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  1. First posting ever. I shared this email with my sister. Also a university professor. Thank you for the warm welcome. Hey sis, Here are my deductions and boiled down notes from the last few days - a bit of a crisis of religious identity. I thought I would share with you my notes from the last couple of days. In going through this I realized that maybe this is something you can relate to. Honestly even more than that I feel like for whatever reason I understand something about you specifically that I hadn’t before. Like I’m realizing something you have realized and figured out way before I did. Love you! -jay You can righteously teach your children this principle. Church: It is a construct to share true principles. The failures are because of this- human beings act human when dealing with something as profound as a true principle There are examples of reformed Egyptian everywhere. Because there are examples of the attempted forgery everywhere. There IS truth that the attempted characters are found other places. Of course they are because they were copied in the first place. The church is the product of a sustained cultural phenomenon that could have gone in favor of any number of successors. Variations that contain true principles. Be a truth seeker of principles, service, and good. My search is just to find my faith and I think Mormonism can be a good vehicle for people to live faith. To live principles. I don’t know about the doctrine or absolute truths. Safe guards of absolute truth and authority and current conclusions: -can’t have faith and fear -Have to pay for privileges -Prophets can’t tell lies or they will be taken away. -Grace is sufficient. It is necessary. It is not after all I can do. It is already given if Christ is to be believed in context -Time does exist. Even with layered existence and multiple realities there is a before god as god and an after. As described to me in the church. -Praying for the described feeling over and over will eventually yield that result. That is learned behavior? This is not a negative tool if practiced responsibly. -Don’t monetize these teachings because we have.
  2. “It is better to be kind than to be right.” So says author, Anne Lamott. Indeed, so declares our cultural and media elites. Further, so affirms our post-modern societal milieu. #MaryPoppins was closer to the truth. She said, “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.” In other words, yes, be kind, supportive, and ‘quick to listen, slow to speak.’ However, at the end of the day, the medicine cures, and it is no kindness to deny the patient, because the taste is bad and the side effects are unpleasant. We people of traditional, religious faith face this dilemma almost constantly. Christians say #Jesusistheonlyway of salvation, Muslims declare that Muhammed was the last and greatest prophet, and all theists tell us that we must recognize and reconcile with a power greater than ourselves. Concerning social mores, we extol the historic view of marriage, and remind that children tend to do best with a mother and father. Such counsel is not nice to post-modern ears. It seems mean, and it makes struggling single-parents, as well as those in non-traditional relationships, feel bad, and even guilty. Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, pitting this virtue against rightness (righteousness) distorts and weaponizes kindness. Ultimately, the admonition to be kind is a muzzle, meant to silence prophets and whistle blowers. Thankfully, the #metoo movement realizes that truth and right are more important than kindness towards predators. Gratefully, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose rightness over kindness towards segregationists. Some will object that people of faith are not brave social heroes. They are antiquated bigots, who hide behind their religions. If one believes so, then s/he should have the honest discussion. Let us stop with the passive-aggressive calls for those we oppose to be silent, in the name of kindness. I want to be kind. May God fill me and empower me to be such. However, on that hard day when truth must be shared, may the Almighty grant me courage to chose rightness.
  3. PRACTICING CHRISTIANITY BY SERVING Much like the book Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, I would argue that the church teaches the practice of living the Christian life to its children. As a boy in church scouting, I repeated a pledge each week that began, “With God’s help I will do my best to serve God, my church, and my fellowman.” Service—is that not what it means to live for Jesus? I serve—with God’s help. I should serve God, but face outward temptation—most often from money. If I just garner enough finance, I can do so much—for God’s glory, of course. Alternatively, I might seek out education and skills. There was an immigrant who came to America. He started to attend church. The man needed a job, and found out that his congregation was looking for a janitor. However, when he said he wanted the job, they told him that he had to fill out forms in English—not just for the application, but also on a regular basis, since city and state inspectors came from time to time. He could not read and write English well enough, so he ended up working on the docks instead. The man worked hard, and saved up money. After a few years, he bought his own boat. A few years later he bought two more. Then four, then eight—and by the time he was in his 60s he had dozens of boats, and was quite rich. A local reporter quipped, “Wow—you did all this, while not knowing English very well. Imagine what you might have done if you could read and write English.” The man responded, “If I could read and write well, I’d probably be the janitor at my church.” Not only must I overcome the temptation to rely on my money, my talents, or just myself, I must submit my selfish desires to God’s will. By nature, we seek dark paths. I remember that at age 10 I wanted to be like Richie Rich. I 13, having believed my teachers’ esteem-promoting encouragements, I wanted to be a lawyer. After all, they told me I was smart, and I liked winning arguments. At 17, I actually wanted to be President of the United States, so I could wield power! Despite my wayward desires, I listened to God’s directing. At 25, I taught missionary children. At 30, I was doing evangelistic Bible studies with Korean university students. At 35, I was ministering to federal prison. I may drive an 11-year old compact, I may listen much more than I speak, and I may lack political influence—nevertheless I am rich in God’s service. I traffic in God’s power, and turn souls from eternal judgment to redemption and reward. I am so much wealthier, wiser, and more influential in the Lord’s service than I ever could be following my heart and dreams. Beyond serving the Lord directly, I serve his church. Some may find it interesting that the second admonition is to church, rather than family, or to souls who do not know God. However, I cannot provide leadership and example to my family—or to anyone—if I do not embrace my community of faith. When I love my brothers and sisters in God’s house, and when I learn wise counsel from pastors and teachers, then I can help others. Some say we Christians need to get outside the church walls. Such silly talk! Most spend one to two hours a week in church. Even the most devout would not normally spend more than five hours there. The other 163+ hours are already outside the church. Frankly, most Christians probably need to spend more time within those walls! Finally, yes, and of course, I will serve the people in my circle of influence. I will work hard and well. I will listen more than speak. Nevertheless, the greatest service I can offer is my testimony of God, and loving-but-truthful answers. A young couple that used to serve in my church had come after several years of searching. The man had grown up Mormon, but then left it for Wicca. The lady claimed Christianity from an early age, but then sought out the partying fun outside the church. They met each other and married. Both eventually became Christians, and the man’s friends challenged them. “So, now that you are all ‘born again’ how do you feel about gay marriage?” They responded that they still loved their friends—including a few who were gay and married. Nevertheless, they could not approve of gay marriage in church, since it was against their beliefs. These friends responded that since they were now hate-filled and bigoted their friendship was over. “Do not attempt to contact us ever,” they told the couple. Had they failed—been too harsh—lacked in love? Not at all. They communicated love, peace, and sincerity, but faced rejection in return. Still, their final gift to their friends was truth. I will serve God—by seeking his will and his way. I will serve my church—with my presence, my attention, and with any help, my brothers and sisters need. Finally, I will serve those about me, by sharing what love I can, by listening more than I talk, but by speaking truth with conviction, whenever opportunity comes. For a video presentation of this teaching see:
  4. So it finally happened...I got asked to prepare a lesson plan and Power Point presentation on Mormonism. The lesson will be part of a three day conference on Christian religious group faith practices in correctional settings. The audience are all chaplains. So, these were the highlights: Introduction: What three words come to your mind when you think of Mormonism? I then ask if words like polygamy, homophobia etc. Come to mind. Then I ask if any have seen The Godmakers, or read Walter Martin's works on the faith (rhetorical questions). The point: The prevalence of anti-Mormon media is one reason that the term LDS is preferred these days. History/Beliefs: I mostly quote from to briefly highlight Joseph Smith's founding of the church, the claim to living prophets, and the Great Apostasy/Restoration. I then use to briefly cover the belief in the possibility of godhood, the literal nature of our being children of God, and the understanding that we have an eternal intelligence. I conclude by pointing out that there are no dietary restrictions (other than the WoW), and the need to accommodate sacred garments. It's so hard to summarize a faith group in 15 slides and 20-minutes. Hope I did y'all justice.
  5. Sen. Bernie Sanders grilled Russell Vought, nominee for Deputy Director of the Office of Budget and Management, on his religious beliefs—specifically, that Jesus is the only way for salvation—and then declared he would vote against Vought, because of those beliefs. Law experts say the senator clearly violates the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, which allows for no religious testing of candidates for public office, but that senators may approve or reject whoever they want, for whatever reasons. Given that Sanders publicly interrogated Vought on his beliefs, and then openly said that he would reject the candidate because of his religious convictions I wonder. I am no lawyer, but to my untrained eyes and ears, Vought was given a religious test, and the senator declared that he had failed it, and so would be rejected. This is where Social Justice Warriors embrace the postmodernism milieu. If there is no ultimate truth, then all interactions are based on power. It matters not that Islam says God has no son, and whoever says he does is an infidel. Nor is it a concern that the Talmud declares Jesus a false prophet. To Sanders, Muslims and Jews are powerless, while Christians have power. So, it is not inconsistent to condemn and reject Christians, while given minority faith groups a pass on their claims to exclusive truth. People of faith do well to obey the Apostle Paul’s admonition to pray for those in authority. Spiritual contention in the public square never ends well. God-seekers get divided, pitted against one another, and then ended doing ungodly actions in the name of defending the faith and the faithful. Fast, pray, meditate, and seek ever after God. Perhaps most pertinent during this season where there may be a few winners, but in which there will surely be many losers, remember that vengeance belongs to God.
  6. Postmodernism is the original sin. The serpent tells Adam & Eve that if they eat the forbidden fruit they will know/decide good from evil. They will be like God. If you're like God you don't need him. Then all truth becomes subjective. Today's hip philosophy is just the devil's first lie rehashed.
  7. At some point or another, I presume most if not all of us have heard the purposefully thought provoking question, "Can God create an immovable rock?" Humor me here, the idea the question is intended to purport is that if God can create a rock that he himself cannot move then he is lacking in power because he then can't move it. On the other hand, if he is unable to create such a rock then he is lacking in power because of his inability to create it. There is an inherent flaw in this logic. The common logic adhered to in this exercise assumes that God's power must include anything that can be conceived in the mind, any possible thought that could come from the vast expanse of human imagination. But is that really what it means to be Omnipotent? The short answer is: NO. In order to keep this post somewhat short, suffice it to say that omnipotent in its most true form from the original Greek means "all powerful". The key word here being all. The "all" in all powerful in reality represents "every real thing". If something is not real it is not included with all. If there is something for which the power to accomplish does not exist then that thing is not a "real thing" and therefore it cannot be factored in to a definition of omnipotence. To further illustrate this point the Guide to the Scriptures identifies Omnipotent as: The divine trait of having all power . Notice all power rather than every conceivable power, or unlimited power as many people consider the word to mean. I think this is very important to understand because even our fellow Christian brethren often have a complete misconception of Omnipotence which is why they accept the concept of creation ex-nihilo, which from an LDS perspective we understand to be false due to the fact that it is impossible. If we can correctly convey the true meaning of omnipotence to others we can better communicate doctrinal differences in a meaningful way. I could go on and on but in conclusion: 1) God is omnipotent because he has the power to do every thing that can possibly be done (all power). 2) God can not create an immovable rock, because the ability to do such does not exist, and since such a task can not be accomplished ever, it has no bearing on God's omnipotence.
  8. Do you all remember Stephen E. Robertson? In 1992, he wrote the book Believing Christ and wrote an article in the Ensign on the same topic asking the question “Do we Believe in Christ without believing Christ?” When I first heard it I rolled my eyes, “Ok. Another person came up with a cute play on words, and now people are running with it as if it renews their spirits somehow.” Yes, I’m a cynic... Recently, I’ve had cause to reflect on this question. My pointed questions are: Do we really believe the Lord runs this Church and not man? Do we really believe that the Atonement can bless us in this life, not just the next? Do we really believe continuing revelation occurs on a regular basis in the Church? Do we really believe the Church is founded on revelation and not on avoidance of liability? Do we really believe the power of the Priesthood is active in our blessings? Do we really believe that we have the Hosts of Heaven at our backs? I personally have had many faith promoting events in my life that would tell me YES to all these. But many active saints in my life seem to be resistant to the notion. I’ve been healed by blessings. I’ve received ministering of angels. I’ve heard an actual Voice speak to me. One Ex-Mormon friend who now attends another Christian Church was visibly, physically, shaken by it and had to remark, “Well, that’s just freaky!” The list goes on… While many have believed my testimony, I’m concerned about so many who utterly refuse to believe. It’s not my job to convince them, nor do I try. Yet, it is disturbing to know how many say they “believe in” but they don’t really “believe”. It seems that many are willing to believe in things if they can also be attributed to chance or other mundane explanations. But if it is inexplicable (truly miraculous) they don’t know how to process it. FAITH PROMOTING STORY As ward mission leader years ago, I met with the stake mission president. He told me his conversion story. Just before he was to be baptized, he had a business assignment that allowed him to meet with Pres. McKay. They started talking about some gospel questions for a few minutes. You don’t pass up a chance like that! In that private conversation he asked Pr. McKay, “Tell me. Have you ever personally, physically spoken with the Lord as one man speaks with another?” Pres. McKay gave a little chuckle, “Of course.” Then pointing to the very room they were sitting in and the conversation they were having with chairs pushing the two of them close together he said, “We have had many interviews since I was called to this office.” So, am I alone in experiencing the miracles that are as clear and plain as day? I believe that as Latter-Day Saints we need to be close to the Powers of Heaven. I believe that as Latter-Day Saints we need to be a people who believe that miracles can be familiar to us. Am I alone in this?
  9. “Some time ago a newspaper in a distant town carried an Easter Sunday religion editorial by a minister who stated that the presiding authority of the early-day church fell because of self-confidence, indecision, evil companions, failure to pray, lack of humility, and fear of man. He than concluded: Let us as people, especially those who are Christians and claim to abide by the Word of God, not make the same mistakes and fall as Peter fell. (Rev. Dorsey E. Dent, “A Message for This Week.”)As I read this, I had some strange emotions. I was shocked, then I was chilled, then my blood changed its temperature and began to boil. I felt I was attacked viciously, for Peter was my brother, my colleague, my example, my prophet, and God’s anointed. I whispered to myself, 'That is not true. He is maligning my brother.'”Elder Spencer W. Kimball There is no problem with the story of Peter. The way we traditionally read the story of the Apostle Peter might be an incorrect narrative of his character and misrepresentation of the scriptural account. For all the great our beloved Peter did, we often focus on the story of his “fall” and how quickly he repented and became the “Rock” upon which the church was built. It is a miraculous story: the power of the Atonement, a story of how even the best of us can fall away, even deny the very Lord who has given us life. But yet, even with such denials and sins brought on in a time of fear and loneliness, pain, or laps in faith, the poignant power of the Atonement reaches beyond our despair and can redeem. Not to just restore us to what we once were but propel us to greatness and unshakable faith. President Gordon B. Hinckley's heartfelt description of the Apostle Peter is as follows: “My heart goes out to Peter. So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.“Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, followed by self-accusation and bitter tears of regret. …“… If there be those throughout the Church who by word or act have denied the faith, I pray that you may draw comfort and resolution from the example of Peter, who, though he had walked daily with Jesus, in an hour of extremity momentarily denied the Lord and also the testimony which he carried in his own heart. But he rose above this and became a mighty defender and a powerful advocate. So, too, there is a way for any person to turn about and add his or her strength and faith to the strength and faith of others in building the kingdom of God” (“And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 2–4, 6). Read the entire article at Scripture Guided Life
  10. Let's discuss doubt. It seems quite trendy, in some circles, to embrace doubt as some sort of virtue. What are your thoughts on doubt?
  11. How did you decide for yourself that the LDS church was true? I've had trouble believing my whole life, and I'm 20, so there is a lot of pressure from people around me to go on a mission. This is a song I wrote to my grandmother, whom I always talked to about the church. Share your thoughts and let me know your story! She
  12. A little about me mmm... Well I'm a convert to the church for about 16 years, I have a strong testimony of the church and it's doctrine. I have a great knowledge about this church and it's doctrine. I'm getting ready to start Spring Forest QiGong, and as soon as I land a job, start my schooling for Herbal Medicines, I am all about healing without Pharmesuticauls. You know, I never know what to put here, if you truly want to get to know me, and what I'm like. Drop me a note. Zen
  13. This is from my most recent blog post 1 Nephi 3&4 Are God's commandments hard to follow. The main reason I am posting it here is to generate discussion here, as well as on my blog here where I posted it as well, and on this forum. So, there are three places where the discussion can take place (preferably over on my blog). Thus, these are my thoughts and interpretations. Enjoy and hopefully this generates some good wholesome thoughts and discussions Yes, this is going to be a slow process and definitely something to enjoy. I have decided to break up these posts with reading only a couple chapters at a time and providing my own reflections and insights regarding these passages that I read. And, while it has been only a couple days since my last posts, my thoughts are flooded with a variety of interesting and a variety of scenes, dialogues and mental noise. Nevertheless, I am getting back into my passions and that is writing, cooking and enjoying life as much as I possibly can. Thus, here are my thoughts on 1 Nephi 3 and 4. Are God’s Commandments a hard thing to follow? Okay, so when I started reading 1 Nephi 3, an unlikely passage jumped out at me for a couple reasons. This passage is 1 Nephi 3:5 - And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord. The main reason this caught my attention was because of the Apologetic disposition I have come to understand and develop over the years. Meaning, this single passage reflects an answer to the most common criticism that Latter-day Saint Christian believers receive from those of varying Christian Faiths. This criticism centers around the nature of Sola Gratia (Salvation by Grace alone) and the LDS Doctrines on Sotierology (the study of salvation of mankind). One of the most common arguments that the Critics present is that concerning how Mormons are oppressed with a legalistic religion. How, in their interpretation and presentation, majority of those of the LDS Faith are unhappy, depressed and ever seeking fulfillment in their feeble attempts to follow strict commandments that have come down from the General Authorities. Upon further reflection of this, I to once was a supporter of Grace only salvation and that because of man’s own depravity, he could in no way save himself from his sins. It is not until recently that I have devoted some time to studying the reality and truth of such doctrines that I have discovered that, yes, because we possess a carnal nature that is driven by passions and lusts, we also have the ability to bring such passions and lusts under complete subjugation. There is evidence outside of Christianity and religion in general where there are devout and strong opinionated atheists who have a disposition of good will, charity, chastity and understand the dangers of destructive behaivors. While their disbelief in God is a prominent belief, some of them live respectable lives. This is not saying that Evangelical Christians and Latter-day Saint Christians do not live examplar lives. They do. The point here is how the misconception of the LDS Doctrines are and how the commandments of God are not that hard to follow. In fact, both Evangelical and Latter-day Saint Christians accept the very fact that being obedient and living honorable lives is the fruit of one’s faith “by their fruits ye shall know them“. The issue is not about fruits but about obedience to the commandments of God. Here, I have discovered that those who attack the LDS Faith, do so because they find that being obedient to God’s commandments is something that one can in no way accomplish. The question I ask is this: If God command’s something of His beloved children and it is something that they can in no way keep, would this then make God an unjust and unfair God? Making it more simple, would you as a parent make rules for your children that you know very well that is very hard and difficult for them to keep? Furthermore, depending on the maturity level and age of your children, would you implement rules for a 3 year old that are more for a 15 year old? This would be completely unfair, and the consequences of disobeying said rules would be completely unjust. Why is that? How is that? The fact is, those commandments of our Loving Heavenly Father are for our benefit. In making this statement, there are two prominent stories I remember from my youth. One is about walking along a beach. The sun is beating down and it is a hot summer day. Upon finding a quiet place, a young couple ignores the No Swimming sign posted. Instead, they use their agency to swim in dangerous waters. The other is a young man who has to follow the tradition of maturity in his tribe. He had to spend three days on the mountain top and after the third day, make his way back down to the tribe. Upon his descent, he came across a poisonuous snake who convinces him to carry him down. At first, the young man objects for obvious reasons. Yet, the more the snake and young man exchange words, the more the Young man decides to carry the serpent down to where it is warmer. It is not until the snake is placed on the ground that he bites the young man. “Why did you bite me when you promised you wouldn’t” cries the young man. The snakes response being: You knew I was poisonuous before you picked me up. The fact is, God’s commandments are the No Swimming signs posted. They are the protection from poison that threatens to destory our souls, integrities, families and our life. The choices we make, not only affect us, but those around us in our circle of Influence. We choose to commit crimes against the laws of the land, we must face the consequences of those actions. It is then, that when we return to 1 Nephi 3:5 that we find those who disagree with following the Commandments of God as part of the true gospel of Christ, they are saying “it is too difficult, why do it?” The answer is not because it is a hard thing to do, but because it is a commandment we must follow. And this brings us to the very next passage that reflects the inherint blessings and how a Loving Heavenly Father has promised those of us who choose to follow after the commandments of God: And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. {1 Nephi, 3:7} Do we honestly believe that? For me, and for those of us who are struggling to make a return back to the LDS Faith find it very difficult. Some of us (like myself) tend to fall in the trap of murmuring. Why should I go back there, it is hard, the things that are required are difficult. It is when we think upon these things that we begin to stir up doubt. Doubt stirs up fear, and fear stirs up anxiety and worrysome. What I need to do, what we all need to do is to realize that when we are called to do something, God is not just going to leave us to our own devices (tell a 10 year old that he is in charge of dinner and then leave for an hour and see what happens), but that he will guide us, direct us and give us strength in accomplishing that which he has commanded us to do.What this means is this: we are truly saved after all that we have and are able to do. Meaning, when we acknowledge Heavenly Father and his will in and for our lives, we give him the controls and we sit in the passenger seat and he will have the road already mapped out for us to follow. This brings strength and hope to those who doubt, are discourged and bewildered at the commandments of a Loving Heavenly Father. It is simple words to those of us who are struggling to return from our own apostasy and find restoration in Truth and light. It is for those of us who have tried on our own merits to accomplish things and felt the sting of failure and find ourselves at our wits end. It is for those Christian Critics who like to murmur and claim that the commandments of God are too difficult to follow because we simply can’t follow them and therefore the only way we can be assured of our salvation is merely trusting in Jesus. It is one thing to trust in someone, it is a whole different idea to not only trust, but walk in that trust and building a deeper trust one with another. And, just as Nephi says, “Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Nephi 3:16). This brings me to one of my most cherished passages of Scripture. That is Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. {Romans 12:1-2, KJV - LDS Edition} Another version of the above text is from the New American Standard Bible version - Thompson Chain Reference study bible: I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. What is very simplistic of this thought, this idea and interpretation (from my own perspective) is that when we are obedient to the commandments of God, we are actually worshipping Heavenly Father by our actions. Thus, it is not enough (and the very reason we read in scripture) that men honor God with their mouths, but their heart is so far removed from him. In other words, the statement actions speak louder than words is very scripturally inspired. Now, I am not saying that Heavenly Father declared “Listen people, your actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell me you love me, show me you love me.”However, the reality of this is very true in practicality. When a husband says to his wife, I love you, is verbal expressions. Yet, if that said husband said to his wife, I love you, but then does nothing to show how much he loves, adores and appreciates her, then his words are mute and without effect. It is only when he shows by his very actions that he is devoted to her, respects her and loves her. Thus, going back to the heart of this discussion, any person who says that the LDS Christian believer is wrong in believing that it is, not only, our duty to be obedient to the commandments of God, but that we must live according to those commandments and abide by the principles of the Gospel. Not because we are trying to earn our salvation and prove that we are worthy of God’s praise, but that because it is our spiritual devotion to show our Heavenly Father that we love and respect him through our obedience. In doing so, he has promised to prepare a way for us to accomplish that which he has commanded us. What does this all mean then? Essentially, this all means that any thing we are doing in our lives that are not appropriate (and yes, I am strongly speaking to myself here as well) or in compliance with the commandments of God, we must forsake them, seek forgiveness, make restitution where possible and needed and turn our lives back to Heavenly Father and follow after his will and divine counsel. Personally, whether I disagree with it or not, for me this is to comply with the Word of Wisdom. Yes, I still smoke. Not as much as I used to. In fact, two years ago, I was so dependent upon cigarettes that I would smoke approximately 2.5 packs a day. When out of cigarettes, I would wander around town until I could bum a few cigarettes. I would even go so far as to do what the homeless call “snipe” for cigarettes. Basically, I would pull out cigarettes from outside ashtrays, take them home, remove the tobacco and role them up to smoke them. Drinking Coffee was one of my biggest vices (up there with smoking cigarettes). It is not until these past couple years that I have decreased my coffee intake. I went from drinking Coffee almost all day every day and nothing else, to drinking maybe 1 to 2 cups a day. Not only has my intake of coffee lessened, I am actually not as anxious as I used to be, staying up at all odd hours of the night, sometimes not even sleeping for days on end. Healthy eating and weight loss. One of the things I have begun over the last couple years is develop a more healthy appetite. While I am cooking, there are alot of things that I am not cooking, or eating as I used to. Integrating more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Eating less portioned meals than large meals. Challenging myself to quit eating alot of food in one setting or over time. The other thing, and my fiance is asking me to do, is to decrease my intake of Soda. Why do all these things? Because I am in my late thirties, there is diabetes in my family and I am overweight as it is. The more I focus on changing my unhealthy habits to more healthy habits will help my later on in life. Also, because it is commanded of us to take care of our bodies, physically, mentally and spiritually. All in all, the reflection of 1 Nephi 3, for me anyway, is realizing that the counsel and commandments of a Loving Heavenly father are not that hard to follow. And, when we come to him and willing to humble ourselves in obedience, the promise is that Heavenly Father will make a way for us to accomplish that which he has commanded us to do. This is for any area of our lives where we find the challenge of. Any area of our lives where we may have slacked in our callings and duties. This is definitely one passage I am marking to contemplate more fully on. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are definitely welcomed here.
  14. (Emphasis added) Holy Ghost - - Topic Definition - Holy Ghost The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. He is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter. Roles of the Holy Ghost The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling several roles to help us live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel. He "witnesses of the Father and the Son" (2 Nephi 31:18) and reveals and teaches "the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5). We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Ghost. His communication to our spirit carries far more certainty than any communication we can receive through our natural senses. As we strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger. Through Him, we can receive gifts of the Spirit for our benefit and for the benefit of those we love and serve (see D&C 46:9–11). He is the Comforter (John 14:26). As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life, and comfort us when we grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill us "with hope and perfect love" and "teach [us] the peaceable things of the kingdom" (Moroni 8:26; D&C 36:2). Through His power, we are sanctified as we repent, receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, and remain true to our covenants (see Mosiah 5:1–6; 3 Nephi 27:20; Moses 6:64–68). He is the Holy Spirit of Promise (see Ephesians 1:13; D&C 132:7, 18–19, 26). In this capacity, He confirms that the priesthood ordinances we have received and the covenants we have made are acceptable to God. This approval depends on our continued faithfulness. The Gift of the Holy Ghost All honest seekers of the truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, leading them to Jesus Christ and His gospel. However, the fulness of the blessings given through the Holy Ghost are available only to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy. After a person is baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders lay their hands on the person's head and, in a sacred priesthood ordinance, confirm him or her a member of the Church. As part of this ordinance, called confirmation, the person is given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the influence of the Holy Ghost. Before baptism, a person can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time and through that influence can receive a testimony of the truth. After receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, a person has the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead if he or she keeps the commandments. See also Baptism; Godhead; Laying On of Hands; Revelation; Spiritual Gifts —See True to the Faith (2004), 81–84 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matthew 3:11; John 15:26; 16:13; Acts 2:38; 8:12–17; 19:1–6; 1 Corinthians 2:9–14; 12:3; Galatians 5:22–23; 1 Nephi 10:17–19; 2 Nephi 31:17; D&C 8:2–3; 39:20–24; 68:25–28; 121:46; Articles of Faith 1:4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "We . . . must be careful not to hinder, disregard, or quench the Spirit in our lives. "The beckoning invitations of the world attempt to divert our attention from the strait and narrow path. The adversary labors to dull our sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit, whether we are teenagers, young adults, or mature men and women. The role of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, is essential in every season of our mortal lives." (Keith K. Hilbig, "Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 37) The Holy Ghost testifies of truths, warns us of dangers (Subtle or not), prompts us to do or stop something, etc. We can recognize its promptings through our feelings. In Galations, Paul taught us: Gal. 5: 22 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, I feel that the ability to discern the voice of the Lord, through the Holy Ghost one of the most important things we need to learn if we are to be guided by truth and lead through the right path to choose the right. Learning to discern if something is good/right or not, and if it's from God, we must learn to discern the feelings it induces, and it takes practice; if the fruits are good (As mentioned above), we can know it is of God. I had the opportunity of asking Elder R.G. Scott, and he told me the above. I just wanted to share it!
  15. "Our first and foremost article of faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 'We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost' (Articles of Faith 1:1). We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance, a Trinitarian notion never set forth in the scriptures because it is not true." (Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 40)