Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Year

It's almost 2011!  That's the new year!  Times like this always remind me of changes I've made in my life.  Changes are good but only if they're for the better.  The prophet Moroni has invited all of us to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" (Moroni 10:32).  These are the changes we should all be making in our lives.  If something brings us closer to Christ, it is a good thing. 

After coming unto Christ, we are to "be perfected in him".  The word "perfect" seems unattainable but Christ has commanded us all to "be ye therefore perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  The only way we can do this is through repentance.  Christ has suffered for every wrong choice we've ever made.  We don't need to suffer for those sins because of Christ's atonement.  As we accept that atononing sacrifice we are truly "perfected in him"!  I bear my witness that Jesus is the Christ.  He lives and loves each of us.  As we begin this new year I urge all reading this to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him".

Friday, December 24, 2010

Be of Good Cheer

Today is Christmas Eve.  Tonight will be a night of much pageantry and celebration.  Much is spoken of Santa Claus, reindeer, presents, candy, trees, elves and mistletoe.  But this Christmas Eve I would like to focus on "The Night Before Christmas" 2010 years ago on the American continent.

A sign was prophesied to come declaring Christ's birth to the Nephites and Lamanites.  There were many who did not beleive in Christ and they persecuted those who did.  The wicked populous assigned a day when all the people who beleived in Jesus would "be put to death except the sign should come to pass".  This obviously caused quite a commotion among the beleivers.  Like christians in the time of Christ and today, their faith was tremendously tested.  The day before that dreadful day, the leader of the church, Nephi, took the oppurtunity to offer up his heart to the Lord.  He was understandably worried about what was happening the next day.  The Lord's answer gives me comfort, "Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world" (3 Nephi 1:9,13). 

"Be of good cheer".  That was what Nephi needed to hear and that is Christ's message to all.  No matter the trial, Christ invites us to "be of good cheer".  Even when releif seems inpossible, "be of good cheer".  Jesus Christ truly has overcome all.  As we come closer to Him we will be happy.  No matter what our circumstances may be, by following Christ we will find joy.

I know that Christ was born of Mary at Bethlehem.  I know He healed many people and performed many other miracles.  I know Christ died for us and I know He lives for us.  And this Christmas Eve I invite all humble followers of the Christ to "be of good cheer" and trust in our savior.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look to the Light

This Video is great.  It shows how Christ can make a difference in anybody's life.  It shows how anybody can find Christ and refocus on what is important.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joy to the World

It's Christmas time!  It's the best.  I love seeing all the lights around the neighborhood.  I love the Christmas trees lit up in people's windows.  I love the seasonal cookies.  I love the fresh snow (except when I'm behind the wheel).  I like fudge too.  But the best part of Christmas is the music.  I firmly beleive the immortal words of the movie Elf, "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear"!

Heavenly Father sent His son to the earth.  Jesus Christ is truly the Savior of the World.  This time is set apart by christians (and some non-christians) everywhere to celebrate His coming into the world.  One song that illustrates the joy we should all feel is Joy to the World. 

Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare him room,
And saints and angels sing.

I love this hymn.  Jesus Christ is the king of kings.  I hope we can all follow the advice given here and "prepare Him room" in our hearts.  That is the true Christmas spirit, when Christ enters our hearts.  When this happens is when "saints and angels sing" together the praises of our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ.

I invite anybody reading this to take time amidst all the cookies, fudge, lights, presents, and reindeer to listen to and ponder on these oft-sung Christmas carols.  Your burdens will be lightened and your life will be happier as you more fully understand and accept the importance of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Behold the Lamb of God"

When Jesus Christ came to John the baptist, John recognized Christ, as the long-foretold messiah.  When the baptist saw "Jesus coming unto him" he exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29).  John knew that Jesus was the son of God, the savior of the world.

Let's rewind 600 years to the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi.  Nephi was shown visions of a lot of cool stuff.  He was shown the birth, life, ministry and death of Jesus Christ.  While seeing the savior's birth, Nephi "looked and beheld [Mary] bearing a child in her arms".  An angel then proclaimed to the prophet those same words used by John the baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the son of the Eternal Father!" (1 Nephi 11:20-21).

In this time of holidays and shopping, festivities and presents, it is good to remember why we celebrate Christmas.  Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born of Mary.  I invite all to follow the example of Nephi and John.  "Behold the Lamb of God"!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The church of Jesus Christ

When Christ was on the earth he established a church.  It was called after His name and built on His doctrine.  He called twelve apostles (Matt. 10) to help govern the church.  As the church grew, Christ called "other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face" to declare Christ's message abroad (Luke 10:1).  After Christ's death, the twelve apostles were left to govern the affairs of the church in the savior's stead.  The group of twelve apostles was meant to continue on as illustrated in the first chapter of  the book of Acts.  Matthias is called to fill the vacancy left by the traitorous Judas Iscariot.  Somewhere along the line, the priesthood; held by the apostles; was lost.  The church over which they governed was corrupted and distorted.  Over hundreds and even thousands of years, many Christian churches were established and spread around the world.

In our present day, Christ has established His church to the earth.  He has restored the priesthood through John the Baptist and three of His original apostles.  He has restored the keys of baptism and the apostleship.  The church of Jesus Christ is on the earth.

One remarkable thing I've noticed of Christ's restored church is that it's the same wherever you go.  I grew up in Pennsylvania and attended church my whole life.  When I went away to school and attended church there, I was amazed that it was very much the same church.  On my mission I've attended church in Montana and Wyoming and guess what, it's the same church.  Vastly different people gathering to worship in tremendously varied locales around the world are all unified in their love for, their testimony of, and their devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  His Kingdom is on the earth.  It will continue to fill the world.  And the doctrines will be kept pure through the leadership and church government established by Him from whom it came.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Thou art the Christ"

In the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew is recorded a remarkable exchange between our savior, Jesus Christ, and His apostles.  He asks them, "Whom do men say that I the son of man am?".  The apostles give various answers reflecting rumors of the time, "some say thou art John the baptist: some, Elias (Elijah); and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets".  Through their own reasoning, men at the time of Christ came up with many theories about who Christ could be and how He had so much power to heal and perform the miracles He did.  These ideas were an attempt to explain, through man's intelligence how one man could have such power.

Christ then asked His disciples, "But whom say ye that I am?".  The apostle Peter then answered with the most pure testimony of Jesus anybody could give: "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God".  Peter knew his master and his master's role.  Christ is the son of God.  He is the savior of the world.  He is the long-awaited Messiah.  He is the Christ. 

Along with Peter, I know that Jesus is the Christ.  And that knowledge is available to all.  Christ tells Peter how he (Peter) gained that knowledge: "for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven".  That is how we all can know of Christ's divine role, through a personal witness from God.  In the world today, a lot of people believe different things about Jesus Christ.  A lot of really smart people have different ideas ranging from both positive and negative extremes.  But the way to know for ourselves is the way Peter knew almost 2,000 years ago, we must learn from God.

I know that Jesus is the Christ.  I know He is my savior and redeemer, my advocate with the Father.  I know this through the feeling in my heart through the Holy Ghost.

 "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things"(Moroni 10:5)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fulfil all Righteousness

Before Jesus Christ began His ministry on this earth a prophet was sent to "prepare the way" for the Savior of the world.  This man's name was John.  He is commonly known as John the Baptist.  He taught about repentance and he baptized his disciples unto repentance.  John the Baptist held the priesthood authority required to perform this saving ordinance. 

Early in the New Testament account of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry he traveled "from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him".  John recognized the sinless man coming forth to be baptized and didn't feel worthy to perform this act.  Our savior taught a glorious truth when he replied to the baptist, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15).  (Also see 2 Nephi 31: 5-7 in the Book of Mormon)

I know that the words of Christ are true when he said "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).  I know that baptism is required of God to return to live with Him in His kingdom.  I know that God's priesthood authority is necessary in performing this sacred ordinance.  I also know that this priesthood has been restored "to fulfil all righteousness" in these latter days.  Jesus Christ lives and His church is restored.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Agency and the Atonement

I was thinking this morning about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  It is such an important part of our Father in Heaven's plan for us.  I was pondering today on the role of agency, or freedom of choice, in the atonement.  God freely chose His son Jesus Christ to perform the atonement and make salvation possible for all of God's children.  There were other plans presented but God chose to center His plan on His son Jesus Christ and the atonement.  In turn Jesus Christ accepted the call to be our savior.  In the New Testament, the record of Satan tempting Christ is described in great detail.  He could have yielded to the powers of the devil if he wanted to, but He didn't.  He freely chose to continue His mortal ministry.  Also, while suffereing in the garden of Gethsemane Christ uttered the words, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).  Our savior Jesus Christ chose to submit His will to the will of His Father.  Because of choices made by Jesus Christ salvation is available to all.

In following Christ's example, we are to choose to have the atonement in our lives.  As we righteously use our agency and repent of our sins we can return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven.  I know that this is true.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Restoration

The central message that missionaries share with people is the message of the Restoration.  This restoration is referring to Christ's church on the earth.

When Christ was on the Earth He set up a church.  This was not the first time His church was on the earth (nor would it be the last).  But, as we know, Christ was rejected and crucified.  He left His twelve apostles to govern the church.  These men held the priesthood of God and through them Jesus Christ continued to run His church.  Over time, these twelve men were rejected and killed.  With them went God's holy priesthood.  Without the priesthood on the earth Christ's church was lost.  People set up their own churches and professed them to be the true church.  Many of these pepole were honest, truth-seeking people attempting to do God's work.  Much good has come and will continue to come from these churches.  But without the priesthood of God, they could not act in the name of our savior Jesus Christ.

After nearly 2,000 years, our Heavenly Father showed His love to us by restoring that original church.  God called a prophet through whom He restored that priesthood authority held by Christ's original apostles.  There is a prophet on the earth today.  He is assisted by twelve modern-day apostles.  God loves us.  He has restored His church.  I know this to be true.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

God is Our Loving Heavenly Father

God loves us.  He really is our Father in Heaven.  We truly are His children.  I am grateful for this knowledge.  We lived with Him before we came to this Earth.  We are separated from Him now, and we must walk by faith if we hope to return to live with Him someday.

In the Book of Mormon today, I read an example of somebody who has felt God's love.  The prophet, Alma, attempted to teach the wicked people of Ammonihah but was rejected.  He leaves Ammonihah without intending to ever return.  He is obviously pretty upset about the whole situation.  The scriptures recordthat while Alma was "wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul ... an angel of the Lord appeared unto him".  The angel comforted him and told him that he has "great cause to rejoice; for [he had] been faithful in keeping the commandments of God" (Alma 8: 14-15).  So it is with us.  God is happy with us when we do what is right.  He is unhappy when we disobey his commandments.  However he loves us equally either way.  I so bear witness in the name of my savior Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is it for a good reason?

I was reading the Book of Mormon today and I came across an interesting verse.  In this verse the prophet, Alma, is fighting in a war with his people, the Nephites.  At this point Alma is fighting one-on-one with the leader of the opposing army.  As is common in life-threatening situations Alma cries to God to protect him, "O Lord, have mercy and spare my life".  Clearly Alma doesn't want to die right at this moment.  But what caught my attention was Alma's purpose to continue living.  He continues, "spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people" (Alma 2:30).  Alma wasn't fearing death, he simply had more to do with his life.  He was the leader of the Nephite Government and the Church at that time.  He knew that his life being preserved would be a great blessing to many others.

The most important part however is how Alma backed up this statement.  He eventually gave up his role as the "Chief Judge" to devote his life to the ministry to which he was called.  He convinced many to come unto Christ and enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. 

So when we really want something; riches, talents, knowledge, etc. ; we need to consider why we want it.  If it is to fulfill God's purposes, God will likely assist us in attaining that when we come to Him in prayer.

I know that as we seek to do God's will, we will see His hand in all we do.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Spirit World

God has a plan for each of us.  That plan is perfect.  As we follow God's commandments and read the scriptures we can learn more of that plan.  In the scriptures that plan is referred to as the plan of redemption, the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation. 

Part of that plan takes place in what we call the spirit world.  In a conversation with his son, Corianton, the Book of Mormon prophet, Alma taught about the spirit world.  It was revealed to him by an angel of the Lord that "the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, ... whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life" (Alma 40:11).  I know that this is true.  We will reside in the spirit world.  We will live for a time without our bodies to await the eventual time when our spirits and or bodies will be united for the rest of eternity.  But before this resurection we have the incredible opputunity to learn more.  We will be taught of Jesus Christ.  We will learn his gospel.  All men will have the chance to accept the glorious message of the savior. 

We should not, however, delay the process of accepting and acting on the message of Christ's gospel.  As the prophet Amulek taught we should not "procrastinate the day of [our] repentance until the end".  "For that same spirit which doth possess [our] bodies at the time that [we] go out of this life ... will have power to possess your body in that eternal world" (Alma 34:33-34).  We can draw from Amulek's teachings that it will not be an easy thing to accept and live the gospel in the spirit world.  Thus, we should do all we can while in this life to follow Christ's teachings and prepare for eternal life (see Alma 34:32).

I am truly grateful for the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has provided the way for all men to return to Him.  I am thankful for His atonement.  I thank God every day for his glorious Plan of Salvation and for His son who makes it all possible (see John 3:16). 

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Iron Rod

In the beginning of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi and later his son, Nephi, see a vision of a "Tree of Life".  Leading to this tree is an "iron rod".  This rod provides guidance along the only path to the Tree of Life.  There are many distractions along the way but only by holding fast to the rod of iron can anybody hope to taste of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

In explaining the symbolism of this vision, Nephi says that the "iron rod is the word of God".  "The word of God" as recorded by His prophets is called scripture.  In the light of the restored Gospel we have four books of scripture which we call the Standard Works.  These include The Holy Bible, The Book Of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  In addition to these books of scripture, Christ's living Prophets and Apostles provide us with "the word of God" for daily guidance and direction for our time.

If we can ever hope to reach the Tree of Life we must hold fast to the iron rod.  We must treasure the word of God.  We must read and learn from the scriptures.  We must follow the counsel of modern-day prophets.  We must resist ALL distractions that can and will come along our ways.  To dwell with Heavenly Father for eternity and truly enjoy the fruit of the Tree of Life we must stay on the strait and narrow path leading to Him.  Luckily, we have an iron rod to help us along the way.

And when temptation's power is nigh
Our pathway clouded o'er
Upon the rod we can rely
And Heaven's aid implore
(Hymns #274)

None can escape the mist of darkness.  But as we proceed, holding fast to the iron rod, we can make it.  I add my testimony that Jesus Christ lives.  He has spoken to His prophets in ancient times and He does so now.  Following the counsel of these prophets is how we return to live with our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Through Christ We Can Be Cleansed From Sin

The miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ never ceases to amaze me.  I am forever grateful for Jesus Christ's sacrifice for me.  That is what's been on my mind lately.

Jesus Christ died for us.  That statement and many of similar effect are used a lot in describing the atonement.  That statement is true.  Jesus Christ offered his life as a ransom for all the inhabitants of the Earth.  But there is so much more to it than that.  The events of the atonement began in the garden of Gethsemane.  Our savior suffered more pain than any mortal man could ever handle.  Christ suffered the punishment for the sins of the world.  The punishment that is attached to each law of God must be carried out.  Jesus Christ has taken care of that for each of us.  I know that this is true.  But we are not releived of all responsibility of overcoming sin.  For more on the atonement see

The only way to take advantage of the infinite atonement that our Redeemer performed for us is through sincere and lasting repentance.  We have the promise that if we come unto Christ and repent we can be forgiven of those things that hold us back from him.  We can put the blessings of the atonement into our lives and receive eternal life.  The Savior himself said in a prayer to His and our Father in Heaven that "this is life eternal, that [we] might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

I bear witness that the principle of repentance, as taught through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way we can truly "know ... the only true God".  I know that with repentance, prayer and daily study of God's words (the scriptures), we can "know ... Jesus Christ, whom [God] has sent".  And because of this repentance and obedience to God's commandments we can gain that blessed "life eternal" of which Jesus Christ spoke.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am Elder Hunsaker

Hello friends.  I am Elder Hunsaker.  I am a missionary serving in the Montana Billings Mission.  I am currently serving in Missoula, MT and I love it.  Before I came to Missoula I spent 6 months in a small town called Livingston, MT.  I worked hard and faced a lot of adversity throughout my stay in Livingston.  I love the people there and hope to return someday.  Before Livingston I served in Powell, WY.  I loved it there also.

  I've used different forms of the word, "serve" thus far and I'd like to expand on that thought.  While in Missoula, I talk to people, on the street, on their doorsteps, in their houses, anywhere.  My goal is to teach them about God's restored church.  Yes.  Our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ have restored their church to the earth.  They have called a prophet, who holds the authority to act in God's name for the salvation of His (God's) children.  This authority was lost to the world for centuries and it is restored in its fulness, never to be taken again from the earth.  With this authority came the structure God intends for His church and ordinances, such as baptism, that cannot be performed without this priesthood authority.  For the past year I have shared this and more glorious truths with God's children in Wyoming and Montana.  By doing this I am serving these people.  I am helping them to come closer to their Father in Heaven and their Savior Jesus Christ.  I am also serving God by aiding His purposes.  This service may seem selfless but from it I have gained more than anybody could imagine.  I have seen Christ's gospel change lives.  I have seen it change my life. 

I love this service.