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  1. I second what Mahone said. Also, have you heard of Temple Grandin? She's a great inspiration on how to find your strengths and use them, particularly with someone diagnosed with any form of autism.
  2. Perhaps that would be true, if the scriptures and prophets didn't constantly say that we need to pray and ask God for our own testimony. So when we do pray genuinely, many times, but receive no discernible answer, wouldn't that be a good reason to believe that God doesn't exist? And if He does exist, but does not answer our prayers, then does He just not keep His promises? And if that is the case with prayer, why not with any of His other promises? Now, I do believe in God, and I know He's answered my prayers directly and indirectly, but it annoys me when people take such concerns--and the people who have them--lightly. But on the other hand, it is important to remember to, if we struggle with prayer, keep in mind that we might be missing something. Perhaps we are not recognizing answers for what they are. Maybe we are misunderstanding God's promises (or covenants, rather) and are not fulfilling their conditions in order to receive the promised blessings. In any case, it's always good not to jump to conclusions too quickly. As for why I stay, like others have said, I know it's true. I first gained (or perhaps discovered) my testimony after the first time I repented of my sins, when I was forgiven of them. I'm more "semi-active" right now, though, but I am repenting. In spite of my sins, though, I at least have enough integrity to not forsake what I know to be true, no matter what anyone else does (including myself).
  3. I suspect that the "theme" for conference is different for each person; likely it is whatever is most needed for the listener. For me, the theme was Peter, his overcoming the natural man and becoming the great Apostle that we know him as now. Of course this is one of those themes that we need to "liken unto ourselves," and it goes along with repentance, forgiveness, and conversion.
  4. mtman318

    Need help

    I was in a similar situation; to be honest, I still struggle with these at times (and I'm 24 now). There's a good chance you will continue to be tempted with this throughout the years, more or less, but if you do things right, you won't need to worry either way. First, confess to your Bishop, and follow his counsel. I truly understand the fear you feel, but trust me, you'll feel better once you do it. Also, if you haven't done so already, confess to Heavenly Father through prayer. He already knows your sins, but doing this is an act of faith, for which you will be blessed. Your Bishop won't punish you, meaning he won't hold a Church Disciplinary Council with you, but he might ask that you refrain from blessing and/or taking the Sacrament for a while. Also, if you have a very strong, close relationship with your parents, you may consider sharing your problem with them. They will help you. If not, or if you're uncertain, just stick with confessing to your Bishop. One more thing that I suggest you do (and everyone should be doing this) is to read from The Book of Mormon daily, at least 30 minutes or so, or by chapter. Do this no matter what else you do that day/night. Temptations will no longer seem so tempting after a while, and you will learn true doctrine on how to repent, as well as other gospel principles. You will naturally come closer to God in thought, word, and deed. There are many other specific resources for help with these problems, both Church official and otherwise, though I admit I'm not too familiar with them. Good luck!
  5. VERY true! Whenever I get the occasional twinge of doubt, I just remember everything that I've experienced, and the doubts soon evaporate.
  6. "Some people think we have Starbucks on every corner." That sounds more like the US, or at least So Cal.
  7. Midnight was insane. I was in the Quezon City Mission from 06 to 08, but since I spent the first Christmas in the MTC (Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND New Years!), I was only able to experience Filipino Christmas once. Sayang! The other holidays I particularly remember were New Years, Holy Week, and All Saints Day (on my first All Saints Day I lived next to the Paraiso Cemetary in Montalban, so that was especially memorable). Not to mention all the random Fiestas. I miss the Philippines... It'd be nice going back as a non-missionary, since I wouldn't be constantly stressed!
  8. I say, next time anyone here's in a similar position (but before they ask anything), he/she should look the other person in the eye and ask as intimidatingly as possible, "Are you a Mormon?" So for a few seconds, people can see typical interfaith interactions from our perspective. Give 'em a taste of their own medicine! And if they do happen to be Mormon, you can share a good laugh.
  9. "In D&C 49:18, a revelation is given directed to the Shakers saying that he who forbids to ABSTAIN from meat is not called of God. Which means that vegetarianism is not something you can say is bad. However, study aids were added in 1979 that uses a couple of random references to make it seem like there is reason to believe that the word 'forbid' is actually meant to mean the opposite, to bid. That's not how English works, and it is not how the Shakers heard it (who only forbade swine meat, though all other kinds were okay, though many did choose to live as vegetarians)." The problem with this interpretation is that it contradicts the subsequent verse, which states as an explanation to verse 18 that meat is ordained by God for the use of man, in addition to other scriptures. Still, I agree that it doesn't say that vegetarianism is bad, just that it isn't ordained of God (i.e., nobody can say God commands it). I admit that this is an oddly worded, perhaps archaically worded, verse. It would make more sense if "forbiddeth" was changed to "constraineth," or something similar. "I don't know what the Word of Wisdom is, but in the gospels, Jesus eats fish and lamb. "So, WWJD? (What would Jesus Digest?)" Fish isn't even mentioned in the Word of Wisdom, but both science and Church authorities say "Go fish!" I'm just glad that I love seafood. As for the lamb, again, meat isn't completely forbidden in the Word of Wisdom (plus the lamb was from the Passover, a God-ordained ordinance). I'm surprised you didn't mention wine (and no, I don't believe it was "grape juice" like some people claim). While prophets have always preached against drunkenness, and about other health related topics, the Word of Wisdom is specifically for our day, as stated in v. 2 of D&C 89--the revelation on the Word of Wisdom. "And for the record, most vegans and vegetarians do what they do because they're opposed to the abuse that goes on in factory farms, not because they have something against using animal products." For a good summary on this issue, among other things, I recommend Fast Food Nation. There are other books more specifically about this, but I haven't read them yet.
  10. Personally, I'm convinced that Shem and Melchizedek are one and the same. And I agree with the following Ensign explanation of D&C 84 posted earlier, especially if the verse in question is read with the two following it: "On the other hand, there is a case for their being two distinct personalities. Many persons believe D&C 84:14 is proof that there are perhaps several generations between Melchizedek and Noah. The scripture says, 'Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah.' "If it does turn out that Shem and Melchizedek are the same person, this scripture should prove no stumbling block, because it could be interpreted to mean that priesthood authority commenced with Adam and came through the fathers, even till Noah, and then to Shem." Also, one of the more obscure definitions of "even" is "or more exactly" (taken from the Encarta Dictionary via Microsoft Word). Hence, the passages could possibly be reworded as "Melchizedek received it through the lineage of his fathers, or more exactly, from Noah to his fathers, including Enoch, Abel, etc," or maybe, "through the lineage of his fathers, starting at Noah..." These interpretations seem more plausible also when you compare verses 14-16 with the more precisely worded verses 6-12.
  11. You sound a lot like me. Too bad we're both guys!
  12. With this particular event, it's noteworthy that had God simply answered their requests in v. 7, those who had been bit would still die. However, with His answer/way provided, everyone could be saved.
  13. Cool! I'll put these on my "To-read list." Regardless of my profile pic, I've had many doubts as to how "right" the US now is.
  14. Allow me to thank you for this story, as I drink my Wild Cherry Pepsi!! I'm having way too much fun with these smilies!