A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Free to Act . . . Obtaining Peace

Sometimes when I view our stupidity, inefficiency, wastefulness, cruelty, complacency, ignorance, rebellion, and stubbornness, I get a crazy feeling inside. It doesn't have to be so difficult. There really is a better way.

I asked God, “How can you patiently watch our foolishness?”

I heard him say, “What's the alternative?”


It wouldn't help in creating strong, independent, loving, capable, gentle, creative, and godlike children were God to force a better way upon us. People need space and time to get things figured out for themselves. It's one of the purposes of this telestial world. Making or forcing us to do some good thing would only build resistance and resentment in us. This scripture came to mind:

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. D&C 93:30-31

So there you have it, “Here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man.”

I've heard people give credit to God for all sorts of atrocities. Why would God allow this? Why is this happening? If there really is a God, why is there so much suffering, evil, and heartache?

Well, God is love. We are allowed to make choices, and so we create problems and get to experience the consequences of our decisions. How are we to learn if not allowed to experience the results of our creations?

Lehi in teaching his family said this, “And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.” 2 Nephi 2:14

God created all things to act or to be acted upon. What does it mean to act? What does it mean to be acted upon? Who is free to act? Who is acted upon? We are creatures of habit, societal norms, addictions, traditions, and customs. Very few are free to act. Most of us are not much better off than Pavlov's dogs

We respond the way we've been trained to respond. Why do we do things the way we do? Well, its tradition.

The media, churches, schools, and our families train us. We go along without much thought or question. We are slaves to habit and social conditioning. Look how easy it is to get someone to conform and go along with the group even when it makes no sense.

How are we set free? How does Christ help us step off the rat-wheel and start acting for ourselves?

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. 2 Nephi 2:26-27

Is it possible to be free without being redeemed? What is sin? What does it mean to be redeemed? When captive, what are our choices? What is the relationship between redemption, eternal life, and freedom? What is the relationship between sin, captivity,and death? What brings misery? What brings peace and happiness?

O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.

And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls. Helaman 5:9-11

What is God's purpose in sending angels? What is the difference between being redeemed in your sins and being redeemed from your sins? How are we redeemed from our sins? How does knowledge and intelligence save us?

For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God,changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Mosiah 27:24-26

What happens when we are redeemed from the fall? What does it mean to be born of God? When do we become sons and daughters of God? How do we inherit the kingdom of God?

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-21

Where is the kingdom of God? What does that mean?

Where is the peace of God felt? What is the relationship between peace and redemption? What is the relationship between peace and the kingdom of God?

If we're looking for the peace the world promotes, we won't find it. The story of Abinadi and the priests of Noah shows the contrast between two very different understandings of peace.

Noah and his priests saw Abinadi as a troublemaker. In their view, he was stirring up contentions among the people.

I command you to bring Abinadi hither, that I may slay him, for he has said these things that he might stir up my people to anger one with another, and to raise contentions among my people; therefore I will slay him. Mosiah 11:28

This was Abinadi's message.

Yea, wo be unto this generation! And the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thy hand and prophesy, saying: Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh.

And it shall come to pass that the life of king Noah shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord.

And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence; and I will cause that they shall howl all the day long. Yea, and I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs; and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass.

And it shall come to pass that I will send forth hail among them, and it shall smite them; and they shall also be smitten with the east wind; and insects shall pester their land also, and devour their grain. And they shall be smitten with a great pestilence—and all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.

And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations. And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people. Mosiah 12:2-8

Keep in mind the priest's question was designed to find an accusation against Abinadi.

And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words. Mosiah 12:19

This is the priest's question.

And it came to pass that one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth; Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion; Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem; The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God? Mosiah 12:20-24

Here's Abinadi's response.

And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean? Mosiah 12:25

After reading Abinadi's message of warning, can you see why the priests of Noah would use this question about peace in their attempt to confound Abinadi in his words? What was the priest's understanding of publishing peace and bringing good tidings? Here's Abinadi's explanation of the verses.

And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men— Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed? Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.

And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever! And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished. Mosiah 15:6-19

Who are the Lord's seed? Peace comes to His seed through the redemption. Those who have been redeemed are heirs of the kingdom of God. Prophets have come into the Lord's presence and been redeemed from the fall. They know the truth and the truth has set them free. They invite others to come unto Christ and be redeemed. Peace is established as each soul comes unto Christ.

We live in troubled times. Two paths are before us. A scourge is going forth until those who have inherited peace are the only ones left standing.

For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness. And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:

The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one.
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength;
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people.
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
Forever and ever, Amen. D&C 84:96-102

We can be like Noah and his priests and reject the warning of coming danger, reject the invitation to receive peace, and perish; Or we can be like Alma and take the message to heart, repent, and receive the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:10-12

May our hearts accept the laws of God. May our minds learn his ways. May we receive the light. May we see things the way God sees them and accept the peace he offers. In spite of all the stupidity, inefficiency, wastefulness, cruelty, complacency, ignorance, rebellion, and stubbornness around us, we obtain peace and our souls are at rest in the kingdom of God when we are redeemed from our sins. Christ frees us from our traditions, customs, social norms, addictions, and habits.  With the knowledge Christ gives, we are free to act and no longer be acted upon.

This is an earthly endeavor.    

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Law of the Boomerang

Life is set up to teach us. Understanding the laws of creation, helps us make choices leading to greater happiness and joy. If the law of the boomerang were understood, even the self-interested would make better choices.

Here's a simple video showing a boomerang in motion:

What does a boomerang have to do with life? Watching a boomerang in motion, helps us understand what becomes of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

A wise father taught his wayward son this truth. “That which ye do send out shall return unto you again.”

Let's look at how Alma taught the law of the boomerang to Corianton.

Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?

O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.

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; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.” Alma 41:10-15

The record shows Corianton turning from his sin after being taught truth by his father (Alma 39:1-3, Alma 49:30).

Why don't we make a connection between our thoughts, words, deeds, and the things we experience in life? Notice when the boomerang is thrown, it doesn't immediately come back. It circles around and returns to the thrower.

Most of the time, there are many things occurring between when we throw something out and when it returns. We throw out many thoughts, words, and deeds within a single interaction, and have multiple interactions each day. We throw out both good and evil. When the boomerangs start returning, we don't always understand why they are coming back. Often we don't even remember throwing them.

Another reason the relationship between sending and receiving might not be recognized is the mode of delivery. When we send something out, we have a different viewpoint than when we are on the receiving end. Blaming, making excuses, and justifying our thoughts, words, and deeds are also a hindrance to seeing a clear connection. We learn by continually experiencing both ends of the stick.

Jesus taught, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” Matthew 7:12. For what you do to others, will be done unto you. So if you think about the boomerangs you send out, imagine them coming back to you. Do you want to experience the other end of the stick? If so, send it out. If not, make another choice. This law is designed to teach.

Here is another example, “And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it” 1 Nephi 22:14

Not only do our words and deeds return to us, but our thoughts also return. Even our fears return to teach us. Job gives us incite into his experience, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Job 3:25

This is what Jesus teaches, “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” D&C 6:34-36

These are the results of those who choose faith in God over fear:

Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. Alma 56:47 . . .

And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain. But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war. Alma 56:55-56

We learn through suffering. We learn when the boomerang returns to us. It is the path Jesus walked, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; ” Hebrews 5:8 And it is the path we walk, “And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.” Doctrine and Covenants 105:6

The natural man will immediately start judging others after learning about the law of the boomerang, but Paul taught our judgments of others are really only a judgment of ourselves, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Romans 2:1 And so, this law can only be used internally.

The law of the boomerang is taught throughout the scriptures.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6: 37-38

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

Understanding the law of the boomerang gives new meaning to King Benjamin's words, “And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” Mosiah 4:29-30

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ye Will Not Suffer Your Children To Fight and Quarrel One With Another

This morning we were talking about which truths we've been taught yet still don't live. The first thing that came to mind is, “There is still contention in our home.”

King Benjamin taught, “And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” Mosiah 4:14-15

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;” Doctrine and Covenants 121:41 We are to be long-suffering yet not suffer our children to fight and quarrel one with another. In other words, we are not to allow our children to fight and quarrel.

To solve the contention dilemma in our home, we needed the help of our family. We gathered the children to talk about solutions. Everyone had an opportunity to share their ideas while Dad took notes. We discovered three levels of commitment in our home.

At the lowest level, children often find themselves in the middle of a fight.

At the next level, children don't like contention and walk away from arguments and disputations.

At the highest level, children look to serve each other and improve each situation.

If everyone was at level two or three, contention would be eliminated; but we still have some in our family who choose to remain at level one.

In Mosiah 4:14-15, King Benjamin made the connection between walking in the ways of truth and soberness and eliminating contention. We have noticed much contention comes as a result of lazy and idle time. These are times when children look for ways to pick and tease. When children have a sober mind and a good focus, the home environment improves. Those with a sober mind reflect and ponder upon the consequences of their actions. As light and intelligence are gained, the desire to align life with truth increases.

We talked about what to do when a fight erupts. Most of us felt that running would be a healthy solution. Running laps would remove the child from the situation and give them an opportunity to get some fresh air, cool off, burn off some steam and energy, and have time to think about a better solution to their problems. All of us feel better when we exercise. We have a lot of runners in our family who run just because it makes them feel good.

One of our sons came up with the mantra, “Until you strengthen your mind, we will strengthen your body.” lol :-)

Family life is a work in progress.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Tribute to Jesus

As I listen to Karen Carpenter's "Top of the World", 
I think of the joy Jesus is in my life.  
This is a tribute to Him.