Saturday, February 28, 2015

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

The Atonement is the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to help us overcome sin, adversity, and death. Jesus's atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. He paid the price for our sins, took upon himself death and was resurrected. The atonement is the supreme expression of the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Am I "Saved"?


The Lord, in His infinite mercy, has established a church that possesses all the rights and privileges one might claim in order to be saved. Even more exciting, though, is the fact that salvation is available to all who seek it. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are provided with all the knowledge on what it means to be saved, as well as why it's such an important doctrine. Our reference to salvation, when used as a synonym for the word exaltation, means immortal life with God in His kingdom. Consequently, such a blessing can also be enjoyed with family members and loved ones who qualify.

In order to earn such a glorious reward, we must do the these five things:

1. Have faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Repent of our sins.
3. Be baptized in His Church.
4. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. Endure to the end.

To endure to the end essentially means to do our best to keep His commandments for the rest of our lives, as well as obtain a few other ordinances which are similar to baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Full-time missionaries, belonging to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are happy to come to your home any time to discuss these ordinances further. A website that gives further information on how to contact these missionaries is www.mormon.org.

In the meantime, please enjoy the following video clip regarding a plan God has to help us obtain salvation:



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Planning for the Future


I recently took some finance classes at my university. In my class we learned that planning for retirement is something everyone needs to do right now—whether you are 20, 40, or 60 years old. Many Americans face the issue of not having enough to retire at the age they would have liked to because they start planning for their retirement later in their lives.

Although everyone knows that they need to retire one day, many choose to procrastinate their retirement plans. There are many reasons why they wait. They may feel that planning for retirement takes a lot of time, energy, and effort and the task may feel too daunting for them. They may feel that their education is lacking and will wait it out until they gain more experience before investing. They may have a hard time saying no to unnecessary purchases. They may want to socialize and have fun rather than save that money for a goal they don’t currently understand. Because of their procrastination, they may find themselves at a retirement age or forced into retirement due to health issues unprepared.

God gave us all agency to choose for ourselves right from wrong. Like many who procrastinate their retirement plan, many may procrastinate their salvation plan. Planning for our salvation may limit our socializing and may take a lot of time, energy, and effort. It may feel overwhelming and hard at times and we may feel that we’re too inexperienced to understand religion. It may difficult saying no to worldly pleasures and doing something “fun” rather than working for a goal we don’t fully understand. But because of these excuses to procrastinate, we may find ourselves unprepared at the second coming.


I urge all of you, whether you are 8, 38, or 88 years old, to take the necessary time to find out the truth of the gospel for yourself. Read the scriptures and talk to our Heavenly Father daily. Plead for inspiration and understanding. Gain your own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And once you gain that testimony, take action today. Choose today to invest in the Plan of Salvation so you can be prepared at the last day to enter into the Kingdom of God.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Testimony - Keep Strengthening it!!

Through personal experience, I have realized that gaining a testimony is not something that happens just once in your life. Last year, we were challenged to read the Book of Mormon 4 months before Girls Camp. I did this challenge, and prayed and asked God if the things that I read were true. I had an amazing experience in which I found out that the Book of Mormon, and the church was true. I was confident in my testimony for the church, and did not have any doubts. A little while after Girls Camp, I began to have doubts about the church. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I knew that the church was true, I hesitated on my testimony. I didn't know why I was having these doubts. I gained a testimony about this church, so why was I doubting it? Quite awhile passed, before I got my answer. I was in Sunday School, when my teacher said,”Gaining a testimony is something that you do everyday of your life. Once you first gain your testimony, if you don't keep doing the things that you're supposed to, and strengthening it, then your testimony will soon start to falter, and die.” I felt the spirit so strongly when they said that, and I knew that was my answer. I learned that once you gain a testimony of something, you are not done with that testimony. We need to keep strengthening and building that testimony up, so that it will never falter.

                                                                                  -Submitted by Lizzie, a youth in the ward

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Big Picture



I have a close family friend who converted to the church when he was a teenager. He told me that before he learned about the gospel he used to be terrified to go to sleep at night because he didn’t know what would happen to him if he were to die. This is a disturbing question for many, especially when they experience the difficulty of losing a loved one. When my friend learned the truths of the gospel he was finally able to be at peace. The question of the afterlife is just one of many that can make us feel lost in this world. However, L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “We need not be confused. The answers to the puzzling questions regarding the purpose of life have again been given to mankind for our guidance.”  The gospel gives us priceless knowledge about where we came from and where we’re going.  It is important to remember that the gospel doesn’t provide just nice answers to make us feel better but it makes us feel better because it is actually the truth. L. Tom Perry has also said: “We are not left alone to wander through mortality without knowing of the master plan which the Lord has designed for His children.” God has given us the scriptures, a modern day prophet and apostles, and the Holy Ghost to help us understand where we came from, why we are on this earth, and where we are going.

 When we understand the Plan of Salvation, we get the big picture and it can help the things that we are going through on this earth make a lot more sense. Our trials and difficulties need not be senseless struggles that we go through, but we can realize that these experiences are for our ultimate good as we strive to become like God. In addition, understanding life through the lens of the gospel also helps us to know that God is who we should be grateful to when things are going well and to whom we can go for help when things get difficult. The Plan of Salvation is the big picture and the more we learn about it and understand it, the more we will understand who we are and what our purpose is in this life and in the eternities. 

For more answers about the Plan of Salvation, you can click on this link to L. Tom Perry’s talk “The Plan of Salvation”
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pray That He May Interpret


I started taking American Sign Language because it was required for the major I was hoping to get into. To be honest, I wasn't all that excited about it and was just taking it because I had to. I didn't realize it at the time, but I carried some of the stigmas I've now learned so much about. And I thought perhaps it would be “easy”.

Was I in for a rude awakening, huh? Everything I thought was grossly wrong, including that I thought I wouldn't like it. I loved it!! It was such a struggle starting out. But soon I became really passionate about the language, Deaf culture, and the oppression the Deaf face every day.

This semester, though, I started questioning my motivation. I had just been accepted into my major. I felt like I was getting into my “serious” classes. I loved signing, but I felt my drive for ASL dropping. Why was I taking it if it wasn't for my major? I could be using the time to study and spend those 4 credits elsewhere.
I eventually decided that I would continue with ASL. I wanted to learn it because it was a beautiful language that I love and I should take learning into my own hands. But even then, I was frustrated because I felt like I didn't know how to study.

These scriptures I read yesterday in 2 Corinthians 14 helped me. Paul is talking about seeking after spiritual gifts; especially the gift of tongues:

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

I LOVE this! It taught me something really important that inspires me to keep working hard at ASL: I can seek the spiritual gift of tongues so that I can edify the church of God. Heavenly Father will be able to use my talents. and yours, too to build up His kingdom.

Secondly, it helped me know a good way to study: “pray that he may interpret”. My friend recently suggested to me that I pray in ASL. And guess what? It works.  Because of the Spirit, while I’m praying I feel much more fluent and able to express myself. It motivates me to look up words I don’t know so I can pray well. Praying for His help encourages me to keep my motivation for learning rooted in Him.

God will help us in all of our quests for truth. If you ever feel discouraged, like I do, remember these scriptures. Heavenly Father needs the talents we can develop. He will help us learn if seek to use it to build His church.
                                                                                       -Submitted by Karen F.

Monday, February 9, 2015

God the Father, the author of the Plan of Salvation

The devil takes great pride in confusing and blurring our understanding of truth. There are few doctrines more important for us to understand and teach the world than the nature of the Godhead and what their relationship is to us.

What do we know about the nature of the Godhead?

         1.    The Godhead consists of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.
         2.    We worship God the Father through Jesus Christ.
         3.    God the Father is the author of the Plan of Salvation.
         4.    Christ worked out his own salvation by worshipping the Father.
         5.    Christ is the Savior of the world, and the mediator between us and the Father.
         6.    Christ is the way to the Father.
         7.    The Holy Ghost is a Revelator and Sanctifier.
         8.    The Holy Ghost testifies of the Father and the Son.
         9.    Those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost and live worthily,
               have the right to his companionship              
        10. The Godhead is perfectly unified in all things.


I know these things to be true. God works in perfect order. As we better understand the nature of the Godhead we can better access the powers and blessings of heaven. This knowledge is only found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will lead us back to God. It is only after we understand God, we can do His will. This knowledge has been a huge blessing in my life as I teach my children what direction our family must go to be together forever.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Value of Education


We encourage our youth in every country to get an education. Even if at times it seems hopeless. With determination and faith in the Lord, you will be blessed with success. It is a dream well worth pursuing.

The Lord said:

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

“Light and truth forsake that evil one. …

“I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.” (D&C 93:36–40.)

We are counseled to “seek … diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.)

The words study and faith each portray a type of education. First, we are commanded to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

“Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God.” (D&C 88:77–78.)

And we are also “to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion.” (D&C 93:53; see also D&C 88:79.)
-Boyd K. Packer “To Be Learned is Good if…”

I have valued my secular education as long as I could remember. It was important for my mom and it soon became very important to me. I have recently graduated from college and as I ponder on a blessing I once received to obtain as much education that I can, I wondered how I could expand my learning without going to a school. I realized, through this pondering and sitting in my gospel doctrines class, that I didn’t understand the scriptures as much as I could if it were taught in a college classroom. I haven’t fervently studied the scriptures and applied them in my life as I would a concept I learned from school. I don’t study the doctrines like my salvation depends on it. So I realized that the blessing to obtain as much education that I can applies to a learning that surpasses all knowledge found on earth—it is the knowledge of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ taught through the power of the Holy Ghost. It is the knowledge of Their plan for my life—the Plan of Salvation.


I encourage not only myself, but to all the readers to diligently study the scriptures and pray with faith, to really learn of God, and to build your testimony that He has a plan for you here on earth. 


Monday, February 2, 2015

The Plan of Salvation

God has a plan for us. He wants all of us to be happy, not just some of us. He also wants us to live with Him after this life. In His love and mercy, He is doing everything He can to help us get there. He wants Heaven to be a place of peace and happiness. He knows that in order for that to happen, He can only admit into Heaven those who obey His commandments and accept His ordinances. In order to make this easier for us, He has blessed us with prophets and apostles to guide and direct us. Even more importantly, He has blessed us with a Savior, namely Jesus Christ, who frees us from our sins when we repent.

This was a very simplified version of God's Plan of Salvation. The following link will take you to a more detailed, but still somewhat simplified version on the Plan of Salvation from one of our church's official websites:

http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/plan-of-salvation

Following is another link, but which outlines in video format, details on a portion of the Plan of Salvation:


Please also feel free to contact our full-time missionaries. They are set apart to elaborate on gospel principles, including the Plan of Salvation. To chat online with one of them, please click on "chat" in the upper-right-hand corner of the following website's home page: www.mormon.org

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