“I Don’t Think I Believe in the Church Anymore”

Today’s church members live in a time the prophets of the Lord have foretold. A day of apostasy, anemic testimonies, and broken covenants. The internet is filled with faith destroying words and images. In order for the faithful to survive they will need to be committed to following the Lord’s “to do list” if they are to acquire a genuine testimony, a testimony that comes from the Holy Ghost as promised in the Book of Mormon.  Living on borrowed light, in other words, a testimony that isn’t really our own. Something like renting a house as compared to owning one. 

The following account illustrates what I mean.

A little over six months into my [calling as a Bishop], I visited one evening with one of the brethren in my ward who suffered from what turned out, unfortunately, to be a fairly common problem. He was a good man, very active and serving in a leadership position. A returned missionary, he had been married in the temple to an outstanding woman. They had some great kids, and to every appearance they had it ‘all together’ spiritually speaking. Yet he was obviously troubled as he sat down across from me, and it didn’t take long to discover why.

‘I don’t think I believe in the Church anymore’, he said abruptly, ‘and I guess maybe I ought to be released.'” I Need Thee Every Hour, Blaine M. Yorgason, p. 83-85. Continue reading

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Remember in all Things the Poor and the Needy, the Sick and the Afflicted

Heavenly Father has said many things pertaining to the poor and needy, the sick and the afflicted. As followers of Christ he has make it clear what is required of us in order to be His disciples.

And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. D&C 52:40

The emphasis the Savior puts on remembering the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted is important for His followers to grasp. One scripture in particular stands out from among all the others when the Lord says:

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. Matthew 25:40 Continue reading

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The Book of Mormon—The Keystone of our Spiritual Life

I’m looking forward to reading and studying from the Book of Mormon in 2016. I feel excited like a little boy who is about to open up a gift. Why do I feel this way about reading the Book of Mormon? I don’t know exactly. In the last few years I’ve read it twice. Last year I read it cover to cover using a replica of the first printing. No chapters and verse as in our current edition. At first I was a little uncomfortable with unfamiliar lay out, but in no time I adapted to it. I didn’t even notice the absence of all the changes the church has made with words and punctuation.

A few years ago our stake challenged us to read it in 30 days. I read and listen to tapes and completed it in 6 weeks. At first I murmured, but when I completed the challenge I experienced a panoramic sense of the Book of Mormon I never had before. It was like viewing the city you live in from a satellite view. It allows for a different, refreshing prospective. I realized how patient and longsuffering the Lord was with the peoples of the Book of Mormonespecially the Nephites. It wasn’t until they utterly rejected Christ that he withdrew His presence from them. Sometimes I feel like our generation is in the advanced last days, but the Book of Mormon draws me away from that thought. It gives me hope for America. I think there are many great blessings in store for the gentile nations.

I’m going to try to explain why I’m excited to read the Book of Mormon again this year. It’s out character for me to be this way. I have a low tolerance for repetition.

The main reason I am excited to study the Book of Mormon this year is to learn and relearn how men, men like any of us, makes the transition from a natural man, to a follower of Christ, and then to a son or daughter of Christ. This spiritual growth and rebirth the Book of Mormon illustrates over and over is available to anyone who seeks for it. Continue reading

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Dwindling in Unbelief from Year to Year

Dwindling in Unbelief  From Year to Year, the title of this post is a sad title, but unfortunately, it is what is happening before our eyes in the era we live in. It happened to the Nephites. Look up the word dwindle with all its word forms. It appears 24 times in the Book of Mormon.

The theistic foundation of America is undergoing a dramatic change. At the end of WWII, societies values were compatible with LDS values. Today that is not the case. There is a vast difference and the difference is increasing each year.

Case in point, If what appears on TV today was somehow suddenly shown to viewers in the 1980’s what do you think would happen? No doubt, there would be a huge uproar! But sadly, our culture has slowly, with little opposition, permitted the values of former days to fade away.

What about church members (Mormons), have they been immune to the changes taking place in America? No, I don’t think anyone would use the word immune. I think most observers would agree, the best we can say is that we have lagged behind the changes in our culture. Continue reading

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Repentance Made Easier-Part 2 (Sanctification)

Click here for the Table of Contents.

I hope you’ll read, Repentance Made Easier-Part 1 (Justification),before reading part 2.

Repentance is a Window into our Souls

Once we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we need to repent. Otherwise,  our faith will be in vain. Faith without repentance is of no use. What good are garden seeds without soil, eyes without light, or ears without sound? So it is with faith and repentance. They are both needed in order to activate the desired blessings that are available to us through the atonement.

Repentance is the soil that faith grows in. It is also the soil all other blessings are derived from. Until we repent nothing happens. Repentance is the key that opens the door to our divine possibilities, that of becoming a join-heir with Jesus Christ. Continue reading

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Repentance Made Easier-Part 1 (Justification)

Click here for the Table of Contents

Repentance is a basic principle of the gospel, and being basic one would think the majority of church members would be well versed and comfortable with it. However, I don’t think that is the case, I think many members are uptight about the principle of repentance.

If a church member feels unworthy much of the time, then they probably qualify for the title of an uptight Mormon. The gospel is designed to bring joy and happiness into our lives. If we find joy and happiness a rarity and feel perpetually unacceptable (in any degree) to the Lord because of our sins of omission and commission, then it may be due to a lack of understanding about the basic principle of repentance.

Following is a two-part discussion on repentance. It is my goal to make repentance more attractive and easier to understand. It is written for the average church members, the 90% plus who haven’t sinned to the extent their church membership is in question. But even for that small percentage whose membership is in jeopardy, who have or might lose their membership, the principles discussed are still vital and applicable.

What are my qualification for writing about repentance? That is an easy question to answer, I’ve had lots of experience. And along the way I’ve learned some things I’d like to pass on to others. Continue reading

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Our Gift to the Savior

In a few days, Christians around the world will remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As I thought about what to write for December’s Post, I made a list of topics. As I studied the list, I asked myself a question: which topic would be the Savior’s favorite?

The following scriptures came to mind.

“my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.” D&C 29:17

“Thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior.” D&C 19:31 Continue reading

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Conservative, Liberal, and Intellectual Mormons

For most of my church life, I’ve thought of members as being either active or inactive. Nowadays, I view members as being conservative, liberal, or intellectual.

The church has always had diversity in its members. The standard works provides an interesting cast of characters to help us understand just how wide and deep the diversity of God’s children is. Whether we look at Lehi’s family or a thousand years of Jewish and Nephite history we encounter diversity and variety.

We are the Gathered of the Last Dispensation

The Lord taught, He …shall gather together his elect… Mark 13:27. We represent the gathering that has been going on from the day the Lord appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith. We’re gathered because we hear His voice, and we know Him because we followed Him before. We’re even numbered, and none that Heavenly Father has given Christ will be lost (John 10:14, 27, D&C 50:41-42).

Many, if Not All of Us, Took Substantial Risk Continue reading

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A Repentance Primer for the Average Sinner

Forgiveness of sin is possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach that to obtain this gift of the atonement you must make changes in your life. Whatever it is that you’re doing or have done that constitutes sin needs to be addressed.

Some sins are easily dealt with while others are more difficult. If, for example, you stole something of small value two years ago and realized that it was wrong and that you are guilty of breaking the Lords commandment, you can repent by asking in prayer to be forgiven. On the other hand, if you are guilty of sin that is addictive, like internet pornography, then you will probably need to seek out the help of your Bishop and maybe a qualified professional.

I think the most important part of repentance is to understand that the Savior is the ultimate source of forgiveness. The church and church leaders are there to help you, but the Savior is where your focus needs to be.

I know something about the process of repentance because I’ve utilized it many times and will continue to do so. With that said I would like to share with you a few things that I’ve learned along the way. Continue reading

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Valiant or Honorable

It isn’t a secret that the Mormon church is losing some of its members. The reasons for the loss of members are manifold.

Some say the reasons are complicated, others say it a matter of choice. Those who are leaving the faith talk about such things as the multiple accounts of the Joseph Smith’s  first vision or problems with the Book of Abraham. The list goes on. Those who are staying and thriving in the faith talk about testimony and spiritual experiences. The list goes on.

The scriptures address the varying degrees of faith manifest by church members. Mormons have D&C 76. This revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith by vision provides some powerful insight into what happens to church members and others on judgment day.

It gives some details about the three degrees of glory, in other words, heaven. One of the more interesting aspects of D&C 76 is the perspective given about two of the kingdoms of glory, the terrestrial and celestial. The terrestrial will be inhabited by honorable men and women while the celestial will be occupied by men and women who are valiant in the testimony of Jesus.

Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie gave a description that helps us understand what it means to be valiant: Continue reading

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