Thursday, May 30, 2013

Experimenting Upon The Word - Desire to Believe

"Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

Whether we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or those seeking to learn more about it, we have a desire to be believe.  Our belief is all teachings of the truth are not complete.  There is so much to learn, and we all have to start somewhere.

What do you desire to believe?

Alma said, “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe." (Alma 32:37)  

Desire is exactly where the Lord wants us to start on our path to belief and knowledge.  He will help us on this journey, by guiding us when we seek him.

For my Experiment on the Word, I have chosen the law of tithing.  To learn more about tithing go here.

I have been attending church since I was 14 years old.  I have always paid my tithing, but I have never deeply understood the law of tithing. I am happy to be pay and be obedient, but I have a desire to understand the reasons and blessings behind it.  I have desired this for a long time!  The Lord has provided me with an opportunity to teach a lesson on tithing to help me in my journey.  

I am excited to share what I learn, and hope you will share with me what you learn. 

What are you going to experiment on?

For more on the topic of believing, read or listen to Elder Jeffery R. Holland's recent general conference address.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Testimony Tuesday - President Monson

In the last week my thoughts have been with the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, especially with the passing of his wife.

We believe that we have a living prophet on earth today that speaks to Jesus Christ and receives revelation for the Church and world as a whole.  To read more about prophets, go here

I have felt a personal witness that President Monson is the prophet and can communicate with our Heavenly Father.  I have been listening to President Monson speak at General Conference for over 15 years; he loves to tell stories about his experiences listening to the Holy Ghost to direct him.  This is one thing that has given me my personal witness that President Monson's is Heavenly Father's prophet on the earth today.  He is a master at listening and obeying the Spirit.  I know President Monson has the ability and inclination to listen for the voice of the Holy Ghost and then to act upon the instruction he receives.  I love knowing that I can listen to the prophet and receive direction from the Lord through him.  It has been a great blessing in my life to learn from the prophets.  If you want to hear or listen to his most recent address to the Church, go here

Monday, May 27, 2013

Experimenting Upon The Word

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.  
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
Alma 32:27-28
We each have to determine for ourselves that the Book of Mormon is true.  This gives us instrustion on how to do so.  After gaining a new testimony of the Book of Mormon we may struggle with understanding and accepting different doctrines of the Gospel.  Or we may wish for a deeper understanding of a principle that we know is true.  How do we proceed to gain or strengthen our testimony on a specific doctrine?

Here are the steps of what Alma teaches in the above scriptures.

1.  Desire to believe
2.  Exericise faith in the word of God
3.  Plant the seed, the word of God, in your heart
4.  Nurture the seed
5.  Evaluate the results of nurturing the seed

For the next few posts I will be expanding on each of the steps.  I invite you to participate by choosing a doctrine of principle of the Gospel that you would desire to strengthen your testimony and experimenting upon the word!  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Winter Quarters Mormon Trail Center

My husband was recently working in Omaha, Nebraska.  So we went out to visit him for two weeks.  While there we went to the Mormon Trail Center in Winter Quarters.  The early Latter-day Saints stayed in Winter Quarters after leaving Nauvoo, Illinois before heading west to the Salt Lake Valley.  

These are a few of the things I enjoyed seeing while I was there.  

While pregnant with my daughter I studied a lot about birth in order to prepare for a good birthing experience.  On display they had Patty Sessions midwife guide.  Patty Sessions was a well known midwife, at that time in the Church serving as a midwife was a calling.

The Saints were not prepared to spend the winter in Winter Quarters.  They lacked many provisions necessary, including vegetables and fruits.  As a result many of the settlers died of scurvy and were buried in a cemetery there.  This is the only surviving gravestone, most were made from wood.  This was for a women named Sarah Porter.  She prayed that all her children would survive the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.  They all did and many of her posterity have come to the Mormon Trail Center. 

A few years ago I read William Clayton's journal of his trip to the Salt Lake Valley.  He went with the first company that included Brigham Young.  In his journal I read that he wrote the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" after hearing the news of the birth of his wife Diantha's first child.  Here are the pictures of William Clayton and Diantha. 

On his trek, he also invented an odometer to calculate how many miles they traveled.  He faithfully kept track and made a map to help others on their trek.  Here is a picture of the replica. Having read about this and then seeing it made the displays much more interesting!

I also loved this photo of the original Nauvoo Temple.  I have always been impressed by the sacrifice the Saints made to build the temple.  The temple gave the Saints so much strength to to press forward on their journey, but I imagine it was difficult to leave the temple behind after sacrificing so much to build it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adversity in the Moment

"Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me."
John 14:1

I often find that during the middle of adversity is when I struggle with remembering God is with me. Like most people, we are going through an experience that is highly stressful. 

I have learned to manage this stress, I have to make active effort to remember the Savior. When I remember the Savior I am at peace. 

Here are a few things I do to keep my mind focused:

- Repeat a memorized scripture in my head over and over. (John 14:1 is currently my favorite for this purpose.)
-  Say a small prayer asking for strength whenever I need it.
- Reflect on the inspiration and personal revelation I have received. I have a list in the back of my calendar I can review at any moment.
- Call a friend to talk - not always about my problems. A conversation with a loving friend is always uplifting.
- Go for a hike and enjoy God's beautiful creation! This always brings me joy! We live in the Rocky Mountains and I love being able to hike by walking out my front door!

These are a few things I do to invite peace in my life. 

What do you do that we could try to apply in or lives?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peace and Adversity

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

How do we feel peace in the midst of our trials and adversity? 

How do we feel peace within the turmoil of the world?

What is the source of that peace?

We will only feel peace through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Elder Quentin L. Cook declared, 

The heavenly aspiration of good people everywhere has and always will be for peace in the world. We must never give up on achieving this goal. But, President Joseph F. Smith taught, “There never can come to the world that spirit of peace and love … until mankind will receive God’s truth and God’s message … , and acknowledge his power and authority which is divine.” (2013 April General Conference, Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness, Sat. Afternoon Session)

In the Garden of Gethesemne the Savior took upon Him our sins and burdens so that He could give us the gift of peace.

By coming to the Savior and placing our burdens at His feet, we will feel the peace that only comes from the Savior.

To feel this peace daily we must strive to feel connected to the Savior through prayer, repentence, studying the scriptures,  and performing service for others.

I have felt the peace that can only come from the Savior. 

In Matthew 11:28 the Savior invites us to partake of His peace with the words,  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He wants to give us this great gift and will bless us with it.

When have you felt the Lord bless you with his peace?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Strength Within the Temple

My heart was to build another House for the Lord.
William Warner Player*

In 1846 the Saints began their Exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley in present day Utah.  Many Saints made it a priority to attend the temple and receive their endowment before heading West. 

Why did they do this when their lives were in danger?

The Saints knew the strength and power that comes from the temple.  They knew they needed that strength and power as they faced the challenges demanded of them as they crossed the plains.  

"Maintaining our spiritual strength is ... a daily challenge.  The greatest source of that spiritual strength comes ... from our temples."  "Eternity Lies Before Us," James E. Faust

Our challenges today are different from the Pioneers, but we need the strength and power that comes from the temple, just as they need.  I have felt the spiritual strength that comes from the temple.  I have felt the difference that it makes in my life.  

In the temple, we learn "where we came from, why we are here, where we may go, and how we may cope with the matter of death." (James E. Faust) Knowing the truths of the eternity, can help up endure the challenges placed before us, just like it did the early Pioneers.  

* I saw this quote on a banner at the Mormon Trail Center in Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

To learn more about temple, go here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Testimony Tuesday - What the Holy Ghost Helped Me to Remember

I taught early morning seminary for 3.5 years.  To learn more about seminary, a scripture class for high school age youth, go here.

This has been my favorite calling in the church.  I loved studying the scriptures and helping my students to learn about Jesus Christ and his Gospel.  

It also very time consumptive.  During my last year teaching, I was going through a particularly challenging time and was overwhelmed by all my responsibilities.  I needed to focus on myself and my family, which meant I needed help.  

I needed someone to teach seminary for me.  But who?  The early morning commitment (it often conflicts with work schedules and getting children to school) made it difficult to find a substitute that would be a good match for my students.

After a week of struggling to know what to do, the Holy Ghost brought to my remembrance that a friend in my ward (what we call our church congregation) had offered to help teach for me.  

In that moment, I felt peace, joy and relief.  Peace that can only come through the Spirit.  

She taught my class for me for two weeks, a service and experience I will not forget.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

All Things to Your Remembrance

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

We are constantly being taught by our Father in Heaven at church, in the scriptures or through others.  At different times in life remembering those teachings will help us endure different experiences. During these times, the Holy Ghost will help us remember the things we have learned when we need them.

Elder Henry B. Eyring suggests asking the question, “Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children?” (“O Remember, Remember,” October 2007)
We need to be proactive in remembering the things we learn.  To remember spiritual experiences, small or large, we can write them in a journal, highlight or underline the appropriate verses in the scriptures. We can have reminders, such as a picture, a song or a plant.
If we pray and ponder about this question, the Holy Ghost will help us to remember what Heavenly Father has done for us.  During a trial the Holy Ghost will also be able to remind us of experiences that will bring us comfort, strength and healing.

Why do we need to remember and recognize what Heavenly Father has taught and one for us?

What happens when we forget God?

In Helaman 12:2 we are taught that when people forget the Lord they "trample under their feet the Holy One."

When we remember what the Lord has done for us, our testimonies grow.  We recognize more and more the blessings the Lord gives us.

How has the Holy Ghost helped you to remember what you have learned?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Enduring Adversity

"The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
Mosiah 24:15

"The Lord has touched my spirit time and again, and more often than not, His touch has reached me through the hand of a friend." Kathleen H. Hughes

Heavenly Father does not leave us alone to bear our burdens.  He will strengthen and support us.

Where do we look to feel and partake of this strength?

As disciples of Christ we have made a covenant through baptism that we,
"are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;  Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life".  (Mosiah 18:8-9)
One way the Lord strengthens us is through the service of family, friends, or even strangers when we need help.  We will find and feel of the Lord's love if we look for it in their actions.

"God knows the needs of His children, and He often works through us, prompting us to help one another. When we act on such promptings, we tread on holy ground, for we are allowed the opportunity to serve as an agent of God in answering a prayer."  Kathleen H. Hughes

How have you been strengthen by the Lord?