Showing posts with label Book of Mormon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book of Mormon. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

In 2013 I was reacquainted with my cousin Sindy. We are only a year apart in age and had been close as children, but because of extended family dynamics we didn’t see one another for several years. We both married, had children, lived in San Jose, California and led our own lives… even though we lived only miles apart.

I contacted Sindy when I found out she had stage 4 brain cancer. I was devastated for her, her husband and her 4 children. What do you say to someone you haven’t spoken to in 40 plus years…especially when you know they are going to die?

Well it was much easier than I thought. We just started where we left off years earlier. I could tell Sindy’s perspective on life was very different now. She wasn’t raised in a religious family and really had no need of church and God. But now she was hungering and thirsting for answers. The difficult part was that many of her friends from various religions were trying to “save her soul”. They wanted her to go to their church or have her repeat certain phrases so she could be assured that she would go to heaven. I knew I had to be careful and let the Spirit guide me in sharing the gospel with her.

I sent her a Book of Mormon with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ written inside. I also wrote her a letter assuring her that I knew her soul was just fine and that Heavenly Father was very aware of her and loved her unconditionally. That opened doors to further conversation about the church. I knew the Lord was leading me along this path. I was able to feel His extreme love for her.

One day as she struggled with the effects of chemo, losing her abilities, and hopelessness I asked if she would like a blessing of comfort. I explained what that entailed and she agreed. I asked a former bishop, Steve, in my San Jose ward to visit her and give her a priesthood blessing. Steve is a great man with a solid testimony and is always looking for a good missionary experience. I went to the temple the day before I knew she would be getting the priesthood blessing and our family fasted on Sunday for both Sindy and Steve.

Sindy and Steve formed an instant friendship. It’s as if these two had been friends before. Steve and his companion stayed several hours at Sindy’s home getting to know her, talking about the gospel, and answering Sindy’s many questions. As far as Sindy was concerned Steve “walked on water”. She was so comforted by his presence and his blessing. He explained many truths to her that day, all of which rang true to her.

I thought this would only be a one- time meeting, but Steve stayed in contact with Sindy and reached out to her family (who weren’t interested in the gospel at all). He became a friend to them and was there at Sindy’s side the night before she passed away.

I knew I wanted to do Sindy’s temple work, but couldn’t quite find the words to say to her. Finally Steve gave me the courage to ask. She was delighted, humbled, and felt very unworthy of this blessing. She knew she hadn’t gone to church in her life and felt undeserving. As both Steve and I taught her about “the plan of salvation”, she really began to understand the Savior’s love for her and for all His children. We sent her a paper to sign giving us permission to do her work in the temple. At this point she was so weak she could barely sign her name. But it was good enough. She would remind me quite often that I had agreed to do her temple work. She didn’t want me to forget. It was obvious that it was foremost on her mind.

Sindy passed away February 1, 2015. A year and 3 days later we were at the Mt. Timpanogos temple. My daughter, Kellie, acting as proxy was baptized in behalf of Sindy. What a spiritual feast that was! We went on to do the rest of her ordinance work by proxy and I know that Sindy was there with us.

I learned so many things during this journey. I surprised myself with my reluctance to share the gospel that I love dearly. I’m a convert after all! Where would I be without my friend who had the courage to open her mouth and love me enough to share what she held most sacred and dear? I had forgotten about that special missionary spirit – that special feeling the Lord blesses us with when we share the gospel with others.  I had forgotten that we are the Lord’s hands and voices. If we don’t act and speak, who will? I had forgotten that there are so many who are searching for truth. Would we deny ourselves and others of this great gift?

One of my favorite scriptures is in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”

Sindy and I are forever reunited. We have an eternal relationship that will never end. She is in the spirit world teaching the gospel (very enthusiastically, I’m sure) to our family. I am here trying to gain a relationship with her family so they too can have the blessing of the gospel in their lives.

What’s not to love about this gospel!

Renee

Sunday, May 15, 2016

For Time and All Eternity

During my teen years I developed an unfortunately negative view of and attitude toward marriage and children. Partly this came from experience. Though I have since learned that my parents expressed their feelings of love and tenderness in private, what I too often witnessed were criticisms and arguments. Also, growing up as the oldest of a large family—the tenth child was born during my senior year in high school—I experienced all of the drudgery and few of the joys of motherhood.

An even bigger contributing factor was that I failed to understand certain doctrines and principles and misunderstood others. I thought that marriage and motherhood meant that I had to diminish, to become less than my full potential, to sacrifice the essence of who I was and the things I most desired. I thought I would be miserable! Though I dreamed of romance, I tended to avoid boys and dating because I truly believed in the gospel, the scriptures, and the commandments, and therefore I couldn’t see how I could have the romance I craved without the marriage and family I feared.

I needed to understand why marriage and family were eternal parts of the gospel, and all my prayers and study of the Book of Mormon left me dissatisfied. The first glimmers of an answer came when I went to the temple in August 1992. The Holy Ghost taught me that Heavenly Father was pleased with Eve’s purity and righteous desires. I knew that not only did he love Eve, but he loved all of his daughters, and he loved me. I knew that he would never require of me anything that wouldn’t lead to my greater happiness.

A year later I was serving a mission. As I studied the October 1993 Conference Report, tears filled my eyes as certain talks finally answered my questions. In fact, several of the talks contained doctrines that would be collected, refined, and published two years later in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  (See talks by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Boyd K. Packer.)

In the safety of a mission environment when dating and marriage were clearly against the rules and I didn’t have to act immediately, I felt the first seeds in my heart that marriage and children just might be right for me.

Even though I had a testimony of the importance of marriage in the Plan, it was still hard to exercise the faith I needed to act on it. The real test came almost four years later. I’m ashamed to say that not even an hour after I accepted my husband’s proposal, I told him that I wasn’t sure and needed more time. The problem wasn’t this man I knew I loved; the problem was marriage itself. It was forever, but would it lead to my eternal happiness or misery? The next several hours of uncertainty were agonizing for him and for me. I spent them on my knees, plagued with tears, fears, and indecision.

Finally, as I read from the Book of Mormon, the impression came to me that I could not rely upon my own feelings in this matter but must rely on the witnesses of others. I thought of what I had learned of marriage, and I also had the witness of those close to me, who assured me that he was a wonderful man. That evening I called him and said I was saying yes for real this time. Our very short six-week engagement was filled with more doubts and fears, which I tried to keep to myself, but finally the day came, and in 1997 we were sealed in the Mount Timpanogos temple.


We will have been married 19 years in August, and we have three children. Marrying him has proven to be one of the greatest blessings of my life, and each year gets better! I know that the doctrine of eternal marriage leads to our happiness, and that happiness in marriage results when covenants are made and kept between two people who serve, honor, and love the Lord and each other.

Cedar Hills 10th Ward member (blog post submitted by anonymous)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lead Into Gold

Over two years ago, I sent a Book of Mormon to an inmate who belonged to a gang when he was arrested.  That book completely changed his life.  Recently, I received a letter from him that included the following:

“There’s a style of Asian art [kintsugi] where the artist fixes a broken bowl or a broken flower pot with gold.  So instead of glue or some other adhesive, the artist uses gold to put the pieces back in place.  This creates something beautiful because every crack, chip, and jagged edge is now golden.

“In my broken places, God has given me gold.  That’s how the Atonement fixed me up.  So when I say ‘God has turned my mess into a message’ I’m sincere because, really, I’m a new man in Christ.”

I love that analogy, because I think of God and Jesus as alchemists, turning our lead into gold.  In fact, I see the Atonement as not so much repairing the broken places, but as creating a whole new pot or bowl.  I mentioned this to my friend and he agreed.  Eventually, that pot or bowl—you, me—can become gold.

Dave Trottier

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blessings from Following the Prophet's Counsel

I know our prophet is a seer. In the Book of Mormon, the missionary Ammon explains this beautifully to King Limhi  "A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed ... and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them." (Mosiah 8:17)  We cannot foresee things to come but our prophets can.

The prophet’s admonition for mothers to stay home where circumstances would allow was a counsel my husband, Chuck, and I had decided to follow long before we were ever married. But now that we would soon be having a baby it didn’t seem like such a good idea. We had just purchased a new home which I wanted to pay off as quickly as possible, so staying home just wouldn't work. Conflicted in how to proceed, we prayed for guidance. The answer came clear to both of us, “Follow the prophet's counsel. Stay home.” I questioned, how would we make ends meet? How would it all work out? Not knowing the answers to these questions was unsettling, but we didn't hesitate to follow the counsel we had received.

I quit my job which cut our income in half. My husband got a second job to make ends meet. I remember living off what little food storage we had and what seemed like many, many, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodle nights. We welcomed our first baby boy, Bradley, into the world shortly after and things did not get any easier. With only one car, I would drive my husband to and from work with newborn baby in tow. He worked from 6:00 am - 4:30 pm and then from 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm. I wondered how in the world the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home was truly blessing my life at this time, when all it was doing was making it miserable for both of us. I felt guilty staying at home as I watched my husband work two jobs. I was spending all this time at home enjoying my baby while my husband sacrificed time, energy and sleep. This could all easily be resolved if I went back to work; after all, our baby was so little, he would never remember if I was home with him or not. I prayed again and the answer was the same.  “Listen to the prophet, stay home”.

We obeyed, but still things did not improve. In time, we ended up having to sell the home we thought we would grow old in. We moved into an extremely humble apartment not too far from my husband’s work. Defeated and discouraged, we clung on to the promise that we would be blessed for following the counsel of our prophet.

Everything would come to light just a few weeks after moving into that apartment. My baby was now 22 months old and during a doctor’s visit, for what we thought was a knee sprain, we were told that our son had terminal stage 4 neuroblastoma. In an instant our world was turned upside down. For the next 15 months our dear son would endure aggressive treatments and surgeries that made him extremely ill and frail. Now I knew why I needed to stay home. Because of the changes we had made, I was able to stay at the hospital with our son and care for him as long as it was necessary. As time continued, no amount of praying, fasting, or pleading would save our son. Three weeks before his 3rd birthday, while I held him in my arms and expressed our deepest love for him, he returned back to our Father in Heaven. Our hearts shattered into a thousand pieces that day.

During one of many difficult nights that would follow after our son's passing, I was impressed to read from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi Chapter 17.


As I read through the account of Jesus Christ’s visit to the Nephites, I was impressed by how much he loved them, and blessed them and their little children. I felt that same love from our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ at that very moment. It was such a personal witness to me that our Savior knew of our circumstance, loved us and loved our son deeply. The Spirit bore witness that our son was happy, free from sorrow, sickness and pain, and that he was not alone but surrounded by angels just like the Nephite children were so many centuries ago.  I was brought to remember that our temple marriage made us a forever family and we would see him again. I was brought to remember the blessings that came from listening to the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home. I had truly been given a gift I could never replace: time with our precious son! I was able to enjoy every minute of every day of what would be our son’s very short 3 years here on earth. I could see all of the pieces come together at that very moment and I was truly grateful for listening to the prophet’s counsel.

Jacqueline

Sunday, October 5, 2014

His letter to me—The Bible and the Book of Mormon

Rodman is an inmate in a California prison. Many members of the tenth ward may recall my earlier comments about my association with him.  Rodman asked me to publish his testimony because the tenth ward has been supportive of him and his family. Here are Rodman’s words:

“I know that Jesus is my Savior and that he restored His church and priesthood through the prophet Joseph Smith in these latter days and that He directs His church through a living prophet and apostles.  I believe that any man, woman or child can draw closer to God through prayer, scripture reading and doing good.

“My name is Rodman, and if this is your first time getting to know me, I hope you will be able to embrace me for who and what I am and the things that I stand for and the way I see my life.  I am faith-based and family-focused, but it has not always been that way.

“I’m not as interested in the past as much as I am in the future.  However, I must bring up some past.  Just over a year ago a friend sent me a Book of Mormon.  I was open minded reading it because I had heard a lot of things about the LDS and in all honesty I thought the Book of Mormon would be just another “religious” book.  I had read so many already, but at the time my friend Dave sent me the book I had no idea that what I was about to read would send incredible shock waves through my life.

“The love of God for me was revealed in His letter to me—The Bible and the Book of Mormon.  By God’s grace, I reflected on His light in the dark times I was in; reading the scriptures helped me begin the process of putting my past into the proper prospective.

“My past was so painful to revisit, I stuffed it down in my mind, trying to forget much of it.  At age 11 of my mother told me I was the product of rape, and that began a withering process in my heart, a loss of worth and vitality.  It became difficult to identify with family pride, faith in gentleness or any kind of tenderness.  So I chose to deal with it in negative ways.

“As a teen I tried everything the streets had to offer.  I found out the hard way that sin was a very slippery slope.  At age 13, I joined a Crip gang in L.A.  I was troubled and there weren't many Christians coming to the front porches to minister to kids like me and my homeboys.  We ignorantly believed Christianity in any form was based on a European god, and there was no way any of the guys I hung with would worship a racist God.

“That attitude landed me in prison where, as I mentioned, my friend Dave sent me a Book of Mormon.  He helped me overcome a few of the issues holding me back.  Encouraging me in prayer, God stilled my heart and quieted my mind.  Dave shared scriptures with me and talked to me patiently.  I learned praising God came naturally when I counted my blessings.

“I also realized that others could teach me the principles of their faith, and that each of us must come individually to a lasting and personal faith in Christ.  For faith to be real, it must become rooted and established in the faith.

“I began to really study scriptures daily and attend meetings.  I finished reading the Book of Mormon.  Then I re-read it.

“I know now that the Book of Mormon is a true book along with the Bible.  I know God’s hand is stretched out to all who seek him and that we can be cleansed from all sin through the atonement of Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, and being baptized by one having authority.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Unwaveringly PUSHing forward,
(PUSH stands for “Pray Until Something Happens”)
Rodman

Over the past few months, Rodman has placed 12 Books of Mormon and is bringing fellow inmates to the LDS study meeting.  I'll be happy to pass on any comments you have for Rodman (dave@keepwriting.com).


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Book of Mormon, not a musical!!

       This year one of our ward missionaries put out a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in the same amount of time it took the Prophet Joseph Smith to translate the entire book.  If any of you are like me, I had to look up on lds.org to find out what kind of a timeframe I was looking at.  After a little research, it was figured it took him from April 7-June 30.  In my mind I knew this was not going to be an easy thing for me but it would be a good challenge.    And that’s where my Book of Mormon Marathon reading began.

During this time of my life, I was also training for a Marathon.  Normally, I do most of my running with some running partners.   It just so happened that this year there were injuries and conflicting schedules that did not make running together possible.  Of course, this meant a lot of running on my treadmill.    Typically, I don't enjoy running alone or on a treadmill.   My training regimen all of a sudden became very depressing and not enjoyable!!

It was at this point that I decided I was going to read my Book of Mormon while training on the treadmill!!  Each morning I would wake up and take to the treadmill.  Those long runs no longer seemed so long or tedious.    I didn't mind running alone anymore.  I was anxious to get back to my reading every single day.

Now this story isn't about running on treadmills and reading.   No, this story is about the world that opened up to me every single day as I took an hour or more to read from the Book of Mormon.   The stories from the Book of Mormon spoke to me in a new way.  I saw my life and the life of those around me in all the words I read.  I found it difficult to read and not be overcome with the Spirit most days.   I found myself anxious to read, ready to connect with people who came long before me.  I found myself loving these people, loving their dedication to the Lord.  I wanted to become a better person because of their stories.  

My inner desire to be more like the Savior has grown stronger than ever before.   My love of the Book of Mormon has made me a better person.   I think this quote summarizes the Book of Mormon perfectly:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”

The Book of Mormon is not a musical.  No, it’s a book that will change your life for the better.  You will be touched in ways you didn't think possible.  You will find happiness that you didn't know was missing.  You will become the kind of person God wants you to be.   You will have peace that cannot be found anywhere else.  If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, then do it!!  Jump on your treadmill and start reading!!  You won't regret it, I promise!!!

-Heidi Prosser