Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Glimpse Into the Atonement

Just a thought I wanted to share this week as I reflected on the life of the Savior. In our Sunday school lesson a week ago the instructor taught a lesson on the Savior and His divine purpose. He shared with us something I hadn't considered before and that was when Christ was hesitant about suffering in the garden and He reached out to His Father for strength. The veil was removed and Christ was able to see each and every one of us and we were cheering him on. He was reminded of what He was doing for each of us individually and how grateful we were. It was that moment that gave Him the strength to continue on and atone for our sins and suffering.

It was truly an amazing thought and I just wanted to share with you that the Savior did atone for our sins and suffering and through Him we become perfected and receive salvation. He is the only way and He loves us each individually. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Have You Been Chosen?

I've been reading Sheri Dew's book No Doubt About It, and let me just say that Chapter Three has been ground shaking for me. Sheri talks about how our spirits long for us to remember who we have always been. If we understood this and remembered, it would change everything. It would change how see ourselves, our confidence and affect everything we do.

Sheri goes on to talk about how we qualified by spiritual valor to be born into the House of Israel. She says, "...which lineage President Harold B. Lee called the 'most illustrious lineage' of all who would come to earth. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote that 'The whole House of Israel, known and segregated out from their fellows, was inclined toward spiritual things'. He also noted that the foreordination to come to the earth as a member of the House of Israel was 'an election...for those so chosen, selected, or elected become, in this life, the favored people [in that] though all mankind may be saved by obedience, some find it easier to believe and obey than others'".

The kind of lives we lived in our premortal life determined what we could receive in this life.After all we did have agency and we exercised it all the time. It makes sense as we are taught that the kind of lives we live here on this earth will determine where we spend eternity. I truly believe that we were taught and schooled in our premortal life all about what mortal life would be like. We were told that our choices in our premortal life would determine further blessings in our mortal life. We did all we could to prepare. My own patriarchal blessing speaks about things I did in my premortal life that were pleasing to the Father and what those choices earned me in this life.

To take it a step further, look at where you were born, the freedoms you have and the blessings of the gospel in your life. You clearly were an incredible spirit engaging in important and pleasing work and therefore you were elected to your place in this world. You were elected because everyone believed in you and knew that you would be the best person to accomplish your specific mission. That alone should increase your confidence about who you really are and what you are capable of.

Being born into the House of Israel also tells you that you are "inclined toward spiritual things" meaning that you recognize eternal truths very easily. You recognize when the Spirit speaks to you and you act. You understand and recognize personal revelation and you seek it. These are the characteristics of the spirits who were chosen to be born into the House of Israel. A chosen people.

Sheri says that George Q. Cannon repeatedly taught that God reserved his noblest spirits to come forth in this last dispensation. Yes my friends, we were the strongest. Now, when I think of nobility I think of the greatest leaders, prophets  apostles and righteous kings. If we were all the noblest spirits then are were we not of that same group? Given different assignments and positions but nonetheless of the same nobility. Incredible! You are more than capable and qualified for the work you have been called to do. You even believed so yourself before you passed through the veil and your memory was gone. If you can truly beleive that again, imagine what you could accomplish!

As parents, we were chosen to rear up this last generation prior to Christ's return. We were the strongest and most qualified out of all the spirits in heaven to teach the last wave of missionaries that would take the gospel to all the earth.  It was us. We were elected.

Satan also knows who we are and what we were chosen to do. It angers and terrifies him. When you feel those thoughts of doubt and negativity that you aren't good enough or why bother with anything you know that is Satan trying to keep you far from remembering who you once were and who you still are. When you have those thoughts get on your knees and ask for help to remove them. If you can push aside his lies and tactics you will discover incredible truths about yourself.

Lastly, Sheri says that we will never be at peace until we fully understand who we are, who we have always been and who we may become. She suggests that we go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to talk to us through the Spirit about us. Begin by reading D&C 138 and Abraham 3, continue in prayer and the Lord will speak to you about you.

Well, I don't know about you but I can't wait to give this a go. As you can tell from my previous posts this has been a strong topic on my mind lately and it's amazing how the Lord is leading me to all of these great books, scriptures, talks and people who are building upon this knowledge for me. Like I said before, these books just fell into my lap at the library. I wasn't looking for them or any specific book, they just somehow stood out and I grabbed them off the shelf in a hurry without reading the backs. They all align with each other.

In fact, today a returned missionary spoke in our sacrament meeting and his entire talk was about "many are called, but few are chosen". I have been discussing that scripture all week and it's meaning. We have all been called (elected) to our missions and positions in this life but only the few who magnify their callings and strive to build up the kingdom will be chosen. Yes, there are many who forgot they were called and they have strayed from being chosen. They do not say, "Lord, here I am. Please use me. I will serve thee." The Lord chooses who he can use and rely on to do his great work.

I testify to you, that we are not here on this earth to waste time, be idle and just entertain our own pleasures. We are here on a mission to do a work. We have been called and we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy. Life will not be as fulfilling and satisfying until we do. When our spirits rejoice at our remembering the promises we made and as we get involved in the work, we will find great happiness and enjoyment in this life for we will be chosen. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Are All the Answers We Need Found in the Scriptures?

I love this answer from Joseph Fielding McConkie from his book Answers on pg. 227:

No. This is the party line of apostate religion, and  it is called the doctrine of sufficiency. The claim is that the Bible contains all that is or ever can be necessary for the benefit of man. In making such a claim, they are sealing the powers of the heavens, silencing God, doing away with the need for living prophets, and denying the power of the Holy Ghost. For a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) to say the same thing of the standard works (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) is to agree in principle with this basic dogma of the Apostasy. Nephi said of such a notion, "For unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Nephi 28:30). 

I testify that there is one true living prophet on the Earth today who speaks to God and that is Thomas S. Monson. I know that God continues to give His children counsel because He loves us. Miracles and great works still happen and the powers of heaven are real and continue to bless our lives through the gift of the Holy Ghost. His love, commandments and counsel did not end with the New or Old Testament. God continues to reveal more to us for the purpose of edifying us, lifting us up and helping us return to Him. He speaks to us today. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Calling and Election Made Sure - Update

I found this Mormon Channel episode (part 1 and 2) all about this subject. It answered all my questions from the previous post. Take a listen if you have the time. It's worth it :)

http://www.mormonchannel.org/qa/39

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Does it Mean to Have Your Calling and Election Made Sure?

My sister and I have been talking about this subject off and on over the past year. From the experiences of others whom we have talked to or read about, it almost sounded as though this was something that was special and secret calling/ordinance administered in the temple. It was something you are selected for, quite rare and something you just don't hear people talk about.

To have your calling and election made sure or to receive your second anointing means that that you have had your exaltation sealed upon you in this life. From what I learned, once you have had your calling and election made sure, if you commit no murder or deny the Holy Ghost, you will come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into exaltation.

“The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131:5.)

 After further looking into the subject, to my surprise I have found that anyone who has entered into all the temple covenants and desires to have their calling and election made sure can do so. Because it is done so through the priesthood, I'm not sure if that means you must receive it through laying on of hands or just through your own personal witness (which seems to be the latter from what I have read). I have more reading up to do, but I want to share with you some interesting links that I found. Bruce R. McConkie touches on it in more detail in his book Mormon Doctrine:

Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy. (2 Pet. 1.)

Joseph Smith taught: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter.” To receive the other Comforter is to have Christ appear to him and to see the visions of eternity. (Teachings, pp. 149–151.)

Thus, as the prophet also said, “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D. & C. 131:5.) Those so favored of the Lord are sealed up against all manner of sin and blasphemy except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood. That is, their exaltation is assured; their calling and election is made sure, because they have obeyed the fulness of God’s laws and have overcome the world. Though such persons “shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation.” (D. & C. 132:26.)

The Lord says to them: “Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; . . . and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” (D. & C. 132:19.) The prophet, for one, had this seal placed upon him. That is, he knew “by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood,” that he would attain godhood in the world to come. To him Deity said: “I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father with Abraham your father.” (D. & C. 132:49.)

It should be clearly understood that these high blessings are not part of celestial marriage. “Blessings pronounced upon couples in connection with celestial marriage are conditioned upon the subsequent faithfulness of the participating parties.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 46–47.)
[Pp. 109–10 in McConkie, Bruce R. 1966. Mormon Doctrine. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.]

Here is a great ensign article that goes into more detail:

http://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure

Lastly, here is a link I found to a thread that discusses how to receive it for yourself.

http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22462http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22462

If you have had your calling and election made sure, I know it is very personal and not something to be discussed on the internet. But what a glorious thing to have an assurance of. How much better will your life be living in this manner and knowing that you are exalted. I would love to hear more insight about this subject if anyone would like to add to what I have written. In the meantime, I'm going to read more about the subject and get back to you with what I find.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Seek and Ye Shall Find...

Lately, I have had the strongest desire to gain more knowledge, more quickly than I ever have before. I guess you could say I'm hungry for the doctrine, I'm hungry for revelation,  I'm hungry to know the mysteries and I'm hungry to find the answers.

I decided to stop by the library and check out some books about different gospel subjects. I didn't have anything in mind - I just went to see what I could find. When I found an isle that was full of LDS books I began grabbing whatever looked interesting until I had about 5 large, heavy books that seemed to be enough.

Wondering how I was going to find the time to read these all, I told myself that I would browse through them and get a feel for which books I should read first, and which ones could wait, or maybe didn't matter at all. I love the library because if I don't like the book, at least it was free and I can give it back. Plus I don't have the money to be spending on books right now.

Before I went to library I was on the phone with my sister and we were talking about personal revelation, being deceived by false doctrine, and finding your purpose. It's been on my mind a lot lately to discover my true purpose. So, the first book I happened to open up last night and read started out with these very topics. I read three chapters and then picked up a second book and read the first chapter, which happened to be titled, "The Honest Truth Seekers" which taught me how to seek truth the best way and get answers. In fact it quoted (D&C 88:118),

 "..seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also be faith".

 I couldn't believe that out of my random stack of books, the ones I had selected were answering questions I had on my mind that day. This chapter had confirmed what I was doing. I felt it was the Lord telling me, "Yes, you are doing what I would like you to do. I commend you."

 After I finished reading, I knelt down to pray and asked that I might better learn my purpose and to know if a certain book I had read was true (after others had said it to be false). When I finished my prayer I went to read my scriptures where I had last left off - and lo and behold, this is what I read (2 Nephi 32: 1-5)

 "And now behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

"Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
 
"Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye do not understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

"For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do."

I leaned that the power of the Holy Ghost is also the words of Christ. So, if I receive the Holy Ghost, I am receiving the words of Christ. He will show me all things that I should do - if I feast upon His words.

I was so happy! This scripture spoke to me! These are His words - telling me that I am on the right path. I am feasting through scripture and good books. I am asking through prayer and He will show me what I should do (my purpose).

Anyways, this was exciting. It had been a while since I had really put some effort into study, learning and getting answers. I forgot how quickly they can come. All you have to do is ask. I could feel my spirit jump for joy as it must have known that I was finally on the right path - trying to learn my purpose so I can make sure I'm doing it and not distracted.

I know that if anyone has a question for the Lord and they ask, believing He will answer; He will!  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Special You Really Are - Consider This...

Next time you are having a bad day, feeling unimportant, unnoticed, talentless, like a failure or dissatisfied with your life; consider this:

First of all, think about all the billions of people who have lived on this planet and are yet to be born.

Second, think about all of the planets/other worlds that our Heavenly Father has been sending his children to from the spirit world/preexistence. Not all of them are sent to Earth.

Lastly, realize where you live and what generation/dispensation you live in.

Yes, to have been born on the planet where our Savior Jesus Christ was born, to have been born in the last dispensation during the restored gospel and furthermore to be living in the land where he will return to rule and reign over or even to have been born into the gospel or to have found it and received it - says a lot about how special you really are.

Think about the odds, the small number of spirits who were privileged to have been born in such circumstances and to be a part of this great missionary work. Amazing!

After reflecting on my last post, I thought to myself; wow - I was born in America, into the gospel and during this last dispensation. What on Earth did I do to deserve that? I must have done something to show the Lord that I could be counted on in this great work.

With that in mind, we should find out what it is we were sent here to do. No, I don't mean what WE think we were sent here to do, but what HE sent us here to do. The only way to know that is to ask.

In regards to asking, Joseph Fielding McConkie said in his book Answers (p. 4),

"In the realm of gospel answers we generally find what we want. If we want justification for a particular course of action, we often will search until we find it. If we want to defend some idea, we may filter out anything that does not sustain it. And if we want to discover the mind and will of the Lord, we generally find that also. We cannot inquire of the heavens with real intent and a sincere heart if we have already determined what we will accept as an answer."

Keeping that in mind, if you go to the Lord in sincere prayer, He will tell you what your purpose is. Sheri Dew said in her book No Doubt About It (p. 2) "When it comes time to step across the veil, don't we each hope to be able to give the same report at the end of our mission here, 'I did what I was sent to do.'"

You are special which is why you are here now at this time in the place where you are - which means you have a very special and important assignment and purpose. I have always thought I knew what my purpose/mission was - but the more time I spend into trying to make that happen the further away I get from my goal. This has had me thinking lately, that maybe I am wrong. Maybe that's why things aren't happening the way I would like them to because I'm focusing on something that was not a part of what I was sent here to do. Though it sounds great to me, and I so badly have wanted to believe that has been my mission - I may be very wrong. So, I have taken this topic to heart and have decided to pray (without an answer I hope to receive already in mind) and ask what it is I should be doing right now so that I can fulfill this mission. I challenge you  to do the same and I know you will be blessed in doing so. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chosen

It's unbelievable lately how all the Sunday school lessons seem to correlate so well with things going on in my life.

Today's lesson was about missionary work. It was so fitting because we had a missionary farewell in our ward today and the entire topic in sacrament meeting was about Preach My Gospel. Because it was a farewell we had many visitors attending our ward today; members and non-members.

After sacrament, most of the visitors left but one of them who happened to be a relative of the missionary and also a bishop from Arizona stayed and came to Sunday school. He shared some very insightful comments throughout the lesson but there was one in particular that he shared which sent wonderful chills up and down everyone's spine.

He said that there was actually more than one third of the hosts of heaven who rejected the Savior's plan and supported Lucifer. Because our Father in Heaven loved them so much he sent his other children to go find them and bring them back. He said that we were missionaries before we even came to this earth. We went and reached out to our fallen brothers and sisters and brought as many back as we could. The rest who would not come back remained cast out of heaven.

He then went on to say that because we showed the Lord our willingness to find and bring back His lost children, we were then selected as "the chosen" generation to come to the earth at this time to find His lost children again.

My patriarchal blessing talks about things I had done in the preexistence that were very pleasing to the Lord and earned me the right to be born in the environment  I was born in. I have always wondered what it was I might have done. After hearing this good brother speak about the missionary work we did in the preexistence I couldn't help but wonder if that might have been what I did that was pleasing to the Lord and earned me the right to be born in a good environment and in the gospel.


I felt a wave of warm peace come over me as I thought about this. It was something I had never considered before and I felt that the spirit had taught me a new truth today.

Further into the lesson  the instructor talked about our ancestors having to make sacrifices and leave behind wives and children to serve missions. He also talked about things that stop young men and women from going on missions today. He asked if any of us could share an experience about this from one of our own ancestors.

Just last week I came across a new story of an ancestor of mine as I was compiling family history. It was a great, great, great uncle of mine, Labriel Pickett. Instead of serving a mission as a young man he married instead.  He and his wife were married in the Manti temple in 1918. When he became a 2nd counselor in the bishopric of his ward,  it was a time when there was a great missionary shortage in the church.

President Grant sent out a plea for married men to go on a six month mission.

He was called to the Chicago, Illinois mission and left wife home to raise four small children and take care of the small farm. After four months he came back home when his father died. He always felt bad and wanted to go and serve another mission. In 1948 He and his wife were called to serve in the Gallup, New Mexico mission which was a Natvive American mission. They labored two years and were asked to stay an extra six months which they did. They had only been home two years when they were called again to the same mission. Six months into their mission Labriel died of a sudden heart attack while helping the saints cultivate their garden on May 25, 1953.

This story reminded me of a story spoken of by Elder Richard G. Maynes during the last General Conference. He spoke of his great grandfather who in 1910 was called to serve a mission in England, leaving his wife and children back home in Utah. He suddenly died of a heart attack while changing a bike tire.

He said, “This is what the gospel gives us—not immunity from death, but victory over it through the hope we have in a glorious resurrection. … It applies to [Joseph Maynes]. … It is a pleasure, and it is a satisfaction and joy to know that men lay down their lives in righteousness, in the faith, true to the faith.”

I shared the story of my ancestor with my Sunday school class. Reflecting on all of this has me truly believing that the members of the church are of the chosen generation who were the Lord's best missionaries in the preexistence, are His best missionaries on Earth and again will be in the post mortal life. 

I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and you were born at this time where you now live for a reason. You have a great work to do! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hastening the Work Part 2

As I mentioned in part 2, I just devoted an entire Saturday to completing most of the work for a pile of my ancestor's names. It was a wonderful feeling of service for people who I hadn't met in this life but who I knew loved me and knew me. I felt that good things were on the horizon because of the large sacrifice I had made.

The next day was Sunday. I had told myself that I needed to find out when the next ward temple night would be so that I could pass out my names to members in my ward and they could help me complete the endowments. The endowment ordinance takes about 2 hours to complete and you only do one name per person. I had male names that I could not do and I needed the help of many people. I still felt that urgency to get all the ordinances completed as soon as possible.

That day in sacrament meeting, the bishop mentioned in one of his first announcements that ward temple night would be this upcoming Friday evening at 7:00 pm. I was so excited! The timing was impeccable.

The very next day I received a random phone call from a stranger inquiring about something that I had been praying about for quite some time. I had been praying about this for a year and a half and even more specifically for the past few weeks. He offered a proposition that I just couldn't believe. I truly felt that this blessing was the Lord's and my ancestor's way of letting me know they were pleased and grateful for the sacrifices I had made on their behalf.  

Friday came pretty quickly, and I knew that U would need to arrive to the temple early to find members of my ward at the temple entrance so I could distribute my names. I was a little worried because I had reached out all week to my ward to see if anyone was going so I could pass out names ahead of time. I couldn't find one person who was going. I thought to myself, "What if no one comes? How will I find enough people to help me?" I wondered if it was a bad idea to even be going on a Friday night with the busy traffic. Then I realized that was Satan trying to talk me out of it and that the Lord would find a way for me to get these names done quickly. He always has a plan and is always in control.

With that in mind, I finished dinner with my family and then said goodbye and headed out the door. About fifteen minutes into my drive my heart sank as traffic came to a complete stop on the freeway and I could see the cars backed up for a few miles. It was about 6:15 pm and would take me another fifteen to twenty minutes to get to the temple if traffic were normal.

I knew in that moment I was going to miss the7:00 session with my ward. At first I thought that it was Satan trying to prevent me from doing this work. But then I reminded myself that even if it was true, God was still in control and he had a plan. It was either God's plan to delay me getting there at 7:00 or He was devising a plan to work around this delay. It didn't matter. What mattered was that I make it there, and God would take care of the rest.

After sitting in traffic several minutes it finally began to move slowly. While traveling at a snail's pace for a few miles I finally drove past the rolled over SUV and trailer. It had been cleared off to the side and the tow truck was there. I got the feeling that the passengers in the SUV would be okay. Onward I drove until arriving at the temple at 7:00 pm.

I parked underground and as I walked towards the basement entrance something told me that I would find someone to ask, who would help me do my names. As I looked around I saw a group of young men there to do baptisms and an older gentleman walking too quickly for me to catch up to him. I continued on all the way up to the clothing desk. There in front of me at the register stood a young couple. I thought to myself, "Well, this must be it. At least they can each help with a name - and that's better than nothing."

Just then they turned around and looked at me and I went for it. I asked them if they wouldn't mine helping me with some names. The wife smiled and said, "Yes, we'd be happy to. In fact, my entire family is here tonight and I will pass out all your names to them and get them done for you." My heart jumped for joy! I watched as she walked over to her Dad and siblings in the lobby and began passing out the names.

The Lord set this up so beautifully.I was so touched and humbled. I don't think very many people from my ward if any at all made it to the 7:00 session as I assumed they would have been caught in the same traffic jam as I and I would have seen them at the next session. There was no one there from my ward. The Lord set this up just right. What were the odds that I happen to ask a a couple who was here with just enough people to perform my stack of names? The Lord knew, and the Spirit ptompted me to ask.

It was a beautiful session and I felt at peace getting the work done. I could feel the love of my ancestors beyond the veil and I was so happy. The blessing I received that day was the huge increase in my testimony of this important work and that the Lord in always in control. I knew that the names I held were of real people who were waiting for their work to be done. They were the one's who had prompted me to get it done so quickly. They had accepted the gospel on the other side and had been waiting a long time for their ordinances to be done so they could further progress. They were anxious and relying on me to do their work.

I know this gospel is true and I know that the Lord is hastening the work in our day like we have never seen before. This gospel will go forth on the Earth and beyond the veil - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man...and all the blessings that go with it. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.




Monday, October 28, 2013

What is the "Household of Faith"?

I received my patriarchal blessing when I was thirteen years old. There is a topic in there that I never quite understood until recently. It speaks of me being raised in a "household of faith".

Being thirteen I took that as meaning that that I must have learned a lot about faith growing up under my mom's roof. I thought that odd because nothing particular came to mind. We were poor most of my childhood and so I wondered if the Lord was referring to us having to rely on our faith to get us through hard times.

A couple years ago, something prompted me to look deeper into that phrase. I Googled it and soon learned that the household of faith is more than what I thought it was. These are the amazing talks I discovered.

The first is called, "Households of Faith" by Bruce R. McConkie. I remember wishing that Elder McConkie was still alive so I could ask him what the "household of faith" is as it is mentioned in the scriptures and he was the church expert on Mormon doctrine.So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that he had written an article about it before my time. It's an amazing and powerful article.
http://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/households-of-faith

The second is a conference talk by J. Richard Clarke called. "The Household of Faith" which was clearly written for our time. What's interesting is, I forgot about all of this until today when scrolling through facebook a friend of mine posted the talk. It is so relevant to our day that it's almost a little eerie. After reading it again, I felt prompted to share with you as well.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/10/the-household-of-faith?lang=eng&cid=facebook-shared

I hope you enjoy these amazing talks and I would love to hear your thoughts.

I know the words of these great men to be true with all my heart. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hastening the Work Part 1

About a couple weeks ago I noticed the stack of dusty temple cards on my dresser and felt the sudden urge to get them done. For almost two years they sat there as I was left unsure what to do after my bishop had taken them in hopes to have the youth and other ward members help with the baptisms and confirmations. A month later he returned them to me telling me that there was a problem of some sort and the temple worker said these names were duplicates and couldn't be done.

It didn't make any sense. There were no duplicates of these names - we had made sure of it. I just wasn't sure what to do all I knew was that I didn't think I could ask my bishop to take them and give it another shot. I didn't know how to look into this or who to talk to. As the months went on, I would reach out on facebook desperately seeking someone who was an expert on family search. I even went to the family history center and the workers there weren't sure how to help me. It seemed almost hopeless.

Finally a couple weeks ago I felt a very strong urge to try again to figure it out. I had the idea to call the temple and ask them what to do. I did, and the woman who helped me said that if I had the cards already printed out there shouldn't be a problem. She said there must have been some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding but was positive if I brought them in again, there wouldn't be a problem. I was so happy! I couldn't believe how easy that was.

Then I paused as I wondered how long it would take before I could find a group of youth to do the baptisms. That's when the thought came that I should just do them. I realized that it was all the female cards that were not done and the male cards didn't have a problem. I could feel the urgency that these names needed to be done and so I decided I would devote my entire Saturday to doing them all.

As I went though all the names I had the feeling that I needed to pay for another month on ancestry.com and that I should double check if there were any more names that I could find before I went. That's when I found a new name had been added to the family tree. I was so excited! It was my great great great grandma whom I never could find. During all those months, someone had found her and added her to the tree. I printed her name and felt that she was a part of the urges I had been feeling.  

That Saturday I went alone to the temple and spent hours doing baptisms, confirmations, initiatories and an edowment. I ended up having dinner at the temple because I was so hungry. It was tough being pregnant and going so many hours without food.It was a sacrifice but I felt I couldn't take a break until I had done all I could do.

On the way home from the temple I felt a happy and peaceful feeling and that my ancestors were so grateful that they wanted to bless me anyway they could. On Monday I received a random phone call from a stranger who had an opportunity for me that I had been praying for (for months). I was so overcome with gratitude and felt that it was my ancestor's and the Lord's way of blessing me and letting me know of their gratitude.

Let me just tell you that I had almost given up on this request of mine but Monday morning I began thinking about it again and wondered if it would ever be granted. When this random stranger called it was against all odds.

There is more to this story that I will reveal un part 2 but let me just tell you that "Hastening the Work" has been the subject of every fireside, training, sacrament meeting, stake conference, ward conference, combined 5th Sunday, Ensign message and even in Gerneral Conference. I have really taken it to heart and have put forth effort to do what I can. I could feel my ancestors also wanting me to hasten their work. I can honestly say I feel this strong urge on both sides of the veil.

I have promised the Lord that I will make this my number one goal as I know how important it is to  him. I have been gently reminded that this is a covenant I made the very first time I went through the temple.
I have scratched other priorities from my life to make time and room to do all I can to hasten the work. As I have done this I have seen and felt a huge difference in my life. I have become more happy and more positive. Life has become more enjoyable.

I know this work will be done and the Lord needs me to do any part I can. I believe this is a big part of my purpose and mission at this time in my life. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Incredible Miracle

A family that we know from our old ward recently experienced an incredible miracle. When we first got the news on facebook that something bad had happened and they needed everyone's prayers I felt so sad inside as this family truly is an amazingly sweet, genuine and compassionate family. I couldn't believe this was happening. I knelt down and began to pray right away and did so again and again throughout the day. When the miracle happened - there just weren't words to describe it.

Here is the powerful blog post that relays this entire experience they went through. It has strengthened my testimony of faith and prayer immensely and shows how wonderful God truly is. Enjoy!

http://www.davidandjuliann.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-miracle.html

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Do Mormons Believe in the Rapture?

I remember first hearing the term "rapture" in regards to being taken up into heaven, about four years ago. Though a common term and topic in mainstream Christianity it's foreign to most members of the LDS church. Though we don't use that term or theology, we know very clearly how it will play out here on Earth when Christ returns.

 Here is an online Q&A response that I thought offered a great explanation. I pasted it below:

If you asked a Mormon about the rapture, you might not get a clear answer.  The word, “rapture” isn’t part of our vocabulary in this context, and you won’t hear a lesson about it on Sunday.  As far as my research goes, there isn’t a consensus among other Christians concerning what the rapture is either, but the basic idea is that righteous individuals will experience Heavenly glory at an event where they encounter Christ.  And yes, we believe that will happen.

Do we believe in the popular idea that all or even some of the righteous souls on this earth will all be taken away permanently, leaving the rest behind?  No, this earth is God’s creation and He will not abandon it.  In fact, quite the opposite will occur, and the earth will be burned at His coming (Nahum 1:3-5).  This is a crucial part in returning the earth to a state like the Garden of Eden which is described by John as a “new heaven, and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1) and is symbolic of our personal conversion (Noah’s flood = Baptism.  Renewal of the earth by fire = Baptism by fire and spirit. John 3:5).  The righteous will be spared during this period and will live on the newly cleansed earth during the Millennium of Christ’s reign.  The righteous that will be spared will be the honest and just people of the earth, not members of any specific church.  This includes all people who are honest, chaste, and live according to their own level of light.

Prior to this renewal, God will be pouring as much light, truth and spirit onto the earth for our benefit.  This is to help all to endure what may be termed the “tribulation,” another word not found in our vocabulary in this context.  This coincides with our belief concerning the increasing wickedness and suffering that will exist before Second Coming of Christ.  With God’s help, it is and will continue to be possible to be happy in spite of what is happening around us.  And also because of God’s help, it is our responsibility to search out those in need of a caring heart.

The subject of the Second Coming is extremely complex in its details and yet very simple by nature.  One could focus intently on every sign, every prophecy and every scripture and still miss the very point of the matter, that is, that Christ is returning and we must be ready to receive Him.  Study the scriptures and the words of the prophets for yourself to learn about His gospel.

Here is another great response to this question: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_doctrine/Rapture_and_LDS_theology

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Modern Day Lehi

Here is a very inspiring story of a modern day Lehi. I came across this link on the woodzone blog and couldn't resist sharing. Hope you enjoy it!

http://thundervoiceeagle.weebly.com/painting.html

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Priestcraft in Our Day

It seems as of lately I have been hearing more and more about members of the church getting excommunicated for priestcraft. This seems to be happening more often and really concerned me. I was reminded of my favorite post on my blog - a talk from Elder Oaks cautioning us about how our strengths can become our downfall. Elder Oaks warns that those who have an amazing ability to write, speak and teach and who gather a large following because of their gifts, are at greatest risk for being tempted into priestcraft. From what I have seen - most who go down that road do not give up their "profession" (that they turned their gift into) in order to come back to the gospel. Here is a link to that post:

 http://allstandtall.blogspot.com/2012/07/life-changing-article.html

I am an author and a speaker and it's a humble reminder to me that when sharing my testimony about the gospel to others in hopes of uplifting and edifying them, I need to always do so without payment.  One of my books How to Date Your Spouse, is sold at Deseret Book but is not at all connected to the gospel. It's a fun book full of date ideas. I had never felt bad in the past for paid public speaking on the topic of dating your spouse - HOWEVER when I have been asked to speak in a church setting in which I knew I would bare my testimony about the importance of marriage and tie in gospel principles, I never felt good about accepting money and therefore spoke for free.

I think if you offer services of a spiritual nature and you advertise them to gain followers, customers, or fans of your work, you are on the slippery path to priestcraft. If it's your desire to edify and uplift others through Christ - do it on the down low. Prayerfully seek to be led to those you can help rather than advertising your name in lights so they will be led to you. Serving the Lord's sheep should never be about you. Remembering this will help you steer clear of being lured into the danger of priestcraft.

Also, it's important to not be a part of lifting others onto that pedestal of falling into priestcraft. Be careful with praise and becoming a follower of members who have special gifts. I think all too often when these members are excommunicated, they take a large number with them whether they mean to or not. People rely on their loyalty towards these members rather than loyalty to the Lord and his gospel. In the end, it's the saving ordinances that hold your salvation, not your loyalty to members of the church.

Satan is working hard to find these church members who have an amazing spirit and who are great leaders and teachers and he is tempting them into these positions. He knows that by doing so he can lead others away - even the very elect.

The Lord needs us to help build his kingdom. He has blessed us with gifts to do so. When serving on the earth in his ministry - the Lord never accepted payment. Let us strive to be more like him. Let us be charitable and help others for nothing other than the love of our fellow men.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Even Six

I found out a week ago that I am expecting a baby! We'll now have an even number in our family. I knew over the last year that another little baby needed to come and spent many months convincing my husband to try for another. Once he was on board it happened very quickly. In fact, in regards to my last post when I was in Germany I knew that I was expecting before I officially found out. The child's voice that I heard speaking to me from far away in the middle of the night, I knew was my next baby. It was such a tender and sweet moment that I will never forget. I'm so excited to see who this special little spirit is and how he/she will bless our family! I'm so grateful for forever families.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Voices From Beyond

While visiting my inlaws this week, I had an interesting experience in the middle of the night.

I don't know what time it was but I'm guessing around 3:30 A.M. I heard children's voices possibly even just one child. It was very happy and almost laughing and joyous. It sounded muffled so I couldn't make out what it was saying but at the same time it was so loud I could hear it in my room and it woke me up. There was an echo to each word said. All the kids were fast asleep and it lasted a good half hour or so. It was very interesting and made me happy. 

I  felt as though it was a voice of someone beyond the veil who loved me and was trying to say something to me. Maybe a child? It sounded far away as though it were coming from heaven but yet was so loud I could hear it in my room. I could hear it inside of me. It was the strangest thing.

The last time I visited four years ago, I had seen an appraition in the middle of the night go down the hallway. When I described what it looked like to my mother in law her eyes grew big and she believed it to be her father. What I described him wearing was what he had worn the day he passed away. She had always beleived that each night he visited her in her room to check on her and then made his way down the hall to tilt my son's picture on the wall to let her know he was there. Each morning the picture would be crooked and she would fix it. I saw him come through her bedroom door and down the hall towards my son's picture. She couldn't believe it.

We have always felt as though my husband's grandpa was a guardian angel to my son. When he was two years old he would tell us about a friend that visited him often who wore all white clothing. He said his name was Mykin. One day he saw a picture of Manuel's grandpa and said that was him. Manuel's grandpa is German and in German "Mein Kind" means "My child". I beleive that's what his "friend" probably said each time he greeted him and so Gabe called him "Mykin".One day this friend of his stopped visitng and we asked him why? He responded that his friend had to go back to work.

One day when Manuel's grandpa was slowly dying we visitied him at his home. He was lying in a hospital bed. Manuel and I were newly married and I didn't know his family too well yet. His grandpa was blind at that point and they said he was out of his mind. He heard my voice and asked for me. I thought that strange since he didn't speak any English and he didn't know me. Plus there were people he didn't remeber anymore. He took my hand, squoze it as hard as he could and wept like a baby. He was saying things in German and he kissed my hand. No one told me what he said, but I felt like he had seen beyond this world and he knew things. The rest of the family thought he had gone crazy, but I believe he prbably was visiting beyond the veil. He probably met our first born son who wouldn't be born until six years later. He knew things we didn't.

When I was pregnant with Gabe I remember one night feeling Manuel's grandpa's presence next to my bed and it was a very calm and loving feeling. I felt safe. I beleive he has always had a special stewardship over my son.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Miracles - Reminders from God

Just wanted to share a great experience I had earlier this month. Click below to read the story.

http://lindseyunedited.blogspot.com/2013/07/somewhere-over-rainbow.html

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When the Spirit Speaks

Last week I had a certain friend on my mind  for quite a few days. I hadn't talked to her in a while but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about her.

I happened to talk to her sister a few days later and during our small talk I asked her how her sister (my friend) was doing. She said she was doing great. That was good to hear but for some reason I still couldn't get her off of my mind. I didn't know why.

The very next day I woke up in the morning and pulled up my author blog. I was very shocked, confused and a bit embarrassed at the nameless post I found. I thought it was a prank. I had just spent the day before heavily promoting my author blog and this post was going to taint my professional reputation. A very personal post about someone's frustration with her husband and marriage was starring back at me. Whomever it was, was clearly in a state of depression and she spoke of unkind things about herself. It was very sad to read and I didn't know who had written it. At first I thought it was my friend who shares the blog with me. I reached out to her and she had no clue who had written it. Then I thought it was some kind of joke or that someone had hacked into our blog. I hurried and changed the password.

As the day wore on, I read through it again and noticed that this person stated the names of her children and their ages. As I thought about the names it finally clicked that this cry for help was from the very friend I had been thinking about all week - it was a match. She had posted this the night before - the day I was most concerned about her. But how did this post end up on my blog?

I realized instantly that it was the spirit who had sent her very words to me. The spirit wanted me to reach out to her but I wasn't putting any urgency into it as everything appeared to be okay. So, the spirit needed to show me exactly what was going on so that I would make it a priority and know how to help. I remembered that a week prior I had written her on facebook and asked her to troubleshoot a bug on my blog. She needed my username and password so she could take a look - she must have forgotten to log out.

Right away I went to go visit my friend and bring her a treat to cheer her up. I struggled about how I was going to share with her what had happened without making it awkward for her. She didn't answer the door so I left the treat on her porch and called her. She didn't answer the phone so I left her a message. Later she called me to thank me for the treat - I asked her how she was doing and she said she was fine. It was then I told her what had happened and that I knew.

My friend began to profusely apologize and said that it was an accident. She kept a private online journal and didn't realize she was still logged into my blog. Realizing that her private plea for help had been so very public really worried her. I assured her that I had taken it down early in the morning and I doubted anyone had seen it. I then told her it was a good thing because the spirit had been trying to tell me all week but I wasn't understanding - so this needed to happen. I told her that my heart ached for her and I wanted to help. She became emotional and in her tear filled voice told me that she had been suffering from depression and was having a very hard day that day (the day I asked her sister how she was doing). She thanked me for asking and being so willing to help - and though there was nothing she felt I could do for her at the moment at least she knew that I was aware and that her Heavenly Father was aware and that we both cared.

This was an amazing testimony builder for me that the spirit speaks to us often even when we think it's just our own thoughts and we brush them off.  I don't believe in coincidences and I believe that our thoughts are not always our own. When the spirit speaks we need to act and if we don't we might be missing out on a very important opportunity to help someone. If we are trying to act on a thought or prompting but we don't know how or we don't understand it, we can pray to know what to do. In my case the spirit needed to speak in a very loud way to get my attention. When the spirit speaks - heed the prompting. You may never know what resulted from your efforts or in my case you may have some intense revelation - either way you will be blessed and you will be blessing others.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Prayer and Protection


The other night my youngest daughter Cambrey woke up at 3:30 A.M screaming my name. I ran into her room to see what the matter was. It was the worst screaming I had ever heard, almost as if someone was trying to kidnap her.

I ran into the room, hit the light and she reached up for me. I asked her what the matter was and she replied, "A monster vampire was in my room." I asked where he was and she said that he came out of the closet and went back in when I came.

It's my job as a mom to believe what my children tell me and I believed her. What ever it was had terribly frightened her. These things always tend to happen at 3:30 A.M. from my personal experience. I believe that evil can manifest in real life and in dreams - either way, I knew this was real and I needed to do something.

I checked the closet just to make sure and then I asked her if we should say a prayer and she happily said, "yes". I asked her to say it and my two year old said the most amazing prayer I have ever heard her speak. She was wide awake, very alert and spoke very clearly. She prayed that she would be safe from the monster and protected. After the prayer was over she said I could go back to bed and I could turn out her light. Talk about faith.

She happily went right back to bed as did I, and everyone slept peacefully until morning.

I know that calling on the Lord in prayer and asking for protection, works. If we have the faith that our prayer will be answered - it will. My two year old can testify without a doubt that Heavenly Father listens and answers. I say this in Jesus' name amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My New Bestselling ebook!

Just had to put in a plug for my new book The Realm!It was just released as an ebook on Monday and is already a #2 bestseller in it's category! The reviews have been amazing so far. The best part is, it's FREE on Amazon until Friday the 12th!!

The Realm:Secrets Unlocked is a Young Adult series based on true events that happened within my family. Combined with the components of romance, paranormal activity and suspense  it's a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat after each chapter.

Here's the summary:

Meet Celeste Day, a beautiful college hopeful who may look like your average girl next door - but in her cozy New England town she’s been harboring a lifelong gift and deep secret that is about to be exposed. Being raised in a family where image is everything, her whole world is about to be turned upside down overnight as Celeste decides to take the summer off to "fix herself". When the good looking and mysterious “Ezra” moves to town things only get more complicated as Celeste is confronted by secrets from her past, unexplained phenomenon and dark paranormal forces beyond her control. Saving her reputation and proving her sanity is the least of her worries when she quickly learns she is a part of something much bigger than she could have ever imagined - something that will forever alter her future and change the world…and there is no turning back!

Written by best selling author Lindsey K. Rietzsch, this story is not your typical young adult paranormal romance. Based on true events, The Realm will take you on an incredible journey to another world that will forever change the way you think about life after death.


Click on the book cover below to get your free download. Please share with your friends and leave a review on Amazon. Thanks so much!!



Monday, June 24, 2013

Hastening the Work - My Own Little Journey

I attended the worldwide leadership training yesterday on "Hastening the Work". It was at the stake center and there were only enough there to fill the chapel. It was an invitation for all members to attend if they wanted to, but it seems like only those with leadership callings were there. I can never pass up a chance to hear the prophet and apostles speak - so I had to go.

Between the lessons in church and this broadcast, yesterday was very interesting indeed! There were so many "coincidences" that happened, it really seems as though the Lord was preparing me for this message. At the end of the day, I felt the overwhelming desire to be a missionary!

Here's the link to the broadcast below. There were so many beautiful stories shared and I received so much revelation as to what I need to be personally doing to help build the kingdom of God. What a powerful testimony that this work is real and the leaders of the church are truly called of God.

I'm so excited and I've already put together a plan of what I'm going to do to help out the Lord. Now that I've replaced all of my afternoon time with things that are more meaningful and eternal, I feel a huge sense of joy and purpose. I sense great things around the corner. Stay tuned as I'll be sharing my experiences with you :)


http://www.lds.org/church/news/members-and-missionaries-to-partner-in-work-of-salvation?CID=HPL2P01W01032&lang=eng

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Newest Project - How You Can Help

This is an exciting novel that I just finished writing - it's about good vs. evil. The story behind why I wrote it is almost as good as the story itself. I think this is a great way to get people interested in learning more about the reality of good vs. evil in our world and how it effects us in ways we could have never imagined. It's quite the eye opener for most people.

The best part is - it's based on real events that happened to my family and people I know. I plan for it to be a trilogy. With vampires, witchcraft, mythology and violence popularizing young adult fiction today - I am hoping this book will be a refreshing change!

You can click here to check it out - if you'd like to help me get this book published please share this link! Thanks so much!!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1301308256/the-realm-an-intense-fiction-novel-based-on-true-e


Monday, June 17, 2013

A Link I Reccommend

Here is a link I came across today to a Mormon Belief Wiki that covers a wealth of insight and information about Mormon beliefs. You can order FREE Bibles, Book of Mormons and DVDs. Check out the link and share! 

http://www.religionresourcesonline.org/religious-beliefs-wiki/mormon-beliefs/Mormon_Beliefs

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Success and Failure

For the last few months I have missed attending Relief Society on Sunday's due to baby blessings, family birthdays and getting asked to sub in primary. Finally, last Sunday was going to be a Sunday where I could attend - I was thrilled!

Then, I got asked to sub primary. Caught of guard I didn't know what else to say but - yes. It wasn't until a few minutes later I remembered that my mom was coming up to visit and she was going to spend the night and go to church with us - and I wanted to go to Relief Society with her. So, I went to my friend's house and apologized and let her know I wasn't going to be able to sub. She was very kind about it and I felt a sense of guilt (like I was being selfish) and had to remind myself that I sub every month and it was okay to let someone else have the opportunity to sub. I really felt like I was supposed to go to RS on Sunday and I couldn't ignore that feeling.

Now I know why I was supposed to go. It was lesson written just for me! When the lesson began, our teacher wrote the words "success" and "failure" on the board. She then asked if anyone wanted to share an experience they have had with success or failure. The first thing that came to my mind was."Well, I wrote an entire book about this - which experience should I share?"

Then the RS president who is also my neighbor said, "Did you know that Lindsey wrote a book called Successful Failures? I'm so glad I read it because it helped me to understand why certain things happened in my life the way that they did and learning to seek the will of the Lord."

The teacher didn't know about my book, but I felt a little sheepish because lately I sure could use my own advice. You see, lately I have struggled as I see things that I have no control over (but I have invested so much blood, sweat and tears into) never reach fruition. It's hard not to feel like a failure. It's hard not feel frustrated especially when I have entrusted those projects into other people's hands, and I no longer have much of a say. It's hard when other people are relying on me and those projects to be successful so that it can bless them (as they too have invested so much blood, sweat and tears into my projects). It's hard when I know that the Spirit prompted me to take on those projects and led me to those people to involve them and things just are working out how I hoped. It's really hard to chew on.

I try my best to look for the good, remain positive and remember everything I wrote in my book. Sometimes though, I feel like I need to hear an answer from God Himself in order to feel better. That's what happened with this lesson.

The first quote from the lesson (the Lorenzo Snow Manual) that stood out was, "when we seek God's will, we follow a course in which there will be no failure". Yes, our vision of failure is much different than God's. If I have been following the promptings of the Spirit and seeking God's will, how can I be frustrated? If I have become frustrated than it's because I have been seeking my own will.

I think sometimes, I just hope and assume that God's will and my will are the same. Because my desires are righteous, our wills should be the same - right? How easily we forget that God knows everything, he sees the big picture and everything that we can't see or understand.

My mom told me that I still need to be positive and have faith that the things that I ask for will come to pass - because without faith that God will answer my prayers, He can't answer them. At first that seemed to contradict itself. If I am having faith that he will grant my will - well, what about His will? What if they are not the same? I truly believe that I need to put my faith in His will. I can still ask for things but at the same time put my faith in Him, that however He chooses to answer my prayers is okay with me because I trust His will. So, rather than putting my faith in the things that I want and that they will happen the way I want them to, I need to put my faith in God that he hears my prayers and will give me what's best for me on His timetable.

This lesson helped remind me that if I seek to build the kingdom in EVERYTHING I do, His will and mine will be come more closely aligned. Another quote I enjoyed was, "As we obey God's will, He gives us power to succeed in His work."

Yes, this lesson was exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes we know things inside and out but we just need gentle reminders along the way. We are human and we get forgetful.

I know that God has a wonderful plan for all of us, and if we seek to know what it is and we ask for guidance, we will see
success happen in our lives. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Update on the Prayer Experiment

My sister issued me a challenge earlier this month and said that in addition to my morning and evening prayers, I needed to talk to Heavenly Father during the day asking for specific things. I told her that I always felt bad for some reason, asking for things. So, for a long time I never asked for much other than to be protected and kept safe and for other people. I found that my prayers were always gratitude prayers - telling him everything I'm thankful for.

My sister gave me a wake up call when she said, "No, he wants you to ask for things so he can give them to you." I thought to myself how right she was. He wants to show us daily how wonderful and loving he is, he wants us to ask for things so he can demonstrate that he is God and he makes everything possible in our lives and that we are dependent upon him. Wow!

For a time I would tell myself that if something is God's will for me, he will make it happen. I don't need to ask for it because I don't want him to think I am greedy or selfish. He knows my goals and desires and I will just keep doing the best I can and just show him I'm grateful.

Well, I began to notice that though nothing bad was happening in my life, nothing amazing was happening either. Everything was at a standstill. Sure I was healthy and we had the things we needed so each day I thanked him for that. But life wasn't progressing. Business was at a standstill, my goals weren't going anywhere even though I spent a lot of time working on them. I wasn't having amazing spiritual experiences but I was going to the temple and doing all the things I was supposed to be. It felt very blah.

So, when my sister gave me this challenge I was so excited to try it out. She told me about her experiences and that each time she knelt down to ask for one specific thing, it happened within 24 hours or sooner. She then said that as soon as you recognize your prayer has been answered, you need to kneel down immediately and thank him. By doing this each day - your life will change and your testimony will grow.

So right after I got off the phone with her, I knelt down and gave it a try. My first prayer was on 5/16/13 and I recorded it in my prayer and gratitude journal. I keep track of my prayers that way I recognize when they are answered. So, I decided to keep it simple and I prayed that I would sell a book. I have a book distributor who sells my books and pays me royalties but I also have my own online bookstore where I sell my books. I haven't sold a paperback copy on there since fall of 2012.

Right after I ended my prayer the phone rang. It was my neighbor. She said, "Lindsey I was wondering if I could buy a book from you for my daughter's birthday" I couldn't believe it - I was smiling from ear to ear. That just goes to show that Heavenly Father is waiting to bless us but we just have to ask. I felt that he was just as excited to answer my prayer and show me how wonderful he is, as I was to have had it answered so quickly.

I called my sister back and said, "I'm ready to report on the challenge" she said "What?" and I told her how my first prayer had just been answered - that quick. She said, well now you need to kneel and thank him. So I got off the phone and that's what I did.

My neighbor who called me told me that the spirit had prompted her to mention some other things that I may have been in need of hearing. How right she was. There was something that had been stressing me out and she gave me the advice I needed to hear without even knowing about that issue. I felt that was a bonus tender mercy from the Lord to show me how much he cares.

My next prayer was about my song. I recorded a song last year, that I felt prompted to write and record but haven't known what to do with it since. I always thought, if it's the Lord's will he will make something come of it. So, I prayed that I could be given an opportunity to share my song with more people.

Later that day, I was cleaning out my spam email and I something caught my eye. I almost deleted it but something told me to open it - so I did. It was an email from a newer company called radioairplay.com and it was telling me that I could upload my song to their website and it would be heard on online radio stations around the world. So, I went to the website and saw that I had 150 free credits to start with. That meant my song would play 150 times for free. I was excited! During the week it showed me where my song was being played and who was listening. People became fans of my song and began to share it. It was amazing. God had again answered my prayer and I thanked him.

Later on, I took on a project of transferring my old family videos to the computer. I ran into several obstacles. The technology was so outdated that it wasn't compatible with any of my computers. So, on 5/22/13 I prayed that I could find a solution that day of what I would need to do. I then went to facebook and posted my technical issue. Later that night someone from my ward told me that there was a certain cable I would need, that apparently hasn't been in production for the last 5 years. She happened to have one and let me borrow it. It worked! Then it turned out the software was no longer compatible with the camera and I needed an old software from 2005. I happened to have the old software on an old tower but couldn't hook it up to my newer monitor. This same friend's husband emailed me a picture of the cord I would need to do this and by a miracle I found it hidden in a box in my house. I was so happy, I thanked the Lord!

The next day that old computer tower broke! I prayed that it would be a simple fix so I wouldn't have to spend any money repairing it. I took it in and they blew it out all the dust and suddenly the fan was working again and the tower no longer overheated - it was fixed!

So, in summary - I can personally testify that when we ask for something very specific the Lord answers. I have prayed for small and simple things but nothing is impossible for the Lord. I challenge you to try it as well. Pray for simple things that are important to you and see what happens - always pray for the bigger things as well - but sometimes those things take time. Praying for small and simple things isn't frivolous to the Lord and he is happy to bless you with those things.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Prayer Experiment

My sister gave me some wonderful advice the day that I wrote the last post. It was almost like a challenge that I turned into an experiment. She said to get started on it right away and I would get instant results. So, I figured it couldn't hurt - I took her advice and within a minute's time I got results!

I've decided to log my experience and report back as soon as my experiment has ended. I can't wait to share with you - because it will only make your life so much better.

That same day I felt that I should revisit my goals and dreams - working on the current ones and setting new ones. After all, the more we are willing to do the more the Lord can use us. The more we use our talents and gifts, the more he blesses us. I've realized that going after righteous goals and dreams with the mindset that I have another 100 years left of a great life to look forward to on this Earth has been making all the difference!

I started up some new goals today and I can see that the small efforts I have made have already been making a difference throughout the world - just over night. It's exciting what this amazing internet can do for you when you decide to use it to reach out and touch other people. Life feels good!

Now if I could just help my kids do the same! ;)



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Fears, Worries and Testimony

My goal with this blog is to be an example of how to stand tall in a chaotic world. I do my best to be a great example and to do all I can to help build your testimony and strengthen your faith - but today I have to admit (with your permission) I'd like to turn the tables (just for today) and instead of providing strength, I'm asking for it.  

Life is sure getting crazy and sometimes unpredictable. I have to say that over the last six months it's been more difficult to find the joy. Being positive and smiling comes natural to me - it's what I've always been good at doing. Finding the rainbow in every storm and turning lemons into lemonade is the only thing I know how to do well. However, I've noticed a change over the last six months. It seems that the darkening world around us sure knows how to interfere with my happy vibes.

You see, even a few years ago it felt like there was always "more time" so I was able to plan fun goals, exciting projects and see some of my dreams come true. Now, it feels like there are just a few sands left in the hour glass and I need to spend that time as wisely as possible. Like most of you, I feel the major events of the last days lurking nearby. In fact I feel surrounded by them which has put a stop to me chasing my dreams. Just trying to deal with reality can be pretty exhausting.

Dreaming and goal setting have always been the wheels to my positive drive. But I've come to a point where it seems pointless to plan a future trip to Disney Land or work on my three novel series that I would like to see turned into a movie, when it's seeming very likely that world chaos will put a stop to all of that. Every moment that I spend time writing my book I wonder, "Is this a waste of my time? Should I be doing genealogy or scripture study instead?" I wonder, "Will it even get published if society breaks down by the end of the year?" But then I feel good about writing it, because it has a powerful and good message, so I continue on.

I know we are supposed to go on with life and live each day to the fullest and not hide away from the world in fear, but deep down it constantly crosses my mind that all of these things I want to do won't be accomplished - there just isn't enough time.

That's where faith comes in and that's what keeps me going. For example, I really want to have another child (as if three isn't enough). My husband does not and I've been trying to convince him for a long time to change his mind. I've prayed about it, fasted, gone to the temple etc. but so far he hasn't budged. The answer I get from the Lord is "Whatever you decide is fine with me"

Part of me worries that this is the wrong time to be having another child with earthquakes, plagues and war on the horizon. I mean, there might not even be a functioning hospital by the time the baby would arrive. I'm RH negative and I would need a gamma globulin shot in the third trimester or the baby and I could die. My food storage isn't equipped with formula and diapers because of the ages of my kids. So trying to have a fourth baby really stirs anxiety right now. But then at the same time I realize it's a righteous desire and it would be a great opportunity for me to exercise faith in the Lord and cast my fears away.

That's just one example on the list of the many things I worry about. It's very difficult to make plans for the future when you feel like there is not much future left. All I know is that's why it's so important to live by the Spirit. The Spirit will tell us when things are right for us and will be our guide in this scary world we live in, but we need not fear when we have faith in the Lord and a relationship with him. That's what I continue to tell myself each day as I struggle with finding the old joys and excitements that used to be much more abundant.

I know that I am where I'm supposed to be because the Lord led me and my husband here a year ago through miraculous means. I have worried about where I live because many have had visions and dreams about a nuclear bomb going off about 15 miles away from my house in the near future, but at the same time the Lord tells me that I am supposed to be here. I can't argue with that and I really shouldn't have fear if I trust in him.

 We are planning a trip to Germany to see my in-laws and it's during a time that many have speculated will be when the economy collapses and the earthquakes and plagues will come etc. but as much as I tried to plan it earlier in the year it just wouldn't happen - so again I remind myself that everything happens for a reason and I just need to trust the Lord.

For me I think the reason I struggle is because I'm used to having control over most things in my life, but for some reason everything going on in my life right now, I have little to no control over it. That scares me and for the first time ever I've been having anxiety and panic attacks. It's been an eye opening lesson to learn that maybe all of this is happening to help me hand all control over to the Lord and realize that the only thing I really have control over is my attitude and my testimony/faith.

In conclusion, I guess the moral of my story is - if we let fear consume us then it's a lose/lose situation. If we are willing to trust in the Lord then he can remove that fear and bring us the peace we desire. I know the answer to all of this, I mean I wrote a book and a song about it (my music video up above) but I guess because I'm human, every now and then I need some reminding.

I love the Savior and I sure can't wait to see him again. I know that God has a plan for each of us and if we are willing to trust him we will see some beautiful and amazing things come to pass in our own lives. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

An Atheist's Witness of Jesus Christ

You know me, I love to read about dreams, visions and out of body experiences. I came across this one last night on The Wood Zone blog. It's so beautiful and I love that the man who experienced it was an atheist.

It's another confirmation to me of how amazing our Father in Heaven and his Son really are!

Enjoy!

http://woodyoubelieveit.blogspot.com/2013/05/another-witness-that-2013-holds-some.html

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mummies, Ancient Papyrus and a Mysterious Record

I think this is an amazing story! God works in mysterious ways - in that these ancient records buried in Egypt made their way to Ohio into the hands of the prophet Joseph Smith who knew nothing about them until he received them - and discovered they were the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus. It's a record of the life of the patriarch Abraham and a description of the creation of the world similar to that in Genesis and the Book of Moses.This book is a part of the Pearl of Great Price.

So here's the story behind this amazing discovery:

File:Vignette1.jpg
In the late 1820s an Italian explorer named Antonio Lebolo obtained eleven mummies from an ancient tomb in Egypt. When Lebolo died the mummies were shipped to the United States. A man named Michael Chandler came into possession of the mummies (through inheritance) in 1833. He opened the coffins and was disappointed not to find jewels or valuable treasures. Instead he found attached to some of the bodies of the mummies, linen cloths containing rolls of papyrus. These papyrus rolls had Egyptian writing on them. Mr. Chandler took the rolls to Pennsylvania, in search of someone who could translate the writings, but even the most educated of these men were only able to understand a little of the writings.

File:Joseph Smith Papyrus IV.jpgMr. Chandler decided to travel around the country showing people the mummies, and in the summer of 1835 he came to Kirtland, Ohio. He was told that Joseph Smith, had the ability to interpret the writings. Joseph Smith had already translated the Egyptian writings of the Book of Mormon. Later some friends of the Prophet bought four mummies and the rolls of papyrus from Mr. Chandler. Joseph Smith studied the letters and grammar of the Egyptian language, and then, with the help of the Holy Ghost, he translated the writings on the papyrus rolls. The writings Joseph Smith translated tell about the ancient prophet Abraham and are now published as the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. This was quite exciting!

Michael Chandler sold the mummies, until four remained and he sold them to the Church in Kirtland.
Two of the four mummies and some papyri were later sold to the St. Louis museum in 1856. In 1863 these two mummies and some records were sold to the Wood's Museum in Chicago. The most common version of the story is that the two mummies and the records were burned in the Chicago fire in 1871. The other two mummies that Combs purchased, and possibly some records, haven't been located yet.

I know that Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are all works of God brought fourth in our modern day to help us learn the fullness of the gospel so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven and his son. They are powerful books that have changed and blessed many lives. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen. 
















http://emp.byui.edu/openshawr/Class%20Articles/The%20Mormon%20Mummies%20and%20Papyri%20in%20OhioH.htm

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=d20ba41f6cc20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=198bf4b13819d110VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=105&chapid=1173

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith_Papyri

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When You See That Cloud of Gloom.....

Yesterday was a very rough day for me. It seemed like everyone in the universe was letting me down. I don't know if it was the way the stars were aligned or what, but I've never had a day where I received so much bad news.

Phone call after phone call including emails and texts; I seemed to get a message every hour from someone (all in relation to completely different subjects) about something that they had dropped the ball on big time.

By 6:00 pm I felt an anxiety attack coming on and I couldn't take it anymore. My whole world seemed to be caving in, out of whack, in complete chaos - I had no control. Finally, my husband suggested I call a certain person to address some of these issues with. I didn't want to burden that person plus it was dinner time. But then I felt a loud voice in my head urging me to call this person now. It needed to be loud to compete with all the negative thoughts that were pulsating through my mind.

It turned out that this person had been receiving promptings from the spirit to talk to me about these very issues and she was so glad that I called her. She said if I'd have waited to call her it may have been too late for some things, so she was glad I called her when I did.

It was such a weight off my shoulder to release some of these issues and hand them over to her. But then...there were still all the other unrelated items of the day that I was struggling with. Suddenly, something unexpected happened. I began to get calls, emails and texts (all unrelated) from other people telling me WONDERFUL news - all the way until 10:00 pm. I went from hopelssness to euphoria in just one hour. Talk about exhausting!

I finally realized the Lord in his goodness was sending me tender mercies to help me avoid my breaking point. I have never seen anything like it.

The thought that came to mind was sometimes the Lord just needs us to endure as long as we can and if we endure as best we can, he will rescue us and reward us.

I felt bad for allowing the cloud of doom to follow me around yesterday - if I'd have known how the day was going to end, I would have dismissed it all. But that's the beauty of it! Not knowing what's around the corner and just trusting that the Lord is aware of us and what we are going through - when the timing is right he will rescue us.

Whatever struggles you are going through right now- hang in there! Trust me, you'll see :)

The Lord loves you and he needs you to exercise trust and faith in him before he can show you the awesome part! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Connections of Mormon/LDS Church to Christ's Original Church

Last week in Sunday school, our instructor shared bits and pieces from this article in this month's issue of the Ensign. It is phenomenal! It explains how many of the teachings, practices and doctrines on our (LDS/Mormon) church were also practiced and taught by early Christian churches as well as Christ's original church which we believe to have been restored in our time. It's a great article. Here's the link, where you can see more and read in other languages. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/04/the-restoration-and-early-christian-teachings?lang=eng



The Restoration and Early Christian Teachings


Historical research shows that truths revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith were taught by early Christians.
From the day the Prophet Joseph Smith received the gold plates in 1827 until his martyrdom in 1844, the floodgates of revelation were opened as he restored scripture, doctrines, and priesthood authority. The Restoration not only reestablished the original Church of Jesus Christ but also reestablished teachings that had been lost.

Many teachings and practices that distinguish Latter-day Saints from other modern Christians are now known to have been believed and practiced by the early Christians as well. Here are a few of them.

 

Our Premortal Life

Though the doctrine of premortal life is hinted at in the Bible (see Jeremiah 1:5), many Christian theologians before Joseph Smith had taught that humans and their spirits are created from nothing. The book of Abraham reveals that we had a premortal life with our heavenly family and that we chose the plan of salvation presented by our Heavenly Father (see Abraham 3:22–23).

We now know that this doctrine of premortal life was also accepted by many Jews and Christians around the time of Christ. According to one Jewish scholar, Jews in the first few centuries after Christ believed that the soul existed in a heavenly “spiritual reservoir”1 before being placed into a body, as evidenced by the Apocrypha’s reference to spirits waiting in “chambers of souls”2 before birth. The pseudepigraphical book of Enoch, which some Jews and early Christians considered scripture, taught that “all the souls of the children of man have been before they came down to the world.”3

 

Salvation for the Dead


Though some Christian denominations disagree with each other regarding the necessity of ordinances and works, they all agree that in order to be saved, we must accept Christ and make His sacrifice fully effective in our lives, acknowledging His divinity and the wonderful gift He gave us. However, since the days of Adam, only a small fraction of God’s children have ever had the opportunity to hear the gospel, much less accept it.

Thanks to modern revelation, we know that ordinances necessary for individual salvation can be performed by proxy for those who didn’t have the chance to receive them while in mortality. A loving and just God allows all His children the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel and its necessary ordinances.

Baptism for the dead is mentioned in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:29), as is the fact that the Savior delivered the gospel to those in spirit prison (see 1 Peter 3:18–19; 4:6), but before Joseph Smith’s day most Christian theologians taught that these passages were simply anomalies or ambiguities that didn’t really describe early Christian practices and beliefs. More recently, however, non-LDS scholars have written about ancient Christian traditions describing Christ’s preaching to the dead in the spirit world and having taught that baptism was the key to their release.

Some of these early traditions suggest that just as John the Baptist’s birth preceded the birth of the Savior so that he could herald Jesus’s ministry, so likewise John was killed before the Crucifixion to herald Jesus’s coming in the spirit world.4

Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian writer of the late second to early third century, said that “Christ went down to Hades [the spirit world] for no other purpose than to preach the gospel.”5 Clement claimed that Christ not only “visited” and “preached” to the dead but “baptized the just men of old, both gentiles and Jews, not only those who lived before the coming of the Lord, but also those who were before the coming of the Law.”6

Some non-LDS scholars now recognize that baptism for the dead was an authentic ancient Christian practice. One historian reports that in the early Christian Church “the necessity of Baptism is such that the Apostles and teachers … who preached the Gospel had to go down to limbo, there to teach and baptize the just already dead.”7

 

Degrees of Glory

While Christian teaching had traditionally maintained that the dead go either to heaven or hell, Joseph Smith learned that there are many degrees of glory in the hereafter. Jesus once taught in a parable that we will reap what we sow and that some will bring forth fruit “an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold” (Matthew 13:8). Irenaeus, an early Christian writer of the late second century, explained this passage to mean that there will be varying degrees of reward in the hereafter:

“Then those who are deemed worthy of abode in heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of paradise, and others shall possess the splendour of the city. … There is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundred-fold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold: … it was on this account the Lord declared, ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions’ [John 14:2; see also D&C 98:18]. For all things belong to God, who supplies all with a suitable dwelling-place.”8

 

Heirs to the Father

Latter-day Saints believe that our Heavenly Father wants us to inherit all that He has so that we can become like Him and His Son. The Epistle to the Hebrews taught that Jesus is “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). Paul taught that the righteous will become “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and Peter taught that they would be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
Many early Christians believed that the righteous could become like the Father. Irenaeus wrote that Jesus Christ became “what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.”9

Clement of Alexandria wrote that Jesus became man so that we may “learn from man how man may become God” and explained that because the righteous will become so “near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Saviour.”10
Even as late as the third century, Hippolytus, bishop of Portus, explained that the righteous will become “a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved with lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God.”11

The early Christian writings on deification are so extensive that non-LDS scholar G. L. Prestige stated that the early Christian Church “taught that the destiny of man was to become like God, and even to become deified.”12

 

Conclusion

These and other authentic ancient Christian teachings were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith because he sought the Lord in study and prayer. From Joseph Smith’s First Vision—which came after he read James 1:5—we find that many of the Prophet’s revelations were precipitated by his hunger for scripture study and asking Heavenly Father for divine insight. Teachings which had been lost after the demise of the early Apostles were once again given to the Saints of Christ’s restored Church.

Thanks to the restoration of these lost teachings, we rejoice with the early Christian Saints in the knowledge that we once lived a premortal life with our Heavenly Father. We know that God is merciful and loves all humankind and has established a plan so that every one of His children will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and receive the ordinances of salvation—even if they never had the chance while in mortality. We also learn that Heavenly Father expects us to participate in the work of bringing salvation to those who died without hearing the good news.

With our early Christian brothers and sisters, we can rejoice in the knowledge that Heavenly Father is just as well as merciful and offers different degrees of glory according to our faithfulness and willingness to follow His Son. Lastly, and most importantly, we learn that we really are God’s sons and daughters and that He wants us not only to become like Him but also to share in his glory and become partakers of His divine nature.

In the more than a century and a half since the days of Joseph Smith, scholarly studies have buttressed the claim that the Prophet restored doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the meridian of time. The eternal truth of these teachings, however, can be confirmed only by the Spirit. Only by aligning ourselves with God can these teachings bless our lives, help draw us closer to the Father, and eventually lead us back to our heavenly home.
Michael R. Ash lives in Utah, USA.

 

Answering Questions

Why was a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ needed?
A general falling away from the truth occurred after the death of Christ’s Apostles. This is called the Apostasy (see Amos 8:11–12; Acts 20:29–30; 2 Timothy 4:3).
After the Apostles and many righteous Church members were killed and other members departed from the truth, the Lord took the priesthood authority and His Church from the earth. Without God’s priesthood authority, the Church no longer functioned as Christ had established it. The ordinances were changed, and many plain and simple truths were lost. While many good people and some truth remained, the original Church was lost.

The Apostle Peter prophesied of the “restitution of all things” before Christ’s Second Coming (see Acts 3:19–21). Having been lost because of the Apostasy, Christ’s Church and His authority were to be restored to the earth.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. In subsequent years, Christ restored His priesthood and reorganized His Church. He has continued to reveal truths to His prophets and to restore the blessings that were taken from the earth for a time. (See Restoration in FAQ on Mormon.org.)