Friday, February 27, 2009

Elder Gary J. Coleman--Are Mormons Christian?

The Restitution of All Things

In Acts, Peter speaks about a "falling away", and also speaks of a time of restitution.
"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

As we look at the world today, we certainly do see a "falling away" from the truths taught in the Bible. We see religions that have begun to deny the truthfulness of the Bible, referring to it as simply "symbolic". All around us we see confusion and disagreement between people about the nature of God. We see many who disagree about the principle of repentance. Some Christians believe repentance is crucial to our salvation, and others believe that belief in Jesus Christ is enough. All profess to be Christian, but all differ in their understanding of the Gospel. Why is it that so many churches disagree, if they all use the same Holy Bible? Is it enough to believe in Jesus Christ, without having a complete understanding of His gospel? Can both sides of the repentance issue be right? This is a very crucial question. Either we need repentance, or we don't. There is no room for gray area in this question. And who determines which way is right? Some churches believe that the Godhead are three separate beings, while some believe they are one being. Can they both be right? In my mind, this is another point that has no gray area. Either the godhead are three separate beings, united one in purpose, or they are one being made up of three entities. There is no gray area in this issue. But once again, who is to decide which belief is right? Is it enough to believe whatever we want about God, but just have faith in Jesus Christ? Wouldn't God want us to know the truth about His Gospel?

While the original apostles were alive on the earth, some of them began to notice that some of the members of the church were straying from the doctrine of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 11:18;
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Galatians 1:6-8;
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

1 Timothy 1:5-7;
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

1 Timothy 4:1-3;
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

In the 16th century, the Reformers recognized that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ had been changed. They tried to correct the damage that was done. We know this movement as the "Reformation". But what we really needed wasn't a reformation, but a restoration. Not only was the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ not on the earth, but the Priesthood authority was missing as well.

I testify that God the Father did in fact send His son "Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you" (Acts 3: 20) to fullfill the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). This restitution was brought about through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Priesthood authority was given to Joseph Smith from the now resurrected Peter, James and John. The original organization of the church was restored with prophets and apostles. The orginial gospel was restored with the correct, fullness of the Gospel. I testify that the restoration spoken of has already occurred. "2 The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth." Doctrine and Covenants 65:2 We are now in the winding up scenes preparatory for the second coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The gospel has been restored in preparation for that great day. The restitution spoken of by Peter has occurred, and has made the fullness of the gospel available to us in our day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mormon Messages

I found this Youtube channel today that posts new messages every week. It has very uplifitng videos that I think you will enjoy. You can scroll through the pictures to see different messages.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Law of Tithing

In our religion we believe in obeying the law of tithing. In the Old Testament we read,
"8 ¶ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:8-12

The very meaning of the word "tithe" is to give a tenth. From the time I was a little girl, I was taught to pay a tenth of all of my increase. I have often heard this little poem, "What is tithing? I will tell you every time. Ten cents from a dollar, and a penny from a dime." From the time I was small, I have always, to my knowledge, payed a full tithe. The reason I have been dilligent in doing this is that I was taught that if you pay your tithing, the Lord will bless you with what you need. Often teachers of mine would use an example to illustrate the importance of tithing. They would say, "If I gave you 10 pieces of candy, would you be willing to give me back one?" Of course, if a person gave us so much, we should be willing to give them back at least one. My teachers went on to explain that Heavenly Father gives us all that we have. He only asks back 10%. Pres. Marion G. Romney said, "Tithing is not a freewill offering; it is a debt, the payment of which brings great blessings." This money is used to help the needy, and to build the kingdom of God on the earth.

Some non-believers might ask, "If God is God, then why does He need your money?" In fact, God doesn't need our money. He needs our faith. It doesn't take money to pay tithing, it takes faith. We are given this principle to help us develop faith. I had a neighbor once who belonged to a different religion. She testified to me of the importance of tithing. She said that her sister always paid her tithing first so that there was never a question whether or not she had enough to pay it. This has been my practice throughout my life too.

Elder Romney goes on to say, "Through his prophets the Lord has told us that at the time of his second coming, there will be a great conflagration. Malachi thus refers to it in connection with his pronouncement about tithes and offerings.

“For, behold, the day cometh,” he said, “that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Son of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal. 4:1–2).

In Latter-day revelation we read,
"23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.
24 For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.
25 Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today." Doctrine and Covenants 64:23-25

Some jokingly refer to tithing as "fire insurance". But I like to remember the scripture quoted above that says that if we pay tithing, God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings. In fact, there will be so many blessings that we will not have room to receive it. How could it be that we have so many blessings that we can't receive them all? In my experience, this comes to pass with blessings that we don't even notice. When we pay tithing, we are blessed in ways that sometimes we don't even see the blessing. For example, we don't see that one of our household appliances lasts far longer than it should have been able to. We don't see that our family didn't get a certain illness. We don't know that we were considered for demotion, but passed over. We didn't see the car that nearly hit us.

Paying tithing in our day is much like how the children of Israel put lambs'blood on their doors at the passover. The promise to us is that if we pay our tithing, the destroying angel will pass us by. Innumerable are the blessings of paying tithing.

When Pres. Lorenzo Snow became president of the Church, he found the church in serious financial distress. “Years of persecution, unjust legislation by critics and enemies, expensive [court costs] had caused such severe financial pressures that the Church was facing financial bankruptcy. Turning to the Lord in prayer, President Snow was told to make a trip to St. George, visiting the principal settlements on the return trip. [The trip was made in 1899; St. George is three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City.] Though the purpose of the visit was not clear in light of the plea for assistance in the financial crisis, Lorenzo and selected brethren left for the southern Utah settlement” (Heidi S. Swinton, “Lorenzo Snow,” in Leonard J. Arrington, ed., The Presidents of the Church [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], p. 174). The St. George area was then suffering under a terrible drought.

While in St. George, Pres. Snow recieved a marvelous revelation. He was told that the church and the members of it would be blessed to overcome this crisis if they would pay their tithing more faithfully. He told the saints, "“The time has now come for every Latter-day Saint, who calculates to be prepared for the future and to hold his feet strong upon a proper foundation, to do the will of the Lord and to pay his tithing in full. That is the word of the Lord to you, and it will be the word of the Lord to every settlement throughout the land of Zion. After I leave you [the people in St. George] and you get to thinking about this, you will see yourselves that the time has come when every man should stand up and pay his tithing in full. The Lord has blessed us and has had mercy upon us in the past; but there are times coming when the Lord requires us to stand up and do that which He has commanded and not leave it any longer. What I say to you in this stake of Zion I will say to every stake of Zion that has been organized. There is no man or woman that now hears what I am saying who will feel satisfied if he or she fails to pay a full tithing (18 May 1899, MS, 61:533.)” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, Clyde J. Williams, comp. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984], p. 155).

Some might feel that they financially can not pay tithing. But the Lord gives us a challenge. He said, "Prove me now herewith". Test me....try it out. Many have taken this challenge and have learned again the important principle that God cannot lie. The saints in St. George received rain as a blessing of paying their tithing. In these days of drought, and economic trouble, we may wonder how paying tithing could help us with our troubles. But God has made the promise, that if we tithe, we will be blessed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Warning Voices of Modern Day Prophets and Apostles

Voices of Modern Day Prophets

The first prophet to speak in this video is Pres. Thomas S. Monson who is the current president of the church.
The next prophet to speak is Ezra Taft Benson. Pres. Ezra Taft Benson served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (1985-1994) but also had served as the secretary of agriculture under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The last prophet mentioned is Gordon B. Hinckley who served as president of the church from 1995-2008.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More About the Word Mormon

I wanted to explain a little bit about where the word "Mormon" came from. The Book of Mormon is a compilation of records kept by many ancient American prophets. The records were usually passed from father to son, with the admonition to keep the record of the people until time came to pass the record on to the next generation. You can imagine that over time, a large collection of records were amassed. One of the last Prophets, Mormon went through all of the records that had been collected and abridged them. You could think of it as a "condensed version" of all of the records that had been kept. He compiled the writings that he felt were of most worth to future generations, his purpose being to persuade all to come unto Christ. Because this was his abridgement, it was titled "The Book of Mormon". If a different Prophet had abridged it, it would most likely have been called by that prophet's name.

Here is the introduction to the Book of Mormon:

"The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto him and obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved.
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.”
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10: 3-5.)
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." From LDS church website

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Nature of God

I found this quote as I was preparing my seminary lesson today.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
"Many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy.
"We maintain that the concepts identified by such nonscriptural terms as 'the incomprehensible mystery of God' and 'the mystery of the Holy Trinity' are attributable to the ideas of Greek philosophy. These philosophical concepts transformed Christianity in the first few centuries following the deaths of the Apostles. . . .
"The consequences persist in the various creeds of Christianity, which declare a Godhead of only one being and which describe that single being or God as 'incomprehensible' and 'without body, parts, or passions.'" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 112–13; or Ensign, May 1995, 8485).

“In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 112; or Ensign, May 1995, 84).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What is a Mormon?

I have been thinking for some time that I would like to explain this term. The nickname "Mormon" is a term given to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by others. In reality, we are Christians. Using the term "Mormon" to identify us is misleading, because it leads people to think that we aren't Christian. But this is not a name we have given ourselves. In my blog, I often use the term because I know that some people will be doing internet searches of the word "Mormon", but it does not describe who we really are.

We believe in the Holy Bible, and teach and preach from it. But we also believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Just as the Bible is the testament by the peoples who lived in olden times in the Holy land, the Book of Mormon stands as a second witness by the people of the ancient Americas that Jesus is the Christ. After Jesus Christ was resurrected, He told his disciples, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." John 10:16. He then went to visit others, including the people who lived on the American continent. He showed Himself to them, and they recorded their witness that He lives, and is the Savior of the World. The Book of Mormon stands as a companion witness to the Bible of our Savior.

Because of our belief in the Book of Mormon, we have been nicknamed "Mormons". But in fact, we are Christians. We believe that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. We worship Him. We do not worship Mormon, nor do we worship the Book of Mormon. In recent years, the Church has requested that we be referred to as "Latter-Day Saints", instead of using the term "Mormon". The term, "Latter-Day Saints" is used to differentiate us from the Saints in the early church. It also reminds us that we do live in the "latter days".

We are Christians, but we are not a break off of the Christian churches that came from England at the establishment of America. We believe that our church is the restored church of Jesus Christ. We believe that an apostasy occurred after the death of the apostles, and that the organization Jesus Christ set up, with apostles and prophets, was lost from the Earth. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ restored His church to the earth, with all of the same ordinances, and organization that existed in the early church.

While I might occasionally use the word Mormon in my blog, my intention is simply to use it as a guide for those who are searching out information about our church. I also put it in my blog address for the same reason. But never forget the most important phrase from the name of our Church: "The Church of Jesus Christ". The Savior stands at the head of this church, and reveals His will for directing it to a living prophet.

I am not offended by anyone who calls me a "Mormon", because I know that there is historical reference to this term, and it helps others to know which church I am speaking of. But I hope that everyone will remember that I first and foremost am a Christian, and that I look to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Friday, February 13, 2009


This video was made by another church. I thought it was great. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Words of Modern Day Apostles and Prophets

Elder Henry B. Eyring

“When we see life as it really is, we plan for a time and a place for all of those things. There will come crises when there does not seem to be enough time. There will be many instances when one thing crowds out another. But there should never be a conscious choice to let the spiritual become secondary as a pattern in our lives. Never. That will lead to tragedy” (Education for Real Life [CES fireside for young adults, May 6, 2001], 3).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Healing Power of Christ

Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Healing Power of Christ,” Ensign, Nov 1988, 52

My brothers and sisters, let me tell you of a recent experience. We were in the city of Bacolod on the island of Negros Occidente, in the Republic of the Philippines. There, to my great surprise, I met a man I had not seen in years.

The weather was steamy hot, as it always is in Bacolod, the center of the once thriving Filipino sugar industry. My friend was in a short-sleeved white shirt with dark trousers, his shoes shined. His beautiful wife, Marva, was beside him. I said, “Victor Jex, what are you doing here?”

He smiled and replied, “We’re doing the Lord’s work. We’re helping the people. We’re missionaries.”

“Where do you live?”

“In a little house in IloIlo on the island of Panay. We came over on the ferry for the conference.”

I thought of when I had last seen them. It was a few years ago. They then lived in a beautiful home in Scarsdale, New York. He was a widely recognized and honored chemist, with a doctorate in chemical engineering. He worked for one of the big multinational companies headquartered in New York. He was credited with putting together the chemical ingredients of a product now sold around the world, the name of which is known to millions of people and the profit from which has run into many millions of dollars for his company.

He was well paid and highly respected.

He was also the president of the Yorktown stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had under his direction a corps of church workers who served faithfully in their local wards, many of whom commuted each day to and from New York City, where they held high and responsible positions in some of the great corporations of America. He was their church leader.

Now he was retired. He and his wife had sold their beautiful home, had given their children what furniture they wanted, and donated the rest to others. They had disposed of their cars and everything except their clothing, their family photographs, and their family history records. They had made themselves available to the Lord and His Church to go wherever they might be sent at their own expense. They were now in the Philippines Bacolod Mission, working among the wonderful, friendly, brown-skinned people of the area. Unemployment is high in this region, and there is much of misery. But wherever Elder and Sister Jex go, they touch for good the lives of those among whom they serve.

They are there to heal the suffering people, to teach the gospel of Christ, to give encouragement and strength and hope and faith. They are there to heal wounds of misunderstanding and contention. They are there to bless the sick and to help those with diseased bodies and frustrated minds. Their smile is infectious, their laugh a joy to hear. They are living humbly among the poor, down at the level of the people, but standing straight and tall to lift with strong hands.

This former New York executive and his charming companion are in the service of the Savior, giving their full time, their resources, and their love to bless with healing the lives of many who are discouraged and need help. Here is a retired New Yorker, a man of great learning and recognized capacity, living in a home with few conveniences, a simple little place that would fit in the living room of his former house.

He and his wife are there, with others of their kind. They are two of a band of remarkable and dedicated older missionary couples who minister to the wants of people with numerous problems. They receive no financial compensation. They pay their own way. This world’s goods mean little to them. As I said, they sold all they had when they left to come to the Philippines. They will stay for as long as they are assigned by the Church to do so. Then they want to go on another mission. They are healers among the people, serving in the cause of the Master Healer.

I have since reflected much on the power of Christ to heal and bless. It was He who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10.) In a world of sickness and sorrow, of tension and jealousy and greed, there must be much of healing if there is to be life abundant.

The prophet Malachi declared, “Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:2.)

Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled. Jesus came to earth, the Son of God, with power over life and death. He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the lame to walk, and the dead to rise. He was the man of miracles who “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38.)

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee. … And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

“When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. …

“Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

“And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.” (John 4:46–47, 50–51.)

This, the second miracle wrought by the Master, was followed by other miracles of healing.

Christ healed by the power of God which was within Him. That power He gave to His chosen disciples, saying, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 16:19.)

That same power has been restored in this generation. It came through the laying on of hands by Peter, James, and John, who received it from the Lord Himself. It was bestowed upon Joseph Smith, the prophet of this dispensation. Its presence is among us. Many of you acquainted with the history of the Church are familiar with the account related by Wilford Woodruff concerning the events of July 22, 1839. It is worthy of repetition. Nauvoo at that time was an unhealthy and swampy place. There was much of sickness. Joseph was among those who were afflicted. But being filled with the Spirit, he rose from his bed and went out among the sick, healing them and raising them. He then crossed the river to the settlement in Montrose, Iowa. I read now from the account of Elder Woodruff:

“The first house he visited was that occupied by Elder Brigham Young, the president of the quorum of the twelve, who lay sick. Joseph healed him, then he arose and accompanied the Prophet on his visit to others who were in the same condition. They visited Elder W. Woodruff, also Elders Orson Pratt and John Taylor, all of whom were living in Montrose. They also accompanied him. The next place they visited was the home of Elijah Fordham, who was supposed to be about breathing his last. When the company entered the room the Prophet of God walked up to the dying man, and took hold of his right hand and spoke to him; but Brother Fordham was unable to speak, his eyes were set in his head like glass, and he seemed entirely unconscious of all around him. Joseph held his hand and looked into his eyes in silence for a length of time. A change in the countenance of Brother Fordham was soon perceptible to all present. His sight returned, and upon Joseph asking him if he knew him, he, in a low whisper, answered, ‘Yes.’ Joseph asked him if he had faith to be healed. He answered, ‘I fear it is too late; if you had come sooner I think I would have been healed.’ The Prophet said, ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ?’ He answered in a feeble voice, ‘I do.’ Joseph then stood erect, still holding his hand in silence several moments; then he spoke in a very loud voice, saying: ‘Brother Fordham, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to arise from this bed and be made whole.’ His voice was like the voice of God, and not of man. It seemed as though the house shook to its very foundations. Brother Fordham arose from his bed and was immediately made whole. His feet were bound in poultices, which he kicked off, then putting on his clothes, he ate a bowl of bread and milk, and followed the Prophet into the street.” (As quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, rev. ed. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, pp. 223–24.)

Declared James of old: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14–15.)

That power to heal the sick is still among us. It is the power of the priesthood of God. It is the authority held by the elders of this Church.

We welcome and praise and utilize the marvelous procedures of modern medicine which have done so much to alleviate human suffering and lengthen human life. All of us are indebted to the dedicated men and women of science and medicine who have conquered so much of disease, who have mitigated pain, who have stayed the hand of death. I cannot say enough of gratitude for them.

Yet they are the first to admit the limitations of their knowledge and the imperfection of their skills in dealing with many matters of life and death. The mighty Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that in them are has given to His servants a divine power that sometimes transcends all the powers and knowledge of men. I venture to say that there is scarcely a faithful elder within the sound of my voice who could not recount instances in which this healing power has been made manifest in behalf of the sick. It is the healing power of Christ.

And there is much of sickness among us other than that of the body.

There is the sickness of sin. One of our national magazines carried an extensive review of a sacrilegious film being shown in theaters across the world. Letters poured in to the editor. I quote from one of these. Said the writer: “I am a former alcoholic and adulterer set free by the power of the living Jesus Christ.” (Time, Sept. 5, 1988, p. 7.)

Legion are those who have testified of the healing power of Christ to lift them from the desolation of sin to higher and nobler living.

There is much of another category of sickness among us. I speak of conflicts, quarrels, arguments which are a debilitating disease particularly afflicting families. If there be such problems in the homes of any within the sound of my voice, I encourage you to invite the healing power of Christ. To those to whom He spoke on the Mount, Jesus said: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. …

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matt. 5:38–41.)

The application of this principle, difficult to live but wondrous in its curative powers, would have a miraculous effect on our troubled homes. It is selfishness which is the cause of most of our misery. It is as a cankering disease. The healing power of Christ, found in the doctrine of going the second mile, would do wonders to still argument and accusation, fault-finding and evil speaking.

The same healing spirit would do wonders for the sickness of our society. The Lord has declared that it is our duty, as those blessed with the healing power of the Master, to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (D&C 81:5.)

Great is the healing capacity of those who follow the admonition given by James: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27).

We live in an environment where there is much of litigation and conflict, of suing and countersuing. Even here the powers of healing may be invoked. As a young man I worked with Elder Stephen L. Richards, then of the Council of the Twelve. When he came into the First Presidency of the Church, he asked me to assist him with a very delicate and sensitive matter. It was fraught with most grave and serious consequences. After listening to him discuss it, I said, “President Richards, you don’t want me; you want a lawyer.” He said, “I am a lawyer. I don’t want to litigate this. I want to compose it.”

We directed our efforts to that end, and wonderful results followed. Money was saved, much of it. Embarrassment was avoided. The work was moved forward without fanfare or headlines. Wounds were closed. The healing powers of the Master, the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, were invoked in a delicate and difficult situation to compose what otherwise could have become a catastrophe.

It is not always easy to live by these doctrines when our very natures impel us to fight back. For instance, there are those who have made it the mission of their lives to try to destroy this, the work of God. It has been so from the beginning of the Church, and now, in recent times, we are seeing more of it with evil accusations, falsehoods, and innuendo designed to embarrass this work and its officers. A natural inclination is to fight back, to challenge these falsehoods and bring action against their perpetrators. But when these inclinations make themselves felt, there arise also the words of the Master healer, who said:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43–44.)

Most of us have not reached that stage of compassion and love and forgiveness. It is not easy. It requires a self-discipline almost greater than we are capable of. But as we try, we come to know that there is a resource of healing, that there is a mighty power of healing in Christ, and that if we are to be His true servants we must not only exercise that healing power in behalf of others, but, perhaps more important, inwardly.

I would that the healing power of Christ might spread over the earth and be diffused through our society and into our homes, that it might cure men’s hearts of the evil and adverse elements of greed and hate and conflict. I believe it could happen. I believe it must happen. If the lamb is to lie down with the lion, then peace must overcome conflict, healing must mend injury.

Jesus of Nazareth healed the sick among whom He moved. His regenerating power is with us today to be invoked through His holy priesthood. His divine teachings, His incomparable example, His matchless life, His all-encompassing sacrifice will bring healing to broken hearts, reconciliation to those who argue and shout, even peace to warring nations if sought with humility and forgiveness and love.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, ours is a ministry of healing, with a duty to bind the wounds and ease the pain of those who suffer. Upon a world afflicted with greed and contention, upon families distressed by argument and selfishness, upon individuals burdened with sin and troubles and sorrows, I invoke the healing power of Christ, giving my witness of its efficacy and wonder. I testify of Him who is the great source of healing. He is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, “The Sun of Righteousness,” who came “with healing in his wings.” Of this I humbly testify in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Book of Mormon Sampler Feb. 2, 2009

Alma 26:11,12

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mormons Are True Fundamentalists

When we use the word "fundamentalist" in religion, we usually are referring to those who get back to the original teachings of Jesus Christ. As I have thought about this, I have come to feel that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints could be viewed in this sense. Here are LDS beliefs that I use to support this idea:

--We believe in the same organization that Jesus, Himself set up. We have apostles and prophets to guide us, with Jesus Christ being the head of the church.

--The Bible speaks of prophets, and in Amos 3:7 we read, "7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." From my understanding, ours is the only Christian church with living prophets.

--Christ chose twelve apostles to lead the church after his death. Our church today has twelve apostles. From my understanding, ours is the only Christian church with twelve living apostles. It is the same organization that Jesus set in place.

--In Bible times, men wrote scripture as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. Today in our church, prophets also write scripture as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. According to my understanding, ours is the only Christian church with modern day scripture.

--In Ezekiel 37: 16-19 we read,
"16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 ¶ And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
The Book of Mormon is the "stick of Joseph" spoken of. It is the record of the descendants of Joseph. They lived in the Americas. They also saw and bore record of the resurrected Christ. The Book of Mormon stands as a second witness that Jesus is the Christ, and that He lives. Ours is the only Christian church that has the "stick of Joseph" spoken of in this scripture.

--We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We do not believe that it is only symbolic. We believe that what it records is true. Moses did, in fact, part the Red Sea. God did, in fact, create the Earth. The trend today among many is to believe that the Bible is only symbolic, not a factual account. We, however, believe the Bible.

--In ancient Israel, the people built a temple, and performed sacred ordinances there. We today, in our church also have temples and perform these same important saving ordinances.

--1 Corinthians 15:29 says, " 29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Clearly, baptism for the dead was performed in ancient times. Baptism for the dead is one of the sacred ordinances that we perform in our temples today.

--We believe in baptism by immersion, just as Jesus himself was baptized.

I think I could write much more to make my case, but I think from the above points, you can see why I feel that Mormons should be considered among the truest of fundamentalists.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sanctity of Life

When I became pregnant with my first child, I wasn't prepared for the morning sickness that came with the pregnancy. I was sick all day, every day. I was very nauseous, and wasn't able to function very well. I was a student in college, and had classes to attend. I had a jobbing teaching at the missionary training center. I also had church responsibilities. It was very difficult for me to be nauseous and fulfill all of my responsibilities.

I couldn't keep up the pace, so resigned myself that I had to quit my job. I still had classes to attend, so I would take food along and eat during class to try to keep from getting sick. It was all I could do to finish the semester. A Japanese family lived in the basement apartment below us, and often would burn garlic while cooking. I would actually start to cry when I smelled that smell because I knew that it would make me vomit.

I remember praying to God and telling Him that if He would only bless me to feel better, I would be able to do many important things. I would be better able to serve others. I thought my rationalization was good. I couldn't understand why I couldn't be pregnant and feel good at the same time. Although I prayed for help to feel better, I didn't overcome the morning sickness. In fact, I was sick with every one of my babies. But now as I look back on that time, I realize that the lessons I learned from being sick were invaluable. I learned better to sympathize with others who suffer. I knew what it felt like to be sick for months. I learned what kinds of service to offer others who have long term illness. Today as I pondered on that experience in my life, another lesson came to my mind.

While I was that young mother importuning God to help me feel better, I was very inward looking. Today as I thought back on that experience, I thought of that baby that I carried. She is now a Junior in college, and is a bright, beautiful, energetic 21 year old young woman. What I did for those 9+ months was more than endure a pregnancy and morning sickness. What I did during those months was create a human life. I thought back then that serving others was surely a noble desire, and that surely God would agree and take away my illness. But now as I look at my grown daughter, I realize that creating a human life, and nurturing it and teaching that child right from wrong is the greatest of all human endeavors. It came home to me that women in general underestimate their worth. They underestimate the value of motherhood. They under value the opportunity to create life.

There are those who will argue that their body is their own, and they should have the right to choose whether or not to carry a baby. Anyone who would willfully abort a human life does not realize that once you create that life, no matter how small, you are under sacred obligation to nurture it and help it to live. A pregnant woman's body is no longer simply her own. She is a host for another life. This might seem a burden to some, but for me, it is a great honor. Would that the people of this planet would hold in higher esteem the value of mothers and the value of the opportunity to give life.

Quotes from Modern Day Prophets and Apostles Feb 3, 2009

President Spencer W. Kimball

“Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough. It takes persistence and dedication of one’s life” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 389–90).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jeffrey R. Holland, "Lessons From Liberty Jail"

This talk was given at a church educational system fireside. I recently listened to it on television and wanted to make it available for you here. I will post part of it, and then the link for you if you want to read the rest.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
CES Fireside for Young Adults • September 7, 2008 • Brigham Young University

Lessons from Liberty Jail

My beloved young friends, it is a thrill for Sister Holland and for me to be with you tonight for this worldwide satellite broadcast. It’s always a thrill to be in the Marriott Center. I wish it were possible for us to be in each of your individual locations, seeing you personally and being able to shake your hands. We haven’t figured out a way to do that yet, but we send our love and greeting to all of you wherever you are in the world. In spite of the vastness of our global audience, we hope all of you are individually able to feel the love we have for you tonight and that each of you can gain something from our message that is applicable in your personal lives.

The Prophet in Liberty Jail
One of the great blessings of our assignments as General Authorities is the chance to visit members of the Church in various locations around the world and to glean from the history that our members have experienced across the globe. In that spirit I wish to share with you tonight some feelings that came to me during a Church assignment I had last spring when I was assigned to visit the Platte City stake in western Missouri, here in the United States.

The Platte City Missouri Stake lies adjacent to the Liberty Missouri Stake, now a very famous location in Church history encompassing several important Church history sites, including the ironically named Liberty Jail. From your study of Church history, you will all know something of the experience the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brethren had while imprisoned in that facility during the winter of 1838–39. This was a terribly difficult time in our history for the Church generally and certainly for the Prophet Joseph himself, who bore the brunt of the persecution in that period. Indeed, I daresay that until his martyrdom five and a half years later, there was no more burdensome time in Joseph’s life than this cruel, illegal, and unjustified incarceration in Liberty Jail.

Time does not permit a detailed discussion of the experiences that led up to this moment in Church history, but suffice it to say that problems of various kinds had been building ever since the Prophet Joseph had received a revelation in July of 1831 designating Missouri as the place “consecrated for the gathering of the saints” and the building up of “the city of Zion” (D&C 57:1, 2). By October of 1838, all-out war seemed inevitable between Mormon and non-Mormon forces confronting each other over these issues. After being driven from several of the counties in the western part of that state and under the presumption they had been invited to discuss ways of defusing the volatile situation that had developed, five leaders of the Church, including the Prophet Joseph, marching under a flag of truce, approached the camp of the Missouri militia near the small settlement of Far West, located in Caldwell County.

As it turned out, the flag of truce was meaningless, and the Church leaders were immediately put in chains and placed under heavy guard. The morning after this arrest, two more Latter-day Saint leaders, including the Prophet’s brother Hyrum, were taken prisoner, making a total of seven in captivity.

Injustice swiftly moved forward toward potential tragedy when a military “court” convened by officers of that militia ordered that Joseph Smith and the six other prisoners all be taken to the public square at Far West and summarily shot. To his eternal credit, Brigadier General Alexander Doniphan, an officer in the Missouri forces, boldly and courageously refused to carry out the inhumane, unjustifiable order. In a daring stand that could have brought him his own court-martial, he cried out against the commanding officer: “It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order. . . . And if you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God.”1

In showing such courage and integrity, Doniphan not only saved the lives of these seven men but endeared himself forever to Latter-day Saints in every generation.

Their execution averted, these seven Church leaders were marched on foot from Far West to Independence, then from Independence to Richmond. Parley P. Pratt was remanded to nearby Daviess County for trial there, and the other six prisoners, including Joseph and Hyrum, were sent to Liberty, the county seat of neighboring Clay County, to await trial there the next spring. They arrived in Liberty on December 1, 1838, just as winter was coming on.

The jail, one of the few and certainly one of the more forbidding of such structures in that region, was considered escape proof, and it probably was. It had two stories. The top or main floor was accessible to the outside world only by a single small, heavy door. In the middle of that floor was a trapdoor through which prisoners were then lowered into the lower floor or dungeon. The outside walls of the prison were of rough-hewn limestone two feet thick, with inside walls of 12-inch oak logs. These two walls were separated by a 12-inch space filled with loose rock. Combined, these walls made a formidable, virtually impenetrable barrier four feet thick.

In the dungeon the floor-to-ceiling height was barely six feet, and inasmuch as some of the men, including the Prophet Joseph, were over six feet tall, this meant that when standing they were constantly in a stooped position, and when lying it was mostly upon the rough, bare stones of the prison floor covered here and there by a bit of loose, dirty straw or an occasional dirty straw mat.

The food given to the prisoners was coarse and sometimes contaminated, so filthy that one of them said they “could not eat it until [they] were driven to it by hunger.”2 On as many as four occasions they had poison administered to them in their food, making them so violently ill that for days they alternated between vomiting and a kind of delirium, not really caring whether they lived or died. In the Prophet Joseph’s letters, he spoke of the jail being a “hell, surrounded with demons . . . where we are compelled to hear nothing but blasphemous oaths, and witness a scene of blasphemy, and drunkenness and hypocrisy, and debaucheries of every description.”3 “We have . . . not blankets sufficient to keep us warm,” he said, “and when we have a fire, we are obliged to have almost a constant smoke.”4 “Our souls have been bowed down”5 and “my nerve trembles from long confinement.”6 “Pen, or tongue, or angels,” Joseph wrote, could not adequately describe “the malice of hell” that he suffered there.7 And all of this occurred during what, by some accounts, was considered then the coldest winter on record in the state of Missouri.

It is not my purpose to make this a speech about the sorrow and difficulty these men confronted in Liberty Jail, so let me put a few photos on the screen and conclude this little introductory portion of my message. I promise I have something else in mind to say.

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