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.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Franchising Power and Authority of God

What was started in the garden, rekindled with the Jews, advanced by the Catholics, and is claimed by the Mormons? Authority! Authority! Authority! Religious leaders want to own and franchise God's power. A lot of religious folks get all messed up over this one. They don't realize they are the hammer not the carpenter. They don't know who is swinging the hammer.

I hear the priest say, “I am the Lord's. Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for God hath given his power unto us. We own the franchise.”

And the things which shall be written out of the book [Book of Mormon] shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.

For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; 2 Nephi 28:2-5

Who has power and authority to teach?

Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God. Alma17:2-3

How did these Sons of Mosiah obtain the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation? What is the key to teaching with power and authority?

I've pondered this scripture many days. The Lord spoke to my understanding. These sons had a sound understanding of truth because of their diligent search in the scriptures and their much prayer and fasting. The scriptures are there to lead you to the truth. They are the Lord's handbook. You gain understanding as you search, ponder, fast, and pray. The Word of God has power and authority. When you teach the gospel correctly, you teach with power and authority. It is not about the one who is teaching. It has everything to do with what is being taught.

We often use words without understanding what we are saying. To understand the meaning of Alma 17:2-3, we need to know the meanings of these phrases: “knowledge of the truth” and “know the word of God”

Who is the gospel? The Gospel is the Word. The gospel is the life and light of men.

In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made. In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men; JST John 1:1-4

Who is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ? The Son

Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision. Doctrine and Covenants 76:14

Who is the light and the life of the world? Jesus Christ

I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 3 Nephi 9:18

And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. Doctrine and Covenants 10:70

Who is the way, the truth, and the life? Jesus Christ

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

To come a knowledge of the truth is to come to know Jesus Christ. To know the word of God is to know Jesus Christ. When we speak His words, they are spoken with power and authority of God because they are the same as if he spoke them Himself.

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen. D&C1:37-39

Receiving power and authority to teach the word of God is not some abracadabra, a man lays hands upon your head and now you have power and authority! When we know the Word of God, and send it forth, it follows that it is done with power and authority. If we freelance, our words lack power and authority.

God has not given his power unto men to own and franchise. If we are willing to make the sacrifice to learn His doctrine and abide the conditions, we accomplish His will with power and authority; not because we are anything special or have any special power, but because we are obedient to the law upon which the blessing is predicated.

Not many are willing to make this journey and want an easy solution. They would rather claim power and authority by going through the motions of rites and ceremonies without going the distance. They pretend to own it and then proceed to franchise this authority filling their pockets in the process. The facade is maintained until someone looks behind the curtain.

The sons of Mosiah followed the pattern outlined in scriptures. They knew the pattern because they had applied themselves to understanding. They communed with God and made necessary sacrifices. As a result they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.

God has given us a handbook. It's called the Book of Mormon; but men have written their own handbook because they don't understand, comprehend, or follow God's handbook. We can all read God's handbook and come to a knowledge of God.

God is no respecter of persons.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive 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

All are alike unto God

For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. 2 Nephi 26:33

God became an object of faith for rational beings because of the testimony of those who know God face to face. It is the testimony of one who has knowledge of God which excites us to begin to exercise faith so that we too might know God. Those who know the Word of God teach with power and authority. If our hearts are soft, the seed of faith can be planted in our hearts. If we nourish the seed by our own study, fasting, prayer, and obedience, we too will obtain knowledge of the glory of God. When diligently pursued, the seekers of truth obtain the most glorious discoveries and eternal certainty.

We have now clearly set forth how it is, and how it was, that God became an object of faith for rational beings; and also, upon what foundation the testimony was based, which excited the enquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints, to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God: and we have seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this enquiry, in the first instance in their minds—it was the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers—this testimony having aroused their minds to enquire after the knowledge of God, the enquiry frequently terminated, indeed, always terminated, when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries, and eternal certainty. Lectures on Faith 2:56

Friday, January 13, 2017

Offerings For The Poor

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

I believe keeping this commandment will change our hearts more than almost anything we can do. There is much need, much heartache, and so many to help.

We are to use our offerings to the Lord to care for those in need. It is best if we can personally attend to their needs. When you go to God each day, ask what you can do to help another. You will hear God's voice, feel His love, and increase in joy.

Helping the poor pulls at the heart strings of the tenderhearted. You will come across campaigns asking you to donate to help the poor. Be wise. Ask, are the funds used with integrity? Are those requesting money for charitable work, taking any of the money for themselves?

If you feel to contribute to some group who is raising funds, do your homework before donating. Some Christians volunteer their time and all donations go toward feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Other organizations have a paid staff whose salaries are paid before the money is filtered down to the poor.

Charities should have open books where you can see how the funds are being spent. See how your offerings will be used before throwing money to a cause that may or may not help the poor.

For example: One of the charities I've donated to help feed children in third world countries. Those who run the charity at the top level are volunteers. Those who distribute the food at the local level are paid a small wage. These local workers are also poor, this modest income helps them come out of poverty. I know this is happening, and I feel good about my offerings being spent this way.

Excerpts taken from “Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?” By President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, General Conference April 2015.

Here are the scripture references for this video:

Matthew 25:34-40

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Isaiah 58:6-11

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Also See:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

If You're Going to Pray For Me, Please Take the Time to Teach Me

When someone strays from the flock, family and friends who care often pray for the lost soul. Prayer is a powerful means to ask God to intervene in behalf of loved ones. Alma prayed in faith in behalf of his rebellious son Alma the Younger.

And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. Mosiah 27:14

The prophesies of father Alma gave his son Alma hope in his darkest moments. His father had taken the time to teach his son and could pray in faith on his behalf.

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! Alma 36:17-20

Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah learned that the word had a powerful effect upon the minds of men.

And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. Alma 31:5

Alma labored much to declare the word of God unto the people, but his heart was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts. His solution was to come home and teach his family. 

Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record. Alma 35:15-16

Mormon could not write even a hundredth part of the things of his people, yet he chose to use the room on the plates to capture the words of a righteous father teaching his sons. We can read Alma'a words in Alma chapters 36-42. [Helaman (36-37), Shiblon (38), Corianton (39-42)]

Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people. Words of Mormon 1:5

On May 6, 1833, section 93 of the Doctrine and Covenants was given. In this revelation, the First Presidency and Bishop were rebuked for failure in bringing up their children in light and truth.

But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

But verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, you have continued under this condemnation; You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction. And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house.

Verily, I say unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, that in some things he hath not kept the commandments concerning his children; therefore, first set in order thy house.

Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me— I called you servants for the world’s sake, and ye are their servants for my sake— And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.—You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord; Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place.

What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.

My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place. D&C 93:40-50

The sons of Helaman attributed their success to the teachings of their mothers.

And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted. Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them. Alma 57:20-21

Enos sought for a remission of his sins because of the teachings of his father Jacob.

Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins. Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. Enos1:1-3

While Nephi was pondering the words of his father Lehi, he was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord.

For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot. 1 Nephi 11:1

Prayer without faith is vain. Faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

From this we learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings. Lectures on Faith 1:9

How can we exercise faith in the redemption of our families if we fail to teach them and bring them up in light and truth. To have power and influence with others, we need pure knowledge which shall greatly enlarge our souls without hypocrisy, and without guile.

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; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. D&C 121:41-46

If you're going to pray for me, then exercise faith and take the time to teach me. Do not pity, punish, ostracize, shame, guilt, avoid, banish, or shun me. If you love me, answer my questions, open the scriptures unto me, and teach me to commune with God.

We are under condemnation because we have treated lightly the Book of Mormon.

And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. D&C 84:54-58

We see a great need to be diligent in teaching the Book of Mormon to our children, not only to say, but to do according to that which is written. For this reason, we have created a blog to record of the things we are learning, and perhaps help other families in the process.

Teaching the Book of Mormon to Children

Let us bring up our children in light and truth and bring forth fruit meet for our Father's kingdom.