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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Promise

"He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost"
(2 Ne. 31:12)
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Distractions

Nephi had just received the interrpretation of the dream his father had seen, and it says he had "seen all things".

I bet he would have loved to come home, maybe take some time to internalize what he had seen and felt, maybe share with his family some of the parts - just dwell in the Spirit.

Well, this is what he came back to:

"And it came to pass that I behled my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them".
"And I Nephi was grieved becasue of the hardness of their hearts...."
(1 Nephi 14:2,4)

Maybe we've all had times like this when we have felt the spirit, or the Lords love, and something has happened which seems determined to drive out feelings of peace, and to encourage us to question what we have felt. A few verses later it says "after [Nephi] had received strength" he spoke to his brethren about it. I take comfort in this experience, that this is a pattern which sometimes happens, and if we feel like there a million other people have felt that too, that we too will receive strength. We must never forget what the Lord tells us, other peoples opinions can't change that, and the Lord will give us strength to help them too, when the time is right.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sailing Attitudes

** This is based on something that I read sometime, I can't remember the original source, sorry.....

To me, there is a lot of symbolism in the Book of Mormon. One part that I have thought about is when Lehi and his family are travelling on the boat to America. As they begin, the sailing is smooth and they make good progress. The Liahona is working and their spirits are high. Later, as the journey continues, negative attitudes set in while Laman and Lemuel try to make everyone on board the ship likewise negative and unhappy. Nephi is tied to the mast and no pleading on the part of their parents seems to make any difference. A great storm that matches the emotions on board the ship arises. Rain pours down, thunder crashes and the waves rock the boat violently. Determined to hold tight to their negative emotions and feelings, Laman and Lemuel refuse to untie Nephi. For four days they go on like this. Those on board no longer govern the direction of the ship, but rather it is by the cruel waves and wind that they are driven. They did not need to concern themselves with making any progress on their journey at this point because it was all they could do keep from drowning! No reasoning or logic would change the minds of those so determined to cause unhappiness. Finally, the storm becomes so violent that fear causes their hearts to be softened, Nephi is released, and the winds again became calm and the boat is able to progress toward the promised land.

I see this drama of the boat played out often in individual lives; the people on the boat being our families, wards, etc. or even just our own individual lives and the struggles we have within. When we have good moods, positive attitudes, and clear directions as to how to attain our goals, progress is easily made and the sailing is smooth. But when the prevailing attitude is negative, the storm that is created and shuts down much of our ability to progress, or even control our direction, as we just try to keep from drowning. It is amazing to me how many times we like to cling to those negatives thoughts and attitudes just as Laman and Lemuel did for several days.

Recently, I was reading an article about all the effects that our mood alone can have on just our ability to learn and the ability of those around us to learn. When we are in a good mood, we think clearly, have insights, and are optimistic. In this mode, learning is a joy and something we do to further our understanding of the world and improve our lives. But if our mood is negative, we no longer see or think clearly. Learning becomes an obstacle which is difficult to get through. Rather than insights and understanding, we have difficulty seeing logically which causes further frustration. While positive moods can be contagious, it seems that it is only negative moods that are able to spread in epidemic proportions.

Aristotle said: “We are what we consistently do; excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” It’s the same with our attitudes. The more we choose to be positive in our thinking, the more this will be a constant state of mind for us, and happiness will be much easier to achieve.
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Monday, April 27, 2009

From Trial Comes Refined Beauty

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”
“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

(1 Peter 4:12 - 13)

Bishop H Burke Peterson:
“Just for a moment, think with me. Forget the trials you now have. Remember back to those trials you had last year, five years ago, ten years ago. What did you gain? What did you learn? Are you better prepared now because of them?

It's interesting to note that from the depths of trial and despair have come some of the most beautiful and classic passages of modern-day scripture-not from the ease of a comfortable circumstance. Might this also be the case in our own lives! From trial comes refined beauty.”

I hope so too:)
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nova Scotia Discouragement

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared:

"Never get discouraged. . . . If I was sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I'd . . . hang on, exercise faith and keep up good courage and I should come out on the top."
(George A. Smith, Memoirs of George A. Smith, pp.81-82.)
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Friday, April 24, 2009

We Are Somebody

"As children of God, we are somebody. He will build us, mold us, and magnify us if we will but hold our heads up, our arms out, and walk with Him."
(Marvin J. Ashton, Faith)
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

What People Remember

"The [people whose] lives you touch may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

(David B. Haight, Ensign, Nov. 1976)
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good Cheer

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him”
(Abraham Lincoln, 1862)


“Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name….”
(D&C 112:4)

I hope you feel the Lords love for you engraved upon your hearts today, and help others to feel it too:)
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

In Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds herself coming to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I take?”

The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t really matter which path you take.”

Unlike Alice, each of us knows where he or she wants to go. It does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life surely leads to the path we shall follow in the next.

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:6
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Mormonad Video - Wish You Were Here

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Conference Learning Pt 2 - The President of the Church is here

I think it would bless our lives immeasurably if we had the kind of attitude about the words of prophets that is shared by Jeffrey R Holland in the story below:

“I was recently in Vavau, Tonga. It is a little island that is 1-1/2 hours away from Nuku’alofa by plane and twenty-four hours away by boat. By boat is the worst trip that can be made. (If you don’t believe that, ask Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who went there recently to organize a stake and couldn’t get a plane.) When the Area Conference was announced for Tonga, it was determined that only one boat would be available for the Saints from Vavau. The boat held 150 people. If you stuffed bodies into every possible corner of the ship, you could get close to 300 people. Eight Hundred Tongans jammed onto that boat and stood up for twenty-four hours without sleep, without food, without drink, without anything—because they knew that a prophet of God was going to be in their islands and they were not going to miss him for anything in the world.

“Do you want to go to conference that badly? Do you care that a prophet of God is speaking in the neighborhood? Do you care enough to flip on a television set, a radio, or to come to [a] building to watch a priesthood meeting? Eight hundred people stood up for twenty-four hours to get to conference . . . “The President of the Church is here,” they said.

“That’s our prophet, and we may not see him again soon.” And they came.”
(“Remembered and Nourished by the Good Word of God,” Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU, Sept 26, 1976
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If an announcement came that the Savior himself would speak in General Conference today, would our attitude and preparation for the event change at all? Of course He will. He had made his will abundantly clear in this matter. “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38) Not “almost the same,” or “very similar.” or “nearly identical.” It is the same. We are under divine directive to treat the inspired words we hear from the Lord’s servants as we would treat his words. Thus we can honestly ask ourselves. “What did the Savior ask me to do in this past Conference?”

If the Savior was going to speak and the program was going to be broadcast to your television, what other events or considerations would be significant enough to cause you to skip the opportunity? What if an announcement came that the lead article in next month’s Ensign was to be written by the Lord himself? How difficult would it be to convince you not to read it?

The Lord emphasized this point in a revelation given the day the Church was organized. “For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”

It is not enough to talk about conference. It is not enough to come to conference or to sit and listen to conference or to hear the words spoken in conference. We must make application to our own lives. We must be different because of the conference experience. We must do something".
(Ted Gibbons)

I hope today brings you closer to the Saviour.
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Conference Learning Pt 1 - Turning and Looking

Nephi and Lehi were travelling to the land of Nephi when they were captured by the Lamanites and thrown into prison. Whilst in prison they were encircled by fire, but unharmed, the Lamanites couldn’t kill them and the prison walls then began to shake, but did not tumble. The sky then changed, and the land was overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and they heard a voice coming from above the darkness that said:

“……Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.
“And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—
“And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse—
(Helaman 5:29 - 31)

They heard the voice a further two times, but still the darkness did not disperse.

“Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.
“And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld.
“And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi.

(Helaman 5:35 - 37)

I thought about these verses in relation to General Conference. The Lamanites had obviously witnessed the miracle of fire encircling Nephi & Lehi, and them being unharmed, and they heard the voice of God from Heaven also, but the darkness which had come upon them still didn’t lift. They were directed to “turn and look” upon the faces of the prophets, and only as they did this and followed their teachings, developing faith in Christ, did the cloud disperse.

My prayer is that as we go to Conference this weekend that we will “look” for the 'still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,' that we will “turn” to the Prophets and Apostles and hear the words the Lord wishes to speak to us, that any clouds of darkness we may be experiencing may also be lifted.

How blessed we are to have the technology that allows us to hear the Lords words, firsthand, from the lips of our Prophets.
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spiritual Manifestations - Part 2

Elder Boyd K. Packer shares about gaining his testimony of the Book of Mormon. He says:

“If I expected a glorious manifestation to come at once as an overpowering experience, it did not happen. Nevertheless, it felt good, and I began to believe.

If I had expected in my little-boy innocence some special spiritual experience, it had not happened. Over the years as I listened to sermons and lessons and read in the Book of Mormon, I began to understand.

[An] example: We once had a major decision to make. When our prayers left us uncertain, I went to see Elder Harold B. Lee. He counseled us to proceed. Sensing that I was still very unsettled, he said, "The problem with you is you want to see the end from the beginning." Then he quoted this verse from the Book of Mormon, "Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6).

He added, "You must learn to walk a few steps ahead into the darkness, and then the light will turn on and go before you." That was a life-changing experience from one verse in the Book of Mormon.
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Then I remembered these two quotes:
Personal revelation comes with different forms of answers. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains these different answers:
“When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
“When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
“When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth.”


Remember this counsel ...... Elder Boyd K. Packer said:
“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? It may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them. The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’
(D&C 98:12).

I just felt so excited when I put all these things together (maybe you had to be there with me:). But I have been in positions frequently in my life where I have been trying to get answers to questions in my life, and basically from these experiences it confirms to me that the big manifestations are rare, and that most of us won’t have these life-changing experiences, but that as we live the gospel the pieces of the jigsaw-puzzle will come together for us, 'as a natural
consequence to the performance of duty'.

Continue to live faithfully, and everything will fall into place. I promise.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spiritual Manifestations - Part 1

So I was re-reading some old things I had written down and found three quotes I had put together that had helped me to learn about the kind of manifestations Hevanely Father typically gives. It's rather long so I'm going to split them up into two posts. Here's quote one:


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President David O. McKay always imagined that he would get his testimony of the gospel ‘out in the groves or on the hills’. One day he was riding over the hills on his horse, and it seemed to be the perfect setting for this spiritual manifestation. He said he got off his horse and ‘knelt by the side of a tree. The air was clear and pure, the sunshine delightful; the growing verdure and flowers scented the air….’ – sounds perfect huh? – He continues: “I knelt down and with all the fervour of my heart poured out heart to God and asked him for a testimony of this gospel. I had in mind that there would be some manifestation; that I should receive some transformation that would leave me absolutely without doubt."

“I got up, mounted my horse, and as he started over the trail, I remember rather introspectively searching myself and involuntarily shaking my head, saying to myself, ‘No, sir, there is no change; I am just the same boy I was before I knelt down.’ The anticipated manifestation had not come.”

Even though he did not immediately receive the manifestation he expected, President McKay continued to seek a personal witness. He later related that “the spiritual manifestation for which I had prayed as a boy in my teens came as a natural consequence to the performance of duty.”
(Teachings of the President of the Church – David O. McKay, p.166)



Quote 2 tomorrow.....
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