Easter is about Jesus Christ. Our thoughts are turned to the life of Jesus Christ, his atonement, and his resurrection. For me and many others, this time of year carries our thoughts to sacred experiences that have come to us in answer to prayer.
We’re taught that where much is given, much is required. For reasons unknown to me, I have been given an Enos like testimony. Enos was the son of a prophet. My heritage is very humble in comparison. I am the son of a rough living man, someone I love dearly, who told me after my conversion he wouldn’t let me teach and testify of the plan of salvation because he didn’t want to be held accountable for the way he lived his life. He lived life on his own terms, like in the song, “I Did it My Way”, by Frank Sinatra.
I’ve sought to follow a course of life much different than my father. I hope my testimony at this Easter season will increase faith in those who sing with conviction the hymn “I Believe in Christ”, as well as those who would like to.
The Book of Mormon teaches that the Lord’s church can dwindle, even be “broken up” because of the iniquity of its members.
The first indication of the church dwindling occurs when the members begin to disbelieve in the gifts of the Spirit (Helaman 4:23). Then there arises those who “profess” to be members of the church God, but in reality they are enemies of church. Then because of their prosperity they have opportunities for learning, and turn to persecuting their humble brethren (Helaman 3:33-34, 3 Nephi 6:12).
The following quiz can be helpful in zeroing in on the one quality that is the most damaging. It gives satan power in the lives of church members who allow it into their hearts.
After taking the quiz, click hereto learn more about the quality of character, that brought down the Nephi church.
This morning, I was thinking about what scripture teaches about the world we live on. The first scripture that came to mind (while shaving) is found in Moses 7:36. I’ve been interested in the Savior’s teachings about this earth when He compared it to His other creations. The Savior answering Enoch’s question when Enoch wondered how a God can weep, said:
“Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.” Pearl of Great Price | Moses 7:35 – 36
This verse is telling. We know from scripture that the “workmanship of mine hands” includes worlds inhabited by sons and daughters of God, “and innumerable are they unto man.” Out of all the Lord’s creations, our world in Enoch’s day, was described by the Savior as the most wicked among all creation (Enoch lived prior to the flood, the great-grandfather of Noah).Continue reading →
Imagine on the grounds of your ward house there are numerous fruit laden gospel trees where you can pick all the fruit you want to nourish yourself spiritually. The easily accessible lower hanging fruit provide basic blessings from the organization of the church. Those who partake of the lower hanging fruit are blessed with a ward family. Good people to mingle with and share in the blessings of music and gospel teachings that make them better people. Each one of the lower hanging fruit has a label indicating it is Terrestrial Fruit.
However, the more spiritually nourishing gospel fruit is on the higher branches. This fruit is labeled Celestial Fruit. Picking fruit from the higher branches requires more dedication and effort. The higher hanging fruit provides spiritual nourishment that results in greater manifestations of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because church members picking higher hanging fruit are exercising great faith in Jesus Christ. Those who partake of the higher hanging fruit have their prayers answered more readily and experience more abundantly the gifts of the Spirit that flow from the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Church members casually engaged in their discipleship prefer to pick from the lower hanging fruit. They have some things in common with Amulek. Amulek described his casual engagement in Book of Mormon parlance:
“…I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know…” (Alma 10:6).Continue reading →
I am writing to those who appreciate the gift of repentance and are thankful that Jesus Christ was willing an able to atone for our sins.
If we think of a testimony of repentance as having three degrees of glory then a telestial repentance might be described as someone wishing to repent but never gets around to it. A terrestrial repentance could be thought of as lukewarm repentance, and celestial repentance would be to repent with real intent.
Whatever degree of repentance we are practicing, from hoping to repent, dabbling with repentance, or repenting with real intent there is something that can get lost in the mix. Alma taught his son Corianton this essential aspect of repentance. He taught,
“…only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” Alma 42:29
When I read these words, I think Alma was teaching Corianton to allow the pain that moved him to repent to do that and nothing more. Corianton may have been overwhelmed with regret, shame, and disappointment to the extent that he felt he couldn’t repent. Alma seeing this, counselled him to let his sins trouble him only to the point that he repented. Warning him not to allow his sins to trouble him into thinking repentance was beyond his reach, wrestling with self doubt reasoning that his sins were such that he couldn’t be forgiven by God or man.Continue reading →
I’ve read the Book of Mormon many times. And each time I have been moved intellectually by Lehi’s teachings about “opposition in all things”. His discussion of this topic has provided me with many worthwhile insights. It is an intellectually stimulating topic. It has helped me understand the purpose and value in some of life’s experiences that are difficult to bear, let alone find purpose and value in.
Lately, I have been thinking about another dimension of this topic that may be worthwhile to consider. The idea of opposition is clear in its meaning, but I’ve wondered lately about the “in all things” part. He didn’t say opposition in “some” or a “few” things, but he said, “in all things”. If I apply “all” to the challenges that are currently visiting Mormondom I come away considering some things I haven’t before thought.
Could Lehi’s teachings about opposition in all things explain why the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon, two of Joseph Smith’s greatest contributions as prophet, are nowadays open to penetrating criticism and question? In years past, I had supposed that the Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon would be unassailable by critics.
Did the Lord allow or could He have even arranged for circumstances to come about, so that His purposes could be accomplished by the opposition church members experience in our day? Is there evidence in the scriptures that God would permit or do such things?Continue reading →
The purpose of nearly every talk in General Conference, every talk in sacrament meeting, and every gospel doctrine class we attend is to help us come unto Christ and be perfected in him.
The prophet Joseph Smith said:
“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation”.
In the 4th Article of Faith Joseph Smith enumerated the first four principles of the gospel:Continue reading →
As members of the church we can follow the Savior at a distance, or up close, the choice is ours.
The scriptures provide examples of those who are close to the Lord, as well as those who follow Him, but at a distance. Those who follow at a distance can draw nearer to the Lord, maintain their distance, or fall away altogether. And of course, those who are close to the Lord can move even nearer to the Lord or sadly, move away, and follow at a distance, or even fall away.
The Book of Mormon provides examples of various kinds of followers.
Following—at a Distance
Amulek Amulek understood enough about the Lord to recognize His hand in the preservation of the Nephites. He also testified that he had been “called many times” but would not hear. He had other things to do, and chose to resist the Spirit’s invitation to draw closer to the Lord. This is a form of rebellion against God, also known as a hardened heart (Alma 10:5-6). Continue reading →