Example of Faith: Mission President Withers in Pain and is Healed

I read, Yearning for the Living God, by F. Enzio Busche a few years ago. He is a convert to the church from Germany and was called to be a General Authority and served as a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He also served as president of Germany Munich Mission and president of the Frankfurt Germany Temple.The following account is taken from his book on pages 202-05. The reason I selected it is because of a recent event in my life where I had a similar experience with a health problem that has dogged me for years. I know the Lord can be near and intervene to help us in time of need when we suffer physical, mental, and emotional pain. I hope that all who read this account will be lifted in their faith and will be inspired to call upon God with increased faith when their need is great. Regarding prayer, Elder Busche said: “Whenever a person is very sincere, willing to listen, and ready to obey, dedicate himself, and surrender, the Lord is willing to do anything to help that person.” (P 196)

Healing Continue reading

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“…Ye Ask Not, Neither Do Ye Knock; Wherefore Ye are Not Brought into the Light…”

Years ago, I attended a series of lectures at BYU where the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon were discussed. I later learned that some of the scholars who lectured were agnostic. This surprised me. I was hard pressed to understand how someone could spend their life studying the Bible, the Book of Mormon and other religious text and yet be agnostic: neither believing nor disbelieving. 

Since then, I’ve come to understand that the gospel net really does “gathereth of every kind.” Apparently, Mormonism can be attractive on many levels. Some individuals are born and raised in the church and therefore are “Mormon”, while some individuals are drawn to the message of the restoration, others by those who proclaim the gospel—their missionary, some are intrigued by the doctrine and or history, and still others are drawn to the culture, and some find the moral and ethical principles to their liking—and yet all of them can ultimately be agnostic—never being “brought into the light”.

The scriptures explain it this way:

And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not. 2 Nephi 16:9 Continue reading

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Feasting on Intellectual “Mammon” Vs Feasting on the Words of Christ

Regarding revealed knowledge the Lord said:

As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints( D&C 121:33).

That’s powerful. However, not all revealed knowledge is of equal value! Some knowledge is more valuable because it is knowledge that “saves”. The Book of Mormon contains knowledge that when properly applied opens up the heavens and allows us to be recipients of the things of the Spirit.

For example, Nephi teaches the Doctrine of Christ in just nine verses (2 Nephi 31:13-21). If we’re interested in being true followers of Christ these nine verses have the potential to open the path to our exaltation should if we focus our attention and faith thereon.

As I’ve mingled with church members for the last fifty plus years, one of the great ironies I’ve encountered is that some of the most capable thinkers I’ve known were focused on knowledge that doesn’t save. Continue reading

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Hearken to the Words of My Servants the Prophets, Whom I Sent Unto You

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Office of the First Presidency
47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

June 28, 2014

In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women. Only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices. All service in the Church has equal merit in the eyes of God. We express profound gratitude for the millions of Latter-day Saint women and men who willingly and effectively serve God and His children. Because of their faith and service, they have discovered that the Church is a place of spiritual nourishment and growth.

We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding. We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from Church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them. Continue reading

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Mormon Bloggers—How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?

The apostles and prophets have decided it’s time to let Mormon Bloggers know there are limits to what they can do and still remain church members. It can be likened to marriage. Divorce is a viable option for infidelity. 

I hope that all Mormon Bloggers will recall the message of the vision of the tree of life and the implication it has for them. I hope all of them will choose to grasp the iron rod and move towards the tree of life. Its not reasonable to attempt to have one hand on the iron rod and the other hand reaching for the great and spacious building. Sooner or later a decision will need to be made.

Church members who are devotees of ordain women movements and/or of blogs that persist in destroying faith are halting between two opinions. I hope they will choose the path of faith and follow Jesus Christ.

Years ago, in  June 1966, I made a decision to follow the Savior. Since then, for nearly 50 years, I have studied the doctrines and history of the church. I’m aware of the challenges and difficulties bloggers are dealing with that cause them to be drawn to alternate voices. I could easily be in the same camp, sharing many of the same feelings and thoughts, if it wasn’t for one thing—answers to prayer. Continue reading

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What the Book of Mormon Teaches About Excommunication

In recent days there has been news that several church members have been notified of disciplinary councils due to their public opposition to church policy and doctrine.

This is a sad time, especially for family members of those summoned. It also creates unfavorable press for the church, as the church is usually portrayed in the press as censuring freedom of thought and speech when members are disciplined.

The Book of Mormon provides the following account of a revelation Alma received explaining how the Lord deals with dissidents in His church.

I highlighted a few key phrases for emphasis and broke the account into sections. Continue reading

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Why Won’t God Answer My Prayer?

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This post is written with the assumption  the reader has experienced receiving answers to prayer, is familiar with the workings of the Spirit, and is currently living in a manner where they can expect to receive divine guidance through prayer.

No message is repeated more in scripture than the simple thought: “Ask, and ye shall receive” (D&C 4:7). Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1979, 19.

I have received many answers to prayer. These experiences have been the most sublime experiences of my life—no other life experienceeven comes close. However, that’s not the end of the story. I can also relate to the following:

When Joseph Smith prayer’s remained unanswered, he pleaded with the Lord, saying, “Oh, God where art thou?” D&C 121:1

When the Savior of the world was on the cross the scripture says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

The Pain from Unanswered Prayers can be Exquisite

For church members who are striving to follow Christ one of the unnerving challenges we are required to grapple with in our discipleship is that some of our prayers seeming go unanswered. This can be a source of frustration, as well as a challenge to our faith. When this happens we can feel betrayed, and if we let these kinds of feelings take root we can unintentionally invite the adversary into our lives (2 Nephi 32:8) and he will teach us not to pray, whispering, “God won’t answer your prayers because…” and then proceed to lie to us.

I think one of the unfortunate things we do in the church is to share our experiences with answered prayers and avoid relating our experiences with unanswered prayers. Telling only one side of our experience with prayer can create the impression that all our prayers are answered. This can cause unrealistic expectations in others, especially the youth.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we make an elaborate effort to relate tales of unanswered prayers, but I do feel we need to sprinkle a few examples into our discourses.

Following are a few thoughts from church leaders regarding their ideas on dealing with unanswered prayers:

“Very often over the years I have had peace and patience knowing He was there and would not forsake me even though some prayers were going unanswered.” Marvin J. Ashton, “He Is There,” New Era, Oct 1993, 4

“I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, ‘Why?’ I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated.” Russell M. Nelson, “Jesus Christ—the Master Healer,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 85

“Instead of worrying or grumbling that our prayers have gone unanswered, we should delight ourselves in the Lord. Be grateful. Be happy. Know that the Lord, in His time, will bring about all your righteous desires—sometimes in ways we predict, sometimes in ways we could not have possibly foreseen.” Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Improving Our Prayers,” Ensign, Mar 2004, 24–31

“Sometimes when a prayer appears to go unanswered, it is because it is being answered in a greater way than we can perceive. When we face these trials, we must double our faith lest we lose it.” Gene R. Cook, “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” New Era, Oct 1982, 4

“Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answer to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It means only that we have prayed about a decision that, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation.” Dallin H. Oaks, “Eight Ways God Can Speak to You,” New Era, Sep 2004, 4

Counsel Me Not

The Lord knows all things and always has our eternal well being in mind, even though we may not be able to discern the reasons our prayers  appear unanswered (2 Nephi 26:24).

Jacob teaches this saying:

Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand.  For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works. Jacob 4:10

When my prayers have remained unanswered, or took so long to answer, that I felt ignored. I’ve  mustered my spiritual resources by telling myself that God knows all things, and then I do my best to leave it there and busy myself by “waiting on the Lord”.

Major Mistakes

I recently read something Elder Boyd K. Packer said regarding the difficulty saints have relying on the Lord when He seems absent:

“You cannot make a major mistake without having been warned. I will make a promise to you, and you can test it. I have no hesitancy in making this promise… As you move forward in life, you cannot make a major mistake, any mistake that will have any lasting consequence in your life, without having been warned and told not to do it. It cannot be done in this Church. It doesn’t work that way.” Seeking Revelation and Spiritual, Experiences, Meridian Magazine.

I take comfort in this promise!

Conclusion

Prayer is our spiritual lifeline! We must keep the channels of communication open with our Heavenly Father at all cost, including learning to accept and understand the place unanswered prayers have in His plan for us.

I like what Elder Gene R. Cook said above, “When we face these trials, we must double our faith lest we lose it.”

Elder Cook knows what he is talking about. I have great respect for his words and the way he dealt with very difficult circumstances he and his wife were called upon to endure. Click here.

I know the Lord hears and answers prayers. However, when we are in the thick of a struggle to know the Lord’s will and no answer is apparent, I hope we will recall answered prayers and continue on in our struggle faithfully dealing with our “fears and tears”, but allowing the Lord to lead us as He sees fit—after all—he is our Father.

Please answer a 6 Question Survey to let me know what you think.

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12-13-08

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Stories of Lost Faith

In the years I’ve been blogging, tales of lost or failing faith is a constant and recurring theme in the Bloggernacle. On occasion, someone will relate how they had a Spiritual experience that resolved their difficulty with church history or one of the other confounders of faith. But they are rare, receive few comments, and are quickly forgotten.

It seems many in the Bloggernacle are stuck in the twilight zone of shrunken faith by choice, and when this mindset is challenged by someone who can relate miraculous encounters with the things of the Spirit, they are instantly marginalized by the defenders of the status quo.

There are many ways to handle trials to our faith. We can choose to have our faith incrementally destroyed by “studying”, or increased by “studying—it depends on what we’re allowing to occupy our thoughts. However, studying isn’t the ultimate solution to deal with issues of faith. The Lord teaches us to call upon Him in mighty prayer to acquire the kind of faith needed when we’re in a crisis of faith.

Prayer, fasting and like Spiritual resources seem to allude those who are caught in the vortex of failing faith. In just about every account of those whose faith is overcome, seeking God’s help is often not mentioned, when it is, it is evident there wasn’t the kind of effort made as the Lord requires (Mosiah 11:25). Continue reading

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The Doctrine of Christ vs. the Moral and Ethical Teachings of Men

The Power of Moral and Ethical Principles

It’s exciting to read about great men and women of the past. I remember in 8th grade reading about George Washington and other men of renown who brought America into existence. I also remember the thrill I felt watching movies about brave men and women overcoming insurmountable difficulties and achieving hero status. The early pioneers are an example. The sacrifices that members of the “Greatest Generation” made during the dark days of the depression and World War II are awe inspiring. Paul Harvey had a radio program called, “The Rest of the Story”. It was always interesting to learn the “rest of the story” about men and women who had achieved much in this life because of their grit and determination.

The history of the world is filled with examples of men and women of dignity who gave their yesterdays so that we can enjoy the day we live in. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

The more we learn about these men and women the more we realize the place that moral and ethical teachings had in shaping them. The virtues of honesty and fair dealing are qualities these people exhibited, even when it was difficult to do so.

In truth, men and women can become noble human beings by learning and following the moral and ethical principles contained in philosophy and world religion. Continue reading

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Awake From a Deep Sleep and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost

Authority Restored

The restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith restored many things that had been lost from the earth. The authority to baptize and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost was among things lost.  John the Baptist restored the authority to baptize and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost when he laid his hands on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (JS-History 1:67-74).

There are many blessings associated with receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith wrote about the change he and Oliver experienced immediately after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost:

…so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men.  We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.

Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of… (Pearl of Great Price, JS-History 1:73 – 74) Continue reading

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