Are You Blown Away by Church History?

I remember when I first became aware of the challenging aspects of church history, the Mountain Meadows massacre, details of polygamy, problems with the Book of Abraham, multiple accounts of the first vision, and etc. I felt doubt stirring in my mind and heart. It was painful, but short lived. I’ll explain more about this later. 

On reflection, I realized I had made some assumptions about the church, and church leaders that turned out to be flat wrong. I had assumed the Lord’s appearing to Joseph Smith meant the Lord was there 24/7 guiding the restoration. Consequently there could be no imperfections in the establishment of the church, or in the lives of those who carried the work forward, therefore church history should be uncomplicated and without error, blemish, or mistakes. 

Apparently, I’m not the only church member to have put former day church leaders and church members on a high pedestal. Today, I wonder why I entertained such notions.

I was a student of the scriptures and understood the difficulties the Savior had with His hand picked apostles. The Book of Mormon’s first family, Lehi, his wife Sariah, and their children certainly couldn’t have contributed to my naive ideal. They were a prophet lead dysfunctional family. Continue reading

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Unanswered Prayers

Since coming to the internet over ten ago, I’ve read many post and comments where writers relate that they are active members, keep the commandments well enough to maintain a temple recommend, read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and still haven’t received a witness of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost as promised.

Here is an example of one brother stating his frustration:

I have been in the Church my whole life for 40+ years. I served a mission. I married in the temple. I have served in numerous callings. I have always had a temple recommend with all that that implies. I have probably read the Book of Mormon at least 15 times, including in at least 2 languages. I have followed Moroni’s promise probably at least 100 times, with all sincerity. Yet, at the end of it all, I have never received an answer that it is true… Yet, probably out of inertia and a hope that someday I will get an answer, I persist in the journey and am still “active”.

I’ve been troubled by these “testimonies”. The Lord has given us the scriptures to help us deal with the issues we encounter in life. When I turn to the scripture looking for possible answers, I find the following. Please add to my list anything that helps you understand this issue. Continue reading

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How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?

My goal as a blogger 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 image in mind I would like to discuss the following scripture.

And Elijah…said, How long halt ye between two opinions?  if the LORD be God, follow him… 1 Kings 18:21

Halting between two opinions, or being double minded (James 1:8) is part of the makeup of the natural man.  To one degree or another each of us struggles with it. Laman and Lamuel, Nephite’s older brothers, provide numerous examples of this undesirable quality. They would cycle from obedience to rebellion over and over again until the Lord finally warned Nephi to depart from them.

The Book of Mormon also provides a counter example, showing those who were firm in their faith, and “would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin”. Using the descendants of the vacillating Laman and Lamuel, the Book of Mormon gives an account of the Lamanities who were converted by the four sons of Mosiah. Of those converts the record says: “once they were converted unto the Lord, they never did fall away” (Alma 23:6-7). Continue reading

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Recognizing Answers To Prayer

The purpose of prayer is to access things of the spirit. We are repeatedly taught in the scripture that the Lord will answer our prayers. Receiving and recognizing answers to our prayers is the topic of this post.

Like many of you reading this post, I have had many prayers answered.[1] Therefore, I am familiar with the workings of the spirit. It takes time and experience to grow in our ability to recognize answers. Based on my experiences, most prayers are answered by the subtle workings of the spirit.[2] However, these soft, delicate answers can be misinterpreted.[3] The solution to this problem is to cry unto the Lord for help, asking to know his will and avoid mistakes. Notice the use of the word “cry”[4]. If you think that crying unto the Lord is a little over the top, then I suggest you read more carefully from the scriptures. The scriptures portray the prophets frequenting “crying unto the Lord” to gain answers to their prayers.

I believe the Lord is anxious to answer our prayers and to teach us of His ways, however, we are required to obey the law upon which blessings are predicated.

There are many ways to improve our ability to receive and recognize answers to our prayers. I would like to offer the following ideas that I believe are essential to opening the channels of communication between ourselves and Heavenly Father. Continue reading

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Jesus Christ, The Son of God, Savior of the World, A Personal Friend

Click here for the Table of Contents 

At this Easter 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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Blessings and Cursings

When church members make covenants, it means something. Keeping covenants brings blessings, trifling with or not keeping covenants can result in cursings.

The following is from a book written by Blaine M. Yorgason, I Need Thee Every Hour, pages 106-110. Highlighting is mine.

Blessings and Cursings

Perhaps if we clearly understood the nature of sin, we would be more anxious to have it purged from our souls and left in the wake of our increasing spirituality. To do that, however, we must also understand the nature of blessings and curses, and the relationship between the two.

Brigham Young declared, “There is one principle I would like to have the Latter-day Saints perfectly understand-that is, of blessings and cursings” (Journal of Discourses, 18:262). Continue reading

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Using the Book of Mormon to Commune with God

My goal as a blogger 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 image in mind I would like to discuss a few thoughts on the Book of Mormon.

At the end of this post is a link to an incredible experience that I hope you will take the time to read.

The Book of Mormon is a gift from God to aid us on our mortal journey. It is a gift with a promise. Those who have received a testimony of the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost know what I mean.

Not only can we receive a testimony by the power of God regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, we can employee this book of scripture to refresh our testimony throughout our lives. The Book of Mormon has a spirit about it. This means we can draw nearer to God just by reading from it. I think this is true with any of the books in our standard works, but the Book of Mormon stands preeminent. Continue reading

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What was God? What was praying, she asked?

A North Korean husband pleads to his wife “You need to pray to God. Pray to him and ask him to bring you safely to me. If you do, he will hear your prayer.”

His wife, Song, upon hearing this asked questions, “What was God? What was praying? He explained that God lives in the sky and asking him for the things we need most is called praying. It was odd, she thought, but Song trusted her husband and promised to do it.”

Deseret News published a very interesting story about the courage and faith of a North Korean couple. I thought I would pass it on to you. As you probably know, North Korea is a repressive communist country. Liberty and freedom, something many in the West take for granted, is absent in North Korea. Song didn’t even know what the word God and prayer meant. How she and her husband learned about God and prayer is an inspiring read.

Click here to read the article.  Continue reading

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The Philosophies of Men Mingled with Scripture

With a new year, I find myself reflecting on years past and future. As I do so, I realize that the year immediately before me is the most important year of my life. This is so because the decisions I make this year will either help or hinder my goal to be a true follower of Christ.

As I look about me, and observe my fellow followers of Christ at church, and in the bloggernacle, I am both inspired and concerned. I am inspired by many who successfully navigate the challenges of mortality by taking the Holy Spirit as their guide. They hunger and thirst after righteousness and are blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Others, cause me concern because their focus is to mingle the scriptures with the philosophies of men. The cost for this can be the loss of or the less frequent companionship of the Holy Ghost.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, the Book of Mormon describes this common condition among the Nephites saying:

And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked.  And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith. Jarom 1:4 Continue reading

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What is the Most Important Thing a Church Member Can do in this Life?

When we fail to recognize those things that are of greater value and mistakenly pursue something of lesser value, we slow our progress and miss the greater blessings. There is a saying that brings this principle into focus:

“There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall.” 

Those who desire to be nearer to God need to make sure they are placing their ladder on the correct wall. Heavenly Father has given us prophets to help insure that we struggle and climb up the ladder that will take us to the correct destination.  Hear their counsel: 

“Now, if you have the Holy Ghost with you—and every one ought to have—I can say unto you that there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing, there is no greater testimony given to any man on earth.” Wilford Woodruff, Deseret Weekly, April 6, 1889, 451. Continue reading

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