Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice

I love General Conference and the amazing opportunity everyone has to listen to the words of inspired leaders. In troubled times like these, messages of hope and strength will probably be especially meaningful to many. We invite all to participate in the 179th Annual General Conference. If the sessions that occur this Saturday or Sunday are not shown on your television, they can also be viewed online. The words of the following hymn seem particularly poignant leading up to this weekend's events.

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice
(lyrics from hymn #21)

1. Come, listen to a prophet’s voice,
And hear the word of God,
And in the way of truth rejoice,
And sing for joy aloud.
We’ve found the way the prophets went
Who lived in days of yore.
Another prophet now is sent
This knowledge to restore.
2. The gloom of sullen darkness spread
Thru earth’s extended space
Is banished by our living Head,
And God has shown his face.
Thru erring schemes in days now past
The world has gone astray;
Yet Saints of God have found at last
The straight and narrow way.
3. ’Tis not in man they put their trust
Nor on his arm rely.
Full well assured, all are accursed
Who Jesus Christ deny.
The Savior to his people saith,“Let all my words obey,
And signs shall follow living faith,
Down to the latest day.”
4. Then heed the words of truth and light
That flow from fountains pure.
Yea, keep His law with all thy might
Till thine election’s sure,
Till thou shalt hear the holy voice
Assure eternal reign,
While joy and cheer attend thy choice,
As one who shall obtain.

Text: Joseph S. Murdock, 1822–1899. Verse four, Bruce R. McConkie, 1915–1985. © 1985 IRI

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Message from the Church: Why We Have Temples

These are a couple messages from the church that were posted on the church website concerning temples as an answer to the questions and rumors that have been recently circulating throughout the media and the world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And now for my next trick...

In the Book of Mormon there is a story of a prophet named Nephi who had been tied up with cords by his wicked brothers who were going to leave him to die in the wilderness. Nephi prays to the Lord to be delivered from his brothers and asks that he can have "strength that [he] may burst [those] bands with which [he] was bound" (1 Nephi 7:17). Nephi is a righteous man and has some serious faith so the Lord does in fact deliver him. What is interesting however is that he is not given the strength to burst these cords, but the Lord simply loosens the cords from off Nephi's hands and feet and his is free (1 Nephi 7:18).
I think life is like that a lot of times. In faith we will pray for something extraordinary to happen, like having the strength to burst some cords, but what ends up happening is something somewhat less remarkable, cords being loosened. Loosening cords is just as effective as bursting them if the goal is freedom, and perhaps even better because now Nephi has some perfectly good rope to use in the future. The real question is whether or not we recognize the hand of the Lord in those very effective, but somewhat less remarkable blessing we receive in life. Nephi could have rationalized that his brothers were pretty poor knot-tiers and that the cords sort of loosened on their own, but being the righteous man that he was I'm sure he recognized the hand of the Lord instead of just relying on his own strength or good luck. I know that the Lord is involved in every person's life and gives us blessings big and small. I pray that we can recognize those blessings and their divine source.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

His Help

Challenges seem to come in all forms, but my current hurdles are approximately the sizes of large garden gnomes. To be more specific, they are my four-year-old and two-year-old. Please don't get me wrong - I love my children dearly. I love being a mother more than anything else that I have been able to do. However, it never ceases to astonish me how these two rambunctious beings can continually throw me for a loop. For me, parenting is a constant lesson to try and learn more patience, creativity, and love. And, sometimes after a full day of attempting to teach difficult skills like sharing and kindness, I feel utterly exhausted.

After one morning of particularly loud sibling rivalry, a sweet hour of nap-time quietness came. Picking up the Ensign (March 2009), I had the chance to read an interview with Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president. She enthusiastically spoke of all the wonderful things that women have the opportunity to accomplish and when asked how women can do all of this she responded, "If she is helping the Lord with His work, she is entitled to His help." On this particularly hard day, Sister Beck's message powerfully struck my tired soul. One of the things that I know to be true is that families are the work of our Father in Heaven. He wants children reared in homes filled with love and compassion. My work as a mother is His work. Therefore, I am entitled to His help. To me, this is an amazing gift to know that I have a Heavenly Father who wants me to succeed and who is constantly trying to help me. Thank goodness, because I need all the help I can get trying to keep these two on the garden path.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mormon girl interviewed at Harvard

This is a wonderful clip of a discussion held at Harvard concerning the personal search for purpose. On the panel were college students of different faiths, including this Latter-day Saint girl, Rachel Esplin, as well as a Muslim, Jew, Presbyterian, and Buddhist. They all answered wonderful questions concerning their faith and religious practices. Rachel Esplin answers questions regarding her upbringing, the development of her personal testimony, women's roles in the church, her belief in Christ, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, knowledge of spiritual truths, temple marriage, temple covenants, and missionary work. This is a great clip to see!!

Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.