Sunday, May 24, 2009

Article of the Week 18: Come What May, and Love It pt. 2

The recent days have been somewhat interesting and unique for me. Wednesday I got my car back from the shop where I spent more than $850 fixing it because I rear-ended a kindergarten teacher at a school where I teach jump rope. Thursday I flew to Atlanta where I was supposed to pick up a car with one of my friends and drive it back across the country to Utah. On the way to the airport, a problem arose with the brakes and, after a thorough assessment by an auto shop, it was decided that the car would not be drivable until Tuesday when everyone got back from Memorial Day celebrations and they would be able to fix it. My options were to buy a plane ticket home as soon as possible or stay until Wednesday and drive home. Buying a plane ticket home was not appealing and almost not possible in my current financial situation and I would lose money on the deal because even by coming home earlier I would not be able to make the money I spent on the ticket. At the same time, if I waited and drove home later, I would miss more days of work and break commitments I had made to someone who really needed my help on Tuesday and Wednesday. I bought a one-way ticket home for a couple hundred dollars on a flight that didn’t leave until Sunday; a ticket for any earlier would have cost hundreds more. Sunday morning we got up and went to the airport early enough to get me to my 7:00 am flight on time only to find out that I mixed up the am/pm and my flight did not leave for another twelve hours. I was frustrated, tired, and embarrassed that I made such a simple and obvious mistake and I almost didn’t call my friend to turn around and come get me because I didn’t want her or her family to know that I messed up. Along with these other financial and time worries, I have a few other things weighing down on my mind, things dealing with peace of conscience and peace of mind, and I just wanted to go home. This flight-time mistake was just icing on the cake.

As I sat outside on the concrete waiting for my friend to come back and get me, all I could think about was Elder Wirthlin’s talk from the October 2008 General Conference, "Come What May, and Love It." Among other things, Elder Wirthlin teaches that an antidote for times such as I was experiencing is to learn to laugh. I know the talk well, I know what he teaches, and I think that generally I'm pretty good at laughing when others might choose to groan or complain. Last week when I got in an accident and the guy told me that it would cost upwards of $1000 to fix, I took it in stride. The accident was my fault and money is money; I have to work harder to pay off my credit card now but I do have a car and I am alive and healthy. On Friday when we found out the trip was going to be delayed and then cancelled altogether, what can you do you know? It didn't work out, no one was at fault, and it wasn't foreseeable. I had to buy a ticket home and once again it sucks sure; I don't have the money to just be buying plane tickets left and right and I flew out there for nothing, but life goes on. I actually laughed for a long while on Friday because I didn't know what else to do and my friend didn't need me to be frustrated and upset with her; one of us needed to laugh. Besides, someday when all of the consequences are long gone it'll make for a good story.

So with all of these bigger events and trials, why on earth was I struggling so much with showing up to the airport at the wrong time? In light of the above-described events and other recent issues, this was nothing. But I did not want to laugh, I did not want to talk to anyone, I did not want to go all the way back to my friend's house and then come back, I did not want to be away from my apartment anymore; I did not want to say "come what may" and I certainly did not want to love it. I don't get mad very often at all but I think that I was mad at myself this morning.

A long nap coupled with my friend's wonderful patience with my mood helped and I am more okay with my situation. In fact, both legs of my flight home were delayed and I'm sitting in the Denver airport right now still waiting to go home. I'm not quite sure how much longer I'll be here; the flight time keeps getting pushed further and further back and I won't be in Utah until well after midnight. But I'm okay. I read Elder Wirthlin's talk in the Atlanta airport waiting on my first delayed flight and continued thinking about how I can apply what he teaches and avoid feeling like I did this morning outside the Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

As I reread Elder Wirthlin's words, the following lines stuck out to me:

...every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.

How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.

If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.

These trials caused me to focus on the first thing Elder Wirthlin suggests as a help in dealing with times of testing and trial: learning to laugh. The other things he teaches include keeping an eternal perspective and enduring, realizing that the Lord compensates the faithful for every loss, and finally trusting in Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Each of these things will help us endure hardship and trial, whether it be the death of a loved one, financial problems, hitting your head on the cupboard door, or mixing up flight times.

Either way, the Lord loves us because we are His children. Happiness is a choice although not always the easiest choice. Things that disturb our peace of mind can be helped as we seek to maintain peace of conscience. I do not always laugh and love it, but hopefully as life goes on I will be able to do so more often. My flight is now finally boarding.

Jeremy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind

This week's article is from the October 2004 General Conference. In the Saturday Morning session, Elder Richard G. Scott gave a talk entitled, "Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind," which perfectly describes the relation between the two and what we can do to be at peace in "these times of increasing uncertainty." The link to the audio is here.

I won't say much about this article; just listen to it and read it. Elder Scott teaches true principles and the principles will help us more than anything in our current troubling situations.

Elder Scott is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and his words are the words that Jesus Christ would have him speak to us that we may be truly at peace.

Jeremy

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Whom Say Ye That I Am?

A few weeks ago, I received this two-part question on the blog:

Who do you say Jesus Christ is? Why do Mormons believe the Atonement is not enough for our salvation, that it must be earned by "good works" to reach a "higher level of heaven?"

Today I will answer the first part of the question, “who do you say that Jesus Christ is?”

In response, I ask you to read “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” for the apostles speak with much more power and authority than I do. The statement perfectly explains who Jesus Christ is and why He is so vitally important to each of us. In addition, look at the March 2008 Ensign which contains articles with titles such as, “We Testify of Christ,” “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” “Who Is Jesus Christ?,” “Faith in Jesus Christ,” “The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” and more. This edition of the Ensign offers probably the most complete, clear, and comprehensive teachings of our Savior, describing who He is and what we should do. I also add my own words and although they may not sound original as they come from the scriptures and prophets, they are the truth and my testimony.

Jesus Christ is our elder brother. He was present with us at the council in Heaven where He presented His plan for us to come to earth, to gain physical bodies, and to be tried and tested. He volunteered to be our savior, the Savior, who would atone for our sins and would suffer for His brothers and sisters that we may have the opportunity to repent and return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father once again.

Jesus Christ is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. He spoke to Moses, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Adam, to Enoch, to Noah, and to many others. He guided the children of Israel through the wilderness. He gave the Law of Moses which was a shadow and a type of things to come, namely of His own personal, perfect sacrifice. Of him Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, Jonah, and the rest of the prophets testified, and for Him many of them gave their lives.

Jesus Christ is the Messiah of the New Testament, born of the Virgin Mary and raised by Joseph the carpenter of Nazareth. He ministered among the Jews in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Although mortal and subject to all manner of temptations, Jesus Christ was perfect and never succumbed to the evils of the devil. As the Messiah, He taught, healed, and forgave. He suffered beyond mortal comprehension for the pains, sicknesses, afflictions, sins, transgressions, and trials of His brothers and sisters—us—was crucified, and resurrected on the third day. His Atonement enables us to both be resurrected and to have the chance to repent, become clean, and return to live with our Father in Heaven once more.

As a resurrected being, Jesus Christ appeared to His apostles and others both in Jerusalem (see Matt 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21; Acts 1) and in the Americas (see 3 Nephi 11-28). Thousands of years later, He appeared with His Father to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times by calling Joseph to be a prophet, giving him the priesthood authority to act in His name, and restoring all of the principles and ordinances of the Gospel to the earth once more (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15-20).

President Gordon B. Hinckley said this of the Savior:

None so great has ever walked the earth. None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise. I love Him. I speak the name of Jesus Christ in reverence and wonder. He is our King, our Lord, our Master, the living Christ, who stands on the right hand of His Father. He lives! He lives, resplendent and wonderful, the living Son of the Living God. (“We Testify of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, March 2008, 7).

Indeed, I echo with Peter that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16) and our advocate with the Father. It is in His name we pray and through Him and His great atoning sacrifice that all blessings are bestowed upon us from our Father in Heaven including the blessing of eternal life together with our families.

I am grateful for the Lord Jesus Christ. I admit that I do not fully comprehend all that He did for me and I have a hard time thinking of Him as a brother as I do my own brothers. Nevertheless, I do know that He together with our Father in Heaven hears and answers prayers. I know that the atonement is real, for I have experienced its cleansing power and its comforting power. Although I seek the comfort and help of friends that I can see and talk to face to face, I know that Christ is always near and that I am never alone no matter how hard life may seem. This is a life of learning, mistakes, experience, and improvement, and the Lord is patient with all of us as we strive to better understand His Atonement and our own eternal potential.

Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God, this I know.

Jeremy

Further reading:

Robert D. Hales, “Gaining a Testimony of God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost,” Ensign, May 2008, 29–32
Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 40–42
Kevin W. Pearson, “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 2009, 38–40

Daughters of God

This past weekend I went home for Mother's Day. My brother just returned from his mission and Sunday was the first Mother's Day that my mother has had all of her kids together in five years since; she was thrilled. Also, since my brother has been gone for two years, many of my extended family members were present including both of my grandmothers and my great-grandmother. All of my father's siblings were there and I don't know the last time my grandma had all of them together. Sunday was a blessing to all present.

I realize that there is a holiday or a day set apart for just about everything, from Christmas to Thanksgiving to New Years, to the 4th of July to cheescake day to talk-like-a-pirate day. Most of these holidays are insignificant and only few holidays receive great attention and time off from work to spend with our families. However, in my experience Mother's Day is one of the more importnant celebrations and is never overlooked. Mothers are special; they fill a divine and unique role that only women can fill. Mothers are daughters of God and God gave them the specific role of wife and mother because He knows that only His daughters can fill those roles, there are no better substitutes.

In light of our recent celebration of Mother's Day, the article this week is entitled, "Daughters of God," and is about the essential and eternal role of motherhood.

Elder M. Russell Ballard gave this talk at a General Conference one year ago and explains the roles of mothers which sometimes are confused in our day and age. He gives advice to mothers that helps them fulfill their divine role. He also teaches those of us who are not mothers about the demands that our mothers experience in an effort to help us be more appreciative of our mothers and wives and understand the ways we can and should help them.

In addition, here is a video recently published by the Church.



I love my mother. As time goes on, I understand more and more just how wonderful she is and how much I didn't realize it growing up. Mothers are one of our greatest blessings from God. May we each be a little more grateful of our mothers and helpful to them.

Jeremy

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Joseph Smith the Prophet

This week's article is a talk given 30 years ago by Elder David B. Haight of the quorum of the twelve and is entitled, "Joseph Smith the Prophet."

On my mission we were taught that if we were ever in a situation where we didn't know what to say, we should testify of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his first vision, and the Restoration of the Gospel. This week I don't know what to say. At the request of a reader, I am currently working on a couple posts about Jesus Christ, the Atonement, and works so I wanted to choose an unrelated article for this week since you will soon be getting a number of articles related to Christ and His Atonement. I didn't know what topic to choose, so you get Joseph Smith and the Restoration this week.

Talking about Joseph Smith never gets old for me. I love the prophet Joseph and am eternally grateful for all that he did. I am grateful that he had the faith to pray to God the Father for help to know His will and truth. I am grateful that he had the courage to fill the holy calling that God bestowed upon him. I am grateful that he was patient in his trials and that he had the eternal perspective to continue and be diligent as the Lord used him to restore His gospel.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, David B. Haight was an apostle, and Thomas B. Monson is the Lord's prophet today.

Jeremy

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

The following proclamation about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was issued by The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the turn of the millenium.

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

The First Presidency
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson
James E. Faust

The Quorum of the Twelve
Boyd K. Packer
L. Tom Perry
David B. Haight
Neal A. Maxwell
Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
M. Russell Ballard
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Richard D. Scott
Robert D. Hales
Jeffrey R. Holland
Henry B. Eyring

January 1, 2000

© 2000 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. English approval: 12/99. 36299

View The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles online