Saturday, February 26, 2022

Walk with Me

In Moses 6:34 The Lord tells Enoch: “thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me”. Enoch was about 65 years old when the Lord called him to preach repentance to the people. When called, Enoch replied that he was just a lad. Since I am a few years beyond that, I wish that 65 today was considered to be just a lad. But if you consider that all patriarchs from Adam to Jared, Enoch’s dad were all still alive; we can see why he questioned why the Lord would call him. I don’t know all that Enoch was feeling, but I have felt inadequate when receiving callings, but President Monson always said: “he whom the Lord calls, he qualifies”. The Lord knows us and our potential so we should never fear or doubt when a call is extended.


We know that Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden before the fall, in Moses 8:27 it says that Noah and his sons walked with God and in Genesis 6:9 the Lord tells Abraham to “walk before me”. All of prophets walked with God. In order to walk with God, they needed to be sanctified and cleansed from all their sins. They all made covenants with God and they received promises of eternal posterity and exaltation. We do this today when we are baptized and then enter into covenants in the temple. All of the prophets from Adam to Abraham were able to enter into the same covenants that we are given when we go to the temple for our endowment and sealing. We enter into the Abrahamic Covenant. 


In our Come Follow Me lessons recently, we have been studying about the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham sought for the blessings of the Fathers. In other words he sought for the covenants that were made to all the righteous patriarchs from Adam down to Seth, the son of Noah. He wanted the same blessings that come from being a greater follower of righteousness. The Lord blessed Abraham for his desires and promised that the covenant that he made with Abraham would continue with his posterity and that through them all the world would be blessed. 


What is the covenant the Lord made with Abraham? Among other things it included four promises:


1.     A promised land for his posterity

2.     His posterity would be as numerous as the sands of the sea or the stars in the heavens

3.     His seed would take the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the priesthood, to all the world.

4.     Through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed


These four promises can be ours when we enter into the same covenant that Abraham and those before him entered into. If we are faithful to this covenant, we can have eternal and never ending posterity; we can participate in blessing everyone on both sides of the veil as we participate in missionary and temple work. When we do these things, then we are walking with God on the covenant path. 


President Henry B. Eyring speaking in General Conference said:


“What does it mean to walk with the Lord? It means to do what He does, to serve the way He serves. He sacrificed His own comforts to bless those in need, so that’s what we try to do. He seemed to take particular notice of people who were overlooked and even shunned by society, so we should try to do that too. He testified boldly yet lovingly of the true doctrine He received from His Father, even if it was unpopular, and so must we. He said to all, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), and we say to all, “Come unto Him.” As priesthood holders, we are His representatives. We act not for ourselves but for Him. We speak not our words but His. The people we serve come to know Him better because of our service.” (Walk with Me, Henry B. Eyring, General Conference, April 2017)


Joseph Smith taught:


“that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; . . . When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice . . . Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.” (Lectures on Faith 6:7)


Joseph is saying that in some way we will be tested, as Abraham was in being willing to sacrifice Isaac, to prove that we are willing to do all that the Lord will command us. Maybe our test will be waiting for children. Abraham waited almost 40 years for Isaac to be born after the promise was made. 


Maybe our test will be children that rebel and fall away, like Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve taught their children the gospel and many of many chose to follow Satan instead. I can image what their family home evenings were like: “Mom, Able is breathing my air”. Or “you like Cain more because he is a gardener”! Finally Seth came along and proved faithful enough to carry on the covenant.


Maybe your test will be a career change. Think of Enoch; he was 65 years old when the Lord called him to change careers when he was called on a mission to preach the gospel to the people. It took him 300 years, but the city he founded was taken up.


Speaking of Zion being taken up, how would you like to be Methuselah? Can you imagine the conversation he had with his father, Enoch? “Hey son I have some bad news. Your mother and I and everyone else here in Zion are leaving you. We are going to go away, but you have to stay here with all the wicked people.” That would have been quite a test.


Noah spent 100 years trying to get the people to repent and avoid destruction. Many of his sons and daughters and their children perished in the flood. Only three sons and their wives went with Noah and his wife on the ark. I can just hear Noah saying to his sons: “If you three don’t stop fighting and go do your chores, I am going to stop this boat and you will have to swim for a while”. 


And now we come back to Abraham. His father tried to have him offered as a sacrifice. He had to flee for his life to get away from his evil family. He tried his best to prove that he was willing to do everything the Lord commanded. It still took 40 years before Isaac was born and then he was commanded to offer him as a sacrifice. I am sure that it ripped his heart out to travel three days to the place of sacrifice. Can you imagine how he felt when Isaac asked where the sacrificial lamb was? But he passed the test and now we are, and all families of the earth, can partake of the Abrahamic Covenant.


Whatever our test in life is, our first priority, like Abraham, is to seek after the blessings of the fathers. We must become a greater follower of righteousness and thereby become the seed of Abraham. Our next duty is to help our family receive the same blessings. When we are sealed in the temple, our family members receive all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – when they have proven themselves ready and worthy. 


Once we have entered into the Abrahamic covenant, we need to endure to the end. Lehi saw four groups of people in his dream of the tree of life. One group did not even make it to the path that lead to the tree. There were three other groups that started on the path, one group got lost before getting to the tree, one group made it to the tree and partook of the fruit, but then fell away. Only one group managed to make it to the tree and partook of the fruit of the tree and were able to ignore the ridicule of the world and remained faithful. It is this last group that will receive all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. 


Today members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are responsible for bringing the Abrahamic Covenant to all nations and families of the earth. It is through those of us who have entered onto the covenant path to share the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus bring everyone to Jesus Christ. In doing so they become the seed of Abraham and heirs of the covenant. 

Unlike Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his only son and the Lord stopped him just before he drove the knife into Isaac’s heart. Our Heavenly Father did not stop His Only begotten Son when he blead for us in the garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross on Calvary. He had to withdraw his spirit from His Son so that the everlasting atonement of Jesus Christ could be finished. 


We can all be partakers of the blessings of Christ’s atonement as we willingly enter into the same covenant path that the patriarchs of old desired. We can choose to be greater followers of righteousness and receive the blessings of the fathers. In doing so we become the seed of Abraham and heirs of the covenant. 


God our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ live and love us. They want us to have all the blessings that they have promised to us.


Your comments and questions are welcome

Sunday, January 23, 2022

His Work and Glory is Our Work

I has been almost 18 months since I have posted something on my blog. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for many including our family. As I began my study of the Old Testament, the desire to begin again sharing my thoughts. 

In Moses 1:39, the Lord says “For behold this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Earlier in Moses 1:6 the Lord tells Moses “I have a work for thee”. Moses was then shown in vision, the creation of the earth and the purpose it was created. Moses learns that he is a son of God and was created in the image of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son. The Lord then tells Moses that he is being sent to deliver the children of Israel from bondage. This is the work that God asked Moses to do, gather Israel. He was to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt and then bring them into the wilderness where they will be brought into the presence of God. Unfortunately, due to rebellion they were not worthy to behold God’s presence.


Earlier another prophet, Abraham, was also shown a vision of the earth’s creation (Abraham 3) and he was told that it was created so that we and the other spirit children of Heavenly Father would be able to gain a physical body through birth and then experience all the trials of a mortal life. Those who proved that they would do “all things whatsoever the Lord commanded them” would be able to come back and live eternally as families with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.


The scriptures tell us that Adam and Eve were the first man and women created. It says that they were created in the image of God, just as Moses was shown. Every person that has lived on this earth are descendants of Adam and Eve and are in the image of God. Our purpose for being here is to develop faith in Jesus Christ, receive the saving ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and prove that we will keep all of God’s commandments so that we can return to live with God and Christ after this life. 


Like Moses, God has a work for us to do. Not only are we responsible for our own salvation and the salvation of our family; as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are to help all of Heavenly Father’s children to come unto Christ and be baptized. President Russell M. Nelson declared, “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel. It is as simple as that” (Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel,” worldwide devotional for youth, June 3, 2018,


Wendy Nelson, President Nelson’s wife, said this: “My dear brothers and sisters, these are indeed the latter days! There has never been a time like this in the history of this world. Never! Premortally, you and I committed to do a great work while we are here on earth. And with the Lord’s help, we will do it!”


After Cain slew his brother, Able, the Lord asked where Able was and Cain responded with “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Indeed we are our brother’s keeper and we have covenanted to help bring others to Jesus Christ. 


This is their work and glory and we are invited to a partner with them, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.


I invite your comments and questions.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Carest Thou Not That We Perish?

We are living in difficult times, the Covid-19 virus is still raging around the world and there have been over 373,000 deaths world-wide. It is difficult to tell if the number of cases is slowing or if it is a temporary decline. The last time the world experienced a pandemic like this was 100 years ago during the influenza pandemic. During that time one third of the world’s population was infected with the virus and 50 million people died.

It is easy to understand why people question if there is a God, then why would he allow these things to happen. Why do bad things happen, especially to good people? Suffering is part of mortality. In Abraham 3:25 we read: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them”. This life is a test to see if we can be faithful and obedient to the things that God asks us to do.

While the scriptures do say that some things God does inflict on us, i.e. the flood, but suffering is also caused by our choices, the choices others make, and by natural disasters. Regardless of where our suffering comes from; the choices we make in how we react to the difficult times will show if we have faith in Jesus’ ability to deliver us and heal our wounds or not. Remember the words that the Lord spoke to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail: “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).

There are two experiences in the Book of Mormon that teaches us about suffering. Remember the people of Limhi that were in bondage to the Lamanites due to their wickedness during the reign of King Noah. Deliverance was hopeless so they tried to defeat the Lamanites in battle and were defeated three times. After the third defeat, they were so humbled that they “submitted themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies. And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.” (Mosiah 21:13-14). They finally were delivered after they had humbled themselves and submitted to God’s will.

The other group was Alma and the people of the church that fled from King Noah. They also were brought into bondage by the Lamanites, but their experience was different than the people of Limhi. Alma and his people were humble and tried to follow the commandments of God. We read that:

“the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:13-15)

Like these people in the Book of Mormon, we can respond to our difficult times by relying on our strength and will power to get through it and finally be forced to be humble, or we can humbly submit and rely on the Lord for deliverance. The burdens of Alma and his people were not taken away, but the Lord strengthened them so that the burdens were made light.

Mortality brings with it lessons in many forms, all of them are meant to give us experience and help us grow. As we go through life’s challenges, we are made stronger and gain understanding that will help us as we minister to others. As we humble ourselves and allow others to minister to us, we learn to love and be submissive to the Lord’s will for us.

Even the Lord’s disciples had to learn to trust in the Lord. One time when they were on a ship a storm arose and they thought that the ship would sink. The Lord was in back asleep and they woke him saying “master, carest thou not that we parish”. Mark says that Christ rose and rebuked the wind saying: “peace be still”, then he asked the disciples: “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:36-40)

This current pandemic will pass, and we will be able to go back to work, to church, and to social events. How we get through this difficult time will show how much faith and trust we have in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. As we trust in the Lord and his plan for us, we can have peace in this world and in the world to come.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Why Am I Here

Why am I here is a question that has been asked since the beginning of time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has answers to this question, but I do not want to focus on the question of why am I here on earth, I want to talk about why we are where we are today?

When we would train the new missionaries that came to the Indiana Indianapolis Mission, I would always tell them that the Lord called them to serve in Indiana for a purpose and challenged them to go find out what the purpose was and to fulfill it.

Now that my wife and I have returned home from our mission along with missionaries from missions all over the world, I would like to ask the question why are you here (wherever you are)? Just as the missionaries were called to their mission assignment for a reason, there is a purpose for being where we are now. The challenge is to find out what that purpose is and fulfill it.

My favorite quote from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secretes is when Dumbledore tells Harry “it is not your abilities that determine who you are, it’s your choices”. I can testify that if we rely on the Lord as we make our choices that He will guide you to the place where he needs you the most. In a devotional to the students of BYU-Idaho, Elder Bradley Foster said:

“I believe, Brothers and Sisters, one of the hardest things you will ever do in life is to learn to identify and receive direction from the Holy Ghost. You have very difficult decisions to make and unanswered questions in your life right now. Who should you marry? What career should you choose? How can you increase your self-worth? Does the Lord love you? You need to understand that He has placed you here on earth for a purpose. 

“As you struggle through those things, you are experiencing growth and it will be for your good. So don't be impatient with yourself or with this wonderful plan. In your effort to receive revelation as you counsel together as husbands and wives, as families, or as friends, don't exclude Him. Don't take a side door and say that He doesn't answer your prayers. Because He will answer your prayers. Maybe not immediately, but He will answer them-line upon line, precept upon precept, and prayer upon prayer.9 He's trying to help you grow and to become what you need to become.” (So, Where Did You Put the Tigers?)

We may not understand why we are directed to go to the school we chose, or why we felt prompted to accept the job we did or even why we bought the home in the neighborhood we did; but as the years go by we will come to see the Lord’s hand in our decisions. It is much like Ammon and the other son’s of Mosiah when they looked back on their mission to the Lamanites, when Ammon said: “could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?” (Alma 26:1)

Looking back on your full-time mission, or whatever experience you have had; you can see how the Lord blessed you as you brought The Gospel of Jesus Christ to those you taught and those you served as a representative of Jesus Christ. So too, you have been directed by The Lord to live in the area you currently live in. You can be an influence for good to your neighbors, co-worker, and those you serve in your callings in The Church.

Proverbs teaches: “Trust in the Lord with thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding”. (Proverbs 3:5) When we trust in the Lord to direct us, we do not need to wonder why we are at this particular school, this job, or this town; we will know that He has a purpose for us and we need to go find it and fulfill it.

Your comments and questions are welcome

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Love You Forever

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S and I would like to wish my mother, the mother of my children, and the mothers of my grandchildren a happy Mother’s Day by sharing a favorite story by Rober Munsch called “Love You Forever

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother's watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, "this kid is driving me CRAZY!"

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town.  If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, "You'd better come see me because I'm very old and sick." So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always...

But she couldn't finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my Mommy you'll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Therefore What?

My wife and I are no longer full-time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We arrived home from Indiana yesterday and were officially released today. We are excited to be home, but we are missing the members and the missionaries in the Indiana Indianapolis Mission.

The decision to serve a full-time mission as senior missionaries was the best decision we have made. There is no greater experience than to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church and it was a great blessing. To serve it with my eternal companion made it even better.

President Page, President of the Indiana Indianapolis Mission, always asks at the end of each training session that he does “Therefore What?” He wants the missionaries to think about what they learned and how they are going to apply the principles they were taught. As I look back on our mission and asking, “therefore what?”, what have I learned and how has it changed my life?

Last Day as a Missionary
We learned firsthand that what King Benjamin said: "when you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17) is true. We loved serving Heavenly Father's children in Indiana. We loved serving in the mission office with the other office couples. They were the greatest examples to us in how to love each other and go the extra mile in everything they did.

We learned to love the missionaries in our mission (young and old) as if they were family and we consider them part of our eternal family. We learned how much the Lord loves His missionaries and that he directs the mission through the mission president. The decision about what area the missionaries are to service in and who their companion should be is the Lord’s decision. He understands the trials and opportunities we each have as we serve are understood by the Lord and he knows where we are needed.

The most important lesson I have gained from this experience is that my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his participation in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has increased. I am amazed that as a young boy, Joseph had a desire to know what his standing before God was and how his desire to know which of all the churches on the earth was God’s Church prompted to ask God. I know that when he went into the grove to pray 200 years ago, that he did indeed see God and Jesus Christ. I know the priesthood authority was given to him and that he established The Church of Jesus Christ under the direction of Jesus Christ himself. I know that Joseph translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God and that it stands as a second witness, along with the Bible, that Jesus is The Christ and that he lives and guides His Church through living prophets today.

Therefore what? I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission where I grew up, in Indiana. I am grateful for all the high school friends that I have been able to become reacquainted with as well as the new friends I have made. I am grateful for the blessing to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Although I am taking off the name tag that identifies me as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I will always represent him and his church.

Your questions and comments are welcome. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

From the Cross to an Empty Tomb

Today is Easter, a day when we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the words of the hymn “I Believe in Christ”, “I believe in Christ oh blessed name. I will worship him with all my might, and I shall live with joy and love in his eternal courts above”.

Often when I am running in the early morning hours I see this cross that stands as a witness of the sacrifice that our Savior Jesus Christ made for each of us. The cross is not in front of a church, but the local John Deer Dealership. It shines brightly as a witness of the owner’s faith in Christ. They are not afraid to testify to the world of their faith. Seeing it every morning warms my heart and reminds me that I too am one of His witnesses and that I am here as a missionary for His Church today.

Seeing this cross reminds me that Jesus Christ suffered and was crucified so we could have our sins forgiven and cleansed. In an interview with President Gordan B. Hinckley, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the interviewer asked why our church does not have the cross on our buildings. President Hinckley responded that we worship the living Jesus Christ. In January 1 2000, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published a document called “The Living Christ”. Part of that document says:

"He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind

He rose from the grave to “become the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).”

Sometimes when I am running the sun is beginning to rise and instead of seeing the cross shining in the dark, I see a fading cross as the skies brighten. Just as sure as the sun will rise each morning bringing an end to the darkness; Easter morning is a witness to the world that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The tomb was empty, and the risen Lord appeared unto his apostles and others that morning. He appeared to thousands of his people here in ancient America and they each had the opportunity to feel the wounds in his hands, just as the Apostle Thomas did.

I add my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ lives again. Just as the dark of night fads away as the sun rises, when we die, the darkness of the grave will give way on the morning of the resurrection. Because of the living Jesus Christ, the darkness of the cross will fad away and all who lived and died will live again and be brought before Christ where we shall all bow the knee and wash his feet with our tears. Happy Easter.

Your questions and comments are welcome.

Christ in America after His Resurrection