Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sabbath Reverence Leads to Personal Revelation

Sabbath Reverence Leads to Personal Revelation http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631412/A-row-of-Sunday-shoes.html

            Reverencing the Sabbath can lead us to personal revelation and this reverencing should begin well before the Sabbath arrives.
            The Sabbath can truly become a delight if we are ready for what it offers. The Savior knew we needed to prepare our minds to fully participate in the sacred things of God. In 3 Nephi 17, Jesus, knowing the people lacked understanding, told them to go home, ponder what He had taught, pray for understanding and prepare their minds for the morrow when He would teach again. Studying and applying the Lord’s pattern of preparation as we ready ourselves for the Sabbath will greatly bless us.
A row of Sunday shoes
            My mother, a staunch Methodist, taught me a lesson about honoring Sundays, without saying a word. Each Saturday afternoon mother applied liquid polish to the shoes of my six younger brothers and placed them carefully in an open window to dry.
            The weekly sight of that long line of Sunday shoes drying on the windowsill spoke volumes to my young understanding. I could see that Sunday was a different day, a day apart from the scuffed shoes of the week, a day for offering our cleanest and best self to the Lord.   Mother wanted to honor God appropriately and polished shoes were a sign of her reverence for the Lord’s day. I learned on Saturday that the following day called for thoughtful preparation.

A love letter to Heavenly Father
            Our preparation for Sunday takes on holiness as we plan ahead, preparing our mental and spiritual focus; it shows the Father you love His day. Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said to me, “When I take the time on Saturday to prepare for Sunday, it is almost like sending a love letter to my Heavenly Father telling Him that He is the most important person in my life. He has responded by sending me a feeling of love — letting me know that He appreciates my efforts as I take the time to prepare for the Sabbath day.”
            The prophet Ezekiel counsels, “And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20). How do we hallow the Lord’s Sabbaths?

A quiet chapel
            Prepared to worship when Sunday arrives, we can bring a new reverence to the environment of the chapel itself. Think how you would feel if you entered a chapel filled with ward members, sitting quietly and listening thoughtfully to the prelude music. In such a setting we can concentrate on the purpose of the meeting, feel the Spirit and receive inspiration. Our hearts are also prepared and our minds taught truth if we attentively sing the sacrament hymn, pondering such lyrics as:

“As now our minds review the past, we know we must repent;
The way to thee is righteousness — the way thy life was spent.
Forgiveness is a gift from thee we seek with pure intent.
With hands now pledged to do thy work, we take the sacrament.”
(“As Now We Take the Sacrament,” Hymns no. 169)

A witness of covenant
            As the sacrament is passed, we allow the Atonement of Jesus Christ to enter into our being, individually and personally. Here is the heart of the Sabbath. We reach out to partake of the emblems of the Atonement, witnessing publicly that we enter this covenant with Heavenly Father to keep the commandments, to always remember the Savior and to be willing to take His name upon us.
            With our symbolic action we are saying to God and man that we reach out to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, take it into our souls and desire His atoning blood to be applied in our lives. In this holy moment we acknowledge our constant need of the Redeemer, our desire for His forgiveness and blessing, and our commitment to live our covenants.
            Keeping the Sabbath continually throughout the day will reap great blessings from the Lord. The Sabbath is not just the three-hour block of meetings! We can think of each hour of Sunday as a sacred hour — employing the words “always remember him” carefully throughout this holy day. Thus we would fill our home with the spirit of the day. Are there simple changes in our Sunday habits that could keep out worldly distractions and add spiritual refreshment instead?

A deeper discipleship
            The effect of partaking of the sanctified bread and water gratefully and humbly is to make of us new creatures, spiritually reborn, as Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Week after week as we strive to live the sacramental covenant, we change. We deepen our discipleship as we prepare to keep the Sabbath holy and offer up our vows in righteousness (see Doctrine and Covenants 59:11); we then receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost, even personal revelation, in our daily life.
            When we commence each Sunday prepared and reverent, our depth of Sabbath understanding will be as spiritual food to all members of our family. Faith in the Lord will grow in our homes as we bring our Sabbath day reverence into our living places.
            Just as at church, reverence for the Divine in a home brings a spirit of truth and learning. Thoughtful preparation for and participation in the Lord’s day will surely make the Sabbath a delight at church and at home.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Great Are the Words of Isaiah, Saith the Lord

In light of yesterday's 5-4 US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges
that following today's ruling by the Supreme Court,
same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States.
The Court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine
that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God.
While showing respect for those who think differently,
the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage
between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice." 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tips for Enduring to the End

Elder Kevin W Pearson
6 Important Principles Help Us Endure to End

1. Don’t Forget to Pray
2. Come unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him
3. Press Forward with Faith
4. The Book of Mormon is Key to Spiritual Survival
5. Don’t Be Distracted and Deceived
6. Stay by the Tree (see Lehi’s Vision; also Alma 5:7)

            This is Nephi’s promise to you: “And I said unto them … whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. Wherefore, I … did exhort them … that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things. (1 Nephi 15:24-25)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day - Utah Dads

10 Things Utah Dads do better than Other Dads UtahValley360 10 June 2014
Dads aren’t in short supply in Utah. And while all kids roll their eyes from time-to-time at the things their fathers do, Utah dads are definitely better than most at a few things.

1. Attending church.
Mississippi and Utah top the charts as being the most religious states with 61 percent and 60 percent of its residents reporting they were very religious. And  89.9 percent of Utah Country residents are affiliated with organized religion.
2. Going on hikes.
Yes. Even dads.
The second highest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, Mt. Timpanogos, is arguably the most popular hike in Utah. Its peak reaches 11,749 feet, and Timp is home to Utah’s only glacier. Other notable hikes in Utah Valley include Lone Peak, Rock Canyon to Squaw Peak, Rock Canyon Trail, and of course, Provo’s iconic Y Mountain.
3. Taking their kids fishing.
Spanish Fork Reservoir and Salem pond are just two of Utah Valley’s fishing hotspots. They’re great for dads to take their kids to because they are calm and have an abundance of fish.
4. Speaking to their children in a foreign language.
Due in large part to the LDS dominance in Utah, and therefore its large returned missionary population, Utah Valley dads aren’t just speaking English. In fact, 1/3 of the workforce is bilingual.
5. Talking BYU sports.
Whether they’re a true blue Cougar fan rising and shouting, or a Ute or Aggie that’s moved their way south wishing the Cougars would sit down, sports fans in Utah are talking about BYU sports year-round. Thousands of users are on CougarBoard.com, and BYURadio has the only university-based daily sports talk show.
6. Being Boy Scouts.
Utah’s Boy Scout memberships top the list. Dads like LDS apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Utah Senator Mike Lee and former Gov. Jon Hunstman Jr. were all Eagle Scouts. And with the Utah National Council having 86,814 members last year, future Utah Valley dads are going to be just as prepared as current dads.
7. Driving a minivan.
Utah has the highest percentage of households with children with 43.3 percent. You better believe most of those dads are carting their kids and their friends to church, school and soccer practice in a minivan.
8. Having more than one kid.
Dads around here have more than one bundle of joy. The average Utah family size is 3.14. The national average is 2.64.
9. Wearing a suit and tie all week.
When are Utah dads not wearing suits? Monday through Friday: work suits. Sundays: church suit. Sleep: They probably sleep in one too.
10. Being LDS.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Freedom to Choose

Yesterday marked 130th anniversary of Lady Liberty's arrival to New York City.
She stands proudly as a symbol for freedom around the world.
God has created each of us with the inherent freedom to choose.
We can choose how to live,
how to treat others, and how we use our freedom.
Learn more at http://mor.mn/36xhx.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Defending the Faith: ‘If any man shall add unto these things...’

            There are probably few, if any, missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who haven’t encountered the argument, usually advanced by evangelical Protestants, that the Book of Mormon and the other revelations given through Joseph Smith are illegitimate because the Bible forbids post-biblical scripture.
            The proof-text upon which this argument is based occurs at the very end of the Bible, in Revelation 22:18-19:
            “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
            There are also probably few missionaries who haven’t countered that argument by observing that those two verses almost certainly refer only to the book of Revelation itself and not to the Bible as a whole. In this context, it’s always useful, as well, to point out that parallel warnings occur at Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32.
            This missionary response is entirely sound. To the best of my knowledge, for example, absolutely nobody believes that those two passages in Deuteronomy, the Bible’s fifth book, invalidate the rest of the volume (including the entire New Testament). Here, though, I would like to provide some additional background.
            Modern scripture readers need to keep the fact in mind that the first Christians didn’t have our modern bound Bibles. In fact, “books” as we know them — the appropriate term for the earliest ancient books is “codices,” or, in the singular, “codex” — were only beginning to come into fashion at the very end of the New Testament period.
            For example, all of the documents recovered from the Nag Hammadi Christian library in Egypt — which was hidden in approximately A.D. 390 — were codices. It’s in Egypt that the earliest surviving codex fragments have been discovered. Some have been tentatively dated to the first half of the second century. A very few may date to the close of the first century. (Notable among these is Rylands Library Papyrus P52, containing a portion of the gospel of John, which may come from A.D. 125-160.) By contrast, every text found in the library of the Villa of the Papyri, located near Naples in ancient Herculaneum, is in the form of a scroll. (This library was buried in A.D. 79 by the same eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii.)
            The texts of the New Testament probably began to be written around A.D. 51, though. Dates suggested for the book of Revelation range from A.D. 68 to A.D. 96.
            Unless, therefore, the book of Revelation was among the very earliest texts not only recorded but also composed in codex form, it seems likely that the Greek word “biblion,” rendered in the King James Bible and most other English translations as “book,” doesn't mean “book” in our modern sense. In fact, the Common English Bible and the evangelical New International Version actually render “biblion” as “scroll,” and the very conservative Apologetics Study Bible note on Revelation 22 agrees.
            It’s also improbable that a scroll would have contained the whole New Testament, let alone the entire Bible. Codices replaced scrolls largely because the latter were so unwieldy.
            Moreover, the 66-book Protestant biblical canon — with Genesis at the beginning and Revelation at the end — didn’t instantly flare into existence upon the completion of the book of Revelation.
            Irenaeus knew a four-gospel canon by about A.D. 180. Shortly thereafter, by A.D. 200 — which is at least a century after the composition of the Revelation of John — something like today’s 27-book Protestant New Testament seems to have been recognized as canonical in certain circles. But there were still hefty disputes on the subject, and, in any case, the books circulated separately. (Our word “Bible,” as a matter of fact, comes from the Greek “ta biblia,” “the books.” The modern Bible is a collection or anthology of texts that were written by different authors at widely different times.)
            “It is doubtful,” says the Apologetics Study Bible note on Revelation 22:18-19, “the wording here refers to closing the canon of the Bible.” Rather, it says, with concurrence from the relevant NIV note, “the warning relates specifically to the book of Revelation.”
            Accordingly, it cannot count against claims of post-biblical revelation.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Simple Pleasures Mormons Understand

21 Simple Pleasures Only Mormons Will Understand

1. Knowing the scripture that a speaker is quoting—especially if it’s not a scripture mastery scripture.

2. Finding the answer to a prayer in a random scripture. Getting an answer to a prayer is always a simple pleasure. Finding it somewhere unexpected is even more touching.

3. Singing your favorite hymn in sacrament—or any of the really inspiring hymns you love.

4. Hearing your favorite hymn sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Just like singing your favorite hymn in your local congregation, it’s also a joy to hear your favorite songs performed by the Choir—especially if you catch it during the weekly broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.”

5. Finding a modest shirt, swimsuit or pair of shorts. Even if you live in Utah, there’s a special thrill that comes with finding a modest piece of clothing you don’t have to alter or wear a tank top under.

6. Getting a letter or email from your missionary—especially for the missionary’s moms.

7. Listening to your favorite General Conference speaker. Every conference talk is good, but there’s always something special about your favorite speaker.
8. Hearing your mission language in General Conference. With the recent changes to allow foreign language at conference, it’s a thrill to hear your mission language used to deliver an address.

9. Watching General Conference in your pajamas. Seriously, there’s so much to love about General Conference!

10. Finish reading the Book of Mormon. Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, the sense of accomplishment you get after finishing Moroni 10 cannot be beat!
11. Finding hidden LDS connections in your favorite movies and games. Whether it’s listening to the now infamous discussion on “Cheers” about Mormons and flowers or finding a LEGO picture of Joseph Smith in a video game, finding LDS connection in pop culture is always fun.
12. When a non-member stands up for Mormons. We love to hear about times when those not of our faith stick up for us Latter-day Saints.

13. Getting a good deal at Deseret Book. Deseret Book has some quality LDS products, which is why getting a good deal there is always something to celebrate.

14. Finding out your favorite reality TV contestant is LDS. We knew we liked that person for a reason.

15. Hearing a really moving testimony. Doesn’t matter where—at Church, in a TV interview or at family home evening (FHE)—it’s always wonderful.

16. Eating after a long day of fasting—especially if you have been cooking dinner in the crockpot all day.

17. Getting daily LDS news in your email inbox. So excited to see what’s new in Mormondom!

18. Walking around the temple grounds. You don’t even have to go inside to appreciate the simple pleasure of walking around the temple.

19. Hearing new Church announcements. We get a thrill every time we hear an exciting new announcement from the Church.

20. Contributing a good comment to a Sunday school lesson. It’s always uplifting to know that you helped the teacher—and that you nailed it.

21. Recognizing the hand of God in the min-miracles of your everyday life. Above all, noticing the hand of God in our lives makes each and every small moment a simple pleasure.