Sunday, February 3, 2013
As I've mentioned previously, revelation is specific to the sphere of influence of the receiver. For example, each person is entitled to receive revelation that applies to his or her self, a parent may receive revelation that applies to the family, a bishop receives revelation for the ward, a stake president for the stake, and the president (prophet) of the Church is the only one entitled to receive revelation that applies to the whole Church.
So, while we all may receive revelation, we are each entitled only to a specific "level" or "type" of revelation commensurate with our position.
But what I want to talk about here is somewhat different: when our leaders receive revelation, how do we "receive" it? Do we accept it with obedience and commitment and a sincere desire to follow the leaders God has appointed to watch over His flock, or do we we receive it with a skeptical heart, a reluctant mind, and a begrudging spirit? Do we pick and choose which revelations we will willingly "receive"?
This principle applies in many ways. Do you "receive" the revelation from your bishop by taking seriously the idea that your calling (or someone else's calling) was inspired? Or do you doubt? Do you "receive" the revelation from the prophet that the Saints should not watch rated R movies? Or do you choose to believe that doesn't apply to you?
The Lord has made it clear in the scriptures - in revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith - that we are to "receive" the revelations of our leaders:
And again, most poignantly:
That's right - when you ignore the prophet or dismiss your bishop, it is the same as disregarding the Lord Himself.
Yes, we can all receive revelation when God communicates with us through the Holy Ghost. But I think we often may neglect to actually "receive" revelation when it comes through another human being.
So what's the problem? An aversion to (or misunderstanding of) obedience? Perhaps it's pride, or a lack of faith - or something else.
What do you think?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I invited 250 of my 500 Facebook friends (it turns out half of my friends are LDS). Of those invitations, 26 signed up to take part. I was surprised that many did, and was glad to have prompted some folks to get reading!
I created a spreadsheet charting the amount of progress needed for each day in order to complete the reading by the end of 2012, and shared that sheet with any who signed up. Then I kept a close watch on my progress as the days and weeks flew by. I read entirely on my smart phone this time, which was very convenient, since it is always with me.
In the end, I didn't make it. I ended up finishing this morning, January 15th. Had I been only a little more diligent, I could've met the goal. But, it's all right; I still outperformed my wife, and that's what really matters. :)
So, here's what I took away from the experience:
1) The challenge helped me get back into the habit of committing a fair amount of time each day to the scriptures. I needed that reintroduction of discipline in my life. It became clear that I waste too much time on other, less important stuff.
2) I've read the Book of Mormon through several times before, and I notice different things each time. There were many specific things, but overall I particularly felt the humanity of the writers (prophets) - what they must have felt at the time they inscribed the plates.
3) A brisk read also helps with recognizing the distinct voices of the different writers within the book.
4) I feel my faith was strengthened, as at this point in my life (unemployed) I really need that extra boost.
5) As always, it was, at many times throughout the book, so abundantly clear that this was not the work of one young man (Joseph Smith) - aside from the translation, of course - but that it is a true record of ancient date and of immeasurable worth.
I know the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage all to read it, cover to cover, and then pray about it with real intent, believing you will receive an answer.
I also challenge you to study it this year in a way you have not before - study by topic, keep a journal, read it straight through, or whatever. Trying a new way of studying it can really make a difference!
Happy reading in 2013!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
But in the mean time, I thought I would bend the parameters of this blog ever so slightly by posting about a story I read that I quite enjoyed. It's the best melding of science fiction and an LDS setting that I have ever seen.
It's by Eric James Stone...check it out here.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I know I haven't been very diligent lately (that is, not posting much), but I promise to get back to it. I do love sharing my testimony here, and appreciate my readers.
I guess this is one of those cases of quality over quantity, eh? :)
Sunday, July 29, 2012
“As I have fulfilled my assignment regarding you, fulfill your assignments regarding one another.”
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Meanwhile, I wanted to let you know about my friends at Mormon Market. This great company is doing its best to put out family-friendly LDS-themed products. They have, for instance, a cute electronic keyboard for kids that helps them learn Primary songs, and cute "I am a Child of God" teddy bears. Some fun FHE type stuff. Head over there and check it out and support a company that's striving to make the world a little better. And when you do . . . use the coupon code Mosiah 2 and get 15% off at the checkout. Thanks!
Like I said . . . more posts to come . . .
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I get an award for my blog, then virtually abandon it. Sorry.
I have just been crazy busy for the past few . . . months. But I do intend to get back to this. Soon.
Meanwhile, I want to provide this awesome link.
And this awesome video. It speaks for itself quite well.
I add my testimony to the wonderful Elder Holland's: the book is true, the book is of God, the book will change your life (eternally!) if you read it and pray about it with a sincere heart and faith in Jesus Christ.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I am a HUGE lover of Conference. In fact, I am very particular about making sure not to miss any part of this twice-a-year event.
Each General Conference consists of five two-hour sessions: Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, and a special Saturday evening session for the Priesthood holders of the Church. (There is also a special session for the women of the Church the week prior.)
Ten hours of church in one weekend? Yep, and I truly relish every minute of it.
Twice a year, I get the opportunity to listen to the prophets of the Lord present amazing, powerful, important, loving messages to the Church. This is a chance to hear from Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ; to hear what is needed for the church membership to know for the next six months. And there is always such beautiful, uplifting music provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Since I joined the church I have always held these Conferences sacred, and so appreciate the opportunity to be able to watch and listen to them. And I have even been so blessed as to have been able to attend General Conference in person a couple of times over the years.
The month following General Conference, the Church magazine, Ensign, collates all the talks from Conference into one convenient resource. This is great, since it is always edifying to read and re-read the Conference talks, refresh one's memory, or fill in blanks where you may have been distracted or sleepy. It's also a great resource for developing lessons and talks that you give in church during the following few months (or any time thereafter). Of course, all these resources are also available online these days, which is another great blessing.
As was quoted twice so far in talks this weekend, President Ezra Taft Benson stated in a 1980 talk the following two points (from a list of 14 points) that I think are highly relevant to the importance of paying close attention to General Conference:
1) The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
2) The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
That is an unequivocal, powerful admonition to "Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice" - if ever there was one.
General Conference has truly been a blessing in my life, and I encourage all to spend time reading, listening to, or watching the excellent talks - now, and over the next six months.
Friday, September 10, 2010
It's about charity.
It's about charity.
I hope it touches your heart.
I hope it touches your heart.
When I first started my new job in downtown
After a couple of weeks of these solicitations, a scripture came to my mind as I was on my way to catch my homebound bus. The words of
“… if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.” (
The thought of my prayers being in vain due to my selfishness on the city streets, gave me pause. As I continued walking, I thought of another scripture on the same subject, which says:
“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish…
And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.” (Mosiah 4:16, 22)
Certainly I had judged these individuals in my heart, as part of my rationalization process. If they want to get out of this situation, they’ll get a job. If I give them money, they’ll probably just spend it on drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. I don’t want to enable their addictions. In my desire to remain in my comfort zone, and do only what was convenient for me, I was judging and condemning them. They had put up their petition to me in vain—and I would be held accountable for that.
As my heart began to change, my next thought was: How much do I give? To how many do I give? I have a family to support—how much of my income do I reserve for supporting these strangers? The answer came as I discussed the issue with my wife. We decided that a dollar or two to each person who asks was not going to break us. We acknowledged that we waste money on impulsive, unnecessary purchases often enough. To give a small portion of our abundance to those who have so little would not be an imposition on our family. And my wife reminded me that it has been said that we will be blessed for giving to the poor, regardless of how the recipient uses his agency with the money we give.
From that point on, instead of making sure I had no cash in my wallet (a ploy I’d been using so that I could honestly tell beseechers I had nothing to give them), I decided that if I did have some cash, I’d keep it with me, in the form of a few single dollar bills. Whenever asked by someone on the street, I would give a couple of dollars.
A few months went by and it had been a while since I’d been asked for money. One day, as I left my office building and headed toward my bus stop, I looked around at all the people, living their lives, busily going to their own destinations, each with a unique life experience and with their own personal agenda. Each was a stranger to all others, living in his own little world. It struck me that each one is known to our Heavenly Father. He knows every one of his children intimately and perfectly—their hopes, their dreams, their thoughts, their feelings, their trials, their successes, and their failures. As they hurry on their way, our Father knows—better than even they do—where exactly they are headed. The thought suddenly entered my mind that it would be nice if there could be a way that I could help one of these people in some meaningful way. I silently prayed for such an opportunity, for a chance to make a difference in the life of one of these many strangers.
I walked on, and not twenty feet from the point at which my prayer concluded, a man sat on a low cement planter by the edge of the street. He saw me coming, and muttered something to me. I moved toward him, and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” The man repeated his request, a little louder this time, “Do you have a penny, a nickel, or a dime—anything, please?” His petition was so humble. Not a dollar, not “some spare change,” but only the smallest denomination. His quiet voice barely escaped the long, overgrown beard that hid his weatherworn face. The hair of his head was long and shaggy, and he wore a tattered baseball cap. Once I understood what he had said, I responded by pulling out my wallet, and saying to him, “Well, I’ve got a couple of bucks, how about I give you one of them?” As I dug out the dollar bill, the man said, “Yes, please. Jesus loves you.”
I handed him the dollar, and something unusual happened. He slowly rose to his feet, saying, “Can I give you a hug?” Caught off guard, I awkwardly embraced him there on the street for a few moments, and patted him on the back as we separated. As he was shorter than me, his baseball cap hit my shoulder, causing it to fall from his head, but I caught it and replaced it. As this poor soul withdrew from me, he brought his hand to the bridge of his nose to cover his face. He was sobbing.
Feeling a little taken aback by the whole incident, I told him to have a good day, and hurried on my way. As I continued up the hill toward my bus stop, the feelings started to hit me and tears formed in my eyes. I had prayed for an opportunity to help someone, and I was immediately given one. I believe that if our hearts are willing, and we pray for the chance to help someone, and keep our eyes open, the chance will soon arrive.
When I reached my bus stop, I looked due west to a beautiful view of the
I considered how blessed I am, with my wife and son, and home and job, and testimony. I got on the bus, and headed back down the street toward where I’d come from. The bus stopped at a light, and I looked out the window to see the homeless man sitting on the street eating some fast food. As the bus moved on, I fought back the tears as I thought of the words to the song, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” Another scripture came to mind: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25: 40). The scriptures are rife with admonitions to give freely to those in need, and the Savior set the perfect example of charity. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” (Matt. 5:42.)
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? …
“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, … O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.” (Mosiah 4:19, 21.)
Sure, it makes you feel uncomfortable to be asked for money - it feels like a violation of your space. And ignoring people just feels wrong. Who wants to be made to feel guilty?
A change of attitude is in order.
Ours is the opportunity to relieve a little human suffering here and there. Be sure to do so with love in your heart, not a grudging sense of obligation. It could change your life.
I will never forget my “homeless hug.” I have pondered on how lonely that man must have been, and wondered when the last time he’d been hugged by anyone was. I wondered how many people, content in their lives, had passed by and ignored him that day - that week - that year. That afternoon, he gave me the only thing he felt he had to offer, and it was far more than the dollar I had given him.
I only wish I had asked the man his name, and told him that Jesus loves him, too.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
For about 15 years, I thought I had a complete testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and all of its doctrines and programs.
I was wrong.
I actually knew I didn't have a testimony of scouting, but I was kind of in denial about it. I figured it just wasn't that big of a deal - which was part of maintaining the state of denial.
I've been working with the Young Men for about three years now. And the whole time, I had really not been "into" scouting. I had my excuses: I was never involved in scouting before (my parents never got me into it), it wasn't really a program of the Church, I would eventually be released from Young Men and not have to worry about it any more, it was too much work, etc.
I used to work with the Teachers where we used to live. Shortly before we moved, I was released. Then we moved in September and in our new ward I was called to work with the Deacons. I am Second Counselor in the Young Men Presidency, Deacons Quorum Adviser, and Assistant Scout Master. Still, I had no testimony of scouting, and it was starting to concern me a little.
Then, the Scout Master told me about an upcoming scouting training meeting. It was called "Little Philmont" and it was going to be on a Saturday morning from 7AM to NOON. I was reluctant to go, but knew that I should.
So, the night before, and the morning of, I prayed sincerely that I would get something important out of Little Philmont - I prayed that I would gain a testimony of scouting.
I arrived at the meeting hopeful. There was an opening session of talks and presentations, then a couple of breakout sessions, and a closing session with talks, including one from Larry M. Gibson from the Young Men General Presidency.
I was really touched several times - I felt the Spirit testify to me, and I had tears fill my eyes.
It was spoken to my mind, via facts, figures, statistics and logical presentations. It was spoken to my heart by sweet personal stories and by the testimonies of others. By the end of that five hours, I WAS CONVERTED.
The Church endorses the Boy Scouts of America. The prophet is fully behind scouting. The program is inspired, and it goes hand-in-hand with the Aaronic Priesthood in preparing boys and young men to obtain their Duty to God Award, attend and graduate from Seminary, serve a mission, marry in the temple, and endure to the end.
I want my son to be an Eagle Scout and earn and receive all the above-mentioned blessings. That will not happen if his dad is not fully on board with the program.
And now I am.
I have gained a testimony of scouting. It's an amazing feeling. It made me feel what I felt so long ago when I gained a testimony of all the rest of the Church. That feeling that you can't imagine how you could have ever not believed. I feel invigorated!
Next, I will be getting a scout uniform shirt (what President Monson calls "the working clothes of the Aaronic Priesthood") and a scout book. It feels good to know that I will now be fully magnifying my calling, and giving those boys who I love the full measure of my devotion that they need and deserve.
And my sweet son will also benefit from it one day, when he is older and becomes a scout.
The next weekend, we went on the Klondike Derby winter campout in the snow. It was lots of fun. I am certain that I would not have enjoyed it (that I would've done it grudgingly) had I not gained my testimony of scouting beforehand.
It's hard to admit that I was lacking in my testimony. It is humbling that I had to repent. But I have, and I am now reaping the great blessings of doing so. And I know that I must continue to nurture that testimony to maintain it and make it grow (just like with any aspect of your testimony - you can never be complacent).
I testify that the scouting program in the Church is critical to the success of our young men. Only three out of ten boys in primary will go on a mission. Nine out of ten Eagle Scouts go on a mission. Most return missionaries marry in the temple. Scouting prepares boys for their role as righteous family men, and helps them to learn important real-world skills and principles.
It's hard to understand why I didn't see it clearly before, but I do now.
And I hope that every parent of a boy who is of scouting age will be supportive of the program and encourage their young men to get involved and help them as they work toward earning their Eagle.
One larger point I would like to make: if you ever want to gain a testimony about any aspect of the Church, if you need any help in strengthening your belief in something, if you need any help at all - ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE.
Actually, you should:
1) Ask humbly and sincerely, praying with faith that you will receiveHe will help you. He will be there for you and assist you as you make the effort to improve.
2) Go and DO something about it so Heavenly Father can help you
This experience has been a wonderful confirmation of the words of Jesus Christ, quoted by Moroni and found in Ether 12:27:
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."