Saturday, April 30, 2011

Painted Into a Corner

Our choices determine a lot about our lives.  One wrong choice can have serious consequences.  The good news is that God has given us guidance and direction to help us make the right choices.  Through His prophets, God gives us commandments.  The Book of Mormon prophet Alma teaches us that "wickedness never was happiness (Alma 41:10), or in other words, when we break God's commandments, we're not happy.  When we follow the counsel of God's ancient and modern prophets, we're going to be happy.  Disobedience, however fun and exciting it seems at the time, always leads to separation from God. 

Elder Robert D. Hales of the quorum of the 12 apostles shared the following experience:

In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.  (Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life, Ensign Nov. 2010)

When we make wrong choices, we paint ourselves into the corner.  But we are promised a way out.  Elder Hales relates the process of fixing this problem to repentance:

"Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it." (For the entire address see here)

Repentance is difficult.  But it is the only way to gain forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus Christ died for us and suffered for our sins.  When we earnestly seek God's forgiveness, we will want to follow His commandments.  We will make the choices to bring us closer to Him and His son Jesus Christ. 

I know that Christ came to the earth so that we can all live with God again someday.  I know that we are here to make choices.  The choices we make in this life will determine our happiness on the earth and in our life to come.  My prayer is that we can all read the scriptures and make those correct choices.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The other day my companion and I were doing some service in the community.  We were helping out somebody shovel a big pile of gravel.  We were moving the gravel, with the help of a trusty wheelbarrow to another spot around the building.  At first, the work wasn't all that difficult, just fill the wheelbarrow, roll it around, and dump it.  But as fatigue set in I became a bit discouraged.  Every time we went back to that pile of gravel, it looked exactly the same.  I didn't feel that my efforts in transporting that gravel were accomplishing a whole lot. 
I think a lot of people fall into this trap when trying to help others.  We don't see the immediate results of our efforts so we become discouraged.  Just like the gravel pile, those we are trying to help don't always look or act a whole lot different right away.  Even in our day-to-day interactions with them, we may not recognize how much we really are helping.  However, the Lord has told us to "be not weary in well-doing, for [we] are laying the foundation of a great work" (D&C 64:33). 

So I'll fast-forward to the end of our gravel story.  The gravel will eventually be laid out to make a walkway leading up to a doorway.  Although it doesn't seem very productive at the time, our efforts will help people comfortably get from their cars to the doorway of that building. 

I know that as we continue to help others, God will bless us.  It may be difficult or frustrating, but our efforts are appreciated.  We will come to know that "out of small things proceedeth that which is great"!  And that's a promise!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Hosanna

I love Christmas.  But I love Easter too.  Those are probably the two biggest holidays to any Christian.  The reality of the birth, atonement, and resurrection of the Savior are extremely vital pieces of information to know.  Also, in Montana, the weather around both times of the year is very similar.  I know that Christ lives!  One thing about Christmas that everyone loves is the music.  The joyous strains of that season can be heard for months.  I wish Easter could have the same feel to it.

There's a great song that can be found in the LDS Children's Songbook called Easter Hosanna. It shares the glorious message of Christ's resurrection:

The prophecies of long ago were now at last fulfilled,
When Jesus, risen from the dead, to man Himself revealed.
As He came down from heaven above, white-robed and glorified,
The people of the promised land received their Lord and cried:
Hosanna!  Blessed be the name of the Most High God!

I want to bear my witness of the Savior. He lives!  The accounts of Jesus Christ found in the New Testament are true!  He suffered for our sins.  He was cruelly arrested, tried, and beaten.  Our Lord and Redeemer was crucified and died so that we all might live!  It is through Him and only through Him that we can return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven.  I know that this is true and that His church is restored!

To learn more about Christ's restored church, visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"He is Not Here, But is Risen"

Well, Easter's coming up.  Easter is awesome!  We get a chance, with all of our Christian brothers and sisters, to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.  I am grateful to know of the reality of this event nearly 2,000 years ago.   Jesus Christ really did come forth from the tomb.

I love the account in Luke:

"1. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
 2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
 3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
 4. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
 5. And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
 6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee" (Luke 24:1-6 italics added)

What really impresses me is how these women respond to the message from this heavenly messenger.  The scripture continues to say that "they remembered his words"(v. 8).  What a great example we can take from that!  We all can have experiences like these women.  We might not see an angel, but we can hear the Holy Ghost bear witness to us that Jesus Christ is our savior and He "is risen"!  I hope that when we feel this witness from the Holy Ghost we can "remember his words" and keep them in our hearts.  We should then remember the words of Christ and do our best to keep His commandments and live His gospel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Forgive, and Ye Shall Be Forgiven"

Forgiveness is a hard thing.  People are really mean sometimes.  It's really hard to forgive someone for doing something that makes your life difficult or inconvenient.  Trespasses against us range from the menial to the severe.  But forgiveness is essential to any disciple of Christ.

Jesus Christ shared a parable about a king and his servant.  The servant owed his king a very large debt.  The time of reckoning eventually came and the king wanted his money.  The servant begged for forgiveness.  The merciful king "was moved with compassion ... and forgave him the debt".  This is a great manifestation of the principle of forgiveness.  Just like this servant, we can be forgiven of all our sins, when we disobey God's commandments.  But the story goes on.  The forgiven servant remembered a debt one of his "fellowservants" owed him.  This debt was much smaller than the original amount owed to the king.  This unrighteous man demanded the money.  Similar to his creditor, the debtor begged for mercy, "Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all".  The unrighteous servant would not forgive him but "cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt".

We don't want to be like this wicked servant.  When we feel the peace and mercy of Christ's love in our lives, we should show that to others.  We should follow our Savior's example and forgive others.  We don't need to hold grudges or seek revenge.  We can know true happiness with others when we master the art of forgiveness.  In fact, to be forgiven of our own sins we must learn to forgive others.  We must school all our feelings and follow the example of our savior. 

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6: 37)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Articles of Faith #13

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things"

So this is the last Article of Faith.  It kinda sums up everything we, as members of Jesus Christ's church, try to do and be.  We believe it is important to be a good person.  We believe in being honest and true in our dealings with our fellow men.  We believe that chastity, benevolence, and virtue should "garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly" (D&C 121: 45). In short, we believe in following the example set by Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is perfect.  Although He was tempted, He never broke God's commandments.  He was baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness".  Christ spent his entire life going "about doing good" (Acts 10:38).  He caused the blind see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear.  He brought people back to life, walked on water, and miraculously fed vast multitudes.  Christ understood perfectly what His Heavenly Father expected of Him.  Our Savior showed this by taking upon Himself the sins of the world.  Just before His suffering on the cross was over he uttered the words: "it is finished" (John 19:30).  Our Lord and redeemer Jesus Christ truly finished His work on this earth. 

We believe that we need to follow Christ's example.  He did His work and we need to do ours.  He is the embodiment of faith, hope, and charity.  As members of His church we are to build those qualities in our own lives.  He spent His entire life in service to His fellowmen.  It is our purpose, as Christ's church, to provide needed help to all of God's children.  Jesus Christ set the perfect example and we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, believe we should follow Him.  Just like the original disciples, Christ invites us to follow Him
Just like our savior, we need to help others in any way we can.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.  I know that His church is restored.  God has called a prophet in these latter days.  God speaks through His prophet!  I firmly believe when we do our best to follow Christ's example "the windows of heaven" will be opened unto us.  Of this I humbly and sincerely testify.

For more on The Articles of Faith see

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Articles of Faith #12

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law"

We firmly believe that earthly governments and authorities ought to be respected and upheld.  The Lord said, in a revelation to His prophet, that "the law of the land ... is justifiable before me" (D&C 98: 5).  We have a duty, as God's children, to live according to the law and be upstanding members of society.  In addition to simply living within the confines of the law, we believe it is important to participate in the process as much as we can.  It is important to vote on whom the "kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates" are.  We are to stand up and have our voice heard on issues of law and government.  We are to defend our rights of worship, morality, speech, and many others.  But as we do so, we are not representing the church.  We are fulfilling our duty as citizens of our respective societies.

I believe that Jesus Christ lives!  I know His church and His priesthood are restored to the earth.  I know that as we follow His example and live the laws of the land, we can be true representatives of Him.

For more on the Articles of Faith, see

Friday, April 1, 2011

Articles of Faith #11

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may"

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe in religious freedom.  We claim that right for ourselves and we don't try to stop anyone from exercising that right for themselves.  There are millions of different religious beliefs and no matter the faith, we, as a church, are accepting.  All are free to "worship how, where, or what they may". 

Now, as a missionary, I have been challenged on this point.  Some accuse me (and other missionaries) of trying to infringe upon that basic right of humanity.  They believe that we want to "force" everyone to believe what we believe.  In this I answer that we are following the example of Jesus Christ.  He did not force anyone to believe.  He did not encroach on any church's right to believe in whatever they wanted.  He simply taught the truth and invited people to accept and act on that truth.  In fact, we as missionaries, are not discouraging people to exercise their freedom of worship but actively and diligently encouraging others to use this freedom.  It is great to live in a society where we, as citizens, can gather all the information we want (scholastically and spiritually) and use that knowledge to act "according to the dictates of our own conscience".  Like Christ, we simply teach the truth and invite others to take advantage of this wonderful freedom that we have.

I know that Christ's church is restored.  I know that His priesthood is on the earth.  I know that God is merciful and will help us when we come to Him in prayer.  I pray that all can exercise their freedom of worship and do just that.