Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life and Parenting Lessons from Section 3 of Doctrine and Covenants

Life lessons from Doctrine and Covenants 3

  • Man can’t stop God’s work. (verses 1-3) 
  • Never think you’re smarter than God. (4, 13)
  • Never fear man more than God. (7) 
  • Keep your eyes on the tree of life not on the spacious building. (7)
  • If you resist peer pressure and obey God, He’ll support you (8) 
  • God forgives. (10)
  • If you repent, you’re still chosen and again called. (10) 
  • Parents should teach children with natural consequences. Life is often the best teacher of life lessons, like when Angel Moroni removed the plates and Urim and Thummim for a while after Joseph had sinned. He lost his privileges for a season. (14) 
  • This is also how the Spirit works with us. If we listen to the Spirit and obey God, we’ll receive more promptings and light. If we don’t listen or obey, we’ll lose the privilege for a time until we become worthy again and ask. (14-15)
  • Jesus starts this section like He does many in the D&C, by testifying of His power and strength, reminding us of the reasons we can fully trust Him and rely on Him. In this case He reminds us of His characteristics that are important to give hope to Joseph: God’s plan and purpose is more powerful than man’s mistakes and can’t be stopped by man, God is unchanging and we can count on Him.
  • This was a pivotal turning point for Joseph Smith – he never again feared man more than God. God used this experience to help Joseph turn a weakness (people pleasing) into a vital strength that a prophet needs (God pleasing).  In my opinion, this was the lowest point in Joseph’s life other than Liberty Jail. He had just had his first baby who died, Emma almost died after the birth and was on the brink of death for several weeks, I think he was getting criticized from his father-in-law whom he lived next to, and now Martin lost the 116 pages of manuscript. Then Angel Moroni took away the plates and the Urim and Thummim. Joseph seemed to have thought he lost his soul. So to hear the words “Thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work,” must have breathed new life into a low, broken heart. 
  • Gives us hope that God has a plan to help us turn our weaknesses into strengths too. Joseph was probably cringing a bit in heaven, “Sorry Nephi down there, but thanks for giving me a backup plan for the weakness I’ll have when I’m on earth.” Nephi was on earth likely thinking, “I don’t know why God is telling me to write an abridgement of my dad’s record, because he already wrote all these stories, but God knows. He’s way smarter than me so I’ll obey.” God has contingency plans to make up for our weakness. 

A Parenting Pattern in D&C 3

  • I trusted you with ___. I explained the rules and consequences if you obeyed. You repeatedly disobeyed me and cared more about peer pressure. What you should have done was ___. You would have been blessed in this way ___. It would have protected you from harm. (verses 5-8)
  • You are a great soul. God chose you for a great work. Satan knows your greatness too, and wants you to fall. Be careful that you obey so you won’t fall. (9)
  • I am merciful and forgiving. You can repent. You are still chosen. You’re again called to the work. Here is a fresh start to try again. If you don’t take the fresh start to try again you’ll lose your chance, privilege, gift. (10-11)
  • Here’s what’s wrong about what you did___. You lost your privileges for a while because you disobeyed. (12, 14-15)

Summary pattern for parenting: 

Let’s review the rules and consequences. Here’s how you disobeyed___. Here’s the consequence – you lose ___ privilege for a while. What you should have done is___. You are still good, God and I still love you, you are still chosen to do great things. Satan knows you’re great too, so be careful and obey so you don’t fall. Here’s a fresh start to repent and start again so you can have your privilege back. 

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