Sunday, December 21, 2008

It Befriends us in Dark Hours


Elder Faust:





Hope is trust in God’s promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings
will be fulfilled in the future.


I think hope is one of those words that has a lot of different definitions. I like this one from Elder Faust: hope is trust in God's promises. To me, that is "tangible." However, I think that there can come a lot of times in life when we need to have hope, although we have no specific promise from God.





A few years ago, Sister Joyce Audrey Evans, a young mother in Belfast, Northern
Ireland, was having trouble with a pregnancy. She went to the hospital, where
one of the nurses told her she would probably lose the baby. Sister Evans
replied: “But I can’t give up. … You have to give me hope.” Sister Evans later
recalled: “I couldn’t give up hope until all reason for hope was gone. It was
something I owed to my unborn child.”
Three days later she had
a miscarriage. She wrote: “For one long moment, I felt nothing. Then a profound
feeling of peace flowed through me. With the peace came understanding. I knew
now why I couldn’t give up hope in spite of all the circumstances: you either
live in hope or you live in despair. Without hope, you cannot endure to the end.
I had looked for an answer to prayers and was not disappointed; I was healed in
body and rewarded with a spirit of peace. Never before had I felt so close to my
Heavenly Father; never before had I felt such peace. …
“The
miracle of peace was not the only blessing to come from this experience. Some
weeks later, I fell to thinking about the child I had lost. The Spirit brought
to my mind the words from Genesis 4:25 [Gen.
4:25
]: ‘And she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she,
hath appointed me another seed. …’
“A few months later, I
became pregnant again. When my son was born, he was declared to be ‘perfect.’ ”
He was named Evan Seth.
7


At these times in our lives we need to look for the promises that we can have trust in, to give us hope. For instance, with the example above, the woman had no promise that the baby would live, and yet sahe needed hope to get her through. So what promises could she rely on? We know that God is listening to our prayers. He has promised that he loves us and is aware of us. This can give us an anchor for our hope.


Samuel Smiles wrote: “ ‘Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.’ … Hope sweetens the memory of experiences well loved. It tempers our troubles to our growth and our strength. It befriends us in dark hours, excites us in bright ones. It lends promise to the future and purpose to the past. It turns discouragement to determination.” 8


What a blessing is hope.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Carried


Elder Uchtdorf starts his talk (The Infinite Power of Hope) with this gripping story:



Toward the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army
and sent to the western front, leaving my mother alone to care for our family.
Though I was only three years old, I can still remember this time of fear and
hunger. We lived in Czechoslovakia, and with every passing day, the war came
nearer and the danger grew greater.
Finally, during the cold winter of 1944,
my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled
us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading
west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of
explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were
in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies.
One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to
search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great
horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with
worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large
and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping
against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never
know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she
searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was
terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not
find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty:
her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a
woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope
into action.
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until
she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station.
There, at last, she found her children again.
I have often thought about that
night and what my mother must have endured. If I could go back in time and sit
by her side, I would ask her how she managed to go on in the face of her fears.
I would ask about faith and hope and how she overcame despair.

It is natural to assume that his mother was frightened, and stressed. But maybe she wasn't. Have you ever not been stressed when theoretically you should have been. Has there been a time when the Lord walked you through a difficult situation, giving you the peace you needed as you went along. Perhaps when a loved one passed away, or you lost your job, you were not overly concerned, but rather felt calm.


This is what one aspect of the atonement is all about.


In Isaiah 46:4, we learn,


I will carry, and will deliver you.

In Mosiah 24:14, he told the people of Alma,


I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you
cannot feel them upon your backs

In 1 Nephi 17:2:


And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live
upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their
children and were strong yea, even like the men; and began to bear their
journeyings without murmurings... and if it so be that the children of men keep
the commandments of god he doth nourish them; wherefore he did provide means for
us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

In Isaiah 53:4,


He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows.

In my life I have noticed that the degree to which my sorrows have been carried has a relationship to how close I am to Christ prior to the time in which I need his help.


Like the people of Limhi, if I start praying and repenting after the hard times strike, (Mosiah 21:15)


The Lord is slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities.

What do they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? If we want to feel the atoning love and peace of the Savior as we enter the difficult times that will no doubt come our way, we, prior to that need to be close to the Savior.

My Grandfather said the other day, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. This may sound like a trite cliche, but it is true. Do we want Christ as our friend?


D&C 88:3


Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts.

Perhaps President Uchtdorf's mother was perfectly at peace during the horrifying ordeal. Perhaps Christ sent his Comforter to abide in her heart. Perhaps her burdens were eased, perhaps she was carried by the Savior.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hope of Israel


I have been thinking about a particular aspect of Elder Uchdorf's talk on hope. He said,



Perhaps today I could sit by your side and by the side of any who might
feel discouraged, worried, or lonely. Today I would like to speak with you about
the infinite power of hope.

I read an article by USA Today that discussed Mormon women and depression. The reason the article gave for less depression among Mormon women was, the author proposed, perhaps, associated with their higher church attendance- suggesting increased support from others at church.


Whereas this may be true- I think that ideally, we should be less depressed, because of the hope that should fill our lives through Jesus Christ. (just a little interjection- I know that some cases of depression are unavoidable- and we cannot"hope" our way out of them. I've had post pardom- been there- done that- not judging- ever) President Uchdorf said:



Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness.

I love that simple statement. Isn't this what we are all seeking for? Happiness? The beauty of the word hope, is that it connotes that we don't necessarily have all that we want. Perhaps we don't have the relationships in our lives the way we want them. Perhaps we don't have our finances the way we want them. Whatever it is, hope can still fill our lives with happiness.


So then- what happens to our hope when we our situation changes, and we do receive what we were hoping for?



Each time a hope is fulfilled, it creates confidence and leads to greater
hope.

"But if not" as Esther would say... Sometimes it seems as though relief will never come- what then? President Uchdorf says:



And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say
with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never surrender.
Never
allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of
Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow,
and gladdens every heart.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy to Everyone


A great Christmas song, check it out: http://www.joytoeveryone.com/

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hope is...

President Uchdorf defines hope a number of different times in his recent conference talk: The Infinite Power of Hope.

Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.

Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness.2 Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make “the heart sick.”

Hope is a gift of the Spirit.

It is a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior.5 This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment,6 and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope.

Hope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan of happiness leads to peace,7 mercy,8 rejoicing,9 and gladness.

The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet;11 it is the foundation of our faith12 and an anchor to our souls.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You Know Enough


I was contemplating more examples from the scriptures of those who felt like they did not "know enough" for what the Lord wanted them to do. I thought of Moses.


When the Lord came to him in the burning bush, his response?


"Who am I that I should go unto the Pharaoh, and that i should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" I find it interesting that Moses was called then prepared for this great assignment. I don't think that is always the case, but he is showing us that if we feel it is our case- if we feel that the Lord is asking something of us that are not prepared for, or don't know enough about- we are in good company.


The Lord's response? "Certainly I will be with thee..." Have a little faith, you think I was going to ask this of you and then leave you all alone? Come on-


But still- Moses questions-

"They will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee."


The Lord responds with a couple impressive miracles- "sure they'll believe you- didn't I just tell you that I would be with you?"


Moses' response: "I am not eloquent, I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."


Let's not be hard of Moses here- but rather look at our own lives- are we ever like this? We have a prompting from the Lord that we should do something, and yet we doubt, we question our knowledge, our ability... No- we might not have the knowledge, or ability- but if we have the Lord, we have what we need.


The Lord responds to Moses, " Who hath made man's mouth? Now therefore, go, and I will be with thy mouth."


So- why was Moses chosen for such a job? Perhaps there is a little clue in Numbers 12:3 "Now Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth."


The Lord can work through us according to our meekness, our humility.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Know Enough


Today is more lesson prep for me-
You Know
Enough
Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy


He shares this personal experience:





Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt
very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how
can I
serve a mission when I know so little?” I believed in the Church, but
I felt my
spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling
came: “You don’t
know everything, but you know enough!” That reassurance
gave me the courage to
take the next step into the mission
field.



We then remain steady and patient as we progress through
mortality. At
times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything,
but you know
enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is
right. Remember Nephi’s words: “I know that
he loveth his
children;
nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”2




Has there been a time in your life when you felt inadequate, or like you didn't know enough ? I certainly felt that way when I had my first baby!


He goes on to tell of an experience that he had when visiting some missionaries- one missionary there wanted to go home early...



We sat together in the mission president’s home. The missionary told me
about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one
family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new
language
and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I
don’t even know
if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and
forceful feeling
come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows
it.”
I let him
continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder,
I’m sympathetic to
much of what you’ve
said, but I must correct you on
one thing: you do know God loves you. You know
He does.”
As I said those
words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to
me spoke to him. He bowed
his head and began to cry. He apologized. “Brother
Andersen,” he said, “I do
know God loves me; I do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but
he knew
enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual
knowledge
was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the
strength to stay on his mission.
Brothers and sisters, we each have
moments
of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must
sink them
deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our
spiritual home
storage for moments of personal difficulty. Jesus said,
“Settle this in your
hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach,
and command you.”3


I was trying to think of some scriptural examples of feelings of inadequacy. I thought of Jonah. Jonah was given an assignment from the Lord. He is to go to Nineveh to call repentance unto the people. Instead- he tries in vain to run away from God.


What are some ways that we might try to "run away from God?" I think we do this every time we ignore a prompting, or don't follow it.


Jonah felt as if the assignment given to him was too great- beyond his abilities, more than he wanted to take on- WAY out of his comfort zone.- Sooooo- he causes a great tempest, the ship he is on is in danger of going down, he tells the people to throw him over board- (he was probably expecting death- which might have been easier than going to Nineveh, in his mind.)- Of course we know that he was swallowed by a whale, and was there for three days and three nights. Yucky...


And so he was humbled. He had to go through a horribly humbling experience to bring him to the point where he was searching for the Lord instead of running from the Lord. Do we ever do this? Do we make the mistake of running away from God- only to be compelled to humility through hard times? I think that some "hard times" are avoidable. I think that sometimes they come our way, as they did for Jonah, because we ran away from the Lord, when we were supposed to follow him. And, as we learn from Jonah, no matter how "hard" it may seem to do what the Lord wants us to do- it is harder not to. And of course, it is always the case that when we are following God, we have His help- so sure- the assignment may very well be beyond our capabilities alone- but- we are not alone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Help me with my lesson...


Today I am reading this talk: - This is the "Teachings for our Times lesson that I am teaching this month:
You Know Enough
Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy


Today's post is some random sections of the talk, combined with my ideas on perhaps how I will teach it, or some thoughts.




While there are many experiences like the one we are having today, full of
spiritual power and confirmation, there are also days when we feel inadequate
and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enter our spirits, when we have
difficulty finding our spiritual footing. Part of our victory as disciples of
Christ is what we do when these feelings come.


Isn't this true... perhaps we can discuss as a class what the best responses to those days and situations are. Maybe- before I read any of the talk, I can have the class write down on a 3 x 5 card what makes them feel close to the Savior.- Then I can have this first quote read, - asking them to remember the most recent of these times in their personal lives, and ask, what the best responses to those days are- asking them to read what they had previously written on their card.



Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. He would need to choose faith.


I can ask the class- "what does he mean that faith is not only a feeling, but a decision?" Here- perhaps we could have a little video clip- from Indiana Jones- where he is taking the "steps of faith"- where he has to put his foot forth, and lean forward before the foundation appears under his foot. I could ask the class members to recall times in their lives, big and small where they "chose faith." (maybe I could ask some people ahead of time to do this)



He got on his knees. His spiritual balance returned.


I could ask the class to get up and do some balancing exercises, standing on one foot, bending over to touch the floor- do the yoga tree pose - (I would need to wear just the right outfit that morning)- We could then talk about spiritual balance... Why are we sometimes off balance spiritually- how do we find that balance again? (two knees- on the ground)



Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But
we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous
spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot
coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the
road of faith. Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”4


What are these reservoirs? How do we tap them?


"Choose the road of faith."- "Be not afraid, only believe." These sound so simple- when times are hard, when doubt and fear are all around us- how do we have this as our response?



Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing
impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her
parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and
her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.
Once,
when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a
wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.
Although Hadley had
learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her
louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.
Her
mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that “Heavenly Father makes all of
His children different.” “OK,” Hadley replied.
Then, unexpectedly, Hadley
turned to the little boy and said, “Did you know that when Heavenly Father made
me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and
that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will
get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right.”


What have you learned from children, when it comes to faith?



OK- so if anyone is reading this blog and has any ideas for my lesson- how to make it better- please share :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursdays



I have been reading this talk the last few days:




In it, he challenges us to pray with greater thanksgiving:



As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in
nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those
who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I
offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for
nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation
with all the energy of our hearts.


I am going to start having "Thanksgiving Thursdays"- where- on Thursdays, I don't ask for anything, I just give thanks.


Well- you say, what if you REALLY need to ask for something? Sure- that could happen- but it would have to be big- check out his example:




During our service at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Sister Bednar and I
frequently hosted General Authorities in our home. Our family learned an
important lesson about meaningful prayer as we knelt to pray one evening with a
member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Earlier in the day Sister Bednar
and I had been informed about the unexpected death of a dear friend, and our
immediate desire was to pray for the surviving spouse and children. As I invited
my wife to offer the prayer, the member of the Twelve, unaware of the tragedy,
graciously suggested that in the prayer Sister Bednar express only appreciation
for blessings received and ask for nothing. His counsel was similar to Alma’s
instruction to the members of the ancient Church “to pray without ceasing, and
to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah
26:39
). Given the unexpected tragedy, requesting blessings for our friends
initially seemed to us more urgent than expressing thanks.
Sister Bednar
responded in faith to the direction she received. She thanked Heavenly Father
for meaningful and memorable experiences with this dear friend. She communicated
sincere gratitude for the Holy Ghost as the Comforter and for the gifts of the
Spirit that enable us to face adversity and to serve others. Most importantly,
she expressed appreciation for the plan of salvation, for the atoning sacrifice
of Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, and for the ordinances and covenants of
the restored gospel which make it possible for families to be together
forever.
Our family learned from that experience a great lesson about the
power of thankfulness in meaningful prayer. Because of and through that prayer,
our family was blessed with inspiration about a number of issues that were
pressing upon our minds and stirring in our hearts. We learned that our
gratefulness for the plan of happiness and for the Savior’s mission of salvation
provided needed reassurance and strengthened our confidence that all would be
well with our dear friends. We also received insights concerning the things
about which we should pray and appropriately ask in faith.


So- is anyone with me?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Spiritual Creation

Every day (OK- about 5 days a week)- I take my kids to the gym. near the gym the local hospital has been building a large new wing. It started off as a whole, then we saw a frame, and little by little - day by day- my girls would say, "look at the building!- is it done, Mom?"- "nope- not done yet-"- and week by week would see it change, - walls- roof, paint... "Look at the building! is it done, Mom?" "Nope, not done yet."
There is a lot involved in the construction- it all started with a hospital board, no doubt explaining to an architectural firm, what they needed- it then became a plan on paper- probably years prior to it becoming a reality.
The Lord's method of creating was not all that different- he too, started with a plan- a "spiritual creation"- prior to the actual physical creation.
In Genesis chapter 2, verse 5 we learn that the plants were created before they were in the physically in the earth.






The book of Moses is even more clear, in chapter 3, verse 5

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. • • •

In Moses chapter 6, verse 51- it says: I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.






The Doctrine and Covenants, section 29- verses 31 and 32- For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—

First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work.




In the Sunday School class that I attended on Sunday, the instructor indicated that perhaps Genesis 1 was referring to the spiritual creation, and Genesis 2 was telling of the physical creation- I had never thought that was the case- and did a little research- this is what I found:




Complicating the issue further for some Latter-day Saints is the idea that Genesis 1 may not be an account of Creation by another author but may, in fact, be an account of another creation, Genesis 1 being, in their minds, the account of the spiritual creation and Genesis 2 of the physical creation. But a close reading of the scriptures indicates otherwise. [Gen. 1; Gen. 2]
If Genesis 1 is an account of the spiritual creation, then Genesis 1:26–27 would be the account of the creation of the first man in the spirit—“the first-born of every creature,” the premortal Jesus. [Gen. 1:26–27] (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.) The Moses account, however, shows that this cannot be so:
“And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image. …
“And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him.” (Moses 2:26–27.)
Since Jehovah was there when the man referred to in Genesis 1:26–27 was formed, the spiritual creation obviously had already occurred. [Gen. 1:26–27] The object of their creative intent could only have been Adam, the first earthly man. Thus, the creation being described in Genesis 1 is the physical and not the spiritual creation.
The conclusion is that the Bible offers no account of the sequential process by which all things were spiritually created, although it does offer a reference to the spiritual creation in Genesis 2:5. [Gen. 2:5]
Joseph Fielding Smith said: “The account of the creation of the earth as given in Genesis, and the Book of Moses, and as given in the temple, is the Creation of the physical earth, and of physical animals and plants. … There is no account of the Creation of man or other forms of life when they were created as spirits.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:75.) Keith Meservy, “Four Accounts of the Creation,” Ensign, Jan 1986, 50




In the most recent conference, Elder Bednar used the spiritual creation, as a lesson that we can from:








The patterns used by God in creating the earth are
instructive in helping us understand how to make prayer meaningful. In the third
chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually
before they were naturally upon the earth.


Meaningful morning prayer is an important element in
the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the
actual execution of the day.








I loved the idea- the analogy- of the spiritual creation of my day.




Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Release


I have been anticipating this day for four years-my release. In our church the classes are taught by regular people the Bishop decides on. He prayerfully chooses who he thinks would be best in the open position and then will ask or "call" them to that certain position.

Four years ago I was asked to be our ward Sunday School teacher. I thought this very strange considering the audience-a few ex-bishops, mission presidents, high councilmen, etc-but I figured they would help me, and I would be the test to their faith-we would be a team. Besides, Sunday School Teachers are usually in for one year-MAX!

So, the first year I taught the Doctrine and Covenants. As I stood in front of the large group shaking and holding my typed out word for word lesson, I learned to love and respect the people of the early church. There strength and dedication was so inspiring to me! I loved the stories, I loved the faith, and I loved learning and studying about Joseph Smith.

I thought I would be released.

Second Year-Old Testament. I felt a bit more comfortable in front of the people, but had no clue about the subject. The lesson is on Hezekiah? Who is he? I spent endless hours studying on the subject so I could teach it. I learned about ancient faith and the Lords promises and commitments to his people. Wow I loved the Old Testament.

Then I thought I would be released.

Third year. New Testament. What an amazing subject-the ministry of the Savior! I loved learning and teaching about Jesus. What an honor and privilege. Talking about Him brought me peace, even in front of a large audience. We all learned together, and I feel as a group our love for the savior increased.

I really thought I would be released.

But they moved me into the RS room and gave me a Book of Mormon manual and I started again, hoping these poor people would not be too frustrated-I had no more fun life stories, all my clever things were used up. It was just me and the Book of Mormon.

So the whole point of this long winded post is this... I went through all the standard works. I spent years studying them and learning to love them! BUT, it was the Book of Mormon that strengthened my testimony and brought me closer to the Lord. There was a difference. I don't know what it is exactly, but The Book of Mormon brought me closer to God than the other books. It is hard to explain-it was a four year journey, but I am thankful that I was allowed the privilege to experience this. The Book of Mormon is a life changing book.

Today I was released. Now off to the Young Woman's.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just for fun...

Mormon Symchronized swimmers. This was pretty funny!

http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=f86qKQJg3Z8

God Bless America


Yesterday my friend Marika and I were talking - musing about how horribly wicked our country is- how immoral, and disobedient to seemingly all of God's commandments.


We were talking about this verse- which talks about this country :

2 Ne. 1: 7

7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.


So- what do you think? Do the people of this country serve the Lord according to the commandments which he as given? Or- is it full of iniquity? Are we cursed or blessed?


I thought at the time, "both"- and today, I was reading in 3 Nephi- chapter 19- where Christ is speaking:


29 Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.


Perhaps our intercessor, our advocate with the father, our Savior Jesus Christ doesn't necessarily ask the father that blessings be showered on this great country, as there are so many in it that are so far from him, and do not think of him, or believe in him. But I know there are many- in many different churches across our nation that believe in Christ, that read of him, that pray to him. There are so many out there that care more of Christ than the "world". I am sure that he is still our advocate, and he will continue to be, so long as we continue to believe and have faith in him. And perhaps today he might say the same: "I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith."


Painting by Mitchell Tolle

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Voice of God


Don't you love 3 Nephi 11? The voice of God explained and Jesus actually ministering to the people who looked forward to his coming for so long. What could be better that this?

One thing I noticed this past time I read it was the fact that these people, who were "more righteous", and obviously humbled could not understand the voice. Even in that state, they could not understand what he was saying until they (vs 4) "opened their ears to hear it."

As I study the scriptures I find myself getting stuck on a certain idea, and everything for the next couple of reads will apply to that because it makes sense. As I was reading the next few chapters I noticed how many times he healed people who could not hear, and could not see. I saw the symbolism of this, to be healed by Jesus to be able to hear the word of God. Did that make sense?

In chapter 17:18 Jesus says on day we will see eye to eye.

In chapter 19:32-35 explains what can happen when our ears are opened and we do see eye to eye. "and tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed."

I don't know exactly how to open my ears... Perhaps Christine can explain that-she is a lot more spiritual than me... but I do know Christ can heal my deaf ears, and when I do, I will be able to understand incredible things, things I can't even explain because they are so absolutely wonderful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What can we exercise faith in?


In an e-mail a friend of mine asked me this question. I thought I would put it here so I could keep a copy of it, and get any feedback from 'yall :)



I was thinking about > you last week. You gave a lesson in the Young Women one time and you > talked about faith. You said something you learned on your mission > that you can't have faith in people or something like that. If you > remember can you explain it to me again? I really liked the way you > put it.


My response:


About the whole faith thing-

Let me tell you a quick story. While on my mission, my companion and I were teaching a guy, "Paco"- he said that he would come to church, over and over, and hadn't. On fast Sunday, after committing him to come, we fasted for Paco to come to church. He didn't show. My companion was VERY upset. She said, "I had so much faith in Paco- how could he have not come?" This immediately sounded off to me, I thought, "You can't have faith in Paco- you can only have faith in Christ."- and from there I started to study.

I will use the bible dictionary- in pieces:

Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true.


OK- so you can only have faith faith in things that are "true".


All true faith must be based upon correct knowledge or it cannot produce the desired results.


OK- so faith must be based on correct knowledge.


In Moroni 7, Mormon explains how to receive "every good thing"

ie- how can I get Paco to come to church?

20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing?

21 And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.


His first clue- he says it is by faith.



22 For behold, God aknowing all things, being from beverlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent cangels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.


God's knowledge of all things is one reason we can have faith in him.

If God TOLD us that Paco was coming to church (through personal
revelation-) THEN we could believe (have faith) that he would come.

We can have faith in the ministering of angels. Through the
ministering of angels we have the priesthood. We can have faith in the
power of the priesthood.


If we received a priesthood
blessing wherein we were told Paco would come to church, THEN we could have
faith that he would come.



23 And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come.


If the prophet or one of the apostles, who are called and set apart as prophets
told us that Paco would come to church, THEN we could have faith that he would
come.





25 Wherefore, by the ministering of aangels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.


"every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God"- these words are
found in the scriptures. If in the scriptures we were promised that Paco
would come to church, we could have faith in the promises made in the
scriptures.


The word faith is kind of like the word "love" it has more than one meaning, and can be a little overused. But- if we expect there to be power associated with our faith, it must be centered in Jesus Christ. (not in people)

We have hope or confidence in people, but there is no power to having "faith" in people.

And so, because we had no witness through personal revelation, no ministering angel, no promise in a priesthood blessing, no promise from a prophet, or in the scriptures- we had nothing but hope to go on with Paco. Faith needs one of those anchors to have power. We can have faith that if we pay our tithing, the windows of heaven will be opened- why- promises in the scriptures. We can have faith in the promises in our patriarchal blessings- why- the priesthood. We can exercise faith in promises made by prophets and apostles, living and those in the scriptures, but we can not have faith in people.


We can know that Heavenly Father heard our prayers. We can know that he loves us and he loves Paco. But Paco has his agency.

That was probably a longer explanation than you wanted- :)- I just kept going :) I hope it was clear.

Yeahh for Prop 8!

My Bishop forwarded this talk that I thought I would pass along. It was given 30 years ago- but totally part of our current events with Propsition 8- prophetic counsel. I went to the victory party last night with my good friend Michal. I thought it was a little ironic that my date for the party was female- :)

Today I am very relieved :) Although there is a part that won't be truley relieved until all the counting is done.






A devotional > talk that was given to the students of BYU in 1978 by Elder Neal A. > Maxwell.



"Discipleship includes good citizenship; and in this connection, if you are careful students of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions--especially when the First Presidency has spoken out--the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people, and causes, not candidates. On occasions, at other levels in the Church, a few have not been so discreet, so wise, or so inspired. But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings > 18:21). President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April > 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. We are now entering a period of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage."

Today I am so grateful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YES on 8!


What can I say- vote YES on Prop 8!

Monday, November 3, 2008

3 Nephi 17 Behold Your Little Ones


3 Nephi 17 has always been one of my favorite chapters- for obvious reasons. Who couldn't love the mental picture of Christ showing such personal love and attention for each little child. It reminds me that he loves my little children as well. I don't trust anyone to walk my children across a parking lot. I can't imagine that anyone is as concerned about them as I am- but I know that Christ is.


11 And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought.

12 So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him





15 He himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.

20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

22 And when he had done this he wept again;

23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.









President Hinkley said this on the subject of children:


Once when our grandchildren were small, my wife and I took some of them to the circus. I recall that I was more interested in watching them and many others of their kind than in watching the man on the flying trapeze. I looked at them in wonder as they alternately laughed and stared wide-eyed at the exciting things before them. And I thought of the miracle of children who become the world’s constant renewal of life and purpose. Observing them in the intensity of their interest, even in this atmosphere, I felt my mind revert to that beautiful and touching scene recorded in the book of 3 Nephi when the resurrected Lord took little children in His arms and wept as He blessed them and said to the people, “Behold your little ones” (3 Nephi 17:23).
It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. Wisely did the writer of Proverbs declare, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
When I was a boy, we lived on a fruit farm in the summer. We grew great quantities of peaches. Our father took us to tree pruning demonstrations put on by the agricultural college. Each Saturday during January and February, we would go out to the farm and prune the trees. We learned that by clipping and sawing in the right places, even when snow was on the ground and the wood appeared dead, we could shape a tree so that the sun would touch the fruit which was to come with spring and summer. We learned that in February we could pretty well determine the kind of fruit we would pick in September.
E. T. Sullivan once wrote these interesting words: “When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.”1
And those babies, I should like to add, will become forces for good or ill, depending in large measure on how they are reared. The Lord, without equivocation, has declared, “I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Zion


Recently there has been so much talk about "socialism" in the political buzz in the media. I am so very much against socialism, and part of me was wondering if that was "unkind" of me. No. I do not think it is. Instead of "socialism", I believe in "generosity."


I studied this talk today:
Come to Zion
Elder D. Todd Christofferson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


In his message, Elder Christofferson says:




Each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should
and all that we should in the Lord's eyes with respect to the poor and the
needy.



In much of the world, we are entering upon unsettled economic times. Let us
look after one another the very best we can. I remember the story of a
Vietnamese family that fled Saigon in 1975 and ended up living in a small mobile
home in Provo, Utah. A young man in the refugee family became the home teaching
companion to a Brother Johnson who lived nearby with his large family. The boy
related the following:
"One day Brother Johnson noticed that our family had
no kitchen table. He appeared the next day with an odd-looking but very
functional table that fit nicely against the trailer wall across from the
kitchen sink and counters. I say odd-looking because two of the table legs
matched the tabletop and two did not. Also, several small wooden pegs stuck out
along one edge of the worn surface.
"Soon we used this unique table daily for
food preparation and for eating some quick meals. We still ate our family meals
while we sat on the floor . . . in true Vietnamese
fashion.
"One evening I stood inside Brother Johnson's front door as I waited
for him before a home teaching appointment. There in the nearby kitchen—I was
surprised to see it—was a table practically identical to the one they had given
to my family. The only difference was that where our table had pegs, the Johnsons' table had holes!
I then realized that, seeing our need, this charitable man had cut his kitchen
table in half and had built two new legs for each half.
"It was obvious that
the Johnson family could not fit around this small piece of furniture—they
probably didn't fit comfortably around it when it was
whole. . . .
"Throughout my life this kind act has been
a powerful reminder of true giving" (Son Quang Le, as told to Beth Ellis Le, "Two-of-a-Kind Table," Ensign, July 2004, 63).


I think we should give, I think we should be kind and generous, and look after each other. How wonderful it would be to have a leader of this country that would inspire generosity . Giving in this way is what brings us closer to Christ. As we give of our own free will, we are blessed with the spirit, as a little "thank you" card from God. Imagine the joy in the country, with it's population filled with the spirit of God.


I really appreciated this talk, as a personal reminder to look inward and see if I am doing all I can to care for the poor. I know that when I am in the service of others, I am serving my God.




Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Way


Today I read "The Way"- by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge Of the Seventy.


One part of his talk that really struck me was this:





John the Baptist said that while he baptized with water, Jesus baptized
“with the Holy Ghost.”12
Nothing
in this life is of greater worth than the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. It is
the source of joy, peace, knowledge, strength, love, and every other good thing.
With the Atonement, it is the power by which we may be changed and made strong
where we are weak. With the priesthood, it is the power by which marriages and
families are sealed together eternally.13
It is the power by which the Lord makes Himself manifest unto those who believe
in Him.14
Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in
our lives. Everything depends on that.
To that end, Jesus Christ entered a
garden called Gethsemane, where He overcame sin for us. He took upon Himself our
sins. He suffered the penalty of our wrongs. He paid the price of our education.
I don’t know how He did what He did. I only know that He did and that because He
did, you and I may be forgiven of our sins that we may be endowed with His
power. Everything depends on that. What then shall we do? We will “take upon
[us] the name of [the] Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments
which he has given [us]; that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with
[us].”15
Everything depends on that.



I have been thinking a lot about the covenant of the sacrament lately. I want to have a lovely atmosphere in my home all the time. With four little children, I sometimes get frustrated with them. I need to keep his commandments, and always remember him, because I know that I need his spirit to always be with me.


Everything depends on that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 Nephi 12


Today I am in 3 Nephi, chapter 12- verse 44 made me think of the divided nation that we are at this time, just a short time before the election.
44. But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
do
good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.
Love those who steel your yard signs. Serve those who are voting no where you vote yes. Pray for our nation, and everyone in it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Protect Marriage


On a past post I received a detailed "comment" form "anonymous"- in opposition to prop 8. I went to a town hall meeting last night, and learned a lot. If I were a better blogger- I would have had my camera there, and taken some good pictures of the "opposition." It was clear which side of prop 8 they were on because, as Isiah prophesied, in Isaiah 3:9: The shew of their countenance doth witness against them.


I would now like to respond to "anonymous' comment.


Anonymous:




If Proposition 8 passes, the law will change to designate an entire class of
people as unequal to, as less than, every other class of people. In the eyes of
the law, gay people will be seen as inferior to everyone else. And when
opponents of gay rights see the idea that gays are inferior validated by the
government, it will allow them to continue on their path of dehumanizing gays
and lesbians. That's what denying a class of people an equal right does. It
dehumanizes them, and it is dangerous. It is the dehumanization of a group that
creates a culture in which people feel that it is okay to yell epithets at
others in public; that it is okay for kids to be bullied and beaten at school;
that it is okay for a jeering mob to incite a gay 17-year-old to commit suicide
by jumping off a building. (Read the news.) These things happen because gays are
demonized. And gays are demonized when they're made out to be an inferior class
of people. And they are made out to be an inferior class of people when they are
not allowed the same rights as everyone else.





My response:


Proposition 8 is very simple. There are not pages and pages of confusing information, but it is rather, just one phrase, that would be added to our state's Constitution, as it is already a part of 45 other states. It says this:

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."


The state of California is already one of the most liberal in the union, giving the gay and lesbian community the legal rights, privileges, and protections that are saying that prop 8 will give them. This is not true. They already have those rights and protections. Prop 8 is about defining marriage. Opposition to prop 8 is about taking the word "marriage" and changing it's definition.



IN ADDITION, PROPONENTS OF PROP 8 CONTINUE TO LIE IN THEIR TELEVISION
ADS:Fiction: Teaching children about same-sex marriage will happen here unless
we pass Prop 8. Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child
can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about
health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it, and the Yes on
8 campaign knows they are lying. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley
has already ruled that this claim by Prop 8 proponents is "false and
misleading.

My response:

I really think that anonymous believed that when he or she wrote it. However, last night a the town hall meeting, it was read to me, directly from the state's education code, in two different places that "marriage" shall (not may- but shall) be taught in schools. Without the passing of proposition 8, that would include gay marriage, being taught to our children. What a horrible abuse of power, are those in authority, that know this is the case, and yet, lie to the public, saying that it is not so. The "opt out" thing also does exist, yes, but it has a "clause" that eliminates same sex issues.


Yes- prop 8 does not mention education- as I mentioned before- it is 14 words long- but the reproductions of it's not passing will be much longer.




"Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status. Fact: Nothing in Prop
8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding
marriage specifically says "no religion will be required to change its religious
policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious
officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or
her religious beliefs."


Again- untrue- any church that "rents" it's halls for marriages, and does not rent to a gay or lesbian couple would open themselves up to law suits, and the loss of their tax exempt status.



Fiction: A Massachusetts case about a parent’s objection to the school
curriculum will happen here. Fact: Unlike Massachusetts, California gives
parents an absolute right to remove their kids and opt-out of teaching on health
and family instruction they don't agree with. The opponents know that California
law already covers this and Prop 8 won't affect it, so they bring up an
irrelevant case in Massachusetts.


Again- oh how I wish this were true, as I have four young children- but the clause on the opt- out section was read to me last night, and clearly does not include same sex issues.



Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts
and judges, it's about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn't grant the
right--the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an
outdated and stale argument that judges aren't supposed to protect rights and
freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are
willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a
fundamental right for one group of citizens.


My response: The constitution says no such thing- go read it.



Fiction: Unless Prop 8 passes, CA parents won't have the right to object to what
their children are taught in school. Fact: California law clearly gives parents
and guardians broad authority to remove their children from any health
instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.


Again- I wish so badly this were the case- but it is not. You should read the education code- the clause was right in there. health reasons yes- but it specifically said that same sex issues were not included in the opt out.



AND, ADDITIONALLY:Fiction: Civil unions and domestic partnerships give gay
couples the same rights as married couples. Fact: In the few states in which
civil unions or similar domestic partnerships exist, same-sex couples are
granted the same rights as married couples but only on the state level. There
are hundreds upon hundreds of federal benefits that do not apply to those
couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships.PLEASE VOTE NO ON PROP 8.
Please do not allow blatant discrimination to be written into the law.
California is better, smarter, and more humane than that.


Dude- Mr/ Mrs anonymous- I think you do believe what you wrote- but you were misinformed.


Protect marriage- vote yes on 8!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes on 8! (again)


The following is an experience of a fellow Californain, I thought I would pass it along:


Dear family and friends,
I had a very disturbing experience yesterday that I would like to share with
those of you that live outside of California (or outside of the San
Francisco Bay Area).

This weekend we have stake conference. Our stake conference always begins
with a stake temple session on Friday or Thursday night. Early Friday
morning I received a call from the second counselor in our bishopric to let
me know that there would be numerous protesters outside the temple, and to
remind everyone to stay calm and to drive carefully. The beautiful
Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San Francisco , very
close to the city of Berkeley.

Apparently the opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make
marriage in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep
involvement of the church and begun to protest right outside of the temple
and harass temple patrons. The fastest way to get to the temple from our
house is to take the 680 freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off
ramp is extremely short and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind
left turn, an immediate right and another left into the parking lot. As we
approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There was a
backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we moved
forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large group of loud
protesters who were standing on both sides of the street, yelling, screaming
and waving signs. When we got to the top of the offramp, ready to make our
turn, one protester jumped out right in front of our car. It took my
husband all his self control to carefully maneuver around him to the left
and proceed to the temple.

I tried not to listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as
I got to the temple front door. Several of the sisters, especially the ones
driving on their own, were crying (which made me snap out of it and go into
Relief Society President mode to comfort them). Later, as I was sitting in
the perfect quiet of the chapel, I couldn't help but think of Lehi's dream,
and the people who mocked the Saints from the big spacious building but
'we heeded them not.' It was a truly surreal experience, I'd never thought
that I would have to go through an angry crowd to get to the temple. As we
left late at night, the protesters had dispersed, temple security (who all
looked very large and Tongan) stood by the gates. I never saw a single
police man.

Please pray for those of us in California fighting for prop 8--it's getting
kind of scary out here!
Susanne

The True and Lving Church


I teach Relif Society- This Sunday I am teaching on The True and Living Church by President Henry B. Eyring.


First, I wanted to list the reasons that he gave, why the Church of Jesus Christ is the True and Living Church.


We have living prophet and apostles on the earth. Just as there always was in scriptures: Abraham, Moses, Peter James and John.


In this church are the keys of the priesthood. The power authority to act in God's name, as the prophets and apostles had in scriptural days. The power to heal the sick, the authority to receive revelation and guidance for the church as a whole.


In this church is the power to "seal". To bind in heaven those ordinances performed here on earth- such as marriages in the temple.


God's people have not always been worthy of the marvelous experience we have shared today. The Apostles, after the Ascension of Christ, continued to exercise the keys He left with them. But because of disobedience and loss of faith by the members, the Apostles died without the keys being passed on to successors. We call that tragic episode "the Apostasy."


In our church we believe there was this "falling away." The priesthood that was on the earth, because of a lack of righteousness, was at some point, not continued to be passed down. This is what makes us a truly unique church.


The Catholics disagree. They claim the position that there was not an Apostasy, that the priesthood of God has always been on the earth, and is found in their church.


This is where we are similar to the Catholic Church. We both see the need for the priesthood. We both have a "prophet" of sorts. (theirs of course is the Pope.)


There were those who disagreed. Martin Luther, and other reformers, saw that the Catholic church was not teaching the same Christian doctrine that Christ had taught while on the earth. The different religious sects would notice that something was amiss, and break off "protesting" the Catholic doctrine, and doing their best to teach Christ's doctrine according to the scriptures. The Baptists, for example, saw that the baptisms were not being performed by immersion, knew that according to the scriptures, this was not right, and eventually had their own church, baptising the way that Christ himself taught and was baptized.


This is where the three categories emerged.



  1. The Catholic Church- claiming to always have Christ's authority, being a constant line from Christ himself.

  2. The Protestants, or Reformers. This includes the Christian Churches which broke off from the Catholics, in an effort to "reform" or "protest" the Catholic church.

  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who believe that not just a reformation, but a restoration was necessary.

My time is up- I need to go make breakfast for my kids. Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Angels on Earth



The Ministry of Angels
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


This was such a beautiful talk. I took out my favorite portions, but I really loved it all. Click here for the entire talk.



From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as
His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Time in this
setting does not allow even a cursory examination of the scriptures or our own
latter-day history, which are so filled with accounts of angels ministering to
those on earth, but it is rich doctrine and rich history indeed.
Usually such
beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always
near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the
whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic
purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of
merciful attention, guidance in difficult times. When in Lehi’s dream he found
himself in a frightening place, “a dark and dreary waste,” as he described it,
he was met by an angel, “a man . . . dressed in a white
robe; . . . he spake unto me,” Lehi said, “and bade me
follow him.”7
Lehi did follow him to safety and ultimately to the path of salvation.

I really had never given this topic much thought. But what a wonderful thing for us to remember- that we are not alone.



But I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent
to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the
world Himself.



I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with
faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our]
children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.”10
And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray
always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good,
if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have
covenanted.”11
The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be
believing and remember our covenants.


Sometimes I think that such promises are beyond me- I like how he tells us what is required to receive such blessings- to search diligently, pray always and be believing.- I can do that. We can do that.



Referring to his childhood on a large Idaho farm, Brother Barrus spoke of
his nightly assignment to round up the cows at milking time. Because the cows
pastured in a field bordered by the occasionally treacherous Teton River, the
strict rule in the Barrus household was that during the spring flood season the
children were never to go after any cows who ventured across the river. They
were always to return home and seek mature help.
One Saturday just after his
seventh birthday, Brother Barrus’s parents promised the family a night at the
movies if the chores were done on time. But when young Clyn arrived at the
pasture, the cows he sought had crossed the river, even though it was running at
high flood stage. Knowing his rare night at the movies was in jeopardy, he
decided to go after the cows himself, even though he had been warned many times
never to do so.
As the seven-year-old urged his old horse, Banner, down into
the cold, swift stream, the horse’s head barely cleared the water. An adult
sitting on the horse would have been safe, but at Brother Barrus’s tender age,
the current completely covered him except when the horse lunged forward several
times, bringing Clyn’s head above water just enough to gasp for air.
Here I
turn to Brother Barrus’s own words:
“When Banner finally climbed the other
bank, I realized that my life had been in grave danger and that I had done a
terrible thing—I had knowingly disobeyed my father. I felt that I could redeem
myself only by bringing the cows home safely. Maybe then my father would forgive
me. But it was already dusk, and I didn’t know for sure where I was. Despair
overwhelmed me. I was wet and cold, lost and afraid.
“I climbed down from old
Banner, fell to the ground by his feet, and began to cry. Between thick sobs, I
tried to offer a prayer, repeating over and over to my Father in Heaven, ‘I’m
sorry. Forgive me! I’m sorry. Forgive me!’
“I prayed for a long time. When I
finally looked up, I saw through my tears a figure dressed in white walking
toward me. In the dark, I felt certain it must be an angel sent in answer to my
prayers. I did not move or make a sound as the figure approached, so overwhelmed
was I by what I saw. Would the Lord really send an angel to me, who had been so
disobedient?
“Then a familiar voice said, ‘Son, I’ve been looking for you.’
In the darkness I recognized the voice of my father and ran to his outstretched
arms. He held me tightly, then said gently, ‘I was worried. I’m glad I found
you.’
“I tried to tell him how sorry I was, but only disjointed words came
out of my trembling lips—’Thank
you . . . darkness . . . afraid . . . river . . . alone.’
Later that night I learned that when I had not returned from the pasture, my
father had come looking for me. When neither I nor the cows were to be found, he
knew I had crossed the river and was in danger. Because it was dark and time was
of the essence, he removed his clothes down to his long white thermal underwear,
tied his shoes around his neck, and swam a treacherous river to rescue a wayward
son.”12
My
beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the
mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never
leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as
time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman
or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”13
On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut
out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that
distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is
watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all
around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.
May we
all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as
contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before
your face. I will be on your right hand and on your
left, . . . my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine
angels round about you, to bear you up.”14
In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a
little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of
faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”15
Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary
child, is crying,
“Darkness . . . afraid . . . river
. . . alone.”


A few years ago, while serving as the leader of the teenage girls in my congregation, I was preparing a message for a special meeting that we were having with them. While I was preparing what I would say, I had one of the most overwhelming feelings of my life. The feeling was that I needed to tell these girls that they were not alone in their tough times-- specifically that family members who had passed away are helping them. The impression came to me to share this so strongly, and I knew that it was a thought that was not mine. This was a testimony to me that this was true. Angels do minister among us. Funny how the scripture that was the basis for the message that I was preparing was the same one that Elder Holland used in this talk: "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good."


I can imagine in the future, after I have passed away, what job would I like more than to help and look after my grand children, (wait- hopefully my great great grandchildren). To comfort them, and be with them.


This talk also made me think about being an angel here on earth. Elder Holland mentions that his wife is an angel. I think I complain too much about kids and messes to warrant such a title. No, I don't think DH would describe me as an angel. But I wish he could. I will work on that.