WEEK FORTY-THREE April 28, 2014
Sister H and I visited with the Fifty-four Family, he is getting ready to turn in his mission papers and she to get married. They got a late start on our Temple Preparation class and we agreed to come by their home to catch them up. We had a really good one hour visit. We then met with the Two Family and in a lot of commotion were able to get Brother Two and the eldest son signed up and started on family history. We left them after a couple of hours and just made the meeting with Family Fifty-five a young couple who also would like to go to the temple but with his work schedule on Sunday’s currently are unable to attend the class. His father, also a member, was there as well and Jan adroitly roped him into staying and being part of the lesson. We covered the first two lessons for temple preparation and the atonement as they didn’t want us to leave, so we were there nearly another two hours. The father had a question about sealing that had been answered before a couple of times but so different as to cause more concerns than it solved, even pushing Brother Fifty-five into inactivity for several years he said. As they asked the question the answer quickly came to my mind, one if living and another if dead, which I gave to them regarding sealing. There was an audible sigh of relief from both the father and the son. It was one of those occasions where you are hearing yourself answer a question but it is as if you aren’t involved in the process.
Met with the Fifty-five family again later in the week, they are anxious. Enjoyed the spoils of his work at See’s Candy. A favorite of ours as well.
Later we received from Brother Two this message, “Thank you for above and beyond effort and service and above and beyond patience with us all. I know I was a bit on edge a few moments to put it nicely. You and Jan are the Lords tools of love for our family.
Sister H received an urgent call for some Facetime with one struggling grandson who later remarked to his mother that his day was much better after talking to granny.
We heard from Brother Forty-two that he was still in New York and would contact us upon his return. We are anxious to learn more about his experience at General Conference.
Received a request from the Aliso Creek sisters to pick up their investigator Sister Fifty-seven for the Bible Study class, which we did. She was so appreciative telling us she once had a baptism date and asking if she should reconsider.
We continue to be warmly welcomed by the Twenty-One family. In just a few more visits he will be ready to interview for the Melchizedek Priesthood and to set a sealing date for the two of them. When we first visited them their two girls were so shy but now they are anxious to see Elder and Sister Haddock, or at least Sister Haddock who they flock to and hug each visit and upon leaving.
Our younger Brother Two is now in the war chapters in the Book of Mormon and writes, “Wondering what is going to happen next. Can't wait to get back reading. Satan is nothing but trouble and will always be. These chapters are really good because they show the blessing that come when we put our faith in God.”
Jan and I picked up Sister Six early Saturday morning, and drove over to the Rancho Santa Margarita Stake Center. The stake had raised over $26,000 in donations to partner with Stop Hunger Now and produce and package 100,000 meals. Our shift was 8-10:30 and we had 200 or 300 in attendance all decked out in yellow helping hand vests. You can see us so fashionable dressed in the following photo. Four persons to a station, I filled soybeans, a young woman did rice, Sister H handled dried vegetables, and Sister Six vitamin and seasoning pack. We had a great time. Lots of fun and many laughs. Lots of non-members found out about it online on their own and were there working side by side. They asked if we did this often. This doing a good work and feeling good about it how can you beat that. Every 1,000 meals packaged there was a big gong sounded and everyone cheered.
Our son had some questions about the House of Israel to which I responded. To answer your question I think you need to consider four things: 1) The Abrahamic covenant; 2) The gathering and scattering of Israel as explained in Jacobs allegory; 3) The restoration of keys through the Prophet Joseph Smith; 4) The Lord’s injunction for the gospel to be taking throughout the world, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
Five great blessings were given to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-7; Abraham 1:15-19; 2:6-11):
1. He would have numberless posterity
2. They would be covenant people
3. His posterity would be heirs to a certain land in the Middle East, including Palestine
4. Through his descendants, all families of the earth would be blessed
5. His posterity would direct the ministry of the gospel and the priesthood throughout the world
Through the restoration of keys to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elias conferred the keys of Abraham’s dispensation upon Joseph Smith including the promise of posterity or seed and the blessings of future generations through this posterity. Also through Joseph Smith, Moses restored the keys of missionary work and the gathering of Israel and Elijah the keys of sealing, linking up families as a necessary part in fulfilling the promise given to Abraham. (See Doctrine & Covenants §110.)
Thus, both Abraham descendants and Church members not of the literal seed of Abraham, in our dispensation, increase our numbers and establish the promises through covenant, leading our families in righteousness in the gospel and blessing our posterity as we share our gifts and blessings with others. Thus in our dispensation we rear our children within the Abrahamic covenant and entitled to all the blessings of Abraham which blesses all generations after us, which is our seed as well as a continuation of Abraham’s seed, through eternity.
Jacob shares with us the allegory of Zenos laying out how all this works together and is brought to pass in an orderly manner:
1. Though established and preserved in the promised land of Palestine, Israel rejects the gospel and is nearly destroyed
2. Rejected by Israel, the gospel is given to the Gentiles
3. The early apostolic Christian church flourishes among the Gentiles but soon falls into apostasy
4. Scattered Israel also receives the gospel but falls into apostasy
5. The Lord begins to gather the house of Israel into the gospel fold
6. The Lord gathers and restores Israel to her lands of promise fulfilling ancient covenants
7. Gentiles who embrace the gospel are numbered among the redeemed house of Israel
8. The Lord destroys the remainder of the wicked world prior to his second coming and glorious millennial reign.
In the allegory the roots of the natural tree, the Abrahamic covenant, are the only thing that can ultimately produce and preserve good fruit. We nurture these roots as we perform vicarious ordinances for deceased ancestors. The natural branches of the olive tree propagate abundantly drawing their strength from the roots of the faith and righteous tradition of our Abrahamic ancestors. We nourish these branches as we guide our families living in the household of faith. The grafted branches also bear good fruit and are converts to the Church from among the Gentiles.
There is an order in this. The gospel is first preached among the house of Israel. When Christ comes he preached to the Israelites who rejected it. The apostles take the gospel to the Gentiles. In the latter days the gospel is first taken to the Gentiles and only now (in seeking out the elect) is it being taken to identifiable remnants of the house of Israel fulfilling the promises that the first shall be last an the last shall be first (1 Nephi 13:42). Of course, Gentiles who are not considered elect are gathered in the gospel net as well. Thus the gospel is being taken to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
In our meeting with the Six Family, because of some questions asked we really got to the point of baptism and its need. Our non-member was right in the conversation testifying to the need for baptisms right along with us, yet for some reason unable to pull the trigger for himself and have the ordinance performed. Jan and I talked as we left, how can someone feel so strongly about the truth of the gospel and the importance of the ordinance and not feel to participate in it. Alas, the Lord has told us not to push, that it will all be revealed. So we press on in faith—and hope.