Casually Engaged

Elder Neal A Maxwell passed away in 2004, but his words live on. Following is a talk he gave in Oct. 1992 General Conference. It was titled “Settle This in Your Hearts”. To view it click here.

Otherwise, you can read the entire talk below.

Eighteen years ago from this same pulpit, I pled with those who stood indecisively on the “porch” of the Church to come fully inside. (See Ensign,Nov. 1974, pp. 12–13.) Today my plea is to those members already inside but whose discipleship is casual, individuals whom we love, whose gifts and talents are much needed in building the kingdom!

Any call for greater consecration is, of course, really a call to all of us. But these remarks are not primarily for those who are steadily striving and who genuinely seek to keep God’s commandments and yet sometimes fall short. (See D&C 46:9.) Nor is this primarily for those few in deliberate noncompliance, including some who cast off on intellectual and behavioral bungee cords in search of new sensations, only to be jerked about by the old heresies and the old sins. Continue reading

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Heavenly Father Provides Mountains to Climb So We Can Become Like Him

Heavenly Father Provides Us with Mountains to Climb So We Can Become Like Him

Acquiring and growing a testimony is like climbing a mountain. As we ascend the mountain we can turn and view the vista behind us, and feel a sense of accomplishment at how far we’ve come.

As we continue the climb we will arrive at the top and feel a rush of accomplishment and growth. However, as we look into the distance we soon become aware that there are towering peaks before us that need to be climbed. We know if we leave theses unclimbed we’ll be missing out on experience, experience that we need and should not put off.

Not all who climb continue, it is difficult and many chose to ignore the invitation of the inviting peaks beckoning them. It is so easy to plateau in our journey, especially when everything is going well.

This is when we can begin to forget the Lord and take side paths instead of climbing towards the peaks. These side paths have many destinations but none of them offer the rewards of climbing towards the peaks.  Continue reading

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Example of Faith: New General Authority Vs. Evil Spirit

I read, Yearning for the Living God, by F. Enzio Busche a few years ago. He was a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The account I have quoted is informative on many levels. As you read this, I hope you can feel Elder Busche’s testimony and gain understanding about the workings of the spirit, both the spirit of God and an evil spirit.

“The following experience is probably one of the most sacred in my whole life. It happened in the very beginning of my service as a General Authority…On one trip…I…stayed in the basement of the mission home…I was very tired when I finally went to bed at around 11:00. I fell asleep as soon as I was in bed. I woke with a start when, at about 1:00 A.M., the mission president came into my room. The light was on and he was speaking to me, but I was still half asleep and did not understand what he was saying…I focused on listening to him and was surprised by what he said. He said that in the evening, a missionary had been possessed by an evil spirit. His companion had called the assistant to help cast it out. The assistants had gone and done that, but as they got back to their own apartment, the evil spirit had entered one the assistants. The other was so shocked that he did not know what to do, so he went straight to the mission home.

The mission president was appalled, of course, because this was not just an ordinary missionary. This was one of the stalwart, experienced missionaries who was speaking gibberish and not in control of his physical movements. The mission president had tried to cast out the evil spirit but had failed. He began to panic, but then he realized that he had a General Authority in the basement. That was when he came down to try and wake me up. Continue reading

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Faith is a Decision

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Everyday we make many decisions, some decisions are without consequence, while others can change the course of our entire life. Decisions about religion have power to not only change the course of our life, but our after-life as well.

One of the fundamental teachings of the Mormon church is that God designed this life to be a proving ground (Abraham 3:24-26). Those who “will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” will receive greater blessings (opportunities) in the after-life than those who do otherwise. It takes faith to believe this doctrine.

The prophet Joseph Smith taught there are four basic principles church members need to embrace (4th Article of Faith): Continue reading

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Reaching for the Higher Hanging Fruit

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Elder Neal A. Maxwell used the image of a fruit ladened-tree to illustrate an important point that church members need to ponder on often:

“Happily, many of us have already picked and been greatly nourished by the low-hanging fruit from the gospel tree. Yet, on the higher branches, much fruit still remains, unreached for and unplucked.” Neal Maxwell; Whom the Lord Loveth P 7-8.

This clever analogy turns our thoughts to the importance of fully embracing gospel principles versus a partial embrace. After reading this, I can’t help but think of the awful arithmetic used in the parable of the Ten Virgins—50% failed to qualify to enter the wedding feast.

Properly exercising faith is the key to receiving the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the Spirit. Following are some ideas on how to increase faith so that we will be able to reach for and pluck the higher hanging fruit.         Continue reading

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“I Will Show Miracles…Unto all Those Who Believe on My Name”

The prophet Nephi wrote and prophesied about our day. He referred to us as Gentiles and said that we would “put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning… (2 Nephi 26:20).

Unfortunately, I think we are living in that day. But at the same time we live in a day where God’s miracles are available to those with faith. I believe all men and women have access to miracles at some level, be of whatever faith they may. However, Latter Day Saints have been given additional access to miracles because of the restoration of the gospel. We are eligible to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (if we seek diligently for it). In addition, we have the priesthood, restored by angelic messengers.

Miracles Follow Those Who Believe

There are two kinds of miracles according to Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Continue reading

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Barriers to Increasing Faith

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Often, children teach their parents about barriers to faith. I recall a story that illustrates this. Years ago in Arizona, church members were asked to fast and pray to exercise their faith so that Heavenly Father would bring relief to a drought that threatened the harvest. It hadn’t rained for a long time. A husband and wife saw the faith of their young daughter in action as they prepared to leave for church. As they were backing out of  their driveway, their daughter said, “stop the car daddy, I forgot my umbrella”. It was a hot sunny day, not a cloud in sight, but the little girl’s faith was focused on the purpose of the fast. She didn’t want to be without an umbrella. This is an example of the unbridled faith of a child. As adults, we need to relearn this kind of faith. 

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss those things that inhibit faith. I think all of us, to one degree or another, have barriers to increasing our faith. Some barriers we’re aware of other we don’t see. 

The Lord taught David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, about barriers to increasing faith: 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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Ripening in Iniquity?

The Book of Mormon uses the term “ripening” to describe what happens to a righteous people when they begin to forget God and turn to wickedness.    

For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.  Helaman 5:2

Those who believe the Book of Mormon to be the revealed word of God are concerned that  this great Gentile nation, the promised land—America, is in peril.  

As a nation, are we at a tipping point, are those who choose evil more numerous than those who choose good? 

I don’t know the answer to this question with certainty, but as I take in the daily news, and consider T.V. and movie entertainment, I worry. When I turn my attention to the political landscape and listen to the discourse of our nations appointed and elected leaders, I cringe. Continue reading

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Quickened by a Portion of the Celestial, Terrestrial, or Telestial Glory

My goal is to write about those things that will help each of us draw nearer to the lord. The Lord said, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” With that purpose in mind I would like to explore the following scripture.

They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.

Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. Continue reading

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