Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lesson Eight -- Overcoming the Walls of our Minds.

“The purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to bring about love, unity, and brotherhood of the highest order,” he said.

        When you think about church on Sunday, what do you expect out of your meetings?

In the message of the gospel, the entire human race is one family descended from a single God. All men and women have not only a physical lineage leading back to Adam and Eve, their first earthly parents, but also a spiritual heritage leading back to God the Eternal Father. Thus, all persons on earth are literally brothers and sisters in the family of God.

          How often do you feel like you are with family at church?  How often do you feel like you are with family with other people?

This is a message of life and love that strikes squarely against all stifling traditions based on race, language, economic or political standing, educational rank, or cultural background, for we are all of the same spiritual descent. We have a divine pedigree; every person is a spiritual child of God.

          What does that mean?
          Does that change anything about how you feel you should deal with other people?

In this gospel view there is no room for a contracted, narrow, or prejudicial view. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race”

          What does that make you think?
          When you hear of earthquakes or storms or tragedy or war, what does this mean we should think or do?

“Based upon ancient and modern revelation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly teaches and declares the Christian doctrine that all men and women are brothers and sisters, not only by blood relationship from common mortal progenitors but also as literal spirit children of an Eternal Father”

As members of the Lord’s church, we need to lift our vision beyond personal prejudices. We need to discover the supreme truth that indeed our Father is no respecter of persons. Sometimes we unduly offend brothers and sisters of other nations by assigning exclusiveness to one nationality of people over another. …

          Is it hard to not think of ourselves as better and more special than anyone else?
          What can we do to be free from that mindset?

Do you imagine our Heavenly Father loving one nationality of his offspring more exclusively than others? As members of the Church, we need to be reminded of Nephi’s challenging question: “Know ye not that there are more nations than one?”

          How do we bring ourselves to think this way?

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we seek to bring all truth together. We seek to enlarge the circle of love and understanding among all the people of the earth. Thus we strive to establish peace and happiness, not only within Christianity but among all mankind. …

Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of [others].

          How does the message of the gospel relate to the Atonement?
          How does the Atonement teach us to have the love of Christ that extends to all others?

“As ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and 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 redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life” (Mosiah 18:8–9).
          Did you think of being baptized this way?
          What about when you were ordained?
          Can you think of others in this ward who you feel would morn with you?
          Can you think of others you would morn with?  That you have comforted?
          What else can you do for others?

May the Lord bless us that the walls of our minds may not obstruct us from the blessings that can be ours.

          This is the core of this lesson.
          That God can overcome the walls of our minds so that we can share the love of Christ with others.
          What walls prevent you from helping others?

          Group Discussion:

          What barriers do you see to your being able to help others?

          What ways do you think you can overcome those?

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