Archive for the 'Ensign Articles' Category

Honoring Our Fathers and Our Mothers

Every Sunday, my family studies a talk from the most recent General Conference. In the days following, I will read it again on my own, to gain deeper understanding and really focus on the things that are being taught. A few weeks ago, we read the talk, “To My Grandchildren”, by President Henry B. Eyring (First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I think it really drew me in, because the focus of his talk seems to be on learning how we can truly have happiness in our families. This is something I am thinking about often and I tend to hang on every bit of instruction given on this topic.

President Eyring pointed out that all people are unique, with different experiences, but there is only one path if happiness is what we desire. He said, “Whatever our personal characteristics or whatever will be our experiences, there is but one plan of happiness. That plan is to follow all the commandments of God.” I’ve been recording the things the general authorities teach us to do in order to receive specific blessings. This one was so simply stated and straight forward. Do: Follow all the commandments of God. Receive: Happiness. In total confidence, I thought, “I can do that.” President Eyring continues by reviewing what the scriptures teach us of the commandments. He quoted the Lord, from Matthew 22 with the following account:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Immediately my mind went to something that I learned a few years ago about the commandments. That is, that the statement that all commandments hang on these greater commandments, is true. Every commandment from God can be categorized as a way to love God, or a way to love others as we would ourselves. If we take the basic ten commandments, the first show our love to God: to have no other gods before Him, to have no graven images (of any type), to not take the name of the Lord in vain, to keep the Sabbath holy, and to honor our father and our mother. The remainder fit under the category to love our neighbors as ourselves, the first falling under both: to honor our father and our mother, to not kill, to not commit adultery, to not steal, to not bear false witness, and to not covet. My focus was drawn to the commandment to honor our parents, because it carries weight in both of these greater commandments.

“Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment remains binding throughout our lives and can be understood in several ways: We should honor our fathers and our mothers who are our ancestors; we should be grateful to the father and mother who provided our earthly bodies; we should honor those who raised us in the knowledge of the truth. Above all, we should honor our Heavenly Parents. The way we honor all these fathers and mothers is by keeping the commandments.

I found the above statement when searching the gospel topics on lds.org, under the topic Ten Commandments. It seemed so fitting. Typically, when I think of this commandment, I think in terms of what I feel would honor my earthly parents, based on my own understanding and experiences. I was thinking I was doing a pretty good job at this. In pondering this more, I began to feel the need to go to the source. My parents, as President Eyring had stated, are unique and have had their own experiences and learning. What they feel honors them, may not be exactly the same as what I have been feeling. This proved to be accurate, as I called them to ask and learned some of their thoughts and testimony of this.

All of the things they shared made complete sense to me, but perhaps were not a focus I have had at this time in my life. Some of the things that my parents said would honor them, were being a good citizen and teaching my children to be a good citizen, being a good parent, being self-reliant, teaching my children the gospel, and being involved in family history. They felt that being a good decision maker, by searching (with the help of good and reliable sources), pondering and praying, would also honor them. One they felt strongly about, was being in contact with them more frequently, even by simply touching base with a quick update or picture on social media. The one that meant the most, was to honor them by taking care of one when the other passes away and they are left alone. I’ve learned through this study, seeking answers from them, and pondering the things that were shared, that even with the commandments which I have felt I am doing pretty well at, I can do so much more. If I can learn to truly honor my earthly parents, I know that I will be able to do more to honor my heavenly parents. I plan on putting the promise of President Eyring to the test, and I am pretty confident that if I strive to honor my parents more, in the ways that they shared with me, there will be greater happiness in my relationship with them, as well as with others in my immediate and extended family.

Challenge: If you are seeking greater happiness at home, study the commandments and try to live one better today.

Gratitude is a Choice

I read the first article in this month’s Ensign, “The Choice to Be Grateful” by President Henry B. Eyring. For one of my Celestial University goals I am reading several articles from the Ensign and writing a few ideas or thoughts that I gain from reading them. One of the things that I get from this article is that I need to be more aware of the things I have, even the little things, so that I do not take them for granted. I would hate not to appreciate them until they are gone. This is something I learned a little more about during this summer. I had four months without my husband with me, and although I didn’t take him completely for granted, I realized just how much I needed to show him I loved him each and every day. I hope that I can be more open to recognizing all the countless blessings that the Lord gives me each day.

The second idea is that I need to write or vocalize my gratitude more often. It would help me to write the things I am grateful for down more often, because then I can reflect on them time and time again. It would be better for me to show my gratitude for others as well, most especially for my Father in Heaven. Being more vocal about the things I am thankful for in my prayers, will help me to realize just how much He loves me and it will help me to rededicate myself to His will. Being grateful and expressing that gratitude will help me to be a more happy and joyful person.

A Charge From the Book of Mormon

In preparation for our Relief Society lesson this week, I read the Ensign article titled “A Witness“, by President Henry B. Eyring. This talk is a really good one about the charge that every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been given. We find this charge in the words of the Book of Mormon. The charge has to do with being a charitable witness who endures to the end. The two ideas I am taking away from this article are first, we each have a way that is fitting for us to show our charity for others. I believe that charity, in its purest form is how we show the love and care we have for others. Not all of us do this the same way, but we have each been blessed with the ability to have charity. I think that I’ve always thought there was an exact way that everyone was to be charitable, but I am now thinking that it really can and probably should be different for each of us. Part of the learning process in this life, is figuring out how we as individuals can be more like the Savior in our own charity for others. Now is the time to discover how I can use the gifts and talents that have been given to me, to be charitable to others.

The second idea, is that we need to be ready each day to do the work of the Lord. This requires having a prayer in our heart and mind as much as possible, that we will be ready and willing to do the will of the Lord. It means being worthy at all times, so that we can hear the whisperings of the spirit. It means getting out of bed each day and getting dressed and prepared to do something, even if we don’t have anything planned. It means recognizing the needs of others around us and more. It is a charge to be alert, attentive, willing, and able to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, at all times. This is something that I feel I fall short in most days of my life, but we all have things we need to work on, and this is one of mine. I am grateful for the messages of the general authorities of the church, specifically the apostles and prophets of the Lord. Their words offer me great insight and encouragement in my own life. It is such a blessing to live in a time when these words are so readily available to all people. I hope that I will remember these things and try harder to have more charity and be ready to do the Lord’s work more often.

Understanding Relief Society

I am reading Ensign articles as a goal in Celestial University, and yesterday I read “What I Hope My Granddaughters (and Grandsons) Will Understand about Relief Society” by Julie B. Beck. She gave this talk during the Relief Society General Meeting last month. I remember feeling really strong about her words, especially since I had just finished studying the book, “Daughters in My Kingdom“, which she references. I love Relief Society and I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of women who live to serve and love others.

The first idea that I get from this talk is that as a member of the Relief Society, I have a place of safety, refuge, and protection that I can always turn to. When I am in times of need, I know that I can turn to the Relief Society and its members to find the help I am wanting. Right along with that, is my part, which is that I need to be willing to help make that place for others. I have the duty and should have a desire to be there for others. I have been blessed with talents, time, and the ability to love others. I can use these blessings to help those around me. In serving others, I will most likely find peace in my own life as well.

The second idea, is the importance of doing my visiting teaching the way God intends for me to do it. Visiting teaching is a program designed to make sure there is love, fellowship, teaching and ministering among women. Often times this program becomes more about the numbers than about truly ministering to others. It is more important to be a friend and teacher of gospel principles, than to give a monthly message and leave it at that. It is more important to recognize the needs of others and their families, than to mark off their name on a list each month. I have seen some great examples of women who have made visiting teaching an way to become friends and truly serve others and I hope to become more like them. This type of discipleship will draw us so much closer to God, because it is the way that Christ were to minister if He were here right now. I want to become a better disciple of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and visiting teaching gives me a perfect opportunity to learn how.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn

A Family Tree

I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting, on the topic of the hearts of the children shall turn, based on the talk given by Elder David A. Bednar in the most recent general conference. We hear this phrase often in the church, and today I’m going to talk about what this means to me.

The work of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind (see Moses 1:39). This is brought about by our making and keeping sacred covenants with God. This work, is centered around families. Elder Russel M. Nelson said, “The earth was created and this church restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally. [Whenever scriptures warn that the “earth would be utterly wasted,” the warning is connected to the need for priesthood authority to seal families together in holy temples.]” (Russell M. Nelson, “Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 92-95.) As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to have a knowledge of the gospel and the blessings that come from the priesthood power and authority being available on the earth today. There are many who have gone before us without this knowledge and, at times, without the priesthood. If they do not have the same opportunity as we do, than the work of God would fall short. I cannot imagine this as a possibility and therefore, I believe in the priesthood authority and power to do work for the dead. This authority of the priesthood is on the earth today because of the work of Elijah, the prophet. In Joseph Smith History 1:38-39 we read the words of Malachi as spoken by the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. “. . . Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (v. 38). . . . And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (v. 39).” Elijah did come to the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, and he restored the sealing power to them. We read about that in Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-15. “After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said (v. 13): Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come (v. 14)—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse (v. 15)—”. Now is the time when the promises of the ancient prophets have been planted in our hearts and our hearts need to turn to our fathers.

How do we turn our hearts to our fathers? The prophet Joseph Smith explained that “. . . the word turn, here should be translated bind, or seal.” In other words, how do we bind or seal our hearts to our fathers? In his talk, Elder Bednar uses the words of Joseph Smith in telling how we, the saints, do this. He said, “By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah . . . .” (History of the Church, 4:569; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 27, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff).

Both Joseph Smith and Elder Bednar spoke of the chain that binds us to our ancestors. This image stuck out to me. When I think of it, I picture the master blacksmith, working hard with his hammer, to forge every link of our eternal chain, which binds our eternal family together forever. A strong chain needs each individual link to be shaped and bonded to the one before it. Likewise, in our eternal family chain, each individual must be prepared and forged to those who have come before them and then attached to those who come after, through the work of the master. This preparation for those who have gone before us, is family history work. We are blessed with the opportunity to assist the Master in His work, by doing family history work. President Brigham Young said: “We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere. Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, p. 406).

Family history work is for all of us. There is nothing in the scriptures or teachings of the prophets, which qualifies when we should be doing this work. In Elder Bednar’s talk he directed a lot of his words to the youth of the church and I think that those of us who are parents, leaders, and teachers of the youth, can do a lot to help the younger generation realize all that they can do to further this work. Doing family history work is something that I have enjoyed for years. I can remember as a young primary child, having the strong desire to find out about my own ancestors. I have been blessed to have a great-grandmother who was a world-renowned genealogist. She published many books during her lifetime. My parents had one of these books, which was a history of my family on my maternal grandfather’s side. I enjoyed reading through the stories in that book and learning about the things my family had experienced. Her example to me, gave me a strong desire to seek out my family for myself. I know that because family is central to God’s plan, there can be a desire in each and every one of His children, no matter the age we are, to be bound to their family eternally.

The incredible work that my great-grandmother did for our family, required hours of searching through physical records, countless trips to the libraries, frequent trips to other states and even to Washington D.C. to look through records in the national archives. But, just as new tools have replaced the blacksmith’s hammer in making chains, new tools have been provided for us to do family history work. The advances in computers have made this work so much easier for us to do. There is no longer the need to spend all our time traveling, digging through books, or scanning the micro-fiche for records. We have amazing tools, including newfamilysearch and familysearch. There are other great tools available online from the comfort of our own homes or at the family history library.

Before listening to Elder Bednar’s talk, I had not thought about getting my daughters involved in family history or on new familysearch, but after hearing what he said, I decided to go to lds.org to see what the church leaders had there for the youth and primary. The youth section of the site, has several videos which explain how to use new family search. There are sweet testimonies of young men and women who have started their own work. These examples are inspiring and motivating. I also looked on the primary section of lds.org, and they have a section titled “Family History 1-2-3“, which links directly to new family search. It is clear that the leaders of the church feel that children should be using newfamilysearch as well. Those of us who are older, should take the time to learn for ourselves how to do our own family history work, so that we can teach and guide our children in this work. Elder Bednar said, “It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord— not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation.”

The Lord has blessed us with these tools, so that we can further His work. There are four things that we can and should be doing. First, we need to gather our family history. The least we should do, that has been suggested by church leaders, is four generations of our ancestors, but I think that you’ll find that as you do this work, you will gain the desire to go back even further. Find the records in your home. Ask your family for information. Go to newfamilysearch.org and start your family tree. Use the old family search site to find records of your family members. There are many other resources that can be helpful in this work as well. My parents and grandparents have done a great deal of family history work. I was struggling with where to begin, so I decided to compile the work that they have been doing. It’s been a fun thing to do. Last year, my grandfather passed away and I had the opportunity to gather information from several family members and to create a record of his life from their thoughts on him. It is something that I hold dear and I am so happy to be able to pass that on to my children.

Second, we need to record our own personal and family histories. This one is a big one for me. I’ve attended several family history workshops in the past ten years, and one of the things that has stuck with me the most is that each of us will most likely be forgotten after three generations. How many of us can say that we know all about our great-great-grandparents? What do you want your great-great-grandchildren to know about you? What can you do today, to make their work easier? How much easier would it be for you to have information from your life compiled for them? Keep a journal. Keep your physical records safe. Teach your children to keep journals as well. Keeping records of your living family as well as those who have passed away, is so important. If you question that statement, than I’d ask you to look to the example of Lehi’s family in the Book of Mormon. Lehi was commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem to gather his family records. In 1 Nephi 3:2-4, we read, “And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem (v. 2). For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass (v. 3). Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness (v. 4).” Then in 1 Nephi 5:21 we read, “And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.” Royden G. Derrick, formerly of the Seventy said, “A personal history becomes a family treasure that enables children to emulate the virtues and personal characteristics of their forebears. Their forefathers become the David, the Samson, the Moses, and the Abraham of their lineage. Writing family and personal histories is becoming the popular thing to do. More and more people throughout the world are becoming interested in this exciting pastime to them, but sacred responsibility to us. The hearts of the children are indeed turning to the fathers.” (“The Heritage of Royal Families,” Ensign, May 1979, 26.) Preserve your own records, so that your life can be an example to those who come after you.

Third, we need to perform temple ordinances for our family members. We need to do this often. We need to do this now. I love serving in the temple, but nothing has ever been quite as meaningful and spiritual as doing work for family members. I’d like to share a very special experience for me. In fall of 2009 I prepared several names for a Stake Relief Society night of baptisms. One of these names was Maria Schmidlin. I performed the baptism for her as planned and then held on to the paperwork so that I could follow-up with more of her work. I had several names to do and this one kept going to the bottom of my stack. Finally, in February of this year, I felt the strong impression that I needed to go do a session. For 2 weeks, it seemed like everything I heard at church, from my visiting teachers, and so on, was pushing me to go do a session, so we made plans to go. I planned to do the work for Maria that night. Our drive was worst then usual, causing us to be a bit later than expected, so we started talking about just doing initiatories. Then, I had the impression that we needed to do a session, even if we had to wait longer. We decided to side with the feeling to do the session, and I know now why that feeling was so strong. As I prepared myself for the session, I said a silent prayer to Heavenly Father and I immediately felt the presence of Maria with me. I felt her joy throughout the entire session. I know she was there with me and I know that because I was willing, she was able to accept and receive the necessary ordinances to progress. I feel so privileged to have been able to do that for her. There are temples being built all around the world, which will are here specifically for this purpose. We need to be preparing ourselves for the work that we can do in the temples.

Fourth, we should help others to do this work. If you know how to do family history, take time to show others in your family, in the ward, or even friends who may not be members of the church. I had a great experience with this last year. I had a less-active family in our ward (a father, daughter and grand-daughter) who had heard me talk about family history work. We had a ward Relief Society temple night scheduled and had asked the sisters to prepare names to take for baptisms and confirmations. I was approached by this family to help them prepare to do the work for the father’s wife who had passed away, so that she could be baptized and confirmed. Helping them prepare the name was fairly simple and it gave me the opportunity to share my testimony of this great work. However, the best part of the entire experience, was helping the grand-daughter when she went to the temple the night of our temple trip. It was amazing to watch this young sister do work for her grandmother, and witness her own testimony grow through the process.

You can help others by locating records and other information for them or with them. This is a job that I think the younger generation would be great at. There are a lot of us, who may not be very savvy with the computer. Last year I went to my Mom’s family history library with her. She was serving as the assistant in the library at the time and was really excited to show me how to use the record search pilot, which was a tool to find ancestry documents that has since been added to family search. I’ve been blessed to marry a computer nerd, and he has helped me to learn a lot, so this was pretty simple for me. She got me started on the site and within less then a minute I had located a birth record for a family member that my Mom had not been able to find before. I helped our family by finding this one record. The record was made available because of volunteers giving their time. I know that we don’t all have a lot of extra time in our busy lives to be working on a lot of family history work. The church has a truly inspired way for the busiest of us to actively help others. It is called indexing. Indexing is what made my family record easy to find. Indexing is for anyone who knows how to read and enter data into a computer. You can spend as little as five minutes working on it at a time. In short, indexing is downloading a batch of records that have been scanned and prepared and then using the data entry form to type what you think the record says. Two different people with do the indexing for one record and then an arbitrator looks to see if things match and if their are any questions. Then that information will be made available for searching, and the records can be more easily found by family members. If you have any free moments in your days, I would highly suggest participating in indexing.

In closing, I’d like to quote Elder Bednar again. In addressing the youth he said, “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.” I know that this promise can apply to all of us no matter what our age. I am so grateful for the desire in my own life, to do family history work. I love that we can learn about the lives of those who have gone before, and I love knowing that I have the ability to leave a legacy for my own posterity. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple and for the love of a Father in Heaven who wants each and every one of us to be sealed forever as a part of His eternal Family chain.

Continually Holding to the Rod

For the next Ensign article towards my Celestial University goal, I decided to read “Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod”, by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 2011 Ensign). This article is a great reference for some further understanding of Lehi’s Vision found in the book of 1 Nephi. I have always enjoyed trying to apply this dream to my own life and see where I am standing in my own life. Elder Bednar explains three groups of people who are heading on or away from paths in this vision. I find that through the history of my life, I have been one of those in the group which cling to the rod when it seems convenient, meaning I have previously only studied the scriptures and really listened to the words of the prophets, when I have felt it fit into my life. I was quick to follow the crowds of people who were leaving the right path to the easy road toward that great and spacious building. My hold was only occasional at times and I could not hang onto the blessings that I knew I needed in my life. One of the points that I get from this article is that I need to continually hold fast to the word of God. I can honestly say that I am holding fast to it now. I hope that I will be constant in this for the rest of my days. I can sense the joy of blessings of eternal life, which I know will come my way if I can endure. To gain these blessings, I have a goal to read the scriptures and words of the modern day prophets consistently for the remainder of my life. I know that if I can keep this goal, I will eventually be able to receive the blessings of eternal life and salvation through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The second point is that I do not want to heed the mocking voices of the world around me. Even those voices of people who I love and admire can draw my attention and focus away from what I know is the most important. I do not want to live in a way where I may think or act like I am ashamed of the gospel. I want to stand tall in my choices to do what is right according to the Lord. I want to remain on the path that God has paved for me, and that the Savior has walked upon. I know that as my testimony grows, I am becoming firmer in my beliefs and therefore have the confidence to be happy being different from the world. I love this gospel and I love choosing the right. I am proud to say that I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Study of the Book of Mormon

For my next Ensign article study for the Celestial University, I decided to read the article “How to Study the Book of Mormon”, by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 2011 Ensign). It is a really good article which gives three areas of focus for why we should make studying the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit. These were because it is the keystone of our religion, it is written for our day and it helps us to come closer to God. I believe that these three reasons are completely accurate and I have found that as I make study of the Book of Mormon a priority in my life, I have been blessed with a stronger testimony and a greater faith and hope in my every day life.

There are several things that this article makes me ponder about, but the two points in particular that I want to focus on are the tips that he gives. First, I think that I would like to get another copy of the book of mormon and study through with a specific topic in mind to mark. I wouldn’t mind having a copy designated as my faith copy or my copy focused on Jesus Christ. I haven’t done this in the past because I tend to let my study get away with myself and I have trouble focusing on one topic in particular, but I think that this would be a great thing to do in the future.

Second, I want to continually ask myself why this scripture was written for me. Why does the Lord want me to know this story and how does it apply to my own life. I know that these words are the word of God written for us in these latter-days of the earth. Since that is the case, ever verse should be applicable to me in some way and I just need to pay attention enough to find it. I know that if I do this, my life will be better. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the great lessons and guidance it gives me in my life.

Finding the Love of God

My Ensign article for this week is “What the Book of Mormon Teaches About the Love of God” by Elder Russell M. Nelson. It is a description of how we can find the love of God in the words of this sacred book. It discusses how we become sons and daughters of Christ when we make covenants with Him and are born of Him. It also discusses how we are given the opportunity to become like Him and that He desires this for us. There are two ideas that I am taking from this article. First, I want to read the Book of Mormon and look for the evidences of the Love of God for mankind and hopefully apply this to my own life. I want to recognize the tender mercies in my own life and to be more grateful for all that I have been given. Second, I can put my past behind me and try not to focus on who I was. Rather I want to focus on who the Savior can help me to become through his grace. I want to focus on the ways that He has shown me to be the best person I can, and have hope in his grace to help me become perfected. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the testimony and teachings that it brings to my life.

My Own Preparation

I’m participating in a program at church, called Celestial University. In this program, we can get “degrees” in different “colleges” and I am the “dean” of the college of Theology. I’m in no way the scholar for anything in this area of study, but I was picked because I make it a point to study and blog about the scriptures and I can be used as a resource. I had previously decided that this would be my area of study, so I was happy to accept. I will probably be writing about a bunch of the things I study for my degree, so there may be a bit that seems different than my normal posts. Mostly, I hope to add to my written testimony (see my recent posts on the writings of Paul here and here).

One of the goals is to study 5 articles from the Ensign, which is a church magazine for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I plan on studying one article every other week. For this goal, you read an article and then find two ideas learned from it and share these ideas. So, I’m sharing my thoughts with you.

I picked up this month’s copy of the Ensign yesterday and flipped through it, looking for something that caught my interest. Even though, the message was originally given to young single adults, I decided to read the article titled “Preparing for the Future” by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

First off, Elder Ballard told the young adults to picture themselves in 20 years. 20 years to them would be about 10 years to me, so I tried to think of where I pictured myself in 10 years time. Unlike those who the message was originally intended for, I have been married in the temple to a loving man and now have three beautiful daughters. I believe that 10 years from now, I will still be a faithful and loving wife, and a happy and healthy mother. I hope that in that time I will have made the effort to add to our family in both quality and quantity. One of the points of this article is to not be afraid of that future. I hope to continue with a trust in my Heavenly Father’s plan for me and my family, without any fear. I’ve been taking some great leaps of faith for the benefit of my family in the last ten years, and so far I have had great opportunities to learn and grow a lot because of them. In 10 years, I want to be actively working to magnify my callings. These callings are both at home, as well as in church. I am finding so much strength in being an active member of the LDS church. In 10 years, I hope to have a better handle on my own self-reliance. This means learning how to cook (from scratch) well enough to keep my family healthy and happy. It also means learning how to garden, can my own foods, have a better food storage that fits our needs, and so on. This is something that I can surely start learning how to be better at now. Becoming more self-reliant, will help me to find greater faith and get rid of any fears I may have.

Second, he talks about how many young single adults are likely to be away from their parents. Even though I am not as young, and I am not single, I am still away from my parents. One of the great things about the plan of salvation, is that our parents can be our parents forever. They will forever have the responsibility to be there for us and we as their children have the responsibility to honor them and care for them as well. I am grateful for my parents and also for the wonderful modern technologies which allow me to see them often even though we are very far apart. I hope that in 10 years time, I will still be in good contact with my parents and turning to them for strength and knowledge from the wisdom that they have gained in their own lives.

I think that it is a good thing for us to occasionally look at our lives and think of the goals that we have for ourselves in 10, 20, 30 years or more. I am grateful for the gospel in my life today and I hope and pray that it will continue to be large part of my life in the future.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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