Thursday, December 16, 2010

Real Meaning of Christmas...a child's narration.

A video to help you get into the spirit of Christmas.  SO precious!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

We often hear the phrase, "The Spirit of Christmas" or "The Christmas Spirit".  What is the Spirit of Christmas?? I often hear others say things like, "I love the spirit of Christmas!" or "I'm feeling the Christmas spirit!" or sometimes even "I just can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit".  I myself have said all of these things. 

So how do we go about feeling this Christmas spirit that everyone seems to always talk about? I love the Christmas season.  I love the decorations, the yummy food, the Christmas music, the parties, the buying of gifts, the visits to Santa etc.  All of these things can help me "get into the Christmas spirit".  But many times I find myself surrounded by these fun things yet still struggle to feel the Christmas spirit in my heart.  Why is that? Although these are all good things, I have learned that in order for me to really and truly feel the Christmas spirit, I have to remember the reason for the season.  I have personally found that the answer to feeling the Chrismas spirit is to simply focus on my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know it's a simple answer, but nonetheless it is the answer.

So how do we do this? It is through our thoughts and actions.  I feel the Christmas spirit when I take the time to sit with my family and read about the birth and life of Jesus Christ in the Bible, or when after the kids go to bed I turn off all the lights and sit in front of the Christmas tree pondering upon the many blessings that I have, or when I sing Christmas hymns or read inspirational Christmas stories with my family.  I feel the Christmas spirit when I stop focusing on myself and my problems and look outward.  It is when I take the time to help those around me and serve those in need that I feel the Christmas spirit.  I'm definitely not perfect at doing all these things. In fact, every year I struggle with getting into the Christmas spirit.  And every year, I have to come to the realization that I need to switch my focus and turn my thoughts to the reason for the season.  It is when I do this that my heart becomes more open to the Christmas spirit. 

And what's great about this is...the spirit of Christmas doesn't have to be felt only at Christmas time.  If we choose, it can be felt all year round.  After all, what is the Spirit of Christmas?? It is the Spirit of Christ.  The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. 

What do you do that helps you feel the Christmas spirit?? I would love to hear your thoughts.

"By focusing on your loved ones, enjoying or building holiday traditions, and following the Savior's example of service, you can give yourself and your family true, lasting Christmas gifts.

Simplify your Christmas by embracing the spiritual side of the season.

The gift of Christmas isn't wrapped up in presents or parties. The gift of Christmas is Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Son of God. As you follow Him, you put people first. You may spend less time in lines and more time serving others. You may spend less money on - and more time with - the people you love. You may lose yourself and you may find everything else that matters."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baptisms for the Dead

Last week my son (12) and daughter (14) were able to participate in Baptisms for the Dead at the Temple. This was my son’s first time participating. He was excited, but a little nervous about it. I couldn’t wait for him to get home so I could hear all about it. When he arrived home, he walked in the door with a big smile on his face. He said, “Mom! It was so much fun! I want to go back next week!!” He couldn’t stop smiling. I had a hard time getting him to go to bed because he just wanted to keep talking about it. :)

I also have fond memories of participating in Baptisms for the Dead as a youth. There is a special spirit there in the Temple, and to be able to be baptized by proxy for those who never had the opportunity in this life is a sweet experience.
Many people not of our faith are confused by this LDS practice. Why do we baptize for the dead?

We believe that Baptism by proper authority, is an essential earthly ordinance for our salvation in the next life. Though Baptism alone doesn’t save us, it is an essential step in accepting and following our Savior Jesus Christ. "Except that a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).

Heavenly Father saw fit, for whatever reason, to put me personally here on earth in an environment where I could learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Well, what about everyone else that has lived on the earth? What of those that never had an opportunity to really learn and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ? And what about those who have lived and died without even hearing of Jesus Christ? So do I just have an advantage over them because of the particular circumstances that I was born in? Are they just damned because they never had the opportunity to be baptized? No. Absolutely not. This is what our church has to say about it:

“Many people have lived on the earth who never heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who were not baptized. Others lived without fully understanding the importance of the ordinance of baptism. Still others were baptized, but without proper authority.

Because He is a loving God, the Lord does not damn those people who, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity for baptism. He has therefore authorized baptisms to be performed by proxy for them. A living person, often a descendant who has become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is baptized in behalf of a deceased person. This work is done by Church members in temples throughout the world.” (

This is GREAT news! This shows the power of God’s grace and love!! God loves ALL of his children and will give everyone who has ever lived upon the earth the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they didn’t have the opportunity in this life, they will have the opportunity to accept in the next life.

Unfortunately there are those not of our faith who are offended by the practice of Baptizing for the dead. Most often it is because they feel that we are forcing deceased persons to be baptized into the church. This is not true. We are only making the gift available to them. 

“Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world. The names of deceased persons are not added to the membership records of the Church.” (

I was reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 the other day. Paul was addressing the people who were saying that there is no resurrection. He says, "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not" (vs. 12-15).

Paul then points out that there would be no purpose in baptizing for the dead if there indeed was no resurrection. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" (vs. 29)

Paul is right.  There would be no reason to do baptisms for the dead if there was no resurrection.  Paul testifies that the resurrection is real and that all will be resurrected. 

I also testify that Christ was indeed resurrected just as all of us will be someday.  I am grateful to know that God is a fair and just God and that through Baptisms for the dead the blessings of the gospel are available to all of God's children.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Lost Pamphlet-Conversion Story #3

"The Lost Pamphlet"
By Wenceslao Salguero
Ensign, Feb. 2001, 60–61

I was born and raised in El Progreso, a small town in southern Guatemala. When I was about 10 years old, an unusual pamphlet came into my hands. It contained the story of Joseph Smith, a young boy who saw a vision of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I was deeply impressed by this story. Unsatisfied with the training I was receiving in the religion of my parents, I wanted to know more about the boy in the pamphlet. But I didn’t know where to get information. In time I lost the pamphlet, but I never forgot about it. I wondered if I would ever find another like it.

As a teenager and young adult, I investigated several religious denominations. I even took classes in their doctrine and received diplomas. But there were aspects of these religions that troubled me, and I felt uncomfortable with the criticism that clergy of different faiths sometimes directed at one another. By this time I had started reading the Bible, and as I compared the Bible with what I saw in the religions I had studied, I became convinced those religions lacked God’s authority.

I knelt many times in prayer, pleading with God to guide me to His true Church. I promised that if He did, I would be faithful in keeping His commandments and would always serve Him.

I had dreams, too, in which I told God I was willing to do anything to receive forgiveness for my sins. I would wake up and find my pillow wet with tears. I also asked God to help me find the pamphlet about Joseph Smith again.

By 1968 I had a wife and son. We moved to Guatemala City so I could find better employment.

On the afternoon of 20 November 1975, two young American women, simply dressed, knocked on our door. They said they had a message for my family. We made an appointment for them to come back at a later time.

I remember the first discussion clearly. One of the young women said a prayer, and then the other one began to talk about Joseph Smith. In her hands was a copy of the pamphlet I had read as a boy! My search for the truth had come to an end in my own living room.

No words can express what I felt at that moment. I wanted to snatch the pamphlet out of her hands. The sisters noticed the way I was looking at it and said they would leave it with me. When they gave me that precious pamphlet, I could hardly believe it. I put it in my shirt pocket to keep it near my heart.

Two days later the sisters returned. When they saw the pamphlet in my pocket, they asked if I had read it. I told them they didn’t realize what it meant to me. I explained I had read it as a boy and had prayed to find it again.

On Sunday our family went to church. We arrived very early, and the sisters were surprised to see us. They hadn’t really invited us, just told us where the building was.

The sisters continued to teach us. Although they didn’t speak Spanish very well, they taught by the Holy Ghost. When they taught us about repentance, I felt something I had never felt before and started to cry. Then I realized we were all crying. I was convinced I had found the true Church.

My wife, Rosa √Člida, had a similar experience. It happened when the sisters invited us to be baptized. “Sister Salguero,” they asked, “do you want to follow the Savior?” She realized right then that she did.

When I asked the Lord to help me find His Church, I promised I would serve Him. From the first time I went to church, I have faithfully attended and have tried to serve diligently. I have had many wonderful Church callings, including serving twice as bishop. My wife has served in the Primary and Relief Society and in the family history program. My eldest son served a full-time mission, and now his younger brother is preparing to serve. We have two daughters who are also active in the Church.

Whenever I am asked to speak in church, I try to communicate the joy I feel as a member of the Lord’s Church. I know that God lives and that through the Prophet Joseph Smith He has restored to us His gospel, His Church, and the authority of His priesthood.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to Distinguish Good from Evil, Truth from Error

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (1 Corinthians 14:33)

We live in a world of chaos. A world where people are confused…and rightfully so. There are so many voices in the world that compete for our attention and unfortunately many that "call evil good and good evil" (see Isaiah 5:20).  It is not God’s desire for us to be confused.  He is not the author of confusion…people are. So how do we know what is good and what is evil and what is truth and what is not? How do we determine what is actually from God?

The Prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon gives an answer to that question. His answer is so simple yet it makes so much sense.

“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.”

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God and to serve him, is inspired of God. (Moroni 7:13-14)

The Prophet Moroni also teaches that every person is given the “Spirit of Christ” or the “Light of Christ” which enables them to judge between good and evil. Our Conscience is a manifestation of the Light of Christ.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves to him.” (Moroni 7:16 -17)

It’s so simple yet so profound. I love the whole chapter of Moroni 7. To find the text of the complete chapter Click Here.

One of the reasons why I decided to do a post on this subject was because I was thinking about the internet. I was thinking about how the internet can be a source for both good and evil. The internet is a sea of both true and untrue information. I was thinking about the people out there who are sincerely interested in learning more about the Mormon Church. In this day in age, what’s the first thing we do to retrieve information on a particular subject? We Google it! So then of course, those unsuspecting persons who are interested in the Mormon Church Google “Mormons”. The problem with this is that along with the true and accurate information about the church on the internet, there is just as much negative and inaccurate information about the church. So how then do you know what’s true and what’s not?

One solution to this problem is… go to the source. If I want to find out more about baseball, I would ask a baseball player, not a football player. I will more likely get accurate information talking to a baseball player than I would a football player. If I want to find out more about the Lutheran church, I would talk to a Lutheran, not a Catholic. And if I was serious about getting to the truth about the Lutheran church, I would talk to someone who is active in their church and who takes their religion seriously by actively living their religion. So if a person is interested in or has questions about the Mormon faith, why not ask a Mormon? Ask a Mormon who actively lives the Mormon religion. Or, another option… go to the internet! But once again, the key to accurate information is to go to the source. The church has many great websites (see my sidebar for some of them), but I think that is probably the best way to learn more about the church. They recently redesigned the site and it’s wonderful! Members of the church all over the world have created profiles which give others a glimpse into the lives of members of the church. The profiles also include answers from the members to frequently asked questions. I especially love the profiles which include a video. Here are examples of two different profiles.

There are so many misconceptions about the Mormon Church, and much of that is due to the inaccurate information on the web. Some information you might come across is just from people who are uninformed… people who believe everything they hear and regurgitate inaccurate information instead of making the effort to find out the correct information. On the other hand, there are numerous sites and blogs on the internet whose sole purpose is to spread negative information and lies about the church. How unfortunate it is that many are deceived by the lies of men. I’m not saying that all the information on these anti-Mormon sites is false. But what I have found is that they twist the truth. They mix truth with lies/inaccuracies and they try to “call evil good and good evil” (see Isaiah 5:20). They are really good at what they do and do it quite convincingly. It always amazes me to think that some people spend so much of their lives speaking ill of other people and religions. I personally would never trust the words of anyone whose intent is to hurt and deceive. Let’s go back to the scriptures mentioned above. Do these anti-Mormon sites invite and entice others to do good and to love God and to serve him? Not in my opinion. I always think of the Scripture, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20)

So my advice? Go to the proper sources for your information. And as you are making an effort to sift through all of the voices of the world, remember that your best source will be God. God is the source of all truth. Pray to God and ask that He will guide and direct you and help you to distinguish between truth and error.
Let the Light of Christ be your guide

For those persons who are honestly and sincerely seeking for truth, this is your guide…truth will always manifest itself in the form of peace. Gravitate towards the sources that fill your heart with peace. 

“Wherefore, take heed my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the Devil.” (Moroni 7:14)

Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light

Forgiveness and the power of Jesus Christ enable a man to survive losing his wife and several children in a car accident—and allow the offending driver to begin rebuilding his own life.

What an amazing story!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thoughts From a Great Woman-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I've always admired Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley.  She was the wife of our previous Prophet-Gordon B. Hinckley.  They both have passed in recent years but they will never be forgotten.  It's always been said that "behind a great man is a great woman".  She was just that.  She was also very charasmatic, funny and witty.  Here are a few quotes from her that I love.

"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead"

"The family is eternal. Love must be nurtured. It must be spoken. We must put away our pride, our haughtiness, our shyness, our misunderstandings, and with humility say, "I love you. Is there something I can do to help you?" You can never be completely happy under any other circumstances."

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are."

"Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst."

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."

These last two are my favorite!!

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.

I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

"The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."

- Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mormon Temples

With the recent Gila Valley Arizona Temple Dedication, I’ve been thinking more about temples. I know that many people who are not of our faith have questions about LDS temples. I hope that the information I share will shed some light about LDS temples.

Why do Mormons build temples?
The Lord has always commanded His people to build temples.
“Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey his word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered. In cases of extreme poverty or emergency, these ordinances may sometimes be done on a mountaintop. This may be the case with Mount Sinai and the Mount of Transfiguration. The tabernacle erected by Moses was a type of portable temple, since the Israelites were traveling in the wilderness.” (Bible Dictionary)

The best known temple mentioned in the Bible is that which was built in Jerusalem in the days of Solomon. Solomon’s temple took 8 years to complete. The walls were made of stone and were covered on the inside with carved wood and gold. Only the best of materials were used to construct the temple. When it was finished, Solomon knelt at the altar in the temple and offered a dedicatory prayer. (See 2 Chronicles:6)
To me, it makes sense that if God commanded His people to build temples in Bible times, then He would also command His people to build temples in our time. After all…isn’t God the same yesterday, today and forever?

What is the purpose of temples?
Temples are not used for weekly Sunday worship services. We have meetinghouses or chapels for the purpose of meeting on the Sabbath for Sunday worship.

Temples are places of learning where holy truths are taught. The principal purpose of temples is to provide the ordinances necessary for all of God’s children to enable them to return to dwell with Him.

“Temples are considered ‘houses of the Lord’ where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism, and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.” (Church News)

Temples are also a place for personal contemplation and prayer. For me, the temple is a sanctuary from the world. It’s a bit of heaven on earth. I love to go to the temple because of the peace that I feel. I feel closer to God in the temple than anywhere else. In my last entry I mentioned the temple open house. Before a temple is dedicated, it is open to the public for tours. At the Gila Valley temple dedication, the temple president’s wife mentioned in her talk that a friend of hers, who is not a member of our church attended the open house. After touring the temple her friend mentioned the peace that she felt while in the temple. She said that it reminded her of the scripture in Philippians 4:7 that talks about “the peace of God which passeth all understanding.”  This is so very true. The temple is a place where the Holy Spirit and the love of God can be felt.

Because the temple is sacred to us and because we keep these things close to our hearts, people not of our faith accuse us of being secretive and assume that unrighteous things must be going on in the temple. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple, beautiful, uplifting, and worthy of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Why do Mormons perform temple ordinances vicariously for those who have died?
“A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead… From Adam to the time of Jesus, ordinances were performed in temples for the living only. After Jesus opened the way for the gospel to be preached in the world of spirits, ceremonial work for the dead, as well as for the living, has been done in temples on the earth by faithful members of the Church. (Bible Dictionary)

Some people are confused as to why we would perform vicarious ordinances for those who have died. To me it makes perfect sense and is reflective of God’s love for ALL of His children. We believe that the ordinances performed in temples are essential for exaltation. Well…what about all of the people who never even had the opportunity to hear or learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ while they lived here on earth? Is it fair that they will be damned, only because they didn’t have that opportunity? No. God is a just and fair God and He will provide ALL of His children with the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ either in this life or the next. Those who didn’t have the opportunity to learn the gospel while here on earth will have that chance in the Spirit World and then when the ordinances are performed vicariously for them in temples here on earth, they will have the choice to accept or reject this vicarious service. No one is forced to take upon themselves these ordinances. There is Agency in all things.

Blessings of the temple available to all
“It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that others never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience.” (Boyd K. Packer)

For more information about Temples,CLICK HERE

Gila Valley Temple Open House & Dedication

In May, my husband and kids had the opportunity of attending the Gila Valley Arizona Temple open house. After a temple is built and before the temple is dedicated, it is open to the public for viewing. My husband went with some of the Young Men in our ward (congregation), and my 11 yr. old son was able to go with them. The following week, my 14 yr. old daughter was able to go with the Young Women in our ward.

With the completion of the Gila Valley Temple, there are now 132 temples around the world.

At the end of May we had the privilege of attending the broadcast of the Temple Dedication. Although we were not able to be there in person, it was a wonderful and uplifting experience for us and our kids.

After the Dedication, we thought it would be fun to make a temple out of sugar cubes.

My 3 kids in the middle of construction. :)

My hubby with our 3 kids and our completed “Sugar Cube Temple”
In my next post I will be answering some questions about Temples.
Why do we build Temples?
What is the purpose of Temples?
Why do Mormons perform ordinances for those who have died?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Your Book is a True Book-Conversion story #2

Your Book Is a True Book
By Ann Cue
Ensign, Apr. 2006, 67–68

The day the missionaries knocked on my door will always stand out as one of the pivotal moments of my life. It wasn’t that I was searching for meaning—I had been deeply religious since childhood. I had spent seven years in a convent, and although I had left that lifestyle because it wasn’t bringing me closer to God, I was involved in my church congregation working with the choir and teaching religion.

In fact, I had made a firm resolution not to discuss religion with any door-to-door missionaries because the spirit of contention frequently arose when conflicting interpretations of scripture were discussed. But the Lord, in His goodness, had prepared me for this visit. A few months earlier I had heard someone make a remark about a “Mormon book” connected to the mythology of South America. This prompted me to want to investigate any light such a book might shed on some themes I had already studied. I had filed this away for future reference, knowing that sooner or later I would read the Mormon book and investigate its mythological validity.

Answering the door that day, I was not thinking about books or mythological themes. I was a busy young mother spending most of my energy tending a small baby and chasing a very active three-year-old. But as I approached the door, my mind was overcome with a kind of vision, a mental picture of Abraham going to the door of his tent on the day he received an important message. I was impressed with the premonition that opening that door would bring a message of some importance.

Nevertheless, I was confused when all that stood there were these two young men labeled as Latter-day Saint missionaries. If it hadn’t been for the “vision,” I would have politely said good-bye and shut the door. I decided, instead, that I needed to find out what sort of message they had for me.

It started out all wrong. One of them asked me if I believed in prophets. Of course I did. But when these young men enthusiastically presented me a photo of 15 men in modern business suits and proclaimed that prophets and apostles were currently on the earth, credibility was stretched to the limit. I had been brought up in a religion whose clergy dressed the part, and business suits were not what they wore! So I decided, generously, to ignore the remark. And I searched mentally for some rational foundation for the “vision” still fresh in my mind.

I do not remember how I made the connection that “Latter-day Saint” missionaries might know something about a “Mormon” book. But once that thought crossed my mind, I was quick to pursue the topic.

“Don’t you have some kind of book?” I asked. They did. I told them I had not found it in the library and did not know where to get it. Maybe they could help me. They could. They volunteered to come back with a copy the following week. And I made a mental note to be unavailable for religious “discussion” so they could simply drop off the book and leave.

When I finally did receive my copy of the book, I thanked the young men and agreed, again without any sense of commitment, that they could come back to answer any questions I had. Later that evening with my husband home from work and the children somewhat settled down, I picked up the book and began to read.

Nothing had prepared me for what I found in its pages. And it was with awe, shock, delight, and some confusion that I shortly announced to my husband my most amazing discovery: “This is a book of scripture!”

There was no doubt at all. I had done enough serious scripture study and had read enough of the world’s sacred literature to become immediately aware that this book was not a record of myth or an ancient history text or anything other than the true word of God. It spoke to me with that spiritual voice, and as I began following footnotes and looking up topics that interested me, it gave me answers to many of the theological questions I had puzzled over for years. It was, without doubt, the most exciting book I had ever picked up, and it continued to amaze and edify me whichever page I opened it to.

When the young missionaries returned as they had promised, I was home. And I had a message of great importance for them. I told them something I felt they needed to know: “Your book is a true book!” And I demanded to know why it was the property of their church, feeling that it was entirely in the wrong hands!

At that point, I was ready to listen to what they had to say. After many months of investigation, I came to know that this wonderful book had not only brought me light and knowledge beyond my highest expectations, but it had also led me to the fulness of the gospel, the power of the priesthood, and the knowledge that those 15 men in business suits were evidence of the true Church of Jesus Christ, present again upon the earth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My New Life

I just love this video. You may have seen Stephanie on the Oprah show a while back. She and her husband are survivors of a near-fatal plane crash. Stephanie is truly a survivor and an inspiration to so many people. I have followed her blog for a long while now and am amazed at her faith and her strength. It's sometimes hard to understand why God allows bad things to happen to good people. But Stephanie is the type of person that chooses to make the best of her situation and realizes that there is purpose to her trials. What an amazing story.

Stephanie's blog-

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Lesson Learned-Live Within Your Means

The leaders of our church have always stressed the importance of managing finances and provident living.  We often hear the phrases, "Get out of Debt, and Stay Out of Debt!", and "Live Within Your Means".  I had the opportunity yesterday to teach my teenage daughter the importance of these concepts.  She and a friend went to the mall for some shopping.  My daughter earns her own $ through babysitting and brought with her the last of her $ which was $28.  While shopping she found a really cute shirt for $15, but didn't have enough $ for it.  Her friend offered to lend her the $ (which was actually her mom's $), and my daughter accepted.  When she got home and told me about it, I wasn't too happy about her decision to borrow $ from her friend.  I took the opportunity to teach her about the importance of not going into debt and living within your means.  I taught her that you don't ever spend $ that you don't have.  She didn't think that it was that big of a deal because she knew that she had a babysitting job the following week and could pay her back then.  I emphasized once again that you don 't ever spend $ that you don't have, even if you think you will be getting $ soon.  We talked about how you never know if the babysitting job might fall through. We also talked about how it will feel when she gets paid for babysitting knowing that she already spent that $.  It's such a simple concept...Don't spend $ that you don't have.  Live within your means. It was a good teaching moment.  She admitted that she felt a little guilty borrowing $ from her friend, and knew that she shouldn't have done it.  After we talked, I loaned her $15 and we immediately went to her friend's house to pay her back so that she owed me rather than her friend.  Now that it's after the fact, I'm glad that it happened.  It's these kind of experiences that teach great life lessons.  We don't give our kids allowances.  They earn their own $ and after they pay their tithing and put some away in savings, they can spend it how they'd like.  We've watched our kids make both good and bad choices with their $.  When they make a bad choice, we usually don't even have to tell them that they made a bad choice because they usually eventually figure that out on their own.  But it's usually through the bad choices that they learn the importance of being smart with their $.  Hopefully all of these experiences will help them learn to become responsible with their $ which in turn will help them become responsible adults.

I loved this "Mormon Message" about provident living.  I hope you will watch it.

"Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.  Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted." (2 Nephi 9:51)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why do people join the Mormon church??

Why do people join the Mormon church? Joining the Mormon church may not be “the popular thing to do”, but neither was it popular to join Noah on the Ark, or to follow Moses into the Red Sea, or to even join with Christ when He was here on the earth teaching the truthfulness of the Gospel. So why are some people willing to do the “unpopular” thing?

We (Mormons) are blessed in our day to not have to deal with the persecutions that the early Mormons had to deal with in their day. The early Mormons suffered through so much injustice. Many of them lost all that they had. They were driven from their homes and suffered persecution beyond imagination. Life could have been so much easier and much less painful if they had just been willing to deny their beliefs. Yet because of their strong convictions and faith in God and the Savior Jesus Christ, they were willing to take the harder road and endure these horrible persecutions. They were not willing, under any circumstances to deny their beliefs.

A question for each of us to ask ourselvesDo you and I have a strong enough conviction in our beliefs (whatever our beliefs are) that we would do the same?

I love reading the conversion stories of others. Throughout this blog, I will include conversions stories that will answer the question…Why do people join the Mormon church?

Conversion Story #1:

I wanted to start with the conversion story of Parley P. Pratt who became a member in the early days of the church.

Although Parley and his family didn’t belong to a particular denomination, Parley grew up in a religious home with parents who taught their sons a respect for the Bible and the Christian faith. Parley was always interested in religion and began a serious study of the scriptures at age 12. As he grew older and continued to study the scriptures he began to become aware of the discrepancies between biblical teachings and contemporary churches and sought to find a Christianity closer to that which he found in the New Testament.

At age 18 he sought baptism by immersion from a Baptist group. However, during a delay in his baptismal date, he became convinced that the church wasn’t patterned after the New Testament Church. While continuing his search he heard the preaching of Sidney Rigdon, a minister of the campbellite movement which sought to restore the practices of New Testament Christianity. Parley felt that he had found someone who taught the “ancient gospel in due form.” Yet he still felt that “one great link” was missing-“the authority to minister in holy things-the apostleship.”

In 1830, at age 23 Parley met a minister in upstate New York who told him of a “strange book, a very strange book!” A book that a young man had claimed to have translated-the Book of Mormon. The very next day, Parley obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon and began eagerly reading it.

He wrote, “I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.”

“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. [1938], 37).

Parley found what he had been searching for and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints on September 1, 1830. Parley spent the remainder of his days in missionary service.

"What's right isn't always Popular, and what's Popular isn't always right." (Howard Cosell)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"His Hands"

I love this video.  "His Hands" is one of my all time favorite songs.  It serves as a good reminder of what our Savior Jesus Christ did and suffered for each of us.  He suffered because of His love for each of us.  I KNOW that He loves me.  I KNOW that He loves you. 

"His Hand" lyrics (by Kenneth Cope)

his hands
tools of creation
stronger than nations
power without end
and yet through them we find our truest friend

his hands
sermons of kindness
healing men's blindness
halting years of pain
children waiting to be held again

his hands would serve his whole life though
showing man what hands might do
giving, ever giving, endlessly
each day was filled with selflessness
and i'll not rest until i make up my hands what they could be
'til these hands become like those from galilee

his hands
lifting a leper
warming a beggar
calling back the dead
breaking bread, five thousand fed

his hands
hushing contention
pointing to heaven
ever free of sin
then bidding man to follow him

his hands would serve his whole life though
showing man what hands might do
giving, ever giving, endlessly
each day was filled with selflessness
and i'll not rest until i make up my hands what they could be
'til these hands become like those from galilee

his hands
clasped in agony
as he he lay pleading, bleeding in the garden
while just moments away
other hands betray him
out of greed, shameful greed
and then his hands
are trembling
straining to carry the beam that they've been led to
as he stumbles through the streets
heading towards the hill on which he died
he would die
they take his hands, his mighty hands, those gentle hands
and then they pierce them, they pierce them
he lets them, because of love
from birth to death was selflessness
and clearly now i see him with his hands
calling to me
and though i'm not yet as i would be
he has shown me how i could be
i will make my hands like those from galilee

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baptism at 8

In December, my niece was Baptized and Confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

In our church we are baptized at 8 years old rather than as infants. Some people ask why we don’t baptize our infants. Our beliefs are a little bit different than most churches. The Book of Mormon teaches us that children are born perfect and without sin. We believe that we are responsible for only our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.

So why 8 years old? We believe that this is the “age of accountability”. The age where children are old enough to understand what is right and what is wrong and old enough to make the baptismal covenants with God. Before this age, they are not held accountable for the things that they do. Babies and young children are in the process of learning right from wrong and are not capable of committing sin.

So what do we believe happens to babies/children who die before they are baptized? God is not a partial God. He is a just and a fair God and because of His mercies and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ALL children who die before the age of accountability (8) are guaranteed Exaltation. I know of many parents who have lost children before baptism. What a blessing it is for them to have the peace of knowing that these children will be denied nothing.