Saturday, February 26, 2011

My thoughts on "Two Brothers Apart"

This video really touched home for me. In my life I have found relationships, especially with those in my family, to go through ups and downs. When living the teachings of our Savior, we are able to mend relationships, no matter how bad or tattered they may seem. I firmly believe that our Heavenly Father and our Savior care about the details of our lives, and when we turn to Them, they will soften our hearts and make weak things become strong unto us. I know that the Savior lives and loves us. He has changed my life and the lives of my family members and I know that He can for you as well. Families are eternal.

Want to learn how families can be together forever? Visit

Two Brothers Apart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Joseph Smith the Prophet

*" I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true: and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."  - Joseph Smith Jr.

Have you ever had a burning question of the soul? A question that no one seems to be able to answer? A question that eats you inside and out every day you don't find a solution? I have, and so did someone else. As a young man, Joseph Smith wanted to know what of all the many churches he should join. Growing up in up-state New York in the early 1800's, a large religious revival had taken place and churches were everywhere. Joseph stated, "...great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, *"Lo, here!" and others, "Lo, there!" ". However, although he was persuaded to join many different churches, he was confused as to which one was the right one to join. All the pastors and ministers of the different denominations seemed to argue one with another about doctrinal points found in the Bible. Joseph recorded,

*"While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Espistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  This passage hit Joseph to the very core, and he knew that the only way for him to find the answer to his burning question of what church was correct and right was to ask God.

On a spring morning in 1820, Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees that was behind his house. Not being much of a prayer, he decided that he was going to go and offer his first vocal prayer. It was a beautiful morning. In his own words he recounts,

*I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me....When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

That day the world changed. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ really did in actuality appear to Joseph Smith. Revelations have not ceased among men! A new prophet was called in these days to lead and guide the church of God just as in the days of old. I am a witness that Joseph Smith really was called to be a Prophet. Was he perfect? No. Do we worship him? No. However, through Joseph Smith, our merciful Heavenly Father once again brought forth His priesthood power, the authority to baptise, establish and run His church, and to lead His disciples on the Earth today.

Not sure if this is true? Do you have doubts that Joseph Smith really did see God? There is a sure way to know. All prophets bring forth fruit. With the priesthood power that was given to Joseph Smith from on High, he was able to translate a book of ancient scripture that is comparable to the Bible. This book is called the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and all that He stands for. I testify that if you read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart if the book is true, you will get an answer of its legitimacy. If the Book of Mormon is true, then that is evidence that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, he couldn't and wouldn't make it up. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the priesthood power is back on the earth and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church back on the Earth again. I KNOW this to be true. I have done it myself and am a living witness of the divinity of Joseph Smith the Prophet and the Book of Mormon.

Test it. Read it. Pray about it. What do you have to loose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything.

* Excerpts from Joseph Smith's History

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let Him Lift You

A couple of Summers ago I worked at a Youth Ranch in the Teton Mountain Range called Badger Creek. There, I was part of an incredible experience to help shape the lives of youth from all over the country. We were able to have a week of intense fun doing all sorts of activities including high and low rope COPE courses, white-water rafting, horse-back riding, and hand cart trekking. I have never had so much fun in my life taking those youth around and watching them as they created their own life changing experiences.
During one of these hot, summer days was an experience that I will never forget.

I was on top of  a high ropes course tower called "the climbing tower" which involved the youth climbing up a rock wall belayed by their fellow teenagers down below. When they got to the top of the climbing tower, they climbed over the edge and stood on a platform that was at the top. They would then be unstrapped from their belays and hooked onto a separate carabiner that was connected to a sturdy strap and a zip line. They were then told to jump off the platform into the abyss and have the faith that the equipment would hold them. It was pretty intense to say the least.

While at the top of the climbing tower one day, it was my responsibility to make sure that the kids made it to the top of the tower safely, were strapped correctly to the zip line, and were able to get back down to the ground with no injury. I was looking over the edge of the climbing tower at the boys and girls that were excitedly scrambling up the wall. They were having so much fun and most wouldn't even take a second of hesitation before hurling themselves off the tower on the zip line. There was, however, a young woman who started making her way up the wall. She was shy, and tentative in the first place to begin climbing. I watched her carefully and her belays to make sure that all went smoothly. After getting about a third of the way up the wall she stopped. "I can't make it" she said. "Let me down." It made me sad that she wasn't going to continue the rest of her way up the wall after all, so many had succeeded before her. I called to the other youth to give her encouragement. This helped a little as she began once again to slowly inch her way up the wall. As her strength gave way she stopped and pleaded to be let down. It would have been easy for me to tell her belays to let her down, but I just couldn't let her fail. I bent over the side of the wall and talked to her. "Becky (name has been changed), I KNOW you can do this. Here, I will reach my hand down to you. Just make it to my hand and I will help you up the rest of the way." She was panting and she had perspiration running down her face. There was a moment where I thought she wouldn't do it, but then the strength came. With a look of determination, she pursed her lips and once again started up the wall. The space between my outstretched hand and hers became shorter and shorter until finally, she caught hold of mine. I clasped on with both of my hands and helped her up the rest of the way with the cheers of her comrades beneath her. She had made it! After giving her a hug and fastening her into the zip line, I turned to her and said, "Now here is the real test of your faith. Jump off the tower and trust that the equipment will catch you." She hesitated for a moment, looked around, smiled, and then hopped the tower into nothingness. I was so proud of her!

This experience has since made me think. We are all going up our own climbing walls in life. Some times the wall is steeper than other times. Once in a while we may loose our strength and feel as if we cannot make another step up. I have felt this way many times in my life and I know that I will feel it again. However, if we are only to look up to who is at the top of the tower, we will find our loving Savior, even Jesus Christ standing up there to greet us. He can see the full picture and our progression. He knows that we can make it up the wall if we but try a little longer. When we feel like there is nothing left but to go downwards again, He reaches out His hand to us to help lift us up. It is up to us to let Him. If we just go up a bit further than we think we can, grab His hand, and hold on, He will lift us to places that we never could have imagined. Once at the top of that trial, that mountain, whatever it may be, it is then up to us to trust in Him to lead us the rest of the way, even if we can't see the path in front of us. I testify that I know that the Savior lives and He is there for each of us as we turn to Him. His hands are always outstretched. Let Him lift you!

Welcome by Del Parson

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Be Strong, and of a Good Courage.

Do you ever feel like life is crushing in on on you? Do you ever wake up in the morning thinking, "Why? Why do I have to go another day? I don't know if I can handle this again." I know I have. Fear and discouragement is something that has the tendency of eating us from the inside out. Fear is the absence of faith. Not to say that when we are afraid, we are bad people because we don't have faith; however, when we fear, then we are not relying on the Christ, who is the center of all hope. We can do all things through Him.

The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi has a moment when he is overwhelmed by his sins and the sins of his people. He becomes discouraged and upset at how easily mankind is susceptible to sin. However, his attitude is turned completely around as he looks up to the light rather than down to the darkness. His words are so inspiring and uplifting:

"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.....yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God." 2 Nephi 4: 28-35

Incredible. I have found that in those moments when I don't know if I can go on another day because of the fear, anxieties, or whatever else the case may be, simple and sincere communication with our Heavenly Father calms me down immediately. He knows us. He knows us by name and exactly how we feel. Sure, life is hard, but it's ok to cry as long as we keep moving forward.

In the Bible is my favorite scripture. It is in the book of Joshua 1:9 which reads,

" strong, and of a good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest."

That scripture has always spoken so much to me. I find that I am afraid a lot, and when I think of this scripture, it comforts me so much to know that we are NEVER alone. Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS mindful of us and knows how we're doing. There was actually a song written from this song that I have sung before.

"When the world and its temptations seem to call you by name,
be strong. Be strong.
When they question everything you put your faith in everyday,
be strong. Be Strong.
And when your trials seem like they're too hard to bear,
Remember someone else stands by you, who's already been there.

Be strong, and of Good Courage.
Be not afraid, stand firm in the faith,
For the Lord will be with us where ever we go,
Be His, be one. Be strong.

When the world tries to convince you to make the wrong choice,
Be strong. Be strong.
With the noise that's all around you, you can't hear the spirit's voice,
Be strong, Be Strong.
And when you stand for something right and stand alone,
Remember someone else stands by you, in your Heavenly Home.


I still get scared. I still fear the unknown, however, with the help of sincere prayer and the words of the prophets in the scriptures, I know that everything will be ok. W just have to trust Him who is mighty to save. I testify that Christ lives and knows us. We are never alone. Be strong.