I love to go to the temple. I have recently moved and now I live very close to one of the beautiful Mormon temples. Everything that there is or that we do in the temple is a symbol of Jesus Christ and his life and atonement.
Recently I was reading from the scriptures while in there and I was struck by this scripture in the New Testament, John 12:27:
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
When troubles come and problems seem to overcome our confidence in the Lord and in what we are trying to do, this is a good verse to remember. The Lord Jesus was troubled. So, it is acceptable to be troubled, it is normal to have really bad moments in our lives, but “what shall we say? Father save us from this hour?”
Troubles and problems are part of lives and are important for our progression, therefore we should better ask for strength to endure and overcome them, instead of praying to avoid them.
In the previous verses (24 and 25) we are taught that
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
It is easy to forget these principles, especially when everything seems to go well in our lives and over time we start thinking that someway we are almost entitled to those blessings because we are keeping the commandments.
In part this may be true, we receive many blessings because we keep the commandments. However, we are never so obedient that we do not need correction once in a while to help us move to a higher level, and even more important, there are things we can only learn through adversity. Moreover,
(our) adversity and (our) afflictions shall be but a small moment (D&C 121:7)
and as the Lord told Joseph Smith in a very difficult moment of his life,
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122:8).
Properly Elder Holland responded to this question in his talk Lessons from Liberty Jail
No, Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. And when we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps, and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us. And the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane. So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers.
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Mormon Church, Mormon Videos, Videos
I was reading a book written by Andrew C. Skinner, Golgota, and in the book I found a story-parable quoted by President Faust, but that was initially narrated by President Hinckley several years ago. This story illustrated very well the sacrifice that the Savior did for us. I am grateful for the knowledge regarding the Atonement of Jesus Christ, knowledge that mostly came to me through the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story follows the video below.
Some years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley told “something of a parable” about “a one room school house in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough no teacher had been able to handle them.
“Then one day an inexperienced young teacher applied. He was told that every teacher had received an awful beating, but the teacher accepted the risk. The first day of school the teacher asked the boys to establish their own rules and the penalty for breaking the rules. The class came up with 10 rules, which were written on the blackboard. Then the teacher asked, ‘What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’
“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response.
“A day or so later, . . . the lunch of a big student, named Tom, was stolen. ‘The thief was located--a little hungry fellow, about ten years old.’
“As Little Jim came up to take his licking, he pleaded to keep his coat on. ‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’
“The boy took off the coat. He had no shirt and revealed a bony little crippled body. As the teacher hesitated with the rod, Big Tom jumped to his feet and volunteered to take the boy’s licking.
“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’ the teacher asked.
“After five strokes across Tom’s back, the rod broke. The class was sobbing. ‘Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. “Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’”
President Hinckley then quoted Isaiah:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . .
“. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
No man knows the full weight of what our Savior bore, but by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know something of the supernal gift He gave us
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Doctrine
I traveled to Italy in December, to visit family and friends with my son Luca, who had just come home from his mission in Boston. We visited Rome, among other places, and obviously the Vatican. While in Rome and in Italy in general, my eyes met several times the symbol of the catholic religion, and of other Christian churches, the Crucifix.
I then remembered the feeling I had the first time I was in an apartment of the Mormon missionaries. That day (sometimes in December of 1984) I had accepted their challenge to be baptized in the Mormon church, and my mom was absolutely contrary to that.
In fact, she had challenged me to leave her home or give up the idea of becoming a member of the Mormon church. I had then decided to leave my home but without really knowing where to go. Having in my hands a pamphlet with the address of the missionaries, I had decided to go talk with them. I arrived there around 10 pm and they offered me to stay with them for the night. The first thing I noticed in their apartment was that on the top of their bed there wasn’t a crucifix, but a picture of Jesus resurrected.
That had a profound impact on me. What a different feeling brings to you to see a picture of Jesus resurrected – in this case a representation of his Second Coming, than a crucifix. Not that in the Church we do not believe or we do not give importance to the fact that Jesus suffered for us, on the contrary, but it is important to realize that is His victory over death and sin that should be the symbol of our religion, and not his death and suffering.
I understand that many can have different taking on this matter, but for me that was another step toward understanding and accepting the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In harmony with this experience I like the focus given in the church about not only working for our happiness in the future life, but about how keeping the commandments in this life will allow us to experience true happiness right now, and not only in the future worlds. Suffering is a “necessary evil” not the purpose of our lives here on earth.
This quote from Joseph Smith well explain this doctrine:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.
Stop being defensive about your religion. That’s the message Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered to 2,422 BYU graduates at the Marriott Center Thursday during commencement exercises for the Class of June 2009 and August 2009.
Ballard recounted the early struggles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, and a resulting sense that church members need to adopt a defensive posture. Things have changed, he said.
“This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore,” Elder Ballard said. “Constantly anticipating criticisms or objections can lead to an unhealthy self-consciousness and a defensive posture that doesn’t resonate well with others. It is inconsistent with where we are today as a church and as a great body of followers of Jesus Christ.”
“Emphasize that Latter-day Saints follow Jesus Christ and what Jesus Christ teaches.”
More at Deseret News
At times we need to face certain choices that may involve some kinds of risk or even danger. In my life I decided to do certain things that really seemed risky and uncertain, such as moving from Italy to go to Brazil, or even before, becoming a member of the Mormon Church in a mainly catholic country, and so on.
I remember someone telling me that certain choices would imply some degree of suffering. The person was implying that I should avoid anything that may include suffering. I am not talking about clearly wrong choices that lead to inevitable and almost useless suffering, I am talking about choices that make you grow, but that include leaving a confortable situation to face possible hardship. My reply to this kind of objection was that if the goal I was pursuing was worthy, I should move forward even if there was risk involved.
Yesterday I was reading the book In the Eye of the Storm, by Elder Groberg, where he tells the story of his mission, and I found a part that perfectly align with my thinking. Having moved from Brazil to the US, I can perfectly understand what Elder Groberg means, since this society is terribly concerned with considering all the negative implication of almost every action. At times there seems to be a complete paralysis of activity because of the fear that something will go wrong, that someone will sue us, and so on.
But this is what Elder Groberg says
One of the problems with all of the safety consciousness we have today is that it tends to cause us to hesitate to do things that we might otherwise do. I’m sure it’s good to have better information, such as weather reports, forecasting, safety inspections, and audits, but I sometimes wonder if we don’t get so filled with facts and figures and possible dangers that we do less than we should. I suppose we could all find legitimate reasons to hardly do anything because of the potential dangers involved, all the way from not going someplace because of a possible storm to not making a business decision because of a possible loss or lawsuit, to not getting married or not having children because of the possible physical, mental, social, or financial problems (p. 169-170)
I cannot agree more. Only in the US I have seen so many people worried of doing things because of possible lawsuits, or an exagerated trust in “certifications”. There are all kind of certifications that supposedly should protect us from harm. This is the only country that I know where in most activities in school they want parents to bring food bought in the store because food prepared at home can be dangerous! So, let us feed our kids with extremely processed junk food that will kill them slowly!
It is the illusion of being able to avoid all kind of dangers that makes our life so limited. I am glad the Mormon pioneers had more faith than this!
Elder Groberg explains this idea very well
As I see it, all of life is a risk, which is where faith comes in. We do what is right, and let the chips fall where they may. God will help us-I know that for sure! We will have problems with health or accidents, finances or family-at least we will have the ones God knows we need for the growth He wants us to have. If we protect ourselves from too many things, I have a feeling we may protect ourselves right out of the celestial kingdom!
By the way, it was really the plan of the adversary to avoid all kind of risk,
I remembered something about a plan and then a counterplan that supposedly removed the risk, but at the terrible price of no progress. I knew which one God chose. Even in troubled waters we make more progress if we are trying than if we wait until the dangers and discomforts are removed.
I suppose the Savior was aware of the danger that awaited Him as He entered Jerusalem that last time, but He went anyway. He may not have known the full extent of what lay ahead or exactly how He would handle it (witness His prayer in Matthew 26:39 that “if it be possible, let this cup pass” [italics added]), but His faith in His Father and His love for all mankind propelled Him forward as He willingly “finished [His] preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19:19).
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
Prophets of God have many gifts and skills. One of these is to be able to explain or reveal simple truths that when understood can make a great difference in our personal lives and in the lives of our families and our society.
I have taken several sociology and psychology classes during my life and I have read thousand of pages from different authors. But many more have been written by scholars in those disciplines, who tried to find solutions for the problems affecting humanity, at the individual or societal level. Many experiments have been done following those theories and ideas, and some of them were catastrophes (see for example the application of Marx’s theories to build a better society). Others, at best, are limited, too limited to really make a permanent difference in the life of people (for example, the behaviorist ideas in psychology).
My purpose is not to trash all the efforts that have been done by human beings who tried to figure out how to improve our lives. In some ideas and theories there is a lot of good. However, this is the key point: human beings are not able with their limited knowledge and understanding to solve these existential problems in a satisfactory way. They are at best limited and imperfect solutions, when they are not clearly going in the wrong direction and make things even worse.
On the other hand, listen to what an inspired prophet of God said, with simple and clear words, without doing any statistical analysis …
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature (Ezra Taft Benson, "Born of God," Ensign, Nov 1985, 5).
It is true that by changing the environment we can affect change in individuals, at least to some degree, but the real change, the change that will last and will produce the desired results of happy individuals and healthy societies can only be reached through Christ and His Gospel.
Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world (Ezra Taft Benson, "Born of God," Ensign, Nov 1985, 5).
Filed under: Famous Mormons, Jesus Christ, Mormon Church, Mormon Prophets and Apostles, Mormon Videos, Videos
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has passed away at the age of 91. Elder Wirthlin was the oldest living apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church).
He was born on June 11, 1917, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and as a youth he enjoyed singing and athletics. He was the quarterback of his high school football team and a halfback at the University of Utah. Elder Wirthlin graduated from the University of Utah in business administration. He served a mission to Germany and Switzerland. When he returned in 1939, he took over the family business, because his father had been called to be the Presiding Bishop of the Church. Before his call as a General Authority, Elder Wirthlin was a prominent business leader in Salt Lake City. He was also president of a trade association in Utah. He was married with Elisa Rogers, and they had eight children and forty-six grandchildren.
Elder Wirthlin served as a bishop and a member of a stake high council before being called as the first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency. In 1975 he was called as an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles. From 1975 to 1984 his Church assignments included oversight of the southeast United States, the Caribbean Islands, and Brazil.
On October 9, 1986, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin was ordained an Apostle of the Church.
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Missionaries, Mormon Videos, Portuguese, Videos
This is a great and very creative video about Mormon missionaries.
Since its earliest days, the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has sent out missionaries to all parts of the world. Missionary work is talked about in Mormon congregations and Mormon’s are encouraged to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors. However, when one thinks of Mormon missionaries they usually think of 19-24 year old men and women serving full-time missions.
The Mormon missionary program is perhaps the most active missionary program of any world church. As of December 31, 2004, there were more than 51,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world at any given time. Missionary work is a fundamental principle of the Church, and has become one of the most readily identifiable characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All missionaries have been assigned by Church headquarters to their area of work, which can be in any part of the world where governments allow them to preach. They contribute to their own support for up to two years, frequently learning another language.
The formal missionary program for the Church is responsible for sending out over 56,000 missionaries to approximately 330 organized missions around the world. Missionaries are a common sight in many areas, often seen in white shirts and ties, riding bicycles through neighborhoods or doing service in communities small and large. These young men, typically 19 to 24 years old, are not the only missionaries that are fielded by the Church. There are missionaries who are old, young, male, female, proselyting, and service oriented.
I have found a very good video about Mormons and their beliefs in Jesus Christ. It should be obvious that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ, since His name is part of the name of the Church (while it is not in many other Christian churches). Also, the Book of Mormon‘s subtitle is “Another testament of Jesus Christ”. Even more important, thousand of members of the Church testify of their beliefs in the Savior, but still there are people who feel justified in tell Mormons what they believe.
This video may help clarify that Christ is the real center of our religion.