Is there a God?
4th June 2022 10am
Do you think you’re crazy? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone. But I’m also here to tell you, you are not crazy.
You know that feeling inside the pit of your stomach? Where something feels…cringy…? Many may refer to it as your gut feeling or gut instinct.
Well, I ignored this feeling and eventually I was deceived because of my choice to forego any cringy or “something doesnt feel right” feeling.
Let me explain. Hi, if this is your first read of my journal entries, welcome. I’ve struggled with an onslaught of addiction and behaviors that really don’t show my appreciation and gratitude for what I have been given in life. My choices have lead me down some dark paths. I believed I had finally found the way out, and I did! But just as I thought I was at my strongest point in life, through a spiritual, temporal, and emotional lens, I was hard-core blindsided because I didnt listen to the “cringy-something-doesnt-feel-right” feeling.
I had an influence in my life who quoted scripture, prophets, and claimed to be receiving revelation and promptings from the spirit, and this was someone I considered to be a close friend. Someone I’ve known over the last 5+ years. We went to church together, we worshiped together, we cried and laughed together. This was someone I trusted.
This experience taught me a potential pattern of philosophies of men mingled with scripture. This could also be repharased as philosphies of friends mingled with scripture. Especially if used to persuade, manipulate or brag about ones spirituality and ability to receive constant revelation, as if they have am open conduit from heaven and God is speaking to them 24/7.
I thought I was a bad person because I wasn’t receiving constant revelation like this person. On may 17th she called and claimed she felt prompted to call me. I was in the middle of listening to a podcast from a locap therapist. I thought he had some good tools he was teaching the listener, so I wondered if I was being led astray and my friend was here to teach me truth.
I told her I only had 5 minutes to talk. I had left her a voicemail to apologize about something I had done, and she said Heavenly Father wanted her to tell me that His spirit had withdrawn from me, and that I didn’t owe her an apology, I owed Him and apology. This didn’t make sense because I had already asked for forgiveness. So I wondered if maybe I wasnt sincere, so then I believed what she said because I have an addiction and struggle daily! I truly thought she was talking with God and He was telling her these things, even though I reasoned against it several times.
So she portrayed God as continously talking to her. She spoke as if Heavenly Father were really talking to her, and even thought “something didn’t feel right” I thought it was because I was, for lack of a better word, not worthy and not able to have the God’s Power in my life.
BEWARE THE PHILOSOPHIES OF MEN MINGLED WITH SCRIPTURE
I’d like to say I have the truth, but really truly the only way to truth is through the Savior. I am just a person, and I can’t lead you. Only through Christ, the Lord omnipotent can truth be received.
I thought I was being lead to truth through another person, and thus experience REALLY hurt.
In 2016, I decided to leave Amy habits and behaviors behind. This was hard! I had to move and get rid of things that tied my mind back to people and situations that caused triggers and flashbacks to painful memories.
During this process I had to leave friends behind, but I also prayed for a new friend. A true friend. And along came, *Diana. We weren’t bosom buddies at first, but over time we shared a lot of spiritual knowledge and quests together. Our lives seemed to parallel one anithers in regard to trial hardship and other spiritual pursuits.
We’ve been in each other’s lives for the last 6 years. I definitely felt connected to her, perhaps more so than to my husband. THIS WAS NOT OKAY. And I wondered about thus off and on again. I just felt more spiritually connected to Diana. She often shared “revelations” and “promptings” she was receiving. It seemed she had a continual conduit of knowledge from the heavens.
I felt inspired by her, but at times… something didn’t feel right in the pit of My stomach. That gut instinct seemed to signal something was off, especially since this past March of 2022.
She bore her testimony about the Savior, and I just remember feeling…uncomfortable. I thought this meant there was something wrong with me! I remember being taught that spirit recognizes spirit, and “bad” is uncomfortable around “good.”
Well, I still have many habits that take me away from Christ, so I thought, there was something wrong with me because of my addictions. So I began to mistake the cringey feeling for this idea that Diana’s better than me and I’m worse than her. I felt shame, guilt, all manner or yucky feelings!
She repeatedly discussed revelation and promptings she received from Heavenly Father. She often asked if we could pray together. Can you see how I placed too much trust in someone based on what I was seeing over what I was feeling?
“Something doesn’t feel right” is an indicator that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. So. Trust that feeling. Eventually I allowed myself to be deceived. This was a hard lesson to learn. Are you ready for the story?
I WAS DECEIVED. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
I had felt for several years I needed to see a therapist, but then I would reason against this thought. It wasn’t until I was camping and had a dream that is too personal to share where essentially I came to understand I needed therapy.
I began to move forward by calling and leaving a voicemail on one therapists line, and a got on a waiting list for another therapist. In the meantime I began listening to a podcast from a local therapist. He gave some good tips. And then, my friend called. “I feel prompted to call you ” she said. “Oh. Okay?” I can’t even remember all that she said but at one point she instructed me on how to overcome anxiety which I will not repeat here for sever reasons.
I began doing everything she taught me. Even thought, something felt off. Fast forward to the next day, and I believed I was following a true and correct source of knowledge and instruction.
It wasn’t until my sister in law showed up and i shared with her my “revelations” and before leaving she shared with me what she knew to be true. I felt a burning I’m my bosom. A sure way of knowing what I was receiving was truth. I immediately questioned what I had received… and gasped…”I think I have been deceived….” my sister in law looked concerned. She eventually left.
Later that day I went to see a replica of the tabernacle described in the Bible. As I was there I kept questioning everything… had I been deceived? Somethings not right. But what? At the end of the tour, I entered a chapel building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they had the most beautiful music and images of the Savior. Again I felt that same feeling in my chest. Only this time.. it was more of a peaceful feeling that filled my bosom, confirming that this was truth.
I had been deceived. I thought I was receiving light and truth from a correct source. I apologized to several I had potentially lead astray those few days, especially my husband. It was scary. It was truly a scary experience. One that I hope to prevent others from falling for.
I do not have the whole truth. I have bits and pieces. Light and truth can only come from one source. I can only bate witness of what I know and what I believe.
I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Chrsit. I believe that the Savior died for us, so I can live with God and my family again if I live righteously. I have a hope in Christ. I believe in the power of the Holy Ghost. I believe in revelation. I believe that we have living prophets and Apostles that walk the earth today to lead and guide God’s people. I believe Christ’s church has been restored through the prophet, Joseph Smith. I believe all people can come to a knowledge of this truth if they feast upon the words of Christ and experiment to know for themselves. I believe Christ will return to the earth and reign in His glory. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Can Sorrow Be Turned to Joy?
20 September, 2021
My own faith had its beginnings following a time of sorrow.
My father and mother were sheep farmers in New Zealand. They enjoyed their life. As a young married couple, they were blessed with three little girls. The youngest of these was named Ann. One day while they were on holiday together at a lake, 17-month-old Ann toddled off. After minutes of desperate searching, she was found lifeless in the water.
This nightmare caused unspeakable sorrow. Dad wrote years later that some of the laughter went out of their lives forever. It also caused a yearning for answers to life’s most important questions: What will become of our precious Ann? Will we ever see her again? How can our family ever be happy again?
Some years after this tragedy, two young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to our farm. They began teaching the truths found in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. These truths include the assurance that Ann now lives in the spirit world. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, she too will be resurrected. They taught that the Church of Jesus Christ has once again been restored on earth with a living prophet and twelve Apostles. And they taught the unique and remarkable doctrine that families can be bound together forever by the same priesthood authority Jesus Christ gave His chief Apostle, Peter.
Mum instantly recognized truth and received a witness of the Spirit. Dad, however, wrestled for the next year between doubts and spiritual nudges. Also, he was reluctant to change his way of life. One morning following a sleepless night, while pacing the floor, he turned to Mum and said, “I will be baptized today or never.”
Mum told the missionaries what had happened, and they immediately recognized the flicker of faith in my father that would now be either lit or extinguished.
That very morning our family traveled to the nearest beach. Unaware of what was happening, we children had a picnic on the sand dunes while Elders Boyd Green and Gary Sheffield led my parents into the ocean and baptized them. In a further act of faith, Dad privately committed to the Lord that come what may, he would be true all his life to the promises he was making.
One year later a temple was dedicated in Hamilton, New Zealand. Shortly thereafter our family, with someone representing Ann, knelt around the altar in that sacred house of the Lord. There, by the authority of the priesthood, we were united as an eternal family in a simple and beautiful ordinance. This brought great peace and joy.
Many years later Dad told me that if not for Ann’s tragic death, he would never have been humble enough to accept the restored gospel. Yet the Spirit of the Lord instilled hope that what the missionaries taught was true. My parents’ faith continued to grow until they each burned with the fire of testimony that quietly and humbly guided their every decision in life.
I will always be thankful for my parents’ example to future generations. It is impossible to measure the number of lives forever changed because of their acts of faith in response to profound sorrow.
I invite all who feel sorrow, all who wrestle with doubt, all who wonder what happens after we die, to place your faith in Christ. I promise that if you desire to believe, then act in faith and follow the whisperings of the Spirit, you will find joy in this life and in the world to come…
The glorious message of Easter morning is central to all Christianity. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and because of this, we too will live again after we die. This knowledge gives meaning and purpose to our lives. If we go forward in faith, we will be forever changed, as were the Apostles of old. We, like them, will be able to endure any hardship with faith in Jesus Christ. This faith also gives us hope for a time when our “sorrow shall be turned into joy…”Our Sorrow Shall Be Turned into Joy By Elder S. Mark Palmer Of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
How I look forward to the day I will meet my sister Ann. I look forward to a joyful reunion with my father, who died over 30 years ago. I testify of the joy to be found in living by faith, believing without seeing, but knowing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ lives. With all my heart and soul, I choose to follow Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. This blesses every aspect of my life. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Nephi Testified of Jesus Christ -About 559–545 B.C.
Nephi’s words are true—They testify of Christ—Those who believe in Christ will believe Nephi’s words, which will stand as a witness before the judgment bar. About 559–545 B.C.
1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
5 And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainness of the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.
6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
7 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
8 I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.
9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
13 And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.
2 Nephi 33:1–13
Step 4: Truth – Make a Fearless Moral Written Inventory
I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.Nephi
I’ve been working on step 4 across a five year period. I’ve completed the 12 steps in the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints once in 12 years. I’ve restarted the Program several times, but tend to get stuck on step 4.
It seems self-abusive patterns sneak back into my life when things get hard. As I took step 4, I discovered underlying emotions and beliefs that were symptomatic of pride, envy, bitterness, and resentment. I learned the importance to supplement each day with gratitude, faith, prayer, and scripture study. Other vital steps include striving to remember my divine heritage as a child of God, striving to counsel with the Lord, and striving to follow promptings I receive. These daily practices help me step away from addiction and step toward Jesus Christ.
I’ve experienced varying forms of sobriety. In 20 years, this is the longest length of time I’ve resisted temptation, including self-abusive patterns, yet many days I make choices which slide me back to neglect my needs whether temporal, spiritual, or emotional.
I used to physically harm my body, especially during the ages of 15-17. Now, when I self-abuse, it’s in a verbal/emotional form. I look in the mirror or sit on the sofa and listen to the thoughts pick apart my body, my looks, my character, and who I am as a person. I could choose to walk away, I could choose to hum a favorite hymn or familiar tune, but when I’m tired, weary, and worn down, it becomes increasingly difficult to battle the adversary’s blasts of attempts to tear me down.
When we listen to the harmful thoughts, it engages our minds in an emotional self-destructive warfare. We have the ability to choose to tune our mind differently, but we must become aware of what’s happening. Typically, these patterns have seed in our childhood, are immensely difficult to break, and cannot be done alone.
To overcome these harmful cycles, Step 4 deals with telling the truth and making a fearless written moral inventory. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fear in writing our inventory.
The following ARP passages have helped me to navigate difficult memories as I’ve worked on my personal inventory:
Look beyond your past behaviors and examine the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that led to your behavior. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are actually the roots of your addictive behaviors.ARP – STEP 4
Unless you examine all your tendencies toward fear, pride, resentment, anger, self-will, and self-pity, your abstinence will be shaky at best.
REFLECTION ON ADDICTION
This last week, abusive thoughts and temptations infiltrated my mind more often than usual. I’ve been dealing with sickness and lack of sleep. It seems these are times when harmful thoughts are most prevalent. Regardless, I continued to work on my inventory and came to realize how mentally crippling beliefs, attitudes, and emotions affected my destructive decisions.
I was concsciously unaware of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs which existed and continue to influence my reactions, but as I’ve addressed them and made a physical copy of my inventory, I’ve slowly begun to process examine these tendencies in the situations that come to my mind. Prayer and trusting the Lord through your process is key.
In his 96 years, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen many trials. But he says there’s a simple remedy to help us find joy in hard times—gratitude.President Russell M. Nelson on the Healing Power of Gratitude
Gratitude precedes miracles. Thomas S. Monson, 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, described the following biblical experience to illustrate this truth:
In the book of Matthew in the Bible, we have another account of gratitude, this time as an expression from the Savior. As He traveled in the wilderness for three days, more than 4,000 people followed and traveled with Him. He took compassion on them, for they may not have eaten during the entire three days. His disciples, however, questioned, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw only what was lacking.The Divine Gift of Gratitude
“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes. “And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.” We have all experienced times when our focus is on what we lack rather than on our blessings. Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Gratitude is a divine principle. The Lord declared through a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. … “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.” In the Book of Mormon we are told to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.” Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.
Gratitude, combined with faith can bring about miraculous events, including healing. I still have a long ways to go, but I’ve gone almost a year without a MAJOR relapse into eating patterns, gaming, or pornographic pursuits. I’ve had micro relapses but nothing compared to my past addictions. I could not have made it this far without Jesus Christ and His infinite sacrifice through The Atonement. Gratitude is one way to combat these patterns.
I could not have made it this far without the Saviors merits, mercy, and grace. I could not have done this without The Lord and all those people he has placed in my life to help me along my way. I would be a completely different person without my Lord, my God. My Redeemer. The truths I have learned through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ have given me the direction to take, one step at a time.
I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained, the experiences, the trials, and hardships. They have brought me to my knees and have brought me closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They have brought me closer to my family and relationships that uplift and inspire. I have worked on making reconciliation in many relationships and have been working to right wrongs that I didn’t realize needed addressing until going through another one of the Church’s Programs, The Emotional Resilience Course.
My cousin Audrey and I have been working on the emotional resilience course through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints too. This has been a huge help. Yesterday here’s what we covered:
You are a child of God. He is the Father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it” (Boyd K. Packer, “To Young Women and Men,” Ensign, May 1989, 54).My Foundation: Our Divine Identity and Purpose
“Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “How to Define Yourself,” New Era, June 2013, 48).
“You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.
“Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 105).
I know as I remember the truth that I am a child of God and that everyone around me are children of God, a loving Heavebly Father, then I can begin to change my patterns of self-objectification and objectifying others. We are not objects to be acted upon. We are human beings with hearts and souls with divine worth and potential. As I remember these truths I can see others as they really are and I can see myself as a true daughter of a Heavenly King who loves me infinitely and truly wants whats best for me, but I mist choose. It is my choice. A choice a make daily to either follow after truth and light, or to turn away from the Savior. Many times, I turn away! But because of the gift of repentance and because of Jesus Christ, I can change! Glory glory hallelujah I can change!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;Battle Hymn of the Republic
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
2. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat.
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
3. In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
Text: Julia Ward Howe, 1819–1910
Music: Anon., ca. 1861
Doctrine and Covenants 65:1–6
God is truth. God is light. God is love. As I have trusted Him, and let Him direct my path, my joy is fuller, my happiness is more glorious, And my life is more uplifting and fulfilling. I promise that if you look to God, even if you can no more than desire to believe to know the truth for yourself, God will guide you. Just pray. I promise He is there. I promise He is listening. If it weren’t true. I would not be here today! God lives! He will hear you and answer your prayer if you but ask in faith, nothing wavering, to know the direction you must take to follow after truth. I promise if you ask God, our eternal Father in the name of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, in faith, he will answer your prayer.
In the sacred name of My Lord and Savior, He who is most divine, most Holy, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
After She Suffered Abuse, What Was Her Attitude?
[A] dear friend of ours in Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa… suffered terrible emotional, and even some physical, abuse from her husband over a sustained period of time, and eventually they divorced. She never wavered in her faith and goodness, but because of his cruelty to her, she was deeply hurt for a long time. In her own words, she describes what happened:
“Though I said I forgave him, I always slept with a wound; I spent my days with that wound. It was like a burn in my heart. Many times I prayed to the Lord to take it away from me, but it hurt so bad that I strongly believed I was going to spend the rest of my life with it. It hurt more than when I lost my mom at a young age; it hurt more than when I lost my dad and even my son. It seemed to expand and cover my heart, giving me the impression I was going to even die at any time.
“Some other times I asked myself what the Savior would have done in my situation, and I would rather say, ‘This is too much, Lord.’
“Then one morning I looked for the pain that comes from all this in my heart and went deeper, looking for it in my soul. It was nowhere to be found. My mind quickly passed to review all the reasons I [had] to feel hurt, but I did not feel the pain. I waited the whole day to see if I was going to feel the pain in my heart; I did not feel it. Then I knelt down and thanked God for making the atoning sacrifice of the Lord work for me.”
This sister is now happily sealed to a wonderful, faithful man who loves her deeply.
So what should our attitude be if we are true disciples of Christ?
“We can feel enduring joy when our Savior and His gospel become the framework around which we build our lives.”
Behavior Affects Our Ability to Receive Spiritual Guidance
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints explained how irreverent behavior affects our ability to receive spiritual guidance:
“This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.
“The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer.
“Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit” (Boyd K. Packer, “Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22). See also Lesson 19: 1 Nephi 18
In the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, we see an example of this behavior in an Israelite family who fled Jerusalem before its destruction. Nephi, son of Lehi, an Israelite prophet, recorded the following account:
9 And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness.
10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
See 1 Nephi 18:9–12 “They began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness”
As I’ve struggled to overcome multiple addictions, my media selection in particular has impeded my ability to receive revelation and hear the voice of The Lord. My media decisions always preceed later decisions to succumb to temptations. However, when I’m cautious with my media, and choose to focus on uplifting media that doesn’t contain immorality, drug and alcohol use, and violence, I have a better ability to overcome the temptations to return to old habits I want out of my life!
Just keep going. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can testify of the power of spiritual guidance that came as I was first honest and truthful with myself, sought uplifting media and entertainment, and strived to have personal scripture study and prayer more often. This lead to personal revelation which directed me on what I needed to change, and these daily choices continue to allow the spirit to influence mine and my family’s life!
Some examples of change I felt I needed to do, through the spirit, included the elimination and deletion of social media accounts entirely for a time, including my personal email. I was also directed to restrict some relationships or eliminate contact with certain people, whom I loved and enjoyed hanging out with, that later I realized caused temptation to enter my thoughts.
It’s hard to live in a world of instant access and remove ourselves from relationships that impede our progression, but we are to live in the world and not be of it (see John 17:15–17). I testify that as we strive to love the Lord and keep His commandments, he will bless us with the ability to hear His voice. #Hearhim
What Does Salt Taste Like?
The following is an excerpt taken from a 1983 January Ensign article by Elder Boyd K. Packer former apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.
Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)
When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)
Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane.”
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”
As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”
From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)
“To Thine Ownself be True” -Shakespeare Part I/IV
The following is an excerpt from Gordon B. Hinckley’s, October 1975 General Conference address titled, Opposing Evil.
There are millions upon millions of good people in this and in other lands… [Our] situation is far from hopeless… there is no need to stand still and let the filth and violence overwhelm us, or to run in despair. The tide, high and menacing as it is, can be turned back if enough of the kind…will add their strength to the strength of the few who are now effectively working. I believe the challenge to oppose this evil is one from which… [we] cannot shrink. And if we are ever to begin, let it be now.
In that spirit, I should like to suggest four points of beginning:
The first: Begin with yourself. Reformation of the world begins with reformation of self. It is a fundamental article of our faith that “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, [and] virtuous.” (A of F 1:13.)
We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of virtue unless we live lives of virtue. The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves. Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. That man who knows that he is a child of God, created in the image of a divine Father and gifted with a potential for the exercise of great and godlike virtues, will discipline himself against the sordid, lascivious elements to which all are exposed. Said Alma to his son Helaman, “Look to God and live.” (Alma 37:47.)
It is a matter of more than passing interest that the Lord, as he spoke to the multitude on the Mount, included this marvelous declaration: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”(Matt. 5:8.) A wise man once said, “Make of yourself an honest man, and there will be one fewer rascals in the world.” And it was Shakespeare who put into the mouth of one of his characters this persuasive injunction: “To thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (Hamlet, 1, iii, 78–80.)
I should like to give to every [person] within the sound of my voice a challenge to lift his [or her] thoughts above the filth, to discipline his [or her] acts into an example of virtue, to control his [or her] words that he [or she] speak only that which is uplifting and leads to growth.
Why is the adversary targeting the family?
How does the adversary target the family?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf teaches, “Part of the reason for poor judgment comes from the tendency… to blur the line between belief and truth. We too often confuse belief with truth, thinking that because something makes sense or is convenient, it must be true. Conversely, we sometimes don’t believe truth or reject it—because it would require us to change or admit that we were wrong…When the opinions or ‘truths’ of others contradict our own, instead of considering the possibility that there could be information that might be helpful and augment or complement what we know, we often jump to conclusions or make assumptions that the other person is misinformed, mentally challenged, or even intentionally trying to deceive (What is Truth?).
What are the truths of the family?
Sister Julie B. Beck explained the doctrine of the family in her address, Teaching the Doctrine of the Family
“In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation need to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family”
Truths of the Family outlined in the Scriptures
Elder D. Todd Christofferson reminds us that “Prophets have revealed that we first existed as intelligences and that we were given form, or spirit bodies, by God, thus becoming His spirit children—sons and daughters of heavenly parents.3 There came a time in this premortal existence of spirits when, in furtherance of His desire that we “could have a privilege to advance like himself,”4 our Heavenly Father prepared an enabling plan. In the scriptures it is given various names, including “the plan of salvation,”5 “the great plan of happiness,”6 and “the plan of redemption.”7 The two principal purposes of the plan were explained to Abraham in these words:
“And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these [spirits] may dwell;
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
“And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; … and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.”8 (Christofferson, 2015)
President Hinckley believed “it should be the blessing of every child to be born into a home where that child is welcomed, nurtured, loved, and blessed with parents, a father and a mother, who live with loyalty to one another and to their children. I am sure that none of you younger women want less than this. Stand strong against the wiles of the world. The creators of our entertainment, the purveyors of much of our literature, would have you believe otherwise. The accumulated wisdom of centuries declares with clarity and certainty that the greater happiness, the greater security, the greater peace of mind, the deeper reservoirs of love are experienced only by those who walk according to time-tested standards of virtue before marriage and total fidelity within marriage” (Hinckley, 1995).
The family is ordained of God, and the world was created for families. We learn these truths from both ancient and modern day prophets. The spirit of the Lord will testify of these truths as we diligently seek to know the truth for ourselves (2 Nephi 31:18; Moroni 10:5; John 14:26; 2 Nephi 32:5; Enos 1:3; See 1 Corinthians 12:1–12; Moroni 10:8–18; D&C 46:11–33; Moroni 8:26; Moses 6:64–66; see Mosiah 4:1–3; 5:1–6).
Hinckley, G.B. (1995, November). Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World. Ensign, 25, p.102). Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1995/10/stand-strong-against-the-wiles-of-the-world?lang=eng
Christofferson, D.T. (2015, May). Why Marriage, Why Family. Ensign. Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2015/04/why-marriage-why-family?lang=eng&_r=1
Cleansing the Inner Vessel (Links to an external site.) by Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Defenders of the Family Proclamation (Links to an external site.) by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President.
Teaching the Doctrine of the Family (Links to an external site.) by Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President 2007–2012.
Why Marriage, Why Family (Links to an external site.) by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.