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  1. Shalom everyone. A moderator (my apologies for forgetting which) was kind enough to point me in the direction of this subforum. I have not had the opportunity to read any of the topics here, but I wanted to say hello and to offer my friendship as well as my brain (that didn't sound quite right...) to anyone who wishes to ask me questions or share your own experiences with our culture and faith. Oh, and I happen to be Jewish. I suppose that might be apropos to mention. I greatly look forward to meeting each of you. A few things I'd like to mention: 1) I am NOT easily offended. I am kind and respectful, and if you are the same, I would appreciate that. Ask me anything without fear. 2) I am NOT here to challenge your faith or disparage your beliefs in any way. I love learning about all faith experiences. 3) I work odd hours, so if you ask me something and it takes me a spell to respond, please do not think I forgot you. If it takes a REALLY long time for me to reply, I may not have seen what your post. 4) I am in recovery from sarcasm. This is an ongoing process. You have been warned. May HaShem bless you and keep you.
  2. okay i dont know what to do. i have a girlfriend. and i love her(please dont say im to young to know what love is). Now i know tht every young man has been called to serve a mission. but is every young man suppose to go on a full time mission? my P. blessing says i need to PREPARE for a mission and serve in w/e capacities i am called to. so it doesnt directly say i should go it says i should prepare to go. and i want to marry this girl of mine. and she wants to marry me. we have went through hard times and easy times. its been a year. we find that our worthiness is getting harder and harder to keep. now i am preparing for my mission and if i get a call i will go, bc ,if i understand right, if i get a call and turn it down i will be going against god. there is a chance that i may have cancer and im currently in the process of finding out. but i find myself praying that it is cancer just so i can stay home and marry this wonderful woman. to be honest what i want to know is what should i do? i know if i want our relationship to succeed i have to do what is right. so if i must leave on a mission then i will. but if i get to stay i would love to stay and marry her. i have thought of writing the prophet and asking this very question lol. she moved back home to Las Vegas on Monday, and i find that im lost without her. she is having a hard time at home and to be honest we would both be happier if we could just finally live together. BUT in 2 years she will be a RN and $$ wise things will be much easier. honestly i have prayed about it but i haven't(to my knowledge) revived an answer and i am so confused. like i said I'll do what im told but i want to stay and get married in the Provo temple. so what should i do i just need any advice/help/thoughts i can get. im so confused right now. and scared. so please reply.
  3. Ever since I was twelve years old I have had not only a desire, but a need to call on my Heavenly Father in prayer. There were many points of the gospel that I didn’t understand – many things that I was experiencing that didn’t seem to fit – and even more things I needed to resolve. Because of this, I had a heavy reliance on prayer and on my personal relationship with God and Christ. While serving a mission, I remember having an experience where a companion asked me something along the line of “You always get answers to your prayers, don’t you?” I responded, “Of course. Don’t you?” His response was odd, “Well, I know the Lord answers prayers, but there are many times when I feel I don’t get an answer.” In my time since, I have realized that this is a rather common problem for members of the church (in fact, ANY church). The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there were some prayers that seemed like I wasn’t getting answers, but usually the answer was that I was asking the wrong question. So in an effort to help my companion, I scoured the scriptures in hopes of discovering my pattern, the method I used to find answers to prayers. It wasn’t long before I identified with the brother of Jared in Ether, chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Mormon– so, if any of you would like to look at a few chapters with me with the goal of getting answers to prayers in mind, I would love to share what has worked for me. Let’s start in Ether chapter 2. Here, as we know, is where the brother of Jared is commanded to build the barges. The first thing we need to know is that he went and built the barges. I think that is the first step to getting answers to our prayers – we have to have proved to the Lord that we will follow what he tells us when we do get an answer. If the Lord doesn’t think we will do what he says, why would he tell us what to do? I have a mission experience to illustrate this point. One day my companion and I both received a heavy impression to knock every door of a certain apartment complex. After four hours of straight tracting, missing dinner to do so, and not teaching a single discussion, we were about to leave. We got the prompting again, to knock the doors again. So, we bothered many people twice, and got a few more doors answered from people who weren’t home the first time. Still, not a single teaching appointment. After our second time through the apartment, and almost 6 hours of tracting this ONE apartment complex, we resolved that we were to leave. On our way home, I asked my companion, “Hey, I’m upset by this. Why would we feel like knocking those doors was so important, only to have no success?” My companion at the time, who is much wiser than I was, answered, “Because the Lord wanted to make sure we were listening, and would obey. These last 6 hours would probably have been a waste anyway, so the Lord used the time to strengthen our ability to listen, so that when he needs us, he will know he can count on us.” Sure enough, on the way home we passed an oil field, and a small trailer house guarded the entrance. We felt prompted to knock on the door, which looked less like a residence and more like a company vehicle. It turned out than an inactive member lived there with her husband, who were away from their own home on business with the oil company. It wasn’t long before they were reactivated, and asking us whether they could get General Conference on their satellite: “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me” (Ether 2:18). Step one: When you get an answer, prove to the Lord you are worthy of getting the next one. In verse 19, the brother of Jared asks the Lord two questions: “And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.” And in verse 20, the Lord answers one of them: “Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.” Sometimes this is how the Lord answers our prayers, by simply providing us the solution. I think, however, this is the rarest type of answer, and will usually only happen when we are unable to come up with a solution ourselves. Step two: Recognize that while the Lord can and sometimes does give us the answer directly, this is usually going to be a rare occurrence. Let’s note that in verse 21, the brother of Jared does what the Lord commands, which leads us back to step one. But the Jaredites still had a problem. Would the Lord really suffer them to cross the waters in the dark? This is the exact question that the brother of Jared returns and proposes to the Lord, and I absolutely LOVE the Lord’s answer. From verse 23: “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” What a fantastic opportunity the Lord has given the brother of Jared (and how often does He give it to us?). How often do we interpret the Lord asking us “What do you think?” as not getting an answer? In my mind, the rest of the verse isn’t exactly a quote from the Lord, but more of a banter between God and the brother of Jared: Brother of Jared – “Can I have windows?” Lord – “Are you kidding me? They’ll get smashed!” Brother of Jared = “Can I have fire?” Lord – “Only if you want to kill yourself. (And in verse 24) You do realize you’ll be buried in the depths of the sea and with the wind and everything I’m going to have to provide to take you to the promised land, there are going to be giant waves that are going to make the ride a bit bumpy, right? (Verse 25) So, with these things in mind, what other ideas do you have?” Step three: Recognize that more often than not, the Lord will expect you to bring Him an answer to see if it is the right one, not the question for Him to answer directly. I think it is also interesting to note that the questions the brother of Jared would have brought the Lord at this point were yes/no questions “Can we have windows?” “Can we have fire?” I think there is a reason for this: I think yes/no questions are the easiest ones to get answered. If you feel the spirit confirm to you that your solution is correct, then the answer is yes. If you don’t, then no. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Step Four: If you doubt your ability to receive a complex answer, or the Lord isn’t answering something that is complex, rephrase the question so that the answer is a simple yes or no. Now, on to chapter three. We’ve all read the story, so we know what happens. The brother of Jared does something I doubt many people would have thought of; in fact, I have to wonder if his solution wasn’t somewhat inspired. This man goes to the side of the freakin’ mountain, and carves out sixteen clear stones. What is interesting about this? First, the brother of Jared is obviously a good craftsman. He uses his talents to resolve the problem, even if it is a little “unconventional.” With his creative solution in hand, the brother of Jared takes his thoughts to the Lord. Let’s read those scriptures, because they are so incredibly amazing: "2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be aangry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are bunworthy before thee; because of the cfall our dnatures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires. "3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been amerciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these bthings which I have molten out of the rock. "4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all apower, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy bfinger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have clight while we shall cross the sea. "5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which alooks small unto the understanding of men.” I love how humble these scriptures are. I love the brother of Jared’s faith. As a reward, not only does the brother of Jared see the finger of God, but later has a vision in which he sees the coming Christ – thousands of years before his birth. Step five: Use your talents, and be creative as you seek answers. Think outside of the box. Your faith in the Lord will be rewarded as you seek Him. It is my hope that no matter where we are in our journey in life, no matter our faith, that we will cultivate the kind of relationship with our Heavenly Father that is as strong as the relationship between earthly fathers and children. The only way we can know Him intimately is through conversing with Him. May we all take a little extra time to listen – because He has some amazing things to tell us.