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. . . whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

“. . . by small and simple things are great things brought to pass . . .” (Alma 37:6)

“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” (Alma 37:35)

“See that ye are not lifted up unto pride . . .” (Alma 38:11)

“. . .see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.” (Alma 38:12)

“Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward . . . .” (Alma 41:14)

One of my goals in life has been to be a good father to my children. I have watched the example of others, read many suggestions in many places, and listened to counsel as to how best to do this. It seems that the learning curve is slow so that by the time one learns how to be a parent, the children are soon gone from the home. It is my belief that fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness. In The Book of Mormon I found some wonderful chapters in Alma 36-42 where Alma gives instructions to his sons that have helped me in doing this. I have tried to pattern some of the things that I teach my children as a father after his words. Those I have quoted above, and many other instructions given by Alma to his sons, have made this book very valuable and special to me. I have received a personal witness that The Book of Mormon is true, that its teachings have helped me as a father and in every aspect of my life, and that it has helped me draw nearer to God.

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

As people learn this principle, many start out doing service they “have” to do. Then they progress to doing things they ”ought” to do. Finally they reach the point where they do things because they “want” to. When people do good things because they “want” to, then they are serving as the Savior would.
For many years I have dealt with a person who is very miserable and unhappy. I encouraged her to go out and be of service to others so that she could be happier. She has refused because she feels that she cannot be of service to others until she has made herself happy.
I remember a father who, when asked to help someone in the neighborhood move in or move out, would complain to his children because he had to go and help. What was he missing out on because of his attitude towards service? What lesson was he teaching his children because of his attitude?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that if I want to have joy in my heart and peace in my mind, I need to be of service to others. I have found that when I am serving others and doing so with the right attitude, I am the happiest and most content with life. I feel that others are blessed, and as I feel that I am becoming more like my Savior, I too feel blessed.

". . . thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Nephi 2:25)

I am comforted to know that I can gain experience and wisdom from afflictions.

“. . .I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things. . . .” (Mosiah 2:41)

I learn that I can have peace and happiness in this life by keeping His commandments.

“. . .ye should impart of your substance to the poor . . . such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief . . . .” (Mosiah 4:26)

I have come to understand how vital it is to give generously to care for the poor.

“. . .whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

While this life contains trials and afflictions, we can be strengthened by trusting God and can eventually return to his presence.

“. . . I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

My career has been in university education (professor, director, dean) and in consulting. I am married, have four daughters, and now enjoy grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My father was a laborer and my mother also worked full-time in a department store. My parents sent me to our nearby church and I always went willingly. My conviction of the truthfulness of the teachings of the Mormon Church grew slowly but steadily through my high school and college years. My certainty increased greatly through my reading of the scriptures, answers to my prayers, seeing the impact of the church on the lives of new members, and hearing testimonies of others.

I believe that The Book of Mormon, like The Holy Bible, contains the fullness of the gospel. The book is replete with scriptures that have influenced my life, like those I have listed above. Through my studying and pondering of The Book of Mormon, and the promised inspiration of the Holy Ghost, I am convinced that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he overcame physical death, and that without his sacrifice I would be hopelessly lost for the eternities.

" . . . the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer. . . ." (Mosiah 18:30)

Because my father was a National Park Ranger, I spent part of my youth hiking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park. While there, I began reading the Bible each morning. I was completely overwhelmed by Christ’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount, and realized that his instructions for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who treat us unkindly, are truly divine. What would the world be like if we all followed such a high path! Later, I found the same teachings in the Book of Mormon.

As I read in Mosiah 18 about the small church that Alma founded in the wilderness, near the waters and forests of a place called Mormon, I realized that those ancient people felt the same way about their spiritual awakening in the wilderness as I did about my spiritual awakening in the Grand Tetons. The mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Tetons are very beautiful. Each year I try to hike to the spot and pray where I first felt the presence of Heavenly Father and learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is true.

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23)

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. As the prophet Nephi explains in this verse, it exists to persuade us to believe in Christ, that through his sacrifice for us, we may be saved by His grace. It is also a powerful reminder that Jesus expects that we follow Him and live what He taught us.
Reading The Book of Mormon changed my life. Because of the teachings it contains about Jesus Christ, I know that He is my Savior. I know that because He died and was resurrected, I can return to live with Him, our Heavenly Father, and my family forever. Even though I am far from perfect, I know that as I work to follow his teachings, He blesses me with joy and peace.

"I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." (Ether 12:41)

Beautiful art hung on the walls of my home when I was growing up. However, it was a small framed print placed on an easel that captured my attention almost daily. Carl Bloch’s ‘Nativity’ sat in a prominent place in our dining room where I chose to do my homework. The dark rich colors surrounding the golden glow highlighting the focus of the painting, baby Jesus in the manger, enhanced its importance. An unmistakable reverence radiated from it, and I felt it in a powerful way. I believed in Jesus Christ. I believed that he was the Son of God. I was taught that he came to atone for the sins of men. I remember thinking as I looked at the painting that I wanted to be a follower of Christ.

When I left home for college, my desire to know Christ became stronger. I wanted to know what he meant to me personally. I read the New Testament. I read the Book of Mormon. Everything I read and studied brought the same warm peaceful feelings I felt as a young teenager.

My desire to know Christ and be his follower is still my greatest desire. I now have hanging in my home my own copy of Carl Bloch’s ‘Nativity’, and it still occupies my thoughts and beckons me to seek him. The scripture I have quoted above from The Book of Mormon about Christ has deep meaning for me. I believe that as we seek to know Jesus Christ we will feel his love for us personally. And when we feel his grace, we will try hard to live a life that is reflective of his teachings.

"And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people; for the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled. For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed. And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life." (Alma 5:57-62)

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I never felt I really needed to be “converted” to the teachings that I had grown up learning. It wasn’t until my Junior and Senior years of high school that I really felt like my belief in the Church was being tested. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of sixteen. Being told that not only did I have a serious pain condition but that it would also stick with me for life, led to my developing a serious case of depression. I allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, and got myself mixed up in a crowd that wasn’t conducive to the standards the Church had in place. However, I began to feel empty inside. I was happy, but I didn’t feel whole. I began to wonder if having the Lord back in my life would help me to feel complete again. While reading the Book of Mormon, I found many verses that talked about abandoning sin, and coming unto Christ, but Alma 5 particularly stood out. Not only did it encourage me to abandon living the life of frivolity that I was currently participating in, but it compared all of us on earth to sheep being watched over by “the good shepherd”. The line, “the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; . . .that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life” was the tipping point in turning from the life I was currently living, and coming unto the Savior That was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt as peaceful, jovial, and simply content with who and where I am in life, as I have since I decided to make the decision to abandon the person that I was and become a member of the fold which is actively watched over and protected by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.