April 12, 2013

Just Live It!

     Someone I know is struggling with Their faith. They are following the advise of those who are outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their advise is to stop attending the church, take a few big steps back, and then listen to them. My friend has been following much of this advise and is struggling because of it. Their advise on taking a step back is by taking a step OUT.  I have something to tell those who think stepping back means to take a step out.
    When people take a step back while investigating anything, whether it be a project for school, or a big deal within a company, they take a step back in order to look at the big picture. Taking a step back does not mean take a step out. When an individual takes a step backwards they are still fully involved in the project they are working on, but instead of focusing on individual aspects of the project, they are focusing on the project in its entirety.
     Moroni tells us to what it means to take a step back at the end of the Book of Mormon. When he does this he doesn't tell us to ignore everything we learned. He does not tell us to live contrary to what was taught. Instead he tells us

Moroni 10-3:  Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

He tells us to look at the big picture! From the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things. He tells us to take a step back and look at what God has done for his children, and then ask God if the things we learned and read are true.

If any Christian attempts to tell us to take a step out, and call it taking a step back, they are misguided in what they themselves should know.  Lets take a look at what the Bible teaches all Christianity. Actually let me rephrase that. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ teaches, which is found within the bible. At this point Christ is teaching in the temple. Those in attendance were wondering how he could know what he is teaching if he never went through any proper training to acquire the knowledge. In their hearts they assumed he was teaching them from what he himself was making up. So Christ responded to them; giving them a way to know that it wasn't just made up.

  Johm 7:17 If any man will ado his bwill, he shall cknow of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

 To know if doctrine is of God, LIVE IT! You won't know by taking a step out. The only way to know is by taking a step IN. Searching and learning is good, but living and applying is the best way to learn. You can read about blessings until your eyes run dry, but until you live the commandment attached you will never understand the power of the blessing.

My friend has fallen prey to evil tactics. If you stop someone from learning what the church teaches, then it makes it easier for them to believe any lie about the church you can come up with. It makes it easier to teach a person a partial truth, with an evil twist.

So remember, taking a step back is good, as long as you remain engaged in what you are doing, and look at everything you know to be true. But taking a step out is a dangerous road, that is contrary to the teachings of Christ. There is no progression in knowledge by taking a step out.
I invite everyone to take a step into the church. Live the doctrines and principles you learn. And see for yourself how the blessings of God can improve your lives.

January 14, 2013


     Be obedient to God. It seems easy enough to understand. We all make mistakes and strive to improve upon them. But There is much to learn about obedience. Its one thing to do something because we are told, sometimes a bit grudgingly. It is another to do something willingly. And it is yet another to do something with full faith in God.
     So what if we keep a commandment a bit grudgingly? if you do, did you really want to keep the commandment. Where lies your desire? When a commandment is kept grudgingly it is because we are being pulled or enticed to do otherwise. Sometimes the commandment is kept out of fear of what might happen to our eternal soul. I suppose this is a good reason to keep a commandment, but does this reason get rid of our desire towards sin? Our desire to sin will remain the same, but it was overcome by our fear of consequences. To obey our of fear, or to obey grudgingly, does not change who we are. in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27 Christ says
     "15. And for this cause have I been alifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their bworks."   
     Well all seems well for those to obey grudgingly. Didn't they still do a good work? If they obey by fear alone, doesn't it save them from judgment? It does not. That good work does not count. In Moroni chapter 7 Moroni explains this form of obedience when he says, 
 "For I remember the word of God which saith by their aworks ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
 For behold, God hath said a man being aevil cannot do that which is good; for if he boffereth a gift, or cprayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real dintent it profiteth him nothing.
 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
 For behold, if a man being aevil giveth a gift, he doeth it bgrudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with areal intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
 10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
 11 For behold, a bitter afountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he bfollow Christ he cannot be a cservant of the devil."

 If our desires remain evil, although covered by vain obedience, it is not counted as good. If we find ourselves grudgingly keeping a commandment or being obedient to our church leaders, we should take a good look at ourselves and recommit to doing good and ridding ourselves of evil desires.

It is good to keep a commandment willingly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But sometimes we are blinded to the fact that we aren't keeping a commandment at all. Lets look at the story of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He was asked to go and get the scriptural records from an evil leader. His response is the perfect example of obediance  in 1 Nephi 3: 7

"7 I will go and do the things which the lord has commandmed, for I know that the lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them."

 This is true. The lord shall always prepare a way for his commandments to be kept. Lets look at what Nephi's brothers thought of this. At first, Nephi's older brother Lamen went left willingly to speak with the king and ask for the record. He had to have some faith that it would happen or he wouldn't have left. At this point there is nothing telling us he left grudgingly. His attempt failed. And nephi again spoke up saying

" 15 But behold I said unto them that: aAs the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have baccomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
 16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s ainheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the bcommandments of the Lord."

Nephi did not stop. He knew that they should keep trying because it was commanded to be accomplished. So Nephi took charge and they gathered all of the treasures that their family had left behind to go and bargain for the records. This did not turn out well, and the King attempted to kill them so he could keep the treasures without giving up the records. This is the second attempt that failed them. So now they have no money, and no records. This put a bit of a damper on Nephi's older brother Lamen. Do you blame him? They seemed to have tried everything. The King had many guards around him constantly. They tried being nice, They tried being Thrifty. There was only four of them against an army. Nobody, not even Nephi knew any specifics of a plan that would help them in this case. So Lamen said what many of us might say.

" How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?"

If the lord will accomplish a way, I suppose they could have thought prayed that the lord would send the king out of the city alone with the records and it would be presented to them. But this begs to question, is it the lords will and desire for this to happen? It would sure make it easy on them.
Nephi knew better. He said

"I, Nephi, crept into the city and went forth towards the house of Laban.
  And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
  Nevertheless I went forth,"

 His brothers waiting outside the city... ... ... grudgingly.. ... ... ... He did now know the lords plan, but he knew there was a plan. He knew that if he kept going, the lord would show him what to do. I am sure he prayed many times to know what to do. His obvious answer was not showing him what to do. But he knew what he was told from his father who spoke the words of the lord. Nephi knew the lord commanded him to get the records. He knew the records were in the city with the king. He knew he had to go back. Without an answer as to what he should do, he went back. This is an example of amazing obediance. Many of us may have prayed and waited untill we had an answer. We may think we have faith that the lord will provide a way. But this does not mean he will tell us what that way is. If we wait we are only procrastinating. Don't wait outside the walls of the city like Nephi's Brothers. Lets be like nephi and go forward in obediance with faith that the commandment may be kept.
     Look in your own life at the commandments you have been given. I look at the commandment to share the gospel with others. Is it enough to just live a good life, pray that I will have a missionary experience, and wait for god to give me that experience? I don't think it is. If we have to play a waiting game with any commandment, then we are simply waiting outside the walls of the city. We are not being obedient. Lets not be like Nephi's Brothers and wait outside the walls. Lets be like Nephi, and go forward with faith enough to be obedient.