Monday, February 28, 2011

Enlarging the borders...

Work is also progressing nicely on the new meetinghouse located on the temple lot.

Which begs to ask the question...what is a Stake?

From the talk entitled, "Strengthen Thy Stakes", by President Ezra Taft Benson, we find a summary including 4 purposes and 10 responsibilities of a stake.


1.  Each stake, presided over by three high priests and supported by twelve men known as a high council, becomes a miniature Church to the Saints in a specific geographic area.  The purpose is to unify and perfect the members who live in those boundaries by extending to them the Church programs, the ordinances and gospel instruction.

2.  Members of stakes are to be models, or standards of righteousness.

3.  Stakes are to be a defense.  They do this as stake members unify under their local priesthood officers and consecrate themselves to do their duty and keep their covenants.  Those covenants, if kept, become a protection from error, evil, or calamity.
We only build temples in stakes.  The blessings and ordinances of the temple prepare one for exaltation.  Of course, it is not possible for every stake to have a temple, but we are presently witnessing some remarkable--yes, miraculous--developments in the building of temples in different parts of the world.  Such a program permits members of the Church to receive the full blessings of the Lord.

4.  Stakes are a refuge from the storm to be poured out over the earth.


1.  We must be a "light" of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.  The Savior commanded, "What manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27)

2.  We must seek for opportunities to share the gospel message with others.  Member-missionary work is the key to the future growth of the Church and it is one of the great keys to the individual growth of our members.

3.  We should do all we can to help prepare our sons and grandsons to serve missions.  Each boy should have a mission savings account.

4.  Our homes should be places of refuge, love and harmony.  Under the direction of the father, each family should have prayers, gospel study and family home evenings.

5.  We should seek for the blessings and ordinances of the temple.  This means that we are keeping the commandments of the Lord--honesty, integrity, personal chastity--and sustaining the Lord's priesthood leadership.  This also means that the brethren are worthy to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood.

6.  We have an obligation to do temple work for our kindred dead.  This means that we will do the necessary research in order for their names to be sent to the temples.  We cannot be exalted without being eternally linked to our ancestors.

7.  As families we should strive to be self-reliant.  Since 1936, members of the Church have been instructed to have in storage a one-year supply of food, clothing and where possible, fuel.  This enables us to survive the loss of employment, loss of income or even calamity, as spoken of in the revelations.

8.  Priesthood holders need to provide watchcare over quorum members and their families through organized home teaching.  We should have an interest in every fellow member of the Church to whom we may be assigned and who does not fully participate in Church activity.

9.  We should participate in the programs and activities of the Church--keep the Sabbath as a holy day, attend our meetings, accept callings extended to us, and magnify those callings.  Give service willingly; I promise you will have great joy.

10.  Every adult member should be a full-tithe payer and contribute a generous fast offering.

With these purposes and responsibilities listed, we can see the importance of stakes and the influence of them in relation to the temple.  It's no coincidence that a new meetinghouse is being built next to the temple.

"Put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled."  Moroni 10:31

For more of President Benson's talk, go here.


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