Holy Places – A List (D&C 87:8)

New Scripture Study Series

New Scripture Study Series

This is commentary based on the scripture study programStand Ye in Holy Places (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8). You can download the entire scripture study program here.

“Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.” – Doctrine and Covenants 87:8

Mesa Arizona Temple

Mesa Arizona Temple

In Doctrine and Covenants 87:8, we are taught to stand in holy places. In the Guide to the Scriptures, we learn that Holy is sacred, having Godly character, or spiritually and morally pure. The opposite of holy is common or profane.” When thinking of this definition of Holy and holy places, the first thing I think of is the temple.

Yet, Doctrine and Covenants 87:8 teaches us that we need to stand in holy places and be not moved. Obviously, we can’t be in the temple all the time. How, then, do we stand in holy places if we can’t always be in the temple or similar structures?

Well…it is helpful to remember what Paul taught

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16

We – our physical bodies – are temples. We can always stand in holy places by being holy ourselves – and qualifying for the Spirit that would reside in a Holy Place like the temple.

So…the next question is – how do we work to qualify for the sanctifying effect of the Spirit? How do we treat ourselves like a temple of God?

Heavenly Father has given us insight on what His house is like

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:119

This verse gives us a list of what Heavenly Father’s house is like. Even though this list is about the literal house of the Lord, the temple, we can find parallels to our own lives.

House of Prayer

We have been taught to pray always (see 2 Nephi 32:9). Of course this means that we should pray – both formally and with a prayer in our heart at all times.

This scripture also teaches us what our words would be like. We can’t stand in a holy place if our words are vile, critical, or do anything to drive away the Spirit. If we are a house of prayer, then our words should be reflective of such speech.

House of Fasting

Of course it is easy to see how the Lord’s house would be a house of fasting. We are also commanded to fast. When I think of how this relates to myself, my personal temple, I wonder how I might be a house of fasting. I can’t fast all the time, and I don’t think that we are supposed to.

But consider fasting – we abstain from food and water for a set period of time. This goes against our appetites and natural desires. We aren’t expected to fast forever. Once we are finished with our fast, we go back to eating. Fasting is essentially about sequestering the natural man in order to train our spiritual sides.

There are many appetites that influence our behaviors. When we are a “House of fasting” we learn to overcome those appetites and keep them within the bounds that the Lord has set. When we give into our appetite for food during a fast, then we really destroy the fast. When we give into other appetites, say for example taking drugs or being physically intimate with another, we destroy our relationship with the Spirit. Yet, this doesn’t mean that we will never take a drug or be physically intimate with another. It is completely appropriate to have a drug when going into surgery. It is healthy and necessary to be physically intimate with your spouse.

In the case of our bodies as temples, we become a “house of fasting” when we wisely restrict our natural appetites.

House of Faith

The temple is a house of faith. In the temple, we learn about God, exercise our faith, and receive witness. We, ourselves, can also be a house of faith.

I suppose that the best way we can be a house of faith is by being the type of person who nurtures faith. In Alma 32, we learn about faith and how to nurture it. A seed of faith that begins to grow is good. If the plant stops growing because we stop nurturing it doesn’t mean that the seed was bad. Instead, such lack of growth indicates our seed was neglected.

We can let our own faith grow if we become a “house of faith” by continuing to do things that will nurture the faith that has been planted in our hearts.

House of Learning

The physical temple is a house of learning. We go there to make covenants and receive instruction. Over the years, I have had many experiences where I have been taught in the temple. I love going there and learning more. I feel like that is what really defines our human experience: we are always looking to learn more.

We, ourselves, also need to be houses of learning. As I ponder this concept, I think that it not only means that we study and learn, but that we keep our brains pure and fertile grounds for education.

We live in an information age. I am so grateful to be a part of it. But there is so much that is either useless or downright destructive. When we fill our minds with p*rnography, violence, or when we simply waste our time, we destroy our capacity to learn more. I think that we are beginning to see that our brains are much more powerful than we realize. We can keep our temples houses of learning by being clean and learning good things.

House of Glory

One of the best ways to understand glory is by reading the experience that Moses has in Moses 1:5-6, 11-15. Moses first communes with God. The whole experience is so glorious that Moses can’t behold God with his own eyes. After the experience, Satan appears to Moses. I’m going to assume that he appeared in a way that was similar to a Heavenly Being, but he had no glory. Moses could tell and was not deceived by Satan.

I think that we can become a house of glory by seeking God’s true glory – through virtue and righteousness. So often, the world makes things appear good. Immodesty and sexuality seem to be especially attractive in our world. Yet they lack glory. To be a house of glory, we need to learn to discern between God’s glory and Satan’s counterfeit. Although similar, once we have experienced God’s glory, then Satan’s counterfeit pales in comparison.

We can become “houses of Glory” by being righteous and virtuous – even in a world that doesn’t appreciate such characteristics.

House of God

This is my favorite thing! Of course, we know that the temple is a house of God. Yet, Paul teaches us that we, too are temples! We are children of God! By our very divine nature we are related to Him.

We can become a house of God when we are baptized (and take on Christ’s name) and when we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. When we make and observe this covenant, we then have three parts of the Godhead in play in our lives all the time. We are 1) Spiritual Children of God. 2) Children of Christ through His atonement. 3) Constant companions with the Holy Ghost.

When we live worthy of our baptismal covenant, then we can truly be a house of God.

***
We have been told to stand in holy places and be not moved, yet our daily lives require us to participate in places that may not really be “holy”. The Lord doesn’t expect us to be hermits. He doesn’t expect us to scurry from our homes to temples to churches. We can and should participate in normal activities – like going to school, the store, museums, restaurants, and our jobs. We may not have control of how holy these places are, but we can stand in holy places without being moved by being holy ourselves. As we apply the list found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:119, we can be holy and enjoy the blessings of residing in a Holy Place.

***

How do you keep yourself holy? Which of these elements of a holy place strike you? How have you learned to apply it in your life?

The Mission of Jesus Christ – A List (Luke 4:18-19)

A good way to understand more about the Jesus Christ is to understand His mission, or purpose in coming to the earth. Long before Christ came to the earth, the Prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied of a Messiah who would come to the earth and dwell in the flesh.

A cool picture that has nothing to do with this post.

Of course, Christ, as Jehovah, gave these prophecies to the Old Testament Prophets. Christ, also raised in a faithful Jewish home, was taught the scriptures. Eventually, when He began His ministry, He announced Himself to the Jews by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2. As recorded in Luke, Christ reads:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:18-19

In these two verses we have a fun little List. We can mark and study it to learn more about Christ’s Mission.

List: Christ’s Mission

  1. Preach the Gospel to the Poor – As I read this point, I’m instantly reminded of the Beatitudes when Christ teaches: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3). I wonder if there is a connection here between the poor – as mentioned in the scripture in Luke and the poor in spirit who will inherit the kingdom of God. In the footnotes to Matthew 5:3, we learn that “Poor in Spirit” is an Idiomatic Expression that means “Poor in pride; or humble in Spirit.”.

    This makes a lot of sense. The Lord preaches the gospel to those who will allow themselves to be taught. If we are humble, then we can receive divine instruction from Christ.

    Oh – and I think that we should take this a step further: what is the gospel? It is the “good news of Christ”. It is the fact that He will help us to overcome the effects of the fall – both death and sin. We cannot truly learn the gospel if we aren’t willing to be humble. Humility is necessary – on our parts – in that we must admit that we natural men and women are weak and need a Savior.

  2. Heal the broken-hearted – at first glance, I thought that this meant that Chris will comfort us when we are feeling “broken-hearted” or sad. And that is true. Christ does comfort us. He heals us.

    Yet, upon further reflection, I was reminded of the sacrifice we have been commanded to give: “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” (3 Nephi 9:20). This makes me realize that I have a little bit of responsibility in being Healed by Christ, and that “broken-hearted” may be more of a heart condition we choose rather than suffer from. (or maybe a little bit of both, sometimes.)

    In any case, when we come to the Lord, with a broken heart, then He will heal us.

  3. Preach deliverance to the Captives – We are all captive. We are captives to the conditions of mortality, we are captive to the consequences of Sin. Christ can deliver us. He teaches us how to be delivered, by choosing to accept His atoning power.

    I suppose that this also means a little bit more, too (as usual). When I think of Christ Preaching Deliverance to the Captives, my mind recalls those spirits that the Lord visited when he was in the grave for three days. Through modern revelation, we learn:

    “While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;

    19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.” – Doctrine and Covenants 138:18-19

    Christ preached deliverance to those who were captive to death. This is a pretty dramatic example, but it is Christ’s ultimate purpose – to deliver us from death and hell. We can receive deliverance when we do as He has taught – have faith, repent, and be baptized. There is no other way.

  4. Recovering the Sight to the Blind – So, this has to be one of my favorite types of miracles that the Savior performs during His ministry on the earth. So often, we see accounts of Him helping the blind to see.

    So, I’ve thought about this. Over the years, I have developed a need for glasses. I have to wear them all the time. I need them. Then there are people like my husband. I realize that if he had been born in the Savior’s time, he would have been considered a “Blind” person. He has been wearing glasses since he was a young child. He can’t really see anything unless he is wearing his glasses. It is strange to think that Homey, the man who supports our family so well, he is so intelligent and disciplined, would have probably been a beggar, bound by his lack of good eyesight during the time of Christ.

    Of course this is also a spiritual teaching. Christ restores our spiritual sight. Just as words will disappear from a chalkboard when I remove my contact lenses, items that are spiritually discerned will disappear when we remove the Lens of the Spirit – that comes through Christ.

  5. Liberate the Bruised – So…I have to admit, this one seems a little strange to me – at first. I am wondering what, exactly, is meant by bruised? So…thinking back on the word bruised in the scriptures, I’m reminded of the cursing of Satan – after Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil:

    “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15

    Here we learn about two “bruisings”… – (1) The seed of the woman is bruised. (thou shalt bruise his heel). We are all “bruised” through the fall and death. Even Christ had to succumb to this reality (of course, he did it voluntarily). Christ was bruised – in the proverbial heel. And we are all “bruised” in that we must suffer death and the effects of the fall. Satan’s influence can be felt by us.

    But that’s not all. (2) Christ – with the very heel that was bruised, bruises (or CRUSHES) the head of the Serpent. Christ did crush death – through His resurrection. If we go to Christ, then the devil has no power over us – we are bruised, yet can be liberated…This is what Christ came here to do.

  6. Preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord – I have to admit, I’m still not sure what this means. I think that I will have to do some more searching. So far, it seems to be about Judgment – and Christ’s role in it. hmm….what do you think?

I hope you have enjoyed studying this list. I love learning more about the Savior. I find that studying everything about Him – His life, ministry, teachings, and mission – help me to understand more about my relationship with Him and the role the atonement has in my life. How does this list help you to understand more about the Savior? What point resonates with you? Why?

If you wish to learn more about Christ, then click here.

Also, you can check out more helpful scripture study tips in my free eBook.

Joy and Thanksgiving – List – Gratitude and Salvation

So, today we’re studying another list that can be found in the scriptures. I really like finding lists. In some ways, I think that I’m a list person, so seeing these lists in the scriptures really helps me know how I can apply the advice given into my own life.

So…before we get into the list, here’s what it’s all about:

“And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God,…” – Alma 34:37

Here, Amulek is advising that we work out our salvation with fear before God – based on our study this last week about happiness – we know that salvation is a really great thing. Salvation is eternal and endless happiness. So, if we want to inherit it, we need to work it out before God.

Amulek doesn’t just leave us hanging without any further explanation. What continues is a list that can help us to work out our salvation with the Lord. (starting in verse 37)

“…and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” – Alma 34:37-38

So – here is the list that he gives us…

  • No more denying of the coming of Christ
  • Contend no more against the Holy Ghost
  • Receive the Holy Ghost
  • Take upon the name of Christ
  • Humble yourselves
  • Worship God
  • Live in thanksgiving daily
  • Be watchful unto prayer continually (see verse 39)
  • Have patience (see verse 40)

You can take time to study each of these points- because they are really great, but I want to really think about the overall attitude of gratitude.

We can see in the list that Amulek has included to “live in thanksgiving daily.” But I think that gratitude is a general attitude – a way of being – that really can fit into, and help us accomplish, every single bullet point listed here.

For example, if we are living with a grateful heart, then will we deny Christ? Think about denying Christ…Even Peter denied Christ. I don’t say this to slam Peter. I say this because I think that we all deny Christ at some level – even when we’ve covenanted with The Savior.

So – how do we refrain from denying Christ? Perhaps an attitude of gratitude helps. When we remember Christ, when we remember that He was born, a small babe in Bethlehem and placed in a manger…

When we remember that he taught the people...

...when we remember that He called His apostles and organized the Church...

...when we remember how Christ healed the people...

...when we remember how He, the Messiah, loved and served others...

...when we remember that He suffered for our sins and infirmities...

...when we remember that He died for us...

...and when we remember that three days after his death, He was resurrected...

When we remember Christ, then we are filled with a sense of His love, and we feel gratitude for Him. It is hard to even think about Christ’s life and love for us without feeling humbled, and grateful.

So…gratitude can help us – to refrain from denying Christ.

Let’s look at that list again:
Working our Salvation before the Lord with gratitude

  • No more denying of the Christ – gratitude for Christ shows our willingness to accept Him and the Love Him.
  • Contend no more against the Holy Ghost – Gratitude helps us to be more agreeable with the Holy Ghost and the promptings He gives.
  • Receive the Holy Ghost – I’m not sure if we could receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost with an ungrateful heart.
  • Take upon the name of Christ – When we are grateful for the Savior and His willingness to atone for our sins, we are led to the waters of baptism – there to covenant with Him and take on His name. Gratitude for the Savior and all the blessings we enjoy will also help us to ensure that we bear His name honorably once we have taken it on ourselves.
  • Humble Yourselves – Gratitude is essential in humbling ourselves. I’m not sure that you can be humble and ungrateful.
  • Worship God – That’s the thing that I think I’m learning about gratitude. I think that gratitude is a form of worship. When Christ healed the ten lepers, only one gave thanks, and he did more than just say thank you. He fell down at the Savior’s feet and glorified Him. We need to have a grateful heart when worshipping God, and I think that gratitude helps us to worship the Lord more purely and genuinely.
  • Live in Thanksgiving Daily. – Gratitude helps us to live in thanksgiving daily because we are already grateful. If we are truly grateful, then we’re going to express our thanks.
  • Be watchful unto prayer continually – An attitude of gratitude will help us to remember to pray always.
  • Have Patience – Gratitude helps us to turn our heart to the Lord, even in times of trial. The Lord can then bless us with the patience we need to overcome the difficulties of the world.

So – with gratitude, we can accomplish what Amulek has taught us to do. I feel like as I begin to understand the Savior more, why I need, Him, His love for me, my gratitude for Him grows. The trick, too, is really remembering this all the time. I have a tendency to get a little bit self-centered and even “spoiled”. Gratitude can help us to do get closer to the Savior and His spirit. When we are close to the Savior, and have His Spirit, we are closer to His happiness and peace.

***
For Tomorrow’s Assignment, please click here.

Scripture Study Tips: Lists

One fun thing to notice while studying the scriptures is lists. Here is an example:

“And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are 1 desirous to come into the fold of God, and 2 to be called his people, and are 3 willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are 4 willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and 5 comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and 6 to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be A redeemed of God, and B be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may C have eternal life—

Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against 7 being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will 8 serve him and 9 keep his commandments, that D he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you? – Mosiah 18:8 – 10.

In this scripture block, we find 2 handy lists concerning the baptismal covenant:

What we Promise to the Lord
1 We desire to come into the fold of God.
2 We desire to be called His people.
3 We will bear one another’s burdens.
4 We will mourn with those that mourn.
5 We will comfort those that stand in need of comfort.
6 We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
7 We will be baptized in the name of the Lord – as a witness that we’ve entered into this covenant with Him.
8 We will serve God.
9 We will Keep His commandments.

Look at how much we’re learning by identifying this list!

What the Lord Promises to Us
A We will be redeemed.
B We will be included in the first resurrection.
C We may have eternal life.
D We will have His Spirit poured out abundantly upon us.

I like to write the numbers directly into my scriptures – as I have done in the blog. Then, in the margin, I’ll write a note:

“Our Baptismal Covenant –
1-9- What we promise the Lord.
A-D – What the Lord Promises Us.”

The promises listed in this scripture are so important. Recall the context in which it was given: Alma (the Elder) was preaching the gospel and exhorting those who believed to be baptized. Knowing and identifying this specific list in the scriptures helps us to remember the covenant we’ve made with our Father in Heaven. It helps us to better keep our covenant. I was baptized when I was eight. I do not remember all of the details, but thanks to scriptures like this one in Mosiah, I am able to always remember the covenant I made with my father. I know what He expects of me. And I know how He will bless me if I keep my covenant.

There are many lists in the scriptures. I hope you have fun discovering them.

Oh…Do you have any lists that are you favorite? Please share!

  • "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:42.
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