Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Moroni 7:26 says: "And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you."
Sometimes we don't feel like God hears our prayers. I know this because I've felt this way lately about decisions I'm trying to make in my life. This scripture is so comforting. The key to receiving answers to our prayers is asking in faith for those things which are good -- those things that lift us and grant us the potential to lift others.
We also need to have the faith that we will receive an answer from our Heavenly Father. We have faith that our parents will answer us when we ask them a question, so why don't we place that same trust in our all-loving, all-knowing Father? Our prayers could become so much more powerful when we believe that we will receive an answer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pride -- A Personal Lesson

This post is selections from a paper I wrote for my Book of Mormon class at BYU.

President Ezra Taft Benson defined the central characteristic of pride as enmity – “enmity towards God and man. Enmity means hatred towards, hostility to, or a state of opposition.”The Book of Mormon is a perfect case study of the causes and consequences of pride. Class distinctions showed Nephite enmity towards their fellow men, and their willful disobedience to the commandments was a state of opposition to God. Repeatedly, the prophets warn the people of pride, and repeatedly they fall because of their pride.
As I read through 4 Nephi and the fall of the Book of Mormon Zion, I realized that pride has a lot to do with setting yourself apart, thinking that you are better than those you associate with. That’s why the Nephites began to wear costly apparel. They thought they were better than the poorer people they were forced to share their goods with. I thought to myself: Do I feel this way? Do I see myself as better than the people I’m around every day? Lately, I’ve been considering transferring from BYU to another university in Utah or out of state. My justifications for wanting to transfer came to mind as I read 4 Nephi. It was like Heavenly Father was saying, “Why do you really want to transfer? Do you really feel like this isn’t where you want to be? What are your real motives?
It was a humbling moment. My desire to transfer came because I don’t like the environment here and it doesn’t feel like I belong here. That dislike had turned to enmity for the University because of its narrowness of thought and ideas, its limits on my behavior, and the self-righteousness I saw in others. My disdain towards BYU began to affect my attitude towards the Church. Its people began to irritate me to the point of making going to church a chore. Heavenly Father was trying to help me recognize that pride had gotten hold of my heart and teach me that if I didn’t let it go, there were going to be some pretty serious consequences – my soul was at stake, not just my academic career.
In the October General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with ‘Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,’ it always seems to end with ‘Therefore, I am better than you.’ When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love—the image we see in the mirror.”
Through my study of the Book of Mormon, I have learned the powerful consequences of pride and recognized pride in my own life. Elder M. Russell Ballard gave his talk “Learning the Lessons of the Past” for me. He said, You don’t have to spend time as a Laman or a Lemuel in order to know that it’s much better to be a Nephi or a Jacob. You don’t have to follow the path of Cain or Gadianton in order to realize that ‘wickedness never was happiness’…Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness.”
Learning from the fall of the Nephites was crucial for me to learn about myself if I was to avoid the same tragic end. When we allow pride to take hold of us, it leads us off the path of happiness towards greater darkness and additional sin. The Nephites were destroyed because in their pride, they would not hearken to the counsels of a prophet of God. Each of us, myself included, run the same risk. None of us are immune to the sin of pride. Hopefully, I learned from the lessons of the past. Pride can and will only lead to unhappiness in the end. That is what the Lord is trying to teach me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Major New Study of Religion Has Much to Say About Mormons

Major New Study of Religion Has Much to Say About Mormons

I thought this was an interesting article on the Church. It also helps that it is a sociological article, which is my field of study.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Personalness of Christ's Atonement

I was reading in the Book of Mormon last night in 3 Nephi 16, which is part of Christ's teachings to the people here in the Americas after His resurrection. It's a powerful portion of scripture. What I realized as I was reading this chapter was that Christ was telling the people that He had to leave to go visit others of the House of Israel. Chapter 16 is basically a farewell chapter. The incredible thing is that after telling the people "I have to go, but I'll be back," the scriptures say, "And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them." So moved was the Savior by the pleading of these people that He asked them to bring forth their sick, their lame, their halt, their deaf -- anyone who was infirmed in anyone -- and He promised to heal them.
As I read through this part of scripture, I think I began to understand just how personal the love of our Savior is. The record says, "And he did heal them, every one." One by one, He took them, blessed them, healed them. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is personal. It heals us one at a time. We go to Christ, like the people in the Book of Mormon, wanting, longing for Him to heal us from the infirmities of this world -- from sin -- and He promises to heal us.
One of the greatest messages from the Book of Mormon is that Christ cares for the individual. Later in Chapter 17, Christ blesses all the children one by one. The Atonement is personal, just like our Father, just like our Savior. The Atonement was for the individual, and because it was, we never, ever have to feel alone.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Book of Mormon -- Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Book of Mormon -- Another Testament of Jesus Christ is exactly what it professes to be in the title, that is a testament of Christ. The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi said, "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26). That's the purpose of the Book of Mormon, to convince us that JESUS is the CHRIST. I know He is.
The Book of Mormon was translated by the power and gift of God through Joseph Smith, whom God called to be a prophet in our day. First published in 1830, it has spread throughout the world, bringing millions to a knowledge of their Redeemer and closer to Him.
The Book of Mormon contains a fullness of the Gospel. It teaches us exactly what we need to do to return to live with our Heavenly Father. It teaches the importance of faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It teaches us that "it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23).
I love the Book of Mormon. It brings me closer to God each time I read it. As I read, I find answers to questions that are pressing on my mind. I have found peace in some of my hardest times as I have read the Book of Mormon. It answers questions of our souls, like "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good, righteous people?" That's a tough question, and one I have asked many, many times. In the Book of Mormon there are many times when bad things happen to good people and the Lord tells us why through his servants. For example, the prophet Samuel says, "Yea, the people of Nephi hath [the Lord] loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea...he chastened them because he loved them" (Helaman 15:3). Trials show the Lord's love for us. They show that He have faith that we can overcome them. Think about the story of Job. The Lord knew Job would prove faithful. That's one of the reasons bad things happen. There are many more, and you can find answers to this and other questions as you read the Book of Mormon.
God lives. The Book of Mormon witnesses of the reality of the Savior Jesus Christ. You can come nearer to God as you read it. I promise that because I know it for myself. You can too. To receive a free copy, visit

Why Do We Have Rules?

As I served as a missionary for the Church in Independence, Missouri, people would often ask me why the "Mormon Church" has so many rules. To most, it seems like an unending list of rules -- we don't drink or smoke, no premarital sexual relations, don't date until your 16, etc. DON'T, DON'T, DON'T. That's what it seems like -- a restrictive, no fun list.
"Why do we need rules to follow God," people would ask? Shouldn't God love us no matter what we do? What's the point of all the rules? Let me give an example:
What was the point of Mom giving me the rule to stay out of the mud? I should be able to do what I want! I should be able to jump and roll around in the mud all I want, right? That's my right. So, I chose to play in the mud. Now, Mom won't let me come in the house until I hose off the mud. Wait! Does Mom not love me anymore because I played in the mud? No. She just doesn't want something dirty (i.e. me) to come into the house.
As silly as this example seems, it is a simple illustration of why God gives us rules and commandments. The scriptures teach us that "no unclean thing can enter his [God's] kingdom" (3 Nephi 27:19). Just like I was dirty from breaking my mom's "restrictive" rule, breaking God's rules makes us unclean and God's house, like my mom's, is a house of order and cleanliness.
The good news of the Gospel is that we can "hose off" when we break God's rules. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). The Atonement of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sins when we repent (Moroni 10:31-32).
Rules and commandments are there to keep us safe. God's rules that we receive through His prophets are there for our protection. Just like seatbelt laws, God's laws are there for our benefit. Prophets have always given us commandments and they always will. It is a blessing to have rules. It keeps us safe.
I know that God loves us and wants us to live with him again. I know that as we keep his rules that we receive from prophets, we will be happy. God wants us to be happy in this life. That's why he gave us rules.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Purpose

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. People sometimes call us the Mormons. The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts and insights from my scripture study, life experiences, and other events.
If something here sparks your interest, feel free to check out, where you can learn more about the basic beliefs and doctrines of the Church.