Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Right Ones

There's a really good movie that came out in 2004 called "Miracle".  This movie takes place back in the time when hockey was cool.  It depicts the organizing, development, and eventual success of the United States men's hockey team that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. This team faced a lot of adversity while looking forward to the Olympics.  But they overcame that and shocked the world when they beat the heavily favored Soviet team to advance to the Gold-Medal round, in which they defeated the Finnish team to claim the top prize.

Near the beginning of the film, the head coach, Herb Brooks, is setting the final roster in place.  One of his assistant coaches questions his decision:

"You're missing some of the best players" he says.

Herb answers back, "I'm not looking for the best players.  I'm looking for the right ones".

 Herb Brooks knew what he wanted to do with this team.  He knew what it would take to create an Olympic-ready hockey team.  He didn't take the easy way out and make it simply a test of hockey skills.  But coach Brooks examined each player's personal talents.  He made his decision to create the best team chemistry, to mix different personalities and characters.  This chemistry is what ultimately refined them and prepared them to defeat the Soviets.  It truly was a miracle.

I think there's something to learn from all of this.  I believe that God has this same attitude with His children.  Our Heavenly Father calls prophets to help teach His children here on the Earth.  These prophets are normal people who are called to a not-so-normal role.

One good example of this is Moses.  Moses said of himself that he was "slow of speech, and of a slow tongue"(Exodus 4:10).  He thought that a prophet should be able to communicate with people and he struggled with that.  Some might think that Moses wasn't the best man for the job.  But God doesn't care who "the best" people are, He just wants "the right ones".  Through an imperfect man, God miraculously led Israel out of Egypt, counseled them for forty years in the wilderness, and issued the still-relevant ten commandments.

So if you ever doubt yourself, just think about all of the imperfect people through whom God has done His bidding.  We may not be "the best" people for whatever we have to do.  But if God wants us to do something to fulfill His purposes, we are "the right ones".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bound with the Bands

Imagine you're sitting on your couch watching TV.  You realize that you're thirsty so you want to go to the refrigerator and get a drink of cranberry juice.  But you can't move because you're wrapped up in strong bands - sort of like a mummy from the catacombs of ancient Egypt.  You would do all you could to get yourself out of those bands.  If you knew how to get those things off of you, nothing would stop you.  You would do all you could to release yourself and attain that refreshing beverage. 

We put ourselves in a similar situation when we sin.  Although it sometimes may seem otherwise, the commandments of God are in place to keep us free and happy.  When we break those commandments we are literally binding ourself in sin. I like how the Book of Mormon prophet Alma puts it, when we sin, we are "bound with the bands of iniquity" (Mosiah 23:12).  They keep us from enjoying the blessings of the gospel.  Most importantly, they keep us from having the Holy Ghost's influence in our lives.

Now let's go back to that comparison I made earlier.  Imagine there's someone who will help you out of those dreadful bands.  He's completely willing to help.  But you have to accept that help before he can.  Of course that man is the Savior Jesus Christ.  If we allow Him to help us, He will. 

So I encourage all who feel they are "bound with the bands" of sin to ask God for forgiveness.  Live the commandments and free yourself, with the help of the Lord!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All About Mormons: Why don't they drink Coke?

"Why don't Mormons drink Coke?"

Although this question is a bit faulty, I have heard it a lot.  The rumor gets around that the LDS church doesn't let their members drink a certain carbonated soft drink.  Now I personally have never heard any official statement from the church telling us not to drink it, but I think I understand where this notion comes from.

In 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation commonly known as "The Word of Wisdom" (D&C 89).  It is a law of health received from God.  The principles taught in The Word of Wisdom outline the things we should and shouldn't take into our bodies.  In it, the Lord tells us that "hot drinks are not for the body or belly" (v. 9).  Through modern revelation we learn that the term "hot drinks" refers to coffee and tea.  Now, these substances are definitely against the Word of Wisdom and must be avoided to follow the counsel of God and His prophets.  Other than alcohol, no other drink is prohibited in the Word of Wisdom.

But, many believe we are told to abstain from coffee & tea because of the high amounts of caffeine found therein.  In addition to this many sources in and out of the LDS church have found caffeine to be a harmful and addictive substance (for examples see here & here).  But, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never, to my knowledge, made an official statement advising us not to drink caffeinated beverages.

In short, Latter-Day saints are a health-conscious people.  Some don't drink caffeinated drinks or soda because it's simply not good for you.

If you would like to submit a question to "All About Mormons" hit me up on facebook or leave it as a comment right here on my blog!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

All About Mormons: Why go on a mission?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is one of the fastest-growing churches in the world.  It is continuing to grow as the truth goes to the entire world.  As a missionary, I get a lot of questions about the church.  Many people wonder about our church.  I will try to make our faith less of a mystery.  I will do this by recalling and accepting common (or maybe not so common) questions about "The Mormons".

"Why would a 19-year-old kid go on a mission for his church?"

This seemed like a good question to start with.  I've heard it more than a few times as I've met with people who don't know much about the church.  Tens of thousands of young men put off their own pursuits for two years to teach others about a church.  In today's world (especially among college-age young men) it really is quite an interesting phenomenon.  Not only is it young men, young women and senior couples also put their lives on hold to spend all their time and attention on work for their church. 

So why do they do it???

Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I do it.  I don't see it as a rite of passage or a way to please my parents and church leaders.  It's not simply a way to see the world or just to have fun in Montana.  I have been called by a prophet of God to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that what I am teaching others is true.  I have read the Book of Mormon, and I have prayed to know that it is true.  It is!  I have felt the love of Jesus Christ and the power of His atonement.  I know that the authority to lead Jesus Christ's church has been restored to the earth.  And as a missionary of His church, I do all I can to help others gain that knowledge and feel of that love

They should be wearing helmets.

So  the next time you see two young men in white shirts and ties walking or riding their bikes down the street, that's something to think about.  They have been called by God.

If you would like to submit a question you've heard or a question that you have, hit me up on facebook or leave it as a comment right here on my blog!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers Are The Best!

The coolest people in the world are loving mothers.  It's that simple.  Nothing in life can replace the support, love, and encouragement provided by the moms in the world. I know I would be lost were it not for my mother helping and supporting me along the way.  Whenever I have a tough day on my mission, I can take comfort that my mom is praying for me and wishing me the best back home.

One of Christ's last actions was an expression of love towards His earthly mother.  As Jesus was dying on the cross, He saw Mary and the apostle John standing near each other.  The Savior said to "his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home" (John 19:26-27).  In His hour of death, the Savior of the world recognized the importance of honoring and caring for His own mother.  

We should all follow His example.