Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Prophets ? ?

Who or What is a Prophet?

A Prophet is someone who represents our Heavenly Father on the Earth and holds all of the Priesthood Keys and the Authority required to govern His church.  They are a Mouthpiece for God.

Why does God call Prophets?

God doesn't want anyone to fall short of their potential.  God will also not cause us to do something that we shouldn't by not telling us that we shouldn't do it, Therefore God speaks to His chosen Prophet and that individual then tells the world what is supposed to take place.

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

What does a Prophet do?

A Prophet receives Direct revelation from our Heavenly Father and then tells others the Word of the Lord.  The Prophet is also the specific individual who directs the Lord's Church on the Earth.

How can we know if a man is a Prophet from God?

By Praying to our Heavenly Father and asking for a Spiritual Witness that the Prophet in question is truly God's chosen representative.  We can also read the Scriptures to understand the Gospel and receive Spiritual impressions as they have been written by past Prophets and Apostles.

So why did all the Prophets go away?

Throughout history, God has chosen prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others, to teach the gospel and direct His Church (Amos 3:7). It is no different today. We all need God’s guidance in a world that is sometimes confusing. Because God loves His children, He continues to send living prophets. Joseph Smith (1805–1844) was the first prophet of our time. Thomas S. Monson is God’s chosen prophet today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Commandments ARE Blessings

The First law of Heaven is Obedience.  It is by obedience to the laws of God that we receive blessings from Him. 

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven
before the foundations of this world,
upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God,
it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

God gives us commandments for our benefit.  They are instructions from a loving Father in Heaven to help us have happy lives.  He also gives us agency, or the ability and opportunity to choose between good and evil.  When we obey God, we follow the influence of the Spirit and choose to conform to His will.  Obedience to the commandments brings us peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  Obedience shows our love for God.  Disobedience brings us sorrow.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." --John 14:15

God commands us to pray to Him.  You can pray at any time and in any setting.  The Lord has taught us to kneel and pray in the morning and in the evening, as individuals and with our families.  Our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.  Through daily prayer we receive divine guidance and blessings.  We should always pray sincerely.  We should also pray with “real intent,” which means we are committed to act on the
answer that we receive.

We pray with faith to our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ (see Moses 5:8).  Because He is our Father and we are His children, He will answer our prayers.  

We begin our prayers by addressing our Father in Heaven.  We then give thanks for the blessings we have received, and ask for those blessings we need from Him.  We end a prayer "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

In prayer we speak openly and honestly with our loving Father in Heaven.  We express gratitude and thanksgiving for our blessings.  We may acknowledge our love for Him.  We also ask for help, protection, and direction according to our needs.

The scriptures are written records of God’s dealings with His children as recorded by prophets under the influence of the Holy Ghost.  We show our faith by studying, believing, and obeying God’s revealed word.  We diligently search the scriptures to understand the truth.  We feast upon them because they open the door to revelation and show us what we need to do and become.  We search the scriptures to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from God and comes through studying and living
His word and His gospel.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward
with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope,
and a love of God and of all men.
Wherefore, if ye shall press forward,
feasting upon the word of Christ,
and endure to the end,
behold, thus saith the Father:
Ye shall have eternal life."

Our Sabbath day behavior is a reflection of our commitment to honor and worship God.  By keeping the Sabbath day holy, we show God our willingness to keep our covenants.  Each Sabbath day we go to the Lord’s house to worship Him.  While there we partake of the sacrament to remember Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  We renew our covenants and show that we are willing to repent of our sins and mistakes.

On this day, we enjoy a rest from our labors.  As we attend Church services and worship together, we strengthen each other.  We are renewed by our association with friends and family.  Our faith is strengthened as we study the scriptures and learn more about the restored gospel.

When a community or nation grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays and all aspects of life are negatively affected.  The blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy are lost.  We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath.

So lets say that the entire city, town, or village you live in contracted a disease.  Everyone caught this disease, accept your only child.  Your child had an anomaly in their blood that made them immune and could cure everyone else.  But to save everyone else your child would have to die.  Your child decided they would go ahead and do it to save all of their friends.  So after everyone was cured the entire city dedicated one day a week to remember the sacrifice of your child, and on this day no one was supposed to do any work of any kind.

A few weeks go by and everyone has respect for your child's sacrifice, and everyone honors the day that was set apart.  But then the next week comes and as you sit on your porch you see someone mowing their lawn.  This is against the law of observance instated for your child.  How would you react to see them working on that day, rather than just doing it the day before or the day after?  You would probably not be pleased with the way they ignored what your child had done for them.

This is how our Heavenly Father feels when we don't pay proper respect each week for the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son.  Jesus Christ came and suffered for us, and has asked that we set apart one day each week to honor Him.

"And the church did meet together oft,
to fast and to pray,
and to speak one with another
concerning the welfare of their souls.
And they did meet together oft
to partake of bread and wine,
in remembrance of the Lord Jesus."

The way we show our desire to follow in God’s way is through baptism and confirmation.  When we are baptized and confirmed, we enter into a covenant that we will take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and that we will always remember Him and keep His commandments.  We also promise to stand as witnesses of God at all times and to assist those in need (see Mosiah 18:8–9).  In return, God promises the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and a remission of our sins.

Truth is a knowledge of things as they really are, were, and will be. It does not change with conditions or time. Truth is the same in every age and culture. God is the source of all truth. We can have faith in Him because we know He will teach us only truth. God wants all His children to know the truth. Therefore, He reveals the truths necessary for salvation through prophets and apostles. He reveals truth to us personally through the scriptures and personal revelation.

A prophet is called and chosen by God and is a righteous man with great faith. The Lord reveals truth to him through the Holy Ghost. He commands His prophet to teach truth to all people. Those who believe God’s words as revealed through His prophet are blessed. (see Exodus 4:16, and Hebrews 5:4)

Christ’s Church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, who direct the Church by revelation. The Lord called Joseph Smith as the first prophet and head of this last dispensation. His successors who lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today are also prophets and apostles. The President of the Church today is a living prophet. We are to have faith in God’s chosen prophet, gain conviction of his divine calling, and follow his teachings.

We have frequent opportunities to sustain Church leaders publicly. Sustain means to support. We are to prepare ourselves so that when the prophets and apostles speak, the Holy Ghost can confirm the truths they teach, and we can then determine to follow the counsel they give us.

Those who listen to and follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles will not go astray. The teachings of living prophets provide an anchor of eternal truth in a world of shifting values and help us avoid misery and sorrow. The confusion and strife of the world will not overwhelm us, and we can enjoy the assurance of being in harmony with God’s will.

Heavenly Father gives us commandments so that we will know what to do and what to avoid in order to receive the blessings He wants to give us like joy, peace of conscience, and lasting happiness.  God revealed to Moses the Ten Commandments to guide His people. (see Exodus 20)  The Ten Commandments are:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Other 'gods' may include possessions, power, authority, or vain ambitions.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honor thy father and thy mother.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Thou shalt not covet.

These Ten Commandments are still effective today.  It will never be acceptable to go lie, cheat, and steal just because you wanted to.  To kill someone is the worst sin possible other than denying the Holy Ghost. 

God delights in chastity and hates sexual sin.  Chastity includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.  Those who live the law of chastity enjoy the strength that comes from self-control.  They enjoy confidence and trust in their family relationships.  They can enjoy more fully the influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives.  Those who break this law are subject to a lasting sense of shame and guilt that burdens their lives.

Chastity requires faithfulness in thought and action. We must keep our thoughts clean and be modest in our dress, speech, and actions. We must avoid pornography in any form.  We should treat the God-given procreative power and our bodies as sacred.  Those who have committed sexual sin can repent and be forgiven.


"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them."

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a law of health called the Word of Wisdom. This law teaches us what foods and substances we should and should not use to maintain the health of our bodies and to keep us free from evil influences. The Lord promises blessings of health, strength, protection against evil, and greater receptiveness to spiritual truths. 

Remember that our bodies are sacred. We should treat them with respect and reverence.  The Word of Wisdom teaches that we are to eat healthy foods. It teaches very specifically that we are to avoid harmful substances, including alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. We must also avoid harmful drugs in any form. People who obey the Word of Wisdom are more receptive to spiritual truths.  Go to Doctrine and Covenants 89, to read the 'Word of Wisdom'.

One of the great blessings of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the privilege of contributing to the growth of the kingdom of God through paying tithing.  Tithing is an ancient, divine law.  For example, the Old Testament prophet Abraham paid tithes of all he possessed (see Alma 13:15).

To those who pay tithing, the Lord promises that He will “open . . . the windows of heaven, and pour . . . out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). These blessings may be temporal or spiritual, but they will come to those who obey this divine law.

Tithing means one-tenth, and the Lord has commanded us to give a tenth of our increase, which is understood to mean income, that we may be blessed. The law of tithing gives us the opportunity to help build His kingdom. Our tithes are holy to the Lord, and we honor Him by paying tithing. God promises to abundantly bless those who pay an honest tithe.  Those who do not pay tithing rob God (see Malachi 3:8). They keep for themselves something that rightfully belongs to Him. We should seek first the kingdom of God, and tithing is an important way of doing that. Paying tithing is an expression of our faith. It is an outward sign of our belief in God and His work.

Tithing funds are used to support the ongoing activities of the Church, such as building and maintaining temples and meetinghouses, carrying the gospel to all the world, conducting temple and family history work, youth programs, and many other worldwide activities. Tithing does not pay local Church leaders, they serve without receiving payment of any kind.
Local Church leaders send the tithing received each week directly to Church headquarters. A council comprised of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presiding Bishopric determines specific ways to use the sacred tithing funds.

Great blessings are available to those who obey God’s commandment to fast. Fasting means going without food and drink for a period of time. Usually the first Sunday of each month is set aside as a special day to fast for two consecutive meals, pray, and bear testimony. Fasting and prayer go together. When we fast and pray with faith, we are more receptive to receiving answers to our prayers and blessings from the Lord. He promises us that He will guide us continually. We should fast and pray for specific purposes. Fasting is private and spiritual, and we should not draw attention to the fact that we are fasting.

Pure religion includes caring for the poor. We are to help them meet their physical and spiritual needs. When we fast, we donate money to the Church for the care of the poor and the needy. We call this a fast offering. We give at least the amount of money we save by fasting for two meals. However, we need not limit our contribution to the cost of two meals. We are encouraged to be as generous as our means allow. By caring for the poor, we help fulfill our baptismal covenants and retain a remission of our sins.

Behold, I testify unto you
that I do know that these things
whereof I have spoken
 are true.
And how do ye suppose
that I know of their surety?
Behold, I say unto you
they are made known unto me
by the Holy Spirit of God.
Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days
that I might know these things of myself.
And now I do know of myself
that they are true;
for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit;
and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

Latter-day Saints everywhere believe in obeying the laws of the country in which they live. Members of the Church are counseled to be good citizens, to participate in civil government and the political process, and to render community service. They do so, however, as concerned citizens, not as representatives of the Church.

Unlimited everything is actually not beneficial.  If there wasn't a speed limit, there would be more problems on the road.  If there was nothing declared wrong with hitting people, we would have a lot of bruised and broken people walking around.  With every law there must be a punishment, because what is the point of saying you can't do something if nothing happens when you do it?

"And when we obtain any blessing from God,
it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."
-- Doctrine and Covenants 130:21

So by obedience we obtain blessings, and by disobedience we receive punishment.  Sir Isaac Newton 'discovered' that, "For every action the is an equal and opposite reaction."  So any punishment enforced by law must be in opposition of what we did wrong, and equal to the crime.

In order to obey all of the laws of the land we must develop patience.  If we are too anxious to do whatever we want we usually end up getting into mischief.  But if we wait for the next paycheck, we won't be stealing something from the store.  If we are patient we won't be speeding down the highway as fast as possible.  If we are patient we won't be upset when the movie, concert, or party we are attending starts late.

"As parents, we know how unwise it would be to indulge our children’s every desire.
But children are not the only ones who spoil when showered with immediate gratification.
Our Heavenly Father knows what good parents come to understand over time:
if children are ever going to mature and reach their potential,
they must learn to wait."
-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
(Continue in Patience, April 2010)

Sometimes it can be very difficult to remain patient and obey the law.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why the Book of Mormon ? ?

The Book of Mormon - Another testament of Jesus Christ

Why is the Book of Mormon so important if we have the Bible?

"But if he will not hear thee,
then take with thee one or two more,
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses
every word may be established."

"In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

The Book of Mormon is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ".

Why does everyone say different things about the Bible?

Regardless of the valiant efforts of Christ’s apostles and their faithful followers, the original church that Christ restored began to fade away. Members faced severe persecution and all but one of the apostles were martyred. This is a period called the Great Apostasy, when there was a “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) from the gospel Christ organized. The apostolic authority to bestow priesthood keys and to receive revelation for the Church was lost along with many precious teachings. Errors about His teachings crept into the church resulting in conflicting opinions and lost truths. This period is what we call the Great Apostasy.

For more information please visit http://mormon.org/restoration/.

What should I do to figure out what the Bible really means?

"Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful,
and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled."

"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.
Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ;
for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."

It is impossible to learn something without effort.
You must first put in the effort to read the Bible on your own.
In order to understand the Bible, I would suggest reading the Book of Mormon.
Does God talk to Prophets like He did in the Bible?  Who are these Prophets?

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing,
but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

The Lord has again called a Prophet to lead His people here on Earth.

See mormon.org and lds.org - First Presidency for more information about Modern Prophets.

How do I recognize the Holy Spirit in my life?

I personally feel the Spirit not when I am frustrated, angry, extremely busy, or trying to complete homework.  I feel the Spirit best when I take time out of my schedule to sit down and read the Scriptures, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  I feel the Spirit when I Pray and talk with my Heavenly Father about the struggles I have in life.  I feel the Spirit when I attend Church, and quietly listen to others teach about the Gospel, allowing the Holy Ghost the opportunity to whisper in my thoughts.


Saturday, November 05, 2011

What is Hell ?

The following is taken from the Bible Dictionary.

Hell   An English translation of the Hebrew word Sheol, hell signifies an abode of departed spirits and corresponds to the Greek Hades. 

In common speech it generally denotes the place of torment for the wicked, although it has been often held, both in the Jewish and the Christian churches, that Hades (meaning broadly the place of all departed spirits) consists of two parts, paradise and Gehenna, one the abode of the righteous and the other of the disobedient.

“Gehenna,” or “Gehenna of fire,” is the Greek equivalent of the “valley of Hinnom,” a deep glen of Jerusalem where the idolatrous Jews offered their children to Moloch (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:2–6). It was afterwards used as a place for burning the refuse of the city (2 Kgs. 23:10), and in that way became symbolical of the place of torment (Matt. 5:22, 29–30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6). Expressions about “hell-fire” are probably due to the impression produced on men’s minds by the sight of this ceaseless burning, and are figurative of the torment of those who willfully disobey God.

In latter-day revelation hell is spoken of in at least two senses. One is the temporary abode in the spirit world of those who were disobedient in this mortal life. It is between death and the resurrection, and persons who receive the telestial glory will abide there until the last resurrection (D&C 76:84–85, 106), at which time they will go to the telestial glory. In this sense the Book of Mormon speaks of spiritual death as hell (2 Ne. 9:10–12). Hell, as thus defined, will have an end, when all the captive spirits have paid the price of their sins and enter into a degree of glory after their resurrection. Statements about an everlasting hell (Hel. 6:28; Moro. 8:13) must be interpreted in their proper context in the light of D&C 19:4–12, which defines eternal and endless punishment.

On the other hand, the devil and his angels, including the sons of perdition, are assigned to a place spoken of as a lake of fire—a figure of eternal anguish. This condition is sometimes called hell in the scriptures (2 Pet. 2:4; D&C 29:38; 88:113). This kind of hell, which is after the resurrection and judgment, is exclusively for the devil and his angels, and is not the same as that consisting only of the period between death and resurrection. The one group are redeemed from hell and inherit some degree of glory. The other receive no glory. They continue in spiritual darkness. For them the conditions of hell remain.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Laws and Ordinances

Just as we have Laws for a Country and State Laws, there are also Laws that have been set to Govern our Spirit.  It is by obedience to these Laws that we receive blessings. (Doctrine and Covenants 130)

Faith is the First Principle of the gospel, or a Spiritual Law of Salvation.  Without Faith there is no progress.  Faith is an action word, and you gain more by exercising it.  Just like a muscle in your physical body, Faith is the muscle of your Spiritual body, the more you use it the stronger it becomes, but if neglected and left to itself it begins to fade away.

Reading scriptures, praying, going to church, and teaching others about the gospel are all ways to exercise Faith.

Repentance is the Second Principle or Law of the gospel.  Repentance is also an act of Faith, therefore if you have Faith it will lead you to Repent for things you have done wrong.  Repentance is the means by which we receive forgiveness from our sins, and align our will to the will of God.

Sometimes you might hear of an Ordinance.  The Ordinances of the gospel are Physical actions, prompted by Faith, that are part of the Plan of Salvation.  Where Faith and Repentance are Principles to live by everyday, an Ordinance is something that happens at a specific place and time.

Baptism is the First Ordinance of Salvation, and the Third Law of the gospel.  Baptism is the Gate by which we start down the path of living the fulness of the gospel.  Baptism is symbolic of death, burial, and the resurrection. When we are Baptized we are cleansed from past transgressions.

Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, or Confirmation, is the fourth Law of the gospel and is the second half of Baptism.  Baptism and Confirmation both must be done by Priesthood Authority.  The Priesthood is the Authority to act in God's name, and makes the ordinance binding both in this life and for all eternity.  The Gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the Influence of the Holy Ghost.  The Influence of the Holy Ghost is how we gain a testimony of truth before baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a promise given as part of the Baptismal Covenant (a covenant is a promise made with God) and entitles each of us to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion as long as we live worthy of His presence by keeping the commandments.

By living these Principles and partaking of the Ordinances of the Gospel, we chart a course for ourselves to return to live with our Heavenly Father.