Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book of Mormon Sampler: 2 Nephi 2:28,27

2 Nephi 2:26,27

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer W. Kimball 12th President of the Church

“People who are concerned about the prosperity of the wicked are sometimes blinded to their own weaknesses yet magnify greatly the errors of others. ... The wicked may prosper for a time, the rebellious may seem to profit by their transgressions, but the time is coming when, at the bar of justice, all men will be judged, ‘every man according to their works.’ ( Rev. 20:13 .) No one will ‘get by’ with anything. On that day no one will escape the penalty of his deeds, no one will fail to receive the blessings he has earned” ( The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 304–5).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Profile of a Prophet

This is one of the "gospel classics" of LDS talks, given by the apostle, Hugh B. Brown

"I should like to be for a few minutes a witness in support of the proposition that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in our day and that this is His Church, which was organized under His direction through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I should like to give some reasons for the faith I have and for my allegiance to the Church. Perhaps I can do this more quickly by referring to an interview I had in London, England, in 1939, just before the outbreak of [World War II]. I had met a very prominent English gentleman, a member of the House of Commons, formerly one of the justices of the Supreme Court of England. In my conversations with this gentleman on various subjects, “vexations of the soul” he called them, we talked about business and law, about politics, international relations and war, and we frequently discussed religion. He called me on the phone one day and asked if I would meet him at his office and explain some phases of the gospel. He said: “I think there is going to be a war. If there is, you will have to return to America, and we may not meet again.” His statement regarding the imminence of war and the possibility that we would not meet again proved to be prophetic. When I went to his office, he said he was intrigued by some things I had told him. He asked me to prepare a brief on Mormonism … and discuss it with him as I would discuss a legal problem.

He said: “You have told me that you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. You have said to me that you believe that God the Father and Jesus of Nazareth appeared to Joseph Smith. I cannot understand how a barrister and solicitor from Canada, a man trained in logic and evidence, could accept such absurd statements. What you tell me about Joseph Smith seems fantastic, but I think you should take three days at least to prepare a brief and permit me to examine it and question you on it.”

I suggested that we proceed at once and have an examination for discovery, which is briefly a meeting of opposing sides in a lawsuit where the plaintiff and defendant, with their attorneys, meet to examine each other’s claims and see if they can find some area of agreement, thus saving the time of the court later on. I said perhaps we could see whether we had some common ground from which we could discuss my “fantastic” ideas. He agreed to that quite readily.

I can only give you, in the few minutes at my disposal, a condensed and abbreviated synopsis of the three-hour conversation which followed. In the interest of time I shall resort to the question-and-answer method rather than narration. I began by asking, “May I proceed, sir, on the assumption that you are a Christian?”

“I am.”

“I assume you believe in the Bible—the Old and New Testament?”

“I do!”

“Do you believe in prayer?”

“I do!”

“You say that my belief that God spoke to a man in this age is fantastic and absurd?”

“To me, it is.”

“Do you believe that God ever did speak to anyone?”

“Certainly. All through the Bible we have evidence of that.”

“Did He speak to Adam?”


“To Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and on through the prophets?”

“I believe He spoke to each of them.”

“Do you believe that contact between God and man ceased when Jesus appeared on the earth?”

“No, such communication reached its climax, its apex at that time.”

“Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God?”

“He was.”

“Do you believe, sir, that after Jesus was resurrected a certain lawyer, who was also a tent maker by the name of Saul of Tarsus, when on his way to Damascus, talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, resurrected, and had ascended into heaven?”

“I do.”

“Whose voice did Saul hear?”

“It was the voice of Jesus Christ, for He so introduced Himself.”

“Then, … I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard procedure in Bible times for God to talk to man.”

“I think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first century of the Christian era.”

“Why do you think it stopped?”

“I can’t say.”

“You think that God hasn’t spoken since then?”

“I am sure He hasn’t.”

“There must be a reason; can you give me a reason?”

“I do not know.”

“May I suggest some possible reasons: perhaps God does not speak to man anymore because He cannot. He has lost the power.”

He said, “Of course that would be blasphemous.”

“Well, then, if you don’t accept that, perhaps He doesn’t speak to men because He doesn’t love us anymore. He is no longer interested in the affairs of men.”

“No,” he said, “God loves all men, and He is no respecter of persons.”

“Well, then, if He could speak and if He loves us, then the only other possible answer, as I see it, is that we don’t need Him. We have made such rapid strides in science, we are so well educated, that we don’t need God anymore.”

And then he said, and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war: “Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why He doesn’t speak.”

My answer was: “He does speak. He has spoken, but men need faith to hear Him.”

Then we proceeded to prepare what I may call a “profile of a prophet.” … We agreed, between us, that the following characteristics should distinguish a man who claims to be a prophet.

A. He will boldly claim that God [has] spoken to him.

B. Any man so claiming would be a dignified man with a dignified message; no table-jumping, no whisperings from the dead, no clairvoyance, but an intelligent statement of truth.

C. Any man claiming to be a prophet of God would declare his message without any fear and without making any weak concessions to public opinion.

D. If he were speaking for God, he could not make concessions although what he taught would be new and contrary to the accepted teachings of the day. A prophet bears witness to what he has seen and heard and seldom tries to make a case by argument. His message and not himself is important.

E. Such a man would speak in the name of the Lord, saying, “Thus saith the Lord,” as did Moses, Joshua, and others.

F. Such a man would predict future events in the name of the Lord, and they would come to pass, as did Isaiah and Ezekiel.

G. He would have not only an important message for his time but often a message for all future time, such as Daniel, Jeremiah, and others had.

H. He would have courage and faith enough to endure persecution and to give his life, if need be, for the cause he espoused, such as Peter, Paul, and others did.

I. Such a man would denounce wickedness fearlessly. He would generally be rejected or persecuted by the people of his time, but later generations, the descendants of his persecutors, would build monuments in his honor.

J. He would be able to do superhuman things, things that no man could do without God’s help. The consequence or result of his message and work would be convincing evidence of his prophetic calling. “By their fruits ye shall know them” [Matt. 7:20].

K. His teachings would be in strict conformity with scripture, and his words and his writings would become scripture. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21).

Now, I have given but an outline which you can fill in and amplify and then measure and judge the Prophet Joseph Smith by the work and stature of other prophets.

As a student of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith for more than 50 years, I say to you … , by these standards Joseph Smith qualifies as a prophet of God.

I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God because he talked like a prophet. He was the first man since the Apostles of Jesus Christ were slain to make the claim which prophets have always made, [namely,] that God had spoken to him. He lived and died like a prophet. I believe he was a prophet of God because he gave to this world some of the greatest of all revelations. I believe that he was a prophet of God because he predicted many things which have come to pass, things which only God could bring to pass.

John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, declared, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” [Rev. 19:10]. If Joseph Smith had the testimony of Jesus, he had the spirit of prophecy, and if he had the spirit of prophecy, he was a prophet. I submit to you, and I submitted to my friend, that as much as any man who ever lived he had a testimony of Jesus, for, like the Apostles of old, he saw Him and heard Him speak. He gave his life for that testimony. I challenge any man to name one who has given more evidence of the divine calling of Jesus Christ than did the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I believe the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prophet because he did many superhuman things. One was translating the Book of Mormon. Some people will not agree, but I submit to you that the Prophet Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon did a superhuman work. I ask you … to undertake to write a story on the ancient inhabitants of America. Write as he did without any source of material. Include in your story 54 chapters dealing with wars, 21 historical chapters, 55 chapters on visions and prophecies, and, remember, when you begin to write on visions and prophecies you must have your record agree meticulously with the Bible. You write 71 chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and, here too, you must check every statement with the scriptures or you will be proven to be a fraud. You must write 21 chapters on the ministry of Christ, and everything you claim He said and did and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament.

I ask you, would you like to undertake such a task? I would suggest to you too that you must employ figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narrations, exposition, description, oratory, epic, lyric, logic, and parables. Undertake that, will you? I ask you to remember that the man that translated the Book of Mormon was a young man who hadn’t had the opportunity of schooling that you have had, and yet he dictated that book in just over two months and made very few, if any, corrections. For over 100 years, some of the best students and scholars of the world have been trying to prove from the Bible that the Book of Mormon is false, but not one of them has been able to prove that anything he wrote was not in strict harmony with the scriptures. …

Joseph Smith undertook and accomplished other superhuman tasks; among them I list the following: He organized the Church. (I call attention to the fact that no constitution effected by human agency has survived 100 years without modification or amendment, even the Constitution of the United States. The basic law or constitution of the Church has never been altered.) He undertook to carry the gospel message to all nations, which is a superhuman task still in progress. He undertook, by divine command, to gather thousands of people to Zion. He instituted vicarious work for the dead and built temples for that purpose. He promised that certain signs should follow the believers, and there are thousands of witnesses who certify that this promise has been fulfilled.

I said to my friend, “… I cannot understand your saying to me that my claims are fantastic. Nor can I understand why Christians who claim to believe in Christ would persecute and put to death a man whose whole purpose was to prove the truth of the things they themselves were declaring, namely, that Jesus was the Christ. I could understand them for persecuting Joseph if he had said, ‘I am Christ,’ or if he had said, ‘There is no Christ,’ or if he had said someone else is Christ. Then Christians believing in Christ would be justified in opposing him. But what he said was, ‘He whom ye claim to serve, declare I unto you. … I testify that I saw Him and talked with Him. He is the Son of God. Why persecute me for that?’ ” …

Perhaps some of you are wondering how the judge reacted to our discussion. He sat and listened intently; he then asked some very pointed and searching questions, and at the end of the period he said: “Mr. Brown, I wonder if your people appreciate the import of your message. Do you?” He said, “If what you have told me is true, it is the greatest message that has come to this earth since the angels announced the birth of Christ.”

This was a judge speaking, a great statesman, an intelligent man. He threw out the challenge: “Do you appreciate the import of what you say?” He added: “I wish it were true. I hope it may be true. God knows it ought to be true. I would to God,” he said, and he wept as he said it, “that some man could appear on earth and authoritatively say, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ ”

As I intimated, we did not meet again. I have brought to you very briefly some of the reasons why I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. But undergirding and overarching all that, I say to you from the very center of my heart that by the revelations of the Holy Ghost I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. While these evidences and many others that could be cited may have the effect of giving one an intellectual conviction, only by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit can one come to know the things of God. By those whisperings I say I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I thank God for that knowledge."
Hugh B. Brown, “The Profile of a Prophet,” Ensign, Jun 2006, 34–39

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Parable of the Watchtower

The parable of the watchtower was a revelation that was given to Joseph Smith in December of 1833. I think that this parable is even more applicable today, when the adversary is designing even more crafty weapons to use against the kingdom of God. It begins by telling of a Nobleman who wants to guard his vineyard.

43 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
44 A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;
45 And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
46 Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.

The problem that comes next is that the servants begin to question the need for a watchtower at all.

47 And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
48 And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
49 Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
50 And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.

What the Nobleman foresaw, actually came to pass. A thief came in the night and raided his vineyard.

51 And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.

Of course the Nobleman is upset, and wants to know how this thing could happen.

52 Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53 Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
54 And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.

Today God gives us watchmen on the tower to warn us of dangers to come. Those watchmen we call Prophets. I'm so thankful for a living prophet who can foresee dangers and warn us how to protect ourselves. In recent years, the Prophet gave us forewarning by giving us the Proclamation on the Family. This came about at a very important time, before same sex marriage became such a huge political issue. The Prophet warned us to safeguard marriage, and to fight for this cause. He continues to give us counsel to help us prepare for what may lie ahead. I am thankful for this protection that the Lord provides for us.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pioneer Stories: Mormon Battallion

I decided I would like begin including a regular feature on this blog highlighting the Mormon pioneers. If you have an ancestor who was a Mormon pioneer, and would like to share their story, please email me. I would like to begin by highlighting the "Mormon Battallion".

President James K. Polk, recognizing the need for soldiers in the Mexican war, instructed the secretary of war, Stephen W. Kearney, to enlist 500 Mormons for this purpose. The saints were hesitant to help the government because of the persecution they had received. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs had issued an "extermination order" against the saints which drove them out of their settlements in Missouri. Some of the saints weren't so willing to help a government who had turned against them. But Pres. Brigham Young encouraged the saints to join saying, ""Brethren, you will be blessed, if you will live for those blessings which you have been taught to live for. The Mormon Battalion will be held in honorable remembrance to the latest generation; and I will prophesy that the children of those who have been in the army, in defense of their country, will grow up and bless their fathers for what they did at that time. And men and nations will rise up and bless the men who went in that Battalion. These are my feelings in brief respecting the company of men known as the Mormon Battalion. When you consider the blessings that are laid upon you, will you not live for them? As the Lord lives, if you will but live up to your privileges, you will never be forgotten, without end, but you will be had in honorable remembrance, for ever and ever." He went on to tell them that he felt this assignment was from above, and that it would help the church as a whole to gain better standing with the U.S. government.

Accordingly, some volunteered, including 15, or 16 families. Some of the officers took their wives and children, and some of the women were hired to do the laundry for the company. One of my relatives, although but a teenager, helped to care for the horses. The men were outfitted for the journey, and were given the opportunity to keep their weapons at the end of their discharge. They traveled a total of 2,000 miles from Council Bluff, Iowa to San Diego, California.

"The battalion's march and service was instrumental in helping secure new lands in several Western states, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of much of southern Arizona. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Veterans of the battalion played significant roles in America's westward expansion in California, Utah, Arizona and other parts of the West." (wikipedia)

Here is a journal entry from one of the participants, Zadock Knapp Judd, Company E

"After traveling about twenty-five days a bearing was taken with instruments. It was found we were a long ways from California. We had until now been eating our provisions as though we would get to California, where there was more, in sixty days, but it was now decided it would take a much longer time, so our rations were reduced one-fourth less. This began to tell hard on the men, yet we kept pushing ahead until another fifteen or twenty days and then another reckoning was made and found we would yet have to travel a long distance, so our rations were reduced again to one half and we were a long ways from any place where more provisions could be had. Our best and only show was to push ahead and we did.

About now we came to some half-breeds, Indians and Spanish. From them a few of us as individuals could trade for a little dried meat, which we then called very very good. We were now getting quite hungry and we learned from these people it was but three days travel to a Spanish town where we could get provisions. It was off from our route but a good wagon road to it. Copper ore had been hauled on the road many years. Our colonel said; "Let us go down and get provisions. It was going right among our enemies but we were all willing to go to get something to eat."

So next morning we started on the copper mine road for the Spanish town all rejoicing. After traveling three or four miles the colonel ordered his bugler to call a halt. All hands wondered what was the matter. After a moment's breath the colonel turned to his staff, officers and pilots and said: "Gentlemen, I started for California and damned if I ain't going there. Pilot, you hunt a road for the wagons on the course we have been traveling and go ahead and find a camp ground." So we turned our course about right angle and started for California.

We afterwards learned that the Spaniards had been closely watching us and they expected we would go down to that town and had therefore, collected a large force of their soldiers at that point, and no doubt if we had not turned our course we should have had hard fighting to do and perhaps many of us would have lost our lives, but the Lord controlled the colonel's mind and we came out safe." source: (The Mormon Battalion experience)

Brigham Young's prophecy has come true, and today we in the church still honor them for their willingness to serve, despite former persecutions.

Mormon Battalion association
Sanpete county.org Utah Pioneer Stories

Mormon Battalion monument: Presidio Park, San Diego, California

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joseph Smith's First Vision: Part 2

Joseph Smith's First Vision: Part 1

The Still Small Voice of the Spirit

by Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Many years ago John Burroughs, a naturalist, one summer evening was walking through a crowded park. Above the sounds of city life he heard the song of a bird.
“He stopped and listened! Those with him had not heard it. He looked around. No one else had noticed it.
“It bothered him that everyone should miss something so beautiful.
“He took a coin from his pocket and flipped it into the air. It struck the pavement with a ring, no louder than the song of the bird. Everyone turned; they could hear that!
“It is difficult to separate from all the sounds of city traffic the song of a bird. But you can hear it. You can hear it plainly if you train yourself to listen for it.
“One of our sons has always been interested in radio. When he was a little fellow, his Christmas present was a very elementary radio construction set.
“As he grew, and as we could afford it, and as he could earn it, he received more sophisticated equipment.
“There have been many times over the years, some very recently, when I have sat with him as he talked with someone in a distant part of the world.
“I could hear static and interference and catch a word or two, or sometimes several voices at once.
“Yet he can understand, for he has trained himself to tune out the interference.
“It is difficult to separate from the confusion of life that quiet voice of inspiration. Unless you attune yourself, you will miss it.
“Answers to prayers come in a quiet way. The scriptures describe that voice of inspiration as a still, small voice.
“If you really try, you can learn to respond to that voice” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, 27–28; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, 19–20 ).

The Book of Mormon: Artifact or Artifice?

Recently in church I mentioned that a fellow blogger, Looney, had said he looked at the Book of Mormon as Christian fiction, similar to Lord of the Rings. Some weeks later, I received, from someone who had heard what I said, a hard copy of a symposium talk given by Orson Scott Card about this very subject. For those who don't know who Orson Scott Card is, he is a very talented and well published science fiction author who is a member of our church. My family loves his book, "Ender's Game". In this speech that he gave, he gives his own reasoning for why the Book of Mormon cannot have been just simple fiction. Most importantly, he gives his own testimony about how the Book of Mormon has influenced his life, and how the spirit has testified to him of its truthfulness. I found this article to be fascinating, and I appreciate his view, being a fiction writer himself.
You can click here to read the entire article "The Book of Mormon--Artifact or Artifice".

Link of the Day: More About Redeeming All Men

Sawboyrick has written an excellent post about the same subject we have been discussing over here, namely, the spirit world and spirit prison. Pop over to his blog to check out what he had to say on the subject of Christ preaching the gospel in the spirit prison. He added some Bible scriptures that I didn't include in my discussion. I would like to add, however, that what he wrote about is only concerning the state of the spirit BEFORE the judgement. After the judgement we are assigned to our eternal reward, according to our righteousness. Click here to read his post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Redeeming All Men

What is the eternal fate of those who died with no knowledge of Jesus Christ?

What is the eternal fate of little children who die before baptism?

What is the eternal fate of the "heathen nations" that never heard of Jesus Christ?

I testify that the atonement of Jesus Christ is for all men. It is for both the living and the dead. It is for those who have never heard His name. It is for little children who died before they were able to accept the gospel and be baptized.

Romans 14:9
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

1 Cor. 15:29
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?

How do the dead hear the gospel of Jesus Christ? The scriptures talks about preaching in the spirit world:

1 Peter 3:19
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Clearly, there must be some reason for preaching the gospel to the dead. If they were lost, if there was no chance for repentance, why preach the gospel to them?

While pondering this scripture, Pres. Joseph F. Smith had the following revelation about this scripture:

Doctrine and Covenants 138:28-34

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.
29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;
30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

I am thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that extends to all men, women, and children; both those living, and those dead. I am thankful for holy temples where we can perform the sacred ordinance of baptism for the dead. The Savior said, "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5. He gave the commandment that we must be baptized to enter the kingdom of God. I am thankful that He also provided a way to save those who died without the chance.

(Baptismal font, Salt Lake Temple. The oxen represent the 12 tribes of Israel.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quote of the Day: Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

“All about us there are many who are in need of help and who are deserving of rescue. Our mission in life, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be a mission of saving.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “Our Mission of Saving,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 59.

What Matters Most: Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Spirit World and the Resurrection of the Dead

This is a BYU education week talk given by Robert J. Matthews. The talk is about an hour long, but it is a great talk about this subject. Click here to watch it online.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quote of the Day: President Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge

“We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side is strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand.” (Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 35.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lessons With the Missionaries

Missionaries from our church teach lessons about the gospel of Jesus Christ. When a person has completed the lessons, and has been interviewed and found worthy, they may be baptized. The goal is to make sure that the investigator understands the principles of the gospel, and is willing to keep the commandments. It is also important for the investigator to have prayed to gain a testimony of the things they have been taught.

There are four lessons that the missionaries teach. It may take more than one session to complete a lesson, all depending on the understanding of the person who is being taught.

The four lessons are:

• The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
... God Is Our Loving Heavenly Father
... The Gospel Blesses Families
... Heavenly Father Reveals His Gospel in Every Dispensation
... The Savior’s Earthly Ministry and Atonement
... The Great Apostasy
... The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith
... The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
...Pray to Know the Truth through the Holy Ghost

• The Plan of Salvation
... Pre-Earth Life: God’s Purpose and Plan for Us
... The Creation
...Agency and the Fall of Adam and Eve
...Our Life on Earth
...The Atonement
...The Spirit World
...The Resurrection, Judgment, and Immortality
...Kingdoms of Glory

• The Gospel of Jesus Christ
...Through Christ We Can Be Cleansed from Sin
...Faith in Jesus Christ
...Baptism, Our First Covenant
...The Gift of the Holy Ghost
...Endure to the End

• The Commandments
This includes the Ten commandments, as well as the law of Tithing, and the Word of Wisdom.

If you are interested in having the missionaries teach you, you may contact one of our churches near you, or go to www.mormon.org and click on ASK A QUESTION and ask them to send the missionaries to your house. Our missionaries are young, but they strive to have the Spirit with them as they teach. I know that you will feel the peace of the Spirit as they teach.

Quote of the Day: Pres. Thomas S. Monson

When you have an abiding faith in the living God, when your outward actions reflect your inner convictions, you have the composite strength of exposed and hidden virtues. They combine to give safe passage through whatever rough seas might arise."

--President Thomas S. Monson, "Guideposts for Life's Journey" (Nov. 13, 2007)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Latter-day Hymns: Be Still My Soul

Be Still My Soul
Text: Katharina von Schlegel, b. 1697; trans. by Jane Borthwick, 1813–1897
Music: Jean Sibelius, 1865–1957

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Sung by BYU Chorus

Keeping Journals

Spencer W. Kimball (12th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latte-day Saints)

“How happy we are as we find our grandparents’ journals and follow them through their trials and joys and gain for our own lives much from the experiences and faith and courage of our ancestors.
“Accordingly, we urge our young people to begin today to write and keep records of all the important things in their own lives and also the lives of their antecedents in the event that their parents should fail to record all the important incidents in their own lives. Your own private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant....
“No one is commonplace, and I doubt if you can ever read a biography from which you cannot learn something from the difficulties overcome and the struggles made to succeed. These are the measuring rods for the progress of humanity.
“As we read the stories of great men, we discover that they did not become famous overnight nor were they born professionals or skilled craftsmen. The story of how they became what they are may be helpful to us all....
“Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life. There may be a flash of illumination here and a story of faithfulness there; you should truthfully record your real self and not what other people may see in you.
“Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available....
“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?...
“Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events” ( The Teachings of SpencerW. Kimball [1982], 350–51).

Quote of the Day: Marvin J. Ashton (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)

“Avoid Satan’s territory of deceit. It will never lead to happiness. Evidence to the contrary, there are no successful sinners. All of us must one day stand before God and be judged according to our personal deeds done in the flesh. The burdens of the sinner will never be lighter than that of the saint” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 25; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 21 ).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

January 1, 2000

"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quote of the Day: The Value of Children

By Russell M. Nelson
Given at the World Congress of Families V in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Aug. 12, 2009

"You are well aware of the ominous statistics. In the past 50 years, the birthrate has dropped in nearly every nation of the world. In the nations of Europe the birthrate has dropped from the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman to the present rate of 1.5.1 Nations that cannot maintain their populations could even disappear, along with their culture and heritage. Data from the United States show similar worrisome trends. In 1960, minor children formed half of the population; now they constitute only 30 percent.2 Predictions are that by the year 2025, single-person households will outnumber families with children.

What would happen to the future of nations if the next generation failed to appear in significant numbers? The answer is alarming! Yes, we would be poorer economically, but even poorer spiritually." United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision - Table A.15n.

Dear friends, future happiness and even the future of nations is linked to children. Families with children need to be re-enthroned as the fundamental unit of society. We simply must value children more than we do! Without a new generation to replace the old, there is no wealth; without families, there is no future.

Children come from the union of a man and a woman. The happiest and most secure children come from happy and secure marriages of fathers and mothers. History and contemporary studies have shown that marriage of a husband and a wife, with both contributing their distinctive natural traits to the family, provides the ideal context within which to rear productive, compassionate, and moral individuals."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Grandmother's Testimony

My grandmother passed away about 23 years ago. When she was alive, she bought copies of the Book of Mormon and put her picture and testimony inside to give away to people. She worked at a tourist information center, so had the opportunity to give many copies to interested people; some from many different countries. This is the testimony she included:

"I truly believe this book is another testament of Jesus Christ. I believe Joseph Smith is a true prophet.
Please read this book with a prayerful heart. Also read Acts 5:38,30.
Sincerly a friend,

Here is the scripture that she referenced.

38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Quote of the Day: Gordon B. Hinckley

Gordon B. Hinckley

"I would like to urge every man and woman ... and every boy and girl who is old enough to read, to again read the Book of Mormon during this coming year. This was written for the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we could do of greater importance than to have fortified in our individual lives an unshakable conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of the living God. That is the purpose of the coming forth of this remarkable and wonderful book. May I suggest that you read it again and take a pencil, a red one if you have one, and put a little check mark every time there is a reference to Jesus Christ in that book. And there will come to you a very real conviction as you do so that this is in very deed another witness for the Lord Jesus Christ" ( Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 44).