Sunday, August 20, 2017

Teaching Kids about the Atonement


8 Ways to Teach Kids the Atonement




Seek natural teaching moments.

Along with formal lessons and talks, look for everyday opportunities. You can find natural teaching moments when a pet dies, when a child makes a mistake, when someone you know is facing a challenge, or when a child is striving to reach a worthy goal and is feeling discouraged. 

Ask questions.

Asking questions gives us an opportunity to find out what children know and help them discover answers on their own. Try asking, “What made you think of that?” or “Why is this so important?” or “What do people miss if they don’t have this knowledge?”

Share personal experiences.

Think about when the Atonement first became meaningful to you. When have you received a special manifestation of grace? Explain the details of such experiences. Along with saying, “I know Jesus lives and loves us,” express how you came to this knowledge. Children respond well to these stories.

Include multiple aspects of the Atonement.

Children need to understand that Christ’s gifts to us are many. For example, explain that Jesus’ Atonement offers us life after death and sin (1 Corinthians 15:22; Isaiah 1:18), but also life amid trials and challenges (Alma 7:11-12). Beyond this, it offers us the opportunity to be transformed (John 10:10). Not only can we return home to God, but we can become more like Him (Matthew 5:48).

Focus on the child.

Among the letters in the word Atonement is the word me. The Atonement becomes truly meaningful when it is personalized. Although God has many children, He is a perfect parent who cares for each individually. The Atonement was performed for all mankind, but also for each individual. It is up to each of us to appreciate, accept, apply, and internalize it.

Provide purpose for the suffering.

To accomplish the Atonement, Christ selflessly and lovingly offered His life and endured spiritual anguish that was beyond the capacity of any mortal. Dwelling on Christ’s death and suffering can sometimes be overwhelming and disturbing for children. Emphasize the purpose for Christ’s suffering: to make possible the plan of redemption, to preserve our freedom, to offer us the chance to live eternally with loved ones, to give us the opportunity to change and be better, to offer us peace, hope, and relief. We can help children discover all that is possible because of Christ’s suffering and, when the time is right, see purpose in their own difficult challenges as well.

Use simple language.

Instead of using the word grace, speak of how Christ can strengthen and help us. Call the Atonement a priceless gift. Redemption can be related to improvement. Resurrection is living after we die. Eternal life is the opportunity to live with God and family. Exaltation is reaching our highest potential, and repentance is changing and being better. As children get older, they can be taught the proper words to go with the concepts they’ve already learned.

Recognize progress.

Perfection may be our ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. Help children learn grace by assuring them that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. Help them see how they can try again when they make mistakes. Teach that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). We can all, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Faith Is Not...


5 Things Faith Is Not


The world has its counterfeits for faith. One way to decide what faith is, and why it is becoming so scarce in our world, is to first explore what it is not.

1. Faith is not gullibility or falling for anything.
Faithless people are sometimes quite critical of those who possess what they do not. They assume that people who live their lives by faith are naïve, easily swayed, and simple-minded. That is not faith. A faithful person is a thinking being, one who can judge, assess, and reason, one who can distinguish clearly between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong. A faithful person does not fall prey to either the foolish or the perverse. Faith can be exercised only in that which is true.
President N. Eldon Tanner explained that faith “will avail us nothing unless it is based on true principles. This is illustrated in a story about the meeting of the Indians with the Europeans when they first began their explorations in the New World. The Indians were amazed at the power and explosive qualities of gunpowder and asked many questions about how it was produced. Taking advantage of the ignorance of [these people] and seeing an opportunity to increase their wealth through deception, the Europeans told them it came from the seed of a plant. The Indians believed them and purchased some seed in exchange for gold. They carefully planted the seed and watched it grow, but of course they did not get any gunpowder. No matter how sincere one’s belief may be in an error, it will not change the error into truth.”

2. Faith is neither weakness nor ignorance.
True faith is anything but weak. The early Brethren of this dispensation were, in fact, taught that faith is a principle of power, the same power by which God created the worlds. Further, “the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and . . . it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist” (Lectures on Faith 1:15–16). Nor is faith the opposite of knowledge. A certain level of knowledge and understanding is needed before an individual can exercise faith. The School of the Elders learned, for example, that in order to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation, a person must (1) believe there is a God; (2) have a correct understanding of the character, perfections, and attributes of that divine Being; and (3) possess an actual knowledge that the course in life that he or she is pursuing is according to the will of God.
“Faith is the child of knowledge,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote. “It is reserved for those only who first have knowledge; there neither is nor can be any faith until there is knowledge. No one can have faith in a God of whom he knows nothing. Faith is founded on truth; it is the offspring of truth; it can never exist alone and apart from the truth.”

3. Faith is not blind.
In fact, those with faith are frequently able to see and discern things that a faithless person could never perceive. That is why some say believing is seeing, not the reverse. Nor are Latter-day Saints, who are presided over by prophets, seers, and revelators, expected to follow their leaders like blind sheep. President Harold B. Lee said, paraphrasing Brigham Young: “The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.” One of the great strengths of the Church is that there are millions of people throughout the world who exercise bold, intelligent obedience.
Adam and Eve were commanded to “offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.” The Mosaic account indicates that “after many days” an angel appeared to our first father and inquired as to why he was making an animal sacrifice. His answer was beautiful: “I know not, save the Lord commanded me” (Moses 5:5–6). Was Adam obeying blindly? Not at all. Adam and Eve had already had a great deal of experience with the Almighty. “God conversed with him face to face. In His presence he was permitted to stand, and from His own mouth he was permitted to receive instruction. He heard His voice, walked before Him and gazed upon His glory, while intelligence burst upon his understanding, and enabled him to give names to the vast assemblage of his Maker’s works” (Lectures on Faith 2:18). No blind obedience there.

4. Faith is not positive thinking, nor does it consist in willing something into existence.
Obviously it is a good thing to be positive, to be upward-looking, to be optimistic about now and the future. But faith is not positive thinking. Nor can one with a positive attitude will things into being.
Imagine a full-time missionary, a zone leader, serving, let’s say, in France, who turns to the missionaries under his charge and says, “Come on, elders and sisters, if we just had the faith we could baptize this whole country!” The Gospel of Mark records that while in His hometown, Nazareth, the people heard the Savior’s preaching and asked, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in His own house.” Now note this astounding verse: “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mark 6:3–5; emphasis added). Now imagine that we heard someone standing 50 feet away from Jesus say, “Come on, Lord, just exercise your faith!” No, that would never be appropriate, not just because He is the Son of the living God, the second member of the Godhead. Jesus could not and did not reward faithlessness with a display of signs and wonders because “faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe” (D&C 63:9).
The Book of Mormon records that approximately 350 years after the birth of Christ, Mormon sought earnestly to lead his wayward people back to faith. He had been appointed the leader of the Nephite armies and at about this time won a battle against the Lamanites. Mormon explained that “the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own [see Helaman 13:37]. . . . Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.”
Mormon was thrilled, hoping against hope that something, anything, could bring about a conversion among his people. “But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die” (Mormon 2:10–14). Now picture some positive-minded, goal-driven, 21st-century person on the sidelines sounding off: “Mormon, Mormon. Come on, you’ve got to put your heart in it. Let’s exercise some faith!”
In all three of these scenarios are factors over which the missionary, the Master Himself, and the prophet-editor Mormon had no control. One of these factors—and a deeply significant one at that—is the moral agency of the people, their right to choose what they will do with their lives. Being positive and upbeat is great, indeed so much better than being deflated or living like Eeyore the donkey. But it is not faith.

5. Faith is not absolute certainty as a result of tangible, observable evidence.
Alma remarked in his marvelous discourse on faith: “Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it” (Alma 32:17–18). These verses are crucial to our understanding what it means to have faith in these latter days, a taxing time of spreading unbelief. Far too many people today—and some of these people are Latter-day Saints—want tangible, empirical, scientifically verifiable evidence for the truthfulness of the restored gospel. If we could demonstrate through DNA research that the Nephites and Lamanites were actual, pre- Columbian people and that the Lehite colony did in fact come from Jerusalem, then this critic will believe. If in the near future adequate and substantial archaeological evidences for the Book of Mormon peoples could be found, then the naysayer would be persuaded of the historicity of this testament of Jesus Christ. If we could just prove convincingly that the 11 Egyptian papyri fragments held by the Church have something to do with Abraham the prophet, then that doubter will accept the book of Abraham as ancient holy scripture.
In using Thomas the apostle as an illustration, President Howard W. Hunter explained that “in a sense, Thomas represents the spirit of our age. He would not be satisfied with anything he could not see [John 20:19–29], even though he had been with the Master and knew His teachings concerning faith and doubt. . . . Faith does not take precedence over doubt when one must feel or see in order to believe.
“Thomas . . . wanted knowledge, not faith. Knowledge is related to the past because our experiences of the past are those things which give us knowledge, but faith is related to the future—to the unknown where we have not yet walked.” President Hunter wisely observed: “Thomas had said, ‘To see is to believe,’ but Christ answered, ‘To believe is to see.’”
If we were to take Thomas’s approach, we might well demand physical proof or a rational explanation for what Jesus did when He healed the lepers, the paralyzed, the woman with the issue of blood, blind Bartimaeus; when He multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed five thousand men; when He calmed the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee; when He raised from the dead the daughter of the Roman centurion, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Can we provide scientific evidence for such miracles? No, we cannot. Then how do we know that they actually took place?
Professor Hugh W. Nibley was a beloved 20th-century Latter-day Saint apologist, a defender of the faith. As many Saints know, he was a man of extraordinary intellect, but, perhaps more important, he was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and a man of deep and abiding faith in the restored gospel. “The words of the prophets,” he testified well over a half century ago, “cannot be held to the tentative and defective tests that men have devised for them. Science, philosophy, and common sense all have a right to their day in court. But the last word does not lie with them. Every time men in their wisdom have come forth with the last word, other words have promptly followed. The last word is a testimony of the gospel that comes only by direct revelation. Our Father in heaven speaks it, and if it were in perfect agreement with the science of today, it would surely be out of line with the science of tomorrow. Let us not, therefore, seek to hold God to the learned opinions of the moment when he speaks the language of eternity.”
Faith is NOT many things. We must be grounded and settled spiritually to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in the power of redemption that comes only through the sufferings and death of Christ, faith in the Father’s perfect plan of salvation, faith in the restored Church of Jesus Christ and its apostolic leadership. This is vital, for it is only a solid faith, an enduring and fruitful faith that will empower us to “withstand the evil day” and to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:15, 17). It is only through acting on a faith built on truth—“things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24)—that deep conversion takes place. Then we are able to face opposition calmly, encounter enemies kindly but boldly, and make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy Pioneer Day!


Riddle Given to Pioneer Children

1-Find first a father’s name whose failing powers his son deceived;

2-Then name that father’s mother, who the promised heir received;
3-Next name a mother who in grief her son from home must send;
4-Her husband’s father next appears, God’s chosen faithful friend;
5-Then find an only brother’s name, who sought his brother’s life;
6-And, last, a woman, who, unloved, became that brother’s wife;

7-Now who was he that with all these relationship could claim?
The initial letters of their names combined will give his name;
The father , grandfather, the mother, grandmother, and wife;
The brother – all are his, who gave a mighty nation life.


ANSWERS: 1-Isaac, 2-Sarah, 3-Rebecca, 4-Abraham, 5-Esau, 6-Leah, 7-ISRAEL

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.”