Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spiritual Confidence before God

I loved the talk in General Conference on Sat afternoon by Elder Jorg Klebingat, "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence"
Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God. The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme. 
As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.
Here are the "six practical suggestions that, if heeded, will dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it."
1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.
4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly.
5. Become really, really good at forgiving.
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.
I also liked this part,

acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them, because some of them will be your companions until you depart this earth life. No matter what your current status, the very moment you voluntarily choose honest, joyful, daily repentance by striving to simply do and be your very best, the Savior’s Atonement envelops and follows you, as it were, wherever you go. Living in this manner, you can truly “always retain a remission of your sins” (Mosiah 4:12) every hour of every day, every second of every minute, and thus be fully clean and acceptable before God all the time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Anger Is an Indication of Weakness

Anger is not an expression of strength. It is an indication of one’s inability to control his thoughts, words, his emotions. Of course it is easy to get angry. When the weakness of anger takes over, the strength of reason leaves. Cultivate within yourselves the mighty power of self-discipline.  (Gordon B. Hickley, "Our Solemn Responsibilities", Oct 1991 )
This is the talk that helped Ken Niumatalolo make a goal to keep his temper in check. He is one of the people featured in #MeetTheMormons meetthemormons.com

Thursday, October 09, 2014

What your husband really wants

I agree with everything he says 

Five Compelling Ideas

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Joseph was utterly alone in the Christian world in promulgating each one of those five ideas, with one possible exception.  Those ideas being that
[1] we believe God’s heart beats in sympathy with ours; that
[2] we lived with Him as pre-existent beings; that
[3] life is not a fall, but an ascent; that
[4] God has the capacity and the desire to save the entire human family (shared by some Universalists of the day); and that
[5] heaven is a perpetuation of those relationships we cherish here and now.
Now any one of those five ideas is sufficiently compelling, I think, to attract adherents, but put all five together and you have a unique combination that had no contemporary parallel. And I’m not surprised, that with those five doctrines at the core, that there have been few dissenters, once you embrace that original mosaic. (Terryl Givens, "Exclusive Interview with Terryl and Fiona Givens with the release of Terryl’s new book, ‘Wrestling the Angel’", Oct 8, 2014)
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A few years ago at the time of the scandal relating to Mormons baptizing Holocaust victims, I was interviewed by a Jewish radio host in Philadelphia.  And his first question was direct and to the point. He said, “What are you doing baptizing my dead ancestors?”  And, Mormons tend to be very uncomfortable with the doctrine of baptizing the dead.  It seems weird, and it conjures up gruesome or rather strange images in the mind, and we tend to avoid that topic.  But what I said to this radio host on that occasion was, “Well, Mormons believe in a Heavenly Father who wants to save the entire human family.  And at the last day will provide a wedding feast to which He wants His entire human posterity invited.”  And I said, “Mormons see ourselves as putting everyone’s name on the guest list. And not everybody has to attend, but we feel everybody should be invited.”  His answer to me on air was, “What a beautiful idea. How do I get my name on your list?” Now, that explanation isn’t always going to elicit that response.  But that is an example of the fact that our theology is much more powerful and compelling and morally appealing than we have recognized, and I think we need to lead with that more often.(Terryl Givens, "Exclusive Interview with Terryl and Fiona Givens with the release of Terryl’s new book, ‘Wrestling the Angel’", Oct 8, 2014)

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Dominant, Expressive, Analytical and Amiable

Cross posted from here. Originally from Oct 2008.

In July, I attended a personality seminar run by Persogenics. I have done several personality, self helpy things in my life. Sometimes I get a little wary of this kind of thing. There are a few things I found useful from the seminar.

The workshop focused on improving the communication between people with very different styles. There are four patterns people use to communicate: Dominant, Expressive, Analytical and Amiable. Most people have a primary and secondary way of communicating.

One of the best stories was one the facilitator told of a rafting trip they went on as a company. It was a hoot to hear how the people of the different styles interacted with each other.

The bottom line for me were two things to remember per communication style. One was what the person of the style was to remember. The other was what others could keep in mind when communicating with the person. This is what I remember:

A dominant communicator should remember to ask not tell. Others should remember to take them seriously but not personally.

An expressive communicator should let others know when they are talking out loud. Others should restate what they heard them say. If appropriate, touch them to let them know you understand what they said. Paraphrase, playback.

An analytical communicator should let others know when they are thinking, "Let me think for a moment". Others should give them time (5-10 seconds) after asking them a question.

An amiable communicator should remember to speak up now, sooner is better than later. Others should ask to ask, "May I ask you something?"

This came up for my wife and I last night. It has helped us to avoid misunderstandings. It may help me at work too. It will serve me to remember these lessons.

Do You Think He Will Make You Be Together?

This morning, after I woke up my daughters, one came to me crying because they had fought and hurt each other. After trying to listen and then stopping to listen because their story seemed so long (i am sure i was impatient), I told them this.
Do you think you will be together forever if you don't like each other? Do you think Heavenly Father will make you be together if you don't like each other? Wouldn't that be a punishment? Do you want to be friends? Do you want to grow up and think, "I don't like my sister I will just keep away from her"
At this point my six year old daughter started to cry with real depth. I stopped her by saying, I only want you to remember two words, repent and forgive. All you have to do is repent and forgive. Then I asked her what she needs to do. She went on about forgiving, and I asked what the first word was. She didn't remember right away and I (being impatient) said "it is not a trick, it starts with an r"
I then went on to say that we should ask for forgiveness and forgive. I realized that it was a little tricky for a six year old who was very emotional and talking to an impatient dad. Asking for forgiveness is repenting. Forgiving is repenting from not loving each other as God would. So they are really the same thing.
I hate conflict...to a fault. I avoid it even when it is better to have it out. As I thought about this experience, I thought of an LDS Facebook group I am in. And I thought about the true order of prayer we learn in the temple.
We must be willing to ask for forgiveness and forgive. We must repent and allow others to repent. Let's try to develop relationships of trust. That means we must be trustworthy and be willing to risk trusting others.

There are some pretty diverse opinions in the group. The thing am most sure of is that I do not have the complete vision that God has. I know that I have some things wrong. And that it will remain that way for a looong time. I believe in the doctrine of Christ.
We should all seek for the ideal stated in the explanation of the true order of prayer. I don't expect to reach this ideal in the group, or really in most communities, but if we work toward it, we can create a little Zion right where we are.

What is the Doctrine of Christ?

After declaring the doctrine of Christ, Jesus says this, "And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them." (3 Nephi 11:40)

This makes me think of these scriptures on what is the priority:
 "Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed." (D&C 6:9)
"And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost." (D&C 19:31)
"And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." (D&C 16:6)

Monday, October 06, 2014

"It was tangible and I could feel it"

Kathryn Skaggs decided to share her conversion story.

"Whenever I was around my mother's family, I felt the Spirit and knew that I was amidst truth.  It was tangible and I could feel it. I loved being in the midst of that feeling. To me I was home."

This is how I feel about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike Kathryn, I was raised in a practicing Mormon family. They practiced in letter and in spirit. I was raised by parents that love the Lord and are following the best they know how. The Lord requires no more of anyone.

I love the gospel and feel its power down in my bones. It has been a long time since I have gotten emotional about it, but I am now. To be connected to God by knowing and doing His will is life and light and joy to me.

"Everyone has their own ongoing conversion journey..." I love this message in Kathryn's post. Testimony and conversion are not binary. They are spectrums. We move from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge. From a rebelling attitude to one of freely giving to the One who gave us life. We grow from a seed to a tree and beyond.

Adjourn or Adieu

When I hear "adjourn" at the end of General Conference, it seems rather formal. When I think of what it means, break off (a meeting, legal case, or game) with the intention of resuming it later", it reminds me of the last word of Jacob, adieu.

Jacob seems to be saying, "farewell until we meet with God". President Eyring is not saying "Fare well, I may never see you again". He is saying goodbye, or "God be with you until we meet again".