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.