Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love what is the definition of love,
noun
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

     That is the definition of a word that so many people claim to have for one another, however at times its hard to see it in action! We look around the world today and we see all the wars, arguments, turmoil and many other disturbances that are present in the world. So what is it that causes these feelings?  What is it that causes people to gain hatred for those around them?
    
    I feel it is because we often find the small things that we don't like and dwell upon that, sad isn't it. We can not look past those things, so we choose to ridicule and pick apart someone or something until the feeling is hatred! Take the second definition of the word love and ponder on it, think of the person that set the ultimate example of that definition. Jesus Christ comes to mind when I read that, the ultimate example of love. He ministered to those that were poor, he healed those with a disease that most of us wouldn't dare touch, he LOVED us so much that he gave his life for us so ultimately we could have it back and cleansed from all sin! So as we are directed we should follow the Two Great Commandments found in Mathew 22:

36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38. This is the first and great commandment.
 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
     
      Its that simple, if we but LOVE the Lord our God and our Neighbor as we do ourselves things will change dramatically, I Promise!! So that is the challenge, simply LOVE those around you and you will see a change not only in yourself but in those around you. I know that its LOVE that motivated our Father in Heaven to create this world and let us live and grow and I know that it is by LOVE that he established a plan for us to return to him again. So do as Jesus Christ: Love, Serve, Minister to those that stand in need.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Obey the Law

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" -Article Of Faith: 12
  
      So it is a crazy world we live in today right? It seems as we look around ourselves and we think of how sad it is to not even be able to let our children play in the front yard anymore unsupervised. It is very saddening. We ask ourselves what will help this world become a more safe place?
    
     In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are dedicated to doing our part in making the world a better place. We truly believe in being law abiding citizens wherever we may be. It is important to us. A scripture that is written in Doctrine and Covenants 58, which is a revelation that we have received from God through our living prophets in modern times that I feel outlines the purpose of obeying the law. In verse 21 it states,

    "Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land".
   
    Make sense right? God's laws are greater then man's laws. If we cannot even keep man's laws who says we will be able to keep God's Law. It just isnt possible.
  
     We need to respect and give support to whomever may be in office as well. Whether we live in a country that has a president, king or even a prime minister, we need to do our part to help them. Not always may we like who is in office nor may we even respect him. But we definitely need to respect the office of leadership he or she holds. It does no good to complain and do nothing to help.
   
    I know that as we make it a way of life to keep and obey the laws of the land that it will be even easier to make it a part of ourselves to keep and obey the laws of God. For in God's law rests salvation. Christ was our perfect example of keeping the law. Lets follow him so we can follow the Father as well!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Worship of Choice

"We Claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, were, or what they may".
   
      Throughout the history of the church there has always been blatant persecution against the church. In the early days of the church the members of the church got driven from place to place for no good reason at all and in fact there were many unconstitutional acts that took place as well. One of them was that in Missouri the governor himself issued the infamous extermination order against the Mormons, meaning anyone that was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) could be shot and killed on sight without any legal repercussions at all. Very unconstitutional right?
    
     The point in sharing that was to emphasize how important it is to Mormons that we respect other peoples religious beliefs and dont persecute them but allow them to meet and believe what their conscience says for that was the very desire that we had that was kept from us. Having said this, you may wonder why the church sends missionaries out like myself across the world to preach, teach, and invite people to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized into this wonderful Church. It is a commandment of the Lord to share this wonderful Gospel. In the process though, we must not persecute others. Rather then tearing down other churches and saying what is wrong about them, we must share what we believe and what makes our message unique. We boldly exclaim that God has appeared to man again today. The heavens are no longer closed but Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared in their glory to a prophet of God named Joseph Smith. That is very unique right? Not many churches if any can say that. That is why we want to share it with others because it brings joy, happiness and the spirit!
  
     Wouldnt it makes sense to share with others the Gospel and path that will lead to eternal life with those that surround you? It does to me. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ was sent to the earth to suffer and die for my sins and yours so that if we have faith in him, Repent, are baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and continue onward, then we can have eternal life. It is simple and direct. It is true and I want to share this with you so you can experience the same joys that I feel in my life on a daily basis.
     

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Judgement Day

"We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisical glory".

    This is the 10th Article of Faith for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I was a kid growing up, I am pretty sure that this one perplexed me the most. Mostly because of the big vocabulary words that are in it. The other reason is that it is concerning the last days that have not happened just yet. For the sake of understanding this article, I will not go intricately into it and explain all of it, however I will touch on a few points that have been on my mind as of late because of the different opinions in the world.
   
      During this time of the world we are all looking forward to the time that Christ will come here to the earth. There are different ways that you can look at it though. The first is that you can take a fearful approach, saying do good because you fear your demise or you can do the opposite. You can look forward to that wondrous occasion with love, peace, joy and happiness. Almost looking forward to it in anticipation.
  
     You may or may not have heard of many different groups of people stating that they know when Christ is going to come again. Some say he is coming in 2012 some in December of 2011 and the most popular one right now are those that state that Christ is bringing Judgement Day this Saturday, May 21, 2011.
   
     My purpose in writing this blog post isnt to argue when it is going to happen but is to help instill a 'looking forward' with faith, rather then 'looking forward' with fear.
  
      In 2 Timothy 1:7 it states, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind".
   
     The Lord doesnt want us to fear him, he wants us to LOVE him. The Lord states in Doctrine and Covenants 6:34&36, "Fear not, little flock, do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not"
  
     Those words speak peace to my mind, they are of the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. You dont need to take extreme precautions to prepare for the Lord. What we must do is keep the commandments of God because we love him and will never lose hope.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments" -John 14:15

    Since I am posting this only a few days before the supposed Judgement Day, some of you may read this after May 21. If that is the case you will understand that we are all still here. There are false prophets and there are true prophets. When May 21 comes and goes with out the day of judgement we will know who some of the false prophets are. If you would like to read or learn more about how God has called living and true prophets and apostles today please visit mormon.org
   
 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gods Revealed Will

"We Believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God"-Article of Faith:9
    
      In Amos 3:7 it states,"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets".
    
      Simply stated, if God is going to be doing something, he will do it through a prophet. In times past, God has always reached out in love and has spoken to the world through His prophets. We have convincing evidence of this in both the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. So we understand that God revealed things to His children anciently but why would he stop? Some people may say that he stopped because his work is finished after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ so he didnt need to speak with us anymore because he had given us everything that we needed. If that were the case then pretty much everything following the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) would not be there. No God still spoke to his children after Christs resurrection. The simple answer of why he stopped, or in other words, why the Bible ended is because of our own disbelief.
   
     The prophets and apostles prophesied of this unbelief well before it happened. In 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 it says:    
    "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, norby word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition".

    Paul wanted the people to know that there would be a falling away from the truth before day of Christ, or his second coming, would be there. In addition it states in the New Testament 2 Timothy 4:3-4:
  
    "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables".
   
      Right here, there was a warning that people would endure doctrine that satisfied their wants rather then Gods wants or desires. They believed in what was convenient. They turned from the truth to believe in fables. As is evident, it was us that stopped listening to God, not that God stopped speaking to us. Although their was a time in the period of the world where God didn't speak to us because of our unbelief, that is NOT the case today. The heavens are opened, they are NOT sealed. I testify of this myself. I know this to be true. God is still revealing his will and his word to us today. I know that he will continue to do so forever more. It is his way and it is his pattern. Is not God the same yesterday, today and forever? I am so grateful for this knowledge and I know that it is true! If you would like to learn more of what God is wanting us to hear or understand today please visit click here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Word of God

Life is full of things that make you think and things that tend to get just too out of hand. That is why I'm grateful for what we know as the Articles of Faith. These are simple, yet profound statements that clear up any confusion, doubt, or fear! But the one that has hit me as of late and is of utmost importance to the world today is the 8th Article of Faith which reads:

   We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

There ya go... Simply put and no room for argument, well there is if you want there to be. However, if you read this with a Sincere Heart, you will know for yourself that it is true.
    Let us put it this way. There is a question that has been bothering you for sometime now, but you cant seem to find that one answer that you're looking for. You ask your dad and he gives you an answer. So now you have an answer, however, you still may not understand what it is you are supposed to do. So then you go to your mother. She then explains it again like your father did. Now we're talking! You have an answer and you know what you are to do! Now you can solve the problem or the question that you had! Now as the 8th Article of Faith says we believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.  That is the exact reason that the Book of Mormon was given to us to help us clear things up that we may not understand from the Bible. It is not replacing it at all, just supporting and expounding upon things that are misunderstood. Lets add a scripture here:

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three awitnesses every word may be established.

And that is exactly what our Heavenly Father has done. He has taken his wonderful Gospel into the world by more than just one witness. He has provided several, those being the Bible and Book of Mormon and even the words of living prophets. I know that with these divine witnesses that we have we can come to know our Savior and Heavenly Father more and we can come to an understanding of Heavenly Father's plan for us. Yes it's that simple!!!! Go ahead Order a Copy of the Book of Mormon and come to know for yourself the truth of this book.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Obedience or Disobedience

Have you ever felt total complete guilt for something you did wrong? Have you ever wondered why you felt that?
  
     The other day we were having a missionary  meeting in Santa Rosa and the idea of Obedience came up. This simple statement was made concerning that, "Obedience makes you happy, Disobedience makes you UNhappy". Sometimes people think that being disobedient, or going against what they know is right makes them more free and it is more fun. The complete opposite is actually true. I can personally testify that the most happy times of my life have been when I was being completely obedient. Now, was it worth it? Was it worth giving up the temporary 'fun' for the happiness that can last? Of course!
   
     Now just the other day I had a dream that illustrated this exact point. It was a dream that will have an eternal influence upon myself. It really helped to put things into perspective. Now I didnt do anything bad in the dream but nonetheless I still felt the feelings that I think would be felt from being disobedient. It is perfectly illustrated in this scripture in Mosiah 27:28-29:

  "Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more".
   
    Those feelings really put things into perspective for me. I need to stay completely and totally obedient at this time in my life and in the future I need to stay steadfast and immovable in keep the commandments of God. Complete and total obedience is the way. I know that to be true. It is the way in which we can feel the happiness that our Heavenly Father wants to give us so badly. Stay obedient, dont sway. Stay on the course, for it is on the course that we receive the blessings of the Lord.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Tides of Life

    The past few days it has felt like it has been raining enough to flood the whole earth again. That has drawn my mind to some past experiences I have had with water, this one in particular has had a profound affect on me throughout my entire life and has taught me principles of how I need to live and protect myself from the grasp of the adversary.
   
    In the summer of 2002 my family and I took a trip to San Diego. It was a summer tradition to go and stay at our beach house every year. This was sort of the highlight of our summer. We had so many fun trips there that I will forever remember but this trip has left a lasting impression and a lasting lesson in my mind.
   
     My brother and I were one afternoon playing on the beach trying to keep the ball that we were hitting back and forth in the air. In the process we got very sandy and after a bit we decided to go wash off in the ocean by body surfing. Without thinking too much about it, we both went in without life jackets, or floatation device of any kind. Little to our knowledge there was a rip tide that was going on at that present time. A rip tide is something that pulls water with an extremely powerful force away from the shore.
   
     Before we knew it we both could no longer feel the ground and we realized that we were well away from the shore. We both tried with our might to swim back to shore but it seemed as though no matter what we did we got dragged out further and further from the shore. In panic we kept on swimming, exhausting our energy, which eventually left us weak and with hardly any energy to stay afloat. For what seemed an eternity we were treading water. On a couple of occasions only staying afloat because of my brothers help. A surfer stopped and helped us at one point to stay afloat but it wasnt until the life guard came out and pulled us to safety that we truly felt safe.
    
     Through the tides of life we often run into problems like rip tides that try to tear us away from the safety of the gospel. "Why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to tempations that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?...Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul"(2 Nephi 4:27-28).
   
    So the question remains, how do we stay away from the rip tides of life and if you are in a rip tide of your life, how can you overcome it?

1. Put on your spiritual life jacket-Pray, read the scriptures, attend church faithfully.
2. Stay afloat, dont slip under the water where the tides can have full power over you.
3. Hang onto the good around you and repel evil.
4. Look for the 'life-guards' of life- The words and guidance of living Apostles and Prophets.
    
     As you do those four things you will be doing this: Remembering the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ. I know that there there are those rip tides in our life. Sometimes they seem unavoidable, however, God has given us the power to overcome them and not be dragged down by Satan. We have the power, and it is through Christ that we look to for the source of that power.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Light of Christ

     Saturday, March 12, Bella Palma-Ramon followed the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. I had the wonderful honor of baptizing Bella. It was totally wonderful being a part of the process of her getting baptized. I really wanted to share a bit of her story with you because I think it is amazing.
Elder Miller, Bella, and Elder Millett (Left to Right)
    About six weeks ago we went shopping at Walmart. Yes this is a shout out to how awesome Walmart is. Always low prices yields the most customers and the higher chance you have of running into someone that is wanting to learn more of the Gospel. This was the case with Bella and her family. She and her family moved from Arizona to Fairfield about four months prior and everyone but her had joined the church. Her mom approached us and said that she was a member but hadnt been able to find the church and hadnt seen any missionaries until us. We gave her the address to our church and our phone number if there was anything we could do to help. That Sunday they all, including Bella showed up at church. We went over that night and we found out that Bella was not a member. We asked her if she would be interested in learning more from the missionaries about the Gospel that would change her life for the better and help her draw closer to Christ. She graciously accepted and never turned back. She is one of the most humble and loving girls you will ever meet. It was obvious that she had the Light of Christ within her. As we taught her, her desire to be baptized grew and grew until we all set a goal for her to be baptized on March 12. It was a wonderful day and now she absolutely exudes with goodness and with the Spirit of God. I know that her life will never be the same and that Heavenly Father has so many blessings in store for her. I love the Gospel and I love being a missionary.
(Left to Right) Patricia Florez, Elder Miller, Laura, Elena, Elder Millett, and Bella.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Chief Cornerstone

 Guest Post: Elder James Miller
 "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."  (Article of Faith: 6)
   
    Jesus Christ established His church when He was here upon the earth, and it was a church of order.  The same offices that Jesus Christ established are here with His restored church.  Heavenly Father is a God of order, and because of this His church is organized, but what is the purpose of so many offices and officers?  This answer can be found in the book of Ephesians in the Bible: in the eleventh verse of chapter four of Ephesians, it teaches us that "[Christ] gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, [and] for the edifying of the body of Christ;"    This is the purpose of the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
 
     Christ is not physically here with us, and for this reason He has blessed us inspired leaders to do His work for Him for the benefit of all of us, here on earth.  Although this is the unifying purpose of all of the servants of the Savior, each office, or calling, has its own specific purpose and responsibilities, and each requires great service of time and effort to carry out.  The following are a list of some of the offices established by Jesus Christ and their specific responsibilities:
  • Apostle ~ The word means "one sent forth."  The title Jesus Christ gave to the twelve men He chose as His closest associates during His ministry on earth.  In modern times, Jesus Christ has called other men to serve as His Apostles.  As in former times, as Apostle is a special witness of Jesus Christ and has authority from Him.
  • Prophet ~ The "household of God [is] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.."  (Eph. 2:20)  A prophet does many things for the welfare of the people of Christ including acting as God's messenger, teaching men about God's character, and above all being a preacher of righteousness.  As a rule, however, prophets act as forthtellers, rather than foretellers.  (For more information on prophets visit lds.org )
  • Pastor (Bishop) ~ The word 'bishop' means "overseer."  Hence, Jesus Christ is called the "Bishop of your souls" (1 Pet. 2: 21-25).  A bishop is a common judge of the people for temporal as well as spiritual matters, and acts as the Shepherd of a ward, or congregation.
  • Teacher ~ According to Doctrine and Covenants section 20 verses 53-55: "The teacher's duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them; And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, back-biting, nor evil speaking; And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty."  Teachers also visit the homes of Church members and encourage them to live the principles of the gospel.
  • Evangelist (Patriarch) ~ In latter-day revelation an evangelist is defined as a patriarch.  Joseph Smith taught, "Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints."  Partriarchs are primarily called to give patriarchal blessings to members of the Church.  These blessings give us some understanding of our callings on earth.  They are the word of the Lord personally to us.
~The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles~
  Although these are only a few of the offices of Christ's Church, it is evident that His church is a church of order, where the purpose of His church is to "perfect the saints."  The Church of Jesus Christ is a kingdom of service to our God and for the benefit of our fellow man.  This same organization brings peace and joy, as well as the blessings of heaven to all who embrace the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We, as saints of His church, are led by men called of God today, as we are all led by Jesus Christ, "the chief cornerstone" of the Church.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Man Must Be Called Of God

    "We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof"(Article of Faith: 5).
   In every responsibility in the church whether a primary teacher, a bishop, or an Apostle they are called of God by the same prophecy and are given the authority to do what they do by the laying on of hands by those who already have the authority.
   Isn't that wonderful!? However, who gives us the authority to call an apostle of the Lord? Where did it come from? Jesus Christ himself.
   As shown in the picture above, Jesus Christ called and ordained apostles. He gave them the authority by the laying on of the hands. Now that these apostles had the authority of Christ, they were now authorized to preach His Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof, such as baptism and giving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands as well. They were also able to give that power and authority to others that were worthy of it.
   In 1829, Joseph Smith received the same priesthood authority that Jesus Christ had given to His Apostles. John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus, appeared to Joseph Smith and conferred on him the Aaronic Priesthood. Peter, James, and John (three of Jesus Christ's original Apostles) later appeared to Joseph Smith and conferred on him the Melchizedek Priesthood.
    That is why we have a direct line of authority to Jesus Christ. I know that God truly sent these glorious heavenly messengers to confer Gods authority upon the Prophet Joseph Smith thus fulfilling both in ancient times and in modern times the statement written in Matthew 16:19, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".
    Whenever Christs church is on the earth, his authority will be on the earth and within that very church.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Feet

Today was the baptism of Edward Franklin and what a wondrous occasion it was. It was incredible to feel of the spirit of Brother Franklin as he was baptized. His story is quite an amazing one too. He wrote down his testimony and a little bit of his story and so here it is:

I lived a good life, but there was still something incomplete about my state of being. I discovered my life wasn’t whole, nor was I living up to my full potential. Something told me to wait for a sign, because I felt that I was still here on earth for a good reason. The problem was that I didn’t have a clue as to what that reason was. Just under 2 months ago, Elder Millett and Miller appeared at my front door and ask me if I had a moment to spare. I said yes and we have met every week since then. They explained their mission and gave me guidance with understanding the gospel. Thanks to their persistence and honesty, I have chosen to follow in the same path, to live according to the scripture and to obey our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, our savior. My life is now full of joy, hope and happiness. My intention is to share this with all of my Brothers and Sisters. And February 26th shall be a joyous day, because that is the day of my Baptism and beginning of my new life. A Beautiful Day it shall be.     

It was truly a Beautiful Day. He was so excited that he said he had 'Happy Feet'. Brother Franklin loves the Gospel and is so excited to be a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also says this about the change that he has undergone:

 I am a living witness to the fact that you stated that my life would change and the people have spoken. The people that I worked with years ago stated that I looked as though I had stopped aging. When you are living righteously and have complete faith in God’s plan, this is the end product. I feel good.

Keep feeling good Brother Franklin because the Lord is definitely well pleased with you and has a lot of wonderful blessings in store for you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Best Decision Ever

We had a wonderful experience on February 12th 2011 that was the culmination of many spiritual lessons and amazing visits with Nina and her son Christian. They were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are absolutely amazing and I am so grateful to have been a part of their baptism.
I know this post came a little bit later then it normally would have after a baptism but I felt like I needed to let Nina relate her experience of how this wonderful miracle came about. So here it is:

 This is my story how I converted as a Mormon. Everything started on January 1, 2011. When my door bell rang one evening and it was the Missionaries (Elder Miller and Millett). The Missionaries were sent by my brother Gustavo who became a member in 2004. My brother and his wife Brigita were visiting that night. We were watching Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "You Are My Hands." The Missionaries were coming by to teach me and share the gospel from the Mormon book. As Elder Millett read some scriptures to me, "I felt hypnotized," the spirit was so, so strong that I couldn't blink for a moment. This was the first time I had felt the Holy Ghost in my life. From that point on, the Missionaries continued to come to my house to teach the gospel to me and my son, Christian. We had never felt so good Spiritually in our lives until then. And what made it even more special was when my son told me, "Mom, I really enjoy when the Missionaries come to our house to pray with us." I knew then, that we were both ready for baptism and to be part of a loving family "The Mormon Family".
On February 12, 2011, my son and I were baptized. This was the best decision I have made not just for myself but for my son.

    I also know that this is the best decision they will make up to this point. There are so many blessings in store for this amazing family. As we visited them just the other day both Elder Miller and I were talking about how much we love this family. They are two of the most incredible people that I have ever met. I know we will be best friends forever!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

A way of life

    "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;second, Repentance;third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost"(Article of Faith:4).
     The Gospel is the 'good news' of our savior Jesus Christ who came, suffered and died for us so that we wouldnt have to suffer if we but have faith in Him. I feel that faith is 'believing' and 'doing' coupled together. If we just believe in Christ and dont 'do' what he wants us to do then is that faith? In the same token, if you do everything you can to follow Christ by living a good life but are just going through the motions and don't actually believe in Christ that's not really faith either. Both believing and doing have to be a part of the equation. "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone"(James 2:17). Likewise works without believeing is not faith.
   Those works include Repenting of our sins. Accepting that what we did is wrong, Being sorry for it, Confessing to God, Doing it no more.
   In 2 Nephi 31:11-12 it states, "And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. And also , the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, Like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do".
   God has commanded us to be baptized, why else would his Son who is holy be baptized by water? Christ did it to show us the path that we need to take. He did it to lead by example and to let us know what we must do. "Follow thou me". After we have entered into the waters of Baptism we then become completely and totally cleansed from sin.  However, in John 3:5 it says that we need to be baptized by water AND of the Spirit.
   That baptism of Spirit comes when we receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. I know that the Holy Ghost can help guide and direct us in all things. After we follow these steps we are not done. We need to continue to live the gospel of faith and repentance. It is the way that our Savior has placed before us. It is a way of life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Name of Salvation: Jesus Christ

"We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel"
     In 2 Nephi 31:21 it states,"There is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God". It is only because Jesus Christ came here to this earth, suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, died on the Cross, and was resurrected on the third morning that we are able to be saved. He is the only one that can save us. The wonderful and neat thing is that it is already done. If we follow his teachings and do what he wants us to do, believing on his name, there is nothing holding us back from the kingdom of God at all. It is one of the most comforting feelings that you can ever have. We can choose to change ourselves and when we choose to change ourselves by being obedient to His laws and ordinances, we choose to follow Christ to obtain salvation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Adam's Transgression

"We Believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression" (Article of Faith: 2)
   First off, Adam's transgression is the very act of him partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which they were commanded to not partake of. When this happened Adam fell from an immortal being to a mortal being which made it possible for all of us to come to the earth and to obtain a body.
   It is a common misconception that since Adam and Eve fell, all of their descendants would be born innately evil. We actually believe that children are perfect when they are born and are not punished for Adam's transgression but 'are alive in Christ'(Moroni 8). If you don't believe me then do the simple test of looking into the eyes of the nearest infant or toddler to you. Is there any speck of evil there? Of course not. They are completely innocent. Although innocent, these children, as they grow up are subject to temptations which is where the idea of being punished for their own sins comes in.
   When we say punished, we mean that we will be held accountable for our own sins. Since this is the case, we need to resist the temptations that are given to us and we need to always follow the Gospel by having faith and continually repenting (or changing) of our sins.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

His Only Begotten Son

    At around 1842 Joseph Smith received a request from a man named John Wentworth to send in an article that would describe the history of the church and a write up of the basic beliefs of this relatively new church so as a result we received what is called the 13 Articles of Faith. I know and believe that these articles are true and they represent the wonderful restoration of the fulness of truth here upon the earth. It truly is glorious. Over the next weeks or so I will be blogging specifically about each article of faith to help us all understand them. One of the things that is often times overlooked when it comes to Mormons is the very first and most fundamental of the 13 articles of Faith.
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
    One of the greatest truths that came forth as a result of the Restoration was this very knowledge. It is illustrated best by the first vision that Joseph Smith experience. He states,
    "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!"
    Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ did in fact appear to Joseph Smith as two distinct and seperate personages. I know this to be true because the Holy Ghost has testified of it to me.
    In Matthew 3:16-17, it is also very evident.
 "And Jesus, when he was abaptized, went up bstraightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the cSpirit of God descending like a ddove, and lighting upon him:
 And lo a avoice from heaven, saying, This is my bbeloved cSon, in whom I am well pleased."
   I do believe that God literally sent His Only Begotten Son into this world and that we can now listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter who brings all truth to our remembrance.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Life Saved

     Sometimes as a missionary I dwell a lot on the past experiences that I have had as a missionary. Some have been sweet but others have been heartbreak hotel. It is always the sweet experiences that keep me going through the challenges of being a missionary. One of those sweet experiences that I have had the privilege of being a part of was the conversion of Tammy Guardino. She is full of faith, determination, and confidence but it wasn't always like that. As my companion and I were sitting in our apartment we were wondering, who do we need to go visit. As we were going through some records Tammy's name really stuck out to us. We felt like it was important for us to go visit her.
      In our first meeting with her we met in the garage and she expressed all her beliefs and it struck me as she was sharing, she believes everything that mormons believe! I told her this and she was more curious so she invited us in to have soup because it was cold and rainy outside. We read many scriptures with her that were in the Book of Mormon that pretty much said exactly what she believed and so we invited her to come to church. She readily accepted the invitation and sure enough just as church was starting Sister Guardino came walking in.
    She had such a wonderful experience and found some old friends there too. Every time that we were able to visit her after that it was a spiritual experience. We gave her the movie called 'The Restoration' and she watched it over and over again. At one point in the teaching she stopped us and in tears expressed that this is what she had been looking for for years. She now was no longer confused but knew exactly what she needed to do. She was going to be baptized. She was so grateful that we had taken the time to come over and said, "When you came over, you two saved my life". I am so grateful that I could be there to help someone that was searching for the truth. Although I was unable to attend, Tammy was baptized on January 8, 2011. She has come through so many challenges and trials but is now proud to say 'I'm a Mormon'.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Desire Fulfilled

  These two fine young men are Joseph and Daniel Salas.  They were baptized in the Fairfield 1st Ward on January 8, 2011.  Although how they came to find the gospel is common to the world, their lives are unique and full of faith.  Joe and Dan grew up in a home where the Spirit of God was present.  They grew up knowing of their Heavenly Father and knowing that He loved them, no matter what they chose to do in life.  Thanks to their stalwart mother and grandmother, they were prepared since birth to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thanks to an obedient grandmother, who also loves the Lord, Joe and Dan attended church at a young age.  They always had the desire to be baptized, but just didnt know how to do it. When the missionaries were able to teach them the Gospel they knew it was true and now knew how they could be baptized. They are great examples to their family and friends, and desire only to be obedient and to serve the Lord.  We can learn from their examples, that consistent obedience and diligently seeking can produce the fruit of our desires. It was an amazing baptismal service and the Spirit was there. After coming out of the water both Joe and Dan expressed Gratitude for helping them take the step they had wanted to take for so long and guiding them into the waters of Baptism. If you would like to learn more about what Joe and Dan believe check out mormon.org!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christ Is The Plan

    From a talk given by Bruce C. Hafen that I have been studying lately many thoughts have come into my mind concerning the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. His suffering and dying for us that He performed to make us whole and to help us be with the Father once more.
     This is a quick excerpt of the beginning of the talk:
     In recent years, we Latter-day Saints have been teaching, singing, and testifying much more about the Savior Jesus Christ. I rejoice that we are rejoicing more.
      As we “talk [more] of Christ,” 1 the gospel’s doctrinal fulness will come out of obscurity. For example, some of our friends can’t see how our Atonement beliefs relate to our beliefs about becoming more like our Heavenly Father. Others mistakenly think our Church is moving toward an understanding of the relationship between grace and works that draws on Protestant teachings. Such misconceptions prompt me to consider today the Restoration’s unique Atonement doctrine.
      The Lord restored His gospel through Joseph Smith because there had been an apostasy. Since the fifth century, Christianity taught that Adam and Eve’s Fall was a tragic mistake, which led to the belief that humankind has an inherently evil nature. That view is wrong—not only about the Fall and human nature, but about the very purpose of life.
    I want to focus a little bit more on the idea of Adam and Eve's Fall being a tragic mistake and that man is inherently evil. Was it really a mistake or was it a part of the Plan of our Heavenly Father. Are we inherently evil or do we have the Light of Christ within us that helps us choose him?
   First off, God is omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, and all knowing. Would He honestly allow a mistake to happen in His plan? I dont think so, he is Perfect. In 1 Peter 1:19-21 it states, "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was mainfest in these last times for you... that your faith and hope might be in God".
    I testify that Jesus Christ was called and prepared to be the Savior of the world before the world even was. Even before Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. So why was he prepared to be the Savior for us? Because we were going to need saving. God knew that Adam and Eve would be tempted and would fall and so in his infinite love he prepared and 'sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins'(1 John 4:10)
   In other words, Christ coming to the earth was not a backup plan just in case Adam and Eve fell, he was The Plan. I know this to be true.
   And are we inherently evil or is our evil a result of living in a fallen world full of temptation?
   Going to the root will reveal the answer, when we are born we are perfect and we are not inherently evil. Did not Christ say, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 18:3-4). If children are not perfect in the eyes of God how could they enter into the Kingdom of Heaven? "Men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression"(Article of Faith: 2).