Have I done any good in the world today? If not, I have failed indeed! Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above.
If you read one of my blog posts, please leave a comment down at the bottom and share it with your friends! Thank you!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Lighthouse Of The Lord, Part 2

You keep that door closed!
In my last blog post, I explained the necessity of keeping the door of your spirituality closed to Satan, and I this post I will tell how to reinforce that door or how to close it again after it has been opened. Continuing with the theme of lighthouses, beaches, and stormy seas, I would like to tell a hypothetical story.

Imagine you are riding in a boat out in the middle of the ocean. When you begin your ride, all is well. The sun is shining, the waves are calm. After a few hours, the people you are with decide to stop the boat and swim around for a while. Because you feel comfortable swimming in the water by yourself you take off your life vest. You jump into the water and start to swim farther and farther away from the boat until suddenly you realize you can hardly see it anymore.

While you were swimming, you didn't realize what was happening with the weather. After a while you look up into the sky. The sun is going down and the clouds are much darker than before. The winds are blowing stronger. The waves are more restless. At this moment, you now regret not wearing your life vest. You start to swim towards the boat but a large wave comes along and pulls you under. You try to stay above the water but the wave is too strong. In a struggle for breath, you are able to come up for air every few seconds.

You begin to shout for your friends on the boat. Despite your efforts, the sound of the crashing waves overpower your voice. No one can hear or see you. You begin to drown. After the long struggle, someone from the boat sees you and brings you safely aboard. One of your friends begins to do CPR. It takes a while, but eventually you become conscious and are revived and saved. I bet you'll wear your life preserver from now on, right?

The same thing happens in the church. You begin to get comfortable and complacent with where we are in the gospel. You take off your life jacket by stop studying the scriptures, saying meaningful personal prayers, and sometimes jump out of the boat all together by stop attending sacrament and other meetings. At first you can do okay on your own because you know how to deal with some of life's challenges by yourself. Everything is smooth sailing until you suddenly realize you're going through a major trial. The storms of life begin to beat on you. At this point you regret not keeping the commandments. You regret not listening to your priesthood leaders and heeding the counsel of the modern day prophets and apostles. You regret not taking the sacrament each week.

The lighthouse of the Lord remains
visible through the dark and the storm.
You feel lost, unable to stay above the water, unable to face the trials of life on your own. You attempt to make small steps to repentance every now and then, but your old habits return and you are drowning and wallowing in the pit of sorrow and anguish you've created for yourself. You try to get out, but you can't. You're in Satan's power now. You try to get help, but there seems to be nowhere you can turn. You've distanced yourself from those who love you. You've cut ties with your church family and friends. You are miserable, depressed, and unhappy.

But then a friend comes along, brings you back to the boat and performs spiritual CPR on you. Your friend takes you to your church meetings. Prays with you and reads the Book of Mormon with you. Loves you. You become happy. You now begin to enjoy life and spiritual things. You realize how much happier you are with the gospel in your life, with the spiritual life preservers of the commandments buckled tightly around you.

"But what is spiritual CPR?"

Simple answer: Church, Prayer, Reading.

Okay, I assume you would also like the long and drawn out answer?

In addition to the Savior's Atonement,
rely on your family members and friends
to help you through tough times.
Church-- Attending your Sunday church meetings gives you spiritual power throughout the week. It recharges your spiritual batteries. You gain additional insight and revelation from on high to guide you in your life. You will learn more about the gospel and draw closer to the Savior. You get to feel the spirit for three straight hours if you open your heart to it. Guaranteed. To locate a church near you, CLICK HERE.

Prayer-- Having meaningful and personal communication with your loving Heavenly Father through prayer is important for receiving the help you need. There are many blessings God is waiting to give us, and our receiving them depends upon us asking for them in prayer. Through prayer, you begin to rely on the Lord and the enabling power, or the strengthening power, of His Atonement.

Reading-- Reading the Book of Mormon everyday is essential to your spiritual safety and protection. When you read the Book of Mormon, you are filled with the Spirit. You are also filled with light. The more you read the more protection you will have. To request a free copy of the Book of Mormon, CLICK HERE.

While doing this process of spiritual CPR, you must continue to keep the commandments. Doing so will allow you to feel the spirit of the Lord more fully in your life. You will be able to more clearly each day see the way to go. You will be warned of temptation and danger more often. You will begin to feel Godly sorrow rather than worldly sorrow for your sins. You will be full of joy.

"The commandments are protective, not restrictive." That's what my mother always told me. Boy, was she right! I had to learn that the hard way. Taking the life preserver off and jumping ship isn't something I was completely enthused about doing. If I hadn't been spiritually revived by CPR, I don't know what shore I would have washed up on. I wouldn't be a card carrying, gospel preaching, covenant keeping missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-- that I know for sure!

Your bishop is there to help you and
give you guidance on how to repair
your relationship with the Savior.
If you do spiritual CPR faithfully, wherever you go you will be standing in a holy place.

If there are any if you out there reading this who have jumped ship, please climb aboard again. If you can't do it on your own (which I'm letting you know now that you can't), please seek the help of your local priesthood leaders. If you don't know who they are, find out. Find the missionaries. Tell them your story, where you've been, where you want to go, and what you need help with to get there. They will help you.

If you haven't jumped ship yet, but have taken off your life jacket, you need to stop right there and put that thing back on. Tighten it and make sure it feels snug. If you need floaties, buy floaties. Buy an oxygen tank and breathing mask. And put on goggles. Protect yourself!

Don't you let him in. Don't even open the door.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Lighthouse Of The Lord, Part 1

I have always thought of lighthouses as representing sacred places. Growing up in North Carolina, I often visited the coastline and saw the enormous structures overlooking the water. Each time I see these beautiful towers I am reminded of the verse in
Doctrine and Covenants 87:8.

"Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."

What could be more immovable than a lighthouse? At least to me these giant structures do not seem like they can be easily moved. The waves of the sea can beat upon them and the winds can try to knock them down, but very seldom are these lighthouses harmed by the natural buffetings. Just as the lighthouses along the seashore stand strong against things trying to harm them, we too can face the storms of life by standing in holy places. In a General Conference talk by President Thomas S. Monson, entitled "The Lighthouse Of The Lord," he gives us hope to help us be spiritually protected in a world filled ever increasing wickedness.

“Is there a way to safety? Can someone guide me? Is there an escape from threatened destruction? The answer is a resounding yes! I counsel you: Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, “This way to safety; this way to home.”

His prophetic counsel still applies today when seeking spiritual safety. There is a way to protect ourselves from the harm Satan would wish to inflict on you. President Monson said we must "look" to the lighthouse of the Lord for spiritual preservation. But I would like to take his words one step further.

The verse mentioned earlier says you must "stand in holy places." Looking is not enough. You must not just look to the Lord's lighthouse, you must enter it. And once you're in, you must shut that door tight. When you shut that door, lock it. Put a few deadbolts on it and then seal it shut with cement. Okay, not really. But I hope you get my point.

Don't you let him in. Don't even open the door.

"What does a lighthouse do?"

Lighthouses are beacons of light, shining brightly to warn ships at sea. The lighthouses can help ships know where the safe land is through the fog and other obstacles. Because He loves us, Heavenly Father's lighthouse is there to save our spiritual ships from sinking.

Christ is our anchor. (Ether 12:4)
In Helaman 5:12 we read, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

We see that it is upon Christ we must build our foundation, or our testimonies. We must stand in His holy places so when the whirlwinds come we will not fall when temptations or trials come along.

Did you know everywhere you go can be a holy place? In 1 Corintians 6:19, the Apostle Paul says our bodies are the temples of God: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

We learn more about standing in holy places from Psalms 24:3-4:

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

If you keep the commandments and try your best to keep yourself clean and pure, you will always have the presence of the Holy Ghost to guide and protect you. That's a promise from me, from the scriptures, from the prophets, and from Christ Himself. Heavenly Father loves us. He will not let us fall if we rely on Him, and He will most definitely never fail us.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go

For some time now, the hymn I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go has been a favorite of mine. My former companion, Elder Minam Choe, said at one point, "The two most often played songs in our apartment are If You Could Hie To Kolob and I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go." His observation was correct. As I have done with other hymns, I would like to take this hymn line by line and break it down and share my thoughts about it. The story of If You Could Hie To Kolob is another story for another time!

Possibly before you read this blog post, watch this video on LDS.org. It's one of the things which inspired me to write this post. It will bring a wonderful spirit to wherever you are as you read my post.

1. It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.

"It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me."

I am serving my mission in Utah. We are on the mountain height, and we are on the battle's front. And we many not have a stormy sea anywhere close, but the Great Salt Lake touches the border of our mission. The Lord has need of us here! There is a special work to do.

"But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go."

Concerning my mission, my patriarchal blessing said (and I paraphrase): "You will receive a mission call to the far ends of the earth where no one has ever heard this gospel." Getting this line as a 16 year old young man, I was pretty scared about where I would have to go on my mission.
But they sent me to Utah. And guess what? Heavenly Father did call me by the "still, small voice" to paths that I did not know, and led me to people who have never heard of the gospel. Although scared, not knowing where I was going or who I would be teaching, I answered the dear Lord with my hand in His, "I'll go where you want me to go."

To get to Utah, I had to fly near about over the whole country to get here. I traveled over mountain, and plain, and sea to get to the Salt Lake. I've said what He wanted me to say, and I've been who He wanted me to be.

2. Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand’rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I’ll say what you want me to say.

"Perhaps today there are loving words
I’ll say what you want me to say."

My pathway has been dark and rugged. But the Savior and my Heavenly Father were my guides. Again, I paraphrase my patriarchal blessing: "Do not fear or be concerned, because your Heavenly Father will be there to help you along the way." They did help me in times when I needed their blessings. And because of that, I am saying what He wants me to say.

3. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.

"There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
For Jesus, the Crucified."

Let's face it: I'm serving on the West Side. A few ignorant people out there would consider some of my areas "lowly." But I have gained a special and fond love for the areas and people I serve. I have felt just a small portion of the Savior's love for those I have stewardship over, but the love I have felt for them was incredible. I can never repay the Savior for anything He has done for me. I have labored for life's short 18 months so far, and I will love to do it for the next 6 months.

"So trusting my all to thy tender care,

Will you trust our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ? Do you know that They love you? If so, show that love and trust by doing the Lord's will for you: Be what He wants you to be.

I would like to invite all young men everywhere to serve full time missions if circumstances allow. If you are unable to serve a full time mission due to health or other similar reasons, serve a church service mission. The Lord has need of you! Not just any young man, but you specifically. You have many special talents and abilities the Lord has blessed you with. He expects you to use them!

Sisters and seniors, although it is not your duty to serve missions, I would ask you to sincerely ponder and ask Heavenly Father in prayer if He would have you serve. Know that not every sister or senior should serve a mission due to numerous reasons. Know that no matter where you go, your Heavenly Father loves you, and has saved you specifically for this time, and has prepared people so you can change their lives. To the sisters especially: You are special in His sight. You are one of His daughters here upon the earth who He loves and wants to be happy. If you do choose to serve a mission, you will be blessed eternally.

I know this work is real. I know the Lord is walking and working along side me here in my mission. It has been the hardest 18 months of my life so far, but I don't regret any of it. I love this work. If I could be a missionary my whole life I would be. I love the Lord (click the link).

The Lord has come to earth to do what Father asked Him to do. What did He do for us? As we read in the hymn He Sent His Son, "He sent His Son to die for us, and rise with living breath." Everything Jesus did, He did for us. If He was willing to do that for us, are you willing to go where the Lord wants you to go?

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prove All Things, Part 2

Heavenly Father expects you to do
your homework before He throws
you an answer to your prayer.
In my last blog post, I explained how we must ask God through prayer to know spiritual truths. In this post I will show what we must do on our part in order to be ready to receive the answer.

God always hears and answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer is no. For instance: "Dear God. I would really like to have a couple thousand dollars to go on a cruise with my buddies. I also want a new car. And a pay raise. I also would like to be able to fly or turn invisible. Besides that, thanks for everything you do. Amen!"

How willing is God going to be to answer that prayer and give you the things you wanted? The answer to that prayer would most likely be "no" if it didn't bounce off the ceiling on the way to Him.

If you said that prayer and didn't get the stuff you wanted, does that mean God doesn't exist? Does that mean He doesn't care about you? Of course not! God expects us to "do our homework" before He gives us answers.

Here's how I like to look at it: Imagine you are walking around in a toy store with two of your children. One of your children comes to you and demands you buy a certain toy for him. You tell him no or don't answer him at all and he never asks you again. How much did he really want that toy? Not very much, right? You remember how he never helps out around the house when you ask and never does any of the chores he is supposed to do. How willing would you be to buy this child a toy?

If you're expecting a beam of light and an angel appearing
to you and giving you your answer... Sorry, but you're
not very likely to receive your answer like that.
Another one of your children comes to you and humbly asks you for a toy. This child however, in addition to his other chores, says if you buy this toy for him, he promises to give up his allowance, wash the car, do the dishes, rake the leaves, do his homework, and feed the dog. You don't answer him right away, but he starts to do all the things he promised to do. After a week, he has faithfully done everything on the list, plus some, and has asked you for the toy numerous times. How much did this child want the toy? Probably a whole lot. How much more willing are you to buy this child the toy he asked for? Probably a lot more willing.

You see, God is the same way with us. If we ask Him to give us something just once, or if we are not willing to do the things He asks of us, or if we don't really want to know the answer in the first place, He won't be very likely to give us answers to our prayers. Why would He?

But if we ask God in prayer for answers repeatedly, show Him we are willing to obey his commandments, work for our answers, and sincerely desire to know the truth, He will be much more willing to give us the answers we seek.

Let's take one spiritual truth to focus on. One of the most important spiritual truths missionaries can ask people to find out for themselves is the truthfulness and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Of course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important, but I have met plenty of people on my mission who claim to have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon but God did not tell them it was true.

Oh, you don't want to read the Book of
Mormon? It's OK. I only spent my entire life
putting them togeter for you.
Usually when they make that claim, I ask them how they went about getting their answer. Often times their reply runs along these lines: "Well, I opened it up and read for a little bit, then told God to let me know if it was true or not. And He didn't give me an answer, so the Book of Mormon must be false and Joseph Smith is a liar and the Mormon church is evil and crazy."

When I hear such an answer, I can't help but to try to visualize them saying their prayers. I like to imagine they go something like this: "Hey, God! It's me again! So, I just spent a few minutes reading this book those crazy dudes in white shirts with the black name tags gave me. They asked me to read the book and ask you if it was true. But I know the book probably isn't true and it was really boring and hard to understand. I was thinking of throwing it away, but I decided to use it as a doorstop instead. But you know what? Tell me the book isn't true so I can bash those Mission Mormonaries next time they come over. I'll call on you next time I need some help. Thanks-- Amen!"

Even if the Book of Mormon wasn't true, do you think God would answer such a prayer? God forbid, if you were in His place, what would you do if someone offered up such an insincere and blatantly insulting prayer? If it were me, I definitely wouldn't answer that prayer. In fact, I'd probably smite this person with leprosy or boils or some other crazy biblical disease for sending up such a disrespectful prayer to me.

Let me just offer a word of advice: If you aren't in the right mindset to receive the answer God is trying to give you, you won't get it. Period. If you only read the Book of Mormon to disprove what is written in it or any other purpose but to know if it's true, you won't get an answer. Even if you read the entire thing only trying to find fault in it, you still wouldn't get an answer.

The Book of Mormon testifies
of Jesus Christ.
"But doesn't the Book itself tell us if we read it and pray to know it is true, God will give us an answer?"

Yes, you are correct. But there is much more to it than that. The ancient Book of Mormon prophet Moroni describes what we must do to know if the book is true or not.

Moroni 10:3-5:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

As it says in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon, we must "read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in [our] hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true." It goes on to say, "Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost."

To sum it all up, we must first be willing to receive an answer, our heart must be sincere, and we must be willing to act on the answer given. If it is the right moment for you to receive an answer according to God's timescale, you will receive the answer you seek. It's as simple as that.



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Prove All Things, Part 1

Many people missionaries come in contact with want us to give them evidence and proof that we are right. They want us to show them the church is true in the scriptures rather than accepting the Holy Ghost into their lives. We can't prove that the scriptures or our beliefs are true. Only the Holy Ghost can do that.

"For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee"
Even if we could prove everything, God still expects us to have faith. If we don't have faith, it
doesn't matter how much we can prove. Hebrews 11:1 says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Christ set the example for us on how to know spiritual truths in Matthew 16:15-17.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Just as Peter knew Jesus Christ was the Son of God by the power of the Holy Ghost rather than seeing His flesh and blood, Christ expects us to receive spiritual knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost rather than physical evidence that something is true.

Many cite the scripture found in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to make it seem like we need to prove our beliefs with evidence.

Christ set the example for us on how to pray.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

In context, this chapter is talking about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This verse is not telling us to prove the scriptures, doctrine, or beliefs. Another meaning of the word "prove" is to "test" something. See 1 Samuel 17:39 and Psalms 26:2.

Here is the scripture reread in context:
21 [Examine] all things; hold fast that which is good.

Or it could be read this way:
21 [Put] all things [to the test]; hold fast that which is good.

Or in other words, "Look at the signs of the Second Coming, examine the things happening around you, and only talk about or concern yourself with the good things you hear."

Another similar scripture is found in Romans 12:2.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Again, this scripture is not asking us to prove to someone that something is good. Compare John 7:17 to get a more full meaning of this scripture.

17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

What we learn from these scriptures is that if we do the will of the Father by keeping His commandments, we can know if the doctrine being taught is really of God or not. This is how we can "test" if something is of God, as the scripture says. For example: When missionaries teach the Word of Wisdom and someone says it is not inspired of God, we invite them to live it anyways so they can see the blessings of living it. Every time, if they really do their part, they will always see the promised blessings.

In the Book of Mormon, we read of the sons of Lehi, returning to Jerusalem to retrieve the plates of brass. After the second attempt to get the plates, Laman and Lemuel were furious at Nephi because Laban stole all of their riches. The scriptures say, "Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod."

While Laman and Lemuel were beating Sam and Nephi to death, an angel appeared to stop them. However, immediately as the angel left, Laman and Lemuel began to doubt again the strength of the Lord.

31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

These guys have got to be the most stubborn an heard hearted people ever to have lived on planet Earth. However, Nephi was faithful and trusted in the Lord that He would protect and provide a way for them. Nephi knew the Lord had commanded them to get the plates and he knew how important it was to have them as they were traveling in the wilderness.

In 1 Nephi 4:1, we read Nephi's response to his brothers: "And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?"

Curious how Laman and Lemuel could so quickly lose faith after seeing the angel. Surely, anyone would be converted and want to do the will of the Father after seeing an angel, right? Why didn't Laman and Lemuel have as much faith as Nephi, even after this experience? The difference between Nephi and his brothers was that Nephi prayed to know if the things his father told him were true.

In 1 Nephi 2:16, we read Nephi's account of praying to know spiritual truths: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers."

Nephi prayed to know the truth and the Lord
visited him with the Holy Ghost.
"I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me." Or in other words, "I wanted to know if what my father, the prophet, was telling me was true so I asked the Lord and He visited me with the Holy Ghost and told me it was true."

How did I get out of this verse that Nephi was only visited by the Holy Ghost? If you follow the footnote under the word "visit" it points you to Doctrine and Covenants 5:16, which reads: "And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit."

Seeing and believing is not enough to keep a lasting testimony though. Surely Laman and Lemuel believed in God. I mean, they had seen angels! How could they not believe? Their father Lehi was a prophet. They had probably seen him do many mighty miracles in his calling as a prophet. We, like Nephi, must act on our beliefs or they will do nothing for us.

Jesus Christ tells us in James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." He also says in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

It all comes down to our desire. If we desire to know spiritual truth, we must ask God, as James 1:5 tells us. If we do our part, God will give us the answers we seek. To know spiritual truths by the power of the Holy Ghost and not just cognitively we must ask God.

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Lifetime Commitment

Gospel related conversations are easy to start!
"So what is it that makes you stay in your religion?"

 "What do you mean?"

"Well, first you have to go to church for three whole hours on Sunday, then multiple hours a week for other jobs and responsibilities."

"Yeah, so?"

"And you also have to give up one tenth of your income to the church."

"Well, I've found the more you give the Lord, the more he gives back!"

"Not to mention all of the rules labeled as so called commandments that take all the fun out of life! You can't drink, smoke, or have sexual relations outside of marriage."

"Those things aren't really too appealing to me in the first place."

"You also have to read that book that Joe Smith supposedly translated from those golden tablets he found! Isn't the Bible enough?"

"The Bible is the word of God, yes, but the Book of Mormon does so much more than just tell stories and teachings of Jesus. And the church I belong to, the responsibilities I have, and the standards I hold myself to, it's more than just a Sunday thing; it's a lifetime commitment."

It's really that easy to set up an appointment
for the missionaries. Try it and see!

"Huh? What are you talking about?"

"I actually have to get running pretty soon, but I'd love to continue our conversation. I'll tell you what. I have two great friends I'd like you to meet. Do you mind if I bring them by to meet you, let's say... Tuesday at 7:00?"

"Sure, I guess. See you then!"

* * *

[Tuesday at 7:00]


"Hey there, how's it going?"

"Pretty well. I brought my friends along to meet you! Mind if we come in?"

"Sure... Wait. Hold the phone. Your friends are the Mission Mormonaries?"

"Yep, that's us. We prefer to be called Elders, or at least 'Mormon missionaries.' Hi, I'm Elder Hill. Glad to meet you, my friend! Boy, do we have an important message for you!"

"Ugh. Well come on in."

* * *

"So you guys can't watch TV right?"

"Right, but that's not even a fraction of what we can and can't do!"

"You're kidding me."

"Nope. We have a 68 page handbook stating what we are and aren't allowed to do. In addition to not watching TV, we also can't go swimming, read the paper, play video games, date girls, call home (other than Mothers Day or Christmas), surf the internet (except for Church approved websites), listen to music that isn't conducive to the Spirit, wear normal clothes, light fireworks or other explosives, go horseback riding, ride on private boats, leave the mission boundaries without permission, shoot or handle firearms, attend sporting events or keep score while playing sports, go horseback riding, ice skating, skiing, or snowboarding, or pretty much anything else you could think of that normal people do for fun. We're not even supposed to chew gum."

You can't even chew gum?
"So if you can't do any of that, what CAN you do?"

"We do lots of things! Our daily schedule is as follows: We wake up every morning at 6:30 AM and exercise for 30 minutes. After that, we shower and eat breakfast and prepare for the day. For two hours after that we have our study time, where we read the scriptures, listen to conference talks, talk about those we teach, roleplay lessons, and confirm our plans for the day. At 10 AM we go out proselyting, come back to take a lunch break for an hour, then go back out and start again. In our free time we visit leaders and members of the local ward, or congregation, try to find people to teach, teach lessons, and so on. We have dinner for an hour every day at 5PM, then for the rest of the night we go back out and teach whoever will let us in. At 9:00 PM we return home and plan for the next day for around 30 to 45 minutes. Then, we have to be in bed by 10:30. The next day we do it all over again.

Oh, and on Thursdays we have a three hour meeting to plan out our week, and on Friday we have another meeting in the morning where we are trained on stuff. We also have to attend all three hours of church for each ward we cover, which can sometimes last up to six hours straight.

"Wow, that's quite the full time job you've got there. They must pay you pretty well!"

"Oh, we don't get paid for any of this. In fact, we have to pay to be out here! Most missions cost about $400 a month or $10,000 total, not including any other personal expenses."

"What?! Why on Earth would anyone want to leave home for two years, having to do all of that, and not get payed for it?"

"Because I know what I teach is true. If I didn't, I would be back at home playing video games and hanging out with my friends and family. But because it is true, I decided that I had better do something about it."

"But how do you know it is true? You can't honestly believe everything the Church tells you to teach, can you?"
You can know through prayer if
what we taught you is truw.
"I do. And you can know it too."


"How everyone can know it is true. Read the Book of Mormon, ponder the message it contains, then ask God in prayer if the book is true. If you do your part, God will tell you if it is true or not."

"You said you know it is true, but you can't really know know it's true. You just have to believe. You've never seen an angel have you?"

"When I say 'I know' what I teach is true, I mean it. I don't just have to believe. I might not know everything to know about Church history, or everything about the gospel, and I can't quote the Book word for word in its entirety, but what I do know is that the Book of Mormon is true.

If the Book of Mormon is true, that means Joseph Smith saw God and His Son Jesus Christ. If he saw Them, that means he was called as a prophet. If he was called as a prophet then this is God's true church upon the face of the earth today!

I know the Book of Mormon is true not because I have seen an angel or had a grand display of God's power. I haven't seen Christ or heard His voice tell me it is true. I haven't felt the nail prints in His hands with my own. But I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know Christ lives because of something even more powerful than seeing an angel or touching the gold plates. I know because I have felt the power of the Holy Ghost bear divine witness to me the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon on numerous occasions."

"What? You're crazy! You're saying a feeling you got inside your body is more powerful than seeing things? You could have just had some bad pizza!"

"Fair enough. Well, do you remember the stories in the Bible of when Christ did mighty miracles?"

"Yes, of course!"

Everything we teach is centered
on the life and teachings of
Jesus Christ.
"Do you also remember how the people hated Christ and killed him for doing the things He did?"

"Yes, I do remember that. What's your point?"

"Hundreds or even thousands of people saw Christ do miracles. He healed the sick, gave the blind their sight, raised the dead, turned water into wine, fed thousands with a few fish and loves of bread. If He did all of that, how could people still not believe? How could they still kill Him?

This is proof to me that seeing does not convert, only the Holy Ghost does.

"You've got a point. I guess I never looked at it like that."

"You see, the reason I do what I do is because I know what I teach is true. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost. Because I know, I act on the knowledge I have. Because I know, I am on my mission. Because I know, I read the Book of Mormon and go to church and pray. Because I know, I pay my tithing, live the Word of Wisdom, and obey the Law of Chastity. And because I know, I am sitting in your living room talking to you about it.

Now that I have explained how I know what I teach is true, would you like to learn more?"

"That's really powerful stuff. I guess why that's why my friend called your religion a 'lifetime commitment'. Once you know, you will want to live it for the rest of your life. Yes, I would like to learn more."

The Invitation

Although this story and the exchange of dialogue never happened, it still illustrates a great point. Just as the person in the story wanted to know for himself the things I know to be true, you too can take my invitation and learn more about the gospel and Church of Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this and are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or are a less active member of the church, please invite the missionaries into your home. Let them teach you. Their visits will change your life forever.

You don't know what to expect? Well let me take you through it...

For the first visit, the missionaries will try to get to know you a little bit. This is so they will better know how to teach according to your needs, and so you will be able to take full advantage of their visits. Please be open and honest with them. They are there to help you. They can't help you unless you are open with them.

During the first visit and other visits, the missionaries will share with you one of the five missionary lessons.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families.
The lessons are:
1) The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2) God's Plan of Salvation
3) The Gospel of Jesus Christ
4) The Commandments

The fourth lesson is usually broken up into a couple of lessons for time and convenience. The commandments are: The Word of Wisdom, The Law of Chastity, the Law of Tithing, and the Ten Commandments.

There is a fifth lesson, which is usually taught after baptism. It simply teaches about church structure, callings and responsibility within the church, and family history and temple work, just to name a few examples.

These visits generally take about 30 to 45 minutes total, and the lessons only takes about 20 minutes to teach. Each lesson begins and ends with a prayer, and the missionaries will make invitations to you as directed by the Holy Ghost.

How can you know if it's true if
you aren't willing to listen?
Some things the missionaries may invite you to do during a lesson are: be baptized, read the Book of Mormon, pray to Heavenly Father, attend local church meetings, and keep the commandments.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may ask the missionaries. They will, to the best of their abilities, try to answer your questions. They are not perfect teachers by any means, but they are servants of the Lord. As they teach you, you will begin to recognize them as such.

If you are willing to learn for yourself the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please visit

and fill in this box to invite the Lord's servants into your home:

You don't have to accept our message. We can't force you to do anything. But if you do accept us into your home, even for one lesson, we promise you will want to learn more.