Several years ago during a visiting teaching appointment, my companion said something that really changed how I pray. She said (paraphrasing), “I was taught that when we pray, we don’t have to fill the entire prayer up with talking. We should pause in between phrases so that we can feel the Holy Ghost and be guided on what to say next. We get more out of prayer, and we truly say what we need to say.”
I felt strongly impressed to follow that advice. As I started to pray that way, I noticed my attitude about prayer changed, my relationship with Heavenly Father strengthened, and my ability to receive personal revelation increased.
I’ve always known that prayer is important, and I believe in the power of prayer, but I really struggled to make my prayers personal. Once during a youth activity, we learned different examples of people in the scriptures praying all day to Heavenly Father (see Luke 6:12, Enos 1:4, Mosiah 21:14). I remember our leader telling us that we should be able to pray like that some day. She said that our relationship with Heavenly Father and our ability to pray should get to that point. I remember thinking, “I’ll never be able to pray like that. I’m a failure at prayer.” For most of my life, I generally prayed using memorized and repeated phrases. I believed in prayer, I knew it was important, but I didn’t feel that I was “good” at praying. Continue reading →
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”
Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.
I remember the first time I felt like I was in over my head. I had just graduated high school and the bishop of our congregation, or “ward,” had invited me in to his office during Church. As we chatted about my plans for college and other things, he asked if I would accept a “calling,” or in other words, a church assignment. I was expecting him to ask if I would be the ward chorister or something. But instead, he asked me if I would accept the assignment to be the teacher of a group of teenage girls, or “Young Women,” in our congregation.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a girl graduates from High School or turns 18, she stops attending the teenage girls’ classes, and attends the women’s class, the “Relief Society,” in the ward. I had been really looking forward to attending the women’s classes.
Here Am I, Don’t Send Me!
I was surprised, to say the least. Though I had already graduated, I was still seventeen, which meant that there could technically be a Young Woman in the group of girls who was older than I—the teacher—was. I felt very young and unprepared. I had never taught before. And to make things potentially even more strange, because I had just left the Young Women program, that meant that I was now expected to “teach” the peers and friends I had been in the program with for years! I felt very uncomfortable giving any kind of counsel in such a formal setting to girls that I loved to chat and hang out with. Would they think I was coming off as “holier than thou?” Would it change my friendships? Continue reading →
The question of the day seems to be whether it’s all right to have gospel questions, or not. Some of us get nervous to “question;” others wonder just how much of the “mysteries of the gospel” we’re allowed to share in order to answer those questions.
While reading Lehi’s and Nephi’s accounts of the same vision, I am amazed at the new ideas that hit me that lead to deeper discussions of discovery. Have you ever noticed that Lehi and Nephi actually saw (or maybe—recorded) different things?
Lehi gives us a straightforward account of his dream, but it’s Nephi who gives us details. Is it that they had different questions, so received different answers? Possibly Nephi just noticed different things because of his interest or personality? Neither one of their records contradict one another, yet they are unique and personal.
I always found it interesting that when the Holy Ghost is opening up this vision to Nephi, He says, “Look!” It is up to Nephi to see, and interpret what he is seeing. Nephi is never told what to see, or how to interpret it. Nephi sees the birth of the Savior, something that isn’t going to happen for another 600, or so, years. Nothing like it has ever happened before, yet he sees and interprets it the way he can understand through the revelation he is receiving. The Spirit never tells him what to see, how to interpret it, and He never corrects Nephi. Continue reading →
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 →
I think it’s fair to say that most people came to the October 2014 General Conference with questions to be answered and with things they wanted to know about. About a week before the General Women’s meeting, my friend and fellow MWS admin, Angela Fallentine, issued a challenge on our Facebook page to bring one question to the Women’s Meeting. Here is the truth … I didn’t take the challenge, because life ate me up that week and I totally forgot, until an hour before. I didn’t feel like I could even ask a question at that point, because I’d be the kid begging for an extension on their homework. But in that meeting Heavenly Father took a bit of pity on me, and gave me my question to ask this week in General Conference.
When I was asked to write about President Henry B. Eyring’s talk, I wondered if his talk would be the answer to my question. It wasn’t the whole answer, but he did talk about receiving personal revelation and why that is important. So I felt in a way that it was a piece of the answer to my question. Personal revelation is our direct connection to our Heavenly Father and it’s what sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart as the true church. President Eyring said, “Human judgment and logical thinking are not enough to get answers to the questions that matter most.” Yes! A million times yes to that statement! Let’s face it, I am fully confident it my ability to get it wrong most of the time. But this statement reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” We cannot live life on our own. But we don’t have to blindly follow either, or be as some people accuse us of being, “sheeple.” Latter-day Saints are anything but “sheeple.” Trusting the Lord and leaning on Him for our answers via the Holy Ghost are what makes us different. We can and should have questions, because we can and will receive answers to those questions!