Thursday, May 03, 2007
Praise for the PBS Special
Friday, February 23, 2007
Blogger Bites Again
I am keeping up with my reading and yesterday I wrote a nice post, you just have to take my word on it.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Down the Slippery Slope: 3 Nephi 5-6 pgs 416-20
And of course, after just 6 short years they start to spiral down into wickedness again. And what was their first step on the slippery slope?
 And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning, yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
 And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few...
Let's break down this process: 1.Pride and boasting. 2. Ranks according to wealth and learning.
When I lived in Pakistan I saw church member in the depths of third world poverty. This is poverty unimaginable for those in the US where there are welfare systems in place. Third world poverty is helplessness and hopelessness. It is poverty maintained by discrimination and despare. Surely if you compare these people with other church members in the States you see people ignorant because of their poverty and great learning because of their riches. I often wondered how the church could help our members out of these dire circumstances. I felt we must do something to reach out or be condemned for not trying. Just as pride and class distinctions broke apart the ancient congregations in America, it could do the same in these latter days.
I was so very excited to see a few years ago that the church is reaching out to poor members around the world by a program called the Perpetual Education Fund. This fund is a simple honor system where members from all over the world can borrow money for college or technical training and then repay it later when they are employed. This is an old concept for Americans but believe me, this is a radically new program in many parts of the third world.
I love this system. I'm proud of this system and I'm proud of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for trying to uplift the poorest of the poor around the world through the dignity of education and employment.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Day 2- Open Invitation
Today's quote is really from yesterday's reading, but I couldn't pass it up. The setting is about 3 years since the time the signs of Christ's birth have been given in the American continent. The people are already beginning to doubt the many signs given. It reminded me of the people today. God has given lots of signs that Christ's second coming is eminent. Many signs are listed in the Bible. When disasters occur people shake their heads and say, "It's a sign from God." but do they do anything differently in their lives? Do they repent? Do they return to faith or church? NO, most of them don't do anything until they begin to doubt the events are signs.
3 Nephi 2
 And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen --
 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.
My God is a god of signs. He gives us personal signs, public signs, local signs and world-wide signs. Why are we so hard in their hearts and blind in our minds?
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Book of Mormon Blog II - Here We Go Again!!!
"Two weeks ago during the passing of the sacrament at church I was feeling spiritually weak, stressed out and alone. I sent out a silent plea to the Lord, 'Help me, please. I'm struggling.'
As soon as I had thought those words, I knew what his answer would be. 'I have already given you the greatest possible help, The Gift of the Holy Spirit, but you are not using it.'
I realized that I was not seeking a partnership with Christ through prayer. I was alone because I had stopped reaching out to Christ. I was weak and spiritually starving to death because I wasn’t reading the scriptures. I knew what my problems were and their solutions, but I quickly justified myself that I don't have time. I'm overwhelmed by working, attending college and taking care of my family. I drag myself around tired all day; study my text books in all my spare time and drop into bed at night too exhausted to pray. I even told myself that the Lord would forgive me because I was in such a busy time of my life.
The Lord does forgive many things, but the greater truth was that the Lord heard my cry for help and prepared to help me to help myself. After the meeting the bishop asked me to give a talk. It didn't seem like an answer to a prayer at the time, but it was. Through my preparation for this talk the Lord has answered my prayers and shown me how to strengthen myself spiritually.
The topic assigned to me was "The Book of Mormon and Christ." I immediately thought of my Book of Mormon Challenge blog I started in 2005. When I first heard of the challenge I decided to read the book and blog the experience as a kind of online testimony for my family. A blog is a journal hosted on the Internet.
President Hinckley promised Book of Mormon readers. "…there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God." (Liahona and Ensign, Aug. 2005)
After reading the promised spiritual blessings, I set some goals
1. Read the Book of Mormon
2 Leave a written testimony of Christ for my family and future generations.
3. Regain inner peace
And I accomplished my goals by reading ten pages a day for two and a half months and wrote almost 4 times a week adding my testimony, and documenting how the promised blessings were being manifest in my life...
So, let's go back to the beginning of this talk: Two weeks ago, I was spiritually weak, alone, and discouraged, but thinking I don't have the time to do any thing about it. I was hoping God would send someone to rescue me…
He sent the Bishop with an assignment that has forced me to reread all 49 entries of my blog and see how when I was feeling alone, stressed out, and spiritually weak before, I turned to the Book of Mormon and received strength and encouragement, inspiration and direction. Rereading my blog reminded me of the wonderful spiritual strength I gained by reading and praying daily.
Now I know that no matter how busy I am, I must make time for these important steps. We all live busy lives. We all need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our lives. We all must take the time to pray meaningfully and study the scriptures daily if we are to the strength to live the gospel, follow Christ and bring his Atonement fully into our lives." end of talk
Today, as I began rereading the Book of Mormon again, I thought I would also blog through as I read. My goals are nearly the same as before: A testimony of Christ for my family, Increased spiritual power through daily scripture reading and meaningful personal prayer.
It's weird how my life keeps recycling the same themes. My husband flew in this week to help me manage Large Hulking Son (LHS). He's here in the States with me drug free and in college, but still managing to be rude, uncooperative, disruptive and emotionally abusive.
My reading schedule will be only 5 pages this time around since working full time and attending college keep me pretty busy. I hope to blog about 4 times weekly. I'm actually looking forward to it. Last time with my 10 pages per day of reading, there were lots of great scriptures I wasn't able to comment on. This time I hope to comment on some of those scriptures. So with all that said, and keeping with my personal quirk to start my reading in the middle of the book I started at 3 Nephi, page 406-410.
In this reading the first scripture that touched my heart was the account of Christ personally answering a prayer the night before he was to be born in Bethlehem.
 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son -- of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
Even though his physical body was a fetus in Mary's womb, he was still acting as Jehovah on the eve of his physical birth. Here is further proof that Christ is the Son of God, and had "life unto himself."- he could not be contained by the womb or the tomb.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The Stealth Mormon
I've been in the States since September. I'm now in the Chicago Heights ward. We are a small ward in a big building rolling around like peas in a drum. Apparently we have a lot of in-active members.
Today was fast and testimony Sunday. That means it's "open mike" time for anyone in the congregation to step up to the podium and give a short testimony of how God is working in his life. Mormon cultural etiquette requires new members to use this Sunday to introduce themselves to the ward. I have been here several months and have not done that. That fact has been bothering me lately and yesterday, I decided to pray for the desire to give my testimony. I didn't know why I haven't given my testimony or made any effort to introduce myself to my new ward members.
The councilor who started the testimony session with his testimony talked very sincerely about how this year he hoped to overcome his great fear of public speaking and other trials in his life. He closed his testimony with words to the congregation like this, "Please, come give your testimonies, I need to hear them." Needless to say, his heartfelt remarks spurred many people to come forward and many great testimonies were heard. The podium was always filled, with no time wasted between speakers.
I got to thinking about his courage to admit his fear and yet still give his testimony. Why hadn't I given my testimony? I have no fear of public speaking and I DO have a testimony.
Moving frequently may sound like an exciting life, but it has impared my already limited ability to bond with new people. When you add my embarrassingly bad memory for names AND faces, learning a new ward full of people just seemed like too much work. Even in my younger days I estimate it took me 2 years to learn the names of the regular ward members. I honestly don't think I'll be here two years, so I had hatched an evil plot the first time I attented this ward. I would keep a "small footprint" I told myself. I'd only speak when spoken to, I'd not even try to remember names. I'd come late and leave early. Like all evil plots, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it wasn't and I was suffering from it.
When I was at my mother's house for Christmas, I read a magazine article in the Ensign about how the 15 minutes we spend taking the sacrament is the only time we should think of ourselves. The rest of the time we should be teaching and testifying, edifying, serving, and befriending. I was doing none of that. I was coming and sponging off my new ward and not giving back anything. As I sat in the meeting I remember the stealth bomber airplane. How it is designed to fly undetected by radar. That is was I had been doing, flying under the radar.
The time to close the meeting was nearing. I lingered in my seat wondering what I would say to the congregation. I kept thinking, it's too late now, and one more person would go the podium. Finally I jumped up and rushed to the podium just in time to be the last speaker. I talked about the stealth bomber and introduced myself and the Stealth Mormon.
At the end of the meeting I was greeted with handshakes from the brothers, hugs from the sisters and a calling from the Bishop to serve in the nursery. Unfortunitely, I forgot to give my name, so I may be stuck with the nickname of the Stealth Mormon for as long as I live in this ward, BUT: The Code of Stealth had been broken and I feel great.
Pushing for the Divine
As a rule, I'm not a pushy person, but there is one thing I always push for at church, a prompt setting apart after the sustaining of a calling. For any non-Mormons reading this I'll explain the process and the lingo involved.
When the Bishop has a volunteer position to fill in his congregation, he prays for Divine guidance for the person the Lord wants to put into that position (or the reverse process is often used: the Bishop has a vacant position, he considers who would be the best person for that position and then prays for the Lord's confirmation.) The Bishop then speaks to that person in a private interview and "extends the calling" in Mormon lingo.
The calling is then followed by a show of support by the congregation the next Sunday. By raising our hand, and "sustaining" the person to that calling (position) we, the general membership, are showing that we(collectively and individually)will assist that person to help him succeed in his new position.
After the meeting, the called person then meets with the Bishop and/or his councilors. They lay their hands on the person's head and bless them with Divine assistance to successfully perform in his new calling. This process is called "setting apart".
My "pushiness" is that I refuse to act in a new calling unless I have been set-apart. Sometimes this setting apart step is forgotten in all the many varied small things that have to be done every Sunday by the busy Bishop and councilors, falling through the cracks. I want all the assistance I can get when performing a new church calling so I insist that the setting apart be done the same day as the sustaining.
Today I forgot to remind the Bishop and as often happens that very important step was overlooked. I'll try to remind the Bishop next Sunday. I want that blessing. Lord knows I need it.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The Games People Play
Later that night I was playing computer games. I was listening and singing along to a great CD "Hymns of Faith", but my mind was still full of doubts about my ability to teach this class. What is it about computer solitary games and negative thoughts? I know when I play computer games, part of my mind plays the game and the other part becomes a playground for negative thoughts... Weird, huh. I can set there for hours (sadly) snowballing, mulling over my every flaw, feeling inadequate for everything. I'm not usually a negative person, but somehow, when my mind is blank and unoccupied, the negative thoughts have a field day in all that empty space. Even the great music wasn't enough to stop this damaging mind game I play.
Well, I guess, I know where this blog is going. I've got to be super careful to limit my computer game time. When I feel the blame and shame game starting to kick in, it's time to turn off the computer. I know thoughts of guilt or remorse should lead us to repentance, but that is all they are good for. I've repented for my mistake 30 years ago. (I plead temporary insanity in the court of God and threw myself at the mercy of the Judge.) Now, I need to stop the guilt and insecurity since feelings of despair and inadequacy serve no one but Satan. And that's one master I never want to have.