Tag: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Helping a good seed to grow…

Helping a good seed to grow…

20160613_205539I grow a lot of plants for my garden each year. I have a short growing season, and if I want tomatoes or green peppers, I need to start the seeds in January in my house, nurture the little seedlings and help them to grow as fast as possible. The young plants are transferred to a heated greenhouse in April, where they are planted in bigger and bigger pots until they are finally prepared to live outside in June. Throughout each stage, the seeds and plants must be carefully protected from the cold, and nourished constantly, or else they die and I have to start over. If I have to start over, I lose most of the potential of the plants, because the temperatures will drop to freezing again in the fall, just when the fruit begins to ripen.

Nourishing a seed of faith requires the same diligence as raising a tomato plant in the winter. When I learn a truth that just yells to me “Heed me, I will make your life better!”, I feel excited and eager to make it part of my life. Now comes the hard work, though. If all I do is notice that little seed of faith, and let it wash over me without heeding it, it soon disappears in the daily distractions of life. If, however I begin to nourish it, it is like putting a heating pad under newly planted seeds- the warmth of the Lords guidance makes that seed sprout and bear fruit.

To nourish a new idea, a good seed, I have found that I need to do the following: 1. Write it down, including my impressions and feelings 2. Talk to Heavenly Father about it immediately and ask for help understanding how it should impact my life and 3. Continue to focus on it in the days to come.

Writing down what I have learned is the first thing I do once I hear something important. Taking notes during conference is a good example of heeding good seeds that I want to grow. Then, to have that good seed grow requires help from Heavenly Father. That requires communication with God on a regular basis. Talking to Him about what I have just learned, and asking His help to understand it is like putting a grow light over my baby seedlings- the Holy Ghost can pour light on even the most difficult concepts. Heeding the guidance that we receive about the seed will assure that the seed will continue to grow. Once it becomes a habit to pay attention to the seed that has now become a seedling, I am on my way to assuring that the good seed will become part of my life.

When I grow seeds for my garden, there has to be constant, daily focus on the process. If I forget to water them one day, the next day they are weakened. If they are not watered two days in a row, they dry up and die. The seed of faith has to be treated just as consistently. I cannot hear a truth, write it down, and then ignore it while expecting it to continue to grow. If it is something that requires action, I can’t wait until Sunday to do something- by then I will have lost the momentum and the seed will have withered and died. I will have lost the feeling and excitement and it becomes just part of the background noise- if I remember it at all.

Sometimes we find a good seed, and then it is killed off by inattention. Inattention is the frost of faith. What we want to grow, we have to focus on. As that seed becomes stronger, we understand it more, we have made it part of our lives, and it becomes a plant that bears fruit in our life and in the lives of others.

Those good seeds are worth the time and cost.


Who is Jesus Christ?

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ, by Greg Olson

On the title page of the Book of Mormon, Moroni says that the purpose of the book is to convince the Jews and the Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ. So just who IS Jesus Christ?

A clarification

Christ is not Jesus’s last name; it is a title. The word Christ means *messiah, or, anointed. Calling Jesus the Christ means that We acknowledge that He is the savior that was prepared from the foundations of the world to provide the atonement.

Mormons have a very clear belief in Jesus as the messiah, the literal Son of God, the Holy one of Israel, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the one and only path back to where we came from- His father, and our Father, in Heaven. We believe in no uncertain way that Jesus, through the atonement, made it possible for us to be forgiven of all the sins we have made and become clean as little children.christ-and-the-children

A little back-history…waaaaaaay back.

Jesus was prepared to be the Savior long before He came to earth. Let’s go back before the earth came to be. First, there was Heavenly Father (and Heavenly Mother). Then came their children. Jesus was the eldest, second born was Satan. Then came the rest of us. You, me, everyone around you, are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. That makes Jesus our eldest brother, and every person on earth a relative. It is why we refer to each other as Brother so-and-so, and Sister so-and so. Of course, Satan is in that mix as well, but that is a subject for another day, another post.

jesus-and-the-black-sheepSo, there we were, one big family in Heaven. The problem was that in order to keep progressing, we needed to get a body. Our spirits are wonderful things, but there are things that we cannot do without a physical body. To get that body, God prepared a way that we could take a journey to earth and be born in the mortal world. Just getting a body isn’t the whole story- there are things we have to learn while we are here, and if we want to continue to progress In the next life and be all that we can be, we have to prove ourselves by the choices we make here.

O Jerusalem, by Greg Olsen

Now here was the problem.  Once we came to earth, we would  choose to make some serious mistakes (sins), which meant we would not be able to live with God again because only perfectly clean beings can live there. So, as part of the plan, Heavenly Father prepared a mediator to atone for all of our sins and make it possible for us to go back to our home in Heaven clean. Jesus, the eldest son, volunteered for that role. Satan also volunteered, but while Jesus was backing Heavenly Father’s plan (called the Plan of Happiness), Satan wanted all the power and glory for himself (the original power monger), he wanted us to worship him, and Satan wanted to control our every move so we would not be able to choose good or bad- we would be his puppets doing what he wanted at all times. Suffice to say at this point, Jesus got the job because His desire was to do God’s will, as well as secure our salvation and happiness.

Jesus’s mission was to create the world under the direction of Heavenly Father, and then to provide the atonement to save his brothers and sisters from the spiritual and physical death brought about by Adam and Eve’s Fall.

adam-and-eveA few relevant words about Adam and Eve and their choicejay-bryant-ward-studios

There is a lot of misconceptions among Christian denominations about Adam and Eve. When the two of them lived in the Garden of Eden, they were in a state of innocence, not knowing or needing to know good from evil. They also would not be having children there. They had to leave the garden in order that ‘man might be’. God knew perfectly well what would happen- He knew about the serpent, He knew what Eve would choose, He knew that Adam would choose to stay with her and cause ‘the fall’. Everything that happened was accounted for in the plan of Happiness, right from the beginning.  Adam and Eve made choices, and they were beguiled by the devil, but the devil cannot frustrate God’s plan- God is a step ahead of the devil, every foot of the way. Adam and Eve sacrificed their own happiness and security in the Garden of Eden so that we could get our turn on earth. Jesus was prepared to give the atonement after the fall so that we can go back to heaven.

President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ…no one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon” (2).

So, Who is Jesus the Christ?

Jesus is our elder brother. He created this earth for us. He chose to follow God’s will and knows what we need to do to have happiness now and in the eternities. greg-olson-lost-no-more-600Jesus is part of the Godhead which includes Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost- three distinct personages. Heavenly Father and Jesus have bodies, the holy ghost remains a spirit so he can help us. Jesus was the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and Messiah of the New Testament. He loves us enough to have paid a terribly high price for us- and all He asks in return is that we follow Him so we can have the happiness we so desired before we came to earth. He asks us to repent of our sins, be baptized for the remission of our sins (so we can take advantage of the atonement), and do our best to follow His example of love, compassion, and service. He Lives! He is aware of each one of us, loves us and more than anything, wants us to return to him.

I testify to you that I know that He lives. I know that He is the Christ, our Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God and He is our elder brother who loves us.


 Is there one question about what I have written that you would like to ask me? Leave me a comment and I WILL respond!


Note: Most of the pictures featured here are the work of Greg Olsen .  https://www.gregolsen.com/

(1). *Messiah is a Greek word translated from the Hebrew word messiah, meaning anointed.

(2). The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, Ensign, May 1987, 85).

( 3). The Plan of Happiness < https://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/11/the-great-plan-of-happiness.p1?lang=eng  >

I am a ‘Mormon’

I am a ‘Mormon’

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I grew up in a family that occasionally went to the Presbyterian and Congregational church. I enjoyed it as a youth- most of my friends went to the same church, and we had fun activities. I had believed in God, but never really understood or even questioned who He was or what role He should play in my life. Religion was a Sunday activity which a person forgot until the next Sunday, Christmas, or Easter came along.

 That changed rather dramatically when I was 24 years old.

A year or so  earlier I had been on a month-long cross-country road trip with a friend, and we stopped in Salt Lake City to see the sights. Of course, we ended up in Temple Square– the biggest attraction there, quite outstanding and interesting.  temple-square-mormon

Temple Square pictures of Christ

We spent several hours in the visitors center, and walking around the grounds.

I felt something there that I had never felt before- peace, understanding, and a knowledge that I had a place in this world and that there was a purpose to my life.

Temple Square visitors center

I had lived a pretty aimless life up to that time. I had few goals; I didn’t have any guidelines to my life other than to be a good person as best I knew how. I was not happy with my life- I knew there must be something more.

It would be nice to say that my life changed that day at Temple Square, but it didn’t. 

At least not THAT day. It was more like a seed planted within me.  Some missionaries knocked on my door months later, and I listened to a couple of their messages before I moved on. Those missionaries planted a few more seeds that were not ready to grow yet.

Fast forward a year or so… I found myself in difficult circumstances and on my own. I had a pet cockatoo, a car, and few belongings. I was drifting from place to place with no goals but to survive.  One day I was flipping through the phone book and came across the number for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints– the Mormons whose Temple Square I had visited. Without thinking, I dialed the number.  After a brief conversation, I hung up feeling strangely and inexplicably excited, and with an appointment to visit with the mMargo and Scriptures (4)issionaries a few days later.

 A few weeks later my questions had been answered.

I had learned to pray, had carefully considered all that I had been taught, and I made the decision to join the Church. It is a decision I have never regretted in the 33 years that I have been a member of ‘LDS’ church. Each year  of my life continues to be better than the one before. I am not ‘lucky’, I am blessed.

One thing you may be curious about: why ‘Mormon‘?

The correct name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is often shortened to LDS, or, Latter Day Saints. The Church received the nickname ‘Mormon’  from the book of scripture called The Book of Mormon- Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is the religious history of the Americas, and goes hand-in-hand with the Bible as a witness of Jesus Christ.


Would you like to hear what it is like being a ‘Mormon’?

Here is a link to a page with the stories of hundreds of Mormons across the world: I’m a Mormon   This comment, from “Jarom” sums up how I feel about the Church:

“… I love this gospel! It fills my life with joy, gives me strength, and picks me up when I fall down. I AM living the way that makes me happy. God knows our nature and He knows what will bring us the greatest joy. We can spend all our lives looking for happiness our own way, or we can take a short cut right to true happiness, by following God’s teachings and His laws. I haven’t met anyone who is happier because they live contrary to the gospel! God’s laws only restrict us from harming ourselves and others, becoming slaves to addiction, and being distracted from true happiness by looking for it in places that can never offer real and lasting joy. The question is not ‘should we do what makes us happy?’ but rather, ‘what is true happiness and what truly makes us most happy?’ I feel like I have the answers to both those questions and that is both comforting and exciting all at once! ”  

What do you know about ‘Mormons’? Have you ever seen missionaries in your town? If you have seen them, were you curious about what they were doing or what they believed?