Plutarch and Alma

I came across this quote recently, and I couldn’t help but think of Alma…

Plutarch Knowledge Quote

Before relating this to Alma, I want to just talk about the quote. Plutarch was smart enough to “get stuff.” I mean, a lot of us are that way, right? I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read about health and fitness. I logically “get” many of the concepts I’ve read about.

Yet – even though we “get something” and may even have knowledge, without application what do we really know?

Not only was Plutarch smart enough to “get something” from the words he read, he was smart enough to realize that the words and knowledge he gained was through experiences.

As for me – even though I had read a few books on the damage and problems that sugar causes the body, I never really got it until I had experimented for myself and saw how eating a diet without much sugar affected me. I really needed this experience in order to give meaning to the concepts that I had learned.

Alma the younger understood the power of experiential knowledge. In fact, he extended an invitation to the poor Zoramites that he taught:

“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” – Alma 32:27

Alma taught the people the word of God. And he didn’t expect them to believe him just on face value – just because he said to believe. Instead, Alma asked them to experiment on his words. Alma wanted them to try it out for themselves. Alma invited them to have their own experiences so they could gain their own knowledge and faith.

It is interesting to me that we approach nearly every subject this way – except faith. Do we expect to learn a language just by reading about it? No, we go on a foreign exchange program, we take an immersion class, we go to that country, we start studying on a language learning website, we practice saying words in another language.

If we desire to learn Calculus, do we just buy a textbook and peruse it? Probably not. We go through the exercises. We get a calculator, paper, and pencil, and then try to solve the equations.

Yet, for some reason, so many people think that in order to obtain spiritual knowledge, they will sit in church one time and listen to a sermon and get it. Or maybe they think that in order to gain a testimony, they must read through the Bible once without meditating, pondering, and applying the words.

Then, because they haven’t put any thought or effort into their acquisition of spiritual knowledge, they don’t get any spiritual knowledge. Some may even proclaim faith, spirituality, or the scriptures as a fraud because of their own lack of experience.

I haven’t studied Calculus, but I’m not going to claim that Calculus is a farce.

Yes – going to church and studying the scriptures are important parts of obtaining spiritual knowledge, but the crucial key is to experiment and experience the gospel. Then those experiences will give you the knowledge of the word. They will make the scriptures and church even more meaningful.

How have you “experimented” on the word? How have your experiences helped to shape your testimony? If you haven’t experimented on the word of God, what is holding you back?

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Book of Mormon for Teens – Timeline and Authors

This is the next installment of my Illustrated Book of Mormon Commentary for Teenagers. You can see the first one here.

Before I really get into the Book of Mormon, itself, I wanted to have a few pages showing the timelines and authors of the Book of Mormon. As I wrote in Tiger’s Book:

“Sometimes when you are reading the Book of Mormon, it can be a little confusing to keep track of what you are reading. There are accounts of things as they happen, flashbacks, and the changing of hands with the records.

Hopefully, this timeline and author chart will help you keep the events and authors of the Book of Mormon straight!”

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The timeline – there is a lot to fit onto one page!!!

Several years ago, I did my own “story of the Book of Mormon” project. (You can read about it here.) As a part of this project, I created my own Book of Mormon timeline. I highly suggest this type of project. It really helped me to understand the Book of Mormon.

In any case, here is a copy of the timeline that I created: BoM Timeline (available as a PDF Download).

I also felt like Tiger should understand the authors of the Book of Mormon and the way that the plates were handed down. I found a very handy flowchart of the Book of Mormon Authors online here.

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Authors of the Book of Mormon

These two pages are chock-full of information. I didn’t have much space to make anything “cute!” No worries, though. I really think that this information will be helpful.

Finally, I included a quote that I really love about the Book of Mormon:

“Would you like to have emblazoned on your soul an undeniable witness that the Savior descended beneath your sins and that there is no sin, no mortal plight outside the merciful reach of His Atonement – that for each of your struggles He has a remedy of superior healing power? Then read the Book of Mormon.” – Tad R. Callister (emphasis added)

Thanks for letting me share this project with you. I am so excited to actually get into the Book of Mormon now. I’m excited to be able to share my testimony with my daughter in a way that I hope she will be receptive to.  I’ll share more with you later!

Illustrated Book of Mormon Commentary for a Teenager (Part One)

When my oldest daughter turned 12, I made her a special book. (You can read about it here .) – She will be turning 16 in a little over a year, and I’ve decided to start making another book for her. This time, it will be about the Book of Mormon. (In case you’re wondering, I made a book for her when she was 14. I’ll probably post it on here soon).

The Title Page

The Title Page

So, I just started this. I’m using one of my favorite – sketchbooks (although the one I’m using is hardbound rather than wirebound).

Why am I doing this? Is it because I’m crazy? No. I’ve thought a lot about how to teach my children the gospel. I’ve thought about lecturing them – and lectures weren’t particularly helpful in my life. I mean I honestly don’t remember if my parents lectured me. I know that they said stuff to me, but I zoned out very easily as a teenager.

I don’t particularly like lecturing my teens right now, either. It feels boring and pointless. But how do we teach our kids the gospel? How do I teach them the things that I know and understand and what them to know and understand?

In this quest, I’ve been inspired by the words of Nephi:

“And we talk of Christ we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” – 2 Nephi 25:26, emphasis added.

I feel like writing what I want to teach my children is an effective way (for me) to preach to them without seeming preachy! I can write lectures, make them cute and heartfelt, and instead of zoning out – my kids will treasure these lectures. That’s the idea, anyway. It’s not sneaky. I’m just being as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove. 🙂

So – this is a Book about the Book of Mormon. I’ve divided it as follows:

  • Title Page
  • Timeline of the Book of Mormon
  • Explanation of the Small and Large Plates and their Authors
  • 1 Nephi
  • 2 Nephi
  • Jacob
  • Enos
  • Jarom
  • Omni
  • Words of Mormon
  • Mosiah
  • Alma
  • Helaman
  • 3 Nephi
  • 4 Nephi
  • Mormon
  • Ether
  • Moroni
  • So – pretty straight forward.

    Title Page

    On this page, I just wrote that the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ. I wrote my hope for her – that she will continue to read the Book of Mormon in her life. I also told her about this book that I’m making for her:

    “This book is a gift to you from me. It’s kind of a “commentary” on the Book of Mormon. I’ve been inspired by Nephi’s words, ‘And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.’ (2 Nephi 25:26).

    I want you to know – not only do I want you to know the Book of Mormon for yourself, but I also want you to know my testimony of it.

    I hope that this book will be a blessing to you now and for years to come. Love, Mom.

    ***
    So – that’s the beginning of this fun ride. I anticipate that it will take me a little over a year to finish this book. It will require a lot of work and effort, but I’m sure that it will be worth it. Maybe you have a child who could use something like this? Try writing your testimonies and lessons you have learned in the Book of Mormon. I’d love to see what you come up with if you do it, too.

Strengthening our Relationships with Christ

How to receive a manifestation of the Savior.

How to receive a manifestation of the Savior.

I came across this scripture the other day…

“And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;

And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.” – 2 Nephi 26:12-13

It stood out to me because I want to know Christ.

It may seem strange because I have a testimony of the gospel and have even been blogging about it for years. I have even recorded my testimony of the Savior (note: more than once). And I will say right now, that I do have a testimony that we have a Savior. I know this because I have felt His power in my life. I have read the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and I have felt peace when studying and praying about the scriptures. I know this because I have learned about Him in Church and at the temple, and have also felt the peace and confirmation that comes from such practices. I have felt His forgiveness, and have witnessed miracles in my life. I know that my Savior lives and that He loves me.

But…

I feel like there is still so much more to know. I feel infantile in my testimony of the Savior, and not in a good-child-like-infantile way. But with a recognition that I can come to know Him more. That I can develop a better relationship with Him. That my prayers can be more heartfelt. That His presence could be felt stronger in my life. As I’ve had more witnesses of the Savior, of His love for me, of His role in my life as the Advocate and Redeemer, I’ve also seen how often I come up short. I get frustrated with myself that I give in to my weaknesses so much–instead of turning to Him for support. I feel like Nephi who said:

“O wretched [wo]man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.” – 2 Nephi 4:17-18

I can see that as my testimony in the Savior has matured, His expectations from me have also grown. As I’ve gained more knowledge, I have more power to do more good; and the Lord expects me to do it. I want to do it. And the thing is, I usually do. It’s not like I’m having struggles with the things that I’ve learned in the past.

The Lord is teaching me to be a better person – better than I was yesterday; last week; or last year. Now, I’m learning spiritual algebra, rather than spiritual arithmetic.

Sometimes, as I go through these periods of my life – where I feel distanced from the Savior, a flash of doubt runs through my mind. Do I even know Christ at all? Is this true? Am I crazy? What happened to my testimony? I think that this happens to all of us.

And, when I read the scripture in 2 Nephi: “He manifesteth Himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost;…, I realized my answer.

I do know Christ

I do know the Savior, and I don’t need to doubt my testimony – even for a second. Even if I don’t feel as close to Him as I would like, it isn’t because I don’t have a testimony. On the contrary, I realize it is because my testimony is growing, and that the Holy Ghost is helping me to see how it can continue to grow. We can’t stay in the same place. I can make improvements to my life–improvements that I wasn’t ready to make last week, a year ago, or five years ago. I can follow the same pattern that I’ve followed in the past:

  • I can believe in Christ – It is somewhat easy for me to do this now. I can base my belief on the witnesses I’ve had of him in the past. I don’t have to believe in someone completely foreign. I can keep believing in Christ: in His Atonement; in His love for me; in His desire that I come unto Him and know Him. I can keep expressing this belief in Christ through prayer, scripture study, temple attendance. I can also keep showing this belief in Christ by trusting Him when I go through times of personal refinement–that these times are to help me to get to know Him better.
  • I can seek the Holy Ghost – The manifestations of the Savior come to us through the Power of the Holy Ghost. When I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, which means I have access and companionship with the Holy Ghost and His power at all times (as long as I lived worthy of it). The Holy Ghost will help me to see what I need to do in order to change so I can have more of His spirit with me, which, in turn, will help me to feel closer to the Savior.

***

I kind of think that we all go through these kinds of tests in life. We receive witness of the Savior, then the Lord tests our witness. As our testimonies and faith is tested, it continues to grow. When we feel our connection to the Savior diminishing, and it isn’t because we have sinned or grown relaxed in the gospel, perhaps it might be because we are being taught new ways that we can change and grow. The Lord wants us to be even closer to Him, and this is done through “pruning” and “refinement”–both concepts that connote growth through a difficult (sometimes painful) process.

If we are going through these stages of refinement, we don’t need to doubt our past testimony. Instead, we need to be like Nephi, who was able to overcome his feeings of self-doubt by remembering his past experiences with the Savior. (See 2 Nephi 4:19-25.) We can draw strength from our past expressions of faith and testimony, and trust that as we seek the Spirit, then Christ will manifest Himself unto us.

***
Have you experienced times like these? What do you do to strengthen your relationship with the Savior? What have you done to receive a witness of Christ?

***
If you are still coming to know Christ, you can learn more about The Savior here.

Abide With Me

So, this is, hands-down, one of my favorite hymns of all time. This video is a rendition sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Several years ago, I was a member of a ward choir, and we sang a simple version of this song. I hadn’t participated in many ward choirs prior to this one, and was surprised and the spirit I felt when we practiced this song.

As I sang the line, “Oh Savior, stay this night with me, behold ’tis eventide.” I felt like I understood why those two simple disciples on the road to Emmaus would implore the Savior to stay with them. When I sang the song, I felt like begging for the same blessing. Even though I haven’t physically walked and talked with the Savior, I have felt His Spirit. I have felt His love and peace. Feeling the love of Christ, feeling His peace, is something that we can access all the time, but it seems like the strength of the feelings ebb and flow. There are times when we can feel His presence stronger than others. This may be due to our own worthiness (sin really diminishes feeling close to the Savior) or our circumstances (when I’m in spin class, even though I’m not doing anything wrong, it is a different environment, not a very spiritual one).

The ebb and flow of these feelings are okay (I think). I mean, that’s life, right? But still, I understand how it is to feel like I want the Savior to stay with me, His love is peaceful, reassuring, calming, and … well, I can’t adequately describe it.

And even though I’ve witnessed for myself that Christ loves me, even though I know that I’ve felt the Spirit in my life, there are times when I forget His love, and I feel lonely and distant from The Savior. I wonder why I can’t feel His Spirit as strongly as I would like. I even begin to doubt my testimony. I have faith that He is the Savior, but sometimes I wonder, “Do I know? Will I ever really know? These thoughts give way to frustration, and I wonder if I will ever grow spiritually, or if I will always be waffling around between knowledge and doubt.

Recently, President Eyring gave a really great talk in General Conference. In it he reminds us of Christ’s invitation:

“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:63

This is a good reminder. If we draw near unto Christ, then He will draw near unto each of us. If we seek Him, then we will find Him. If we ask, we’ll receive. If we knock, then the door will be opened. It’s a pretty good promise.

There are so many ways that we can draw near unto the Savior. We can study the scriptures, we can pray. I like to go to the temple. But the thing is, even as I’m trying to draw nearer to the Savior, sometimes I feel like I can’t get near enough. Like there is something I need to learn. I tend to get a lot out of scripture study, but it is a cerebral understanding of the gospel–it is very intellectualized.

It is harder for me to pray because it is abstract, and sometimes I’m not the most “feely” kind of person. But I still pray, and I know that if I could do a little less analyzing and intellectualizing, and instead let myself feel, then I might be able to recognize that the Lord has drawn near unto me.

When I go to the temple or to my church services, again, I intellectually know that I’m serving the Lord. I feel the Spirit, and have a rush of enlightenment and excitement, and this is good. But I want to learn how to make the feeling last.

Above all, I want my faith in Christ to turn into sure knowledge. I want to know – not only with my head, but also with my heart. I want to know with my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and…even kidneys.

***
Back to President Eyring’s talk…

President Eyring concludes with this brilliant testimony.

Pretty Awesome, huh?!

Pretty Awesome, huh?!


I love this testimony. Every single time I hear it or read it, I feel the Spirit confirm to me that what President Eyring is saying is both true, and that his testimony is special. I realize that even though I’m kind of like a “toddler” when it comes to spirituality and testimony, there are people who are adults. There are people who know, and they can guide and comfort me with their knowledge. We are blessed with apostles and prophets who do know Christ: with their hearts and brains…AND…eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and even kidneys.

In the Mormon church, our leadership is unique in that the Prophet and Apostles aren’t a bunch of men who are simply interested in the gospel and have gone to seminaries to study the scriptures. They aren’t paid to live in Christ’s service. These are ordinary men. They have families and jobs. They grew up with testimonies of Christ and of Heavenly Father, and with a commitment to serve Him. Over time, they have grown in the gospel. Eventually, each of these apostles and prophet received a calling (from God, not as a product of their campaigning to receive such a calling) to be His special witness. They are not unlike Peter, James, or John, who were hand-selected to be “fishers of men”.

Like the ancient apostles, President Eyring and other apostles bear testimony of Christ. In this talk I feel like President Eyring is trying to convince us to believe that Christ lives–because he knows it. It isn’t his hunch or “feeling.” President Eyring knows that Christ lives as surely as did those two disciples who traveled to Emmaus knew – when their eyes were opened and they physically beheld the Savior.

When my testimony in the Savior begins to falter, and I wonder if He hears my prayers, if He loves me, if He can bless me in my times of need, I know that I can take comfort in the testimony of the Apostles and Prophet. Yes Christ does live. There are people on this earth who know this for sure, and I can trust in their witness.

My faith is strengthened by the testimony of those who are true witnesses of the living Christ.

***
Do you believe in Christ? Have you had experiences when you have felt the Savior draw near unto you? What do you do to strengthen your faith in Him? How does it make you feel to know that there are people on this earth who have had experiences with the Savior and can witness of Him, personally?

Goals Update – Knowing God and Jesus Christ

So…as far as my goal this year (which is losing weight, as lame as that may sound), I’m not making much progress, per se. I haven’t lost weight. I am exercising more, and I’m feeling better, but I still have changes that I need make before I see any real results.

A while ago, I read a book by Robert Lustig – Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar…. I liked it because I realized that I am a sugar addict, and that there is more to health than just looking skinny (which is something I’ve always suspected). Anyways. Even though this seems lame, weight loss has been a real personal trial for me. I haven’t always been overweight. A few years ago, I ran a marathon! Only recently did I put on weight (with my last child), and I haven’t taken it off (he’s 2 now!!!) I’ve noticed that both my relationship with food and the perception I have of myself have changed. Neither of them have changed in a good way.

I’m including this stuff on this blog because I’m convinced that my struggle has a spiritual connection.

A friend of mine gave me the book Not My Will but Thine by the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell. It has been helping me as I consider my desires, goals, and the will of the Lord. I know that the Lord will answer my prayers, I just need to learn how to align my will with His.

Two things struck me when I read the first chapter:

“…God really is a loving, Father God, not a distant cosmic presence.” (Maxwell, Not My Will but Thine, p. 3)

and

“Jesus Christ has been, is, and will be our empathic Advocate with the Father. Not only is He our Advocate, but He helps us through our individual ordeals. By His own suffering, He was perfected, including in His capacity to help us with our individual suffering.” (Maxwell, Not My Will but Thine, 3-4)

Nature - one sure way to feel God's influence in our lives.

Nature – one sure way to feel God’s influence in our lives.

God is really a loving Father God

(and not a distant cosmic presence). Do you really know that? Do I really know that? Do I remember it? I have to say, yes I know it, but no I don’t always remember. I have felt close to Heavenly Father – close enough to know that He truly is a Father that loves me. Yet there are times when I feel distance. Of course, that is my fault – usually distance is a result of lazy prayers.

But, even when I’m praying well, there are some times when it is hard to feel God’s real presence in my life. Or I feel it, but I want to feel more of it.

Jesus Christ is our Advocate and Helper

I know that Jesus Christ is my advocate with Heavenly Father. I know that He helps me. I know that there is nothing (in and of myself) that I can do to receive blessings or comfort from God. Everything I have received has been because of Christ’s mercy.

I know that the key to unlocking the power of the atonement in my life is through repentance, faith, and covenant making (and keeping). I know that I depend on my Savior for everything.

But there are times when I know that I underestimate exactly how powerful He is. For example – He knows my ordeals. My ordeals are ordeals. Even if it sounds stupid, being frustrated with myself physically, is still an ordeal. My ordeal is not because I can’t see my value as a woman and daughter of God. It is because I’m not living to my potential. It is because I have some real physical weaknesses, and I need Christ’s help to overcome them. Our ordeals and trials are always based on the conditions of mortality – our weakness.

Sometimes I forget how Christ can help me with all of my trials – even ones that don’t seem as crucial or important. I forget that Christ knows what it’s like to feel depressed or down. And he knows how to uplift. I forget that he has experienced all that I have experienced. I don’t have to endure this trial alone. I can take Christ’s yoke upon me, and he will help me to overcome.

So…while I don’t want to over-think things all day long, it is good for me to recognize that when I think about my goals, I can see a clear connection between my progress (or lack of progress) and my willingness to activate the power of the atonement in my life. If I’m feeling weak (in other words, if I want cookies), then I can go to the Lord for strength. I can pray that the Lord will strengthen me as I try to employ good habits (like portion control, good eating, and exercise) in my life. I can also pray that I won’t get bogged down on day to day issues, but that I will see the big picture, and be grateful for a working body, loving husband, and good life. Remembering My relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really can help me obtain any goal or get through any ordeal.

How do you use the atonement to overcome weakness and difficulty in your life? How have you grown closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? How do you keep your relationship with Heavenly Father real and relevant?

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

The short answer: Yes!

Mormons believe the Bible to be the Word of God – as far as it is translated correctly. (See Articles of Faith 1:8.)

My Scriptures

My Scriptures

I know that the Bible is the word of God.

Here are a few experiences I have had – that have helped me to know that the Bible is Holy Scripture.

The Bible and Understanding My Identity as a Woman

When I was in college, I took several Women’s Studies courses. Women’s Studies was a relatively new department. As I was nearing my graduation, I found that I nearly had enough credits to qualify for the Women’s Studies Minor, but I had taken an “upside-down” approach – taking many upper-divisional classes without having taken the low-level prerequisite classes. In order to receive credit for the Minor in Women’s Studies, I’d have to take two basic courses.

So, I took the First Women’s Studies basic course. I can’t remember the course title. But I can remember the way that it made me feel – as a woman, human. As the class progressed, I would feel challenged, confused, and ultimately frustrated. Sure, some of the ideas that my professors proposed seemed to be grounded in some kind of truth, but day after day, I came away from the class feeling dissatisfied at the idea of feminism and the worldly notion of what womanhood is.

Directly after class, I’d walk out of the room, feeling confused, and I’d walk across the street into the Ogden Institute of Religion. I was taking an Old Testament class. There, we began the semester studying Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. After leaving my women’s studies class, where I was taught, motherhood, by nature was oppressive, I was able to learn that Eve was the Mother of All Living – an elevated calling. I learned that, yes, bearing children was cursed, but it was done for her sake – not for her oppression. There is a great beauty and blessing in the challenge of motherhood. Not all of our blessings are easy. We have to learn to find the blessing in trials, too.

I would walk out of my women’s studies class feeling confused about women’s roles in family and society, then I’d walk across the street and learn about Sariah. Not only was Abraham a Patriarch, but Sariah was his companion.

In my Women’s Studies class, I was taught that patriarchy is oppressive, and that many religions exploit the notion that God is a man – to somehow imply that woman is less than man. Then I’d walk across the street, to my Old Testament Class, where I would study Rebekah – A righteous mother in Israel who was prompted that the birthright blessing should go to Jacob; or Deborah – the prophetess of Israel, Judge, Counselor, and Warrior.

I’d go from “Women’s Studies” which seemed to make me feel crushed and depressed about being a woman over to the institute where I’d study an ancient text (not exactly known for being “woman friendly”) and learn about the kind of woman I am and want to be.

It was the Bible who helped me to understand that I am not only a child of God, but a Daughter of God, and that there is power in this. That I’m loved and cherished by my Father. And that though I must go through some burdens in the flesh, and though men haven’t always been as kind to women as they should be, these actions didn’t reflect God’s esteem of me or any of His daughters.

The Bible and Understanding that Jesus is My Savior and Redeemer

My favorite scripture is contained in the words of the Bible, and recorded by Isaiah:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:3-5

When I think of my own love and dedication to the Savior, I often want to include this scripture. It is so powerful. He was despised, but this didn’t prevent His love for us. Instead, he has experienced what we experienced. He has overcome temptation, sickness, sin, and death. Because He has descended below all things, we have the opportunity to be healed.

I think that I love this scripture so much because of the concept of healing. That is what I need in my life: I need to be healed from the pains caused by others, or by my own sins, or even my simple nature. Christ offers this healing, and no where else in the scriptures is it more beautifully or powerfully expressed than by Isaiah in the Bible.

Through the Bible, I know I can Rely on Christ

Another scripture that has sustained me through hard times has been from the Bible:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

It is so easy to forget that Christ will give us peace and rest. It is easy to forget that we can come unto Him, and put His yoke upon us – which will help us to bear up our burdens. Yet He pleads with us to remember and to come unto Him.

I love this scripture. Christ loves us. We can feel His love through the power of the Word of God – in the Bible.

So many more examples

There are so many more examples I could give of personal experiences I have had with the Holy Bible. Because of the Bible:

  • I know that the Lord is my Master and that I have no need to fear even the most troubled “waters”
  • I want to be like Mary Magdalene, who knew the voice of Her Master when he was Resurrected and appeared to her in the Garden
  • I have been saved from horrible situations and guided to a better path.

I know that the Bible is the Word of God. I know that it teaches and testifies of Christ. I know that through the Bible we can infuse our lives with the Spirit. We can receive direction, comfort, and strength. I love the scriptures, and I love the Holy Bible. I’m so grateful to live in a time when it is easily accessible.

Find out more of what Mormons believe about the Bible being the word of God here.

Find the King James Version of the Bible online here.

What are your experiences with the Bible – that have helped you to know it is truly the word of God?

Do Mormons Regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the Word of God?

I am always happy to answer this question…YES! We do regard the Bible as Holy Scripture. We believe it is the word of God!

In fact, not only do Mormons believe the Bible is Holy Scripture, but we Love it. Well, I do anyways. I love the law, the poetry, and the prophecies of the Old Testament. I love the account of Christ’s life, the Pauline Epistles, and Revelation of the New Testament. I love to read the covenants and commandments of the Lord. I love to read about His promised blessings.

I love this quote at mormon.org –
“We see it as a powerful, important, and sacred holy record which serves as the bedrock of all Christianity.” (Mormon.org)

Mormons DO believe the Bible is the word of God. I have had various experiences with the Bible and will share a few.

Powerful
The Bible has made a powerful impact in my life. Several years ago, I was experiencing some strain in my marriage. I had felt the Holy Ghost prompting me, but it was unfamiliar because the feeling I had was that of frustration and disappointment rather than warmth. I went to my scriptures and read:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

This scripture came to me with more power than any scripture I had read. It moved me to action. It helped me to realize what I needed to do in my marriage. And even though that marriage ended in divorce, this scripture has remained powerful to me – reminding me that I needed to make sure I was never yoked to sin again.

Important
The Bible is so important because in it we learn the covenants that God makes with man. We also learn the commandments. To me, this is one of the most important scripture passages:

ҦBut when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:33-40

Christ taught us the law as Jehovah in the Old Testament. He taught the Higher law as the promised Messiah in the New Testament. Even though the commandments aren’t always easy to keep, they are simple: Love God and love one another. The Bible teaches us this through the meek words of the Savior, Himself.

Sacred and Holy
Of course, the entire nature of the Bible is sacred and holy. In my mind, the most sacred and holy scriptures are recorded by Isaiah:

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

¶Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:2-5

This scripture teaches us about Christ. He isn’t ostentatious; he is simple. Yet, he performed the most important, loving, and essential act in our History: He bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, was bruised for our iniquities, and was chastised for our peace: He preformed the atonement. This is one of my top favorite scriptures.

Oh – and if you don’t really feel moved by it through reading the scripture, just listen to Handel’s interpretation of Isaiah’s words…

I have a testimony that the Bible is the true word of God. I have read it. I have prayed about it. I have been inspired, taught, and comforted by the Bible.

If you would like to know more about what Mormons believe and the Bible, you can click here.

How do you you feel about the Bible? How has the Bible inspired you in life? Do you have a testimony that it is the Word of God?

Come Listen to the Prophets

I’m excited for General Conference. It seems like General Conference always comes at the perfect time. I always need the nourishment, the messages, the reminders, the gentle rebukes, and the inspiration to keep striving.

Here’s a quote that I loved from a recent Conference

“By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept Gods’ will rather than ours.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love the prophets and apostles. I haven’t met any of them, but I have a testimony that they are called of God. I know that they speak for the Lord today. I have felt the Spirit confirm to me of their divine callings. I’m grateful that there are so many people willing to sacrifice so much time, effort, and energy on the behalf of millions of people that they’ve never met. I’m grateful that we live in a time when their teachings and testimonies are easily accessible.

If you’ve never heard the prophets speak, I encourage you to check it out!

Come listen to living prophets

***
On another note…here is the First Assignment for the Easter Scripture Study Series. Read, study, enjoy, and if you want, come back tomorrow to share insights.

Charity Rejoiceth in Truth

One of my favorite scriptures has always been a declaration by Nephi:

“I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” – 2 Nephi 33:6

I love the simplicity of Nephi’s testimony. And I love that he rejoices in simplicity and truth.

My love for this scripture hasn’t waned. In fact, in times like election years, I find myself wishing that there were more people who rejoiced in truth.

Of course, Nephi’s declaration also makes me think about myself. Do I truly rejoice in truth?

What is truth?
Several years ago, I had a college professor who was a self-proclaimed post-modernist. (The whole idea makes me laugh. You don’t hear things like that anywhere but in college, it seems). I went to college in Utah, and there were many professors who loved to shake things up by questioning religion, especially the Mormon faith. This professor was no exception.

One day, he started in a tangent about truth. He said, that there was no such thing as “truth with a capital-T”. Everything was just relative. It seemed to me that he had the notion of truth confused with beauty (Truth is in the eye of the beholder.) He challenged us to define Truth.

The challenge was rhetorical, but I knew the answer. Earlier that week, I had been in an institute class where we discussed truth, and the divine definition of truth:

“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;” – Doctrine and Covenants 93:24

Can you think of a better definition? This is the answer to what truth is. Truth isn’t the popular belief at the time. Truth is the knowledge of how things are. And it is more than that. It is the knowledge of how things are, eternally.

After the class, I went to tell the professor my definition of truth. I remember his response. He dismissed me before I even finished my sentence. Maybe he didn’t rejoice in truth. He couldn’t refute it. He just said, “Well, that’s what you believe.” (I didn’t mention that this was from the scriptures. I just said, “Here is how I define truth…”) So. I feel pretty satisfied – Truth Exists. Incidentally, I rejoice in this fact.

How to come to know the truth.
So…maybe it is still tough to understand what truth is, let alone rejoice in it. We don’t need to fear. We have a way to find out the truth.

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” – Moroni 10:4-5

Spiritual Scientific Method

  1. Receive things – We make an observation.
  2. Ask God – Ask A question. (don’t you love this?! Heavenly Father wants us to ask questions. He wants us to know. He doesn’t want us to follow Him blindly. He wants us to follow Him firmly.
  3. Have a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ – Make a hypothesis and experiment. We need to come up with some kind of resolution. The Lord has told us – we need to study things out in our minds.

    Additionally, we need to experiment. How on earth do we expect to have our hypothesis proven or disproven if we haven’t experimented? The idea is ludicrous.

  4. The Holy Ghost will tell us the Truth of all things – In this phase, our hypothesis, through appropriate experimentation and observation, will be either proven or not. We can then choose to accept the hypothesis or reject it. Either way, the Holy Ghost will tell us what is actually true.

Why does it matter?

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

Truth leads to freedom. Have you ever seen this in your life?

I will give a fairly dramatic example.

In my first marriage, I was married 7 years. Throughout my marriage, I had no idea of the truth. I thought that I was married to a man who respected me and honored God. Anyways. I didn’t. He lived a double life. He was having many affairs and was living in a way completely contrary to the gospel and to what I had agreed to when marrying him.

The entire situation came to me as quite a blow. The Truth, stung me in a way that I can’t describe. It was a shock. I remember someone asking me if it would have been better if I didn’t know.

Of course not!

And there were two reasons:
1. Even though I was married, things were amiss in my marriage, and I never could determine the problem. I prayed about it. I went to the Lord. Nothing ever seemed to be resolved. I learned why once I found out about my ex-husband’s affairs: the Spirit cannot bear false witness. He could never make me feel better about my marriage because it was a lie.
2. As difficult as finding out the truth was, I was so grateful for it. The truth led me to shedding the shackles of a very bad marriage. I believe it was also better for my ex-husband. He could be relieved of his duties and obligations as a husband. Because I knew the truth, I was able to be freed. As much as it hurt, I felt better, I felt free.

Truth leads to freedom in every instance. For me, I rejoice in truth because I’m pretty happy about freedom.

Jesus Christ is the Truth

“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” – Doctrine and Covenants 84:45

The word of the Lord = Truth → light → Spirit → the Spirit of Jesus Christ

This also makes me think of what we know about the Devil:

“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” – Moses 4:4

We can find the source of truth with Christ. If something is not true, we know who is the author of it.

Our Response to Truth
Those who have a charitable heart, respond to truth with rejoicing. We will be like Nephi who “glories” in it.

If we don’t have charitable hearts, and if we don’t cleave to truth, we may hate it.

“And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.

And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” – 1 Nephi 16:1-2

Nephi teaches us the ways both the righteous and the wicked feel about truth. The righteous are justified by the truth. They find solace, peace, and ultimately freedom in truth. Those who are wicked are pained by the truth – it cuts them to the core.

How do you respond to truth? Do you like it? Glory in it? Do you try to avoid it? What are ways that you can improve? Do you find that sometimes it is easier to believe a lie rather than truth? How can you develop more charity so that you begin to rejoice in truth?

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