This week, Diane Smith taught a great lesson from Chapter 27 of the Joseph Smith manual. It is entitled, Beware the Bitter Fruits of Apostasy. As usual, this is a great lesson sisters. If you have not had a chance to read the lesson, please take time to read it this week.
The subject of this weeks lesson was how we can avoid apostasy. Sister Smith defined apostasy as a turning away from our beliefs.
The lesson manual describes the apostasy of many members of the church during the Kirtland period of church history. Describing those who left the church, Sister Eliza Snow said, "As the Saints drank in the love and spirit of the world, the Spirit of the Lord withdrew from their hearts."
Of course, most of the Saints during that period stayed close to the spirit and loyal to the gospel. Brigham Young described a meeting in which some Church members were discussing how to depose the Prophet Joseph: "I rose up, and in a plain and forcible manner told them that Joseph was a Prophet and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, but they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God; they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God, and sink themselves to hell." I was amused to read his next sentence, "Many were highly enraged at my decided opposition to their measures...." Hmmmm? I guess no one likes being told they might be on the wrong road. Brigham continued, "This was a crisis when earth and hell seemed leagued to overthrow the Prophet and Church of God. The knees of many of the strongest men in the Church faltered."
Sister Smith began a discussion of how we can keep our "knees from faltering."
She pointed out that when we lose confidence in or criticize our church leaders we run the risk of apostasy. We discussed that our church leaders are just people like us, doing their best to live the Gospel. It is our job to support and sustain them as they do their best to serve us the way the Lord requires.
Sister Smith spoke to us about how we must guard against apostasy. She used this quote from Joseph, "Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church, you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one and you will follow his dictation and be his servant."
There is the answer Sisters. As we do our best to follow the Master, Jesus Christ and to listen to His voice through the Holy Ghost, we will be protected from apostasy. We must work to obtain our own rock solid testimony of the Savior and the Gospel. As our testimonies become stronger, we become instruments in the hands of the Lord to be used to strengthen his kingdom.
Sister Smith ended her lesson with this quote from the manual, "Ezra T. Clark remembered: 'I heard the Prophet Joseph say that he would give the Saints a key whereby they would never be led away or deceived, and that was: The Lord would never suffer a majority of this people to be led away or deceived by imposters, nor would he allow the records of this Chruch to fall into the hands of the enemy.'"
Sisters, we love how you support each other. We are astounded by the service you give to each other. We see evidence of your testimonies constantly in the day to day service you render to your families, friends, and each other. We are amazed by you.
Your Relief Society Presidency
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