Sunday, September 27, 2009

General Conference and the calling of an Apostle

Next weekend we will be instructed by apostles and prophets at General Conference.   I thought I would center this post on the calling of an apostle.  The apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ.  Five years before the apostles were first called in our dispensation the Lord gave some instruction about their qualifications and calling:

D&C  18:26-39
 26 And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew;
 27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.
 28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
 29 And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written;
 30 And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.
 31 And now I speak unto you, the Twelve--Behold, my grace is sufficient for you; you must walk uprightly before me and sin not.
 32 And, behold, you are they who are ordained of me to ordain priests and teachers; to declare my gospel, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men;
 33 And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
 34 These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
 35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
 36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.
 37 And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;
 38 And by their desires and their works you shall know them.
 39 And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them.

Elder David B. Haight shared with the Church some of the instructions given to an apostle when they are called,

Just as I have been instructed and counseled by President Kimball, others through the years have been so counseled. One hundred forty-six years ago when the Church was restored, the First Presidency instructed Parley P. Pratt, a newly called member of the Twelve: “O, Lord, smile from heaven upon this thy servant; forgive his sins, sanctify his heart, and prepare him to receive the blessing. … Increase his intelligence, communicate to him all that wisdom, that prudence and that understanding which he needs as a minister of righteousness, and to magnify the apostleship whereunto he is called.”

And continuing they said: “You have enlisted in a cause that requires your whole attention. … Become a polished shaft. … You must endure much toil, much labor, and many privations to become perfectly polished. … Your labor must be incessant, and your toil great; you must go forth and labor till the great work is done. … Your Heavenly Father requires it; the field is His; the work is His; and He will … cheer you … and buoy you up. …
“Beware of pride,” they continued. “Beware of evil; shun the very appearance of it. … You will see thousands who, when they first see you, will know nothing about salvation by Jesus Christ. …

“Cultivate great humility. … Beware … the flatterers of the world. … Let your ministry be first. Remember, the souls of men are committed to your charge. …”

They went on to say to Parley P. Pratt: “It is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven … so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon. …

“Strengthen your faith. …

“You are called to preach the gospel of the Son of God to the nations of the earth; it is the will of your Heavenly Father that you proclaim His gospel to the ends of the earth, and the islands of the sea. …

“Be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your [life], should God require it. … Be always prayerful; be always watchful. …

“This gospel must roll, and will roll until it fills the [entire] earth. …

“You [will] need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence, such as you never had. … [God] can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade. …

“You must proclaim the gospel in its simplicity and [its] purity.”
(Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Deseret Book Co., 1961, pp. 119–26.)

Later in his ministry Elder Haight shared a very sacred experience that he has with the Savior.  Click here to read the experience.

1 comment:

Tiffani said...

I remember you teaching us about the calling of apostles at a Zone Conference. I have thought of the words in Oliver Cowdery's autobiography about their ordination not being complete until the Lord has laid His hands on their heads. I didn't remember who had said it so I didn't know where to find it. Thanks for this post. It is a great one to read just before conference. I can't wait to share it with Dave.