Wednesday, March 5, 2014

President's Weekly Letter #77

When I was 18 years old my father bought a new Mercury Cougar automobile.  In 1967 Ford rolled out the Cougar with hopes to parallel the amazing success of the Ford Mustang.  The dealership needed a few days to receive delivery and prep the new car but took in my father’s previous car as trade and provided him with a used car in the interim. The used car was not much to look at but was fast.

Late one night while driving home along a deserted, straight country road with a dry canal running parallel along the right road shoulder, I decided to ‘see what the used car could do.’  When I reached 120 mph and climbing, a voice in my mind, so literal it was like a spoken word, said to me, “Slow down.”  I was losing my nerve anyway so I did what I was told.  The next morning as I went out to do morning chores on the ranch, I saw something hanging on the right front tire.  The retread (a new rubber tread that with heat and glue is bonded to an old tire) was partially peeled off.  I was horrified and remembered the voice and the canal and have often wondered what if I had not slowed down.

There is no question in my mind that I was warned by the spirit and/or guardian angels that night.  I have, also, over the past several years frequently woken up from sleep with a start clearly remembering and realizing that I was protected in various other close calls during my life.  It is strange because I had essentially completely forgotten about those memories.  My motto now is safety first, safety always.  I believe we are all watched over and somehow influenced among to safety and other things by the Lord through the Holy Ghost and maybe sometimes through the influence of angels.

The Bible Dictionary teaches that angels are messengers of the Lord who serve God in heaven and who do God’s will and minister to men on the earth.  Angels are spirits who are yet to receive bodies of flesh and bones, spirits who have once had bodies and await the resurrection, or resurrected persons.  Jesus frequently spoke of angels and they attended on our Lord throughout his life on earth.  Angels are heavenly messengers sent forth to minister to the inhabitants of the earth.  We are also warned not to worship angels and those spirits who followed Satan are the devil’s angels.

The Prophet Moroni stated ministering of angels is common on earth, ministering of angels is a gift of the spirit and their main function is to call men to repentance:

“29 … have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
 30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
 31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. (Moroni 10: 27-31)

8 … deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God… and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them…
14 …to another [is given], the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;” (Moroni 10: 8-14)

President Kimball observed a truth about the nature of life as it relates to God’s handling of his children on earth.  Also, Joseph Smith confirmed angels who perform God’s work on earth are or were persons on earth.     

“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”  (Pres. Kimball, Small Acts of Service, Ensign, Dec. 1974)

“5 … there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it.”  (DC 130:5)

Thus, a big part of God’s work comes through His children in this world as humans serving one another.  Since angels have not ceased to minister unto man, it appears logical that angels are also His children through whom God may meet our needs.  For example, we normally do not see God personally come on earth to take care of business himself.  He apparently sends messengers, angels belonging to this earth, who call men to repentance and to do the work of the covenants of the Father or other assignments angels may have.

Angels do not affect our free agency just as Satan’s helpers cannot.  Also, we know that faithful elders when they depart from mortal life also continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel among those who are in the great world of the spirits of the dead. (DC 138: 57)

The scriptures relate frequent occurrences of ministering angels.  To name just a few:  Christ told his apostles, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt 26:53)  Joshua saw the captain of the host of the Lord with a drawn sword prior to the battle of Jericho. (Joshua 5:13-14)  King Herod killed James the brother of John with a sword and imprisoned Peter to do the same to him.  Peter was rescued from prison by an angel. (Acts 12:7)  When facing seemingly overwhelming opposition, Elisha prayed to open the eyes of a young man to see the horses and chariots of the angels proving, “they be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Ministering of angels has much to do with you here now serving as a missionary. 

1 - Angels sometimes refers to living human messengers. (JST Gen 19)  In that sense, you are symbolically an earthly angel serving the people here declaring the word of Christ.

2 - You can receive ministrations from angels yourself.  Contained in DC 13 is the ordination of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.   McConkie stated:  “It holds ‘the keys of the ministering of angels,’ meaning that those who hold it and are faithful have the key whereby they can open the door to the receipt of visitations from heavenly messengers… whenever men have had sufficient faith, angels have ministered unto them.”  (Mormon Doctrine, p.11)  Wilford Woodruff stated:  “I had the administration of angels while holding the office of a priest.  I had visions and revelations.”  (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 298)

 “25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice…and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!” (DC 43:25)

The Lord also said the Book of Mormon, “…was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them.”  (DC 20:10)  This obviously refers to the 3 witnesses but might also refer to the task of angels declaring to investigators.  It might refer to yourself as you read the Book and angels declare its truth  to you.  It might also refer to you as the earthly angel declaring the truth of the Book to the world.
President Robinson

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