Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Peace I Give Unto You

When I was in high school, I love listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s music. One of my favorites was “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. The first verse is:

When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all (all)
I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

We live in troubled times and there are many that are weary and have tears in their eyes. The second verse says:

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I'll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Paul Simon wrote the song and it was recorded as a solo by Art Garfunkel. I don’t know if Paul meant it as a gospel song but considering the times we live in today this song is comforting to me. There is one person that when times get rough and friends just can’t be found, our Savior Jesus Christ can calm the troubled waters. He was the one that laid his life down that we might have everlasting life.

Most of the world is being asked to stay isolated from everyone because of the Covid-19 Pandemic we are going through. As we follow this counsel we can feel down and out, but if we have the faith to trust in The Lord Jesus Christ we will be comforted. Christ told his disciples:

 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nether let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

I love the account in the Gospel of St. Matthew where the disciples were on a boat and it was being tossed by the wind and waves and Jesus Christ comes to them walking on the water. Peter asked if he could come out on the water and Christ simply “come”. As long as Peter’s focus was on Jesus he was able to walk on the water, but as soon as he looked away and focused on the waves, he started to sink. He cried out: “Lord, save me”. The scriptures say: “immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him” (Matthew 14:22-31)

My hope and prayer is that in the midst of these troubled times that we will keep our focus on our Savior Jesus Christ. If we do, we will surely get through this difficult season. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that he will immediately reach down and catch us when we are sinking in troubled waters and we filled with the peace that only He can give.

Please watch the 5 mintue video below "My Peace I Give Unto You". Your questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

By the Hands of Wise Men

During the period between the time when the Church of Jesus Christ established at the time of Christ was taken from the earth and the promised restoration of all things was know as the dark ages. It was a time that the Old Testament Prophet Amos called a “famine of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11-12). After all the apostles died, the priesthood authority that they held was also lost. Revelation ceased and there was no one on the earth that could hear the word of the Lord. The earth plunged into the dark ages. This lasted until the spring of 1820 when a 14-year-old boy entered a grove of trees and prayed to know which church to join.

Getting from apostacy to restoration was no easy task but Lord knew what needed to be done and an American Prophet wrote about it 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. He said:

And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms.

And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.

And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.

And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the bland of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.

And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.

And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.

And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. (1 Nephi 13:1-19)

The Lord knew that changes in religious freedom needed to happen before his Gospel could be restored. Many reformers sought for religious reforms and were persecuted and killed for their ideas. Governments and churches persecuted and killed those who worked to make changes and to bring the bible to the common person. If a restoration was to succeed, a new form of government needed to be established.

Almost 2400 years before the U.S Constitution was established; the Lord showed a prophet that Columbus and later others would come to America. He saw those who would come to America seeking religious freedom. He was shown the revolutionary war and other wars and that the Lord would bless the young nation with independence from all other nations. But before The Gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored and survive more than a new government needed to be established, true religious freedom was needed.

The Articles of Confederation did not guarantee freedom of religion. Each state had their own “state” religion and if you did not belong to that church you were persecuted. Even though the churches were not government sponsored, the people that belonged to different churches migrated to areas where common believers lived and so they might as well have been state supported.

Not until the Constitution of the United States was ratified and became law was true religious freedom guaranteed and protected by law. The first amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The first 10 amendments were ratified on September 25, 1789. Finally, a government with a constitution was established that would allow true religious freedom.

The new constitutional government would produce the religious revivals or great awakening from 1790-1820 and would be the beginning of the restoration of all things as foretold in the Book of Acts. It is during this time when Joseph Smith and his family started attending the religious revivals in their area leading Joseph to want to know which of the many churches was the true church of Jesus Christ.
Many of the delegates that helped write the constitution acknowledged the hand of God in founding of our constitutional government. Benjamin Franklin speaking to the constitutional delegates stated: "the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth--that God governs in the Affairs of Men." "I also believe," Franklin continued, that "without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel." (

The Lord Jesus Christ speaking to his church on December 16, 1833 said:
“for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:80)

The eleventh article of faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says:

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
Joseph Smith once said:

“I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race. (Joseph Smith – Religious Freedom)

These “wise men” understood that having a government that protected the right of all its citizens to worship God as they desired was important to the success of the new nation. It was important then and it is still important today; however, these freedoms are being restricted so much that the first amendment guarantees are being lost. All citizens of the United States, no matter what church they belong to, must do everything in their power to elect people that will protect the rights we were given in the first amendment. The future of our country depends on religious freedom.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Apostasy and Restoration

My last post was about Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ and how that was the beginning of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in our day. You might wonder why a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ was necessary? To answer that question, we need to find out what the Church of Jesus Christ was.

During the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ, he organized His Church. In the Gospel of Mark we read that Jesus ordained twelve apostles and gave them authority to preach the gospel and baptize others (Mark 3:14-19).  The apostle Paul talks of other offices in the church and why they were part of Christ’s Church, he said:

“And he agave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

What happened to the Church of Jesus Christ that was setup by Jesus and lead by his apostles after his death and resurrection? That church after the death of the apostles no longer existed. Christ and the apostles knew that this would happen. When the apostles came to Christ and asked him when he would come again, Christ said that it would not be soon. He said that they (the apostles) would be killed, that there would be many wars, famines, iniquity would abound, and that many false prophets would take their place. He also told them of many signs that would appear before his coming (Matthew 24). The apostle Paul said that Christ would not come until the Church of Christ would be destroyed (Thessalonians 2:1-3) and the apostle Peter said that Christ would not come again until after the restitution of all things (Acts 3:19-21). The second coming of Jesus Christ would not happen until his church would fall and then be restored again.

Not long after the original twelve apostle deaths, false teachings were common and taught as truth. Lost was the teaching related to the true nature of God and that we lived with him prior to being born in mortality as well as many other teachings. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a modern apostle, taught:

“When the gospel sun went down almost two millennia ago, when the priesthood was taken away … and when those on earth no longer were taught and directed by apostles and prophets, then spiritual darkness reigned.” The scriptures were often kept from public use, false creeds were adopted, numerous pagans were forced to convert, and thousands of people accused of heresy were put to death. “The terrors of the night were real and the night was long—long and dark and black.” (Preparing for the Restoration)

To restore something means to bring it back again which is different from a reformation. Martin Luther and other Christian Reformers knew that the original church that Christ had established was no longer on the earth. They tried as best as they could, but they could not bring back the true gospel of Jesus Christ, it required a restoration of the same authority that Christ had given the ancient apostles.

That restoration began in the spring of 1820, when a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees to pray and ask God which of all the churches at that time was the true church. In answer to his prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that his sins were forgiven, that the true church of Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth, and that through him the true church would be later restored. For more information on this experience you can read “Praise to the Man” from last month.

The true church of Jesus Christ today will have this same organization, teach the same Gospel that was taught by Christ and his apostles, and will not be the church of a man but be called the Church of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27:3-11). The only church that meets all of these is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is God’s true church on the earth today and has the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet today. In addition to having a modern prophet to guide us, we also have twelve living apostles to help perfect our families and “for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.