Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God is a God of LOVE!

The idea that stands out to me most as I read section 76 if the Doctrine and Covenants is that Heavenly Father loves all of His children. This is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ that has always resonated with me. Even in times of deepest despair and trials, I know that Heavenly Father loves me and will bless me according to my faith.
The reason that I feel so much love from God in this section is because it is explaining all the blessings we receive for being obedient. Will we be crowned with great glory! We will be with Christ when He comes to the earth again to remain forever. We will live in a kingdom full of people that love the Lord and have worked hard to claim their exaltation.
This section also helps me to realize the great love of God in the fact that He has the power to save ALL those who are on the earth. I know that sometimes I can be selfish and stubborn and I don't always like everyone that I meet. Obviously Christ knows each of His spiritually reborn children individually and He loves each of us so He willingly laid down His life so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again. He chose to save every human on the earth as well as those on other planets in other galaxies. Not only did He save us, which is a huge gift, but He devised a plan to make sure that all of the children make it safely to a beautiful kingdom prepared for them.
I am sure that at the time Joseph received this revelation a lot of questions arose from the Saints. The heaviness of this revelation is probably not understood as it should be. The recent converts of the newly reorganized church had accepted a lot of truths that are hard to swallow, but this truth is so different from everything that had been revealed previously. The fact that a 'Hitler' would live in a place more beautiful than the earth is absurd to one who has never heard it before. The straightforward revelation expressed by him shows his character and true commitment to serving the Living God. He never wavered in doing what was required of him.
My favorite verse in the section in 114 which says, "But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion." I had an experience in the Referral Center of the MTC where I spoke with a woman who had claimed she had seen the celestial world. I don't know if she was being honest but the way she described what she saw will always remain with me. She said she was an artist and that the colors she saw in this glorious place were brighter than any she had ever seen. I specifically remember her commenting that the greens were extremely vibrant and beautiful. Again, I don't know if she was telling me the truth, but I know that nothing on earth compares to the beauty of the Celestial Kingdom. If I can work hard to earn money to go to Hawaii, I can work hard to remain righteous so I can live with my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, again in the Kingdom of God forever! The gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth again and it is true!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

D&C Section 59

Heavenly Father created this Earth for US, His chosen spirits! He has provided us with everything we need to live, learn, grow, gain experience and return to live with Him again. Doctrine and Covenants section 59 begins by Jesus Christ stating that those who are faithful to the commandments will "receive a crown in the mansions of my Father". In order for us to obey the commandments, we must first know what they are. We are then informed that we need to love our Lord and God with all our heart, might, mind and strength and to serve Him. Many of the commandments are repeated. Christ then reminds us of all the blessings that are ours to claim when we do what has been asked of us.
We are blessed with the abundance of the earth as long as we confess God's hand in all things and obey His commandments. This makes the significance of the creation so important because when Heavenly Father was creating the light and darkness, the waters and dry land, the grass, shrubbery, tall trees, the insects and all manner of creepy things, the fish in the waters, fowls of the air and all manner of beasts... He was doing it all for us. I read an article in the Ensign that stood out to me a while ago that reminded me that every beautiful thing is this life was created so we could have joy! I know that for me it is the simple things that bring me the most joy. A beautiful warm day after a long, cold winter brings me so much happiness. A flower growing in an unwelcome terrain gives me strength to continue through the hard days I experience. A happy bark from the dog welcoming me home reminds me that I am loved. I know that Heavenly Father created all things for His children to have joy. Section 59 of the Doctrine and Covenants reminds us of what Heavenly Father asks us to do so that He can more fully bless us with the great things He created for our benefit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Fabulous MOA!

Last Thursday my religion class toured the Museum of Art on BYU campus. We saw some of the new collection being shown about types and shadows of Christ. The exhibit focused on the symbolism used to represent Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Rita, our tour guide, led us through and facilitated great discussion among the group members. I have always found that when viewing something abstract as a representation of Christ or His acts of pure love, I learn something new and different than what I normally learn from the things that speak so plainly of Him. One of my favorite pictures in the museum is the one of titled, "The Prodigal Son". It is a painting of a meal covered in a blue cloth divided into three parts. The first represents the grand life of the Son of a King using crisp, fresh apples and a bright blue cloth. The second shows the food slightly rotted, dark, non-appetizing, and all somewhat meshed together. The third panel is beautiful again, but this time it is slightly different than the first signifying that there had been a change from the first panel. I like this because it shows that we all have the ability to repent and become clean again through the power of the Atonement. As I think about it now, it also reminds me of the plan of salvation. In the beginning we lived with God, our Heavenly Father and King. We made the choice to leave Him for a short while and life is not a crisp, clean and beautiful as it was while we lived in His presence. We have the opportunity to learn and improve and rely on our Savior to purify us so we can return to live with our Father again. When that time comes, the panel of our life will be clean again. Everything will be glorious and beautiful and we will have greater abundance because of the experiences we have had. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that the Atonement is real and that because Christ loves each of us so much, we can return to live with God again! We can become clean from all of our sins and enjoy the happiness and peace and beauty that we once had for eternity!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Exodus: Then and Now

The journey of the early Latter-day Saints to Zion is amazingly similar to the journey made by the children of Israel when led by Moses. They were both seeking for a place of refuge where they could worship as they chose and both experienced trials as well as many blessings along the way. The aspect that stood out most to me was that the physical terrain was so similar. Both valley's are near a living body of water and a dead body of water, a high mountain and much more. Their journey is also a similitude of the life of Jesus Christ. We can apply it to ourselves as well and the journey that we must take in order to assure a place in the highest kingdom of glory with our Heavenly Father. There is no guarantee that we will have an easy journey. In fact, the majority of the inhabitants of Earth will experience many trials. There will be obstacles in our life that seem hard to overcome. The only was we can endure our struggles is to have complete faith in Jesus Christ and a bright hope for the future. The pioneers are the greatest examples to me of keeping an eye single to the glory of God. Never did they waiver from the things that they were told. Their shining example lights the path I tread everyday. I know that I can accomplish hard things because God blessed and protected them while they were journeying. I am sure my journey will not be easy, but I know that I will be guided as I continue to have faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crandall Printing Museum

I love the Crandall Museum! I have been many times and everytime I have a great experience. The men presenting the history of printing put on a fabulous show. They really help you understand the magnitude of the invention of the printing press.
The presentation begins with a demonstration of the Gutenberg Press. This is the press that was made in Germany when scribes were trying to figure out how to speed the process of transcribing the Bible. It is fascinating how Gutenberg was able to figure out how to create a solid, long-lasting ink, a fabric that would absorb and keep the ink, a metal that would properly mold into the correct letter shape, and a machine that made the combination of everything possible. It is interesting that the scientists of ancient times were able to figure out ways to produce things that have since been tested using the modern technology of our day and we have found them to be the most effective means to use to create their desired outcome. This is true of the Gutenberg Printing Press. All of the resources used to create the press, tools and other items required for printing are still the best things that would be used today, if we still printed in that fashion. I believe that the Lord inspires individuals to find the most resourceful items. Even more than that, I believe that Heavenly Father knows the abilities of individuals and places them in a situation where they can reach their full potential, fulfill all that is required of them, and be in a place where they can find the things they need to truly succeed in what they were created to accomplish.
This leads to the creation of the Book of Mormon. The men of the Crandall Museum also explained how the Book of Mormon was published. It is interesting that Joseph Smith just happened to be near one of the only printing presses in the United States right when he needed to print mass copies of the Book of Mormon. I know that Heavenly Father knows so much more than we do. He knew that Joseph needed to be in a certain place at a certain time so he could fulfill the commandments of the Lord. The printing process had been refined from the first Gutenberg Press and the men at the Grandin Building were efficient in organizing and printing the pages of the Book of Mormon. They printed it in remarkable speed, considering that they not only copied the words from manuscripts to type, but they also punctuated the entire text. Never had any book been completed so quickly and efficiently. I think it is a fabulous notion that angels were attending them as they were putting the text together. I know that the Lord blesses us in so many ways and He sends His messengers to help us along to fulfill our righteous desires. I know that because Heavenly Father helped to move His work along by inspiring one man to invent an important tool, others to have the great printing skills, others to lead and delegate responsibilities so that everyone can give of their talents, He can lead us and help us to accomplish the tasks He desires us to complete and we too can help to build the kingdom of God in our day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Gathering

How has the gathering of the Saints to Zion (Utah) affect me today?

My ancestors are included in the group of pioneers that traveled across the rocky terrain to Utah. They were commanded by Brigham Young to settle in the areas of Canada and built the church there. I feel very fortunate to be able to look back on the faithful examples of my ancestors. I am so grateful that they were diligent in obeying the Lords commandments and followed the teachings of the gospel so they could pass that heritage on to me. I need the gospel everyday of my life. Without it I am lost and would not know where to turn when I need divine help and miracles.
The miracle of defeating the threats associated with the rugged country my ancestors crossed reminds me that Heavenly Father is aware of His children and that He does bless us with abilities and accomplishments we could not do without His divine assistance. I have witnessed various miracles in my life. Miracles that could not occur unless a loving Father in Heaven answered my plea by interfering with the cosmos and creating a way for me to accomplish the certain task.
It is amazing to know that so many groups have traveled with unwavering faith in God to guide them along their course and He has always followed through as long as they remain true to their part of the bargain. This is something that applies directly to us in our day. We are all traveling along the journey of life and we are required to also "walk by faith". As long as we remain true and faithful to the commandments of our Heavenly Father, He will continue to lead us along the path with perfect direction. It is only when we lose sight of His commandments that we wander on unknown paths, leading to places lacking security and divine protection. Everyday we need to renew our faith, trust in Heavenly Father and follow the spirit. The church is true! Heavenly Father does love each of us and wants us to return to live with Him again by treading the path He has paved for us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Elect Lady

I am a student minoring in Women’s Studies so section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants really strikes a familiar chorus with my current interests. This section is a revelation from Jesus Christ to Emma, His daughter.He counsels her in various ways and many of the commands that He gives opens the mind of a woman’s role in the 1830’s.I feel that I can relate with this revelation in many ways because I too am a woman and I feel that I have a purpose to fulfill other than just take care of my family and raise children.
My first memorable encounter with this passage was at the end of my mission. I had served my Savior for about 18 months and was enjoying the spiritual environment of the Celestial Room in the Washington DC Temple. I said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me know what He would have me do when I arrived home and no longer had the responsibility of being a full-time missionary. Immediately after praying, I opened the scriptures to this chapter and began reading. I inserted my name in place of hers and applied it to my life. I love how Jesus Christ refers to Emma as His daughter and then as an “elect lady” I believe that phrase is special because women have a tendency to downplay themselves, and Christ’s reference to a woman in that context shows just how much He loves women and knows of their special nature and role. I found a lot of comfort in the next verse also which states, “Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me for a time to come.” This applied to me while I was on my way home because I had a lot of trials awaiting me when I arrived home. My family was experiencing various problems and I had been preserved from being around that while on my mission. I felt I could relate to Emma because she was always experiencing some kind of grief and heartache for various reasons, much of which she did not understand. Her example of strength and endurance helped me through my transition and I was able to handle the changes with much less murmur.
I find this to be applicable in everyday life also because we will never know the future. We do not have the wisdom that God has and we will never fully know what to expect. In response to that, we can either murmur and be upset, or trust in God and allow Him to guide us through the unknown journey of life. I believe that life is much more enjoyable when we choose to accept our lives for what they are and be happy despite the challenges that may seem unbearable. Emma is such a great example of female leadership in the church. She is the woman that paved the way for all female leadership in a time when female leadership roles were unheard of in not only religion, but most everything in the United States. I know that Heavenly Father placed Emma where she needed to be so that we can look up to her for the efforts that she made and the role she played in leading the women of the Lords true church.