Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Keeping Good Cheer Throughout the Year

There’s a magic to Christmas. It’s a season of giving. We gladly turn our hearts to the memory of our Lord’s birth, His life, and His sacrifices for us; and we gladly turn our hearts to our families and to our fellowmen. From Thanksgiving to New Year, we feel the presence of angels as we allow ourselves to be lifted up, to be a little better than we’ve remembered to be, to think a little more kindly, and to give of ourselves a little more freely.


For children, the magic may be found in anticipation, and in the quiet realization of the security of their parents’ love for them. They feel the excitement of traditions, the colors, the foods, and the presents. For adults, it can be found in the planning and preparations, in the searching and giving of gifts, and in the delight seen in and through the eyes of their children.

For the single, the lonely, the aged, it may be found returning home, in a shared meal, in a friendship renewed, and in forgiveness extended or received.

So many miracles happen at Christmas, and truly all year long; but, at Christmas, it may be that our senses are more keenly aware. It might be the music; it might be the Christmas story; it might be the shared traditions and the extended fellowship, service, and charity…of course, it’s all of these things. But maybe, it’s just even a little bit more.

Yes, it’s so much more. I believe, at Christmas, one of the greatest gifts is that we again feel our brotherhood. It’s renewed, just like it is every time we come together in tradition or tragedy. And during this time of connection, of renewal, hope in our own humanity is restored. Truly the Prince of Peace delivers peace to us, especially when we so willingly offer it to each other.

Maybe that’s why we are so keen on goal-setting for the New Year. Maybe it’s because we’ve felt the magic of Christmas and don’t want to lose it.

What is magical about Christmas for you? How do you feel it, and how does it make you feel? What makes you happy about Christmas, and what makes you sense happiness in others? Truly Christmas is a time of good cheer. Now what can we all do, what can you do individually to carry that good cheer with you throughout the New Year? What will you do to keep Christ’s Spirit with you?  


Monday, December 21, 2015

Are Good People Good?

I hear so many people defending other people by saying, "He's a good person," or "She's a good person." I'm not even sure what that means anymore.




Cain was probably a really "good person," too; other than, he chose his own way to serve and follow the Lord, instead of being obedient to the Lord and serving in the way he was commanded. Even this was a God-given right, because our Heavenly Father gave us the gift of agency.

So when Cain offered up a sacrifice to the Lord, which was his own choosing and not according to the Lord’s directions, by today’s standard, we could all say, “He was a good person.” Why? Because he still was trying to give a good gift, even if it was contrary to God’s specifications of an acceptable sacrifice or a good gift to God. 

It certainly does seem that when we are given light and knowledge from the Lord, and we stray from that in favor of our own whimsical thinking or the teachings of the world, that we are openly choosing to turn towards the darkness and follow after folly.

Yet we are all still children of God seeking after happiness and wanting to live the good life and to be good people.

So what happened to Cain? And does the same thing happen to good people today?

I believe that we have all had a Cain or a Judas experience to some degree; or, if not, that we will. What will we do in these circumstances? When we have made errors in judgment in following the Lord; and we know that we have, because the Spirit of the Lord is there to seek to reclaim us, how do we respond? How will we respond? Cain was warned, and Cain was given conditions of blessing and cursing. So was Paul. We have also received this same warning. Satan is waiting for our responses, because he seeks to own good people.

What are some of the mistakes that Cain made? First, Cain didn’t offer the sacrifice of the firstborn, which was a reminder of our Heavenly Father’s Son and His sacrifice for us. In what ways do we fall short of being the children of progress that our Father intends us to be? Are there things that we neglect or that we substitute which have been put into place to help us remember His Son and our covenants with Him?

Cain was reprimanded by the Lord. The Lord chastises us because He loves us and wants our ultimate happiness, not just for us to find immediate gratification in the use of our agency. But Cain made the mistake of letting his countenance fall. He became angry. How does it affect our spirits, our demeanor, our attitude, and our well-being when we become angry because we don’t feel validated in making wrong choices? This is another step in turning away from light and truth and entering into a darkened path. Have you ever experienced it? I know I have. But the Lord in great mercy wants to reclaim us, because He knows our potential if we choose light and truth.

Cain not only became angry because he couldn’t find happiness in his wrong choices; he became angry because his brother could find happiness in choosing the right. He let his jealousy over Abel and his possessions consume him, even until he was motivated to destroy Abel in hopes of obtaining what Abel had.

Are we envious of others’ gifts? How does that harm our own well-being? Do we understand that the Lord gives gifts severally to His children according to His will and His kindness, and that the blessings that we receive are to be used to glorify him in returning goodness to Him in obedience and service? Do we make sure that we do not fault others who are truly striving to be righteous?

It is true that most people we know are not murderers. We could even go on to say, “We are all ‘good people.’” But there is great danger in calling evil good and good evil. So it is best for us to analyze our position and to take inventory before and with the Lord, so that we know where we fall short and how we can improve in our own lives. (Alma Chapter 5 is a good reference for this.)

We should also make certain that we are aware of what is right and wrong in the world around us. Too many are confused on this point, thinking that way have no right to judge, but we must make righteous judgment as our progress and the progress of others is dependent upon it. (For greater understanding, please read the words of Mormon for in Moroni Chapter 7.)

I’m not writing this to say that I am a better person that others. But, if we know the truth, we should not want to settle for less either for ourselves or for those other people, those friends of ours whom we deem to be “good people.” If we think they are good people, shouldn’t we want to share with them those promises from God that are attainable through His love for us and our obedience to Him?

We all have the potential to be good. But true goodness comes from being humble enough to know that all that is good comes from God and that we need Him to progress and to obtain salvation. We cannot allow any substandard thwart us from our eternal goal of being members of the family of God. In Him and with Him, we will find goodness. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jesus Frees Us from the Puppeteers


Jesus Frees Us from the Puppeteers




(Image Source: genius.com)


It is interesting that in today’s world puppetry is so prized. We are born children of the Highest, with the opportunity to follow Him and have eternal possibilities and inheritances available to us. Yet sometimes we choose to forego the treasures of the kingdom for the fading glitter of the world.

Jesus opens the door to our Heavenly Father's kingdom for those who list to obey HimWe need to offer more than lip service. We need to do more than merely say we believe in a higher power source. We need to accept Jesus as our Personal Friend, and we need to become friends with Him. He spoke these words:


Greater love hath no man than this, that a man 
lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

He also spoke these words:


Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever 
I command you” (John 15:14).

And these:


If ye love me, keep my 
commandments” (John 14:15).



We owe all that we have to our Father and His Son. Everything. “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). Yet some people scoff and call His followers sheeple. Should we not feel it a glorious blessing to have a Righteous Shepherd? One who will never lead us astray, but who will share with us in His glory!

And here we live as His human offspring, awaiting the day of our immortality. Whom we choose to follow now will determine who will receive us in that great day


King Benjamin words, found in Mosiah chapter 2, are good for us to remember at this Thanksgiving time and always, because our worship must begin with humility and gratitude:


19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, 
who has spent his days in your service, and yet 
has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks 
from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render 
all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has 
power to possess, to that God who has created you, 
and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye 
should rejoice, and has granted that 
ye should live in peace one with another—

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him 
who has created you from the beginning, 
and is preserving you from day to day, 
by lending you breath, that ye may live and move 
and do according to your own will, and 
even supporting you from one moment to another
I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls 
yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you 
is to keep his commandments
and he has promised you that if ye would 
keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; 
and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; 
therefore, if ye do keep his commandments 
he doth bless you and prosper you.

This is a tricky day that we live in. Modern times are really repeats of the failings of past civilizations, but the evil designer has had many millennia of preparation in presentation. Yet we have been warned about avoiding his darkness and his worldly sophistry; we have been warned about not becoming his pawns:


“And there are also secret combinations, even as 
in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, 
for he is the founder of all these things; yea, 
the founder of murder, and works of darkness; 
yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, 
until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever” 


So here we are, somewhat like Pinocchio. We have a Creator who has offered us an inheritance with Him. He has made us real and given us the opportunity to become like Him, but sometimes we would rather be puppets, never reaching our potential, but controlled by the masses who have also chosen puppetry. Remember Pinocchio’s plight and that it is by far better to be a sheep of the Good Shepherd who will lead us into Life Eternal than to be a donkey. 





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Another Year 2015



Heidi 

22 October 1961
19 1/2 inches long
7 lbs. 2 oz.

I recently had a birthday. My birthday is four days after my mother's. So I was in Utah with her this year. Both of our birthdays passed rather uneventfully. We knew that her days were truly numbered, and her greatest desire was to move on in her journey. 

I am still her baby daughter, and I miss her so much. I am thankful for the life that she gave me and the love that I have always felt from her and from my father. It seems that one's childhood is not truly over until his or her parents have passed on. 

I believe that my parents' generation is one of the very best. They were the workers. They gave us everything that we've built upon and we take credit for it. Yet, without them, we are nothing. 

So now with a broken heart, I need to take the torch and carry on. Some have asked me how I am doing. I'm doing well, and I'm not doing well. In fact, I am broken. But I know from past experience, it is when we are broken that the Lord can do the most good with us. So I hang onto that hope, knowing that one day I'll see my mother again, my sister and my brother, my son, my Nana, and my Oma; and all the rest of my family, those in heaven and those still here currently. 

I pray that I'll have the desire to use my energy wisely and do some good in this world, and love the living of it. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Gift of Faith

What is the greatest gift that I can give 

to myself and to my children?


The greatest gift that I can give is my faith in Jesus Christ. Why is this such a great gift?




Jesus Christ gave us life, and when we believe in Him, He gives us life even more abundantly. It is through Him that we all have life, the ability to think, and move, and do. And it is because of Him that we have the right to choose to believe or to not believe in His gracious gift and His never-ending love.

He is The Light of the World, and His light is manifest in all of His creations. Through Him we have life and without Him we do not. Even when we deny Him, He causes His sun to shine and his rain to fall on both the righteous and the unrighteous, the believers and the non-believers, because He is good and He loves us all.

To reap the blessings of His goodness while refusing to recognize His gifts shows lack of knowledge and absence of faith. To lay claim on the goodness within ourselves while denying Him shows an attitude of arrogance with misdirected praise.

The world teaches that people can be good in and of themselves whether they believe in God or not. But this reasoning is faulty. While people may believe that they are good on their own, they cannot even exist on their own. We all need God. The goodness that is inside us is from God even if we don't recognize it or Him.

Why is my faith in Jesus Christ important to me and why do I think that it is important to you? Jesus Christ wants our success. He loves us. He created this beautiful world in which we live, and He allows us experiences that build our character and bring us joy. More than that! He has our backs. He has paid the ultimate price, so that each time we fall, He is personally there to catch us and lift us back up. My faith in Jesus Christ is important, because I know He loves me and that He has redeemed me and that He will continue to redeem me; and He has and will do the same for you. His love knows no limits, even when ours is shaky at best. His power, His mercy, His love, and His glory are everlasting.

The hope that I have for happiness in my life stems from the faith I have in Jesus Christ and His promises. The hope that I have in my family and our happiness now and in our relationships in eternity are founded in His glorious gospel and the covenants and ordinances that He has provided to me for my safety and eternal progression.

We may think that we don’t need God and that we don’t need God’s Son. But do we need the air that we breathe? Because if we do, then we need Him. King Benjamin’s words are words of pleading, because He too knew that the greatest gift that He could give His people was His faith in Jesus Christ:

“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” (Mosiah 4:9-10).

Our good works are nothing without the goodness that He has poured into us through His creation and His sustaining power. Our haughty and our sincere efforts pale in comparison to the work of His atoning sacrifice for us, which gives us the power to be able to be good.

“I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—

"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

“And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

“And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

“And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

“And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you” (Mosiah 2:20-26).

I love Jesus, and the best gift that I can give myself and others is my faith in Him. King Benjamin was not emphasizing the unimportance of men, but the importance of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Even though He makes His sun to rise and His rain to fall to bless us, we cannot count on Him giving us the gift of peace in this life and eternal life with Him and with our families in the next life if we do not love Him and keep His commandments. And that takes faith. Holding on to my faith and living my belief in Jesus Christ is the most important thing I can do and the very best gift that I have to give.

I am thankful for the many gifts God has given me: life, agency, family, friends, peace, faith, resurrection, and the prospect of eternal happiness and joy. 
I love my family; I love my friends; I love my Heavenly Father; and I love His Son, my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.It is because of Him that I am able to enjoy everything else. 

When we are sad and feel alone, we just need to listen for our Father's voice. He loves us, and it will be all right.



Monday, September 7, 2015

Live with Gratitude: Both Giving and Taking

Live with Gratitude: Both Giving and Taking


Sometimes you can dish it out, but you just can't take it.





How are you at receiving compliments, at accepting praise? Does it cause you undo discomfort when the spotlight is turned to you? Do you soak it in with gratitude? Do you absorb it with pride? Or do you dismiss it in dismay?

Since I am one that is easily overwhelmed, positive attention is sometimes unwelcome, even though it might be very needed. I think that is true for many of us. We want recognition; but, at the same time, we don't want a fuss, nor do we want to feel overwhelmed by compliments that we feel we do not deserve.

Then there is the question of pride in the face of our religious beliefs or core values. If we accept praise, do we equate that with ownership for the good that we have done or the good that unfolds as a result of our actions? Do we question the motives behind the compliment, judging that the giver is insincere or looking for something in return? Do we acknowledge a compliment, understanding that we have been placed in a position to do something good, knowing that we are a small vehicle within a much greater movement of good?

I think that we need to understand that both giving praise and accepting praise are healthy actions and attitudes. Offering praise helps us develop hearts of gratitude, and that's always important. The first part of offering praise, for me, is acknowledging God's hand in all things. All our blessings, relationships, talents, and goodness spring from our Father who gave us life.



Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Word: Thomas Ken; Music: Louis



Here is a scripture that came to mind in relationship to giving, which certainly can be applied to giving compliments and praise:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of neccesity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

I believe that we are encouraged to offer sincere praise, both to God and to our fellowmen. If God loves a cheerful giver, certainly He also loves a cheerful receiver.

Sometimes great people doing great things do not want recognition. But at some point, maybe even their humility might appear to be prideful. We are not all capable of doing the same things. The Lord gives us talents severally according to his will (See Gifts of the Spirit). Gifts are given at His discretion for the benefit of the Giver and the recipient. The recipient of God's gifts can then become a giver himself; in turn, the good that we do becomes a blessing to ourselves and to others. In our humility, we might not think that we are anything great or that the things that we do are noteworthy. Be we, as messengers of God, are involved in His goodness; and, when others are witnesses, it may be careless for us to consider their praise as folly and deny the greatness of the actions performed.

Selfless service, in today's world, is out of the norm. But for those who truly love God and neighbor, it is the ideal that we both seek and cherish. While I can understand someone being tired of receiving attention for the good that he does, we all must realize how wonderful it is to be a witness of selfless service. Since we have all been given different blessing and different capacities, the Spirit can guide us all in how we can serve and what our current missions are, if we are willing to ask our Father and listen for His voice.

There are so many opportunities for all of us to be Christ-like. When someone admires our Christ-like actions, maybe we need to step back and look at our own situation through an outsider's eyes. We might also be in awe; not of ourselves, but of what has been accomplished through the grace of God and the gifts He has given us. When we do so, we will be able to accept sincere compliments without arrogance, but joyfully. We will know that the glory goes to God who has given us the will and the moment-by-moment strength to keep going, even when we feel exhausted and inadequate.

When we can both separate ourselves from the glory and involve ourselves in the gratitude, we are in a good position to be a cheerful receiver. Sometimes this might be hard to do, because we are receiving praise when we are intimately aware of our own inadequacies and failures. Maybe we need more support from friends and family to help ease our burdens, and so the compliments we receive just come across as trite phrases. Maybe we resent the compliment because we desire the gift of time and service to help buoy us up in a current challenge. Maybe we even feel that we are a victim, doing much work that we believe others should also be doing. Sometimes, when we do not see our own growth and goodness, we find it difficult to accept what someone else is telling us, because we currently cannot see it. Then we need to develop some trust in the person who is offering praise, trust to accept the compliments with gratitude and trust to ask for help we may need. We really might not want praise because facing our own fears and inadequacies leaves us feeling exposed.

I am certainly glad that praise is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that even Jesus asked, "Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God" (Luke 18:19).

Not only was Jesus announcing His Messiahship, saying that since He is good, He is the Son of God; in this instance, as always, Jesus, as the King of Creation, deferred the glory to His Father. And yet, can you imagine how crumpled we would be if we didn't feel to praise Him and to offer Him our undying gratitude daily, minute-by-minute for His everlasting sacrifice for us?

I think we can all comprehend the importance of being amazed with God and His Son and in offering praise to Them. I think that we all can understand the importance of expressing gratitude to others, and we can acknowledge that there are times that we are in awe of the work that is being done. But can we understand and accept that it is also not just okay but appropriate to accept the praise of others? Instead of being less amazed, I think we should all be more amazed, not only with God, but with what we can and do accomplish as His children. 

With open eyes and hearts, it would be wonderful if we could all give and accept positive words of encouragement and praise. We should really all be more amazed with each other, all the time. We all have tasks that are not easy and challenges that are invisible to others. So it becomes us to accept words of encouragement and praise more graciously, letting those words boost us in the seemingly endless, thankless tasks that we all must perform on a daily basis. We need to become more like little children, who are humble and sincere. In them we witness perfect praise (See Matthew 21:16).


Let us all practice both giving and receiving praise sincerely and graciously. We can learn to accept words of encouragement for what they are, returning the glory to God, and helping others learn to do the same. He has called us to perform special missions. And He is amazing. The work which we do in His name and through His love is also amazing. His grace and His glory and His goodness endures forever! Even when we might feel weary of compliments, I believe that sincere praise from others is only a mere reflection of the love and gratitude they feel for the goodness and glory of God, in which they cannot yet recognize or find full expression. So we can feel gratitude for the goodness that others see in us, and in that goodness, find hope that we are helping others to see God's grace and seek His face.

Life is a wonderful blessing. Praise is a wonderful gift. We are involved in a marvelous work and a wonder! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Thoughts About Ben Carson

Dr.  Ben Carson answers a few questions at the close of each day. I don't remember any other presidential candidate in my lifetime ever doing that. It seems like here is a man who is dedicated to serving the people. 


https://www.facebook.com/realbencarson


I have read a couple of Dr. Carson's books, and in so doing am convinced that he is a good and talented man, and a faithful Christian disciple. Beyond that, I am impressed with what he's said so far in his candidacy and with his poise and demeanor is speaking with the press.

Things I like about Dr. Ben Carson:

Dr. Carson values life. He is Pro-Life, and he is not afraid to say so.

Dr. Carson stands with Israel. He isn't interested in making deals that would weaken our nation or jeopardize our friends.

Dr. Carson believes in accountability. He doesn't think that government should keep taxing and spending without a clear plan to improve the financial situation of our country. He also believes in fairness; that the workers shouldn't be penalized for working or for providing jobs to others.

Dr. Carson understands the need for good doctor and patient relationships. He also understands why Obamacare is not good for health care and not desirable for our country.

Dr. Carson believes in the history and destiny of our country. He upholds the same Judeo-Christian values upon which the Founding Fathers established this country, and he doesn't feel the need to apologize for virtue.

Dr. Carson knows how to work under pressure without fumbling. He has literally held the balance of life in his hands when fatigued and at his mortal limits, but has been able to rely on inner strength and faith in the Lord to help perform miracles.

Dr. Carson is a virtuous man, and because he lives a clean life, he doesn't buckle under fire. He isn't concerned with the sludge of the political arena, because he isn't part of it.

Dr. Carson values education, and he values womanhood and motherhood. His own mother was the driving force behind his success in school and subsequently as a world-renowned brain surgeon. He knows that hard work opens possibilities that otherwise would be missed. He also knows that God has a plan for each of us, and God honors those who have faith in Him and keep His commandments with blessings that they seek.

Dr. Carson is a friend to truth. He is educated and yet teachable. He is powerful and yet humble. He is a friend to the down-trodden, not by just giving handouts, but by reaching to offer a hand to help others up.

Our Country needs someone who is friendly to America, her mission and her purpose. I believe that Dr. Carson could be that man. I think it is time for us to stop playing politics like a poker game and start voting for those whom we think are wholesome, who are good problem solvers, who will be good leaders, and who will provide both morale and moral direction for our country.

Dr. Carson cares about our future and our children. I think that if we care about those same things, we should vote for someone whose passion it is to serve those purposes.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Family Sabbath Observance

This is a talk that I gave in Sacrament Meeting on 9 August 2015:

After God created the world, He rested on the seventh day. This became the Sabbath. During this time, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. So the Garden of Eden was not only a place, it was a time. It was a day of rest, worship, spiritual instruction, and learning, before Adam and Eve were sent out to face the lone and dreary world together.

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:2–3).

Once Adam and Eve left the garden, they continued to follow God's commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11).

After the children of Israel were led out of Egypt, the Lord explained to Moses that if the people would observe the Sabbath day, it would be a sign between God and them of His covenant (see Exodus 31:13) . Surely, a people delivered from bondage would have been happy to be allotted a day without work. We can see that the Sabbath day isn't new, but do we also see that it is not antiquated?

No, this law given by our Father in Heaven is not out of date. It pertains to us here and now. In fact, we are promised in our day that if we observe the Sabbath that “the fulness of the earth” will be ours (D&C 59:16-20).

Can you imagine how different the world would be if everyone kept just this one commandment? Can you imagine how different it would be if even all the Latter-day Saints observed the Sabbath day to keep it holy? I believe that through the keeping of this commandment, we will be much better prepared to keep the first two great commandments of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and of loving our neighbors as ourselves. There are some steps each of us can take individually and as families to improve our Sabbath day worship.

So how do we do it?

I think that it is important that we don't become like the Pharisees in Christ's day by just creating long lists of do's and don'ts. That misses the mark. It doesn't really benefit anyone, and it does not show gratitude to our Heavenly Father. But there are some fundamentally important things that we must never forget.

If we want to learn how to observe the Sabbath day better, we can find a lot of clues from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He worshiped in Synagogues on the Sabbath. He taught; He healed; He served.

So first, if keeping the Sabbath day is a sign of our covenants with God, we need to remember our covenants and renew them. We can't do this on a golf course, in the mountains, or at the beach. Why? Because the sacrament is not typically served in those places, by someone holding authority and authorization to institute it. If we are to worship Heavenly Father in Spirit and in Truth, we must do this in the manner that He has commanded us.


Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-13:


“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”

How can partaking of the sacrament on Sundays give us focus for our worship that day and strength for the week ahead?

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a recent member of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “Windows must be washed regularly to clean away dust and dirt. … Just as earthly windows need consistent, thorough cleaning, so do the windows of our spirituality. … By partaking of the sacrament worthily to renew our baptismal covenants, we clarify our view of life’s eternal purpose and divine priorities. The sacrament prayers invite personal introspection, repentance, and rededication as we pledge our willingness to remember our Savior, Jesus the Christ" (Talk given Oct 1995).

Maybe, and probably so, if we do these things as families, our eyes will be more clearly opened as to how we can progress together as families towards our goal of eternal life. While another important part of Sunday Church worship is meeting with our fellow saints and strengthening one another, today we are going to concentrate more on how we can use the Sabbath day to strengthen our own homes and families.

The best starting point should be for us to look at what is working for us now and also to seek the Spirit to determine what we need to incorporate into our Sabbath day observance to pay devotion to the Lord better and to strengthen our families more. One thing to remember is that the Church is here to support us in teaching our children the gospel and not the other way around.

So if you are not having family scripture time or family home evenings, Sunday would be a good place to start. I know that when my husband worked six days a week, we did have family night on Sundays.

Are we reevaluating our own lives and our goals? Sunday is a great time to review our Patriarchal blessings. It is also a great time to help our children learn to set goals, referring to our church's programs of Faith in God, Duty to God, and Personal progress, allow with long-term educational and temple worthy goals, such as vocations, missions, and temple marriage; plus, short term goals of personal interest. When we set goals, reviewing progress and accomplishing milestones, the Lord is pleased with us; and we feel the satisfaction of our growth through the validation of His Spirit. As we help our children through this process, they will experience those same feelings, which will increase the binding of their relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and with us as their parents. As we teach our children to rejoice in each other's accomplishments and to aid each other in their goals, they will also grow in unity.

Overbooking our activities with our children will not be relaxing to them or to us. So we should allow for quiet, reflective, renewing time for everyone. But Sabbath days should also concentrate on family togetherness. So family dinners together are extra important on this day. We can also share our thoughts on the past week's activities and our schedules for the new week. We can discuss church meeting topics and our feelings about talks and lessons. Even when we don't agree with presentation, we should remember to be kind and not to demean our leaders or fellow worshipers.

Some things our own family has done on Sabbath days: when we are on vacations, we always still make it a point to attend church, especially Sacrament meeting; and to observe the Sabbath in the best way we can, even if we are visiting with those who don't attend church. Last month, after church and a family dinner, we drove to see four of the Utah temples and to feel the spirit on those grounds. We often drove to the Redlands temple site on Sundays while it was being constructed. I believe that this did not only mark the growth of the temple, but the growth of our children's testimonies of the importance of the temple.

Bob has been doing indexing for years, and we have followed in his example to do some indexing on Sundays. Sunday is a great time to work on our own family history, including genealogy research and journal writing. It is also a great day for writing letters to extended family, or phone calling, or Skyping.

Many times we have visited with extended family or friends on Sundays as well. Sometimes we have had others over to sing around our piano. While we might not have scripture time every single evening, we are sure to do so on Sunday, and on Monday as part of family night. If we are going to make visits with other people, whether socially or as home or visiting teachers, we need to make certain that we are not imposing upon their observance of the Sabbath day.

I know that the Butlers watch Bible stories with their children on Sundays. The church has great videos with stories from the life of our Savior. We can all watch and benefit from them. They are readily available at mormon.org, or we an purchase the set from Distribution for a excellent price.

As our children grow older, it is still important for us to still have Sabbath day rules in our home, but it is also important to allow for agency. The best way to lead is always by example.

I hope that we can all feel the importance of Sabbath day worship and gain the Spirit of that worship in our own families. I know that Heavenly Father will bless us as we keep His commandments and honor the covenants that we have made with Him. Each Sunday we make promises to always remember His Son and to keep His commandments. That is a wonderful gift and protection for us as we start our new week. We need to remember that Sunday, our Sabbath, is the Lord's day, so we need to center our thoughts and activities around Him throughout the day, worshiping Him and serving as He would have us do. In doing so, He will bless us.

This is a picture of our family taken on 17 July 2015:




Turn to the Light

A Lesson for Relief Society based on the talk,


In our pre-earth life, we all made the choice to follow the Son of God. In doing so we were given the opportunity to experience earth life with all of the challenges it presents. The best way to be successful again here is to make the choice, along with covenants, to follow the Son of God. He is our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. He is our Light.

How many of you have seen sunflowers? Describe them. What do they do?



Sunflowers grow in extreme conditions. Sunflowers turn their faces towards the sun. Do we limit what we can do because we don't believe that our circumstances are optimal? Or do we take root and bloom even when we aren't necessarily where we want to be? Do we turn towards the Lord?

This life will present some real challenges for us. How will we respond? When the challenges presented come from friends, family members, or church members offending us or turning away from what we believe is right, how do we respond?

Do we experience anger and desire estrangement? Do we feel genuine love and sorrow, and hope to build others' faith as well as our own? Does pride get in the way of our own progression and desire to repent? Does it get in the way of us forgiving and accepting others? Do we allow pride to impede our progress?

The Light of Christ plants the eternal nature of the family in the hearts of all God's children” (Elder Cook).

“So much in life is extraneous, [but]...the family is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; the thing to watch over and care for and be loyal to” (Carla Carlisle).

Why is family the important thing, and how do we make family ties stronger?
It is important that we all build our testimonies. There are proper ways to do this.

Patiently and humbly studying, pondering, praying, living gospel principles, and counseling with appropriate leaders are the best ways to resolve questions and concerns” (Elder Coook).

This can be true when we are seeking our own growth, or when we are trying to gain understanding concerning someone else, so that we can appropriately respond to his or her needs.

If we faithfully have family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, priesthood blessings, and Sabbath day observance in our homes, our children will be counting on that pattern of faith even when they are away from home. These positive habits, accompanied with sincere concern and love for each others' well-bing, will provide our families with security and a safe harbor. Each member will gain the needed fortification to stand in today's world, making good choices” (Elder Cook).

We will be able to feel secure in the eternal safety of our children no matter what life's challenges may bring, knowing that Jesus will save them in this life and in the resurrection.

How can families work together towards their goal of eternal life? How have family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, priesthood blessings, and keeping the Sabbath day holy blessed you in your families and throughout your life?

How does our ward family act in harmony with each family's goal for eternal life? How does involvement in quorums and auxillaries help build us as individuals and strengthen our families? In what ways do home and visiting teaching offer us stability in an ever changing and challenging world?

Our ward family is important to our progress, happiness, and personal effort to be more Christlike” (Elder Cook).

We need to avoid the temptation to become disjointed. The Lord's emphasis has always been on unity. When the Nephite and Lamanite people were all converted to the Lord, there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” As a result to this we read in 4 Nephi vs 16, “And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”

Because the love of God dwelt in the hearts of the people, there were no contentions. What must we do in our wards and in our homes in order to dispel contentions and build unity?

Our outlook is not bleak. If we look towards the Light, our destiny is to grow in His Light and become like Him. It will take a change of heart. We will need to determine now to love the Lord more and to love each other more. He will help us.

Our protections in this life and for eternity will be in individual and family righteousness, Church ordinances, and following the Savior. This is our refuge from the storm. For those who feel they are alone, you can stand resolutely in righteousness knowing that the Atonement will protect and bless you beyond your ability to fully understand” (Elder Cook).

We should remember the Savior, keep our covenants, and follow the Son of God as the young sunflower follows the sunshine. Following His light and example will bring us joy, happiness, and peace. As Psalm 27 and a favorite hymn both proclaim, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Love Makes our House a Home

Love makes our house a home



Our family is not picture perfect. In fact, most families seldom are. Unless, of course, you consider the normal day living events which mark the growth of each family member and the family as a whole. These weave a tapestry and leave a legacy. Love makes our house a home.

Time spent together. Smiles shared. Music listened to and sung with gusto. Books read. Scriptures shared. Prayers said. Faith makes a house our home.

From the time our children were babies, lullabies and nursery rhymes, lap chats and park walks, visits to the zoo and the children's museum were all important. So were rules and chores, working alongside Mom and Dad; baking time with Mom, and washing cars with Dad. Language, learning, playtime, and working make our house a home.

When our children were small, Bob and I took turns tucking the children in bed at night. One night I'd be in the girls' room reading good night stories and hearing them say their prayers while Bob was in the boys' room. The next night we'd switch. Building relationships and developing trust make our house a home.

Shoe-tying, swing pumping, numbers and letters, sounding out words, learning to say our “r's”, skipping and galloping, playing soccer, swimming lessons, beginning Kindergarten, and High School graduation. Goal-setting, personal skills, building confidence and self-reliance. Self-esteem, helping each other reach milestones, building character. Physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual growth make our house a home.

Day trips to the mountains, to the beaches, to grandparents' homes. Birthday parties, special occasions, band and choir, academic decathlon, scouting, personal progress. Scouting, Young Women program, scholarship, college, jobs, careers. Personal development, along with failures and successes, make our house a home.

Skinned knees, bruised pride, loss of a job, personal struggles, giving support in times of sorrow. Losing a child to death much to soon. Turning to God, turning to each other. Hugging more, judging less. Finding strength in faith, building hope, listing blessings, gathering courage. Enduring adversity with renewed conviction to our family makes our house a home.

Kneeling in prayer at the close of each day. Attending Church together every Sunday. Thanking God. Thanking each other. Sharing our values. Supporting each other. Listening. Hearing. Respecting each other's ideas and helping each other progress. Family worship makes our house a home.

God gave us our family. He is Love. And Love makes our house a home.

(Post prompted by Shutterfly, #OurHomeOurStory)


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sabbath Day Observance


Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy as a Family


After God created the world, He rested on the seventh day. This became the Sabbath. During this time, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. So the Garden of Eden was not only a place, it was a time. It was a day of rest, worship, spiritual instruction, and learning, before Adam and Eve were sent out to face the lone and dreary world together.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made (Genesis 2:2–3).

Once Adam and Eve left the garden, they continued to follow God's commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11).

After the children of Israel were led out of Egypt, the Lord explained to Moses that if the people would observe the Sabbath day, it would be a sign between God and them of His covenant (see Exodus 31:13) . Surely, a people delivered from bondage would have been happy to be allotted a day without work. We can see that the Sabbath day isn't new, but do we also see that it is not antiquated?

No, this law given by our Father in Heaven is not out of date. It pertains to us here and now. In fact, we are promised in our day that if we observe the Sabbath that “the fulness of the earth” will be ours (see D&C 59:16–20).

Can you imagine how different the world would be if everyone kept just this one commandment? Can you imagine how different it would be if even all the Latter-day Saints observed the Sabbath day to keep it holy? I believe that through the keeping of this commandment, we will be much better prepared to keep the first two great commandments of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and of loving our neighbors as ourselves. There are some steps each of us can take individually and as families to improve our Sabbath day worship.

So how do we do it?

I think that it is important that we don't become like the Pharisees in Christ's day by just creating long lists of do's and don'ts. That misses the mark. It doesn't really benefit anyone, and it does not show gratitude to our Heavenly Father. But there are some fundamentally important things that we must never forget.

If we want to learn how to observe the Sabbath day better, we can find a lot of clues from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He worshipped in the Synogues on the Sabbatth. He taught; He healed; He served.

So first, if keeping the Sabbath day is a sign of our covenants with God, we need to remember our covenants and renew them. We can't do this on a golf course, in the mountains, or at the beach. Why? Because the sacrament is not typically served in those places, by someone holding authority and authorization to institute it. If we are to worship Heavenly Father in Spirit and in Truth, we must do this in the manner that He has commanded us.

Doctrine and Covenants 59:

9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.

13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

How can partking of the sacrament on Sundays give us focus for our worship that day and strength for the week ahead?

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a recent member of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “Windows must be washed regularly to clean away dust and dirt. … Just as earthly windows need consistent, thorough cleaning, so do the windows of our spirituality. … By partaking of the sacrament worthily to renew our baptismal covenants, we clarify our view of life’s eternal purpose and divine priorities. The sacrament prayers invite personal introspection, repentance, and rededication as we pledge our willingness to remember our Savior, Jesus the Christ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 103; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 77).

Maybe, and probably so, if we do these things as families, our eyes will be more clearly opened as to how we can progress together as families towards our goal of eternal life. While another important part of Sunday Church worship is meeting with our fellow saints and strengthening one another, today we are going to concentrate more on how we can use the Sabbath day to strengthen our own homes and families.

The best starting point should be for us to look at what is working for us now and also to seek the Spirit to determine what we need to incorporate into our Sabbath day observance to pay devotion to the Lord better and to strengthen our families more.

One thing to remember is that the Church is here to support us in teaching our children the gospel and not the other way around.

So if you are not having family scripture time or family home evenings, Sunday would be a good place to start. I know that when my husband worked six days a week, we did have family night on Sundays.

Are we reevaluating our own lives and our goals? Sunday is a great time to review our Patriarchal blessings. It is also a great time to help our children learn to set goals, referring to our church's programs of Faith in God, Duty to God, and Personal progress, allow with long-term educational and temple worthy goals, such as vocations, missions, and temple marriage; plus, short term goals of personal interest. When we set goals, reviewing progress and accomplishing milestones, the Lord is pleased with us; and we feel the satisfaction of our growth through the validation of His Spirit. As we help our children through this process, they will experience those same feelings, which will increase the binding of their relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and with us as their parents. As we teach our children to rejoice in each other's accomplishments and to aid each other in their goals, they will also grow in unity.

Overbooking our activities with our children will not be relaxing to them or to us. So we should allow for quiet, reflective, renewing time for everyone. But Sabbath days should also concentrate on family togetherness. So family dinners together are extra important on this day. We can also share our thoughts on the past week's activities and our schedules for the new week. We can discuss church meeting topics and our feelings about talks and lessons. Even when we don't agree with presentation, we should remember to be kind and not to demean our leaders or fellow worshipers.

Some things our own family has done on Sabbath days: when we are on vacations, we always still make it a point to attend church, especially Sacrament meeting; and to observe the Sabbath in the best way we can, even if we are visiting with those who don't attend church. Last month, after church and a family dinner, we drove to see four of the Utah temples and to feel the spirit on those grounds. We often drove to the Redlands temple site on Sundays while it was being constructed. I believe that this did not only mark the growth of the temple, but the growth of our children's testimonies of the importance of the temple.

Bob has been doing indexing for years, and we have followed in his example to do some indexing on Sundays. Sunday is a great time to work on our own family history, including genealogy research and journal writing. It is also a great day for writing letters to extended family, or phone calling, or Skyping.

Many times we have visited with extended family or friends on Sundays as well. Sometimes we have had others over to sing around our piano. While we might not have scripture time every single evening, we are sure to do so on Sunday, and on Monday as part of family night. If we are going to make visits with other people, whether socially or as home or visiting teachers, we need to make certain that we are not imposing upon their observance of the Sabbath day.

I know that the Butlers watch Bible stories with their children on Sundays. The church has great videos with stories from the life of our Savior. We can all watch and benefit from them. They are readily available at mormon.org, or we an purchase the set from Distribution for a excellent price.

As our children grow older, it is still important for us to still have Sabbath day rules in our home, but it is also important to allow for agency. The best way to lead is always by example.

I hope that we can all feel the importance of Sabbath day worship and gain the Spirit of that worship in our own families. I know that Heavenly Father will bless us as we keep His commandments and honor the covenants that we have made with Him. Each Sunday we make promises to always remember His Son and to keep His commandments. That is a wonderful gift and protection for us as we start our new week. We need to remember that Sunday, our Sabbath, is the Lord's day, so we need to center our thoughts and activities around Him throughout the day, worshiping Him and serving as He would have us do. In doing so, He will bless us.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Abortion and Trafficking Children



Thoughts on Abortion and Trafficking Dead Children

(Shortened link for this post: http://tinyurl.com/opovckp)

The recent exposure of the inhumane trafficking of human baby parts is soul stirring, or at least it should be. Some say that it's merely propaganda, and that the presentation is given out of context. It really doesn't matter. There is enough evidence against Planned Parenthood, and the practice of abortion for that matter, for those who value life to know that the slaughtering of babies and the trafficking of their body parts for both commercial and scientific gain is evil. A society that does not value the life of an unborn baby, but places value on his or her dismembered body, is not a civilized society.

I can't help but think of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Speech. Do we have a dream of brotherhood? Do we? For all of those who speak about rights, please note that abortion is a wrong. How can all children walk hand-in-hand when their hands are torn off before they are even born? Whether you believe that there are exceptions to rules or not, there are rules of civility and ethical rightness. No matter what anyone believes about equality, all choices are not equal, which means that all outcomes are not equal either. Ending life will never be equal with giving life. Even without organized religion, every human being is born with the Light of Christ. We all must know that ripping a child limb from limb is wrong. When abortion is accepted as a mores of society, not only are those facing abortion at risk of losing life, but civility itself is lost; and civilization is following suit.

Abortion is the greatest evil to ever happen in this Country. Yet we condone or accept it. We hear the same old rhetoric over and over. Some defend all abortions for the few extreme cases. Killing millions of babies in order to secure the right to get rid of a few pregnancies that are due to rape, incest, or illness is bizarre. For those of us who were reared in civilized homes, were we not taught the importance of life and love? Do we not realize that life itself is more important than the length of life, or what some people would deem the quality of life? Certainly, the life of a child is more important than his or her flesh made dead through an abortion.

I had an emergency C-section with my fifth child. When I was eight months pregnant, the specialist told me that he did't think the baby had any kidneys, so did I want to just have him naturally since he'd die anyway? Are you kidding me? I am his mother. Why would I want to terminate his life purposefully and perhaps prematurely? Why would a doctor? Isn't a doctor's concern to protect and preserve life? Was my son's life of less value than mine, or yours, or the doctor's? No his life held significance, and he left a positive imprint in the lives of many.

Even at six months into my pregnancy, I knew that our son had some problems, but I did not know that he wouldn't be able to live long after birth. Should I have ripped him apart because of that, or burned him with saline solution? No way. I enjoyed each time he rolled or kicked and every single ultra sound. Would it have been easier for me to have aborted him than to have lost him two months later? By no means; No. There is healing in love, even when there is pain. For the poor women who have chosen abortion, there is just pain.

While some cry that the current undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood are merely propaganda, I can agree that the presentation may be propaganda; but I won't agree that the content isn't true. How long will we idly stand by, burying our heads in the sand, while millions of unborn children are massacred? This is happening. It has been happening since the 70's. Children are burned, torn apart and slaughtered while yet alive. It is gruesome. I don't need to watch videos, whether in or out of context, to inform me how evil Planned Parenthood is or how evil it is that any thinking and feeling human being can become so clouded and calloused in his or her judgement to call mass murder freedom of choice. This should sicken us all.

Legalizing things that are clearly unlawful will never make them ethical or good. Not yesterday, not now, not ever. I can only hope that some good will come from these disturbing undercover videos which show the true nature of this wicked practice and evil organization. Maybe, just maybe, some people will finally understand that these are babies with body parts the same as you and me. They are not merely tissue. They are real. And their souls have value.

I believe that shedding innocent blood ranks up there with crucifying our innocent Lord. And still He reaches out to us to forgive us. But we had better hope that He doesn't say, “Father, they knew what they were doing.”

Do you see a contradiction in supporting Planned Parenthood and in valuing human life? I do, and I know others that do as well. There are those like me who have lost sons or daughters way too soon, who would have done everything possible to keep them here with us. So it is difficult for me when I see people still supporting the killing of their own babies, or even saying, “I don't agree with the practice for myself, but I think everyone should have the right to choose.” To choose murder? Really?

Everyone should have the right to choose whether or not to have sex. Beyond that, take responsibility and be an adult.

Whether you think that these babies' body parts are being trafficked for money or not, why are they used at all? I personally have the right to say whether my organs are used for someone else or for science, should I die an accidental death. Life is sacred, and my body is mine. But these babies are being denied the right to life, and their “tissue” is not even considered theirs. It truly, truly is sick.

So when we consider checking the facts, we might actually begin by checking our own consciences, even before we check the news media, right or left; because, it looks like the “right in our society “left” a long time ago. We might actually try using our hearts along with our minds to consider why our own lives have value, and why we should extend that value to every other human being, both those born, and those waiting to be born.

The safety of all children is important. Where there is life, there is hope.

I have personally taken the time to write these thoughts and to contact the Representatives and Senators for my state. Please do the same. We need to take a stand, and we need to walk hand-in-hand.


Contact Your State Representatives


Contact Your State Senators

Monday, July 13, 2015

Love Wins

Love Wins




I don't think that there can be a truer statement than “Love Wins.” In what ways does love win?

Clearly, it is because of God's love for us that we all have a chance to be winners. We all have the opportunity to look to God and live. We all have the privilege of keeping His commandments and following His Son through covenants and ordinances in order to return to Him in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of His Atonement, Love has won forever. Christ Himself, through the commandment and grace of God, has overcome death and sin.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

So here we are in a battle defining what love is. While Christ's love is freeing and liberating in that we are offered the forgiveness of sins and eternal life; and while relationships designed by God are a part of His plan to bring us freedom, liberty, and happiness; counterfeits of God's love and His plan do not bring freedom, nor do they place us on an equal footing on the pathway home to God.

It makes many Christians feel uneasy to see the phrase “Love Wins” so blatantly displayed in reference to judges making those things legal which can never be lawful. But it must not give Christians license to forget what we already know, and that is that indeed “Love Wins.” Even when we disagree in theory and in practice, there remains in us the responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves (See John 13:34).

Jesus indeed told us that the first great commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” He told us also that the second great commandment after that first one is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus also has told us that “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen” (1 John 4:20)?

Are we are so caught up in what the laws of the land say, that we are forgetting the laws of God? The Pharisees did that. And Jesus made it clear that they were falling short according to the Law of Moses, which He had delivered, and according to the higher law which He brought to them at that time. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).

In our love for our neighbor, we cannot abandon our love for our God and our responsibility to honor Him and keep His commandments. Some people get that mixed up, and they try keeping the second commandment in favor of the first. That will never work well. As the family of God, for we are all His children, we can only love and serve each other best, when we love and serve Him first. His commandments are the same for all of His children, and His desired outcome is the same for all of us. But because He has given us agency, or free will, through the Gift of His Son, He will never force us to be righteous; and He will never reward us with Eternal Life with Him if we choose to forsake Him.

We cannot ever think though that salvation is granted us because of our own good works. How arrogant and ungrateful is that, for Jesus bought us with a heavy price! The very blessing of His forgiveness felt by repentant sinners, should cause our Christian hearts to desire the same blessing for all of His other children.

Why does Love Win? Moroni, delivering the words of his father Mormon, tells us that Love Wins because “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” (Moroni 7:47).

How important is this charity, the pure love of Christ? Just in case we feel justified in keeping some outward, obvious commandments, but we are neglecting those first two great commandments, the Apostle Paul reminds us just how important this love is in 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

If we believe in the prophets, the scriptures, and the commandments; if we believe and trust in Jesus Christ and in His word, we must certainly acknowledge that Love Wins. God's work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (See Moses 1:39). While we desire salvation for ourselves, we should never be a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters, because we feel that we are better than they are (See Romans 3:9). Love Wins when we develop a Christian heart and extend God's kindness and mercy to one another.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which He hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure. Amen” (Moroni 7:48).

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