Thursday, April 21, 2011

We Stand Together

Many of you already know that I was released as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a few weeks ago. My two years + were up and it was time to flip to the next chapter of my life. I thought my current post-mission "chapter" of life would be boring and not as rewarding as it was on a mission, but I was wrong. The Lord still finds a way to bring amazing experiences to me that testify of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel. I really want to share with you just one experience I had this last Sunday! In order to do it justice, ill share a few stories that help explain it. A preface never hurt anyone right?
 This story has everything to do with some stripling warriors
I grew up with a pretty large group of friends, most of which belonged to the LDS church, as I did. As we all were around the same age, we would always be in the same Sunday classes and around the same grade in school. We became really close. One year, when we were all around 15 years old, our church youth leaders took us to BYU Utah on a week and a half long trip. Towards the end of our experience there, there was a testimony meeting in which all of us boys bore our testimonies of the Savior and how much we love Him and each other. We felt very united and it caused an even stronger bond between us all. Other groups on the trip named us the "stripling Warriors" after the Ammonite sons led by Helaman. (the story starts in the Book of Mormon Alma 53) On the bus ride home, we all shared a spiritual experience that for me, is a little too sacred and personal to share on this blog. But I can say that Heavenly Father was teaching us that night with the spirit and it motivated us all to prepare to serve full time missions when we came of age.  
The oldest of us began to go on missions a few years later and we all were preparing ourselves to follow their examples. However, a few of us began to fall from the church. It was and still is the most sad thing to see my brothers who i love, fall away from what we all know to be Heavenly Father's truth and direction. This story is how we as a brotherhood, as stripling warriors, continue to stand together.
This story will continue in a latter post...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding the power of hope

There was a time early on my mission that I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a younger lady who was going through a lot of rough times. I remember as my fellow missionaries and I helped her slowly get rid of her bad habbits and as she got rid of them, she found so much happiness, it often brought us to tears. She really found so much hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Satan really worked on getting her down though, and it seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong. She wanted to do things right and to get away from her old life, however it kept pulling her back. It is sometimes hard to keep hope in situations like that. Imagine how the Savior felt as he went through what he went through. What a powerful example of keeping hope. He knew there was something better then giving up and that his Heavenly Father loved him and was watching over him. We can have that same comfort as we go through trials. This young lady was able to hold on, through her trials, and it blessed her life because she did not give up. It saved her life as she held on to what she knew to be true, even though her situation made it seem hopeless. 
It is an honor to bring this hope to those who need it. I have hope through my savior Jesus Christ that I will one day live with him and my Heavenly Father again and that I will be clean of all sins and be released from my burdens, sorrows, and fears. I know it.
I love this video because it expresses how I feel towards the power of hope, I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There is power in the "doing"

    I read a scripture this morning in the Book of Mormon found in 3 Nephi chapter 27 verse 21 In which Christ says, "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;..." It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew chapter 7 verse 21, where Christ says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; But he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven." 
    As I read these scriptures I thought of how often Christ asked us to follow Him. As we follow His perfect example we become like Him. Through repentance and the mercy of our Heavenly Father, we can be washed clean of all our sins and mistakes. In doing what the Lord has commanded us to do and through repentance, we are becoming more like Him.
    Too often can others proclaim faith in Jesus Christ and live a life without following His commandments. Faith has everything to do with doing! If we never do His will, we will never become like Him. President Thomas S. Monson, the living prophet today, continues to invite others to follow Christ's example and become like Him. He has said, "Let each of us learn of Him, believe in Him, trust in Him, follow Him, obey Him. By so doing, we can become like Him."
    I know that as I do the Lord's will and obey His commandments, I can enter into His kingdom of heaven and I can be happy in this life as I prepare for it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

How can we bring strength to our families today?

    Growing up in southern California, I wasn't exactly sheltered from the outside influences of the world we live in today. In high school especially, it seemed like I could try just about any drug or start any kind of addiction with the help of fellow school mates. When I was younger, it always puzzled me to see 14, 15, or 16 year old kids doing the worst kind of things I only thought existed on movies. I always thought, "How can their parents allow them to do this? How can someone think this is ok?" As I've gotten older, my eyes have been opened to the problem. when there is no doctrinal teachings to guide the children's moral judgment, then their moral discipline is weak. In 2011,  it is tough to survive with a weak moral standard.
    That moral discipline can only be sparked and fueled by the doctrine of Jesus Christ. For me and my family, we found so much strength in the words found in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. A testimony of the Book of Mormon and the truth it shares with the world has always been firm within me. I have field tested what it teaches which is the pure doctrine of Christ, Ive taken it's challenge to pray to our Heavenly Father to know if it is more of His scripture, and I know that it is. The Book of Mormon does not get me to Heaven, it doesn't replace the Bible, but what it does is build my foundation in Christ and His Doctrine. It teaches me how to be a disciple of Christ. It strengthens me to be firm in the face of temptation and helps me make the right decisions.
    I know every family can find that same security and strength in the doctrine of Christ, through reading and believing in the Book of Mormon.  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Just some thoughts and feelings

    Recently I've been pondering on the scripture Mosiah 2:41, found in the Book of Mormon. It asks us to consider something. "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness..."
    I wish that all could feel and say that they fit into that happy state, but there are so many that cannot say that. I wish I was able to reach out and by the direction of Heavenly Father, bring them all to the truth and bring happiness to their lives. However, everyone has the right to make their own decisions, I can't make decisions for others.
    I am reminded of a scriptural lesson learned in Ether 12:6, also found in the Book of Mormon. Moroni, a prophet, says, "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."
    If you have a desire to be happy then have faith in the Lord that he has the power to make that happen. It may not be seen, at first, but the lord knows every one's potential and it is always possible with the Lord.

God's plan of happiness for all of us

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Church on Sunday

          Sunday is the day we worship the sabbath. Every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints goes to church on Sunday to their local church building. Each congregation is called a ward. Wards are divided up by boundaries and 6-10 wards are collectively called a stake.
          When I go to the Franklin LDS church building I attend the Winstead Hill ward. It meets at 11:00AM. Every time I go I feel like I am part of a big family. Each of us care for each other and are learning about our Father in Heaven and His plan for us here on earth. We are concerned for each other's welfare and spiritual well-being. Anyone is welcome to come and visit and I am positive they would feel comfortable attending. The Book of Mormon teaches us by example what Christ church should do; "And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls." (Moroni 6:5)
          I would hate to go through a week without first attending church on Sunday. I have found that as I go to church, the Lord blesses the rest of my life through out the week. I had, once before while I was in college, attempted to miss church for a lame reason that I had felt sick. As my ride left to church with out me, I immediately began to feel regret and the rest of my day was spent with a negative feeling of guilt. My week following was nothing special and I had difficulty being myself. That next Sunday I made sure I was at church, I couldn't afford another week without the blessings from the Lord for coming to His church and worshiping Him. 
        The Lord's church is on the earth today, come and see and feel the truth of it by attending a local LDS church. You will see the blessings come into your life, as I have, when you come to His church.  

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Friday, February 25, 2011

This is one of my favorite "i'm a mormon" videos, check it out and enjoy!