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).