Personal Online Journal

Friday, February 25, 2011

Alive in Christ

There are so many resources on the Internet for those searching the ways of God.  One good place I have found is  He is writing an Internet Book called Alive in Christ. He focuses on receiving a witness and companionship of the Holy Ghost.  I heartily agree.

Mormon Messages Videos and Profiles

There are a few new Mormon Messages videos and profiles that I found this morning.  They are inspiring.

Hi, I'm Nadja
I'm a wife, a mother, a partner, a teacher, a translator, a child at heart, and I'm a Mormon.

Sally Marks
With Christ-like compassion and understanding a woman helps those recovering from addiction and works to get the homeless off the streets.

Families Can Be Together Forever
Increase your understanding of the Lord's purpose for families and of the blessings He makes available to them. Visit to learn more.

Unselfish Service
The Savior has taught us to follow His example and serve others. Learn more about service at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I Thought I Knew about Spiritual Death

There is a series at by Nathan Richardson on spiritual death.  He has described it in a way that makes sense to me.  

As of Jun 2018 here are a couple links that work.
What I Thought I Knew about Spiritual Death
The whole series is at Understanding the Fall

There is not an easy way to find the series on their site as of Apr 2014. Following are the articles.

A. The Path of Sin

B. The Path of Adam's Fall

C. Spiritual Death
5. Spiritual Death Quiz (The software that kept score is broken, but you can definitely still take the quiz)
8. The Fall of Adam and the Fall of Me (this one was a draft; I hadn't finished the conclusion yet)

There is also an article by Nathan on Spiritual Death at and a 60 page paper he wrote available on his web site. 

The Doctrine of the Family

I read an article in the March Ensign tonight,”Teaching the Doctrine of the Family”.  It is taken from an address of Julie B. Beck General Relief Society President at the BYU Women’s Conference held May 1, 2009.  As I read, I could feel strength come into me.  I believe in the doctrine of the family as much as I believe in Jesus Christ.  I could see how it needs to be upheld.  To be taught and lived and felt deeply.  I am so grateful for it.
Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us (Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4).
Here are some more talks that I read that she references. They are very good.
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

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Book List

There are a few books that have really changed my life besides the scriptures.  Here is my list of them.

Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News by Stephen E. Robinson.

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell. He uses the the story of Abigail and David to describe our relationship between the sinner the sinned against and Jesus. It really opened my eyes.

The Holy Secret by James L. Ferrell.

Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves by C. Terry Warner. He describes the collusion or the dance we dance with our closest relationships and how to make them healthy.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

I listened to "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," by Kevin W. Pearson again this morning.  I noted it about a year and a half ago.  I was uplifted and encouraged by it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Truth Will Prevail

I have a friend Randy I have known in my LDS ward for several years.  I have been serving in the primary for about a year and a half.  I did not notice or did not take the time to find out when I did first notice to see why he and his family had stopped coming to church.  This week I saw a post on facebook about how he is an atheist now.  Here is a link to an audio interview he had with  His story is in part one.

I have had some friendly email exchange with him in the last few days.  He (and I hope I) have been respectful of each other’s convictions.  I do not pretend to understand why he has made such a leap in his world view in the last few years.  I did not know he was undergoing such a change.  I hope to understand more fully what has prompted this change for him.  I want to share with you my own journey with some of the hard histories of the LDS Church.  And why I continue to believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Christmas 2009, I got Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.  It is a biography of Joseph Smith by a historical scholar that is a faithful member of the church.  He does, however seem to try and give the history of Joseph Smith an even hand.  He tells the facts as best they are known.  He does admit that he does approach the history from a faithful LDS perspective.  I got so much out of the book.  It is worth anyone’s reading especially if they want to understand the roots of Mormonism.  There were several parts that gave me concern but none more than the description of Joseph’s practice of polygamy.  I am not sure why or what can explain what seems to be evident.

This and other concerns even before reading this book have caused me to rethink what I do believe and why.  I went back to my childhood.  The first thing I can remember knowing for sure is that my parents love me.  I respect them and trust what they taught me.  Another experience I had was in reading the Book of Mormon in my freshmen year in high school.  I came to understand the doctrine of Christ.  The experiences of Alma the Elder, the Younger.  The teachings of King Benjamin.  They all rang true.  I came to peace and forgiveness as I practiced the teachings I learned.  As a husband I have felt the bliss and blessing of forgiveness from my wife.  She has been an incarnation of what I have read of how the Savior will and does forgive.  

I am not sure what to make of Joseph Smith.  I believe in all the doctrines we continue to teach from him.  That God the Father is a perfect, physical man.  That Jesus Christ is separate from Him and his literal, physical Son (JS-Hist).  That the Holy Ghost is also separate and that He has the power to lead to all truth.  I believe in the plan of salvation and the universal access all men have at gaining it (D&C 76).  I believe that the fall of Adam was a necessary part of that plan and that moral agency is a key to the plan (2 Ne 2).  I believe that only Christ can save us from our sins before, while and after we make our best effort to follow him (“After All We Can Do”).  I believe that God will change me as I partner with Him.  From a fallen, broken man to receive all that He has (D&C 84:33-41).

There are many, more doctrines than is easy to list here that ring true to me.  I have felt it emotionally, spiritually, and as a clarity in my mind that seems extraordinary.  As I have lived the teachings of the church, I am happy.  When I have failed, I have been miserable.  I am grateful for the practical structure of the church that helps me become who I am to become.  To cast off the base and selfish nature of my self.  To glory in the lifting of others that somehow lifts me.

How do I reconcile Joseph and the other hard histories of my church?  If I were alive in Joseph’s time and I knew what I know now, I would ask him to help me understand.  But I am in my own time.  I know that history may not paint the picture fully.  If what I have read is true, there are still some things I do not understand.  I am not being asked today to practice what is reported Joseph did.  I do know that there are many teachings from Joseph that clarify what God is like and what he wants us to become.

What I see in my church today is nothing short of miraculous.  I see women and men serving voluntarily in all sorts of capacity.  I see people being called to positions of authority that would never choose it.  And are increased because of it and those that they serve.  I see in the centuries that the church has been here, a clearing away of the branches which bring forth bitter fruit (Jacob 5:64-65).  I see the Restoration continuing until the church and its people are wholly acceptable to the Lord.

I choose to be charitable to the history of my church when I look with 21st century eyes on those in the 19th and 20th century and even now.  I believe God sends angels to prophets to declare the good news.  Those prophets in all their weakness ask us to believe their words.  We have the Holy Ghost and the fruits of the Restoration to verify their words.  The following passage rarely fails to stir my heart.

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free. (D&C 128:22)

What do I make of Randy and the other good atheists that I know?  What do I make of the countless others with different faith or of no faith?  Those that are often better examples of a Christ-like life than my own or the members of the church I have known?

I believe truth will prevail.  Randy quoted J. Reuben Clark in one of his emails, "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."  Truth will prevail in more than in the factual “what is real” questions.  It will prevail in the hearts of honest women and men.  Those who wish to live by truth will continue to receive truth upon truth.  Whether that path leads them into and eventually out of atheism.  Whether that leads me out of my currently held and even most cherished beliefs.  If I am courageous enough and really want it, the truth will prevail in me.

There is a calculus that occurs in all our lives whether we want it to or not. We eventually get what we want. The trick is to choose that which will bring lasting happiness instead of only immediate pleasure.  As any person truly seeks to find and follow truth, truth is inevitable to come and that truth will make us into what only God can imagine.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford

A few weeks ago I lay down after the children were in bed to find my wife watching Lark Rise to Candleford.  I did not give it much of a chance at first.  After an episode or two my wife compared it to Little House on the Prairie.  I agreed.  I esteem it as the best show I have ever seen.  It is never crude.  It is historical.  It makes me laugh and cry and teaches important life lessons.  Of love found and lost.  Of the pride of the man of the house.  Of meddling in other's lives.  Of evolution and how to treat an estranged sibling.  Of how to treat the faith of other's when it is not your own.  Of owning my own faith.  Any many, many more.

It is only $1 an episode on