Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brother Joseph

     In school once, we had to think about what famous person we would first want to talk to if we died. I can't really remember who I chose at the time, (For some reason I think it was Amelia Earhart...?) But now... I'd choose Joseph Smith. In a heartbeat. I'd love to talk to him and thank him from the bottom of my heart for everything that he did for me and for our church.
     I've always known that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I've never doubted the fact that he had a vision, and that he translated the Book of Mormon with divine help.
     As I've gotten older, I've gained a new love and respect for our prophet Joseph Smith.

     One of my favorite sections in the Docterine and Covenants is section 135. It was written by John Taylor, and it was the first section written after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred.

Here are a few of my favorite verses in this section... (And I know that this looks like a lot of words.... if you want, just read the highlighted parts.)

D&C 135:3-  Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

6- Hyrum Smith was forty-four years old in February, 1844, and Joseph Smith was thirty-eight in December, 1843; and henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption. They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified.

7- They were innocent of any crime, as they had often been proved before, and were only confined in jail by the conspiracy of traitors and wicked men; and their innocent blood on the floor of Carthage jail is a broad seal affixed to “Mormonism” that cannot be rejected by any court on earth, and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the everlasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach; and their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States, is an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations; and their innocent blood, with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the aaltar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen.


     Wow.... Our prophet Joseph Smith died so that I can have the gospel... So that you can have the gospel, too... He was persecuted by people his whole life, but endured it well. He had an amazing eternal perspective and trusted in God. Always.
     When I was at youth conference, we watched the Joseph Smith movie, and then sang Praise To The Man. It was a very spiritual experience for me, and my testimony of Joseph Smith grew a mile that night. 
     One thing that is very evident to me when I watch movies, look at pictures, and read about Joseph Smith, is that he was such a kind and loved man. Everybody loved "Brother Joseph". He was always preaching, doing service, playing with the kids, and smiling. He always put the gospel and its teachings first, even though many people hated him for it. 

     It is a very noble thing to die for your religion. Nowadays, you may be persecuted for being a member of this church, but most likely not as much as the saints in Joseph's day were. 
     Living in the United States in 2011, we have laws that protect people of different religions. Because of this, you will probably never be asked to die for your religion. 

I think that it may be just as noble to live for it.  

     This is the video that we watched while I was at youth conference. It is about an hour long, but SO worth watching. Maybe you could watch it for family home evening. Maybe you could wait till everyone else is in bed, enlarge it on your screen, and pop some popcorn. 

Either way, if you find time, you will not regret watching it. It will definitely bring the spirit to your day and increase your testimony. (Just have tissues handy... I bawled the first time I watched this... and I am not a cryer.)

Video can be found at this site.

Praise to the Man is now my favorite hymn... it has such powerful words...
1. Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.
Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.
2. Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.
3. Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
4. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In The Service of Your God

Okay... I'm ready for a real post. You?
Our church always encourages service. There are so many things that our church does so that we can help those in need.
Our tithing money goes to many good causes, but always, in some way or another, helps others.
We often do ward service projects.
We have humanitarian services, and the Bishop's Storehouse.

We do all these things because when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God.

Matthew 10:39- He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

    When I was at EFY, our session director said something to us that I really liked.
Do the right thing
At the right time
For the right reason
With the right heart.

Maybe you are doing something really nice for someone. It could be at the right time, and you're doing it because it would help that person. Maybe though, you are only doing it because your mom forced you to, or you are doing it for recognition.

God gave us everything, including free agency. He would never make us be obedient. He isn't going to make you do things with the right heart. Having a good heart and choosing to help others, while having a good attitude, is one of the greatest gifts we can give to Him.

Here's a cute video for you... if you follow on facebook, you may have already seen it... (:
Pay attention to the scripture at the end... it's a good one!

... I read a wonderful story of service in a book I have... I looked for the same story online, and I don't have the book with me, so I can't exactly share it, but it's something along the lines of this:

   There was a man who was driving home from work. (Let's call him Paul, because I don't remember his name...) Paul was reflecting on all of his blessings and feeling rather happy about how his life was turning out. He realized that he was almost out of gas, and luckily happened to be right by a gas station, so he pulled in.
 While Paul was waiting for his car to fill up, he saw a very scruffy looking man pull into the gas station. The man was smoking tobacco and had a long beard. He looked pretty dirty. Paul looked down at his nice suit, and wondered how someone could possibly go out in public looking that bad. "He's probably some biker dude, just out of jail." Paul thought. "He doesn't have a chance in life!" His car finished filling up, so he went inside to pay.

   At the register, Paul reached his hand into his pocket to pull out his wallet. He was surprised to find that it wasn't there. He searched all of his pockets only to find that he didn't have his wallet with him. "I need to run out to my car to get some money." He told the cashier, "I'll be right back."
    Paul ran outside and started frantically searching his car. He noticed the scruffy man watching him and was annoyed. "Doesn't he know it's rude to stare?" Paul wondered. Soon after, the scruffy man walked into the building. After several minutes of searching, Paul realized that he had no money.
     On his way back inside, he passed the scruffy man, who was leaving. "Don't worry about it." the man said. Paul was even more annoyed. "Same to you, buddy." He said, although he didn't know what the man was talking about. When he got inside, he started telling the cashier that he had no money, but that he could hurry and drive home to get his wallet before coming back to pay. "You don't have to pay," the lady said, "That man out there just payed for you."
    Paul ran outside and barely caught the scruffy man as he was leaving. "Why did you pay for me?" he asked. The man simply replied, "I've been there."

     Overwhelmed with gratitude, Paul walked back to his car. He imagined himself and the scruffy man being judged before God at the last day. Sure, the man smoked. What if he didn't know how bad tobacco was for the body when he started smoking it? Maybe he realized later, and by then couldn't stop. Paul had never smoked tobacco before in his life, but had he gone out of his way to help others? Paul realized that if their lives both ended now, that scruffy man would be in better shape than he himself would.

     Paul left the gas station, grateful for the new perspective that he had gained, all because this scruffy man did an act of service for him.

NEVER forget that you could have a very significant impact in someone else's life. It doesn't have to be big, it could seem very small and insignificant to you, but it might still mean the world to someone else. Remember that.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scripture Marking Saturday... And I'm Still Here!!

Okay to start... I haven't given up on my blog! I know I've mentioned that we don't have internet at my house anymore... I've been trying to post on whatever computer I can get my hands on... This will only last til Christmas! We're getting a new computer then, so there will be plenty more posts coming!

For today... Scripture Marking Saturday...

Alma 34:32- For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

Please make sure that you are being proactive while on earth. You really do control your future. If you work hard and prepare, you will absolutely be ready to meet God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thoughts on Christmas

I was saving a Christmas post until... Christmas...
But I want to write down a few of the things I've been thinking, because they are things that should be remembered throughout the whole holiday season.
I listed a few things in another post that I love about the holiday season (I'm not providing a link to that post... They keep getting screwed up on this tablet I'm using.)
They included music, food, decorations, well... Everything!

The world has forgotten the meaning of Christmas... The whole reason we celebrate it... There are people who celebrate Christmas for no reason. They just do it because that is what a lot of people celebrate. They want to be a part of the Christmas season. They don't do it because of Christ. Maybe some people say they do, but that isn't what they are putting near to their heart.

We are celebrating His birth.
His life.
We are celebrating everything that we have because of Him.

Just remember this during the Christmas season...
Just remember...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Post Coming!

I promise thee is a post coming! Suffering minor technical difficulties... Check back tomorrow!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scripture Marking Saturday

Alright... Time for another scripture to mark.

D&C 88:68- Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

This scripture tells me that we should sanctify ourselves and be prepared. We never know what is going to happen, but God does. Sometimes His will and our will don't match up. We must always be willing to accept whatever God has in store for us. After all, He can see the whole picture. Remember eternal perspective found here?

This reminds me of a story I just read in the New Era... A girl talks about how you can be led by the spirit in your prayers. While praying, the spirit can tell you what to say so that your will can be the same as God's will. If that doesn't make sense, or if you just want to read the whole story, click

Alright... Hope everyone has a great remainder of their weekend. Leave comments! I'm starting to wonder if there really is anyone out there who is silently reading this blog!

PS: Sorry the links are a little messed up... I'm trying to do this post on a mobile device because our computer broke... I know that it ended up highlighting a lot of text, but if you click on either of the places where it says "here", it should still take you to the right place. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Strong Roots: Building a Strong Testimony

     It is so important to gain a strong testimony of the gospel and of your Savior. There are so many tools that the adversary is using to try and break you and destroy your testimony.

  This is a pine tree that used to stand in my yard. Pine trees are huge, this tree was taller than my house. You would think that such a tree can never be knocked over by the wind, but this one was. It had shallow roots.
There is a lesson to be learned from this tree. We may seem like we are big and strong in the gospel. Maybe we go to church every week, and we pay our tithing. What would happen though, if you went through a trial and didn't have a strong testimony? You wouldn't have strong enough roots, and you would fall.

You must make sure that you gain a strong testimony. Life is going to knock us down - it is part of God's plan. When that happens, be prepared. If you have a strong testimony, you will be able to rely on God and you won't fall. You don't know when a trial will come upon you, so make sure that you have strong roots now.

     How can we gain a stronger testimony?

Go to church- Listen. Pay attention. Contribute. Do more than just sit there with a bad attitude, doing that won't gain you anything.

Read your scriptures- The scriptures are a gift to us from God. Many, many people sacrificed everything to give us these scriptures. READ THEM OFTEN!! Let their words become a part of you. I know that a lot of people don't read the scriptures because they feel like they aren't gaining anything from it. Make sure that you read slow and ponder what you are reading. Think about it- think about how it applies to your life. If that isn't helping, make sure that you are starting in a place that is easy to understand. The Book of Mormon, for example, is easier to understand than the New Testament, and the New Testament is easier to understand than the Old Testament. In my opinion, the Docterine and Covenants are easier than them all.
No matter where you read, you can gain something. Just make sure that you search, ponder, and pray.

Study the words of General Authorities- What the prophet speaks is scripture too. Don't forget that.

Go to seminary/mutual- You can learn so much in seminary. It is a great way to really get stories out of what you are reading. Mutual is important too. It is a way to get to know all of the youth in your ward and to become great friends with them.

Make sure that you are worthy to feel the spirit- You gain a testimony through things that the spirit makes you feel. Sometimes, I've felt the spirit SO STRONGLY that it is impossible to deny. At the end of the day, your testimony will come through the spirit.

Keep the commandments- This one probably blankets everything. All of these things that I have listed... we have been asked to do them. Follow the prophet. He really does speak for the Lord.

This video is called "The First Step." Hopefully you will be able to see that it's not hard to gain a testimony. If you ask the Lord, and try your very hardest, you will receive a testimony. Just take that first step.

to finish, I want to share a scripture.

"ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."
That comes from Ether 12:6. Remember that if you want to gain a testimony, you have to make an effort. You can't pray and say "give me a testimony on the Book of Mormon" without reading it. If you do make an effort to read it, and then ask, you will then receive a testimony.

Remember that God will always answer your prayers. He can give you a testimony.


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