Category Archives: LDS History

By Their Fruits

Matt 7One of my favorite Bible stories is that of the prophet Elijah and the priest of Baal. Elijah was a prophet during a time of great wickedness among the Israelites. They had a wicked King, King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel. Jezebel made an order that all the prophets of God must be killed, but Obadiah, the King’s servant, hid 100 of the prophets instead of killing them. Most of the Israelites no longer followed God, but worshiped idols instead. In time, when the people would not repent, the Lord sent a famine upon the land. It did not rain, their crops did not grow, many of their animals died. When the Lord felt like it was time to end the famine he sent Elijah to the king. Elijah told Ahab to gather all of the people of Israel and all of the Priests of Baal and other false priests that ate at Jezebel’s table. Knowing Elijah to be a powerful prophet, Ahab obeyed.

Elijah told the people they would know who the true God was that day.

Elijah had the priests prepare a bull for a sacrifice. When they did, he told them to use no fire, but to call on their God to bring fire down from heaven. The priests prayed to Baal and nothing happened. They cut themselves, as the scripture said was their custom, and nothing happened. Continue reading

Did We Learn Anything from The Pioneers?

trek-west-82836-galleryWe 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 was reading an article in the July Ensign by Elder Marcus B. Nash, Of the Seventy, entitled “Pioneers: An Anchor for Today.” Elder Nash talked about the Mormon pioneers and their incredible efforts to cross the plains and build Zion. I was struck by the following paragraph. Continue reading

The Very Heart of Family Home Evening is Family

FHE_Resource_ManualA prophet of God instituted Family Home Evening in 1915, 100 years ago, with these words (in part):

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

We counsel the Latter-day Saints to observe more closely the commandment of the Lord given in the 68th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (D&C 68:25).

To this end we advise and urge the inauguration of a “home evening” throughout the Church.”

Your brethren,32493_000_01_Title.qxd

JOSEPH F. SMITH

ANTHON H. LUND

CHARLES W. PENROSE

First Presidency

Years later, The First Presidency issued another letter: Continue reading

More Testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Recently my neighbor asked me to share my testimony of Joseph Smith in one sentence for a video he was making. I really didn’t want to because I really don’t like being filmed, but considering Mormon Women Stand also encouraged me to share my testimony of the prophet right around the same time, it was a good opportunity to ponder and record my thoughts. After waiting about a week to see the finished video, I was pleased with how well it turned out! I think you’ll enjoy it, too. Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.54.28 PM After watching this, the words of Praise to the Man stuck in my mind, and I felt such gratitude toward Joseph Smith for all that he did for us.  I love knowing that others share the same feelings and respect toward Joseph Smith that I have. Continue reading

Joseph Smith: A Virtuous Man

rp_nauvoo-temple-joseph-art-lds-82988-gallery-notice-243x300.jpg*This post has been updated to clarify the author’s intent.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.” (Moroni 7:16)

From the spring of 1820 onward, wicked men consistently called the character of Joseph Smith into question. Vast lies were told and written about him to discredit him and to stop The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) from going forward. Many have accused the Church of hiding the “true history” of Joseph Smith, because someone wrote that Joseph Smith committed all kinds of evil. Some questionable “historical evidence” has been taken from the enemies of Joseph Smith and the enemies of the truth. Continue reading

5 Common Concerns: Polygamy, Joseph Smith, and the Church

Some concerns have surfaced about the history of the Church and of Joseph Smith. Is there a way to still be a faithful believer?

 

With the Church’s recent publication of the essays about Polygamy in the Topics section of its website, there has recently been a flurry of criticism both directed at Joseph Smith, and at the Church. I had noticed some common themes in people’s statements that I thought would be good to address. Before I address those five common concerns, let me start with a fictional conversation that will hopefully help you notice a pattern that the Lord has established.

Was Nephi Hiding the Truth From Us?

Imagine you had the following conversation with a friend. (In order for the story to make sense, just know that the “small plates” of Nephi contained a more spiritual history of Nephi’s people. The “large plates” contained a history detailing the wars and other “non-spiritual” events of his people.) Continue reading

Sifting Through the Noise of the World to “Hear Him”

In the town of Manchester, New York during the time when Joseph Smith was a young boy, there was “an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.”[i] This excitement, he says, wasn’t just located in upstate New York, but it was actually happening among all the people in the country. People were joining with this group and that group, and this “created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!”

In his account, Joseph Smith talks about the great zeal that was manifested between these groups and the good feelings which were first shown to attract converts were “more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.”

When thinking about all of these conflicting voices, opinions, and strife that was swirling around him, young Joseph said that even “his mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant.” The people wishing to gain followers “used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error … [and] were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.” Continue reading

Are Men More Righteous Than Women?

rebekah-at-the-well-39477-galleryAre men more righteous than women? We sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about. Is there a competition? Is someone keeping score? Will it matter in the end? People raise so many questions, but they forget that we were sent on this earth to be tested, tried, and trusted.

This world is also where Satan has been unleashed to do his worst. He is the one who demeans, exploits, and denigrates, especially women. But the purpose of The Plan of our Father in heaven is for everyone to overcome and choose the Savior. If any woman thinks less of herself, then please accept the following examples.

As we all know, behind every great man is a great woman. So it was with Rebekah. She is beloved for her spunk and righteousness. She was the one who received the revelation from God.

“…she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb…and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:22-23)

The story of Abigail is not very well known. Young David was hiding in caves from Saul, who was trying to kill him. He saw a rich man tending his sheep, who might be willing to help them with food, so he sent his men out to ask. The man, Nabal, said no. When David received this news, he organized his men to go and kill and destroy all that Nabal had. Meanwhile, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard what happened from a servant. She rushed all around to gather a long list of foodstuff and deliveredabigail-210x300 it personally to David. As she got off the donkey, she fell at David’s feet and said,

“Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be.” (1 Samuel 25:24)

Abigail is possibly the best example, in all of scripture, of Jesus taking upon himself our sins, with at least six identifiable actions. Search the chapter and see if you can find them.   Continue reading

Modern Pioneers Also Lead the Way

modern pioneer trakI am ancient. The blood of my ancestors – men and women of faith, humility, strength, fortitude, and wisdom – courses through my veins. I have English and Welsh ancestors who helped build temples in Nauvoo and Salt Lake, lending their might and skill to carving stone. They crossed the plains in search of Zion, losing children and spouses to death along the way. These pioneers settled in desert places building homes and raising families. The women were resourceful and caring, the men hard working and generous. Both were stalwart and brave. But I have other ancestors who were also pioneers. They never pulled handcarts or rode in covered wagons, never walked the dusty trail west from Nauvoo and Independence. Their gospel journeys were different but they were just as stalwart and brave. They are part of the “hidden heroines and heroes among the Latter-day Saints—“those of the last wagon” whose fidelity to duty and devotion to righteousness go unnoticed by anyone except the One whose notice really matters” (Dallin H. Oaks, Modern Pioneers, General Conference, October 1989). Continue reading

Why Should the Early Pioneers Matter to Church Members Outside of Utah?

Growing up in Canada, I often heard stories of the pioneers who settled my small village in Southern Alberta, those who came into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and in particular, my ancestors who were among the survivors of the Martin-Willie handcart companies. I grew up appreciating their sacrifices and loved hearing all the stories of their courage and faith. But when I was younger, it didn’t occur to me that people outside of the Western United States and Canada might not feel the same affinity towards the pioneers as many others did.

When my husband and I first moved to New Zealand, we were surprised to find so very little being taught about church history, including that of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the pioneers. These things were rarely spoken of unless in General Conference or unless they were part of the Doctrine and Covenants curriculum taught every four years. It was common to hear the church members say that while these stories were nice, they felt they didn’t have application or meaning to their lives. They felt too far removed from the dusty plains and the snow, the bonnets and the fiddle music. The idea of a handcart in the South Pacific was about as foreign and useful to them as a coconut would have been to a Utah pioneer on the prairies!
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