I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gospel Message Day 129

A Musical Connection

After 17 years, I finally saw a musical version of The Count of Monte Cristo. The only unfortunate thing was that it was mostly like the recent movie version that changes all but the title, the characters' names, and the Chateau d'If. But otherwise, it was really good. And the more time away from it that I have to think on it, the more that I am able to connect with.

While it might anger me some of the changes they made for the musical, I can accept the reasonings behind them (which I read about this evening in an article in the BYU Magazine). The main themes of the book as well as the musical are forgiveness, love, and redemption--God underlying all three.

To condense the 1400 pages and scads of characters, some of the latter had to be left out. Minor stories make sense. But in getting rid of of the minor one related to Max and Valentine, you lose the theme of love. The musical kept a smaller version with Albert and Valentine, but it's not quite the same. We needed to see it somehow more strongly connected with Edmond Dantes. Thus the rewriting of Mercedes' character and story.

I liked the musical's focus on redemption. I loved that Dantes had an entire song to realize that he was wrong, and that when he sang that word redemption, it was so full, top of voice, and vibrantly strong--exactly how I feel when I think of how my Savior has redeemed me. I love it when music matches and then enhances our capability to express our emotions.

Here is a video so that you may hear Dantes' song (with redemption at 2:23--which I'm pretty sure our guy held out much longer). While I'm coming to love the music the more I hear it (as is usually the case for me--takes me a few tries before I finally click with songs), it is such a shame that you cannot hear it sung by our Dantes. He (and our Mercedes) were magnificent.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Gospel Message Day 128

Postmortal Spirit World, An Unexpected Part 2

I had my 3rd Comic Con today. Only get to enjoy 1 day of the 3, but that's OK. Still glad I got to be a part of it. And I was thinking this evening of a connection. I love being among so many of these people who are excited about some of the same things I'm excited about. We talk about the actors' talents and skills; we gush over storylines and story arcs in shows and movies; we repeat our favorite humorous parts to each other; we get all teary-eyed over our favorite sad and emotional parts. So when we immediately connect over these things, it is no wonder that there is such excitement, anticipation, giddiness, awe, nervousness, and sense of the surreal and unbelievable when we wait together in line to meet people who helped bring these individually shared experiences to us.

As odd a connection as it may seem to you, today I thought of what it might be like when we are waiting to meet our Savior and our Heavenly Father again. I imagine it will be MUCH more reverent than celebrity lines at Comic Con. :-) But I believe the excitement, anticipation, giddiness, awe, nervousness, and maybe even sense of the surreal will attend us. I think it will for me. I look forward to that day so much. I mean, today I met an actress who has been a part of my entire life. Her movies have been around longer than I have been alive. And when we used to play Star Wars in our child games, I was always Leia. I wanted my mother to fix my hair like hers in 1st grade. (Didn't quite turn out, but I was still so pleased that I could emulate her in some way.) I portrayed her in high school in a ward/stake roadshow. I attempted another Leia costume just 2 years ago (another failure, but I plan to achieve it some time). The excitement was pretty strong.

But to meet my Redeemer again? To be with my Father again? These two whom I knew long before my life here on earth. The two who know me better than any one else ever could. I have longed to see them again ever since I left their presence. Their existence and influence have had the greatest impact on my life than anything else. So the excitement to see them again? Beyond what I can describe. When it finally arrives, I may be bursting inside. More so than ever I could with mere celebrities.

So, yes, today I met a couple of famous people and will always be excited and giddy that I did. But it will never match the anticipation and joy related to the most important Meet-and-Greet I will ever experience in this life or the next.

Gospel Message Day 127

Gospel Thoughts

I felt I only needed 1 day for yesterday's topic. And my full, busy day has me rather tired to think and be ready for a new topic. So I decided to put together something that immediately came to mind when my teacher shared this quote in last week's Institute class:

My Savior is my all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gospel Message Day 126

Postmortal Spirit World

Wow. That's certainly a topic to choose. I haven't an idea where to begin, since I haven't really covered basics of the Plan of Salvation, yet. I guess, to start with, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that we will live after we die. Other religions believe that to. But exactly what takes place after we did differs among them. For the LDS Church, we believe that before we face judgement and are resurrected, we will live in a spirit world. As the Gospel Doctrine manual states:
The spirit world is a place of waiting, working, learning, and, for the righteous, resting from care and sorrow. 

It's not the end of our journey--just a stopping point until the resurrection and our being assigned to the degree of glory that we qualify for. But as the manual said, we don't just sit around. There is work to do! A lot of it. There are two parts to the spirit world--paradise and prison. Those who chose evil works over good are in prison. There they will recollect all that they did wrong in life, and suffer with the memory. The spirits in paradise are the spirits who were righteous. While they may rest from the worry and care of the world, they still will be at work sharing the Gospel to those in spirit prison. Those who did not have a chance to hear the Gospel in their mortal life. Then those souls are able to choose if they want to accept the Gospel or not. They won't be forced.

On earth, worthy members who are able to enter God's temples are able to do work for the dead. The dead are temporarily separated from their bodies. They cannot be baptized or receive the other saving ordinances for themselves. So those on earth do it vicariously. On this side of the veil, we don't know which spirits have chosen to accept the Gospel or not. As such, members try to do the work for all that they find so all have the chance to accept or not.

So the spirit world for some is a time of working. A time of teaching. A time of reflecting. A time of choosing. A last chance for some. A time of meaning and purpose for others.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gospel Message Day 125

Holy Ghost, Part 10

I don't even know how to describe how the Spirit played a role in my life recently without revealing some silliness on my part, amongst other things. So I won't give any details. However, it is similar to other experiences I've had in that I am reminded that the Lord is ever mindful of me--even in the seemingly trivial, silly, of-no-consequence kind of things, because the Lord knows what those things would mean to me.

This was just such a thing. I have no idea how I made such a mistake as I did, but it provided an opportunity I had really been hoping for, but out of my own kindness thought I had lost it. I was sure there would not be another chance. And then all of the sudden the chance sat right in my hand. I had to look it over multiple times to believe it was there. I've done so since and still can't believe it is possible. I haven't the slightest idea how  this opportunity has come, but it has. And I am so, so grateful that the Lord and His Spirit would somehow bring about something so simple and unimportant to others, but which has given me such joy in knowing that my thoughts and desires matter to Him.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gospel Message Day 124

Holy Ghost, Part 9

I have an 'I Need to Cry' playlist on my iTunes. There are many people who do not understand why I have such a list. But I know why. I know how sometimes my emotions can get so built up and crazy and angry and hurt and confused and frustrated. And they need out. There will be no peace or comfort until all those emotions are vented. And honestly. I prefer crying as a method of ventation rather than whining, complaining, or some other angry, bitter outlet. But for some reason I can't explain, I'm not always able to just release those emotions in tears. Something has to help me along.

And for me, that something is the music the Spirit used to reach me. There are certain songs in which I will always feel the Spirit, whether because of their message, or the musicality, or from a previous experience I've had that I will never be able to separate from the song. I compiled those songs into a playlist. And whenever crying ventation needs to occur and needs a little help, I play that playlist. And the Spirit will at some point will use a song to touch me. And the release will come. And the comfort from the Spirit will inevitable flow in.

I've very often had the Spirit do this with a song when I'm not playing the playlist. This has happened frequently with a song on the radio. And even more so when I'm playing any song from my iTunes library. It's one reason I always play things on shuffle. I want the Spirit to be able to have some kind of control to bring up what it knows will help me, even if I don't realize I need it or haven't been ablt to ask for it, yet. (Often those are the songs that will end up on the playlist!) I just like to have the playlist so I can give the Spirit a hand. Because it has a full-time job with having to worry and deal with comforting me. Add on the rest of the world? HUGE job. So, I don't mind creating a more accessible tool for the Spirit to use to come to my aid.

And if you're curious what some of the songs on my playlist are, here's just a smidgen of the (currently) 82 of them:
My Kindness Shall Not Depart from Thee
Savior, Redeemer of My Soul
Unchained Melody
Just Let Me Cry
What Makes You Stay
My Immortal
To Make You Feel My Love
The Reason
I'm Not That Girl
You are Loved

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gospel Message Day 123

Holy Ghost, Part 8

I wanted to share at least one story about what I feel is the Holy Ghost's most important role--to testify that Jesus is the Christ. I have many experiences. Most are small, daily things that reassure me of who He is and what He has done. This is one that stands out in my mind because of the immense power that I felt. But it was a chain reaction kind of testimony.

You'll see when I explain.

Some years back, either in my late teens or in my early college years, I was reading a personal experience someone had shared in the New Era magazine. (And I've looked--I cannot find it with the website's search engine.) The girl told of how she sat on the Hill Cumorah and read the Book of Mormon. I believe she read Moroni's challenge and promise in Moroni 10:3-5. And as she sat there, she knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true.

As I read her account, I felt the Spirit remind me that I knew it was true as well. That I had felt just as strongly as she had on the Hill. That I've felt that way standing on that very hill. That I've also felt that way alone in my room with my scriptures. And how I've known? Because the Spirit filled me with, well, I don't know how to describe it. A burning peace? A connected feeling in my heart and mind that I could not in any way refute. It has not happened only once in my life. It has happened often. But that day, as I read the girl's experience and could completely relate, I was reassured all over again--and stronger than any other time that I can remember.

The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. It's sole purpose is to be another witness of Him. If I knew without a doubt that the book was true, then that meant Christ was real. That He was true, too. I believe the Spirit was once again testifying to me of the truth of the Book of Mormon, because it knew that it would inevitable testify to me of my Savior. Of His love, His power, and His Plan. Because all of that is outlined in the Book of Mormon. And if I know that book is true, then I know of my Savior.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gospel Message Day 122

Holy Ghost, Part 7 

I'm on the tired side of the evening. So I'm going to do a brief post that I've had in mind for this topic but had other things to say before. I love hymns about the Spirit--for they clearly tell about His role as teacher, guide, and comforter. Composers do so much better than I do at putting things so well in words. Thus, here are a few of those hymns' lyrics. (This first is my most favorite about the Spirit.)

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

1. Let the Holy Spirit guide;
Let him teach us what is true.
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heaven's view.
2. Let the Holy Spirit guard;
Let his whisper govern choice.
He will lead us safely home
If we listen to his voice.
3. Let the Spirit heal our hearts
Thru his quiet, gentle pow'r.
May we purify our lives
To receive him hour by hour.
Text: Penelope Moody Allen, b. 1939. © 1985 IRI
Music: Martin Shaw, 1875-1958. © 1915 by J. Curwen & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission. International copyright secured. All rights reserved. Making copies without written permission of the copyright owner is prohibited.
Verse 2 from Our Savior's Love
  1. The Spirit, voice
    Of goodness, whispers to our hearts
    A better choice
    Than evil's anguished cries.
    Loud may the sound
    Of hope ring till all doubt departs,
    And we are bound
    To him by loving ties.
  2. Text: Edward L. Hart, b. 1916. (c) 1977 IRI
    Music: Crawford Gates, b. 1921. (c) 1977 IRI
  1. Enfold me in thy quiet hour
    And gently guide my mind
    To seek thy will, to know thy ways,
    And thy sweet Spirit find.
  2. Text and music: Lorin F. Wheelwright, 1909-1987 (c) 1958, 1985 Lorin F. Wheelwright
  1. 1. Thy Spirit, Lord, has stirred our souls,
    And by its inward shining glow
    We see anew our sacred goals
    And feel thy nearness here below.
    No burning bush near Sinai
    Could show thy presence, Lord, more nigh.
  2. 2. "Did not our hearts within us burn?"
    We know the Spirit's fire is here.
    It makes our souls for service yearn;
    It makes the path of duty clear.
    Lord, may it prompt us, day by day,
    In all we do, in all we say.
  3. Text: Frank I. Kooyman, 1880-1963. (c) 1948 IRI
    Music: Alexander Schreiner, 1901-1987. (c) 1948 IRI

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gospel Message Day 121

Holy Ghost, Part 6

I know I have mentioned the role/affect of music in my life so many times already on this blog. But music is a great and glorious gift from God, especially as an instrument of the Spirit! Some of the clearest messages I have ever received from the Spirit came through music. Just click on the link to the posts labeled music and you can see quite a few experiences within those. Comfort is probably the highest use the Spirit puts in my life.

Well, maybe it's second. Because there are thousands of songs that allow the Spirit to testify of Christ to me--and not just hymns. There are other church-y songs but also some secular ones in which I feel the Spirit and know that Christ lives and that He loves me. So testifying is the first. Comforting is the 2nd.

Teaching is the 3rd. This mostly relates to hymns. I have gained a lot related to doctrine when I use the hymns in trying to learn more in my research. I know that the Spirit influenced those involved in creating the hymns and then helps me to find and grasp the knowledge therein.

Fourth, music has occasionally given me guidance in my life. When I've been praying for answers that will give me direction in life, or even when I've just been pondering my choices, I have at times heard music (both secular and spiritual) which has helped me make a decision.

I actually have an experience that incorporated all 4 of these. After undergraduate school, I was prompted to go home. (Well--quite blatantly told, actually, but that's another story.) I was at a very emotional low when I moved home. I needed it then. But as time wore on, I got a job, I was in graduate school, I had a great church calling. I found things to do and I was useful. Onward and upward and all that. After being home for more than a year, I began to feel stifled and trapped where I was. I felt guilty for being so, because my family and friends had done so much to help and support me through my ups and downs, my attempts at being an adult and being responsible (job, schooling, etc). But I was so low and I didn't quite know where to go or how to go about getting there. Or even if I should. Surrounded my loved ones and feeling utterly alone.

And then a song made it to the top charts. I heard it played over and over again on the radio. Every time I did, I ended in tears. Because the song reminded me that Jesus--through His Atonement--knew exactly how I felt. That He understood and wanted me to feel better--because that's what this song started to do for me. I felt like I wasn't alone in feelings like this (comfort). Teaching came about from two lines that taught me that just because I wanted a change in my circumstances, it didn't mean I was ungrateful or would forget who and what made me who I was. But I also didn't need to let them hold me back. If their part in my life had filled its purpose, moving on was not ingratitude. And guidance? The whole chorus helped me know that I needed to leave the comfort zone I had put myself in. I needed to look for ways to change my situation and pursue them--with no guilt to hold me back and the encouragement to try something new or different. So I decided to start on the path that would change the situation.

It was a very powerful experience. And I'm sure you would like to know what the song is. It no longer makes me cry, because I'm years and miles away from that trapped situation. But I will forever hear it with gratitude that the Lord loves me and has the Spirit help me in so many ways.

"Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson

Grew up in a small town
And when the rain would fall down
I'd just stare out my window
Dreaming of what could be
And if I'd end up happy
I would pray (I would pray)

Trying hard to reach out
But when I tried to speak out
Felt like no one could hear me
Wanted to belong here
But something felt so wrong here
So I prayed I could break away

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I love
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Wanna feel the warm breeze
Sleep under a palm tree
Feel the rush of the ocean
Get onboard a fast train
Travel on a jet plane, far away (I will)
And breakaway


Buildings with a hundred floors
Swinging around revolving doors
Maybe I don't know where they'll take me but
Gotta keep moving on, moving on
Fly away, breakaway

I'll spread my wings
And I'll learn how to fly
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway, breakaway, breakaway

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gospel Message Day 120

Holy Ghost, Part 5

Another tool of the Spirit is people, particularly (for me) teachers in classes. Sometimes I don't feel like going to Institute. Long day at work. A free evening is so tempting. But I always feel prompted by the Spirit that I need to go. And I follow the prompting, because I know I will learn many great things. Because my teacher works very hard to have the Spirit with her when she teaches, and to share with us what she feels the Spirit wants us to know. There I receive answers to things I've brought to the Lord, and often am impressed to know what I could be doing better or more of. Through my teacher and the Institute class, the Spirit is able to more clearly and directly speak to me what the Lord wants me to know.

I have felt the Spirit this way in Sunday school, Seminary, Relief Society, and other classes in which the teacher had the Spirit with them. They are a remarkable tool for the Spirit to work with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gospel Message Day 119

Holy Ghost, Part 4

Tonight in Institute, I love how my teacher touched on the Spirit. It fits perfectly with the topic! She said, "If you give the Spirit a tool to work through, it can be a lot clearer for you."

I already referred to the scriptures as a tool in yesterday's story. But I have often received answers, guidance, etc. through this tool. So I wanted to share a few more experiences to illustrate it.

*When I was going through my very low and difficult time during the VA years, I came across Doctrine & Covenants 123:17:

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

It has become one of my most favorite scriptures ever, because it meant so much to me then--but it's perfect for always!

*When I was going through a time of repentance and forgiveness (which mostly involved forgiving myself), there was Alma 7:11-13:

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
I found these verses very meaningful and uplifting as I learned to use the power of Christ's Atonement.

*Or there was that time that I really liked a guy, and I was not sure how to go about showing my interest. Alma 38:12 came to my attention:

Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.

While making me laugh as I found it, this also became a very good guideline for relationships since then.

There are other tools that the Spirit uses to get through to us. I'm going to save them for the next few days (so I'll have stuff to talk about and time to think of stories that go with it!). But this is one of the best reasons to be daily immersed in the scriptures as it allows the Spirit more opportunities to speak to you and let you know what the Savior wants you to know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gospel Message Day 118

Holy Ghost, Part 3

Yesterday's experience was to explain a bit about the Holy Ghost, making decisions, and feeling if the decision is right or not--particularly as it relates to a stupor of thought when it is not right. So today's story has more to do with the Holy Ghost's role as Comforter.

I have felt the Spirit work in this capacity innumerable times. Almost daily. What can I say--I'm an emotional kind of person. The Holy Ghost sends comfort in so many ways. And I know that each way is from the Lord. He is the one who knows how to reach, how to help. He sends the Holy Spirit to achieve those ends with us. I don't know how it all works, but I know it does.

There was a time that I was struggling (again) with my single situation. This was over a decade ago, when I was first coming to grips that life was not going as I had hoped, planned, and dreamed about. I deal with it scads better now than I did then. Possibly because of a valuable lesson I learned. I prayed quite a bit then about my situation. Over and over. I wasn't sure what to do, what to change. I just cried and prayed a lot. I was in the waiting area in the temple, waiting for friends whom I had just served with to come out. I felt I should look in the scriptures. So I opened them and managed to read one verse when my friends showed up. I closed the book and we left. But a couple of minutes later, it finally dawned on me what I had just read in Doctrine and Covenants 59:22:

Behold, this is according to the law and the prophets; wherefore, trouble me no more concerning this matter.

The Spirit's message was so clear--stop bothering the Lord! He wants to hear from us. He wants us to bring our joys as well as our troubles to Him. But I had wearied Him with my constant crying and complaining--but especially my lack of doing! One would wonder how this chastisement would bring me comfort. I feel that the Spirit directed me to this scripture because it 1) reminded/testified to me that the Lord is ever mindful of me (which is one of the most comforting things in this world) and 2) prodded me to do something about my situation. Me doing something helped to keep me from being so low about being single and unsought after. Not that I could change that I was single. But it was the very beginning of a long road to learn how to make my own happiness and not let uncontrollable circumstances affect my outlook on life.

It's an odd example, yes. But I wanted to point out that the Spirit brings comfort in many ways--and that comfort can be found in many things if only we are in tune to recognize it, apply it, and hold to it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gospel Message Day 117

Holy Ghost, Part 2

I think the best way to talk about the Spirit--without repeating the basics over and over what I said in yesterday's introduction--is to share some personal experiences. Nothing too sacred, of course, because that would take away its sacredness.

One experience I often think of is what I have come to call My Mission Decision. (I don't know if I've told this story on this blog before. If I have, I apologize.) I grew up in a very missionary-minded family. Both of my parents served full-time missions. I had 6 brothers. We talked (and sang) about missions a lot as we grew up. I spent my child and teen years planning to serve as well. For the majority of them, I thought I would get to go at 19 like my brothers. Then I learned that the age for sisters to go was 21. (Imagine the emotions for me when the age for sisters was changed to 19 two years ago.) Age 2 put me one semester away from finishing my undergraduate college education, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to take a break to serve 18 months. But I could put my papers in, and I had spent a lifetime planning on serving.

I did a lot of pondering and praying about this choice. Each decision I made was some form of leaving to serve a mission--whether the end of the summer, or the end of the semester, or something else. I wanted to know If the decisions I was making were a good ones. But every time I had made a decision, I felt so unsettled in my mind and in my emotions. I found I couldn't concentrate on anything. I also found myself being quite anxious over all kinds of things. In the Doctrine and Covenants section 9 verse 8-9, we read:
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong
My anxiety and lack of focus was my stupor of thought. The Spirit was letting me know whatever the decision I had just made, it was not the best one for me at that time. After a few of these stupors following decisions, I finally made a decision that did not involved me serving anytime in the near future. And I was filled immediately with peace, calm, and reassurance. I knew that the Spirit was telling me this was the best decision. The one that would bring me the greatest happiness as well as put me where I needed to be for what the Lord had in mind.

Within two months, I was in the first month of my last semester--which included two literature classes. (That means a TON of work.) I was baby-sitting my two brand new nieces when their parents' school and work schedules needed me to help out. I was helping to unite many new and old ward members through our sports activities. I was called into the Relief Society presidency. Drained from the previous year's non-stop school, work, and trials and then doubling those with the new semester, I fell victim to a nervous breakdown early on--which very likely could have occurred near the beginning of a mission if I'd left right away and not given myself sufficient time to heal.

Instead, I found myself in a situation where I was serving in a ward where I was known and cared for, and I also had family nearby to help take care of me. I had purpose in a calling in which I was immediately able to serve without having to work through my unfortunate personality and social anxieties. (A mission would have taken a few months to work through those.) And when I emotionally collapsed, I was surrounded by support and comfort. I may have found those while on a mission, but I wouldn't have been much use for what I was supposed to be there for.

The Lord knew best and He used the Spirit to guide me in my decision that would put me where I needed to be at that time. I had to do my part. I had to ponder out what to do. I had to make my own decision. And when I went to the Lord with that decision, I had to be worthy enough to be in tune with the Spirit so that I recognized what its promptings were telling me.

Gospel Message Day 116

Holy Ghost

A most daunting topic indeed. I'll do a bit of an introduction of sorts this first day. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. In the LDS Church, we believe that the Godhead is three separate beings. Heavenly Father and the Savior have bodies, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.

The Holy Ghost is also referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit, Spirit of the Lord, and the Comforter. I tend to usually say the Spirit.

The Spirit's main purpose is to testify that Jesus is the Christ. He has other roles, such as comforting us. He also inspires us and guides us. Basically, the Spirit is how the Savior reaches out to us as He would do if He were with us on earth today.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gospel Message Day 115

Um, another late night. Really late. Life just gets that way at times.

But I can do a little blog about temples. Since I moved back to Utah, I've wanted to set a goal to visit every temple in Utah. I've set a goal as YSRT chair to visit as many (public) libraries in the state as I can. I thought during the holidays, "Why not do the two together?"

So, today I managed my 2nd Utah temple in 2 weeks. I've only been to the Brigham City temple for the Open House, and attended one of the broadcasted dedicatory sessions. My friend and I went and served in the Initiatory. Nothing reminds me more of my experiences as a Temple Ordinance Worker in the Provo Temple than when I serve in the Initiatory. I had to memorize those ordinances, and I said those words countless times in the 18 months I served there. Because of that, those words are ingrained in me. The promises and blessings give me hope and purpose because of what will come to me now and in future if I am obedient and stay true to all of my covenants.

I feel like sharing a song here. But I'm too tired to think of one I haven't shared before, which has to do with this topic. So here is one that initially has nothing to do with the topic of temples, which I have come to love recently. But if you think on the words, and if you understand the power of the Atonement and temples, then you'll see how this song goes quite well.

Lyrics for you to ponder:
Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, which should come,
The Son of God,
But I do not understand...
Touch my eyes and bid them see
That my gaze might pierce the veil,
And behold the wondrous scene
That, in dreams, I've long beheld.
Oh, touch my heart and bid it know
That ev'ry sorrow here
Is but a moment's tear,
And Thou wilt make me whole again.
Touch my ears and bid them hear
All the glory of Thy truth,
That my hope might come of faith
And no more require proof.
Oh, touch my heart and bid it know
That, while in darkness here,
The Light is ever near,
And Thou wilt make me whole again.
Then touch my lips and bid them sing
Songs of everlasting praise,
That my soul might then believe
And give thanks through all my days!
Oh touch my heart and bid it know
That ev'ry breath I take
Is by Thy tender grace,
And Thou wilt make me whole,
And Thou wilt make me whole,
Oh, Thou wilt make me whole again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gospel Message Day 114

Too late to start a new topic. So today I'm just going to make a brief comment on the Gospel topic of good friends. Good friends can read between the lines of your actions and emotions, then help you write a new chapter if the story isn't quite going where you want it to. I'm really grateful for the friends in my life who do that. They not only help me find happier paths to take, but they also help me make sure that those paths always lead to my Savior and Heavenly Father.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gospel Message Day 113

Personal Revelation, Part 4

So in the last 3 days I've attempted to explain this topic in my own words. But I also want to share some words from my Church leaders. They word things so perfectly and beautifully.

Here is a link for results from a search of "personal revelation" on lds.org.

I like this list that Elder Oaks gave in 2004 about the 8 purposes of revelation:
1.  Testify that Jesus is the Christ and that the gospel is true
2.  Prophesy
3.  Comfort
4.  Uplift
5.  Inform
6.  Restrain from doing something wrong
7.  Confirm a proposed action
8.  Impel one to action
For me, this explains how revelation has helped and continues to help me. Elder Cook gave a list about 7 ways to invite the Spirit.
1.  Pray
2.  Use the scriptures
3.  Bear and hear testimony
4.  Use worthy music
5.  Express love and gratitude to God and man
6.  Share spiritual experiences
7.  Perform and partake in priesthood ordinances
Again, for me, these are ways that I receive revelation.

The why and the how are important. But more important to me is the what: Personal revelation is my direct lifeline to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It has no obstacles or interruptions in it, unless I place them there myself. But a clear connection through my faith and obedience will allow for direct aid from the truest source.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gospel Message Day 112

Personal Revelation, Part 3

Today's experiences go perfectly with the current topic. Because often personal revelation comes when you weren't expecting it but were ready and spiritually in tune for it to take place. I've been having some rough days lately. Sunday's Pollyanna post might have given you an idea of that. I was floundering for a bit, and I wasn't sure why. I wasn't sure what to do to move on. My thoughts were running around in the possible directions I could go. But nothing was sticking. (Generally known as a stupor of thought.) I've had a bit of a migraine the last 24 hours. When I woke, I wasn't sure how much I would be able to make it through the day. The biggest worry was that I wouldn't make it to Institute at the end of the day, and I really felt I needed to be there.

Well, the Lord helped me healthwise to make it through and feel up for it. And for a good reason. His answers were waiting for me in our lesson, and the comments shared. The direction and actions were things I could have eventually come up with on my own. Indeed, some of them I had, but I hadn't gotten the mindset and will behind it all to actually act on them. But as I heard what was said in class, the Spirit whispered to me the truths I needed, which helped to build my desire and resolve.

And that's the basics of personal revelation: comfort, guidance, direction, and reassurance at the time and in the way that will best reach us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gospel Message Day 111

Personal Revelation, Part 2

Personal revelation can come in more than one form. This is pretty fantastic, because it can come in ways that will reach us better. The Lord knows us. He knows what will resonate with us the most in each individual situation of our lives.

I have received revelation through the written word (spiritual as well as secular), from hearing others speak (formally or informally), from my own feelings or thoughts. I also receive revelation through music. Music can speak to me as nothing else can, and often helps me feel the Spirit faster and/or deeper than anything else. The Lord wants to help us however He can, so He will use what tools are available to reach us as best as He can. To me, that's what truly makes the revelation personal--how the Lord chooses to speak to us.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gospel Message Day 110

Personal Revelation

In the LDS Church, we not only believe that revelation continues today, but we also believe that each person is entitled to revelation for themselves. Personal revelation means a lot to me because I can receive direct guidance for myself, in my particular situations and trials. Every one of us can.

And I'm sorry, but it's much too late for my brain to continue working. So there is a very short intro to the topic and I'll delve deeper in days to come. If you'd like more right now, here is a link to this blog's previous posts that are have the personal revelation label.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gospel Message Day 109

Obedience, Part 6

And finally Doctrine & Covenants scriptures on obedience.

I love scriptures in this book, because they are so direct and clear. They also are tied to stories from my own dispensation. I really connect with them. I have found some of my greatest guidance from the Doctrine & Covenants. So here are a bunch of the scriptures. I'll hold on my commentary until the last of them.

Doc&Cov 56:3
Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.
Very plain warning there. I like that it says cut off in the Lord's time. We talked of this in Institute this past week. Blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience will come. We don't know when or how, but we know that the Lord will follow through with what He has promised.
Doc&Cov 59:21
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
This is one of my favorite gratitude scriptures. I've never really paid attention to the last phrase though. We offend God when we are not grateful, and acknowledge His part in our lives. But we also offend Him when we disobey Him.
Doc&Cov 82:10
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
The Lord has promised so much to us; if we obey, He is bound by His word to give us what He has promised. But if we don't obey, we are not entitled to a thing.
Doc&Cov 98:22
And again I say unto you, if ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
Um, yeah--who wouldn't want this protection?
Doc&Cov 103:7
And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.
Yep--another great promise that I certainly want!
Doc&Cov 105:6
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
It isn't a situation that if we mess up and disobey, that's it. No. We always have the chance to repent and turn back to the Lord and His ways. To try to be obedient again. Sometimes chastening is what we need to be reminded that we are going the wrong way and doing the wrong things. The chastening helps to remind us what the right direction is. We always have the choice to obey, even if the choice is being made very far down the wrong end of the road. Obedience is going the right way along the road, no matter where we are on that road.
Doc&Cov 133:71
Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you; for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not.
I do not want this to be me. I don't want to be left on my own with no one to deliver because I wilfully disobeyed over and over again.
Doc&Cov 138:4
That through his atonement, and by obedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved.
The simplest of all the obedience scriptures.

Wonderful stuff, right? I love it!

Emergency Pollyanna Session

There are just those unexplainable days when all is great with your world, and yet the icky stuff wants to crowd it all out. For me, it is often the physical and emotional icky stuff. And while how one reached that point sometimes feels unexplainable, the reason behind it is not. The adversary is determined, especially in women, to undermine us. To make us feel unworthy, ugly, unwanted, unloved, unloveable, useless, undeserving. So many icky "u" words. And yet there is one good "u" word--understanding. Which we get from the Savior.

Today I feel especially ugly and unwanted and unloveable. At my core, I know my Savior understands. I know He wants to reach out and hold me until I not only believe in His love, but feel it as well. Usually in this life, that extension of His love has to come from other sources. The greatest lesson I have learned in my many single years is learning and finding ways to feel His love and find peace, joy, reassurance, and happiness in and from that love.

The best way I have found for me is to turn into Pollyanna (which frequent readers of this blog can attest to). And if there is a day for being Pollyanna, it is today. And not just any Pollyanna. A grateful Pollyanna.

*While I may be feeling absolutely awful, I can be glad because these feelings help me turn to remembering things that I have felt and thought in the temple--especially in recent days. I can remember that even if I do not like what I'm seeing in the mirror today, the Lord does so long as I'm doing my part to be obedient.
*I also know that even though I am having an I-Feel-Ugly day, it won't last forever. I can testify that these days pass. They always have. This one will, too. I've just got to keep pressing forward.
*I'm not in a pit right now. I've been in those. I've simply tripped and scraped myself up a bit. It will not be too long before I've brushed myself off. And stood up again. And kept going on my road of life. And soon the scrapes and bruises will be healed and I'll be dancing and twirling along my road again.
*Not that it's nice to be experiencing this right now, but it's nice to know that I'm still alive and still being tested. That I've got things to learn from this low time and that the Lord knows me enough--that I can make it through this, and loves me enough--that He won't let me go through this alone.
*I may be looking in the mirror and seeing all the flaws. The peeling skin. The red, burning patches. All the scars. The horribly frizzy hair streaked every day with more and more white and gray. But at least I have a face! Not that there are many people out in the world who don't have one. I mean, I have
-two working eyes
-two working ears
-a mouth that can eat (always a plus), speak, and especially sing
-a smile that will come back very soon I'm sure.
-Hair! Even in its shortened state, I still have it. And so many others do not. Rather the frizzy brown-white-gray mess than nothing at all!
-the psoriasis is still fairly contained after these 17 years, so it's not as bad or as painful as others' cases.
-Make-up. It really can do wonders.

And there are so many other things that the Lord is sending my way to help me feel His love even more.
*Just now I was listening to today's broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. And MoTab sang one of my favorite songs from our recent Sterling Singers Christmas concert. And it was beautiful. And in that song I know the Lord was trying to tell me, "Remember Me. I love you."
(Here is a recording of the song by another choir, with the composer accompanying on piano. So, so beautiful.)

*I have my iPod full of my music. Music that always uplifts me. The Sunday playlist especially.
*Not the fondest of 1pm church time, but I do get quite a lot done in the mornings--getting all the stuff read for the lessons, and working on my calling. Having time to commune with the Spirit, to feel closer to my Savior on this His day.
*I got to dance last night. With many partners--some who were very good and put up with all my mistakes.
*I had some fabulous food yesterday and started the day off with a tropical shake--fresh coconut, fresh pineapple, fresh mango, fresh strawberries, and a vanilla bean. And I've still got plenty of food to last me for days.
*The Lamb of God solo auditions yesterday. I don't think I will be chosen for a part, because there were so many amazing people who auditioned, but it was such a lovely experience listening to all of those beautiful, talented voices singing some amazing music.
*Only having to work 3 hours yesterday. Saturday's are not my favorite days to work, so only having to do a portion of it was very nice.
*Rain! Any precipitation is great for us in the winter. I'll take it in whatever form, though rain is a lot easier for me to drive in. And means I didn't have to shovel my 90-foot driveway.
*My home. It still stands. It is in working order. It is an unexpected source of stability when I didn't think I would have that in my life right now.
*My health. So many getting sick around me, and I've gone more than a year without any cold, flu, or other ailment. It has been an even greater blessing for that because of all the added responsibilities I've had in the last year. I know my number is coming up soon, but I'm still grateful that right now I'm breathing free and full of energy.
*Clothes to wear. I might be getting tired of these clothes--some that I've had for 8 (or more) years. But I've got them. And they are in good condition. And they keep me warm and covered. And there are plenty of them. Plus I have the accessories of coats and things to keep me warm in the winter. And a few things to add some sparkle.
*Books. How can anyone be sad for long when there are books in the world?
*The Gospel. I know it, I live it, and I love it. But I also have it.
*My Savior and my Heavenly Father and the Spirit. All three are always there for me. An everlasting, underlying peace is always with me because of Them.

See? Already feeling better. Hold to these Pollyanna Positive Points, keep adding to them, and I shall pass through this very soon.

Gospel Message Day 108

Obedience, Part 5

More obedience scriptures from the Book of Mormon.

2 Nephi 31:7
Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.

The Lord, though perfect and righteous and immortal, was still obedient. He still subjected Himself to Heavenly Father's will in order to save each one of us. Best example ever.

Mosiah 2:32-33
But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye listto obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah.
For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinkethdamnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge.
We are to be obedient, but we need to be sure that we obey the right source. The evil spirit wants us to obey it. And its way will always appear or seem easier, more popular, or even more prosperous than the right way. But we've been told over and over what the right way is. We need to remain faithful to what we know is truth and righteousness, and obey the correct spirit.

Mosiah 5:8
And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.

I love this plea for obedience, because our salvation only comes through the Savior. (The whole chapter is on this, and it's great--I recommend it.) No other way for us to be saved. Our reliance on Him is necessary, but our obedience is voluntary. King Benjamin's pleas are probably the pleas of our Father as well: obey the Christ and not only be saved, but receive eternal exaltation as well.

Alma 3:26-27
And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.
For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. And thus endeth the fifth year of the reign of the judges.
Another reminder that we must choose which side to follow, and that we will reap the rewards (whether good or bad) depending on which side we obey.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gospel Message Day 107

Obedience, Part 4

Book of Mormon obedience scriptures! Well, just one for today because the story is a good one.

1 Nephi 4:18
Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

Wow, this verse out of context to one who does not know the story might be a bit startling! Laban was a very wicked man. Nephi and his brothers wanted the scriptures to take with their family, so that they could have the word of God. Laban didn't want them for their spiritual value. And he robbed the brothers of their belongings and threatened to kill them. Nephi prayed for help on the 3rd attempt, and upon entering the city, he found a drunk Laban and received a command from God to kill him. Previous verses (12-17) give a little reasoning behind that:
And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
We have seen in our history how one man can cause so much evil and harm (e.g., Hitler, Osama, Hussein, Kaiser Wilhelm, particular leaders of my own country whom I shall not name right now). I'm not saying that this would have been an easy commandment for me to follow. Probably one of the hardest for me. You should have seen me in our debate in my junior history class, on the side against  the death penalty. Human life is precious, no matter what that human has chosen to do with theirs. I don't feel it is our part to play God and decide who lives or doesn't. And even if He were to command me to take a life to save millions in a nation, it would still be one of the most difficult things of my life. I hope I am never faced with a command like that.

But I am faced with other commandments that are hard for me. Perhaps not as equally hard. But they are tough enough for me to follow. Yet I know it will be worth it for me to obey them, and that I will be greatly blessed in the end if at least for being obedient.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gospel Message Day 106

Obedience, Part 3

New Testament scriptures on obedience!
Matthew 8:27
But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Matthew 26:39
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Luke 11:28
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
John 8:29
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him
John 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Acts 5:29
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Romans 5:19
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Hebrews 5:8-9
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him
1 Peter 4:17
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I love these. There is counsel (and warning) about us being obedient and what might happen if we do not. (Really like the Romans scripture about how obedience or lack thereof affects others.) There are also examples of how the Savior was obedient. The Savior was unfailingly obedient. He did not always find it easy, but he did so willingly, sincerely, and full of love. In this He is yet another example of how we should be.