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Praise God amid Suffering

I have written many articles about why we experience trials and tragedies on this earth, and still I have found yet another reason. My last post talked about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies--the Lamanites converted by the sons of Mosiah--and how they buried their weapons. The Nephite dissenters stirred up the rest of the Lamanites to fight against them, and when faced with death, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies still refused to fight and were slain.
Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword--

Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.

And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would no…

Weapons of Rebellion

The Lamanites to whom the sons of Mosiah preached embraced the gospel and became known as the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. "For they became a righteous people; they did lay down their weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren" (Alma 23:7).

We are familiar with the story of these Lamanites burying their weapons and refusing to defend themselves, leading to their slaughter and later to the two thousand stripling warriors. But I think the above verse highlights a more important aspect of their conversion. It mentions first that they stopped fighting against God, then against the Nephites. While fighting righteous Nephites is also fighting God, I believe it was referring to all rebellion against God; that is, sin. The weapons of their rebellion were not just physical weapons but also everything that fights against righteousness. Their burying their weapons was a symbolic act of their complete repentance and dedication …

October 2013 General Conference Highlights

I always love conference! I love how undeniably strong the Spirit is and how my testimony and dedication are renewed. The key is keeping all those feelings after conference is over. I am grateful that I can read and watch the talks again and again to help me with that endeavor. There is no excuse to let the spirit of conference diminish over the next six months.

Congratulations to us for reaching 15 million members! But compared to the world population, we still have so much work to do, which several leaders reminded us. It is amazing that we have over 80,000 full-time missionaries now to help us! There is no excuse for us not to excel in missionary work.

I thought the family choir in the Saturday afternoon session was neat. I have never seen that done before. My husband saw one of his fellow missionaries in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I recognized the elderly Brazilian woman shown in one of the talks as an old friend's grandma, one of the sweetest, happiest women I know.

My …

Why Organized Religion?

Some people say they are spiritual but not religious; they don't believe in organized religion. With so many scandals across denominations, it is understandable why people avoid joining churches. So many are run by corrupt leaders or have judgmental members. Such evil has been found even in our church, unfortunately. So why did Jesus organize a church when He was on earth and have it restored through Joseph Smith? Why organized religion?

A House of Order
To receive exaltation we must make covenants with the Lord through special ordinances performed by one who has the authority to do so. We know who can do it and how they should do it because "mine house is a house of order" (D&C 132:8). The Lord reveals everything we need to know through the proper channels: to the prophet for the whole church, to other leaders for their respective areas and callings, to parents for their families, and to individuals for their own lives. By following this order, we ensure that all t…

In the Lord's Way

My patriarchal blessing states, "You will have the opportunity to be a missionary and to bear witness of Jesus Christ and of Joseph Smith and of the Church. You will have the opportunity to sit down and discuss gospel principles with many."

Regretfully, I did not serve a mission. I knew everything in blessings does not come to pass in the way we think, so once I married, I assumed this passage pertained to senior missionary service. Then just the other day when I was explaining to my neighbor what a patriarchal blessing is, I suddenly realized it had already started being fulfilled.

The last few months I have had the opportunities to testify of and teach the gospel, and both my neighbor and her son have now been baptized (read about their story here). The ramifications of their conversions I know will be magnificent, which is humbling indeed. I have been able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands in a very special way, different than how I wanted and expected, but no …

Unexpected Blessings of Modesty

The Other Extreme of Modesty

One but Not the Same

Moses 7:18 describes a Zion people as being of "one heart and one mind." And Mosiah 18:21 shares that when organizing the church, Alma commanded the people to "look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism." All this talk of oneness leads some people to believe that we are all supposed to be the same in thought and personality. That belief can scare away people from accepting the gospel. President Uchtdorf set the record straight in his talk during the priesthood session of the April 2013 General Conference: But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, thin…

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

We all know that modest dress helps men respect us, but they are not the only ones whose respect we receive.

Girls: We girls tend to be haters, especially against immodest women. When you dress modestly, girls will respect you too.
Parents: Your parents, and your date's parents, most likely will trust you more when you are modest, because modest dress positively influences behavior.
Wives & Mothers: You are more likely to get babysitting jobs when you are dressed modestly. Wives and mothers will trust you because you are dressed for the job, not for their husbands or sons.

Teachers: Showing up to class dressed modestly shows that you are there to gain knowledge, and your teachers--both male and female--will take you more seriously and appreciate you not distracting them or other classmates.
Employers: In a professional setting, your boss will appreciate your sophisticated modesty as you represent the company, including at casual workplaces. I used to work at Party City, where w…

"Was It Worth It?"

From the talk "Was It Worth It?" by Elder David F. Evans in April 2012 General Conference. 
Dave Orchard grew up in Salt Lake City, where most of his friends were members of the Church. They were a great influence on him. In addition, Church leaders in his neighborhood constantly invited him to activities. His friends did the same. Even though he didn’t join the Church at that time, his growing-up years were blessed by the influence of good LDS friends and Church-sponsored activities. After he entered college, he moved away from his home, and most of his friends left on missions. He missed their influence in his life.
One of Dave’s high school friends was still home. This friend was meeting every week with his bishop in an effort to put his life in order and be able to serve as a missionary. He and Dave became roommates, and as would be both natural and normal, they talked about why he wasn’t then serving as a missionary and why he was meeting frequently with th…

"Line upon Line"

Continued story about missionary work with our neighbors:

Our neighbors returned to church again on Sunday, and the boy wanted to stay the third hour instead of going to his church to go to Sharing/Singing Time with me. He enjoyed it and asked if he could stay again next time.

That evening the missionaries and another member stopped by for a surprise visit to talk to our neighbors at our place. They talked for a couple hours and asked her if she would be baptized. She said yes! She shared how she almost got baptized in her own church, but was saved by a very strong and sudden urge to use the bathroom, which had a very long line. She also felt that the Gospel Essentials lesson on baptism earlier that day and something Justin said during their discussion prepared her for this moment.

After they left, she talked more to Justin about some concerns she had. Later I admitted to Justin that I felt very out of place the whole evening since the other members there had been or currently were mi…

"The Spirit of God like a Fire Is Burning"

My previous post was about the missionary work I started with my neighbor. Today she and her son went to church with us. She had met a couple other people in the ward previously at my house too, and we sat with one of them.

I explained to her about the sacrament and told her she was welcome to bear her testimony if she felt impressed to do so. When testimony meeting started, I was nervous. I knew I was going to go up, but I didn't know when and I had no idea what I wanted to say. I usually only go up because I have something specific to share. After a few people went, my neighbor whispered to me, "I'm going up!" I told her I would too. I went first and bore my testimony of the Church, Book of Mormon, keeping the commandments, and President Monson. She then followed, asking me to stay up with her. She shared the story I shared with you about our conversations and how she has seen God in her life. She ended pleading with the members to open their mouths and share the …

"How Great Shall Be Your Joy"

Sometimes I still struggle with the fact that I did not get to serve a mission, especially since the age has been lowered and sister missionaries now are more common and viewed more positively. When I start feeling jealous or inferior, I remind myself that I don't need a name tag to be a missionary and that the emphasis is on members being the fishers now. But how to start? High school presented plenty of opportunities to share and defend the gospel, and I even gave a Book of Mormon to a friend. Then while attending BYU and living in Mesa/Gilbert, it was harder to find and interact with nonmembers. But now here in Phoenix, the field is white and ready to harvest!

A couple weeks ago I finally met my downstairs neighbors, a mom and her 10-year-old son from the Chicago area. We've been hanging out ever since. Monday evening they were over here and we got talking about what Mormons believe. It led to me giving the mom a Book of Mormon and discussing the gospel until 9:30 p.m. She…

April 2013 General Conference Highlights

Highlights from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference in April 2013:

*I was in awe how dramatic the increase in missionaries was due to the age decrease announced last conference. When the bar was raised several years ago, the numbers slightly dropped and remained stagnant all these years. But now we went up 10,000 in less than six months (since those numbers were from the 2012 report, there are probably a few thousand more by now)!

*In accordance with the above, President Monson asked us all to donate to the General Mission Fund. And Elder Nelson noted that many schools will grant students an 18–30-month deferral to serve a mission.

*Two new temples were announced: Cedar City, Utah, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

*There is a new Young Women Presidency: Sister Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson as president; Sister Carol Louise Foley McConkie, first counselor; and Sister Evelyn Neill Foote Marriott, second counselor.

*For all of you parents who have little hope for your mischievous boys, lis…

Agency and the Fall

I think I have a pretty good understanding of the plan of salvation, as far as my mortal mind and level of spirituality allow. However, one thing escaped me: I knew why there had to be the Fall in the garden of Eden (2 Nephi 2:22-23), but I didn't understand why there was a garden of Eden to begin with, as opposed to just sending Adam and Eve straight to a telestial world. Then a couple months ago as I was reading 2 Nephi 2, which I've read a thousand times, I finally understood. It all centered on agency.

Every aspect of the plan of salvation revolves around agency. Agency has always existed; we had it long before our testing on earth. We know this from the war in heaven. When Heavenly Father presented His plan, Satan used his agency and presented another one, in which there was no agency, and Jesus used His agency to volunteer to be the Savior and glorify the Father. We then exercised our agency to choose between following Heavenly Father's plan or following Satan's…