Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
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
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
We then remain steady and patient as we progress through
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
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!
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
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
come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows
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
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
enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual
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
of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must
deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our
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
Friday, November 14, 2008
You Know Enough
Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy
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.
Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. He would need to choose faith.
He got on his knees. His spiritual balance returned.
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
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.
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.
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.”
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I have been reading this talk the last few days:
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work.
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
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.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
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
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.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
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
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.
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".
OK- so faith must be based on correct knowledge.
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
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
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.
That was probably a longer explanation than you wanted- :)- I just kept going :) I hope it was clear.
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
Monday, November 3, 2008
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
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.
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).