Am I Utilizing the Things the Lord has Given Me so that I can Receive a Celestial Inheritance?

When I contemplate all that I have been given by the Lord and then reflect on what I am doing with it, I have to confess I am concerned for my eternal well-being. Something I read the other day heightened this concern. In a conference talk given by Marion G. Romney about the requirements of receiving a celestial body at the time of our resurrection, and the laws we must obey to attain to such a body, he said:

“Obedience to this law is a prerequisite to resurrection with a celestial body. Great will be the glory of those who attain it, and sad indeed will be those who do not attain it. The Prophet Joseph Smith, in remarks at a funeral, said that ‘the disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection would be indescribably dreadful’. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, 6:51.) Ensign, May 1975, p. 85.

I don’t know if trepidation should be our reaction to reading this, but I have to admit that is how I respond. I want to receive those things that Heavenly Father has made available to me and you. I desire to attain to a resurrection with a celestial body and enter into the Celestial Kingdom as a joint heir with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Often I look around me and attempt to detect the barriers that exist in my life and in our culture that impedes my receiving an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom. There are many. However, the atonement, the Holy Ghost, living prophets, the scriptures, and repentance are gifts from the Lord to help us identify and conquer the barriers, obstacles, and pitfalls before us. Surely, these gifts are more than enough to subdue the enemies of our soul and to win our crown, that is, if we utilize them. Therein lies the challenge, ask yourself, as I have, “Am I utilizing the things the Lord has given me so that I can receive a celestial inheritance? Continue reading

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My Testimony of Jesus Christ—Our Advocate with the Father

I bear testimony of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. All those things we read about them in the scripture are true. I’ve received a witness of this fact. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father.

I can bear testimony of Jesus Christ based on my own personal experiences, from my own book of scripture as it were. It gives me great joy to ponder and reflect upon the blessings the Lord has, in his condescension’s, brought to pass in my life.

As a boy, I’d learned at church that if you were born in the covenant you were the elect of God. I wasn’t born into the covenant, my mother was inactive and my father wasn’t a member of the church, so I concluded I wasn’t elect.

I loved my mother and father with and overflowing love and it tore me up inside to experience the pain that came to my family when my parents divorced, so based on what I’d  learned at church I assumed in the honesty of my heart I must have messed up real bad in the pre-existents or else my prayers for my family would have been answered differentlyI stopped attending church. I was in the 8th grade. Continue reading

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Eugene England on Recognizing a Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Members of the church are counseled to obtain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. How does one know when they have a testimony?

The best way to answer this question is to ask those who’ve received a testimony, to describe it.

Eugene England wrote a book titled Converted to Christ Through the Book of Mormon. Following are five examples from his book that will help us recognize what a testimony of the Book of Mormon is like.

Example 1

Throughout my life I had said my prayers regularly and I believed in God. But I guess I had just said my prayers without expecting answers, especially not tangible answers, because I couldn’t imagine how my prayer would be answered. I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize it. One evening when I was home alone, I went to my room to read the Book of Mormon. I knelt down by my bed and asked our Father in Heaven to please let me know, in a way that I would understand, if the Book of Mormon is true, and if so, I would also know the Church is true, and I would be baptized. I promised Him that I would change my life and be obedient to the teachings of the gospel. And if it wasn’t true, I also wanted to know, because the opposition was very obvious to me. I could see only black and white-there was no gray. I knew the answer would change my life. Continue reading

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Writing and Commenting in the Bloggernacle

Good, better, and best are terms that can be used to describe the relative worth of competing choices. The one thing they have in common is the fact that a favorable outcome can be expected from each. However, the outcomes are not of equal value. All of us come to forks in the road of life where we have choices to make. Often, the most difficult part is deciding what is good, better, or best as we consider the choices before us.

Elder Dallin Oaks has taught:

As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best.” Ensign, Nov 2007, 104-8.

Sometimes it is difficult to know the “best” choice to make at a fork in the road while traveling the path of life. Who, and when to marry, which career path to choose, what educational path to pursue, which college to attend, can be such choices. Continue reading

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It’s Not Wise to Think of Heavenly Father as a Mortal, Fallen Man, Like We Are

I read something from my journal this morning that I thought some readers might relate to. It’s very personal, but I decided to share it.

In June 2011, I was driving to the book store to see what new books were available. On the way, I reflected on the many blessings the Lord has granted to me. As I did, I felt sorrow enter into my heart. I felt bad about my lack of progress in becoming the man I would like to be in the eyes of the Lord. As I drove, I said to Heavenly Father, I’m sorry that I haven’t been more useful to your work. You must have many followers who are a lot more intelligent and capable than I am. I wish I could be like them, you must derive a great deal more pleasure from them than an anxious and annoying person like me.

When I arrived at the bookstore, I browsed through the latest LDS selections. As I picked up a book titled, Walking on Water, by Michael Wilcox, I asked Heavenly Father if there was a message in this book He would like me to see. I randomly opened to page 164 and read the following.

 “Sometimes I say to God—as I strive for perfection—…’Father, don’t give up on me. I’m trying. Don’t let me fail. Please don’t get discouraged.’ I’m always directed by the Spirit to the words of Isaiah when he wrote, ‘[God] shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth’ (Isaiah 42:4). Then I hear the Lord say, ‘Michael, if I’m not going to be discouraged until the whole world is a place of righteousness and judgment, do you think I’m going to be discouraged with you, when you want so badly to please me and to conquer yourself? I don’t get discouraged, Discouragement is not part of my character, I am not impatient. I am never anxious. I do not give up. Keep trying.'”

 It meant a lot to me. It was like a note from Heavenly Father in answer to my prayer. It taught me not to think of Heavenly Father as a mortal, fallen man. He doesn’t get discouraged or give up like a fallen, mortal man or woman. Continue reading

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Ministering Angels In the Flesh—Do You Know One?

I think the following account is a powerful reminder of the choices that some valiant spirits took upon themselves in pre-mortality—by taking on hard life assignments.

Look around your circle of friends and extended family. Is there someone you know that is like the lady described by her Stake President in the following story? Maybe it even describes you.

Carlfred Broderick, One Flesh, One Heart: Putting Celestial Love into Your Temple Marriage, 50-53.

Saviors on Mount Zion

“The term ‘savior on Mount Zion’ is ordinarily reserved for those engaged in vicarious work for the dead. Truly, Saints who selflessly devote themselves to genealogical and temple work deserve the title. They perform Christlike service in lovingly opening the gates of exaltation to others who without their work would not have that opportunity. Continue reading

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Signs and Wonders In Answer to Our Prayers

Building faith is why I blog. Today’s blog is about answers to prayer.

Heavenly Father is how I like to think of God as well as the name I use when I call upon Him in prayer.

My experience with prayer has taught me that answers come in many ways. We’re taught that prayers are answered by feelings in our heart and mind. We are also taught about burning in the bosom. I have experience with these forms of prayer. I’ve written about them in other post. See my category listing for prayer.

In today’s post, I would like to draw attention to another important way prayers are answered—by signs.

…he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost…working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.” (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:13) Continue reading

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Seeking the Holy Ghost in Times of Peace, and Trouble

The apostles and prophets teach that acquiring the gift of the Holy Ghost is the most important thing we can do in life.[1] Some readers might not agree with this statement, saying that coming to Christ is more important.

If that is true, how would you answer this question: “How can we come to Christ without the Holy Ghost?”

One purpose of the Holy Ghost is to testify or reveal to men that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Eternal Father (Matt. 16:16, 1 Corinthians 12:3). Without the Holy Ghost we cannot receive the necessary spiritual experiences to have a relationship with Christ.

We can study the scriptures, listen to the words of the living prophets, and thereby intellectually learn of Christ, but we won’t be able to experience Christ until we qualify for the Holy Ghost. Intellectual conversion to Christ is fragile, Spiritual conversion to Christ will ground and root us. Continue reading

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“Begging for a Remission of Your Sins”

First, a definition of the word “beg” may be helpful to set aside any emotional response we may have to the word. Some among us may feel offended by this word thinking that God would never require His sons and daughters, the elect, those holding the priesthood, those who have made sacred covenants in the temples, to beg.

Beg: To ask earnestly; to beseech; to entreat or supplicate with humility. From American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828

The title of this post, Begging for a Remission of Your Sins, is taken from the account of King Benjamin teaching his people the message delivered to him by an angel from God .

Before going any further, I think it’s important to have an idea of just who King Benjamin and his people were. King Benjamin’s people are described as being “highly favored people of the Lord” because they were “diligent in keeping the commandments” (Mosiah 1:11 & 13).  Continue reading

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Experiencing the Gospel Versus Intellectualizing the Gospel

The doctrine of Christ as revealed in the Book of Mormon teaches church members how to experience the gospel; not just learn it. In other words, a church member can be active in the church but not active in the gospel.

The gospel is experienced when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It is far more important to experience the gospel than it is to understand it. When we experience the gospel we understand it on a whole different level as compared to study alone.

What I’ve just said may sound like I’ve got things backwards, after all, doesn’t one need to understand the gospel before they experience it? Yes, there needs to be some basic understanding of the gospel. The following definition from Preach My Gospel, page 5, explains what one needs to understand and believe.

The Savior defined His gospel in terms of the following basic doctrines: Continue reading

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