Thursday, October 30, 2008

Intelligence Quotient

I was thinking today about the I.Q. test. I've never formally taken the test, although I have taken several online versions that all came up with roughly the same results. My husband took the test as a child, and then again as an adult. His intelligence quotient is much higher than mine. I can attest to his intellectual superiority because as I have lived with him over the past 21+ years, I have seen that his capacity to learn is definitely greater than mine. He has the ability to remember details, and put them all together in a way that I haven't yet mastered. He has a greater capacity for thinking deeply about things, and a greater capacity for understanding what he has learned.

In past years, I learned that scientists have begun to consider a new type of intelligence. They have forumlated the idea of and emotional intelligence. This type of intelligence rings true in my brain, and I feel that my emotional I.Q. is much higher than my husband's. He is a kind and patient person, but he has a lower capacity for understanding relationships or emotions. What may be judged as insensitivity by others, is just a lack of E.Q. on his part.

I do believe that both I.Q. and E.Q. can be strengthened. I have seen that as I have taken classes, my ability to learn has improved, and my capacity for thinking has improved. I don't know that I could increase it by leaps and bounds, but I do think my intelligence has been heightened through learning.

Today I was thinking about how science views religion. It is becoming increasingly unpolitically correct to be religious. Science looks at the hard facts. Science wants proof. Science only can accept what can be reasonably proven. In addition, it is becoming more and more difficult for religious people to keep their faith under the scrutiny of their college professors. The Bible isn't hard core proof of God's existence, or even of the creation of the world. There are some other records that substantiate that a person named Jesus existed, but there is no scientific proof that He was the son of God.

As I thought about these issues, it occurred to me that there could be what is considered a third kind of intelligence. I propose that there is such a thing as Spiritual Intelligence. For those who have had spiritual experiences, there is no doubt that there is a God, or that the Bible is true. In the same way that Emotional intelligence can't quite be quantified by science, Spiritual intelligence can't either. But for those who have had specific answers to prayers, and unmistakable spiritual experiences, Spiritual intelligence is a very real occurrence. Just because science hasn't been able to prove the existence of a God, or of spiritual experiences, doesn't mean they don't exist. It only means that science is limited in it's ability. Even scientists will admit that some things can't be absolutely proven, so we move forward according to hypotheses.

The problem with increasing spiritual intelligence is that it requires faith. Those who "slack off" in their pursuit of spirituality, will lose the ground they have gained in the same way that someone who stops working out loses muscle tone. Those who are spiritually weak find it hard to even begin a spiritual journey. Many can't adjust their mind to accept that some things can be true, even if they can't be proven by science.

The problem with relying solely upon science to believe in a thing is that science is limited. As God has said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 How does an omnipotent, omniscient being explain to lowly mortals how the world was created? He explains it in simple terms, and waits for the day when the mortals are in a position in the hereafters to give the specifics in a way they can understand. In addition, all of us "Star Trek" fans understand the meaning of the "prime directive". God can't give us too many details about some things, or it would cheat us of the opportunity to develop and learn them for ourselves.

While science has it's place, and should be studied by us all to help us to understand this world of ours, we cannot discount things that can't as yet be proven. We also can't assume that science has all of the answers. Science cannot be our religion, for spirituality and science are different kinds of intelligence. Those who can be spiritual in their pursuit of knowledge allow God the opportunity to inspire and direct them in to all truth.

Pumpkins

Just in time for Halloween, I got this email:

A woman was asked by a coworker,

'What is it like to be a Christian?'

The coworker replied, 'It is like being a pumpkin.'


God picks you from the patch, brings you in,


and washes all the dirt off of you.


Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed.


Then He carves you a new smiling face and


puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.'

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LDS Statement about Marriage

I ran across this link while reading a family member's blog. This says everything that I believe about marriage, and that I feel in my most inner soul to be true. In part, it says, "Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. After creating Adam and Eve, the Lord God pronounced them husband and wife, of which Adam said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” [1] Jesus Christ cited Adam’s declaration when he affirmed the divine origins of the marriage covenant: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.” [2]


Click here to read the full article.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Words of Modern Day Prophets and Apostles

Heber C. Kimball:

"To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right and call upon the Lord and cease not till you obtain it. If you do not you will not stand. . . .
"The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. . . .
"If you don't have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall" (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 3rd ed. [1967], 450).

Latter-Day Saint Voices

I decided I wanted to start a new series of posts that give personal stories of latter-day Saints. The following story was published in the Ensign magazine.

Samaritan with a Screwdriver
By Heidi Bartle


I was busy gathering my things after teaching a Mia Maid lesson, and my husband, Garry, stood in the back of the room holding our one-year-old boy. Our three-year-old son, Zach, slipped past us into the crowded hall and followed someone toward the meetinghouse doors. Because my husband and I each thought the other had Zach, it took us a few minutes to realize he was missing.

Just as we realized he was gone, Zach appeared at the end of the hall. But something was wrong. His cheeks were red, he had tears streaming down his face, and he was clutching his right hand. Our bishop, who was ushering him toward us, looked concerned. A pit of guilt settled in my stomach. My son had gotten hurt, and I hadn’t been there to help him.

The bishop had heard Zach’s urgent cries and had hurried to his aid. Zach’s predicament was immediately clear, but the solution was not. His fingers had become wedged between the heavy outer door and its frame. Opening or closing the door only exacerbated the injury; the swing of the door further pinched his fingers and pulled his hand, causing significant pain.

As the bishop and a couple in the ward frantically tried to figure out how they could release Zach’s fingers, a brother from another ward that met in our building saw what was happening. He took a screwdriver from his pocket and inserted it into the space between the door and its frame. Then, using the screwdriver as a lever, he widened the gap enough to release Zach.

Amid sighs of relief, the brother explained that as he prepared for Sunday services that morning, he experienced what seemed like an odd prompting to bring a screwdriver to church. The impression was so strong and clear that he slipped the tool into the pocket of his dress pants.

This kind act of service resulting from heavenly inspiration touched me deeply and filled my heart with gratitude. Heavenly Father was watching over my three-year-old boy and prompted a good brother to respond.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book of Mormon Sampler October 25, 2008

Moroni 7:16,17

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"The Brain Won't Vomit Back Filth"

In seminary today we were studying Mark 7:1-15 where the Pharisees came and criticized Jesus' disciples for eating with unwashed hands. Jesus replied to them, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." (verse 15).

The lesson included a quote by Elder Dallin H. Oaks: ""The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won't vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life" (Things Theyre Saying, New Era, Feb. 1974, 18).

It's a sobering thought to realize that our brain is a permanent recording device. It does not have the power to purge itself of memories. We can, however, purge ourselves spirituallly. Many say that faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation, and that we are not in need of repentance. But I know first hand the blessing that true repentance can bring to a person's soul. The ability to purge ourselves spiritually of the things that we have done that are wrong helps us to heal. Repentance requires action on our part. But through the grace of our Savior, if we do all that we can to rid our lives of that which "defileth" us, we can be forgiven. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". Isaiah 1:18

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Will Same Sex Marriage Really Hurt Anyone Else?

I often hear the argument "Same sex marriage doesn't hurt anyone, so why oppose it?". This is about more than just allowing same gender couples to marry. By redefining the word "marriage", certain religious beliefs would be at stake.

For more information, please watch this video.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Apostasy and Restoration

The Prophet Amos prophesied, "11 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:" Amos 8:11 Has this famine happened? Others prophesied of this "falling away" also. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" 1 Thess. 2:3. Another term for this falling away is the apostasy.

In the ancient church, the Priesthood of God was conferred upon men by one holding the authority, by the laying on of hands. Jesus called His Apostles, and ordained them to the Priesthood. They then had the authority to act in His name. Through the Priesthood which they held, they also healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out evil spirits. But after the crucifixion of Jesus, the apostles began to experience persecution. With time, they were each killed. Then came what Paul had prophesied; a falling away from the truth that Jesus had established.

It's no wonder that the period of time following the apostasy is known as the "Dark ages". Without the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and without the Priesthood of God on the Earth, the world was in spiritual darkness. In addition, the ordinances were changed, and much of the knowledge was lost. In speaking of these ordinances and teachings that were changed, Pres. James E. Faust taught, "Among these were baptism by immersion; receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; the nature of the Godhead—that They are three distinct personages; all mankind will be resurrected through the Atonement of Christ, "both … the just and the unjust"; continuous revelation—that the heavens are not closed; and temple work for the living and the dead.." (James E. Faust, "The Restoration of All Things," Ensign, May 2006, 61–62, 67–68) During this time of apostasy, the Bible was preserved, although it came at great cost on the part of those who strove to preserve it. In addition, some of the "plain and precious" parts were lost.

Not only were the ordinances changed, and truths lost, the Priesthood of God was also lost. Pres. James E.Faust taught, "In the centuries that followed, religious men came to recognize that there had been a gradual falling away from the Church organized by Jesus Christ. Some of them suffered greatly for their beliefs, in what came to be called the Reformation, a sixteenth-century movement that aimed at reforming Western Christianity. This resulted in the separation of the Protestant churches from the main Christian church.
Among these reformers was the Reverend John Lathrop, vicar of the Egerton Church in Kent, England. Incidentally, the Prophet Joseph Smith was descended from John Lathrop. In 1623 the Reverend Lathrop resigned his position because he questioned the authority of the Anglican church to act in the name of God. As he read the Bible, he recognized that apostolic keys were not on the earth. In 1632 he became the minister of an illegal independent church and was put in prison. His wife died while he was in prison, and his orphaned children pleaded with the bishop for his release. The bishop agreed to release Lathrop on condition that he leave the country. This he did, and with 32 members of his congregation he sailed to America.
Roger Williams, a seventeenth-century pastor who founded Rhode Island, refused to continue as pastor in Providence on the grounds that there was "no regularly-constituted Church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance; nor could there be, until new apostles were sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming he was seeking." (James E. Faust, "The Restoration of All Things," Ensign, May 2006, 61–62, 67–68)

Because of this condition of the world, a restoration of the Gospel was needed. Peter prophesied of a restoration. He taught, 19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21)

In 1830 the fullness of the Gospel was restored through Joseph Smith. In addition, the Book of Mormon was translated and helped to restore many of the plain and precious truths that had been lost from the Bible. The same organization that had existed in the early church was also restored through Joseph Smith. The Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days was restored with a foundation of apostles and prophets who lead the church by revelation. Ancient temple ordinances were also restored.

What you will find in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not only the restored organization of the early church, or the ordinances of the Gospel, or the truths that were lost from the scriptures anciently, but you will find on-going revelation to help us through these troubling times. You will also find that the more you learn, the more the pieces all fit together. You will find the fullness Gospel, restored in all its glory.

The Ministry of Angels

Elder Jeffrey Holland is perhaps my most favorite speaker. He was president of BYU when I was a student there. This is a wonderful talk about angels in our lives.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catholic Vote 2008

What a wonderful presentation about the importance of preserving the values upon which this nation was built.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mormon Prophets: God Lives. Beliefs from Prophets, Mormons

Think Same Sex Marriage Won't Hurt Anyone? Read On...

NPR.org, June 13, 2008

When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

· In recent years, some states have passed laws giving residents the right to same-sex unions in various forms. Gay couples may marry in Massachusetts and California. There are civil unions and domestic partnerships in Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Oregon. Other states give more limited rights.

Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group's view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, "parachurch" organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued — and so far, the religious groups are losing. Here are a few cases:

Adoption services: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill "condoning discrimination" — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.

Housing: In New York City, Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a school under Orthodox Jewish auspices, banned same-sex couples from its married dormitory. New York does not recognize same-sex marriage, but in 2001, the state's highest court ruled Yeshiva violated New York City's ban on sexual orientation discrimination. Yeshiva now allows all couples in the dorm.

Parochial schools: California Lutheran High School, a Protestant school in Wildomar, holds that homosexuality is a sin. After the school suspended two girls who were allegedly in a lesbian relationship, the girls' parents sued, saying the school was violating the state's civil rights act protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination. The case is before a state judge.

Medical services: A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women's Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state's civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman's right to medical treatment will trump the doctor's religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business.

Psychological services: A mental health counselor at North Mississippi Health Services refused therapy for a woman who wanted help in improving her lesbian relationship. The counselor said doing so would violate her religious beliefs. The counselor was fired. In March 2001, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided with the employer, ruling that the employee's religious beliefs could not be accommodated without causing undue hardship to the company.

Civil servants: A clerk in Vermont refused to perform a civil union ceremony after the state legalized them. In 2001, in a decision that side-stepped the religious liberties issue, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that he did not need to perform the ceremony because there were other civil servants who would. However, the court did indicate that religious beliefs do not allow employees to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Adoption services: A same-sex couple in California applied to Adoption Profiles, an Internet service in Arizona that matches adoptive parents with newborns. The couple's application was denied based on the religious beliefs of the company's owners. The couple sued in federal district court in San Francisco. The two sides settled after the adoption company said it will no longer do business in California.

Wedding services: A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination. It ordered her to pay the lesbian couple's legal fees ($6,600). The photographer is appealing.

Wedding facilities: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. The division ruled that the boardwalk property was open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. In the interim, the state's Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association's tax benefits. The case is ongoing.

Youth groups: The city of Berkeley, Calif., requested that the Sea Scouts (affiliated with the Boy Scouts) formally agree to not discriminate against gay men in exchange for free use of berths in the city's marina. The Sea Scouts sued, claiming this violated their beliefs and First Amendment right to the freedom to associate with other like-minded people. In 2006, the California Supreme Court ruled against the youth group. In San Diego, the Boy Scouts lost access to the city-owned aquatic center for the same reason. While these cases do not directly involve same-sex unions, they presage future conflicts about whether religiously oriented or parachurch organizations may prohibit, for example, gay couples from teaching at summer camp. In June 2008, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to review the Boy Scouts' leases. Meanwhile, the mayor's office in Philadelphia revoked the Boy Scouts' $1-a-year lease for a city building.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Master of Our Souls

Max's post "The Deed to the Soul" prompted this response by me, and I thought it would be nice to also share the following two poems on my own blog.

INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

from http://www.bartleby.com/103/7.html

ANSWER TO INVICTUS by Orson F. Whitney

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?


Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear.—
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?


Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.


Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth!
Who gave that place to thee?


Free will is thine—free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.


Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of Life’s great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

(Improvement Era, May 1926, p. 611.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LDS Views of Proposition 8

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has produced a video that explains our position on proposition 8, which would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Click here to view it.

How Am I Driving?

I was following a truck today that had a phone number painted on the back with the question, "How am I driving?" I had heard once of a company that helps parents keep an eye on their teenagers with a bumper sticker that also has a number printed and requests that people call in if the teenager is seen driving improperly. The parents then get a regular report of any complaints made about their teenager. As I watched the truck in front of me today, I wished that there were some kind of number I could call if people behave badly; a sort of "1-800-how am I acting".

What people don't realize is that we are the sum existence of our thoughts and actions. Who we are as people, shows in our countenances. If a person lives a good
life, it shows. In contrast, if a person does evil, it shows on their countenance.

Once when my children were small, our family was travelling through Nevada and needed to stop for gas. We don't gamble, drink, or smoke, and in general dont' feel comfortable in places where those things are found. But as my mother always said, "Any port in a storm", so we stopped at a Casino for gas and a bathroom break.

My smallest child was asleep in the car seat, and I didn't want to wake him. I suggested to my husband that he start filling up the car while I took our daughter to the restroom. That way he could watch our youngest, and the car. When I came back, I would switch with him, and he would take our son to the restroom. Plan in place, I took my daughter and walked through the casino to the bathroom. As we walked, we passed many slot machines with glazed eyed people sitting shoving money in to the slot. There was a thick cloud of smoke hung over the room. Not wanting to be exposed to that any longer than possible, I hurried straight to the restroom. As we were walking, we passed an open room with a pool table inside. There were three men standing around as if they were waiting for someone to come play a game with them. They were dressed in suits, and I got the feeling that they worked for the Casino. One man in particular caught my attention. Something about him gave me a feeling that he was an evil man. It wasn't the way he was dressed; he was wearing very nice clothes and was well groomed. It wasn't something he said, he sat in silence. To this day, I can't put my finger on any particular thing I saw that told me he was evil, I just felt it. The feeling I got from him was so strong, that I hurried past as quickly as I could.

Back at the car, my husband then took my son in for their turn at the restroom. Soon they returned, but as my husband got in to the car, we said, almost simultaneously to each other, "Did you see that man?". I hadn't told him what I had seen, he had experienced it for himself. But to this day, my husband and I can remember the feeling we had as we looked on that man's countenance.

The Book of Mormon contains a scripture that questions us about where we are spiritually. It poses a sort of "How am I acting?" question to us. In Alma 5:14 it asks the questions: "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" It is a true principle that "For as (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he". (Prov. 23:7) The measure of our discipleship to our Lord, Jesus Christ, is found in how much we are like Him. As the Savior said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)

How I hope that some day I can rid myself of those things that keep me from having the Savior's image engraven on my countenance. I hope that I will become the kind of person who, when others look at me, will see by my actions, and countenance that I am a follower of Christ.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Noah's Ark Replica















A Dutch contractor built a replica of Noah's ark to demonstrate his faith in the literal nature of the Bible. This is a really impressive work! You can read more about it by clicking here. In these days of religious wavering about the veracity of the Bible, it's comforting to know that there are still Christians who believe the Bible to be true, and don't explain it away to satisfy logic and science.

General Conference

I noticed that many visiting my blog have been looking for a way to view conference. You can go to this link to listen to it on the internet.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Book of Mormon Sampler October 4, 2008

Moroni 7: 21,22,25,27,29,30,36,37
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.
22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.
25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, 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.
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

Semi-Annual General Conference October 2008

Today, October 4th, and tomorrow, October 5th, the Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be broadcast on BYU television at the following times:
Saturday: 10:00 am-12:00 pm mountain time, 2:00-4:00 pm Mountain time
Sunday: 10:00 am -12:00 pm mountain time, 2:00-400 pm Mountain time

This is a great opportunity to listen to our Prophet, Apostles, and other Church leaders. I hope if you have satellite television, that you will take the time to listen to some of the conference.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book of Mormon Sampler October 2, 2008

Alma 5:14,26

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Miracles

"The greatest miracles I see today are not necessarily the healing of sick bodies, but the greatest miracles I see are the healing of sick souls" (President Harold B. Lee in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 178; or Ensign, July 1973, 123).

Protect Marriage

Click here to see an important video about the ramifications of legalizing same sex marriage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Feeling the Spirit

After reading Ruth's post about charismatic experiences, I decided I wanted to write a post about my experiences with feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost. I have had numerous experiences, far too many to recount here. I also am sure that many I have forgotten over the 47 years of my life. But I want to try to give an overall picture of my experience feeling the spirit.

In our religion, we are baptized at what is referred to as the "age of accountability", being 8 years old. We believe that at 8, children have begun to understand the difference between right and wrong, and are in a position to understand the commitment of baptism, and of obeying the commandments. In connection with this ordinance we also receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, through the authority of the holy priesthood. Being young when I was baptized, I grew up being accustomed to feeling the spirit. For me, it was just the way life was, and I knew no other way. However, as a young adult, I began to wonder if I truly had ever had a "witness" of my own. I had always loved teaching others about my beliefs, so I decided to serve a mission for my church. But that question still hung over me; "Had I ever had a witness?"

I"m not sure what kind of a witness I expected. Maybe I thought it would be something as grand as angels with trumpets descending to herald in the good news. Maybe I thought I would be overcome and fall to the ground as I had seen some on television do. I had one friend from another religion who believed that unless you spoke in tongues, you couldn't say that you had received the Holy Ghost. This teaching wasn't part of my religion, so I didn't expect that. We do believe in the gift of tongues, but we believe there are many other ways in which the spirit is manifest. I didn't quite know what to expect, but I knew that I hadn't seen angels, or had any extraordinary miracle occur to witness to me. But then one day I asked myself if I had ever felt the influence of the spirit. I realized that I had felt it many, many times, although it was more like what the Prophet Elijah experienced. The word of the Lord came to Elijah, "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." 1 Kings 19:11,12 The feeling I had, had been much more like that of a still small voice. I realized that as I had read the Book of Mormon, as I had read the Bible, as I had prayed, I had often felt the spirit testifying to me that they were true. As I bore my testimony to others, I had often had a strong witness from the Holy Ghost that the witness I had shared was true.

After this realization, I began to pay more attention to the feelings I had when reading or praying or teaching. I realized that I had felt the Spirit often, but had not recognized it as such. It had been such an integral part of my life from the time I was young, that I didn't realize what it was. Since that time, I have learned how to listen more closely, and have received even greater witnesses and feelings. I have had what modern scripture refers to as a "burning in the bosom", or a sure witness.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts that I posess. Not only does it help me to know the truth of all things, but it inspires and guides me to what I should say and do. I have been warned, comforted, and guided by the Spirit throughout my life. I am so grateful for this gift from God that has truly been a comforting companion to me.