Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Does The Book of Mormon Really Teach?

   Is The Book of Mormon the word of God as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claim it is? What does it really teach? Are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Christian? I hope I can shed some light on these questions.
   In the Holy Bible, Christ taught "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:37-39) Lehi and Nephi, in the Book of Mormon were great examples of this.
   Lehi, one of the first prophets mentioned in The Book of Mormon, spoke of Nephi's love of God and for his fellowmen, saying, "...he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare." (2 Nephi 1:25)
   Again, just before Lehi dies, he tells his son Jacob, "And I have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls. Amen." (2 Nephi 2:30)
   Lehi, in that same address to his son Jacob, exhorted him to "look to the Great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit." (2 Nephi 2:28)
   The Book of Mormon teaches that we must love God, love one another, keep the commandments, repent, believe in Jesus Christ, be faithful, praise God, give thanks, treat each other with kindness, and so much more! It even testiefies of the Holy Bible, that it "contains the covenants of the Lord" and "many of the prophecies of the holy prophets." (2 Nephi 13:23)
   With Christ, Lehi, and Nephi, I add my testimony that my only object is to love and serve God, and my fellowmen. The Book of Mormon teaches this plainly and I know it is truly the word of God. I invite all people to READ The Book of Mormon for themselves, to ponder what it teaches, and PRAY to God and ask if it is true. I know that anyone who sincerely and humbly takes this course of action will receive a witness from God of the divinity of The Book of Mormon, and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which espouses it, and especially of our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer- Jesus Christ. You will have a greater desire to bring your lives in harmony with His teachings, an increase of faith, and strength from God to know and do what is right.


   "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Receiving Answers To Prayers

   In the past, I've heard some people say they feel their prayers are stopping at the ceiling and not quite making it to God. I wonder if from time to time each of us feels this way. We feel that even though our prayers are being said, they are not being heard, and more importantly they are not being answered.
   Each of us can take comfort in the words of Paul to the Romans "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
   I know that God loves each of us and hears our prayers, and if we do our part, He will answer our prayers. So the question is, what do we need to do to receive our answers?
   I came across a wonderful talk by Elder L. Lionel Kendrick called, "Personal Revelation."
   In the talk he gives a lot of counsel and I'd like to share just a short bit of it:
   "Receiving personal revelation is not a passive process. As we seek such revelations, we must prepare for these sacred experiences. President Spencer W. Kimball told us that “God reveals himself to [people] who are prepared for such manifestations.”
   The Savior spoke of this principle of preparing to receive personal revelation. He shed light on the things that we must do to properly prepare: “It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins [repents] and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name [prays], and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments [obeys], shall see my face and know that I am” (D&C 93:1).
   To properly prepare to receive personal revelation, we must repent, ask through prayer, be obedient, search the scriptures, fast, think pure thoughts, and develop a spirit of reverence."
   Elder Kendrick concluded his talk by saying, "It is a tender experience to petition our Heavenly Father in sincere, heartfelt prayer and know that He will respond with personal revelation. His promises are sure, but we must properly prepare to be receptive to the promptings of the Spirit in receiving this guidance."

   To see the full content of the talk and find more guidence on how to receive answers to your prayers and how to recognize them, please go to and read "Personal Revelation."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Overcoming Feeling Overwhelmed

   Life can be overwhelming. Sometimes we just have a ton to do and not enough time to do it in. Sometimes things happen we don't understand. Sometimes we just don't know what we're doing!
   I think we've all struggled with that at some time or another- and if you haven't, knock on wood... even as missionaries we have those same struggles and feelings. I know I have on my mission. Recently I've learned some pretty cool ways to overcome feeling overwhelmed.
   I recently shared this discovery with some friends of mine: Sometimes life hits us like a river, and rather than trying to contain that river in a bucket, now I look at it as a river to swim in. Do I understand it all? No. But I don't have to. I just do all I can, and when the challenges are too big to conquer immediately- I just swim through it. I do all I can, and leave the rest to God.
   That's what I've learned to do, and it's helped a lot in my life recently. Just look at the good in the world, and don't worry about what you can't handle. Know that God will take care of you. He loves you, and if you turn to Him, it will all work out in the long run. Even if you can't see the ending.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Uplifting Poem- The Oak Tree

   A poem was shared in church a little while back. I thought I'd share it with you:

"The Oak Tree"

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I've found, with thanks to you
I'm stronger than I ever knew

-Johny Ray Ryder Jr.

   I hope that helps lift your spirits as much as it lifts mine. What a wonderful poem!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Epiphanies are great!

   I just love it when my mind completely blanks and I can't think what to say next and then something profound just pops out of my mouth. Have you ever had that happen?
   Just the other day I was trying to explain to someone what it was like to gain a spiritual witness of something. I couldn't quite find the words so I tried to think of something to compare it to. Before I could think of anything my mouth decided to go for it. So out came an explanation that it was like building trust in a friendship. At first you don't know how trustworthy they are, but over time, as you listen to what they say and see how well it works, you begin to trust them. Right? You don't just trust some stranger on the street, do you? Well, it's the same way with learning to trust the Holy Spirit. As I've gotten to know how the Spirit speaks to me and as I've follow the impressions he gives, I've gained trust in him. The Holy Ghost has never lied to me. The more I've become familiar with him, the more I've come to know he can't lie, and he's always right. I didn't just start trusting everything he said from the first. My trust and faith has grown as I've tried out what he's said, until it has grown to where it is now, and it keeps growing each and every day.
   Pretty cool, isn't it? I'd never thought about it like that before, so I'm glad my mouth ran in front of my mind this time. I learned something new!
   So for you readers out there, how have you learned to trust the Spirit?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


   So today I just felt like writing a doctrinal rant about something that's been on my mind a little while.
   Forgiving isn't always easy. Someone cuts you off, says something offensive- sometimes even on purpose. Sometimes you feel you have a right to be angry or offended. But who are you really hurting by holding a grudge? Holding a grudge is just holding onto your own pain. Sometimes it's best just to start over new- a clean slate. Let the pain go. Forget about the past and start over. Give yourself another chance, give them another chance, and move on!
   The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides that clean slate between us and God. When we sin, we cause God to be disappointed in us. That sin separates us from God. But through the Atonement we are able to have a fresh start. We can feel the forgiveness of our loving Heavenly Father and be renewed. So, let the past be in the past and form fresh views of life! Let go of your pain and you'll feel God's love in your life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sometimes it's hard to "bless them that curse you!"

   Partly as a safety rule, we missionaries have "companions" just like kids that go to the pool might have "swimming buddies." We stay with our companions all day, everyday. It can be exhausting sometimes, but it can be really fun, too.
   Anyway, when you're around someone that much, you have to learn to put aside your differences and get along. Despite common belief, we don't automatically become best friends when we meet our new companions. And for those of you who don't know, we switch off "swimming buddies" several times in the two years of service we do.
   I've had to learn to have patience while I've been out here. But moreso, charity. Charity is a Christ-Like attribute that in some ways is related to patience. It means putting others' welbeing before your own, even when sometimes that person is annoying you! Charity is more than action, it's a state of being and a way of life.
   As I've learned to get along with my companions I have come to have a deeper understanding of my savior and of charity. Christ was the greatest example of it. Even when the people spat on him and hated him and eventually killed him, he allowed it to happen because He loved them and what He was doing would allow them to be forgiven of their sins. He loved the very people who killed him- He loved them so much that He paid the price for them, so they could be saved in the Kingdom of God and have eternal happiness! That price included His life.
   I've learned to love those that persecute me while serving as a servant of Christ, and only in that little way, I've felt some of what Christ endured for each of us! It was hard for me to have that love for just one person- it still is. I can't imagine how hard it was for Christ to do it for every sinner that ever lived- to love each of us enough to suffer in our place so we can be forgiven and live with God again! I'm not sure I could ever have that kind of love, but I am grateful for our Savior, who did! He truly lived and suffered for us so we can be forgiven of our sins and live with God again!