Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Power of Writing

One of the most overlooked aspects of all of scripture is that of writing. In the Book of Mormon alone, there is 249 references to "write" in any of its many forms.

Why is there such a focus on writing? "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;" (2 Nephi 25:23) is obviously a big reason, but there is more than just that.

When you write down the promptings you receive, you show the Lord that His words are of great worth to you, and that you want to receive more. These writings are then staying around for you to be able to look back on the many wonderful things you had learned in previous days, weeks, and months. 

Writing down the promptings also makes you more keenly aware of what the spirit is telling you. It allows you to pick out principles and doctrines from the stories found in the scriptures. No person can truly study from the scriptures without utilizing a way to write down what is learned from the reading.


There are as many ways to write down the promptings from the scriptures as there are types of people. I have three ways that I do so.

First, I have paper right by me as I study from my scriptures. Each time something stands out to me, I write down whatever it was in my own words. Oftentimes, as I do so, I come to learn more, because as I write down, I am pondering, and it is in the pondering that revelation comes.

Second, when I am done reading, I have a group of friends who I text one of the things I learned. Usually, it's short, just one or two text message lengths, but that keeps the pondering going, and I email myself the texts at the end of the month, and keep in a Google Document, so I could access it anywhere. This also helps others come to understand the doctrines of the Kingdom more fully, and helps keep the observation of the commandment "that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom" (Doctrine & Covenants 88:77). When you keep commandments, that opens your mind to obtain more light and truth, and, thus, greater knowledge and faith.

If some subject keeps pressing upon my mind again and again, I then typically come here. I write a blog post about it. These are more for me than they are for anyone else, most of the time. In writing these, and having to put what's been on my mind into, basically, a paper, I come to understand each of the doctrines and principles I write about more. I come to understand it at a greater depth. My head and my heart go together, and my attitudes and behaviors change: slowly, incrementally, and often almost imperceptibly, but as I look back at how far I've come in a few weeks, months, and sometimes years, I come to see that I am becoming more refined, "more fit for the kingdom...more blessed and holy" (More Holiness Give Me). 

I testify that as you write, the Power of the Word will change you to become more like our Savior. It will raise you to greater heights, and you will both know in your head and understand in your heart what the Lord wants you to know, as you stand a little taller and improve a little more each day.

There will be moments of backsliding, yes. We are merely mortals right now. One step off of the path does not cause eternal damnation. The only thing that stops one from progressing is not repenting. Every other malady we face in this life has been faced by our Savior, and He will always go before your face, and the Father shall be your rearward, the Spirit will be in your heart, and the angels round about you to bear you up. 

As we consistently strive to write the words spoken by the spirit and angels, we will be blessed to understand more fully the doctrines of the kingdom, and our attitudes and behaviors will change to be perfectly in line with the Celestial Law, in and through the blood of the Lamb. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Piece of Bread

We are all familiar with the story of the feeding of the multitude with the five loaves of bread and two fishes. This story has much to teach us in these latter-days.

People came from far and wide across the entire land of Judea. There was this new teacher of the Law, and His fame of such and of his miracles had traveled through much of the region. They had sought him out to hear of his words, and perhaps to see a miracle.

After travelling and listening at the feet of the Holy One all day, the pangs of hunger, which beset all mortals was bound to happen. The Lord asked if there was any food in the midst of the multitude, but all that could be found was five barley loaves and two fishes. Imagine how upsetting that would feel for a moment.

Here you are, several hours from home, and there's only five loaves and two fishes, and you're in the rear of the multitude. There's no way you could eat today, and you have to walk back home when this is done. But you stay, because you had partaken so deeply of the Bread of Life, that you didn't want to leave Him.

He, then, blessed and broke the bread, and when the baskets get back to you, you realize that you witnessed something amazing! You and your family got enough bread to eat: you did not go hungry, like you had resigned yourself to.

You may feel, figuratively, that all you have is a torn piece of bread to give to the Savior, but with Him, that's more than enough. The amount you give is insignificant compared to the amount of your heart you give. The Savior doesn't want you to sacrifice as much as he wants you to consecrate. He wants less of your bread and more of you.


Remember that the most important bread you have any week is not a big piece, and the most important water you have is not a big sip. That small piece of bread, and the small glass of water are important because of what they represent. Jesus Christ gave His all for you.

All he asks in return is all of you, and sometimes, to help you do that, He asks for the piece of bread. As President James E Faust once said, "[T]he lad...had only five barley loaves and two small fishes to give to the cause of the Savior, but by the power of God, countless thousands have been spiritually fed." (http://goo.gl/mjT4MU)

You never know what God will use you for, but you can rest assured, if you give yourself to Him, you will be used to further His work "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). And that is worth more than the cost of a piece of bread.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

God is, in fact, a Mormon

I've noticed a post that has been going around social media, which I have read called "I don't think God is a Mormon". It brings up some good points; however, the title and post are only half the story. 

While it is true that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) hold no monopoly on the truth, that doesn't mean we do not have it. God himself said that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased" (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30). 

Notice: TRUE and LIVING church upon the face of the whole earth. Many churches have truth, but the truths they've got have been watered down by false philosophies held to the same level as scriptures. The Lord said, "all their creeds [are] an abomination....they teach for doctrine the commandments of men" (JS-H 1:19). 

Elder Dallin H Oaks taught, "The fashionable opinion of this age is that all churches are true. In truth, the idea that all churches are the same is the doctrine of the anti-Christ, illustrated by the Book of Mormon account of Korihor (see Alma 30). That account was given to teach us a vital lesson in our day."

It's not that other churches don't have truth, but rather they have falsehoods which detract from truth. If I were to bake an amazing Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, jam, biscuits, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and stuffing, but I added a tablespoon of toxic waste to everything, it would suddenly be something that would kill you rather than fill you. Sure, you might get enough to eat, and it may all taste wonderful, but in the end, it will kill you.

So it is with the philosophies of men, it may seem harmless to change some doctrines of God such as His nature, the need for baptism, and the requirement of priesthood authority. But in the end, those doctrines will spiritually kill you. Meanwhile, the Church of God has always placed our trust in the scriptures. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "[A]lthough fools may have [the scriptures] in derision, yet they are calculated to make men wise unto salvation, and sweep away the cobwebs of superstition of ages, throw a light on the proceedings of Jehovah which have already been accomplished, and mark out the future in all its dreadful and glorious realities. Those who have tasted the benefit derived from a study of those works, will undoubtedly vie with each other in their zeal for sending them abroad throughout the world, that every son of Adam may enjoy the same privileges, and rejoice in the same truths.”(Joseph Smith)

There is ONE way to Eternal Life. That is through the ordinances of the Everlasting Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ only made possible through the priesthood authority found on the earth. The lifeblood of the Church of God, whenever properly established are Baptism, Confirmation, Priesthood Authority, and the Temple ordinances. Only through these ordinances can men make it to greater heights and gain exaltation in the Celestial World.

Through these ordinances, we learn the Celestial Law. "For he who is not able to abide the law of celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory." (Doctrine & Covenants 88:22). No man can live the Celestial Law unless he learns Celestial Law, and no man can learn Celestial Law, except it be through the path God ordained.

Bruce R McConkie taught, "There is no salvation in believing a false doctrine. Truth, diamond truth, truth unmixed with error, truth alone leads to salvation. What we believe determines what we do. No man can be saved in ignorance of God and his laws. Man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge of Jesus Christ and the saving truths of his everlasting gospel. Gospel doctrines belong to the Lord, not to men. They are his. He ordained them, he reveals them, and he expects us to believe them." (1 June 1980)

This is the Church of Jesus Christ. Earth and Hell may rage against it, but truth is truth. God desires that all people come and partake of salvation only found through the ordinances of the priesthood, and to believe only that which will enable them to enter again into His presence. 

And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only place where that can happen. For this reason, we realize that God is, in fact, a Mormon.



Monday, July 21, 2014

5 Things to Prepare for the Temple

  1. Pray always!
  2. Study scriptures!
  3. Go to Church!
  4. Magnify your calling!
  5. Hold regular FHE!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Come to the Temple

Tow’ring high above the city height
The Temple of God is a mighty sight!
The learning and peace found therein
Endows with power for the battle with sin!

The light and the glory in the shrine
Makes us holy and countenances shine!
Cleansed from the darkness of the world:
With my Redeemer, my banner’s unfurled!

From the blood and sins, from pain and strife,
The Temple reveals everlasting life!
The God of Israel dwells in there:
The Lord eases the load of all your life’s cares.

O! Come ye all to God’s holy house,
Ye remnant of Ephraim and of Israel!
O ye dispersed, assemble!
O ye House of Israel, Come to the Temple!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Crown of Thorns, Crown of Glory

The prophet Brigham Young taught  "All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through, to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. If we obtain the glory that Abraham obtained, we must do so by the same means that he did. If we are ever prepared to enjoy the society of Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or of their faithful children, and of the faithful Prophets and Apostles, we must pass through the same experience, and gain the knowledge, intelligence, and endowments that will prepare us to enter into the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. … Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation" (http://goo.gl/7Lt9en).


In other words, in order to gain the crown of glory, we must first be willing to wear a crown of thorns. And we are.

When first created, this earth was in a paradisiacal state. Fruit and things which were good to eat sprung forth spontaneously as weeds do in our world. There was no hard toil to keep them thriving, and there weren't anything that could harm Adam or Eve save it be the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When they partook of the fruit, the earth was cursed for our sake. (For in a world where sin is capable, it's a good thing we have to work, for it gives us less time to sin.)

When Adam fell, the Lord came to the Garden of Eden, "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;" (Genesis 3:17-18). 

Thus with thorns, the world came into being. We have been born into the world where thorns are a reality. There is no getting around it: some have thorns of poor health, some have thorns of lost loved ones, some have thorns of addictions, and others have thorns of depression. Some of our thorns are big and bulky and the entire world can see them, and others have thorns so fine, not even their closest friends know. But we all have them!

The trick is, what do we do with our thorns? Some people will put the thorns under their clothes, and act as though they have none before the world. Others will carry thorns in their hands to put in the faces of everyone, so they can have pity. Still more will wrap them around their arms to push others away. The best thing we could do is make them into a crown. 

We begin to make our thorny trials into crowns, as we let them draw us to He who bore the crown of thorns on Golgotha. We weave our sins into our crown as we repent of them. Each new thorny branch we get, we have a choice on what to do with it. No matter what we do with it, tho, it will hurt. 

There is a seldom sung hymn in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' 1985 Hymnbook: "O Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown". From the title we get, it seems that it might be about His resurrection or His Second Coming, but that's not what it's talking about. Instead, it focuses on the crown of the Atonement.

O Savior, thou who wearest
A crown of piercing thorn,
The pain thou meekly bearest,
Weigh'd down by grief and scorn.
The soldiers mock and flail thee;
For drink they give thee gall;
Upon the cross they nail thee
To die, O King of all.

The crown of thorns is a necessary step in obtaining the crown of glory. The Savior won the ultimate crown of glory when He took upon His head, every single thorn that has been borne by you, by me, and by each person who has ever walked this earth. Indeed, "No creature is so lowly, No sinner so depraved, But feels thy presence holy And thru thy love is saved. Tho craven friends betray thee, They feel thy love's embrace; The very foes who slay thee Have access to thy grace." (http://goo.gl/VkLIKy).

We can only become what He is by doing the things that He did. If the Savior of the world could not make it to glory without having to wear a crown of thorns, why do we think we can do it? Oftentimes, without realizing it, when we complain about the thorns rather than make them into a crown, we presumptuously (and often unwittingly) place ourselves as better than the Savior, by demanding to know why we must live with these thorns.

When we get to the other side, I am confident that we will take a look at our thorns, and the thorns of others, and realize that we could have dealt with our thorns. We would see the absolute beauty that people were able to make of their thorns. If we looked closer, we'd begin to see the various types of thorns fit together to allow the person to make their crown, their life, a masterpiece, even with the sharpest thorns.

I'm sure in seeing all of that, we will wish we had made our crowns better. I'm sure we'll wish we had been more diligent, especially when we see that what are thorns in this life get burned off and refined to gold in the next life. We never really lose our crown of thorns, it just becomes a crown of glory. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brought by an Angel

Hypothetical situation: if God Himself wanted to get a book out to everyone, and sent it down in the hands of angels for all the earth to read, would you read it? Would you have that in your remembrance each time you opened those up? Would you want to make sure you had those words come into your mind and into your heart every day?

Well, if you would do that, why not read The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ that way?



The Book of Mormon is the greatest miracle the world has known! Countless millions have read the book, and it has changed their lives. The harshest critics of the book have, at most, skimmed a few pages casually. It is the only way to find the true joy of the everlasting gospel of the Father.

The Book is filled with the mighty promises of the Lord which he made to the remnant of Israel. It has come forth as a tool to gather out the dispersed of Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, and the other tribes of Israel, and in due course will come to the Jews: for "the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews" (2 Nephi 29:13).

The Book of Mormon is a record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas (compiled by a Nephite prophet named Mormon and his son Moroni). Through these holy and just men, the records of most worth of the sacred history of the people was preserved: things that would help us in our day. The Prophet Ezra Taft Benson once said, "The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day. Mormon turned the records over to his son Moroni, the last recorder; and Moroni, writing over 1,500 years ago but speaking to us today, states: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” (Morm. 8:35.)" (http://goo.gl/nsuwtv). 

Angels brought the book forth to light to ensure that you could read the book, and come to feel of the truthfulness of the message of the Restoration of Christ's church to the earth. It is here to declare to the four quarters of the earth that the Savior's return is nigh, and that the Gathering of Israel has commenced on the earth.

The Book of Mormon teaches the divine plan of happiness. It teaches the need for the Fall and the Creation. Most importantly: it sheds greater light on the greatest, most important, event ever to happen: The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Where can you find a more direct statement than from Alma 7:11-13:
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
Save possibly the words of Lehi in 2 Nephi 2:6-9:
Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
Where do we find the fruits of the Atonement in greater clarity than in the words of Moroni 10:32-33:
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
Save it be in the words of Jacob 4:11:
 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

Find me another passage in all of holy writ that rivals these teachings! They cannot be found! Sure, there are good scriptures: I love John 3:16-17! But the power of the word is found most purely in The Book of Mormon and the modern revelations.

We live in a day of revelations. In the words of one of the most beloved hymns of the Restoration:

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth. 

Do you really believe that? Honestly, think of that for a moment: Do you really believe that Angels are coming to visit the earth?

If so, every night you should be showering your pillows with tears of gratitude for the priceless gift of The Book of Mormon. If not, then you haven't read The Book of Mormon. I invite you, whether you have never read it or have read it once, or if you have read it a million times, to read The Book of Mormon again: make it a daily occurrence that you are in that book. I promise you that as you do, the power of the book will sink deep into your heart, and you will come to know the truthfulness thereof.

For those of you who are questioning why you should read it, I have one thought for you. Do angels come to the earth on trivial matters?




They do not: every instance where an Angel has come, it has been a matter of great importance. If The Book of Mormon was brought to earth by an angel, then it is of the greatest importance for you to read it: it is more important than eating, than sleeping, and even than breathing. If it was not brought by an angel, well, the only way to find that out is to ask God, for only God can answer questions about His angels, and He won't give an answer until you have put in the effort to obtain his words.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The stationariness of religion; the assumption that the age of inspiration is past, that the Bible is closed; the fear of degrading the character of Jesus by representing him as a man; indicate with sufficient clearness the falsehood of our theology. It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake."

That is our message to the world, the heavens are not closed! God speaks to man today, as in days of old! All we ask is that you come and see! Come and read The book brought by an angel!



Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day


Today, America celebrates her independence from England. It was a time long foretold by the prophets, a day when a land where the restoration of the Fullness of the Everlasting Gospel would be restored to the earth.

This land is a choice land, and God has ordained it to be a free land if we serve Him (Ether 2:12). If we do not serve Him, we shall be swept off, for such is the decrees of the Everlasting God.

While we remember our freedoms, and our liberties, let us not forget the source of our Freedom: the King of America: Jesus the Christ. Because of His Atonement, we are free forever. Without Him, we would be held captive, and bondage would abound. While we celebrate our freedom and independence from England, let us also celebrate our freedom and independence from the Destroyer and our complete dependence on our God.