Showing posts with label Heavenly Father. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heavenly Father. Show all posts

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)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Faith and Courage One Must Create

There are times in our lives where the refiner's fire purifies us to the point that we go beyond ourselves and think and write things that seem above us.  Maybe our true divine nature comes out and the spirit flows through us like running water.

I have had this experience happen to me a few times, where there seems for a time that the veil is lifted a little and where God's Holy Spirit personally teaches a truth.  I would like to share one experience in particular that happened to me.

I want to tell you about my Mother, Mabel Austin Crandall.  At age 18 she was a convert to the LDS church and loved the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart.   Even though her family could not understand why she left the Methodist religion that they had raised her in, she and my father were married in the Methodist church to make them happy and 1 year later were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona LDS temple for not only time but for all eternity. At that time, she gained a strong testimony of eternal families and of temple work.

She was the type of person that ate very healthy, exercised, worked hard, and was on every committee in the community you could think of.  I think she single-handedly made sure 25 scouts in her ward received their Eagle Scout awards. She worked in the scouting program, PTA, and Boys and Girls Club helping young kids succeed in life.  She was my best friend and great example of everything good. Her grandchildren were her life and she made each one feel so special. She taught me so many important life skills that I use daily!


In 1995 my very healthy mother of age 63 was diagnosed with cancer.  Sometimes Heavenly Father throws us a curve that we are not sure we can handle.  This was one of those challenges for sure!  I watched my beautiful mother gracefully have chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumors.   She would dress up and go to her chemo appointments like she wasn’t even sick and I watched while she was getting her chemo treatment.  However, she acted different than all the other patients sitting in their chairs.  She got up from her chair, while the medicine was dripping into her, and knelt down by each sick patient and took their hands in hers and said…”You are going to beat this.”  She was so brave and wanted everyone to have hope and faith that they were going to get better.

She fought a hard fight pretending like nothing was wrong.  But I could tell that she was getting worn down and very tired.  She still kept going so that we wouldn’t worry about her.  She would say “I’m going to beat this”.   As time went on, the Lord had other plans for her.  As I started dealing with the fact that I was going to lose my Mother and best friend here on earth, my heart fully turned to my Father in Heaven and I found myself writing a poem for my Father and one of my daughters who I could see were sinking into grief and despair.  The words just flowed like water and in a poet’s world, it’s probably not great…but for me, I was just writing what was in my heart that the spirit dictated to me.

Faith and Courage One Must Create
by Annette 1998

Let down thy shoulders, and calm thy troubled heart
The Lord is with thee from the very start

Tho earth’s tribulation, none shall escape;
Faith and courage, one must create.

Born with affirmatives, weakness and wo
Learning to deal with daily, as we go.

And as if sometime, somewhere along the way,
We stumble and fall, bearing a heavy load on our tray;

The strength is within us to carry on and be,
The strong, servant in heaven, who pleaded, PICK ME!!!

I will go down and serve those below,
Whose burden is heavy and hope is no more.

But how can I serve when I myself suffer;
When doubt and despair creep in at my door.

Surely life’s curves have been thrown my way;
I thank thee dear Lord for helping me through this day.

I will fight the thoughts of discouragement and fear
Because I know surely that my Savior is near.

He’s been through this too; all of my feelings of not
And I thank him for these experiences that I have not sought.

Remember, he suffered and died that we may ever be,
pure and clean, with him throughout eternity.

Perfecting my spirit is not too late.
Faith and Courage one must create!


In June 1998 as she was fighting for her life, Provo City Mayor showed up and presented her with “Citizen of the Year” for Provo City Chamber of Commerce.  Everyone loved and appreciated Mom in the community for all her hard work.

She put up a good fight and as the family gathered around her in her final moments, She managed to say with much deliberation…”I cannot face my Mother on the other side not having her temple work done.”  She would not let her spirit go until my girls got in the car and went to the temple to do the baptism.  We were all around her bed when the girls left to go to the temple.  That satisfied her to go ahead and walk through the veil.  I went to the temple that very evening to finish up her mother's work.  In fact, my whole family found ourselves in the temple that night thanking Father in Heaven for her life and just wanting to carry on her legacy by serving others.

I know my Father in Heaven knows me and helped me through this difficult time.  I also have had a very strong impression that my mother was taken early to help convert her sweet Christian family who have all passed away now.  Yes, we are doing their temple work and Mom is bearing her strong testimony to them that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and I know they are accepting the work because of my dear Mother!!!

If you want to know how you can be linked with your loved ones throughout all eternity, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org and the missionaries will teach you about our sacred temples and the work for the dead we do there.

Like my mother, I am so grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon and love my life!!!

Annette



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Straight Out of The Rez - New School, New Friends, New Life

When I was 9 years old, my mom and I moved to Utah to live with Grandma Ellen. She was the mother of my mom’s foster mom when she was in the LDS Indian Student Placement program.

The day before I started 5th grade at my new school I remember asking my mom and Grandma Ellen what clothes would be appropriate to wear on the first day of school. I wasn’t sure if the dress code would be different from the schools I attended on the Reservation (Rez).

Grandma Ellen suggested that I wear something a little dressier than jeans. I didn’t have any clothing that was “dressy” so Grandma Ellen found a pantsuit that she thought would be perfect.

The first day of school arrived. I put on the light blue, polyester pantsuit with yellow flowers on the side. I walked to school since it was just one block down the street.
As I approached the school I saw other children arriving who were ALL WEARING JEANS! The closer I got to the school the more anxious, embarrassed, and mortified I became. I just wanted to run home and hide. Just as I had thoughts to turn around my friend Mindi saw me and ran towards me. (A few days after moving in to my new home, my neighbor Mindi came over to introduce herself. We developed a quick friendship). That morning she said nothing of my attire or how different I looked. She only invited me to join her friends who were playing a game in the school playground. Mindi introduced me to her group of friends and told them how cool I was because I was a real American Indian who had lived on the Indian reservation. Throughout the entire day none of the school children made fun of my clothes, strange accent, or just how different I looked from everyone else.

Shortly after starting school my mom and I started receiving discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ from the LDS (Mormon) missionaries. I enjoyed learning about the plan of happiness. But there were times I wanted to be playing outside with my new friends from school rather than sit in an hour long discussion with adults. One day I decided to ditch my gospel discussion and stay after school to play with my friends. One of them asked me why I wasn’t at my appointment with the missionaries. I told them I didn’t want to go. This group of friends told me that it was very important to attend these appointments with the missionaries. They then walked with me back to my house to listen to the missionaries’ lesson. To this day I don’t remember what gospel lesson I received that day. All I remember is how these friends made me feel LOVED.

After receiving all of the gospel lessons, I felt what I was taught was true doctrine and I decided to get baptized and join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My mother made the same decision too. Our baptismal date was January 2nd. In attendance were my mom, Grandma Ellen and her family, church members, the missionaries, and my friends; the same friends who had extended a hand of friendship on the first day of school.

That afternoon after my baptism, I remember playing outside in the snow with my friend Mindi. At one point she said to me, “Today you made one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life”.  It’s been over 30 years since that day and my memories of those friends, who made such a huge impact in my life, are an eternal  treasure. I am deeply grateful for their kindness, their love, and their friendship. What I thought would be one of the worst days of my life wearing a light blue, polyester pantsuit with yellow flowers on the side turned out to be one of the best days of my life. So many other “best” days have followed, all because some 9 year-olds chose to fellowship instead of shun, to lift instead of belittle, to encourage instead of bully, to love instead of hate. They were simply doing what Jesus would do - love one another. Their gift of friendship played an important supportive role in my accepting the precious gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know that God is our eternal Heavenly Father. I know that God sent his only Begotten Son because He loves us. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. He is my Savior and Redeemer. He loves me. He rescues me. He heals me. He can do the same for you.

Janet

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Finding Strength to Carry On

I am realizing that summer is just around the corner as the youth (both the young men and the young women) are preparing for summer camp.  It sounds like they are all going to have a lot of fun.  These preparations remind me of scout camp two summers ago.

The scouts were working on their hiking merit badge.  For the merit badge they needed to hike 20 miles all in the same day.  We had big plans, a scenic hike in the beautiful, central Utah Mountains. We kept telling ourselves that this would be good mission preparation for all the miles the boys would walk on their missions’.

We started out early in the morning on the day of the hike, with intentions of getting a good part of the hike completed quickly.  But soon disasters began.  We had only walked for about 10 minutes before someone had tripped and fallen and was bleeding.  We “paused” our hike to practice our first-aid merit badge before continuing.  This should have been a warning of events to come.

We were challenged continually throughout the day, both physically and emotionally.  The steep hills and thick brush that we had to work our way through slowed our hike.  Soon we realized that we would not make the trip as quickly as we had planned.  That meant we were going to run out of food and water and possibly need to spend the night without any over-night gear.

Emotionally it was a challenge to wonder where the next watering hole would appear.  In the deserts of Utah these can be few and far between.  We filtered and drank water that I am sure should have killed us, or at least should have made us all very sick.  The constant barrage from the sun, burned us all quickly, and yet we had to keep hiking.  There was no relief from the heat.  We faced challenges that should have made us quit.  And yet we wanted to succeed, and knew we could.  We were also blessed tremendously.  We saw first-hand several miracles.  However to keep a long story short, I will only recount one of many.

As the day had progressed, we had become separated into several small groups.  Each group had not heard from the others for several hours.  This was disconcerting as darkness was drawing near and we were still miles from the end of the hike.  The trail we were following would split and rejoin itself and split again.  In the thick brush it would be easy to pass another group and not know it.  Several questions were constantly asked: what if someone was hurt and could not complete the hike?  Would we pass by them and not know it?  Would we need to return tomorrow to find them?  Could they survive the night in the desert without any gear, food or water?

Each group decided (independently of each other) to pray for the other groups: prayer for safety, health, and strength to carry-on, and most importantly to be reunited.  With blessings from our Heavenly Father, these prayers were answered.  As the sun set and darkness enveloped us, we were all reunited.  Everyone was safe and healthy.  The decision was made to continue with our hike as we were ill-prepared to spend the night.  We formed a line as we pushed our way through the thick brush.  We had two flash lights in the group, one for the front and one for the back of the line.  We hiked for at least 3 more hours in the dark before we emerged from the canyon at our destination.

As we told each other about the experiences we had while we were separated and anxiously hoping to be reunited, we began to see the blessings we had received and the miracles we had experienced. One young man told how he was too tired to go any farther, and somehow right at 8 pm he had gained strength to continue hiking.  Another group told of how they stopped hiking at exactly 8 pm and prayed for that same young man that he would have the strength to continue.

Another group told how they had no flash lights and would be unable to hike in the dark.  Just as the sun set they prayed one more time to be reunited with the others.  Right as they said “amen”, they heard voices in the distance coming toward them.  What a happy reunion in the dark!  These prayers and many others were answered on this miraculous day.

Having our prayers answered was only one of many amazing events of that day.  My testimony of the power of prayer was strengthened that day.  I know our Heavenly Father listens, and answers prayers!

I have one lingering desire from this experience and it is that the young men will remember the power of prayer.  I know there will be more difficult challenges ahead for them.  I know that if they will pray for each other they will be blessed.

Daniel Burr

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Lost Shoe

I remember when I was a little girl, around 7 or 8 years old, I needed to find my shoes. I had one shoe but couldn't find the other one. I started to look but then I remembered that I should say a prayer because Heavenly Father would know where my shoe was located.  I had learned from my parents and from Primary that I could go to Heavenly Father about anything, whether big or small.  I KNEW that Heavenly Father would help me to find the missing shoe.  I said a prayer, full of faith, to receive divine help. Within minutes, I had a distinct impression to look outside in the backyard. And sure enough, I found my shoe... it was in the weeds, in case you were wondering.

The 'lost shoe' experience strengthened my testimony, and faith that I can turn to my Heavenly Father, and ask for His help and guidance. Through out my life I often reflect upon my 'lost shoe' experience to help me remember that I can turn to Heavenly Father for help with anything. I’ve applied this principle again and again in my life. I’ve also learned that if I make an effort to first search and ponder about the situation that my prayers are more sincere in truly wanting to receive answers and I’m better prepared to accept whatever answers come from my Heavenly Father.

Becky 

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Does God Look Like?


I was born and raised in Southern California.  Growing up as a child my family was not associated with any church or religion.  My father, however, was raised in a religious home but did not carry on that tradition after he married my mother.  They were good and honorable people who worked hard and loved their children.  My parents were a “perfect match” for each other and enjoyed the blessings of an exceptional marriage, but practicing a particular religion was not a part of their lives. 

I, on the other hand, had friends who “went to church”, so I “heard” about God from them.  Often, as a young girl, I would lie on the green grass in our front yard looking up into the sky wondering to myself, “If I looked really hard in the sky, would I be able to see God”?  Then I would ask myself, “I wonder if His face will appear in a cloud, or will He be standing on a cloud?”  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I always thought in my mind that God would be in the image of a man.    

Over the course of my childhood, I attended a few churches of various denominations – none regularly.  Sometimes I went alone but mostly I went with girlfriends.  I don’t remember looking for any particular “doctrine”; I was simply drawn to “going to church”, and finding out what God looked like. 

Years flew by and soon I found myself graduating from high school in 1956.  I had a best friend who was a Mormon, and she was planning to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  She and I decided that it would be fun to be roommates, so, I asked my parents if I could attend BYU with my friend.  They replied that if I could save enough money, I could go.  I worked and save all during my senior year and the summer before I was to leave.  Finally, I had saved a whopping $500.  I could go!    

It was there at Brigham Young University that the Joseph Smith story sank deep into my heart.  When I heard that Joseph Smith, at the tender age of 14, actually saw a vision of the Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ, as two separate and distinct personages in the form of a man – my youthful questions were answered!  I knew without any doubt that this was right.  There was a special feeling that came into my heart that told me that this doctrine was true.  We were created in His image, so why would He look any different – except that he is an “exalted man”, and therefore, has a “glorified” image.  It is in Joseph Smith’s testimony that I learned of our relationship to our Heavenly Father and to His Son Jesus Christ.  He is the Father of our spirits, and Jesus Christ is His perfect and only begotten Son in the flesh.  Jesus came to earth to teach us how to live, and to redeem us from our sins through his infinite Atonement.  We are Jesus’ brothers and sisters.  Though we are eons away from perfection, we can become like Him -- that is Heavenly Father’s promise to His children.  

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”) was restored to the earth in this last dispensation of time – as prophesied by ancient prophets – through the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith.  He was visited by Heavenly beings and given keys of the Priesthood in order to establish the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful to know where I came from, why I am here on Earth, and where I am going after I die.

Dorothy

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Why are YOU here?


Have you ever thought why are you here?  

I have thought this a couple of times.  I know I'm here for a reason because I was one of the last adoptions from  Russia.  If my parents hadn't followed the promptings of the Spirit, I wouldn't be here.  So I know that the Spirit guided my parents to me.  I have a purpose.  I have something important to do in life.  I know my Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and my testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan for me is strong.  I know these things to be true and self-evident.  

Other ways you know that a plan is laid out for you is when you have, let's say, a near-death experience but you miraculously survive.  That right there is living truth of a plan your Heavenly Father has laid out for you.  I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me and I'd like to say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.

Alex 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Courage


I have never witnessed a miracle such as those surrounding Lazarus at Jesus' side. I have never stood in wonder and amazement before God or angels as did Joseph Smith.  But I know through small and simple things great things come to pass.  

I have seen miracles in my life. They may not be big to some, but they mean everything to me.  I've seen God place people in my life and in my family's life.  

My sister unknowingly married a terrible, abusive man.  Her once innocent countenance turned cold and her attitude to her loving family grew distrusting.  Through seven hard years alone my sister endured, until one man reminded her how much her family loved her and regardless of what she had done, they would love her.  

Within that year she came back.  She had the courage to leave, to be in a better place, to come home. 

C.H. 10th Ward youth member (blog post submitted by anonymous)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Prayer Can Help Anyone

My name is Anna.  I am 16 years old and I am a Mormon.  

As a teenager I go through many difficulties of finding out who I am and what my purpose is in life and that is why prayer is very important to me.  

I'm not perfect.  I go through a lot of struggles and trials.  Whenever I feel like nobody is there for me, whenever I feel worthless and alone, I pray.  I feel His presence there and that He is watching over me and loves me so much.  He sends me the Holy Ghost when I feel so down and alone.  It helps me feel happy and helps me get through whatever I'm going through.  I don't think I have ever heard the Holy Ghost actually speak to me.  I know the Holy Ghost is there by feeling a sense of peace. The air is easier to breathe and I feel free and calm.  

Prayer can help anyone.  It doesn't have to be out loud with you on your knees and folding your arms every single time.  It can be a short little prayer inside your head asking for strength, courage, anything, everything that you want, need, or have difficulties with.  Every single night I pray for everything I need to get through the next day.  Prayer is a true gift from Heavenly Father.  It has helped me get this far in life without falling apart.  I know prayer can help me get through the rest of this very challenging life.  And I know prayer can help every single person in this world.

Anna

Monday, March 23, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: To Learn

Why do we have trials in our lives?  Simple: to learn.  

I recently finished a battle with cancer, but I would be lying if I said it was easy.  However, I would never forsake that trial, because I learned that things come in Heavenly Father's time and that Heavenly Father sends the Holy Ghost to comfort us in times of need.  After my diagnosis, my dad gave me a priesthood blessing and the first words he said were, "All things happen for a reason," which helped me know I was in the right hands.  I am through that trial now, and by going through it I have bonded with my Heavenly Father.  

I testify that He knows what we are going through, and loves each and every one of us individually.  He sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins.  That is how much Heavenly Father and our big brother in Heaven, Jesus Christ, love us.  I know I can face anything because I have Christ's hand that I can hold when I need to.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Chase