Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quote of the Day: Paul V. Johnson

‎"Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature."

Paul V. Johnson, April 2011 general conference

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book of Mormon Milestone

The 150 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon was just published! You can read the church newsroom article by clicking here. Part of the article says, "In 2003, Book magazine named the Book of Mormon one of the “20 Books That Changed America.” In October 2007, late Church President Gordon B. Hinckley described its modern influence: “Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history.”

I can't but help be reminded of this prophetic counsel of Pres. Ezra Taft Benson
in Nov. 1988:"The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.

We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need. The time is now!

My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved.

“Few men on earth,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness. … The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it. … There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?” ( pp. 159, 170, 179.) We testify that it is.

Now, my good Saints, we have a great work to perform in a very short time. We must flood the earth with the Book of Mormon—and get out from under God’s condemnation for having treated it lightly. (See D&C 84:54–58.)"

Have you earnestly read and prayed about the Book of Mormon? I promise you that it will bring you closer to Christ. Try out my promise and see for yourself!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge 1 Nephi 5

I think that Sariah gets a bad rap in this chapter. :) After her sons leave to go back to Jerusalem, she gets very worried for their well being. What mother wouldn't? She complains to her husband that he is a "visionary man", which I always thought meant something similar to "dreamer". Lehi basically bears his witness to her that his visions were from God, and that they did the right thing by going in to the wilderness.

This made me think about how much easier it is to believe when we receive our own witness, than it is to believe in someone else's witness. Having not been the one to receive the vision, Sariah had to have faith that her husband was being led of God. This reminded me of a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants that speaks about gifts of the spirit: "To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." D.&C. 46:13,14

The rest of this chapter talks about the records that Nephi and his brothers were able to obtain. It explains what was contained in the records. Not only did it contain the spiritual writings that would help them to stay close to God, but it also contained a geneology of their forefathers. But most importantly, it contained the word of God, and the commandments. This would enable them to preserve the commandments for their children, and as we later read about, an entire nation.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Apostle's Easter Thoughts

I've posted this before, but this is a wonderful Easter message to repeat!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge 1 Nephi 4

Wow, I honestly thought I had gotten further with this challenge. I personally have read further, but I forgot I hadn't posted anything! I'll try to do better!

What I like best about this chapter is that Nephi is encouraging his brothers to remember that God is all powerful. He reminds them that God brought the children of Israel through the Red sea on dry ground. He reminds them that God can defeat all of their enemies. This is a timely post because of the advent of the Passover. This is the same message that is taught in the feast that the Jews celebrate. That one event, of Moses leading the children of Israel from Pharoah is so important in showing the power of God, that for centuries the Jews have celebrated it. Nephi also reminds his brothers, and encourages them to have faith in God to deliver them from their enemies within the city gates.

I also like how Nephi approaches the situation in which they find themselves. It is vital that their family have a copy of the scriptures to take with them in to the wilderness, and ultimately to another continent. Nephi does not know how he is going to obtain the scriptures, but he moves forward with the faith that God will help him to accomplish his task. As he takes one step in to the darkness, God inspires him as to how to further proceed. This is a great example for all of us to follow. This reminds me of another Book of Mormon scripture: "6And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Ether 12:6 We need to follow Nephi's example and move forward with faith, and watch for how God will help us to do what he has commanded.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quote of the Day: Elder Robert D. Hales

Bishop Robert D. Hales, who was then the Presiding Bishop of the Church:

“As a young man, I had an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a jet-fighter pilot. Each unit in our squadron had a motto that would inspire its efforts. Our unit motto—displayed on the side of our aircraft—was ‘Return with Honor.’ This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor only after having expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission.

“This same motto, ‘Return with Honor,’ can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 1990, 51–52; or Ensign, May 1990, 39 ).

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 2 - FamilySearch Genealogy Records

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 1 - FamilySearch Genealogy Records

I thought you might be interested to hear about how our church geneological records are stored.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book of Mormon Sampler: Helaman 12:3-5

1And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

2Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of preciousthings of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

3And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with deathand with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.

4O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!

5Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!

Introduction to an Unknown Book; the Book of Mormon

I found this quote today while reading the writings of Hugh Nibley.

"Proving" the Book of Mormon is another matter. You cannot prove the genuineness of any document to one who has decided not to accept it. The scribes and Pharisees of old constantly asked Jesus for proof, and when it was set before them in overwhelming abundance they continued to disbelieve: "O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:3). When a man asks for proof we can be pretty sure that proof is the last thing in the world he really wants. His request is thrown out as a challenge, and the chances are that he has no intention of being shown up. After all these years the Bible itself is still not proven to those who do not choose to believe it, and the eminent Harry Torczyner now declares that the main problem of Bible study today is to determine whether or not "the Biblical speeches, songs and laws are forgeries."1 So the Book of Mormon as an "unproven" book finds itself in good company.” Hugh Nibley, Introduction to an Unknown Book”

If you would like to read more about what Hugh Nibley has to say about the Book of Mormon, you can click on this link. I think you will find that Mr. Nibley's works are delightful to read!

They Shall Become One in Thine Hand

In Ezekiel 37:15-17 we read:
15¶The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

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.

We believe that this scripture refers to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Bible is the record of the tribe of Judah, and the children of Israel. The Book of Mormon is a record of a people who were the descendants of Joseph. These two books of scripture work together to testify that Jesus is the Christ, thereby fulfilling the law of witnesses which is reiterated in 2 Corinthians 13:1 "...In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." In my lifetime, I have seen the completion of the LDS addition of the scriptures which has both books of scripture cross referenced. Truly these scriptures have become one in my hand in helping me to study the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let me give you an example of how these two books of scripture work together by sharing some passages from a lesson I will be teaching in seminary tomorrow. The topic of these scriptures is wisdom.


From the Bible:

Isaiah 55:8–9 ;
8¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

1 Corinthians 1:25 ;
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

James 1:5 ;
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

From the Book of Mormon:

2 Nephi 9:28–29 ;
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

2 Nephi 28:30 ;
30For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

Alma 37:35–37 ;
35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

I am thankful that the Bible was preserved so that we could have it in our day. But I am equally thankful for the Book of Mormon which is a second witness of the Savior, and his gospel.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Website About Joseph Smith

I ran across an interesting website today after watching the video I posted about Joseph Smith. It features information about the prophet Joseph Smith, including photos and other information. Click here to visit

Succession in the Presidency of the Church

Today in seminary I taught about the church's procedure of succession in the presidency of the church. I thought this information might be of interest to some of my readers.

Whenever the President of the Church passes away, those who are not members of our church are surprised at how quickly and easily a new president is chosen. This is not by chance, but follows a simple and perfect pattern for reorganization.

The first step in choosing which person will be a future prophet is when a man is called to be one of the twelve apostles of the church. God knows who He wants for His prophets, and inspires the current presidency to call certain men to be apostles, among which are those He wishes to be a future president of the church and prophet. When a man is called to join the quorum of the twelve apostles, he takes his place in order of ranking of seniority. The apostle who has served the longest is the senior apostle.

When a man is ordained to the office of an apostle, he is given all of the Priesthood "keys", or authority to carry out the will of God in the church. Only the President of the church is allowed to exercise all of the keys, but all 12 apostles hold that authority.

The President of the church chooses two of the apostles to act as his counselors. They counsel with him in making decisions, and support the president in every way they can. At the death of the President of the church, that presidency is dissolved, and the counselors take their former position in the ranking of the quorum of the apostles. The quorum of the twelve apostles continues to govern the church until a new president is sustained by the quorum, and by the membership of the church.

The Senior apostle is then set apart as the new president of the church. Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith taught, 
“There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency. The president is not elected, but he has to be sustained both by his brethren of the Council and by the members of the Church” ( Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:156). 

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said, “This transition of authority . . . is beautiful in its simplicity. It is indicative of the way the Lord does things. Under His procedure a man is selected by the prophet to become a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He does not choose this as a career. He is called, as were the Apostles in Jesus’ time, to whom the Lord said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you’ ( John 15:16 ). The years pass. He is schooled and disciplined in the duties of his office. He travels over the earth in fulfilling his apostolic calling. It is a long course of preparation, in which he comes to know the Latter-day Saints wherever they may be, and they come to know him. The Lord tests his heart and his substance. In the natural course of events, vacancies occur in that council and new appointments are made. Under this process a particular man becomes the senior Apostle. Residing latent in him, and in his associate Brethren, given to each at the time of ordination, are all of the keys of the priesthood. But authority to exercise those keys is restricted to the President of the Church. At his passing, that authority becomes operative in the senior Apostle, who is then named, set apart, and ordained a prophet and President by his associates of the Council of the Twelve.

“There is no electioneering. There is no campaigning. There is only the quiet and simple operation of a divine plan which provides inspired and tested leadership” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 61–62; or Ensign, May 1986, 46–47 ).

Spencer W. Kimball taught, “‘It is reassuring to know that [a new President is] . . . not elected through committees and conventions with all their conflicts, criticisms, and by the vote of men, but [is] called of God and then sustained by the people. . . .The pattern divine allows for no errors, no conflicts, no ambitions, no ulterior motives. The Lord has reserved for himself the calling of his leaders over his church’ ( Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 33 )” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 8; or Ensign, May 1986, 8 ).

I am thankful for the organization of the church, and for the Priesthood authority that resides therein. I am thankful that we have a living prophet and president of the church today, namely Thomas S. Monson. I testify that Jesus Christ is leading the church today through living apostles and prophets.

Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration

I am so excited that this video has been made available on youtube! This is a motion picture about the life and legacy of Joseph Smith. I hope you will make time to watch it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book of Mormon Sampler: 2 Nephi 26:32,33

32And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

181 Annual General Conference

Please join me in viewing the General conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can view it on the BYU television channel, or by going to to access the live streaming.
Sat. 9-11:00 am PST (10:00-12:00 MST)
1-3:00 pm PST
Sun. 9-11:00 am PST
1-3:00 pm PST

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mormon Messages: His Sacred Name- An Easter Declaration

I LOVE this powerful video, and wonderful testimony of the Savior by our living prophet, Pres. Monson!