Sunday, October 25, 2009


I spent a couple of weeks studying the topic of Temples. Here are some of the things that I learned or relearned.

Temples (from gospel topics at
Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children.
Temples are places of learning. Their principal purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Church—the meetings and activities, the missionary efforts, the lessons taught and the hymns—all lead to the work done in holy temples.
One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means "gift," and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants to live righteously and follow the requirements of the gospel. The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.
Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage. In this ordinance husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.
Children born to parents who have been sealed in the temple are born in the covenant. These children automatically become part of an eternal family. Children who are not born in the covenant can also become part of an eternal family once their natural or adoptive parents have been sealed to one another. The ordinance of sealing children to parents is performed in the temple.
People who have died without these essential gospel ordinances may receive those ordinances through the work done in temples. Acting in behalf of ancestors and others who have died, Church members are baptized and confirmed, receive the endowment, and participate in the sealings of husband to wife and children to parents.
Those who enter the temple must be worthy, which means that they keep the commandments and are prepared to make and keep sacred temple covenants. In two interviews—one with a member of a bishopric or a branch president and another with a member of a stake presidency or a mission president—Church members certify their worthiness to enter the temple. In these interviews, the priesthood leader asks about the individual's personal conduct and worthiness. Those who are worthy receive a temple recommend, which allows them to enter the temple.
In addition to being a place where sacred priesthood ordinances are performed, the temple is a place of peace and revelation. It is a place where spiritual guidance can be received for crucial decisions or concerns.
The Lord blesses those who attend to the sacred ordinance work in the temple. And the blessings He gives will not be limited to the time spent in the temple. Those who do temple work will be blessed in all aspects of their lives. Their labors in the temple will strengthen them and refine them spiritually.
Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings - Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Ensign, May 2001, 32–35

As temples are prepared for our members, our members need to prepare for the temple.
In preparing to receive the endowment and other ordinances of the temple, we should understand the sealing authority of the priesthood. Jesus referred to this authority long ago when He taught His Apostles, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” That same authority has been restored in these latter days. Just as priesthood is eternal—without beginning or end—so is the effect of priesthood ordinances that bind families together forever.
Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man. Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven—the kind of life that God lives.
Preparation also includes qualification for a temple recommend. Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house. Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well. Each person applying for a recommend will be interviewed by a judge in Israel—the bishop—and by a stake president. They hold keys of priesthood authority and the responsibility to help us know when our preparation and timing are appropriate to enter the temple. Their interviews will assess several vital issues. They will ask if we obey the law of tithing, if we keep the Word of Wisdom, and if we sustain the authorities of the Church. They will ask if we are honest, if we are morally clean, and if we honor the power of procreation as a sacred trust from our Creator.
Why are these issues so crucial? Because they are spiritual separators. They help to determine if we truly live as children of the covenant, able to resist temptation from servants of sin. These interviews help to discern if we are willing to live in accord with the will of the true and living God or if our hearts are still set “upon riches and … vain things of the world.”
Such requirements are not difficult to understand. Because the temple is the house of the Lord, standards for admission are set by Him. One enters as His guest. To hold a temple recommend is a priceless privilege and a tangible sign of obedience to God and His prophets.
One prepares physically for the temple by dressing properly. It is not a place for casual attire. “We should dress in such a way that we might comfortably attend a sacrament meeting or a gathering that is proper and dignified.”
Within the temple, all are dressed in spotless white to remind us that God is to have a pure people. Nationality, language, or position in the Church are of secondary significance. In that democracy of dress, all sit side by side and are considered equal in the eyes of our Maker.
Brides and grooms enter the temple to be married for time and all eternity. There brides wear white dresses—long sleeved, modest in design and fabric, and free of elaborate ornamentation. Grooms also dress in white. And brethren who come to witness weddings do not wear tuxedos.
Wearing the temple garment has deep symbolic significance. It represents a continuing commitment. Just as the Savior exemplified the need to endure to the end, we wear the garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God. Thus we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us.
In addition to physical preparation, we prepare spiritually. Because the ordinances and covenants of the temple are sacred, we are under solemn obligation not to speak outside the temple of that which occurs in the temple. There are, however, some principles we can discuss.
Each temple is a house of learning. There we are taught in the Master’s way. His way differs from modes of others. His way is ancient and rich with symbolism. We can learn much by pondering the reality for which each symbol stands. Teachings of the temple are beautifully simple and simply beautiful. They are understood by the humble, yet they can excite the intellect of the brightest minds.
Spiritual preparation is enhanced by study. I like to recommend that members going to the temple for the first time read short explanatory paragraphs in the Bible Dictionary, listed under seven topics: “Anoint,” Atonement,” “Christ,” “Covenant,” “Fall of Adam,” “Sacrifices,” and “Temple.” Doing so will provide a firm foundation.
One may also read in the Old Testament and the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. Such a review of ancient scripture is even more enlightening after one is familiar with the temple endowment. Those books underscore the antiquity of temple work.
With each ordinance is a covenant—a promise. A covenant made with God is not restrictive, but protective. Such a concept is not new. For example, if our water supply is not clean, we filter the water to screen out harmful ingredients. Divine covenants help us to filter out of our minds impurities that could harm us. When we choose to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, we lose nothing of value and gain the glory of eternal life. Covenants do not hold us down; they elevate us beyond the limits of our own power and perspective.
A Temple-Motivated People - Pre. Howard W. Hunter Ensign, Feb 1995, 2
Yet there are many members of the Church who have only limited access to the temples. They do the best they can. They pursue family history research and have the temple ordinance work done by others. Conversely, there are some members who engage in temple work but fail to do family history research on their own family lines. Although they perform a divine service in assisting others, they lose a blessing by not seeking their own kindred dead as divinely directed by latter-day prophets.
I recall an experience of a few years ago that is analogous to this condition. At the close of a fast and testimony meeting, the bishop remarked, “We have had a spiritual experience today listening to the testimonies borne by each other. This is because we have come fasting according to the law of the Lord. But let us never forget that the law consists of two parts: that we fast by abstaining from food and drink and that we contribute what we have thereby saved to the bishop’s storehouse for the benefit of those who are less fortunate.” Then he added: “I hope no one of us will leave today with only half a blessing.”
I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.
Furthermore, the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names and then go into the temples to officiate in their behalf, that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world. All of us should find joy in this magnificent labor of love.
What a glorious thing it is for us to have the privilege of going to the temple for our own blessings. Then after going to the temple for our own blessings, what a glorious privilege to do the work for those who have gone on before us. This aspect of temple work is an unselfish work. Yet whenever we do temple work for other people, there is a blessing that comes back to us. Thus it should be no surprise to us that the Lord does desire that his people be a temple-motivated people. I repeat what I have said before: It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of—and to carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.
Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. We should hasten to the temple as frequently, yet prudently, as our personal circumstances allow. We should go not only for our kindred dead but also for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that are within those hallowed and consecrated walls. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.
Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing. Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call. Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife.
All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them. I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants. As the prophets have said, the temple is a place of beauty; it is a place of revelation; it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It must be holy and important to us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Atonement of Jesus Christ

I have studied the Atonement of Jesus Christ for several weeks now. Here are some things I have learned on the subject.

President Faust said, “... I wish to speak about the greatest event in all history. That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet it is the most difficult to understand. My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. 1 Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. 2 All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt.”

As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

As descendants of Adam and Eve, all people inherit the effects of the Fall. In our fallen state, we are subject to opposition and temptation. When we give in to temptation, we are alienated from God, and if we continue in sin, we experience spiritual death, being separated from His presence. We are all subject to temporal death, which is the death of the physical body.

The only way for us to be saved is for someone else to rescue us. We need someone who can satisfy the demands of justice—standing in our place to assume the burden of the Fall and to pay the price for our sins. Jesus Christ has always been the only one capable of making such a sacrifice.

From before the Creation of the earth, the Savior has been our only hope for “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).

Only He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. From His mortal mother, Mary, He inherited the ability to die. From His immortal Father, He inherited the power to overcome death. He declared, As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26).

Only He could redeem us from our sins. God the Father gave Him this power. The Savior was able to receive this power and carry out the Atonement because He kept Himself free from sin: “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Having lived a perfect, sinless life, He was free from the demands of justice. Because He had the power of redemption and because He had no debt to justice, he could pay the debt for those who repent.

Jesus’ atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. In Gethsemane He submitted to the will of the Father and began to take upon Himself the sins of all people. He has revealed some of what He experienced as He paid the price of our sins”

“I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink he bitter cup, and shrink—

“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19: 16-19)

The Savior continued to suffer for our sins when He allowed Himself to be crucified—“lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:33).

On the cross, He allowed Himself to die. His body was then laid in a tomb until He was resurrected and became ‘the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Through His death and Resurrection, He overcame physical death for us all.

Jesus Christ redeems all people from the effects of the Fall. All people who have ever lived on the earth and who ever will live on the earth will be resurrected and brought back into the presence of God to be judged. Through the Savior’s gift of mercy and redeeming grace, we will all receive the gift of immortality and live forever in glorified, resurrected bodies.

Although we are redeemed unconditionally from the universal effects of the Fall, we are accountable for our own sins. But we can be forgiven and cleansed from the stain of sin if we “apply the atoning blood of Christ” (Mosiah 4:2). We must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, 9

"His rising from death on the third day crowned the Atonement. Again, in some way incomprehensible to us, the effects of his resurrection pass upon all men so that all shall rise from the grave.

As Adam brought death, so Christ brought life; as Adam is the father of mortality, so Christ is the father of immortality.

And without both, mortality and immortality, man cannot work out his salvation and ascend to those heights beyond the skies where gods and angels dwell forever in eternal glory.

Now, the atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.

Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.

But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.

We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.
We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.

As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state—without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences.

We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall.

We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth.

Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin.
Then in Gethsemane we will see the Son of God ransom man from the temporal and spiritual death that came to us because of the Fall.

And finally, before an empty tomb, we will come to know that Christ our Lord has burst the bands of death and stands forever triumphant over the grave.
Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.

If there had been no fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no atonement of Christ, by which cometh life.

And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

Spencer J. Condie, “The Fall and Infinite Atonement,” Ensign, Jan 1996, 22

"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

Let us briefly review the remarkably clear teachings of the Book of Mormon regarding the relationship between the fall of man and the Savior’s infinite atonement.

The Fall
Inspired Book of Mormon prophets repeatedly teach us that the Fall was a necessary and foreseen part of the great plan of happiness and that “the way [to salvation] is prepared from the fall of man” (2 Ne. 2:4; see also Mosiah 4:7). Far from being a great disappointment and disgrace to their Heavenly Father, Adam and Eve were his instruments to further the divine plan “which was prepared from the foundation of the world” (Mosiah 15:19). Indeed, Father Lehi taught his son Jacob that “if Adam [and Eve] had not transgressed [they] would not have fallen, but [they] would have remained in the garden of Eden. …

“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Ne. 2:22–23; see also Alma 12:22–24).

The purpose of the Fall is succinctly summarized by Lehi: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). Much of this joy is found in our posterity.

The Atonement
One of the most profound and unique doctrinal contributions of the Book of Mormon is its teachings on the principle of restoration as this relates to Christ’s infinite atonement. In atoning for our sins, he made it possible for us to be restored, after the Resurrection, to the state of existence for which we are prepared.

Alma teaches us that “there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment” (Alma 42:22). By atoning for our sins as our Father planned, the Savior stands “betwixt” all of us sinners and the demands of justice, “having … taken upon himself [our] iniquity and [our] transgressions” (Mosiah 15:8–9). An atonement which could satisfy justice required the sacrifice of an innocent person who would vicariously suffer the punishment for the sins of others (see Alma 34:8–16). Justice demanded death, and the Redeemer died that he might become the firstfruits of the Resurrection and overcome the bonds of death. Mercy opened the way for the resurrection of all.
Spiritual restoration. To his struggling son Corianton, Alma clearly explained that “it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works” (Alma 41:3). Thus, after the Resurrection and Judgment some will be “raised to happiness according to [their] desires of happiness … ; and the other[s] to evil according to [their] desires of evil” (Alma 41:5). Continuing, Alma explicitly taught that “the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful” (Alma 41:13). Alma cautioned Corianton not to suppose “that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

Amulek taught Zeezrom that “we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt” (Alma 11:43). Alma explained to his son Corianton that “the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all” (Alma 41:15). That is the hard, wintry side of justice, judgment, and restoration.

But there is also a merciful side of restoration. Alma declared that “mercy cometh because of the atonement,” and though “justice exerciseth all his demands, … mercy claimeth all which is her own” upon conditions of true repentance. Alma then posed the provocative question: “What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God” (Alma 42:23–25\).
It is impossible for each of us to overcome the demands of justice solely through our own individual efforts. Nevertheless, we have been promised that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). Contrary to the distorted doctrine of being saved solely through grace and by predestination, the Book of Mormon teaches us that we must strive to keep the commandments and repent of our sins, and then the Savior makes up the difference.

A necessary part of “all we can do” includes participation in essential ordinances of the gospel.

Physical restoration. In writing of the Resurrection, Jacob taught the exquisite completeness of a physical restoration in which “the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal” (2 Ne. 9:13). Amulek also testified that in the Resurrection “the spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame. …

“And even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame” (Alma 11:43–44; see also Alma 40:23).

Alma adds his testimony to those of Jacob and Amulek in testifying that “there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works” (Alma 40:21; emphasis added).

An Infinite Atonement
The Book of Mormon teaches us of an infinite atonement (see 2 Ne. 9:7; 2 Ne. 25:16; Alma 34:10, 12, 14), an atoning sacrifice by Christ that is unbounded by time, ethnicity, geography, or even kinds of sins, save for the unpardonable sin of denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:6). The Resurrection includes all people “from the days of Adam down” to the end of time (Alma 40:18), those “both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female” (Alma 11:44). The Atonement is also infinite in the sense that the Savior not only overcame death and sin, but he also took upon himself “the pains and the sicknesses” and the “infirmities” of his people (Alma 7:11–12). The Atonement is infinite, too, in that because of the redemption made possible by his beloved Son, our Heavenly Father is able to forgive us “as often as [we] repent” (Mosiah 26:30–31; see also Moro. 6:8).

The Miracle of Forgiveness
The Lord himself revealed to Alma that “as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
“And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation” (Mosiah 26:30–31).

Does this mean that I am expected to forgive my neighbor whose dog dug up my garden? Yes! Is an injured wife required to forgive her unfaithful husband? Yes! Are parents required to forgive their prodigal child who has besmirched their good family name? Yes! Are children required to forgive abusive parents? Yes! Must I really forgive a business associate who bilks me out of my pension? Yes!

But where do we acquire the spiritual and emotional strength to forgive those who have offended us and sinned against us? Mormon provides the prescription: “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love … ; that when [Christ] shall appear we shall be like him … ; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moro. 7:48).

The goal of the great plan of happiness is to become like Christ so that we may someday dwell in his presence and in the presence of our Heavenly Father. An unforgiving and vengeful heart is unholy, as is the heart of an adulterer or someone addicted to pornography. Any inability we might have to forgive others becomes a barrier between us and the Savior. If we are to become like him, we must freely forgive others as he has forgiven us (see 3 Ne. 13:11; D&C 64:10).

From Precept to Practice
It is, of course, always easier to speak of Christlike attributes in the abstract than to practice them in the heat of battle, but if we are to become like Christ, we must learn to forgive as he forgave.

Our Savior, at the close of his brief ministry among the Nephites, posed the following soul-searching question: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). And what manner of Son was he? Abinadi foresaw that Christ would suffer but not yield to temptation. He would “be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people” (Mosiah 15:5). He would be “crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7).

When our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father and of the Son, then we are truly reconciled unto them. We will then be full partakers of the Savior’s atonement and experience the greatest miracle of all—the miracle of forgiveness.

Thoughts and Impressions on Mosiah 4

These verses are great in explaining the atonement of Jesus Christ. The people felt their own inadequacy. They knew they needed to take part in the atonement. They had felt the spirit prick their hearts. They humbled themselves before the Lord. We need to do the same. We at times feel our own inadequacy. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord. We need to have the spirit in our own heart. It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are able to return to our Heavenly Father. The Atonement was prepared from the foundation of the world.

King Benjamin taught how his people and everyone can receive the Atonement. We should put our trust in the Lord. We should diligently follow the commandments of the Lord. We should continue in faith through out our lives. This is how we can receive the Atonement in our lives.

We need to believe in Heavenly Father. We need to believe that through Him all things are possible. We need to believe that He has all wisdom. We need to believe that we need to repent and forsake our sins. We need to humble ourselves before Heavenly Father. We need to pray for forgiveness with all sincerity of heart. If we stay humble before Heavenly Father, by calling on Him daily, and standing steadfast in the faith; we can always have happiness and feel the love of Heavenly Father with us all ways.

I find it interesting that after King Benjamin taught his people about the Atonement of Jesus Christ he then taught the people to teach their children and to take care of the poor. It is a smooth transition from the three subjects. As we have the Atonement in our lives we will want to teach our children the same truths. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children. Also when we move beyond our family we are instructed to serve others who are in need. In the ministry of the Savior where was he found? He was found with the children and with the poor. As we follow Him shouldn’t we do like wise?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How am I doing?

The past few weeks I have been posting some of what I am learning during my scripture and gospel topic study. I thought it might be time do a little bit of an update on me. First I hope anyone who reads my study posts enjoyes them. I am just sharing meaningful things and if I am the only one getting anything out of them that is ok. But if anyone who reads them gets to thinking or gets anything meaningful out of them as well that is a bonus.

My scripture study has been like a roller coaster, up and down. We had a great talk on sripture study in church a few weeks ago. That really helped me decide to take an active stand in improving my scripture study. I can really tell a difference in the past few weeks. It has really given me strength in our everyday struggles. I have felt the spirit more aboundantly on a daily basises. I highly recommend it to anyone else who could use the spirit and strength in their lives.

School/Work seems to be going well. We had some rough patches with behaviors but everyone seems to be setteling in. I have two students that in the past have had behavior issues. They are both, I have been told, doing a lot better this year. Again I have been told that I am doing a good job with them. Whether it is my efforts or the kids growing a little more mature I don't know. It can seem like a really struggle to reach my kids. So it can be hard to tell what is getting through to them. So I try to take it one day at a time and keep in mind there needs. I pray that I can be inspired in reaching my kids and giving them what they need.

My braille class is coming along. It is hard to believe that midterms are coming up. It is a hard but interesting class. Braille is like learning a new language. There are so many rules we are learning and contractions that is getting a bit over whelming. Everything is based on a cell of 6 dots in two parralel standing lines. Dots 1,2,and 3 are on the left line and dots 4,5, and 6 are on the right line. Dots 1 and 4 are at the top of their lines. Each combination of dots have meaning. Putting combinations of cells together have meaning.

Lets take the letter e for an example. The letter e is represented with dot 1 and dot 5. So writing out say apple you would do dot 1 and 5 for the letter e. The letter e also stands for the number 5. When righting numbers you have to proceed with a number sign which is dots 3,4,5,and 6. So to write the number 5 I would do dots 3,4,5,and 6 then dots 1 and 5. We also have one-cell whole word contractions. So in a sentance if the letter e is by itself it stands for the word every. We also have initial letter contractions. This is wen dot 5 perceeds a letter. For dot 5 and then dot 1 and 5 for e means ever. There are rules to use initial letter contractions in words to shorten them. Then you add in short form words, punctuation, capitalization and you can see how much there is to learn and remember. There is a lot of things still to learn. We are only up to chapter 4 in our book.

I am still the assistant ward clerk over finance in the ward. I am trying to keep up with it and everything it intails. It has been a struggle at times learning what to do. It has not been by favorite calling. But I serve the best I can. That is all any of us can say.

Well I will close this update. Hope if you are reading it you are doing well. I hope you get something positive out of it.

Thoughts and impressions during scripture reading

Mosiah Chapter 3:1-19

These verses are all about the Atonement of the Savior. King Benjamin is teaching his people things he learned from an angle. The angle visits him in answer to his prayers. Once again, it is proving that Heavenly Father will answer prayers. He is commanded to teach the people the words of the angel. He learns a little bit about the life of the Savior. He learns that the Savior will come down from heaven. He learns the Savior will come and do miracles. He learns that the Savior will be subjected to temptations. He learns that the Savior will suffer for mankind. He learns the Savior will bring salvation unto those with faith in Him. He learns that the Savior will rise the third day. He learns the Savior will judge the world in righteous judgment. He learns that the Savior atoneth for those who sinneth in ignorance. He learns that those who rebel against God will not be saved except through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He learns men must become as little children, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father
and believe that salvation cometh through the blood of Jesus Christ.

So what about us in our day? The things King Benjamin taught his people still apply to us today. Nothing has changed in regards to these truths. It gives us comfort to know that Heavenly Father is mindful of his children in all dispensations. That there is a plan that was began before the world was created in order to help us return home to Him. The Savior lived and died and lives again to be our example and to give us the way back. We may struggle from time to time in this life whether it is physically, spiritually, emotionally, or psychologically but Jesus Christ can lift us no mater what the circumstance. He knows exactly how we feel and how to help us overcome. It can be hard at times with the distractions of the world and the Adversary. However we have to do all we can and He will do the rest. We have to be submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things that may come our way. We need to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. When we do these things we can have the Atonement in our lives. For if the Lord is with us, how can we fail?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I started this week studying the atonement. However it soon moved over to the principle of the atonment: forgiveness. So this is some of things I learned about forgiveness.


The following is from the gospel topic page on forgiveness.

To forgive is a divine attribute. It is to pardon or excuse someone from blame for an offense or misdeed. The scriptures refer to forgiveness in two ways. The Lord commands us to repent of our sins and seek His forgiveness. He also commands us to forgive those who offend or hurt us.

Seeking Forgiveness from the Lord

Sin is a heavy burden. It brings the tenseness of guilt and the anguish of Knowing that we have acted against the will of our Father in Heaven. It brings lingering remorse as we realize that because of our actions, we may have hurt others and prevented ourselves from receiving blessings our Father has been ready to give us.

Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness for our sins through sincere and complete repentance. Sinfulness brings suffering and pain, but the Lord’s forgiveness brings relief, comfort, and joy. The Lord has promised:

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42)

We can experience this miracle, whether we need to repent of serious sins or day-to-day weaknesses. Just as the Savior pleaded with people anciently, He pleads with us today:

“Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

“Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine are of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me” (3 Nephi 9:13-14).

Forgiving Others

In addition to seeking forgiveness for our own sins, we must be willing to forgive others. The Lord said: “Ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin, I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:9-10).

In the everyday circumstances of life, we will surely be wronged by other people—sometimes innocently and sometimes intentionally. It is easy to become bitter or angry or vengeful in such situations, but this is not the Lord’s way. The Savior counseled, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He set the perfect example of forgiveness when He was on the cross. Referring to the Roman soldiers who had crucified Him, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

We should pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged us, and we should abandon feelings of anger, bitterness, or revenge. We should also look for the good in others rather than focusing on their faults and magnifying their weaknesses. God will be the judge of others’ harmful actions.

[Might I add here that we need to include ourselves in the Lord’s commandment to forgive all men. We are sometimes hardest on ourselves. If the Lord is willing to forgive us why do we sometimes find it hard to forgive ourselves?]

Elder David E. Sorensen, “Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign, May 2003, 10

The Savior said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him,” thus commanding us to resolve our differences early on, lest the passions of the moment escalate into physical or emotional cruelty, and we fall captive to our anger.

Nowhere does this principle apply more than in our families. [E]ach of us on earth, living under the stress and strain of this telestial climate, will have reason—real or perceived—to take offense. How will we react? Will we take offense? Will we find fault? We let the passions of the moment overcome us?

President Brigham Young once compared being offended to a poisonous snakebite. He said that “there are two courses of action to follow when one is bitten by a rattlesnake. One may, in anger, fear, or vengefulness, pursue the creature and kill it. Or he may make full haste to get the venom out of his system.” He said, “If we pursue the latter course we will likely survive, but if we attempt to follow the former, we may not be around long enough to finish it.”

Now let me take a moment here to note hat we must take care in our families not to cause spiritual or emotional snakebites in the first place! Let us not hurt the ones we love most by selfish criticism! In our families, small arguments and petty criticisms, if allowed to go unchecked, can poison relationships and escalate into estrangements, even abuse and divorce. [W]e must … eliminate ridicule, do away with criticism, and remove resentment and anger. We cannot afford to let such dangerous passions ruminate—not even one day.

I would like to make it clear that forgiveness of sins should not be confused with tolerating evil. Forgiveness does not require us to accept or tolerate evil. It does not require us to ignore the wrong that we see in the world around us or in our own lives. But as we fight against sin, we must not allow hatred or anger to control our thoughts or actions.

This is not to say that forgiveness is easy. When someone has hurt us or those we care about, that pain can almost be overwhelming. It can be very difficult to forgive someone the harm they’ve done us, but when we do, we open ourselves up to a better future. No longer does someone else’s wrongdoing control our course when we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts.

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., “Words of Jesus: Forgiveness,” Ensign, Feb 2003, 48
President Spencer W. Kimball observed peace and the Savior’s doctrine of forgiveness are inseparably connected: “The essence … of forgiveness is that it brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul.”
We must look to the Savior, not the wisdom of the world, for peace and forgiveness.
Those who wish to consider themselves as disciples of the Master must understand that we owe a great debt to our Heavenly King for the many gifts we have received from Him. This understanding unlocks the door to the gifts or repentance and our own forgiveness. The retention of these gifts depends upon our faithful forgiveness of those who have offended us. The Savior said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7) and, “With what judgment ye judge, e shall be judged” (Matt. 7:2).
Forgiving others, however, does not necessarily mean that we would endorse or approve of the behavior or transgression. In fact, there are many actions and attitudes that deserve clear condemnation. But even in these we must completely forgive the offender. “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
The Savior was very clear that, conditioned on repentance, all of our sins can be forgiven through His sacred and atoning sacrifice except for what He called “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 12:31). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught on this subject: “Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him.
Thus, the clear assurance of the Redeemer is that “all sins shall be forgiven” (Mark 3:28) when we repent, for the Savior’s mission was to preach repentance.
The Savior taught His disciples on two separate occasions that they were to pray for forgiveness of sins or debts to God. We are also to demonstrate the sincerity of our prayers by forgiving those who have sinned against us.
In all our forgiving and seeking forgiveness, we must recognize that, despite whatever restitution we may be capable of providing or receiving, our efforts and those of others are woefully insufficient to meet the demands of eternal justice. How, then, is true forgiveness possible? Paul, speaking to the Ephesians, wrote that it is in Christ that we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
The blessings that flow from the gift of forgiveness are many. Chief among them is peace. It is the Savior’s desire that we each feel His peace. He said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. …let no your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). The forgiveness we offer to others and forgiveness we receive from Jesus Christ lead us to him and along the path to eternal life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

thoughts and impression during scripture studying Mosiah chapt. 1


Chapter 1:1-8 King Benjamin teaches his three sons.

King Benjamin taught his sons spiritual things from the scriptures and an education for life. I find it interesting that Mormon took some time in explaining that King Benjamin taught his sons. Education is important. We will not be saved in ignorance. If a person dies with out hearing the gospel, they will be taught in the spirit world. Our learning and education must be life long pursuit. Church leaders have always taught the value of an education both temporally and spiritually.

Parents have a duty to be like King Benjamin and educate their children. Even at an early age children can begin learning from the scriptures. I remember learning scripture stories when I was very young. I don’t know how many sets of tapes and simple scripture story books we went through as a kid. A favorite game in the car was “name that prophet”. A description of a prophet’s life and example would bit by bit come out until some one else playing could tell who the prophet’s was.

Kids can also share in reading from the scriptures. They can read with parents by repeating phrases one at a time that is read out loud. This way they can read verses from the scriptures. For parents to teach children the scriptures need to be reading and learning as well. You can’t teach what you don’t know. Parents also need to be aware when a teaching moment comes around. They will not always be planned for. Parents need to be confident in sharing their testimonies with their children. This comes through words and actions. Again testimonies can be shared in the quiet and teachable moments.

Chapter 1: 13-14 highly favored people

King Benjamin tells Mosiah that the people are highly favored of the Lord. The Lord has through his power preserved them from enemies because of their righteousness. If he had not extended his arm to preserve the people they would have fallen. He also gives a warning. If the people turn to wickedness, then they are on their own. This seems to be a reoccurring them through out the Book of Mormon. If you are righteous you will be preserved if you are wicked will fall.

The same is true for us. We are a highly favored people. We have been told that we are a chosen generation. It is interesting to note that the word used is preserve. King Benjamin does not say save. We will still have trials and struggles. They will not be taken away from us. But we can be carried through the trials and struggles if we stay true to the Lord and his gospel. I am reminded of the canning process. To preserve the food in the jars, they first have to go through a lot of heat and pressure. Only when they have gone through what is required are they preserved. The same is true for us. When we are going through our heat and pressure the Lord will extended his arm and preserve us if we stay true and faithful.

The question then is: How do we stay true and faithful? It is rather simple but many times we lose focus and try to make it hard. Any primary child can tell us the answer: read the scriptures, pray and fast, attend church meetings, serve others, and share your testimony. We could probably think of more things we could do. We need to do the basics daily in our lives. Everything we need to do is taught in primary. Simple things that we can make complicated in our lives. We need to take stock of our lives from time to time. Really take a good honest look of our lives and take steps to do these things. It is interesting that when taught the gospel the convert’s first commitments are to read the Book of Mormon, pray to Heavenly Father, and attend church. Everything else is built upon that foundation. The same is true in our lives as well. Everything else is built on this foundation. If we are keeping the foundation strong, then we will not fall but be preserved by the arm of the Lord.

Friday, September 18, 2009

thoughts and impressions during scripture study of Enos

Enos 1:2-4 “And my soul hungered; ….”

When is the last time your soul hungered? Was it during a hard trial or maybe contemplating the word? Our soul needs to be feed nutritious things all the time like our body does. Not once in a while. We can see the affects an unhealthy diet has on a body. Why is it some times hard to see the affects an “unhealthy diet” has on our soul? We need to stop and see the affects our lives an actions has on our soul. Are we giving my/our soul an unhealthy spiritual diet? That is a question we need to ask from time to time. We need to have good thoughts, actions, and feelings in our mind and lives. A healthy spiritual diet can make all the difference. It can even roll over into our mental health as well.

Enos gave us all a great example he listened to the word, he pondered their meaning, he prayed until he got personal revelations, and he started the cycle over again. We need to make this a habit. When we hear the gospel taught it can touch us if we are listening. It can give us what we need in our lives right now. As we feel the spirit prick our hearts we need to take note. We need to take the time to ponder it out in our minds. Then we need to pray about what we pondered and keep at it until we receive our own personal revelation. Then we should act on that revelation in our daily lives.

This process was a struggle for Enos. We can expect nothing less. Like exercising our bodies, it is hard work to exercise our mind and soul. But look at the rewards. Enos grew in his faith in the Lord. He was forgiven. He gained love for his people and their enemies. He received blessings and promises. He was a changed man in the Lord. It can happen to us. We can have our own experiences similar to Enos. It will take time. We are not given the time frame of Enos’ struggle. Did he do it all in a day, a week, a month, a year, or years? I think it was years. He would have received answers in the Lords time not ours. He may have received some answers in a timely manner, but I don’t think he stopped there. This is a life long process that will serve us well if we make it a habit and a priority in our lives.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My new class

Well I had my first week of school. As I have written before I have a new class this year. This year I have a class of all boys. I was supposed to have 6 boys. But one of the boys mother wants to home school him. We’ll see what happens with that. This week I had four of my boys. One kid did not come in because the buses did not run Sunday.

My boys’ ages range from 9 to 12. They would be in the 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades. One of my boys is autistic and everyone is low mentally. The boys have visional impairments. Two of my boys are wheel chairs. One of my boys needs assistance walking with a walker or holding on to staff.

I have three other people working in my room. I have two aides and a BI with me. The BI is a behavior interventionist. She is there for two of my boys that have behavior problems. It makes life interesting at times. We had our moments this past week. Unfortunately, both of those boys are going to have surgery this year. So what ever progress on there behavior we make with them before the surgery will have to start over again when they get back. So that is a little bit about my new class. Wish us luck and pray for us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moving into a new class room.

I moved into a new class room this year. I had to come in early on Wednesday, August 5th to move the boxes and items from my old room. Look at all that stuff.

Where am I going to put it all? There was a lot of stuff left in the room. I have to find places to put my stuff. I come back on Monday, August 10th to work on the room.

We had to be back on Tuesday, August 11th. In between meetings we had a little bit of time to work on the room. I took a couple days and some help, but everything found a home.

I really could not do it with out the help of my aids. They took the job of going through our closet. Our motto was when "in doubt throw it out". We through out a lot of old stuff.

The question I guess is how long will it stay clean? The kids come back on Monday, August 17th. We have registration and meet the teacher night on Sunday. Ready or not here they come.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well last week I did some canning. Mom has been doing a lot of canning of late. She got some sirloin and ground beef from Sam's. So Thursday Tracy and I came over to do some canning. We first did the sirloin. We had to cut it up into chunks and put it in the bottles. We got the bottles filled and put them into two different caners to go at the same time. Hailey was very interested in what we were doing. We had to tell her cutting meat was uck. Once the sirloin was done we then did some ground beef. This was easier. We did not have to cut them. We did a batch for Tracy. She had to take the kids home to put Hailey down for a nap. I decided I want some more sirloin. So Dad went back to get more. I helped mom do cut up a batch for her to can. On Friday I went back to finish the project. I had to get more bottles first. So I did a batch of the ground beef in pint jars. The sirloin was in quart jars. I then cut up some sirloin into stakes. We also took a part of the ground beef and into zip lock bags. The stakes and bags of ground beef went into the freezer. I got 12 bottles of canned beef and 12 of canned sirloin. In the future I am going to can some chicken, pork, and maybe sausage. It was fun to cut up the meet and put them into the jars to can. It was therapeutic as Tracy said. Below is an action shot of the canning process. I did not think of taking pictures until after it was almost done.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Talk on Service

Most people think of service as some big time consuming thing like working in the soup kitchen/ food pantry or disaster clean up somewhere. I think of it as the little things we do everyday for everyone, especially our families. Of course the greatest example of this is Christ. Yes, He had his huge miracles but He also did so many little things for so many people everyday. The little things every day add up to something big over time. When I hear the word service I think of the words selfless and The Savior. Hope that helps! Good Luck :) Rachel Harper Heath (cousin)

Service is going over to the same persons house to fix his sprinkling system 3 times in the same month. Seth Jackson (missionary companion)

My thoughts? I think we make service far too complicated. Aside from the atonement of course, if you were to add up all the good from all service in the world, from the huge service projects down to the small, I'd think the greater good comes from the little things you can easily do every day... especially service toward our families. That's not to say the big service projects aren't important, but if we remember to take the tiny opportunities as they come, we'll make a difference." Velda Harper Christensen (cousin)

True joy, Christ.... That's what I think! Esther Cairns Udall (friend)

Service is what we freely give even when it is not easy or convenient...and in return without fail....Everyone is blessed....We are serviced for servicing... Renetta Hellberg Frederick (aunt)
Spencer W. Kimball, “Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec 1974, 2
I have learned that it is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves. In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves. (See Matt. 10:39.)
Not only do we “find” ourselves in terms of acknowledging guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!
George MacDonald observed that “it is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the soul of another.” (George MacDonald Anthology, Geoffrey Bles, London, 1970.) Of course, we all need to be loved, but we must be giving and not always receiving if we want to have wholeness in our lives and a reinforced sense of purpose.
Dallin H. Oaks, “Why Do We Serve?,” Ensign, Nov 1984, 12
If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children. The Savior applied that principle in the Sermon on the Mount, in which he commanded us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us.

This principle of service is reaffirmed in the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” (D&C 4:2.)
We learn from this command that it is not enough to serve God with all of our might and strength. He who looks into our hearts and knows our minds demands more than this. In order to stand blameless before God at the last day, we must also serve him with all our heart and mind.
Service with all of our heart and mind is a high challenge for all of us. Such service must be free of selfish ambition. It must be motivated only by the pure love of Christ.
If we have difficulty with the command that we serve for love, a Book of Mormon teaching can help us. After describing the importance of charity, the prophet Moroni counseled:
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (Moro. 7:48.)
Derek A. Cuthbert, “The Spirituality of Service,” Ensign, May 1990, 12
Service changes people. It refines, purifies, gives a finer perspective, and brings out the best in each one of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward. It prompts us to consider others’ needs ahead of our own. Righteous service is the expression of true charity, such as the Savior showed.
How, then, does service increase our spirituality? May I share with you briefly ten aspects, from which you can choose those most applicable to your own situation?
First, service helps us establish true values and priorities by distinguishing between the worth of material things that pass, and those things of lasting, even eternal, value. “If you would find yourself, learn to deny yourself for the blessing of others. Forget yourself and find someone who needs your service, and you will discover the secret to the happy, fulfilled life.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1979, p. 34.)
Second, service helps us establish a righteous tradition. This is so necessary, particularly among young people. Wise parents will provide service opportunities in the home for their children from an early age. The Lord has counseled: “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; … “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (D&C 58:26–27.)
Third, service helps us overcome selfishness and sin. Have you ever realized that all sin is selfish, whether it be lying, cheating, stealing, immorality, covetousness, or idleness? Sin is for one’s own ends, not another’s—certainly not for the Lord’s ends. Service, on the other hand, is unselfish and constitutes a positive power for good.
Fourth, not only does service overcome selfishness and sin, but it helps to recompense for sin. The prophet Ezekiel explained this when he declared, “None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right.” (Ezek. 33:16.) Again, James taught that to “save a soul … shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20.) We can express regret and feel remorse for things done wrong, but full repentance should include recompense, such as service gives.
Fifth, service helps us generate love and appreciation. We come to know people by serving them—their circumstances, their challenges, their hopes and aspirations.
Sixth, service is the principal way of showing gratitude to the Savior. We need to fill ourselves up with gratitude for His redeeming love, His infinite atoning sacrifice, His obedience to the will of the Father. As we become full of gratitude, it overflows into service, and “inasmuch as [we] have done it unto one of the least of these [his] brethren, [we] have done it unto [Him].” (Matt. 25:40.)
Seventh, service channels our desires and energies into righteous activity. Every son and daughter of God is a storehouse—even a powerhouse—of desires and energies, which may be used for good or evil. This great potential needs to be harnessed to bring blessings to others.
Eighth, service helps us cleanse ourselves and become purified and sanctified. Not being perfect, are we not all sinners? Yes, we all need the redeeming and atoning blood of Christ to purge us of our sins. How is this accomplished? The way is through Christlike service, as expressed by the prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola, which I learned in my youth:
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds; …
To labor and not ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.
(Prayer for Generosity, 1548, in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 14th ed., Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1968, p. 1806.)
Ninth, charitable service helps us do as the Savior did, for was not His whole ministry one of reaching out and helping, lifting and blessing, loving and caring? Jesus declares, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27), and again, “For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness” (D&C 100:16). There are good people everywhere giving charitable service.
Tenth, service helps us to get to know the Savior, for “how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?” (Mosiah 5:13.) As we immerse ourselves in the service of others, we find our spiritual selves and come unto Him.
In all of these ways, righteous service brings us nearer to Christ, increases our spirituality, and brings others likewise. Such service is helping to prepare a people worthy, in the Lord’s due time, to redeem Zion.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Got my new car!

I picked up a new car on Monday July 13th. I was very frustrated with the car buying process. I had a lot of help from the folks. Thank you very much mom and dad. We had gone to a few places and looked a lot on line. Dad happen to see a car I might be interested in. He called the number to find out about it. Turns out the place he called did not know how they got onto The business is called Elite Car Rental. They get cars and rent them out. Some of the cars have a little bit of damage and they fix them up. After a while they sell the cars to auto dealerships or in auctions. Dad and I went over to look at cars on Friday July 10th. I was considering two cars a Suzuki Ferenza for 5,200 and the Chevy Cobalt for 8,500. I took the night to think and pray about which one. The Chevy had the better review. It also got a very good gas mileage. I felt like the Chevy was the car. So Saturday we went to buy the car. We get there and the car is taken to a dealership. but they said they could get it back and trade in a car in it's place. I spent time the rest of the weekend researching insurance. I went with a local place that is with Travelers Insurance. It is the same place with my house insurance. I got this best deal on the car insurance and a discount for my house insurance. Which then takes us back to Monday. We went down around noon and picked up the car. I got a great deal. I found during my research that 2007 Cobalt was going for 10,000 to 13,000 range. I got mine for 8,800 including sales tax. Mom and dad paid for it and I am paying them back. I gave them 6,000 and will make small monthly payments to them. I am happy with my purchase and am glad the car buying is over. Check out these pictures.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

News about the new class for next year.

I got a call from my principal on Monday. Actually she called my folks house. When I started working at the school that was where I was living. I happened to be there when she called. She told me about the new class. I was kind of afraid that this would be the class I was given. We talked a bit about it and then I wrote her again and she responded. I don’t see a change but at least my thought and feelings are shared. And what might those thoughts and feelings be you might ask. Good question. I am glad you asked.

I feel like my new class is just like my old class just with different younger faces. I was getting burned out with my old class. I really don’t see this helping with being burned out. I didn’t improve or go up or down; I went sidewise with my class room experience. I was never sure what was getting through to them in lessons and activities. Most were nonverbal and even the verbal students had difficulties communicating. The same can be said for the new class. The old class had lots of behavior issues and difficulties. The same is true with the new class. Sure the behaviors may be different but they are still there. I liken the classes to this analogy. I had been having a red apple. I was ready for a change for a banana. But I was offered a green apple. In fact this is the class I had a feeling and was afraid I would be getting. I want a group that is calm and which can get the feeling of accomplishment. That can work with, have fun with while working, and get some feed back from. Plus this would be the 4th year with a particular aid, who because of her health reasons can be unreliable, bless her heart. She means well but does not contribute much. She is out a lot and you can’t count on her. The sad thing is that everyone knows it. I don’t mean or like to complain but this is how I feel about it. I was starting to look forward to the start of the school year. Now not so much. Thanks for listening. That’s my rant for now. (Unless I get going on about car shopping. Still looking.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

I hope everyone had a good 4th. Mine was good. I went to our ward pancake breakfast. I was asked to help with cooking of some pancakes, but when I got there I was not needed. I helped out with Ethan, Sydney, and Hailey. The primary were incharge of the activity. So Tracy was busy and Eric was helping. After the breakfast I had to water mom and dad's plants. I also had to go to the bank and get some gas. I then went with Eric and family over to Tracy's folks. They grilled out chicken and had a very tasty dinner. Tracy brought over a slip and slide for the kids. Ethan and Sydney really enjoyed it. Hailey got tired of the slip and slide after a while. We stayed untill about 7 or so. I later watched some fireworks on t.v. and heard some of my neighbors shoot off fireworks. All in all a pretty good day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer beard

Well I decided that since it was summer I was going to be a little lazy. So I started growing a beard. I shaved the last day I went to school May 29th. I wanted to see how long it would take for me to get tired of the beard. I also wanted to see how it would look. I can tell you I do not have a very good beard. I last until June 18th. I got tired of it kinda of fast. So I shaved it off on the 18th. Boy I like it a lot better.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A loss at my house hold

We'll it was a sad day. It was expected at some point. But even knowing it was going to happen did not prepare me. I found the news out on Monday. It is still overwhelming. My car ... has died. It was a '98 and had lots of miles. So now I am car hunting. I'm going to try to do some homework and make a informed choice. Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer hair cut

Well I decided I needed a nice short hair cut for summer. My hair was getting thick. So I went to my barber aka mom this week. She cut Eric's hair. He got a nice trim. She cut Ethan's hair. He sat good and got a nice hair cut. When it was my turn I sat down. I had her use a 4 attachment to make it short all around. She took off a lot of hair. After she stopped a looked at it. It was a nice. She says oh there are a few spots. She took a swipe with the clippers but for got to but the 4 attachment back on. So I now have a spot in the front that is considerably shorter than the rest. Eric said to get the rest of it cut like the spot. I said no. I did not want it that short. I guess it will grow out in a bit.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

School is out!

This past week was the last week of school. The kids left on Thursday. So we were working on getting everything ready. There was a lot of paper work to finish for the end of the year. We had to clean and straighten the room. I had a final meeting with everyone and end of the year personal meeting about goals on Friday. I have not had a summer off in six years. I've been taking classes. Last summer was the closest. I worked the month of June and had about six weeks off. This was a very hard year and I am looking for a break.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A bit of Surgery

I had a little bit of surgery this past Thursday. I have had a cyst on my back for awhile. The beginning of the month it started hurting. So I went to the doctor. It was infected. He opened the cyst to let it drain. The cyst drained a lot. So this past Thursday I went to a surgeon. He took out the cyst. He said to was the size of a golf ball. I have to go back on June the 11th to have him look at it and to take out the stitches. He said it was a 50-50 chance that he might have to take more out. Thursday evening I was really sore but since then I have felt better and better. I hope that this is all I need done to the cyst.

Memorial Day Weekend

This memorial weekend my brother Kevin came up with his family from Florida. He has a girl, two boys, and one on the way. So I got together with them along with Eric and his family at my folks. Eric has a boy and two girls. All the kids are under 7 years old. The kids got along great. They played together without any fussing or fighting. In the past there has been so fussing and fighting. The boys got to go on a father and son camp-out Friday night. They got to sleep in a tent all by themselves. The girls stayed home and had a mother daughter party. They ate and played games.
After the camp-out Kevin and Dad went up to Franklin, North Carolina. Kevin is bring his scout troupe up this summer to hike. So they went to scout out the drop of and pick up point. Eric and I brought the boys back. Later Saturday afternoon, Eric and I took all the kids but the youngest to the park. (She was taking a nape.) Grandma, Bonnie, and Tracy were canning chicken and pork. After the park we made pizza for dinner. Kevin and Dad got back as we were putting the pizzas in the oven. The pizzas were a hit. We had strawberry pie for desert.
On Sunday after church, we had another family dinner. We had smoked pork, salad, beans, corn, and mac and cheese. The kids enjoyed watching church videos, reading stories, and playing. It was a good weekend. Kevin had to be back at work on Tuesday so they left Monday to drive back. The kids had a lot of fun with their cousins. Grandma enjoyed having everyone visit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Apositle Visits

Our stake had a wonderful stake conference this weekend. We had Elder Oaks for the Quorum of the Twelve visit us. With him was Elder Schwitzer of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy. (Elder Oaks was very funny during the Saturday evening session. ) Both General Authorities took time to go around and shake the members hands. I got to shake their hands before the Sunday Morning session. The talks during the meetings were great. We had talks with topics such as dealing with pornography, serving in the temple, serving others, teaching the family, and many more. Elder Oaks spoke last during both meetings. His talk was to touch on the subjects that had been spoken before him. He told his thoughts about the subjects as the other speakers presented them. He also told stories from his life and those he had heard from others that illustrated the topics taught. It was a great meeting.

I am up and running

Hey everyone. Welcome to my very first post to my new blog. Is technology cool or what? I hope to keep this updated and let you know what is going on with me. I've enjoyed reading what is happening with family on there blogs and felt like now it is time for me to do one to. Talk to you later.