Sacred Grove


Friday, January 30, 2009

Final thoughts from "The Holy Secret"

As I finished "The Holy Secret," there were a few more thoughts I wanted to write down. The first was that it only took one sin from Adam and Eve to separate them from God's presence, and it only takes one sin to separate us from Him as well. Just because we only sin once or with a lesser sin, doesn't make us any better than anyone else. It only takes one sin to separate us from the Spirit. I like this thought and it has led me to quite a bit of pondering and self reflection.
The other reference is to the temple and how it is a great deal for us. The Lord knew that we would sin, and so he has offered us a great deal through His mercy to return to live with Him. We repent and go to the temple to know what is required of us, then we can return to live with Him.
Finally D & C 84 is a very insightful section. It talks about the oath and covenant of the priesthood. We usually jump ahead, but lets look at the whole section. It is all there for a purpose. He talks about the priesthood being handed down and then says in verse 22-23, "For without this (referring to the priesthood) no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;" So, what is our purpose on earth? To return to the presence of our Father in Heaven and to see His face. What do we have to have in order to see His face? The priesthood? What does that mean? We have to recieve the priesthood, verse 36 says, "For all they who receive this priesthood, receive me." Not just obtain, but receive. You can obtain the priesthood, but until you accept it working in our lives, you don't recieve me. When you receive Him, you recieve the Father and all that the Father hath. What a great section in the scriptures.
I hope that made sense. I am so grateful for the gospel and all that I learn.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Sacrament Prayers

I was studying this week, again from the book, "The Holy Secret" and learning a unique difference between the two prayers. In the prayer over the bread, it states that they are willing and then lists three things; take upon the name of Christ, always remember Him, and Keep His commandments. The promise is that we will ALWAYS have His spirit to be with them. In the prayer on the water, it says "That they do" and then only lists always remember Him, and the promise is to have the Spirit with them. Let's start with the bread; it is a covenant. If we do those three things, then we will always have the Spirit to be with us. Do we always have His Spirit with us? If not, then we know that we are not doing one of those three things, taking his name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. The prayer over the water is about how we can get the Spirit back. He knows that we aren't perfect and that we will make mistakes, so we will have to figure out how to get the Spirit back. Where do we start? Through the Atonement, which is what the water symbolizes, the blood, we repent and then we promise to always remember Him. I am grateful for what I have learned and for the new insight I have to the Sacrament. I will look at it differently. I am grateful for the gifts He has given me and the opportunities for learning and growth that I am given.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"I DON"T CARE,"- The Crisis of our Time

Elder Alexander B. Morrison said:

"I believe the real crisis of our time is . . . an exhaustion of the soul. This spiritual apathy is described by the world acedia, a word which comes from the Greek a ('not') plus kedos ('care')-- hence, not caring, boredom, or apathy . . ."

"But acedia signifies more than just spiritual laziness or even indifference. It cannotes misplaced priorities, a darkening of the soul, a hatred of the good, a death of the heart. It leads to spiritual paralysis, leaving its victims 'past feeling'" (A Caring Community: Goodness in Action," Ensign, February 1999, page 16)

This morning I studied all the references in the topical guide under APATHY and of course I wasn't suprised to learn that we are surrounded by apathy in our world today. One of my children constantly says . . . "I don't care . . ." whenever they have to face a harsh reality, or are being corrected or even complimented. Naturally I was a bit worried to see it written " . . . real crisis of our time . . ."

I have a little book entitled Pierre A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak. It's a story about a little boy who says he doesn't care about anything, eventually gets eaten by a lion, retrieved from the lions stomach which magically makes him "CARE." The tradgedy for Pierre is that he misses time with family, is disrespectful, rude and basically out of control. A story with and great moral: CARE.

In the scriptures it describes lots of ways that we can show apathy

1. Ignore the widows

2. Turn our backs on the poor and needy

3. Procrastinate the day of our repentence (busy in our favorite sins)

4. Not caring for others

5. Being lukewarm

6. Lulled away by thinking "All is well" when we know its not.

7. Being slothful or from Proverbs being a "Sluggard," idle or burying your talents

8. Not valiant

9. Seeking your own and not Christ

10. thoughtless stupor, spiritually blind or/and deaf, need to be compelled in all things.

The list seemed to go on and on and I could find little ways that I fit into some of the categories. But there seemed to be an antedote.

Luke 10:27 . . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

D&C 4:2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

This has given me the chance for personal reflection. When I say, "I don't care," what's really going on? Have I relaxed my effort in my relationship with God? Have I let less important things get in the way of the most important thing. When my children say "I don't care," are they feeling unloved, unimportant, unwanted, misunderstood? For myself, I know I need to soften my heart and turn to God. I know He always cares, He always hears, He always reassures. I recently was earnestly praying about a situation. In my prayer I explained the ins and outs, the ups and downs and how much it really meant to me to be able to accomplish this particular objective. I pleaded for help and then posed the alternative "I give up" solution. With nothing coming to my mind, I closed my prayer. Minutes later as I crawled into bed the words, "Have I ever let you down?" came vividly to my mind. I cling to this when the natural man in me starts to get me down. I recall it and feel enveloped in His love. I know He CARES!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Luke 7:37-48

I love this passage of scripture about the sinner woman! Which of us isn't a sinner, I know I have my share and more? Perhaps she was a certain type of sinner something serious enough that Simon thought that the Savior shouldn't be letting her touch Him, interesting though that the Pharisee/Simon knew what kind of sinner she was. When this woman learned that the Savior was at the home of a Pharisee she took her best ointment in an alabaster box.
thought: Judas (keeper of the money bag) wanted to sell a certain ointment and give the money to the poor, ointment must have been expensive, a luxury maybe so I'm thinking maybe this woman has spent a lot of money for this ointment, she is making a personal sacrifice.
Then she begins to weep and bathe the Saviors feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair, and annoint them with the ointment I see personal and sincere service and sacrifice.
Then comes the Saviors' story about the two debtors (one owing a lot, one owing a little) and the creditor who frankly forgives both of them. He poses the question, which debtor loves the creditor most? Simon answers that the one who owed the most, loves the most. I love verse 47! After a little lecture on courtesy the Savior points out all that the woman has given and done on His behalf and then says, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven for she loved much." Then he tells the woman that her sins are forgiven and "Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace."
thought: I am not anywhere near perfect but I can:
1. Exercise faith and come to the Savior
2. Give my personal best
3. Give of myself
4. Love much

Hopefully, like her, my faith will save me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Women in the Scriptures

I recently studied women in the scripture as preparation for a Relief Society lesson. I enjoy finding unusual things to learn from our sisters in the scriptures and likening them unto myself. Here are some of my thoughts . . .

I love Mother Eve. Sometimes I just like thinking about Eve, and the phrase “the mother of all living”, makes me feel connected to her. I read in a book entitled, Eve and the Garden, and the author referenced a finding that each of us females have DNA that can be traced back to Eve. I like what she teaches us by word and example from the scriptures in Moses.
1. Have children.
2. Find joy in your children
3. Taught her children the gospel
4. Pray with your husband
5. Work beside (not against) your husband
6. Rejoice in the plan of salvation, accept and keep the commandments, makes sacrifices
7. Never stop praying and then listen for the voice of the Lord
8. Mourned with her husband at the death of a child

Eve is a woman of great faith, why else would she have been chosen first? As a woman of faith she could set an example for each of us daughters. She had vision and understood exactly what our Heavenly Father wanted her to do and then found a way to make things happen. She never once whined or complained that the way was too hard or plain impossible, but instead, with faith and courage went forward. Her top two priorities marriage and family. Granted, back then there weren’t many alluring things to distract her, but she easily could have got caught up in herself and had one big pity party, but she didn’t.

In the Bible Dictionary, under Esther, it says that the Book of Esther contains no direct reference to God, but is everywhere taken for granted as the book infers a providential destiny and speaks of fasting for deliverance. There have been doubts at times as to whether it should be admitted to the canon of scripture. But the book has a religious value as containing a most striking illustration of God’s overruling providence in history, and as exhibiting a very high type of courage, loyalty and patriotism. While I sometimes get lost in the many details of the Esther story, with Mordecai, the king and all the other names that get mixed up in my head, but I’d rather focus on the most important things I learned from her.

Fast and Pray
Have Courage and follow the spirit.

As I deal with my teenage children who are really good kids with an occasional bad day here and there, I sometimes wonder if the Lord knows what he is doing allowing me to be their mother. The words from Mordecai to Ester come to mind, “Who knoweth whether thou art sent to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Words of Ezra Taft Benson say that we were saved and sent to bear up the kingdom of God in the last days. I know I was saved and sent, so I’m glad they didn’t leave her story out of the scriptures, it inspires me to have courage and conviction to stand for what is right.

I first learned of Dorcus, or Tabatha when I was a college student at Utah State. I was the Interchapter president of the LDS sorority Lambda Delta Sigma. As the USU representative I was assigned a large speaking role in the model induction ceremony to be given at the Western States Sorority Convention. Dorcus was referred to as an example of a sister who did many almsdeeds. Not having done in further research at the time, I only new she was a good woman. Upon further exploration, I learned what the “good works and almsdeeds” were. She would sew clothes and coats for all the widows she knew. She died and these widows went and got Peter and asked that he bring her back to life. He prayed over her and told her to arise. She did and went forth as a testimony, many believed in the Lord because of her.

We have so many options to serve and do good works in the time in which we live. My biggest obstacle is just getting something, anything done. As we serve and do any kind of service we glorify God and many will brought to believe in the Lord because of us.

Lehi’s Daughters
While it may seem odd to talk about Lehi and Ishmaels’ daughters they offer us real life examples to grasp onto.
First, we know that Lehi and Ishmael were very wealthy families. They and their families left their wealth behind and went and lived in tents in the dangerous Arabian desert . I’m sure there was weeping and wailing, complaining and cursing, but eventually we learn that they learned not to complain, they bore their children in the wilderness nursed them and were strengthened so much so that they were strong as the men, raw meat was made sweet unto them. With the Lord nothing is unbearable, impossible or intolerable.

Gird up your Loins

Ok, so I am cheating a little today. Before we went to bed last night, Drew asked me if I knew what Gird up you Loins meant. I took a stab, that wasn't too far off, but I loved the Bible Dictionary definition of it. It was a little harder to find than I expected, it is under clothing.
So, here it is;,

" On the body next to the skin was worn a long shirt of linen or cotton (Mark 14: 51). It was put on over the head, and there were either slits for the arms to pass through or, perhaps more commonly, loose, short sleeves. Over this was worn a coat or tunic, something like a dressing gown, reaching generally to the feet, and fitting closely in the upper part (Matt. 5: 40; Mark 14: 63; John 19: 23; John 21: 7). Sometimes, as in the case of our Lord, it was woven in a single piece from the top throughout. Outside this coat or tunic was worn a girdle, generally of leather, from which purse, pouch, or weapon hung. As the tunic, reaching below the knees, would interfere with active movement, it was drawn up under the girdle as an outward sign of being busy (“Let your loins be girded about”), or as a preliminary to energetic work, as when Elijah girded up his loins and ran before Ahab."

So, the next time you sing "Gird up your loins, fresh courage take, our God will never us forsake"... Think get busy!

Monday, January 12, 2009


D & C 1:18 - 19
Verse 18 had me looking for awhile. Who are the others that he is talking about? In the Student Manuel, it says, "The Lord called the Prophet Joseph Smith, as well as the prophets of other ages to cry repentance to the world and warn..." So, I guess it is just at other times that he called prophets, which makes sense. Verse 19 reminded me of something I had searched a while back and got me on that search again. "The weak things of the world" which in the footnote says meekness. My good dad once advised me to search meekness and strive to cultivate it. It has always been a hard concept to completely understand. My brother gave me some great quotes that outline meekness as not weak, yet more of a quiet confidence. I have thought much about it. I found an amazing talk by Elder Maxwell, given as an address at BYU. In it, he says,

"We need to learn so much, and yet we are free to choose! (See 2 Ne. 2:27.) How crucial it is to be teachable!" He talks about how we have to agency to choose to be teachable. Elder Maxwell also explains that agency is required for perfection and meekness is required for the wise use of agency.

"Meekness, however, is more than self-restraint; it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness, reflecting certitude, strength, serenity, and a healthy self-esteem and self-control." Oh how I need to work on that. I admire that quality in others so much. I tend to just open my mouth and speak before thinking. I learn by talking and I do by jumping in. I am trying to learn more by thinking and wirting and pondering. About jumping in, I get so much done by jumping in....

"The meek are filled with awe and wonder with regard to God and His purposes in the universe. At the same time, the meek are not awestruck by the many frustrations of life; they are more easily mobilized for eternal causes and less easily immobilized by the disappointments of the day." I love this quote! I would love to not get worried about what I have to do each day and just find joy in knowing that I am just doing the Lord's will. I am working on that, but have a long way to go.

"Because they make fewer demands of life, the meek are less easily disappointed. They are less concerned with their entitlements than with their assignments." I don't think I feel like I have lots of entitlements, but just that I place huge demands and expectations on myself and then I disappoint myself. So much to work on...

"When we are truly meek, we are not concerned with being pushed around, but are grateful to be pushed along. When we are truly meek, we do not engage in shoulder-shrugging acceptance but in shoulder-squaring, in order that we might better bear the burdens of life and of our fellow beings. " I have a great friend who showed this so much. A quite confidence and conviction. Sometimes I get too emotionally involved, so I have a harder time disagreeing with others. It tends to come out all wrong.

"Silence can be an expression of strength. Holding back can be the sign of great personal discipline, especially when everyone else is letting go." Again, something I am working on.

"Furthermore, not only are the meek less easily offended, but they are less likely to give offense to others. In contrast, there are some in life who seem, perpetually, to be waiting to be offended. Their pride covers them like boils which will inevitably be bumped." I don't tend to be easily offended and when I do, I do usually take a step back and recognize it. I like to be easy going.

"Meekness also cultivates in us a generosity in viewing the mistakes and imperfections of others." I am pretty generous with others, always harder on myself.

"Meekness does not mean tentativeness. But thoughtfulness." I love this. I do tend to be thoughtful.

"Among the meek there is usually more listening and less talking" Did that say less talking, well if you know me, you know I could talk forever. I am working on this, too.

"Meekness permits us to be confident, as was Nephi, of that which we do know—even when we do not know the meaning of all other things. (See 1 Ne. 11:17.) Meekness constitutes a continuing invitation to continuing education. No wonder the Lord reveals His secrets to the meek, for they are “easy to be entreated.” (Alma 7:23.) Not only are the meek more teachable, but they continuously receive, with special appreciation, “the engrafted word,” as the Apostle James said—and, as Joseph Smith declared, the flow of pure intelligence—all from the divine databank." I love this added reminder that there is confidence and continued learning. The old adage that the more you know, the more you realize you don't know.

"Meekness permits us to be prompted as to whether to speak out or, as Jesus once did, be silent. But even when the meek speak up, they do so without speaking down." Something I want in my life.

"There are strivings and struggles and setbacks, and we inch forward when we would prefer to run" I love this because I feel like I studied this a year ago, and I still have a ways to go. I am closer to my goal, but I still have a ways to go. That is okay, because it is an inching goal.

"Furthermore, our hearts will be broken in order that they might be rebuilt." A great reminder that all good things come through hard work and hard times.

Ok, so this was more of a personal reflection that anything. I got so much out of this article. I want to reread it again and again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Manna and Intelligences

I love to read the scriptures. Every time, I feel like I learn a new gem. In our recent study in Gospel Principles class, we have been talking about the preexistence and my mind has pondered the word Intelligence. It made for a great scripture study. I have included a few quotes. The first is by Elder Bednar from an article in the Friend.
"The glory of God is intelligence." You might think intelligence means being gifted in academic work, but intelligence also means applying the knowledge we obtain for righteous purposes."
President Taylor said, "His intelligence, lit up by God and followed out, will be expansive as the world and spread through space; his law is the law of love; his rule, the rule of right to all. He loves his neighbor, and he does him good; he loves his God and therefore worships him; he sees
the power of truth, which like the lights of God, spreads through all space, illuminates all worlds, and penetrates where men or angels, God or spheres are known; he clings to it.
Abraham 3 shares a lot of insight into this topic as well. I am so thankful for the scriptures and the impact they have in my life.

We had a great Stake Conference a few weeks ago. Saturday night's adult session was amazing. A sister in our stake gave an excellent talk on Manna. I have been studying it a little on my own, and just wanted to write some of these gems that I learned.
In John 6:28-35, we read in a request by the people as to where their signs are, because the Israelites received manna. Jesus responds that He is the manna. He is the bread of life. In John 1:1, we read that He is the word. So, Manna is the word of God. Just a little to share, if you want to study it out more.

My good friend Sara also studied Leprosy and found some great insights from study. I love the scriptures and I am so thankful for their influence in my life.

And My Father Dwelt in a Tent

So, I am reading a new book and it is amazing. It is called, "The Holy Secret," by the same author that wrote "The Peacegiver," James L. Ferrell. When Mark first went to Seminary, I remember him coming home and telling me he found his favorite scripture. I was all excited to hear what it was. He woke me up and I was happy to sit up and hear it. Then he said, "And my father dwelt in a tent." He smiled and left my room. As I read this book today, I smiled and can only think of my sweet little brother in high school way back when. The author asks why the word dwelt was used? Why not slept, rested in...? Why include this verse at all? What did it mean to Lehi to dwell in a tent? Go back to 1st Nephi 1:1. We all know this verse, "I, Nephi having been born of goodly parents..." What does goodly mean? I thought it meant righteous. When you look it up in the dictionary, you get a goodly amount, a respectable sum. Could it really mean wealthy? Why would Nephi start the scriptures saying that his father was wealthy? Later he talks about his fathers riches. He states them specifically. His home, his gold, his jewels, there are lots of ands. He lists them. Why? Could it be that he wanted us to realize that they gave up everything to follow the Lord. Everything but their family. He was in this tent for a long time after working his life for a home and wealth. He was happy to give it all up. What are we willing to give up for the gospel? This book sets a pattern to look at as you study the scriptures; what are you reading, what are the specific words, why are these words chosen and used, why are some things left out?, what patterns in the scriptures do you see from this, what types of Christ are in this verse, and finally how does is apply to me. What, Why, Patterns, Types of Christ, and Apply. There is more to the book, but I will leave it for you to read. I am so thankful for the scriptures and the insights I can have in my life. I am grateful for the gospel and all I learn. I will never read, "And my father dwelt in a tent" the same way again.