Showing posts with label Holy Ghost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Ghost. 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)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

20 Years with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I was blessed for 20 years to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  This time of year, as we approach the October General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  brings back wonderful memories and feelings.  I loved singing for 3 sessions of every General Conference. I loved the overwhelming Spirit of God that permeated the Tabernacle and later, the Conference Center.  Each building was filled to overflowing with faithful Saints who had come to hear the word of God taught by modern day Prophets of God.  And that is what we heard.  We were taught at the feet of Prophets and heard their sacred witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   They know the Savior!   I was amazed how often our music fit in perfectly with the talks for a particular session.  I could see the Lord’s hand in the proceedings of each Conference.  I felt very humbled to partake of those blessings.

Each member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is set apart as a musical missionary.  We get to bear our testimonies through song as we sing the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word.  The Choir also travels the globe giving concerts that bring the Spirit of the Lord to thousands and thousands of people.  We sing so people can feel the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost brings peace and happiness and bears witness of the Lord’s love for His children.

The greatest missionary tour that the Choir ever took was a three week tour to Eastern Europe and Russia in 1991.   We traveled to 8 countries:  Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia.   Four of these countries had been behind the Iron Curtain until shortly before our visit.  But then Velvet Revolutions occurred and the Berlin Wall fell.  We were there to sing to people who had lived for 40 years under oppression and hardship and finally had a new-found freedom.  We could tell as we watched these people that they were hungry and we brought them food—not meat or fruit, but the bread of life—the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The audience response was incredible. We were given standing ovations at every concert and in many of those country’s audiences never give stand ovations.   Many people had tears in their eyes and enthusiastically applauded us and waved until every choir member had filed off stage at the end of our performances.  They didn’t want to leave the concert halls and the special Spirit or feelings they felt there.  We knew that for most of these people, it was the first time they had felt the Holy Ghost.  They didn’t know what they were feeling and they didn’t have a name for it, but they felt it just the same.

My husband accompanied me on this tour and he would always take the opportunity to speak to people when he attended our concerts.  He spoke German, thanks to serving a 2 year mission for our Church in Germany as a young man.  He befriended a couple in Dresden, Germany and gave them a tape of Choir music. They corresponded with us for a while.  This is from their first letter we received after we returned home.  “Your concert was for us a big experience.  The whole auditorium and the choir was like a family and we went home with a good feeling and were very happy.  With great enthusiasm we told our friends about this event.  Thank you for this marvelous evening.  Often we listen to the choir—music from the cassette, this nice gift from you.  Enclosed you will find the criticism from our newspaper.  It is full of praise, not only about the high quality of the performance, but also about the special human atmosphere.”  They were describing the Holy Ghost.

We spent a week in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the strongest impression I had as we traveled through those cities, was that the people never smiled.  I guess there wasn’t a lot to smile about in their lives.  I felt that they were spiritually dead.  I kept thinking to myself, “They need the light of the gospel.”  When we had a chance to talk to the people one on one, I could see that I was wrong.  They had wonderful strong spirits and were beautiful people, but they had been kept in a spiritual prison by their government.  The Choir gave firesides for church members along with our concerts, because many of them couldn’t afford tickets to our concerts.  Steve’s ticket to our St. Petersburg concert cost the equivalent of 18 cents in our money, but the local members still couldn’t afford that much.

We met a beautiful young woman, in her late 20s, after the fireside in St. Petersburg.  She was standing alone and so we approached her and luckily she spoke English.  She had heard about the fireside the night before at our concert and had decided to come and see what the Church was all about.  She said, “What is it about you people?  I feel so warm and good when I am around you.”  I gave her a hug and told her it was because we love her.  She replied, “ You are so entirely different from what I was taught about Americans in school.  What makes you so different?”  At this point I spotted a pair of sister missionaries standing close by.  I pulled them over and said,  “You have to meet her.  She’s golden.”  I was reminded of the Savior saying, “My sheep know my voice.”

Five hundred people traveled on this tour and every one of us had different experiences and opportunities to touch people’s lives.  In Alma 5:7 we read, “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.  Behold they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word…”  I am so grateful that I  had the opportunity to participate in these miraculous experiences and see Light come into people’s lives.

Jan

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 

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