Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Audience of the Book of Mormon

Recently I was reading in the third chapter of Mormon, verses 17-22 preceeding which Mormon had just refused to lead the wicked Nephites in battle. Instead, he continued to fulfill his call to compile the Book of Mormon and write the things which he saw and the things which God commanded that he should write. Through modern revelation we know that the Book of Mormon was written expressly for us, to the Jew and the Gentile (everyone else) for our benefit and blessing in these latter days.

I know that Mormon saw our day and included in the Book of Mormon those teachings that would directly apply to us and our lives. But, even with that knowledge and understanding, verse 17 jumped out at me. It reads:

Therefore I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel ,

And continuing in verses 20-21:

And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write into you all. And for this cause I write unto you . . . that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you;

These words really hit home. Mormon didn't just compile some good teachings of the ancient prophets, he directly addressed me and all who are on the earth today. This is another witness to me that the Book of Mormon is true and that everything contained in the Book of Mormon is to help us gain stonger testimonies of Jesus Christ and return to our Father in Heaven.

See also:

The title page of the Book of Mormon written by Moroni and the Introduction to the Book of Mormon written by Joseph Smith.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

About God

“God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected. He loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer.

He has given us this experience on the earth so we can learn and grow. We can show our love for Him through our choices and our obedience to His commandments.

Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to be successful in this life and to return to live in His presence. However, we must be pure and clean through obedience in order to do so. Disobedience moves us away from Him.”1

I reiterate that God is Our Father; He has an immortal, perfect, physical body of flesh and bone and we are created in His image. “We believe in a God who is engaged in our lives, who is not silent, not absent, nor, as Elijah said of the god of the priests of Baal, is He “[on] a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be [awakened]” (1 Kings 18:27).”2 He is not some distant, estranged being or entity that resides in the cosmos somewhere, possibly providing a sense of hope and security to those who cry out for help only when completely desperate. Of course, He does reach out to those who cry unto Him in need, but He does so as a father does with his own child because He is our Father and we are His children.

By understanding who our Father in Heaven is, we may better understand His role in our lives and His interest for our success and long-term happiness. One of my favorite descriptions of God comes from the quote above, “[Our Heavenly Father] loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right.” I know that this is true. Our Father in Heaven truly cares about what happens in our lives and cares enough to guide us to lasting happiness. I see “tender mercies” of the Lord in my life every day. He looks out for me and while He does not protect me from every bad experience or feeling, He helps me learn from each trial so that I may grow and learn what He is trying to teach me. His commandments are not restricting boundaries or merely guidelines; His commandments are His instructions to us on how to live happy, successful lives that will lead us back to Him.

God wants all of us to talk to Him, to share our thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and accomplishments with Him. He knows all that goes on in our lives of course, but as we pray and express these things to Him, our bond with our Father in Heaven grows and we become closer to Him. We feel the guiding influence of His hand more and more in our lives and we become more like the person He would have us become. John teaches that “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

God lives, He loves us, He looks out for us, we can communicate with Him through prayer, and we can return to Him if we simply do what He asks.

1Preach My Gospel, Ch 3, Lesson 1
2Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “My Words . . . Never Cease,” Ensign, May 2008, 93

Further reading:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God,” Ensign, Nov 2003, 70
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The only True God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou Hast Sent,” Ensign, Nov 2007 40-42
Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “God Loves and Helps All of His Children,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 75–78

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The following proclamation was issued by The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and clearly describes how God defines marriage and family.

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

© 1995, 2008 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. English approval: 5/08. 35602

View The Family: A Proclamation to the World online

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

About the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is holy scripture comparable to the Bible, which contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible was written by many ancient prophets who lived in Jerusalem and thereabouts (Egypt, etc.), the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets who lived on the American continents. The Book of Mormon, in essence, starts in 600 BC and ends around 400 AD, spanning more than 1000 years. The Bible teaches that God works through prophets (Amos 3:7) and that He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, since God had children on the American continents, He spoke to them also, revealing His gospel unto them and teaching them how they may achieve happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come (see John 10:16). There is no question that the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophets are in perfect harmony with the teachings of the Biblical prophets. The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible, nor does it take away from the importance of the Bible. However, both accidentally and purposefully, many plain and precious truths have been lost or taken away from the Bible. Look around and see how many different ways a single passage of scripture can be interpreted; about as many as there are churches, or even people. Knowing this calamity would happen, God prepared the Book of Mormon and had it hid up until He saw fit to bring the book forth and once again restore the fullness of His doctrine and His gospel upon the earth. The Book of Mormon is true, and it fully supports and reinforces the Bible. The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, for he translated it by the will and power of God. The Book of Mormon contains in its pages a promise unto all who read it, written by the last prophet in ancient America Moroni:

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.


The Book of Mormon is true; I have read it many times and have tested this promise. I know through prayer and by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that answers to all of life’s questions can be found within the pages of the Book of Mormon by the earnest seeker of truth. If you ever want to read the Book of Mormon, let me know, or go to www.mormon.org.

About Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith was a living prophet of God just as Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, the other prophets in the Old Testament; and Peter, Paul, and John in the New Testament. In the spring of 1820, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph, answering the age-old question, “Which church is true?” Jesus Christ told Joseph that the church that He established on the earth when He lived, the church that was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20) did not exist on the earth at that time. Following the death of Peter, James, Paul, and the other apostles, the fullness of Christ’s teachings-the gospel-had been lost from the earth, along with the priesthood-the power to act in Christ’s name and perform saving ordinances. The Father and the Son subsequently called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and through him restored fullness of the gospel, the priesthood, and the organization of Their Church once again on the earth. Joseph Smith translated the ancient record called the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and received numerous other revelations concerning the gospel and our pathway to eternal life. Following the death of Joseph Smith, God called another man named Brigham Young to be His prophet. God has called and continues to call prophets even now, His prophet today being Thomas S. Monson, for, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God; he did, in fact, see God the Father and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. I know that through Joseph Smith, the true church-the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-was restored to the earth and now that the fullness of the gospel is once again on the earth, we may all receive the fullness of happiness and blessings that the Lord sees fit to give us.

See http://josephsmith.net

Caveat

Caveat:

I have reviewed a fair portion of non-Church-sanctioned material posted on the internet. Some of what one can find on the internet is true, some, if not most, is false. When researching a topic does one go to the source of the information itself, an official website or book published by the leading authority, or does one simply try to find something written on the subject, not caring about the source even if the source is, in fact, trying to publish false information? If you want to find out what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about, clearly the Church’s own websites such as mormon.org and lds.org are the best sources of information, not pages claiming to be the truth or to unveil “Mormon secrets.” Those of you reading this know me, you know that I’m not part of a cult or some weird, off-the-wall religion, the values and standards I uphold and strive to live are taught by Jesus Christ, are found in the Bible and other scriptures and attract good, wholesome people. Just be careful where you get your information and to whom you are speaking when asking questions about the Church. I am more than happy to answer any questions or discuss any topic. I will openly admit that I do not have all the answers but can find out answers to questions that I do not know.