Saturday, September 8, 2012

The New Crisis

One of the greatest elements of God's plan is The Family.  Why is the Family so important? We are the Spirit Children of God, we each lived with him before the world was created.  When the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created, they were married by God with the commandment to create families.  After being cast out of the Garden of Eden, they began to have children.  Adam was commanded by God to stay faithful to his wife, and raise his posterity in righteousness.  As Adam and Eve had children, God's spirit children came down to earth and gained a body.  As his children had children, the same thing happen.  They were raised in families and taught by their parents.  However there were some who rejected their parents teachings and followed Satan.

Families can provide a safe haven for God's children to learn and grow, by loving parents.  In a righteous family the spirit children of our Heavenly Father are to learn the gospel in safety.  However, it is under attack.  Because the family has so many strengths, Satan is working hard to break them up.  There are many outside influences that are working to destroy the family.  It isn't hard to find.  The greatest threat comes inside the home.  It starts with the abuse of family roles.  What are the roles of the family?

Fathers, by God's design are to Provide, Preside and Protect.  They are to lead and guide their family in wisdom and righteousness.  They are to see that the needs of the family are met.  They are also responsible to keep the family safe, and they are to lead by righteous example.  None of these principles can be without the other.  If one is abused each will fall apart.  Fathers are to teach their children correct principles and be there in their children's lives.  What they teach determines their success.  Fathers have an influential part of their children.  They may not see it, but everything that fathers do leaves an impression on the young hearts.  Men need to love and support their wives.  When they can they should help out around the house.  How men treat their spouse will effect how their children treat others.  Fathers provide an important element in the home that others can't.  When it is abused it hurts the whole family for generations. (Watch a video about Fathers)

Mothers are just as important as Fathers.  Neither one is greater or lesser than the other, no matter what Hollywood portrays.  The world and popular media may try to place one above the other but in God's eyes they are no different from the other.  Mothers are mainly responsible for the nurture of their children.  They are to provide moral support to their children as they are being structured into the individuals God needs them to be.  Mothers have a special place in God's work.  It allows them to work almost side-by-side with God in building the righteous leaders of tomorrow.  They need to work along side their husbands (and the men with their wives) in order to build a strong family.  Both men and women will be held accountable by God for what they have done with their family.  If both parents (not one or the other) obey God's commandments they are most able to build the strongest families. (Watch a video about Mothers)

Children have the role of helping their parents where ever possible.  Teens are not exempt from this responsibility.  They are to "Honor their (parents)". This is one of the original commandments.  Parents work day and night to raise their children.  It is only fair that the children help out.  There will be chores to do and parties to miss,  but building strong families makes strong everlasting friendships that no one can replace.  Those are worth more than any party in the world combined.  Your family will be your greatest support so long as you are obeying God's commandments.

Remember, everything is as strong as it's weakest point.  Even though you have every principle in the book to help you, if they are not properly in place your family becomes weaker.  Selfishness, anger, greed and jealousy are common elements in broken families.   When the parents or children allow feelings of anger of any kind invite Satan in.  Addictions of any kind separate family members!  By keeping gospel principles the family stays close together and close to God.  It is important that they stay together and learn correct principles in order to keep stay together.  If there is anything contrary to gospel standards those influences should be removed and kept out.  Strong Families build strong individuals.  Strong individuals build strong communities.  Strong communities build strong nations.  Protect the family, everything depends on that.

Learn the basic structure of the family by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Forgiveness is something I've found to be really difficult.  Sometimes I don't want to forgive this person because they offended or hurt me.  There are times I think it is totally unfair that they get away with it.  But when I think in such a way as that, I'm forgetting the blessings that follow Forgiveness.

Painting by Howard Lyon
There is a story in the New Testament where the Savior was confronted by the Pharisees with a woman caught in the act of Adultery.  In a possible attempt to trick Christ into saying something wrong, they asked what shall we do with this woman?  The response was simple and clear, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."  Condemned by guilt the priests walked away, beginning at the oldest to the youngest.  A woman who committed a great crime was promptly forgiven.  But what responsibility does that leave me?
We are all sinners, and have fallen short of the Glory of God.  But Christ enables us to be exalted so long as we repent and follow him through the Atonement.  However, some of us stop our own progression short.  Forgiveness is letting go of a burden we ourselves taken or others might have given.  It is letting go of the past and moving on with life.  Look at the picture above.  Notice how everyone on the right is carrying a red robe.  The woman is dropping hers.  The red robes represent sin.  The Pharisees are holding on to theirs.  Their pride is keeping them from enjoying the love of the Savior.  By being unforgiving is like holding onto that robe.  The Savior says it best when he asks, why do you judge your fellow men when you are no more perfect than them?
Forgiveness allows us to love our fellow men.  It helps us see the good in others and accepting them as part of God's family.  When we cease to find fault with our neighbor we put on a Mantle of Charity, and wish for their good rather than their punishment.  It uncovers our eyes enabling us to see their true self rather than their outward appearance.  If you really think about it, you don't need to forgive ANYONE.  But God does NOT need to give you ANY of the blessings you would receive if you did forgive.  So if you want God to bless you, or even forgive your wrongs, stop holding onto your hurt and move on.  Why? Because how we judge is how we will be judged in return (See also 3 Nephi 14:1).  It is not our place to judge but God.  Only he knows the truth behind everything.
Stop carrying your stones of hate, shed your robes of sin and hate, and put on a Mantle of Charity.  Stop finding fault with others and learn to love even your enemies.  The Savior did it and he had every reason not to.  But we are required to forgive and we are reward for each of our actions.  The speed of your progression is determined by how my rocks you have in your bag.  Lose those rocks and enjoy the journey.

 See how one man was able to forgive:
Christ Forgives:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Eternal Marriage

There are two things I've heard regarding marriage that I've found interesting.  One is marriage is a "old non-applicable" ideal that has died with the "evolution" of society.  I've also heard that marriage only lasts on earth and cannot last in heaven.  I'm here to say both ideas are wrong.  Marriage is not a dying idea and has eternal truth behind it.  There is a way for it to last beyond mortality, but certain measures must take place.

All of God's commandments have an eternal lifespan.  Marriage is no exception.  Marriages begin the foot work for the building of a family.  God's plan revolves around families because they have a great importance in carrying out his work.  The first marriage began with Adam and Eve.  They were married by God in Eden, and he gave them the commandment to have children.  There is not one instance in the Bible or the Book of Mormon where that commandment has been lifted.  When men come of age they are to leave their parents and marry a woman of his choosing.  Men are to love their wives.  They are to provide, protect and preside over their families.  They are not to exercise unrighteous authority over them, but are to lead and guide with love and compassion.  Women are to care for and nurture their children.  Both are to help and assist each other when needed.  Marriage is the basis for strong families.  Studies have shown that children born to a man and a woman, lawfully wed as husband and wife, have greater chances of success than those born out of wed lock.

How can marriage last beyond the grave?  There is a special power that God has given to man.  It is not some superpower you find in comic books.  This power is called the Priesthood and is only give to men qualified or worthy to carry it.  The Priesthood is the Authority to act in God's name and is very easy to lose.  When Christ was on the earth he gave this power to Peter, and with that is the power to seal.  When a marriage is sealed, by the priesthood, it is fused together for eternity.  This enables a man and a woman to be together for eternity.  This may sound like a curse rather than a blessing to some.  The problem is selfishness.  A marriage is not meant to be a passport to pleasure.  It one of the most beneficial service opportunities as a man and a woman learn to get along and work together.

If a marriage is broken and beyond repair there must be a way to end it.  This is divorce.  To often, however, this is used as a quick fix when there is all possibility to repair damages.  Divorce should only be used when a spouse is unfaithful, abusive, or if there is absolutely no hope in its preservation.  Divorce should not be used over spilt milk.  There are too many people that selfishly get divorced over that reason.  Divorces are damaging.  It hurts not only the individuals breaking up, but also their children and sometimes their other family members.  If marriage problems arise seek council from a licenced marriage counselor or religious leader.  Don't go to your friends.  As a couple bring your problems before God and follow his direction through prayer and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Marriage is a wonderful thing.  It is going to be hard, but everything that has a strong value comes at a great price.  Gospel study will help strengthen marriage only if those principles are applied and if married couples selflessly serve one another.  God has promised joy in marriage and will assist when needed.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks addresses marriage in these two videos below:
Hear "regular" people talk about selflessness in marriage:
Want to strengthen your marriage or family? Go to and learn more. You can also look at the Family Proclamation given by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn the basic structure of the family.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Escaping Enemy Territory

I love learning about my family.  My grandfather told me some stories about a relative who served during WWII as a paratrooper.  This story is one of my favorites:
"Asael Lyman was part of the 82nd Airborne which went in behind the German lines into Holland. They were in wooden gliders and lost a third of their men before they even got on the ground. Only a handful of men survived this campaign.

"He goes from an innocent country boy to a battle hardened soldier in a matter of three days or so. He told me about trying to dig with his nose because he was in a partially dug foxhole and the Germans were trying to dig him out with a machine gun. Bullets were going through his clothes. The Americans were eventually pinned down and captured and put in a prison camp after riding for several days in a train boxcar where they could not lay or sit down so many were crammed into the cars.

"While in the camp, he saved the cigarettes he was supplied by the Red Cross in his mattress until he had enough to buy a few potatoes which he traded over the fence with the locals for a map, and compass, and two Italian worker's uniforms. He and an Italian man walked right out the front gate and hid in barns and other places until they got back to friendly forces.

"His parents didn't know he was alive for 6 months until he called from New York on his way home."
(W. Wilcken)

Aseal reached the Allied forces by listening to the Machine Gun fire of the two opposing armies.  You may not think they would be different, but because of the abilities of both armies, they manufactured different equipment.  Being trained to go behind enemy lines, Aseal knew what to look for.

We are in enemy territory right now.  Sounds stupid but think about it, Satan rebelled against God.  He is going around trying to destroy the souls of men, and we are stuck on his ground.  But it's not hopeless.  Even though we have a lot of opposition in our way, we can still make it back, even those under Satan's grip.  Our search for happiness or even truth will help us receive certain tools needed for the journey back home.  God has given us the scriptures for a map so as to have an idea what we need to do.  Heartfelt prayer provides direction in our journey, much like a compass.  As we pray, truly seeking God's help, we are given direction through the quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  You can go ahead and ignore it if you want, you are not going to get everything you want following the Holy Ghost. But you will be the happiest.  The road is going to be rough, and you are guaranteed to experience opposition along the way.  But as you press forward towards your eternal goal (heaven), you will make it home.

Something I've found fascinating about the world around us, is everything has a certain "voice" or "feeling" telling us what it is.  This is better known as the Light of Christ.  We are born with the ability to tell good from evil.  No one is born bad.  As we try certain activities we will get a certain feeling about what it is.  When an activity is bad, our conscience will give us a bad feeling to warn us.  Because the rate of fire on a German machine gun is faster than an American one, Aseal was able to tell which army he was near.  When we feel good, it must be the place we are at is good.  If we get a bad feeling as we near a certain place, it is wise to stay away from that place.

God has given us the tools we need to make it home.  Christ has provided us a way to make it home.  We are separated from God here on earth.  He wants us home.  Can you imagine the homecoming when we make it to heaven?  Our job is not to sit there and wait to be rescued.  Often times it requires us to rise up and go, because Christ cannot save us in sin.  He asks us to leave our nets, follow him, and he will give us eternal life.  As we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost we are able to stay away from destructive influences that will tear us down.  The gentle promptings will only be felt so long as we invite it into our lives.  The spirit is neither loud nor forceful, but it's impression is greater than anything man has created.  That is what will lead us home.

President Boyd K. Packer tells us what the Spirit is there for:
Finding direction is most important.  See how to filter the voices:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't go under the Tank.

I read a rather interesting book once.  It was written by a Vietnam War Vet and his experiences.  The writer was in a tank crew, and every new replacement was told to never sleep under the tank.  It rained constantly in Vietnam, it was tempting to go underneath the tank for protection.  For their own health and safety it was told not to go under.  One threat was bullets would ricochet off the thick metal.  But there was one a little more subtle.  One night, a new soldier decided he wanted to get out of the rain and decided to go under the tank, despite the constant warning not to.  As it continued to rain he feel asleep.  The next morning, the Sergent started looking for him and couldn't find him.  With the possibility of an enemy attack and they delayed the search for a couple hours.  After the threat passed, the writer began calling for the soldier only to hear a call for help behind the tank.  They soon discovered the soldier pinned underneath the tank as it was slowly, but surely, sank into the mud.  He was unable to get out.  The Sergent and the driver proceeded to drive the tank off the soldier.  It was incredibly painful for them to get the tank off the soldier.  Part of the tank ended up being dragged across the soldier.  When they got the tank off him, he was still alive.  But his clothes were in shreds, and he was skinned and bloody.

The world would pressure us to "get under the tank".  It will rain ideas to us which are exciting, but unhealthy.  They will seem appealing and exciting, but it results in pain and misery.  You will hear things like: dress immodestly, indulge in drugs and alcohol, look at pornography, each pushing you towards that which is degrading and unstable.  Slowly, but surely, the weight of our choices eventually sinks down on top of us, pinning us down making it hard to progress.  It is very easy to escape the rain by going under the world's wing.  The world will then put us to "sleep" so that you don't realize what it is doing to you.  Have you noticed ads involving drinking or smoking?  They do a great job at making it look fun, safe, and exciting.  It will also make you think you are in complete control.  But it reality it steals your ability to chose wisely leaving you in miserable and in with a dangerous consequence (2 Nephi 26:22).  If the soldier was awake, he would have noticed that his space was getting smaller and smaller.  He would have left his shrinking space.  But he fell asleep and couldn't escape.  Not without the painful experience of having that tank dragged across him.

The Prophet Alma talks about being "harrowed up to the greatest and racked with all (his) sins."  Acts that he had done brought incredible misery to his soul.  What does harrowed mean?  A harrow is a tool used by farmers to break up the ground.  It is dragged behind a tractor.  Imagine having one of those dragged over you. It would hurt.  Sin is like a harrow, it breaks apart our soul.  Sin, or the act of doing wrong, does not bring good, it leaves us in a broken miserable state.  You can say your soul would look like that soldier after having that tank dragged across him. A mess.  But there is hope.  Alma, in his anguish called upon God begging for forgiveness for the things he had done wrong.  His burden was lifted off him and his joy was as great as his pain and he couldn't remember it anymore.  Repentance helped relive the pain he felt as he cast his burden upon the Savior.  So long as we repent and sin no more, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is able to lift our troubled soul out of captivity of the devil.  This makes our joy greater than our pain.  Strive to follow the example of the Savior and allow his Atonement to work inside you.

Wrong doing is painful to get out of.  Unless you stop the behavior before it settles in.  If you are guilty of doing something wrong stop immediately.  If you have been doing it for some time, seek help and get out.  It may be hard and painful, but it is better than being crushed by your guilt and is worth the few scrapes and bruises to stop.

How do you repent? Click here.

Still not enough?  Maybe this will help:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Land of Liberty

I love reading about history and going through the Book of Mormon.  I find it absolutely fascinating how everything is repeated over and over again.   Often the patterns don't change.  Sure, the event may be different, but the cycles are not.  A repeated phrase in the Book of Mormon is, "inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land." Who's commandments?  Not an earthly government's, but God's commandments.  Why?  God is the ruler of heaven and earth.  He created us and wants us to be happy.  However He will not support us in wickedness.  Now pull out your Bible, Book of Mormon, or your grandpa's history book and read through it.  How many nations rise and fall?  Every single one, except for maybe a few today.  Israel rose and fell multiple times.  So did Babylon, Rome, and every other nation has repeated this pattern.  A common way this happens is the nation will grow lazy, evil/wicked/corrupt, and begin to do things God asks (not demands) us not to do.  Because God will not support Wickedness he leaves them to their own devices till they come to him repentant.  A nation that ONCE was a good nation that CHOOSES to leave God cannot and will not prosper.

Another thing promised in the Book of Mormon that the land which the inhabitants lived in, would be a land of liberty (2 Nephi 1:72 Nephi 10:11Ether 2:12).  This is not only applied to the American continent, even though it would feel that way.  All nations are promised prosperity so long as they OBEY and FOLLOW God's commandments.  God will help preserve your liberty so long as you obey his Commandments.  This can be applied to a national/global level or brought down to the level of an average human being.  The concept is the same; obey God and prosper.  It is never the other way around.

At the formation of the American nation, after the Constitution was ratified, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government they made.  His response was, "A Republic," as long as you can keep it.  Now before you throw a political label on me, I am not supporting any political party in anyway shape or form.  Mr. Franklin made a very important point.  Freedom does not come without responsibility, neither does Salvation.  We are given Freedom so long as we are willing to preserve that which we treasure most.  A person that gives a gift only for it to be trampled on will never again give any gift to that person.  The American nation has been tested and proved.  It has weathered many storms and will continue to do so so long as it's people are willing to keep the Commandments of God.  Independence Day is a day set apart to remember the sacrifices of our predecessors and what God has done for us in preserving a Free Nation where we can live in safety.  Never forget your responsibility and God will never leave you defenseless.  This promise remains in effect today and will remain that way until the people turn from God.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


What does it mean to Repent?  You've probably run into that word reading a book of some kind or a movie with some preacher giving a "crazy" sermon.  To Repent is to turn from our old destructive behavior to a more healthy behavior.  It is turning back to Christ and allowing him to work with us.  True repentance is more than feeling sorry or being told you've done wrong.  It is an act of faith to change yourself for the better.  You repent by:

  1. Recognizing you've done something wrong. If you don't know realize you have done wrong, you are not going to change.  A moral compass (conceince) helps here.
  2. Feel remorse (sorrow) for what you have done wrong. If you don't recognize the weight of the problem you are still not going to change and will go right back to the very thing that got you in trouble.  You're behavior will be, "Oh, I've done something bad.  But it wasn't that bad."  Not a good thought process.
  3. Quit the behavior. Get out and stay out before it's too late.  Feeling sorry and knowing you've done wrong requires action against the behavior.  If your house was on fire are you going to let it burn?
  4. Confess your wrong.   Depending of the gravity of the mistake will depend on who you need to confess your wrong to. A simple wrong against yourself, you confess to God in Prayer, and make an effort to fix it.  (Refer back to 3.)  Against someone else, you admit your wrong to the person you've done wrong to. Anything involving morality, addictions, or civil law; you better talk to your spiritual leader (bishop), parent or a trusted individual who can help you get help to resolve the problem.  It is important not to go back to the thing that got you in trouble in the first place.
  5. Make restitution. Repairs will need to be made whether with yourself or someone else you need to make sure everything is restored to order.  I read a quote once that said, ‎"Until we take responsibility for what we have done, the Atonement can't help us."  Unless you clean up the mess it is still a problem.  It hinders your ability to progress.
  6. Resolve never to do it again. just because the problem is fixed doesn't mean you won't come back to it. You need to decided NOW that you will never ever do that again for you own health and safety.  You are not going to have a snake bite you after getting treated for it the first time.  You should treat bad behavior the same way.
Sin is not being caught in the act and feeling bad. Sin is breaking a law.  God has set down rules for our prgression, not damnation.  As we obey these rules it makes it possible to excel. There isn't a grey area between justice and mercy.   You have done something bad or good.   Sometimes we make a mistake out of ignorance, that's okay.  Just don't do it again and everything will be fine.   Repentance is a way to become a more perfect person. 

One type of behavior that is just as destructive is saying "I can repent (or clean it up) later."  Such behavior makes a mockery of Christ's sacrifice for us because we are indugling in degenerate bahavior and expecting good to come from it.  Christ said, 'be ye perfect.'  Christ make it possible for us to be perfect.  But we need to become perfect ourselves by becoming a better person.  You can't turn refuse back into something good.  You have to remove it.  We just need to cast out burdens on him and follow him.  Christ had already paid the price for sin.  We need to take advantage of this gift NOW, so that we can enjoy the blessings of exaltation.  Once you are freed from your burdens you can enjoy life much more fully.  You become a more perfect person and are no longer held down by your past mistakes.