Many years ago when I was a freshman in college, I attended a CES fireside. It was November or December, and the topic of the fireside was “Joseph Smith.” At the end of the talks the congregation sang, “Praise to the Man.” As we were singing, people began standing up. After more and more people stood, I followed.
At the end of the song, the priesthood holder conducting the meeting came back to the microphone and told us that there has been a new trend in the Church to stand while singing, but that this practice was not appropriate all of the time. He then said something I would never forget. He pointed to the member of the Twelve Apostles who was on the stand and said that if we wanted to know if we were doing the right thing, we needed to look to the Brethren.
I had been thinking about deception early on during my freshman year. I wanted to follow God. I wanted to be one of the five virgin’s whose oil cruses were full, but I did not feel like I knew how to do it. After this was said, I was sorry that I had followed the crowd, but I was very grateful for the counsel given to look to the apostles. Since that time, I have learned some ways that have helped me to remain faithful, keep my spiritual cruse of oil full, and continue to joyfully endure to the end even when something I read, hear, or don’t understand shakes my faith. Continue reading →
I’ve been known to tell the Lord a thing or two when I’ve been outraged, hurt, or completely frustrated. Maybe this is the second or third time I’ve gone down the same road, and I still think I can navigate it just fine. Why do I need the Lord now?
There have been other times I’ve collapsed, in sheer exhaustion, giving up my own desires, admitting that I actually do need help. Maybe what I thought was going to be a rough road—because I was still internally fighting—ended up being an easy road because I stopped pitting my will against the Lord’s. And that’s when I finally realized I needed the Lord now, more than ever! There’s a lesson buried somewhere in there.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a real change in what people are posting on social media. There is a thoughtfulness that I’ve never seen before. Thought provoking questions and scenarios seem to be woven into everything I read. We all seem to have realized at the same time that there are serious things happening around us over which we have little or no control. We are seeing prophesy fulfilled.
We want what God wants because what God wants for all of His Children is that we experience joy not only here in mortality but for eternity. Adam taught that “men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Might. Joy does not come through external demands, circumstances, or other individuals. Joy is a personal choice that must be claimed. Learning to trust God and turn our will over to His is the great test of this life – and trust me, it is a test – with joy as its great reward!
Consider some of the recent attacks against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – many emanate from individuals’ desires in opposition to the organizational structure and/or its teachings and doctrines. All are vulnerable to the natural man within, who tends to insist on having things his or her way, thinking we know what is best. President Ezra Taft Benson explained it best: “Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Apr. 1989 General Conference). Continue reading →
We live in a world full of discontent and contention. It is so very easy to get caught up in all of that. We are taught to love our neighbor, and that contention is not right, but when everything begins to fall apart around us, and everyone else seems to be bickering, we sometimes fall right into it ourselves.
I’d like to tell you a story about someone. We all know this person—or at least someone like him. As I tell you about him, picture the face of the man or woman in your life that is just like the man I’m going to tell you about.
I’ll give this man a name. Let’s call him Jake. Jake is smart, but doesn’t have a lot of formal education. His education came from the school of hard knocks. He’s a little rough around the edges. He’s not comfortable in formal situations. When he’s nervous, he has a tendency to talk a little too much and with a tad too much volume. Everyone likes Jake, but only those very close to him take him seriously.
Jake would have made a wonderful bishop because he has so much compassion for others. His organizational skills are difficult to beat. He works hard at everything he does, never complains, and doesn’t need a pat on the back or an award for proficiency. This man loves service. Jake would rather be serving someone than doing anything else. I believe he would give up eating if he could spend more time with a shut-in, or mow someone else’s lawn. Continue reading →
Mormons are known to be an exceptionally patriotic people. We hold a special belief about the founding of the United States and how it fits in with the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was established upon the principle of Religious Freedom and each person’s God-given right to exercise it. We believe this country was prepared to be a unique land, even a promised land, which would enable it to be a place where the truth could be re-established in the last days and from here flourish throughout the world – and we still believe that!
“But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1:5)
Mormons love the principle of agency. The ability to choose according to one’s own conscience is vital to understanding what and how Mormons think. We genuinely revere the United States Constitution and believe it to be an inspired document.
“While LDS scripture reinforces the traditional Christian duty of “respect and deference” to civil laws and governments in general as “instituted of God for the benefit of man” (D&C 134:1, 6), Latter-day Saints attach special significance to the Constitution of the United States of America. They believe that the Lord “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80). The Prophet Joseph Smith once described himself as “the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth” (Hc 6:56-57). All of his successors as President of the Church have reaffirmed the doctrine of an inspired Constitution. This consistent endorsement is notable, for basic LDS teachings are far removed from the premises of American liberalism, and largely as a result of these differences, Latter-day Saints suffered considerable persecution before achieving an accommodation with mainstream America” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Ralph C. Hancock, Constitution of the United States of America (1992) Macmillan Publishing Company, quoted on LightPlanet.com).
It would be difficult to argue that there is any other place in the entire world, where the principle of freedom has been fought for, protected and maintained with such passion by its own – many of which have given their lives! Continue reading →