3/29/11

Change

Time for a change. Change - This word scares a lot of people when it's referred to anything other than what the teller is handing you after a monetary exchange. I find that most people are afraid of things they don't understand, and when things start to change there is little knowing/understanding what may come of that change. My life is changing again, but I am not scared. Having been through many changes before I feel more prepared and at peace. Change almost crippled me in the past, but now that I have an understanding of what to expect, I look forward to change. It's a word that means progression, transformation, and causing a difference. Making positive leaps forward and creating a difference is nothing to be scared of. So, bring it on, Change!

11/21/10

The Articles of Faith

Some words make me happy. They are very cut and dry, very black and white, and very reassuring. Words like "Jesus Christ", "Exaltation", "Eternal Marriage","Family", "He lives" and "We believe." Recently I've started worrying over whether or not I've been sharing my testimony in my Savior and His restored gospel enough. I have found myself unable to voice opinions about religion, or my own convictions for fear of inciting contention. I used to hand out my testimony like it was a greeting because of the convictions that I felt. I used to hand out copies of the Book of Mormon freely to friends, professors at college, and co-workers/acquaintances who all had questions. Some shy away from receiving more of God's word only because of the misconceptions and lies about what the Book of Mormon is, and what I as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly believe. Religion is a touchy subject for some of my friends, family members, and acquaintances because of their firm stand against our religion, however, I try to bridge the gaps with them by living how any Christian should. But, I still fill like I've under served Him, my Savior, and haven't been doing the will of my Father in Heaven. Others not of my faith need to know what I believe, not just how I behave.

God's will is that all return to Him and obtain everlasting life and also exaltation, the eternal joy of actually living with God, and progressing in knowledge. I know I will obtain this through the acceptance of Jesus Christ and His atonement. In the Book of Mormon I learned the truth that "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." I know this is done by entering the waters of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and following the commandments and the life that Christ set before us through scriptures and modern day revelations. I know that I am saved because Christ died for me. We are all saved from everlasting death. He closed the chasm between life and death through his miraculous resurrection. It was a free gift to everyone. That is not the end of the atonement, however. To enter into eternal glory and life with God the Father we must be free of sin which means we must repent, as often as necessary, continually refining our changed hearts, or born again selves, to be more like our Savior. Repentance is taking advantage of the rest of the atonement of Christ. He paid the price for our sins so that we could change our hearts and not suffer as he did, to be cleansed through repentance, and to return spotless to our God.

Coming unto Christ is a journey that is paved with continual information and truth through the scriptures, both Book of Mormon and Bible, and through His constant communion with His children through living prophets and through our diligent efforts to listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. To say that I can be saved in my sins, and will be exalted with the Father on high, without taking the proper steps and committing myself to living a Christlike life with exactness absolutely cheapens the life, the suffering, the death, and the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. This truth is found in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ to His early Apostles that walked with Him. He taught them to do as He did, and to live as He did. He became the mediator between us and the Father. He did not suffer for our sins to take away our responsibility. He suffered so that He would know how to succor us, to help humble us, and to save us from suffering for eternity. I know I can and will be forgiven and made worthy when I repent. Only through repentance by us can God look to His Son, the mediator, and know that the price has been paid for us and that we can be forgiven. Other groups of people all over the world were being taught these same principles, through other prophets and apostles before, during, and after Christ's mortal ministry. The record of those teachings are found in the Book of Mormon. Translated by a modern day prophet, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon will help you have a closer relationship to Jesus Christ and His teachings. Our modern day prophets are still receiving revelation for the world. God is not silent. I know He answers personal prayers and will answer you when you pray about the things I have just shared. Ask and ye shall receive.

These 13 basic statements further illustrate my belief as a Latter-day Saint Mormon.
  1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

  2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

  3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

  4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

  6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

  8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

  9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

  10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

  11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

  12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

  13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
I will delete any contentious, argumentative, slanderous, or ill tempered comments regarding my faith and chosen religion because you and I both know it will get us no where. Questions and sincere comments are welcomed. Happy Thanksgiving.

11/7/10

Secrets Revealed

I just finished an amazing book called Mother Had a Secret. I recommend it to anyone. The eye opener for me was how the author, Tiffany Fletcher, exposed her true feelings on her ruling emotions of guilt, anger and hate. The true story of this woman growing up in an LDS home with a mother of multiple personalities will change your view on perfection, forgiveness, and Savior-like love. The kind of love that doesn't need a disclaimer on it. The kind of love that doesn't need to be earned or fought for. Tiffany is a remarkable woman with the kind of insight on life I wish I had. Here are some of my favorite quotes from her book. There are many more quotes, but I would have to basically re-post the entirety of her life's story. These are the quotes that impacted me, that I connected with through my own views of how most of us in Christian societies view ourselves and others.

"What would people think? That was the ultimate question; the question that kept us in our social lines of what was acceptable and right. Who would dare stray from the accepted norms when the neighbors were watching?"

"There was nothing I hated more about myself than the need to be perfect in the eyes of others. Although I often told myself that I didn’t care what they thought, the truth was that my life was ruled by how I thought others viewed me. Like a harsh slave master, propriety kept a watchful eye over me, as it did everyone. If I stepped out of line, it would crack its whip of ruthful public scorn and I would file back to my proper place and once again take up the labor of maintaining the community fa├žade. "

"I believed that God gave everyone the option to choose to be or not to be who they were. Such an idea is easily accepted by many, but when we are confronted with those who fall outside of that perception we are faced with a dilemma: Do we blame them for being the way they are or do we accept the fact that sometimes things remain outside our control? "

"Lighthouses are unique. No two have the same stripes, and lenses are specifically cut for that lighthouse. A lens from a lighthouse in California would not fit one from Oregon or Virginia. They are each different with their own character and history. The number of cuts on the lens determines the ability for their light to pierce through the misty darkness, reaching ships farther from the shore. In like manner, the cuts we sustain through our trials, if accepted without complaint, allow us that ability to shine more brilliantly and reach the hearts of those around us who may be struggling."

Okay, basically all of chapter 15 also. "...your mother was your savior... A savior is anyone that takes up the cause of aiding another in ways that are far beyond the common. Jesus Christ was the Savior of mankind. He gave his life to save us from sin. Others are a savior to a lesser degree, saving us from other ills that we face in life...When someone is able to come along and make a stand against these things [the abuse that Tiffany's mother had experienced] it is a remarkable thing. Your mother stood against a lifetime of terrible things and, yes, she faltered, but she saved you from it."

"She chose to love where hatred would have been so much easier..."

10/26/10

Back in Black...and white.

It's been almost a year since I blogged. I got caught up on Facebook and personal journaling that I forgot about my blog. How is that possible? Well, it's not. I didn't really forget about it, just put it so far back in my mind that I didn't register the fact that I could still punch in my username and blog it up for no reason. I have no reason for this post, in fact, I don't even have much time. I think that's what happens when your life gets so overwhelmed with other things that your mind files away the things you onced enjoyed so you have brain space and power left to get things done. Well, since my 2 boys are napping and I just wrote in my personal journal I thought I'd call up the 'ol blog and post.

Hi there. It's been a while. I saw a woman on a random corner in my town today holding a sign that said "Pray to end abortion". She was reading scriptures, held in one hand, with the sign held up for the traffic to see with her other hand. I have a limited opinion on the subject. I am passionate about children and religion. I am also passionate about education. Not to make light of her message, but why do people who speak loudest about ending abortion always seem so uptight and against sex education in schools? I've yet to meet a single person who was pro-life that has voted or fought for sex ed in schools. As far as I'm concerned sex education that teaches abstinence is the only way to let kids know that's how you technically avoid unwanted pregnancies. Is it not? No sex = no pregnancies (barring medically induced pregnancies). Most kids don't go to church, but most kids do go to school. So, my solution. People who want to stop abortions need to want to teach kids about abstinence and safe sex. It's not just unmarried teens having abortions. It's adults and married couples too. A little bit of education is better than an opinion.

And that's my rant for today.