A House of Prayer Podcast – Episode 3

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In this third podcast episode I briefly discuss the topics of cleanliness and overcoming the world. I also touch briefly on manhood and the priesthood. While it’s not directly about fathers or even directly about manhood, it is given in honor of Father’s Day and my own father, who taught me by word and example what it means to be a man, especially a man of God. The original essay (Arise from the Dust and Be Men) can be read here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

I’m not thrilled with the quality of the audio yet; I’m still learning how to process the audio to improve it’s quality. 🙂 I will likely be upgrading my recording hardware soon, which should fix some of the recording issues.

If you’ve subscribed to my feed, you should receive the audio file automatically. If you have not subscribed to my feed, it’s never too late! You can also click on the following link to download the podcast directly (right-click {or option-click on a Mac} to save the file): A House of Prayer Episode 3

You can also subscribe directly from the iTunes Store by clicking on this link: A House of Prayer podcast (notice: requires and opens iTunes).

Let me know what you think!

Credit: The short music clip I use as an entrance and exit to the show is an arrangement of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing from the album Reflections of Christ. Visit that link to find out how you can purchase the music (I’m not associated with the artists or music in any way; I just enjoy it).

The podcast album art is an image by Irwin-Scott. Check out his photo stream on Flickr. I thought his photo of the Salt Lake Temple would be a fitting image as a house of prayer. His night-time photo of the illuminated temple surrounded by darkness has a lovely symbolic meaning of the temple as a light on a hill, an ensign to the nations, a lighthouse shining forth in the darkness.

Arise From the Dust And Be Men, Part 4

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While the phoenix and grail can be viewed as symbolic or representative of the Savior’s power, we have His actual power here on earth – it’s not mythology. The Lord gave to his apostles power to act in His name and to do the works He would do. In the book of Acts we read stories of the apostles healing and otherwise continuing the miracles that the Savior did (e.g, Acts 3). This priesthood power was taken from the earth when the apostles were killed. Different branches of the church quickly apostatized. The priesthood was not found on the earth (other than the three Nephites and John the Beloved, all who remained to watch the earth and to prepare for the restoration of the Church) until May 15, 1829 when John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Shortly after this the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. Once again, the Lord’s power and authority was upon the earth. Once again were men able to act in the name of the Lord and perform miracles in His name. The priesthood is far greater than the power of the phoenix or the Holy Grail (ignoring the fact that they are mythical). Those who have been given the priesthood hold real power and authority.

Those who have the priesthood have a portion of God’s power. They should strive to be like Him in faith, in righteousness, and in holiness. One of the most important and sacred names for our Father is Man of Holiness. When we are commanded to “arise from the dust and be men” we are commanded to be like the ultimate Man (not intending any disrespect) – our Heavenly Father. We should strive to live as our Heavenly Father wants us to live. As we shake ourselves free of the dust of mortality, as we strive to remain free from the dirt and the mud of sin, we can better prepare to live with our Father again. We can, like the phoenix, arise from the ashes and dust of our past to a new life of purity.

Arise From the Dust And Be Men, Part 3

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During a fireside in November 2000, Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley taught us how we can arise from the dust and be upstanding men and women of God. He taught that we should be grateful, smart, clean, true, humble, and prayerful (Ensign, Jan. 2001, Pres. Hinckley). He called them the “6 Bs”. By living each of those qualities we will be able to live free of the filthy influences of the world. We can remain spotless and pure.

Has anyone else risen “from the dust” quite like the Savior did? He was born in the lowliest of circumstances in a dusty manger. He spent much of His time as a youth learning to work in His father’s carpenter’s shop. The Savior, once He started His ministry, spent most of His time walking the dusty roads of Israel and teaching wherever there was room or an audience. He was baptized in the Jordan River, which was a somewhat murky river. When confronted over the adulterous woman, He wrote in the dust with His finger. The Savior used dirt and mud to help open the eyes of the blind. The Savior washed the dirt from the feet of His disciples. He knelt in the dirt in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood in Atonement for the sicknesses and sins of the world. He descended below all. He was then killed and laid in a tomb. On the third day, the Savior rose from the dust; coming back to life and bringing immortality to all who lived upon the earth.

The phoenix is symbolic of the Savior’s resurrection and healing powers. Just as the phoenix, a bird of light, arises from the ashes anew, the Savior arose from the grave. The phoenix also can heal with a drop of its tears. The Savior shed many tears for those who were sick or in pain. His hands brought health and life back to others. The tears He shed and the great drops of blood that fell like sweat in the wine press of Gethsemane were part of His great healing Atonement. Just as the phoenix is a legend, there is another legend that is symbolic of the Savior’s Atonement. The Holy Grail is a legendary chalice that caught some of the drops of the Savior’s blood when He was upon the cross, as the story goes. Thereafter, anyone who drank from the Holy Grail would gain power over death and would be healed of all illnesses or infirmities.

Link to part 2 of this essay.

Arise From the Dust And Be Men, Part 2

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The call to arise from the dust is a call to repentance. We should stand up when we fall. “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me” (Micah 7:8). This is one of my favorite scriptures. I love the determination and the faith. I can picture a person sitting, huddled and afraid – lost in the darkness but praying for the Lord to illuminate the way. Then a bright light shines in the darkness, dispelling the encroaching blackness. As the light shines, the person comprehends it and is comforted by its presence. She stands up, ready to continue on her journey, strengthened by the light of the Lord.

“Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C; 115:5). Again the call to arise comes from the Lord. This time we are commanded to let our lights shine forth, like a lighthouse providing light to ships in stormy seas. Our lights can become standards for the nations. A standard has multiple meanings. One meaning is that of a guide, specifically a flag. In a military group the standard is the unit’s flag. The standard bearer is an important member of the unit (although, this was true more in the past than than currently). In a battle, troops rallied to the standard bearer who had the flag. He guided them to their destination. A standard can also be something against which other things are measured. For example, a particular set of expectations for performance or behavior can be a standard, or guide for other people. When we are commanded to arise and shine forth, we are called to be guides unto others; we receive a call to service and sacrifice and selflessness.

Elsewhere in the scriptures, arising from the dust is used to describe the resurrection: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19). We can arise from the dust of death – spiritual and physical – and awaken into a new life.

This theme of arising from the dust is important enough that the Book of Mormon opens and closes with it. To be precise, most of the references pleading with people to arise from the dust are found in the book of 2nd Nephi, which is not the first book in the Book of Mormon but it is very near the beginning. At the very end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni brings back the theme as he wraps up his writing. “Awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O Daughter of Zion” (Moroni 10:31). It’s interesting how often arising from the dust and putting on beautiful garments go together. We shouldn’t just clean off the dust – we need to put on beautiful and clean clothing. The beautiful clothes we should put on are temple clothes, which among other things represent purity and holiness.

Link to part one of this essay.