Saturday, December 20, 2014


Reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi group this past week, I had deep impressions come into my mind about true repentance and things that I need to work on. 
This was a group of people who were so repentant that they changed their names. They wanted nothing in the littlest part to be able to link or connect them with their past sins of blood shed and murder. ( Alma 23:17)

One witness we have about how deep the repentance was that took place, and the atonement  working to change their hearts  are the decisions made by the father of King Lamoni. He was the king over all the land except the land of Ishmael. ( Alma 22:1 )
You would think that this king sending a letter or proclamation to his whole kingdom that stated the people must allow Aaron and his brethren into their homes, and that  they can not bind them; cast them in prison; and must give them access to their homes and churches would be enough of a witness that he was repentant? ( Alma 23: 2 )
But, this is not all that this king did. This Father of King Lamoni named his own son after this covenant of change. He named his son
" Anti-Nephi-Lehi ". ( Alma 24:15 )

As the Lamenites prepared to make war against these people of God, you would think that them burying their weapons of war and prostrating themselves in prayer, rather than fighting back, thousands losing their lives, would be a strong enough witness? ( Alma 24:21 )

But, they did more- the new king Anti-Nephi-Lehi expressed that they would offer themselves as slaves in order to show they were fully repentant, as he says in Alma 27:8 ; " Yea if the Lord saith unto us go, we will go down unto our brethren, and we will be their slaves until we repair unto them the many murders and sins which we have committed against them."  

These seemingly never-ending efforts to witness their deep and ever changed hearts is something that I want to do in my own life. I too have my " weapons of war " that I have buried in the ground in effort to change. Many times I feel their sharp edges pricking me, causing enough pain that I feel tempted to bring them back out, and fight. For me, it is literally a prick or pain that brings on the temptation of sinning. My sinning comes through a response to the pain of hurtful actions; words, or painful memories. I have overcome many sinful ways to respond to my feelings being hurt, or being scared; but I want to be more repentant; and I desire to bury those weapons deeper through His Atonement that heals not just our sins; but sins against us. ( Alma 7:12 ) My name has changed too; and as I remember that I have taken upon myself His name; I believe I will be more like these inspiring people. ( Moroni 4:3 )

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stirring up to Remembrance

Helping Stir Up A Remembrance 
In Alma 5:26, Alma says, " And now behold, I say unto you my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? "
As we do feel a change of heart and we become truly converted we will naturally have a desire to share the gospel. In the Oct. 2001 conference talk called, " Sharing the Gospel " , Dallin H. Oaks said, " Proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a fundamental principle of the Christian faith." 
Reading this week about the Lamenites whom were once wicked, but had become truly converted, we witnessed their conversion being so deep that they changed their name to The Anti-Nephi-Lehis and they buried their weapons of war. We witnessed them be willing to die, not only so they would not turn again to sin, and " stain their swords in the blood of their brethren" , but also in order to SHOW that they were truly converted unto the Lord, and to those Lamenites seeking to take their lives. This witness of faith was not in vain; it aided in the conversion of  more than one-thousand souls. ( Alma 24:15; Alma 24:21-27 )
This is not all- The bearing of this testimony as they were prostrated upon the ground in prayer; did  bring the second witness to these Lamenites; as Aaron and his brethren had previously preached unto them and were sorely rejected. Combined with the previous missionary work of Aaron and his brethren;" many of these Lamenites " were converted in the wilderness", as they began to be " stirred up to remembrance " of the words of Aaron and his brethren. ( Alma 25:6 ) 
Through this we learn that no testimony that we share could ever go to waste. Every time that we even so much as talk about our religion and faith in it; this is an opportunity for a little seed to be planted in someone's heart. As our neighbors,  non-member friends and acquaintances are provided with second witnesses; to our testimonies being born; they will also be " stirred up to a remembrance" of our words. 
And I say with Alma, not only , " if you have experienced a change of heart, can you feel so now? " but also, " If you do feel to sing the song of redeeming love, then how many people, after they die; that are not members of our church; will be " stirred up to a remembrance " of your words; because YOU shared your testimony with them while they were here on this earth? 
My goal is to have gospel conversations with everyone that I know that is not a member. This is something that can be done by asking how their weekend was? When they ask how my weekend was, I have the opportunity to share my testimony about my calling as I say, " Thanks for asking about my weekend. I had a great Sunday because I volunteer at my church through an assignment or calling in this way......" 
I can also share my testimony of the Book of Mormon by explaining to a neighbor who is having a hard time; how the Book of Mormon and reading it has helped get me through my trials.  As Christmas is almost here I can share my testimony by adding a card with the Articles of Faith on the plate of cookies that I bring to my neighbors. These are things that I hope and pray that I can do better; because I love Him; and I want to hasten the work of the missionaries here upon this earth; and on the other side. ( 1 Peter 3:19 ) 
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Missionary Miracle

As we read about Ammon and his mission to Ishmael, we have a wonderful example of what a servant of the Lord must posses in order to be a successful missionary, and one that can produce miracles! ( Alma 17 )
First Faith- Knowing that Ammon had been been on a mission for fourteen-years, with the Son's of Mosiah, and serving as their leader; as we see Ammon minister unto them before they go their separate ways; and blessing them- we get a clear picture of the kind of faith that Ammon had. ( Alma 17:18 )
In Ether 12:16, we learn that miracles can come only after they trial of one's faith. Moroni says, " Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." 
Second Charity- As Ammon entered the land of Ishmael the king is pleased with Ammon's desire to dwell among them, he offers Ammon his daugther for wife. Instead of accepting this offer, Ammon seeks to serve the Lord, by serving his fellow men. ( Mosiah 2:17 ) 
Third Desires Single To God's Glory- God knew that King Lamoni might believe that Ammon was a God after he produced the miracle of cutting off the arms of the robbers whom stole his sheep, but God also knew that Ammon was not seeking his own glory, but desiring to glorify Him. ( Alma 18:4 ) 
Fourth Hope- As Ammon saw the servants of King Lamoni scared and weeping, his heart was " swollen with joy", in hope that he could change the people's heart with a miracle. ( Alma 17:29 ) 
In D&C 4:5-6 it says , " And faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work." 
A few verses later, after explaining necessary  qualities for missionary work; it explains what you then must DO.
Fifth Ask: As we see that Ammon possesses all of these things; he was worthy to ask for this miracle. In verse D&C 4:7 it says, 
" Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. " 
In my life, I have had my own missionary work miracle. As I was befriending a neighbor who had been raised by an very inactive LDS father; I asked her to take the missionary discussions and she decided she would be baptized. The day of my friend's baptismal interview she had become very nervous about answering all the questions and being in an interview process made her nervous. 
I knew the Lord could help her jitters subside. I began to pray in my mind that I could know the words to say and that I could know how to help her. I reassured her there was nothing to fear; and no wrong answers to give. After thirty min. sitting in the car with her; praying in my head and reassuring her; a little bird flew over to the window of my car. It sat looking at us on the side mirror of my car. This was very unusual. Suddenly my friend stopped crying. She looked at me, smiled and opened her scriptures. She said, " Do you know what scripture I was reading this morning; and that this little bird reminded me of? " I said, " What scripture? " She opened her book mark to what she had been reading earlier that day, and read from Matthew 6:26, " Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not; neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? " 
My friend was no longer worried. She knew that she was being told that she would be taken care of in her baptismal interview. To some this may not seem like a big miracle, but to a person who had been praying over and over in my head for help for my friend, it was a big miracle that I will not forget. 
I know that miracles happen still this day; but I know that they do not come to those who seek them for a sign, to create  their faith. I know that miracles come " to those he hath chosen, because of their faith" . ( 1 Nephi 1:20 ) 
I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven answered my prayer that day. It was such a tender mercy to both her and myself. I love Him so very much.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Outcome is Peace for those whom follow Him

My daughter loves to watch the movies about Moses and Joseph of the coat of many colors.
As she watches these movies almost weekly; she never ceases to remind me how sad even the people of God must have felt watching their people suffer; or even watching the sinners suffer when they were punished. This conversation in my home always leads to a private conversation my husband likes to have with me about how religion causes wars.
As I read this week about Alma and Amulek watching the innocent women and children be burned in the fire in Ammonihah ( Alma 14: 8 ) , I was reminded of what my Savior taught when he was on the earth about His work.He said in Luke 12: 51-53:
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Although the gospel does bring incomparable peace to those who live the gospel; there will always be those who oppose it; and they may not wish to be peaceful about their tolerance towards the truth and others living it.
I am thankful for these stories that we have recorded in the scriptures because they help remind us that there will always be opposition and they always remind us of the happy outcome for those who endure to the end.

Gratitude The Parent of All Virtues

I am thankful for the instruction that we receive in the scriptures. We are given specific instructions on how we are to become more worthy to obtain eternal life with our Father in Heaven, and Jesus Christ in the scriptures. I have always been a person who appreciates clear instruction and specific direction.
As I read in Alma 7 I was reminded that Alma's instructions are an echo of the Saviors teachings during the Sermon On the Mount that would take place later in history; yet the message was the same. Alma says we can walk blameless before God if we can be, " humble, submissive, and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks to God for whatsoever things ye do receive, and see that ye have faith, charity, and then ye will always abound in good works. And may the Lord bless you and keep your garments spotless, that ye may be brought down to sit with Abraham, Issac, Jacob and the Holy Prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of Heaven to go no more out." (Alma 7:23-25)
The instruction that caught me was the phrase, " always returning thanks to God for whatsoever things ye do receive." (Alma 7:23 )
The importance of the particular virtue of gratitude was made known to us by a modern prophet of God; Thomas S. Monson.
In the October 2010 General Conference; Thomas S. Monson quoted that, " Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others."
To me this says that if I focus on being thankful I will also obtain these other virtues that have been mentioned.
I have a personal experience with gratitude being an antidote for sin when I found myself comparing myself to others and could have been led to the path of envy or jealousy. Instead, I decided to practice being thankful. We can always replace any negative thought with gratitude.
This is my personal example:
This past Sunday the lesson was on not comparing ourselves to others. My Relief Society President said that she felt specifically led to give a lesson on this principle. As she was asking us what helps us not compare ourselves to others my response to the class was " gratitude ". I essentially explained what it was to have an attitude of gratitude and how it has helped me not look down on myself, and as well it has helped me to not feel envious of others. I explained that I have felt inferior in my ward at times, as I thought to myself that so many women in my ward are extremely intelligent, highly spiritual and have very active and strong families, and I just didn't see how I would be of any use to the Lord in my wonderful ward; in serving Him among this group of faithful saints. Well, my antidote was gratitude. I decided that instead of comparing myself to these women, I should be thankful that my children are being taught in their classes by such incredible women. I decided instead of feeling like I had no value to the Lord, I would just be thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from very intelligent, and spiritually insightful people. As I was thankful to learn from them, and to have their help in teaching my children, I was no longer comparing myself to them anymore. I just felt happy, and blessed in my opportunities to learn from others.

Losing Ourselves For Him

A common theme in our reading assignment this week was watching disciples of Christ be willing
to let go of all of their worldly desires and essentially " lose themselves " in the service of God. ( JST, Mark 8:37-38 )

We watched Alma give up the judgement seat in order to go on a mission and teach baptism and repentance. ( Alma 4)

We watched Amulek leave all of his gold, silver, family and possessions for the word of God. We watched him be rejected by those who were once his friend , and also by his own father and his kindred. ( Alma 15:16 )

We then saw Alma reunite with the sons of Mosiah; and learned that after fourteen-years they were still on their mission to serve God; even though they had an opportunity to have position in their father's kingdom.

The faithfulness and deep love that these disciples of Christ showed to Him; reminded me of the opposing decision of The Rich Young Ruler whom was asked of Christ Himself to sell all that he had and come follow Him, when he asked how to gain eternal life? ( Mark 10:17-23 ) as he did not follow and let go of his worldly status and life for the Lord.

Had Alma, The sons of Mosiah and Amulek decided not to give up their worldly desires they may not have experienced " many afflictions; both in body and mind, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue and much labor in spirit. " ( Alma 17:5 )

They would not have been subjected to watch innocent women , children and scriptures be burnt. ( Alma 14: 8 )

They would not have been "
bound; smote on their cheeks; mocked for many days; withheld from food and water that they might thirst." ( Alma 14:22 )

But, they would not have been doing what they were asked to do by God, like we learn from the recent conference talk titled " The Cost and Blessings of our Discipleship" by Elder Holland.

He reminds us that; all of us as members of His church, " may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous stand in high school, or to go on a mission? " But , the alternative is worse, " to have our houses left unto us desolate. Desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods, and desolate nations."
Throughout these trials a stronger faith is born; and the hand of the Lord does shine down upon us as we also did witness as " the Lord did grant Alma and Amulek power, and their bands were loosed and the prison fell to the earth." ( Alma 14:28 )

And these " brethren in the Lord " did experience moments that they did " rejoice exceedingly " ( Alma 17:2 )

And, I have no doubt that these disciples of Christ are joyfully still working for our God; and as President Monson said, " The Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives."

We might not have been told we should leave our jobs as Alma was. We might not be in the time in our lives that we can go or are supposed to leave on a full-time mission, but we have been asked to do something by the First Presidency; whom speaks for the Lord. This month they said to us;
" During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we through simple acts of kindness, charity and compassion fill the world with the light of His loved and healing power. "

I hope that I can do as the First Presidency has asked; and this is my goal.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

He Gives Second Chances

I have felt the love, mercy and support that we witness in Alma and Amulek's missionary work together in my own life.
As Alma was sent back to preach in Ammonihah he was hungered. God provided a humble servant; Amulek to help him. ( Alma 8 )
Amulek being called by an angel to provide food and support; was not just help for Alma; It was also a tender mercy given to Amulek; to be given another chance.
We learn in these chapters that Amulek had already been called to do a work for God, but he had not listened as he says, " I was called many times and would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God in the wickedness of my heart." ( Alma 10:6 )
We see many senerios in the scriptures where the Lord uses a person to bless another and they become a support to one another in a way that both of His servants can be blessed.
In the Old Testament in Exodus 4:10, Moses explains to the Lord that he feels inadequate in speech as he says, " Oh my Lord I am not eloquent , neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."
In the verses that follow; we see the Lord's mercy in that although He knows that He could help Moses speak, as he says, " Who made man's mouth? " to Moses, His anger is kindled and He desires to comfort Moses and says, " Is not Aaron thy Levite brother? I know that he can speak well." He then provides Aaron as a help, but also mentions that it will make Aaron " glad in his heart " to help; and He explains that , " He will be with thy mouth, and with Aaron's mouth, and will teach them what to do." ( Exodus 4:1 )
Through this pattern we see again God's mercy as He desires to comfort us; His children and provide us His people; callings and opportunities that we can serve Him in, be strengthened by, and to learn and grow.
I like Amulek, although I had " seen mysteries and marvelous power " (Alma 10:5), did go on rebelling against God " in the wickedness of my heart."
But, I too have seen the loving and merciful God that our Father and Jesus Christ are as I was given another opportunity to change; be humbled and desired to do better. I did not have an angel come to me and tell me that I needed to help a prophet, but I have, at a special point in my life; experienced a very spiritual manifestation; as my Father did tell me that I still had the opportunity to serve Him; to be His servant, and make Him happy. Since that day I have enlisted myself in His work, and I have felt the strength that He gives me; the strength that He gave Alma and Moses through His servants is something that even I, not a prophet, but a random child of God can testify that He does provide for His children. I have been filled with the spirit when I was hungry; and I have been taught and I have been watched over and cared for by His servants in my trials; and when I feel inadequate like Moses did; many times He sends me a person who lifts me up, or a scripture that gives me strength.

Like Amulek, I am told whom I can help. As I pray and ask in what ways that I can serve Him, names and people come to my mind; and in this way He is desiring to " make my heart glad " as he did Aaron, in allowing him an opportunity to serve.
I feel thankful every single hour for the help that He gives me, and for the chances I have had to serve Him. I am in awe at His patience with me.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ-Amen.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Influencing Other's For Good

Principle: We are accepted of the Lord as we bring about good on the earth

In Alma 5, Alma begins to deliver the word of God to the people in Zarahemla. In Alma 5:16 He says, " Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord saying unto you, in that day come unto me ye blessed, for behold your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth."

When I read this scripture it reminded me of my goal for every single day of my life. As long as I go to bed at night feeling that I influenced someone for good, I tend to go to sleep knowing the Lord knows how much I love Him, and that is my life goal; to show Him that I love Him.

Thomas S. Monson said in April 2004, in the talk titled " Your personal Influence " , he says, " As we follow the Man of Galilee- even the Lord Jesus Christ- our personal influence will be felt for good where ever we are."

In the talk " For they loved the Praise of Man More than the Praise of God" , N. Eldon Tanner said, " Always remember that people are looking to you for leadership and you are influencing the loves of individuals either for good or bad, which influence will be felt for generations to come."

As a Mother I am very aware that all of the things that I do are influencing my children's future. As I show them what my priorities are; teaching them to pray; read scriptures; show love to each other and our neighbors; and go to the temple often, my hope is that they will desire to hold onto the things that I taught them.

I am however also highly interested in influencing all of God's children for good. I know and feel how much Father in Heaven loves all of his children, and sometimes I wish I could just be everyone's mother.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sharing the Lord's Language

The Lord takes every event in a people's history or personal life and uses it to bless His children or bring about goodness from it

In Mosiah 23:36 we read about the Lamenites promising Alma and his brethren that if they would show them the way which led to the land of Nephi, they would grant them their lives and liberty. In verse 37 we learn that after Alma did show them the way that led to the land of Nephi the Lamenites would not keep their promise. In verse 38 we learn those were not guards over the people in the land of Helam did go to the land of Nephi.

In Mosiah 24:5 As Amulon was favored by the king of the Lamenites and was able to appoint teachers in every land of the King of the Lamenites;   we learn that Amulon's people did not teach about God to the Lamenites , but that they were friendly with the Lamenites and they taught them to keep their record.

A very strong witness of the Lord taking a trial and turning it for good is that because of this bondage or trial it says in Mosiah 24:4, " and thus the language of Nephi began to be taught among all the people of the Lamenites."

As we flash forward into Mosiah 28:1 we see the rebellious sons of Mosiah, after converting to the Lord then desired to go to the land Nephi that they might preach the word of God to their brethren the Lamenites.

From these scriptures we can see that although Alma's people were in bondage by the Lamenites; the Lord took a bad senerio and allowed it to work for His benefit as Amulon's people were made to teach and they were friendly. Lastly, the Lamenites learned the language of Nephi through this event.

The Lamenites knowing the language of the Nephites was surely a blessing to the Son's of Mosiah. If this had not happened communication barriers would also be one more hinderment keeping the Lamenites from having a chance to hear the gospel. 
Whether or not those Lamenites accepted the gospel the work of spreading His word was hastened even through another people's trial.

There are many senerios of these types of things in the scriptures, but another one that I always am reminded of is in the Old Testament with Esther being married to a man whom was not a Jew, yet because of her desire to serve the Lord and preserve her people she was able to use her position to bless the lives of all of the Jews. ( Esther 8 )

I want the Lord to be able to use me as an instrument in His hands even through situations of my own that are not as ideal. I hope that I can be like Esther and provide all the necessary ordinances in the temple for a long line of Italian Catholics that are my husband's ancestors.
Also, as I will be spending Christmas with the Turano family I have decided that our gifts to them will be a daily little object that has a scripture attached to it. Even if they never accept the gospel in this life, their exposure to the language of the Church of Latter Day Saints; will be familiar to them.

As members, even though we most likely will not be able to teach others another language, we can teach the language of God; which is the pure Love of Christ.
I would encourage all members to try and team up with the Lord in making our situations be used for good, and preparing His children on the earth; by being friendly to non-members  ( Mosiah 24 ) and again teaching His language of " Love " .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Priesthood Authority

Principle: In God's church the leaders must be ordained into their positions

In Mosiah 18:18 it says, " Alma having authority from God , ordained priests ; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them and teach them pertaining to the kingdom of God. "

My testimony is strengthened as I remember that even Jesus Christ prayed about whom he should choose as apostles; and that even before he was to finish his ministry on the earth; he would provide the Priesthood Keys to Peter and ordain him to be the leader and the prophet.

In Luke 6:12-17 Jesus Christ prays ALL night to decide whom He will call to be His apostles:

12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
 13 ¶And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphæus, and Simon called Zelotes,
 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
 17 ¶And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judæa and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

In Matthew 16:18-20 we read when Jesus Christ prophesied that He would be calling Peter to be the prophet and giving him the Priesthood.

 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Only one week later Peter receives those keys that were promised on the Mount of Transfiguration - Luke 9 : 28-36:

28 ¶And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

I know that it is a truth that one must be called of God in order to have authority and the Priesthood. I have felt the power that comes from having a true testimony of the leaders in the church being called and ordained of God to hold the Priesthood Keys.

keys are biblical symbols of power and authority
held by prophets for governing the kingdom of God.
Keys symbolize power because they are given to those
who are judged trustworthy. . . . In the Old Testament keys belong
to the steward of the house, the trusted servant, the one that the
master has chosen for the household affairs
. Thus, in the biblical
context, keys are dual images of trust and responsibility.
 For the
one who gives the keys, they are symbols of trust and belief in the
character of the steward. For the one who receives the keys, they
are symbols of responsibility
. While Jesus taught the Jewish leaders
that keys control access to revelation (see Luke 11:52), his statement
implied that, because the Jewish leaders did not fulfill their
responsibility in accessing and teaching the truth, they had lost the
keys which they had once
held. The biblical references to keys
(Is. 22:22; Matt. 16:13–20; Luke 11:52; Rev. 1:18; 3:7) imply that
there are several keys associated with the kingdom of
As two of the foremost prophets in the Old Testament with
roles that embodied trust and responsibility, both Moses and
Elijah held keys for the governing of the kingdom
. “
                                                                          Ryken, Wilhoit, and Longman discuss the meaning of keys in biblical texts.

Urim and Thummim

Principle: Only with authority from God can gifts be given and be used

We can see in Mosiah 8:5-6 that even Ammon a man of God could not use the instrument given of God to translate the record that King Limhi desired him to translate. We read; "And it came to pass that he caused that the plates which contained the record of his people from the time that they left the land of Zarahemla, should be brought before Ammon, that he might read them.
Now, as soon as Ammon had read the record, the king inquired of him to know if he could interpret languages, and Ammon told him that he could not."

However, as we continue to read we see that Ammon did know of a person who could use the instrument, or had the gift given of God that could receive revelation; or was a seer. We read;
"Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer."

King Mosiah was the person whom had the instrument and gift from God being spoken of by Ammon that would help translate the records that King Limhi's people had found; and that King Mosiah possessed two stones; or the Urim and Thummim; according to President Joseph Fielding Smith in his overview of interpreters. ( BOM Student Manual Religion 121-122 ) 

We can also see in the Old Testament that those in authority had a Urim and Thummim as we read in Exodus 28:30 ; "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually."

From the Jerusalem Talmud ( A record recorded by Jewish Priests ) we learn that High Priests could use the Urim and Thummim to ask questions that would benefit all people, or questions pertaining to expansion of Jerusalem or building new temples. ( Yoma 41 b )

In my research about the history of the Urim and Thummim I found a very interesting piece of information as recorded again in the Talmud.
It states that the Urim and Thummim was suspected to have been lost before or around the time that Jerusalem was taken captive by the Babylonians. ( Tamid 65 b ; Jerusalem Talmud )

As well this theory of the Urim and Thummim no longer being used by this people is apparent as we read about individuals seeking to determine if they were descended from the Priesthood; but were required to wait for a Priest with the Urim and Thummim who could find out, as we read in  the book of Ezra 2:62- 63;
"These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim."

As well in an overlapping account in Nehemiah 7:65; it reports this same problem of not having a Urim and Thummim and Priest to provide revelation. Thus supporting this theory as well that the Urim and Thummim was no longer available. ( Jewish Encyclopedia )

One reason why God could no longer permit such a tool as the Urim and Thummim to be provided amongst the people anymore could be due to the era of the Maccabees- A group of individuals responsible for leading the Jewish rebel army; whose object was to reassert Jewish religion by forcing conversion.

And, Lastly all of these things can help remind us of how merciful that Our Father In Heaven is as he called Lehi and his family out of Jerusalem; and as well The Brother of Jared ( Ether 3:21 ), in order that these records could be kept and sealed up; and once again interpreted by the Urim and Thummim; and by one whom has the authority; and was prophesied to bring the fullness of the gospel back to the earth; even as Joseph Smith used this same process with the Urim and Thummim.

Joseph Smith History 1:42

"Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it."

What beautiful examples that we have in the Old Testament, The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants about the means by which revelation can be provided to those with authority. As well, although I do not have the literal stones and breastplate that these scriptures explain; I am reminded of my temple garments and covenants; which do provide me my own compass or direction to know truth or as it says in the Jewish Encyclopedia;

"In consequence, Urim and Thummim has traditionally been translated as lights and perfections (by Theodotion, for example), or, by taking the phrase allegorically, as meaning revelation and truth, or doctrine and truth"

The temple and the covenants that I make there do provide me light and perfection; just as the Urim and Thummim can do....
I am so thankful for my opportunity to have the truth and light that I am blessed with in His gospel.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Understanding God

We Can Not Understand All Things
I continually feel thankful in my life that I have been given the astounding privlidge of being a Mother. Having children and going to the temple to make covenants with my God are the two top experiences in my life that have brought me to understand whom My Father in Heaven and His Son- Jesus Christ are; even deep down in Their core.
When I think of the senerios that life present me as a Mother and the best ways that I can help my children learn to understand life and grasp things that they can not yet see; I am always reminded how our Father in Heaven must feel as our parent, and how His gospel and plan for us is absolutely perfect.
President Uchtdorf reminded us in his most recent conference talk titled, " Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth " that; " It was only a century ago that most astronomers assumed that our Milky Way Galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe. They supposed all that lay beyond our galaxy was an immense nothingness, an infinite void- empty, cold and devoid of starts, light and life. As telescopes became more sophisticated- including telescopes that could be launched into space- astronomers began to grasp a spectacular, almost incomprehensible truth; the universe is mind-bogglingly bigger than anyone had previously believed, and the heavens are filled with numberless galaxies, unimaginably far away from us, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. "
Because people could not see numberless galaxies in that time, and because they could not comprehend that; they did not believe it could exist. Likewise, there is so much that we can not comprehend about this life or the next; and so we must have faith; which is part of the process that will help us be more ready to take and learn the next step.
I do not try to teach my children how to ride a bike, when they have not learned to walk yet. I do not try and teach my children how to divide when they have not learned addition and subtraction. I do not allow my children to date when they do not understand the purpose of dating and do not have the maturity to respect it's purposes.
Our Father in Heaven is so loving to provide us the opportunity to come to earth and learn very slowly; very carefully and directed under His instruction when we seek Him out. We can learn what He is like; and how we can have more joy like He has; and how we can become worthy of all that He has.
( Luke 12:44 )
Despite the fact that we can learn a lot however;
The scripture from our reading this week in Mosiah 4:9 is an eternal principle when it says; " Believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend", and this statement as instruction that we will , " grow in knowledge of the glory of Him that created us." ( Mosiah 4:12 )
There are some things that we will most likely never comprehend during this life time.
I am thankful that He does not require me to understand things that I can not yet comprehend, and that His plan and gospel actually protects me from not sinning as truth is not revealed to me until I am ready to accept and comprehend it, line upon line and precept upon precept. ( Isaiah 28:10 )
There is nothing of more value to me than His love and I am overwhelmingly thankful to be filled with it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Setting Our Hearts on Material Things

Setting our Hearts on Material Things 
In Mosiah 7:21 as we read that ; " Zeniff who was made king over the people, he being over zealous to inherit the land of his fathers, therefore was deceived by the cunning craftiness of King Laman ", this suggests that Zeniff allowed his desire for unnecessary things ( desirable land ) or the fact that he could not be happy with what he had; he turned his freedom over to someone else, therefore putting his whole entire people into bondage. As we continue to read in Mosiah 7:22, " And all this he did, for the sole purpose of bringing this people into bondage. And behold , we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamenites , to the amount of one half of our corn and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds..." From this we can see that King Zeniff put the future of not only himself, but the future of his people or posterity in a position of bondage. 
We can learn two great valuable lessons from this record. First, we can learn that when we allow our desire for worldly possessions take hold of our heart; we are essentially giving up our hearts to something other than serving our God; as our time and efforts are instead put into obtaining " things " rather than serving Him through teaching our children the gospel; ministering to the sick; mourning with those that mourn; serving in the temple; etc. We can see that doing this removes a portion of our blessings of the spirit; as we allow these things to enter into our heart: there is less room for the things of God; or the thoughts and actions that allow the spirit to speak to us. Our choices also may change as our vision is blurred, and we can be deceived even as King Zeniff was. 
Second, we can learn that the path of seeking after unnecessary possessions can put us into bondage. We can become so centered on the materials of this world that we enter a never ending race of seeking after those things. Many times those that are caught up in the things of the world end up going into debt for these things. That debt can even extend to their children as they may never pay it off. Also, many times material bondage keeps parents less able to provide spiritual blessings like education and missions.
With Christmas coming up I am hoping to make good choices on what I spend money on; and as well I hope that I can teach my children through example that material possessions are not what Christmas is about; and that it is wise to be careful what we set our hearts on in such a commercialized season.