Follow by Email!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Book of Mormon is ANOTHER Testament

The full title of the Book of Mormon is "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ." It is a record written by ancient people and prophets, just as the Bible is. The Book of Mormon truly testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His suffering so that we can repent and become perfected, resurrected beings someday. The gospel of Jesus Christ taught in His mortal ministry in the New Testament is not contradicted in the Book of Mormon; in fact, the Book of Mormon is a strong support and companion to the Bible. In Mormon 7:8-9, it explains that the gospel of Christ is set before us "not only in this record [the Book of Mormon] but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews [the Bible]". Mormon continues, "For behold, this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also". Essentially, the Book of Mormon stands by the Bible as a true record and a work from God, and if you believe in the Bible, you will stand by the principles set forth in the Book of Mormon as well because they teach the same doctrines. A major example of this is that the Bible contains many miracles and great works of Jesus Christ. These are not merely stories to get a point across; the actions done by Him in the Bible and Book of Mormon are true and historical events. In Malachi 3:6, Christ says "For I am the Lord, I change not." This means that if He was doing miracles and great works and wonders in Biblical and Book of Mormon times, why wouldn't He continue to do so in our time? I testify that God is still a God of miracles, and that He can bless us beyond all we can imagine if we follow the gospel and strive to be more like Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon complements the Bible well in being a testament of Jesus Christ, His divinity, His power, and His love and Atonement for us.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mission Papers are in! Read more about it here! :)

I have made the decision to serve my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) as a missionary for 18 months after this semester. I realized that a lot of you may not be familiar with missionary service, so I thought I would take the time to explain what I will be doing and why. As a missionary, I will be devoting all of my time and energy to serving the Lord and teaching others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will work alongside another female companion, and we will visit and teach people together. Along with teaching, missionaries participate in a lot of service in the communities they are assigned to. They strive to help others understand God's plan for our salvation and come to know their Savior Jesus Christ. Since most of my time will be devoted to this work, I will put aside school, dating, and employment for the 18 months that I am out serving. I will have a day each week in which I can write letters and e-mails to family and friends (I'd love to hear from you!), but most of the time I will be focused on my assignment to serve.

I have been working on my application to serve as a missionary for the past few months, which has involved dental and medical evaluations, interviews with church leaders, and several other preparatory steps. I officially am submitting my paperwork this weekend!! This paperwork will be sent to the Mission Office in Salt Lake City, Utah. The leaders of the church review all the applications and prayerfully assign each missionary based on revelation from God as to where they are needed to serve. This decision will be made sometime next week, and I will hopefully receive my mission call in the mail about a week after that!! I am so excited to find out where the Lord needs me to serve Him! There are 405 mission areas all around the world, so there are many places I could go! (Guesses start now!) No matter where I am called to serve, I know that it is where I am meant to go and that I will be able to serve the people there with help from God. I know that God has a plan for all of us to bring us back to live with Him because He loves us so much!  I can't wait to share this knowledge with other people, wherever that may be. When I get my call, I will be assigned to report to a Missionary Training Center (MTC) on a certain date sometime this summer. While at the MTC, I will learn how to teach the gospel and be a good missionary. I may be learning a new language as well, depending on where I am assigned to serve. After a few weeks at the MTC, I will be off to whichever mission I am assigned to and will start my service as a missionary! I am so excited about this opportunity to serve others and to teach people the truth that I know. I recognized that this is quite a different experience, and it is going to be one of the greatest in my life. I hope you will ask me any questions that you may have, I would love to talk to you about it! Please don't hesitate to ask anything you may be wondering about. Also, thanks to everyone that's been reading my blog; I've been learning so much by writing it and am grateful for the opportunity to share what I'm learning with others.  If you enter your e-mail address at the top of the page, you can subscribe to my blog too! Thanks everyone, I love you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Learning from Adversity

This life is one of learning and growing, striving to become better. We have challenges, difficulties, and downright bad things happen to us. However, these trials are not cause for doubt or despair. We are shaped and molded by our adversities, even when we are being good people and trying our best. Just as a piece of metal is heated intensely, whacked and molded into a useful tool, so are we as God's children. We have difficulties that, while we experience them, are painful and seemingly never-ending. But, it is this point of heat and challenge that helps us to become who we will be. We choose between progression and regression, becoming better or worse. The things that we choose to read and think about affect our actions, which lead us to teach others to act in the same way. This process is true for both goodness and evil; both progress from thoughts to actions and from actions to a way of life. When given a time of testing and hardship, instead of thinking "Why is this happening to me?", let us try to consider "Why is this happening to me?". This distinction lies in its purpose. One may ask what can be learned from a difficult time in order to improve, instead of wallowing in self-pity that life is not always easy. The difficulties of life are inevitable, they will happen at some point and to some extent no matter what you do to avoid them. Instead of worrying about things we cannot control, it would be much more beneficial and productive to gain something in our character by experiencing them with the correct attitude.

An example in the Book of Mormon of not dealing with adversity properly is found in Mormon 2:11-14. The Nephites at this point become almost completely wicked and unbelieving. The only remaining righteous person in their land was the prophet, Mormon. He recounts how the people, after experiencing much warfare, blood, and death among them, began to mourn and be sorrowful over their situation. Though they were sad about the hardships among their people, it was a worldly sadness in their suffering and pain. They did not regret their disobedience to the commandments or their wicked ways. Mormon clarifies: "...their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned...and they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die." This instance illustrates the fact that we can choose our actions, but we cannot decide the consequences of them. How we are internally affects our external lives. In order to gain peace and happiness externally, we must first gain that peace in ourselves and living our lives according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's in a name?

Many people only know members of my faith as "Mormons" or members of the "Mormon" Church. Though it is a handy nickname for members of the Church, we are not actually called the Mormon Church officially. This is simply a term that others applied to the Church based on our belief in the book of scripture entitled the "Book of Mormon". Truly, the Church is not focused on Mormon very much at all; he was a prophet and was the man who abridged the many records of these ancient people into a shorter, more efficiently organized, concise record. Though we respect him highly for this effort, we by no means worship Mormon or center our doctrine on him. When Jesus Christ commanded the Nephites to name the church after Him, He explained, "And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel" (3 Nephi 27:8). Therefore, we do not hold that we are the "Mormon" church, because we are focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ explained that we must take upon ourselves the name of Christ and follow Him. The Nephites then called themselves the Church of Christ. In this time, since the Church of Christ has been restored to the Earth, the Lord revealed the name of His Church to the prophet Joseph Smith. He said, "For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).

As my professor explained today, the name of the Church has very deep and symbolic meaning. First, the word "The" signifies that it is the single Church of God. It is the Church of Christ restored in this last time period of Earth, called the "Latter-days". The original Christian usage of the word "saint" means a believer in Christ, or a follower of Him. Therefore, the members proclaim to be followers of Christ. Even the "of" before "Jesus Christ" and before "Latter-day Saints" is significant. A word of possession or ownership, the "of" before Jesus Christ signifies that the Church is His possession. It is also a possession of the Saints, or members, but is primarily Jesus Christ's ownership that He delegates the members to organize and administer over. Finally, the most beautiful symbolism to me is that the Church is the "bride" of Christ, as referred to in the Bible several times. When a man marries, he gives his name to his wife, and later to his children. In the same way, Christ gives His name to His "bride" the Church and the members are children of Christ. Jesus is the protector, provider, and presides, just as a father does for his family. The Church, symbolizing a wife and mother, nurtures, teaches, and comforts the members through different programs. As I have grown up in the Church, I have strongly felt this sense of family and support in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as everyone strives to love one another and serve God.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Law is Fulfilled

In Biblical times, the people of Israel were given the Law of Moses, a specific code of commandments and ordinances to be followed. This Law was given to the people by a prophet to guide them and help them be better prepared to follow Jesus Christ when He came. It was never intended to be the law forever, but was a preparatory motion for the people of Israel. When Christ came to the Earth and completed the Atonement through His suffering, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, He overcame death of the body and set forth a new law.

In the Book of Mormon, Jesus tells the people "Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfill the law; therefore it hath and end" (3 Nephi 15:5). He then introduced the doctrine of Christ, the higher law, saying: "I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life" (v. 9). This doctrine shows the way to return to Christ by having faith, repenting of our sins, being baptized for a remission or cleansing of these sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit to be with us always, and enduring through life's inevitable struggles faithfully by following the commandments of God. I know that this gospel that Jesus Christ set forth is true, and although much of it was lost or confused as history went on after His death, the fullness of the gospel has been restored to the Earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that we can all look to Christ and follow His gospel as we learn to have faith, be obedient, and open our hearts to the truth that He has brought to the Earth through His servants, the prophets.