Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Message for Youth

                                      (Inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer)

With all that is going on in the world, with the lowering of moral standards, the multiple wars being fought, and the struggling economy.  You may feel uncertainty and insecurity in your lives.  You young people are being raised in enemy territory.

The gospel plan is “the great plan of happiness.” The family is the center of that plan, as was stated in, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The Proclamation states that first of all, every human being, both male and female, was created in the image of God, and that marriage is only between a man and a woman. 

We all make mistakes; none of us is perfect, or even close to being perfect.  Some of us will make serious mistakes, but you will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit. This promise applies to all members of the Church. 
To those who have made such mistakes, there is a way out, and that is through repentance. 

Repentance is first, you feel true remorse and guilt for what you have done.  Then, if your sin affected anyone, or it was serious, then you talk with whoever you have affected, and/or your bishop.  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, your sins will be washed away and you will be made whole again. 

Here are some words of what you can do to help you get through enemy territory:

-          Dress modestly
-          Listen to clean and uplifting music
-          Help those in need, do good deeds and care for others
-          Avoid addictive and harmful substances
-          Avoid piercings and body jewelry (directed towards men.  For women, have one set of earrings)
-          Avoid tattoos; your body is a temple.  Would you spray paint a temple?
-          Choose your friends carefully; they will play a big part in how your future turns out
-          Listen to the Holy Ghost.

Do these things, and you will be able to navigate through enemy territory, and live a long and prosperous life. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013


(Inspired by and included experiences by Boyd K. Packer)

There is one part of prayer, the answer part, that perhaps by comparison we neglect.  There are some things about answers to prayer that you can learn when you are very young, and they will be a great protection to you.

Many years ago John Burroughs, a naturalist, one summer evening was walking through a crowded park. Above the sounds of city life he heard the song of a bird. He stopped and listened! Those with him had not heard it. He looked around. No one else had noticed it. It bothered him that everyone should miss something so beautiful. He took a coin from his pocket and flipped it into the air. It struck the pavement with a ring, no louder than the song of the bird. Everyone turned; they could hear that! It is difficult to separate from all the sounds of city traffic the song of a bird. But you can hear it. You can hear it plainly if you train yourself to listen for it.

Prayer is like a homemade radio; you are trying to communicate with someone over a long distance, and the time and energy you put into making that radio, and the skill and experience tuning it determines the quality and amount of dialog you get back.  It takes time, practice, and patience to tune out the "interference" to hear the still small voice when wanting an answer.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Does Salt Taste Like?

(This is an experience shared by Boyd K. Packer)

I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.
When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

 “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ, Jesus. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)
Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane.”
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”
As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”

To everyone, both LDS and Non-LDS, don't let others ridicule you for your religion, if you have a testimony and the spirit in your hearts, nothing save it yourself can sway you and cause you to doubt.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Godhead

(Inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer)

Many people are confused about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many of of teachings and doctrine.  One prime example is who they (the saints) really worship.   Here is the answer:

The saints worship the Godhead, which is made up of three divine beings.  They each have a part which makes up the Godhead.

There is one God the Father of all. He is Heavenly Father.

There is only one Redeemer, Mediator, Savior. That is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
There is one Holy Ghost, a personage of spirit, who completes the Godhead.

That is whom the saints worship.  Heavenly Father, who is God;  Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God and who atoned for our sins, and the Holy Ghost, who is our spiritual guidance through the path of righteousness.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feeding the Spiritually Weak

(This article was inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer )

Jesus Christ told Peter, and told us to, "Feed my Sheep."   What does that mean?   Here is a story to give an idea:

There was a large family reunion and they planned to hold a large picnic.  They reserve a beautiful picnic ground in the country, and they have it all to themselves. When the the day came, the weather is perfect. They head out to their rightfully reserved spot, and get everything ready; the tables are in one long row. they had tablecloths and china. The tables are laden with every kind of delicious food: watermelon, corn on the cob, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, cakes, pies, lemonade, soda—you get the picture?
Everyone is seated, and one of them was asked to bless the food. Everybody secretly hoped it would be a short prayer.  Then, just at that moment there is an interruption. A noisy old car jerks into the picnic grounds and sputters to a stop close to them. Everyone was upset. Didn’t the driver see the “reserved” signs? 

A worried-looking man emerges from the car and lifts the hood; a spray of steam comes out.  One of the family members, a mechanic, says, “That car isn't going anywhere unless it is fixed.” 
Several children spill from the car. They are ragged, dirty and noisy. The mother climbs out of the car and takes a box to an area nearby, sets the box down, lays a faded checkered blanket on the ground, and then starts laying out the food.  It is lunch time, and their children are hungry. She puts a few leftovers on some plates and then she nervously moves them about, trying to make it look like a meal for her hungry children, but there is not enough.  It is obvious that this family was in poor and humble circumstances.  
Everyone at the tables were waiting.  They were thinking, "Why did they arrive just at that moment? Such an inconvenient time. Why must we interrupt what we are doing to bother with outsiders? Why couldn't they have stopped somewhere else? They are not clean, nor decent looking! They are not like us. They just don’t fit in. What should we do?"

This is just a story, but now for the test.  If this really happened, what would you do?
Here are three choices:
-First, you could insist the parents keep their children quiet while you and the others have the blessing over the food. Thereafter you ignore them. After all, you took your time and energy planning the feast and reserving the place.
-The next choice. You do have an extra table, and you do have too much of some things. You could take a little of this and a little of that and lure the little children to the extra table. Then you could enjoy the  feast you and your family prepared without interruption. After all, you earned and payed for what you have. 
The final choice is that you go out to to the poor family and invite them to come and join your family.  They could all fit in after re-arranging some of the food and adding the extra table.  Everyone can somewhere to share the feast. Afterward, the mechanic can fix their car and give them something for their journey.

Which choice would you pick.  I do hope you picked number three.  Could there be any more pure enjoyment than seeing the faces of the poor family light up with joy after asking them to join you?  Could there be a more joyful feeling in your heart after feeding the hungry family and fixing their car?  

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints ask that Everyone, young and old, should try and help others, both physically and spiritually, whether it is a good deed, or some words of kindness/encouragement.   When Christ said to feed his sheep, his meaning is to spiritually feed his sheep.    

There are many many people out there who don't know anything about the gospel, and many are spiritually hungry, or even starving.   Even when someone is spiritually starving, they may reject the word, and reject Jesus's messengers (Missionaries).  Many missionaries and even non-LDS people wonder why many won't receive the gospel when first introduced to them.  Do you remember how reluctant you were to try any new food? Only after your mother urges you will you take a little, tiny portion on the tip of a spoon to taste it to see if you like it first.  Even then, like children and vegetables, some people receive the word, but are reluctant or don't want to follow some of the teachings.  Over time and through the spirit however, they can accept and follow the teachings and doctrine, and receive blessings for it.  Kinda like a child who ate their veggies can have dessert afterwards.

Do what Jesus asked, and that is to feed his sheep.

If you have questions, or if your interested and want to know more about the Church, visit the Church's website by clicking this link.  Or you could request a missionary visit at this link.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who Is Jesus Christ

(This article was inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer)

Jesus Christ has many titles; The Son of God, The Prince of Peace, The Bread of Life, Alpha and Omega, The Light and Life of the World, The Savior, The Redeemer, The Good Shepherd, The Beginning and the End, The Mediator, etc.

Jesus Christ was the only Perfect being that ever lived.  Because of his perfectness, he was the one who sacrificed and atoned for the sins of the world, and for every being that ever have and will live.   He spent his whole life teaching both the apostles and people, he performed miracles for thousands, he walked for miles at a time, he has done much work for his Father in Heaven.

Because of the amount of Jews that believed in Jesus, the Pharisees, members of a religious group who believed strictly in the Law of Moses, and avoided the Gentiles, to hate Jesus, and many times they plotted to kill him.   Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus's apostles, would later betray Jesus to the Pharisees for thirty pieces of silver.  He later hung himself from overwhelming guilt.
Jesus was spat on and slapped by the Pharisees while they were waiting to turn him to the Romans, (the Romans conquered Israel)  to punish Jesus for his "crimes," and not once did Jesus cry out, nor complain at all.   When Jesus stood before Pilate, (ruler over Jerusalem) many Jews bore false witness, saying that Jesus spoke of blasphemy and committed crimes.  Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews.  Jesus answered, "Thou sayest."  When Jesus as accused by the priests and elders though, he said nothing.

At this time, the Jews were celebrating the Passover.  The Romans would release a prisoner, one the crowd wanted released.   Pilate asked the Jews who should he release, the Jews shouting, "Barabbas!"  The priests and elders among the Jews started crying out for Jesus to be crucified, and the rest of the Jews shouted that out as well.   Pilate washed his hands, saying that he is innocent of the blood of this just person.   The Roman soldiers scourged Jesus, and later crucify him.  Jesus told his Father to forgive the soldiers for they know not what they do.   He said several other things, then died.
Jesus was buried in a tomb, and three days later was resurrected.  Through him, the bonds of death was broken, and we are able to be resurrected just like him.

Read more about him on the LDS Church Website.  Click this link.

Freedom of Choice

(This was inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer )

What's interesting about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and how they are able to function so well, is because of freedom and control.   They develop control by teaching freedom.  Everyone has freedom of agency; it is a God-given right.  We also have the freedom of consequences that come with the actions that we make with our agency, whether good or bad.
Some who do not understand the doctrinal part do not readily see the relationship between obedience and agency. And they miss one vital connection and see obedience only as restraint. They then resist the very thing that will give them true freedom. There is no true freedom without responsibility, and there is no enduring freedom without a knowledge of the truth.   
Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see. The best control, is self-control.