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Everything posted by gebaird

  1. I recently arranged music for two guitar hymn books available for sale at Easy LDS Fingerstyle Guitar Hymns features 75 hymns arranged for instrumental guitarists in standard notation & tab. Practice tracks can also be downloaded. The LDS Guitar Hymnbook features chords and lyrics for over 80 hymns If you visit the site and sign up for the mailing list, you'll receive 17 free hymns
  2. It sounds like your tour was a great experience, and thanks for sharing the information about the Book of Mormon paintings! It's a good reminder about how much the Church relies on individual members and their sacrifices. Your comment about "hidden treasures" is to me an invitation to make use of everything we've been given in these latter days as it relates to the gospel. We have so, so much light available to us and if we don't make use of it then it's "hidden" to us. We can only receive more, as individuals and as a Church, after making the most of what we already have.
  3. Los Angeles to Torrey would be quite a contrast! I live in Spanish Fork, about 15 minutes south of Provo and an hour south of Salt Lake. It was a decent-sized town many years ago when I moved there but it's getting too big for me now, so I'm considering moving further south. Have you considered towns like Ephraim or Manti or Mt. Pleasant? Not quite as small as Torrey but not as large as where I live either. And definitely not Los Angeles.
  4. My mom was from Virginia and I've visited there several times. From Monticello to Williamsburg to the Shenandoah River Valley it's an absolutely amazing place!
  5. Hello! I'm curious what your experience has been in the Catholic church. I've been LDS my whole life but love to study other religions and learn what others believe.
  6. Hello and welcome! It sounds like you've had quite a journey so far and I wish you the very best in your continuing search for faith and fulfillment. I've been LDS my whole life, but there have been times when I've considered what my life might be like without religion. While I think I could maybe get by okay from day to day the difficult part would be understanding things like death and the purpose of life. I believe the LDS church has the answers to the most important questions in life and provides a system of beliefs and guidance about day to day living that can lead to happiness and fulfillment beyond what is offered by other churches or the pursuit of career success and material possessions. If you have questions, we're here to help!
  7. Hello and welcome to the forums! I'd love to hear more about your progress as you continue meeting with the missionaries and consider baptism. I joined when I was eight and three decades later I still consider it the best decision I've ever made :) I know of many people whose spouses are either inactive or non-members, and in some relationships it creates friction but in others there are no issues. Religious differences can add pressure to a marriage similar to money problems, parenting approaches, in-laws, etc. but you would by no means be a "second class citizen" as a member who is married to a non-member. Trust your heart, pray for guidance and do what you feel is best for you. Either way, you are welcome here.
  8. I love being up in the mountains or out in the desert and seeing the amazing stars! Welcome to the forums.
  9. I'm of the opinion that every Sabbath is a "holy day" in the LDS faith, because of the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and feast upon the word of God. On both Sabbath and non-Sabbath days we are expected to live our faith fully. I absolutely LOVED the Sunday morning session of this most recent general conference, because it was completely focused on the atonement and resurrection. I can't think of a more worshipful way I could have spent those hours than by being spiritually fed by God's ordained prophets and apostles. I recognize that Easter is more celebrated in other Christian faiths than it is in the LDS faith, but I suppose it depends upon the definition of "celebrated." Mormons tend to downplay pageantry and oratorical passion, preferring instead the quiet worshipful acts that invite the Spirit and lead to individual conversion and increased testimony. There may be a few extra musical numbers on a typical Easter Sunday, and certainly a focus on the atonement and resurrection, but that's about it. Similarly, Mormons don't observe Lent -- perhaps because we give up so much every day that there is little need to eliminate something else for those 40 special days. But that doesn't mean we don't honor the Savior's fast in the wilderness after His baptism; we simply have a different way of showing it. And our quiet Easter celebrations are yet another opportunity for each member to reflect, as we hopefully do daily, upon the goodness of God in sending His son to this world to atone for our sins and bridge the gap between earth and heaven.
  10. This discussion reminded me of a quote from Brigham Young: I believe there have been many good and inspired men and women throughout the centuries who have had a positive impact on the world. Anyone with "ears to hear" has access to God's truth. As has been said, however, the word "prophet" has special meaning in the LDS church that denotes not only the ability to receive revelation but also the authority to speak in God's name to members of his church.
  11. Your point is valid. The difference between faith and turning on a light switch is that the act of turning on a light--assuming good electrical connections and a working light bulb--delivers an immediate and obvious effect. Faith does as well, but there can be a long enough period of time between the action and the reaction that the connection isn't always obvious. If we were rewarded immediately for every good act or punished immediately for every bad act, depending on the magnitude of the reward or punishment it could effectively eliminate agency and the need for faith, destroying all possibility for human growth and development. I've made enough mistakes and enough positive choices in my life to recognize the value of positive choices. The temporary rewards associated with lying and stealing are inarguable, but most would say that such actions will not lead to long-term happiness. I believe faith is similar. We must have enough faith to turn on the switch and leave it on, believing that the reward will eventually come even though at the moment we cannot see the effect and remain in darkness. That moment between flipping the switch and waiting for the result is, I believe, where hope enters the equation. A friend of mine was struggling with her testimony and stopped attending church for a time. She began going again but was still struggling with things like tithing and the word of wisdom. Her bishop challenged her to fully live the gospel for four months, and she accepted the challenge. That was more than a year ago, and she is now fully active and regularly attends the temple. It wasn't enough for her to just see what the gospel looked like on paper and listen to the experiences of others. She had to "experiment upon the word" and learn for herself what the positive effects of faith could be.
  12. When I taught primary I compared faith to air. You can't see it, but you can certainly see its effects: as the wind blows, and as we breathe. Similarly you can't see someone's testimony, but you can look at their actions and see how their testimony or lack of testimony affects them. There are many unseen things we can have faith in, but only faith in Jesus Christ can lead to salvation. The Brother of Jared exemplified the assurance, substance and power of true faith in the Book of Ether and showed us that the end result of faith is to bring us to a point where we have faith no longer but instead have perfect knowledge. Thus faith is the first step in a journey that leads one to perfect knowledge. Seems pretty substantive to me :)
  13. There have been some great suggestions here! Another good option might be to read the lessons in Preach My Gospel. Pages 31-88 contain the material that missionaries teach (essentially the core components of the gospel):
  14. Just read an interesting quote that I think adds another dimension to the discussion about the gift of healing/being healed: Heather wrote: “This day was filled with mixed emotions for me. I was convinced that Elder Bednar would place his hands on [John’s] head and completely heal him of the cancer. I knew that through the power of the priesthood he could be healed, and I wanted so bad for that to happen. After he taught us about the faith to not be healed, I was terrified. Up to that point, I had never had to come to grips with the fact that the Lord’s plan might include losing my new husband. My faith was dependent upon the outcomes I wanted. In a manner of speaking, it was one-dimensional. Though terrifying at first, the thought of having the faith not to be healed ultimately freed me from worry. It allowed me to have complete trust that my Heavenly Father knew me better than I knew myself, and He would do what was best for me and John.” That We Might "Not Shrink" (D&C 19:18), David A. Bednar Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles CES Devotional for Young Adults • March 3, 2013 • University of Texas Arlington
  15. ladykaystone, I agree with what others have said: there is a reason you are having these thoughts and dreams about the church. Baptism is a beginning, a commitment to walk in the path of the Savior. It is a willingness to open the door, step inside and engage in learning about, living and loving the truths you find inside. All who are willing to humble themselves and repent and are committed to living the truths of the gospel (abstaining from cigarettes and alcohol, serving in callings, not engaging in homosexual acts or heterosexual acts outside the bonds of marriage, etc.) are welcome. A perfect understanding of the gospel is not necessary to enter the waters of baptism. I've been a member for 29 years and feel like there is still so much I have yet to learn. I am far from perfect, and there are times when my weaknesses of thought and behavior cause me to fall short of everything I want to be. Yet my decision to be baptized remains the single best decision I have ever made. I wouldn't trade my membership in the church for anything, and I will continue to strive for improved understanding of the gospel until the day I die. The church is true. My ability to live the truths it teaches is enhanced as I engage in membership and love others as the Savior loved them. That includes those whose opinions differ from mine. I am compassionate towards members of the LGBT community, and I am also committed to the leaders of the church and the truths they teach. I believe women and men were meant to be equal partners, and while the church is generally seen as being quite conservative when it comes to working mothers the individual choice about whether to work or stay home can be made without consequence by any female member. We honor women in the church and allow them to choose for themselves what kind of life they want to live. My point in saying all of this is that you should know you are welcome here.
  16. This is one of the most touching things I've ever heard :)
  17. This is a great question! I was just reading D&C 46:12 "To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby." In my opinion various spiritual gifts are distributed among different people because that way we can learn to rely on and help each other. I also believe, however, that spiritual gifts can be developed through a combination of our diligent inquiry and effort coupled with God's will. As we serve in callings and endeavor to live faithful lives I believe the gifts we need will be granted to us at the time we need them. Whether that could be considered having "all" gifts or not, I don't know, but with God all things are truly possible.
  18. I've had friends tell me they are spiritual but not religious, and the impression I get from my discussions with them is that they've lost faith in formal religion for whatever reason but still recognize that there is a part of themselves that hungers for light and truth and peace. I've seen them find spiritual fulfillment in nature, or through yoga or meditation or serving others. I believe those who leave their formal religion, whatever it might be, to pursue their own paths may at times do so because they find themselves engaged in the forms of religious observance without the substance. This is an empty and tiring experience that can only end with a re-commitment (to the same religion or a different one) or a falling away of some kind. I think others may say "I'm not religious" simply because they have no desire to discuss something so personal with anyone, least of all a chaplain or pastor or bishop who in their view will only attempt to "push" them in the direction of a particular religion or belief system. The answer in either case is the same: show them kindness, treat them with honor and acknowledge their freedom to choose.
  19. I was in a conversation once with someone who was not LDS and was familiar with the hymn "Praise to the Man." He used it to mercilessly attack me and the faith I profess. I felt it was unfair for him to attack me at all (a true disciple of Jesus should love and invite and beckon others to his faith, not relentlessly denigrate those whose beliefs may differ from his own), and using one of my favorite hymns as his weapon of choice made it all the more deplorable. I am so grateful that Joseph Smith restored the gospel. I praise him for his willingness to always follow God, for his courage to endure adversity and for his ability to receive revelation. No, I do not worship him. But I honor him and his testimony of the Savior that he sealed with his blood. I love this song and I love that it testifies so boldly of the restoration that blesses every single member of this church (even those who are bothered by the words of the hymn).
  20. Hi! I just joined and am looking forward to interacting with everyone here. I grew up in Provo and have been a member of the church my whole life (well, officially since age 8 I guess). I'm currently serving in the young men's organization in my ward in Spanish Fork. I love the church and would not be who I am without its positive influence in my life. While it's not always easy to do the things we are asked as members, the benefits are clear: keeping the commandments leads to a happier life and greater spiritual power. When I give my will to God he directs my paths and helps me become so much more than I could ever become on my own. I was married in the Salt Lake Temple and my wife and I will celebrate our 19th anniversary in a couple of months. We have three wonderful children and far too many pets. I work as a business analyst by day and teach guitar and piano lessons by night.
  21. I haven't heard a guitar played in sacrament meeting myself, but I've played in primary and at ward activities. A former teacher of mine is an accomplished classical guitarist and has played in his sacrament meeting from time to time with the approval of his bishop. Because of the electric guitar's association with rock & roll it is often seen as inappropriate for worship, but I think the guitar can be reverent and beautiful and I would like to see it become a more prominent instrument in LDS culture. The piano could be played in a very irreverent manner as well (think Jerry Lewis style), so it's not just a question of which instrument is being played but also the manner in which it is played. If you're not sure if your bishop would approve of a guitar in sacrament meeting, put together an arrangement and play it for him. It never hurts to ask, right? :)