Counseling God or Following Blindly Versus Counseling with God

The title of this post outlines three ways we can approach the Heavenly Father as we deal with the various issues of life. I’ve experienced all three ways of dealing with the Heavenly Father at different times in my life. At times I have sought to counsel Him, at other times I have followed church leaders blindly, and now I’ve learned, at least to some degree, how to counsel with the Lord. Following are a few things I’d like to share. 

Counseling God

 It is easy to slip into a mode of prayer (prayer is the usual way we counsel with the Lord, but not the only way) where we end up counseling God. I’ll mention three kinds of prayer that fit this description.

1. I’ve got to go—prayer. This is done when we hurriedly give the Lord a list of things to do and then rush off to do something “important”. I think sincerity and thankfulness are absent in this form of prayer. Directing God about the universe to do our will is the least likely prayer to be heard an answered, in my opinion (children and young adults sometimes pray this way and I believe Heavenly Father hears them, but for the average adult, I wonder). Continue reading

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O God, Wilt Thou Make Thyself Known Unto Me?

“O God…wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee…” Alma 22:18

These few words spoken by an old man, King Lamoni; in his first prayer, are full of meaning for those who desire to know God.

King Lamoni asked God to reveal Himself, he understood that to know God, God would need to reveal himself (1 Corinthians 2:11). King Lamoni also understood the need for repentance when he said that he would give away all of his sins to know God.

These two principles:

1. Faith that God will reveal Himself, and Continue reading

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Suspected Answers to Prayer

We often read or hear that faith is a decision. And so it is. Those who make the decision to be faithful also make the decision to take the Holy Spirit for their guide. I think of them as inseparable companions. We’re taught that “faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.” One of the signs that accompany the faithful is the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Guidance of the Holy Spirit comes because of the grace of God. Another way of saying this is: it comes as a tender mercy to, “those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do”.

One of the surprising things about receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit is that we don’t always recognize it. We may suspect it, but at times we just can’t be sure (at other times, we know prayer resulted in guidance). I’ll provide an example of a suspected answer to prayer that resulted in guidance from the Spirit.

Years ago, I was part of a group our Stake President asked to work on a filmstrip about dating. We worked on it for months. The night of the presentation, in the old Joseph Smith Building at BYU, as people started to take their seats, we realized that the screen to project the slide show on wasn’t down. Without the screen we couldn’t project the filmstrip. The room where the controls for the screen were located was locked up. We had about 10 minutes to find a solution. I took a moment and explained to Heavenly Father our predicament and asked for his help. Continue reading

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Of the Tenets Thou Shalt Not Talk

My goal in blogging is to write about those things that will help followers of Christ draw nearer to the lord. The scriptures teach, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” With that thought in mind I would like to explore the following scripture.

And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. D&C 19:31

What is the Lord teaching Martin Harris, and the rest of us in this verse of scripture?

The way I read this verse of scripture is that the Lord is teaching His followers the importance of talking about those things that will be the most beneficial Spiritually. He says, of “tenets thou shalt not talk” (the word tenet only appears twice in the standard works). Continue reading

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The Holy Ghost is to Our Spirits What the Sun is to the Earth

Recently I was pondering the importance of the Holy Ghost when the following thought came to my mind: “The Holy Ghost is to our spirits what the sun is to the earth.” I was a little surprised at first, but the more I thought about it the more instructive it became.

The Earth without the Sun

I don’t know a lot about earth science, but I think I would be safe in saying that without the sun the earth would be a dead planet. I remember studying the importance of photosynthesis to life on the earth. Plants utilize energy from sun light to make oxygen. Without oxygen where would we be? How about the water cycle? Without the sun there would be no water cycle. I think it is safe to say that the earth without the sun would be a very different place than we currently know.

Our Spirits without the Holy Ghost Continue reading

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And it Came to pass in the Hundred and Eighty Fifth Year There Were Many Dissensions in the Church

The Book of Mormon covers a history of over a 1000 years. In that period, many dissented from the truth as taught by the prophets of God, beginning with Laman and Lemuel. Dissent from God’s plan is not new. Dissent is as old as God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints was established 185 years ago. During this time many have dissented from the church. Their impact then and now is succinctly described in the following verse:

“And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people…giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them”. Mosiah 27:9

The Book of Mormon uses the word dissenters to describe those who left the church. The word “dissenters”, with all its word forms occurs approximately 50 times in the Book of Mormon. Continue reading

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Pray for America

As a student of the scriptures, I am worried about what I see taking place in the world. I am particularly concerned about America.

Others are concerned too. In April of this year I read this headline:

AUSTRALIA CALLS WORLD TO PRAY & FAST FOR 7 DAYS FOR USA

It is abundantly clear that American’s are renouncing their Christian roots. To measure this, all that one needs to do is consider what is popular on TV, the movies, and trends in fashion. But even more telling and concerning is this weeks supreme court’s 5 to 4 ruling on marriage.

When I first heard about the decision, a scripture from Mosiah 29 came to mind: Continue reading

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Testimony—Three Kinds: Hoping, Believing, Knowing

The mystery of Godliness, how great it is” (D&C 19:10). This verse of scripture infers that the rational mind of man cannot find God in the usual ways.

By the power of the rational mind man has conquered the air, sea, and space, but not the mystery of Godliness. This mystery can only be discovered by God revealing Himself—by revelation.

…no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God. Jacob 4:8

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 Continue reading

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One Part Faith, Twelve Parts Doubt—A Recipe to Reduce Faith and Increase Doubt

Faith and doubt are topics that make up much of what is written in the Bloggernacle. I got to thinking the other day about the ratio of post and comments in the Bloggernacle that feed faith or doubt. I don’t know what the actual ratio is, but I came up with 1 to 12. It seems to me that for every post and comment that builds faith there are 12 that fuel doubt.

There is a lot of anti-Mormon material on the internet, and there is also a great deal of doubter material as well. Anti-Mormon material, as a rule, is presented by non-members and doubter material is produced by church members, many who appear to be active members who hold positions of influence in their Wards and Stakes. Doubter post may be more damaging to faith than anti-mormon disinformation. 

An anti-mormon, according to Jeff Lindsey is “the activists who attack the Church in a way intended to generate misunderstanding, fear, and shock … [someone who] strives to stir up anger toward the Church and relies on misinformation or half-truths, … especially when they do it for a living”.

I would describe a doubter-mormon as one whose post and comments nudge out faith and bump open the door to doubt on topics in church history and doctrine that are difficult to explain. Topics like the priesthood ban, the Book of Abraham, and polygamy, to name a few. Continue reading

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Is America in Peril?

I admit—I’ve developed a pessimistic view of America’s future in recent years. When the twin towers went down on 9-11-2001, I was amazed at the way American’s responded. Everywhere I looked people were flying our flag; in their cars, houses, and businesses. When President Bush went before congress for a televised speech it was a God touched moment. I felt it, as did many others.

Peggy Noonan, wrote:

“I find myself thinking in mystical terms of President Bush’s speech to Congress and the country, and I know from conversations with many people that I am not alone. It seemed to me a God-touched moment and a God-touched speech…” (God is Back, Friday, September 28, 2001, Wall Street Journal).

We were united for a moment, but then, we quickly forgot. When I saw this occurring I started to be discouraged. And then I observed an era of discord sweep over America as we sought to confront our enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading

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