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OBEDIENCE FOSTERS WITNESS OF FATHER, SON

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Prior to the birth of the Savior, many prophecies were shared by those who had witnessed this central event of mortality. Among the signs given for His coming included "great lights in heaven" and "a new star . . . such an one as ye never have beheld."

The purpose for these signs was "that ye might believe on his name. And if ye believe on his name, ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits." (Hel. 14:3, 5, 12-13.) These great lights and new star were introduced in the heavens as signs of the new Light introduced into a world of darkness, which darkness prevailed because "the world knew him not." (John 1:10.)A realization of who our Heavenly Father and His only Begotten Son are is the focus of our eternal experience, as Christ taught through the great intercessory prayer recorded by the beloved Apostle John. (See John 17:1-3.)

In Deut. 11:26-28, Moses rehearsed to Israel: "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." Obedience to the commandments is our exercise of faith unto a sure knowledge of the reality of the Father and His Son.

Likewise, as our knowledge and testimony of Deity increase, our allegiance to them grows, as taught and promised by the Lord: "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake the evil one." (D&C 93:36-37.)

In consequence of their ignorance of God, Laman and Lemuel typified the penalty of a lack of faith: "And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them." (1 Ne. 2:12, see also Alma 9:5.) Conversely, as we come to truly know our Savior, the attendant consequence is to be obedient to His will because of the light that each of us was born with.

King Benjamin's people demonstrated this principle when they cried aloud, "Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2.) Therefore, if we are to fulfill this measure of our creation, we must know how to come to know God that we may come to "worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him." (John 4:23.)

Many still wonder concerning the validity of the commandments, according to President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Council of the Twelve. In a talk given to Church educators, he stated: "

ManyT people wonder `why?' Why are we commanded to do some things, and why are we commanded not to do other things? A knowledge of the plan of happiness . . . can give

theseT minds a `why.' Alma said . . . `God gave unto them commandments after having made known unto them the plan of redemption.' (Alma 12:32.)

"The plan is worthy of repetition over and over again. Then the purpose of life, the reality of the Redeemer, and the reason for the commandments will stay with them. Their gospel study, their life experiences, will add to an ever-growing witness of the Christ, of the Atonement, of the restoration of the gospel." (Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Great Plan of Happiness, CES Religious Educators Symposium, 1993.)

As we come to an understanding of why particular commandments have been given, we then understand their purpose and power, and we obey with greater fullness of heart.

The Savior taught that where our treasures are, there will our heart be also. Today, the treasures of eternity are offered to those disciples who continue in His word. These treasures of eternity provide for our greatest joy in mortality, even peace in this life, peace within our soul, peace of conscience. Only those who come unto Christ with full purpose of heart will receive this greater portion, the true understanding of who He is; Jesus the Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the world. Those who keep His laws and obey His commandments will, as Moroni states, "become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (Moro. 7:48.)

Therefore, the focus of our obedience lies in the covenants we enter into and the attendant ordinances we receive. It is by these essential events that we declare our candidacy for exaltation, and our faithfulness to them constitutes the path by which we realize the promised blessings. Through the covenants and ordinances of the gospel we separate ourselves from the world and gain the power to prevail over the adversary.

By study and prayer, our minds are enlightened and we begin to see the things of God and desire to align ourselves with Him and His kingdom on earth. It is for this reason that Moroni counseled: "And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." (Ether 12:41.)

God is our Eternal Father; Jesus, His only begotten Son, is the Christ, and we may come to know the verity of these truths through the Holy Ghost. May we receive this sacred witness and be obedient in our lives so His spirit may be in and abide in us forever.