Personal Online Journal

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

O How Great the Plan of Our God!

"My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, does it not fill our hearts and minds with wonder and awe to contemplate the great plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us?" ("O How Great the Plan of Our God!", Dieter F. Uctdorf, Oct 2016)

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Choose to Believe

Following is a post I wrote in a FB Group for my LDS Mission in Australia.

I have not read everyone's story about their experience with the church. Here is mine.

I have always loved church. I do not remember a time in my youth that I did not know it was true. My biggest difficulty is choosing to believe that I could be true to the church. That I choose to believe that Jesus can do in my life what I believe he can do in the life of everyone else.

There was a period several years ago when I looked more closely at history and doctrine of the church that had become much more readily available because of the Internet. I had a ward member choose to leave the church. I did not understand why. I had several, long phone conversations with him. Here is more from that experience.

After spending some time looking inside and considering what I want I came to this. This life had not given me many concrete, completely proven truths. I believe is it designed to be that way. I think we are given opportunities to believe or not to.

I believe that we get what we truly want. If we want rich, close relationships with family and friends we get that. If we choose fear and anxiety it comes along as well. Now I get that there are exceptions to this. Chemical imbalances in our brains. Struggles that we did not seem to choose to take on.

I choose to believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I choose to believe. I want the truths that they teach to be true. I choose to live as if they are. I have felt many, many times how my life is blessed by living by the principles taught at church.

I recognize that there are imperfect people at the founding of the church up to the present time. In high and in local callings. I am one of those imperfect ones.

I love the church. I love the family and friend connections I have because of my association in it. I believe that the church is still undergoing a restoration. That the most bitter branches are being cut off to make room for the sweet fruit. I want to be a part of that process.

I loved the talk Elder Ballard gave earlier this year. I hope it will help many young people navigate their own spiritual journeys safely.

I look forward to hearing how y'all are doing.

I've Got my Mind Set on You

What would be possible if everyone worked for "the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold... Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God"?
(D&C 82:15-20)

What Our Priesthood Keys Can and Cannot Do

Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “the keys of this dispensation” (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection. 
The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.
("The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood", Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apr 2014)
See also "Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women", Gospel Topic Essays