Tag Archives: Questions

Are There Any Miracles for Me?

What examples come to mind when you hear the word miracle? I think of the ancient miracles found in the scriptures: the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Christ, Christ healing people and raising some from the dead, and Christ’s resurrection, to name a few. What about modern-day miracles? I think of beating cancer, surviving what should have been a fatal accident, or other incredible healing or protection stories.

But what if those kinds of stories don’t apply to you? What if someone you know and love doesn’t survive a terminal illness or survive a devastating accident? Can miracles still be found in your life? According to Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy, the answer is yes. Elder Hallstrom suggested that perhaps we need to look at a deeper understanding of what a miracle is in order to see more miracles around us. He said:

“My limited knowledge cannot explain why sometimes there is divine intervention and other times there is not. But perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.


Often we describe a miracle as being healed without a full explanation by medical science or as avoiding catastrophic danger by heeding a clear prompting. However, defining a miracle as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand” gives an expanded perspective into matters more eternal in nature.”

“A beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand.” That sounds a lot like a blessing. Can some of our blessings also be considered miracles? I believe so. Continue reading

The Happiness Lie Part 2: Enduring to the End

This is Part 2 of a 2-part post. Part 1 talked about the path to true happiness and can be read here.

 

“Endure to the end” is a common phrase found in LDS terminology. The dictionary definition of endure means to suffer patiently or to remain in existence. So it’s common to view the term in a negative way.  However, when applied to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to endure is a very positive thing. As briefly introduced in Part 1, endurance and happiness can be misconceived as opposites. I would like to use Part 2 to show how we can find happiness in the face of enduring to the end.

 

When I was younger I took swimming lessons at my local recreation center. During the final level of lessons, Level 7 (which took a few years to get to), I dreamed of getting on the swim team. I didn’t pass Level 7 the first time around, and my coach told my mom it was because I didn’t have enough endurance that passing required. I took Level 7 again, and passed the second time, but barely. The coach took pity on me and moved the brick from 12 feet to 6 feet so that I could succeed in diving to the bottom of the pool and bringing the brick to the surface – so I guess I didn’t really pass, the coach accommodated for me. The word endurance was brought up frequently that it was something that I didn’t have, so I didn’t attempt the swim team, and I hated the word endurance.

 

Luckily for people like me, it is spiritual endurance, not physical endurance, that God asks us to have. But why do we have to endure, or suffer patiently, if the gospel is supposed to bring us happiness? Because outside forces, such as temptations, trials, and the actions of others can affect our happiness. This is where enduring to the end comes in. All of the scriptures that talk about enduring to the end promise that those who endure to the end will be saved and receive eternal life. However, each scripture also couples enduring to the end with other aspects of living the gospel. This leads me to believe that in order to successfully endure the tribulations of the world, we must be living the gospel as fully as we can.

Continue reading

When Questions Arise ‘Will Ye Also Go Away’?

the 5000It was a large gathering. John calls it “a great multitude.” They had come to listen to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, hoping to see another miracle. They were not disappointed. Christ had the 5,000 sit on the grassy ground. He took five barley loaves and two small fishes offered by a lad, blessed and broke them, and the disciples distributed the baskets of food to the crowd. When all were filled, the remnants were gathered up, 12 baskets full. John records that those who witnessed the miracle then said, “this is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.” [1]

The next day the multitude followed after Him. When they confronted Him about why He had left, He answered that they were more concerned with the food that He had provided than His message. Then came the beautiful sermon on the symbolism of the manna from heaven to the Children of Israel.

 “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead…I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”

The crowd was mostly frustrated with this teaching. It was to be spiritually discerned, but they could not receive it. When they realized that their physical need, their bodily appetite, was not to be satisfied again, they lost interest.  John sadly records,

“from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.”[2] Continue reading

Increasing the Power of Personal Prayer

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

How Do I “Just Have Faith?”

self reflectionHave you ever had a really important question, or struggled with some piece of information? You are having a hard time finding an answer or coming to terms with that information, and the person(s) you reach out to say something to the effect of “Just have faith?” You know that’s the right answer, and of course you want to have faith; you want that desperately! But the answers to your questions or the need to receive clarity are so important that you struggle, and having faith – as important as it is – seems so far away and so difficult. I have felt those feelings before. If you haven’t had such an experience, let me create a scenario that will hopefully help you understand.

We’ll use a universal question: Is there life after death? As Latter-day Saints we know the answer is, yes. We have mountains of evidence to that yes: the accounts in the Bible and Book of Mormon from those whom Christ visited after He was resurrected, the visions of the Spirit World and the three kingdoms that many prophets have had, and the dreams that thousands of individuals have had of their loved ones and ancestors visiting them are a few examples. But what if there appeared to be zero evidence that life after death existed? What if the only answer to that question was, “Just have faith?” Wouldn’t that be so hard to hear? That is an extremely important question. Our entire earthly lives and the decisions we make are based on the answer to that question. That’s what it feels like with other important questions when the only answer is “Just have faith.” Continue reading

Why King Lamoni’s Father is My New Book of Mormon Hero

Christ and the rich young manSacrifice is something we are all expected to do for Jesus Christ and His gospel. It is something that at times can be very simple, but at times can also be very hard. In my most recent study of the Book of Mormon, the story of King Lamoni’s father really stuck out to me. His willingness to sacrifice everything to know Christ is very inspirational; and in studying his story, he has become my newest Book of Mormon hero. The story of King Lamoni’s father also serves as a great contradiction to the story of the rich young man found in the New Testament. The contrast between these two stories serve as a great example of how much we should be willing to sacrifice when it comes to following Jesus Christ.

The rich young man’s story can be found in Mark 10:17-31. This man asked Jesus what he needed to do to gain eternal life. Jesus told him that he knew the commandments, then the man replied that he had observed those his whole life. Jesus’ response is the big test of faith: Continue reading

Guest Stand: The Difference Between Questions and Doubts

Questions and doubtsThe two words “questions” and “doubts” are often interchanged when discussing concerns, confusion, or misunderstandings with Church doctrine, history, and policy. However, there is a difference between having questions and having doubts. It is important to understand this difference so that we know how to handle questions or doubts when we come across them in our personal lives. An article in the March 2015 issue of the Ensign by Adam Kotter, “When Doubts and Questions Arise” discusses this exact issue.

Brother Kotter defined questions and doubts as the following:

“A sincere questioner continues to be obedient while searching for answers. By contrast, I have seen that when people doubt their beliefs they often suspend their commitment to commandments and covenants while waiting for answers.”

Essentially, the difference between questions and doubts is how we respond to them. When we stay active in our callings, Church attendance, scripture study, and prayer, our questions are simply that: questions. When we stop doing those things, our questions can very quickly become doubts. That doesn’t mean that we should never ask questions, we just need to go about the right way in searching for answers. Brother Kotter regularly uses the terms “sincere questioner” and “sincere questions.” Meaning that when we ask a question, we are searching for God’s true answer, and when we find that answer we should be willing to accept it. He warns us of “talking yourself into the answers you want to believe rather than receiving true answers from God.” Continue reading

Guest Stand: Resist Doubt and Hang with Believers

doubtWhen the Savior was resurrected all of His apostles saw Him except Thomas. Thomas was an apostle who witnessed many of the Lord’s mighty miracles and doctrine rich lessons. Thomas was a faithful follower of Christ. He truly believed in Christ. However, when it came time to believe in something that went against anything Thomas physically, socially, and spiritually knew—the actual resurrection of Christ—he doubted. Christ had taught of His resurrection, but as John 20: 9 says “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” This was a doctrine that was very hard to comprehend. He had seen many mighty miracles, including the raising of the dead, but this concept was deeper and far beyond his scope of understanding. So, when the 10 apostles, who had witnessed the resurrected Lord came to Thomas and testified of its truthfulness– Thomas doubted. Thomas knew these men had been called by the Savior. He had witnessed their divine appointment; after all, he was one of them. But he still doubted. Eight days later the Savior, the ultimate source, appeared to His apostles once again—this time Thomas was present. Continue reading

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.

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

Gospel Questions and How They Are Answered

one-way-sign-845356-galleryThe 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 contradicttreeoflife 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