There are many blessings in doing family history. Each of them very different for each person. However, I would like to name a few that have occurred in my live. [Read more…] about What Family History has done for our family?
You know I don’t think I was always a believer. I was taught that our Heavenly Father existed, and that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, but did I believe? Here is my story how I started my path to believing.
My Belief that He exists and answers prayers.
I was only eight years old where this story begins. My grandma and I had this special connection when I was this age. We used to live on the same farm. Every day after school I was at my grandma’s house, even if my mom didn’t want me to go. For one of my birthdays, my grandma gave me this MAD Ball. It was a ball that had a face of a monster. I loved this ball, because it was given to me by my grandma, my awesome grandma.
One day I couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere for it. Well as much as an 8 year old can. I was disappointed in myself for losing it. What would my favorite grandma think about me losing a gift she gave me? Why could I not find this ball? That is when I remembered from Primary class if I needed something, I should ask my Heavenly Father. I got down on my knees, and asked with tears in my eyes, to find that ball. As soon as I finished the prayer I had an impression where the ball was. I went to the microwave, looked behind it, and there it was. As young as 8 years old I believed that he existed and answered my prayers.
My belief that I am not alone and He is with me.
Throughout my youth I suffered from depression. I am not sure if I was clinically depressed or not. One Saturday in my 8th grade year, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I mean, I really didn’t want to get out of bed. I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t want to leave my bed, but I know it had something to do with being fat and being in the eighth grade. Since it was Saturday, my family had plans to run errands and spend time together. My dad was going to school during the day and worked graveyard, so seeing him was rare. When I saw him it was maybe a hour a day during the week. So it was a special occasion for all of us to be able to go.
At first, my brothers came in my room to invite me to come. I have never seen my brothers with a heart felt invite like they did that day. But I was stubborn and didn’t want to get out of bed.
My mom came in and asked if I would come. “No, I am okay where I am at.” I said.
My dad is very passive. He gets mad only when he is driving.
He walked into the room and says,”Get dressed, you’re coming with us.”
I said, “No.”
Then he yelled at me,”Get dressed, you are coming.”
“No”, I said again.
He left the room. My mom came in to tell me they are leaving. “Now is the time to let us know if you are coming”, she said.
“I am not coming, Mom.” I told her.
I heard all of them leaving and heard the final door shut. At that exact moment, I heard this very audible voice saying,”If you do not get up now, you will spend the rest of your life in bed.” What!? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in bed. I jumped out of bed, in my t-shirt and boxers and ran out the door. They were just pulling out and I was able to flag them down. I asked if they could give me 5 minutes to get dressed. It was probably one of the best times we had as a family, and we just ran around doing errands. Ever since that moment, I know that I am not alone.
My belief that He loves me.
As I before mentioned, I suffered from depression. So, I had my ups and my downs. During one particular moment in the 10th grade, I felt extremely low. I didn’t necessarily have suicidal thoughts, but I had thoughts, “Would anyone miss me if I was gone?”
I was in my room in the afternoon in tears, thinking that no one liked me or even loved me. Would they miss me? I was sitting on the edge of my bed and verbally said,”No one loves me, not even my family.” I kid you not about this next moment. It was as if someone put their arm over my shoulder, like a side hug, squeezing me, and a voice said,”I am here. I love you.” Instead of tears of sorrow, I had tears of joy! I felt this total bliss that my Heavenly Father loves me. ME! Of all people to love, He loves me. I came to find out later, He loves everyone. But He spent the time to tell me He loves me, when I needed it the most.
As I write this, I have tears of joy! Without these experiences I would not be who I am today.
Elder Bednar once said,”three basic elements of faith: (1) faith as the assurance of things hoped for which are true, (2) faith as the evidence of things not seen, and (3) faith as the principle of action in all intelligent beings. I describe these three components of faith in the Savior as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.”
I have shared the “assurance of things,” So don’t just believe me that He exists, He is with us, and He loves us. Find out for yourself. Take action, and gain the “evidence” for yourself so you can always be moving towards Him.
I know everyone has different experiences why we believe. So, why do you believe? How have you felt His presence in your life?
I was talking with my mother the other night. She related a story to me about a sister in Germany. This sister had spent her whole life searching for the truth but could never find it even with three Doctoral degree in philosophy, religious studies and study of ideas. Once she found it in the church, and was baptized 8 and a half weeks later, she taught people in the church that we truly did not know what we have.
So, I ask,”Do we truly know what we have?”
Do we truly know that we can be forgiven of our sins even when we want to hide under a mountain? Do we truly know that we have “power sufficient to produce faith necessary unto life and salvation?” Do we truly know that we have the ability to be able to walk and talk with our Savior in this life? Do we truly know that our Savior could have chosen to call the concourses of angels to get him off the cross before his work was done? IT would have resulted where we would not have been able to return to our Father because we need the atonement. Do we truly know that how we are now, God once was, and how God now is, we can become? Do we truly know that the earth and all of the planets in the universe are in perfect order because God put them there? If he put them in their perfect rotation, so they will be where they need to be. Do we truly know that God put us here, exactly where we need to be to prove our ability to follow him, and to help those around us?
Do we truly know that God loved us so much, that He sent His only Begotten, to bleed and die for us? Do we truly know that each drop of blood, each crack of the whip, each hit on the nail, the Savior was thinking of you, me, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and yes, even your enemies? Do we truly know that if we really take advantage of the atonement, we would be able to return to our Father?
How do we truly understand what was done for us?
When I asked myself this question, I was reminded of my favorite verse of scripture.
And again I say unto you as I have said before (1) that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, (2) and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls (3) even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and (4) humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, (5) calling on the name of the Lord daily, (6) and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
If we taste of his love, receive a remission of our sins, remember his greatness and love towards us, humble ourselves, call on his name daily, and stand steadfastly in the faith, then we “shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of [our] sins; and [we] shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created [us], or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.”
It is my hope, and I hope it is your desire that we may truly know what we have, and receive that personal testimony of the Father and of the sacrifice of what the Savior did for us.
Your Brother in the Gospel,
No, I am not asking if you have a garden to see how your fruit or veggies taste even though that would be a good post as well. Actually, I was referring to the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. In verse 31 it says,”…the Lord of the vineyard did taste of the fruit, every sort according to its number.” In this instance, The Lord was tasting of our fruit. What kind of fruit are we producing for our Father? What kind of fruit should we produce for our Father? and how do we get to have our fruit taste good?
We will go with the why first.
Why do I want my fruit to taste good
There are a million reasons as to why we should but I will only list one.
What does it mean to be the first-fruit of Christ? In Jacob 4:11 it states,”Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruit of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.” To be presented to our Father as one of Christ’s, is a name that King Benjamin called his people once they convenanted to obey and had zero desire to sin. The name they were called were sons and daughters of Christ (Mosiah 5:7). They chose to be able to begotten by him spiritually, to gain an inheritance to return to the presence of our Father. That is what it means to be the first-fruit of Christ, to be one of His which is a very good reason as to why we should want our fruit to taste good.
What kind of fruit are we producing for our Father
In Jacob 5:32 it states,”But behold, this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of which is good. And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and not it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.” What does this mean for us? What kind of fruit are we producing for our Father? In the scripture above it states that we are producing all kinds of bad fruit, which could mean some are close to producing good fruit. Others might be at 50% in producing good fruit. While others might not be so fortunate.
We are to produce fruit for the coming harvest. If we are unable to produce good fruit, it will be cast in the fire. So,
How do we get to have our fruit taste good?
In the following verses of Jacob 5, The Lord was about to go down to destroy the vineyard, but the servant of the Lord said,”Spare it a little longer”(v.50). The Lord spared us, and also went to work. He grafted, pruned, digged and dunged so that we can produce the fruit that is good to be brought to our Father. What does this mean? Look at the verse in Mosiah 3:19. “For the natural man is 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.” If we become submissive to the will of our Father, and be pruned of evil fruit, have good branches grafted in, and have our roots digged and dunged for nourishment, we will come “…again the natural fruit…like unto one body and the fruits were equal” and be preserved by The Lord like “…the natural fruit, which is the most precious unto him from the beginning.” (Jacob 5:74)
What do I do now
No matter where you are now in this life. It is possible for us to come back to Him. It is his plan. On my mission, I was at a conference and Elder Whetten of the seventy was teaching us. He told of a question he asked Elder Oaks. “How many do you think will be saved? 30%?40%?” Elder Oaks responded,”100%.” That is God’s plan. The Savior didn’t sacrifice himself to save only a few. He wants us all. We have to choose to have our will become his will.
You may have recently come back from repentance, or are at a plateau. No matter where you are, push like the woman did with the unrighteous Judge (Luke 18:1-8). Now go and do. Strive to do good in all things.
Your Brother in the gospel,
I was reading a blog post from Becky Thompson called,”Beware of Quicksand: How One Stranger’s Comment Changed My Marriage Forever.” It talked about the little things that can lead us into the grasp of Satan as if like being in quicksand.
Then I started to think about the Israelites and how they tried to consecrate themselves to be able to see the Lord. (Exodus 19:10) Instead they told Moses that he can be the mediator, and then they built a golden calf. Aaron’s response was great when he said, “Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.” (Exodus 32:22) Which is a direct contrast to the Nephities during King Benjamin’s time. “And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2)
How do we become like the Nephities and choose “to do good continually?”
Let us break down the surrounding verses to understand them better.
First, let’s look at where they were before they had this desire to do good continually. In Mosiah 2:1-6, they were asked to gather at the Temple. They even brought sacrifices to perform ordinances, and every family faced their door towards the temple. They were already good members but they still prepared to be taught. So let us prepare.
[Read more…] about How General Conference Can Help You Live a Better Life