Wednesday, October 1, 2014

David Archuleta: GLORIOUS from Meet the Mormons





If you haven't listened to this yet you are missing out!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Good Are Prophets, Seers and Revelators Who Don't Prophesy, See or Reveal? Part 4

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

#6 Patriarchal Blessings - Scriptural Examples - D&C 124:91-96 "[T]hat my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right; That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people, That whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph; That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery; That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever." Genesis 49:28 "All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them."

Modern Examples - Seek Ye the Kingdom of God GORDON B. HINCKLEY April 2006 General Conference "When I was a young man, a mere boy of 11, I received a patriarchal blessing from a man I had never seen before and never saw thereafter. It is a remarkable document, a prophetic document. It is personal, and I will not read extensively from it. However, it contains this statement: 'The nations of the earth shall hear thy voice and be brought to a knowledge of the truth by the wonderful testimony which thou shalt bear.' When I was released from my mission in England, I took a short trip on the continent. I had borne my testimony in London; I did so in Berlin and again in Paris and later in Washington, D.C. I said to myself that I had borne my testimony in these great capitals of the world and had fulfilled that part of my blessing. That proved to be a mere scratching of the surface. Since then I have lifted my voice on every continent, in cities large and small, all up and down from north to south and east to west across this broad world—from Cape Town to Stockholm, from Moscow to Tokyo to Montreal, in every great capital of the world. It is all a miracle." - Gordon B. Hinckley

The number of patriarchal blessing that have been given over the years must be well over a million. I am grateful for my patriarchal blessing. It is a blessing to my life and I know it is a product of revelation in our day.

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

What Good Are Prophets, Seers and Revelators Who Don't Prophesy, See or Reveal? Part 3

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

#5 Special Witnesses - Scriptural Examples - 2 Nephi 25:26 "[W]e talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." Matthew 16:16-17 "Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Revelation 19:10 "I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." D&C 110:1-4 Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery testify of Christ. "The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father." D&C 46:13-14 "To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful."

Modern Examples - A Sure Witness of Jesus Christ: Elder Richard G. Scott “That word know is a very important word for those 15 men who are Apostles. [It expresses] the sacred experiences and the confirmation that there is a certainty that our Father in Heaven lives and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior—not a hope, not a belief, not a wish, but an absolute, confirmed certainty. . . . Our Father in Heaven is real. His Son, Jesus Christ, is real. I know that personally and bear certain witness because I know the Savior.” -Richard G. Scott The Purifying Power of Gethsemane BRUCE R. MCCONKIE April 1985 General Conference "I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way. God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin." -Bruce R. McConkie

Elder Scott visited my mission and taught us in a special mission conference. It was one of the most amazing experience of my life. I can testify to you that I know the he knows, in a very real and powerful way, that Christ lives.

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

Friday, April 25, 2014

What Good Are Prophets, Seers and Revelators Who Don't Prophesy, See or Reveal? Part 2

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

#2 Temple Dedicatory Prayers - Scriptural Examples -1 Kings 8 Dedication of Solomon’s Temple (Prayer begins in verse 22), D&C 109 Kirtland Ohio Temple Dedication, Current Examples - Modern Temples. We have temples being dedicated all the time now. There over 140 temples currently operating, so this type of revelation has happened more than 140 times, and much of that in recent years. Considering that some of those have been re-dedicated after remodeling, the count is even higher. There are another 30 or so under construction or announced, so more revelation is on it’s way. As a child I went to the Bountiful Temple Dedication (Dedicatory Prayer) and since then I have even had the chance to see and listen to a handful of temple dedications near and far by satellite broadcast. My experiences at temple dedications have been uplifting, edifying and I fully consider the prayers to be a product of revelation. I would have loved to attend the Campinas Temple Dedication (Dedicatory Prayer). While we don’t publish these in the Ensign, they are available and could be added to future canon if needed. Perhaps the reason we don’t focus too much on the past dedicatory prayers is because the most important one may be the next one you have the opportunity to attend. We have the chance to go and listen and hear current revelation and be affected and blessed by it.

#3 Temple Locations - Scriptural Example - D&C 115:7-9 (Far West), D&C 94:1 (Kirtland), Modern Examples - Salt Lake Temple and Provo City Center. I’m sure there are many stories and experiences that could be shared by those who got to be involved with selecting sites for temples over the years. Maybe those accounts are harder to find and haven’t been shared very publicly, but I’m sure they are recorded in journals and elsewhere.

President Young received revelation on the location and design of the Salt Lake Temple. “I scarcely ever say much about revelations, or visions, but suffice it to say, five years ago last July [1847] I was here, and saw in the Spirit the Temple not ten feet from where we have laid the Chief Corner Stone. I have not inquired what kind of a Temple we should build. Why? Because it was represented before me. I have never looked upon that ground, but the vision of it was there. I see it as plainly as if it was in reality before me.”- Brigham Young

The Provo City Center temple is being built out of the ruins of the Provo Tabernacle and has a great story to go along with it. Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants BY LINDA S. REEVES October 2013 General Conference "Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, 'Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.' Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn't cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants. My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally." -Linda S. Reeves. The blog post by Stephanie Nielson on the topic is very good as well. Sometimes Trials Can Be Blessings

#4 Temple Design - Scriptural Examples -2 Nephi 5:16 (Nephi’s Temple), D&C 115:14 (Far West), D&C 94:2 (Kirtland), Modern Example - Small Temples New Temples to Provide “Crowning Blessings” of the Gospel GORDON B. HINCKLEY April 1998 General Conference “As we were riding to El Paso, I reflected on what we could do to help these people in the Church colonies in Mexico. They've been so very faithful over the years. They've kept the faith. They've gone on missions in large numbers. These stakes have produced very many mission presidents who served faithfully and well. They've been the very epitome of faithfulness. And yet they've had to travel all the way to Mesa, Arizona, to go to a temple. . . . I thought of these things and what could be done. The concept of . . . smaller temples came into my mind. I concluded we didn't need the laundry. We didn't need to rent temple clothing. We didn't need eating facilities. These have been added for the convenience of the people but are not necessary [for the temple ordinances].” President Hinckley noted that a smaller temple could be built more quickly and yet include all the essential facilities needed for temple ordinances. After boarding the airplane, he recalled, “I took a piece of paper” and “sketched out the [floor] plan, and turned it over to the architects to refine it.” He concluded, “The concept is beautiful. It’s a very workable concept.” The Colonia Ju├írez Temple: A Prophet’s Inspiration

I am grateful that the Lord revealed his desire that a temple be built in Bountiful. It was a memorable part of my youth seeing it announced, helping prepare the grounds and helping at the open house. The Brazil Campinas Temple was under construction while I served there as a missionary. I got the chance to visit the site and I saw what the temple being built meant to the members in that area. We are blessed to have so many temples. I was very touched by revelation that came to President Hinckley to bring the temples to the saints and I know that direction came from the Lord just as it did to Joseph Smith and the early saints. D&C 95:8 “Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high.”

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

What Good Are Prophets, Seers and Revelators Who Don't Prophesy, See or Reveal? Part 1

Part 1 Mission Calls  Part 2 Temples  Part 3 Special Witnesses of Christ  Part 4 Patriarchal Blessings

Someone I know recently posed this question, What Good Are Prophets, Seers and Revelators Who Don't Prophesy, See or Reveal?  Stated in another way, Why don't we have new scriptures and new instances of pronouncements proceeded by "Thus saith the Lord" if we have living prophets?

My first response was that revelation is certainly happening from the prophet and president of the church down to the individual and when additional revelations need to be added to the canon they will be. I've thought a lot about it and I think I can expand on that and hopefully give more than a dozen good examples of how revelation is continuing today as it did in the early days of the restoration and in all dispensations.

We are living the restoration, it’s not something that happened before now and is over. President Uchtdorf gave a talk in April 2014 Conference titled Are You Sleeping through the Restoration? The Nephites didn’t have the Book of Mormon in its compiled and abridged form, they lived it. Maybe Laman and Lemuel murmured, why don’t we have a book to tell us these things? All we have is an overbearing father and annoying brother leading us through the wilderness. My point is that we have much happening today that could be compiled and added to official scripture if the need arose and if a modern Mormon were assigned the task to abridge our records by inspiration and revelation. We are told often that Conference talks and other similar things are modern scripture, but we are also warned that they are not official doctrine and not part of the canon. I don’t think that means that they couldn't become official canon at some point, but for now we can use them and our own access to the spirit and revelation to learn and understand. And it’s interesting to note that even after all the work Mormon did to compile the best and most vital revelations and pronouncements, he still made sure to warn us about potential errors in his record. “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.” (BofM Title Page)

So let me get to the dozen or more examples that I mentioned earlier. I will do my best to show that an example of that type of revelation exists in the official canon and detail the current revelation that could become canon later and bear the declaration, Thus saith the Lord.

#1 Missionaries Called by Revelation – Scriptural Example D&C 31 – Thomas B. Marsh Mission Call, Current Example The Divine Call of a Missionary RONALD A. RASBAND April 2010 General Conference “Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go. At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants.”

We currently have over 83,000 missionaries serving meaning this type of revelation has happened 83,000 times in just the last few years! A modern Mormon would have his hands full abridging those down to something for inclusion in the scriptures, perhaps the testimonies of Elder Rasband and Elder Eyring from general conference would suffice. I know that where I was called on my mission was revelation. It was important and special to me and it has affected my life in many ways.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

LDS Women and the Priesthood

I can't say it any better than this

Link

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Scientific Method and Faith

I recently watched a conversation between Jon Stewart and Richard Dawkins. It's worth a look and I think Stewart makes some great points. Dawkins seems to argue that all religious faith is what I would call "blind faith." While I agree that there are problems with people who follow religious tenants based on "blind faith," I would argue that most of us that are religious are using the scientific method. We do not believe just to believe, but we experiment, we receive results and evidence as we live our faith. We gain knowledge and move forward. It was interesting to see the comparison with scientific discovery that came out in the discussion. Sadly, I don't think Dawkins' paradigm allowed him to see any of the correlation. 

Here is a great discourse by Alma on the experiment of faith. It is repeatable, there is evidence and we arrive at knowledge. Take a look. Alma 32:17-43
17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?
20 Now of this thing ye must judge. Behold, I say unto you, that it is on the one hand even as it is on the other; and it shall be unto every man according to his work.
21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.
23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.
24 And now, my beloved brethren, as ye have desired to know of me what ye shall do because ye are afflicted and cast out—now I do not desire that ye should suppose that I mean to judge you only according to that which is true—
25 For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might.
26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saved by Grace

This may be the best talk I've heard on the LDS position on Salvation by Grace. It is a must see!
It's the perfect talk for the active member, those who have fallen away and those of other faiths who question our position on Salvation by Grace. Do we believe in being saved by grace? Yes we do!
Brad Wilcox BYU Devotional

Monday, January 12, 2009

Change/ Finding Joy in the Journey

There is no thing as constant as change.

I read this talk this morning and really wanted to share it.

Watch it at the following links.
Part 1
Part 2


Finding Joy in the Journey
President Thomas S. Monson

My dear brothers and sisters, I am humbled as I stand before you this morning. I ask for your faith and prayers in my behalf as I speak about those things which have been on my mind and which I have felt impressed to share with you.

I begin by mentioning one of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the earth, and that is change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.”

Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.

This conference marks 45 years since I was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As the junior member of the Twelve then, I looked up to 14 exceptional men, who were senior to me in the Twelve and the First Presidency. One by one, each of these men has returned home. When President Hinckley passed away eight months ago, I realized that I had become the senior Apostle. The changes over a period of 45 years that were incremental now seem monumental.

This coming week Sister Monson and I will celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary. As I look back to our beginnings, I realize just how much our lives have changed since then. Our beloved parents, who stood beside us as we commenced our journey together, have passed on. Our three children, who filled our lives so completely for many years, are grown and have families of their own. Most of our grandchildren are grown, and we now have four great-grandchildren.

Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.

This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.

I am what my wife, Frances, calls a “show-a-holic.” I thoroughly enjoy many musicals, and one of my favorites was written by the American composer Meredith Willson and is entitled The Music Man. Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”1

My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.

I’ve shared with you previously an example of this philosophy. I believe it bears repeating. Many years ago, Arthur Gordon wrote in a national magazine, and I quote:

“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’

“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]

“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’”2

If you have children who are grown and gone, in all likelihood you have occasionally felt pangs of loss and the recognition that you didn’t appreciate that time of life as much as you should have. Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.

Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”3 We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”4

In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, Church member Jay Hess, an airman, was shot down over North Vietnam. For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote—and I quote: “These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.”5

Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows.

In the book of John in the New Testament, chapter 13, verse 34, the Savior admonishes us, “As I have loved you, . . . love one another.”

Some of you may be familiar with Thornton Wilder’s classic drama Our Town. If you are, you will remember the town of Grover’s Corners, where the story takes place. In the play Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and we read of the lonely grief of her young husband, George, left with their four-year-old son. Emily does not wish to rest in peace; she wants to experience again the joys of her life. She is granted the privilege of returning to earth and reliving her 12th birthday. At first it is exciting to be young again, but the excitement wears off quickly. The day holds no joy now that Emily knows what is in store for the future. It is unbearably painful to realize how unaware she had been of the meaning and wonder of life while she was alive. Before returning to her resting place, Emily laments, “Do . . . human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”

Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.

Said one well-known author: “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”6

In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 88, verse 33, we are told: “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”

The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”

Many years ago I was touched by the story of Borghild Dahl. She was born in Minnesota in 1890 of Norwegian parents and from her early years suffered severely impaired vision. She had a tremendous desire to participate in everyday life despite her handicap and, through sheer determination, succeeded in nearly everything she undertook. Against the advice of educators, who felt her handicap was too great, she attended college, receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota. She later studied at Columbia University and the University of Oslo. She eventually became the principal of eight schools in western Minnesota and North Dakota.

She wrote the following in one of the 17 books she authored: “I had only one eye, and it was so covered with dense scars that I had to do all my seeing through one small opening in the left of the eye. I could see a book only by holding it up close to my face and by straining my one eye as hard as I could to the left.”7

Miraculously, in 1943—when she was over 50 years old—a revolutionary procedure was developed which finally restored to her much of the sight she had been without for so long. A new and exciting world opened up before her. She took great pleasure in the small things most of us take for granted, such as watching a bird in flight, noticing the light reflected in the bubbles of her dishwater, or observing the phases of the moon each night. She closed one of her books with these words: “Dear . . . Father in heaven, I thank Thee. I thank Thee.”8

Borghild Dahl, both before and after her sight was restored, was filled with gratitude for her blessings.

In 1982, two years before she died, at the age of 92 her last book was published. Its title: Happy All My Life. Her attitude of thankfulness enabled her to appreciate her blessings and to live a full and rich life despite her challenges.

In First Thessalonians in the New Testament, chapter 5, verse 18, we are told by the Apostle Paul, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God.”

Recall with me the account of the 10 lepers:

“And as [Jesus] entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.”9

Said the Lord in a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, “In nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.”10 May we be found among those who give our thanks to our Heavenly Father. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.

Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.

In closing, I pray that all of us will reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die?

He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”11

Earlier, perhaps perceiving the culmination of His earthly mission, He spoke the lament, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”12 “No room in the inn”13 was not a singular expression of rejection—just the first. Yet He invites you and me to receive Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”14

Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.”15 He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.”16 He pleads, “Keep my commandments.”17

Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.

Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


NOTES
1. Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, The Music Man (1957).
2. Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder (1974), 77–78.
3. William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 1, scene 2, line 31.
4. Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Gorton Carruth and Eugene Erlich, comp., The Harper Book of American Quotations (1988), 173.
5. Personal correspondence.
6. Sarah Ban Breathnach, in John Cook, comp., The Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd ed. (2007), 342.
7. Borghild Dahl, I Wanted to See (1944), 1.
8. I Wanted to See, 210.
9. Luke 17:12–18.
10. D&C 59:21.
11. Luke 23:34.
12. Matthew 8:20.
13. See Luke 2:7.
14. Revelation 3:20.
15. Mark 2:14.
16. Luke 10:37.
17. D&C 11:6.