Receptiveness of Spiritual Things

Before discussing the things of the Spirit, I think it is important to underscore something we experience often, almost daily: people differ in their abilities. To illustrate, consider two unrelated activities; running a 5K race and taking an algebra class. Suppose there are 100 people participating in each endeavor. What would you expect to happen as the race and the math class progressed? Based on my experience, I would expect there would be a range of abilities manifest in both efforts; fast and slow runners, fast and slow algebra students, with the majority being average.

I think it is safe to say that the same is true when it comes to things of the Spirit.  I’ve learned that not everyone experiences things of the Spirit in exactly the same way. The Lord knows how to help each of us accomplish the purposes of our mortal experience. Most of us are going to have average experiences with the things of the Spirit, while some will have experiences that are unusual, and still others who say they’ve never had a spiritual experience.  Elder McConkie addressing this topic said: “All men do not come into this world with the same inclination toward or receptiveness of spiritual things.” Continue reading

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Evidence for Book of Mormon Plates

The video is the third in Book of Mormon Central’s Evidence video series, the two previous videos being one on the archaeological evidence for the place called Nahom, mentioned by Nephi (1 Nephi 16:34), and another on the historical evidence supporting the translation of the Book of Mormon.  

This latest video reviews the lives and testimonies of the three and eight witnesses who testified of seeing the Book of Mormon plates. In the video, Stephen Smoot explains that although each of the three witnesses left the Church for a time, they never denied their testimonies of seeing both the angel and the plates. This adds to their credibility because it shows they were unlikely to be colluding with Joseph Smith. Continue reading

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Does God Authorize His Prophets to Make Mistakes?

By Steve Densley Jr.

Jared: I read this recently and wanted pass it on to you.

Within the past year, the Church published an article addressing the fact that for a long period in the Church’s history, black men were not allowed to be ordained to the priesthood.[i] The article acknowledged that leaders of the Church gave explanations for the ban that we now recognize as being incorrect. For some people, this article has raised as many questions as it answered. While many have experienced a sense of relief in seeing the Church disavow explanations for the ban that denigrated those of African descent, others have experienced a new sense of anxiety over the question of the extent to which we can rely on the teachings of the prophets and apostles. And to what extent can we be confident that the policies adopted by the Church are ordained of God?

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A Few Thoughts on Getting the Lord’s Attention

ASK

Asking is a law of heaven. We can ask, petition, request, beg, and implore the Lord, depending on our need.

Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. D&C 4:7 Continue reading

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Classic Talk: The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know

Boyd K. Packer, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug 2006, 46–52. Click here to go to the churches website for this article. Highlighting  is mine.

From an address given on June 24, 2003, at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah.

My purpose is to teach you through doctrine and scripture why it is that we do things as we do. I will give some direction and suggestions as to how we can do things better in order that each member of the Church will be thoroughly converted and never will fall away.

Joseph Smith said: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (History of the Church, 5:499). Continue reading

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Eugene England’s “Reconversion” to the Book of Mormon

Eugene England wrote a book titled, Converted to Christ Through the Book of Mormon. Following is part of the introduction he wrote for the book. He makes several important observation  about the power of the Book of Mormon:

1.  To reconvert life-long church members by bringing them to Christ.

2. “What can we do about our sins?”

I had my “reconversion” to the Book of Mormon (to use the word I have chosen for the experiences of life-long Mormons) when I was a missionary in Hawaii in 1956. Yes, I had read the book and studied passages for talks, but I had not been brought to Christ by it. Continue reading

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Let Us Reason Together: Did Mark Hofmann Fool Prophets and Apostles?

Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ are delighted when events make LDS prophets and apostles look foolish. Such is the case with the Mark Hofmann forgeries. Critics reason:

How is it that church leaders could meet several times with Mark Hofmann and never discern the dark spirit inside him? How could they not recognize the devil within their midst?  LDS prophets, seers, and revelators were unable to see and discern that they were in the same room as a liar, forger, and soon to be murderer.

Did Mark Hofmann fool LDS prophets and apostles? It appears he did. Is that surprising? It shouldn’t be. There is a notion that prophets and apostles should be infallible because they are on the Lord’s errand.

Where did this notion start that prophets and apostles can not be fooled or deceived? Do the scriptures teach that the prophets and apostles can discern the thoughts, intents, and motives of every person they come in contact with? No, the scripture do not teach such a principle. In fact, the scriptures teach that prophets and apostles can be fooled. The Lord taught Joseph Smith:

But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous… D&C 10:37. Continue reading

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Favored of the Lord

The Book of Mormon uses the phrase “favored of the Lord” to communicate the idea that a follower of Christ can arrive at a point where they are “supplied with advantages”. In other words, they are “regarded with kindness; as a favored friend” by the Lord (the preceding words in quotes are taken from the1828 Webster’s Dictionary, under the heading: “favored”).

The Righteous are Favored

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. 1 Nephi 17:35

This scripture from the Book of Mormon is to the point: The Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; that is, highly valued or prized on account of worth. Everyone is a valued son or daughter of God; however, the righteous have a favored status in His eyes. 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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Jesus Christ, The Son of God, Savior of the World, A Personal Friend

At this Christmas season, I desire to testify of the Saviors Friendship and goodness to me, a struggling soul. I do so with the hope that others will be inspired to further their friendship. And if a friendship doesn’t yet exist, I hope that you’ll have the desire to establish one right away. 

As a Mormon, my intended audience, those who I think of when I write, are members of the Mormon church.

Many years ago, the Lord left the ninety and nine and reclaimed me. I was lost and He found me. As a result, I am a witness of His tender mercies and I hope to help others who can be lifted by my witness.

The Savior is a friend of mine. The Savior refers to His followers as friends (D&C 50:41, D&C 84:63, John 15:14-15). I am a follower, therefore I think it’s reasonable to call Himmy Friend. I hope that all of us feel the same way. Continue reading

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