boasting?  It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  Of works?  No, but by the law of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

As a Mormon, I was always trying to keep myself “WORTHY”.  Most of the time I really believed I was worthy.  In order to believe that I was worthy, I had to be extremely puffed up, arrogant, and focused on myself.  I would compare myself to others in the world.  I didn’t do all the “unworthy” things that they did – I didn’t drink alcohol.  I didn’t smoke.  I didn’t even drink coffee.  I didn’t live with a boyfriend.  I attended church every week.  I was married in the temple.  I dressed modestly.  The list could go on about all the things that puffed up my pride to make me think I was more “WORTHY” than so many other people. 

This is what a religion does to people when it teaches them that they must obey laws and perform ordinances, and be WORTHY.  It creates unrighteous judgment and pride. 

I did not understand about the nature of man, or the nature of God.  I had absolutely no clue what the holiness of God really meant.  I didn’t revere Him, or worship Him, or even praise Him because of how much greater He is than me.  I believed Jesus was my big brother who did a wonderful thing for me – (but I felt I deserved it because of what a wonderful child of God I was). 

I was reverent at church.  I sang the hymns respectfully.  And I said my morning and evening prayers.  I did this mostly with the understanding that these things would bring the Spirit of God closer to me.  I was obedient and worthy because of what was in it for ME.

There were times, however, when I felt “unworthy”.  When I had committed a sin, I would feel so guilty and ashamed that I didn’t even want to talk to God about it.  I just wanted to work hard to balance the scales back in my favor.  Then I could hold my head high again.  (I liked feeling “worthy”).

Monson teaches that if males over the age of 12 are “WORTHY”, they can get some kind of sacred, divine POWER called the priesthood.  This Mormon priesthood is so completely different from God’s priesthood, that I will save that topic for another article so I can take the time to fully explain all the differences.

On May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46), Brigham Young issued a challenge:  “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.”

I have accepted that challenge from Brigham Young.

In the May 2011 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion fails this test.