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Enduring

Enduring is not easy. Oh no! Yet, when I think about my Lord, and all He went through, I know that what I go through is minor. Did you ever notice how when we hear other people’s problems our own are not as bad?

Many of my friends also suffer in various ways. I pray for them, and I know they pray for me, that our pain may be lessened. Some of the people I admire most have been those who suffered much more than I ever will. Just to name two: Spencer W. Kimball and Neal A. Maxwell. Yet they endured well. I pray I may be as valiant as they.

We all suffer in one form or another. The thing that keeps me going is my faith in Jesus Christ. When I am in great pain, I do what my doctor(s) tell me to do, yet I also take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer that  Jesus Christ has restored the Priesthood back to the Earth to bless men and women, and so I ask for blessings at the hands of those who not only hold, but “honor” that Priesthood. Just because someone says they are a priest does not make then one. Only those who “Honor Their Covenants” and “Keep the Commandments or strive so to do” are worthy to hold the “Power” that comes with that calling. (Just my humble opinion.)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wisely cautioned:

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable” (quoted in “Lindbergh Nightmare,” Time, 5 February 1973, 35).

Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling.

Annie Swetchine said,

“Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all” (quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith [1982], 123).

When I reflect upon my Saviour and think upon all he endured at the hands of others, I cringe. I tend to whine from time to time over my struggles, yet He never did. They spit upon him. They beat him. They scourged him with whips. They cast him in prison. They dragged him through the town naked and placed a crown of thorns upon his head, before they nailed him to that cross. And to make it even worse, they did that “after” he had bled at every pore because of the pains, mourning, depression, injustice and sins of everyone who ever has been born, who was then alive, and all who would yet be born. Yet, he still had compassion.

Jesus Christ rose victorious over death and He did that for you and me. Our pains only last a short time compared to the pains of those who reject him or refuse to repent of their own sins.

Another wise man, who was also a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley once said,

“Don’t get discouraged, things will work out!”

I hung that quote with his photograph on the wall in my bedroom. When I am feeling sorry for myself, and start to get discouraged, I look up and see it, and know things will work out. I turn my head and look upon my other wall and see the picture of the current Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and think about him telling me to:

“Be more positive…”

When President Ezra Taft Benson called me to Salt Lake City, Utah, he said (among other things):

“Hang the words of the prophets on your walls, and then go out and do good.”

I am a firm believer in following the prophets and have always been blessed because I do that. It is not that I do not experience problems, for I surely do. It is that after – I experience greater blessings and that makes it worth whatever I have gone through.

In the Holy Bible we read:

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29)

God does not lie.

Gentle hugs from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You don’t believe in God?

Earlier this week, I read a post by a lady that broke my heart. I share my answer here for all who do not believe that God exists since He allows bad things to happen.

My dear Sister, it sounds as though you have been abused in horrible ways, and my heart goes out to you. I wish I could comfort you by putting my arms around you and taking you away from those who harmed you. But, I am not there in person. I can only share with you what I have learned in my 70 years of life.

Right now, you do not believe that God exists, however, that is only because you don’t know Him. Bless your heart. That is not your fault. All you have experienced is the pain of life, not the joy of knowing Him.

God will not stop anyone from using their own agency. At times, we must step back mentally and allow others to do what they do. We can warn and caution, but then we must let them make their own choices. God will make them pay for what they have done to you. Those who are kind to you, will be blessed for that kindness. If you make bad choices, He will not stop you, for the same reason.

At one time there was a major war regarding two options: our having the right to choose for ourselves or being compelled to do everything. Jesus Christ came to Earth in a body just like ours so that He could learn how we feel and why we do the things we do. He came to help us be able to get back home – where we are loved and cared for. He also had to suffer at the hands of evil people, just as we do. The only difference between Jesus Christ and us is that He was half God and half Mortal. The mortal part meant He could die a physical death. The God part meant he had the power within himself to overcome death and finish the plan God wanted for us who chose agency.

The fact that you have a body of flesh and bone with blood means that you chose agency. Which meant you would have to suffer, just as Jesus Christ suffered. Which also meant you would have to allow others their agency as well.

God is anxious to bless you, but you must trust Him. Do you know how tiny a mustard seed is? Go to a garden shop and ask to see one. A mustard seed amount of faith is all you need to ask for God’s help to understand. He will help you to find Him. He will do that for you, I promise. I was an abused as a baby, child and youth. When I was a young adult I was also abused in ways that would make your skin crawl. Yet, I came to know that God cares. He really does and He will show you if you will allow Him to.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I could not sleep until I bore my testimony to you. Gentle hugs from a sister who has been there, and come to really know God personally. You are one of His daughters, and He wants you to know that. Look at the sky in the morning and think about what there is to bless you. The very air you breathe, trees and flowers, animals, planets and stars, and YOU!

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Tolerance and Love

Our Father in Heaven loves all of His children . . . .In fact: God is Love.

Peter taught that “God is no respecter of persons: “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

In his conference talk on tolerance and love, Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that “real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994, 71)

Below are the words of Russell M Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have taken the liberty of using part of his talk as I feel they are most applicable today. He too used that quote from Acts 10:34-35, then said:

“Yet His children can be so intolerant with one another. Neighboring factions, whether they be identified as groups or gangs, schools or states, counties or countries, often develop animosity. Such tendencies make me wonder: Cannot boundary lines exist without becoming battle lines? Could not people unite in waging war against the evils that beset mankind instead of waging war on each other? Sadly, answers to these questions are often no. Through the years, discrimination based on ethnic or religious identity has led to senseless slaughter, vicious pogroms, and countless acts of cruelty. The face of history is pocked by the ugly scars of intolerance.

“While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity.

“We are grateful for the many examples of heroic service rendered in times of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other disasters. Such cooperative efforts to help neighbors in distress transcend any barriers posed by religion, race, or culture. Those good deeds are latter-day love in action!

“Of course we are concerned with the need for ambulances in the valley below. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the greater need for protective guardrails on the cliffs above. Limited resources needed for the accomplishment of the higher work cannot be depleted in rescue efforts that provide only temporary relief.

“The biblical prophet Nehemiah must have felt that same commitment to his important calling. When he was asked to divert attention away from his primary purpose, he replied: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? (Nehemiah 6:3)

“Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness.”

“The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.” (Matthew 21:12) Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D&C 1:31) His Apostle Paul specified some of those sins in a letter to the Galatians. The list included “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Galatians 5: 19-21)

“To Paul’s list I might add the regrettable attitudes of bigotry, hypocrisy, and prejudice. These were also decried in 1834 by early Church leaders who foresaw the eventual rise of this church “amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites.” The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that “prejudices may give way before the truth.” (D&C 109:56,70) Hatred stirs up strife ( Proverbs 10:12) and digs beneath the dignity of mature men and women in our enlightened era.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, at this time in America many are trying to distract us from what is so important. Jesus Christ taught us to love others as we love ourselves. Remember, those who practice an “eye for an eye” only leave an entire nation of blind people.

Another of my favorite teachers was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She once said,

“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.” (Mother Teresa)

It is my prayer that we will follow the Saviour and stop feeding into the world’s hatred. Rather, let us love and do good wherever we may be.

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Small and Simple Things

A very small thing to most is the reading of the Holy Scriptures. Yet, this is what they did for me before I was even 5 years old: The story of Daniel, when he was in Nebuchadnezzar’s court gave me faith and hope for things to improve. They showed me that others, who were obedient to God were saved and over the years, I have proven that He does this same thing for me. I know He can do it for you as well.
My older sister read to me in private, so no one would know she was speaking. We had been forbidden to speak, so she was risking great punishment by doing so. This was not an easy thing for her, yet she shared this story from the Holy Scriptures with me. It has stayed with me all these years, and that is a very long time. I see a parallel in today’s society. I invite you to read this story and see if you feel the same way. (The Book of Daniel found in the King James Version of the Holy Bible – Old Testament)

This particular story from the Book of Daniel told me that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were children of the most-high God. They did what the laws of Moses had instructed them to do. They lived the commandments and kept the Word of Wisdom regarding diet. They were obedient, even though they lived in a society that went against all those things. They were doing what they knew to be the right thing, while others laughed or mocked or tried to stop them. The laws allowed evil to run rampant in the city and country back then.

These three young men, because they would not worship the idols of the king, were to be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

We know that the King really liked these three young men. He had placed them in his own palace because they were such wise young men. It hurt him that he might have to punish them, so he warned them what would happen if they did not at least “make the appearance” of worshiping, as all the other people did. He flat out ask them who this god was that they worshiped, and how he could deliver them out of his hands.

Here is the answer they gave:

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
“But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

Are we that brave? Are we that knowledgeable to trust God that much? Do our young people today know that God is real because we have read the Holy Scriptures to them, so they can learn how others lived and suffered and were saved by being obedient? Have we seen for ourselves that He is not only able, but that He desires to bless us and help us during our struggles of living in the world? Are we able to live ‘in’ the world, while not being a part of the world?

I invite you to read to children, no matter how old they are. As I said, I was not even 5 years old, yet these words and feelings have blessed me all my life. I ask you, how can the Holy Spirit bring to our minds that which we do not know nor have ever heard before? Once the words of truth are in our minds, they can be that second witness to what the Holy Spirit is sharing is truth. When He speaks to us in that quiet whisper, if we have no other witness of the truth He shares, others in the world might be able to convince us otherwise. I never wanted my children to suffer as I did, yet, I was only able to read to them when they were babies. I do pray over the years you have not only read privately, but also read to others, no matter their ages.

Please, brothers and sisters, read to your children. Read words of truth so they can withstand the temptations of this day just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did.

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Be Righteous in the Dark

Brigham Young once said, “We need to learn to be righteous in the dark.”

There are a couple of ways I look at this. One, is with to be without sight. It is difficult to be blind. I know this first hand. Yet, I don’t believe that is the type of “dark” he was referring to.

Sin is a form of darkness. I know that when I was living in sin, I hated it. I did not like myself, and had no great love for those whom I was with; those who seemed to enjoy what was being done. I cared about them, but when I would say things like, “I don’t think we should be doing this.” I was laughed at and made to believe that I was wrong. I was not good enough to be “good” yet not bad enough to be “bad”. It was very frustrating.

We are surrounded by the dark. Not just what happens after the sun goes down, but even while the sun is up in the sky. It was then and is now- very dark and growing ever darker.

One day, I was in the bathroom and thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” There came a thought into my mind, “You don’t have to.” I decided right then, I was not going to do those things any more. I felt, even if they kill me, I will not do those things anymore and I didn’t.

There have been times since then I wished my life had been different, but through it all, I can say, “I never did those things again and I like myself. It matters not rather others like me or not. I can live with myself, which was hard for me to do growing up. Do you like yourself?

Yesterday, I watched a movie from the early 1960’s. It was a classic with Henry Fonda. I could not finish watching it. You might ask why? It was not even p.g. rated (No sex, violence, curse words, etc). What I saw and felt as I watched it surprised even me. I learned that “I” had learned how to be righteous in the dark.

In that movie, there was a young woman working at a store selling clothing and two people came in and sort of “took her under their wings” to “help” her. They appeared to be very rich people and bought her nice clothes and took her to a fancy party. They encouraged her and gave her money, which she and her roommate had very little of.

I know that is how Satan and those who follow him work. They give the appearance of doing something good for someone, yet it is all for show. They really care less about the other person, but rather they use that person to get what they want.

In the movie, they convinced the girl that she could help them get rich, have luxury, and be happier than she ever dreamed possible. At first, she refused and tried to leave, but they managed to convince her it was no crime. All she had to do what just be a “pretty” girl and then get “rich” men to give her “gifts”, or keep them distracted while they did what they knew how to do.

Let me share with you that this is a “combination” that has been used since time began. There are three ways that Satan works. I have seen them all, up close and personal. One: Pleasure and pain. Two: Enticement and lies. Three: Wealth and murder. (This is not just murder of the body but rather murder of virtue, spirit, and truth) They teach that good is evil and evil is better than good.

That is a knockout punch, wouldn’t you agree?

It has been well over 60 years since I was introduced to these “combinations” and they are still in force today. But now it is so ingrained in society that most people cannot see it for what it really is.

About 20 some years ago a woman shared a story about chocolate chip cookies. She described this combination in words that were simple for people to understand, yet I’m sorry to say most people just thought it was cute “fairy tale”. They did not see the danger in a “little” chocolate.

Brothers and sisters: That story was not about a fairy tale, nor are the combinations that Lucifer would have you adult’s ingest a joke. Most of you were brought up watching Television. Slowly, over time evil was introduced in such a way, that you never knew you were being polluted. You still find those things fun and funny, after all, there is no sex, violence or whatever. But let me warn you, Satan knew exactly what he was doing. He would never give you what it really is up front.

God and those who follow Him give you truth up front. God’s truth is plain, clear, and up front. He has given us greater truth than He gave your ancestors. Prophets = Living prophets have tried to share God’s truth for thousands of years. Today, we have living prophets among us again. Yet, they are speaking, and many ignore what they are saying. How sad is that?

God’s truths were polluted over time until people stopped listening to the real prophets that Father keeps sending to warn us and teach us how to be careful. People tend to pick and choose which things they want to do and not do. Please, think about what you decided you did not want to hear or live.

The moment you stopped doing what the prophets counseled, was when you drew closer to the dividing line. When we don’t follow the counsel of the prophets we stop being safe. Don’t think for a second that you will wait until the last minute and then your friends can save you. That is one of Satan’s lies.

A storm is coming, brothers and sisters. A storm like no other you have seen. I do pray you are standing on Hallowed Ground. Until we meet again, may God be with you.

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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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My Respects to Boyd K Packer

One of the first things I learned from this great man was that in spite of having a disability, it does not mean we are handicapped. We can always do good, even when our bodies are not strong.

Second only to Spencer W. Kimball, Boyd K. Packer showed me that forgiveness is a powerful spiritual medicine. It is the “Balm of Gilead”. Better than any medicine in the world. Some of His exact words were:

“Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself!”

“I speak today to those who may be lost and are searching for that lower light to help guide them back.

“It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect. It was not expected that we would live without transgressing one law or another. . .

“If you have made no mistakes, then you do not need the Atonement. If you have made mistakes, and all of us have, whether minor or serious, then you have an enormous need to find out how they can be erased so that you are no longer in darkness.

“Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world.” As we fix our gaze on His teachings, we will be guided to the harbor of spiritual safety.

“Throughout your life there may be times when you have gone places you never should have gone and done things you never should have done. If you will turn away from sin, you will be able one day to know the peace that comes from following the pathway of complete repentance.

“No matter what our transgressions have been, no matter how much our actions may have hurt others – that guilt can all be wiped out. To me, perhaps the most beautiful phrase in all scripture is when the Lord said, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42)

“That is the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement: to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life, they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ. (Revelation 1:5.)

“Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith.”

“We must choose whom to follow. Our protection is as simple as deciding individually to follow the Savior, making certain that we faithfully will remain on his side.”

“There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.”

“Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right—getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

“If you will follow these principles, you will be watched over and protected and you yourself will know by the promptings of the Holy Ghost which way to go, for “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”(Moroni 10:5.)

“In Paul’s revelation, in addition to the list of challenges and problems, he also tells us what we can do to protect ourselves:

“Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14–15)

“The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection. They contain the doctrine and laws and ordinances that will bring each child of God to a testimony of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer.

“Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”(2 Timothy 3:16) You can test this promise for yourself.

“Make scripture reading a part of your regular routine, and the blessings will follow. There is in the scriptures a voice of warning, but there is also great nourishment.”

“Obedient to revelation, we call ourselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than the Mormon Church. It is one thing for others to refer to the Church as the Mormon Church or to us as Mormons; it is quite another for us to do so.

The First Presidency stated:

“The use of the revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, we ask that when we refer to the Church we use its full name wherever possible. …

“When referring to Church members, we suggest ‘members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ As a shortened reference, ‘Latter-day Saints’ is preferred.” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 23, 2001.)

I loved this great man, and shall miss his courage and forthrightness. Until we meet again, I pray his sweet wife will keep the faith by knowing she is sealed to this great man for all eternity. Oh, if all we women could be sealed to a man such as this, there would be rejoicing on earth as there is in heaven.

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