Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands in Rockaways NY

This is a great video about the "helping hands" efforts of our church.  I had this urge while watching this to call out to the people in the video, "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day Saints.  You are forgetting the most important part of our name!"  :)  But this is a heartwarming video, and is well done.  Follow this link to watch it on vimeo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ABC Nightline: Mormon MIssionaries

I LOVE this nightline special about our missionaries.  Having been one myself, I can tell you that the joy of sharing what we believe never goes away.  (Hence this blog.)  I know it's hard for those who already have a religion to listen to what we have to say, but we try to be respectful, and we try to let you, with the aid of prayer, make the decision for yourself.  I think some people have preconceptions about our religion.  Others have been taughtcertain things about the Bible, and are unwilling to listen to anything that might be different.  But my experience is that those who allow the missionaries to teach them have a special experience, whether or not they actually join our church.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

23 Questions Answered by the Book of Mormon

I can't take credit for this list, but I don't know the original author.  I have put in links for the references to make it easier for you to find the scriptures.  In some cases I have just pasted the scripture.

23 Questions Answered By the Book Of Mormon
1. Does the Bible contain all of God’s word? (2 Nephi 29 p. 109-111)
2. Who were the “other sheep” referred to by Jesus as recorded in John 10:16? (3 Nephi 15:13-24 p. 437-438)
3. How can a person know that the Book of Mormon is true? (Moroni 10:3-5 p. 529)
"3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in yourhearts.
 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincereheart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest thetruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

4. How can a desire to believe develop into strong faith? (Alma 32 p. 288-291)

5. What is the purpose of man’s existence? (2 Nephi 2:25 p. 59)
"25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
6. How can God be both just and merciful? (Alma 42 p. 311-313)
7. What happens to our spirits at death? (Alma 40:11-14 p. 308)
"11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
 12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
 13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
 14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection."

8. How can a person turn his personal weaknesses into strengths? (Ether 12:27 p. 510)
"27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theirweakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
9. What happened in America when Jesus was born in Jerusalem? (3 Nephi 1:15-21 p. 408)
10. What happened in America when Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem? (3 Nephi 8:5-23 p. 422-423)
11. What do we witness “unto the Father” by being baptized? (2 Nephi 31:10-14 p. 113-114)
"10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
 11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
 12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
 13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shallfollow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisyand no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
 14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this shoulddeny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me."

12. Why was Jesus Christ baptized? (2 Nephi 31:4-9 p. 113)
" Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.
 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
 And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them."
13. Just what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? How did the Saviour explain what it is? (3 Nephi 27:13-21 p. 459)
14. Why was the atonement of Jesus Christ necessary? (2 Nephi 9:4-14; Alma 34:8-17 p. 72-73, 293-294)
15. To what extent are men accountable for their choices and their actions? (2 Nephi 9:25-27; 2 Nephi 2: 27; Helaman 14:30-31 p. 75, 59, 400)
"25 Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
 26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
 27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!"
" 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."
"30 And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.
 31 He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you."

16. Do little children need repentance and baptism? (Moroni 8: 1-24 p. 525-526)
17. Does the Lord always protect the righteous from the unrighteous? (Alma 60: 12-13 p. 359)
"12 Do ye suppose that, because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness? I say unto you, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain; for I say unto you, there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation;
 13 For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God."
18. How did a prophet who lived 600 B.C. describe our day? (2 Nephi 28 p. 106-109)
19. What should we pray about? (Alma 34:17-28 p. 294-295)
20. Why should we not procrastinate our repentance? (Alma 34:30-41 p. 295-296)
21. What will our bodies be like in the ressurection(Alma 40:23 p. 309)
"23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame."
22. Are we saved by grace, by works, or both? (2 Nephi 25:23 p. 99-100)
23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
23. In a world with so many conflicting voices, how can a person judge what is good and what is evil? (Moroni 7:14-19 p. 522)
"14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
 15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
 18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
 19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Sabbath Day

Whether or not you are religious, I think the idea of a "Sabbath" is good for everyone.  Everyone needs one day a week to take themselves out of the world and focus on spiritual things.  Everyone needs a day of rest.
As we all know, the ten commandments teach us to keep the sabbath:
" Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."  Exodus 20:8-11
I think this scripture makes it pretty clear that the sabbath should be a day of rest, but why then is it so hard for us to rest on the Sabbath?  Many people say they can't afford not to work on Sunday.  I believe that spiritually speaking, they can't afford not to rest on Sunday.    Elder Orson F. Whitney said,“The Lord’s plan is perfect,  His commandments have in view the salvation of the body as well as the spirit, for it is the soul that will be redeemed from the grave and glorified. God has commanded us to care for the spirit, as well as for the body, and give it food in due season, and He set aside the Sabbath day that man might rest from his temporal labors and go to the house of the Lord and be fed with that holy influence which nourishes the spirit of man. That is why we meet together on the Sabbath day. Our spirits need their food, the same as do our bodies and if we neglect them, they will starve and dwindle and die upon the same principle that the body will die when deprived of its proper nourishment.” (“The Day of Rest,” Liahona—The Elders’ Journal, vol. 7, p. 530.)
We not only gain great spiritual strength from fully keeping the meaning of the sabbath, but we also focus less on wordly things such as making money.  Some might say that their job requires them to work on Sunday.  I have learned through my life that when an employee explains their beliefs to their employer, they usually can make a way for them to not work that day.  I have known still others who quit the job so that they wouldn't have to work on the sabbath.  I believe that when we show this kind of obedience, God steps in and helps us out.
In latter day scripture we read the following about the keeping of the sabbath:  "And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
 10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
 11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
 12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
 13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full."  Doctrine and Covenants 59:10-13
One of my favorite parts of these verses is the phrase, "And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;"  I really believe that by going to church on Sunday and meaningfully participating in the sacrament, we give ourselves a spiritual protection that helps keep us "unspotted from the world".  What does it mean to be "unspotted from the world"?  I like to think of the term "worldly" as meaning being the kind of person that is focused on material possessions, fame, and power.  A person who sets these things aside one day a week to take time to worship God, is demonstrating that God is more important to them than worldly possessions or worldly fame.
I have really tried to help my family to remove ourselves from the world on the sabbath.  We even avoid watching television.  We don't go out to eat, or go to movies or sporting events.  We especially don't do things that would cause others to have to work for us on the sabbath.  Sometimes this takes extra preparation on our part.  We make sure to fill up the car on Saturday night.  We make sure we have the food we need so that we won't be tempted to go out and shop on Sunday.  Most importantly, we make our sabbath worship the main goal of the day.  We attend our church meetings and attend to other church duties.
The most important part of our sabbath worship is our participation in the sacrament.  Elder Elder Melvin J. Ballard suggested, “We want every Latter-day Saint to come to the sacrament table because it is the place for self-investigation, for self-inspection, where we may learn to rectify our course and to make right our own lives, bringing ourselves into harmony with the teachings of the Church and with our brethren and sisters.” (Bryant S. Hinckley,Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1949, p. 150.)
Pres. Ezra Taft Benson gave these suggestions for keeping the sabbath:
"—Engage in activities that contribute to greater spirituality.

—Attend essential Church meetings in the house of prayer.

—Acquire spiritual knowledge by reading the scriptures, Church history and biographies, and the inspired words of our Church leaders.

—Rest physically, get acquainted with your family, relate scriptural stories to your children, and bear your testimony to build family unity.

—Visit the sick and aged shut-ins.

—Sing the songs of Zion and listen to inspiring music.

—Pay devotions to the Most High through prayer (personal and family), fasting, administration, and father’s blessings.

—Prepare food with a singleness of heart: simple meals prepared largely on Saturday.

—Remember that Sunday is the Lord’s day, a day to do his work.

In a statement from the First Presidency, we read that “the Sabbath is not just another day on which we merely rest from work, free to spend it as our light-mindedness may suggest. It is a holy day, the Lord’s Day, to be spent as a day of worship and reverence. All matters extraneous thereto should be shunned. … Latter-day Saints, with a testimony of the Gospel and a knowledge of the spiritual blessings that come from keeping the Sabbath, will never permit themselves to make it a shopping day, an activity that has no place in a proper observance of the Holy Day of the Lord, on which we are commanded to pour out our souls in gratitude for the many blessings of health, strength, physical comfort, and spiritual joy which come from the Lord’s bounteous hand.” (Church News, July 11, 1959, p. 3.)" (Ezra Taft Benson, “Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy,” Ensign, May 1971, 4)
I would like to challenge all to experience for themselves the blessings of keeping the sabbath day holy.  I know from experience that as you do, you will find greater spiritual strength.  You will also find peace to your soul, and protection from the worldly influences that so often encroach on our minds and lives.  As we more fully keep the sabbath day holy, we will indeed keep ourselves "more fully ...unspotted from the world."  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Constitution

This is Ezra Taft Benson who was president of our church from 1985 to 1994.  He had a great love for this country, and for the constitution.  He served as secretary of agriculture during the 1950's.  While some people believe that you should separate church and state, those of us who are religious recognize that everything is under God's rule.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Will of God

This is a nice short video, and quite thought provoking.