Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Friday, December 07, 2018

God loves Broken Things

(Words by Kenneth Cope; Music by Kenneth & Eliza Cope)
—inspired by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  
Broken clouds give rain
Broken soil grows grain
Broken bread feeds man for one more day  
Broken storms yield light
The break of day heals night
Broken pride turns blindness into sight  
Broken souls that need His mending Broken hearts for offering Could it be that God loves broken things  

Broken chains set free
Broken swords bring peace
Broken walls make friends of you and me  
To break the ranks of sin
To break the news of Him
To put on Christ till His name feels broken in  
Broken souls that need His mending Broken hearts for offering I believe that God loves broken things  

And yet, our broken faith, our broken promises
Sent love to the cross
And still, that broken flesh, that broken heart of His
Offers us such grace and mercy
Covers us with love undeserving  
This broken soul that cries for mending This broken heart for offering I’m convinced that God loves broken me Praise His name—my God loves broken things  

So, broken cloud—Give rain
And broken soil—Grow grain
And broken bread—Feed man for one more day  
© 2004 Merge Right Music (BMI)

Picket Fence or Razor Wire

Will I line my heart with a picket fence or razor wire?
The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love. Early in our lives, we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to. 
In some cases the fence we erect around our hearts could be likened to a small picket fence with a Welcome sign on the gate. Other hearts have been so hurt or so deadened by sin that they have an eight-foot (2.5-m) chain-link fence topped with razor wire around them. The gate is padlocked and has a large No Trespassing sign on it. 
Let us apply the idea of a gateway to the heart to receiving personal revelation. Nephi taught, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” Elder David A. Bednar noted the use of the word unto: “Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. … Ultimately, … the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter.” 
Why just unto the heart? Individual agency is so sacred that Heavenly Father will never force the human heart, even with all His infinite power. Man may try to do so, but God does not. To put it another way, God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers, of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit, for He will not force Himself upon us. 
("Opening Our Hearts", Gerald N. Lund, GC Apr 2008) 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Revealed Pattern of Spiritual Progress for Individuals and Families

In slides 20-26 of this presentation, I put together the examples Elder Bednar used to show that "the sequence and timing of [the prophets] over many decades can help us to see one united and comprehensive work and not just a series of independent and discrete initiatives." (From "Gather Together in One All Things in Christ", David A.  Bednar, Oct 2018)

If I have time in my Seminary lesson, I will use it as an example of revelation that has occurred in my lifetime.

It is part of this lesson “Prophets and Revelation, Part 1,” Doctrinal Mastery Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Teacher Material (2017)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Will talking about this awaken my child’s sexuality and cause problems?

“Ideally, parents will learn to shift from the ‘big talk’ mentality to that of an ongoing conversation,” said Brother Gibbons. “Not that you dwell on it all the time or become casual about it—it is sacred—but it will come up in small ways continuously. It is not just a talk about sexuality; it’s a conversation about our God-given feelings and our aspirations of what we can become as families.”

(Brother Lee Gibbons is a product manager with the Priesthood Department,

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Serious Trouble

"Many years ago, I was first counselor to a district president in the eastern United States. More than once, as we were driving to our little branches, he said to me, 'Hal, when you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.' Not only was he right, but I have learned over the years that he was too low in his estimate. Today I wish to encourage you in the troubles you face."

Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2018

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Love and Law

We need to be loving and respect the commandments of God.

From the video of Dallin H. Oaks from Oct 2016:
As Latter-day Saints, many of us (not all of us) but many of us are inclined to insist on the law and do so in an unloving way. 
I receive many letters from people who are devastated at the choices being made by someone in their family. And they say, "What are we to do?" And the first thing I always suggest is keep loving them. In the end, that is something you can always do. 
We have to have in mind, the commandments of the Lord, which I'll refer to as the law and also the great commandment to love one another. And those will come into conflict when someone we associate with is not keeping the commandments or keeping the law. That makes is harder for us to associate with them and to love them. And yet if we love the individual, and at the same time, keep a tight hold on what we know to be our responsibilities to the law, it's possible to do so. 
We benefit by having people among us from different backgrounds. And the challenge of having people among us who bring a different point of view, a different background, different ways of thinking, different values to some extent, it's great. And it's a personal benefit for our progress. 
We should not start off our interaction with people who are making different choices than we desire, by arguing about their choices. It's better for us to start off talking about, "Where are you coming from? What are your basic values? What do you want to accomplish?" Then in that context, we can explain that we are concerned about the Lord's commandments. Because what's important to us is to stay on the path to Eternal Life. 
We are given commandments. When we obey those commandments, we are obedient. The consequence of being obedient to commandments is to put ourselves in harmony with the eternal law that permits us to grow and progress toward eternal life. 
The Savior commanded his followers to "love one another as I have loved you". So we look at how He loved us. He sacrificed himself for us. He was concerned always with the individual. He had a wonderful outreach for people. I think those are all indicators of how we can love one another like He loved us. If we make him our role model, we should always be trying to reach out to include everyone.
This video is featured on

"I will speak of restored, gospel truths that are fundamental to the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Please consider these truths carefully. They explain much about our doctrine and practices perhaps including some things not yet understood." (Sat Morning Session talk by Dallin H. Oaks,  6 Oct 2018, Timestamp 3:35)

"In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith." (“Lord, I Believe”, Jeffrey R. Holland, Apr 2013)

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Face to Face Event with Elder Cook with a Focus on Church History

I just watched this Face to Face devotional broadcast Sep 9, 2018. It left me with such a sweet spirit. The church is investing so much time effort and money to make the history of the church accessible and understandable to anyone who wants it.

Life is messy, our history is as well. I am grateful for my spiritual ancestors. For their sacrifice. For their example in following Jesus.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Abortion, Birth Control and the Sexual Economy

Unwanted pregnancies are caused by men and by women. The truth is that the contraceptive pill has radically changed how men and women relate to sex and marriage. (See “The Economics of Sex”,

I think we should look at what the pro-life and pro-choice movements have in common.

When a man and a woman create a child, they are both responsible for their action. The woman certainly has an immediate and physical, emotional and possibly social cost. The man should be held accountable as well.

The best situation is where the woman and man are already married and choose to have children. We do not always have that situation. We should do what we can to persuade those closest to us to relate to sex in this way. It creates the least harm.

What do we do when it is less than ideal? Pray. Seek guidance and compassion.

From my perspective once a couple is pregnant, the choice as to whether to have the child is over, except in rare cases.


From President Faust Nov 1995

During a prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C., on 3 February 1994, Mother Teresa gave the most honest and powerful proclamation of truth on this subject I have ever heard. ..., “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other? … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

Friday, September 14, 2018

Elizabeth Smart - Overcoming Trauma: Forgiveness is not for the other person. It's for yourself

"Forgiveness is not for the other person. It's for yourself "

"Today, one of her captors was released from jail. This is Elizabeth Smart’s message about being at peace with her past and finding her power back."

From a FB post from Goalcast