Apr 27, 2014

Continually Holding Fast

I can't believe every Sunday for the last six months we've been meeting together for General Conference Club.  It's been a fun and spiritual experience for me to re-read and study the words of our prophets and the other leaders of the Church. 
This is the last talk from the October 2013 General Conference we will discuss. 
Next week we will move on to April 2014's talks.  Yay!  I'm excited.
By the way, why didn't anyone tell me the word "conference" was misspelled?  How embarrassing! 
I fixed it, and a new, correctly spelled sign is ready for next week.

Continually Holding Fast
by Elder Kevin S. Hamilton

Elder Hamilton begins his talk by telling us about his father and a life-altering decision his parents made one beautiful Sunday afternoon.
He says, "On a beautiful spring day, after returning home from Sunday morning worship services and having a midday family meal together, his mother turned to his father and asked simple, "Well, dear, do you think we should go to sacrament meeting this afternoon, or should we take the family for a ride in the country?"
     The idea that there was an option to sacrament meeting has never occurred to my father, but he and his three teenage siblings all sat up and paid careful attention.  That Sunday afternoon ride in the country was probably an enjoyable family activity, but that small decision became the start of a new direction which ultimately led his family away from the Church with its safety, security, and blessings and onto a different path.
A large part of Elder Hamilton's talk refers to the story of Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life, found in 1 Nephi 8.  Let's Review:  In this dream, Lehi saw 3 groups of people:

1. In the first group, the people were on the path which led to the tree, but then there "arose a mist of darkness" which caused them to wander off the path and they were lost.

2.  The second group made it all the way to the tree.  They even partook of the awesomely amazing fruit.  Unfortunately, after eating the fruit, they were ashamed because those in "a great and spacious building" were mocking them, and making fun of them.  The people from this group also fell away and were lost. 
"They were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to endure to the end."

3.  The third group was successful.  They made it through the mist of darkness to the tree where they partook of the fruit.  This group was successful at ignoring the mocking and finger pointing from the people in the great and spacious building.  They did stayed strong and did not fall away.
"Of these, the scriptures say that they pressed 'forward continually holding fast to the rod of iron until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.'  The rod of iron represented . . .the only safetly and security that they could find, and they held fast continually; they refused to let go, even for something as simple as a Sunday afternoon ride in the country."

"The Key phrase in this verse is 'continually holding fast' to the rod of iron. . .This is the group you and I should strive to join" -Elder David A. Bednar

  • "Continually holding fast to the rod means that whenever possible we attend our Sunday meetings:  sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and priesthood or Relief Society meetings.  Our children and youth attend their respective meetings in Primary, Young Men, and Young Women.  We should never pick or choose which meetings we attend.  We simply hold fast to the word of God by worshiping and attending our Sabbath meetings."

  • "Continually holding fast to the rod means that we strive to keep all of God's commandments, to have daily personal and family prayer, and to study the scriptures daily.

  • "Continually holding fast is part of the doctrine of Christ . . .We exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, change our hearts, and then follow Him down into the waters of baptism and receive the confirming gift of the Holy Ghost, which serves as a guide and comforter.  And then. . . ,we 'press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ' until the very end of our lives."

  • "As we continually hold fast to the rod by keeping our covenants, we will be strengthened to resist the temptations and perils of the world.  We will be able to navigate this mortal life with all of its challenges. . ."

Remember, Satan will do all in his power to keep you as far from the iron rod as possible.  He will taunt you and tease you and try to make you substitute good activities for better or even best activities. 
"Our everyday decisions will impact our lives in significant ways.  A seemingly small decision such as whether or not to attend a sacrament meeting can have far-reaching, even eternal, consequences. "

Next Week's Talk:
by Sister Linda S. Reeves