Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Life On Earth

  What is the purpose of life? Why am I here? I am grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ that has given me answers to these soul searching questions. Simply, the purpose of this life is to be happy (2 Nephi 2:25) and to prepare to return to God’s presence one day (Alma 34:32).

"He Lives" By Simon Dewey
  Due to the fall of Adam and Eve, we live in mortality which has brought us to a condition where we are subject to both physical and spiritual death. God has a perfect, glorified, immortal body of flesh and bones. To become like God and return to His presence, we too must have a perfect, immortal body of flesh and bones. However, because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, every person on earth has an imperfect, mortal body and will eventually die. That is why we needed a Savior to die for us and to be risen, so that we too can one day overcome death. If it weren't for Jesus Christ's atonement, death would end all hope for a future existence with Heavenly Father. With that being said, the Savior's atoning sacrifice is absolutely central to Heavenly Father's plan of salvation.
  I know that Jesus Christ died for you and me. He took upon Himself the pains and suffering of all mankind (Alma 7:11-12). More importantly, I know that He lives. Because He lives, I know that all of us will one day rise from the grave as well.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Agency and the Fall of Adam And Eve

  Adam and Eve were the first of God’s children to come to the earth. They were created in God's image and were placed in the Garden of Eden. While Adam and Eve were in the garden, they walked and talked with God. They were in His presence and were in a state of innocence. They could have lived there forever and God provided for their needs.

  While in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve their agency, or the ability to choose. God told them that they must not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Moses 3:16–17).

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Creation

  Under Heavenly Father's direction, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. God's plan for us is to progress and become like Him. In order for this to happen, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth. In 1 Nephi 17:36 we read: "Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it." This earth was created for us so that we could exercise our agency in a righteous manner to do "all things whatsoever the Lord" commands us Abraham 3:25.

  The word "create" came from the word "baurau" which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize. The Lord organized elements that had already existed (Abraham 3:24). He did not create the world "out of nothing."
  While we are here on earth we are out of God’s physical presence. We do not remember our pre-earth life. Therefore, we must walk by faith rather than by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

 More "creation" scripture references: Mosiah 3:8, Ephesians 3:9, D&C 38:1-3, Genesis 1

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pre-Earth Life: God’s Purpose and Plan for Us

  "Where did I come from?" "What is my purpose here on earth?" "Where do I go after I die?" These are some examples of great questions of the soul that many people have asked themselves. I am grateful for God's plan of salvation that answers these questions.

    It is important to understand where we were before we came to this earth. We are all literal sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and we dwelt with God before we came to earth. However, we did not have bodies -we were all spirits. We were not like our Heavenly Father nor could we ever become like Him and enjoy all the blessings that He enjoys without the experience of living in mortality with a physical body.   

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Book Of Mormon: Another Testament Of Jesus Christ

 After many centuries of spiritual darkness, our Heavenly Father knew that doubt, disbelief, and misinformation would remain among people. Therefore, through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord brought forth an ancient volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. This record is the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Families Can Be Together Forever

   I don't have much time to write today, but I thought I would post this video to help us remember that families are what matter most. The family is central to Heavenly Father's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. God's plan enables families who live the gospel and receive the necessary ordinances to be together forever with Him.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Restoration Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Through Joseph Smith

  After hundreds of years of apostasy, our Heavenly Father once again reached out to His children in love. He continued the prophetic pattern of calling prophets, and this time he called a young man named Joseph Smith to be his prophet. Through him, the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.

  Joseph Smith lived in the United States, which was perhaps the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time. He was born in the year 1805. At this particular time in the early 1800s in the Eastern United States, there was lots of religious excitement going on. His family was very religious and they constantly sought for truth from God. Many ministers claimed to have the true gospel and Joseph desired “to know which of all the sects was right,” (Joseph Smith—History 1:18). The Bible taught there was “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Joseph attended different churches, but he remained confused about which church he should join. He was confused because so many doctrines were taught differently despite being taught from the same Bible. Joseph was concerned for the welfare of his soul and was a sincere seeker of the truth. He later wrote: “So great were the confusions and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was . . . to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. . . . In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith—History 1:8, 10).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Great Apostasy

  After Christ's ministry, people began to, once again, spiritually distance themselves from God. Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God's greatest gifts to us. Unfortunately, people don't always use their agency in the best way. Wicked people went on to persecute and even kill the Savior and many of His Apostles. Therefore, God withdrew His priesthood authority from the earth. The Apostles had kept the doctrines of the gospel pure and were able to receive revelation for the Church. However, without the Apostles, over time the true doctrines of Christ's church were corrupted. Without the proper authority and revelation, people relied on their own human wisdom and knowledge to interpret scriptures. Unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and false ideas were taught as truth.

   Much of the knowledge of the true character and nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost. The doctrines of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost became distorted or forgotten. The priesthood authority given to Christ’s Apostles was no longer present on the earth.  In the Old Testament, Amos foretells of this great apostasy to come forth (Amos 8:11-12). It was also foretold that the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church would be restored once more upon the earth. (Isaiah 29:13-14, Acts 3:19-21, Revelation 14:6-7)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jesus Christ's Earthly Ministry

  A couplethree hundred years before the Savior was born, people again fell into apostasy. However, when Jesus Christ began His mortal ministry He, once again, established His Church on the earth. Christ's church is a church of order, structure, and organization. The foundation of His church is built on apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). He also gave "some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors, and teachers;" (Ephesians 4:11) He did this for "the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12)

   Christ performed many miracles when he was in His earthly ministry. He raised the dead (John 21:1), healed the sick (Mark 6:5), and caused the blind to see (Mark 10:51-52). It was by the priesthood power that He was able to perform these miracles. Jesus called twelve men to be His Apostles and He laid His hands on their heads and gave them that same priesthood authority (Matthew 10:1).

Friday, February 4, 2011

God Has Always Called Prophets

   I know that God lives and that He loves us. One way that I've seen God's love for me is because He has called prophets. A prophet is a special witness of Jesus Christ. A prophet is an authorized servant who has been given the priesthood—the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. While each of us, God's children, are able to receive personal revelation and guidance from God, prophets receive revelation for the whole church (Amos 3:7). They learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation and the power of the Holy Ghost. They in turn teach the gospel to others and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer.

   Throughout time, Heavenly Father has revealed to prophets the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 22:1-2). The Gospel is God's plan for us in this life is to be successful and to prepare to return to live with Him. Jesus Christ's  atoning sacrifice is at the center of that plan and through the Savior's Atonement, we can receive eternal life. We are promised eternal life as long as we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. “This is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:21). One of the greatest gifts that has been given to mankind is the gift of agency—the ability to choose. This includes the freedom to accept or reject the gospel as taught by the prophets and apostles. Those who choose to obey are blessed, but those who ignore, reject, or distort the gospel do not receive God’s promised blessings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gospel Blesses Families

    In a recent meeting I attended, an inspired missionary began his discussion by asking everyone in the group what matters most to them. We all pondered and took turns expressing our feelings. The response seemed to be unanimous, in which everyone of us said that one thing that we hold most dear to us is our families. I would pose that same question to you. . . "What matters most to you?" I'm sure that amongst the many blessings that came to mind, family was included.

    Why are families so important to us? Families are our immediate support group throughout our trial-filled life in this cruel world. God has established families to bring happiness to His children and to allow them to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere. In the large scheme of things, God established families to prepare His children, us, for eternal life. Because families are ordained of God, they are the most important social unit in time and in eternity.