Saturday, May 28, 2011

Modern Day Warriors

So, I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day in the war chapters of Alma and I read the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors. The story of the stripling warriors is basically this. These people who were once a wicked and awful people converted to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and swore an oath to God that they would never take up their weapons to fight ever again. So after years of peace and following Jesus Christ, they are getting attacked by their former people, that they left, and are about to break the oath they made with God that they wouldn't ever fight again when another option reveals itself, you see those people made the covenant that they would never take weapons to fight again, but their children haven't. So they decide that the young men, stripling warriors, are going to fight for them. So 2,000 of these boys prepare themselves for this great war. They are led by a commander in the army, his name is Helaman. So these young men arm themselves with weapons and go out against the foe, now these boys have never been in a war before and they are all a little inexperienced and maybe even feel a little inadequate, but they something that made up for all the things they are lacking. they had faith and they were obedient. They were taught by their mom's and they had faith in God that He would help them. So needless to say they go to battle and they have a vigorous fight with the Lamanites. After the battle Helaman goes to count the number dead and to his surprise not a single one had died, all had survived. This was because of their faith in God.

We can find ourselves in their position being attacked on all fronts by the adversary and the wickedness of the world, but just like them we need to fight against it and have faith in God. So arm yourselves with the Word of God and don't let go! I know we can all overcome the trials and challenges and "armies" we face everyday and it comes through faith and obedience to God and His commandments.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Joseph Smith: A Prophet of the Living God

In the early years of the 1800's, in America, there was a religious excitement that swept the east coast. America just becoming a free nation and with that, the ability to have religious freedom coming from under the rule of England it was no longer in the drudgery of the Church of England, which some still kept their faith in. However this sparked a religious movement that would change the world forever. In this there was churches springing up and trying their best to persuade the people in the area to side with them and become members of their church. In spite of this all good feelings that one sect of religion may have had for another seemed to be entirely lost over this battle of allegiance's. Joseph Smith being at the age of fourteen was concerned for the welfare of his soul and desired to be saved in the kingdom of God. In Ephesians 4:5 it says that there is only, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." From this we know that there is only one true church one true faith, One True and Living God. He was reading in James and came across this scripture in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Basically saying that if anyone would like an answer from God concerning a question they have, He will answer them. This goes along with what the Master said, "Ask and ye shall receive..." Joseph Smith decided he must do as James directed or remain in darkness and confusion.

So in the early springtime of 1820 Joseph Smith resigned to a nearby woods that he had previously chose to pray. He kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of his heart when in his own words he says, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...  When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" In this vision Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. He asked them which of the churches established was Their church. Christ answered and said that he should not join any of them, for they were all wrong." He said all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professor's were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."

May I add my testimony of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that He did appear to the boy prophet Joseph Smith in the early springtime of 1820. Because this is true, the church brought forth by Joseph Smith truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know this is true and that you can know of its truthfulness as well.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who wants some truth!?

What would you do if you were faced with deciding which of the 33,820 different types of Christianity has the one true gospel of Jesus Christ? Or perhaps choosing between the other millions of religions, denominations and branch-offs that exist and worship? You alone had to find the right answer for any hope of comfort and peace in this world and in the world to come. What do you do? I suppose you can meticulously study each religion and their texts and everything about them. Ranging from their origins and their history down to the present hour, but let's be honest here. With a tremendous effort you might be able to understand and come to a real decision on maybe 50 religions in a lifetime of real thorough study. Well maybe you can ask someone. You have scholars of every religion you could ask. You could ask Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, and leaders from all religions, but you would still have to make a decision. Feel like this task might be a little overwhelming? Ah, but there is hope because there is one more Person you could ask. This would be God, the Creator, the Being whom we all are trying to find out. Maybe They, whoever God may be, would give you an answer. Well, that's really the only method that would work. Who better to go to, to find out which religion is the correct one, than the actual Creator?

So you might be wondering what does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with every thing! This is the truth of EVERYTHING! Have people not been in a quest to find out and understand God and the truth since the beginning of the Earth's and man's origination? I mean this is the truth, reality, the facts. To know if God is. To know if there is actually something to believe in and live for. To know that all those stories we hear about God aren't just made to bring hollow hope and fictitious faith to the hearts of the gullible. To know that there is a Greater Being out there. Well, I can attest that this is the only way to know if there is a God. It's not going to come through archaeological findings, carbon dated things, or through hearing the good word. Yes not even through studying the Bible or Book of Mormon will one come to know that God is, they'll be exposed to ideas or beliefs about God, but the only way you can come to know if God is, is by Divine Manifestation. Only through prayer and seeking for an answer, will you come to know. I know that there is a God not because I  come to the conjecture on my own or because I read it somewhere in a book, but because I have sought Him through sincere and humble prayer and have received a witness more vivid and real than sight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Special!

Mother's day is wonderful time of the year, not just because missionaries around the world get to call home, but because it's the day when we get the opportunity to express our sincere love and appreciation for our dear mother's. There really is no adequate blog, thank-you card, or even a much needed telephone call that can truly show our earnest and heartfelt gratitude to the beloved women in our lives, but I will blog about it none-the-less.

May I share something that is dear to me. As a young lad I was a scared of the dark, terrified really and I honestly can't recall a night of the first 10-12 years of my life where I didn't have my mother waiting and watching me until I blissfully drifted off to sleep. Sometimes I would wake up, horrified of being alone and I would run down the hall to her room as fast as my little chicken-legs could carry me and I would ever so gently crawl into bed and fall back to sleep. These aren't great sacrifices that my mother made for me, but the comfort I felt as a young child meant more to me than I could possibly ever express. However, being a single parent can be quite discouraging. I spent what felt like more time with a baby-sitter for the first 4 years of my life than my mother not because I was a burden and because she was getting some relief time from me, but because she was going to college and was doing something with her life so that I could do something with mine. I love you mom and you are my hero.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Terrible Apostasy

Within 100 years of Christs crucifixion His church and His authority were entirely and completely gone. Not a particle, not one shred of authoritative power from God was able to be effectively or redemptively administered. Without the spirit of prophecy or revelation the church, Christ had established, began to become corrupted. The ideas and philosophies of men altered the true doctrines taught by the Savior and replaced them with false conclusions that over time became "established" truth brought forth in the Nicene Council.

Speaking of the impending apostasy which was about to supersede him and of the second coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Paul made this statement to the Thessalonians, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition..." Clearly Paul says here that the church was going to fall and that it would fall before the second coming. Peter also foresaw the apostasy which was about to take place and actually asked the Lord before He ascended into Heaven, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Peter knew there was going to be a falling away and also knew there would be a restoration of the kingdom. Answering Peter's question about the Restoration, Christ says this, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Basically telling Peter, it's not relevant to you to know that. But, despite the darkness and the confusion in the world, God would restore the truth.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Harmonizing and Eradication of Christs Church

Christ's power was the priesthood. Himself a God had the power of God. May I bring to attention that He never exercised His power for His own convenience. Himself having several opportunities to do so, such as the 40 day fast. He could have used His divine authority to command the rocks to turn to bread, but He didn't. In the same breath He later multiplied loaves of bread and fish to feed a multitude. This power seems apparent that it was to be used for the aiding of the children of men. With this power He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see and eased the pains of those who were in agony, yet He did not impede the pain He endured in the Garden of Gethsemane or during His scourging done by the hands of men. Nor did He numb the agonizing misery of the cross or charge His angels to eliminate those who had hung Him there. His power wasn't to exalt Himself or to put Himself on a pedestal, but it was to lift those who were down trodden and to give hope to those whose hope had all, but gone and because of this He is put on the "pedestal". As great as this power is, He didn't keep to Himself. As Luke says, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."

With the calling of the Twelve, Christ established His church. He inaugurated His church with prophets and apostles. Ephesians teaches us that His church is built upon apostles and prophets, Himself being the chief cornerstone. He also established a church for the purpose of taking the sacrament and for the perfecting and edifying the body of Christ (i.e. members of His church). He sent His apostles out into the world. For the first time He allowed the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. After His crucifixion and resurrection He ascended into Heaven and would later appear to others who were not in Jerusalem. Soon after His ascension the Church began to crumble. The persecution and the alienation of it's members from the gospel's truth is a main reason for the church's failure to survive. The persecution headed by the Romans and Jews was largely due to misunderstandings and fear of subjugation or in the least an attempt of revolution from a religious sect, most likely considered a cult. With the martyrdom of the apostles and the slaughtering of innocent believers of Christ God withdrew His authority and gospel from the Earth.