Saturday, March 2, 2019

President John Taylor on trusting God and growing as families

President John Taylor (1808–1887) was born in England and immigrated to Canada where he and his wife were converted after hearing Parley P. Pratt preach.  He was ordained an apostle in 1838, and became the third president of the Church in 1880, serving until his death in 1887 at age 78.
"We have got to put our trust in God, let the consequences be as they may. And as long as we do this, and as long as we keep the holy covenants we have entered into with him and with one another, Zion will triumph; and the wicked will waste away until there will be no place found for them; and the man or the nation that lifts up his hand against Zion will wither before Almighty God. I will prophecy that in the name of Jesus Christ, and I will meet the consequences of what I say.
"But I will tell you what we have to do, my brethren and sisters, we must fear God in our hearts; we must lay aside our covetousness and our waywardness, our self-will and foolishness of every kind.… We must humble ourselves before the Lord, repenting of our sins, and henceforth preserve our bodies and spirits pure, that we may be fit receptacles for the Spirit of the living God, and be guided by him in all our labors both for the living and the dead. Our desires must be for God and his righteousness, until we shall exclaim with one of old: O God, search me, and try me, and if there be any way of wickedness in me, bid it depart [see Psalm 139:23–24]. It is for us, as fathers and mothers, to go before the Lord in all humility and call upon him that his peace may be in our hearts; and wherein we may have done wrong, confess that wrong and repair it as far as we possibly can; and in this way let every man and woman in Israel begin to set their houses in order, and forever cultivate the spirit of peace, the spirit of union and love.
"And if the families of Israel do this throughout all the land of Zion, all fearing God and working righteousness, cherishing the spirit of humility and meekness, and putting our trust in him, there is no power in existence that can injure us; for God will stand by and sustain his people, and he will deliver them out of the hands of their enemies."
- John Taylor, discourse at Grantsville, Sunday evening, 10/29/1882; see JD 23:337
Click here to read the full talk

Learning to "trust in God" is one of the keys to peace and happiness in this life. President Taylor begins this excerpt with a testimony and a prophecy, that as we keep our covenants with God and with each other, Zion will be blessed and protected from wicked influence. We need that blessing more than ever!

The key for us is to learn to repent, obey, and purify our hearts. The passage President Taylor quotes from the Psalms is so beautiful:
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24)
Those words express the humility we need to strive to be pure and holy in His sight, so that we might be worthy of His help and blessings. Then, we can lead our families in that path:

Then President Taylor promises that as families do that, collectively, "all fearing God and working righteousness, cherishing the spirit of humility and meekness, and putting our trust in him," we will feel God's power together and be protected from our enemies in divine ways. What a blessing, and how much we need it today, in a time when our enemies are so much more subtle and insidious than in the past!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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