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missionjrh6 (Elder Holland, February 2020 ** )

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Tuesday devotional,  February 18, 2020

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, February 18, 2020

  • Elder Holland was introduced by President LeSueur.  As part of his introduction, President LeSueur said, “I love and revere this man more than I can express.”  He related that on Monday of this week, a van carrying departing missionaries was involved in a fender bender, and thus all the missionaries missed their flights out of the country.  They all had to return to the Missionary Training Center.  He personally told all the missionaries that they would do everything they could to get them on their way to their assigned missions no later than Tuesday morning.  The missionaries begged him not to do that because they wanted to hear Elder Holland speak on Tuesday evening, and they felt that the accident was actually a blessing for all of them, allowing them to hear Elder Holland.
  • As Elder Holland began his address, he thanked the missionaries for allowing him to come and speak!
  • He said, “I am going to try something a little different tonight, something I have never done before at the Missionary Training Center.  If this new approach tonight turns out to be a flop, please write your parents and tell them that Elder Christoffersen did not give a very good talk at the weekly devotional.”
  • I want to talk about the year 2020.  President Nelson kicked off this year by telling us to expect an ‘unforgettable’ General Conference in April.  This entire decade will be a bicentennial decade, as we celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the First Vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the numerous angelic visitations, and the organization of the Church.  Please follow President Nelson’s admonition to prepare spiritually for the upcoming conference.
  • Don’t get me started talking about the impact my first mission has had on my life.  The impact has been daily and incredible.
  • What a privilege it is for all of you to be full-time missionaries in the year 2020, the anniversary of the First Vision.  Make sure the Restoration is part of every presentation and discussion you give and have during your missions.
  • I personally feel that James 1:5-6 is the most important scripture in all of the sacred canon of scripture we have.  Why?  Because of the impact that scripture had on the history of our earth, manifested in the humble prayer of a 14-year old boy in upstate New York.  He read the verses, followed the admonition of James, and changed the world forever.
  • Joseph Smith stated that he had never before offered an oral prayer before his prayer in the grove.  How amazing it is that Joseph was independent enough to seek his own answer as to which church he should join.  How easy it would have been to just follow the other members of his family into one church or the other.
  • I would have you consider missionary work before this dispensation.  All the other missionary work in preceding dispensations is but a pittance compared to the missionary work in this dispensation.  For example, how many full-time missionaries were there in Old Testament times?  Very few.  How about in New Testament times?  Two or three hundred perhaps, five hundred at the most?  Perhaps all the full-time missionaries of all the preceding dispensations would not equal just those seated in this auditorium this evening!  ALMOST ALL OF THE SIGNIFICANT MISSIONARY WORK THAT THIS WORLD WILL SEE WILL BE DONE IN THIS DISPENSATION.
  • And what about temples?  How many temples were there in all of the previous dispensations?  Only one in the Old World and perhaps two or three in the New World?  Now we have 168 functioning temples world wide.  ALMOST ALL OF THE SIGNIFICANT TEMPLE WORK THAT THIS WORLD WILL SEE WILL BE DONE IN THIS DISPENSATION.
  • The Adversary tried to stop Joseph Smith from praying.  Since the Adversary does not have the power to take a life, he did the next best thing.  He tried to bind Joseph’s tongue.  As a general principle, if the Adversary can just keep us from opening our mouths and proclaiming the gospel, he wins.
  • Joseph Smith is the greatest of all prophets because he had the greatest assignment.  Never in the history of this earth have so many miracles and momentous events occurred in such a short time for so many people.
  • David O. McKay’s father served a mission in Scotland, and he met great resistance whenever he mentioned Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon.  He made a decision to just talk about the New Testament and Jesus, and not mention the latter-day Restoration.  In the next few days he was overcome with darkness and uneasiness.  He sought the Lord in sincere prayer and heard this message, “Testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God!”   He said that this divine message was instilled in his youthful heart, and he never forgot it.
  • We have a duty to preach of Jesus, the New Testament, and the Old Testament, but if that is all we preach the people will say that there is nothing unique or new about our message.  The singular message that we have is that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the church has been restored.  Doctrine and Covenants 5 states, “For hereafter you (Joseph )shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you.  Oh, this unbelieving and stiff-necked generation—mine anger is kindled against them.  Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; But this generation shall have my word through you;”.
  • Section 5 also tells Joseph that the gift of translating the Book of Mormon is his first gift, and that he is to pretend unto no other gift until the book is translated.
  • The Book of Mormon is the greatest teaching tool of this dispensation.  Remember that the Book of Mormon is an abridgment, containing not even 1/100th of the events of that day.
  • Tonight we are going to focus on just the first 8 pages and examine the treasures that they contain.
    • 1 Nephi 1:1 — Think of goodly parents.  You are not doing this work alone.  You have family, friends, legions of church members praying for you, just as Nephi had his goodly parents.  You are the most prayed-for group in this church, perhaps with President Nelson being the only exception.  You have help.  The only governing principle that we know of in heaven is “family”.
    • 1 Nephi 1:3-4 — My record is true.  You can count on other people’s testimonies.  You can count on MY testimony.  I would challenge any one of you to look into my eyes and tell me that I am a deceiver, that I do not know the things that I say I know.
    • 1 Nephi 1:5-6 — Prayer changes everything.  The entire restoration started with the simple prayer offered by a humble 14-year old boy.  He said that he exerted all his power as he prayed, and he saw the light descending.  I promise you that pillars of light will bless you also.
    • 1 Nephi 1:11-12 — Read scripture, read sacred books.
    • 1 Nephi 1:19 — Expect persecution, expect rejection, but always remember that you literally stand with Jesus, who was vilified and denounced.
    • 1 Nephi 2:3 — Obedience is the first law of everything.  If you don’t understand and master obedience, nothing else matters.  No further discussion is necessary.  Have you noticed that the first law presented in the temple is the law of obedience?  C. S. Lewis talked about mathematics, and that you have to correct preceding errors before you can move on to a correct answer.  Obedience is the same.  You must correct the past before you can move forward to a successful conclusion.
    • 1 Nephi 2:4 — You need to leave some things behind.  Leave thoughts of home and past activities behind.  Go forward without looking back.  Put your heart, might, mind, and soul into this work.  It demands all that and more.  Don’t try to keep one foot at home and one foot in your mission field.  Leave unneeded things behind.
    • 1 Nephi 2:14 — Power filled with the Spirit.  Nephi and Lehi spoke with power unto their people, and the people were greatly astonished.  We need to preach with greater power and authority.  You have more power and authority than kings, magistrates, prime ministers, and even ministers.  Get out there and astonish people!  We do not preach up to our level of power and authority.
    • 1 Nephi 2:16 — Make your mission personal, because it is!  Believe!  Work things out with the Lord, then take your mission and run with it!  The Lord will visit you.
    • 1 Nephi 3:7 — Most of us do not act like we believe this scripture!  We should all say, “I am buying in, I am determined, I will make no excuse.  God has asked you to do this His way.  You need to trust the words of this verse.  In general, we do not have enough faith.  We can succeed against insurmountable odds.  This is serious business.   It is ‘grown-up’ business.
  • You can go forth with confidence.  God will prepare you to succeed.  In Jacob 5, the master of the vineyard sends his servants into the vineyard, telling them this is the last time he will harvest in the vineyard and that the end is nigh.  He promises his servants that if they labor with him they will have joy.  The servants went and labored, AND THE LORD LABORED WITH THEM!
  • I would trade places with anyone of you in a moment if I could.  I envy you.
  • Use the Book of Mormon.
  • Savor the events of this bicentennial year.
  • You are apostolic in the hands of God.  Do not miss this one chance to be as close to the holy apostolic calling as you might ever be.  You are engaged in the salvation of souls.  Do not miss this chance of this moment!

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