Sunday, July 27, 2014

What Does it Mean to Be Like Moroni?

It has been a long and interesting week.  I was under the weather almost this entire week and so am just now finding the strength and time to write my thoughts down.  This week I read Alma 42 - 51 which is the start of the war chapters and our introduction to Captain Moroni, Lehi and Teancum.  The Three Amigos of the book of Alma if you will.  These three men almost single-handedly save the Nephites from destruction at the hands of Amalickiah and later his brother Ammoron.  They are men who take the defense of their people very, very seriously and are not to be trifled with.  They are men that will do anything to defend their people, including put to death those who would try and destroy them from the inside out.

I often wonder what people mean when they say they want to marry a man like Captain Moroni.  Are they just agreeing with Mormon who said that if all men would be like Captain Moroni that it would cause the powers of darkness to shake?  Or have they really thought it through?  Maybe they mean they want a warrior, or a no nonsense man of action?  Or someone with a testimony.  Maybe I will ask my wife tomorrow what she thinks it means.  To me it means that they want a man who is not afraid to cut anything that is impure out of his life.  If he has friends that are not uplifting, they will not be his friends long.  If he sees a piece of media that is filthy, he walks away and shuts it off.  He teaches his children to abhor sin and to embrace righteousness in all its forms.  He helps those in need and considers it a privilege to serve God.  That is what I think of when I think of Mormon's famous lines that we need to be like Moroni.  That is what I strive for, what I desire to be.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alma Teaches Corianton

Today I read Alma 39 - 41 which is where Alma talks to his son, Corianton.  I know most people tend to focus on Corianton's mistake, his breaking of the Law of Chastity while on his mission, but that is really unfair.  That is judging the poor man by the worst, I hope, mistake of his life.  One that if the scriptures are to be believed, he repented of and never made again!  That's the part we should be focusing on.  Much like his father, Alma the Younger, he repented of his youthful ways and never turned back to them.  He later goes on to serve more missions and faithfully teaches the Gospel to many men and women.  He is a man I can relate with, after all, I'm not perfect.  I'm certainly no Alma.  I am trying to be though.

The other lessons I learn about Corianton is he is a young man anxiously striving to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and getting frustrated because it is not making sense to him.  Alma takes the time to read the scriptures with his son and to help him understand, like a good father should.  I too have wrestled with questions before and spent long hours, days sometimes, pondering a question about the Gospel.  The fact that Corianton feels comfortable speaking with his father about it is a good thing to my mind.  A lot of children, youth are not comfortable speaking to their leaders or parents and so go to other sources for information, which we adults know will not always be reliable.  As far as rebukes go this is a very gentle one too.  I can feel the love Alma has for his son and how he is begging him to repent and to search the scriptures more diligently.  If all men, and women, had fathers like Alma the Younger, this would would be amazing and scriptorians to boot!  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How Do You Make Sure You Are Spending Enough Time With Each of Your Children?

Today I read Alma 34 - 38.  It is interesting to see what things Alma shares with his sons and how he does not share the same things with each one.  For example Shiblon gets the least amount of counsel as any of them.  Is this because he had the strongest testimony?  Or perhaps because he would not have as much responsibility as Helaman would have in the future.  I can tell you that in life if you are doing ok you might get overlooked by those in authority as they strive to help those that need more assistance.  I have experienced this at home, school, church and even work.  I have even been guilty of this myself at work in the past.  It is easy to forget about those employees that just quietly do what they are supposed to do because they are already doing what is needed.  But it is important to make sure that they get the needed face to face time that each of us crave. 

One of the things my Dad did to try and make sure he spent time with each of us is he would hold personal interviews with us as well as take us out on Daddy dates once a month.  Each of us would have some alone time with our Dad and in general we could do what we wanted to do.  Of course we could not spend a lot of money but if it was inexpensive we could choose the activity.  I remember those times very fondly even though I can only remember a few of them since they kind of tapered off as we got older.  It is something I want to continue doing with my children to ensure I spend at least some alone time with each of them from time to time.  It is easy right now since I only have one daughter but as we have more children I know I will need to make a more concentrated effort to make them each feel special.  But it is very worth it for sure.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

You Can Pray Anywhere at Anytime

Today I read Alma 32 – 33 and I have always liked Alma and Amulek’s sermon on prayer to the Zoramites.  Prayer is our way of communicating to our Heavenly Father.  The way I look at it is if we have a way to speak to a being who is all powerful and can help us no matter what our situation is, why wouldn’t we?  The great news is we do in fact have that ability and our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to hear from us.  The Zoramites who were poor did not understand that they could pray anywhere they were and it would be heard by our Heavenly Father.  To me, because I grew up knowing this, it seems so obvious, but I look around me and see evidence of this same way of thinking today in our world.  It is sad really.  I feel so blessed that I have a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I know I can reach Him no matter where I am or what I am doing.  It is an important lesson to know.  One I hope I am teaching my daughter through my actions as well as my words.  That is my greatest responsibility, to teach my daughter and make sure she knows the truth and who she can rely on for her salvation.  Until tomorrow.

I am Left to Mourn Because of Their Ignorance

I have not been feeling well this week and have missed a few days.  However I have kept up with my reading and have read Alma 25 - 31 in the past few days.  It's hard to pick out what is most enjoyable about so many good chapters, but I suppose if I am being honest with myself the thing that has been weighing most heavily on my mind lately has to be Korihor and those like him.

It just blows my mind when people will reject hundreds, thousands of eye witnesses.  And yet will find the one exception to the rule and cling mercilessly to it as the reason why those thousands of people are in fact wrong.  Part of me is so impressed by their stalwart, foolish defense of their position.  It's almost like a person a sinking boat arguing that they are not sinking as the water covers up their mouth and stops them from talking.  Of course they are welcome to their own thoughts and opinions, but myself I try and keep an open mind.  If you can argue your cause well enough and have the facts to back it up, I can be persuaded that I am wrong.  The problem I find with most people is they do not have the facts to back it up and are just arguing a certain way because that is how they feel.  And they have every right to feel that way, but don't expect me to jump on board because you feel a certain way and have no facts or eternal truth to back it up.  That is why I cannot be turned from the Gospel.  I have been presented with mountains of facts and have a personal witness from one of the Members of the Godhead Himself that has testified of its truthfulness to me.  And the really sad thing to me, is everyone has that same opportunity if they will just ask.  But they won't so they remain in ignorance and I am left to mourn as did Nephi of old.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Triggers for Becoming Converted

Today I read Alma 22 - 24 where the king of the entire Lamanites is converted to the Lord.  I love how willing he is to learn about the Gospel.  He was truly touched by the Spirit when he met Ammon.  I wonder if everyone has a trigger like this to where they would hunger and thirst after righteousness?  I suspect that they do.  This is why some people are more prepared than others I think.  They have had their trigger and so they are now ready to hear the Gospel.

I have always wondered why the Lamanites got so mad at the Anti-Nephi-Lehi people.  I mean trying to put it in terms of today's world.  It is kind of like an entire congregation of another church joining the LDS church and then other congregations of the original church then going on a murder spree among the Latter-day Saints.  Just because they chose a different religion they get filled with murderous rage?  There are religions like that in today's world of course.  But why would someone want to be a part of that?  Why would you want to follow a religion which advocates murder?  In most cases for no reason other than the idea that they are not part of your religion.  No thank you.  I would much rather join one that advocates love for everyone, no matter if they agree with you or not.  That is what will make this world a much better place.  Even if I did not know this was the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that would just make sense to me.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

King Lamoni's Preparation

Today I read Alma 17 - 21 which is the first half of the mission of Ammon and his brethren to the Lamanites.  I have often wondered why it was that Ammon administered to his brethren instead of Aaron.  Aaron was the eldest son of King Mosiah, per Mosiah 29, so why didn't he minister to the rest?  I have always thought that it was due to Ammon being the most spiritual of the bunch.  That is what I still believe although I have no evidence to support it really. 

Chapter 18 always makes me wonder what had happened in King Lamoni's life to prepare him for Ammon.  I mean did he often allow Nephites to come into his land and attempt to marry off his daughters to them?  I doubt it.  So what why did he do that to Ammon?  Could he sense the Spirit inside of Ammon and understood that he was special?  It might be that, but I think it also partly has to do with the fact that he was Spiritually prepared to accept Ammon and what he had to teach.  Having served a mission myself I am generally in awe of Ammon and his brethren and what they had to suffer in order to accomplish their mission.  I cannot even imagine going through what they did to serve a mission.  They really were converted to the Lord in order to no longer view their enemies as enemies, but as lost souls who needed help.  I hope I can be converted like that some day.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sacrifice for the the Gospel

Today I read Alma 15 – 16.  I have always liked the conversion story of Zeezrom.  It reminds me a lot of Alma the Younger’s conversion.  Like Alma, Zeezrom led many of the people to do wickedness and he did it for his own gain.  And yet, when confronted with the truth, Zeezrom recognized the truth and allowed the Spirit into his heart and it changed him.  He was converted and became a champion of righteousness.  He even joins the mission later on to the Zoramites to preach the Gospel.  He had a complete change of heart.  I wonder if Alma recognized his own conversion in Zeezrom?  I will wager that he did.

I also really respect  Amulek.  We find out in chapter 15 that the Gospel cost him his family, his friends and his fortune.  I can’t even imagine giving up everything like that for the Gospel.  I remember when I was leaving for my mission it was really hard.  I knew that nothing would ever be the same and I was giving up my friends for the Lord.  I can’t imagine doing that and giving up my family also.  My family kept me going and kept me motivated on my mission.  Poor Amulek was turned out by his father at the very least from what the scriptures say.  We don’t know if his wife and children left him too, we’re not told.  I like to think that they at least supported him, but we don’t know.  The Gospel is indeed worth everything we are required to give, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to do.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Logical Fallicies of the People of Ammonihah

Today I read Alma 13 and 14 and as I was reading, I was wondering what the people were accusing Alma and Amulek of doing exactly.  They said that they had reviled their law and that they had lied, and I was like, so what?  Who cares?  That isn't illegal to my knowledge.  Maybe it was in the Nephite land.  Maybe they did not have freedom of speech like we do.  And yet, almost immediately after that, they commit mass murder!  They kill all of the righteous women and children in the land for committing no crime what so ever.  How messed up is that?  They just decided to kill dozens, perhaps even hundreds of innocent people, for the sole reason that they did not agree with their way of life.  That just makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it.  If there ever were a people who needed wiping off the face of the earth, it was the people of Ammonihah!  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

To Know Someone Else's Thoughts

Today I read Alma 11 and 12.  I have always wondered what it would be like to know someone else's thoughts.  We read about it here in chapter 11 where Amulek knows the Zeezrom is trying to trick him.  Ammon is able to decipher the thoughts of King Lamoni later in the book of Alma also.  It just makes me wonder what the experience is like.  I think the closest I have ever come is when giving a blessing.  Sometimes you get a glimpse into what is going on in their lives and their struggles.  I remember I once gave a blessing where I was able to tell them what had been on their mind, similar to Joseph Smith when he was able to speak for the Lord to Oliver Cowdery about his experiences in the past with the Spirit.  I wonder if it is the same thing?  Maybe one day I will have the awesome experience with knowing what it feels like.  I think that would be really neat to be an instrument in the Lord's hands like that.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Hidden Gems of the Book of Mormon that Taunt Us

Today I read Alma 9 - 10 and I have always been intrigued by the little snippets we learn about the Nephite culture from the Book of Mormon that never get fleshed out.  Chapter 10 has such an episode as told by Amulek.  He mentions that his ancestor interpreted some writing that appeared on the wall of the temple and was found to have been written by the hand of the Lord Himself!  I love reading about things like this in the Book of Mormon.  There is so much we never get to learn about their culture and how they lived.  I wish we could learn more and have all the amazing Spiritual experiences they all got to experience at our disposal to read.  Obviously we have enough, but it would just be so neat to have it all I think.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Some People Seem to Delight in Being Mean to Others

Today I read Alma 4 - 8 where Alma preaches to the church members and has success in Zarahemla, Gideon and Melek.  He does not have success in Amonihah however where they kick him out.  Why do so many people find pleasure in inflicting pain in others?  The people of Ammonihah seem way to happy that Alma has no authority over them and then they proceed to beat him and toss him out of the city.  It is a true testament to Alma's conversion and charity that after being treated like that he sorrows for their sins instead of being angry at being treated like he was.  I know when I was a missionary I would get angry sometimes when people would treat me poorly for no other reason than I was a Latter-day Saint missionary.  They seemed to take great joy in being cruel to me and my companion.  It just doesn't make sense to me at all.  Why be mean?  Satan truly has a great hold on some of the people in this life.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stand Up for What is Right!

Today I read Alma 2 - 3 which gives the account of Amlici and the war he caused.  I hate to say it, but I see this happening in our day.  Amlici and his followers wanted Amlici to be king over the land, so they had a vote.  Amlici and his people lost but instead of accepting the will of the people, they got mad and tried to circumvent the system anyway.  This is exactly what happened with the vote on homosexual marriage.  There were votes, and in almost every case it was voted against allowing it to be done, overwhelmingly so in most cases.  And yet those people who want to allow such things to happen could not accept the will of the people and are raising protests.  I am very much afraid that it will turn to actual fighting here before too long. 

I sometimes wonder about issues like this and I think about how the Lord would want me to handle them.  Fortunately, I have the scriptures to show me exactly how He wants me to handle issues that are against His will.  He wants us to stand up for what is right and not apologize for it.  I remember when the Prohibition was being voted on to be repealed and how President George Albert Smith took a stand and plead with the Saints to not repeal it.  I am very sure that all the same arguments were made then that are being made now about marijuana and abortion and yet the prophet of God still stood firm in what was right.  Can we do any differently today?  I should think not!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Dangers of Priestcraft and Wickedness

Today I read Mosiah 29 and Alma 1.  Mosiah 29 is perhaps the greatest scripture on the dangers of having a king ever.  Mosiah does a great job of reminding his people that a wicked king causes much heartache and cannot be removed except by the shedding of much blood.  This is also the chapter that Mosiah teaches the important principle that the people generally will desire that which is right and if it ever comes a time when the people desire that which is wrong that is when they are ripe for destruction.  I fear greatly for our country for this very reason.  I see the vast majority doing that which is wrong a lot these days.  I take comfort in the fact that it seems to me that the majority of the people are still doing what is right and desiring the things of God, it is just that those that do not desire what is right are getting louder so they seem to be more than they are.

Alma 1 is of course the story of Nehor.  I have often wondered about Nehor, a man who preaches that which is contrary to the will of God and has no hold whatsoever on his temper.  Nehor kills Gideon, not because Gideon attacks him or does anything to him, but rather because Gideon exposes his lies using the scriptures.  Nehor gets upset by this and kills him in front of a crowd.  I can hardly imagine a man who has less control on his emotions.  Now, I have seen a lot of people get upset over religion in my time here on the earth and I have even seen some people come to blows over it, but to outright kill someone in cold blood?  That is almost beyond belief.  And yet, I can picture it happening today.  We hear stories of people killing each other for no other reason than they were rude to one another while driving their car.  Is it really so big a leap to think a person would harm or kill another person over religion?  Alma says in this chapter that priestcraft would prove the entire destruction of the Nephite people, and it did.  I worry about what priestcraft is doing to our society today, because it is certainly alive and well in the world.  Will it prove to be our entire destruction?  Until tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2014

You Should Always Trust in the Lord

Today I read Mosiah 27 - 28 which of course is the conversion story of Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah.  What must it have been like for Mosiah to have his sons tell him they wanted to go on a mission to the Lamanites?  While I was reading I was thinking about if my daughter came to me and told me that she wanted to serve a mission and try and convert the people of Islam, specifically the extremists who enjoy killing Christian Americans.  I would be terrified to allow her to do it.  And yet this is essentially what the sons of Mosiah were asking him to allow them to do.  Fortunately the Lord comforted Mosiah and told him that they would be ok, and Mosiah, being the great prophet that he was, believed in the Lord.  If I were in his position, I hope that I would have the faith needed to trust in the Lord that my daughter would be ok.  I know it would be really hard and take all of my faith.  But you can never go wrong if you trust in the Lord.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We Have to Be Allowed to Fail

I missed a few days it seems.  In the last couple of days I have read Mosiah 21 - 26.  I've always felt a certain kinship with Alma the Elder, I am not sure why though.  I just have always felt close to him, probably more so than any other prophet from the Book of Mormon.  I have always liked the way he faces his trials and how he always relies on the Lord.  I know all the rest of the prophets did too, but Alma just always stands out to me. 

As a parent, I can relate to Heavenly Father giving His people trials.  I have never given my daughter a trial on purpose, but I have certainly noticed when something will be an issue for her, but instead of taking care of it for her, I wait and see what she will do.  A lot of the time she will try to take care of it on her own, which makes me very proud.  If she runs into trouble, she will 100% of the time ask me or her mother for help in overcoming it.  Sometimes she will ask even before attempting the task and sometimes we will help her, but most of the time we encourage her to try it first.  This is very similar to our trials here on earth.  God wants us to try it out ourselves and it is only when we get stuck that He wants us to reach out to Him for help.  Sometimes if we reach out first, He will have compassion on us, but most of the time He wants us to stretch ourselves and do all we can before He helps us.  Just like with my daughter and I.  I love her very much and want to help her, but I also know if I help her with every single thing she comes up against, she will never grow and mature.  She has to be allowed to fall and to fail.  Just like I do.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

So Many Heroes of the Book of Mormon

Today I read Mosiah 18 - 20.  I have always loved Mosiah 18, typically thought of as the baptism chapter because this is the chapter that Alma reviews the oath and covenant made at baptism.  I wonder if Alma was taught by angels?  I know he was converted by Abinadi's words, but is that all he used?  I know in later chapters he converses with the Lord and gains understanding that way, but at the beginning was he just left with the words of Abinadi?  Alma is definitely one of those I am looking forward to meeting one day beyond the veil.

In chapter 20 I was impressed with Gideon and his lack of desire for blood.  He was very good at convincing King Limhi to spare the Lamanite king and to have the daughters of the Nephites plead for their family's lives.  I wonder if Gideon had heard the words of Abinadi or if he was converted later by Alma?  However it happened, he was absolutely converted at some point and became quite a champion for the Lord.  There are so many people I want to meet and spend just an hour with when I cross over to the other side.  I wonder if we will be able to spend time just meeting our heroes?  I wonder, do they watch us?  Or are they too busy preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  I find it strange to even think that the prophets of the Book of Mormon would take time to watch me.  Why would they?  One day I will know the answer to all these questions I have.  One day.  Until tomorrow.