Sunday, September 27, 2009

Be Of Good Cheer



My dear brothers and sisters, I express my love to you. I am humbled by the responsibility to address you, and yet I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Since last we met together in a general conference six months ago, there have been continuing signs that circumstances in the world aren’t necessarily as we would wish. The global economy, which six months ago appeared to be sagging, seems to have taken a nosedive, and for many weeks now the financial outlook has been somewhat grim. In addition, the moral footings of society continue to slip, while those who attempt to safeguard those footings are often ridiculed and, at times, picketed and persecuted. Wars, natural disasters, and personal misfortunes continue to occur.

It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”1

None of us makes it through this life without problems and challenges—and sometimes tragedies and misfortunes. After all, in large part we are here to learn and grow from such events in our lives. We know that there are times when we will suffer, when we will grieve, and when we will be saddened. However, we are told, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”2

How might we have joy in our lives, despite all that we may face? Again from the scriptures: “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”3

The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer as they have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This attitude is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. It will not remove our troubles from us but rather will enable us to face our challenges, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious.

Too numerous to mention are the examples of all the individuals who have faced difficult circumstances and yet who have persevered and prevailed because their faith in the gospel and in the Savior has given them the strength they have needed. This morning, however, I’d like to share with you three such examples.

First, from my own family, I mention a touching experience that has always been an inspiration to me.

My maternal great-grandparents Gibson and Cecelia Sharp Condie lived in Clackmannan, Scotland. Their families were engaged in coal mining. They were at peace with the world, surrounded by relatives and friends, and were housed in fairly comfortable quarters in a land they loved. Then they listened to the message of the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, to the depths of their very souls, were converted. They heard the call to gather to Zion and knew they must answer that call.

Sometime around 1848, they sold their possessions and prepared for the hazardous voyage across the mighty Atlantic Ocean. With five small children, they boarded a sailing vessel, all their worldly possessions in one tiny trunk. They traveled 3,000 miles (4,800 km) across the waters—eight long, weary weeks on a treacherous sea, watching and waiting, with poor food, poor water, and no help beyond the length and breadth of that small ship.

In the midst of this soul-trying situation, one of their young sons became ill. There were no doctors, no stores at which they might purchase medicine to ease his suffering. They watched, they prayed, they waited, and they wept as day by day his condition deteriorated. When his eyes were at last closed in death, their hearts were torn asunder. To add to their grief, the laws of the sea must be obeyed. Wrapped in a canvas weighed down with iron, the little body was consigned to a watery grave. As they sailed away, only those parents knew the crushing blow dealt to wounded hearts.4 However, with a faith born of their deep conviction of the truth and their love of the Lord, Gibson and Cecelia held on. They were comforted by the words of the Lord: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”5

How grateful I am for ancestors who had the faith to leave hearth and home and to journey to Zion, who made sacrifices I can scarcely imagine. I thank my Heavenly Father for the example of faith, of courage, and of determination Gibson and Cecelia Sharp Condie provide for me and for all their posterity.

I introduce next a gentle, faith-filled man who epitomized the peace and joy which the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring into one’s life.

Late one evening on a Pacific isle, a small boat slipped silently to its berth at the crude pier. Two Polynesian women helped Meli Mulipola from the boat and guided him to the well-worn pathway leading to the village road. The women marveled at the bright stars, which twinkled in the midnight sky. The moonlight guided them along their way. However, Meli Mulipola could not appreciate these delights of nature—the moon, the stars, the sky—for he was blind.

Brother Mulipola’s vision had been normal until a fateful day when, while working on a pineapple plantation, light turned suddenly to darkness and day became perpetual night. He was depressed and despondent until he learned the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His life was brought into compliance with the teachings of the Church, and he once again felt hope and joy.

Brother Mulipola and his loved ones had made a long voyage, having learned that one who held the priesthood of God was visiting among the islands of the Pacific. He sought a blessing, and it was my privilege, along with another who held the Melchizedek Priesthood, to provide that blessing to him. As we finished, I noted that tears were streaming from his sightless eyes, coursing down his brown cheeks and tumbling finally upon his native dress. He dropped to his knees and prayed: “O God, Thou knowest I am blind. Thy servants have blessed me that my sight might return. Whether in Thy wisdom I see light or whether I see darkness all the days of my life, I will be eternally grateful for the truth of Thy gospel, which I now see and which provides the light of my life.”

He rose to his feet and, smiling, thanked us for providing the blessing. He then disappeared into the still of the night. Silently he came; silently he departed. But his presence I shall never forget. I reflected upon the message of the Master: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”6

My brothers and sisters, each of us has that light in his or her life. We are not left to walk alone, no matter how dark our pathway.

I love the words penned by M. Louise Haskins:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than [a] light and safer than a known way.”7

The setting for my final example of one who persevered and ultimately prevailed, despite overwhelmingly difficult circumstances, begins in East Prussia following World War II.

In about March 1946, less than a year after the end of the war, Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, accompanied by Frederick W. Babbel, was assigned a special postwar tour of Europe for the express purpose of meeting with the Saints, assessing their needs, and providing assistance to them. Elder Benson and Brother Babbel later recounted, from a testimony they heard, the experience of a Church member who found herself in an area no longer controlled by the government under which she had resided.

She and her husband had lived an idyllic life in East Prussia. Then had come the second great world war within their lifetimes. Her beloved young husband was killed during the final days of the frightful battles in their homeland, leaving her alone to care for their four children.

The occupying forces determined that the Germans in East Prussia must go to Western Germany to seek a new home. The woman was German, and so it was necessary for her to go. The journey was over a thousand miles (1,600 km), and she had no way to accomplish it but on foot. She was allowed to take only such bare necessities as she could load into her small wooden-wheeled wagon. Besides her children and these meager possessions, she took with her a strong faith in God and in the gospel as revealed to the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith.

She and the children began the journey in late summer. Having neither food nor money among her few possessions, she was forced to gather a daily subsistence from the fields and forests along the way. She was constantly faced with dangers from panic-stricken refugees and plundering troops.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks to months, the temperatures dropped below freezing. Each day, she stumbled over the frozen ground, her smallest child—a baby—in her arms. Her three other children struggled along behind her, with the oldest—seven years old—pulling the tiny wooden wagon containing their belongings. Ragged and torn burlap was wrapped around their feet, providing the only protection for them, since their shoes had long since disintegrated. Their thin, tattered jackets covered their thin, tattered clothing, providing their only protection against the cold.

Soon the snows came, and the days and nights became a nightmare. In the evenings she and the children would try to find some kind of shelter—a barn or a shed—and would huddle together for warmth, with a few thin blankets from the wagon on top of them.

She constantly struggled to force from her mind overwhelming fears that they would perish before reaching their destination.

And then one morning the unthinkable happened. As she awakened, she felt a chill in her heart. The tiny form of her three-year-old daughter was cold and still, and she realized that death had claimed the child. Though overwhelmed with grief, she knew that she must take the other children and travel on. First, however, she used the only implement she had—a tablespoon—to dig a grave in the frozen ground for her tiny, precious child.

Death, however, was to be her companion again and again on the journey. Her seven-year-old son died, either from starvation or from freezing or both. Again her only shovel was the tablespoon, and again she dug hour after hour to lay his mortal remains gently into the earth. Next, her five-year-old son died, and again she used her tablespoon as a shovel.

Her despair was all consuming. She had only her tiny baby daughter left, and the poor thing was failing. Finally, as she was reaching the end of her journey, the baby died in her arms. The spoon was gone now, so hour after hour she dug a grave in the frozen earth with her bare fingers. Her grief became unbearable. How could she possibly be kneeling in the snow at the graveside of her last child? She had lost her husband and all her children. She had given up her earthly goods, her home, and even her homeland.

In this moment of overwhelming sorrow and complete bewilderment, she felt her heart would literally break. In despair she contemplated how she might end her own life, as so many of her fellow countrymen were doing. How easy it would be to jump off a nearby bridge, she thought, or to throw herself in front of an oncoming train.

And then, as these thoughts assailed her, something within her said, “Get down on your knees and pray.” She ignored the prompting until she could resist it no longer. She knelt and prayed more fervently than she had in her entire life:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I do not know how I can go on. I have nothing left—except my faith in Thee. I feel, Father, amidst the desolation of my soul, an overwhelming gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. I cannot express adequately my love for Him. I know that because He suffered and died, I shall live again with my family; that because He broke the chains of death, I shall see my children again and will have the joy of raising them. Though I do not at this moment wish to live, I will do so, that we may be reunited as a family and return—together—to Thee.”

When she finally reached her destination of Karlsruhe, Germany, she was emaciated. Brother Babbel said that her face was a purple-gray, her eyes red and swollen, her joints protruding. She was literally in the advanced stages of starvation. In a Church meeting shortly thereafter, she bore a glorious testimony, stating that of all the ailing people in her saddened land, she was one of the happiest because she knew that God lived, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He died and was resurrected so that we might live again. She testified that she knew if she continued faithful and true to the end, she would be reunited with those she had lost and would be saved in the celestial kingdom of God.8

From the holy scriptures we read, “Behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in [Him], they who have endured the crosses of the world, … they shall inherit the kingdom of God, … and their joy shall be full forever.”9

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.

I declare that God lives and that He hears and answers our prayers. His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and our Redeemer. Heaven’s blessings await us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
We talked about this talk in Relief Society, and I was so grateful because its one of my favorites of President Monsons', I love how he talks about challenges, and I think every one has challenges and difficulties. Through the history of the world, there have been many circumstances and tradegies that many have suffered through. But in this day we have something so precious and beautiful, that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is what lifts us up, gives us hope and joy, and let us feel bright and cheerful as the noon day sun. Optimism is so important in this world that can seem big and scary. We never know whats going to happen in our lives, or what heartache or pain we may feel. The gospel helps us to be stronger and to stand a little taller. There are times when we need to laugh or to cry, the important thing is Heavenly Father is there for us, He loves us and He is with us. We are never alone!!!!As sheri Dew once said " The gospel is the Good News that provides us the tools to cope with the mistakes, the heartaches, the disappointments we can expect to experience here." No matter what is going on in our lives, we have good cheerful new, its the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us feel that joy!!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Purpose of Relief Society


This evening I was so blessed to be able to watch the Relief Society Broadcast, It was such a blessing to be able to be enriched and edified and to feel the spirit, it touched the deepest part of my soul.
The first speaker was Julie B Beck said that Relief Society is a faith based work. Everything we do in Relief Society MATTERS!!!!! We work in partnership with our priesthood leaders. Ours is a work of salvation, service and of a holy people. Relief Society is organized after the pattern of the priesthood. Service in the Relief Society magnifies each sister. Visiting Teaching can strengthen our personal righteousness as we partner with the Lord. This is a blessing for us, its a faith based work, its a way of life, evidence of our discipleship. The Lord loves us enough to guide us in this work
Silvia Allred- "Why do we need Relief Society in our lives? : Its an essential part of the church, the church wouldn't be complete without it. We need to be more of a righteous mind than a selfish one. That is true Heroism. We help build up the kingdom and families in Zion. We are a much needed force of love and righteousness. we each have a significant role in God's plan. The Relief Society needs us & We need the Relief Society.
Barbara Thompson talked about how there are many gaps in our lives. The first one is The gap between believing and knowing we are a precious daughter of God. There are times when we doubt this concept. There is nothing that can seperate us from the love of God. The spirit helps us to feel His love for us. Mind the gap with this doubt and uncertainty. The second is that there is a gap between completion of Young Women and Full membership in the Relief Society. It gives our lives meaning and purpose. God needs us in the Relief Society and we have important works to be done in Zion. The third gap is between believing in Jesus Christ and being valiant in our testimony in Jesus Christ. We must have faith in Him and share our testimony with others, and keep our covenants with God. We need to have the desire to share the gospel with those we love. Let your voice be heard among all. As we mind the gap we will feel his love for us and be able to be valiant in testimony.
Finally we had the opportunity to hear from Pres. Henry B Eyering- who said that Charity is at the heart of Relief Society, is born of faith in Jesus Christ. This organization is unique. 'Charity Never Faileth' has been at the center of the organization since it started. This society has a great legacy- determined to help the Lord and build up Zion as one heart, one mind, and one purpose. The love of God dwelt in their heart, the legacy is passed from heart to heart. We must cherich and love one another. As we serve others we shall feel the Savior's Joy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prophets and Apostles


In the Teachings of Presidents of the Church of Joseph Smith for this year, there is a lesson, where it talks about the organization and purpose of the twelve apostles. Orson Pratt, who served in the quorum of the twelve apostles said this “ The Lord…directed that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles should be organized, whose business it would be to preach the Gospel to the nations, to the Gentiles first and then to the Jews. The Priesthood were called together after the building of the Kirtland Temple, and, in speaking of the twelve apostles, the Prophet Joseph Smith said they had received the Apostleship with all the powers pertaining to the same, just as the ancient apostles. “”
In the Bible Dictionary, says that Apostle means “ One Sent Forth” It was the title that Jesus gave to the twelve whom he chose and ordained, to be his closest disciples during his ministry on earth, and whom he sent forth to represent him after his ascension into heaven. The calling of an apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of his bodily resurrection from the dead.
In Ephesians 4: 11-13 “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of god, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
In Matthew 10:1-15 There were Six instructions that Christ gave to the twelve.
First he told them not to enter into the way of the Gentiles or into any of the cities of the Samaritans.
Second, to go the lost sheep of the House of Israel- which means to go and do missionary work unto the House of Israel, and preach of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ which is available now.
Third, to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, give to others what you have received.
Fourth, to not bring anything with you, the Lord will provide, also meaning that they had to trust in the Lord.
Fifth, wherever ye enter be a worthy person while you are there
Sixth, when ye go into a home, to say peace be to this house
Now what do these instructions have to do with Prophets and Apostles and Us? That Jesus Christ gave his authority to his Apostles, and as we receive them we receive Him, Jesus Christ.

In Doctrine and Covenants 1:14, 38 it says “ And the Arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles shall be cut off from among the people.” “ What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself. And though the heavens and the earth shall pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same”
In a talk given by M. Russell Ballard in 2001 said this “ These are difficult times, and the world’s cultural and sociological landmarks of propriety, honesty, integrity, and political correctness are constantly shifting. Just when we think we know the way to happiness and peace , some new ideology comes along which can lead us down a path that will only heighten our confusion and intensify our despair. At such times, we might well ask “ Is there one clear, unpolluted, unbiased voice that we can always count on? Is there a voice that will always give us clear directions to find our way in today’s troubled world?” the answer is YES. That voice is the voice of the living prophet and apostles.”
In 2 kings we know of the experience of Naaman, who was struck with leprosy and who eventually contacted the prophet Elisha, and was “instructed to go wash in the Jordan Seven times, and they flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” as it say in 2 kings 5 verse 10. At first Naaman was unwilling to follow Elisha’s counsel. He couldn’t understand the thing which he had been asked to do- to wash in the Jordan river seven times. In other words his pride and stubbornness , were keeping him from receiving the Lords blessing through his prophet. Thankfully, he finally went down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and it was clean” as it says in verse 14.What a humbling thing it must have been for Naaman to realize how close he came to allowing his pride and his unwillingness to listen to the counsel of the prophet to prevent him from receiving such a great cleansing blessing. And what a humbling thing it is to contemplate how many of us might miss out on great and promised blessings because we do not listen and then do the relatively simple things our prophet and apostles are telling us to do today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Inspire

I watched this video and it struck a chord in my heart, its inspiring and true and sends a message that we all need to remember.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preparing for General Conference

This is a chance for Heavenly Father to speak to us and teach us. The messages given will become personalized for us. If we ponder and ask ourselves questions, then the Spirit will speak to us and answer our questions. Then we need to act upon the things which He instruct us. In a talk given by Pres. Gordon B Hinckley in a conference talk he gave in October 2000 he said this Following the benediction we shall depart this great hall, turn off the lights, and lock the doors. You who are listening across the world will switch off your television set or the radio or shut down the Internet. As we do so, I would hope that we will remember that when all is over, "Still stands thine ancient sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart" (Hymns, no. 80).

I hope that we shall ponder with subdued feelings the talks to which we have listened. I hope that we will quietly reflect on the wonderful things we have heard. I hope that we will feel a little more contrite and humble.

All of us have been edified. The test will come in the application of the teachings given. If, hereafter, we are a little more kind, if we are a little more neighborly, if we have drawn nearer to the Savior, with a more firm resolution to follow His teachings and His example, then this conference will have been a wonderful success. If, on the other hand, there is no improvement in our lives, then those who have spoken will have in large measure failed.

Those changes may not be measurable in a day or a week or a month. Resolutions are quickly made and quickly forgotten. But, in a year from now, if we are doing better than we have done in the past, then the efforts of these days will not have been in vain.

We will not remember all that has been said, but there will arise from all of this a spiritual uplift. It may be indefinable, but it will be real. As the Lord said to Nicodemus, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).

So it will be with the experience we have enjoyed. And perhaps, out of all we have heard, there may be a phrase or a paragraph that will stand out and possess our attention. If this occurs, I hope we will write it down and reflect on it until we savor the depth of its meaning and have made it a part of our own lives.

In our family home evenings I hope we will discuss with our children these things and let them taste the sweetness of the truths we have enjoyed. And when the Ensign magazine comes out in November, with all of the conference messages, please don't just throw it aside with the comment that you have heard it all, but read and ponder the various messages. You will find many things that you missed when you listened to the speakers.

I have only one regret concerning the conference. That is that so few of the Brethren and sisters have opportunity to speak. It is simply a matter of the constraints of time.

Tomorrow morning we will be back at our jobs, back to our studies, back to whatever constitutes the busy regimen of our lives. But we can have the memories of this great occasion to sustain us.

We can draw nearer to the Lord in our prayers. These can become conversations of thanksgiving. I can never fully understand how the Great God of the Universe, the Almighty, invites us as His children to speak with Him individually. How precious an opportunity is this. How wonderful that it actually happens. I testify that our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. It is a miraculous thing, but it is real.

Let us lower our voices in our homes. Let love abound and find expression in our actions. May we walk the quiet ways of the Lord, and may prosperity crown our labors.

Another thing we also need prepare for General Conference is to recognize the voice of the spirit. This takes practice and there are 2 ways that we can do this. The first is in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 ' Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart' the second way is through a family member or friend. We also need to prepare to listen to the spirit. In Preach My Gospel it says thatThe Spirit is always available to guide and direct you. However, the Spirit speaks
quietly, through your feelings as well as your mind. One great challenge for you and
those you work with is to recognize the quiet, subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost.
President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture
as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither . . . voice of a great
tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’
and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn.’ (3 Ne. 11:3; Hel.
5:30; D&C 85:6–7.) Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor
in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a ‘still small voice.’ (1 Kgs. 19:12.)
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand.
Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at
all. (No wonder that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to us, for how could the drunkard
or the addict feel such a voice?)
“Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if
we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking
and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, ‘Speak
[Lord], for thy servant heareth.’ (1 Sam. 3:10.)” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan.
1983, 53).
If we are living worthy and endeavoring to do the right thing then we will be able to recognize the Holy Ghost. Most of our lives have been guided by the Holy Ghost. When we listen then we can recognize the Spirit more. We also need to learn to act on the promptings of the Spirit. We need to have faith to be able to recognize and act on those inspirations we are given. knowing what the big picture is in our lives- the same is for preparation. In preparing we are living eternal laws so we can be eternal people. How do we prepare for conference? Read previous conference talks to help gain perspective on what the Lord is trying to tell us. We also need to pray, the whole purpose of preparing is becoming closer to the Spirit. God will reveal himself to those who seek him out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I am an Adult Now!!


I just read this article and I love it so much that I wanted to share it!!!
Marvin J. Ashton, “‘I Am an Adult Now’,” Ensign, May 1987, 65

Some weeks ago a man holding a high office in the Church asked a special favor of me. “Would you be good enough to take the time to listen while a mother, father, and their teenage daughter, special friends of mine, try to talk to each other?”

As the four of us sat together, it immediately became obvious that all channels of communication were jammed with prejudice, threats, accusations, and resentment. As the verbal storms developed with bitter intensity, I found myself the only listener. Even though they had individually and collectively agreed I would be the counselor, judge, arbiter, or referee, if you please, I found myself waiting patiently for an opportunity to be heard. During the heated and emotional confrontation, the teenager repeatedly expressed her resentment with, “You can’t talk to me like that. I am an adult now. You can’t treat me like that. I am an adult now. You can’t dominate my life anymore. I am an adult now.”

Each time she said “I am an adult now,” I cringed. By definition, an adult is a person who has attained the age of maturity—full grown. While it is true a person may be legally classified as an adult when he or she reaches a certain age, for our purposes today the kind of adult status we are talking about must be earned by actions and attitude.

I am not quite sure who has the right or responsibility to declare someone an adult, but I am quite certain that often the least qualified to make the declaration would be the individual himself. If a person is mature, he or she will not need to announce it. Personal conduct is the only true measurement of maturity. Adult classification, when it pertains to behavior, does not come with age, wrinkles, or gray hair. Perhaps it is not too far off the mark to say adult conduct is a process. Mature conduct is generally developed through self-discipline, resilience, and continuing effort.

In fairness to the teenager, even though her declaration of “I am an adult now” didn’t impress me favorably, there were times during the visit when I thought she showed more maturity than others in the room. When we who are more senior use an expression like “I am older than you” to clinch a point, I am not too sure it is very effective. How much better it is to gain respect and love through worthy parental conduct than to seek it through the means of the age differential.

Young men and young women worldwide, you, as well as your parents, need not announce or proclaim your maturity. By your faith and works you will be known for what you are. By your fruits you will be known and classified. Those among us who use abusive arguments, temper tantrums, demeaning and painful criticism, fruitless counter-complaints, and disrespect will benefit no one. Let us put away petty malice, resentment, and retaliatory practices that are self-destructive and return to a path of safety well marked by the Good Shepherd.

It takes courage to flee from verbal contention. When maturity begins to set in, adult lives set in. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31–32). It is alarming how many older people go through life without ever becoming real adults.

For many years I have had a very vivid picture in my mind of Jesus Christ standing before Pilate. While Jesus stood in front of an angry mob, who sneered and condemned, Pilate tried to get Him to respond and retaliate. He tried to get Him to declare himself a king. Jesus was silent. His life was his sermon. He was perfect in character, a worthy son, the Only Begotten of the Father. His maturity, if you please, would speak for itself.

“And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

“Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

“And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matt. 27:11–14).

There are many opportunities to acquire mature behavior in the organizations in the Church. The other day a charming teenager paid a deserving tribute to her Young Women’s teacher. She said, “From her example and good lessons, we learned the importance of good grooming. We learned that though each of us is different, each is equally important. She taught us to solve our differences by discussion, not by shouting.”

The success of the Scouting program is that it teaches boys to stay on the trail. Boulders and hills don’t stop the hike to the top of the mountain. Top awards are not given unless the difficult merit badges are earned as well as the easier ones. The boys’ tenacity to continue on the Scouting path, not the honors awarded, is the maturing element of the program.

“A certain man had two sons:

“And the younger … said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me [I am an adult now]. And he divided unto them his living” (Luke 15:11–12).

The prodigal son parable is well known to all of us. He left and wasted his substance with riotous living. “When he came to himself, he said, …

“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

“And am no more worthy to be called thy son: [but I am more of an adult now] …

“And he arose, and came to his father. … His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:17–20).

I believe it appropriate to say the father, too, had become more mature during the separation. Think, too, of the maturing and the becoming of more of an adult on the part of the elder son when he witnessed and participated in the Christ-like example of his father (see Luke 15:25–32).

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the primary reasons Laman and Lemuel murmured and spoke harsh words to their brother Nephi and did smite him with a rod was because they were older and more adult than Nephi, so they supposed. Can’t you just hear Laman saying, “Nephi, you can’t treat me like that. I am an adult now.”

Nephi displayed real maturity when he declared, “I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord” (1 Ne. 3:7–8). Lehi was adult enough to know which son was the most mature and who would be blessed of the Lord accordingly.

Too many of us fail to realize adult conduct is a process, not a status. To become a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must continue in righteousness and in His word. When someone shares with enthusiasm his joy in now being an active member of the Church, the thought crosses my mind, “Wonderful, but for how long will you stay that way?” Incidentally, some years ago I was contacted by an insurance agent. When he started his sales approach with “I am an active member of the Church,” the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Who said so?”

When someone overcomes the drug habit, and thankfully many have, less time should be spent on announcing the present status and more on staying away from bad habits. Those who are morally clean will conduct themselves in a more adult fashion if they will spend less time declaring it and more time living and teaching others the blessings of chastity. Full tithe payers will receive more joy and reward from being obedient to the principle of tithing than from being so classified or recommended.

Some will chide and belittle leaders and students of higher education for participating in code of conduct guidelines, but those appropriately involved in the wholesome process of mature behavioral discipline welcome the environment. Responsible student conduct on any campus is applauded. A pledge of “on my honor I will do my best,” either in writing or when self-enforced, can make the difference in character development. Making and keeping commitments may seem restrictive and outdated in a today world where “play it loose” is the pattern, but the benefits are clear to the mature.

Those who are immature resent counseling or having to report in. They may feel that such interviews are juvenile. Those who strive for continual growth realize that counselors can help one analyze himself and find solutions to personal problems. In our church, counselors are a source of great strength for the prophet as well as for all of us.

Beware of those seeking excuses for conduct with “I am an adult now. You can’t treat me like that.” Moral maturity and scholastic maturity must be blended to produce a truly adult person. A commitment to improve on a daily basis should be a high priority in the lives of those who would move in the right direction.

There is real purpose and power in the First Presidency’s continuing invitation to all Church members to come back. Strength, growth, and happiness result from analyzing the direction our lives are taking. Those who have been lost, misunderstood, or offended and those totally involved in the Church are invited to come and fellowship together within the framework of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not enough. Participation in priesthood, Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, Primary, and Sunday School opportunities is necessary if we are to move forward anxiously in personal development that is adult, real, and eternal. Perhaps all of us would do well to realize that as we promote personal activity and involvement in the Church, it might be much better to be classified a member of “good coming” instead of a member in good standing. It is our responsibility and privilege to encourage the immature and give them opportunities for growth and development.

Joseph Smith declared to the world he was like a rough stone shaped and polished by the stream of life. Bumps, disappointments, and the unexpected helped him gain the status of being wise beyond his years. Oftentimes maturity can best be measured by our endurance. “If the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (D&C 122:7–8).

My young friends, in a spirit of love I make the suggestion that we avoid the placing of self-labels. For you to classify yourself as all-state, all-American, or even all-world doesn’t mean anything if you alone determine the winner and present the trophy to yourself. By the same token, who among us has the right to label himself as a loser, no good, a dropout, or a failure? Self-judgment in any direction is a hazardous pastime. It is a fact of life that the direction in which we are moving is more important than where we are. I have never heard the best-educated ever declare, “I am educated now.” Some of the most potentially wise people in the world forfeit that classification when they spend their time advertising their abilities and knowledge rather than using their wisdom to improve themselves and help those with whom they associate.

Mothers, fathers, and family members, maturity does not necessarily come with age. Let us communicate in words and deeds our concern and love for each other. Threats, ears that do not hear, eyes that do not see, and hearts that do not feel will never bring joy, unity, and growth. Patience with others, self, and God brings eternal maturity. Let God and our daily actions determine the authenticity of the statement “I am an adult now.”

God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. May our knowledge of them on a continuing basis give us Christ-centered adult conduct, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

Things I love

Skiing
Snow
Mountains
Beaches
Ice Cream
Chocolate
Boys
Kisses
Hugs
Rook
Monopoly
Ultimate Frisbee
BYU Football
The Gospel
Family
Friends
Sun
Rain
Clouds
Phone
Shopping
Books
Music
Movies
Computers
Jewelery
Hawaiian Shaved Ice
Traveling
England
Snorkeling
Cameras
Animals
Dancing
Institute
Weddings
Birthdays
Children
Taking Walks under the stars
Charmed
Lemonade
Skipping Rocks
Swimming
Decorating
Institute
Fall
Pumpkin Pie
Cheesecake
Ipod
Stargate Atlantis
Army Wives
24
Picnics
Roses

Saturday, September 19, 2009

God's Wife

A four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly
gentleman, who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry,
the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his
lap, and just sat there.



When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little
boy just said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.'



*********************************************

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a
family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than
the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.


A little girl said, 'I know all about adoption, I was adopted..'


'What does it mean to be adopted?', asked another child.


'It means', said the girl, 'that you grew in your mommy's heart
instead of her tummy!'



*********************************************

On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a Little League base ball
game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down
behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what
the score was.


'We're behind 14 to nothing,' he answered with a smile.

'Really,' I said. 'I have to say you don't look very discouraged.'

'Discouraged?', the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face...


'Why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet.'


*********************************************

Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think
about little Jamie Scott.


Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told
me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would
not be chosen.


On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him
after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and
excitement. 'Guess what, Mom,' he shouted, and then said those words
that will remain a lesson to me.....'I've been chosen to clap and
cheer.'



*********************************************

An eye witness account from New York City , on a cold day in December,
some years ago: A little boy, about 10-years-old, was standing before
a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window,
and shivering with cold.


A lady approached the young boy and said, 'My, but you're in such deep
thought staring in that window!'


'I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,'was the boy's reply.


The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the
clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked
if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought
them to her.


She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing
her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with
the towel.


By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair
upon the boy's feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes.


She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him.. She
patted him on the head and said, 'No doubt, you will be more
comfortable now.'


As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and
looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her.


'Are you God's wife?'

Friday, September 18, 2009

If You Could Hie To Kolob


I loved this video, its so beautiful and eloquent and true.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Voice of a Child



One of the most revealing moments in the Savior’s ministry in the America’s is often missed. I know I missed it even after years of reading the Book of Mormon. It does not happen on the first day’s visit but on his return the following day. We read this brief description: “And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.” (3 Nephi 26:14)
I am touched and instructed by this verse for two reasons. First the Savior allowed the junior primary to teach the deepest truths of the three-day visit eclipsing even his own personal commentaries. Second, they were to instruct their fathers. I think he was sending us all a message that we listen to our children, for they may have the most momentous teachings to offer us.

I recall one evening coming home to find my three year old daughter busily engaged in a conversation with someone on her toy pink telephone. She was quite animated both in her questions and comments and in the expression on her face as she listened to whoever she was pretending to talk with. Being somewhat curious, I asked her, “Megan who are you talking to?” She looked up at me with a mildly annoyed expression as if to say, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” She then continued with her conversation. I decided to be persistent so I quietly asked again, “Who is it?” She returned my gaze and whispered with a tone of awe yet still mingled with a touch of impatience at my interruptions, “It’s Jesus!”

She then returned to her phone. I could not resist asking one final question before I left her to that wonderful world of a child’s imagination. “What is he telling you?” I whispered back. She paused for a moment as if she was receiving some final thoughts from the voice on the other end of the phone, then removing the phone from her ear, she answered, “He telling me to get married in the temple.” I almost picked up the phone to see if someone was really there.

I have often reflected on that tiny encounter with a small child. The intensity of her effort to listen, that look of total immersion in a conversation that seemed to her the most important in her life has more than once caused me to ask if my interactions with God are expressed and engaged in with an equal amount of concentration? Perhaps, most of all was the innocence of her casual relationship with the divine that totally disarmed me. Do we not worship a God who would commune with us as openly and freely as my daughter with her pink toy telephone? Often, his voice is found in the voices of our children.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Insights into Deuteronomy

The past few weeks I have had the opportunity to study the Book of Deuteronomy. It has been forty years since the Israelites left Egypt. Moses will soon be taken up and translated and Joshua will take over and lead them across the Jordan River to the promised land. Before he leaves, Moses will deliver three last discourses or sermons to his people. These last discourses are
1. Chapter 1-4 A summary of the most important events during the forty years in the wilderness.
2. Chapters 5-26, a review of the Law of Moses with expanded explanations and emphasis on the spiritual aspects of the law which consists of two parts:
A) Chapters 5-11, in which Moses explains and teaches about the Ten Commandments and other laws of spiritual progress.
B) Chapters 12-26, dealing with details and further development of a code of law for the Israelites, including religious, judicial and political law
3. Chapters 27-30, containing a renewal of the covenant and an explanation of the blessings that attend obedience and the cursings that accompany disobedience of God's laws and commandments.

What I learned the most from this book is of Gods love and mercy with his children whom he loves dearly. That we can learn much from what the Israelites went through and what kind of person Moses was which strengthen and fortify us in this big world that we are in. Moses was a "type" of Christ. We see many examples of this in the scruptures in the life that Moses led. I marvel at what kind of person Moses was, he had strength of character, faith in Christ and a deep love for those that he led. For he was a great leader and is a great example to us for us to follow in the pathway of Christ.

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Adventure with Lisa

My friend Lisa and I had such a ball of fun this day, we spent time at my apartment, went and saw a movie and went on a hike!!!! It was such a great time, I loved it!!!

My friend Lisa came down and we spent the day together, in this first one we are at my apartment.

Lisa and I are at the movie theatre watching Night at the Museum

Lisa and I are on a little hike up to some falls up provo canyon