Personal Online Journal

Friday, December 17, 2010

Say Nothing but Repentance

Papa D just had a great post, Repentance As a Liberating Movement Toward the Ideal.  He concisely, states one of the things I love best about Mormonism.  The Lord wants all heights and depths for us, every joy to its fullest.  He denies us nothing.

I am so grateful that the Lord takes the burden of that I cannot handle.  He frees me to look at myself with new eyes.  To see where I am in error.  To see where I am not yet fully developed.  His grace frees me to progress.  He liberates me so I can grow and change and flourish.

This is why the Lord said, "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


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Staying on Safe Ground

Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God, unto life and salvation:

First, the idea that he actually exists.
Second, a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.
Third, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.
How can I know that the the life I am leading is according to God's will?  I have the scriptures.  I have prayer.  I have the Holy Ghost. I have priesthood leaders.  

I searched lds.org/scriptures for rock foundation.  There is a list of interesting scriptures it returns.

2 Nephi 28:27-28 "Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall."  We should expect that more revelation will come.  If we are founded on the rock, we will receive it with gladness.

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

As I focus on repenting of those things I know of.  As I exercise faith in Jesus Christ.  I will be on safe ground.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talks I Picked

Update Oct 2015

Additions because I am removing them from my Google Music Play library.

We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Apr 2009
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Kevin W. Pearson, Apr 2009
None Were with Him, Jeffrey R. Holland, Apr 2009
His Servants, the Prophets, F. Michael Watson, Apr 2009

Salvation and Exaltation, Russell M. Nelson, Apr 2008
To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse, Richard G. Scott, Apr 2008
“My Words . . . Never Cease”, Jeffrey R. Holland, Apr 2008
Ask in Faith, David A. Bednar, Apr 2008
Opening Our Hearts, Gerald N. Lund, Apr 2008

This Day, Henry B. Eyring, Apr 2007 "All of us will need His help to avoid the tragedy of procrastinating what we must do here and now to have eternal life."
O Remember, Remember, Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2007

Instruments of the Lords's Peace, Robert S. Wood, Apr 2006
Faith, Service, Constancy, David S. Baxter, Oct 2006

Becoming a Missionary, David A. Bednar, Oct 2005
Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady, Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2005

Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers, M. Russell Ballard, Oct 1999
Do Not Delay, Henry B. Eyring, Oct 1999

The Principle of Work, F. David Stanley, Apr 1993

Joy and Mercy, Dallin H. Oaks, Oct 1991

“Willing to Submit”, Neal A. Maxwell, Apr 1985
Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ, Dallin H. Oaks, Apr 1985

Missionary Work: A Major Responsibility, Ezra Taft Benson, Apr 1974



Update Mar 2012
"The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole."  (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Concern for the One", Apr 2008)

For a few years now I have found inspiring talks from several sources to listen to as I commute.  There are several that I have thought about since the Oct general conference.  Here are a few.

Patrick Kearon, “‘Come unto Me with Full Purpose of Heart, and I Shall Heal You’,” Ensign, Nov 2010, 50–52
Dallin H. Oaks, “Two Lines of Communication,” Ensign, Nov 2010, 83–86
Larry R. Lawrence, “Courageous Parenting,” Ensign, Nov 2010, 98–100
Juan A. Uceda, “He Teaches Us to Put Off the Natural Man,” Ensign, Nov 2010, 53–55

- Ezra Taft Benson, "What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple", Ensign, Aug. 1985, 6. From an address given at the Logan Temple Centennial, 17 May 1984.
- Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4

BYU Devotionals
Henry B. Eyring. "A Law of Increasing Returns" March 28, 1982



Worldwide Leadership Training

I have been enjoying the LDS Worldwide Leadership Training that was broadcast earlier this month.  It teaches me about some of the changes in the new Church Handbook on Instructions.  Handbook 2 is available to read online.

I am so happy to be led by inspired leaders.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reasonable but not certain grounds

"...principles and values and ideals that we devoutly hope are true, and have reasonable but not certain grounds for believing to be true."  (Testimony of Terryl L. Givens as found from Clean Cut)

This quote highlights what I have come to understand.  That faith is a choice.  The Lord gives us reasonable grounds for believing in Him and His principles.  Yet they are not certain ground.  Our life is an exercise of our faith which begins as a desire to believe.  As Terryl said, there is also grounds for doubt.

I am reminded of Moroni where he says that I can know of spiritual truth as surely as I can distinguish between the daylight and the dark night.  I know this is true for the most important things.  The things that cause us to progress or to be damned.  I know clearly that I am to be kind to my wife and children.  I am to work hard and trust God.  I am to be meditative and prayerful.  I am to seek truth in the scriptures and from other good sources.  I am to listen to the still small voice.  I am to seek the Spirit of God and discipline myself to follow it.  So I can establish trust between my Father and I.  So I can enjoy the delicious joy He brings into my life.

We have reasonable but not certain ground to believe God.  Yet He always respects our choice.  He will force no man to heaven.  The reward is greater than any other thing.  It is worth any effort to receive it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Antidote for anxiety, ointment for sorrow, a doorway to possibility

"Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Two Principles for Any Economy,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 55–58

Monday, October 18, 2010

Watching with All Perseverance



David A Bednar gave a talk in Apr 2010 that I want to listen to again, “Watching with All Perseverance”, MP3

A summary of the talk by the speaker.
I pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost as I describe a spiritual early warning system that can help parents in Zion to be watchful and discerning concerning their children. This early warning system applies to children of all ages and contains three basic components: (1) reading and talking about the Book of Mormon with your children, (2) bearing testimony of gospel truths spontaneously with your children, and (3) inviting children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon. Parents who do these things faithfully will be blessed to recognize early signals of spiritual growth in or challenges with their children and be better prepared to receive inspiration to strengthen and help those children.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

"Immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you"

"Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you." Alma 34:31

This is the scripture that came to my mind as I read the talk by Vaughn J. Featherstone in Oct 1980, "Forgive Them, I Pray Thee".  I just found it from the comment of R. Gary in this post by Clean Cut.

The Lord is merciful.  He requires our heart.  He is mighty to save.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Voice-of-the-Spirit



There is nothing like the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit. I must pare off those branches that would choke out the ones that will bear good fruit. I must choose the best things in my life, leaving behind the better and the good. I am so grateful for prayer and the scriptures. For good songs and the welcome of home. God is great. He is mighty to save.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Man I Want To Be


I heard this on the radio yesterday for the first time.  Lyrics  below.
God, Im down here on my knees
Cause its the last place left to fall
Beggin for another chance
If theres any chance at all
That you might still be listenin
Lovin and forgivin guys like me
Ive spent my whole life gettin it all wrong
And I sure could use your help cause from now on

I wanna be a good man
A do like I should man
I wanna be the kind of man the mirror likes to see
I wanna be a strong man
And admit that I was wrong, man
God Im asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be

Theres anyway for her and me to make another start
Could you see what you could do
To put some love back in her heart
Cuz it going to take a miracle
After all Ive done to really make her see

That I wanna be a statement
I wanna be a great man
I wanna be the kind of man that she shes in her dreams
God, I wanna be your man
And I wanna be her man
God, I only hope she still believes
In the man I wanna be

Well, I know this late at night that talk is cheap
Lord, dont give up on me

I wanna be a givin man
I wanna really start livin man
God, Im asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

Lord, I Believe; Help Thou Mine Unbelief

Last night my wife shared the lesson of Sunday School with me. (I teach primary so I don't get to attend.) They learned about Naaman. I was impressed that an outsider to Israel would have enough faith to come to Israel to be healed of his leprosy. He was willing to go on the word of one of the servants of his wife. He was willing to listen to his own servant when the experience did not go as he expected it to. He humbled himself to go and wash in Jordan. He received his reward.

This morning I dropped off my oldest son and some of his friends to their first day of seminary. I have fond memories of attending seminary. I have four older brothers and sisters. For me it was a coming of age; a cool thing to do. It was during my seminary years that I gained my own testimony of Jesus Christ and his church.

I have been reflecting on whether or not I would have the faith I have now if it were not for my upbringing and nurturing. Where else can I find a belief system that challenges me as the Mormon one does? It asks me to obtain my own answers to the fundamental questions. It asks me to commit to God and my fellow believers through baptism and other covenants. It asks me to serve and give and grow. I get callings that I would not have had the disposition to do otherwise. The Lord has given his all. He asks nothing less of us.

There was a man that brought his mute son to the disciples of Jesus to be healed.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:14-29)
Like the father, like Naaman, I must step out with faith. This life is for us to see if we will do what God wants us to do in the face of not knowing. So I cry out to God, "I believe; help thou mine unbelief".

Monday, July 26, 2010

Opening Our Hearts

Lately, I have been thinking about testimony. How it is obtained and retained and increased. My mind went to a talk I thought Elder Bednar gave. When I searched, I found this talk.

Gerald N. Lund, “Opening Our Hearts,” Ensign, May 2008, 32–34 MP3

"Because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost" Moroni 8:26

Elder Lund refers to Elder Bednar's talk. The one he gave to Church Educational System educators given on February 3, 2006.

"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."
David A. Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith,” Liahona, Sep 2007, 16–24

To have the comfort of the Spirit of the Lord I must yield to His enticings. He will never force my heart.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blessed By Adversity

It is hard to feel sorry for myself when I hear a story like Gary Ceran.
Early in the morning of one Christmas Eve, Gary Ceran’s life was drastically and forever altered. On this day, a terrible traffic accident took the lives of his wife and two of his children. Who was the at-fault driver of the other vehicle? What would your reaction be toward this person? How would you deal with this tragedy on a personal level?
From Conversations on the Mormon Channel. Download the MP3 here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some pressing appointment, perhaps?

We all have the same amount of time in each day. Each person is equal in this. What is it we use our time for?

I am reminded of a scene in the Count of Monte Cristo. Edmund has been in a political prison for five years when a floor stone pops up and Abbe Faria comes up. He has been in prison for 11 years. For the last five years he has been digging a tunnel to what he thought was the external wall. Abbe had narrowed down the possible directions to the external wall to two and had chosen the wrong one. This is where the clips (0:45-1:30) picks up.

"With two of us, we could dig in the opposite direction. And with both of us together, then of course we could possibly do it in um...oh...8 years. [Edmond laughs] Ohh... and does something else demand your time? Some pressing appointment, perhaps?" Edmund helps Abbe dig for years in return for lessons in reading, writing and more advanced learning.

What does it matter if I decide to take up a project that takes 20 years? As long as it is worthwhile. There is a calculus that occurs in my life whether I want it to or not. I eventually get what I want. The trick is to choose that which will bring lasting happiness instead of only immediate pleasure. 1 2

"Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;" D&C 58:27

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mercy Claimeth All Which Is Her Own

By Jonathon Linton (View Full Image)

I saw this painting in the General Conference Center a couple of weeks ago. Then twice the next week I remembered it.

Alma 42:24 "For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved."

Update Dec 29, 2012
I saw Les Miserable this week.  My mind went to this picture this morning.


There is such a paradox between justice and mercy.  Yet they are balanced in God's plan.  Both Les Miserable and the scriptures show that the existence of justice makes necessary the existence of mercy and forgiveness.

"And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered" 2 Nephi 2:5-7

"if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery." 2 Nephi 2:13

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Do I Measure Success?

"We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit."

Julie B. Beck, Apr 2010.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Fierce Desire



From Kenneth Cope's song "More" from All About You. This inspired me on the drive to work this morning. Here are the lyrics.

More steady
More sure
More trusted
More Pure
Some say it doesn't matter

More trained and more aware
More aim to get me there
I climbed this far
You raise the bar
You want my heart

(Chorus)
More fierce desire
To stand against the wind
More blazing fire
When dark is closing in
More love-inspired change within

So there's more and more of me to give

More words to learn and know
More etched upon my soul
Some say it doesn't matter
More tried
More true
Less me and much more You
I've stretched this tall
You sound the call
You want my all

(Chorus)
You keep reaching out Calling out to me for
More strength in shoulders
To face the war with sin
More wise and bolder
To save the souls of men
A more faithful soldier to the end
You want more and more of me to give

More and more of me to give
More
More and more of me to give
More love
More light
More purpose
More serve with all my might
I need more hope
more faith
more patience
Each day I pray for more

More and more of me to give
More fire
More zeal
More spirit
To know what's real
More courage
More joy

More and more of me to give
More grateful
More true
More humble
To trust in You
You cal
I hear
I'll walk the path that's set in stone

My heart is fixed on getting home
And what on earth could matter more

More and more of me to give

Friday, April 09, 2010

Acceptable Service

This article from the Ensign touched my heart this morning.
He walked into a little classroom in the Philippines to be interviewed in preparation for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. I didn’t know how old he was, but even the older members of the branch called him Tatay (father).

When I asked whether he would be able to understand my English, he smiled warmly and replied with careful diction, “Yes, I will.”

After our interview I asked him if there was any reason he should not be ordained to the priesthood. After a moment he said, “Perhaps I should not receive the priesthood.”

Puzzled, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“I have only one tooth,” he replied. “I know I don’t look very good to receive the priesthood. It is all right if you tell me I cannot have the priesthood.”

We sat for a moment while I pondered his comment, tears welling up in my eyes. Then I put my hand on his hand and told him that I had seen many wonderful priesthood holders who had lost their hair, but he had beautiful, thick black hair. I also told him of priesthood holders who had only one ear or one eye, but he had both of his eyes and ears.

I then told him of a friend of mine who had lost his arm to cancer. When that brother had prayed in our home and had asked Heavenly Father to bless my wife and children, I knew he was a great servant of the Lord. I told Tatay how this friend had placed his only hand on the head of a little girl to bless her because she was dying and that I had felt the power of the priesthood that day.

This elderly Filipino smiled and said, “I hope my service to God will also be acceptable.”

We are all flawed in some significant way, and we all know the feelings of inadequacy that come with a new calling. But God accepts the humblest offering of the humblest Saint, and each of us can make a difference. We need not be embarrassed or ashamed; we need only give our best effort to the Lord. In turn He will bless us and magnify us and, in a marvelous way, make us whole.
(David E. LeSueur, “Acceptable Service,” Ensign, Mar 2010, 26, PDF)
I think of how blessed I am to be living in the USA. Of all the opportunities I have. I have never had to go hungry. I have all my teeth. I have air conditioning. I have a temple within a hour from me. The list goes on and on. I hope to be more humble so that I need not to be compelled to be humble (Alma 32:6-25)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change

A great talk about holding on to my mighty change of heart.

A heart transplant can prolong life for years for people who would otherwise die from heart failure. But it is not “the ultimate operation,” as Time magazine called it in 1967. The ultimate operation is not a physical but a spiritual “mighty change” of heart.
Dale G. Renlund, “Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 97–99, Mp3



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ultimate Knowledge

My mother in law directed me to a talk Dallin Oaks gave at Harvard Law School
Thus, while Latter-day Saints rely on scriptural scholars and scholarship, that reliance is preliminary in method and secondary in authority. As a source of sacred teaching, the scriptures are not the ultimate but the penultimate. The ultimate knowledge comes by personal revelation through the Holy Ghost.
("Fundamental Premises of Our Faith", Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Harvard Law School, 26 February 2010 )
I had to look up penultimate. I liked this description of our sources of revelation.

It was very enjoyable. I would love to be able to see of hear him give this speech.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Know That My Savior Loves Me

There is a new and touching song that Primary is singing this year, "I Know That My Savior Loves Me" (sheet music, mp3)

1. A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered ’round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones
I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
Yet, Jesus is real to me.

Chorus
I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.

2. Now I am here in a beautiful place,
Learning the teachings of Jesus.
Parents and teachers will help guide the way,
Lighting my path ev’ry day.
Wrapped in the arms of my Savior’s love,
I feel His gentle touch.
Living each day, I will follow His way,
Home to my Father above.

Chorus

It has such a simple message. I have felt the Spirit each time I have heard it. As each child puts their heart with these words they will gain a testimony of Jesus, and strengthen their personal relationship with Him. I am so happy that the Primary chose this song!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Origin of God Agnostic

Last summer, I had an interesting discussion about the origin of God. Before that, I did not know of a faithful LDS perspective that was different than the infinite regress of Gods. It was one of those topics that I heard theories from people I trusted. It made sense to me and so I did not pursue it.

Clean Cut emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking me about my post. He asked if my thoughts or feeling on the topic had changed at all. I had mentioned to him that I was looking forward to reading Rough Stone Rolling. I was given it for Christmas. I am about halfway through it.

While laying down for a Sunday nap I picked up the book. Richard Bushman quotes D&C 93:29-34 and then adds,
In later years, Joseph would elaborate these hints into a doctrine of the free intelligence. Human beings in their essence were uncreated intelligences as eternal as God, and so radically free... The idea of free intelligence combined the moral being of the Bible with the reasoning individual of the Enlightenment. In Joseph's revelations, truth could not be discovered in rebellion and wickedness. "That wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience." [D&C 93:29] The test of one's humanity was not whether one would abide by the independent dictate's of one's own reason, in accord with the Enlightenment ideal, but whether one would accept the light coming from God.
As to the origin of God, I am satisfied putting it in the "we'll find out someday" category. I also put discussions on the topic in the "danger of looking past the mark" category. It is much more important to me to practice the truth I know. I am confident that the Lord will grant me more light and knowledge on His origin later on. It is much more important to becoming more Christ like. More diligent, more patient, more loving, more thoughtful.

On a final note, one of the best parts of LDS doctrine is the focus on learning truth from whatever source it may come. I look forward to more light and knowledge on many subjects. I will also do my best to give them their due attention. Focusing on "right practice" will never fail. Focusing on "right doctrine" brings a possibility of diverting my energy to that which will not have lasting satisfaction.