Saturday, May 7, 2011

Step into the Light

Lets face it, the world these days is filled with darkness. No matter who you are or where you live, it is impossible to escape the snares of the adversary. Satan is hell bent on getting us to fall, to stumble and to break. He knows that in moments of distress and despair, we are weakest, and that punk will exploit that to the max? With darkness looming behind every corner, and closing in around us fast, what are we to do?

I have four words of advice for you. Step into the Light. Darkness and light cannot exists in the same place at the same time. Satan = Darkness. Christ = Light. Satan will try and pull us out of the light with darkness, and will try his hardest to get us while we are there. There is no need to fail when darkness closes in around us, to succumb to the temptations that we all know will hold us down, keep us back, and make us feel miserable.
Listen to the account of King Lamoni in the Book of Mormon, and how he stepped into light. Pay attention to what happened.

Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark aveil of bunbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the clight which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had dovercome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God—
This can be you! When you are suffering, from pain, temptation, grief, loss, guilt, whatever... Step into the light! King Lamoni's soul was infused with joy! Through the spirit (light) he was able to overcome his natural frame. For me that means that my natural man (the idiot inside of me) can be overcome as I come to God. Those dumb things I struggle with everyday can and will be overcome as I turn to God, and feel of his spirit. Whatever we struggle with, we need to step out of the darkness, and into the light.

Invite the spirit of God, He is light. Read your scriptures, say a prayer. Do everything you can, every day to stay in the light. If you are trying to overcome something hard, or feel like those temptations are right around the corner, then try your hardest. God will help you. Alma says it pretty simply in the Book of Mormon.

"O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good"
Alma 32:35
 I know that God will help us always. There is never anything too much for us to overcome. When we use the Holy Ghost, and do all we can to come close and stay close to Christ, He will help us build up the spiritual strength to resist the darkness around us. He will infuse our soul with Joy, and help us overcome our natural self. We can become more spiritual beings, and be able to enjoy all the blessings that God has for us. Step away from the natural, idiot, self. Step into the Light.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come unto Christ

This invitation has begun to run my life. It has become my everything. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet... More and more it seems that I have been driving myself to take it as well. It is the most important thing we could ever do, for it is truly how God shapes us into who he wants us to be. It doesn't matter who we are, or where we are at, we are all imperfect, unrefined ore.

The only perfect being who ever came to earth died so he could experience and overcome our weaknesses. With all His perfection he is able to extend mercy to us, even in our imperfections. For a long time, I thought of it only as Him just paying my debt of sin... Now, he does that. He'll cover our tab. But there is much, much more to it than that. We need to be perfect in everything, as Christ himself tells us to do so.

aBe ye therefore bperfect, even as your cFather which is in heaven is dperfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Weakness is something inherent in all human beings. None of us are perfect, nor can we do all things. But God is perfect. Christ was too. He wants us to become like Him, and the only way we can is through Christ. Moroni's invitation to all is, "acome unto Christ, and be bperfected in him, and cdeny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and dlove God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be eperfect in Christ" (Moroni 10:32)

As a representative of Christ, I echo Moroni's words. Come unto Christ. Be humble, follow his commandments, repent and be baptized. We are clay waiting to be molded, and only God can show us our flaws. Through the Holy Ghost, we can be guided as we chip away at our weaknesses, and become the masterpiece we are all destined to become. Christ can change us, but only if we let Him.

I know, as one who is on the journey, that it will not always be easy. Indeed, the more I travel, the more I realize I alone am not fit for the trail. I am weak. Truth be told, we are all weak. We will at times feel as though we are lost and hopeless. Don't get discouraged, our leader is strong, even "mighty to save." (Alma 34:18) The words etched by the ancient prophet bring new light of hope to those who, like me, might only see flaws and blemishes.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)"

I testify that Christ is our King, our Redeemer. We are fallen, but can all progress as we come to him. Slowly and gently He will mold and purify us until one day we will be the realization of the vision He had when He chose us. Come unto Christ, and become perfected in the Mater's hands.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen!

 "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
 He is not here: for he is risen"

There is something very symbolic to me about the way in which these words were uttered, something inspiring. Two disciples ran to the tomb that Easter morning to pay their respects to their Lord and King, and found instead an Angel of the Lord. Sensing their confusion, the angel comforted them and calmed their fears.

The message to all those who search for Christ this Easter is to not fear. Christ completed the atonement. After living a perfect life, he suffered for our sins. He bled in Gethsemane, was betrayed, and crucified on Golgotha. Then, on that wonderful Easter morning, he rose to finish his work. In Gethsemane, and on the cross, Christ overcame all human sin. With his resurrection, He broke the bands of death. We, like Mary, need not fear. Though He died, he arose, and bids us all to come to him. The prophet Abinadi explains the terms of this resurrection. He says,

"And there cometh a resurrection, even a afirst resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called." (Mosiah 15:21)

What a beautiful message this is, that we will all live again. That is the free gift he offers to all, both rebellious and obedient. By virtue of his resurrection, all human kind will obtain immortality. Christ's second supernal gift to us is freedom from sin, and the opportunity to have eternal life. After we are resurrected, as Christ himself was, we may have the opportunity to live again with Him and our Father in Heaven in eternal Glory forever.

I know that He is risen, and that He is at the head of this church. Read over the accounts in the gospels, the spirit bears witness to you of the truth and beauty of the message. Today and tomorrow, we celebrate the greatest victory of all time, the most important event to ever happen in history. Come, and partake of His gift of eternal life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quick to Observe

The Prophet Mormon
I have been wondering, and studying a lot recently about how I can learn more from my Father in Heaven about what He wants for me. I decided to open my scriptures, and began to read about the historian-prophet Mormon, the man who not only led the Nephite nation in battle since his teenage years, but compiled much of what we now have as the Book of Mormon.
Concerning Mormon, we read that God entrusted him with the precious records and the great and sacred responsibility of compiling them because he was, "quick to observe." (Mormon 1:2) I believe there is a lot of wisdom to be had in that statement.

At least in my life, Heavenly Father has been quick to teach me through the Holy Ghost when I slow down and pay attention to what is going on around me. Through observing the lives of some of those around me, I have been able to see and apply lessons they have learned or are learning to myself. I was able to see the true happiness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I saw that it wasn't fake, that they really were living life with all the wonderful blessings that God promises to those that follow him.

From close observance to those around us, and whisperings from the spirit, we can direct our lives better. We can earn God's trust. I urge you all to look around, and see those you are with. Heavenly Father is always trying to reach out and teach us, and if we are quick to observe, you will see it. Truth is out there, and happiness is real. It is up to us to pursue it, to find it, learn it and live it.

I know the message that I share as a missionary is true, and will unlock the gate to Eternal Happiness for anyone who pursues it. Through close observation, you will also come to see how God works through people around you, and there is a better way. My life is great, and its real. Its what Christ offers to us all.  Message me and find out more about what he has done for me, and what He can do for you!

Also, check out an Apostle of the Lord, David A Bednar speak on being "Quick to Observe"

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Sometimes I don't feel like I can live up to whats expected of me. Not that I lack faith in myself, and not that I don't think I can do all that the Lord has asked of me, sometimes I just don't feel that my meager efforts will be enough to accomplish the huge task that is placed before me. Whether that huge task is graduating college, finding a job to provide for the family, or something as huge as obtaining eternal life, all of us in one way or another have felt the feeling of inadequacy. To be honestly, I don't know if the feeling is really such a bad thing though. Recently, it has actually proven to be of great worth to me. The more I realize how great the work is that I am expected to accomplish, the more I realize that I cannot do it alone. Bruce C. Hafen said some comforting words to those of us who have a hard time measuring up. He said,
"If you have problems in your life, don’t assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life’s purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger.  If you’re seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you’re moving nearer to God, not farther away." (Bruce C. Hafen, "The Atonement: All for All)

And that, for me at least, has been a good thing. Through struggle, I have realized that valuable lesson, that I am being refined, and slowly drawing ever closer to God. During these times of struggle, I have had to rely completely on Christ to make up for those things that I don't do perfectly. You see, Christ knows me. He knows that I really can't do everything by myself, and that I am not perfect. That's ok though, because He is. He doesn't expect me to be perfect, but he does expect me to try perfectly. He wants me to always strive to be the best I can, and when I do, He promises to make up the difference. As long as I am doing all I can, He promises He will do all He can, and no matter what that will make it. Moroni lays it out pretty simply.

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48

May we all do everything that lie in our power to be true followers of Christ. Pray for it, strive for it, and work at it. Make promises, or covenants with Him that will put you both under agreement to support each other. Trust me, we definitely get the better part of the bargain when we take His name upon us. He knows we wont be perfect, but if we do our best, the promise is we will become pure, as He is pure. Christ is perfect, and although I am not, he will accept me as-is, and make up the difference.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ask, Seek, Knock

As I read from the New Testament the other day, I ran across some familiar verses that caused me to stop and think. Like most people, I have either read or heard them multiple times, but the implications of what the Savior is saying in them has never struck me with as much force as it did at this time. Indeed, I doubt if I ever stopped to think about or try to understand what the Savior was really teaching in the scripture. The words are simple, and not easily misunderstood, but I think the power of the promise behind the statement could be lost on most individuals... Or maybe its just me. Anyways, in Matthew I read, 

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Now think about that for a second. Do you really believe that anything you ask for, you will recieve? For myself, I wasn't quiet sure.That is an incredible promise that holds a lot of weight! Is it true?!

After a brief internal debate, I decided that it certainly is. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think it is all just as easy as asking for something. If that were true, I would probably be a much cooler person then I am now... Hah no, there is definitely a process to receiving what ever it is that we ask for. In fact, I believe the Savior laid it out pretty clearly.  For the first time, I looked at the scripture not as three separate promises, but more of a whole process of receiving some great heavenly gift. Upon searching for more on the subject, I found an incredible talk by one of our beloved apostles, Russell M. Nelson. Elder Nelson says,

"Revelation need not all come at once. It may be incremental. “Saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more.”  Patience and perseverance are part of our eternal progression."

Nephi on the Boat to America
Think of the process of receiving what ever it is that you want as a journey. You have to first ask where you want to go, seek out how you are going to get there, and then go and do. The prophet Lehi in the Book of Mormon, after seeing the vision of the destruction of Jerusalem and the promised land couldn't just up and be there. No, they had to journey out, endure hardship, build a boat and safely guide it to the Americas, all the while relying completely on the Lord. I believe the same process can be applied to anything we ask of the Lord. We can ask, and He will answer. I know that is true. After we get our answer though, we have to do something with it. It is not enough just to ask, we must also be ready to seek and knock.

When we are pursuing answers or revelation for the benefit of ourselves and others, we will always be more successful as we become more Christ-like. I this is true. Our Heavenly Father wants to bless us with everything we desire, so long as those desires are righteous. He loves us, and wants whats best for us. When we draw nearer to Christ, we are able to see more clearly what His will is for us, and can discern how we can arrive at the answers we desire. Elder Nelson also gives us great guidelines to find the answers we are looking and asking for. His advice is,

"For each of you to receive revelation unique to your own needs and responsibilities, certain guidelines prevail. The Lord asks you to develop “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God.” Then with your firm “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence,” you may ask, and you will receive; you may knock, and it will be opened unto you."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He Knows You.

"Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us." — Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

That quote has been resonating in my head for the last week. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The implications are powerful! He knows us well, and wants us to live with Him. Will we regret anything from this life when we pass? Will we see Him, remember His face, feel His love, and be ashamed and sorry? Are we doing all we can to show how much we love Him?

I wish I could show people just how much their Father in Heaven loves them. His love is manifest to me as I do the small and simple things that He asks and keep His commandments. In return, He sends the Holy Ghost to gently nudge me in the right direction and give me comforting assurances that what I am doing is correct, and that He approves. From these feelings, we can know that we are engaged in what we need to be to be able to return to live again with Him. I have come to cherish and value these feelings.

Anyone who is searching for their Heavenly Father will find Him. He is not as far distant as we sometimes suppose. Indeed, Christ himself tells us that if we look for Him, we will find Him.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" Matthew 7:7

That promise is absolute. There is no, "maybe Ill find him," or "maybe He will answer me." He promises very plainly that He will manifest himself unto us. I know that is true. I know that he loves each and every one of us, and as we follow His son, Jesus Christ, and have faith, repent, and are baptized, we can be granted a spot alongside Him for eternity. Nephi says,

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

I am so thankful for that promise.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eternal Life for Dummies

I think everyone, at one point or another has wondered, "Will I make it to heaven? What do I have to do to get there?" Really, its pretty simple, let me break it down for you. Simply stated, te only way back to our Father in Heaven and eternal life is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, we read, "that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent" (Mosiah 3:18).  This gospel is broken down into five easy steps, five things we can do to ensure that we will be welcomed home to peace and rest by God. President Joseph Fielding Smith laid it out simply and clearly in a talk called, "The Plan of Salvation." He said,

"First, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we must accept him as the Son of God; we must put our trust in him, rely upon his word, and desire to gain the blessings which come by obedience to his laws.

Second, we must repent of our sins; we must forsake the world; we must determine in our hearts, without reservation, that we will live godly and upright lives.

Third, we must be baptized in water, under the hands of a legal administrator, who has power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; we must through this sacred ordinance enter into a covenant to serve the Lord and keep his commandments.

Fourth, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; we must be born again; we must have sin and iniquity burned out of our souls as though by fire; we must gain a new creation by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Fifth, we must endure to the end; we must keep the commandments after baptism; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord; we must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom.

Now I thank the Lord for his goodness and mercy and grace in revealing anew to us in this day the terms and conditions upon which salvation may be won. I thank him for the restoration of the priesthood and power which enable us to perform the ordinances of salvation so they will be binding on earth and sealed everlastingly in the heavens."

(The full talk is amazing, I reccomend you all read it)

When I read this, it really helped me put everything I do as a missionary into perspective. The process of obtaining eternal life is easy! We must first have faith in Christ and the hope he offers. Then we must act on that faith, and repent, or change, to be bring our lives in closer harmony with His teachings.  To show Him that we are truly repentant, we enter into a covenant with Him and are Baptized. Because we promise to always follow Him, our Heavenly Father promises to give us the Holy Ghost, which we recieve through the priesthood authority. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are then well equipped and able press on through life more easily, always striving to be better and continue repenting. 

I know that through the constant application of having faith, repenting and renewing that promise that we make at baptism, we can continually progress and change until we reach that perfect day. We probably won't get there soon, but because of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we are able to progress. I am so greatful for the price he paid to offer me the wonderful blessing of eternal life. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have been able to find peace and joy in this life, and a hope for the same in the next. I know that those same blessing are available to you as you live the gospel as well. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Be Thou Humble...

A scripture has been running through my head for the past couple days, and with such came a question. Over and over I have been hearing, "Be thou ahumble; and the Lord thy God shall blead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers."Doctrine and Covenants 112:10

I love that scripture because it clearly states that the only real requirement for us to be led by our Father in Heaven is to be humble. My question was, "How can I become more humble?" and in an answer to my silent prayer, Heavenly Father blessed me with the opportunity to teach and learn from a very humble man. Yesterday, as we were walking to an appointment, we met Ted, who, when seeing the terrible weather and two missionaries walking around looking like drowned rats, invited us in. He was kind and loving, and we were able to share a message that has blessed our lives. As my companion and I shared truths that we know, he listened intently. In the middle of our very spiritual discussion, Ted shared an experience with us that taught me how I can better receive guidance from my Father in Heaven. We were all equal students of the Holy Ghost trying to help each other as best as possible, none was greater. Needless to say, we all came away from the meeting edified.

In the dictionary, humility is defined as, "marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful." It's not difficult to see why the Lord wants us to be humble. Really, if we aren't humble, He wont be able to show us anything, nor lead us anywhere. Christ gives a wonderful example of the power of a humble life when he says:

"Except ye be converted, and become as little achildren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall ahumble himself as this little bchild, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Little children are always the first to ask what and why. They want to learn, and know they can from any source. They are curious, and not haughty. They understand that wisdom can be found from anyone, and find joy in the learning. When we become like little children and humble ourselves, the Lord is able to teach us; to show us a better way. We are able to learn from others and see the beauty in all things. We are more open to the promptings of the spirit, and thus, are more easily led to become more Christ-like. I invite you all to work along side me as I try and humble myself. I know that although the voice of the Lord is still and small, it can be heard from anyone anywhere.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Divine Intervention

We all face challenges in this life. No matter who you are, if you haven't already, you will have hardship. Sometimes they are caused by other people and sometimes they are caused by ourselves. Sometimes it is just because.. Hah, well, bad stuff just happens... In any case, our loving Father in Heaven will be there for us, and we can go to Him for help.

For me, when bad stuff happens, instead of face the problem, I sometimes try and wish it away. I'll pray and pray that God will take whatever it is I happen to be going through away, and spare me completely. I know none of you have ever done that, but just in case there happens to be a reader who finds themselves in the same sinking boat, I'll share with you something that helped me. In the October 2010, at General Conference, Elder Richard G Scott explained why we sometimes don't get immediate deliverance from our problems. He said,

"With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow."

That is true. God loves each and every one of us, and because He loves us, He lets us struggle to grow. I have been through plenty of hard times, and when I look back I find that those times have been the biggest sources of growth in my life. Christ Himself, when faced with the greatest challenge any being that has ever existed could endure, cried out to His Father for relief. A powerful lesson can be learned from the account of His sufferings in Luke.
 "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, aremove this cup from me: nevertheless not my bwill, but thine, be done.
 And there appeared an aangel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."

Christ, the greatest of all, asked to have his trial removed. Heavenly Father knew that it was necessary for Him to suffer it so that he could save us all. He did not, however, cause His son to suffer it alone. In a divine outreach of love and support, our Heavenly Father sent an angel to help strengthen Christ through His most difficult time. It is the same with us. Though he may not remove our trials, our Father in Heaven will always send help and strength. When we rely on Him through those difficult times, and look forward with an eye of faith, we will make it through and be able to grow in the process. He will never leave you alone. I know that is true. Trust it, rely on it, and you will learn it for yourself. You will be amazed at the progress you have made through those rough and tumble times, and be thankful for the help your Father in Heaven has given. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Can I Know?

I have always been fascinated by the way that Heavenly Father communicates to each of His children differently. No matter who you are, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who knows us better then we know ourselves. We can go to him with anything; any concern, any question, and we can receive guidance and answers. The prophet Joseph Smith laid out the process of how we receive answers from God very simply.

"Yea, behold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

In your search for truth, when looking for answers to some of life's hardest questions, remember to ask God. After all, He knows you, me, and everything else better then anyone else around. Why not then go to the source of all light and knowledge? After you ask him to know if something is true, or wait course to take, wait for the answer. Pay close attention because thoughts will come to your mind that "sound right." It will make sense when you think about it. Also, powerful feelings will come to you in your heart, and it will "feel right." That is when you can know through the Holy Ghost that you have received your answer. To further clarify, Joseph Smith later wrote,

"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in your bmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shall ffeel that it is right.
 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a astupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;"

I know this process works! I have tried it out many times, and felt either that 'burning in the bosom,' or the 'stupor of thought.' I have gained a testimony that God is my father in Heaven, and He loves me. He wants me to chose the right. He wants show me all the beautiful things about this world. He knows how I can be most happy, and when I counsel with Him in my decision making, he will guide me correctly. I am so thankful for this process, it truly is one of the greatest blessings from our Father in Heaven.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Little Things...

I have been thinking a lot lately about how the smallest things make the biggest difference. In my life, I have seen what a difference reading the scriptures as I eat breakfast, saying a prayer as soon as I wake up, or exercising every morning can make. In each case, the decision to do these things has been relatively small, but with consistent effort to do them, the change they have made have been pretty big.

One step at a time..
It seems like we sometimes lose sight of how little change really can be. Bad or good, we make the climb or decent one decision at a time. A smoker who constantly chooses to not smoke a cigarette will one day find himself clean and free of his addiction. Likewise, someone who decides to forgo the very small decision to pray everyday will soon find themselves estranged from their Heavenly Father, and in great spiritual need.

We grow in physical strength bit by bit, one lift at a time. Because of the constant strain put on the muscles, they grow relatively slowly. However, the accumulated strength can be a great force in times of need or pressure. In following this pattern, spiritual strength comes one good decision at a time. After numerous and consistently good choices, you gain a sort of obedience barrier, which will help you when temptation arises. Because of a righteous lifestyle and consistent obedience, the Holy Ghost can help warn us of and guide us through difficult challenges. The prophet Joseph Smith illustrates this point beautifully when he counseled the early saints from Liberty Jail. He said,

"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is abenefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves."

Joseph Smith
How very true those words have proven in my life. In the hardest, darkest times, when the "storm" was raging around me, I felt as though there was nothing to do but to continue onward and strive to do what little good I could. Sometimes, it was hard for me to see how the small things could make any real difference in my very real, very large problems. Time has given me perspective however, and looking back I can now see how important those small decisions were. Truly, they are what helped me make it through. I echo Joseph Smith, when he writes one verse later,

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Change happens one small step at a time. It may take a while for us to see the effects, but I know that with constant consistent (and may I add cheerful) effort, we can do it.  Just like my dad used to say, "take care of the small stuff, and the big things will take care of themselves." (see Dad, I was listening all those years! hah) God is watching out for us. He knows what you and I are struggling through, and as we cheerfully do everything we can, we can stand back and watch him take care of the rest.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Proceed with Caution

Nasty California Fog.

Driving around town here has been crazy lately. Never in my life have I had to drive through, or even really deal with fog. At first it was pretty sweet, just another new adventure for my companion and I to experience. However, it didn't take long for me to realize how dangerous this natural phenomenon could be. My morning drive had gone from a menial, mundane occurrence to a dangerous journey in which I had to pay close attention to everything around me preceded with caution.

The whole experience brought a scripture to mind. The first prophet in the Book of Mormon, Lehi, speaks of a prophetic metaphorical dream that he had, in which he describes people moving forward on a path that leads to the tree of life. While thus traveling, they were set upon by an ominous fog that was a critical challenge to their progression. His son Nephi writes,

"And it came to pass that there arose a amist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were blost."

Later Nephi defines the mist of darkness as "the temptations of the devil" (1 Nephi 12:17). This is where the revelation came to me...

How often are we traveling on the road of life, and the path gets foggy and we have a hard time seeing our way through? With even the slightest bit of temptation, a normally easy journey can become quite difficult. Our destination that was once so clearly seen becomes hazy and sometimes not visible at all. It is true that when the temptations of the devil enter our lives, it can be hard to stay on the path of righteousness, and get to where we want.

Jesus Christ himself said,"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and apray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him."

Just like driving in the fog, when going through life we have to watch and pray continually. We must be vigilant and observant to any danger that could and will likely appear. We have to make sure that we are always being careful that we are staying on the pathway we want to be on, otherwise we wont be able to make our way through the thick fog. When we are watchful, making sure to pray and read our scriptures daily, we will receive guidance from our Father in Heaven through the Holy Ghost and be able to wade our way through the thick darkness and reach our ultimate goal of eternal life. If not, we run the great and all too fatal risk of being tempted and led astray by our adversary. Because our Heavenly Father is interested in our own personal happiness and our final destination, he has prepared a way back onto the path when we get lost. We can, through atonement of Jesus Christ, turn back and land safely on that path so we can continue. I testify, as one who has seen the thick fog of temptation close in, that if we go to Him in prayer, and ask for help, He will lead and guide us. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Latter-day Leaders

The Prophet and his counselors,
Henry B. Eyring, Thomas S. Monson, and Dieter F Uchtodorf

As missionaries, my companion and I spend a lot of time in the car driving to and from appointments. When we are not talking about the people we are working with, we usually like to turn on the cd player and listen to something. Recently, we have switched from classic Mo-Tab (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and instead have been listening to talks given by leaders of our church. As I was listening intently to the inspired words of one of my favorite Apostles, Elder Bednar, I was prompted to thank the Lord for the blessing it is to have such guidance.

It is such a blessing to be led and guided by men who are called and inspired by God, namely the Prophet and his Apostles! It is proof to me how much Heavenly Father loves His children. As part of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the reestablishment of His church, the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith how His church was and should be organized. In congruence with the New Testament, the Lord revealed that His kingdom should be led by Prophets and Apostles. In a letter to the early saints who lived in the city Ephesus, Paul explains very clearly how the church of Jesus Christ was organized. He wrote,

"And are built upon the foundation of the aapostles and bprophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief ccorner stone;"

First and foremost, these men have been called of God and are ordained to be special witnesses of Christ, but they are also inspired to give living guidance for the challenges that we face in today's ever changing world. It is comforting to know that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ includes the same organization of the primitive church (or the church that Christ himself established) which allows God himself to inspire these leaders, and tell them what dangers they should counsel us to avoid. Living guidance and continuing revelation is necessary with the challenges of today's world. In recent years prophets have spoken on the importance to get out of debt, start a food storage, and avoid rampant dangers such as pornography and illegal drugs. What a blessing it is for us to have such guidance from God today!
Here is an interview with the same apostle before mentioned, David A. Bednar, in which he talks a little about his special commission and calling.

I know that the Lord has once again restored His gospel and church through the prophet Joseph Smith. Since Joseph Smith, we have been led and guided by special men, called of God and ordained to be Prophets. Every time I listen to them speak, I know and can feel that they are teaching what Jesus Christ himself would teach us these days. How thankful I am to have such a wonderful blessing from my Father in Heaven.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Gift of Hope

We have been meeting with a man named Eugene for a while now. When we first met with Eugene, he was down-trodden and lonely, humble and broken. To put it lightly, Eugene had nothing going for him. He would sit at home and wallow in sorrow, finding excuses not to leave. He couldn't find it in himself to trust anyone, and thus separated himself from the world. I could feel the sadness inside of this man, I could feel how much he deeply wanted change. He needed hope.. for himself, for the world around him. It was such a blessing for me to be a part of helping Eugene find that hope he was looking for.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Light of Life

Contrary to the beautiful skies and fair wind I had that morning, thick darkness surrounded me, which seemed to hang in the air around my head. I looked up and try to orient myself using the heavens, yet the familiar guiding lights above were no where to be found. The ship began to pitch and yaw as the waves heaved against the side. With the fog creeping above the water line onto the vessel, my heart began to race. Visibility was low, and in the moment of my greatest need I felt alone. Trusted orientation tools were rendered useless due to the present conditions, so I cast them aside. I felt like my bearings up to that point had been correct, and  should be headed exactly where I need to be, but the sting of doubt was nagging at my mind. 'Was my last calculation really correct? Did I correctly changed my latitude to account for the distance traveled?'  A voice in the back of my head told me that conditions ahead are worse, not better, yet there was no possible way to turn around. Supplies were completely gone after the already long and strenuous journey, but safe harbor was just ahead. Courageously, I pressed forward, tentatively trusting in my past judgement. Somewhere off in the distance I could hear violent crashing noises as the waves slammed against the jagged rock face of the shore. The rocks were close, and with no way to guide the ship the result could have been devastating. With the given conditions and dangers present,  I realized hope of relying upon my own skills was gone, and without guidance I would be lost to the world.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

He Who is Mighty to Save

It seems like a constant theme in my life recently has been change. I feel like I have been prompted to change a ton of things in my life, and its been kind of a daunting... Not that I don't want to change, it's just hard to implement sometimes. I felt like I wasn't making all the 'fixes' fast enough... I'm not gonna lie, it was kind of getting to me. In the midst of all this inner turmoil, I turned to the scriptures and found a little gem that will stick with me forever,

"Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is amighty to save.
 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in aprayer unto him."

I love how Amulek calls Christ mighty. Honestly, He would have to be "mighty to save" to do anything with a wretch like me, like I sometimes feel. I know I am doing all I can, and trying really really hard, but sometimes I feel like It just isn't enough; that no matter how hard I try, I just wont qualify for what the Savior requires. While pondering about this, I picked up a book given to us by a member of our ward and started reading. This time it really sunk in... By the mouth of two witnesses right?

"The "good news" of the gospel is good news to me not because it promises that other people who are better than I can be saved, but because it promises that I can be saved- wretched, inadequate, and imperfect me. And until I accept that possibility, until I believe Christ when he says he can bring me into his kingdom and set me on a throne, I have not really accepted the good news of the gospel" -Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ

The second time around, everything really fell into place for me. Mr. Robinson is right! Christ came for people like me, people who aren't perfect. The whole human race and I are all in this boat together, and the only one who can plug the hole at the bottom and keep us all from sinking into the deep ocean of spiritual abyss and nothingness is Christ. Que deep breathe and sigh of relief... To all those who have felt, or are right now feeling like I did, Amulek has the key! When we feel inadequate, call upon God, and humble yourself so that you can know what you need to do!

I add my testimony to that of Amulek's that Christ is mighty to save, that despite my personal weaknesses He can and will help me overcome. That although I have a lot wrong with me, and a lot of things I need to be better at, I'll be Ok. All we have to do is stay humble, listen to the Spirit, and move forward, constantly trying to improve, and we have His promise. Now all I ask is that you all bear with me as I try and overcome my weaknesses!