Saturday, May 13, 2017

Be...

Gordon B Hinckley is credited with this quote.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Most Important Calling in the Church

Dieter F Uchtdorf

What is the most important calling in the Church? It is the one you currently have. No matter how humble or prominent it may seem to be, the calling you have right now is the one that will allow you not only to lift others but also to become the man/woman you were created to be.

            In his April 2017 General Priesthood talk, President Uchtdorf shared this [humble] example:

During the 150th anniversary of the pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Brother Myron Richins was serving as a stake president in Henefer, Utah. The celebration included a reenactment of the pioneers’ passage through his town.

President Richins was heavily involved with the plans for the celebration, and he attended many meetings with General Authorities and others to discuss the events. He was fully engaged.

Just before the actual celebration, President Richins’s stake was reorganized, and he was released as president. On a subsequent Sunday, he was attending his ward priesthood meeting when the leaders asked for volunteers to help with the celebration. President Richins, along with others, raised his hand and was given instructions to dress in work clothes and to bring his truck and a shovel.

Finally, the morning of the big event came, and President Richins reported to volunteer duty.

Only a few weeks before, he had been an influential contributor to the planning and supervision of this major event. On that day, however, his job was to follow the horses in the parade and clean up after them.

President Richins did so gladly and joyfully.

He understood that one kind of service is not above another.

He knew and put into practice the words of the Savior: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” [Matthew 23:11].

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blessings Large and Small

Neal A Maxwell (1926-2004)

When, like a big boulder, a large blessing rolls visibly into place, it is certainly noticed, appreciated, and counted. Meanwhile, however, the less-noticed, pebble-sized blessings mount up, layer upon layer. Cumulatively, the latter may out-mass many of our large blessings. Those seemingly smaller blessings are the frequent subtle signals that He is mindful of us. Because both large and small blessings reflect the beneficence of God. We need to be aware of both, thankfully and constantly, and make honest and full inventories. God’s hand is surely in the pebble-like details as well as in the large panorama, and His ways of measuring are so much better than our ways. Though He sends “rain on the just and on the unjust” [Matthew 5:45] – both the deserving and the undeserving – blessings are dispensed according to our obedience to the laws upon which they are predicated [Doctrine & Covenants 130:20-21]. Nevertheless, when God blesses us, He does it with the Malachi measure and the harvest baskets are “pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” [Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10]. Besides, for us, blessings size is clearly not as important as the Blessing Source.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

First Presidency Easter Message

Easter is a wonderful time to remember Christ's life and reflect on the great love He has for us.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently shared a beautiful Easter message from the First Presidency that illustrates the story of Christ's Atonement and His resurrection. 
At this Easter season, we remember with immense gratitude the sacrifices of our Savior in Gethsemane and on Calvary’s cross. No mere mortal can comprehend the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane. His suffering there caused Him to “tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18). Following the agony of Gethsemane, the Savior’s wounded body was nailed to a cross on Calvary’s hill. He was mocked and cursed and derided. When merciful death came, His body was gently placed in a borrowed tomb. He had passed beneath all things so that He might save all things.
Three days later, angels declared to the weeping Mary Magdalene: “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6). With these words, the most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history was announced — the Savior’s victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary were wiped away. The salvation of mankind was secured. The Fall of Adam was reclaimed.
At this Easter season, we solemnly testify that our Savior was resurrected and that He lives again. As a result, each of God’s children will receive the Savior’s gift of immortality. And those who follow the Savior’s teachings and receive the gospel’s saving ordinances will be blessed with life eternal.
The First Presidency's message also goes perfectly with this year's #PrinceofPeace campaign, which helps God's children draw closer to Christ as they celebrate this Easter season. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Thy Will Be Done


The world is getting darker, it is true. But we are called to walk in the light. We do not have to find a path for ourselves. As we did in our premortal life, we choose to follow Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the World.

He understands the challenge of walking His path. Remember, He “was in all points tempted like as we are.” Even in the Garden of Gethsemane He had a choice. “All things are possible unto thee,” He pled with His Father. “Take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

When we end our prayers with “Thy will be done,” we are doing what the Savior did in the Garden of Gethsemane, for what we are saying is, “Whatever the test, whatever I’m to learn, I will always love Thee.”
sible unto thee.” He pled with His Father. “Take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

When we end our prayers with “Thy will be done,” we are doing what the Savior did in the Garden of Gethsemane, for what we are saying is, “Whatever the test, whatever I’m to learn, I will always love Thee.” –Robert D Hales

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Survive When Your World is Falling Apart All Around You


“In [4th Nephi], Mormon records his own life and history. It consists of 9 chapters and contains much of sorrow, bloodshed, wars and wickedness. In fact, Mormon was asked, at age 15, to serve as the commander-in-chief of all the Nephite armies. This is indeed a compliment to him, but it could also be a sad commentary on what wickedness had done to the men in his nation.

            We are told that the word, “Mormon,” means “more good.” See History of the Church, volume 5, pages 399-400. Mormon certainly exemplified his noble name.

            Before we study the 9 chapters in his book, we will take time to consider how this humble prophet survived in such a wicked environment and maintained his courage and his spirituality. There are many lessons for us in the principles taught by Mormon’s  life.

            We will list 6 steps, out of many, which we find in this book, and will narrow our approach down to “How to survive when your world is falling apart all around you,” using Mormon as our example. We will quote from his writings to support each step.


HOW TO SURVIVE WHEN YOUR WORLD

IS FALLING APART ALL AROUND YOU

Step 1 (Mormon 1:15). Gain your own strong testimony of the gospel: “I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.”

Step 2 (Mormon 1:5, 2:17): Personal, strict obedience to righteous commitments, covenants, etc: “I remembered the things which Ammaron commanded me [in Mormon 1:3-4]. I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.”

Step 3 (Mormon 2:19): Confidence in your personal standing with God: “I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day.”

Step 4 (Mormon 3:11): Allow for “time out” when things become overwhelming, realizing that you will try again later, after you’ve regained strength: “I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.”

Step 5 (Mormon 5:1-2). Try again, and keep trying, even though there may seem to be little or no hope of success, because of seemingly “impossible” people. It is Christlike to keep trying with people: “I did go forth among the Nephites, and did repent of the oath which I had made that I would no more assist them; …But behold, I was without hope.”

Step 6 (Mormon 7:1). Love your enemies. Desire good for them. Do good for them. Such feelings and actions provide stability and are a means to spiritual survival for one’s self: “AND now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared [the Lamanites, the bitter enemies of Mormon who have virtually destroyed his people] if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers [the gospel of Christ, which their ancestors had]; yea, I speak unto you…”

            As stated above, Mormon is a wonderful example of someone who maintained his spirituality and Christlike attributes while surrounded by terrible wickedness and insensitivity to spiritual things.”

-David J Ridges, “The Book of Mormon Made Easier” Part Three: Helaman through Moroni, pg 237-8

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Caution: Steps to Wickedness


            "In studying the last half of Fourth Nephi, we will follow Mormon’s description of the downfall of a righteous nation, …[as] we did … elements of a Zion society, in verses 1-23.

            We will list the steps which Mormon points out …[in] the Book of Mormon which describes these tools of the devil, which he uses to destroy nations and individuals. You will no doubt see additional steps to the ones we list:

            Step 1. Pride and Materialism

4 Nephi 24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.

            Step 2. Selfishness.

25 And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.

Step 3. Divide into classes; look down on others; priestcraft; apostasy.

 26 And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.

Step 4. Pick and choose which parts of the gospel to live.

Step 5. Allow, but not necessarily participate in, wickedness in society.

Step 6. Lower the standards of the Church as far as the sacrament and worthiness is concerned.

 27 And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.

Step 7. Start desiring to be wicked.

 28 And this church did multiply exceedingly because of iniquity, and because of the power of Satan who did get hold upon their hearts.

Step 8. Put pressure on members of the Church who still want to live the gospel with exactness. Many in society begin trying to impose their “beliefs” upon faithful saints.

 29 And again, there was another church which denied the Christ; and they did persecute the true church of Christ, because of their humility and their belief in Christ; and they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them.

 30 Therefore they did exercise power and authority over the disciples of Jesus who did tarry with them, and they did cast them into prison; but by the power of the word of God, which was in them, the prisons were rent in twain, and they went forth doing mighty miracles among them.

Step 9. Become angry at the Lord’s anointed, the leaders of the Church.

 31 Nevertheless, and notwithstanding all these miracles, the people did harden their hearts, and did seek to kill them, even as the Jews at Jerusalem sought to kill Jesus, according to his word.

 32 And they did cast them into furnaces of fire, and they came forth receiving no harm.

 33 And they also cast them into dens of wild beasts, and they did play with the wild beasts even as a child with a lamb; and they did come forth from among them, receiving no harm.

            Step 10. Select leaders whose values reflect their own desires for personal wickedness, support them, and follow them in persecuting the righteous.

34 Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus; but the people of Jesus did not smite again. And thus they did dwindle in unbelief and wickedness, from year to year, even until two hundred and thirty years had passed away.

 35 And now it came to pass in this year, yea, in the two hundred and thirty and first year, there was a great division among the people.

 36 And it came to pass that in this year there arose a people who were called the Nephites, and they were true believers in Christ; and among them there were those who were called by the Lamanites—Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites;

 37 Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites.


 38 And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle.


 39 And it was because of the wickedness and abomination of their fathers, even as it was in the beginning. And they were taught to hate the children of God, even as the Lamanites were taught to hate the children of Nephi from the beginning.


 40 And it came to pass that two hundred and forty and four years had passed away, and thus were the affairs of the people. And the more wicked part of the people did wax strong, and became exceedingly more numerous than were the people of God.


 41 And they did still continue to build up churches unto themselves, and adorn them with all manner of precious things. And thus did two hundred and fifty years pass away, and also two hundred and sixty years.


 42 And it came to pass that the wicked part of the people began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton.


 43 And also the people who were called the people of Nephi began to be proud in their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, and become vain like unto their brethren, the Lamanites.

 44 And from this time the disciples began to sorrow for the sins of the world.

            Step 17. Almost everyone becomes very wicked. There is no discernable difference between many who are members of the Church and the wicked.

 45 And it came to pass that when three hundred years had passed away, both the people of Nephi and the Lamanites had become exceedingly wicked one like unto another.


 46 And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic.

-David J Ridges, “The Book of Mormon Made Easier” Part Three: Helaman through Moroni, pg 233-6.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Perspective



Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day

Now read from bottom to top.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Monday, December 19, 2016

Reason for the Season

Some 2,000 years ago
an angel declared to shepherds on a hillside that the Savior was born.
Still today we rejoice at the incomparable gift given to the world that long ago night, and with the heavenly choirs we sing,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth
peace, good will toward men.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Atonement Analogy - Seminary Donuts

Seminary Donuts – An Analogy of the Atonement

Brother Christianson taught Seminary. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went to Brother Christianson’s class.
Steve was told that he could not be late, so he always arrived on time but never more than just one second before the bell would ring. He would always sit in the very back of the room and was always the first to leave after class was over.
One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Brother Christianson asked Steve, “You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?’
               Steve’s answer was “Yeah, I do.”
Then Brother Christianson asked, “How many push-ups can you do?”
Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”
“200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Brother Christianson said. “Do you think you could do 300?”
Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time before.”
“Do you think you could?” Brother Christianson again asked.
“Well, I can try,“ said Steve.
“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” Brother Christianson said.
Steve said “Well… I think I can… Yeah, I can do it.”
Brother Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.”
Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t normal donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited. After all it was Friday and this was the last class of the day. They were ready to get an early start on the weekend.
Brother Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want a donut?” Cynthia said, “Yes.”
Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ”Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Cynthia can have a donut?”
Steve said “sure” and he jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Brother Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.
Brother Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, ”Joe do you want a donut?”
Joe said, “Yes!” Brother Christianson asked, ”Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups. Joe got a donut.
And so it went down the first aisle. Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut. He went down the second aisle, until Brother Christianson got to Scott.
Scott was captain of the football team and center on the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for friends. Brother Christianson asked, “Scott, do you want a donut?”
Scott’s reply was, “Can I do my own push-ups?”
Brother Christianson said, “No. Steve has to do them.”
Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”
Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”
Steve started to do ten pushups.
Scott said ”HEY! I SAID I DIDN’T WANT ONE!”
Brother Christianson said, “Look, this is my class room, my desks and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk.” And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took to much effort to get up and down. You could see a little perspiration coming out above his brow. Brother Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
Brother Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”
Jenny said “No.”
Then Brother Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten pushups. Jenny got a donut.
By now, the students were beginning to say “No” and there were uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was beginning to put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweet on the floor beneath his face, his arm and brow were beginning to get red from the physical effort involved.
Brother Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch Steve work for all those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Brother Christianson started down the fourth row.
During this class, a few students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the side of the room. When Brother Christianson realized this he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
Brother Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked Brother Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”
Brother Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them anyway that you want.” And Brother Christianson went on.
A few minutes later, Jason came to the door and was about to come in the room when the students yelled, “No! Don’t come in! Stay out!”
Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come in.”
Brother Christianson said, “You realize if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.”
Steve said, “Okay.”
And Brother Christianson replied, “I’ll let you get Jason out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”
“Yes.”
Steve, will you do ten pushups so Jason can have a donut.” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
Brother Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seating on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself. By this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two girls were cheerleaders and very popular. Brother Christianson asked, “Linda, do you want a donut?” Linda said very sadly, “No, thank you.”
Brother Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?” Grunting from the effort, Steve very slowly did ten pushups for Linda. Linda got a donut.
Brother Christianson turned to the last girl. “Susan, do you want a donut?”
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, “Brother Christianson, can I help him?”
Brother Christianson said with tears flowing down his own face, “No, he must do it all alone. Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”
As Steve very slowly finished his very last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, after having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
Brother Christianson then turned to the room and said, “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, after completing all that was required of him, Pleaded to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ He collapsed and died on the cross. And so many in the world, like us, leave this special gift on the desk, uneaten.”