Sacred Grove


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Second Coming

I have always loved studying the second coming. I get so excited about the Savior coming again. I know I am not perfect, but I still get so excited about His coming. We have been reading 3 Nephi lately as a family and it is so hard for me to get through it without crying. I just can't wait for Him to come again. I want to be alive and I want to see it with my children. I just stand in awe of what it would be like to stand outside and hear our Father in Heaven introduce Him to us. Not that we know exactly how it will all happen. I just know that I want to be there and I want to see Him and I want to be with my family. I often hoped as a mom that it would happen before my children turned 8. I see now that my children were prepared to be here at this time. They all have such conviction in what is right. I see that in them, and know that they can and will "stand fast and immovable, always abounding in good works."

I remember a talk about what is not enough, I searched and found this quote in a talk by President Faust, "The greatest challenge in the world-good parenting" Given in conference in 1990.

"A few years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimball asked, "How often do you have family prayer?" Bishop Smoot answered, "We try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once." President Kimball answered, "In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families."

President Faust goes on to say, "I wonder if having casual and infrequent family home evening will be enough in the future to fortify our children with sufficient moral strength. In the future, infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant. "

I have thought about this and how important it is that we teach our children at home. Many times, when I am worried about a child's behavior, the answer that comes to my heart is to teach that child to love the scriptures and to understand the teachings of the Lord, and then the other problems will be resolved. And it always helps. Teaching our children the truth truly does make the difference.

So thoughts on the second coming that came from Joseph Smith History 1:37-41 took me on a bit of a different route. I will try to go back to the second coming again. Verse 37 says, "And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Verse 39 says, "So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;"

I look around and see that He is near and that the prophesies are coming forth in these days. I know that it will be harder before it gets better and I guess that is what prompted my thoughts on preparing for the second coming. I love that as we treasure His word, we will not be deceived. I love the gospel and hope that I can grow to love the scriptures more and more, and like President Hinckley said, have a "love affair with the scriptures."

Monday, February 23, 2009

The First Vision

I always find it interesting that when I go to study something new, that I have already been pondering it before, so there are already thoughts going before I sit down to study. I read the Ensign quite a bit over the weekend and found many articles from February and March about the First Vision. I added the picture above with the quote, "What happened here changed the world, let it change your life." I have the black and white picture put out by the church above our bed. We were given it as a Mother's Day gift by the bishopric in FM5 a couple of years ago. I loved it then, and I love it now. It is so fitting, and changes our perspective on everything. When we know that the Lord truly did appear to the prophet Joseph Smith, then we know how much He loves us, we know how much the gospel can affect our lives. It is such a huge blessing!
I am working with the Elders to teach a sister in our ward English. She has a good heart, but believes that all churches are true. She thinks that the Lord just wants us to turn to Him, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, it matters not, just as long as we turn to Him. She read the first vision and flat out told me she didn't believe it. That was hard for me to hear. I have had other people say they believe different things, but I don't know if I have ever had someone I thought could believe it, flat out say they don't. She then looked at me incredulously and asked me if I really believed it. I bore my testimony and shared that not only did I believe it, but I know in my heart through the Holy Ghost that it is true. I asked her to pray about it. She said that she would, but she is too set in her ways to change right now. I am hoping that her heart will soften. She is from Iran and trying to learn English. That is her main purpose of going to school. We are teaching her through the Book of Mormon reader and a book that she has of her own. I keep praying that she will see the light. I think it will just be line upon line. If she never accepts the gospel, it will be sad. Yet, I am so grateful for agency and the gift that we are all given here on earth.

I love reading the account of the first vision and remembering all that took place before that led up to this miraculous event. He was brought up in a family where scripture study was important. I often think of how many families studied and knew the bible. I think it was two fold. One to learn to read and write and the other for religious purposes. I think of this society and how it is so much easier for people to turn on the TV or the computer... rather than read from the scriptures. I think they read from them so much. I want my children to know the scriptures that well.

I love the scriptures and how that pattern answers so many prayers. Just last night, the scriptures were such an answer to prayer. Elisabeth has been having a hard time falling asleep. I went to read her personal scriptures with her. It was about Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah leaving each other to serve missions to the Lamanites. They were getting ready to separate and Alma gave them each a blessing and they knew that they could have the necessary courage if they had the Spirit with them. We talked about how scary it would be to go to the Lamanites, who delighted in the shedding of blood, in theft and so forth. It would be really scary, and yet they knew that they could have courage through the Spirit. So we talked about how she could have the Spirit with her before bedtime so she could have the courage to fall asleep. She is such a sweet girl. She has asked for a blessing from her daddy last night. She did fall asleep better. I see how much the scriptures strengthen us and give us answers to prayers.

There is also the story of young Joseph having his leg injury and having it cut out. The strength and determination and conviction he held was such a preparation for all that he had to endure as the prophet. I see how we have trials to strengthen us and prepare us for other times in our lives.

I am so grateful for the first vision and for the prayer of young Joseph Smith and for the testimony that I have of the restoration of the gospel.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

D & C section 5

I learned a lot from this section this morning. In verse 4, the Lord tells Joesph that He has given him the gift to translate and he shall have no other gift until the Lord is ready. This is a great reminder that all things must be done on the Lord's time, not our time schedule. In verses 33 to 35, The Lord says, "There are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth."
"For this cause I have said, Stop and stand still until I command thee."

I see the Lord like us as parents. He sees the big picture and He is just asking us to stop and wait on Him for the right time and He will direct us through all things. There are times when we see that our children are headed in the wrong direction and they don't understand that we see the bigger picture. The Lord sees an even bigger picture, which is why it is so imperative that we heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and strive to follow Him.

Then, there is the great promise that if we head the promptings of the Spirit, keep the commandments, and not yield to the persuasions of man, then we shall have eternal life.

An elder in my ward shared this quote on Sunday. I loved it and had to copy it down.
"Remember that this work is not your and mine alone. It is the Lord's work, and when we are on the Lord's errand, ... we are entitled to the Lord's help." President Thomas S. Monson.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More thoughts of Prayer

We had an amazing sacrament meeting. He shared an experience he had on his mission. His mission president asked when was the last time you had a spiritual experience, and the elders and sisters shared times that they hadn't known which street to turn on and the Lord helped them find the right house, and many other great missionary stories. The mission president's response was those are great experiences and I am so grateful that you have had those experiences. It is great to see the Lord working in your lives. The last time you should have had a spiritual experience was when you you were praying this morning. This caused him to reflect throughout his life, and it has given me much reflection since Sunday.

In John 5:2-9, it is the story of the man that went to the pool of Bethesda where the angels would turn the water and the first one in would be healed. He was unable to move quick enough to get into the pool before someone else would each time the pool turned. The Lord came to the man and said, "Rise and take up thy bed and walk." "And immediately the man was made whole. " We can all become whole through the Lord.

In Matthew and Mark we read of the story of the Apostles on the water and the winds come and it is on the 4th watch that the Savior calms the waters. He often waits until we are in our final watch when we feel like we have done all that we can and have endured and then He comes and answers our prayers and calms the troubled waters.

3 Nephi 17: 20 - 24 is one of my favorite scriptures. I love that He took the children one by one and He knew them by name just as He knows each of us by name, and then He blessed them and then the angels did minister unto them. I talked with a member of the Stake Presidency in Texas about this set of scriptures, and he pointed out that maybe the reason this happened was so that the parents could see their children being taught by the Spirit and to see the important role that is as parents. I have often reflected on this and thought on how my children are so benefited when we provide opportunities for them to feel the Spirit and to know for themselves the truthes in the gospel. Our trip to Palmyra and Kirkland Ohio this summer were great testimony builders for my sweet children, where they felt the Spirit for themselves in the Sacred Grove and on Hill Cumorah.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Outward Ordinances

In Gospel Essentials, we studies the priesthood and how the Aaronic priesthood constitutes outward ordinances. So, what are outward ordinances? When you look in the topical guide, you see temporal as another word to look it up through. So, what does that mean, since all things are spiritual unto the Lord? I found in the Student Manual in the Enrichment section some great insight into this. The Aaronic priesthood is an appendage to the Melchizedek priesthood, so they are all the same priesthood. The Aaronic is a preparatory priesthood, to prepare the saints for all the blessings that the Lord has in store for them. It's duties are, "to possess the keys of the ministering of angels, which include communion with them, to hold the keys of the preparatory gospel of repentance, baptism, and the law of carnal commandments given by Moses to a faithless Israel, and to fellowship its members and prepare them in all things pertaining to priesthood service so that they may be ready to receive the oarth and covenant of the Melchezedek priesthood"(Joseph Fielding Smith), which we know to be eternal marriage. What a great perspective. We were talkig about how amazing it is that Young Men start holding the priesthood, the power to act in the name of God, at the age of 12. I stand in awe at the preparation that comes to these young men. There was a big difference in the age of 11 and 12 for Austin. I saw him being prepared to receive the priesthood. He is such a great boy. I also see how much he reverances and respects the priesthood. This past Sunday, watching him pass the sacrement, he took great love and care with the tray as he passed it from person to person.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World

Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch the root, if they have been cut free from the truth, there will be no life, not substance, nor redemption in them. "

I love this quote. It goes back to the whole reason that we have the gospel. I was going back to the Sunday School lesson quite a few weeks ago. I am in Gospel Essentials for my calling, so I am wanting to personally study the D & C, at least once a week. This lesson mostly covers sections 18, 19, and 76. I love the testimonies of the Savior. I also love how it points out his roles and attributes.

I marvel at how much He has to offer us when we do what He asks. In D & C 6: 20-21, he says that if we are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments, He will encircle us about in the arms of His love. What a beautiful promise. I have felt His arms around me as I have tried to do His will. I think of our move here and all the trials that were placed before us. I never felt alone. When I would get concerned, He would give me little answers. I still remember the early morning when He whispered the time line to me. I held on to that, and then when it worked out exactly as He has told me, I knew that He had done that for my peace of mind. It drove Drew nuts occasionally as he was getting discouraged at finding a new job and I said quietly, the job will come in March. It wasn't me, it was the Lord giving me the strength to hold out.

I keep going back to the Sacrament prayers. When we lose the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, if we will remember Him, then we can get the Spirit back. It really isn't that hard to remember Him.

In D & C 76:5, He says that He is merciful and He delights to honor those who serve Him in righteousness and truth. I look at where we are now, and all my dreams have come true. I have more than I could ever imagined and it is through the many blessings that He has given our family.

One more thing I really learned from our move here, while I am on that subject, is that the Atonement is more than for repentance. I have a testimony of the great blessing it is for us to be able to repent and be cleaned through the Atonement. It is amazing to me. I also learned that I can't do all that I am asked without His help. I am more when I submit my will to His and I strive to do His will. I have been taught it throughout my life, but I understand it so much more now. I am so thankful for this testimony and for His love and understanding and His arms that do encircle me when I strive to do His will.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I was studying for patterns and themes among the topic of prayer. I found three basic areas. The first is the physical way to pray; where, out loud, in our hearts, always, on alter, in the house of the Lord, in the closet, and through song. The second is the things we should include in our prayers; pray for others, pray for those we love, pray for our enemies, give thanks, with fasting, ask for forgiveness, teach our children, with the Spirit to help us, in humility, to inquire for help, after we study it out, Seek, search with all of our hearts, for faith, to enter no into temptation, for strength through our trials, pour out our hearts, and united. And finally, the blessings and great responses we get from our Father in Heaven; He hears us, He knows and understands how we feel, we will be found, He knows beforehand, we will be spared, we can spare others, and our countenance may be altered.

I am grateful for the power of prayer and the blessing it is in my life. I know that as I search and study and pray that He does hear and answer my prayers. He blesses me continuously. I am able to know of His will and be comforted through hard times, and blessed.

I want to leave with a great quote by Elder Packer concerning scripture study, "With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will. The older generation has been raised without them, but there is another generation growing up. The revelations will be opened to them as to no other in the history of the world. Into thier hands now are placed the sticks of Joseph and of Judah. They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ ad be competatn to proclaim Him and to defend Him." Elder Bednar states that we are that generation. I see my children and see how much better they know the scriptures and I know they will be even stronger than my generation. I am so grateful for them and the influence they have in our lives. As we cleave unto the iron rod, the scriptures, we will be able to make it back to our Father in Heaven.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

D & C 3 and 4

I had one more thought from section 3 before I move to section 4. In verse 15, it says, "For thou hast suffered the counsel of they director to trampled upon from the beginning. "When you look at the footnote, the director is the Lord. This was given after the 116 pages of the manuscript had been lost. As I was pondering this this morning, I thought to myself, how often have I allowed His counsel to trampled upon? How often have I felt a prompting and ignored? I am working harder on that. As I was listening to Elder Perry's talk from this past conference, he talked about how if we take care of ourselves physically than we are setting ourselves up to be more in tune with the Spirit. As I have been working hard since the beginning of the year to loose weight and be healthier, I have felt like there have been times that I have heard the whisperings of the Spirit a little more clearly. I am grateful for that. It has given me added incentive to exercise and eat healthy.

Section 4 is an awesome section, quite often referred to as the missionary section. In verse 2, as it talks about serving God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, I have a written referral to Mark 10:17-22, 25-31. This is the story of the man who came and asked the Lord what more he could do as he had kept the commmandment from his youth. The Lord responded with go and sell all that you have and then follow me. And the man sadly turned away. I wonder if the man was looking for a pat on the back, and then it was his pride that caused him to deny his riches to be given up. I like the second part of that chapter as it talks about how with men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. We can't do it all on our own. We have to rely on the arm of the Lord to be able to give our wills to Him. In verse 30, it says that he shall recieve an hundred fold. When we give it all up and let it go to the Lord, we recieve so much more. I feel that way so much in my life. Right now, I have all I ever dreamed of and more. I have a great family, a great husband, and awesome children. I feel so blessed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pray Always

I began my study on prayer this morning after listening to Elder Bednar's talk from this past conference. An awesome talk.

I read the bible dictionary. The part that interested me was when it said that the "so called difficulty" people have in praying comes from forgetting the relationship that God is our Father. I like that because as long as we remember that we are His children and He is our Father, then prayer comes naturally. I love how prayer gives me such clarity into so many things in my life. When I pray, I gain a greater understanding of my children, who they are, what they are doing, and how I am doing as their mother. A quite humbling perspective that helps me immensely.

As I studied the scriptures, I liked in Jeremiah where He talks about loving us and wanting to give us the great ending. He truly does want what is best for us.

I also read in Luke 18 the parable of the Unjust Judge. In my trying to understand this parable a bit better, I found this quote, “Jesus did not indicate that as the wicked judge finally yielded to supplication so would God do; but He pointed out that if even such a being as this judge, who ‘feared not God, neither regarded man,’ would at last hear and grant the widow’s plea, no one should doubt that God, the Just and Merciful, will hear and answer” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. I know He hears and answers my prayers. I know that the more I pray, the more in tune I am to His will and the better my day goes.

I love Elder Bednar's talk. I love how he talks about praying always. I was touched by his thoughts on how to pray each day. He says,

"We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.

Consider this example. There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:

  • Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
  • Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
  • Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
  • Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
  • Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.

Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day."

I want my prayer to be more sincere and to be more linked. I remember in Texas and talking with Patti, that we shared how each day should begin with gospel study to show the Lord that we put Him first. As we do this, everything else falls into place. My goal for this week isn't just to increase the sincerity of my prayers but also to begin my days with gospel study to set the tone for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So Loved! and So blessed!

I was continuing my reading in D & C 3 today and was just touched by the love of the Lord. In verse 4 and 5 He tells Joseph how he has been given strict commandments to follow. If we don't than we must suffer the consequences. I love verses 9 and 10, "Behold, thou are Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall. But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and are again called to the work." I love that. We have to be aware of what we have done and of our dependence on the Savior. But, it we repent, all is not lost, and we can get back on the road that He has in store for us. I love this. It reminds us that our lives are never hopeless, and that through repentance, we can feel the joy of doing His will.

Monday, February 2, 2009

D & C 3:1-2 and a sower

"The works and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." I love this section, verses one and two as it gives us insight into the Savior. Not only does He do what He says he is going to do, but He doesn't look to the left or to the right. He stays on the straight and narrow. It makes me think of the scripture that talks about the people having no more disposition to do evil. We are to be like the Savior, and we must not only try to keep the commandments, we must also not do them begrudgingly or do them while looking for something else. Where are heart is truly does matter.
I had a friend recently write the quote, "At the end of the day, think not on the harvest that you reaped, but the seeds that you sowed." -Robert Louis Stephenson on her blog. I have been pondering that a lot and thinking how I can become more of a sower. How can I change my heart to look out more and to think more on others. I know that it is in giving and losing yourself that you find yourself.