Thursday, December 18, 2008

Forgiveness - The Greatest Gift

According to the renown LDS scholar, Hugh Nibley, there are really only two things we need to learn to do in this life, they are to repent and forgive. This is the true gospel. Share these gifts freely with all you know.

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes on Prop 8

The debate rages on... will same sex marriage be taught in our schools if "No on Prop 8" prevails?

I have posted a whole article on this on my Hubpages account addressing this very question. Go to this link and check it out.

I think you might find the comments especially interesting, make sure to read what Lisa Murphy wrote with permission from Mike Spence. Mike Spence is a School Board member in Covina School District. He has some interesting things to say on this very issue.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Proposition 8 and the Call to Action

Just today California has been joined by Connecticut in the battle to save traditional marriage. One of the best reasons for the definition, other than that of being ordained by God was given today, in my opinion, by one of the opposing Judges in the Supreme Court decision in that state. He said, "The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry." I loved that!

The state of Connecticut following the state of California in their decision to challenge traditional marriage is exactly what was expected would happen, only it happened a little earlier than I thought. Our Church leaders have warned that the world has their eyes on this monumental decision that is being fought here in California, that of preserving traditional marriage. What happens here will be a standard for things to come.

Our LDS leaders in a broadcast from Salt Lake have encouraged us, as an LDS people, to come out boldly and speak of our commitment to traditional marriage and of our values and teachings. Now is the time to act and be courageous.

I have spent the last two days on the Internet watching as Young Adults throughout the stake have boldly defended the truths they believe. They have posted blog posts and posted videos supporting Prop 8 on their Facebook pages. There have been some that have had the courage to take the discussion to the open forums and engage in conversation there. Many have met with opposition to this action that they have taken, still they press on.

One of the most eye opening things I have seen is two loving brothers who, have conflicting opinions, stand true to their opposite sides, each unbending in his ideals engaging in persuasive conversation, desperately trying to make the other see his point of view. It was a stark realization of what the war in Heaven must have been like. This war is not one of violent actions but of opposing views, a war over truth versus deception.

These bold, noble, youth have been more courageous than others half their age, in defending what they know to be true. Being called "narrow minded" and labeled as prejudiced they have endured the battle front over the last couple of days, valiantly. The words to the Hymn, True to the Faith, have come to have new and emotional meaning to me.

"Shall the youth of Zion falter in defending truth and right? While the enemy assaileth, shall we shrink or shun the fight? NO! True to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished, To God's command, Soul, heart, and hand, Faithful and true we will ever stand."

I have witnessed this in action and have renewed hope for the future.

We must all support these Young Adults as they battle this battle, or have it counted against us! I know this is true. Make sure you do "all that you can do to support Proposition 8" as our leaders have asked and have it counted unto you as righteousness. I love these young people!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Family: A Proclamation To The World and Propostion 8 In California

Last Sunday in our Young Adult Branch we had a combined Priesthood and Relief Society lesson on the document, The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I suppose the reason for the lesson with an emphasis on that document may have been brought about because of the recent discussion of Proposition 8 in California, where once again we, as voters, are being asked to redefine the bounds of marriage.

Although I have studied the proclamation in depth, and even been responsible for giving instruction on it in Seminary, I was once again amazed at the magnitude of such a piece of counsel that it is. We proceeded in class to study it paragraph by paragraph to unlock the council that is given inside.

May I first say that I noticed that it is very bold and to the point. Perhaps in past times of study I had not noticed this fact. But, with the divided discussion even amongst members of the church, pertaining to these bold truths, simply because of the recent political involvement, I had a tendency to squirm in my seat. I felt for the kind instructor who was attempting to teach these truths to a group of youth who may be somewhat "foggy" about them.

The Proclamation to the World does not pull any punches. It boldly states that “marriage is between a man and a woman”. It also states that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” One of the kids raised their hand and asked, “Then do we believe that it is possible for someone to be born in the wrong body?” Isn’t it amazing that years before this question would be asked; a prophet of God gave the answer in a clear and unmistakable way?

I guess the most important thing I discovered by looking at the document once again is that our church is lead by men authorized by the Lord to speak for him. This document is proof of living prophets who could see beyond their day and look into the future, counseling us on what eternal truths are. At the time that the proclamation was issued, these truths were not being challenged as they are today.

Four words stood out to me the most, as I looked though the actual document. They are “declare”, “warn”, and “call upon”. Our dear sweet prophets who saw our day, declared boldly the truth about marriage and family, knowing those truths would be attacked. They then proceeded to “warn” us as a society about the consequences that would be brought about if these truths were to be violated. Then finally they “call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as a fundamental unit of society.”

This last part where they specifically “call upon” us is so prophetic. That has been fulfilled today right before your eyes. We have been asked by our current prophet Thomas S. Monson, to support our previous prophet and more importantly the decisions of the Lord, in a statement which reads,

“We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

The fulfillment of this prophecy is so exact. The wording in the proclamation asks to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” Proposition 8 is exactly one of those measures.

I have observed something that concerns me far greater than even this pressing one of redefining marriage. For those of you who are unaware, there has become a division in the church over this issue. Many express a concern that “the church” has no place in politics and should remain silent on this issue. Many feel that by supporting Proposition 8 we as a church are showing a lack of tolerance and love for Heavenly Fathers children. Many of these arguments and other issues have arisen that have caused a division amongst the saints.

The major issue, as I see it, is a matter of obedience concerning the saints in the church today. It is one involving the foundational principle of testimony. It is testing the saints to the core, to see if in fact they do believe that this Church of Jesus Christ is being led by Him through modern day prophets. It is requiring a proof of that testimony by showing obedience and action. When a prophet of God requests something, we as a church should be unflinching in our resolve to adhere. Can you see the implications of this request going far beyond that of marriage and the family? It is a refining process for the saints as well.

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:32-33

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30

“Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;” Doctrine and Covenants 101:65

There is far more at stake here than families, it is the individual.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Are Mormons Christian?

I know that I have posted a video in my last post but I just came across another one that I think is amazing. It was just released on YouTube yesterday so I think you might not have seen it yet. It answers the question that is seldom asked, are Mormons Christian?

As incredible as this sounds, there are still many people in this world who do not understand that a Mormon is a Christian. The true name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe that by understanding the real name of the church, the above question should be answered completely to the affirmative, but it is not. Our latter day prophets and apostles have testified unceasingly about the fact that we do believe in Jesus Christ, and that He is our Savior and Redeemer. Here is a great example of one of those testimonies. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and yes... Mormons are Christian!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Latter Day Temples Will Dot the Earth

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints places an emphasis on temples and temple worship in the latter days. Just as in the days of the early church, even in times as old as Adam on down to Moses, and from Moses to Jesus Christ, the ordinances of the temple have been a priority in the lives of those who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. I love the temple and the opportunity I have to gain greater knowledge and insights by helping further the work in these latter days. The "Sons of Levi" are truly acting as proxy for those who can not do the work themselves and in this way are offering an offering in righteousness.

I stumbled on to a new video that was added to YouTube, that I thought was awesome, that shows the importance of latter day temple worship. It has been prophesied that the latter day temples with cover the earth. In just my lifetime alone this has been speedily coming to pass. Check out how wonderfully this new video illustrates that. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Law of Sacrifice Points To The Atonement

Isn’t it amazing how the Lord prepares His people, no matter what time period they live in, to understand and apply the offering that was made by Him through His atoning sacrifice?

This last and great sacrifice that the prophets of long ago spoke of was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself, the lamb without blemish, in the meridian of time. It was a culmination of years of instruction and symbolism, replaced today by instruction and symbolism.

The Law of Sacrifice as taught to the children of Israel by Moses was a preparatory law for this great event. Just as the fall brought about the three types of death which was spoken of in the last post, and taught in our modern day scriptures called the Doctrine and Covenants.... these sacrifices and offerings that Moses taught showed this exact principle and how the atonement covered each of these different types of death.

Physical Death- This was represented by the continual burnt offering that was upon the altar of the temple. The offering was done in the morning and in the evening and burned continually. This continual burning illustrated the principle of immortality, a life that was never ending.

The First Spiritual Death- This principle was taught through the example of the Sin Offering. This offering was for all the sins that were done in ignorance, or as a consequence of being a “fallen” man. It is interesting to note the manner in which this offering was offered.

The bullock was brought to the door of the tabernacle and was killed. The blood of the sacrifice however was taken first to the vail of the sanctuary and was sprinkled seven times before the vail. It was then put upon the horns of the altar of incense, which is right before the vail. Next the blood was taken outside to the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle, and poured on the bottom of the altar. The whole bullock was then carried outside the camp to a clean place and completely burned there.

The progression of the blood goes from the most sacred spot, near the vail to completely outside of the camp. To me it teaches of the condescension of God as he went from His place on high to descending below all things, to supply the demands of the law brought about by the fall. This is the “get out of spiritual death free card” which was talked about in the previous post.

The Second Spiritual Death- This principle was taught through the example of the Trespass Offering. This was an offering that was made when someone knowingly sinned, or chose to sin. This offering was made with requirements. The offending offerer had to repent, confess, forsake, make restitution, and fast upon bringing his offering to the altar. It was an offering that required action beyond the offering itself. Today we term this as the death that is overcome by action, faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost.

The Trespass offering taught that the second death is a choice, and to overcome it, it will take action by the offending party.

These three sacrifices taught the children of Israel in a beautiful way the principles of the Fall and the Atonement in a manner that they could always remember how infinite and eternal the last great sacrifice would be. It showed them their part, or what was required of them in applying this wonderful gift in their lives.

It is a beautiful illustration of "saved by grace after all you can do".

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Fall Brought About Death

Before we can understand the blessings of the Atonement in our lives we need to more fully understand the Fall and the consequences of it.

When Adam fell, three different types of deaths were introduced.

This is addressed in the Doctrine and Covenants section 29:41-42

41 Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.

42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.

Notice the first death is spiritual, and the last death is spiritual. In between those is the death that is temporal.

First, we need to understand what the temporal death is. It is simply the ability that we have to die physically, or as some call it physical death. The Atonement covers that for everyone. We are all given the gift of resurrection, regardless of how we live or what we do. The Atonement is a “get out of physical death free card.” Everyone will be resurrected and therefore the Atonement is a wonderful gift even if that was all that was offered or it stopped there, but it is much more infinite that that.

Now, let’s talk about the two spiritual deaths. The first spiritual death that the scriptures refer to actually occurred because of the transgression, or disobedience, of Adam and Eve in the garden. It introduced an imperfect fallen individual who was unable to reside or live in the presence of the Father. This resulted in a “casting out” or cutting off from continual sociality with our Father because of imperfection. Our birthright as spirit children of Heavenly parents was that of sociality with the Father, but our earthly birth parents Adam and Eve made that position impossible.

The Atonement covers that spiritual death unconditionally. In essence it is a “get out of spiritual death free card” for this death as well. This is the reason that children are born innocent... just like Adam and Eve were. The Atonement reestablishes our literal birthright inheritance of innocence, which was taken from us by the choice of our first earthly parents. For this reason there is no need for baptism of children.

Because of the gift of the Atonement, each of us is given our own opportunity to “fall”, which is completed by the time we are 8 year old, and continues each time we choose to be disobedient. It is because of the Atonement that we are then given another opportunity to be free from the last death, which is spiritual. This opportunity is in the form of faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost helping us to make right choices through out the rest of our lives.

This second death occurs by choice. We choose to sin and separate ourselves from God, therefore just as we choose to sin, we also choose to apply the gift of the Atonement in our lives for this spiritual death. This coverage is conditional. It requires work and effort on our part if we are to claim the blessings of it.

This concept was taught throughout the Old Testament... which will be explored in my next post!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Taking Upon Us The Name of God

As I was reading through some Blogs about LDS Women, I came across this Blog called LDS Women of God and was fascinated by a post on the Abrahamic Covenant called, Taking Upon Us the Name of God.

In the post it explained the meaning associated with the changing of the names of Abraham and Sarah, with the addition of the letter H.

The name change served as a reminder that they had entered into covenants and received further light and knowledge.

I loved the explanation in the Blog, go and check it out!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Word of Wisdom, A Principle With A Promise

In today's society everybody is health conscious and worried about what to eat. More and more the Word of Wisdom is being proven to be right on target as far as a healthy way to live each day.

The health benefits are just one blessing given to us by living the Word of Wisdom, but I think that more than a code of health, it is a simply a test of obedience.

The principle is: if you are obedient then you will be blessed with a promise of health.
But what happens if health in this world isn't given?
What exactly is the promise?

Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us what the promise is:
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.

The Blessing of Health
Health in their navel and marrow to their bones is more than just a physical blessing. This reference in itself is one of life, not merely physical life but Eternal life. The navel is another word for "center point" and is the reminder of the lifeline that we have as a "child of God" to the Father, this life line is Christ. Christ is also the marrow or "rich and nutritious food" on which we rely; He is the "innermost or essential part" that we need to live.

Just like the marrow is the food or blood for the bone, the blood of Christ provides us with the living matter we need to be resurrected. This is the application of the Atonement in our lives. The health we enjoy now temporally is a added blessing for living the Word of Wisdom, but the eternal health we will be given is guaranteed because of the application of the Atonement.

Wisdom and Knowledge
Where do we gain wisdom and knowledge other than from the spirit and the Temple itself. One of the requirements to enter the Temple is obedience to the Word of Wisdom. Simply stated, we are blessed with the opportunity to attend the sessions in the Temple where we gain wisdom and knowledge that will effect us eternally.

Stamina and Energy
Isn't it interesting how the world has even tried to counterfeit this blessing with the energy drinks and stimulants of today. Pure energy comes from one source and that is God.

Eternal Life
With reference to the "destroying angel" the Lord is leading us back to the Passover during the time of Moses. It was here inside the house where the blood of the lamb was spread over the doorposts that the Children of Israel were saved.

Today just as in those days, it is because of receiving the blessings of being inside the house that we will also be saved. Entering the "House of Israel" is done by covenant. Those covenants are available because of the priesthood blessings and are part of being in the House of the Lord.

The word of wisdom is an Eternal principle and is one that promises Eternal blessings!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Can I Be

Before my son was called to serve his mission in Texas, he attended BYU Hawaii. While there he became friends with Polynesian people from all over the place.

It was there he heard this song and shared it with me. I loved it instantly.

Here is the original composer of the song, singing it with the piano accompaniment.

I hope you enjoy it as well!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pioneers Part of my Heritage

I love the pioneers. I have always loved the pioneers. I will always love the pioneers.

I cannot think of the month of July without thinking about the pioneers.

As the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 and found a place of rest from their long travel across the plains of the United States, Brigham Young uttered the infamous statement, "This is the Place!"

It was just that, a place where they could rest for a season from the persecution of the world, and remain temporarily untouched by others.

I am reminded of the stories of my own pioneer ancestors that crossed the plains, not necessarily in that first company, but in subsequent companies that also arrived in that valley. I appreciate the hardships and sacrifices they made to make the trip.

One story in particular has always brought a smile to my face. It is the story of Susanna Stone and Thomas Lloyd. Thomas was a saddle and harness maker and in his proposal of marriage to Susanna he offered to "share his harness" with her. For a token of that commitment he gave her his most prized possession, the yoke he had left over after having driven his ox-team across the plains.

I have always loved that story, as he knew how important it was to become "equally yoked" with each other as the Lord was in the drivers seat.

My only hope is that I too can be an example and pioneer to those who may follow me, and that with my husband we can become equally yoked and submissive to the commands of the driver.

Again I must confess, I love pioneers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

LDS Girls Who Know Who They Are - Know What They Want and Know How To Get It!

LDS Girls Who Know Who They Are - Know What They Want and Know How To Get It!

As Seminary is starting I am reminded of my teaching days and of the wonderful youth that attended my LDS Seminary classes. I found this article about how wonderful LDS Girls are and thought I would share it.

LDS Young Women know that they are daughters of God, and because of that knowledge have the power to cast out Satan, just as Moses did.

This knowledge is the reason that "choosing the right" is a possibility.

I really think that LDS girls rock, as do LDS boys!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mormons in California Called to Defend Marriage by Top LDS Leaders

Mormons in California Called to Defend Marriage by Top LDS Leaders

Read from the pulpit Sunday was a letter from our LDS leaders with a call to "do all that you can" to defend the traditional definition of marriage that is being voted upon in the upcoming elections in November in California. This is a great article that discusses that letter and the duty we have as LDS members to defend this great cause.

Make sure you read the comments that follow the article, they are just as informational as the article itself. One I loved in particular was from Ama, it gave an example of what may occur in the future if this marriage is redefined. This new definition of marriage could open up a proverbial can of worms. If you read this article make sure to make your own opinion known by voting a thumbs up and getting involved with a comment of your own.

Rarely do our leaders request that we become involved in political issues assuming a stance for one issue over another. When they do, we must listen to what they are saying. This is a time to open our mouths.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Doctrine and Covenants Section 1- Instructions on How to Gain Eternal Life

Eternal Life is something that we as Latter Day Saints are taught to prepare for now.

The Lord is very specific when He teaches exactly how that will be achieved. He answered that question Himself in the preface of the Doctrine and Covenants, or Section 1.

A "preface" typically outlines what the rest of the book is about, and in His perfect way the Lord does exactly that. He outlines beautifully who the book is for, what is contained in the book itself, and the reason that He is giving the information in the book to His people.

Who is the book for?
"For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated."

Clearly the book is for all people everywhere. It is for everyone.

What is the reason for the book?
Furthermore, it is explained that there are several reasons why the book is to be compiled.
Among them is simply that of preparation, for He is coming again.
"Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;"

Part of that preparation comes about by listening to His appointed servants, mainly His prophets and apostles. This may be one of the first and most important steps in living the kind of life that is needed to prepare for "eternal life."

Another reason the Lord needed to reiterate His instructions to His people is related by this verses:
15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16 They
seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

I personally think that this is precisely the description of the world we live in today or modern day Babylon, don't you?

Now for the exact reason he decided to give us the blessing of this added book of scripture...
"Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;"

Calamities are surrounding us, but the biggest one would be that of forgetting the first commandment, to love the Lord thy God and to remember the covenants He has made with His children.

The biggest reason for this added scripture is so that weak things will break down the mighty and strong, faith will increase, every man might speak in His name, his "everlasting covenant" might be established, and the "fulness of his gospel" might be exclaimed.

So what exactly is His "everlasting covenant?"
It is, simply stated, "I will be your God, and you will be my people".

This is what it will take to have eternal life...this is the main condition set by the Lord himself. But what does this really mean though?

It means that you will do everything he says, be everything he requires and love Him unconditionally.

How can you do that?

By listening to His appointed servants, mainly His prophets and apostles. It is really one Eternal Round!

Now what is the second part all about, the "fulness of His Gospel"?
It is referring to the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ as preached to the earth from the beginning of time.

It involves the restoration of His "ordinances" that are required for admittance into His presence.

The Doctrine and Covenants is an instruction book of these required ordinances, the first one being Baptism and receiving the Gift of The Holy Ghost. He instructs that repentance and living His commandments (one of them being baptism), will give one the light from the Spirit which is available to "all flesh". Upon reception of the Holy Ghost, he will instruct you by his spirit all things which you must do.
Finally, he gives added instruction and testimony:
Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

39 For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.

In perfect fairness, the same thing is required of all men everywhere, and he "excuses even not himself" from this path or way to return back to be in the presence of the Father. The path is perfect, fixed, set, and immovable.

So if you think that by "grace" you may be the exception to the rule, perhaps a study of law must be further discussed.
The Doctrine and Covenants outlines beautifully what is required to return to our Father in Heaven. Now all we have to do is
"learn and do" or "search and apply" that which is written.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In The Book of Mormon- Learning the Law of Judgment

When some people first start reading the Book of Mormon they are aghast to discover the story in which Nephi is required by the Lord to slay Laban. This incident is shown as the sons of Lehi go to Laban to procure the plates of brass, as commanded by the Lord.

First, we must remember how important these plates were. It is discussed that they were needed to not only preserve the language of their fathers, but also to help the people always remember the covenants that were made with their fathers to the Lord. We see the effects of a people without scriptures as we later learn the fate of the people that Mosiah discovers in the land of Zarahemla.

At first, it may seem quite harsh for the Lord to have commanded Nephi to slay Laban, but after studying it, I have come to understand the principle of judging others from this incident, as combined with the principle of LAW.

In Matthew 7:1-2 the Savior warns us about the law of judging when he says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

In the course of the story in question, if you will recall, the brothers had several ideas about ways to gain the plates from Laban. The first plan they had was to cast lots and see who would simply go and ask for the plates, the lot fell on Laman, and this is what happened,

“And we cast lots—who of us should go in unto the house of Laban. And it came to pass that the lot fell upon Laman; and Laman went in unto the house of Laban, and he talked with him as he sat in his house. And he desired of Laban the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, which contained the genealogy of my father. And behold, it came to pass that Laban was angry, and thrust him out from his presence; and he would not that he should have the records. Wherefore, he said unto him: Behold thou art a robber, and I will slay thee."

It is here that Laban passes judgment on Laman, calling him a robber and then inflicting the punishment for a robber, as death. Thus with what measure he judged he will be judged, as the law states.

The next plan was to go to their father's house and get the "inheritance" that was left behind and take it to Laban and try to "purchase" the plates from him. When Laban sees the gold and precious stuff they bring to try and buy the plates he "lusts" after it, "And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property. And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property, and it fell into the hands of Laban."

Oh no, guess who is the actual robber in the story? Yep, you guessed it Laban. Now, remember the punishment Laban himself attaches to robbers, is death. When he passed judgment he cast his own fate.

As Nephi catches Laban in a drunken state he is reluctant to slay him but the Lord commands it. He is simply enforcing a "law" that he had already set, “and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again".

Hope this adds another insight to your study. At last, be careful not to pass unrighteous judgments, not only your life, but your eternal life may depend on it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tithing: Open The Windows of Heaven

I believe that paying tithing to God is similar to the "Word of Wisdom", a principle with a promise. I think that the ultimate blessing we receive from paying tithing is simply being able to gain a testimony of the first law of heaven, which is the law of obedience and sacrifice.

There are many wonderful stories of financial success attributed to the fact that the individuals involved are full tithe payers. These stories can be very faith promoting but there are many instances of people who pay a full and honest tithe and do not receive monetary gain in return.

That is not the promise, the promise is: (Malachi 3:10) "and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

When the "windows of heaven" open I feel that the blessing is simply a more increased power to receive light, just as an open window lets in the sunlight. Obedience to the commandment of tithing or any commandment for that matter, allows one to "prove" the Lord to see if His word is sure.

Understanding law helps: D&C 130:20 "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

Paying tithing allows one to call upon the blessing attached to obedience to that law, of added light and knowledge. The temple is, among other ways, one of those places we are permitted to go to receive that added light and knowledge; it is allowed because of the obedience to the laws that predicated it, one being tithing.

In the Christian society there is often a debate over who we are to pay our tithes and offerings to.

I remember an old joke that went something like:Lord, I will throw my money up into the air and whatever you need you keep, and whatever you don't need, let it fall to the ground and I will keep.

Similar to this bit of humor, when we decide the conditions of the law instead of the Lord and choose who we want to pay our tithes and offerings to, we are essentially doing the same thing as the person in the joke.

One of the earliest recorded instances of tithes being offered is in the scriptures, in the book of Genesis. It is when Abraham paid tithes, after his return from his conquest in battle, while delivering Lot from his enemies.

In Genesis 14:20 it explains what Abraham does next with his increase, “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” It is more interesting to note to whom he paid the tithes. In Genesis 14:18 we read, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”

He paid tithes to Melchizedek because he was the rightful priesthood holder being the priest of the "most high God", or in other words, one having authority to act in God's name. I think the matter of debate is not one of "if the Lord requires tithing" but more the matter of who is the rightful representative of the Lord, holding the office of High Priest for one to pay their tithing to. For me, that holder is the Bishop of my ward, the High Priest of the Aaronic Priesthood, and Melchizedek Priesthood holder of the most high God.

Finally, God does not need our money for himself, but we need to learn to become obedient and learn to sacrifice for ourselves so that by "law" he can bless us with the further light and knowledge that is required to come to truly KNOW Him. He, as a loving Father is leaving that decision in our hands, and we must learn to open our hands and give, and make it as an offering in righteousness to know HIM.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wheelchair Foundation - Deliveries Videos - Embedded Video

Wheelchair Foundation - Deliveries Videos - Embedded Video

As I was looking at the website this morning, I noticed that the church has a new link to LDS Philanthropies. I couldn't help but notice the story on the church's Wheelchair Initiative and decided to check more fully into it. The church in partnership with the Wheelchair Foundation has been responsible for the delivery of more than a quarter million wheelchairs around the world. I was even more surprised to learn just how that foundation was started. This is a video of the BYU graduation speaker for 2002, Kenneth Behring and his story about the foundation and it's beginnings. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ezra Taft Benson

I saw this on YouTube and knew I simply must post this on my own little Blogspot in the great Blogosphere. This is such a great evidence that President Benson is a true prophet. He prophesied that the Book of Mormon would flood the earth and that is taking place today. He warned us of the importance that we needed to place in studying the Book of Mormon, and instructed us to read it everyday. This has been council that we must heed.

In his landmark talk of 1992, "The Keystone of our Religion", President Benson stated these facts:
"In 1829, the Lord warned the Saints that they are not to trifle with sacred things. (See D&C 6:12.) Surely the Book of Mormon is a sacred thing, and yet many trifle with it, or in other words, take it lightly, treat it as though it is of little importance.

In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, He said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon.” (D&C 84:54–57.)

Has the fact that we have had the Book of Mormon with us for over a century and a half made it seem less significant to us today? Do we remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon?"

He gave us three reasons why we should make the pursuit of a lifetime.
1)The first is that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.
2)The second great reason is that it was written for our day.
3)The third reason that the Book of Mormon is of such value to Latter-day Saints is given in the same statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith cited previously. He said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon.)

I love the Book of Mormon. I know that it is exactly what it professes to be, "Another testament of Jesus Christ."
I am thankful for this wonderful prophet who acted as a "Watchman on the Tower."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mormon Solemn Assembly Thomas S Monson - 178th Conference

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we had a wonderful opportunity to witness personal revelation at work. This happened while we were in attendance at General Conference, on Saturday morning April 5, 2008, either in our own homes or in the Conference Center itself, it did not matter. This sacred event was one in which, by quorum, each member of the church was asked to sustain the Lord’s choice for His prophets, seers, and revelators. We were also asked to approve of the general governing body of the church, each as a separate unit, providing that system of checks and balances which makes up the functioning governmental agency of the church. This special meeting is known as a Solemn Assembly of the Church.
To me it was just another witness or evidence to the truthfulness of the church as it is established on the earth today. Individually we have the responsibility to learn for ourselves, the mind and will of the Lord for His church, through our sustaining vote of His called and anointed authorities. It was told to our minds and to our hearts by the spirit and then ratified by the raise of the right hand for all to witness. It was such an exhibit of beauty in unity, shown on such a special day. It is a day that we as a church will never forget.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Section 8- Revelation is Great!

D&C 8: 2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
4 Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction.
5 Oh, remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.

The Holy Ghost is the greatest gift we could ever receive. It is through the Holy Ghost that we can receive revelation. Revelation is the key to bring the scriptures to life as we read them for ourselves.

Upon studying this incident that is referred to as the crossing of the Red Sea, it is interesting to note how revelation plays a part in the salvation of the Children of Israel.
In Exodus 14 we find a wonderful illustration of the power that can be received by listening to the “word of the Lord.”

Moses has a grand task ahead of him of leading this gnarly group of “Saints” to safety as they leave the rigors of Egypt. The Lord makes sure that they take the long route, to avoid the Philistines. At this point in their conversion, they were just not ready for that much opposition, reminding us that the Lord will only allow that which we are able to withstand to be put in front of us. This further proves that the short cut is not always the best way. By taking the “road less traveled” the Israelites were able to witness the power of the word, and that made all the difference.

I find it interesting that after all the miracles that they have just witnessed at the hand of the Lord; they are still slow to understand the part Moses has to play as his mouthpiece. As soon as they come up against opposition they are quick to blame Moses and question his authority. Now, stuck between a huge body of water and an approaching angry army with chariots might be a tough spot to be in, but opposition rears its ugly head every day in our own lives... how do we respond?

I can picture the scene in my head as it might have played out, Moses up against the sea, trying to figure out what to do, and the “Saints” whining and complaining to him about it being his fault. At this point Moses, in his prophetic way bears testimony of what is in his heart (remember the process of revelation, mind and heart).

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”

How many times have we felt this burning testimony in our heart, but had our logical mind talk us out of it?

I think the best definition of revelation is given in the next line of written discourse from the Lord to Moses. The Lord simply says, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”

In other words, didn’t I just speak to your mind, and tell you all things what ye shall do? Use your priesthood (rod in hand thing) and move forward. You have just born testimony of this very thing that you have felt by your heart, now do it.

Boy, can I relate to this! If you feel it in your heart, your mind has already experienced it too. That crazy mind just seems to try and play tricks on us... making the possible seem impossible. It is such a good thing that the heart is the “dwelling” place of that given revelation, so that you can pull it up from that wonderful filing cabinet and bring it back to your mind once again, making it ready for us to reanalyze it when we really need to make those important decisions.

I really believe if you feel it in your heart, your mind already knows it is true... just retrieve it from that darned logical, illogical filing system we have created and apply what we know in our heart to be true. Thank goodness for that guidance that we can feel when we open our minds to the truth, and receive counsel from the spirit.

After all isn’t it really revelation that makes our church different from any other church in the world, right?

Oh yeah, and by the way... after this mind blowing incident, the Children of Israel now know Moses is the Lord’s servant.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and The Law of the Firstborn

Right now I have been studying the messages that the Lord has given to his children through the words in the Old Testament. I have found that there is profound wisdom to be learned from each and every word that is written upon those sacred pages.

In the book of Exodus, we come to know of the power that God has, and of his ability to save his children “by His strong hand.” This concept is taught to us through the “wonders” or plagues that Moses, His prophet, pronounces upon the Egyptians. A study of the plagues can bring us closer to understanding the wonder of the Lord himself, and learn of His power over all other gods that could become distractions in our lives today.

Presently I would like to focus a little on the tenth plague, or death of the firstborn, that was given by the Lord himself. In previous plagues the children of Israel were exempt from their harmful effects, but to realize the protection from this last one, they must now actively DO something to show their commitment. The instructions came directly from the Lord through Moses, His living prophet.

1) They must participate in the Passover Feast. There were specific instructions given as to the specifications of the actual lamb that was to be sacrificed. They were told that they were to celebrate this feast as a “memorial throughout their generation.” A memorial is simply a reminder or something to jog your memory. This feast was to remind them of the power that was needed to save them. It was to point to the ultimate sacrifice, or the last great sacrifice, Jesus Christ. This Passover Feast was in remembrance of the Law of Sacrifice. It was to end with the death of Jesus Christ, when the times of the Jews would be ended and the beginning of the times of the gentiles would be started. Their generation would come to a close, no more need of the feast.

2) Simultaneously to be celebrated with the Feast of Passover, was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Lord required His children to remove all yeast, representing sin, from their midst, and partake of unleavened bread for seven days. This particular feast would be as an “ordinance for ever.” An ordinance is “a sacred rite or ceremony performed by the power of the priesthood and intended to bless God’s children.” Today we partake of this in a different way, the way shown to the disciples by Jesus during the Last Supper. We call this the ordinance of the sacrament. It is a reminder that we have covenanted to live The Law of the Gospel.

3) Because of the mercy the Lord showed in saving all of the firstborn of Israel, He instituted the requirement or Law of the Firstborn for all of His covenant children. This law required that each firstborn child would be consecrated to the Lord, as payment for His saving grace. He stated to Pharaoh emphatically that “Israel was His firstborn.” This means that ultimately this directive or Law of Consecration was the requirement for any who desired entrance into the “church of the firstborn.”

I am amazed at the beauty and simplicity with which the Lord teaches us these three important laws, The Law of Sacrifice, The Law of the Gospel, and The Law of Consecration. All these are required for entrance into His kingdom, reminding us continually that salvation and exaltation will only be given “by the strong hand of the Lord.”