Scripture of the Month

For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.

~2 Nephi 4:15



Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Christian Message in the Disney Movie "Frozen"

photo from disneystore.com

Disclaimer: I normally take Disney movies at face value, as purely entertainment. I only wrote this to show that what you look for is what you will find, and I looked for and found the good. 

Ever since Frozen came out, many have argued that it has a gay rights hidden agenda. While it can be interpreted that way, the directors revealed the message is that love conquers negativity--more specifically, fear. That statement may apply to fear of homosexuals, but it made me see the movie from a different perspective--a Christian one, in fact.

When the king and queen bring Elsa to the troll leader, he tells her that "fear will be your enemy." Paul wrote, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear" (2 Timothy 1:7). Discouraging feelings do not come from God but from the devil, our biggest enemy, who seeks to destroy us.

Elsa leaves the kingdom to avoid hurting anyone, but she is still a danger because she still operates under fear. She must leave fear behind in order to control her powers. But she cannot do it alone. She does not learn to conquer her fear and use her powers for good until she experiences an act of true love first: when her sister, Anna, sacrifices herself to save Elsa. In the same way, we cannot overcome our fears and use our talents for good until we feel the love of our Savior, who sacrificed Himself for us. In fact, our ability to love comes from Him: "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19, emphasis mine).

Anna's sacrifical act literally thaws her own frozen heart as well because "only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart." Everyone at first believes this to mean romantic love, but it ends up being selfless love, or charity:
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 iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth . . . (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, emphasis mine).
This perfect love has the power to cast out fear (1 John 4:18), as it did in Elsa. This perfect love only comes from God (2 Timothy 1:7), for God is love (1 John 4:16). Therefore, only God can get rid of our fear through His abounding love. When we rely on God we have no reason to fear. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" wrote David. "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalms 27:1)

By using the power of His infinite love, made manifest through the Atonement of His Son (John 3:16-17), we can overcome fear and be filled with charity, and our weaknesses can become strengths (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Challenge: Let the love of God cast out your fear and fill you with charity and strength.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Do Temple Garments Look Like and What Do Mormons Wear Inside the Temple?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a short video on the sacredness of temple garments and clothing and has included shots of what they look like. As you can see, the garments are similar to regular underwear for men and bodyshaping wear for women. The fabric shown is only one of many options we can choose from. There are some variances in design for the women's tops as well and longer bottoms available for colder areas. For more information on temple garments, click here.

The temple clothing is worn over a modest white dress for women and a white dress shirt and dress pants for men. The clothing understandably may look strange or funny to you, but please be respectful of them and to us. Thank you.


Discussion: Do you have any other questions regarding temple garments or temple clothing?

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 2014 General Conference Quotes

In case you missed conference, here are some of the most popular quotes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:









For more quotes, visit the Facebook pages The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LDS General Conference.

Sharing Time: What were your favorite quotes from General Conference?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Talk I gave this morning at our friends' baptism.


Now that you have been baptized, you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. At your reception last night, you received many wedding gifts. But what good are they if you do not open them and use them? So it is with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar said, “These four words—‘Receive the Holy Ghost’—are not a passive pronouncement . . . . The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken” (Increase in Learning, 47). This is confirmed in D&C 88:33: “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?” 

How, then, do we receive the Holy Ghost? Elder Bednar revealed, “Everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost” (49–50). 

Why is receiving the Holy Ghost called a gift? It is a gift because the Spirit is a teacher and testifier of truth. Any answers you seek or guidance you need, the Holy Ghost will reveal to you. True to the Faith states, “His communication to your spirit carries far more certainty than any communication you can receive through your natural senses” (82). 

It is a gift because teaching with the power of the Holy Ghost, “[has] more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else” (Alma 31:5). You can use the power of the Holy Ghost to expound the scriptures and confound your enemies. He will tell you what you need to say (D&C 24:5–6, 100:6).

It is a gift because the Holy Ghost can comfort you when troubled and bring peace and hope amid sorrow (D&C 39:6). It is a gift because He gives you other spiritual gifts (D&C 46:11).

It is a gift because He sanctifies you when you repent and are baptized—that is, He purifies you, makes you holy, sets you apart, and approves of you (3 Nephi 27:20, Moroni 6:4, m-w.com: “sanctify”). And any ordinance the Holy Ghost approves of—such as your baptism and your future temple marriage—is sealed for eternity (D&C 132:7). 

It is a gift because, as Gerald N. Lund shared, “When one is given the gift . . . of the Holy Ghost, he has overcome spiritual death to a degree, for he has come into the presence of one member of the Godhead” (Ensign, “Salvation: By Grace or by Works?”). 

For all these reasons, Joseph Smith said that the gift of the Holy Ghost is what sets us apart from other religions (Increase in Learning, 45). 

This gift we should desire more than anything else (3 Nephi 19:9). Elder Bednar reminded us, “The Spirit can be with us more than it is not with us. . . . Sometimes as Latter-day Saints we talk and act as though recognizing the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives is the rare or exceptional event. We should remember, however, that the covenant promise is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us” (41). 

We can know when He is with us because “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance ” (Galatians 5:22–23) and “the Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love” (Moroni 8:26). We know that perfect love to be charity, which “suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth” (Moroni 7:45–46).

It is crucial for your marriage to always have the Spirit with you and in your home. If you do not feel Him there, then you need to evaluate your thoughts and behaviors to discern what is driving the Spirit away. Moroni counseled us to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48), which will endure by continuing to pray diligently (Moroni 8:26). 

By receiving and keeping the Holy Ghost in your lives, you and your marriage will be greatly blessed, day by day and for eternity. 

Challenge: Receive the Holy Ghost constantly in your life.

Friday, June 20, 2014

We Believe in Grace

lds.org
I have heard and read many explanations on the relationship between grace and works, yet I never fully understood until I read today the Ensign article "Salvation: By Grace or by Works?" by Gerald N. Lund. Now I can tell my mainstream Christian friends we do believe we are saved by grace. If they ask how works is involved, this passage explains it well:
Paul said we are justified through and by faith (see Gal. 2:16; Rom. 3:28), which is the first principle of the gospel. In other words, faith is the principle that activates the power of the Atonement in our lives, and we are put back into a proper relationship with God (justification) as faith activates that power. . . . [A]nother analogy can help us see more clearly the role faith and works play in achieving salvation:

We are like a powerhouse on a mighty river. The powerhouse has no power residing in itself; the potential power rests in the energy of the river. When that source of power flows through the generators of the power plant, power is transferred from the river to the power plant and sent out into the homes (lives) of others. So it is with faith. The power to achieve justification does not reside in man. Man requires the power of the atonement of Christ flowing into him. If no power is being generated, one does not—indeed, cannot—turn the generators by hand (justification by works); but rather, an effort is made to remove those things which have blocked the power from flowing into the generators (working righteousness as a result of faith). With this background then, one can understand why the scriptures clearly stress that faith includes works (see James 2:17–26); that is, obedience, commitment, and repentance—these are the works of faith that open up the channels so that the power of the atoning sacrifice of Christ can flow into us, redeem us from sin, and bring us back into the presence of God. Disobedience and wickedness dam those channels. (How literal is the word damnation!) The righteous works in themselves do not save us. The atoning power of God saves us. But our righteous works, activated by our faith in the Savior, are the condition for the operation of that power. Thus, each of us has something to say about whether he will be able to seek the gift and power of the Atonement in his behalf.
Another line that stuck out to me stated, "When one is given the gift . . . of the Holy Ghost, he has overcome spiritual death to a degree, for he has come into the presence of one member of the Godhead." I had never thought about the gift of the Holy Ghost like that before. What a gift indeed!

Challenge: Read the article so you can better understand grace and works and be able to share your knowledge with those who do not understand or think we do not believe in grace.