Please feel free to offer up LDS questions and let me try and get them answered for you!

Joseph Smith & The Book of Mormon by Elder Holland


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lessons learned from someone not washing their hands

Hepatitis has hit the Taco Bell industry, was the news being reported from the channel four news. Eighty people have come down from the disease, after eating at a Taco Bell restaurant on Redwood road in Salt Lake City Utah. Little did my husband and I know how that information would impact our lives at that time.

We owned three Taco Bell restaurants, one of the restaurants was on Redwood road, and it was affected drastically even though it was not the restaurant they were speaking about. At the time this happened Taco Bell was the biggest thing out there. We would go to conventions and walk down the aisles of the vendors, as bankers would offer to lend us millions of dollars to buy a franchise and build more stores. The Prophets had warned us to stay out of debt, so this was never a temptation. But we had saved enough money and we were starting to think about building a fourth store when it hit. We had been frugal and because we had saved that money, we were able to pay our employees and our bills until we decided to sell our business to a former employer.

We learned some great lessons from this experience. One of them was that nothing is invincible, and that when a prophet speaks we should always listen. I am grateful for a husband who has always followed the Prophets advise.

“I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order … ,” President Gordon B. Hinckley urged Church members during October 1998 general conference. “Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others.”

These are five principles that if you follow you will always be able to stay debt free.

1 Paying an honest tithing. Each month we always pay our tithing first. If we are to get out of debt, we really do need the Lord to “open … the windows of heaven, and pour [us] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).

Often our financial efforts are hampered by misfortune that devours our resources, such as unexpected car and household repairs, illness, and so forth. The Lord promises that He “will rebuke the devourer for [our] sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of [our] ground” (Mal. 3:11). When we pay our tithes, the Lord can bless us so that our unexpected challenges are minimized and so that we are better able to manage the resources we have.

2 Paying a generous fast offering. When I was in college, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught that the Lord would bless Church members if they were able to double their fast offerings. We thus made it a point, even while students, to pay more than the cost of our meals as a fast offering. As our means have increased, we have increased our offerings, and the Lord has abundantly blessed us.

3 Giving time, talent, and energy toward building the kingdom of God. We have learned that when we are busy in the Lord’s work, losing ourselves in serving others, we have less time to worry about the things we don’t have. Material possessions are seen in the proper perspective.

For example, service greatly minimizes the time we spend watching television, thus limiting the advertisements or shows we view that would make us feel bad about the material things we don’t have. Decreasing our wants makes it easier to avoid debt.

4 Following principles of self-reliance. Producing food in our garden and striving to purchase on-sale items for food storage have allowed us to save greatly on food expenses. This has not only helped us to be more self-reliant, but also allowed us to apply the money we saved toward debt elimination.

5 Cultivating gratitude. Reflecting on the multitude of blessings we enjoy and thanking Heavenly Father for them allows us to focus on that which we have rather than on that which we have not. Recognizing all the blessings we have reduces the desire to acquire material possessions.—Robert and Mary Merrill, East Wenatchee First Ward, Wenatchee Washington Stake

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who are the enemies of our lives?

Two men stood staring at the corner of the closet. As the large black spider stood there staring back at them!

Alma 58:10

Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength.

All of a sudden the spider jumped toward the two men. They screamed like little girls, jumped back and pulled the door of the closet off its socket. As the spider scampered away, while the balmy Hawaiian winds blew softly through the open door.

Do we have enemies, besides spiders in our lives? That may keep us away from our Father in Heaven? How about fear, doubt, anger, or pride? How can we overcome these enemies?

2 Nephi 2:27

Wherefore, men are afree according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself

First of all we know that we are given the right to choose. To choose freedom, from the power of these enemies, or to stay captive and stay miserable.

Second in Alma it tells us the power of prayer.

Alma 10:22

Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the aprayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction.

And finally

Mosiah 2: 22

And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you

I hope and pray that we will all choose to accept the freedom that our Father in Heaven, would have us have. So that we may all live in the joy of his presence again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thoughts when facing death

Lehr is a very close friend of our family. In the fall of last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At Christmas time he went through weeks of excruciating pain after having surgery for his disease and getting an infection resulting from the procedure. He witnessed many miracles during this time, proving to him that our Heavenly Father loves him. And that his time was not finished in this life.

He came here to Palmyra, New York to visit us last week. My husband asked him what his emotions were, when he realized that he had this disease. He asked him if he felt anger, fear, depression, just what exactly went through his mind. He said he didn’t feel any of those feelings. His emotions took him in a very different direction. He said he kept getting flashbacks of his life, all of the good times he had, had with his family. Trips they had gone on. Special times he had taken with each person individually. And he said he realized how much time he had wasted with the thought “when this happens, or when I get this job.” His thoughts were going in that direction. He decided when he recovered from his surgery; he wouldn’t waste any more time with these negative thoughts. He would live every day to the fullest. And enjoy each moment of his life with his family.

2nd Nephi 2:25

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

Our Heavenly Father desires us to be happy. It is his wish that we are all successful and that we make the right choices to be able to live with him again.

He told us that when you are facing the thought of the possibility of death, the most important things to you is your family and the relationship you have with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.

Alma 38:9

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.

Either 12:4

12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

I hope and pray that each of us will use Lehr as an example and enjoy the experiences that our Heavenly Father has given us. The good times as well as the bad times.

"Stop looking for the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Palmyra, New York Temple

Throughout history, in every dispensation, the Lord has commanded prophets that temples should be built so that His people could receive temple ordinances. Today there are 130 functioning temples, allowing faithful members of the Church around the earth to go to the house of the Lord to receive their temple ordinances and make covenants with the Lord. We go to the temple to worship, to find peace from the distractions of the world. It is truly a place where you are "in the world and not of the wold." You can take your cares to the temple and receive spiritual guidance. All within it's walls is holy and sanctifying to the spirit.

The Palmyra Temple sits on an elevated hill overlooking the Sacred Grove, surrounded by beautiful lawns, forests and flowers. Although a smaller structure, it's simplicity is beautiful. The stained glass windows depict scenes from the Sacred Grove.
The blessings of the Temple are eternal. We should prepare ourselves and strive to be worthy to enter through these holy doors and participate in sacred saving ceremonies and ordinances which are performed to prepare us for exaltation.
Elder and Sister Kukahiko

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My daughter Emily is an amazing person. She was born 26 years ago, on Aug 27th 1985. She was born nine weeks premature, and her biological mother was only fourteen at the time, of her delivery. We were living in California at the time, and she was born in Utah. I flew immediately to Utah to be with her.

Emily was and continues to be a miracle. When she was born she weighed 3 lbs 4 oz. She was born with a very serious heart condition that very few babies survive. When she had the first episode at 3:00 in the morning her Doctor was standing right next to her crib, and inserted tubes that saved her life. During the next three months that I stayed with her in the hospital. I watched three other babies die from exactly the same thing she had.

The three month period, I was in the hospital with Emily, was a very difficult time in my life. I had a husband and a six year old son, Paul who is one of the joys of my life at home in California. I was alone in an unfamiliar city, with only the Lord to count on to give me guidance in this unsettling time. There were times when I didn’t know if she would live. But I knew she was supposed to be my little girl, and that Heavenly Father wanted me to raise this sweet young person. So our family turned our trust completely over to the Lord, and accepted his will in our lives.

2nd Nephi 4: 34

34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.

In the Book of Mormon we learn that if we build our foundation on Christ, even though we will have trials in our life. We know that it will turn out okay.

Helaman 5: 12

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Emily is now 25 years old and she is married to an awesome man and is living in Houston, Texas. Where she is a teacher at a local high school, she teaches Latin. She was and remains to this day, one of the miracles of my life. Reminding me of how much our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A political statement with a different perspective

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in aone, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God

What does the word –ites mean?

The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.

Could Democrats, Repulicans, liberals, conservatives be the -ites of the nation today?

Who causes the contention in this country?

3rd Nephi 11: 29

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

When Christ came to visit the America’s. He brought peace to the land.

4th Nephi 1: 15-16

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

Can you imagine a world with complete peace?

These people had it for about 200 years.

We can have it too! The Book of Mormon was written for our day. And it talks about situations that we live in.

Test it out. Read the stories of the Lamanites, the Nephites, and the rest. And see if you can’t find similarities in our world.

For more information on the Book of Mormon or if you would like a copy of the Book of Mormon go to mormon.org.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What is the role of the modern day women?

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, he loves us and we love him. We will stand as witness of God in all times, in all things, and in all places.

When I repeat that quote, how does it make you feel, as women in this modern day society? Does it give you a feeling of strength and security? Or feelings of quilt and discouragement?

How do you think that our Heavenly Father would have you feel? How do you think the Satan would have you feel?

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I work in Palmyra, New York, as a tour guide for the historical sites in this area. Every July we have a huge pageant, called the Hill Cumorah Pageant. We have between ten-fifteen thousand people come to our little town every year, during a 10 day period of time. Last year we were assigned to the Book of Mormon Historic Publication site. The place where the Book of Mormon got its start and where it was first sold.

Every day we have about twelve to fifteen hundred people come through our sites a day. We have young sister missionary’s in their early 20’s give the tours. This is the story of a young woman who had just arrived from Argentina a few weeks earlier. So she was vey new to the area, and very unsure of herself. The girls sit on chairs in the back of the building, and as a tour comes up they are assigned. Some of the tours can have up to 50 people on the tour.

We got a call, and we were told that one of our general leaders would be coming to our site, so to be ready. As they drove up my husband looked around and here sat that sweet young sister looking terrified shaking her head and saying no Elder Hamblin “please don’t send me.” He looked right at her, and said “you’re up sister.” Along with this special leader she was surrounded with people all around her, some visitors from Germany. She was scared to death, feeling very inadequate. It turned out that this leader had spent a great deal of time in Argentina and spoke Spanish fluently and she did a wonderful job on the tour. From that moment on this young sister became one of our best tour guides, as she would talk in a loud voice, directing the large groups and keeping their attention. What was the difference in how she directed the tour before she was assigned the General leader, and after? It was her vision of herself and her important role at the sites changed. She was still the same cute new sister, with little experience but now she had more confidence in herself.

And perhaps nothing is more vital today than having a vision, manifest by the Spirit, of who we are and what we can become, of our intrinsic value to the Lord, and of the unparalleled role we must play in these latter days. We are literally the offspring of God, his begotten sons and daughters, with the potential of exaltation (Acts 17:29; D&C 76:24). "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16-17). (Sheri Dew, This is a Test)

But what does Satan want us to believe? He would have us believe that we are worthless and not worthy of our Heavenly Father’s love.

When I was younger
I was lucky enough to be able to attend a women’s conference at BYU. Directed by our women’s organization we call the Relief society. At that time one of the women in the Presidency, Sheri Dew, gave a talk that had thousands of women standing and cheering. The title of the talk is “This is a Test, This is only a Test.” In it she gave 11 things that Satan uses to try to pull women of our church away from the Savior. I have included these 11 items in this blog.

Sister Patricia Holland said something that I find profound: "If I were Satan and wanted to destroy a society, I think I too would stage a full-blown blitz on women" ("‘Many Things . . . One Thing,'" A Heritage of Faith: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988], 17).

See if any of the following techniques sound familiar.

1. As we have been discussing, Satan tries to blur our vision of why we're here and get us preoccupied with this life. He would have us distracted by and involved in anything and everything except what we came for.

2. He wants us to feel insignificant—that no matter how hard we try, we'll never make much of a difference. Oh, sure, our work is necessary but not very important. This is a big fat lie. It is a diversion designed to keep us so focused on any perceived injustices that we completely overlook the opportunities and privileges that are ours, that we underestimate the vital nature of our contribution, and that we never come to understand the power we have to change lives.

The gospel, with its sanctifying and redeeming power, is available to all. "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all [I love that word] who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ" (Helaman 3:27-28).

3. Satan tries to wear us down by creating the image that there is nothing glamorous in enduring to the end. I have always hated talks on enduring to the end because the very phrase makes life seem like drudgery rather than an adventure. And yet the most haunting regret imaginable would be to pass through the veil and, with the full sweep of eternity opened before our eyes, realize that we had sold our birthright for a mess of pottage, that we had been deceived by the distractions of Satan, and that the Big Finish would never be.

4. The adversary encourages us to judge and evaluate each other—a practice that is demeaning to both the person who judges and the one who is judged. I recently had a young woman whose marriage crumbled tell me how much she loves the gospel but how weary she is of feeling that she'll never be accepted because her life hasn't unfolded as she expected it to. If there is any place in the world where every one of us should feel accepted, needed, valued, and loved, it is as sisters in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We ought to give up telling each other how to live our lives. It is wonderful to talk about principles, which apply equally to each of us, but it is rarely helpful to suggest how those principles should be applied.

For example, our prophet has spoken clearly about the importance of building strong families. That's the principle. How that is accomplished, however, will vary from family to family. We could do more good by encouraging each other to develop our spiritual sensitivities so that we can receive inspiration about our own lives. The need for spiritual acuity is universal, for the Lord is in the best position to give advice.

5. Lucifer whispers that life's not fair and that if the gospel were true we would never have problems or disappointments. Bad things shouldn't happen to good members of the Church, should they? The adversary would have us believe that with baptism comes a Magic Kingdom Club Card and that if our lives aren't like perpetual trips to Disney World, we're getting short-changed.

The gospel isn't a guarantee against tribulation. That would be like a test with no questions. Rather, the gospel is a guide for maneuvering through the challenges of life with a sense of purpose and direction. "I feel happy," Brigham Young said. "‘Mormonism' has made me all I am, and the grace, the power, and the wisdom of God will make me all that I ever will be, either in time or in eternity" (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854–86], 8:162).

6. The adversary attempts to numb us into accepting a sliding scale of morality. Sometimes rationalization overtakes even the best among us. "R-rated movies don't bother me," we sometimes hear. "I go for the story, or the music, and skip over the profanity and the sexually explicit scenes." Yet advertisers pay millions of dollars for a few seconds of airtime on the bet that during brief but repeated exposures to their products we'll be persuaded to try them. If sixty-second ads can influence us to spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't even like, then how will minutes, hours, months, and years of watching infidelity, violence, and promiscuity affect us? The litmus test for entertainment of any kind is simple: Can you watch or participate in it and still have the Spirit with you?

7. The adversary promotes feelings of guilt—about anything. Pick a topic. You can feel guilty for having a large family—how can any one woman possibly care for eight or nine children? Or for having no children at all—you're not doing your duty. For working outside the home—don't you know what the prophet has said about mothers who seek employment. Or for choosing to stay home—what's the matter, no ambition?

Guilt does not originate with the Savior, who invites us to step to a higher way of living and a more ennobling way of thinking, to do a little better and perhaps a little more. Promptings that come from him are hopeful and motivating rather than defeating or discouraging.

8. Lucifer works hard to undermine our innate tendency to nurture and care for others. His object is to get us so busy and caught up in the "thick of thin things" that we don't have time for each other. Voice messaging is efficient, but it doesn't replace a listening ear and a caring heart. If the adversary can cause us to focus more on our differences than on our similarities, if he can confuse us about who our sisters are and what their eternal potential is, if he can keep us so busy running from one commitment to another that we no longer have time for each other, he has made great strides towards neutralizing the strength and influence that we have.

We need each other. We need each other's testimonies and strength, each other's confidence and support, understanding, and compassion. It is as Martin Luther said: "The kingdom of God is like a besieged city surrounded on all sides by death. Each man [and woman] has [a] place on the wall to defend and no one can stand where another stands, but nothing prevents us from calling encouragement to one another" (in Jeffrey R. Holland and Patricia T. Holland, "Considering Covenants: Women, Men, Perspective, Promises," To Rejoice As Women: Talks from the 1994 Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995], 105).

9. The adversary would have us hung up on perfection and stymied by the commandment to become perfect. He wants this glorious potential to loom as a giant stumbling block rather than the promise of what is ultimately possible—in other words, to make the Big Finish seem little more than a dream. Every prophet in this dispensation has explained that we should expect not to achieve perfection in this lifetime. The goal instead is to become pure, so that we are increasingly receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

The Savior doesn't want us to be paralyzed by our errors but to learn and grow from them. He sees us as works in progress. The faith of the brother of Jared was so strong that he was allowed to behold the Lord (Ether 3:13). Yet prior to that remarkable event, there was a time when the Lord chastened him for three hours (Ether 2:14). If the scriptural account had ended there, minus the "rest of the story," our impression of this righteous man would be different. The rest of our stories remains to be told. It is purity, rather than perfection, that we are seeking at this stage of our eternal quest.

10. Lucifer would have us so busy—with family, friends, careers, and every soccer league in town—that there's no time to live the gospel. No time to fast and pray, to immerse ourselves in the scriptures, to worship in the temple—all the things we need to do to "study" for our mortal test. In other words, he wants us to be a little more concerned with the world than with the gospel, a little more interested in life today than in life forever.

11. He delights in portraying religion as something restrictive and austere rather than liberating and life-giving. He depicts the Father and the Son as aloof rulers rather than our deified Father and Elder Brother who love us, who have a vested interest in our future, and whose motive is to help see us through this life so that we are worthy to return to them. He paints eternal life as something out of reach, even other-worldly, something for prophets and a few other select people, a condition you and I could never hope to achieve. And he does everything he can to block the memory of our former home.

He loves it when we seek for security in bank accounts, social status, or professional credentials when ultimate security and peace of mind come only from a connection with the Lord Jesus Christ. He claims victory when we rely on others for spiritual strength—on husbands, leaders, friends, family members. He doesn't want us to find out how intimate our connection with our Father and Elder Brother can be and how palpable and sustaining their love is.

In short, he tries to keep us at arm's length from Jesus Christ. Oh fine, if we profess him to be the Savior—talk is cheap! And if the adversary can keep us so distracted that we never really seek, embrace, and commit ourselves to the Lord, then we will also never discover the healing, strengthening, comforting power available because of the Atonement. We will never know that because of the Savior we have access to everything we need to pass this test.

The antidote to the distractions of the adversary is Jesus Christ. Light is stronger than darkness. Jesus Christ illuminates our vision of who we are and why we are here and gives us courage to move forward in the journey toward our heavenly home.

We as women in the world today need to accept and embrace our potential as strong, beautiful daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. Who would have us become everything he would have us become. We are created in his image, and we are born with royal blood, born to become Queens and Priestesses.

Quoting from Sheri Dew’s talk “This is a Test, this is only a Test.”

Eleven years ago President Ezra Taft Benson issued this charge: "There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. . . . The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us . . . will stand in the battle—and how tall we will stand. . . . Great battles can make great heroes and heroines" ("In His Steps," address to Church Educational System personnel, Anaheim, California, 8 February 1987).

My dear sisters, you have been called to live and work and raise families in the twilight of the dispensation of the fullness of times, and you are nothing less than the best the Lord has ever had. You are heroines in every sense of that word. Which is why the Lord needs us to arise and be everything we can be. President Howard W. Hunter put it this way: "There is a great need to rally the women of the Church to stand with and for the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and in moving forward the work of our Savior. . . . Only together can we accomplish the work he has given us to do and be prepared for the day when we shall see him" (Ensign, November 1992, 96).

I believe him. The impact of righteous, determined, pure-hearted women today is immeasurable. It doesn't matter where you live, whether or not you have children, how much money you have, or how talented you think you are—or aren't. This is a day when the Lord and his kingdom need women who are firmly grounded in their testimony of Jesus Christ; women of vision who have their sights trained on the purpose of life; women who can hear the voice of the Lord, expose the distractions of the adversary for what they are, and press forward with a sense of purpose and a desire to contribute; women who are articulate as well as compassionate; women who understand who they are, and where they are going, and are determined to not let anything keep them from getting there.

We as women of the latter day world have an incredible opportunity to shine and to make the world a much happier place to live. I know with all my heart that Heavenly Father loves us and wants the very best for us in this life.

If you have any more questions about the roles women play in this world. Go to mormon.org and hear a modern day prophet President Gordon B Hinckley talk about how the Savior feels about women.