27 April 2014

To Remember

In a few of my Church meetings today, a similar theme came up- the importance of remembering. The old saying, "He who does not remember history is doomed to repeat it" applies to our spiritual lives as much as anything else. This is one reason why I feel it is important to regularly read the scriptures and attend weekly Church meetings. I need these reminders, especially since my tendency is to rely too heavily on my own abilities (the arm of flesh).

In the Book of Mormon, the people are often urged to remember the capitivity of their ancestors, and the great things that God did to liberate them from captivity. Here are some examples:

Alma teaches his son Helaman about how the example of the Israelites has blessed him with faith during difficult times:

29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity. (Alma 36:29)

The young men who fought with Helaman to defend their families' liberty were strengthened by the faith and testimony of their mothers, which they remembered in the face of danger:

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
(Alma 56:47-48)

The prophet Moroni explains that anyone evaluating the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as the word of God needs to act similarly:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. (Moroni 10:3)

Hopefully each of us can consider the things that bear remembering, and give proper weight and importance to them in our daily lives.

19 April 2014

New Beginning

I join many millions of people by celebrating the resurrection of Christ this weekend. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, conquering death and giving us the opportunity to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father

There is a wonderful video produced by my Church that highlights the significance of Jesus Christ. His role is not limited to his ministry in mortal life and His resurrection. It is eternal, beginning before any of us was born, and it will extend beyond our own death and resurrection.

Every part of our lives is influenced by Him. Though His selfless act and the gift of His grace I have been cleansed of my sins (a process which is ongoing). Through His mercy I have seen healing, felt comfort, and been able to participate in His work.

My own weakness and pride sometimes leads to my failure to give proper gratitude for His love. I have faith that I can eventually be like Him and His Father. I'm thankful for reminders, and holy days like Easter provide that.

I hope that you enjoy the video found at the link below:

14 April 2014

The Holy Temple

Last weekend I took my family to Ft. Lauderdale to see the new temple that was built there. A temple is distinct from the chapels where we hold weekly worship service. In our chapels we listen to sermons, take the Lord's supper, attend Sunday School and fellowship with our brothers and sisters. The temple is reserved for special ordinances and ceremonies for those who have prepared themselves to enter. It is the most sacred place on earth for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was important to make this trip because we wanted our children to see the temple as an important, aspirational place. Temple admittance is limited to church members older than 12 years who have declared their compliance with commandments. As a result, this might be the last chance that our children have to see inside the temple for years. Participants in temple ordinances agree to maintain the sacred nature of the temple by refraining from discussion when outside, but the emphasis of sacredness should not be confused with secrecy. Temple attendance is open to anyone who meets the requirements for entry, and preparation for the temple is important.

Why does this matter? In the temple we learn more about what God expects from us. We make commitments of fidelity and honor to God. We are also able to be "sealed" to our spouse for eternity. Marriages performed in temples are not confined to our lives on earth, but continue beyond. In the temple we are able to see the fulfillment of the prophecy found in the Old Testament's Book of Malachi:

5 ¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
 (Malachi 4:5-6)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that this promise is being fulfilled through the strong desire that many feel to understand their family histories. The ability to be linked eternally to spouses and children is a great blessing, and the temple is where that is brought to pass.

I hope very much that my children will choose to go to the temple. I hope that they choose to marry their spouse in the temple. In my own life, I have felt the temple to be a place of peace and learning, and I'm grateful that I was married there almost 11 years ago to Lacy. I would not have it any other way.

05 April 2014

My Faith

I recently participated in a Boy Scout-sponsored leadership training called Wood Badge. As a part of that, I made several goals, including a goal to post at least once weekly on a spiritual topic, which I would then share with others.

 I am an active, life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Church, and served a two-year mission at age 19, teaching the gospel primarily to the spanish-speaking people of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

A unique aspect of my Church is our belief that God has called and operates His Church through living prophets. We believe that our Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, a man who receives guidance and revelation from God. Additionally, we believe that each of us can receive personal revelation and guidance from God. The Book of James says the following:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
Twice a year we forgo our normal Church services to listen to our prophet and other Church leaders in an event called General Conference. It is a helpful opportunity to check our personal conduct against the counsel that we think that our Heavenly Father wants us to hear.

I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day is led by a prophet of God. I have felt the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) as I have listened to his words, and that and other spiritual witnesses have given me a firm testimony that my participation in this Church is consistent with God's will for me. I encourage any who are curious to listen to the messages of General Conference and consider what is said. I am glad to discuss it with any who are interested.