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God Is:

“For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
“Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:23-29)

In the very first book written in Holy rite we find this truth:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

Many people do not understand this one basic fact: We are not just “form” or “essence” but rather we are specific beings (both form and essence), male and female. Together, we are “man”. Which is actually short for mankind.

God has an “image” just like our “image”. He has a head with hair and body parts, with passions, emotions, and feelings.

God is an “Eternal” Father and “Mother”. Not that his body contains both sexes, oh no. But rather there are “two” who became as one.

Just as a person marries a person of the opposite gender to become “one”. Father and Mother come together to create another person. Just as you created your children, so our Heavenly Father and Mother created Jesus Christ. First a child is created spiritually (without a body) and then they are created mortally (with a body).

For me, this is “love”. Real love. I am like my Heavenly Mother. I have a Heavenly Father and they love me.

I also had a mortal mother. I had a mortal father. Together, they created my body and my Heavenly Parents placed my Spirit into that body. I shall be eternally grateful to them all for that gift.

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On Prayer

Many people have heard the Lord’s prayer so often, they tend to ignore it. They know words, but not really understand what the words really mean. From the Holy Bible, in the Book of Luke in the New Testament (King James Version), we read:

“ And it came to pass, that, as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
“Give us day by day our daily bread.
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
“For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
“I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Luke 11:1-10)

It is by the much begging that caused that good man to get up and open the door and give the bread unto his friend. He knew that if he did not get up, his friend would nag him so much he would get no sleep.

Does God know that you will continue to plead with Him over your struggles? Do you tell Him that you need Him? Do you go to him over all your days? Do you share your joys and your sorrows with Him each and every day? How do you expect His help when He never hears from you?

One of the things God has asked of us, is to come to Him. He asked us to pray over everything: our fields, our flocks, our herds, our food, our drink, our children, our parents, over everything and that even includes our enemies.  From the Book of Mormon we read:

“Therefore may God grant unto you, my (sisters and) brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;

“Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

“Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.

“Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.

“Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.

“Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.

“Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

“Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.

“Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.

“But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

“Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:17-27)

In my lifetime I have received more blessings than I can ever adequately give thanks for. The Lord has been so good to me. I have had so many experiences in sickness and in health that leave me with no shadow of a doubt in my heart and mind that there is a God in heaven, that He is our Father, and that He hears and answers our prayers.

As I look to, listen, and read what the prophets of God say, I treasure their words. My very first living prophet was Spencer W. Kimball, who said:

“We must remember that reverence is not a somber, temporary behavior that we adopt on Sunday. True reverence involves happiness, as well as love, respect, gratitude, and godly fear. It is a virtue that should be part of our way of life.” (Spencer W. Kimball)

It is my prayer that we may all remember to pray and bring God back into our lives on a daily basis. He needs to hear from us. I pray you will join your faith with mine in asking for His help in our lives and in our Country, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

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One of the reasons I know we are to follow the living prophets is that all through the Holy Bible we can see how God blesses people when they turn to Him. Each time people, both men and women have gone to God in prayer, with a sincere heart, He lets them know how much He loves them. The world is kept because of those who are obedient to God.

When God spoke to Moses, and gave him laws, God spoke of how generations would suffer at the hands of those who did not worship the True God.

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1-6)

Then, we move forward in time to another prophet. Dear Ezekiel. Bless his heart. He inquired of the Lord as to what the scripture meant that said:

“What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?”

“As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:2-4)

When we go to the Lord for answers of our questions, we do receive answers. Even as the prophets do.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had two sons. One by the name of Abel and one named Cain. Cain did that which Satan told him. Satan knew what the law was. The sacrifice was to be of the first born. He knew that God would not accept any other type of sacrifice. Cain worshiped Satan more than God, and when he learned his offering to God it was not accepted, he murdered his brother in his anger and frustration.

” And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; (Genesis 4:6-11)

Just as Ezekiel had done, in a more recent time, Spencer W Kimball was concerned regarding the curse of Cain. He asked God regarding those who were descendants of Cain. He asked of God and once again, God responded, and great gifts became available to all worthy men and women who are descendants of Cain.

On September 30, 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

“In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.”

Then, he read a letter they had written. If you would like to know more, go to the Doctrine and Covenants to the 2nd proclamation and read the entire message for yourself.  I was honored to know that God still speaks to humans even now. Just as with all announcements by the prophets of God, not everyone was happy. Nonetheless, many of us were.

Then, even more recently, the Lord again spoke and told the prophets to warn the world that many are not doing what we need to be doing and some are doing away with the great blessings He gave us. I suggest you go to this link, and see what this warning means to you and those whom you love.

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&cid=PA0414-02

It is my prayer today, that all people will turn to Thomas S Monson and the other prophets to learn truth from them in this day and time. Yesterday, I celebrated my Father’s Day in the Holy Temple of God and had a glorious day. I pray you will all remember God, for He truly is your Eternal Father. As you celebrate Father’s Day this year, be sure to let Him know you love Him. As His daughter, I believe He would love to hear from you.

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Stepping Stones

The drawing is one I did while I was being treated for major depression. In this article, I am sharing how I was helped, and pray you will understand how my experiences can help others.

When I was 3 years old my mother died. Doctors had told my mother she would die if she gave me life, yet she chose to allow me to live. Thus, my father believed I had murdered my mother, so I was treated poorly. He brought a woman home who ended up dying in prison for all she did to my sister and me. Over the years I have been in regular hospitals; mental hospitals; been drugged; lied to; tortured; and tied down. Before I was even 5 years old, I had been beaten to the point there was blood coming out of my ears. I had electro-shock-therapy treatments in the days before they had enough compassion to at least sedate you first. Back in the days of my youth they did not know how to treat a feral child who was born in America. They experimented on me and those who were like me. I know what life can be for many who are misunderstood.

I must share, for many years, not just in my youth, but also as an adult, I did not want to live. However, God did not want me to go home before I was able to find happiness, so He refused to allow me to die. Now, I can honestly say, I am grateful for my life. I have learned many things that work and many things that do not work. It is my wish to share some of the good things with you that have helped me when I get depressed.

First off, I want you to know that you need to talk about how you are feeling. If you are being abused by someone (and that includes yourself) you need to share why you have those black and blue marks or cuts. When someone hurts you in any way, you need to share that with someone you trust.

In my very early years, I spend a number of months living outside in my father’s back yard. Most people did not even know I was there. If my sister had not been clubbed in our front yard, and a neighbor saw it happen, I would have died in that backyard. The doctors said I had “protein malnutrition” and one judge called me a “feral child.” A rare condition for anyone in the United States at that time. Now, it is very common in most of our cities. There are many children without homes or who have been abandoned by parents. I know of children eating out of trash bins or digging through others leftovers. Many times, over the years, I have received telephone calls during the night to alert me that certain children were sleeping in Goodwill bins. I would go pick them up, bring them to my home; feed and nurture them, only to have to return them to those who did that to them in the first place. It breaks my heart to know that the courts place children back into such situations after the parent takes a few weeks of classes. When I was young, after I had been rescued that first time, I kept running away from those who abused me, only to be returned to abusive care. I did not then, nor now, ever want a child to be forced to return to that type of life. Yes, I know what mental illness looks like, both as one who has suffered and as a person who helps others heal from that type of suffering, no matter what age they might be.

I am here to tell you, there is hope. You can heal. You can move forward, but you have to put forth effort to do this. You can’t wait for others to heal you. No matter what drugs they give you, that will not heal you. Most drugs have side effects that are much worse than the illness. Drugs only block “feelings”, they never help you to “overcome” what you went through to make you feel this way in the first place.

In my humble opinion, when you are able to find truth, then you can really begin to heal. Truth can set you free from your past. Truth can assist you in living toward whom you really want to be. Who God meant you to be. And yes, I did say the “G” word. I believe in God. I mean, Look all around you. Do you see that Sun up in the sky? How do you think it got there? Why do you think it comes up each and every morning? Do you see that Moon at night? How do you think it got there? Can you find a flower (one that has not been sprayed with some kind of chemical) and really see it? Can you smell it? If you are blind, can you not feel that flower? Who do you think created that flower in the first place? Who do you think really created you? Sure, your mother may have given you the body, and your father may have created that body, but who do you think gives you breath each and everyday? End of lecture 1. Now back to what I started to share with you.

While I was living in our backyard, I learned a few things. A person can survive in nature even better than in society. Fresh air is good for a human, and since you are human, I suggest you get outside and breath every single day. Even when you don’t feel like going outside, at least open a window, if you are able to do that.

I also learned that food is very important. Back, when I was young, I only had the fruit that fell from the trees, or the wild things that the animals gave me. But you have other types of food. And I am not speaking of potato chips, hamburgers and french fries. I am speaking of fruits and vegetables. Clean water, when you can get it. Not anything with “additives”. God gave us food enough to last us a lifetime that is clean and pure and healthy for us. We need to be careful what we put into our bodies. When we put garbage in, we get garbage out. That is a fact.

Since I was 5 years old, I have been seen by “professional” people who tried to help. Some where able to put the body back together. Some gave me good advice. The others, I won’t discuss. One of the good ones told me to write things down, some said to use art and music to speak. I recommend those things to you.

For example: One time, they had me in a straightjacket in a padded cell. I had tried to kill myself when my children were kidnapped and that was the only way they could keep me alive. While I was in there, I began to remember what helped me growing up. The birds, from when I was little, used to come sit by me, and make music, and I learned that I could talk to them by making music. Mentally, while in that padded cell, I went back to that time out-of-doors and began to make music to calm myself. I closed my eyes and saw sunshine and flowers that God had given me when I was locked in a cold, dark closet when I was about 3 years old. I remembered my animal friends who have fed and nurtured me. I felt comforted, and once I was calm, they let me out of that room. But, I could never tell any of them what had calmed me down.

Over the years, I spent a lot of time locked up, until I finally learned how to talk to others. It had taken me until I was about 12 years old to learn how to speak words. Up until I left there, then, I went back to being afraid. I do hope and pray you were not treated as I was when I was young. But for those of us who were not allowed to speak, as adults we still struggle, when under a lot of stress, to find words that were not there growing up.

Thanks to good people, I have used Music and Art to help me talk many times. I drew pictures of many things. I drew that picture of my sister, whom I thought was dead. In that picture, you will see a tree, which represented my family, that egg, as she had been born early, the teddy bear, since it was the only toy she had from my mother. I drew it in black and white with only my hand in color, as I thought everything I loved was dead. I was told that it helped me to heal during a very rough time. I drew rain and animals. While in HollyGrove Home for Children, I used music to create rain and gave all my feelings in the music. One of my therapists spoke to me about my art, and he told me that it helped him to understand who I am. I liked and trusted him. He never tried to drug me, nor force me to do anything against my will. Now to my thinking, that is a good therapist. I am sorry to say, most places now treat mental illness with drugs only. I am grateful to find there are still places where a person can talk and be helped gently without drugs.

As I grew older, I began to keep what I call: my “positivity journal”. I recommend it highly and know it has helped many people. Each day, you open it and write down at least 3 things you are grateful for.

When I first started mine, the only thing I could think of was toilet paper. Now you may laugh, however, when I was young, I did not even know what that was. I know I was over 5 but under ten years old when I got to see and learn what toilet paper was for. A nurse showed me, and she even taught me how to use a toilet. Prior to that time, the only time I had used a toilet was when my head was being held into it by my step-mother.  There, at the hospital, when the nurse flushed that toilet, and I saw the water went down and took all my “stuff” with it, I smiled. She smiled too and I knew it was okay. I’m sure you can think of something in your life that you are grateful for, even if you might think it is silly, right?

A few times in my life, I have been blind. When I saw my sister laying in that pool of blood and my step-mother beating her, I lost my sight, and that was just temporary. As an adult, I had a hole in my right eye, and all the fluid drained out. Then I got a very bad infection and lost sight in both eyes. One of my grateful things now, is that I can see. I’m sure you will think of many things you are grateful for every day.

May I share a game with you that I learned from one of my therapists? I call it the 5-4-3-2-1 game.

When you are anxious, stressed or feeling out of it: Look around you and find 5 colors. Name them. Next, reach out and touch 4 things. Name them as you touch them. Was it cold, warm, rough, smooth? Next, open your ears and listen for 3 sounds. It might be a fan, or a bird, or music, whatever it is, try to find at least 3 sounds. Next, think of 2 things that you enjoy eating or drinking. Think about what they taste like. Next, I want you to smell something. Then name that smell.

What I did, was make a little box and put things in it that I like. For example: 5 pieces of cloth which were different colors and textures. 4 little things; a smooth stone, a paper clip, an eraser, and a small marble. I also included a small bag of cinnamon, and hand lotion (I like wild cherry). I also put pictures of the mountains and the ocean and flowers. I called that my “E-box” and kept it close bye for those times when I was stressed out.

I suffer from what is now called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD). I lived in a “war zone” in my own family. Due to sexual trauma at a very early age, and having to live in so many different homes over my growing up years, I learned how to survive in many ways. Thus, I had what some Doctors called “Multiple Personality Disorder” (MPD), which they now label as “Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID). A small child must develop different facets of their personality to “survive” when living in so many different homes. Doctors have no clue how those types of labels stigmatize children. We should never put labels on our children. Never! That does not cure them. That does not help them to heal. One doctor thinks one thing, another thinks another and thus the child is tossed back and forth and that only makes the original trauma worse.

Yes, I do tend to speak with a different voice when I am under a lot of stress. The reason being, it is hard for me to find voice, even though I am trying with all my might to speak. That “child” within me was never allowed to use a voice, thus I never learned how to communicate properly. That does not mean I must be “weird”. Due to the abuse of my early youth, at times I have pain in places that have no current injury. That does not mean I am crazy. That means there is a problem that has not been resolved, yet. It does not mean I am faking. It is very real.

For many years, they took people who were “mentally ill” and chained them to floors and tossed food at them to keep them alive. They felt that was humane. Things did get better in some ways, but even in the 1960’s we were not treated much better.

During the 1980’s many of us fought to help change the rules for the mentally ill, so we could have the right to refuse drugs and abuse. We helped those who suffer to not be raped by those who should have been protecting us. To not be drugged into compliance. But rather to obtain real help to heal, and many are still in that same fight. I’m sorry to say that some abuse the system, and thus make things worse. Those who are not really what they claim to be just so they can get away with crimes. I believe that we all need to held accountable for what we do. They allow prisoners to have food and shelter and clothing, but what are they doing for the mentally ill? Many live on the streets, having to do things that would turn your stomach if you knew.

Some learned that beating a child never helped that child to learn anything but hatred. Yelling at a child does not help them learn love. But allowing them to get away with doing wrong things never helped them to learn either. Lifting a child helps them feel loved. Teaching them right from wrong by example is the way they learn best. But many never got an opportunity to see that in action. All we saw was the wrong type of “love” .

I learned about real love at HollyGrove Home for Children in Los Angeles California back in 1957. I was the first child to be placed there from the court system. I only got to stay for one year, but in that year I saw for the first time what real love felt like. I got my first clean hug from the headmistress, Miss Margaret Ingram. I learned how to laugh right out loud. I learned how play. I learned about music from an old upright piano. I learned I could talk to someone and that person believed me, even though others called me a liar. I learned that when I did something naughty, I was held accountable for what I had done. Yet, I was loved in spite of my mistake. I was not a bad person, I had done a naughty thing, and I learned how to correct that mistake. All humans do naughty things from time to time, but that does not make us bad. Those who deliberately harm others are doing something bad. But since we don’t know why they do what they do, we need to stay away from them, or let others know who can and will stop them. I learned we can do things we might not want to do, and when we are asked by those who really love us (in the correct way), we can learn and grow by doing those things. For example: I learned how to clean the pots and pans in the kitchen and how to keep a place clean enough to be healthy and allow it to be dirty enough to be lived in. I love what “clean love” taught me. That year has stayed with me over 69 years. I still draw on what I learned from those wonderful people.

Anyway, I just want you to know, there is hope. There is a life after abuse. There is a life after depression. There is a way to overcome all things. And that is because there is a God who loves you. There is a God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to show you that God loves you. Jesus Christ who is a God, suffered so He could know how You feel, and thus He can and will comfort You when you turn to Him. He not only came for those who do bad things, He came for you and me. For those of us who have been damaged and abused and neglected and misunderstood. He came for those of us who make mistakes and then repent and strive not to hurt others. He came before and is coming again to bring us all back to His presence. When we cry, He and all the angels in heaven cry. When we mourn, He mourns. When we suffer, He understands, because He also suffered.

Please, do not give up. There are ways out of what you are feeling. There are ways to find peace and happiness. There are those who really do care and want to help. There really are those who can help, but you have to do your part. You can’t just sit by and feel sorry for yourself, because that never did help you nor anyone else. I know, because I have been where you are. I know you can be as happy as you allow yourself to be.

You want to know how I know that? I lived it. I am still living it. And I shall continue to live it, even though I can not always walk; even though I can not always use my eyes; even though I can not always leave my home; even when I am locked up or tied down; I know that I have a form of peace, because: I know that God is watching. He sees everything and His angels keep records over everything that happens to His children, of which you and I are one. I know that when this life is over (and everyone dies sooner or later) He will make things right. I know that with all my heart and mind and will continue to live, looking forward to that day.

Hugs, from an woman who was once a child. A woman who was once a mother. A woman who was once a wife. A woman who was once abused, neglected, tortured, abandoned, sick and felt lost. A woman to whom the good Lord sent help to teach me who I really am. You may ask, “Who do you think you are?” I am a daughter of God, who is telling you that you too are a child of God, and there is hope.

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My respects to L. Tom Perry

This was truly a man who loved God with all his heart, might, mind and strength. I am going to share with you some of his words. It is my prayer that you will read and understand his wisdom.

“In order to find answers, the Lord says, we not only have to search for them, but we have to search diligently. That means there is effort involved. We really have to work at it. One of the best places to search for answers is in the scriptures, and searching diligently means reading them again and again, prayerfully and with faith, until the answers become apparent.”

“Search after truth, and remember that word diligently. That doesn’t mean halfheartedly. That means with all your might. It is also important to keep the commandments so you can feel the promptings of the Spirit. Part of being diligent is being worthy.”

“Carry a prayer in your heart. You don’t have to express it out loud all the time, but there are very few hours in the day when you don’t need guidance and direction in the course that you would want to follow. It is a wonderful, satisfying thing to know that the Lord is there. And He is there “24/7,” as they say. He is always available to us.”

“All of us have to gain our own testimonies, and the example of others is a tremendous way to start. We can feel confident when we find someone we trust who can bear solemn witness. There is a natural affinity that draws us to that desire to “be believing.”

“It is also important to live the commandments. You have to know the law of the Lord and try living it in order to prove that it works and brings blessings. The Savior said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

“If you “search diligently, pray always, and be believing,” it is very difficult to get off course. The Lord has promised us that. When people turn away from the Lord, there’s an automatic deterioration of the ability to follow the Spirit and a loss of the opportunity to experience true joy in life. When people follow the Lord, they prosper, they grow, and even though there are difficulties, the good things of life come according to the plan of the Lord.

“There is great satisfaction in knowing who you are, what you are supposed to do here, and what eternal blessings our Father in Heaven has promised to the faithful in the eternities to come. What greater comfort could there be than that?” (Elder L Tom Perry, an Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ in life as well as in death.)

Personally, I am still learning from this great man. He shall always hold a place in my heart, mind and life. His wisdom proved him to be a man of sound understanding, and it is my prayer that I may endure as well as he did all the way to my eternal home, in the Sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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The Appearance of Evil

Most people have no clue what this even means any longer. Thus, I am going to spell it out in plain words, first by quoting from the Holy Bible.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

“Quench not the Spirit.

“Despise not prophesyings.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

” And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18-24)

In 1973, when I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, I had no idea what that scripture in Thessalonians meant. When my bishop called me into his office to let me know he had to have those who had introduced me to the Lord transferred, because others had gossiped, I was livid. He said it was the “appearance of evil.” Those Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints could no longer teach others in that particular area due to the gossip.

That made no sense to me back then. God knew we had done nothing wrong. The missionaries knew we had done nothing wrong. I knew that we were only studying the Lord’s truths and having meals together. We never went into the back areas of my home. I mean, I had come from a world full of evil, so I knew what evil really looks like. It took me many years to discover what the “appearance of evil” really means.

Examples make a large difference in how the world behaves, and thus I share two with you.

Cherilyn Sarkisian born 20 May 1946 in El Centro, California is best known as: “Cher”, part of the Sonny and Cher who recorded “I Got You Babe” back in 1965. She was not then, nor is she now a religious person. I remember when she was about 14 or 15 years old, before she first got into show business. She always kept her body covered. She was very shy, in fact. Then, she met an older man and they got together. When she was first asked to wear revealing clothes for a publicity photo, she wore body tights underneath to cover her nakedness, even though she appeared almost naked. Young girls wanted to dress like her and act just like her.

However over the months that followed, her then boyfriend, Sonny Bono encouraged her to be more relaxed and just “go with the flow”. The money was incredible and that allowed her to accept what she previously had not felt comfortable doing. She and her husband (they married in 1969) became very famous, mostly because of those photographs as well as their music. During the 1960s, times were changing for those us in California.

The reason I share this with you, is so you can know how things started and how they ended up for someone who does not know God. When a person does not have knowledge of God in their life, they have no anchor to hold onto. In the world, then, as well as now, others take charge and try to determine what we wear and do. They assume you will do anything for money.

Now, allow me to give you another example.

Lindsey Stirling born September 21, 1986 in Santa Anna, California is an American violinist, dancer, performance artist, and composer. She presents choreographed violin performances, both live and in music videos found on her YouTube channel. She is also a person of faith in Jesus Christ and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints.

When she was sixteen, she joined a rock band in Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona, with four friends, called “Stomp on Melvin”. She was also a member of Charley Jenkins Band for about a year. Miss Stirling attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to study film making. She went on to perform missionary work in New York City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A story that she wrote about her mission was later published in the compilation “Do Not Attempt in Heels: Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters Who’ve Been There.”

Recently (2015) she made headlines for a piece of clothing she was wearing at one of her performances. Thus, I am using her as a modern example of why the “appearance of evil” is so important.

When those who wanted her to wear that dress were told she would not dress that revealing, I have been told she prayed about what to do. She covered her nakedness so she knew she was decent, thus she has no guilt and was able to do her job and earn a living.

The only problem being that those who saw her felt that she had given into the “modern” way of dressing. Because she is a good girl, she had no clue the “appearance” she gave was just like Cher did so many years ago. The good news is, she is still young, and loves the Lord. She has those who love her in a clean way, and will not strive to influence her the way Cher’s people did.

The bad news is, the designers of today do not make clothing that is modest and decent. They highlight parts of a woman’s body to make money. While those dresses might be “stylish”, the fact that they cause others to look at areas they have no business looking at is the “appearance” that lust likes. Most of those who might be willing to create modest clothing charge more than most people can afford. God has asked us to “abstain from the appearance of evil”.  So what does this mean to you?

Personally, I feel we need to go back to sewing our own clothing, or hiring a seamstress or tailor to make our clothing to meet our own standards, not the world’s standards. That way we can make a difference by abstaining from the “appearance of evil” rather than just covering up. We need to not only respect ourselves, but other people as well. What we wear and what we do sets the tone for those around us.

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Obedience: Is it important?

“Obedience builds faith in Christ. Faith is a principle of action and power. Consistently following the Savior’s example produces spiritual power and capacity. Without the strengthening and enabling power of the Atonement, it’s impossible to stay on the path and endure.”

“To heed is to give careful attention. Heeding those who do not believe in Christ will not help you find Him. Searching #spaciousbuilding for knowledge will not lead you to truth. It’s not posted there. Only the Savior has “the words of eternal life.” Everything else is just words.”

“True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service.” (part of a talk given by Kevin W Pearson, a member of the Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints)

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, we have a book called the “Book of Mormon” which tells of ancient people who populated the American Continent prior to the coming of Jesus Christ.

I personally have read this book, many times. In fact, I read it most every day, along with the Holy Bible. They help me to withstand the evil in the world today and have shown me how to overcome my own issues. The Book of Mormon is very plain and speaks in words that are easy for me to understand. While I love the Holy Bible, I also love the Book of Mormon, as it shows me specifically what to watch for and how to stay close to the Lord. It works for me.

This book is another testimony of Jesus Christ, as written by people and preserved and edited by a man whose name was Mormon. While I only shared a part of Elder Pearson’s talk, it is because that good man was addressing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints who have already read the Book of Mormon, so we could relate to the things he said.

If the choice comes, where you can only read one book, I suggest it be the Book of Mormon. But then, I had already read the Holy Bible before I ever heard of that book. As I read it, I felt the same Spirit that exists in the Holy Bible. Others may tell you not to read it, but then, when asked if they have ever read it, they will probably say no. Or perhaps they might have read a page or two, and then tossed it away.

One of the stories in the Book of Mormon, is of a young man who became a prophet, just as his father had been a prophet back in Jerusalem. This young man’s name was Nephi. He had two brothers who rebelled against their father and were very wicked. They were also very cruel to Nephi, yet, Nephi loved his brothers and taught them truth. I would like to share this same truth with you: (I have changed the tense from past to present: “would” to “will”, plus I changed “possessed” to “possess”.)

“. . .whoso will hearken unto the word of God, and will hold fast unto it, they will never perish; neither can the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”
“Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possess, that they will give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.” (1 Nephi 15: 24-25)

Personally, I know that when we turn toward the Lord, and hold fast to the truths prophets have given and are giving us, we can live a much better life, plus we can have eternal life when this mortal life is over. Please, always remember and never forget: No person gets out of this life alive and you can’t take anything with you.

Jesus Christ died and arose again to show us we can live forever. He was a God, yet He came to earth and even He had to die. He was totally obedient to our Heavenly Father. I for one am trying to be like Him, so when I get home, God the Eternal Father will say, “Welcome home, my beloved daughter.”

If you would like to know more, or obtain your own copy of the Book of Mormon at no cost, I invite you to go to: http://www.mormon.org/eng

Hugs to you from a foster sister, aunt, mother or even grandma or great-grandma.

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