Chapter 9 – Chastity
Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
Chapter 12 – Rebellion
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
Chapter 15 – The Sabbath
Chapter 16 – PornographyChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_15.htmlChapter_16.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5shapeimage_2_link_6shapeimage_2_link_7shapeimage_2_link_8shapeimage_2_link_9
Chapter 17 – The Media 
Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
Chapter 19 – Responsibility
Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – Consecration
PDF VersionChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.html
Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models
Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
Chapter 6 – Bullying
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_6.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2shapeimage_4_link_3shapeimage_4_link_4shapeimage_4_link_5shapeimage_4_link_6shapeimage_4_link_7shapeimage_4_link_8shapeimage_4_link_9

The Temptation to Officiate in Sacred Ordinances When You Aren’t Worthy

He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man;

he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck;

he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood;

he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol.

     Yea, they have chosen their own ways,

     and their soul delighteth in their abominations.   

(Isaiah 66:3)

     The Levites were the ones who killed the sacrificial animals, prepared them for the altar, offered them on the altar, and burned incense, yet Isaiah says they were committing terrible sins when they were just doing their duty.  Why would that be?  The last two lines of the verse give the reason - “they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.”  They liked doing wicked things more than being worthy.  When the priests were unworthy to do their duties, if they did them anyway the Lord took it as if they were committing murder (“as if he slew a man”), cruelty to animals (“as if he cut off a dog’s neck”), sacrilege (“as if he offered swine’s blood”), and idolatry (“as if he blessed an idol”).  This shows us just how anxious the Lord is to have worthy men administering the ordinances of the gospel, and how much of a dereliction of duty He believes it is when priesthood holders fall short of that standard.

     You young men prepare bread and water for the sacrament, bless it, and administer it to your ward or branch.  These duties are the modern equivalent of the duties of ancient Levitical priests.  This service is only acceptable to God if you are worthy.  If you aren’t, Isaiah would probably say that setting bread in the sacrament trays would be like setting a hunting trap out for somebody to walk into, filling cups with water would be like filling someone’s cup with poison, tearing the bread into pieces would be like murderously tearing Christ’s body limb from limb, blessing the sacrament would be like cursing it instead.  It would be rank, stinky hypocrisy.

     You think it would be embarrassing to decline doing your duties on the grounds of not feeling worthy?  Something tells me that would be nothing compared to the embarrassment you’d feel at the day of judgment when Christ asks you “Why did you defile your priesthood by doing your duties after having committed X, Y, and Z?  Your hands were not clean and your heart was not pure before me.”  Yikes!

     Ammon is a great example of someone in the scriptures who declined to administer ordinances because he didn’t feel worthy.  No, not the missionary Ammon, the Ammon who found Limhi’s people.  “And it came to pass that king Limhi and many of his people were desirous to be baptized; but there was none in the land that had authority from God.  And Ammon declined doing this thing, considering himself an unworthy servant”  (Mosiah 21: 33).  From what we can infer from this scripture, Ammon was the only one around who had any authority to baptize, but he didn’t feel spiritually ready and worthy.  He didn’t bow to the pressure of an ordinance-hungry crowd.  So everybody waited longer to be baptized, and there was nothing wrong with that.

     The following are the kind of priesthood holders the Lord wants:

. . .but to this man will I look,

     even to him that is poor

     and of a contrite spirit,

     and trembleth at my word. 

(Isaiah 66:2)

The Temptation to Participate in Sacred Ordinances When You Aren’t Worthy

The Temptation to Go to The Temple When You Aren’t Worthy

13 Bring no more vain oblations;

incense is an abomination unto me;

the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with;

it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth:

they are a trouble unto me;

I am weary to bear them.

15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you:

yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear:

your hands are full of blood.

(Isaiah 1:13-15)

     The whole point of taking the sacrament and going to the temple is to please the Lord, not to look righteous.  If unworthily participating in ordinances makes the Lord mad at us instead of happy with us, there really is no point in doing them until we’ve repented.

Wash you,

make you clean;

put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;

cease to evil;

(Isaiah 1:16)

     Why is it a temptation to take the sacrament or go to the temple at times when we know we are not worthy?  It is because we think others around us expect us to participate and we don’t want to disappoint them or be embarrassed.  We feel forced by those expectations.  Here’s what Isaiah has to say about this:

When ye come to appear before me,

who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

(Isaiah 1:12)

     Isaiah is asking us “Who is forcing you to do this?  Who is forcing you to go to the temple?”  And who is forcing you to take the sacrament?  Nobody is forcing you.  You make your own choice to do these things.  If you say you are not ready to take the sacrament, no one is going to hold you down and make you eat it.  If you say you are not ready to go to the temple, no one is going to fill out a recommend for you anyway and kidnap you and drag you kicking and screaming inside the temple.

     You may still be wondering, “But what will people think of me?”  If you are, STOP IT!!  In something this important it doesn’t matter what people think of you!  What matters is what God thinks of you, and His opinion of you has to become the most important thing in your life. 

The Temptation to Try to Fit In with the Rest of the World

3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face;

     that sacrificeth in gardens,

     and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

4                     Which remain among the graves,

          and lodge in the monuments,

               which eat swine’s flesh,

               and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5                                             Which say, Stand by thyself,

                    come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.

These are a smoke in my nose,

a fire that burneth all the day.     

(Isaiah 65:3-5)

     All these things Isaiah listed were things Israel was doing to try and fit in with other nations, even though what they were doing was wrong according to the Law of Moses.  But not only was Israel doing the wrong things that everyone else was doing, Israel had a “I-am-holier-than-thou” attitude!  The Lord thinks that particularly stinks.  (“these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day”)

     The lesson we can learn from this scripture is that we can’t be like the world and still be holy.  Just like Israel wasn’t supposed to worship idols revered by other nations, we must refrain from worshipping things the world worships, like fame, fortune, and power, excitement, etc.  Just like Israel wasn’t supposed to go to places other nations thought were cool (graveyards, can you believe it?), we must stay away from places the world thinks are cool, like bars, casinos, certain parties, certain kinds of internet sites, and so on.  If we’re going to be pure, we can’t watch the same movies, listen to the same music, read the same magazines, or look at the same pictures that the world loves to look at.  We can’t eat and drink the abominable things that the rest of the world eats and drinks.  We can’t wear a lot of what the world wears.  We have to be really different.  The more different we are, the more of a difference we can make in the world.1

     First we have to realize that when we hear other people gabbing about their worldly things, we are NOT missing anything.  Secondly, we have to create our own “Zion-Cool” that we can share with others.  Zion-Cool is anything that is virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.  For instance, studying Isaiah is definitely Zion-Cool.  Being a scriptorian is so Zion-Cool.  All the movies that have come out about Mormon culture recently are Zion-Cool.  Seminary is definitely Zion-Cool.  So is institute.  If you want to go to colleges that are Zion-Cool, I don’t know many that are better than Brigham Young University, BYU Idaho, and BYU Hawaii.  Having a testimony is Zion-Cool.  So is sharing faith-promoting experiences from your own life.  Modest clothes are Zion-Cool.  So is going on a mission.  I think you’re starting to get the point.

The Temptation to Surround Yourself with Things that Make You Look Righteous While Not Actually Being Righteous.

18 To whom then will ye liken God?

Or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

19       The workman melteth a graven image,

     and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold,

     and casteth silver chains.

20                  He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation

     chooseth a tree that will not rot;

     he seeketh unto him a cunning workman

     to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

(Isaiah 40:18-20)

     He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. - This person Isaiah describes didn’t want to worship God with offerings and oblations and good works, but he wanted to buy a graven image to set up, so that it looked like he was religious. 

     We do the very same thing today if we are willing to buy CTR rings but think that choosing the right costs too much effort.  Same thing if we put up pictures of Jesus but aren’t willing to pay the price to be like him, or display pictures of the temple but don’t try to keep ourselves worthy to go, or don’t spend the time to go as often as we can.  In effect it means we are worshipping the image of goodness as an idol.

     This kind of idolatry smacks of hypocrisy and it can spill over into other areas of life if we’re not careful.  It can lead to respecting the trappings of authority more than authority itself.  (Like if we want our dad to be bishop just so we can say our dad is the bishop.  Or when we want a calling so that we can say we have it.)  It can lead to cheating to have grades that make us seem like good students.  It can lead to debt to try to look successful and wealthy.  It can lead to neglecting the less visible and more important parts of our responsibilities to get the world’s approval when we become parents ourselves.  (“Should I teach my kids an FHE lesson in honesty, or should I make them fancy Halloween costumes?”  “Should I let my teenager do whatever they want in order to keep the peace, or should I keep them out of danger, discipline them for bad behavior, and be hated for a few years?”)

     That verse of Isaiah is very valuable; it helps us resist both idolatry and hypocrisy by teaching us to make real offerings instead of making a show.

The Temptation to Not Trust the Lord

Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city,

but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel,

     who is the Lord of Hosts;

     yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name. 

(1 Nephi 20:2, compare to Isaiah 48:2)

     Isaiah thinks it is really hypocritical to say you are part of Zion, and then not trust in the Lord—“stay yourself upon the Lord”—like Zion is supposed to do.  Why would we not trust the Lord?  I suspect that we think that He won’t keep His promises.  Or we think He doesn’t care about measly little us.  Or maybe we get impatient with the Lord when blessings don’t come to us as fast as we think they should. 

     The main thing to remember in learning to trust the Lord is that God does not lie.  One of the reasons Ether was such a spiritual giant was that he knew this.  “And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?  And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie”  (Ether 3:11-12).  Ether trusted God would only say the truth, and so he knew that if God said, “If you do this for me, then I will do that for you” God would always keep his end of it.

     Trusting the Lord is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute we have been told will open all by itself when we need it, and not having any control over when the parachute will open. 

     Many things the Lord tells us to do require a leap of faith.  It’s really a leap of faith to pay tithing when you need the money for something else.  It’s a major leap of faith to be chaste, to go on a mission, to dress modestly when everyone else isn’t and seems to be getting all kinds of attention.  It’s a leap of faith to stand up for what you believe in.  It’s like we’re parachutists jumping out of an airplane.

     The Lord promises us that He will help us when we need it.  We have no control over how fast or slow He helps us, or the way that He helps.  All we know is that He will help us in a way that is best for us.  It’s like we’re parachutists who don’t have control over when our parachute will open.  All we know is that it will open when we need it.

     However, the Lord doesn’t want to scare us.  He wants to build our faith.  In order to do this, as we are just beginning to trust Him and take leaps of faith, He will “open our parachute” very quickly.  Each experience we have leaping in faith and then having the Lord “open our parachute” increases our confidence that He will always do it.  Then the Lord begins to test us by “opening our parachute” a little later.  He tests our endurance, and He tests whether we will get scared and stop making leaps of faith. 

     Our goal is to become so trusting of the Lord that when He tells us to jump, we jump and retain total confidence even when we have to wait for months or even years for Him to “open our parachute”.  He won’t let us go splat.  Alma put it this way, “I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day. . . .I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me”  (Alma 36:3,27).

     Let me tell you about a leap of faith I made while trusting the Lord.  There was one summer when the only job I could find was a part-time job as a telemarketer.  I had to earn money for the next year of college, and when I thought about how little I was earning, it nearly made me frantic.  I decided that I needed to do something very brave to demonstrate my faith to the Lord in such a way that He’d have to pour out a blessing on poor, little me.  Since I knew how much money I needed for school, I decided to assume that the Lord would bless me with the amount I needed and just pay everything I earned as tithing ahead of time.  So every single paycheck I got for a while I paid as tithing.  It was very difficult; I was making so little money as it was.  Sometimes I just couldn’t help crying as I filled out my tithing slip.  When I had paid it all, I felt peace; I knew the Lord was bound to bless me, and I knew I didn’t have to worry any more.  About a week after that, I got laid off from my telemarketing job.  That didn’t faze me; I had paid my tithing and the Lord was bound to bless me.  I sensed that the Lord had a better job for me.  (I had hated telemarketing anyway!)  I kept looking for jobs, and miraculously, one popped up!  It involved counting dead mosquitoes for a mosquito control company and traveling around my town to inspect sites of standing water for mosquito larva.  That summer turned out to be one of the wettest, hottest, and buggiest summers my hometown had seen in a long time.  I had my hands full counting dead mosquitoes and inspecting all the standing water sites, and I put in a lot of overtime.  By the time the summer ended, I had nearly earned the sum I needed for school.  I wasn’t worried by the shortfall, since the Lord was bound to bless me.  So I went out to college and the Lord steered me toward a good job on campus by which I earned the rest of the money I needed.  (And it just so happened that I met my future husband at that campus job, so I was marvelously blessed in more ways than one.)

     The lesson I learned from this experience is that if we do everything we can do to demonstrate that we trust His promises, we can expect Him to bless us in miraculous ways.  We can expect miracles.  We can bind Him to bless us, and He will, because it’s the law.

The Temptation to Think that You Don’t Need a Testimony

When the boughs thereof are withered,

they shall be broken off:

the women come, and set them on fire:

     for it is a people of no understanding:

therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them,

and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

(Isaiah 27:11)

     The cause and effect are mixed around in this verse, so we’re going to have to look at it a little out of order.

     [F]or it is a people of no understanding - What is this “understanding” that Isaiah wanted Israel to have?  This “understanding” was Isaiah’s name for a testimony.  We understand principles the gospel best when we have lived them.  Then we can bear our testimonies and we say know that a principle of the gospel is true.  So when Isaiah was saying, “it is a people of no understanding”, he was saying “it is a people without testimonies”.

     When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire - Isaiah uses the idea of a tree branch to symbolize us and our testimony.  A tree branch must receive constant nourishment to keep growing.  In the same way, our testimony needs constant nourishment to keep growing.  If the tree branch receives less than it needs, it starts to die back.  If it stops receiving any nourishment it slowly withers away, dies, and breaks off.  In the same way, if our testimony is not growing all the time, it is decreasing, because it cannot remain stagnant at the same level unused.  A shrinking testimony is a withering testimony.  It withers like the branch of a tree would wither if it doesn’t receive nourishment from the roots.  If our testimony continues to decrease, after a while it dies.  If it dies, we will apostatize and separate ourselves from the church, just like a dead branch of a tree will eventually break off.

     Now, here’s a scary question.  What good are dead branches that are broken off?  What do we do with them?  Make mulch?  Nah, Isaiah didn’t have a mulcher.  Back in Isaiah’s day about the only thing you could do with dead branches was start fires with ‘em. “the women come, and set them on fire” is how Isaiah says that just as dead, broken branches aren’t good for much except being used for starting fires and being burned, people who have lost their testimonies aren’t good for much except starting wars and getting destroyed.

     [T]herefore he that made them will not have mercy on them - If you don’t have a testimony of the Atonement, then you don’t use it to repent of your sins.  If you don’t repent of your sins, the Lord will not be merciful to you and forgive you. 

     [A]nd he that formed them will shew them no favour - You can’t get a testimony of the commandments if you don’t keep them, and if you don’t keep them, then the Lord can’t bless you.  Blessings aren’t just a natural result of keeping the commandments; they are also how the Lord shows his favor.  “Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God.”  (1 Nephi 17:35)  Yes, the Lord has favorites.  Do you want to be one of them?  I do.

     So why would it be hypocritical to not have a testimony?  If you’ve been baptized, you’ve actually covenanted with God that you would be ready to bear your testimony anytime, anywhere, to anyone.  If you don’t have a testimony, you can’t keep that covenant to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places even unto death.

     If you don’t have a testimony, it is time for you to start building one.  Start by keeping the commandments.  Tests will come and if you still keep the commandments even though it’s difficult, after the test is over you will have a testimony of those commandments. 

The Temptation to Get Tired of Keeping the Commandments

22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob;

but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.

23      Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings;

     neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. 

          I have not caused thee to serve with an offering,

          nor wearied thee with incense.

24       Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money,

     neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices:

but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins,

thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

(Isaiah 43:22-24)

     Now, there are some things about weariness that are worth noticing in these verses.  The Lord is the speaker here, and He reveals three startling truths, which no one but the Lord could know.  There’s “thou hast been weary of me”, “I have not. . .wearied thee”, and “thou hast wearied me”.

     [T]hou hast been weary of me - God says, “You  (Israel) feel weary and you think I am the cause.”  The Lord knows our feelings.  He also knows what we think the cause of those feelings is.  Psychologists would kill for this kind of perceptive ability.     

     I have not. . .wearied thee - God says, “I have not tired you out, contrary to what you think.”  The Lord knows the real cause of our feelings.  (He knows us better than we know ourselves.)  Yet another perceptive ability psychologists would kill to obtain.

     [T]hou hast wearied me - God says, “You are the ones tiring me out by adding sins to the burden of sins for which I must atone.”

     There’s an undercurrent to this issue of weariness that Isaiah never mentions.   You’ve seen it if the following question has come to your mind while reading the last paragraph: “What is causing the weariness then, if it isn’t the Lord?”  You could say it is the natural man or woman.  The natural man is an enemy to God, always has been, always will be, which means everything God values, the natural man finds dumb, annoying, tiresome, and a waste of time.  If you find yourself feeling this way, you’ll know you need to put off the natural man.

     In my late teenage years, I began to notice a pattern in my spiritual life.  I noticed that every single time I started to think, “I’m tired of working so hard to be good.  I’m tired of trying.  I think I will relax.” then I would falter in my progress.  One day during a Sunday school lesson, I ran across this scripture: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing”  (D&C 64:33).  It hit me like an anvil dropped from on high that if the Lord could command to not be weary in well-doing, then obeying that commandment was possible simply by adjusting my attitude.  If I could control my attitude, as this scripture suggested I could, then it was possible to make myself tireless in well-doing, a regular Energizer Bunny in well-doing!  I suspected that I would enjoy myself and have more fun if I operated on the assumption that it was easy to do good, instead of thinking it was hard to do good.  I also decided to become enthusiastic and eager to do good.  That was a turning point in my life, and I testify that my life has been so much more fun and meaningful and enjoyable, especially in my church service, as I’ve looked at living the gospel as an easy thing to do.  I found that it was easy to be good.  It was easy to fulfill my callings.  Here’s Isaiah’s version of “be not weary in well-doing”:

Awake, awake;

put on thy strength, O Zion;

put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city;

for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

(Isaiah 52:1)

   [P]ut on thy strength, O Zion - This line confirms that spiritual strength is an attitude that you can voluntarily put on just like you put on your clothes.  The more you practice, the better you get at it, until it is a cinch.. and even fun.  It’s God’s grace that makes it possible.

     You may be thinking, “But I don’t want to be that good.”  Or you may be thinking, “I don’t want to be some Peter Priesthood or Molly Mormon”.  We’re talking about more than a Peter Priesthood or Molly Mormon.  We’re talking about becoming a Stripling Warrior, distinguished by your zeal.

     I made a study of the stripling warriors and I want to list for you their characteristics. 

     “they became now at this period of time also a great support” (Alma 53:19) Anyone who is in favor of truth and makes that known, anyone who is willing to do what is right becomes a support and one who can be depended on, and the more we are willing to do to help the church the more of a support we become.

     “they were men of truth and soberness” (Alma 53:21)  They loved the truth and they were serious about the things that were sacred.  We are the same way when we are serious about keeping our bodies sacred and treating with respect all the sacred things we have learned.

     “they would that Helaman should be their leader” (Alma 53:19)  Since they were men of truth and soberness, they wanted a leader who was also a man of truth and soberness, so they chose the best man they could find—a prophet of God.  We are like the stripling warriors when we choose a prophet to be the one we will follow.

     “they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives” (Alma 56: 47)  They didn’t just want liberty for themselves, they wanted liberty for their fathers and families.  We are like them when we want liberty for others more than we care for our own lives.

     “they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage” (Alma 53:17)  They actually made a promise to God that they would fight to protect not just themselves, but also others from captivity. 

     “we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus” (Alma 56:46)  They were even protective of other armies.  They would not allow someone else to be ganged up on.  We are like them when we defend others from verbal or moral or physical attack.

     “they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity”  (Alma 53:20)  Not only were they brave and strong, but they were extremely active.  They were up and always doing something good, more than anyone else.  These were hard workers.

     “never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites”  (Alma 56:45)  My dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” and it says that courage “implies strength in overcoming fear and in persisting against odds or difficulties”.  If the stripling warriors felt fear they overcame it with their faith in Christ,  so they were willing to try anything good, and they would persevere through difficulty and resist evil.  Their faith in Christ gave them greater courage then any of the Nephites.  We can be like them if we try new things and tackle projects, trusting that Christ wants us to do and succeed at anything that is righteous and He will help us.

     “they never had fought, yet they did not fear death” (Alma 56:47)  They knew that if they died, they were saved in the kingdom of God and if they didn’t die, they were saved to live another day and continue to do good.  We can be like them if we remember that the gospel of Christ saves us whether we die or live.  If we are pure we are prepared for either event.

     “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47)  Such an empowering doctrine!

     “they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers” (Alma 56:48)  Not only did they remember the doctrine in the words of their mothers, they rehearsed them to each other and their leaders so that all could be strengthened.  They were unashamed of having been taught by their mothers and they were not ashamed of what they had been taught and they were willing to share it with others when times were difficult.  We are the same way if we share the good things we have been taught by our parents with others who are going through the same difficulties.

     “We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 48)  The stripling warriors also bore testimony to the testimonies of their mothers.  They were willing to take the word of  their mothers and even stake their lives on it.  We are the same way when we can take the word of our parents and leaders about what they know is dangerous or what they know is safe. 

     “they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power” (Alma 56:56)  Because of their covenant with God to protect liberty, their efforts to fight for it were attended by God’s special power.  We can enjoy the same kind of miraculous strength and power from God when we fight hard against temptation to keep our baptismal covenants.

     “as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted” (Alma 57:20)  Having covenanted to fight for liberty in all cases, retreat was unthinkable and they stood firm.  We are the same way when we are firm and undaunted at upholding our standards, even when others feel like giving up.

     “they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (Alma 53:20)  They didn’t have to be nagged to do something; they were dependable and did whatever good thing they were asked to do.  We are the same way if people can ask us to do things and know that that they don’t have to worry about it any more.

     “they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them” (Alma 57:20)  They made sure they understood what it was they had to do and then they did an excellent job at it and if they didn’t get it right the first time, they worked until they got it how it should be.  We are the same way when we do our best job all the time so that it is what people want done.

     “their minds are firm”  (Alma 57:27)  No feeble minds here.  They were educated, careful thinkers and once they got the right idea in their mind, they would hold onto it and never let it go.

     “they do put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:27)  They knew that if they kept the commandments they would be prospered in the land, so they constantly trusted God would pour out blessings.

     “they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually” (Alma 58:40)  They did what they could to bring the blessings of God to their endeavors.

     “and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come” (Alma 58:40)  They believed in the coming of Christ.

     “they have received many wounds; nevertheless they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day” (Alma 58:40)  Even when their valiant efforts resulted in painful wounds, they still did what they could to keep the commandments.  Our life is the same way in that we will endure many hurtful wounds from enemies of truth and sometimes even from our friends when we are trying to do what is right, but we will be like the stripling warriors if we continue to remember and trust the Lord even when we are spiritually wounded.

     “And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”  (Alma 57:25)

     To me, this is the greatest example.  The stripling warriors were so determined to fight for freedom, that even when they were wounded, they continued to fight on.  Other soldiers might get a wound and decide they were done fighting, but not these warriors.  They fought on and on until their bodies simply could not take it any more and they collapsed.  By the end of the battle, all of them had many wounds, not just one wound, and yet they still fought determinedly. 

     We are like them when we refuse to give up the battle for truth and decency even when our feelings have been hurt.  Some people, when they have been insulted, will immediately withdraw to lick their wounds, but when we continue to uphold good standards, even with multiple insults and putdowns, we are like the stripling warriors.

     This probably sounds like a lot of work to you.  It may seem pretty close to impossible, but the next line of Isaiah gives some hope.

     [P]ut on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city - Every bit of spiritual strength that the stripling warriors had is like one article of clothing in an outfit you put on.  Just like you can’t put all your clothes on at the same time, every aspect of spiritual strength can’t be put on at the same time.  You must put each one on, one by one.

     Not only that, but each aspect of spiritual strength is beautiful.  Pick something to start with and work on it until it becomes second nature.  Then pick something new to work on and add that to the strength you’ve already got.  The more you put on, the more beautiful and amazing you become.

     I know by experience that it is possible to put on spiritual strength.  I am diligently working on becoming a Stripling Warrior.  Over a period of years I’ve been able to acquire a few of those characteristics.  I still have tons of spiritual strengths that I want to acquire.   You can do this too.  And not only is it possible, but it is a commandment given to us from the Lord, through Isaiah.  When we have put on every single spiritual strength that exists, we will realize that we have put on perfection and the beauty we have obtained is bright like the sun.

     Let’s review.  We’ve learned from Isaiah that the Lord will not tolerate hypocrisy, a few forms of which are the following:

  1. 1)Participating in sacred ordinances unworthily

  2. 2)Officiating in sacred ordinances unworthily

  3. 3)Attending the temple when we’re unworthy

  4. 4)Trying to fit in with the world while saying we are holier than anyone else

5) Having religious things around us to make us look religious without actually being holy.

  1. 6)Not trusting in the Lord

  2. 7)Getting tired of keeping the commandments

  3. 8)Thinking that we don’t need a testimony

What should we do instead?

  1. 1)Repent of all our sins before participating or officiating in sacred ordinances.

  2. 2)Delight in that which is good.

  3. 3)Be different from the world.

  4. 4)Trust the Lord will keep His promises and act on that trust.

  5. 5)Work to build up our testimonies.

  6. 6)Not get tired of doing good.

  7. 7)Put on beautiful spiritual strengths one by one like a garment and never take them off.


1“Why Symbols?,” Ensign , Feb 2007, 12–17.

Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
 Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models 
 Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting 
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
 Chapter 6 – Bullying 
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_6.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2shapeimage_6_link_3shapeimage_6_link_4shapeimage_6_link_5shapeimage_6_link_6shapeimage_6_link_7shapeimage_6_link_8shapeimage_6_link_9
 Chapter 9 – Chastity
 Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
 Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
  Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
 Chapter 15 – The SabbathChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_15.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0shapeimage_7_link_1shapeimage_7_link_2shapeimage_7_link_3shapeimage_7_link_4shapeimage_7_link_5shapeimage_7_link_6shapeimage_7_link_7shapeimage_7_link_8
 Chapter 16 – Pornography 
 Chapter 17 – The Media
 Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
 Chapter 19 – Responsibility
 Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
 Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – ConsecrationChapter_16.htmlChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5shapeimage_8_link_6shapeimage_8_link_7shapeimage_8_link_8