I haven’t always been a sincere follower of Christ. As a boy, holidays recognizing the Savior were just another holiday, like Halloween or Presidents day. The joy of being out of school, receiving gifts, and eating all the goodies at Christmas and Easter were at the top of my list. The significance of the holiday didn’t matter; a fun time with a lot of goodies was the important thing.
Later, as a worldly teenager, I still enjoyed holidays because of the “goodies”—however my definition of goodies had changed from food and candy to “partying.”
Nowadays, as a follower of Christ, I travel memory lane, thinking of the events that took me from a boyhood fascination with holiday goodies, to teenage keg parties, and lastly to an abiding appreciation of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. The transition from a worldly teenager to a follower of Christ was, and continues to be, an incredible journey. I’d like to share a few things I’ve leaned on this journey with the hope that it will help others who are making transitions in their lives.
A Startling Answer to Prayer Continue reading
At the end of World War II, Ezra Taft Benson and Fred W. Babbel went to Europe with church welfare supplies. They experienced many miracles which Brother Babbel recorded and then published.
The following account details a remarkable healing and a heart rending failure of love that prevented the healing of a child.
Elder Babbel said: [In late autumn 1946 I gave a talk in the sacrament meeting of the South London Branch] As I was speaking, I had the keen realization that unlimited power was surging through my being. … Little wonder, therefore, that afterwards when I was asked to to bless two of the members present, I felt that there was no limit to the blessing each could receive.
The first of these was a sister in her seventh month of pregnancy who had been bleeding so profusely that both she and her husband feared she might lose the baby prematurely. As I confirmed the annointing, I again felt the tremendous surge of power I have mentioned, and I knew that she would be healed from that very moment. (She later confirmed that she was immediately healed.) Continue reading
The Lord’s work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Apparently, even for a God, His work is not without its difficulties. Consider the following verse of scripture:
…they will not repent…the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold, my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not. D&C 29:17
When the Lord says “they will not repent” because “they hear me not” He is speaking to members of the church by way of command, and by way of invitation to those who do not belong to the church. The Savior seems to be lamenting: saying in essence, “I died for you and you won’t hear me. My sacrifice, My blood, My suffering won’t cleanse you unless you hear Me and repent.”
The Lord also says that “the cup of my indignation is full”. This conveys the idea that the Lord is angry with those “who hear me not”. In another verse of scripture we learn more about this from the perspective of God the Father: Continue reading
If we desire to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ we need to study it like we would any other subject. The familiar process of reading, attending class, writing, and discussing will allow us to acquire information. However, there is a difference between information and understanding. Information is to understanding, what an acorn is to an Oak tree.
Years ago I attended a series of lectures where the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon were discussed. I later learned that some of the scholars who lectured were agnostic. This surprised me. I was hard pressed to understand how someone could spend their life studying these subjects and never experience the things of the spirit.
Since then I’ve come to understand that the gospel net gathereth of every kind. The gospel and the church are attractive in many ways. Some individuals are drawn to the message of the restoration, others by those who proclaim the gospel, some are intrigued by the doctrine and or history, and still others are drawn to the culture and the social aspects, while some find the moral and ethical principles to their liking.
Whatever our initial reason or interest is in the phenomena of Mormonism, there comes a time when our acorn of information needs to be transformed into understanding. The scripture teach there is only one way this can be done: Continue reading
Mormons have been warned from the time of Joseph Smith that they would need to be able to stand steadfast when opposition visited. In the early days of the church opposition manifest itself in many ways. Church history chronicles how the saints dealt with opposition in their day. The Book of Mormon repeatedly portrays the kind of opposition Nephite church members encountered. One example that is applicable in our day is found in Mosiah 29 where “many of the rising generation…did not believe the tradition of their fathers…And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened. “
In our day, some of our young people (and old as well) are leaving church activity and hardening their hearts. They have their reasons just as the people at the time of Alma had. Mormons honor personal agency, therefore we should respect the decisions of those who decide to abandon their faith. However, some of those who leave then choose to destroy the faith of others and create dissension in the church, just as dissenters did in the days of Alma.
In 1978, nearly 40 years ago, Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke at BYU and warned students and faculty about what we experiencing today:
“Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency.” Continue reading
Note: I’ve used footnotes in this post (26 to be exact). To view a footnote click the number. After reading the footnote click the number again to return.
The word “testimony” looms large in the vocabulary of Latter-Day-Saints. We are frequently reminded by our leaders that having, and maintaining a vibrant testimony is essential to our salvation. The importance of a testimony is highlighted by the fact that each month, one Sunday meeting is set apart for the “bearing” of testimonies.
At these monthly Fast and Testimony Meetings members stand and bear witness that they have a testimony of the truthfulness of the church.
Whence cometh a testimony? Continue reading
Following is a compilation of thoughts and comments about the Book of Mormon from church leaders, scholars, and others.
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion. Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 194
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. The Lord describes Himself as “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” D&C 33:1
“You can’t pray a lie.” Or at least that’s what Huckleberry Finn discovered, and based on this scripture I think most church members would agree with Huck.
When we call upon the Lord in prayer, our hearts need to be right if we want to be heard. In other words, we need to be sincere. I’ve learned from experience that the Lord will hear prayers from unworthy lips, if asked with a worthy, a sincere heart.
The Lord knows the thoughts and the intents of our heart. When we are sincere, having real intent, the Lord will hear and answer our prayers. Continue reading
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
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.
Click the link below to read about my conversion to Christ. Continue reading