Thursday, April 3, 2014

My favorite thing about Spring

There are many things that I love Spring for.  In preparing for a science lesson on seasons, I read a short book about Spring.  Most of it talked about the new life that comes in spring.  Birds lay eggs and chicks hatch.  Tadpoles, deer, rabbits, and other new animals arrive for their Earth adventure called life.  The sun begins to warm the ground, air and plants.  Vegetation begins new growth.

I love these things about Spring.  I also love the rain showers and splashing in the puddles with my family (if it is not too cold.)  I love graduations.  I love the holidays; Mother's Day, Father's Day, Spring Break, Easter, Passover, Chinese New Year, Palm Sunday, Memorial Day.  I especially love Easter and Passover.

But you know what?  I was just realizing today that my true favorite part of spring is General Conference.  It is so beautiful.  

I would like to invite you to it.  No matter where you are, what you think, how you feel, what you know, or what you do, God loves you and he welcomes you to this beautiful, glorious, peaceful, elevating event. 

I love General Conference.  I love that growing up, my mom would get up early and make cinnamon rolls and orange juice for the Saturday morning session.  Since I was little, I have loved sitting in the family room and kitchen with my family just watching the prophets speak and hearing the choir sing.  I loved playing Conference Bingo, and seeing the posters of the prophet and apostles from the Friend or Ensign magazines.  I loved seeing the pictures of all the latter-day prophets.  I loved the feelings that came.  I loved the stories that were told and what I learned from them.  I loved my brother mowing the lawn with his radio and headphones on, listening to conference. I loved that I could move around and eat whenever I wanted or needed to.  I loved that when my friend came over, she got to play Conference Bingo with us before she left.  I loved that I could move around and eat whenever I wanted or needed to.  I loved being able to go into any room in the house and still be able to hear Conference.  I loved trying to draw a picture of whoever was talking and when I was willing enough, taking notes or writing down inspiration and revelation that came to me.  I LOVED going to Temple Square to listen or just visit between sessions.  I loved going to my grandparents' house and watching Conference downstairs with all my cousins while we played our Conference Bingo games and the adults would watch it upstairs.  Between sessions we would go outside and play.  I loved that when I grew up and got married I knew how to make cinnamon rolls (so that I could keep the tradition going since my little brother doesn't like them and my mom wants to be healthy, so they don't make cinnamon rolls anymore.)  I love going to my grandparents' house after the Priesthood session ("pie night" for us) and hearing the men tell us what they learned.  It is so fun to hear from my dad, grandpa, brothers, cousins and uncles.   

I have loved all these things and I still love them.  I love the testimonies I hear and the prophets and apostles and others who speak of Christ and how we can become better people through giving heed to the messages.  I love how I feel elevated when I listen and act on the things I have learned.  I love that God is always willing to give us another chance if we try to follow him.  I just love conference and there is no way to describe it or how it feels unless you are there and you feel it, too.  I guess that is because it is God speaking to you. 

This is my favorite part of Spring.
And you know what?  You are invited.

General Conference ideas for children:
dot to dots
Apostle Bingo
Preparing Children for General Conference

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Summary Mosiah 2

In Mosiah 2, King Benjamin has all his people come together.
They are having a temple experience.  (They live the Law of Moses.)  Anyway, the people are called to come to the temple.  They perform temple sacrifices.  It is a very sacred time and what a neat experience!  I mean, this is a righteous people who kept the Law of Moses truly, who came together to worship and learn of God. 
Bring your family, bring your tent, come listen to King Benjamin.  He's going to teach you truth.  There are so many people that they don't all fit in the temple, so there is a tower built so that they can all hear his words.  There are scribes so that the people will be able to read the words after the assembly.
To me, this looks like General Conference.  (Only, it is King Benjamin's last farewell speech.)

He reminds them of what blessings they have had during his reign.  He has not gone about imprisoning people, causing taxes, or let his people steal, murder, commit adultery, plunder, etc...  He has worked with his own hands, get this;

 13 "... (I) have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you—
 14 "And even I, myself, have alabored with mine own bhands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be claden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day."

And then he tells us why he says it and the doctrine behind it;
 15 "Yet, my brethren, I have not done these things that I might aboast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear bconscience before God this day.

16 "Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God."

He teaches them to continue to be righteous, to serve God, but that doesn't count for anything unless you are obedient to him first.  We have to be obedient to God.
He declares to the people that his son, Mosiah, will be the next king and he guarantees the people that he will be a righteous leader and that they should follow him and they should follow God and if they do they will be happy.  It is that simple.  He admonishes them to follow God and if they rebel against him, then he teaches, if they rebel against God, they have no right to mercy and no claim to mercy at the last day, the judgement day.

Likewise, we receive the same admonition of the Nephites during King Benjamin's reign. Obey God and prosper.  Teach truth to your families.  Teach righteousness.  Live it.  Come unto Christ and find joy in him.  Lead where you lead in righteousness.  I thought, he is teaching us what the modern prophets have taught us "You Matter to Him."  Then, the part about leading reminded me of this talk.  I don't even remember it, just the title; "Lift where you stand."
I know that not everything makes sense, yet.  But if we are faithful to God, he will keep us.  He will hold on to us.  And if we turn away from Him, he is always there with his arms stretched out, ready to hold our hand as we walk back home.  As rocky, dark, hard, and overwhelming as the journey is, He Never Gives Up On You.  You are his precious child and he will always want you to come back.  Feeling the pain and muck is worth the joy, relief, comfort, purity and peace that come by the end of the journey.

Summary of Mosiah 1

Mosiah chapter 1

King Benjamin leads a peaceful people all his days.  He teaches his sons the language of his fathers;
2."...And he caused that they should be btaught in all the clanguage of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding; and that they might know concerning the prophecies which had been spoken by the mouths of their fathers, which were delivered them by the hand of the Lord.
 3   "And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the aplates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these bplates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in cignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God."

I think that the purpose of this is not just so that they can read and write and reason and understand and be smart, but so that they will not forget their fathers and their history.  So they can teach it to their children and posterity.  So their people can be guided by leaders who understand truth and who understand that truth will make them free. 
7.  "And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to asearch them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should bkeep the commandments of God, that ye may cprosper in the land according to the dpromises which the Lord made unto our fathers."
(you get footnotes in that one!)

King Benjamin has 3 sons, Mosiah, Heloram, and Helaman.  He appoints Mosiah to be the next king.  I just had the thought that Heloram and Helaman are also in positions of leadership.  I don't know if they are or not, but I just thought it could be so. 

I guess that the main lesson we have to learn from this is we need to be literate in studying, knowing, learning, loving and living the word of the Lord, so that we can be a prosperous people.  Our leaders need to make moral choices and lead in righteous ways that promote freedom and a happy people.  Likewise, we need to lead in righteousness in our homes and neighborhoods.  Our work places and volunteer places and churches and in public.  If we know truth, we have a responsibility to not only live it, but to teach it.  Sometimes, this may mean directly bearing witness of the truths that we know and sometimes it may mean indirectly bearing witness.  Either way we do it, as we live according to our knowledge, we find peace, and happiness and we are able to share that with others. 

To read or listen to the whole chapter go here:

Summary of Words of Mormon

I apologize for not doing a very good job of summarizing.  Let's pick up where we left off.  This is not the best summary I have ever done, but it will have to do for now.  If you want to add any details, there is a comments section below and I would be happy to read them. 

Words of Mormon  (Summary)

Remember, Mormon is at the end of the Nephite period.  His country, his nation, his people have been destroyed because of wickedness and rebellion against God.

So, he interrupts us to tell us about where these writings came from.  They were handed down from King Benjamin until they ended up in Mormon's possession. 
These are also plates of/from Nephi.  These contain sacred writings and prophesies from the holy prophets and the Holy Ghost says, "Add these things to your book."  So, he puts the abridgement in and hopes that it will help people be righteous and that the posterity of the remaining fragment(s) of his people will read the book and come to Christ and be happy.  He studied this book from Nephi and realized that all the prophecies that were written about his people have come to be.  He has faith that prophecies for the future will also come to fulfillment.

Mormon lived and did this in about 385 A.D.
King Benjamin lived around 130 B.C.

Now, we go back to King Benjamin's story:  There was war between the Lamanites and the Nephites. 
King Benjamin finishes the war.  Sends the Lamanites away and some Nephites follow them to live with them and become part of them.  "many dissensions away unto the Lamanties"
"And it came to pass that after there had been false Christs, and their mouths had been shut, and they punished according to their crimes;
"And after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among the people, and all these having been punished according to their crimes... contention...and... dissensions... with the assistance of the holy prophets..." King Benjamin eradicates the wickedness among his people and restores peace to the land and people of Nephi. 

We find out that King Benjamin is a righteous man, a holy man and he not only follows God, but he leads his people in righteousness and with the holy prophets works and works and works until his people live in peace.

Now, one day in the future when I come back and read Words of Mormon, I will have some sort of base upon which to build my knowledge and understanding. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Summary of Omni

(There is a video at the end.)

Okay, I was thinking it would be good to write a short summary of each chapter in the Book of Mormon.  I would like to start at the beginning, but I am currently in Omni and I am finding this chapter fascinating.

Why did these 4-5 generations keep so little records?  It just blows my mind that they didn't write anything except "We have been commanded to keep the records, so here they are."  Okay, some of them say something like, "I'm not as righteous as I should be."
or (direct quote from v. 11: )
"I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written.  And I make an end."
And they tell us there has been warring and they have been involved.  
Okay, let's move on from the line who doesn't keep the records (I mean, they wrote their name and a paragraph summary of their life...  Let's move on to some meat.)

Let me interrupt to tell you who is part of the book of Omni.
Jarom gave the plates to his son, Omni.
Omni gave the plates to his son, Amaron. 
Amaron gave the plates to his brother, Chemish.
Chemish gave the plates to his son, Abinadom.
Abinadom gave the plates to his son, Amaleki.
Amaleki records the meat of this chapter. 

Mosiah.  Here is some meat. 

The Lord warns this man, Mosiah, that he and all the people who want to follow Christ and live their religion should flee from their homeland.  So, he takes the righteous people with him into the wildnerness.  They travel with him and are taught the word of God and they find this land called Zarahemla.

Zarahemla is peopled but the people there don't have any records!  They came from Jerusalem when Zedekiah (King of Judah) was taken to Babylon.  So, the people of Zarahemla have been having lots of wars and they didn't bring any records with them and so the Nephites (Mosiah's people) cannot understand them.  They have lost even their language!  And they "denied their Creator," meaning God.

So, Mosiah "caused" that the Zarahemlans should be taught in his language!   I can't really imagine that in our day.  Maybe it is because I live in the U.S....  Anyway, back to the story.  Mosiah teaches the people of Zarahemla his language.  Then Zarahemla (The king/leader of Zarahemla is named Zarahemla) tells Mosiah his geneology from memory.  Um, I know my geneology 5 generations back on my Mom's side.  He obviously knows it is important to know where he hails from and who he is.
The people unite and get this, MOSIAH is "appointed to be their KING!" (emphasis added)
King Mosiah.  He must have been one able leader.

Substory here:
Mosiah interprets a stone that was written upon a long, long time ago.  He interprets it "by the gift and power of God."  The story is about a man named Coriantumr.  He came to this "new world" when the tower of Babel happened.  The people of Zarahemla discovered him.  He stays with them for 9 moons.  His entire people had been wiped out!   "their bones lay scattered in the land northward."  It doesn't say what happened to Coriantumr.  
King Mosiah dies and King Benjamin reigns in his stead.  There is another war between the Lamanites and the Nephites.

Another substory.  This explains who the Nephites and Lamanites are.  Sorry I didn't explain this earlier.  
These 2 people are named after 2 brothers; Nephi and Laman.  They came with their family to the "Promised Land" around 600bc.  Laman was very hard hearted and didn't want to come but did.  Laman and another brother, Lemuel, were always fighting against Nephi.  They didn't like to follow the Lord and they didn't like to get in trouble for not following him.  Nephi wanted to follow God.  He wanted to keep the commandments and he wanted his family to keep the commandments of God because he knew that it is the only way to find true and everlasting, eternal happiness.  Since then, the followers of Laman (Lamanites) have been enemies to the followers of Nephi (Nephites.)  Nephi had to take the Nephites with him away from his family in the dead of night so they could escape the brutality of the Lamanites.  (God warned Nephi that the Lamanites wanted to kill him so he should flee with his people and go live somewhere they could be free.)  

So.  The Lamanites and Nephites fight.  But King Benjamin drives the Lamanites out of Zarahemla.  (It's looking like the Lamanites were looking for the fight, came to Zarahemla and attacked.)

Amaleki is old.  He doesn't have any posterity to pass the plates on to.  He sees that King Benjamin is a man who will keep the commandments of God, so he gives the plates to him.  He ends with 2 things:
His testimony,
"Exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying and in revelations and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord: and that which is evil cometh from the devil.

"And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption.  Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved." 

Then he tells us of his love and concern for his brother:

A large number of men went back to the land of Nephi to live in their land of inheritance.  The leader is "mighty" but "stiffnecked."  He causes a contention and all but 50 die.  The 50 return.  They take more people with them to find and live in that land.  Amaleki's brother went with them.  Amaleki has not seen nor heard from his brother since then and he is so old he probably never will in this life.
That is how the chapter ends.  We don't get the rest of Amaleki's story.  That's it.

In fact, the next book in the Book of Mormon, The Words of Mormon, is a jump to the future.  (Not our future.  This already happened.  It is a jump to the future for the Nephites and Lamanites.)  You see, all these things that have happened in the Book of Mormon up to this point have been Mormon's abridgement of the actual recorded events.  He, Mormon, has been our narrator, our story teller, our teacher.

So, don't let it confuse you.  Just go as slow as you need when you read, or re-read to get more clarification.  Or just get what you can the first time you read the book and then read it again or study from it. 

It is a beautiful book.  And even though there is sorrow, that helps you see and feel the joy.  Because there is destruction, it brings you an appreciation for life.  Because we can read what these people went through, we can choose to make our lives full, beautiful and happier.  Most of all, we can build our testimonies of the Savior, Jesus Christ, through a study of this book.  We will become better people for having read and studied it and we will have a greater portion of the Lord's spirit.  I know this because I have felt it in my own short life.  I remember the difference in my life when reading this book and not reading this book.  I know it is true.  I know that Christ lives.  I know God lives.  He loves his children.  You are his child.  This book is for you so you can know his love for you and the love that Christ has for you.  I hope you will read it.

Enjoy this beautiful presentation of the Restoration of the Book of Mormon.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finding Christ in The Book of Mormon - Title Page

I have determined to re-read the Book of Mormon again, cover to cover.  (Yes, I mean re-read again.)  This is the most beautiful book I have ever read.  So, As I was reading, I thought I would post a little bit about my studies or learning or thoughts from it as I read.  So, here goes.  The first post is about the title page.
What I thought was interesting about this is that every time before, when I have read it, I have noticed that this book is for the remnant of the Lamanites and the Jews and the Gentiles.  Well, I also realized today that in the next paragraph it says,
"Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever - And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations - 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 judgement-seat of Christ." 
When I first read this sentence today, I realized, this book is for ALL of the House of Israel.  It is not only for the Lamanites, Jews and Gentiles - although that seems to cover everybody.  This is all the House of Israel.  If there is any question of which group of people you belong to, and if this book is for you, now you can know - it is for you.  So, this book is for everybody.  I guess I knew that and I had read that, but it hadn't stood out to me before like it did today.  This book is for me.  This book is for you. 

The next part of that sentence talks about covenants.  The Lord is always making covenants with his people.  If you haven't noticed that by now, that is okay.  Just read the scriptures, or listen to them, and you will find out.  The Lord makes covenants with his people, and you know what, those covenants are always, always to benefit His children.  The purpose of every single covenants and every single ordinance is to bring God's children back to Him.  He loves us.  That's why. 

What do we need to know to understand our covenants and why we have them?  Well, we have to understand that the purpose is to bring us back to God's presence and the other thing this says is to know that "JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD."  He is the CHRIST.  He is the Savior of the World!  He has redeemed our souls from Hell and eternal torment!  We sin and we are not perfect, but because we have the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah, we can become perfect.  We can be made perfect.  We can become polished, finished, perfected and live with God again!  Isn't that beautiful?  If you don't know about Christ, you can learn of Him.  If you knew him once, and turned away, you can come back to Him.  If you are curious and just want to know a little bit more about Him, you can.  This link  shares about who Christ is and how we can have faith in Him.  Try it out and see it work in your life. 

Jesus is the Christ.  he will show himself unto all nations.  It may not be the way I expect, it may not be in my lifetime.  But it may.  All I know about it is this, that if I hold on and stay true to the Lord, he will be with me and He will not let me go.  The same goes for you.  Yes, you.  No matter how alone, desperate, betrayed, sinful, wicked, awful, guilty shameful or imperfect we feel, Christ will lift us up if we let him.  He has already atoned for our sins, our sorrows, our imperfections.  He is our great mediator and we can use the great atonement to change our hearts and bring us to God.   That is why we have prophets.  That is why we have this book.  That is why I am writing this blog and that is why I am reading the Book of Mormon.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Consider the Love God Has for You.

Today, our church choir sang a song written from the scripture passage in Matthew 6:28, " And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:"

The piece is stunningly beautiful and beautifully full of truth. The song invites us to consider all the Lord, God, has provided for us and reflect on his love for each of us, His children. He will lead us and guide us if we trust Him. He will make our hearts as gold if we let Him. Some lines that stood out to me talk about Christ bearing our burdens, "Consider the sweet tender children who must suffer on this earth; The pains of all of them He carried from the days of His birth." Christ has carried our pains, our burdens, our sins. We can turn to him and repent; we can turn to him and find joy. "And He will heal those who trust Him, And make their hearts as gold."

At a practice, our choir talked about this part. I read the words and posed a question about the meaning. We really looked at what it meant and when we knew what we were singing about and could feel the Holy Spirit witness in our hearts that it is true, we were able to share that witness with whoever heard us singing. Our spirits touched their spirits. The Holy Ghost touched our hearts.

Link to buy the sheet music if you like it: