Doctrines of the Bible

The headlines in today's newspapers portray much of gang violence, immorality, poverty, drug abuse, and various kinds of discrimination and harassment.

We worry a lot about these problems and the impact they have on our communities and neighborhoods. We look to politicians, government officials, law enforcement officers, judges, public education, and even to science and technology to try to find answers.While these problems do afflict our society today, they are, in a larger sense, conditions that have existed for thousands of years and are simply seen by us in the context of our contemporary times.

Basically they are people problems - created by people who have lost sight of true values and have no faith in God. Solutions will only come when people without faith are taught to turn their hearts to God and believe in His words.

And how can this happen? Obviously not easily, because changing people's hearts is not accomplished by legislation, government fiat or judicial decrees. It can only happen when the words of God sink deeply into one's soul and revive that inner conscience that then speaks to our mind and alters our lifestyle.

And where do these life-saving words that bear the power of change come from? From the recorded scriptures - God's revealed words to us, His children. As Latter-day Saints we are blessed to have the standard works, which include the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

We are admonished to read these scriptures regularly and to put their messages into action in our living. We are also commanded to labor unceasingly with those who do not have these truths in their lives in order that needed changes can take place.

It is particularly significant that during the coming week, Nov. 21-28, the citizens of the United States are being asked to observe National Bible Week. From the president of the United States, through state and local government officials, proclamations of the week have been issued, and also through churches nationwide Americans are urged to look to God's work to help solve the problems of the day.

This same week is also being observed in the United States as National Family Week. What a perfect match of two observances - the Bible and the family! And even more significant is the fact that these two events also occur during the same week in which Americans observe a national day of Thanksgiving.

The Bible is very important to Latter-day Saints and should be read in concert with our modern-day scriptures. Beginning in January 1994, the adult curriculum will focus on the Old Testament. During this coming year's study we will once again be able to see how old the problems that afflict us today really are, and how blessed are God's people when they hold fast to the iron rod of the word of God.

President Brigham Young understood the power of the Bible when he said:

"The doctrines contained in the Bible will lift to a superior condition all who observe them; they will impart to them knowledge, wisdom, charity, fill them with compassion, and cause them to feel after the wants of those who are in distress, or in painful or degraded circumstances. They who observe the precepts contained in the Scriptures will be just and true and virtuous and peaceable at home and abroad. Follow out the doctrines of the Bible, and men will make splendid husbands, women excellent wives, and children will be obedient; they will make families happy and the nations wealthy and happy and lifted up above the things of this life." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 125.)

Consider these few selected biblical admonitions in the context of achieving what President Young envisioned:

"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." (Isaiah 54:13.)

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deut. 6:5-7.)

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." (Ps. 33:12.)

"Righteousness exalteth a nation. . . ." (Prov. 14:34.)

Truly the richness of the Bible and our other scriptures can strengthen families, can change hearts, and can lift the nation from its woes. We must live by God's word, and inspire others also to emulate the central figure of all scriptures, even Jesus Christ the Lord!

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