30 November 2014

Putting Dry Bones Back Together

This is a painting of a vision that Ezekiel had while in captivity.  A description of that vision is found in Ezekiel 37 (primarily verses 1-10).  Obviously everything about this picture is pretty sad.  Some words I would use to describe the scene are dead, dry, scattered, disorganized.  Now, there are a lot of messages we can get from Ezekiel's vision.  Here's one that I loved today, verses 5 and 6, 

"Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live..."

Ezekiel's prophecy has been and is being fulfilled in many ways.  One of the promises we have is that even after we die, we will live again because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  All mankind will be resurrected, their scattered bones will be gathered and put back together and life will be breathed back into us.  I like that the vision wasn't just bones, but dry bones.  Dry, we are talking really dead, no water to sustain life at all.  As we come unto Christ he gives us living waters.  Through Christ our lives can be put back together, we can be resurrected literally and figuratively.  Through Christ our lives can have vitality again.

I am grateful for Him this Christmas season and for the many ways that He has "put breath in me".  I am grateful for the hope that I have in Him that as grim as things may get in the future, there is nothing so dead or broken that Christ can't fix and bring back to life.  

31 December 2012

Quote from Elder Kimball

"Young love is beautiful to contemplate, But old love is the finished tapestry stretched out from oaken floors to heaven's gate, we wove on earth for all eternity with threads made stronger by the steady beat of hearts that suffered, but knew no defeat."

29 November 2012

Random Scripture Discovery

Mormon 8:12 And whoso receiveth athis record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of bgreater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

I liked that scripture so I wanted to look up the footnote for "greater".  So, I went to...

D&C 42:15 15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have acommanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my bscriptures is given.

Which made me look at the footnote for "scriptures" which led me to...

D&C 35:20 And a commandment I give unto thee—that thou shalt awritefor him; and the bscriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own celect;

 21 For they will hear my avoice, and shall bsee me, and shall not be casleep, and shall dabide the day of my ecoming; for they shall be fpurified, even as I am pure.
D&C 42:56  Thou shalt ask, and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety;
57  And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full.

As I was looking at these last two verses I looked a little to the left on the same page and read these scriptures (still in section 42) which I found to be just as comforting and beautiful as the above scripture...

43 And whosoever among you are asick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be bnourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild cfood, and that not by the hand of an enemy.
 44 And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and alay their bhands upon them in my name; and if they cdie they shall ddie unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.
 45 Thou shalt alive together in blove, insomuch that thou shaltcweep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not dhope of a glorious resurrection.
 46 And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall notataste of bdeath, for it shall be csweet unto them;
 47 And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.
 48 And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath afaith in me to be bhealed, and is not cappointed unto death, shall be dhealed.
 49 He who hath faith to see shall see.
 50 He who hath faith to hear shall hear.
 51 The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.
 52 And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have apower to become my bsons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt cbear their infirmities.

19 April 2012

Distinguishing my own thoughts and feelings from thoughts and feelings I have when the Spirit is trying to teach me.

I was reflecting on a few random memories from my mission.  I hope this all come out like a cohesive thought but it might not.  If it just seems like rambling I'm sorry.

When I was serving in with H' Casady in AMPPyA one dark evening we were in the barrios nuevos in a part that was close to Eva Peron (a kind of dangerous area at night).  I think we were looking for a house that ended up not existing and we knocked on a door.  The woman let us in and we taught her about the restoration and the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and how she could pray to God to find out if what we were saying was true.  We knelt down to pray as we were getting ready to leave.  My companion asked the woman to pray.  In her prayer she thanked God for sending us to her house.  I don't remember the specifics of the prayer but she was saying things that all seemed to add up to making a great missionary story that would wind up in the Ensign someday.  She got very specific in the prayer about how a few days before she had been praying and asking God how she could know the truth and get answers.  She acknowledged that God had sent us to her.  Even though everything in that lesson should have added up to something amazing and wonderful (conversion & baptism), I remember leaving that house and walking home at feeling a little dazed and confused at first and then I just felt underwhelmed.  I wondered why I wasn't jumping for joy.  After multiple attempts of trying to visit with her again and pick her up to attend church services (her kids lied to us a few times about her not being home), one night her husband answered the door (finally, someone had answered) and asked us not to come back.  I wasn't super disappointed.  To best describe my feelings throughout this experience I would say that I had moments with a little bit of confusion, a little bit of doubt, A LOT of ambivalence and a nagging feeling that something about it all was just too good to be true.

After we dropped her from our pool of investigators I hadn't really thought about that experience too many times (maybe a handful or so) until tonight.  I asked myself the same question tonight as always when I've remembered this story, "Why was that experience so weird?  Why wasn't I astounded and amazed at this woman's prayer to God?  Why, as much as I wanted to or tried to, couldn't I get excited about having a cool missionary experience straight out of the Ensign?".  I've concluded tonight that something about that experience was a false spirit--an imitation.  There was no miraculous amazing ending to the story because something insincere was happening.  Whatever else I say would just be speculation but I know that Satan is a good deceiver.

Not that I didn't feel the Spirit during the lesson, because if I remember right, I think I did.  But as this woman prayed and we left something just felt off.  I'm not saying something felt bad or that I felt some intense warning.  What I felt was a lack of a confirmation of the Spirit.  All of this brings me to the well known section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in yourbmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shallffeel that it is right.
 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a astupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which isbsacred save it be given you from me.

When I was set apart as a missionary my blessing talked a lot about the Spirit and learning how to distinguish it from my own thoughts.  I'm still learning how to do this.  I know that I couldn't explain those ambivalent feelings I had (stupor of thought).  I now recognize that at that time I was learning valuable lessons about the many ways the Spirit speaks to me and how I can receive revelation and guidance.  I believe Hermana Casady and I did the right thing to try and follow up with the woman, but I also believe (and I can't explain how or why) that those hesitant/cautious/ambivalent feelings somehow protected us from danger (physical, spiritual...I have no idea).

I have always believed that the Holy Ghost is a language you must practice and use to become and remain fluent.  I'm grateful for the ability to recognize my current thoughts and feelings as the Spirit teaching me and not just my own thoughts and feelings.  If this makes sense to anyone else who might be reading, drop me a line.

24 February 2012

I am a Child of God

Within each of us lie the latent seeds of godliness that can be given flower and fruition by His blessing and by following the path of strict obedience shown to us by Jesus. There is power in saying or singing the words “I am a child of God.”

Taken from THIS talk.

04 December 2011

What Forever Will Be

Isaiah 54

 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

I was contemplating this evening that two of the things in my life that were great sources of stress and anxiety for me (discouraging things that just didn't seem like they would ever get any better) started to get better after I read the following from Elder Uchtdorf's 2011 October Conference Talk:
"...please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him."

13 March 2011


When a parent says, “We can do it! We can read the scriptures daily as a family,” the children will follow!
One such family with four young children writes: “We decided to start small because of our children’s short attention spans. Our oldest child was not yet reading, but she could repeat our words, so we began reading the Book of Mormon, just three verses each night. My husband and I would read one verse each, and then Sydney would repeat a verse. We progressed to four verses and then five verses as the boys began to repeat their own verses. Yes, it was tedious, but we kept going. We tried to focus on consistency instead of speed. It took us three-and-a-half years to finish the Book of Mormon. It was a great feeling of accomplishment!”
The mother continues: “Daily family scripture reading is a habit in our family now. Our children are comfortable with scriptural language, and my husband and I take opportunity to bear testimony of truths. Most important, the Spirit has increased in our home.”