Sept 13 2016 Doctrine & Covenants Class 2 by Rosemary Wixom

Lesson taught by Rosemary Wixom
Second Lesson/The First Vision
Reading assignment–Joseph Smith History 1:1-26

“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that (First) vision. It either occurred or it did not occur.  If it did not, then this work is a fraud.  If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”

“This glorious First Vision was the parting of the curtain to open this – the dispensation of the fullness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine – nothing we teach – nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration.   I submit that if  Joseph Smith  talked with God the Father and His beloved Son, than all else of which He spoke is true.  This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.”        President Gordon B. Hinckley

 Insight into the family life of Joseph:

 “The evening after the visit to the hill, (the evening after Moroni’s first visit) Joseph told the rest of the family about the angel and the plates.  William said they were “melted to tears, and believed all he said.  He had made his first converts.  Typically, Lucy understood the finding of the plates as a family event.  She remembered them all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters”  It struck her that her “family presented the most peculiar aspect of any family that ever lived upon the Earth,”  all” giving the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age:  who had never read the Bible through in his life.” “The sweetest union and happiness pervaded our house, and tranquility reigned in our midst”  Joseph Jr. warned of troubles ahead for the Smiths.  He said, “The world was so wicked that when they came to a knowledge of these things they would try to take our lives.”  For that reason they had to keep what he told them to themselves, but they still rejoiced to know that God was about to give them a more perfect knowledge of the plan of salvation and the redemption of the human family..”  At last, as Lucy said, the Smiths had “something upon which we could stay our minds.”   Richard L. Bushman – Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling:  Page 45-46

After discussion the unique differences of the nine accounts of the First Vision:

“There is an alternative approach to the evidence. It is to be humble, seeking, and to become thoroughly informed. It involves not assuming that one already knows how Joseph would respond to and tell about a heavenly vision. Instead, it allows his accounts to shape that understanding” “Suspicion or Trust:  Reading the Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision”Steven C. Harper – Church Historian and an editor of The Joseph Smith Papers

“I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the First Vision anymore than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time.” President Gordon B. Hinckley

In reference to some of the social issues we are dealing with today: The consensus is we sometimes we have a tendency to think things are “this way” OR “that way”…. We hesitate to consider “and” thinking.  Could things be “this way” AND “that way

“As a clinical psychologist, I can tell you that OR-thinking is easy, which is part of its appeal.

Meanwhile, integrative (AND-thinking) is hard, which is part of it’s challenge…. Skeptics, for instance will always doubt integrative (or “and”) thinking.

     But skepticism isn’t necessarily unhealthy. Skepticism – by definition – requires us to listen outside the narrow constraints of our own preconceptions. (For example, consider the 9 accounts of the FV)

     In contrast, cynicism is usually costly.  Cynicism claims to be wise when it is actually narrow; it claims to be experienced when it is actually detached…..

     Healthy skepticism, however, remains humble and open; options are opportunities……. Healthy skepticism requires mental flexibility; it doesn’t retreat into comfortable, yet tired, recesses of the mind where people double-down on what they already believe and neglect everything else.”     “The Heavy Cost of Simplistic Thinking” – Bryan Bushman  – Clinical Psychologist – “My View”   Deseret News July 21, 2016

Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith…… The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. “  Elder Neil L. Anderson

Joseph Smith History 1:25-26 (abbreviated)    “I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me…. I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God…. For I had seen a vision;  I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it……. I have found the testimony of James to be true – that a many who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided.”

First Vision Accounts

Sept 6 2016 Doctrine & Covenants Class 1 by Cynthia Haller



Lesson taught by Cynthia Haller
First lesson/introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants:  reading assignment–Explanatory Introduction and Chapter 1:
“Thank you” is not nearly adequate to express our appreciation for the fantastic lessons we’ve enjoyed for the last six years by our skilled and inspired teachers, Nancy Baird and Diane Adair.  We thank them for their years of dedicated service and for inspiring hundreds of sisters in their study of the Book of Mormon, New Testament, and the Old Testament.  Our faith and testimonies have increased and our lives are richer from being at Sisters in Scriptures and listening to their words.
New teachers have been called and set apart by our stake presidency:  Cynthia Haller, Rosemary Wixom, and Bekah Ellsworth.   What a wonderful opportunity we sisters of the Olympus stake have this year to study the Doctrine and Covenants, and to learn about the exciting restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth once again. We have a unique opportunity to “fill our lamps with oil” so that we are prepared and have strong testimonies that can sustain us and our families.
This year we will read the entire Doctrine and Covenants in conjunction with a study of the new “Foundations of the Restoration” course that  all institute students are required to take. We are studying this book of scripture from a “perspective of faith,” and have chosen to study it thematically so that we can truly “feast upon the words of Christ” and cover many important and relevant topics and subjects.
Our goals are also to first build faith and increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ, second, to increase faith and knowledge in the restoration of the gospel and to study continuous revelation through our prophets with the belief that the spirit will testify of truth, and third to apply these inspired teachings to our lives and in teaching our families. An added increase in our faith and testimony in  these last days is needed as we fight off the “fiery darts of the adversary.”  It is essential that each of us know that God did call another prophet named Joseph Smith to restore the gospel, and that it is indeed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, His Kingdom on earth, and that we have a prophet today who guides the church and gives light and truth to the whole world.
President Hinckley spoke of the importance to know for ourselves if the church is true.  He said, “Our whole strength rests of the validity of the First Vision.  It either occurred or it did not occur.  If it did not, then this work is a fraud.  If it did, then it is the most important and
wonderful work under the heavens . . . upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of the church.”  (“The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith, Pres Hinckley”)
The Lord called this restoration, “A wonderful work and a wonder” (Isaiah 29:13, 14) and we are privileged to study the Doctrine and Covenants that has been given for our day.
We discussed the “Book of Commandments” and how they were saved and preserved for our day, the witnesses to this book (found in the introduction), and briefly, the first section of the D&C which is known as the “Lord’s preface,” (the only preface in the world written by the Lord Himself).  Please take the time to read the first chapter to learn four main doctrines taught there:
This year we will highlight “pearls” from the scriptures–inspiring, significant scriptures that you may want to record, memorize, write about on a “pearl” page that was provided.  The Lord tells of a merchant who sold all he had to obtain one “pearl of great price,” which is truth, pure doctrinefrom Jesus Christ.
Pearls from the lesson (you may want to include on your list):
The Lord said, “Be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and OIL WITH YOU that ye may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom.”  D&C 34:17
“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived . . . shall abide the day.”  D&C 45:57
“And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.”  (D & C 1:14)
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”  D&C 1:38
We can remain confident that all the words of the Lord and His prophets will be fulfilled, regardless of how it appears in our world today.  What is essential is faith in the Lord, obedience to His commandments, and to remain steadfast and faithful as we teach the gospel to our children and grandchildren until
the day when the Lord returns again.