I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from The Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.
- President Marion G. Romney

Friday, August 28, 2015

Things that are to come

 The Savior Taught About Future Events
Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (JS-M 1:5-20)
Events to Occur: 
  • Men will try to deceive believers
  • Men will claim to be Christ
  • Believers of Christ will be afflicted, hated, and killed.
  • Believers of Christ will be offended by one another and there will be hate and betrayal among them.
  • False Prophets
  • Iniquity will abound and people will be cold-hearted and lack love for one another.

Promises to the Righteous
  • Those who remain steadfast shall not be overcome and shall be saved
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (JS-M 1:21-55)
Events to Occur
  • False Christ's
  • False Prophets
  • Sign seekers
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • People will be gathered
  •  famine
  • pestilence
  • earthquakes in divers places
Promises to the Righteous
  • Christ will gather his people
  •  Will not be deceived
  • Will be able to see the fulfilling of prophecy
  • Will see the end of wicked
2. Study 1 Nephi 22:16–22; Doctrine and Covenants 97:22, 25. Then write a statement that would give hope to a person who worries about the Second Coming. 
 Doctrine and Covenants 97:25 says, ' Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.' 
TheLord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30)
 Those who are obedient need not fear. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ

One of the problems and blessings of taking a religion class on a block course is that there are so many great principles covered every week that you could go a million different amazing and beautiful directions.

The last two days have been very difficult and amazingly fortifying at the same time. A little back story, my parents live in a basement apartment in the home we live in. I love having them close and our boys get to see their grandparents every day. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that we all love, I'm not just saying that, I know they love it because they say so every day. Four weeks ago my father had surgery to remove a bone spur from his heel. They had to detach his Achilles' tendon and reattach it to complete the procedure. He has been on a wheelie scooter and in bed. My mother has been working very hard to take care of him. 
Wednesday morning as I was preparing to take my youngest son to school I heard my Father yell up the stairs to me. I don't recall what he said, but what I heard was, 'stop your mother before she gets out the door'. I made casual conversation with her until I noticed that she wasn't looking so well. I asked her where she was going, her reply, 'I'm not feeling well so I'm driving myself to the Emergency Room'. I told her, 'no way'. I'd drive her. I called a neighbor to help take my son to school. And started down the driveway. I heard a prompting to call 911 instead. Long story shorter; by last night 9 pm she was no longer able to talk clearly, she was bed-bound and she was struggling to breathe. And Thursday morning she was moved to the Neurological ICU and intubated to help breathing. There have been many prayers offered and she's had priesthood blessings. Given the situation I've been drawn to the story of Christ raising Lazerus from the dead and his sisters' comment that if he had been there he would not have died in the first place. I would like to have been able to write about that miracle for my blog post and receive credit.  I had hopes that quick action and prayer and blessings might have kept things from going further, but how much has my faith and testimony to answered prayers grown while seeing the Lords' hand in our lives at this time? I wouldn't change it. 

So now onto the assigned portion;

Read Luke 10:38–42; 11:1–13; 12:13–40; 13:23–24; 14:16–33 and the institute student manual commentary for Luke 11:5–13, “The Parable of the Friend at Midnight” (p. 115). Make a list of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and what the Savior taught about counting the costs of following Him. 

  1. Identify one of the teachings from your list that you would like to apply more fully in your life. Write a paragraph about how you could apply that teaching and what difference you believe it would make in your life.
  2. Read Luke 14:33; Omni 1:26; Mosiah 2:34; Matthew 13:44–46. Explain in writing what is ultimately required to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

This week in my New Testament class we are discussing and studying the story of when the disciples saw Jesus walk on water in Matthew 14:22-33
A little hindsight into what happened before this block of scripture. John the Baptist had been killed. Jesus was sad, very sad, at the parting of this prophet and great friend. He had remedied his grief in one of the best ways possible by serving thousands of people from a few loaves and fishes. Afterwards he went to the mountain to pray and sent his disciples to the ship.

Soon the little ship was being tossed about in a stormy sea. Jesus went to his disciples, quite literally walking on the water. They had seen Him perform miracles and yet as they saw Him walking on the water they were unsure of who they were seeing and why. I can imagine the water and boat being thrown about made it harder to see and recognize their Savior.

When they first saw Jesus walking on the water they saw a spirit and were afraid. Matthew 14:26 says the following, "And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear."

Peter responds in the following way; "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water."
 Peter wants to trust that it is who he says it is, Jesus Christ. He demonstrates great faith in seeking to know that it is indeed Jesus. He also wants proof.

 "And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."

Then Peter starts to sink; 
 "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me."  He takes his eyes off of the Savior, looks around at the frightening things, the wind the waves and he doubts his faith. 

I love in verse 31 where it speaks of the Saviors' expediency in reaching out to Peter, "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"  Even in his very moment of doubting his faith, the Savior is quick to reach out and lift Peter up. There isn't a moment of hesitation. I am amazed at the swiftness of the Saviors' actions. It is the same way with us, if their is any hesitance it is on our side. 

Doctrine and Covenants 88:67 says the following;
"And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things."

Peter was successful in walking on water because his focus was on the Savior and not on the frightful things of the world. Elder Oaks said the following in a talk on obstacles;
 "Nothing is impossible to those who keep God’s commandments. But help only comes as we move forward.
How do we respond when we are confronted with a task that seems to be impossible?
All of us face obstacles. All of us have challenges. We all walk paths that lead us toward heights we think we cannot ascend. Sooner or later we all stand at the foot of cliffs we think we cannot scale."

Help comes as we take each step forward into the darkness, with an eye single to the glory of Jesus. 

Friday, August 7, 2015


What is a parable?

A look on lds.org gives us this definition for parables;


A simple story used to illustrate and teach a spiritual truth or principle. A parable is based on comparing an ordinary object or event to a truth, and the underlying meaning or message of a parable is often hidden to listeners who are not spiritually prepared to receive it (Matt. 13:10–17).

Why did the Savior teach using parables?
 In Matthew 13:13-15, Mark 4:12, and Luke 8:10 we learn the reasons for using parables to teach was this; to veil the meaning. From the Bible dictionary it says this; The parable coveys to the hearer religious truth exactly in proportion to his faith and intelligence; to the dull and uninspired it is a mere story, 'seeing they see not' while to the instructed and spiritual it reveals the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Thus it is that the parable exhibits the condition of all true knowledge. Only he who seeks finds.' 

I have found in my personal experience that a deeper consideration for the parallels between physical and spiritual things given in parables allows me to understand more about a principle than just reading the words alone. Pondering and asking and seeking for answers gives us time to pause and reflect and for the true teacher, the Holy Ghost to instruct and bear witness of the things that we are learning by way of the spirit. 

How do we apply the parables in our own life? Here are some areas to consider and some parables to read as well.

Read the following parables: parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30); parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matthew 13:47-50); parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44-46); parable of the gospel net (Matthew 13:47-50). Next to each of the following questions write the name of the parable that best answers that question. 

              Which of the above parables goes along with the following scenarios or questions? 
    •  Why does the Church send out so many missionaries?  the mustard seed and leaven
    •  What describes the future growth of the Church of Jesus Christ? the gospel net
    •        How do you explain the remarkable growth of the Church, considering that it is fairly new compared to most world religions and started small in the American frontier? parable of treasures and pearl of great price
    •       Why are some members of the Church willing to sacrifice so much worldly wealth and recognition in order to maintain membership in the Church? treasures and pearl of great price
    •     Why do some Church members choose to leave the Church?parable of the tares 
      Considering the parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price (see Matthew 13:44-46), what sacrifices would you be willing to make to obtain the treasure of the gospel? What sacrifices have you or those you know already made for the gospel? 

    I think that when given the above question that many people think of the big sacrifices that are made to obtain the pearl of great price, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples might include the pioneers and families who gave all they had to go to the temple one time in another country.  We may think that we do not have opportunities to make big sacrifices, but are we making the small ones? If we do not have to travel hours and hours away to attend the temple are we going more often? We live within walking distance to our ward meeting house, are we making every effort to go every Sunday? Are we getting there on time? I bring up these examples because they are ones that I can improve on. We (I) may say that we never have big sacrifices to make to obtain the gospel, do we make consistent small ones that will affect our commitment? 

    My own husband is an example of giving much to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He grew up in Fiji, he attended Catholic church with his grandmother. They went every Sunday. He had aspirations of attending seminary and becoming a priest. He had many friends who were LDS and he loved attending their meetings with them. He was baptized when he was 16 years old. He is the only member of his immediate family who is LDS. Though they were accepting of his choices they still tried to make family gatherings, that included lots of alcohol, a little less comfortable for him, he took it all in stride and never wavered from his decision to follow Christ and do the things necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. He went on to serve a mission because of the sacrifices of a sweet sister, whom he knew from school in New Zealand, she was the librarian at the boarding school he attended. 

    What does the net represent in the parable of the net cast into the sea? (See Matthew 13:47). What does it mean to be gathered into the net? What is represented by the action of gathering the good into vessels and casting the bad away? (See Matthew 13:48-50). 

    The net represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To be gathered means that when it was given to us to decide to grab ahold or drop away and keep sinking we grabbed on. While many are interested at first catch, there are many who do fall away and will not be sorted into the good (safe) vessel of the Atonement the flounder about and get tossed back out to sea.

    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    Jesus' Baptism and John the Baptist

    I love this picture and the event it depicts, the Savior of the world showed by example the way we are to live and though he himself had no sin to be cleansed of was baptized.

     Until now I had not thought much about the man performing ordinance and what he might have felt being asked to be the one to baptize the Savior. One of my very favorite primary songs is Baptism. These are the words to this song;


    1. 1. Jesus came to John the Baptist,
      In Judea long ago,
      And was baptized by immersion
      In the River Jordan's flow.
    2. 2. "To fulfill the law," said Jesus,
      When the Baptist questioned why,
      "And to enter with my Father
      In the kingdom up on high."
    3. 3. Now we know that we must also
      Witness faith in Jesus' word,
      Be baptized to show obedience,
      As was Jesus Christ, our Lord.
    4. Words: Mabel Jones Gabbott, 1910-2004. (c) 1969 IRI
      Music: Crawford Gates, b. 1921. (c) 1969 IRI. Arr. (c) 1981, 1989 IRI 
      The words, 'when the Baptist questioned why' seem to take on a new meaning when you think about what he did and what he was feeling. 
      John the Baptist was a prophet and a baptist. His calling was that of calling men unto repentance by baptism. In Luke 3:16 we read this; 

      John declared that he would baptize with water but that Jesus would baptize “with the Holy Ghost and with fire” 

      As a prophet John the Baptist prepared people to follow Jesus Christ. I imagine the feelings of inadequacy that may follow being asked to baptize the perfect Son of God. Though Christ was not in need of the sanctifying benefits of baptism He knew that to be the perfect exemplar He would lead the straight way for others to follow, even unto the waters of baptism. He demonstrated humility before God the Father and witnessed that he would be obedient in keeping His commandments.

      Another reference in this set of scripture verses is to the presence of the God head in individual forms.  We believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings while unified in purpose, individual in purpose. In Matthew 3:16-17 we read that as Christ is in the waters of the river Jordan to be baptized the voice of God comes down from the Heavens and says, 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' And the Holy Ghost descended as gently as a dove. In the institute manual there is further explanation as to the the Holy Ghost and the dove. 

      'The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that the Holy Ghost did not appear as a dove after the baptism of Jesus Christ. Rather, the descending dove signified that the Holy Ghost was present on that occasion: “The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 81).

      As with any teaching preparation there is so much to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity to think more in depth about this marvelous event and the principles it teaches me.