Friday, September 18, 2009

Beautiful Pictures
Go to this blog for a give away of a beautiful temple picture.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


A young convert to the church in Mexico interrupted his schooling to go on a mission. When he returned, the school would not accept him back again. He had to attend another university that would only accept one year of his three years of study. (Ensign Sept. 2009)

The people of Ammon laid down their weapons of war when they embraced the truth of the gospel. When the Lamanites came to destroy them, they refused to raise their weapons against them. The Lamanites killed over 1000 of them.

Joseph Smith, a prophet of God, suffered being tarred and feathered multiple times. He suffered the loss of children. In Liberty Jail he was extremely sick from being poisoned and from being exposed to very cold temperatures. And ultimately, he suffered death for the gospel.

It doesn't seem fair. These were righteous people. And these are only a few examples. There are as many examples of righteous people suffering as there are righteous people. So why does God allow the suffering of His people?

The other day I asked my 5th grade class what it would be like if I gave them 1st grade work everyday. They said it would be easy. Then I asked them if they would learn anything from it. They all agreed that they wouldn't learn anything.

Then we talked about how they could expect challenges this year that would cause them to struggle and even to become frustrated, but if they didn't give up, their knowledge and skills would increase.

It's easy to see how that works in school. It's sometimes more difficult to accept in life. Too often we want 1st grade work when we are on a 5th grade level. We want life to be easy - to be free from trials and sorrows.

But a wise Heavenly Father knows that we'd never learn and grow if life were easy. We'd never turn to Him for help if we never needed help. If we never turned to HIm, we would never come to know Him.

I read an article somewhere once that said something like this: Fair means giving each individual what he/she needs.

I often have to remind myself that God knows all from the beginning to the end. My own vision is extremely limited. What may not seem fair is probably exactly what I need to help me to learn and to grow.

Some of our trials are the direct result of our own choices. Some are the result of other's choices, and some are just the result of living on this earth.

No matter the cause of our trials, a loving Father in Heaven can use these trials, if we let Him, to guide us in learning so that we can one day return and live with Him.

"This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39)

His full time job is to help us return to Him. We are in a school of life. We are going to experience all kinds of struggles and sorrows, but if we will turn to the greatest teacher of us all, He will teach us everything we need to learn.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Sometimes I look back at tragic things that have happened in my life and I wonder why I didn't recognize at the time certain signs that seem so obvious to me now that had I recognized them then, I could possibly have avoided the tragedies.

I think it has to do with the amount of knowledge that we have at the time. The more knowledge we have about something, the more we are able to recognize the related signs.

For example, last night, while camping, we were playing this werewolf game. The werewolves were trying to kill the villagers and the villagers were trying to kill the werewolves. The problem was that the only person who knew who the villagers and werewolves were was the leader of the game, and she couldn't tell us. We voted each round to kill someone hoping that it would be a werewolf, but we often killed villagers instead.

At the end of one game, the leader said, "Why didn't you vote to kill so and so? Couldn't you tell that when he did (whatever it was he did, I can't remember) it was a sure sign that he was a werewolf?"

To her it was a sure sign because she already knew he was the werewolf, but to those of us who didn't know, it didn't mean anything at all.

So that got me thinking how signs are already everywhere around us, but we only recognize those signs when we have enough knowledge about the subject.

Korihor, in the Book of Mormon (Alma 30), wanted to be given a sign before he would believe there was a God. Alma told him that there were signs all around him. Either he didn't recognize the signs due to a lack of knowledge, or because of a hard heart, he was unable to see them.

Satan wants to keep us from seeing those signs.
3 Ne. 1:22
"...there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen..."

It may appear that there are two different reasons why we do not see signs - lack of knowledge and a hard heart, but I think they are totally related. The more knowledge we have, the less likely we are to believe Satan's lies. If we do not believe Satan's lies, our hearts will not be hardened.

People today are not much different from the people of Alma's day. We often want to see the signs before we commit to believing. Many people in Alma's day said they would believe if they were just shown a sign so that they would know for sure. (Alma 32:17)

They didn't realize that the signs were already all around them. In order to see the signs they needed to "exercise a particle of faith" keeping in mind that "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge", but it does mean that we need to gain more knowledge by an "experiment upon the word".

In other words, the more we know and understand the words of Christ and practice them in our lives, the more we will see the signs that confirm in our hearts and minds that they are true.

There are signs in our every day lives that if we pay attention can help us to avoid some of the tragedies or pitfalls of life. Likewise, there are spiritual signs that if we pay attention to them will help us to increase our faith and testimony.