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
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 Him—my Friend. I hope that all of us feel the same way. Continue reading
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We make many decisions, some decisions are without consequence, while others change the course of our entire life. When I was fourteen years old I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to stop going to church. This decision was made in part because of something I learned at church. There are three kinds of doctrine: 1) true doctrine, 2) false doctrine, and 3) incomplete doctrine. I left church because of a doctrine that was taught incompletely.
No one in my family was active so it wasn’t a big deal when I stopped going to church. I left, in part, because I got tired of hearing about how wonderful it was to be born in the covenant and how those who were must have been among the great and noble spirits in the preexistence. Problem was, I wasn’t born in the covenant, my father wasn’t even a member. So the message to me was, “you’re a second class spirit”. I agreed and left church thinking I’d never return. It wasn’t because of unbelief, I believed.
I really did feel second class because of what I had been taught at church. The church and its leaders didn’t provide what I needed at that time in my life. When the family is breaking down like mine was, the church can’t always make up the difference.
Embracing Truth by Throwing Off Falsehoods Continue reading
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
Regarding revealed knowledge the Lord said:
As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints( D&C 121:33).
That’s powerful. However, not all revealed knowledge is of equal value! Some knowledge is more valuable because it is knowledge that “saves”. The Book of Mormon contains knowledge that when properly applied opens up the heavens and allows us to be recipients of the things of the Spirit.
For example, Nephi teaches the Doctrine of Christ in just nine verses (2 Nephi 31:13-21). If we’re interested in being true followers of Christ these nine verses have the potential to open the path to our exaltation should if we focus our attention and faith thereon.
As I’ve mingled with church members for the last fifty plus years, one of the great ironies I’ve encountered is that some of the most capable thinkers I’ve known were focused on knowledge that doesn’t save. Continue reading
The doctrine of Christ as revealed in the Book of Mormon teaches church members how to experience the gospel; not just intellectualize it.
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 be a wise and learned gospel scholar. When we experience the gospel we understand it on a whole different level as compared to becoming just a gospel scholar.
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:
1. He came into the world to do His Father’s will, and His Father sent Him into the world to be lifted up on the cross Continue reading
Before reading this classic talk take a moment and review the following questions and answer them before reading on.
1. How many of the following words are synonymous with repentance?
Confession Continue reading
I originally wrote this post in June 2015. This morning as I add this note, I am self-isolating because of COVID-19 pandemic. A few days ago, I felt my house sway as a 5.7 earthquake hit the Wasatch front.
Question: is the Lord sending a message? Is this a shot across the bow? Those who understand scripture know that Heavenly Father speaks to us through earthquakes and pandemics (pestilence).
And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. Helaman 12:3
24 O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not! Doctrine and Covenants 43:24 – 25 Continue reading
The following account is sacred. This individual, through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, was given a panoramic view of the Savior’s earthly ministry. Do you know who gave this talk in General Conference? Click the link below to find out.
Highlighting is mine.
While still praying, I began to lose consciousness. The siren of the paramedic truck was the last that I remembered before unconsciousness overtook me, which would last for the next several days.
The terrible pain and commotion of people ceased. I was now in a calm, peaceful setting; all was serene and quiet. I was conscious of two persons in the distance on a hillside, one standing on a higher level than the other. Detailed features were not discernible. The person on the higher level was pointing to something I could not see. Continue reading
I’ve been visiting sites authored by church members who have either lost faith or are in one of the many phases of losing their faith.
The title of this post makes an important point. I’ll restate the title in the form of a question: Why do some church members allow their faith to be compromised or even lost because of unanswered or unanswerable questions about church history/doctrine?
Recently, a church member and founder of a hard-hitting website I frequent, one that is particularly adapt at portraying church history and doctrine in unfavorable light, resigned his church membership. In a public letter to his Stake President he said his website offered only the truth. He didn’t seem to understand why the church was considering taking action on his membership when everything on his website was “factual”. In the end, he decided to resign his membership to save everyone time and trouble.
As I read his letter, I recalled an aphorism: The greater our island of knowledge the greater our beach of wonder. This saying can be viewed in several ways. I’ll apply it to those who see the world through the eye of faith. Our island of faith is surrounded by a beach of wonder where, out of necessity, there are issues that challenge our faith. This world was designed to try our faith (Abraham 3:25-26). In this world there are going to be questions that challenge faith; some questions may even be unanswerable. The author of the website didn’t seem to grasp the simple definition of faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
I couldn’t help but think the websites founder had a PhD in the things of this fallen world and the equivalent of a grade school education in the manifestations of the Spirit. It appears he built his foundation of faith on a sandy beach. The beach may be an interesting place to visit, but our island of knowledge is where we build our foundation of faith—there in the spiritual rich soil of those things that build faith we will become grounded and rooted by the manifestations of the Spirit (Ether 12:6), those who are properly “converted unto the Lord never [do] fall away” (Alma 23:6). Continue reading