Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Pliant and Flexible versus Stubborn and Unyielding

A dream of Lucy Mack Smith in her own words
I thought that I stood in a large and beautiful meadow, which lay a short distance from the house in which we lived, and that everything around me wore an aspect of peculiar pleasantness. The first thing that attracted my special attention in this magnificent meadow, was a very pure and clear stream of water, which ran through the midst of it; and as I traced this stream, I discovered two trees standing upon its margin, both of which were on the same side of the stream. These trees were very beautiful, they were well proportioned, and towered with majesty beauty to a great height. Their branches, which added to their symmetry and glory, commenced near the top, and spread themselves in luxurious grandeur around. I gazed upon them with wonder and admiration; and after beholding them a short time, I saw one of them was surrounded with a bright belt, that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. Presently, a gentle breeze passed by, and the tree encircled with this golden zone, bent gracefully before the wind, and waved its beautiful branches in the light air. As the wind increased, this tree assumed the most lively and animated appearance, and seemed to express in its motions, the utmost joy and happiness. If it had been an intelligent creature, it could not have conveyed, by the power of language, the idea of joy and gratitude so perfectly as it did; and even the stream that rolled beneath it, shared, apparently, every sensation felt by the tree, for, as the branches danced over the stream, it would swell gently, then recede again with a motion as soft as the breathing of an infant, but as lively as the dancing of a sunbeam. The belt also partook of the same influence, and as it moved in unison with the motion of the stream and of the tree, it increased continually in refulgence and magnitude, until it became exceedingly glorious.  
I turned my eyes upon its fellow, which stood opposite; but it was not surrounded with the belt of light as the former, and it stood erect and fixed as a pillar of marble. No matter how strong the wind blew over it, not a leaf was stirred, not a bough was bent; but obstinately stiff it stood, scorning alike the zephyr's breath, or the power of the mighty storm.  
I wondered at what I saw, and said in my heart, What can be the meaning of all this? And the interpretation given me was,that these personated my husband and his oldest brother, Jesse Smith; that the stubborn and unyielding tree was like Jesse; that the other, more pliant and flexible, was like Joseph, my husband; that the breath of heaven, which passed over them, was the pure and undefiled gospel of the Son of God, which gospel Jesse would always resist, but which Joseph, when he was more advanced in life would hear and receive with his whole heart, and rejoice therein; and unto him would be added intelligence, happiness, glory, and everlasting life.
(Smith, Lucy. Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations (1912) (Kindle Locations 621-641). Kindle Edition.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

O How Great the Plan of Our God!



"My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, does it not fill our hearts and minds with wonder and awe to contemplate the great plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us?" ("O How Great the Plan of Our God!", Dieter F. Uctdorf, Oct 2016)

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Choose to Believe

Following is a post I wrote in a FB Group for my LDS Mission in Australia.


I have not read everyone's story about their experience with the church. Here is mine.

I have always loved church. I do not remember a time in my youth that I did not know it was true. My biggest difficulty is choosing to believe that I could be true to the church. That I choose to believe that Jesus can do in my life what I believe he can do in the life of everyone else.

There was a period several years ago when I looked more closely at history and doctrine of the church that had become much more readily available because of the Internet. I had a ward member choose to leave the church. I did not understand why. I had several, long phone conversations with him. Here is more from that experience.

After spending some time looking inside and considering what I want I came to this. This life had not given me many concrete, completely proven truths. I believe is it designed to be that way. I think we are given opportunities to believe or not to.

I believe that we get what we truly want. If we want rich, close relationships with family and friends we get that. If we choose fear and anxiety it comes along as well. Now I get that there are exceptions to this. Chemical imbalances in our brains. Struggles that we did not seem to choose to take on.

I choose to believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I choose to believe. I want the truths that they teach to be true. I choose to live as if they are. I have felt many, many times how my life is blessed by living by the principles taught at church.

I recognize that there are imperfect people at the founding of the church up to the present time. In high and in local callings. I am one of those imperfect ones.

I love the church. I love the family and friend connections I have because of my association in it. I believe that the church is still undergoing a restoration. That the most bitter branches are being cut off to make room for the sweet fruit. I want to be a part of that process.

I loved the talk Elder Ballard gave earlier this year. I hope it will help many young people navigate their own spiritual journeys safely.

I look forward to hearing how y'all are doing.

I've Got my Mind Set on You

What would be possible if everyone worked for "the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold... Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God"?
(D&C 82:15-20)

What Our Priesthood Keys Can and Cannot Do

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Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “the keys of this dispensation” (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection. 
The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.
("The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood", Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apr 2014)
See also "Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women", LDS.org Gospel Topic Essays

Friday, October 28, 2016

I love you and I don't want you to go

These words struck me as I imagined Jesus saying them to me.

"Take my words, read 'em every day, keep 'em close by, don't you let 'em fade away,
So you'll remember what I forgot to say, write this down.
Oh I love you and I don't want you to go"


Then I thought of this,
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:16)
And this,
Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.” ("His Grace Is Sufficient", Brad Wilcox, 12 Jul 2011)

Being at peace with my past frees up my future


"Got My Mind Set On You"
(from azlyrics.com)

I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you

But it's gonna take money
A whole lotta spending money
It's gonne take plenty of money
To do it right child

It's gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
It's gonna take patience and time, ummm
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,
To do it right child

I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you

And this time I know it's for real
The feelings that I feel
I know if I put my mind to it
I know that I really can do it

I got my mind set on you
Set on you
I got my mind set on you
Set on you

But it's gonna take money
A whole lotta spending money
It's gonna take plenty of money
To do it right child

It's gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
It's gonna take patience and time, ummm
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,
To do it right child

I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you

And this time I know it's for real
The feelings that I feel
I know if I put my mind to it
I know that I really can do it

But it's gonna take money
A whole lotta spending money
It's gonna take plenty of money
To do it right child

It's gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
It's gonna take patience and time, ummm
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,
To do it right

Set on you
Set on you
[Repeat]

Monday, October 03, 2016

Conference Quotes

"the Restoration is not an event, but it continues to unfold.” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, FB Post, 2 Oct 2016)

The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with him as families forever. (J. Devn Cornish, 1 Oct 2016)
Lyn G. Robbins on using compassion, kindness, discipline and sacrifice as common judges of Israel.

D. Todd Christofferson on describing love in terms other than unconditional.

"an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel is preferable to an invitation to learn more about our Church... Feelings about our Church follow conversion to Jesus Christ; they do not precede it.” (Dallin H. Oaks, 1 Oct 2016)

Christofferson on how the grace of God does not restore us to our previous state of innocence.

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Previous Conferences


"It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines" ("The Laborers in the Vineyard", Jeffrey R. Holland, Apr 2012)















"God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there” (“We Never Walk Alone,” Thomas S. Monson, September 2013 general Relief Society meeting).      

Much sifting will occur because of lapses in righteous behavior which go unrepented of. A few will give up instead of holding out to the end. A few will be deceived by defectors. Likewise, others will be offended, for sufficient unto each dispensation are the stumbling blocks thereof! A few will stumble because, in their preoccupation with the cares of the world, they do not have oil in their lamps. And, again and again, those who refuse to eat their spiritual spinach will come off second when they wrestle with the world. Some, because of the scorn of the world, will grow ashamed and let go of the iron rod. (See 1 Ne. 8:28.) A few who have not been Saints, but merely tourists passing through, will depart from the path. A few, failing to be of good cheer, will even charge God foolishly. (See Job 1:22.) (“Be of Good Cheer”, Neal A. Maxwell, Oct 1982)