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.