Friday, September 14, 2007

Raising My Children

For some time my wife and I have prayed to learn how to better raise our children. We do not know the best ways to teach or discipline them and our oldest child seems to defy us at every opportunity. In addition, I feel like I have not been as much of a help to my wife as I can be because I am so wrapped up in my studies.

However, one thing that has really enhanced my graduate studies, which are far more intense than my undergraduate studies ever were, has been my attendance at the Institute of Religion. On the first day of Book of Mormon class the teacher suggested that the answers to all of life’s questions can be found within the pages of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Obviously, this is much more a figurative statement than a literal statement. I believed what that teacher spoke.

That evening, truly by coincidence—for I was not thinking of what I had heard earlier in the day—my wife and I began again reading the Book of Mormon with our children before they went to bed. This night was much different than past attempts. My oldest child is in first grade and was able to read about ninety percent of the words. She really was into it! I felt the Holy Ghost descend upon us in my children’s room and it filled my soul! I then remembered the statement by the teacher earlier in the day. Now I do not have to say “let’s read the Book of Mormon” before the kids go to bed. My children bring the book to us without being prompted. My six year old is excited to read every night. This is the only book she is excited to read each and every day. I believe this is because how she feels when she reads. She may not understand it at this age, but the Holy Ghost is truly testifying to her the truth of God’s words and it makes her happy!

For the three weeks since we began reading the Book of Mormon as a family, our house has become more peaceful and loving. We are kinder to each other and more will to serve. The teaching and discipline problems have seemingly disappeared. There is a direct correlation to our family reading the Book of Mormon together and happiness in our home.

I testify that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that the answers to all of our questions and concerns can be found through its study, either by scripture that applies directly or through the blessings we receive by reading it. My family is closer because of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This truly is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Power of God

I was struck by something I saw on television the other day while I was flipping through channels. A well known evangelist was answer questions that had been submitted to him. One question was: “The Bible says Adam lived until he was 930 years old. Should that be taken figuratively or literally?” The evangelist chuckled and said something to the effect of “of course it should be taken literally.” He then gave several reasons why he thought Adam would have lived 930 years including a lack or air pollution and processed foods. However, I was amazed that this man, who proclaims to be a man of God, did not cite the power of God as a reason, if not the reason, Adam was able to live for nearly 1,000 years!

This reminded me of what Jesus Christ taught the Prophet Joseph Smith when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the Prophet. In response to the 14 year old boy Joseph Smith’s question of which church should he join, he was told by the Savior that he “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 1:19, emphasis added).

The last part of the Savior’s words is what really stood out in my mind. “Having a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” This is precisely what this evangelist was doing. I think he sincerely does try to be godly and have a form of godliness, I truly do. However, by not acknowledging the power of God in allowing Adam live 930 years, he seemed to not have faith in God’s power and ability to do all, in other words, he “denied the power thereof”.

I know that the power of God is real. I know that God and Jesus Christ did appear to the boy Joseph Smith and teach him many eternal truths. I know that anything God desires can and will be accomplished. Sometimes God’s means seem to be the natural way of doing things on this Earth, other times God’s means are the supernatural. However, it matters not how God’s will is accomplished; only that it always is done. The Savior taught the Prophet Joseph Smith that “the works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught“ (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1). The will of our Father in Heaven will be done. I know this to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

A few weeks ago a good friend told me of a discovery he had made while studying the scriptures. In the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ he read 2 Nephi 12:15-16, which are two of the approximately 433 verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon. They read:

And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall; And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

This contrasts Isaiah 2:15-16 which says:

And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

This begs the questions, where did the phrase in the Book of Mormon “upon all the ships of the sea” get added from? I do not pretend to be a scholar. However, my friend is an excellent one. He told me he decided to read the passage in the oldest version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. There the phrase “upon all the ships of the sea” is present.

As the Septuagint is written in Greek and I cannot read Greek, I had to take my friend’s word that this was true. However, soon thereafter I received two other witnesses of the same truth. Sidney B. Sperry confirmed my friend’s account in his book, The Voice of Israel’s Prophets. Sperry wrote:

Scholars may suggest that Joseph Smith took the first phrase from the Septuagint. The prophet did not know Greek, and there is no evidence that he had access to a copy of the Septuagint in 1829-1830 when he translated the Book of Mormon. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book 1965, pp. 90-91, qtd. in Bassett Commentaries on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, pg. 68).

Thirty two years after Sperry, in 1997, Terry B. Ball also found where the Book of Mormon matched the Septuagint, adding words upon the King James Version of the Bible. Ball commented:

One can offer several speculations about why both phrases appear in the Book of Mormon. (1) Perhaps Joseph Smith fabricated the Book of Mormon and somehow had access to the Septuagint. Discovering there was a discrepancy between the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts of the passage, he decided to include both text versions in the Book of Mormon to deceive readers into thinking he was actually translating a more complete ancient record, that is, the gold plates; or (2) maybe while Joseph Smith was fabricating the Book of Mormon he accidentally, by chance, inserted into the Book of Mormon the very phrase left out of the Masoretic text; or (3) while the Prophet Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon from the gold plates by the gift and power of God, he translated the phrase “upon all the ships of the sea and upon all the ships of Tarshish” because that is exactly what the record said. Both phrases were on the gold plates Joseph Smith was translating because the brass plates of pre-600 B.C. origin, from which the gold plates text was taken, were a more ancient and complete text than either the Masoretic text (ca. A.D. 500-1000) or the Septuagint (ca. 250 B.C.). Apparently the Septuagint had lost the phrase “the ships of Tarshish” and the Masoretic text had lost the phrase “the ships of the sea.” The Book of Mormon restores both.

From a purely logical point of view, the last option, option 3, is the only tenable one. From personal conviction, I testify that option 3 is the truth. (Voices of Old Testament Prophets; The 26th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book 1997, p. 59, qtd. in Bassett Commentaries on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, pg. 69).

I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true Prophet. I know that through him Christ’s church, exactly as it was when he walked this Earth, has been restored. I know that God cannot lie and that what his servant Paul, the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians is true: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (New Testament | 2 Corinthians 13:1). Not only does God provide us with truth, he gives us personal revelation if we ask on his word, and he gives us two or three witnesses. Heavenly Father certainly is merciful, kind, and good. I love him and am thankful to be his son, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Better Life Though Jesus Christ

Last week I reread The Great and Terrible Volume 1. It is a fictional account of what the life before this could have been like. As I read, it struck me that Satan is now simply trying to do exactly as he presented in his plan during the pre-Earth life—to take away our agency and give all glory to him.

One of Satan’s tools is addiction. He strives to get us deeply involved in alcohol, pornography, pride, or whichever sins we are most susceptible to. In time, we can become so weakened that it can seem as if there is no way out. The sin controls our life and it seems as if we no longer can choose for ourselves. The alcohol or drugs seemingly make our choices for us. We then can feel as if we have lost our agency, as we repeat or enter deeper into sin. As we sin, and seemingly lose our agency we are giving Satan his victory, which was his plan in the beginning as it is now.

Fortunately, we always have a choice. Heavenly Father has provided us with our agency so that we may always choose. If we trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be delivered from any pain, suffering, or addiction. The atonement Christ made for us covers it all. Forgiveness of our sins is certainly one way we receive grace from God. Of course, we must do our part, we must work at it. However, when have done all that we can do, our elder brother Jesus Christ steps in and covers the rest.

I am so thankful for my older brother Jesus Christ. I know that he knows me personally, probably better than I know myself. He knows what motivates me, what frustrates me, and most importantly he knows my potential. I know the Savior lives. I know he suffered and died for my sins and was resurrected on the third day so I could live again. Like everyone else, I do not remember when happened in the life before this, but I am so thankful and grateful that I choose our Heavenly Father’s plan so that I could be here on this Earth. I testify of Christ and of our eternal nature and the eternal structure of the family of mankind in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Importance of Marriage

As my youngest brother is to be married next month, I have been thinking quite a bit about marriage and my perspective on it. I look at marriage as part of how I am saved in the kingdom of God.

As a Latter-day Saint, my view on being “saved” is much different than it is for many other Christians. (Also see this talk by Dallin H. Oaks about Mormons and being saved.) Yes, I absolutely and wholeheartedly accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, King, Lord, and Advocate. I have a personal relationship with him. But this is not all that is necessary to be saved. There are several saving ordinances that must performed here on this Earth by someone with the proper Priesthood authority directly from Heavenly Father, not from a university. These saving ordinances begin with baptism by immersion and finishing with being sealed in marriage for time and all eternity. In so doing we make covenants not only with each other but with our Heavenly Father. When we live up to what we agree to, Heavenly Father blesses us with the greatest of all promises: our family will be together as one unit throughout eternity.

It is because of these commitments I have made to Heavenly Father and my beautiful wife that marriage is such a serious commitment to me. If hard times come upon us, I know I will do everything I can to preserve our marriage and my relationships with my children. I do not believe that marriage is something to be trifled with. Marriage truly is the most serious of commitments and with that commitment there is great joy to be had. I have not known happier times that I have had with my wife and my children. Certainly we have had tough times and we will continue to have tough times. However, we have endured difficulties in the past and we will continue to endure them in the future. As a whole, marriage and family are the most wonderful blessings Heavenly Father has given us.

The living prophet Gordon B. Hinckley presented the Church with “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” This inspired document’s first paragraph proclaims that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

I love my wife and my two children very, very much. I know that our bond is stronger, our commitment is greater, and our ability to remain as one family unit is exceptional because of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I know that we can be a family forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Master and Savior. Amen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Avoiding Temptation

Today I felt the talks in Sacrament Meeting were excellent. They were both on “avoiding temptation.” Both speakers gave many examples of why it is better to avoid temptation rather than taking it head on. Several stories were related including this one related in a talk by Elder Robert B. Harbertson:

Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley. There he fasted, and on the third day he decided to test himself against the mountain. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders, and set off to climb the peak.

When he reached the top, he could see forever, and his heart swelled with joy. Then he heard a rustle at his feet. Looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke: “I am about to die. It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food, and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“Oh, no,” said the youth. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and I will die.”

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.”

The youth withstood for a while, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass. Suddenly, the snake coiled, rattled, and struck, biting him on the leg.

“But you promised—” cried the youth.

“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the snake as it slithered away.

I really like this story. In my life it certainly seems like when I have reached a peak there is some temptation that looks enticing. However, no matter how enticing it looks, I know what it is and what the consequences of following the temptation are. Sin is sin. The consequences do not change for anyone, though it may involve a different period of time for the consequences to manifest themselves for each person.

A better question might be: “How do we avoid temptation?” rather than simply stating: “avoid temptation” and hoping it all works out. Fortunately, the answer is found in the scriptures. Alma, in the 13th chapter 28th verse of the Book of Mormon wrote: “But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering”

I see several important points in this verse. First is “that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord”. It is important to prepare to speak with the Lord (though this does not mean we should avoid speaking with the Lord until we are justly prepared, then we might never pray!). I certainly am not going to go before my boss with a problem or my findings without preparation. He knows I can do better and I will have not used either of our time wisely. I think the same applies to our Father in Heaven. When we are prepared to speak with our Father in Heaven, we will get the most out of it.

After preparing, we are then ready to “call on his holy name”. Our Father in Heaven is literally our father and is concerned about our everyday life. He does not want us to succumb to temptation.

Once we have prayed, Alma tells us not to stop there but rather to “watch and pray continually”. It is important to pray, but the fact that “watch” comes before “pray” seems significant to me. Our Father in Heaven certainly loves us and is entirely willing to help us. However, we must do our part. In fact, we must do all that we can. As we all will be saved, or resurrected, however where we go once our body and spirit have been restored depends upon our works. James taught: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (New Testament | James 2:26).

So once we have done our part, defined by Alma as: humbling ourselves, praying, watching continually, and praying continually, then we are promised a great bounty of blessings:

1. That ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear
2. To be led by the Holy Spirit
3. Humility
4. Meekness
5. Submissiveness
6. Patience
7. Filled with love
8. Long-suffering

This is what I love about this scripture. When we do our part, not only are we blessed with not being tempted about what we can bear, but we are richly blessed abundantly with God-like qualities. This world would change so greatly if everyone sought humility, meekness, submissiveness, patience, long-suffering, and to be filled with love.

The Apostle Paul gave a more visual representation of how to avoid temptation. In his epistle to the Ephesians he wrote:

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins agirt about with btruth, and having on the cbreastplate of drighteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of apeace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of afaith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery bdarts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of asalvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (New Testament | Ephesians 6:13 - 17)

When we do as Alma taught, humbling ourselves and watching and praying continually, we literally arm ourselves to resist temptation. We are prepared for a situation that may have been unavoidable when we will be tempted. This is paramount because such a situation will absolutely occur!

In the Book of Mormon there are many wars. One of the great leaders of the people of Christ’s Church was Captain Moroni. He often used strategy to completely avoid fighting battles in war. In Alma 55 Captain Moroni had wine delivered to guards holding his people captive. Once the guards were drunken and asleep, Captain Moroni’s people threw weapons over the wall to his imprisoned people. In the morning when the guards awoke, they were forced to release the

ir prisoners. Thus Captain Moroni avoided any bloodshed by having a strategy or a plan. We can also strategize to avoid temptation. By creating a plan of how we might avoid situations where we might be compromised, we can instead be free from sin and draw closer to God!

Another strategy Captain Moroni used was to improve his cities with weaker defenses to be

ing exceptionally strong. In Chapter 49 Alma tells us how Moroni took the City of Noah, “the weakest part of the land” and made it one of the strongest cities held by his people. This vast improvement was accomplished through the work of improvement.

I know we can make those things that are weak in our lives become our strengths. I testify of it. Although it is certainly not easy, piece by piece, brick upon brick, it is possible. For it is written: “How great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!: (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:13).

This begs the question, how do we change so that we might avoid temptation and so weaknesses can become our strengths? There is one place we can always go for the help we need. This song, I Need Thee Every Hour continues to come to me. I know there are answers within its lyrics:

1. I need thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev’ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!

2. I need thee ev’ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow’r
When thou art nigh.

3. I need thee ev’ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

4. I need thee ev’ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!

I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know me and every other person more personally than we likely can even comprehend. I know Jesus Christ will be there when we are in need, especially to avoid temptation and we look to him. I say this, knowing it is truth, in all humility, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today while I was visiting the Independence Visitor’s Center, one of the sister missionaries suggested that I check out the updated church information site. I was really blown away with what I saw. I love that there are several regular people sharing their individual witness of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. This is my favorite one. I encourage everyone to check it out, member or non-member, it does not matter. Everyone can, if you so desire, be touched and edified by the Holy Ghost by listening to these testimonies. I have felt the truth in the words spoken by these saints by the power of the Holy Ghost. I share this truth in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Independence, Missouri and Liberty Jail

Today I have had some truly amazing spiritual experiences. I visited the Independence Visitor’s Center and walked to places such as the courthouse were many church leaders, including the gifted orator Sidney Rigdon spoke. I saw the site of the printing press where the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published and later a mob virtually destroyed the building and the Doctrine and Covenants (then called the Book of Commandments) manuscript was saved by the 15 and 13 year-old Rollins sisters. I reflected in each of these spots what it must have been like in those exact places over 150 years ago. I felt the spirit in both locations. I could imagine Brother Rigdon speaking with power and conviction. I imagined the mob rushing up to the second floor printing press and destroying it, throwing the individual type-settings in every direction.

I also visited the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) temple and museum. There I saw a first edition Book of Mormon and other early printings. I saw the Bible Joseph Smith made his inspired changes in and an original manuscript from when the Prophet Joseph Smith dictated the changes. My new friend Bill was very helpful at the museum. He told me of his testimony of the First Vision. Bill shared with me his thoughts on the similarities between Joseph Smith and the Savior Jesus Christ, and I could not have agreed with him more. He spoke about their similar poor upbringings, their short ministries, their rejection by most of the people, and their final death before their 40th birthdays. I really appreciated and enjoyed hearing Bill’s love of the Savior and the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Across the street, I entered the Visitor’s Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The spirit was exceptionally strong there. I was greatly edified by it. Although I have seen the Joseph Smith film produced by The Church before, I decided to watch it again. I was very touched by the film. Formerly living in Idaho and Utah, Missouri had seemed like such a far off place, one I certainly could not relate to. Now, being there, on land dedicated to be a house of the Lord Jesus Christ, within Jackson County, the Joseph Smith film took on new meaning. I felt alive with the spirit, as my body was filled. My testimony that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God, that he truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that he did translate the Book of Mormon by the power and authority of God grew considerably today. I know that Heavenly Father has restored his one true church with the authority to act in his name, with the same structure having prophets, apostles, pastors, and teachers as existed in the church Jesus Christ organized while he was on the Earth. I share this with you in the name of our Savior, who truly did suffer for my sins and yours, even Jesus the Christ.

Later in the day, I visited Liberty Jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin were all held. I was struck by how awful the conditions were at the jail. The feeling I received there was that as spiritual and filled with faith as the Prophet Joseph Smith was, there was still room for him to humble himself further to draw closer to Heavenly Father. It helped me to realize the value of hardship in our lives. I’ve always know that difficult circumstances truly enhance character. However, today I think I understood this principle more fully. I am thankful for my trials. I know that God gives us things that are hard so was can get better, so we always have room to improve. I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and I know they love me. I share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fulfilling of Prophesy

I am a direct descendant of the fourth President of the Church and Prophet, Wilford Woodruff. Due to this, I have a keen interest in him. Wilford Woodruff is well known in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for his constant journal keeping.

I recently began reading a condensed version of Wilford Woodruff’s journals. Within these journals, his patriarchal blessing is published. Wilford Woodruff’s blessing was given by Joseph Smith Sr., father of the latter day prophet, by the laying on of hands, through the authority of the restored priesthood. This is the opening sentence:

"My beloved brother, I lay my hands on thy head in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the living God and seal a blessing on thy head which shall reach thy posterity, a seal that shall not be taken from thee" (emphasis added).

Reading this just hit me in a way I have never before experienced. I read it over again several times. I know I am certainly not his only descendant to have read this. However, as a literal part of his posterity, my reading his blessing does in part fulfill the prophesy given to Wilford Woodruff on April 15, 1837. This will continue to be fulfilled as other members of his posterity, including my children read his blessing.

I know that this is true, both the blessing and the fulfillment of it in my reading its words because the Holy Ghost has given me a witness of this truth. I share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nephi's Pattern We Can All Follow

This morning I read something in the Book of Mormon that I have read many times, but today it meant something different to me, probably because of my experience in finding my internship, as I described in my previous post. It is the story in Chapter 16 of 1 Nephi where Nephi and his brothers broke their bows, thereby losing the ability to hunt and feed their families. Nephi took several steps so that his family could be blessed through him.

  1. In verse 23 Nephi made a bow and arrows out of wood. In other words, he did what he could do.
  2. In verse 24 Nephi relied on his father by having faith in Lehi’s prayer.
  3. In verse 28 Nephi saw the pointers on the Liahona that gave him the direction and in verse 29 he read a new writing that appeared upon the Liahona. However, Nephi does not tell us what was written. The Liahona worked based upon the faith of the people, which is literally the same as the Holy Ghost striving with and directing each of us when we are faithful and true. In sum, Nephi was righteous and the Holy Ghost gave him direction.
  4. In verse 30 Nephi goes to the top of the mountain, as he was directed by the Liahona. This is also to say that Nephi gone to the temple, as the Holy Ghost had directed him to do.
  5. In verse 31 Nephi was able to obtain his original object, to slay animals for the purpose of feeding his family.

I really enjoyed reading his chapter today because it reminded me of my experience, especially that I needed to write it down, and it gave me a second witness to the truthfulness of following this pattern. The pattern is:

  1. Do your best
  2. Pray for help
  3. Have faith and trust in and follow the spirit
  4. Go to the temple or other holy places for edification
  5. The object of you need, if it is the Lord’s will for you to have it, will be met, regardless if it is a temporal or spiritual need.

Finding an Internship

For some time I had been very frustrated as I was searching for the right internship. I had prayed and mediated very much on the subject. However, things just were not working out well. For quite a while I did not get any interviews. Finally interviews began to come but then no one would call me back! Though it was very difficult, I was convinced the right situation had not yet presented itself. In my case, the internship is extremely important because I am transitioning from retail management to supply chain management and I feel like I need the right internship so I will have very specific professional experience to combine with my education.

I had been discussing the situation with my father, who I often speak with on the phone. One day he counseled me to seek a Priesthood blessing from my bishop. So I did. In the blessing, the bishop counseled me to be patient and that the right position would come along. Then about three weeks ago, on a Monday, I had an interview that I was extremely excited about because the job description fit exactly what I wanted and the position is located in an excellent place to live. I felt like I had one of my best interviews.

In the days following the interview, I decided that this indeed was the position I wanted. My prayers changed from asking to be blessed with the right position in the right place to asking for this particular position. On Saturday of that same week, we attended the Atlanta Temple. Although this internship situation weighed heavily upon me, I felt peace within the temple. Monday evening I was offered the position and I accepted.

I feel very blessed for this opportunity and I know that Heavenly Father is truly concerned with me and my everyday life, as he is with all of his children. For this I am very thankful.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Little Miracle

Today I was given a blessing by the laying on of hands by someone with the Priesthood authority of Jesus Christ, which was restored to the Earth through original apostles Peter, James, and John when they conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. It was amazing. I felt the Holy Ghost while I was being blessed. I received my own little miracle. The person giving the blessing spoke of something specifically that no one knows fully about. My wife only kind of had an idea, but did not know. It was one way that the Lord reminded me that the blessing came from him and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is his church on this Earth.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Concern for Others

My two year old daughter is having some tests done. It is nothing big. Today she was at a children’s hospital having an x-ray and a lady in the waiting room began asking my wife why they were there. My wife told this lady about the procedure that my daughter may need. This total stranger told my wife she would pray for my daughter. She even asked twice for my daughter’s name and wrote it down. What an amazing example of Christ-like behavior! We would all be better if we could follow the example set by this stranger. Whoever you are, thank you for your faith and your prayers in my daughter’s behalf.

Monday, January 15, 2007

One True Church

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (New Testament | Ephesians 4:5).

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (New Testament | Ephesians 2:19 - 20).

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Old Testament | Amos 3:7).

Does it not only make sense that only one faith is the true faith of God and that this faith should be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” who rely upon Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, to hold the foundation they provide sure, that it will not fall?

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the “one faith” of God on this Earth. I testify that we do have apostles and prophets who lead the church based upon inspiration from Jesus Christ. I testify that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus the Christ. I share this with you in his name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Prospering in the Land

My car leaks. I guess that is what you get with a beat up old Honda with 230,000 miles on it. I’m not sure where it leaks, though I think it is somewhere near the front of the trunk. I hadn’t noticed this problem living in Utah because it doesn’t rain too often and the snow is more likely to stick and later slide off of the car. The result, living here in Tennessee, with our torrential downpours, is that the back two seats in my car become soaked. Then it is so humid here, it is nearly impossible to keep them dry. This creates a very uncomfortable situation in the mornings where I have water on the inside of my windows. This creates an interesting dilemma. I have to either dry the windows off so I can see, which leaves my windows very dirty and really affects visibility when it is light out (I usually leave home before dawn) or I have to do my best to see while the heater slowly takes the water away. I usually choose the latter.

Back to the point, my car leaks. Because of this, when I am home and know it is supposed to be dry during the day, I leave all four doors and my trunk open. During nights when the weatherman says it will be dry, I usually leave two or three windows cracked. (I prefer not to leave the forth cracked because it’s messed up and takes way too much effort to roll back up—more fun with my car! You should see it when I pull up to the drive through window and must open my door.) The other day it was not supposed to rain. All day it was bright and sunny and I had left all four doors and the trunk open. That evening, I went out to close my doors and the trunk, then crack the windows for the night. It was also not supposed rain over night. Something told me not to leave me windows open. I hesitated as I went to unroll my window. I felt again that I should not leave them open. So I left my windows closed. As you would expect from this story, it certainly did rain, and rain quite hard that night.

I know, it might seem silly to some people, but this is a big deal for me. I’m in graduate school. It has not been easy on my family to go from two incomes to virtually no income. This old car with, I remind you again, 230,000 miles, must last me at least another year and a half. I recently read Alma 48:15: “And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land.” I feel like the Lord is prospering my family and I in the land as we do our best to keep his commandments. I am very thankful for this promise the Lord has given us, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Alma 46 is a chapter well known to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because “Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites” (Book of Mormon | Alma 46:11) raises the “Title of Liberty” and takes it to the people. However, what struck me while reading this chapter today was not the Title of Liberty story as a whole, but the way in which Captain Moroni prepared to deliver this proclamation of liberty to his people. Moroni prayed with not a going though the motions prayer, rather “he prayed mightily unto his God” and “poured out his soul to God” (Book of Mormon | Alma 46:13, 17).

Moroni’s prayer also reminds me of Enos who, when desiring a remission of his sins, said: “My soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul” (Book of Mormon | Enos 1:4). Then he wrote: “And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (Book of Mormon | Enos 1:5).

I know because I have experienced it several times that our Father in Heaven knows us well. He can and will assist us just as our father on Earth will. I have “poured out my soul” to God many, many times and in this intimate position, I have always been given the assistance, strength or comfort I needed to carry on by our Heavenly Father. This truth that I know without a doubt I share in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Overcoming Life’s Difficulties and Hardships

I recently read this passage which reminds me of overcoming challenges in life:

“And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee . . . and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage. And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them” (Book of Mormon | Alma 43:48 - 50).

I know in my life I have many times felt that everything was coming for me. I wanted more than anything else to run away—to take the easy way out. Sometimes I have, and the problem continued to follow me until I chose to confront it. However, when I pour my heart out unto the Lord, he does ease my burdens because he loves me! Heavenly Father has many times over blessed me with freedom from the problems in life that are my bondage. Sometimes the problems did flee from before me quickly, as the Lamanites did in Alma 43 above, other times it took much longer. The Lord knows exactly what I need to learn in every situation and circumstance. He eases burdens and strengthens us if we will but exercise faith in him to do so because he loves me, you, and each and every other one of his children on this Earth. Take for example the people of Alma:

“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 24:15).

The part I love most about this scripture is not the part about the Lord easing the burdens of the people, it is that “they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” What humility! I would speculate that being cheerful and having patience concerning our burdens makes the Lord more likely to assist us further.

I know that Heavenly Father lives. He is truly a loving God who knows each and every one of us. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father will make our burdens light, that he will give us the strength to overcome our weaknesses and our fears, and that he is truly concerned with our individual wellbeing if we will but exercise faith and call upon in prayer. Heavenly Father has eased my burdens countless times. I do not think it would have been possible for me to overcome some situations in my life without his hand and his guidance. I am so thankful to have a Father in Heaven who cares so deeply for us! If I could be but 0.00000000000000000001% of the skilled parent he his to my children I have been entrusted with on this Earth, how blessed would I be! I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ each know me personally and love me and I love them too with a love that grows daily. I share these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.