Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot Hot Heat

Because we are mortal, we have passed through the veil of forgetfulness and don't remember what we went through before we were born into this world. But God hasn't just sent us out without help. God has sent down the Holy Ghost to confirm truth to us.
There are lots of people who say "show me a sign" or I'll believe it when I see it. In an answer to a question, Elder Boyd K Packer told this story. If someone were to walk into this room holding a white hot branding iron and told you it was a hot iron, would you believe them more than if they blindfolded you and seared your skin with that same iron? And that is how our testimony of the Savior and truth should be. It should be a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead. John 3:27 "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

What does that mean for us? Lets not be a "doubting Thomas", but be blessed because we believe and have not seen. I know that we can receive spiritual witnesses if we will seek. As God has said repeatedly in holy writ "Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zechariah 1:3) Another announcement of "Ask and ye shall receive". So if we want to have a spiritual experience we need to prepare ourselves. Is it likely that God will bless us with a spiritual experience if we have not been preparing ourselves? Not likely. So read the scriptures, say your prayers, and live a Christlike life and you'll be happier and have a better opportunity to have a "spirtually searing" experience.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Man or Mouse!

Learning to surf
Growing up in Southern California is pretty fun. You have tons of things to do. Any sport can be played on any day because the weather is so nice. There are plenty of places to hang out, especially the beach. Now when I was just a wee lad (12) I was taught how to surf by a family friend. He would take me out and spent hours in the "whitewash" pushing me on waves and helping me learn. Matt Wright did that until I became good enough to go out and brave the "real" waves.
So then I had to learn how to catch waves by myself. I always had Matt with me helping me and showing me which waves to try and catch and which ones were not gonna be so good. Matt also taught my dad how to surf. So we would all go out and spend mornings before school (when I was supposed to be in Seminary) out surfing.
And as I had this experience with Matt and my dad, I became better. I learned which days I should go out. I learned how to choose the waves that would be the most enjoyable. I learned how to turn down the waves that would "closeout" and wouldn't be much fun. I learned how to recognize when the best time would be to paddle out, to avoid the waves (as much as possible) and where to set up and wait for the "sets" to roll in. (Click here to see why wave selection is important.) And now that I have had this experience I can go out alone and make decisions for myself. And when I go out with Matt and my dad, there is a phrase that gets said more than once, "Man or Mouse?!" We use that phrase to motivate or taunt or coax each other into paddle out into the surf or take off on a wave. The question is "Are you man enough?" Are you going to make the right decision?

Riding the waves of life
And so we too have been taught by a great teacher. We spent eons with Christ and our Heavenly Father before this mortal existence. They taught us the basics so that we could journey out into "real" life. And when we got to "real" life, we were not left alone. We were born to parents who love us and want to help us succeed in this life. And we spend some time with them to continue to learn. Our parents teach us how to select the best things in life. How to understand which "waves" or choices are going to be "closeouts". But soon enough, our time with them is over and we now can brave the vast ocean of life alone. We've been taught which things in life are going to be the best. Which choices are going to bring the most happiness. Now, after all this training its up to the individual. Its up to me, to you, to your kids. Its their choice. Man or Mouse!?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heart like a lion


What a message. Click here if you want the lyrics.
The takeaway message that I can see in this is get up! Get up and change! Sometimes when we do something we know to be wrong we feel like there is no turning back. That we can't change and repent for knowingly "kicking against the pricks" and disobeying God. But we can! We can change where we're headed and have a change of heart. So i learned something pretty cool in this talk that I read. Because the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and then was translated into other languages, the word that was used for "repentance" was "shub". The Hebrew word "shub" translates to "to turn from". The message of the Old Testament is to "shub", or to turn from sin and back to our loving Father in Heaven- to leave unhappiness, sorrow, regret, and despair behind and turn back to our Father's family. There we can find true happiness, joy and acceptance among his other children.

Then, in the New Testament (which was written in Greek), the writers used the Greek word "metanoeo" to describe "repentance". And "metanoeo" means a change of mind, thought, or thinking so powerful that it changes one's very way of life. This is very interesting to me because I had always had this dreaded feeling about repentance. That it was so painful and it was just going to hurt more. I think I had that perception because of what happened when the Bible was translated into Latin. When they did this, the word "metanoeo" was translated into the Latin word "poenitere". And that word means "to punish, penance, penitent," and finally repentance! So the meaning of the word from turning away from, changed to a "Latin meaning that involved hurting, punishing, whipping, cutting, mutilating, disfiguring, starving, or even torturing!" Its no wonder that it seems so scary for us to repent!
So now that we know what repentance is not, lets get out and do what it is, and what this song is telling us to. Because our lives are not a practice run. We live once on this earth, so we need to act now. Because life is very precious. You never know when something is going to happen, or when you're gonna be leaving. To quote Rebelution "You better get up, You better get out, You better get up and turn your life around, You only live once, You better act now, cause you never know when It's gonna come back around".

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What happens when we die?

In Fear and Faith



This a prob the biggest and most debated topic of any religion. And I hope to be able to help you see this clearly. When our spirits are separated from our bodies (physical death) where do our spirits go? Because we are made up of body and spirit right? So our bodies are laid to rest in the ground. Our spirits return to the "Spirit World" where we are to wait until our resurrection and judgment.
The Spirit World is made up of two sections, "Paradise" and "Prison". Paradise is a place where those who have been and done the things that they were supposed to while in this moral existance. Here they rest from, as the scriptures say, "from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow". Those in the other part of the Spirit World have a chance to repent. In prison is where those who have once rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or have not had the opportunity to hear it get that chance. Peter talks about this in his epistle. He says "Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."(1 Peter 4:5-6
The one who unlocked the door to let us in
These places are only a pit stop for us though. We wait here until we are Resurrected and Judged. Until all that God has for us is accomplished.
We have a loving Heavenly Father, and His plan is perfect. He knows our hearts and our intents. John 3:16, He wants us to live with Him forever in His kingdom. And we all have that opportunity if we will but yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and do what is required of us.
Here is a quote from a song from the band In Fear and Faith, "In this life there's only wrong and right,
So don't forget you have a choice!"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Poem

Here we go,

 When I leave this earth, I want it to be known
About the man who raised me, & got me all grown
Who taught me how to be a man, to work hard and be good
The man who set an example, and did the things that I should
Who never gave up trying, through life's sore trials
A man who followed Christ, in what seemed like desolate miles
Miles of pain, of loss and death
He was by his daughter's side when she took her last breath
A man whose life, is illuminated by hope
His heart tied to my Mom's, with Love's unfrayable rope
Sealed for eternity, to not so perfect kids
I hope to be one day, the kind of man he is
And raise kids of my own, in truth and soberness
My Father is a great man, this is my witness

-Brock Butler-

Alright, I just wanted to post this because I love my Dad. I know that he loves me too. I've come to realize in just the past year and a half or so that I am slowly becoming my Dad. And I hope that this process continues. Just like I said before, I hope to become the kind of man he is. Love ya Dad

Friday, June 3, 2011

Scarlet Letters

Well its been a while, and I just had an idea, so i think I'll try running with it. But I have been talking about tattoos with my companion (both of us have older brothers with them). Anyways, I was just thinking that they are a lasting reminder of the choice they made at one point in their life. And no matter where they go in life, they will have that to show. My brother has a full sleeve plus some, and getting them removed would be way very painful and way too expensive. So he wears them around always. And others can look at them and (as much as they shouldn't) judge him. He wears his own "Scarlet Letter".
Everyone will make a mistake or two in their lives. And in my case, a couple three billion, but not all of my mistakes are going to be broadcast to the world. Have you ever thought about how there is a constant stream of people, one right after another, who are being caught for things that they've done years ago. I mean just look at the news. First its Jim Tressel getting busted for being dishonest. And furthering his dishonesty with more dishonesty, and now hes trying his hardest to get out of the spotlight by "resigning". Before anything gets any worse. Before anymore damage can be done to his dishonest reputation. So he can try his best to hide from his sins, but my brother can't. But I would rather be in my brothers situation where he doesn't try and hide from his sins like a 6 year old that has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. No, my brother has faced up to his mistakes and has repented, sought forgiveness and made a determination to not repeat those mistakes. On the other hand, we have another public figure who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar the Governator Arnold. He committed adultery and had a child with another woman. But while he was in office when all this happened, did he try and take responsibility? No, he threw dirt on top of it and hoped it would just go away. And now that he has not been honest with those who trusted him with a government position, his wife, or himself, the rest of his life will be negatively affected. The stench of his mistake will last the rest of his life. And the same goes for Jim Tressel. Although Jim may have gotten away and off much easier than he would've, he will still have to face up to those at another time.



So I guess what I'm getting around to is that we all have made mistakes. Mistakes that create feelings of guilt and shame. But the good news is that we can have those burdens lightened (Matt 11:28-30) if we will turn to the Savior. And just because we don't have to wear around a giant sign that says we screwed up, doesn't mean that we don't need to repent. And when we repent, there are steps that we take. It isn't just a "oh I'm sorry" and then just keep going out to do it again. We follow the steps that are wonderfully laid out in this blog by Elder Davis.

"For aGod so bloved the cworld, that he dgave his eonly begotten fSon, that whosoever gbelieveth in him should not perish, but have heverlasting ilife." John 3:16

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Untitled

 
I think that as we remember and realize what God has done for us in our lives, we become more humble. And because we're more humble, we are better prepared to receive the blessings that He wishes to give us.When we recognize how God has worked in our lives, it will allow us to see the way He is willing to bless us. Then we can ask for the things that He is willing to give us. And thus our will can and will mesh with His, and we will become "one" with God (John 17
I think that is a real challenge for us in this life, to develop those God-like qualities and discover in ourselves the things that God has blessed us with. I think if we will take the time to do as Elder Eyring says and recognize God's hand in our lives we will be able to see where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. And we will develop the qualities that He would have us. God has a very deliberate and specific hand in our lives. He will lead us to truth as we seek. And that is what I invite everyone who reads this to test. See if He is not here. He is here.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My favorite person from The Book of Mormon

Love this picture of Jesus
I think my favorite person from The Book of Mormon would have to be Jesus Christ. I mean he did come and visit the people in the Americas. So that is an obvious no brainer... But for the sake of going in depth into the Book of Mormon, I'll talk about someone else.

So after that being said I would have to say that my favorite person (like so many other people) is Captain Moroni. Captain Moroni was a boss. He was appointed the leader of the Nephite army when he was just 25. Think about that. Being responsible for the lives of an entire army when you are 25 years old. When I turn 25, I'm gonna be in school worried about what classes I need to pass to get a degree to start work.

Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty

So with this trust that was put on Captain Moroni also came great power. I mean think about it, he was the Commander of an entire army of men, who would lay down their lives with him. I think the greatest part about Moroni is that he was given this power and yet it didn't get to him. You know the saying "Power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts", well that was not the case for Moroni.
Joseph Smith's Vision
When Moroni was out with his army, they had been fighting the Lamenites for a long while and he needed supplies from the cities. But they were not getting the help they desperately needed. And in an epistle to Pahoran he says this "Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country"(Alma 60:36). He is, in my opinion, the 2nd best example of what a man should be like. Even Moroni, while he was putting the plates together and reflecting on what Moroni was like said "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto aMoroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the bdevil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."(Alma 48:17). What bigger or better complement could a person give another than that? Especially coming from Mormon, the Prophet in charge of collecting and putting the plates together.
The Book of Mormon is full of great men. It is rich with the history, stories, and accounts of those who inhabited the Americas 600 BC to about 400 AD. This record was translated by the gift and power of God through the Prophet Joseph Smith. If you have read this and want to learn more and talk to me directly, click my facebook link and shoot me a message!
God is great! Come and investigate the claims that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints makes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grace, Faith, Works

There are many misconceptions about Mormons. One that I run into on a regular basis is that "Mormons believe that you work for your salvation". This is what I want to try and focus on for right now....
So, because those of the LDS faith choose to show their faith by their actions, they are looked down upon by the rest of the Christian world as denying the power that Christ has. Well lets discuss this more. We believe that the Bible is the word of God. We believe all the promises therein. And just like the rest of the Christian world we believe that, "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God"(Ephesians 2:8) We do not deny that it is solely by grace that we are saved. Grace is defined as an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation. Because Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), it is only in and through Him that we can receive eternal life and exaltation.
The Reason
And now, because of this, I want to live my life in a way that is pleasing in the sight of God. I want to go out and serve. I want to help others, both believers and non-believers. Why? Why would I want to do that? Because I love God. I love my Savior. This love that I have for them, how do i show it? I show it in how I live my life. Not like the hypocrites who profess to know Jesus, and as the scripture says They aprofess that they bknow God; but in cworks they ddeny him, being abominable, and edisobedient, and unto every good work freprobate(Titus 1:15) But I will show my faith by the way I live my life. And this is not just me and my opinion, this is how your everyday "Mormons" live (or at least try). A perfect example of this is shared by James in the 2nd chapter he says "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that afaith without bworks is dead?
Was not Abraham our father ajustified by works, when he had boffered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by aworks was faith made bperfect?" 
I know that it is because Christ is so forgiving that I can receive eternal life and exaltation. That I will show my love for Him by the way I treat others. And I will fail, I will fall short, but because he is full of grace and truth (John 1:14), I can and will be forgiven through my sincere repentance. And I could continue to blab on, but I will stop here. I know the Savior lives and loves. And because of that I am doing the things I'm doing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Touch of the Master's Hand

It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"

"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow

Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.


But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
Myra Brooks Welch

Come to the Savior submissive as a child
Yesterday I heard a missionary quote this poem and it made me think how we are all like this old violin. That we are all imperfect. That we have all been through so much in our lives that have scarred us. The mistakes that we've made have marred us, putting us out of tune, and have caused us to look and sound terrible. But when we realize that we've made these mistakes, its not the end. We can turn ourselves over to the Savior. We can become better. We can be made into who and what the Savior wants and knows we can be. But this is only possible if we are willing to submit to His will and do the things that He has asked and required of us.  Just like the scriptures say, " For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)
Sure, we can add another title to the Savior, how about the Great Musician? But like a musician who is without an instrument, so to, the Savior can not work on us without our submission. So lets develop that motivation to put our desires in line with God's will for us. Then we will be the most valuable to the Savior, and the best instruments in His hands.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two witnesses

I'm grateful for the scriptures. I'm thankful for the validity they provide of the Savior. That he literally raised from the tomb and unlocked the gate of death that held us captive. What a great gift! What an awesome knowledge that we have of that.
Today I want to focus my thoughts on witnesses. In the scriptures Christ says (speaking to his Apostles), "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."(Matthew 18:16) This verse is related to the Apostles when they are dealing with members of the early church, that if they didn't believe that they had done wrong, to bring a second or third witness. Anyways, my point is that every word should be established in the mouths of two or more witnesses. In a court case, if there is only one witness against the defendant, there really is no chance of being held guilty. And Christ knows the importance of having multiple witnesses.
The Book of Mormon is a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ. It upholds the Bible and tells of His divine mission as the Savior of the World. Some people may say that we have the Bible, we don't need any more. Or that we should not add to the Bible (see previous post). But in 2 Nephi 29:8 it says "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also." God's word is truth. And it is the same. And it is forever, so if you want to try and discredit the Book of Mormon because it speaks the words of Christ, go ahead and try. Thats what I do as a missionary, is invite people to read the Book of Mormon and test it like Paul says in his epistle to the Thessalonians (5:21) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good". Test it out and see if it is truth.
I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. And I know that anyone who is willing to do the work to know if it is true, can have the same type of experience that I had in learning the truthfulness of this glad message.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gollum.... and the Godhead

Alright, well its another day, so I guess I'll post another blog. So last night I was talking with Elder Akina and I had some thoughts come to me. We were talking about the TG Godhead, and how others understand the Godhead.
Because in the scriptures Jesus says that He and Heavenly Father are "one", people take that very literally and say, OK they are the same. Well the concept of the "Trinity" is not one found in the New Testament, but rather it is a man formed view of God. Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament].” (Paul F. Achtemeier, ed. (1985), 1099)
Anyways, I was thinking about all the different situations that are recorded in the New Testament when Jesus is speaking to  Heavenly Father and how weird it would be to think that He was actually talking to Himself... I mean, when He was hanging on the cross he asked Heavenly Father for the forgiveness of those who were crucifying Him. And then later when he is still there, He cries out "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"(Matthew 27:46)
It just doesn't make sense to me (Heavenly Father and Jesus being the same person). And then I thought about Gollum in the Lord of the Rings talking to himself.. I know that drawing that parallel is boarder line blasphemous, but that is how I see it. God our Heavenly Father is one with Jesus Christ in every sense of the word, other than the same physical body. As Elder Jeffery R Holland stated in his October 2007 General Conference talk, "We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings."
Some of the evidences I gave earlier show this point, also during Christ's prayer for His Apostles after the last supper. As recorded in St John chapter 17 (http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/17?lang=eng) "18 As thou hast asent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
 19And for their sakes I asanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
 20Neither apray I for these alone, but for them also which shall bbelieve on me through their word;
 21That they all may be aone; as thou, bFather, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be cone in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be aone, even as we are bone:"

If you'll read the whole chapter, it will give you a clearer understanding of the whole verses I just shared. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct individuals who have their own separate bodies. Another testament to this point is Joseph Smith's first vision in the Sacred Grove where he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.  I know the scriptures are true and that they are further proof that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom established once again onto the earth preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah!

Once again, if what I said doesn't make complete sense to you and you think I'm wrong, read this and it will explain it much better than I can http://lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/the-only-true-god-and-jesus-christ-whom-he-hath-sent?lang=eng&query=holland+whom+thou+hast+sent

Friday, April 15, 2011

DO NOT take away from or ADD to.....

OK, so there are people who have legitimate concerns about the Book of Mormon because it "adds" to the bible, and according to Revelations, that is a BIG no no... Well first off, we "Mormons" believe the Bible to be the word of God. So yes we agree with that statement in the Bible... So now let me explain this... (this is all basically being taken from a talk given by Elder Holland an Apostle)

If you will just imagine with me that we are watching all the chaos that is happening when Christ returns to Jerusalem. There is a HUGE gathering for the Passover (a major religious holiday for the Jews). The Pharisees and the Sadducees have just stirred the Jews into a blood thirsty frenzy, and caused a very strict to the rules Jewish people, to completely forget/ignore the proper channels which they were supposed to go through to have a trial, and illegally condemned Christ to death.

So, Christ is crucified and His followers are sent into hiding. Then, the rest of the bible happens. First, we have the acts of the apostles. They go and preach repentance and baptism. We have the account of Saul, who is visited by Christ Himself, and sent to preach. After the acts, we have all of Paul's epistles to people. Along with epistles written by Timothy, James, John, Peter, Jude, and the revelation given to John.

Today, we are lucky enough to have these books from these great men. These epistles were all written at different times and different places. And eventually these epistles all came together, gathered by I don't know who, and put into a volume, and labeled the Bible!

So the scripture in Revelations that says not to take away from or add too is clearly talking about the book of Revelations itself. It was not a declaration for the rest of time saying that the windows of Heaven are shut and no more revelation will be given. On the contrary, the Bible itself says that whenever a man speaks under the influence of the Holy Ghost, it is scripture.

The windows of Heaven are open. God speaks! not spake. And His mouthpiece is the Prophet Thomas S Monson today! If you do not think that there is a need for a Prophet, look at Amos 3:7 and see what that says.

I know that God lives and loves us. That He loves us so much that He sent His only son to suffer, bleed, and die for all of us.

PS: Here is a link to Elder Holland's talk... it'll make more sense than I can http://lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/my-words-never-cease?lang=eng&query=add+bible#4

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Christ and the Restoration



"He is not here: for he is risen" (Matt 28:6)

Jesus Christ was resurrected that first Easter morning and has shown Himself to both His disciples in Jerusalem and in the Americas. He later returned to America, this time with His Father to Palmyra New York and they showed themselves to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
         I had an interesting conversation with a woman on her doorstep the other day. She told me that she did not believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that there is no need for a Prophet today. That a Prophet will not give you salvation. And I agree with the last sentence. That a Prophet can not give me salvation. Because salvation only comes in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. However, Jesus has taught us that we must do certain things to inherit the Kingdom of God. That we must be baptized (John 3:5) Also, He taught that the saving ordinance of baptism must be performed by one who holds the authority (priesthood) to do so. And because the priesthood was taken from the earth shortly after the Saviors death and resurrection, there was a need to restore those keys and priesthood. Thus, God would need to call another Prophet to restore what once was lost for us to receive the ordinance of baptism.

The Priesthood is on the earth today. It has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and will not be taken again. The sky is blue and the church is true.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Poem For You

So let me preface this, 1 I am not very good at this, so don't judge. 2 if I combine two words, say it fast to yourself so it will end up rhyming... and 3..... enjoy! (PS: no title... suggestions are welcome in the comment box)

When we cross the veil
we forget who we are
Born to our family
we bring light from afar

But Satan and his angels
know us real well
They know who we were
before we crossed the veil

So they'll do all in their power
to tempt us to sin
We'll fight and we'll struggle
and sometimes give in

But because of our Brother
who offered Himself
We can repent
and gain spiritual wealth

Be healed through His power
forgicen for sin
Have heavenly moments
when the veil is real thin

And as we get older
and grow spiritually
We'll become that Son or Daughter
we're destined to be

Cuz before the veil
when Satan wastossed out
The whole host of heaven
let out a great shout

Cuz we got the chance
to have an earthly home
And God wants to hear from us
so He gave us a phone

Our prayers are answered
by our loving God
He loves all His children
me, you and even Todd

So let us remember
where we came from
The plan God has
and what we can become

Thursday, April 7, 2011

SLAMMA JAMMA

So last night I had the chance to play some basketball. And whenever I play basketball I ALWAYS make an attempt to dunk. Usually after I've warmed up and played a game or two. (So i don't pull anything... Man I feel like an old man) And its not like I can do it every time. Its really weird, sometimes I can, and most of the time I can't. Anyways, I was thinking about that last night and I had this comparison come to me, so I thought I'd share it. Dunking a basketball (for me), compared to feeling the Holy Ghost.

I realized last night that when I prepare myself physically beforehand, my chances of dunking greatly increase. One week I decided that I really wanted to be able to dunk, so I spent that week not gorging myself and ate "healthy" (that term is used VERY lightly and is relative to a missionary diet). But the same can be said for feeling the Holy Ghost. When we prepare ourselves spiritually, we increase our chances of having a very spiritual experience. An example would be doing something like "fasting" (not eating or drinking for 24 hours prior) to get yourself ready for church or something else. And fasting is not supposed to be just going hungry for 24 hours, when we fast we should have a purpose (like a special blessing for someone). So whenever I get myself ready physically, I have a much better chance of dunking. Likewise whenever I spiritually prepare myself for an experience, I greatly increase my chances of feeling the Holy Ghost.

Also, when I am more consistant in playing basketball I have better results. If I get the opportunity to play more than once a week, my vertical just gets better... I don't know how to explain that, but it just does. Likewise when we are more consistant in trying to feel the Holy Ghost, our ability to feel it increases. I guess that can really be compared to anything really... The more you practice at something, the better you become at it.

Not actually me... but kinda
And last point, when I actually dunk, I feel on top of the world. Yes I am white, and yes my BMI (body mass index) has me listed as obese, but when I overcome that and dunk, it makes me feel awesome. And whenever I feel the Holy Ghost touch me and prompt me, I feel great. There is no better feeling than that. The peace that it brings and wonderful feelings it gives are second to none. And that is why I love fast and testimony meeting (1st sunday of the month in church), because I have usually prepared myself by fasting and because of that I have prepared myself to have a spiritual experience.

I really hope this made sense to you. Sometimes I have things pop in my head and i feel like I should share it, but if you liked this, I'll try to keep it coming!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daytons Legs

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves" - Sir James M. Barrie



What an incredible kid. Someone who was taught from the time he was a child to love his neighbors. Whats most impressive is that he applied the knowledge that he had. That kind of loving service and is hard to match. By doing this, by serving his brother, Spencer allowed himself to be the miracle for someone else.
I hope that someday I can look back on my life and see that I have been able to do something miraculous for someone else. I hope that I will be able to apply the lessons that my parents have taught me in my life. So that I can become a better person for it. And then ask myself this question, (taken from Alma 5:14) "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances?" Can we see that we've changed our hearts and have been spiritually born of God? And have we been able to receive His image in our countenances?
As we serve our brothers and sisters, we serve God. (Matt. 25:40) "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me." I know that as we serve those around us, God is pleased and smiles down on us. So lets receive God's countenance in our image by being His hands here on the earth.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Testimony

Well I thought it would be a good idea to follow up my last series of posts with something that the others were lacking.... SIMPLICITY!.. You can really go into great details about the Gospel. You can prove points up and down, using the scriptures and even scientific studies and books, but that will not build a "testimony". A testimony is yours. It is what you think, feel, believe, and know. And it is my testimony that Jesus is the Christ. That He is the one who came into the world to fulfill the words of ALL the other Prophets before Him. That He took upon Himself, not only the sins of the world, but ALL the pains, sufferings, and afflictions, both physical and emotional that ALL mankind would endure. Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world. He is the "Bread of Life" and the "Fountain of Water" that is springing up into everlasting life. I know, because of recorded history, study and prayer, that He was literally resurrected from His borrowed tomb, and that He broke the bands of death for His people.


I believe in miracles and that there are miracles all around us. I believe that we can be the miracle for someone else. That if we will live according to the principles set forth in doctrine given by Christ that He can and will help us find those in need. Just like the Good Samaritan, we can be a miracle to someone else. And if we look close enough, we will see God's hand in our lives. We will see the path that we've taken and how we've been guided to those who changed, and will change the course of our lives. I love being a missionary and spreading the Good Word!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revealed Truth and Science Pt 4: Time, Light, Health, and Conclusions!

Time
         Time, according to science, goes in one direction. Although not understood, it is now known to be a relative thing. That is, we measure time by our clocks, but objects moving relative to us will have clocks that measure time more slowly. The faster they are moving, the more slow time becomes relative to us. This concept was first suggested scientifically by Einstein in the early 1900s. The same concept can be found in Abraham 3. (Abr 3:3-10) This was first published in the spring of 1842 in Nauvoo in the Times and Seasons.The Prophet Joseph Smith had little formal education, yet the concepts of relativistic time in this chapter of the Book of Abraham were first discovered scientifically about 65 years later!
          What the revelations teach us about time is that it is measured differently throughout the universe, the one day with God is as one thousand years with man (II Peter 3:8; Abr 3:4). Moreover we are taught that time is only measured unto men (Alma 40:8, Rev. 10:6). From these we can learn that since all things are present before God (Doctrine and Covenants 38:2, 130:7), and God is not constrained by time as are we.

Light
          Science can provide extensive information about light, what it is, how it works, etc. Yet, when it comes time to describe it in detail, science will tell you that it is sometimes found as a particle of light (a photon) and other times we found as a wave. It takes elegant mathematics and impressive theories to correlate these two concepts.
           Revealed truth gives even more added dimensions, suggesting that light "quickeneth our understandings" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:11), is knowledge, truth, spirit and intelligence (Doctrine and Covenants 84:45). So we know from this that light comes in many forms, has great power, can permeate the souls of men, and is a carrier of knowledge and power. In addition, judging from the appearance of the Angel Moroni to the Prophet Joseph (Joseph Smith- History- v. 43), light can also be a transporter of angels- or at least is associated with such transport. Science still has a long way to go in this arena.

Health
          Here we must go to Doctrine and Covenants section 89, where we find that if we eat right, and don't use coffee, tea, alcohol or tobacco, we will have "health in our navel and marrow to our bones..... and shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint." (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 18-20 (Given in 1833))
          Health in your navel. Science has learned relatively recently (within the last 50 years) that alcohol and other drugs can cross the placental membrane deeply affecting fetuses. What does health in you navel mean? I believe it means that we will have healthy babies by restricting our intake of the harmful substances defined in this revelation.
          Marrow to our bones. In the last two decades scientists have come to understand that the entire immune system of the body is dependent upon the health of the bone marrow, where all of the factors needed for the immune system have their start. Bone marrow health is negatively affected by alcohol and tobacco.
          Run and not be weary and walk and not faint. Only in the last few years have scientist found out that a key enzyme in a cascade mechanism needed to provide energy for muscles is made inoperative when caffeine is present. So in the presence of caffeine, the body fails to break down the sugar storage molecules (glycogen) necessary to give us what is often termed, "second wind". Hence if we use caffeine, we run and are weary and walk and faint.

Conclusions!
             These are just a few examples to illustrate differences and agreements between science and revealed truth. There are many more that could be discussed in addition. Perhaps the take-home message is that science and revealed truth go hand in hand. The only time there is controversy is when science exceeds its scope or supposed Gospel scholars exceed theirs. From my standpoint, I like to wait and watch. Science keeps coming around with more and more factual material which continues to validate the revealed truths of the Gospel.
              It is my testimony that Gospel truths are eternal, and the more that science prove the facts and unveils the governing laws, the closer these concepts come to harmonize with the Gospel truths.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Revealed Truth and Science Pt 3: Life and DNA

Life

           Science defines a living thing as one that has form, can reproduce itself, can make or break down complex biomolecules and can take energy in one form and make it into another. Although this is a "definition" it is merely a description of the characteristics of living things. It does not really define life. Revealed truht talks about the "breath of life" (Genesis 2:7) which makes the soul composed of the spirit and the mortal body. Body without spirit is dead. The Gospel also speakes of many inanitmate objects having life- for instance the earth (See Moses 6). Scientists have never succeeded in making a living thing from non-living biomolecules. Recently they have made a piece of DNA in the lab (it took 15 years) which was inserted into a cell whose DNA was extracted, and the cell lived and reproduced itself according to the inserted DNA genetic message. However, synthetic biomolecules do not live, in and of themselves. The essence of life remains an unanswered question scientifically.
    
           From the Gospel's standpoint we are given to understand that Christ is the light and life of the world. (John 1:4, Mosiah 16:9) Yet we do not understand this very essence of life, other than it comes from the Father (the breath of life) and seems to be coupled with light. We are aware that the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26), so the spirit is essential. But spirit is light (Doctrine and Covenants 84:45), so light and life are coupled very tightly. Yet we (at least I) really don't understand what this light really is.

DNA
            Much has been made of DNA testing and typing to provide evidence for relationships between individuals or individuals and forensic evidence. When the markers agre, there is a very high likelihood of an individual's identity and lineage. But when the markers don't match, considerable uncertainty exists. In other words, DNA testing can tell you things that are related rather conclusively, but cannot tell you when they aren't to the same certainty at all. With genealogical relationships, as the number of generations increase, so does the uncertainty in a mismatch. The DNA evidence for native American lineage is one such example. Much evidence accumulated since the first studies which indicated that all American Indians came from the far east has led to serious question about this theory.

Find the refrences to the scriptures right here http://lds.org/scriptures?lang=eng

Monday, March 28, 2011

Revealed Truth and Science Pt 2: The Universe and Dimensions

The Universe

This is an arena where speculation abounds in both camps. With modern equipment, capable of seeing back into the distant past, science is now secure in the fact that the universe is- and will continue- to expand (only proven 1998); that there at least 10 to the 85th power (10 with 85 0s behind it) galaxies like our Milky Way, each containing an estimated 500 million earth-like planets; and that there are black holes, which appear to be disposals for matter and light. Most recently string theory implies that there are 11 other universes, all of them unseen relative to each other, but with a theoretical capacity to transfer information and matter between them.

The Gospel contains statements of the Savior stating "Worlds without number have I created..."(Moses 1:4-8, 33); that there is a place called outer darkness (Matt8:12; Alma 40:13) where sons of perdition end; and that the creation of new and additional worlds is an eternal process. It is interesting to note that it has only been in recent years that science has developed most of these concepts, which have been found in the scripture for centuries, if not millennia. There is really no conflict in this arena except for how it happens.

One of these is in how long it took to make this earth. Some claim 7000 years, each day of God being 1000 years of man. (IIPet 3:8, Abr 3:4) However, the term in Genesis was not meant to be day in any usual sense. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has written, "But first, what is a day? It is a specified time period; it is an age, and eon, a division of eternity; it is the time between two identifiable events. And each day, of whatever length, has the duration needed for its purposes. ... There is no revealed recitation specifying that each of the "six days" involved in the Creation was of the same duration."(Ensign, June, 1982, page 11) So the creation periods are unknown, and the length of time involved is certainly uncertain, from both standpoints.

Dimensions

Science speculates about other dimensions tan the three with which we are most accustomed. Time is considered the fourth dimension by most. But there are others. Science has theories about hyperspace which give us to understand that higher dimensions can look in on a lower dimension and see everything, but the converse is not true.

Revealed truths have given us to understand similar things. (See Doctrine and Covenants 130:9-10) Although we don't understand this well, there are several scriptures which assure us that "all things are present before mine eyes." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:2; 130:7; Moses 1:8)

To find these Scripture references, go to http://lds.org/scriptures?lang=eng 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Revealed Truth and Science Pt 1: The Origin of Man

I was thumbing through some old stuff that I've collected and I came across this. It was written by Walter Hill, a very smart man. He wrote "Genetic Engineering: A Primer". Hill, a retired biochemistry professor from the University of Montana blew my mind with this slice of information, so I hope you enjoy! (ps: sorry for typos, I'm copying from paper onto the computer)

Before we can really discuss this area, we need to make a few definitions. These are mine, and may be a bit loose, but they should work for us.
Definitions:
            What is Science?
                       Science is a search for an understanding of the things around us, and understanding of how they work and an effort to define the fundamental laws that make things as they are. It is NOT a search for truth.
              What is Religion?
                        Religion can be broadly defined as man defining his relationship to God, with God revealing the patterns and rules by which God would have man live.
               What is the Gospel?
                         The fullness of the Gospel centers around the fundamental principle that Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, through His infinite power and mercy, provided us a way to meet the demands of justice, through his vicarious sacrifice of Himself, a God, in our behalf.
               What is Truth?
                          Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.
                                         ( http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/93?lang=eng#)
                What is Revealed Truth?
                            That truth which is found in the revelations to the prophets.

               Science and religion are really two different paths, asking different questions, and having different expectations. Can the differences of view be reconciled?

I will briefly discuss a few examples:

1. The Origin of Man
              Science would have us understand that man has evolved from a state of disorganization to the present state in a series of progressive steps, any one of which may take an enormous period of time. However, evidence for spontaneous evolution of systems with increasing complexity, or transitions between the progressive states is lacking. But there is abundant evidence for adaptive changes and non-random mutation occurring in a vast array of species and animals. As with most scientific knowledge, this area is in constant change as more evidence appears and understanding increases. The entire theory of how things evolved is still evolving itself. It is based on the premise that man should explain the universe around him (what science does- see definition above) without calling on unseen or unknown (to science) powers. With the vast amount of paleontologival evidence showing great numbers of extinct animals, including hominids, scientists are trying to make a cohesive story of how all of this, and how we, came about. Nonetheless, it is still very much a theory, with many sub-theories or hypotheses yet to be sustained by appreciable evidence.
                Revealed truth teaches us that Man is the offspring of God, initially placed on this earth at an earlier time, with an eternal destiny to become like his Father. The revelations we have do not teach us how all of this came about, do not tell us of the organizational details of the creation, do not state the duration of time taken, and do not specify all of the players involved. While we are given a schematic outline, much is not said, allowing abundant speculation by many. It is often such speculation that runs amuck with scientific theories that are really just scientist speculating on how it all came to be. Conflict only arises when science begins to proclaim its theory as being fact, and religion begins to speculate on the unrevealed details of the creation.

Part 2 next time! (The Universe)
Let me know how I can spice up my blog. Help would be much appreciated!