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