Thursday, December 21, 2006

God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost

I have recently read a few things on other blogs here and here concerning the nature of God, the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I am a simple person. I know of only one way to test whether a principle be a true principal—to ask. Or as James taught: “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. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (New Testament | James 1:5 - 6) and as Moroni taught: By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:5).

I have asked God about the nature of the Godhead. I know through the power of the Holy Ghost that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. Of this I testify, because I know of no truer or purer way to convey how I feel and what I know, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God is Love

During this Christmas season the word “love” has permeated my mind very often. One of the characteristics of God taught to us in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” But what does this mean? Is part of God’s character literally “love”? Does he embody all that love could be? I am not sure, though it is certainly worth contemplating what “God is love” truly means. I would guess there are several meanings. However, what I do know is that Heavenly Father set the ultimate example of love: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (New Testament | John 3:16). I cannot imagine having to give up my first born. Furthermore, I cannot conceive what it would be like to give up my first born knowing beforehand how the Savior, Jesus Christ would suffer.

Since “God is love,” how does the “great commandment in the law” apply, which I treated earlier this month? How do we “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”? I think there are many ways we can express our love for him. One very telling way is described very plainly by the Apostle John: “If ye love me, keep my commandments: (New Testament | John 14:15). We have the opportunity to show God through our choices and our actions that we love him, or “ye shall know them by their fruits. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (New Testament | Matthew 7:16 - 17).

President Ezra Taft Benson said in the April 1988 General Conference:

“To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord.”

The second great commandment is to love your neighbor. So how do we love our neighbor? Nephi, in the Book of Mormon taught: “Wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love” (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:30). Furthermore, Moroni taught: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” (Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:47).

It is my opinion that the next verse in Moroni tells us why the first two great commandments are so great. First, “my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” In other words, we must choose to take action, but not half heartedly, but with “all the energy of the heart” in prayer. Then, after we have shown our faith, we are “filled with this love . . . which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” Then verse 48 continues with the most exciting part: “that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” In other words we will be true followers of God, so much so that “we shall be like him.” If we are like God, then we will have attained some, if not all of his attributes, love being one of them.

President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote:

“Love is of the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the desire of youth, the cement that binds marriage, and the smoothing oil that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors.”

This Christmas season is a wonderful time for us to remember to love our neighbors and to show charity, which is “the pure love of Christ.” May I submit to you that showing love through the same charity and service you show during this season as part of your daily life will make you become closer to God as you develop this Godly attribute. President Hinckley also wrote: “Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people.”

I know this is a true statement. I know that love can heal many wounds. If we have kindness and love filling our hearts, we will only desire to follow all of Heavenly Father’s commandments because we love him. Because we love our fellow man, we will only desire to serve them, and not to trespass against them. I know that through actively seeking to love more completely, marriages will be better. I know that by exhibiting greater love, bonds with children will be stronger. I know that showing our love for the Lord by following his commandments causes us to be filled with the Holy Ghost, the same Holy Ghost which testifies of all things true. I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me and I love him. I share this with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Faith in Christ

I have planted that figurative seed spoken of by Alma, referred to in the previous post. I testify that my Savior lives! I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I know that I will live again because Christ broke the bands of death with his resurrection. I know that Jesus personally knows who I am, truly understands my sufferings, and is always there for me. He is the greatest big brother I could ever have. Jesus Christ set the ultimate example when he, an all-powerful God, chose to be humiliated in the worst of imaginable ways so we could repent of our sins, be resurrected, and live with him and Heavenly Father through eternity! I testify that Jesus Christ is my Savior and King. I believe in Christ with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. I know that he loves me and I love him. I share this testimony of Jesus Christ in his name. Amen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


The Apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (New Testament | Hebrews 11:1). Alma the Younger of the Book of Mormon taught: “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true (Book of Mormon | Alma 32:21). Later in the same chapter, Alma challenges all of us to put faith to the test by comparing faith to a seed:

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow (Book of Mormon | Alma 32:27 - 30).

I have a testimony that if you will truly “experiment upon the words,” if you seek the truth, you will find it. If you wish to know if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church on this Earth or if it is not, plant the seed of the word. In other words, read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ and if this seed does swell within you and sprout, or if you feel like you are reading the truth, confirmed to you by the Holy Ghost, you will surely know that it is good. It is my testimony that you can discover what is truth by, as Alma taught, “exercising a particle of faith.” Your life will be blessed as you choose to have faith. I offer these words in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have thirteen statements describing some of our most important and basic beliefs. We call these the “Articles of Faith.” The fourth Article of Faith states:

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:4).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My Favorite Hymn—I Believe in Christ

I feel my Savior's love every time I hear this song.

I Believe in Christ
by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

1. I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.

2. I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”

3. I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.

4. I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Knowledge of the Truth

The Holy Ghost has confirmed to me many times that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church on this Earth. However, I often feel like I do not know as much as I should about the scriptures. I found comfort in this observation by Alma the Younger of his long time friends, the sons King Mosiah: “They had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God (Book of Mormon | Alma 17:2).” As simplistic as it is, I know it to be a true principal that “a sound understanding” will be achieved by “searching the scriptures diligently.” When I evaluate only the past year of my life, my understanding of the gospel and its doctrine has increased substantially. I challenge you to “search the scriptures diligently” so that you might “wax strong in the knowledge of truth” by “knowing the word of God.” I know that the action on our part of diligently searching will result in the knowledge of the truth. This is my testimony that I offer in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What I Love About Christmas

It is not presents, decorations, lights, or candy, though those are all wonderful things. What I love is people. I love that many many people strive to be more like Christ by putting others before themselves. This is truly the spirit of Christmas. As Moroni wrote:

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him (Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:45 - 47).

I do not know what could be greater than having the “pure love of Christ”. I hope that we can all try to become more like Jesus Christ. I know that if I will strive to have charity in my heart, I will grow nearer to Jesus Christ as I become more like him. I pray that we can all have the “pure love of Christ,” in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Love is the one word central in the first and second great commandments of the Lord:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (New Testament | Matthew 22:36 - 39).

I know that when we learn to love the world is a better place. Disputes will be avoided. Hate will end. Happiness is the result.

I know that when I make a greater effort to love I am happier, as are those around me. I know that my marriage is stronger as I strive to show my wife love by serving her and my children are happier and learn to love when I show them loving by serving them. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (New Testament | Galatians 5:13).

Our Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ set the ultimate examples of love. Heavenly Father sent his only son begotten in the flesh knowing exactly what pains he would endure. Jesus Christ willingly agreed in the life before this to be tortured and humiliated at the hands of men. I believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did these things out of love, with such a depth that we cannot understand. I sincerely hope that each of us on this Earth will strive to love one another as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each of us. It is my testimony that love brings down walls, breaks barriers, softens hearts, leads to charity, and is the cure for what ills this world. I write this my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ

Why would God stop talking to us? Why would he stop sending prophets to speak for him? He has not! Heavenly Father loves us and will speak to each an every one of us. Our Father in Heaven has sent us Prophets and Apostles! His church is a living church. It was restored when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ revealed themselves to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he wished to know which church was the true church so he could join it. I know from the bottom of my heart that The Father and his Son did appear to Joseph Smith and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the face of the Earth today.

Here is Joseph Smith’s account of when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared unto him:

11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: “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.

12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:11 - 19).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Don't Be Discouraged, Jesus Christ Knows You and Understands How You Feel!

I love counsel of the Prophet Nephi: “I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 19:23). During this week, which for me has been filled with many opportunities to overcome discouragement, I’ve learned much in the scriptures by likening the words therein to myself.

The Lord told Jeremiah how personally he knew him. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” (Old Testament | Jeremiah 1:5). How wonderful it is that our Heavenly Father knew each and every one of us before we were born on this Earth! Not only did our Heavenly Father know us personally before we came to this Earth, he made sanctified us (in other words, made us holy) before we were born. How great a love for us our Father in Heaven does show! I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know you and I as intimately as they did Jeremiah of the Old Testament.

The Lord calls upon us: “BEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him . . . he shall not fail nor be discouraged” (Old Testament | Isaiah 42:1, 42:4). It brings such joy to my heart to read that the Lord’s “soul delighteth” in me! Heavenly Father has given me so many gifts, including his spirit, which will, if I choose to trust in it, keep me from failing or becoming discouraged. This is true because, as the Apostle James wrote, “faith without works is dead” (New Testament | James 2:20).

I know that if we each do our very best and trust in our Heavenly Father and his only begotten, Jesus Christ, that they will bless our lives, that the pain and heartache of discouragement and even depression will be lifted from our souls. Jesus truly suffered for our sins; he truly felt every feeling of pain, hurt, and discouragement that we feel. Through his sacrifice we can be sanctified if we do our part.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Creating Holy Places in a World of Sin

During the April, 2006 conference, Elder David R. Stone of the Quorum of the Seventy said the following:

We do not need to adopt the standards, the mores, and the morals of Babylon. We can create Zion in the midst of Babylon. We can have our own standards for music and literature and dance and film and language. We can have our own standards for dress and deportment, for politeness and respect. We can live in accordance with the Lord’s moral laws. We can limit how much of Babylon we allow into our homes by the media of communication.
I know the words of Elder Stone are true. By following the standards of Babylon, or the world, we are destined to fail. There is nothing wrong with being different. My mind is clearer because of the music I listen to. I know the spirit is more likely accompany me when the words out of my mouth are uplifting. Living a moral life is not only a benefit to myself, but to society. There would be much, much less social chaos if immorality were not recast in this world as good. Fornication, adultery, and homosexuality are wrong. Many people, even a majority, who choose to sin do not change the sin to an acceptable behavior. Sin is, and always will be, sin. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

In 2 Nephi 27:23 God said: "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever"

God's laws are the same "yesterday, today and forever." Because the laws of God do not change, I have a sure foundation in his gospel.

Monday, June 05, 2006

To Be So Fortunate!

Acts 5:41 “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” The apostles in the New Testament rejoiced after being detained and beaten! They were that happy to suffer in the name of Jesus Christ and his church. What amazing humility!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Modern-Day Prophets and Apostles

Recently I have read many great things that have added to my testimony in The Acts of the Apostles. The sixth Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, given through the modern-day prophet Joseph Smith, says: “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.” The only way that The Church could lay claim on having this same organization is if that organization were bestowed upon it by the same authority. In other words, the same priesthood authority that existed in The Church during New Testament times must exist today.

On May 15, 1829 the same John the Baptist, who led the way for and baptized Jesus Christ, did confer the Priesthood of Aaron on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Soon thereafter, apostles during New Testament times, Peter, James, and John, conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:68 - 72).

These Priesthoods do give The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the authority to create this same organization that existed during the early church. We have a modern day Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, and 12 apostles. We have teachers and other church leaders. We believe in or practice other things that are taught in the New Testament. The Church lived under the Law of Consecration for a time during the 1800s, just as the early Church did (New Testament | Acts 2:44 - 45). We know that “The Father [God] has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son [Jesus Christ] also” (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 130:22). In Acts 17:28, Paul taught that “we are the offspring of God.” If we are God the Father’s literal offspring, would we not be like him and him like us?

I am very thankful for the restoration of the Priesthood on this Earth. I feel great joy to be a part of Christ’s Church, the very same church he himself led while he was on the Earth. I feel very fortunate that our Heavenly Father has not left us in the dark, but that he has blessed us with a modern-day prophet and modern-day apostles to teach and guide us. I believe in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost!