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  1. To paraphrase a friend’s sacrament meeting talk, We say you shouldn’t drink or smoke. I don’t. We say you shouldn’t swear or speak rudely. I don’t. We say you shouldn’t break the law of chastity. I don’t. We say you shouldn’t attend inappropriate parties. I don’t. We say you shouldn’t watch inappropriate movies. I don’t. You may think that one like me doesn’t ever have any fun? I don’t. Sadly, it's popular today to be wicked. It's difficult to uphold our covenants and values when there is so much pressure in today's society to do otherwise. The worse part is, the world today is as good as it will ever be until Christ comes again. It is all down-hill from here.
  2. Last Fall there was a world Priesthood leadership training. That was when they introduced the new edition of the handbook. President Monson told us that on many occasions he had to put a stop to changes of ordinances and traditions and superstitions seeping into the priesthood such as using candles on the sacrament table and holding group visiting teaching sessions. Things MUST be spelled out word for word and letter for letter in the handbook. After this training, many changes took place in my own ward. Bishop told us that we needed to be strict in compliance with the new handbook. I was surprised to see many committees dissolved that we had supported for years- none of which were mentioned in the handbook but were upheld mostly for the sake of tradition. It is amazing how quickly the gospel and ordinances thereof can be changed and corrupted, even in strong LDS communities. Truly we are lost without revelation! Oh how I thank our Father in Heaven for prophets today!
  3. Bumperpants

    WE Sometimes Forget What We Have

    It could depend on where you live or what your circumstances are. "The last thing a fish learngs about is water." Let me illustrate this saying by comparing LDS members who live in dense Mormon populations with those who don’t. When you are submersed in our beliefs and everyone around you is practicing then yes, it is easy to take your beliefs for granted. There would be less incentive to question why you do and believe the things you do and you would probably feel alien if you did. Though I did not grow up in a heavily Mormon populated area I would assume that without the adversity poured on you by those of other religions you would be less likely to question your own beliefs or compare them to others. The area I grew up in (Austin Texas) consisted primarily of Baptists who seemed to rival the LDS church. The youth of the church, who would never have associated in interests otherwise, often banded together at school and at outside activities to support each against the peer pressure of others to do things contrary to our covenants. These challenges and others brought on by non-LDS members of our community encouraged us to stay alert in our gospel knowledge and stand for our beliefs. We knew there were reasons for our beliefs and often had to explain them to non-LDS friends. I’m sure there were still some things we took for granted though.
  4. I dont know if anyone posted this yet but check it out: And Nothing Shall Offend Them David A Bednar - October 2006 General Conference
  5. Bumperpants

    My Sacrament Meeting Talk

    Here is my talk for sacrament meeting. Does anyone have incite, scriptures or experiences they would like to share on this topic? ---- James E Faust once taught that Gratitude is a Saving Principle of the Gospel. In D&C 59:21 the Lord says, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” In that very same section we read, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” It is clear from this scripture that to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7) is more than a social courtesy; it is a binding commandment. God does not give us commandments unless they will be to our benefit and for our good. So how will feelings of appreciation and thankfulness for blessing we have received help us in our lives? Many times throughout our lives we will contract physical illnesses that require us to visit a doctor for treatment. A doctor has a broad knowledge of medicine and is able to diagnose our aliment and give us a prescription. Just as a doctor of medicine is a doctor for the body, the Lord is a doctor for our spirits. Our spiritual aliments may sometimes include pride, sorrow or anger. His prescription is gratitude. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful. Even better, such spiritual medication cannot be overdosed on. However, it is up to us to follow through with the doctor’s advice and take the prescription if we are to become better. And how do we take our dose of gratitude? We often sing a hymn in that gives excellent advice, “Count your Many Blessings”; hymn 241 When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings; every doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. So amid the conflicts, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all, Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. There will be many times in our lives when, like the song says, we become discouraged or are burdened with a load of care. These times may include the death of a loved one, illness or unemployment. During the recent recession my wife and I were troubled by such things. I was often distracted by the problems in my life nearly to the point of depression. One evening while driving home, Shannon and I were discussing our concerns when she started pointing out all the good things we had in our lives, literally naming our blessing one by one. Most of them were simple and obvious. Even so, after naming a dozen or so I noticed my doubts begin to fade and my mind was put to ease. A couple of weeks later when I once again began to feel restless I remembered our conversation and I asked, “Honey, will you please count our blessings for me?” Without hesitation she started listing things in our lives we had to be thankful for. As I listened, I realized that we had everything we needed. Most of the issues in our lives were really only for things we wanted and could do without. Once again, as I took my dose of gratitude, I began to remember the most precious things the Lord had blessed us with and I felt my burdens lift and my worries subside. The relief I felt from being grateful was itself something to be grateful for. Indeed we should be grateful for gratitude. By being thankful for the blessings we have, we can overcome even the most difficult challenges we may face in life. In President Thomas S Monsoon’s talk, “Be of Good Cheer” he relates such a story. . “Late one evening on a Pacific isle, a small boat slipped silently to its berth at the crude pier. Two Polynesian women helped Meli Mulipola from the boat and guided him to the well-worn pathway leading to the village road. The women marveled at the bright stars, which twinkled in the midnight sky. The moonlight guided them along their way. However, Meli Mulipola could not appreciate these delights of nature—the moon, the stars, the sky—for he was blind. Brother Mulipola’s vision had been normal until a fateful day when, while working on a pineapple plantation, light turned suddenly to darkness and day became perpetual night. He was depressed and despondent until he learned the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His life was brought into compliance with the teachings of the Church, and he once again felt hope and joy. Brother Mulipola and his loved ones had made a long voyage, having learned that one who held the priesthood of God was visiting among the islands of the Pacific. He sought a blessing, and it was my privilege, along with another who held the Melchizedek Priesthood, to provide that blessing to him. As we finished, I noted that tears were streaming from his sightless eyes, coursing down his brown cheeks and tumbling finally upon his native dress. He dropped to his knees and prayed: “O God, Thou knowest I am blind. Thy servants have blessed me that my sight might return. Whether in Thy wisdom I see light or whether I see darkness all the days of my life, I will be eternally grateful for the truth of Thy gospel, which I now see and which provides the light of my life.” He rose to his feet and, smiling, thanked us for providing the blessing. He then disappeared into the still of the night. Silently he came; silently he departed. But his presence I shall never forget. I reflected upon the message of the Master: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”6 President Thomas S. Monson; Be of Good Cheer Further more the Lord has promised us, "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" (D&C 78:19). In Mosiah chapter 2, King Benjamin teaches us that we should give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all he has given us: 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King! 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. 24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? Much of our words of gratitude to our Heavenly Father are done through prayer. While serving my mission I would often use a basic chart model of prayer to assist teaching investigators. This model broke prayer into four basic parts. First, an opening to address Heavenly Father. Second, our communication of thanks for the things which we have. I always considered this part of prayer to be mandatory. Third, a plea for our needs, and sometimes desires. This part I considered optional. Finally, a closing in the name of Jesus Christ. To me a prayer without thanks didn’t feel like a prayer at all, but more like a wish. In a general conference Elder David A Bednar tells us of the importance of expressing thanks in prayer: During our service at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Sister Bednar and I frequently hosted General Authorities in our home. Our family learned an important lesson about meaningful prayer as we knelt to pray one evening with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Earlier in the day Sister Bednar and I had been informed about the unexpected death of a dear friend, and our immediate desire was to pray for the surviving spouse and children. As I invited my wife to offer the prayer, the member of the Twelve, unaware of the tragedy, graciously suggested that in the prayer Sister Bednar express only appreciation for blessings received and ask for nothing. His counsel was similar to Alma’s instruction to the members of the ancient Church “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39). Given the unexpected tragedy, requesting blessings for our friends initially seemed to us more urgent than expressing thanks. Sister Bednar responded in faith to the direction she received. She thanked Heavenly Father for meaningful and memorable experiences with this dear friend. She communicated sincere gratitude for the Holy Ghost as the Comforter and for the gifts of the Spirit that enable us to face adversity and to serve others. Most importantly, she expressed appreciation for the plan of salvation, for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, and for the ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel which make it possible for families to be together forever. Our family learned from that experience a great lesson about the power of thankfulness in meaningful prayer. Because of and through that prayer, our family was blessed with inspiration about a number of issues that were pressing upon our minds and stirring in our hearts. We learned that our gratefulness for the plan of happiness and for the Savior’s mission of salvation provided needed reassurance and strengthened our confidence that all would be well with our dear friends. We also received insights concerning the things about which we should pray and appropriately ask in faith. The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests… …Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts. (close quote) In our most recent October General Conference Elder Bednar also taught that the most sincere expressions of love and gratitude are done privately and not at the pulpit. We may feel a sensation of instant gratification during testimony meetings when we tell how grateful we are toward our Heavenly Father, spouse or loved ones but to share our appreciation often and in secret with those we love strengthens our relationships and builds our faith. Words of appreciation do not always have to be flowery or sophisticated. The most moving “thank you’s” I have ever given or received have been brief and sincere. Often, Shannon and I receive small notes from the children in our primary class, usually with a picture and a single sentence expressing their gratitude for us. Over the past couple of years we have collected these little treasures and they are part of the reason we love teaching in primary so much. Sometimes we may think that our appreciation is implied or understood without saying it and there is no need to express it. If this were true, the Lord would not have given the commandment to thank Him in all things, He being able to know our every thought and desire. If we are ever grateful to anyone for any reason, we cannot count on them to know without telling them. Further more we are benefited in the act of expressing gratitude. We can often turn someone’s entire day around with an effortless sincere “thank you” given at the right moment. Sometimes while eating out, Shannon and I like to leave a thank-you note on the table for good service or even compliment our server to the manager of the restaurant. Acts like these require little effort but can have great results. To receive all things with thankfulness simply does not have a down-side. Happiness is to be found in gratitude. Expressions of appreciation benefit the giver and the receiver. The rewards are both immediate and lasting. This is my challenge to each one of you; at the close of each day to think of at least five things that made you happy that day or reasons to be grateful. I recommend writing these reasons down in a journal or diary and reviewing them periodically. You will soon find that the things you want most are things that you already have. I would like to close with my testimony: Testimony
  6. It seems like everyone stops posting when I post something. Do I just smell bad or what?
  7. Bumperpants

    April 19, 2011 - The heavens will be filled

    Good incite. It becomes so easy in this world to compare yourself with others and what you think their degree of spirituality is. By doing this you can fall into the trap of justifying your sins saying, “Well at least I am not as bad as Joe Blow over there”. Then you think its ok to stop trying as long as you are ‘better’ than someone. I like to think of our spiritual progress as a downward moving escalator. You can never be stationary as it is always moving (down). We must press forward and actively strive to climb up toward our Heavenly Father. If we turn around and look toward Satan and think, “I wonder how far I can go before I need to repent- Maybe 3 steps down?” then we have already moved closer toward him without even changing steps. Just the desire to do evil moves us away from Heavenly Father, and we will be judged by our thoughts and our desires. Even if we just stop where we are and think, “I’m all good. I’m not committing any major sin and active enough in the church. I’ll just stay the way I am.” we move farther from God. Nephi explains these principles in detail in 2Nephi chapters 30 and 31: 19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay… 20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. 21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God… Eternity is a long time and as long as you are constantly moving to be like Jesus, eventually you will be. Just because 1 person attains perfection in 5,000 years whereas it takes another 10,000 years doesn’t make one better than the other. They will both be perfect eventually so who are we to judge? Just point yourself in the right direction and keep moving. Don’t worry about what step the people around you are on.
  8. Bumperpants

    Why should you serve a mission?!?

    I dont know about anyone else but my true testimony was born on my mission as I studied the scriptures and had experiences. It seems that several people are implying that the first incentive for going on a mission will remain the ONLY incentive throughout- as if there will be no spiritual growth or realization of why somone really should be out serving. All I am trying to do is convince the fence-sitters who's testimony is almost, but not quite there yet.
  9. Bumperpants

    Why should you serve a mission?!?

    Uh... I guess that could be a benefit of serving a mission. LOL!
  10. Bumperpants

    Why should you serve a mission?!?

    Nope. I haven’t had a good conversation in Russian since I have been back. I have seen some jobs for Russian customer service reps and interpreters but wasn’t interested. I could always go on Russian forums or chat rooms but I am not all that social to begin with . The biggest plus for me is knowing how languages can change and get all messed up through translation. That kind of re-enforces my testimony of the JST of the Bible. Even the Russian translated Book of Mormon has all kinds of errors in it. Mosiah 3:19 hardly comes close to the English meaning. I would say that Spanish and French missionaries are the ones who luck out the most as far as using their language when they get home. Not German though since almost all Germans speak English anyway.
  11. Bumperpants

    Why should you serve a mission?!?

    You will always have lots of conversation starters and stories to tell. I always enjoy telling the one about how I was arrested while tracting in Nizhni Novgorod (Moscow North Mission). They threw me and my companion in the slammer for a couple of hours but by the end of it we had a 1st discussion with a couple of the officers and they let us go inviting us back to have tea with them sometime!
  12. Bumperpants

    Why should you serve a mission?!?

    Guys please. I was trying to post something encouraging for any young man struggling with the decision on whether or not to serve a mission and get additional encouraging comments, not start a thread about resume writing. Your comments should probably be PM’d to each other anyway.
  13. As a youth leader I have encountered a lot of young men in the Aaronic Priesthood who seem a little on the fence about serving a mission. Therefore, I thought I would bring into light some of the benefits of serving a mission that are not often discussed. I asked why one should serve a mission during Priests quorum meeting one Sunday and got the expected primary answer, “You should serve a mission to spread the gospel and because it is right and it will help you spiritually and so on and so forth”. Well, yea, those are the most important reasons for serving but how many youth can really understand them? Until you have had similar experiences you really can’t. For some youth, this is not enough to get them excited about serving a mission. If you feel like you need a little additional incentive then consider the following benefits of serving a mission: 1.Travel to new places, see new things, have new experiences, meet new interesting people, improve yourself, etc. A mission is a very eye-opening and educating experience and will help you learn about the world around you, especially if you go to a foreign country. You may learn a new language, figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life and meet people who have a great impact and beneficial influence on your future career. In addition your experiences will help you develop critical life skills that most people take for granted such as cooking, money management, scheduling and planning, social skills, cleanliness in appearance and living conditions, street smarts and self defense, event organizing and other useful responsibilities. 2.Free college credits! If you go to a foreign speaking mission and plan to attend school afterwards your new language skills can help you test out of a whole semester worth of language classes! After my mission in Russia I was able to test out of 3 Russian courses (12 credit hours). I took an advanced Russian class later and got an ‘A’ even though I practically slept through it! Some schools offer scholarships for finishing your degree in 8 semesters or less and this will drastically improve your chances of doing that! You might even be able to count your mission experience as an internship at some schools. 3.Missions make a resume shine! What a great capstone for your education! Serving a mission gives you loads of bragging rights for job interviews and you will have advantages in your career that others just will not have. Some of these things will include (but are not limited to): •Sales Experience - As a missionary you have gone literally door to door selling religion. You have had to come up with new creative and attractive ways to get people interested. Sales jobs are generally not hard to get but you will have a great head start over the competition! •Teaching (aka training and development) – What are missionaries if not teachers? They teach by having discussions with members and investigators, train and receive training in district meetings and other leadership meetings, teach youth and children, teach in Sunday meetings, etc. Any large and reputable company has a training and development department and they will pay through the nose for experienced and qualified trainers. •Leadership Experience – Some who serve missions will be lucky enough to hold the position of district leader, zone leader and/or assistance to the president. Serving in these positions will teach you loads about group behavior, motivational skills, team work, organizing meetings, etc. In many foreign missions the missionaries are seen as the leaders of the branch they serve in since there is a lack of priesthood leadership in many parts of the world. If you find yourself in one of these areas you will be seen as a leader whether you like it or not. You will be organizing church activities, presiding in Sunday meetings, directing services and representing the local church community, and so forth. These experiences will teach you about how to be an effective leader and will benefit you in your future career, Sunday callings and family life. •Counseling and Therapy – Every try to help someone stop smoking or overcome an addiction? If you are a missionary your chances are more than likely. You will also help people around the world to cope with tragedies in their lives as you teach them truths of the gospel such as the eternal family, repentance and forgiveness. •Multi-lingual Skills – Though not everyone who serves a mission will receive the opportunity to learn a new language, those who do should consider themselves extremely blessed! Even learning a language in school will not get you anywhere close to the fluency you will attain by living and working with those native to that language (trust me, I took 4 years of Russian before my mission and thought that I was taught the wrong language when I arrived in my area). Many companies drool over the language abilities that returned missionaries bring them. Some companies pay more if you speak a second language even if you do not use it! •Public Speaking – Get over your stage fright before you serve a mission because you will find yourself constantly at the pulpit. The more you do it, the better you get at it. By the time you come home you will be a pro! Did you know that most people fear public speaking more than death? I guess that just one more way the gospel brings peace to our lives. 4.Chicks dig RMs! Ok guys, Mormon or not, possessing the above characteristics will make you a much more eligible bachelor! Not to mention if you did a lot of biking on your mission you will probably be pretty ripped when you get back. If you plan on attending an LDS school afterwards… well, you get the picture. You know all those stories about BYU being a “meat market”? They are all true. Just don’t come back with a “more holy than thou” attitude. Over all I would say that serving a mission is like going on a roller coaster. There is a lot of suspense and anticipation before it, thrills and excitement while it is happening (sometimes a little dizziness and vomiting) and a yearning to go through it again after it is over. Now lets hear some comments of other reasons why you want to serve a mission.
  14. Bumperpants

    church discipline

    Bishops have jurisdiction over these kinds of things and they act as the spirit directs them. No two situations are identical so you can’t really generalize anyway. The important thing is to do your part when you know something is going on and report it to the proper authorities. When you do, you shouldn’t do it for the sake of revenge or to see someone punished. That would make you no better than them. Instead, your motives should be to help them or protect someone who you know is a victim. Don’t worry about what will be done. As long as the action is directed by the spirit, it will be the correct one for that situation.
  15. I don't know much about the technicalities and such (what must be done first, etc) but my advice is do whatever you can to make your parents happy as long as it doesn't interfere with your temple wedding. Make sure to thank them for the kindness and understanding because they are allowing their beloved daughter to do something they are uncertain about. Invite them to explore every aspect of the church and reassure them there there is no threat to either you or them. Give them the outside wedding ceremony that they want and more (cost permitting) to show them that they are important to you. Make sure you let your dad "give you away" and make him feel like none of this would have been possible without his approval (I might even have your fiance do a traditional "may I have permission to marry your daughter" speech as long as you know he will say yes). Why go through all this? You will quickly find that family is key to our happiness. I have been married about 8 years and we live only a couple of miles away from my in-laws and I love them to death! My father in-law considers the term "son-in-law" a cuss because he sees me as no less than his "son". Having them in my life has enriched it beyond words. You may also find that marriage can be much more difficult than it needs to be if there is contention between in-laws. It's worth whatever it takes to establish unity (assuming you don't do anything contrary to the gospel). If they are still opposed and rejecting of your new husband after you have done all that you can do then you know that you are not in the wrong. At that point I would simply advise you to have patience and they may come around. Whatever you do, do not retaliate against anything they do or say. Patience is important. I hope this helps.