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Moving on…..

There has to be some way to make this blog private.  Not that I want this private *all* the time…but sometimes I like to disappear for a while and write meandering posts to myself that other people can’t see.

Because, frankly, there’s this weird dichotomy between wanting to connect and wanting to be left the hell alone.  What the heck is that all about?  I used to be this huggy person. I’d give hugs to all and sundry.  These days I’m more about the, “Do I really have to touch you?  How about we nod and smile and we don’t even shake hands.”

I dream about reclusivity.

But I also like to share funny pictures of cats, Attack on Titan, dinosaurs, and Pluto. Among other hilarious things.

Possibly hilarious only to myself.

Pinterest was the perfect platform for that – share fun things, don’t talk to anyone. Ooooh my gosh how cool is that?  Except now there’s all kinds of spam and they’ve started pushing “things to buy” or “related pins” or whatever. Ugh. It was my precious. Now it’s been invaded by scumbags.

Anyway.  I’ve been thinking I’d like to simplify my life.  What I thought I meant by that was “be minimalist and focus on what’s important” but I’ve come to realize what I actually mean by this is “Get people I don’t care about to leave me the hell alone”.*

There is a huge gulf between what I am and what is required of me, and I’m getting pretty dang ticked off by that stupid gulf.

Frankly, I’m getting ticked off by lots of things these days.  I used to think there was something wrong with me and I needed to change to make other people happier.  No.  I’m serious.  I really totally believed that.

Now I know there’s something wrong with me and I think other people need to get over themselves.  Is this what menopause feels like?  Am I always going to be a grumpy old woman from now on?

Almost don’t give a damn. Still do a bit.

*Pretty much everyone. Including but not limited to certain members of my ward and family, telemarketers, and myself.

Faith – The Tenth Hour

Oh my goodness!  I have been working hard to get this finished today as we’re off to California tomorrow.  Note to self: it’s much easier to complete a project – especially one like this – in increments rather than all at once.  It gets overwhelming.

Still…endure to the end! =)  Last hour.

D&C 25:12

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

I don’t know if songs are scripture, but I think they can teach us things, and lift us, and inspire us.  Ever since I started this project I wanted to do an hour of my favourite hymns.  So this is it, even though I didn’t get through all my favourite scriptures.  There are so *many* awesome ones.

Ye Elders of Israel

Ye elders of Israel, come join now with me
And seek out the righteous where’er they may be –
In desert, on mountain, on land, or on sea –
And bring them to Zion, the pure and the free.

The harvest is great, and the lab’rers are few;
but if we’re united, we all things can do.
We’ll gather the wheat from the midst of the tares
And bring them from bondage, from sorrows and snares.

We’ll go to the poor, like our Cpatain of old,
And visit the weary, the hungry, and cold;
We’ll cheer up their hearts with the news that he bore
And point them to Zion and life evermore.

Oh Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell;
We’re going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell.

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Saviour, who unto the Saviour,
Who unto the Saviour for refuge have fled?

In ev’ry condition – in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea –
As thy days may demand, as they days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
FOr I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

How Gentle God’s Commands

How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord
And trust his constant care.

Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.

Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.

His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.

Be Thou Humble

Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy GOd shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.

Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee
To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love.
Be thou humble in thy longing, and the Lord thy God shall take thee,
Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebeneezer
Hither by thy help I’ve come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
seal it for thy courts above.

Everytime this makes me bawl.  Every. Single. Time.  Why did they remove it from the hymnbook?  Why?  It really makes me feel like they are more concerned with administration, rather than the hearts of those who desire to sing it.  A terrible mistake and so sad. =(

Because I Have Been Given Much

Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With ev’ry brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof’s safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.

Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”

Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

Oh my gosh, so many hymns!  I can’t believe the hour is up already!  That went so fast, and I barely scratched the surface.  Maybe I need to have a project where I post nothing but awesome hymns? =)

Here’s a last one, because it’s my husband’s favourite and it made him so happy when the Mo Tab sang it in conference all those years ago.

Faith – The Ninth Hour

Alma 34:18-27

Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.

Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.

Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.

Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.

Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.

Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.

But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.

Pray to your Father in Heaven, for He has all power to help you.  Pray in your job, pray about your spreadsheets and your presentations and the food you are cooking.  Pray at home, at any hour.  Pray that He will help you deal with those around you trying to steal your business, or who are gossiping about you. Pray that he will help you not sin.  Pray that he will help you in your job, that you’ll get better at it and that your expertise will be recognized.  Pray quietly in your heart, and when you are suffering in affliction.  Pray all the time for you, and for those around you.

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Alma 34:28

And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need – I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.

Always remember that you are a beggar before the Lord.  Everything you have is from Him, so why would you not share that with His children who are in need?

King Benjamin had some wise words about that….

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Mosiah 4:16-20

And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just – 

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

Everything you have is given to you by the Lord, so be kind and compassionate and share your blessings with those who stand in need.  It is one of the greatest joys of life.

But what if you’re poor and don’t have enough money for yourself?  Read on…

Mosiah 4:24-25

And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I woudl that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covert that which ye have not received.

If ye can no more than *desire* to give, because you don’t have enough, then keep that desire in your heart.  One day you will have more, and then you can give to your heart’s content.

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Mosiah 4:12-13

Continue in faith then…

And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.

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Mosiah 4:14-15

And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.

But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

It’s scriptures like this that cause me to reflect on my parenting.  How did I do?  How am I doing?

Did I feed my children? – Yes.

Did I clothe my children? – yes.

Did I teach them to obey the commandments? – yes.

Did I teach them not to yell and fight with each other? – yes.

Did I teach them to follow the gospel? – yes.

Did I teach them to love one another? – yes.

Did I teach them to serve one another? – I think so.  I may have done better on this though.

Ok, so I did ok in those things.  Phew.

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Mosiah 4:27

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

This is a great scripture!  King Benjamin, in his great address, gives us a great many thing we should be doing – those could be pretty heavy to bear if we’re not in a position to do them all.  But then he says, “Hey, don’t go nuts!  Do what you can – I mean, what you really can, not what your lazy self *thinks* it can.  Be wise.  Do the imperative things first, followed by the things that are important, and so on and so forth, on down the line.  Don’t do more than you can do, or you’ll get overwhelmed and explode.  Don’t get overwhelmed and explode.  Do as King Benjamin says and be wise.  Do what you can. Let the Lord take care of the rest.

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More King Benjamin.  I should have just quoted the entire chapter.

Mosiah 4:9-10

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.

There is a Father in Heaven.  He created everything, and understands everything.  Way more than we do.  Believe that you must repent of your sins and ask for forgiveness.

And the greatest sentence of all…..”if you believe it, do it.”

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Seminary Scripture!!!  Sing along with me now:

Mosiah 4:30

But this much I can tell you, that if you do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish.  And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

Be aware all the time.  All the time be trying to do good.  All the time be thinking good things.  All the time say good things.  All the time do good things.  Follow the commandments, all the time.  Keep doing your best and endure to the end.

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Another Seminary Scripture! Just for fun.

Moroni 7:16-17

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

I think we’ve covered this before.  Every good thing comes from God.  Every bad thing comes from the devil.  Pretty simple.  By their fruits ye shall know them.

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Ether 12:11-12

Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given.  But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.

For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.

First comes faith, then comes the miracle.  I think we’ve covered this before too.

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Ether 12:6

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things 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.

First comes faith, then comes the miracle.  First build the fire, then you get warm.

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John 20:30-31

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

The scriptures are written as a testimony of Christ, to teach you the things you need to know to live with Him again, and to show you by example how you should live, and to persuade you to believe in Christ.

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Luke 24:29

But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

As in 3 Nephi, when you plead with Him to stay, he always does.

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D&C 61:36-39

And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;

And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.

Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.

Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death. Even so. Amen.

Cheer up!  The Lord is with us.  Keep the commandments always, and all will be well.

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Ether 2:9-12

And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

For behold, this is a land, which is choice above all other lands wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God – that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

The Lord gives the same message to several different people in several different times.  Here he is, again, declaring that America is a choice land.  If you live in America and serve God, all will be well.  But if ever the majority reject God, things are going to get a bit dicey.

Faith – The Eighth Hour

In other news, the word “eighth” is weird.

1 Corinthians 3:11

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

He is the foundation of everything.

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1 Corinthians 3:7

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

We all work in our different ways to follow the commandments of God and do His will.  Not one of us is better than the other.  God blesses us as we strive to do His will.

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Lots of Moroni 7 coming up… =)

Moroni 7:5

…by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?  Your true heart will show in the actions that you take.  Therefore, let your heart be fully centered on the things of God, and your actions will naturally follow.

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Moroni 7:12-13

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin and to do that which is evil continually.

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

So if you want to do bad things, you know who is tempting you to do them.  And if you feel a desire to do good things, you know where that prompting comes from too…

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Moroni 7: 16-17

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Every person has the ability to choose good from evil. How do you know what is good and what is evil?  If you have a desire to believe in Christ, that’s from God.  If you have a desire to not believe Christ, to deny him, and not serve God, that’s from the devil.  Anything that persuades you to do good – that’s from God.  Anything that persuades you to be mean or cruel or to mock or to steal or anything wrong – that’s from the devil.

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Moroni 7:19

Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Search the scriptures and pray that you will be able to tell what is right and what is wrong.  Anything that you discover is right, hold on to that thing, and practice that good thing, and you will truly be a child of God.

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Luke 13:5

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Pretty self explanatory.

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Luke 11:34-35

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

If you are focused on the things of God, you will be filled with His spirit.  If you vacillate and mess around with the things of the world…not so much.

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Luke 11:28

But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

A woman had come to Jesus and said blessed be your mother for having you, and this was his reply.

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Luke 11:9-13

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? of if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I could have sworn I’ve entered this one before, but I couldn’t find it, so perhaps not.  Our Father in Heaven is eager and willing to give us good gifts.  All we need to do is recognize that we need them, and ask.

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Luke 10:38-42

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things;

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Ok.  Straight up, I have issues with this.  Yes, focusing on the Gospel is the most important thing.  However, one does not live in a vacuum.  Notice none of the men offered to get up and help.  Why?  Because at that time it just wasn’t done.  The women did that kind of work.  If Mary had helped, could the work have been completed quicker so both Mary and Martha could listen?  Even today we are cumbered with social mores and expectations that irritatingly bind us.  It would be awesome to chuck it all and go teach the gospel…but *someone’s* got to go out and work to pay the bills so we have a place to live and eat.  *Someone’s* got to keep the house clean and organized and prepare the food (I write, as I glance around guiltily, having ignored the calls of the house to work on this Faith project).

You could say I have chosen the better part because I am working on my personal progress project, and am thinking about the words of Christ.  That doesn’t mean the dishes magically get done or the floors magically cleaned.  That work is still there, and it’s still my responsibility, and I have *guilt* for working on PP and not doing my chores.

I am sure there is something in this scripture that I am missing.  There is something that has been missed out in the translation, or was never written.

Maybe Martha was making a lavish meal instead of a simple one so that she could sit down and listen.

Maybe she felt the weight of expectation – those dang patriarchal annoying expectations – to make a lavish meal.

Maybe everyone got up and helped haha yeah right.

In any case. I find this somewhat annoying, so clearly I’m missing something important.  At some point I will get the knowledge I need to understand.  But right now I just see it as a very real, very relevant, tug-of-war between expectations, the reality of living in a fallen world, and choosing to set that all aside and choose the better part.

Grrrr.  It’s annoying, I tell you.

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Acts 10:34-35

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

God doesn’t care if you’re a king or a princess or a president or the secretary of state or a teacher or a street sweeper.  He doesn’t care what you do for a job – as long as it’s not illegal or sinful – all He cares about is…where’s your heart?  Are you following His commandments?  Are you following the Saviour’s example?  These are the most important things in life.  Not worldly power and prestige.

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Luke 6:32-38

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Ah Luke.  His different way of saying things provides a further witness and perspective.

Do more than the world would have you do. Go the second mile, even though the hated Roman has piled the heavy backpack on you, interrupting your life and insulting you.  Walk that second mile.

And be ye merciful as your Father is also merciful.  A different perspective on “perfect”.  Be kind and gentle to all.  Don’t b mean.  Don’t judge.  Don’t condemn.  Forgive and give, and you will be richly blessed by your Father in Heaven.

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Moroni 10:7

…he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men,…

First comes faith.  First faith, then miracles.  Are you freezing to death and want to be warm?  Gather the wood and kindling, lay the fire correctly, light it, nurse it, build it…and then you’ll get warm.

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Moroni 7:45-47

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.  Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail –

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Charity is not donating stuff to Goodwill.  Charity is the pure love of Christ.  Charity is the love Our Father feels for His children.  So if you pray to have charity, you are praying that you will feel for your fellowmen the love that your Father in Heaven feels for them. From that deep love comes an understanding, a compassion, and a desire to help, lift, and serve others.  There is no judgement or condemnation in charity.  It is pure love.

Those who have charity are long suffering and kind.  They don’t covet what other people have.  They don’t think they’re all that.  They don’t get easily offended or angry, and don’t have icky thoughts.  They don’t cheer on those who are sinning, but feel happy and at home in the Gospel.  Those who have charity work hard, have hope in Christ and believe him, and endure all that they must endure in this world.

Charity is everything.  It’s the beginning and the end.  Pure love of God and your fellow man is what it’s all about.

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Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with al thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Charity.

Faith – The Seventh Hour

Luke 23:47

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

This was the centurion who witnessed Christ’s death.  I searched through the chapter to find any other reference to the centurion, as Luke says, “The” centurion, not “a” centurion, so that would indicate he had been mentioned before.  But I couldn’t find anything, unless he was one of the soldiers who had mocked him and gambled for his clothes.  That would seem out of character with his testimony of Christ.  So either he was a completely different person to the mocking soldiers, or he underwent a great change of heart.

The other alternative is that there were many soldiers and only one centurion in charge of the crucifiction, thus “The” centurion as there was only one there.

In other news, why is wordpress telling me that crucifiction is spelled incorrectly?  I’m pretty sure that’s how I was always taught to spell it.  But apparently there’s an x in there now?  WTH?

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Luke 22: 42

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Ok, this scripture.  Can I just tell you it tears at my heart?  I get all choked up.  Here is the Saviour, and he *knows* what’s coming.  He knows what it is he will have to bear.  I don’t think we’re fully aware of exactly what it was.

We can imagine – let’s start with all the physical pain we’ve experienced.  Then think about all the physical pain everyone has experienced.  You hear stories of torture etc – all that.  He experienced it all.

Then think about all the emotional pain you’ve experienced.  Man, that stuff is even worse than the physical stuff.  Oh it hurts so much.  And that’s just our stuff.  He suffered everyone’s emotional pain.

Then think about the spiritual pain you’ve experienced.  Oooh my good gracious gravy that one’s not pleasant.  Yeah, he suffered that too, not just for you, but for everyone.

All our pains and sicknesses and sins.  He suffered them all.  He atoned for everything.  I don’t think we really get that.  Cerebrally, yes, but I think when we really understand it’ll blow our minds.  Kablooie.

But Christ knew.  He fully understood what was coming.  And he was all, “Ooooohhhh boy that’s not going to be fun.”  And he asked, “Please. Please.  If there’s any other way.  Please can we do that?  But if not, I’ll do what you want.”

I mean! My gosh!

That’s how I want to be.  I want to be that faithful.  I want to be that humble.  And I want to be that obedient.

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D&C 18:11-13

For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.

And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!

Ok, so in my scriptures D&C 18 is lit up like Times Square in a variety of neon colours.  So we’re going to be here for a few minutes.

I think that after the Lord’s pain the least we can do is accept that sacrifice.  The least we can do is do our best to follow Him.  The least we can do is have faith in Him and trust Him and believe Him.  Not just believe in him, but believe him.  And know that He is there for us.  The least we can do is repent and keep trying.  What other gift can we give to show our gratitude?  We are unprofitable servants.  Oh my gosh I’m going to have to find that particular scripture and put it in here too.  It’s brilliant.

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D&C 18:14

Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.

My first craven response to this is, “Oh, that’s for missionaries.”  But, y’know, every member a missionary…. scary!

Not that I have to stand on a box on the street corner.  I need to live my life as well as I can, following as close to the example of the Saviour as I can.  In that way just by living I will be a missionary.  This is not an outward thing.  This is an inward thing.  If your heart and mind are aligned with the Lord’s, then being a missionary is as natural as breathing.

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D&C 18: 15-16

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

Yeah.  That’d be kinda awesome. =)  I think about my Young Women a lot with this scripture.  I need to be a good example.  I pray for them.  I want so much for them to have a strong and fervent testimony of their Saviour, their Father in Heaven, and their own worth as His daughters.  I want so much for them to have a close relationship with the Saviour.  I want them to be happy – really happy.  I don’t know how to give this to them.  All I can do is choose lessons and activities that help them draw close to the Saviour and serve others, and hope and pray they will be open to the whisperings of the Spirit.

Oh those girls, those girls.  I worry about them so much.  I thought it was bad when I was just worried about my own children – but now I have a dozen more to love and fuss over.  I’m a chicken, clucking ineffectually around her chicks, ready to claw the eyes out of any fox that comes along. But what can I do when my beloved cute chicks go running headlong to the fox like Chicken Little?  The sky is not falling.  Stay close to safety.  Stay in the boat.  Or, in other words, stay close to the Saviour.  Read your scriptures.  Say your prayers.  Come to church.  Serve others. Hang on! Hang on to that Iron Rod and don’t let go.

Stay in the boat

Taken Boat

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D&C 18:18

Ask the Father in my name in faith, believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.

I mean, exactly how many times and in how many ways does he have to say it?  Do you need something?  Do you want to know something?  Then ask.  If it’s right that you should receive it, or if it’s right that you should know it, the Lord will tell you.  Just ask, man.

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D&C 18:19

And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

Have faith in Christ.  Believe that He is.  Believe he can do what he says he can do.

Have hope in Christ.  Hope and faith together are uplifting, and fill you with “good cheer”.

Have charity.  If you believe Christ, and have hope that all will work out ok, then spread that “good cheer” to others.  Serve the Lord’s children.  Help them. Uplift them. Strengthen them. Ask the Lord to help you love them as He loves them.  Now that’s one gift he’s dying to give you. =)

That was not a deliberate pun.  It just happened that way.  Maybe I should say, “That’s one gift he’s living to give you.”

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D&C 18:20

Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.

I mean to say!  Right there!  In black and white!  There it is, staring you in the face.  You’ve read it now so you’re responsible.  Don’t forget it.  Contend against no church.  Don’t you go around bad mouthing other churches and their beliefs.  You let them alone for the Lord to deal with.

Contend only against the church of the devil.  What is the church of the devil?  IMO, sin.  Particularly within yourself.

1 Nephi 13:4-9 says, “And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.  And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.  And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.  And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.  And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.  And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.”

So according to this the church of the devil is one who cares more about worldly things than helping others. Also, anything contrary to the commandments of God.  Also, those who sneer at and ridicule and seek to twist the church of God.

So, basically, the great and spacious building.

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D&C 18:21

Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness.

This doesn’t mean that a) don’t be drunk when you teach of Christ or b) never smile or be happy when you talk of Christ.  It just means to treat sacred things with the reverence they deserve.  Don’t make fun of it.  Testify with all sincerity and seriousness.

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1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

It would probably be a good idea to keep the commandments.  Would you go chuck paint at the temple?  Would you slash the chairs in the Temple?  Would you take a hammer to the walls?  Well then, why would you hurt your body?  Why would you graffiti on it? Why would you put harmful substances in it?  Is this liberation?  To bind yourself down with chains that will cause you misery and the deepest ache of regret?  Is this liberty?  To walk into a trap?  To look at a jail that everyone is telling you, “Don’t go in there!” and then walk into it and lock the door?

You are a precious daughter of God!  He loves you! Why would you defile the greatest gift He has given you?  Don’t put into your mind or body or on your body things that will cause you pain.  You are better than that.

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1 Corinthians 3:18-20

Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, he taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

Don’t be thinking, just because you’re educated, that you know everything and are so much smarter and therefore better than anyone else.  Be humble.  To be learned is good if you hearken unto the counsels of God.  But if you mock the things of God, then you’ll be taken in your own craftiness and oh boy that’s not going to be good.  Don’t be vain.  Be humble.  Everything you are and everything you have is given you from God, so be grateful for it.  How can you know better than the being who created you, everything you have, everything you are, everything you see, smell, hear, and touch?  You are dependent upon God for everything, and yet you mock and despise Him and those who believe in Him?  Well.  That’s not going to have a happy ending, is it?

Which is a good lesson to me to pay attention to my thoughts and attitudes and make sure I’m not thinking I’m better than anyone else.  Be kind.  Be humble. And trust the Lord.

Faith – The Sixth Hour

D&C 1:10

Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.

Don’t judge, people.  It’s bad juju that makes other people unhappy and twists you up inside.  And it makes the Lord unhappy.  Who are you, you imperfect person, to go around thinking you’re better than anyone else?  We’re all mess-ups, dependent upon the Lord.

Matthew 7:1-5

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Like he said.  Quit that already, man!  What goes around comes around, so why not send around good stuff so the good stuff comes back to you?  If you judge people, not only will you be judged right back, but when the Lord comes you will be judged on the same scale you used to judge others.  Uncomfortable thought!

So I’m all, “Be good, be kind, be gentle, be loving, and repent of any mistakes.”  Cos, y’know, when the time comes I reeeaaally really really need to be judged on a good, kind, gentle, loving scale.  Oh boy I need that.  Cos the amount of mistakes I make – hoooo doggy.

stop it

Preach it, Dieter.

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Like he says.  The golden rule.  Want people to be nice to you? Be nice to all people.  Want people to be understanding of your foibles and limitations and weaknesses?  Be understanding of everyone’s foibles and limitations and weaknesses.  Everyone.  Want people to not talk about you behind your back?  Don’t talk about anyone behind their back.  Ever.  No matter who they are.  Want people to not make fun of you?  Never make fun of anyone.

It’s difficult, and you’ll probably be working on perfecting this your whole life, but there is no doubt that the Lord will bless you for your efforts, and even though you may not be perfect at it, as you strive with all your might to follow this admonition of the Lord, you will feel happier in your heart.

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;

I’m on a Matthew kick today it seems.  Sometimes there’s a run of scriptures that are just so delicious.  In this scripture the Lord is clearly desiring to bless us.  If we ask in righteousness (no, he’s not going to give you a million dollars just for the asking – that would not be good for you….or, at least, you’d better hope He doesn’t! It’d make you utterly miserable.) the Lord delights to bless us.  First we ask, seek, knock – ie, first we put forth the effort – then comes the blessings.

Matthew 7:9-11

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The Lord loves you.  If you ask in righteousness, he will give you everything you need.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith

The Lord will give us gifts.  He will quicken our minds.  He will give us knowledge that will clear up all difficulties and put us in harmony with the commandments that he has given us; he will give us a knowledge that will be so deeply rooted in our souls that it can never be rooted out, if we will just seek for the light and the truth and the understanding that are promised to us and that we can receive if we will only be true and faithful to every covenant and obligation pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Follow the commandments and magnify your calling and you will be blessed with what you need when you need it.

Teachings of the presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith

…he has promised us that if we magnify our callings and walk in the light, as he is in the light, we shall have glory and honor with him forever in his Father’s kingdom.

Magnify your calling and follow the commandments and ta dah! we will live with Heavenly Father forever.  He has promised it.  Promised.  So we can trust it.  Hooray! =)

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith

We cannot pray to the Lord and say: “Listen to our cause, bring victory to us, do what we want you to do, but don’t ask us to do what you want us to do.”

“Why call me Lord, Lord,” he says, “and do not the things that I say?”

Uhm.  Ouch.  Why would the Lord help us if we are not honestly and sincerely striving to follow his commandments?  He is with us all the time.  He knows what is in our mind and hearts.  He knows our true desires.  He knows if we are true and faithful.  If we do our best, we will be blessed.  If we don’t really care about the Lord and reject his teachings, how can he help us?  The blessings are predicated upon faithfulness.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith

What good does it do for us to petition the Lord, if we have no intention of keeping His commandments?  Such praying is hollow mockery and an insult before the throne of grace.

Y’know, in times past, they didn’t pull any punches.  No PC stuff.  Just telling it like it is.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith

Our responsibility in the Church is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, and this we are seeking to do with all our heart, might, and mind.  Jesus said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”  (Matt 4:10) … The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please him.  It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord it is quite another to respect and honour his will by following the example he has set for us.”

So when the Lord says we should worship him, what he’s saying is, “Follow my example and keep the commandments.”

1 Nephi 15:8

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

Sometimes he says yes right away.  Sometimes only after a while.  Sometimes he says no right away.  Sometimes only after a while.  Sometimes he says, “Wait”.  Sometimes he says, “Well, what would you like to do?”  That last one’s the hardest.  It’s so much easier to have someone else make the difficult decision.  But the Lord wants us to use the brains he blessed us with to think it through ourselves.  For someone like me, who has an appalling time making a decision (just ask my husband) that one is sooo difficult.

Plus, y’know, if you haven’t behaved in a way that allows the spirit to be with you to guide you, sometimes it’s really hard hearing and interpreting the answers to prayers.  Keep the commandments.  Pray and read the scriptures daily.  Go to church.  Go to the Temple.

Mosiah 26:31

And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbour’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.

You know what I’ve never noticed before?  The “when he says that he repents” thing.  It’s so much more difficult to forgive when the person does not repent and persists in hurting you.  I think even that is required of us though.  In this particular scripture, however, we are commanded to forgive those who do repent.  That’s a good place to start, and to practice forgiving those who don’t. =)

Mosiah 27:24

For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.

This is all of us, if we want it.

Mosiah 27:13-16

…Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.

…Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayer sof his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God?  For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God.

Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them.  And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.

Yikes.

Can you imagine this?  This is where the angel appears to Alma.  Blew his mind.  Can you imagine being told by an angel, “Look dude, what the heck are you doing?  This is God’s church, man.  The only reason I’m here is because your Dad is so awesome and has prayed in such faith for you that God sent me.  And yeah, you know how you’ve been saying we don’t exist?  Well ta dah!  Here I am.  Can you deny that, huh, punk?  Now get lost, already.  If you want to go to hell, fine, just quit dragging other people with you, ok?”

Yeah.  I can imagine that was a leeetle bit of a shock to Alma.  Certainly put him in a coma-type thing for three days.  And his Dad was all “YAY!”, which is pretty funny. =)

Pretty uncomfortable experience.  I really wouldn’t like an Angel to come down and tell me stuff like that.

Jacob 7:15

And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth.  And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.

I’ve wondered about that word, “nourished” for a while.  It makes me think of Alma in his coma.  Alma was “nourished” too, I think.  It’s a spiritual/knowledge thing, I think, rather than physically being fed food.

1 Nephi 219-20

And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou has sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.  

And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

Here is this thing again; it’s like the constant refrain of the scripture.  Keep the commandments and be blessed.

Moroni 10:29

And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true.

If you really want to know if God exists, if Jesus really did come to earth, live as an example, suffer and die for our sins, then rise again, if the Book of Mormon is true, if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of God, then pray about it.  If you do so with faith and sincerity, the Lord will let you know.

Like he says here…..

Moroni 10:4-5

And when she shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

So if you want to know if it’s true

– Ask God in the name of Christ

– Ask with a sincere heart

– With real intent – that is, “If it’s true, this is what I’m going to do about it.”

– having faith in Christ – that is, believing that you will receive an answer.

Then you will receive an answer through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Faith – The Fifth Hour

2 Nephi 1:13

O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

Lehi is here speaking to his children, pleading with them to not deliberately turn away from the Lord, but to be humble and to keep the commandments.  Ezra Taft Benson said that pride was the besetting sin of this generation, and it’s so true.  We’re all hoist on our own petard, and think we’re so amazing and fabulous, and feel insulted when commanded to worship our Father in Heaven.  What, me?  *Worship* someone?  Who does he think he is?

Well who He is is the creator of you, your mind and heart and life and everything you see, hear, touch, or feel.

2 Nephi 1:9

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that insamuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves.  And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

I think this applies not only to those who left Jerusalem with Lehi, but to all those who live in the Americas.  Keep the commandments and trust in God, and you will prosper and be kept safe.  Turn away from the precepts of the Lord and things are going to get slightly dicey.

Though this promise is specifically for those in the Americas, I believe that wherever you life, if you keep the commandments you will be blessed.

1 Nephi 20:18

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments – then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.

This is a scripture of our Father speaking with deep pain and regret.  He desires to bless us abundantly, but cannot do so if those blessings will harm us – which they will do if we are not following his commandments.  He is utterly delighted when we choose the right and pours out blessings upon our heads.  And his anguish when we turn from Him so He cannot bless us – it’s so painful to read.

Joseph Smith History 1:15-20

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.  I had scarecely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak.  Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction – not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being – just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound.  When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is my Beloved Son.  Hear Him!

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.  No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) – and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.  When I came to myself again, i found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven.  When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.  And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was.  I replied, “Never mind, all is well – I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.”  It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution taht arose against me, almost in my infancy?

This account is true.  It really happened.  Joseph Smith saw what he saw.  Those personages he saw spoke the words he said they spoke.  He suffered terribly in his life.  He gave it as a testimony to the truth of what he saw and heard.

D&C 5:24

Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.

Here’s another verse to set the backs of the proud up, and to stiffen their necks.  What, me?  Bow myself down?

Yes, you.  Be humble, and the Lord thy God shall give thee answers to thy prayers.

First, humble yourself and pray faithfully, THEN your prayers will be answered.  The fire in the fireplace will not light itself.  Only you can do that through faith – and then you’ll feel the warmth.

D&C 6:20

Behold, thou art ___________________, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart.  Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

The name that appears in the scripture is Oliver.  To liken the scriptures to yourself, stick your name in there and read it aloud.  Then do what it says, and you will be surrounded with the love of God.

Not that you aren’t, in point of fact, already surrounded by the love of God.  It’s already there.  It’s always there.  But when you pray and keep the commandments, you’re able to feel it.  It’s like you’re facing the wrong direction and are in the dark and can’t see a dang thing, but the act of following the commandment in faith realigns you and turns you around and all of a sudden you realize “Holy cow! The light was there all along!”

D&C 1:37-38

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

The commandments referred to are D&C, but I think this can be applied to all scripture.  All scripture (so far as it is translated correctly – that is to say, the original scripture with the original meaning by the writer) is true.  It will all be fulfilled.  And if God said it himself, or if He said it through His prophets, it’s the same.  It’s all true.

D&C 1:30

And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually – 

This is the true church.  This is the Lord’s church.  Moral relativists find this so stinkin’ infuriating.  It is simply not PC to declare something definitively like that, especially like religion.  But it would be a lie to say otherwise.  It would also be unfair to people to not know that there is absolute truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That is not to say the *people* are perfect.  Haha!  No no no, far from it.  The phrase, “The church is true but the people aren’t” is absolutely true.  In this world, there are good people, bad people, smart people, uneducated people, kind people, judgmental people, hard people, soft people, and downright crazy weirdos.  And you’ll find people of all sorts in the church.  Some are wise and kind and gentle.  Some are hard and inflexible and unyielding.  Some are downright crazy lunatics.  Yep, they’re all here.  Most Mormons are just, y’know, ordinary humans doing their best to do their best and mostly messing it up on a regular basis….but they keep trying.  They keep pointing at incredibly lofty goals (“Be ye therefore perfect”….though straight up, that doesn’t mean what you think it means) and going, “That’s where I’m heading!”  But those goals are on the top of a very high mountain, and most people are just slogging around in the slippery mud at the base, trying their best to climb higher.

The trick is to help other people up.  Being kind and lifting others generally helps you find stronger and less slippy footholds in the upward climb.