Thursday, April 23, 2015


As most of you know, Ashlee went on the Dr. Phil show.  I feel like I have a lot to say about it and then nothing at all.  This much I do know and want to say: I am so proud of her.  I am proud of her courage to continue to share something that is still so raw, humiliating, and painful for her.  I am proud of her example as a person, wife, mother, and daughter of God.  I am thankful for her testimony and willingness to share it so publicly.  I am grateful to be her sister.

This is the First Presidency message from the April 2015 Ensign.  I feel like it is so fitting for what happened today that I couldn't help but get on and update my blog (which hasn't happened in months!).

President Thomas S Monson:
Scarcely an hour passes, President Thomas S. Monson has observed, but what we are called upon to make choices of one kind or another.
To make wise choices, he counseled, we need courage—“the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny.”1
In the following excerpts, President Monson reminds Latter-day Saints that they need courage to stand for truth and righteousness, to defend what they believe, and to confront a world that is rejecting eternal values and principles.
“The call for courage comes constantly to each of us,” he said. “It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.” 2

Courage Brings God’s Approval

“We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently. As we move forward, striving to live as we should, we will surely receive help from the Lord and can find comfort in His words.”3

Withstand with Courage

“What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.”4

Have Courage to Stand for Truth

“[May] you have the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness. Because the trend in society today is away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, you will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which you believe. Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith. When firmly planted, your testimony of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that you do throughout your life.”5

We Need Spiritual and Moral Courage

“The messages portrayed on television, in movies, and in other media [today] are very often in direct opposition to that which we want our children to embrace and hold dear. It is our responsibility not only to teach them to be sound in spirit and doctrine but also to help them stay that way, regardless of the outside forces they may encounter. This will require much time and effort on our part—and in order to help others, we ourselves need the spiritual and moral courage to withstand the evil we see on every side.”6

May We Ever Be Courageous

“As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. …
“May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven.”7

Sunday, January 11, 2015


"Each one of us has been given the power to change his or her life. As part of the Lord’s great plan of happiness, we have individual agency to make decisions. We can decide to do better and to be better. In some ways all of us need to change; that is, some of us need to be more kind at home, less selfish, better listeners, and more considerate in the way we treat others. Some of us have habits that need to be changed, habits that harm us and others around us. Sometimes we may need a jolt to propel us into changing." (President Faust) 

What does it mean to change?  Can people really change?  I am sure I’m not the only person who has ever asked that question.  There have been times when I believed that change wasn’t possible – that I was stuck with the life and ways that I had been given.  I excused my behaviors and the behaviors of others because “that’s just the way we are.” 

At other times there were other people telling me that I couldn’t change.  They would continually remind me of what I had done in the past and that if put in the same situations I would revert back to the same old things and stay the same person I had always been.  I couldn’t possibly become better.

Both perpetrators are wrong.  We can change; the challenge is not letting others or ourselves drag us down.  That is Satan’s plan and he is getting pretty good at convincing the world that it is the ultimate plan.  

“There is nothing so unchanging, so inevitable as change itself. The things we see, touch, and feel are always changing. Relationships between friends, husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister are all dynamic, changing relationships. There is a constant that allows us to use change for our own good, and that constant is the revealed eternal truths of our Heavenly Father.” (Elder Ashton)

As I have mentioned before in previous posts, one of my biggest fears and lies to overcome was trusting men.  I had seen too many instances where women in my life were hurt deeply by the decisions of men.  I was so guarded and unwilling to form any vulnerable or lasting relationships with any guy I met.  I never let go of control and made sure that if things were going to end they would end on my terms; that way I wouldn’t get my heart broken.  I always thought that I would be this way because nothing had shown me that I could be different.  But I did change!  It came with a lot of effort: praying, fasting, consciously letting my guard down, trusting little by little, praying again, being vulnerable even when I didn’t know the ending or have control, still praying, etc.  The joy that has come from that monumental, yet incremental, change is beyond anything I could have imagined.  

Temples are pure and sacred.  The Lord has told us that we need to be clean to enter in.  The Lord is the one who tells us if we can enter and be blessed by the covenants we make with Him there.  Think of your favorite temple.  How would you feel if every time you tried to enter the temple grounds your old friend, boyfriend, or family member was standing in the way reminding you of the mistake you had made years ago?  What if the mirrors of the temple reflected back all the bad thoughts you had ever had and held you captive forever, never allowing you to enter?  What if your white temple clothes and stains from every bad word you ever spoke and there was no way of washing them out or getting a new set?  How would you feel?  Would you even try to go back to the temple?  I wouldn’t. 

That sounds like my worst nightmare.  The temple, so beautiful and bright, would be a dark, depressing hole of despair for any of us who have sinned in this life – which, by the way, is everyone.  Temples are a symbol of Christ and His atonement.  The obstacles are everything around us that can keep us away from the beauty and purity we could find in it.  When we ourselves or others build fences around the atonement we will be miserable to find that once the fence is finished we are standing on the wrong side; unable to access the very thing we were trying to keep safe.  The atonement is infinite; it has no boundaries, no limits, and no barriers.  It can reach all.  It has the power to change all. 

Change can be one big thing or a compilation of a lot of little things.  It can take years and years or it can happen over night.  Whatever your situation the important thing to remember is that you CAN change.  And with the help of the Savior you can change for good. 

The Book of Mormon gives us many examples of individuals who decided to change and be better.  One of my favorite stories of extreme change is Alma the younger: he went from persecuting the believers of God to becoming the prophet after a big change of heart.  The Book of Mormon also gives us a formula for change found in Mosiah 5:2-3
            “…the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestation of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come…” (emphasis added). 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can’t change.  It is a lie and one that can be so detrimental to your eternal happiness.  You can change.  You can be healed.  You can be free.  Turn to the Savior and let Him help you change the things in your life that need to be changed.  

Elder Jeffery R Holland said,

”There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our own or other people’s—is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.
Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, “Hey! Do you remember this?” Splat!
And soon enough everyone comes out of that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy and hurt, when what God, our Father in Heaven, pleads for is cleanliness and kindness and happiness and healing.
Such dwelling on past lives, including past mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in some ways worse than Lot’s wife, because at least she [was] only destroying [herself]. In these cases of marriage and family and wards and apartments and neighborhoods, we can end up destroying so many, many others.
Perhaps at this beginning of a new year there is no greater requirement for us than to do as the Lord Himself said He does: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).
The proviso, of course, is that repentance has to be sincere, but when it is and when honest effort is being made to progress, we are guilty of the greater sin if we keep remembering and recalling and rebashing someone with their earlier mistakes—and that “someone” might be ourselves. We can be so hard on ourselves, often much more so than with others!
Now, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies of the Book of Mormon, bury your weapons of war, and leave them buried. Forgive, and do that which is harder than to forgive: Forget. And when it comes to mind again, forget it again.
You can remember just enough to avoid repeating the mistake, but then put the rest of it all on the dung heap Paul spoke of to those Philippians. Dismiss the destructive and keep dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement of Christ has revealed to you your bright future and the bright future of your family and your friends and your neighbors. God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go. That is the thing Lot’s wife didn’t get…”

Additional Study
Elder Holland; Remember Lot’s Wife; 2009 BYU devotional

Elder Ashton; Process through Change; Conference 1979: 

President Faust; The Power to Change; November Ensign 2007:

Saturday, October 18, 2014


You know you lack patience when your mom tells you, “I’m so glad you’re going on a mission because then maybe you’ll learn to be patient.”  Those might have not been her exact words but they are pretty close.  Ha!  I’ll admit that my mission did give me many opportunities to learn and exercise patience and I feel like I’ve come much closer to becoming more like Christ because of those experiences but, unfortunately, I am far from the patient person that I know He wants me to be.  And for that reason, I have been studying the topic of patience. 

There have been things in the past few months that have given me reasons to pray for patience; this is a hard pill to swallow.  When you pray for patience you get MANY times throughout the day to exercise it.  There are moments I have become very discouraged but as I get down on my knees and ask for more patience (and help!) I am never disappointed.  He is always there to assist and guide me.  One way God answered my prayers was to remind me of the challenges Christ and His prophets have endured.  Elder Hales said, “I have often pondered, Why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father’s will? Why is it so hard, especially for them?... As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.” Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good.”

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very *pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (*compassionate)

Preach My Gospel tell us that “Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.

You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships, especially with your companion. You must be patient with all people, yourself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses.” 

“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.” -President Monson

Things come into our lives that may give us reasons to become impatient or doubtful of others or ourselves but I promise you that the Lord is mindful of you and your daily challenges.  Patience is closely related to faith so when we are exercising patience we are showing our faith in Jesus Christ.   

My daily challenge this week: being patience with myself.  I get caught up in thinking “I’m too fat, ugly, rolly polly, bad teeth, acne faced, lopsided, unsuccessful, weak, unfortunate, and just weird!  I don’t know why I have friends or a husband you can stand to be around me.  I never get anything I want.  Poor me.  Poor me.  Poor me.”  This type of thinking is pathetic.  Even typing it is embarrassing.  But, it is really how I feel sometimes as brief as those times may be. 

The Lord does not want us drowning in this pool of martyrdom.  We are not victims.  He has given us so many tools to help us through our challenges.  I have found great strength in the scriptures, through prayer, going to church and participating in the lessons, listening to uplifting music, and creating a living environment where His Spirit can dwell. 

As I was wallowing in my self pity a tender mercy came through my cell phone speakers as I was listening to Pandora.  Colbie Caillat’s song “Try” started to play and the words touched me.  In that moment, I needed to be reminded of the great gift of life!  I have a beautiful, healthy body that allows me to love, be a wife and mother, learn, grow, teach, and play.  I love myself; why shouldn’t I?  You should love yourself, too!  What’s not to love?  If God loves you then there is something to love in yourself.  The trick is to find it.  Be patient with yourself as you seek to find your worth.  

(Awkward family selfie but I love them and they're mine)

Further Study:
October 2011 Conference: Elder Hale-“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will be Done”

Colbie Caillat’s “Try”:

Preach My Gospel Scriptures:
Why is patience important? How are patience and faith related?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Am I Worth It?

What are you worth?  The definition of worth is: the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.  Some of us believe we are worth being abused.  Some of us believe we are only worth the level of criticism, sarcasm, or bullying others demean us to.  Some of us believe that our worth solely comes from the compliments or opinions of others.  Some of us believe we have limited worth and potential. 

These are all lies.  One of my favorite church movies from my childhood was Johnny Lingo (watch video here: ).  The story is about a young woman who is viewed as a very ugly and pathetic girl on her island.  Johnny wanted to marry her and in their tradition he needed to offer cows as a dowry to her father.  Many women were given 4, 5, or 6 cows which was “saying” a lot about their “worth” and their beauty.  Johnny offers 8 cows for his bride to be and everyone in the village is shocked because they believe her to be ugly and only “worth” the hooves or tail of one cow.  Some time after their marriage Johnny his bride, Mahana, come back to the island causing a sensation because she has blossomed into a beautiful and confident woman. 

What changed?  She is still the same being so why did everyone now believe, especially Mahana, that she now had more worth and beauty as a person?  Perspective.  The only thing to change was Mahana’s perspective about herself and she because more beautiful to everyone around her. 

Why should our reflection be any different?  If we think we are beautiful then we will be!  If we think we are of worth and require the same respect from others around us then we will have it.  I am not talking about getting our way, winning every argument, or causing ourselves to be full of vanity.  I am talking about genuine love for our God-given bodies, spirits, and opportunities here on earth.  We have the power to make ourselves more likeable, loveable, and downright adorable!  But it starts with ourselves.  We can’t go seeking the opinions of others and allowing them to control our worth because we will always find someone out there who doesn’t like us or think we are the greatest thing to ever walk the planet.  But if we are confident enough we don’t have to let that get us down because we will find people, even just one person, who will love us for who we are.  

 There's always that one person that you can never get to like you ;)

God is aware of our situations and he is acutely aware of our worth.  Christ suffered His atonement for all men, but he would have done it just for you, and you alone.  There will always be a reason to keep smiling, keep moving, and to keep living.  If you have questions about your own worth, ask.  If you fear your path, stop where you are and get on your knees.  He is always there.  He is always listening.  He will always answer.  Because YOU are worth it.  

Further Study:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Personal Revelation

One of the hardest things in life is facing the unknown.  It is scary and I don’t like it; I like to be in control at all times.  This, of course, has caused me a lot of turmoil throughout my life seeing that no one is really 100% in control of their life.  Outside forces and influences affect you: natural disasters, divorce of parents, moving schools, losing your job, sickness, etc.  However, I have come to learn how to face each unknown path with more confidence and courage.  This has come through my personal relationship with the Lord and receiving His inspiration for my life. 

Getting inspiration from Heavenly Father can be a challenge.  He “speaks” to His children in many different ways and it may take some time and practice for you to understand the best way for you to “hear” Him. 

In different situations I have received revelation differently.  There will be times when you need to hear the voice of the Lord in a more powerful way or other times you will be more prepared to listen and heed a still small voice.  For example, most of the time I find that listening and acting to the first good thought that comes into my head is usually a prompting from God.  I have never regretting acting on a good prompting.  Things like calling a friend I haven’t talk to in a long time, talking candy over to a sister with morning sickness, going on a different road to get home, etc.  Other times have been more distinct feelings or an actual voice. 

 I wasn’t even praying about going on a mission (nor did I ever, EVER, want to go) but one day in church I heard a clear voice, not my own, tell me that I would serve a full time mission.  I needed to hear it in that way or else I would have completely overlooked that thought and that would have been one of the biggest mistakes of my life!     This is what became of listening to that revelation: 

 Starting my mission journey at the MTC

Meeting some of the greatest friends I'll ever have

Witnessing a family follow God's commandments and be baptized

Yet, when I was praying about marrying the young man that I fell in love with I felt overwhelming peace and the thought “move forward” was the answer I received.  I didn’t need an overwhelming “YES!” or fireworks because I had studied it out, weighed the pros and cons, and saw the incredible man before me as a worthy and loveable son of God that I wanted to spend the rest of eternity with.  I know many others who have received answers through their dreams.  Revelation may be “difficult” to recognize but it is so eternally important for everyone to learn for him/herself.  Joseph Smith said, “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it” (History of the Church, 3:389).  And, I for one, care about my salvation.

A week before we got engaged (right around the time I was praying my heart out)

The day I said "I do" to the most wonderful man in the world!

President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither … voice of a great tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’ and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn.’ (3 Ne. 11:3; Hel. 5:30; D&C 85:6–7.) 

“Many voices in the world compete for your attention, and they can easily drown out spiritual impressions if you are not careful.”  We have to make an effort to create atmospheres where the Spirit can dwell and have influence in our lives.  This can be difficult especially in a world with CONSTANT digital access.  Sometimes we need to turn things off and get in touch with God.  (In fact, once you are done reading this please turn off your computer and get on your knees so that you can have your own experience of talking with God today.)

As mentioned before, we have to practice to understand the best way for us to understand God’s personal revelation to us.  This cannot happen unless we are constantly pleading for His direction and help.  Great counsel comes from Nephi in The Book of Mormon:

1 Nephi 15:
8. “And I (Nephi) said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
9. And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing know unto us.  10.  Behold, I said unto them: …
11. Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said? – If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.  (Emphasis added)

In the most recent General Conference, Elder Aidukaitis gave a talk about how to gain spiritual wisdom.  This is a piece of his talk that I felt supported our topic today: 
Doctrine and Covenants section 8 teaches that revelation is knowledge—“knowledge of whatsoever things [we] ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that [we] shall receive.”
And the Lord tells us how we will receive this revelation. He says, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”
Thus we are taught that revelation can be obtained by asking in faith, with an honest heart, and believing we will receive.
But notice that the Lord made it very clear when He warned, “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.”  Faith requires work, such as studying it out in your mind, then asking in prayer if it is right.
The Lord said:
“If it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
“But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.”
Faith without works is dead. Thus, “ask in faith, nothing wavering.”
I have a friend, not of our faith, who indicated to me that he is not a spiritual person. He will not study the scriptures or pray because he says he cannot understand the words of God, nor is he sure that God exists. This attitude explains his lack of spirituality and will lead to the opposite of revelation, as explained by Alma. He said, “And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word.”
But, Alma added, “he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.”
Alma and the sons of Mosiah are examples of the principle that faith requires works. In the Book of Mormon we read:
“They had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
“But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation.”
Asking with an honest heart is equally important in this process. If we are sincerely seeking the truth, we will do all in our power to find it, which can include reading the scriptures, going to church, and doing our best to keep the commandments of God. It also means that we are willing to do God’s will when we find it.
Joseph Smith’s actions when he was seeking for wisdom are a perfect example of what it means to have an honest heart. He said he wanted to know which of the sects was true so “that [he] might know which to join.” Even before he prayed, he was ready to act upon the answer he would receive.
We must ask in faith and with an honest heart. But that is not all. We must also believe that we will receive the revelation. We must trust the Lord and have hope in His promises. Remember what is written: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” What a wonderful promise!”

I promise you that when you take the time to seek out the Lord’s counsel your life with be filled with more happiness, confidence, and security.  I have seen it countless times in my own life and it has lead me down a path, much different than the one I had planned for myself but greater than I had ever imagined. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mormon Myths

There have been some questions and suggestions that I address some Mormon Myths on my blog.  Questions like, “Why can’t Mormons drink coffee?”  or “Why can’t non-Mormons go into Mormon temples or attend their weddings?”  As I have pondered and prayed about this topic I have felt completely under qualified to address all of these questions and give detailed, educational answers.  Instead, I felt like my knowledge and love for the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel were all the tools I needed to direct others to find those answers themselves. 

Many will stop reading at this point because they want the work done for them.  But, I can testify to you now, no matter what I “tell” you, you will never be satisfied with my answers when it comes to the things of God.  I could go on for days or have experts try to persuade you to understand the commandments, practices, or traditions of the church but with much frustration on both sides of the conversation it will always come back to one question, “Is the Book of Mormon true?”  You may be thinking, “How can that possibly answer my question about coffee?”  I will let Preach My Gospel explain: 

President Ezra Taft Benson taught how the Book of Mormon can be the central resource in responding to such situations:
“We are to use the Book of Mormon in handling objections to the Church. …
“… All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc., basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation. …
“… The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation.
“Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand” (A Witness and a Warning, 4–5).
For example, sincere investigators might object to what you have taught about the Word of Wisdom. Help them see that their real question is whether Joseph Smith was speaking as God’s prophet when this commandment was renewed in this dispensation. You might say: “Having the faith to accept this teaching will require the assurance that this commandment came to us through revelation from God to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The way to know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.”
Investigators must resolve for themselves their concerns and objections. You can help as you focus them on what will strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ—reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. When they strengthen their testimony of the Restoration, they will have the strength to overcome their objections and concerns.
As you answer concerns, remember that our understanding comes from modern prophets—Joseph Smith and his successors—who receive direct revelation from God. Therefore, the first question for an investigator to answer is whether Joseph Smith was a prophet, and he or she can answer this question by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

I promise you that if you have burning questions about something the church does or doesn’t do you can find your answers in the Book of Mormon.  This is no easy task!  You may need the help of missionaries, family, friends, or ward members to help you on your journey.  I in no way mean to undermine those questions that were asked; I only know that without your own understanding and testimony of the Book of Mormon it would be hard to accept the truth about those things you are seeking.  I promise you that your life will be filled with more happiness, security, and direction if you find out the truth of the Book of Mormon.  

The Introduction of the Book of Mormon states:  
"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)

 Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah."

I encourage you to do the same.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Book of Mormon

I cannot say that my conversion to the Book of Mormon came in one instance.  I don’t have an elaborate experience to share where lightning hit me, a light bulb came on, fireworks exploded, or any other cliché metaphor to compare it to.  But I can say that I believe, with all the knowledge I contain, that God has witnessed to me that the Book of Mormon is revealed scripture and that it represents the fullness of God’s gospel being restored to the earth through a prophet.   My belief in the Book of Mormon is from consistent reading and studying of it and living the principles.  I can say with surety that the Book of Mormon is from God and that when I follow the commandments it teaches I find true joy.  One of my favorite scriptures from the Book of Mormon is in Mosiah when a king is giving his final counsel to his people:

 “…I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41). 

If we want to be happy we must follow God’s commandments.  There’s no other way.  The way, His way, is taught plainly and powerfully in the Book of Mormon.  I invite all of you today to begin to read the Book of Mormon, whether you have already read it or this is the first time you've heard of it, because when you do the Spirit will enlighten your mind and give you the exact answers you have been seeking for.  

 (This is me as a missionary, holding a Book of Mormon, and ready to share
 that glorious news with the people of Ohio) 

A powerful moment in strengthening my testimony of the Book of Mormon came through the testimony of one of God's apostles.  Elder Holland has been one who can always speak to my soul.  I am deeply moved and inspired whenever I hear him speak and his talk "Safety for the Soul" will forever been engrained in my mind as an unforgettable witness of the Book of Mormon.  These are just a few of his words but you must read the entire talk to comprehend the power and impact it can have in your life.  

"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”
I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: “a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,” a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work. Witnesses, even witnesses who were for a time hostile to Joseph, testified to their death that they had seen an angel and had handled the plates. “They have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man,” they declared. “Wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true.”
Elder Holland- "Safety for the Soul" (Conference October 2009)

Further study of the Book of Mormon: 

Preach My Gospel:  
The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of the divinity of Christ. It is also proof of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith. An essential part of conversion is receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true.

The Book of Mormon is the keystone in 3 ways:
It is a Witness of Christ
It contains the Fullness of doctrine
It is our Foundation of testimony

Regarding the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith said that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (introduction to the Book of Mormon). The Book of Mormon is a springboard to testimony and personal revelation.

President Gordon B. Hinckley declared: “Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. … Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts … the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6; emphasis added).

Elder Holland's Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon: