Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You Will Be Freed

Here is the latest video from the Churches Mormon Messages Channel on You Tube. There are close to 40 great videos on their page. Check it out!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And Thus We See... The Bottom Line

My mom is a bottom-line kind of woman. She likes to know the point to what she is reading, hearing, thinking or doing. So much so that when she gets a new book, she reads the last page first, just so she knows the end before she starts.

When I was visiting my mom a few years ago I walked in on her reading the Book of Mormon. High-lighter in hand, she looked up and said, "I love the 'and-thus-we-see' verses. They get right to the point."

They other day I decided to look up all the "and-thus-we-see" verses in the Book of Mormon and I can see why my mother loved them. They get to the bottom line. In 18 verses they teach 9 important lessons. They teach the bottom line of the gospel - the Plan of Salvation.

1. All mankind are fallen and lost (Alma 12:22)

2. Men became mortal and subject to sin and their own will (Alma 42:14)

3. Sin brings inequality, misery & distance from the Lord (Alma 28:13, Alma 42:14, Alma 50:19, Helaman 6:35, Helaman 6:40, Ether 14:25)

4. God is merciful and just (Alma 50:19)

5. He is willing to help us when we come to Him (1 Nephi 16:29,Alma 50:19, Helaman 6:34, Helaman 6:36)

6. Bad things happen when we choose wrong. We lost His support and must experience the consqeunces (Alma 28:14, Alma 30:60, Helaman 6:34, Helaman 6:35, Helaman 6:40, Helaman 12:3, Ether 14:25)

7. Good things happen when we choose good (Alma 24:19, Alma 28:14, Alma 50:19, Helman 6:34)

8. This life is a time to use our agency to follow the Savior. (1 Nephi 17:3, Alma 42:4)

9. One of the most important things we can do is teach others about the plan and how to repent (Alma 28:14)

And thus we see that the bottom line - the moral of the story- the importance of The Plan of Salvation. Everything in the Gospel is a part of it.

How wonderful it is to have a Father in Heaven that created such a wonderful plan, and how wonderful it is to have a mother in earth that sees is so clearly.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fast and Pray For Them

During this time of tremendous fear, pain and loss, let us fast and pray for those in Japan and others who have been affected by the tsunami and earthquake.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Know a Bad Word

My current calling in my ward is the CTR 5 teacher. I have never taught primary before, and I truly love it. The other day during singing time, one of the kids in my class (imagine a blue-eyed, curly blonde-haired darling boy) leaned over and whispered in his lispy 5-year old voice, "Sistow Wiwson, I know the "D" wowd, but I'm not gonna say it."

It was all I could do to not fall off my chair laughing.

"Where did you hear the "D" word?" I asked, almost hoping it was his mother (she and I are friends and it would have been wonderful ammo for teasing.)

"Mike Woah on Doty Jobs spiwwed someting on his pants and said it."

"What did your mom say?"

"She said we shoodnt say it or watch that show anymow."

Thank goodness for mothers who teach her children what is right and what is wrong.

The chasm between what the church teaches and what the world teaches is growing larger by the year. Things that were taboo 50 years ago, even 10 years ago, are the norm now.

Tolerance has become a mask for Satan's appeal to "be who you want to be" as he whispers "you shouldn't change, other people's opinions of you should." He tries to teach that standards rob people of agency and identity, that heeding to a higher power is a fool's crutch.

But we know better. We know the freedom that comes from obedience, the guidance that comes from the Holy Ghost, the blessings that comes from paying tithing, the miracles that happen as we visit and home teach each other, the unity in our forever families, the joy of a clean and virtuous life and the peace that comes from a testimony of the Savior.

Just like the father of King Lamoni pleaded that he would "give away all my sins" to know the Lord, we, too, know the price of a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and redemption is to give up carnal desires, pride and many times comfort and fun, to know Him. Though imperfect in performance, we are fervent in our desires to give away all our sins to know Him. Even a 5-year-old who knows his first bad work refrains from saying it because he knows it is wrong to.

We give up a lot- but the returns are great. We trade a swear word for a blessing, addiction for joy, sorrow for peace, fear for courage, doubt for faith, and solidarity for unity. We trade who we are alone for what we can, and should, be with God's help.

The Savior says we should be as a little child. Does my little CTR 5 child mind not swearing, or even watching a show that contains swear words? No. He shared proudly with me that, even though he knew how, he wasn't going to. He was happy to be obedient, and he will be blessed for it, as will his mother for teaching him.

We all struggle with certain things. What are you willing to give up to know Him? What do you think you will get in return?

Save Only One

I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning in the book of Alma. Through the great missionary efforts of the sons of Mosiah, thousands of Lamanites had been converted to the gospel.

There was a group that lived among the Lamanites called the Amalekites. They were once Nephites, but had hardened their hearts and forsaken the gospel. In fact, because they had once seen the light of the gospel then rejected it, they had actually become harder and more fierce than the Lamanites who had never been exposed to the truth.

I chapter 23 it tells of the Lamanite converts and how "thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord..." And of the Amalekites they "were not converted, save only one."

Who was this "only one"? We don't know. That is all is says about the one.

But I couldn't help but wonder about this "only one." What kind of qualities could this "one" have possessed: Humility, faith, courage and love. It took all of these qualities to be the "only one" out of his people to listen, repent, believe, then leave. Can you imagine his/her conversion story? Someday I hope we will be able to read it.

I know a many people who are converts who have had to give up a lot to join the church. Some have been the "only one" in their family to have been converted. They have those same qualities that I imagined this single Amalekites had.

I have been a member of the church my whole life, but there have been times when, either at work, on my mission, or in other settings, that I have felt like the "only one" who believed. It takes courage and faith to stand up for what you believe. But even if we, at times, can feel alone - the "only one", we must always remember that we are never alone.

They that are with us are greater than they who are with them. We are supported by God, our Savior, those who have passed before us, by our brothers and sisters in the church and so on.

Being the 'only one' is not a bad thing. It means we, ourselves, had the humility to listen to the Spirit. We had the patience to nurture the seed of faith. We were faithful and obedient, repentant and forgiven. We had courage to live the gospel and keep His commandment. And when we stand before the Savior to account for our lives, it will be us alone - the "only one" talking to Him.

May we able to stand there with head held like and, like Paul, say that we "fought the good fight" - even if were were the only one.

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