Saturday, June 9, 2012

"I know not..."

Our Heavenly Father gives us commandments that he expects us to follow so that we may be able to return to live with him someday.  We don't always know why we need to do these things, however our Heavenly Father asks us to have faith in him and to obey his commandments anyway.  I think my favorite example of this principle comes from our first father on the Earth, Adam.
He was commanded by the Lord to offer the firstlings of their flocks as sacrifices to him.  When asked by an angel of the Lord why he was offering these sacrifices Adam said, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me."  The angel after hear his response gave him more information about the symbolic nature of the sacrifices and why the Lord asked him to do such a thing. (Moses 5:5-7)  I have discovered that our Heavenly Father follows the same pattern with us.  He first asks us to do something that we are not accustomed to and asks us to act on faith.  Then after we have shown him our faith by following his commandments he gives to us more knowledge of why we were asked to do those things.  (John 7:17)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chipotle and Life after Death

I have recently enjoyed reading about a fellow missionary's adventures at some places we've eaten together. (See his two posts about it here The Temptations of the Devil: Chinese Food and here Fruits of living the Gospel: Cafe Rio!)  I have to say I love Cafe Rio almost as much as Elder Warner does but I remember another restaurant from before my mission that will always have the first spot in my heart.

My one true love.
Elder Owens (who has also eaten at Chipotle) and I have often tried to describe to Elder Warner how amazing Chipotle is and we can never seem to find the words to express our heartfelt gratitude for the institution that has made us so happy so many times.  Elder Warner though can never seem to grasp the greatness of what we are trying to describe to him.

I think sometimes we are all like Elder Warner and don't realize that even greater blessings await us after this life (or mission) is over.  He has partook of the great blessings that come from avoid the temptations of the Chinese buffet and has reaped the fruits of eating at Cafe Rio but forgets that Montana, while close, is not perfect and does not hold some of the even greater places to eat such as Chipotle.  We too forget sometimes that this life is not perfect and does not contain all of the blessings that we will someday receive.    Paul once said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Cor 15:19) What we do here in this life is all preparation for after we die and are "taken home to that God which gave us life" (Alma 40:11) and recieve "eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Don't give up on New Year's Resolutions.

According to recent statistics about half of you reading this have made at least one new year's resolution.  The decision to change our lives is not an easy one, Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said, "Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."  While the decision to change and become better is a good and courageous decision, statistics also show that 88% of you that have made resolutions will fail in keeping them.  Unfortunately, these almost inevitable failures usually cause so much dissapointment that people just give up on their resolutions.  President Thomas S. Monson has said, "even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve...Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow'"  So where do we gather this courage from?  The Apostle Paul helps answer this question for us, "I can do all things through Christ which stregtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)  If we look to Christ for help we can change and become, as Paul says, a "new creature in Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why missionaries do what they do.

While I was serving in Butte I had an interesting conversation with an older gentleman.  After answering some questions and explaining what I did as a missionary, he said,  "Wow that sounds pretty difficult, but at least the church takes care of your college tuition when your done."  This surprised me a little and I informed him that, while that would be really nice, my college tuition would not be paid for by the church.  "Oh, well you must get a pretty good salary to do this then" was his next statement.  I informed that I not only was not paid but, my family was providing the funds for me to be out on a mission.  He then asked "Well why do you do this then?"   I responded, "Because I love my savior, Jesus Christ"  He seemed to not believe me and his rebuttal was, "Well of course that's what you have to say, but why do you really do it?"

Unfortunately we live in a world where if there is no material gain or satisfaction that comes from doing something, it is usually considered unworthy of our time.  So why then do missionaries give up two years of their lives to a cause that, to the naked eye, seems to give them nothing in return?  Because, we love our savior Jesus Christ and as the Apostle John wrote "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)  We each individually at some point in our lives were touched by Christ and his infinite love for mankind.  For some he comforted them in a time of need, or maybe he provided healing after a mistake they had, or perhaps he showed confidence in them when they didn't have any confidence in themselves.  Whatever it may have been we know the blessings that come from having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the message that we have to bring to the world that "God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Let this cup pass from me..."

Elder Huffaker and I set out a couple of days ago on our bikes to go and see some people.  There were a few that thought we may be a little crazy for biking in our suits, but this did not stop us.  While riding we encountered some resistance....

Three dogs started chasing me and I tried my best to out run them but I quick realized that I wasn't going to be able to.  I managed to kick two of them away, unfortunately though as I tried to kick the third one I lost my balance and ended up going over the handlebars.  I was pretty lucky and received only one semi-serious injury and that was a pretty bad scrape on my left hand.

After we got our bikes back home all that was left to do was clean out the wound on my hand.  I began scrubbing all of the dirt and gravel out.  It was quite painful and I really didn't want to do it so I called our fearless district leader Elder Jamsa and asked him if it was really nessicary for me to get all of the dirt out.  His response was somthing along the lines of "Well if you don't want to get an infection I would say it's pretty nessicary."

My experience reminded me of another person who once asked if something was nessicary.  Jesus Christ who performed the Atonement fo us and went through more pain then any other human being has or ever will go through asked his father if he would "Let this cup from me..." (Matt 26:39)  He however submitted to the will of his father so that mankind would not "unavoidably perish" (Alma 34:9)  Sometimes my Heavenly Father has asked me to do some hard things, as he will do to all at some point, but whenever he asks me to do something that I do not want to do I remember the example of my Savior and try to respond, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dispensations and Apostasies

Prophets are vital to our Heavenly Father's plan for us. (Amos 3:7)  They tell us the things that Heavenly Father would say to us if he were here. (D&C 1:38)  Prophets teach us the way to return to our Heavenly Father. (Mosiah 15:11)  We call a period of time that the lord has a prophet on the earth a dispensation.  Sometimes though people rejected the Lord's prophets and would not listen to their teachings. (Hebrews 11:37)  When this happens Heavenly Father has to take away the prophets for a time, resulting in a period of time known as an apostasy.  Heavenly Father always send another prophet though to begin a new dispensation.

Another missionary once gave me a pretty cool example of why Heavenly Father does this:

Look at that high roller.
You wouldn't let a baby play with money would you? Of course you wouldn't and why not? Because a baby does not understand the true value of it. A baby would just rip up the the dollar bills or swallow the quarters. The same applies to why Heavenly Father doesn't let wicked people have prophets. They don't understand the true value of a prophet, so they just end up stoning them or sawing them asunder.

Babies eventually grow older though and then their parents eventually trust them with money.
Well most of the time at least.
Again just as with the babies and their parents, wicked generations of people give way to a more mature group of people and our Heavenly Father trusts them enough to send them a prophet again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"What kind of white guy are you?"

We recently had transfer calls and the missionary I had been working with, Elder Wood, got transferred down to Hardin and he was replaced with Elder Huffaker.  Elder Wood was a Native American, so while I had Elder Wood as a companion he got a lot of questions about which tribe he was from.  Usually the question would come in the form of, "What kind of Indian are you?"  More often then not people would usually then turn the question towards me in the form of "What kind of white guy are you?"  Unfortunately I am not as knowledgeable in my family history as Elder Wood is in his, so the asker of the question would usually leave the conversation very disappointed with me.  So I decided I needed to find out what kind of "white guy" I am.  The first place I looked was, which is a free family history website set up by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Well it turns out that my ancestors were some of the first Europeans to settle in the new world, so it took a bit of digging to find where my ancestors were from before they came to America.  It would appear from my research that they came mainly from the British Isles with a little bit of German, Dutch, and various other nationalities thrown in there.

It hit me while I was doing this research how much the gospel of Jesus Christ truly blesses families.  If it were not for the church and its many programs that it has for genealogy I would not even know where to begin my research about my family and it is through these programs that many families are sealed for time and all eternity in the temple.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I will be able to live with my family forever and that we aren't permanently separated after we die and I would not have this knowledge if it were not for Jesus Christ and his church that has been restored to the earth once again.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that one true church that was established before the foundations of this world and that its teaching can help families not only in this life but also in the life to come.