Personal Online Journal

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If thou Art Merry

My sister in law and my wife have sparked a new craze in our house.

"If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving." D&C 136:28

Monday, April 29, 2013

Give it all to Him

“With a smile on my face, and a prayer in my heart with my whole world behind me my life’s about to start. Now I can’t count all the blessings that are waiting in the end,so I forget myself and give it all to Him.”

"It is what God gave you time for"

Having Children Enriches Your Life
"a whole other part of my heart that would open up"

From "Children", Neil L. Andersen, Oct 2011 General Conference
"[Fatherhood] is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for." (Rachel Jankovic, “Motherhood Is a Calling (and Where Your Children Rank),” July 14, 2011,

What is Friendship

A friend of mine on Facebook asked this question.  This is what I thought up as an answer.

A friend will tell you to get up off your butt when you need to hear that.  A friend will be there to tell you of your value when you are in the dredges.

The truest friend sees you as God does. I love how Brad Wilcox put it.  He was talking about an experience he had with a young lady. She was upset because she thought no one asked her on dates because she had her mom's eyebrows etc.  Brad said that 16 year old girls should not base their opinion of themselves on the reactions of 16 year old young men.  Neither should they look to the "say no to drugs" speaker that pumps them up at the student assembly telling the kids that they are so awesome.  Not the English teacher who says they are "challenged"  Not even their mom or dad who say they are so awesome.

We need to see what God sees in us. The Divine and the deep need for change in our lives. When we connect to God, there is no skewed view that you might see in the fun house at the carnival.  Or worse the more slightly skewed views we might get from our friends, enemies and ever one in between.  With God, we see ourselves most clearly.  We see every potential and every obstacle that keeps us from it.

The problem with see ourselves as God does, is that we see through a glass darkly.  We are imperfect and our own experiences and biology and sin cloud our perception.  In order to see more clearly we must repent.  We must rely on the grace of God to overcome damage in our lives that we did not cause. As we do, we see more clearly.

For me it has come in bits and pieces.  Line upon line.  It takes courage and time to see ourselves as God sees us. It is also the most amazing and liberating experience.

So what is a true friend?  One as close to God as you can find.  One who is loyal and friendly, courteous and kind.  And blunt and energizing.

That is why I love the LDS church.  It has a smattering of people in it that are like leaven to a loaf.  People who you love to be around because you hope they rub off on you.  People who really get the vision of Coming unto Christ.  Being perfected in Him.

There was a time that I felt lonely for Jesus.  My mind despaired as I thought of how Jesus could possibly be the friend to every being ever that needs Him. I gained hope as I thought of one way he might be able to accomplish this.  He might give power to those who become his daughters and sons.  Those who learn of him and walk in his ways.  Those who through the grace of God become like Him.

I want a friendship with someone becoming like Jesus.  I know that I am far from it.  I know that much of the time I despair because of my weakness and how far it seems I have to go,  But maybe I am in good company.  Nephi  and Mormon seem to esteem themselves in the same way I do.  Do not be confused.  I do not equate myself with them.  But if they felt such despair and found redemption, I know that I can, If I never give up.  Or if I decide to start again after I have given up.

My wife is one of the salt of the earth, the leaven of the loaf.  I hope to be that for her.  I consider her my best friend.  I hope my Facebook friend will find such a mate someday.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why I Believe in Organized Religion

On Friday I had an awesome talk with my mechanic. I asked him if he was religious. He said that he believed in God but that his family does not regularly go to church. He told a story of a customer that he had that said that he seemed like a good person that he must go to church.  They "agreed" that you do not have to go to church to be a good person. The conversation always ended up in a "but".  The customer really thought that a person should go to church. My mechanic does not believe you need to go to church.

This post is my way of saying why I go to church. Why I believe in organized religion in general and in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular.

People generally want to do good, to be good. Sometimes the worse part of our selves get in the way. Most people relate to making some kind of resolution only to have it fall to the way side sooner or later. Being a part of the Mormon church is my way of making an open commitment to do Good and to be Good. Others I join with help me along that path.  Help me keep my commitments.

There is power in making and keeping sacred covenants. I believe that God can bless me more when I make promises to Him in front of my community. It is a way of saying "Here is where I will stand".  This is the program of goodness I vow to bring to the world. It is not my goodness I bring. I only reflect the goodness of Christ.

I believe that God has authorized servants on earth to make promises in His behalf. That is the priesthood. So when I am baptized, I am making a promise to God and He is able to bless me with the Holy Ghost in ways he cannot otherwise. The second half of the baptism of water is the baptism by fire, or by the Holy Ghost. In the Mormon church, that mean that I have men lay their hands on me.  I am asked to "receive the Holy Ghost".  That means that I must offer up to God my broken heart.  My willing heart to do what I feel He is prompting me to do.  I must seek His Spirit.  To be guided by what the Lord prompts me to do.  This is the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.  It the most sacred gift given to men.  We can increase in the light of God. We can be guided more and more by Him.  To do the good Jesus would do if He lived our life.

Each week, I take the sacrament.  That is the bread and water that represent the body and blood of Christ. I remember the sacrifice Jesus made to overcome death and sin. Each week I get to review my week to pause and remember and recommit to the vows I made at baptism.  If I do, then I get to always have the Spirit of God with me. I can remove from my heart any darker design. And replace it with a desire to do and be good always.

The gospel of Jesus Christ frees me.  It frees me from the consequences of my sin.  It frees me to live a life pleasing to Him.  I get to add the thread of my life to the tapestry of God. The gift of my life is given back to God and it returns to me a hundred time more.

I went to the baptism of my nephew today.  I felt the power that there is in the ordinances, or the covenants that are made in my church.  I felt the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost today.  I want to feel it always.
That is why I believe in organized religion. That is why I am a Mormon.

Worthwhile and Enjoyable versus Vitally Important

This quote from Richard G. Scott has come back to my mind lately.  I must be willing to push out things that are worthwhile and enjoyable for those things that are vitally important in my life.

Determined to accomplish a very important task

Friday, April 19, 2013

He Is The One

He can make the ocean dry
He can stay the setting sun
Creator of the earth and sky
He is the One

He can tame the raging wind
Make the mountains tremble
Master of miracles
He is the One

He is the One who carves my heart into
A smoother stone
He is the One who gives me strength
When I am too weak to move on
He is everything I need
Mighty power and Holy peace
He is the One

He can calm a restless soul
He will save a fallen stranger
A refuge where my heart can go
He is the One
He offers saving grace
In a world that offers none
And I will live to sing His praise
He sees me for what I can become

He is the One who carves my heart into
A smoother stone
He is the One who gives me strength
When I am too weak to move on
He is everything I need
Mighty power and Holy peace
He is the One
He is the One

(Audrey Bandley, Especially For Youth - EFY 2011)

Scriptures and other thoughts as I listened:
"the way, the truth and the life" John 14:6
"Is there no balm in Gilead?" Jeremiah 8:22
"Why are ye fearful? ...he arose, and rebuked the winds" Matthew 8:26
"a huge, rough stone rolling ... become a smooth and polished shaft" Joseph Smith (hotc, 5:401)
"we shall be like him" 1 John 3:2-3
"Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" Mark 9:24
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18
"If God had commanded me to do all things" 1 Nephi 17:50
"cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save" Alma 34:18
"my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth" John 14:27
"that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live" Alma 33:19
"to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" John 6:67-68

Sunday, April 14, 2013

General Conference Quotes

Some GC quotes I took note of from this April.

"I'll drop my burden at his feet and bear a song away"  How Gentle God's Commands,

'This is not missionary work.  This is missionary fun'
Neil L. Anderson

For Peace at Home, Richard G. Scott, Apr 2013

Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and reenergize to prepare for future pressures.
The ideal place for that peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece.
Weight-bearing beams in a Christ-centered home
- daily personal and family prayer
- daily personal and family scripture study
- weekly family home evening
"Without these regular practices it will be difficult to find the desired and much-needed peace and refuge from the world."
many of us have a personal electronic device that fits into our pocket. We are seldom without its company; we may refer to it many times a day. Unfortunately, these devices can be a source of filth and wasted time. But, used with discipline, this technology can be a tool of protection from the worst of society.

"Humility is the essence of repentance"
L. Whitney Clayton

L. Whitney Clayton, Marriage: Watch and Learn, Apr 2013
There are those whose marriages are not as happy as they would wish, as well as those who have never married, are divorced, are single parents, or for various reasons are not in a position to marry. These circumstances can be full of challenge and heartbreak, but they need not be eternal. To those of you in such situations who nevertheless “cheerfully do all things that lie in [your] power”11 to persevere, may heaven bless you richly. Seek after the ideal of forming an eternal marriage, including by striving or preparing to be a worthy spouse. Keep the commandments, and trust the Lord and His perfect love for you. One day every promised blessing concerning marriage will be yours.
"Obedience to Law is Liberty"
L. Tom Perry

Jeffrey R. Holland, Lord, I Believe, Apr 2013
"Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" Mark 9:22-24
I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.
When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.
Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle. 
 don’t hyperventilate
fan the flame of your faith 
Christoffel Golden Jr, The Father and the Son, Apr 2013
President Ezra Taft Benson with prophetic insight said, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father [in Heaven] and how familiar his face is to us.” (Jesus Christ--Gifts and Expectations, BYU Devotional Dec 10, 1974)
"When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace" (Bruce D. Porter, Beautiful Mornings, Apr 2013)

D. Todd Christofferson quoted Les Miserable in Redemption, Apr 2013

‘Forget not, never forget that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.’ Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of this promise, stood confounded. The bishop … continued, solemnly: ‘Jean Valjean, my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!’
"I will be merciful unto your weakness" D&C 38:14 (referred to by Craig A. Cardon, The Savior Wants to Forgive, Apr 2013

From 1st Pre Message Apr 2013, He Is Risen, Pres Henry B. Eyring.

In the sacramental prayers, God promises to send the Holy Ghost to be with us (see Moroni 4:3; 5:2; D&C 20:77, 79). I have found in that moment that God can give me what feels like a personal interview. He brings to my attention what I have done that pleases Him, my need for repentance and forgiveness, and the names and faces of people He would have me serve for Him.
Over the years, that repeated experience has turned hope into feelings of charity and brought an assurance that mercy was unlocked for me by the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection.


"One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."
(Finding Joy in the Journey, Thomas S. Monson, Oct 2008)

Do You Aspire to your Finest Deeds

Ezra Taft Benson, To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church, Apr 1988
Now, brethren, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities.
Of course, she should be attractive to you, but do not just date one girl after another for the sole pleasure of dating without seeking the Lord’s confirmation in your choice of your eternal companion.
And one good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?

Friday, April 05, 2013

Two Commandments

From The Holy Secret
Have you ever wondered why the Lord, in the garden of Eden, gave Adam and Eve two commandments that couldn't both be kept at the same time?
"What compelled them to turn to the Savior?"
"Their transgression of the law", Michael nodded "Their brokenness under the law awakened them to their need for a Savior. A Savior who could then take them far beyond where they had been."
When we like the people of King Benjamin and Adam and Eve before them, become awakened to our brokenness under the law and throw ourselves contritely at the Lord's feet, He will make our scarlet sins as snow and purify our broken hearts that we too might be changed by the Spirit into beings that "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually' (Mosiah 5:2)
Which brings us to the central, contrition-inviting hub of the commandments, the sin-exposing commandment of the Sabbath...