Tag Archives: love

“_____ is proof that God loves me”

My family has had a water cooler for years. We’ve gotten our water from a variety of places, and are currently getting it from a do-it-yourself brewery in town. I guess in order to make your own beer, you need reverse osmosis water. A 5 gallon jug of water is only $1. Not a bad price!

The other day we noticed a t-shirt hanging on the wall:

blank_is_proof_god_loves_me

Beer is proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy!!

We giggled at it, but it got me thinking. First of all, I know the shirt is supposed to be a joke, but I sure hope that the person who would wear that can feel that God loves them because of other “proof”. That then led me to wonder what “proof” I have that God loves me (kind of like a “count your blessings” thing). The list could go on and on, but here is the best “proof” that I have:

  • My wife’s love
  • My daughter’s laugh
  • My son’s innocence
  • My other son’s goodness
  • The promptings of the Holy Ghost
  • The flowers growing in our garden (I don’t spend a lot of time outside, but I love nature)
  • How I feel when I do what is right
  • The friends I have

As I mentioned, the list could be huge, but those are probably the most important things in my life right now.

I get that some people don’t know which Church is right. There are a lot of competing ideas out there. However, I don’t understand how someone can just not believe. I see God’s hand all around me. As Alma taught Korihor, “all things denote there is a God”!

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

Well, here we are ready for the last session. In between these Sunday sessions, I lay down with the kids to watch Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but I fell asleep almost right away. It was a nice nap 🙂

While the countdown was up on the screen for this session of conference, I saw Elder Hales. He stood up when President Monson walked in, and seems to be doing a bit better.


President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang The Day Dawn Is Breaking

Elder Octaviano Tenorio offered the invocation

The choir sang Did You Think to Pray

Elder Robert D Hales

  • the word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ
  • as Christians we have a change to act decisively
  • we are called upon to leave our nets, leave worldly habits and customs
  • to be who Heavenly Father wants us to be, we follow Jesus Christ
  • Consider these Christian attributes
    • Christian love – kind and compassionate to all
    • Christian faith – despite temptations we can be faithful and obedience
    • Christian sacrifice – give of our time and energy
    • Christian caring – continually reach out to rescue, love and nurture
    • Christian service – spend your days serving others
    • Christian patience – we need to wait upon our God
    • Christian peace – be understanding and promote peace
    • Christian forgiveness – bless those that curse us
    • Christian conversion – continue to be converted
    • Christian endurance – continue all of your days
  • we need these characteristics to heed the voice of Christ

Elder Richard G Scott

  • Jesus made salvation available to every repentant soul
  • deceased people can receive all the ordinances of the gospel
  • we need to provide all ordinances for ourselves and our deceased ancestors
  • temple work is two parts – family history research, performing ordinances
  • those who engage in the research and do the ordinances will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessings
  • any work you do in the temple is time well spent

Brother Russell T Osguthorpe

  • there are new resources for the youth classes
  • as teachers, we need to meet the needs of our learners
  • we need to teach His word in His way
  • conversion is knowing, doing and becoming
  • we want every young person to understand
  • we want them to live the gospel every day

The choir and congregation sang Rejoice, the Lord is King!

Elder Marcus B Nash

  • all things are fulfilled by faith
  • faith brings us the power of the Lord
  • told story of Ann Rowley, a member of the Willie Handcart Company
  • unbelief in the Lord will cause us to resist the Spirit of God
  • fear undermines faith in the Savior
  • sin diminished the effect of the Spirit in our lives
  • the future is as bright as your faith

Elder Daniel L Johnson

  • spoke of problems in Mexico where members lost their crops
  • we can prove ourselves not by what we are tested with, but how we handle them
  • affirm our commitment to God and to others

Elder Don R Clarke

  • as a young man, they filled out a card with what they thought about
  • the Sacrament needs to be important to us
  • if we properly prepare for the sacrament we will change our lives
  • we are renewing our baptism covenants
  • memorize the sacramental prayers
  • we can feel forgiven for our sins during Sacrament Meeting
  • we can receive inspiration during Sacrament Meeting
  • partaking of the Sacrament worthily will help us be filled with the Holy Ghost
  • it will always be a great Sacrament Meeting if the sacrament is the centre of our worship

Elder David A Bednar

  • there is a relationship between receiving a testimony of Christ and becoming converted
  • we need to ask, seek and knock
  • we need a permanent change in our very nature
  • conversion requires all of our heart, all of our might, all of our mind and strength
  • conversion is an ongoing process, not a one-time experience
  • strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is built

President Thomas S Monson

  • the conference has been wonderful
  • read the talks and ponder them
  • be of good cheer
  • the Lord loves us and is mindful of us

The choir sang God Be with You Till We Meet Again

Elder Larry W Gibbons offered the invocation


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

I’m at home for the afternoon session. My kids are bundled up in their blankets (as is my wife) and we will watch at least the first half hour or hour together. The kids will probably then go off and play while my wife and I watch the rest. We also have a friend from Church (one of my institute students) who came to see it with us.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Arise, O Glorious Zion

Elder Gerrit W. Gong offered the invocation

The choir sang I Am a Child of God

President Henry B Eyring did the sustainings

Elder L Tom Perry

  • turned 90-years-old this summer
  • some values today are slipping and need to be defended
  • read a letter he wrote to his mother when he was in WWII
  • lessons taught at home are increasingly important
  • the adversary is attacking commitments to family life
  • parents must resolve that teaching in the home is the most sacred responsibility
  • strengthen our family cultures in these ways:
    1. parents can pray in earnest that love, understand guide their children
    2. hold Family Home Evening, scripture study, and eat together
    3. fully avail themselves of the Church support network  (talk to teachers, leaders, presidencies) to provide essential understanding
    4. share testimonies with their children and commit them to keep the commandments of God
    5. organize our families based on clear simple family rules and expectations, traditions, rituals, and economics
  • teach at the cradle-side

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • said that Elder Perry must be the youngest 90-year-old in the Church
  • spoke about how his father had bees to help pollinate peach trees
  • to produce 1 lb of honey, the average hive of 20,000-60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of 2x around the world
  • a single bees contribution is a mere 1/12 of 1 teaspoon
  • although seemingly insignificant, each bees contribution is vital to the life of a hive
  • they depend on each other
  • the beehive has long been a symbol in our Church
  • great things are brought about and burdens are lightened by the action of many hands
  • our troubled world needs the love of Christ
  • our minds and our hearts need to be anxiously engaged throughout the week
  • we don’t need religious fanaticism; we need to assimilate the doctrines deep within our hearts
  • in your morning prayer each new day ask Heavenly Father to recognize opportunities to serve

Elder Larry Echo Hawk

  • told a story about his marine sergeant; the sergeant was ridiculing everyone, but when he saw his Book of Mormon, he left him alone
  • shared his feelings about the  Book of Mormon; he felt it was a history of his people
  • the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture

The choir and congregation sang Let Us All Press On

Elder Robert C Gay

  • would you sell your soul for a nickel?
  • does one drink really matter?
  • Satan tries to get us to justify what we’ve done
  • we are to give up all of our sins, big or small
  • we must always hearken to the voice of the Spirit within us, wherever it takes us

Elder Scott D Whiting

  • told a story about the work on the Hawaii temple
  • the contractor had to fix some things that were very minor because they were not up to temple standards
  • the temples are built for our use, but there should be no doubt as to whose house it is
  • we are each made of the finest materials, however our own temple can come in need of renovation and repair

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • told story about the Marriott family losing their daughter
  • the gift of faith is a priceless spiritual endowment
  • our faith is protected in the Church (as we participate in the various programs/ordinances/meetings)
  • when you tested, stay within the security of the household of God
  • no trial is so large we can’t overcome it together
  • God’s ways are higher than our ways

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • all children are children of God
  • worldwide there are millions of children victimized by adults
  • one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them of birth
  • low birthrates is not just a religious issue; cultures and nations will be hollowed out and disappear
  • worldwide there are 40 million abortions per year
  • making a child feel worthless or unloved can hurt them for life
  • marriage isn’t just about the adults; the children are impacted for good or bad
  • divorcing parents teach a negative lesson
  • the family structure that produces the best outcome is two biological parents who remain married
  • 41% of all births in the US were to unwed mothers
  • for children, the stability of marriage matters

The choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder José L Alonso offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

We are obedient… because we can see!

One of the things that critics of the Church often complain about is that we blindly follow our leaders. Iif you’ve ever been to a regular ward or branch, you know that just isn’t true. There are squabbles and disagreements just like any other organization. But when it comes to important things, we rally together and try to be united. As you move further up the hierarchy in the Church, I would say that the average member follows those leaders more. That kind of makes sense. Generally speaking, those who are called to “higher” positions have obviously demonstrated their righteousness and faithfulness to the Church. That helps us to trust them more and have greater faith that they are called of God.

Regardless of how you look at it, following someone you respect and love (whether it be a bishop or the President of the Church), does not make you blind. It shows the love and trust that you have in that person. President Packer said it simply in this way:

Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.

Boyd K Packer, Ensign, May 1983, p66

The Lord’s Baseball Game

There are a lot of “faith-promoting” stories, poems, and analogies out there that just don’t do anything for me. However, occasionally I come across something that is quite excellent, or something that I just generally think is “cute”. This is one that I thought was cute (I’m a baseball fan, so I guess I was a little less judgemental of this).

I’m not sure where I first read this (I think it was an email forward). I’ve looked online, and the phrase “the lord’s baseball game” is found 49,000+ times, so I don’t even know who to give credit to. If you know who the originator of this is, let me know.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is “The Lord’s Baseball Game”:

Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.

The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love.

Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly Wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were now loaded. The Lord then brings in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, “He sure doesn’t look like much!”

Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run!

The Lord’s team won!

The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game. Freddy answered that he did not know why.

The Lord explained, “If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home. Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Redeemer of Israel

After going to Kirtland last year, one of my sons was obsessed with his old-style replica hymnbook. He read from it regularly, and sang many of the songs. One day he and his brother filmed the singing of Redeemer of Israel:

It’s beautiful to hear your children singing the hymns of the gospel on their own!

However, even more “fun”, is when you get a sneak peak into what really happened during the filming. Check out this “behind-the-scenes” video. My son sings the line that ends in “…Zion in love” and then immediately scolds his brother. Pretty funny stuff!

What’s wrong with Elder Hales?

If you saw General Conference, you definitely noticed that Elder Robert D Hales looked significantly different. He looked “puffy”, spoke from a chair, and had oxygen tubes in his nose. He didn’t say what was wrong with him. Elder Ballard and President Monson both referred to how it was nice to see him, but no one shared what was wrong.

Yesterday and today the Church News & Events page, the LDS Newsroom, and the Deseret News all posted about a statement issued by Elder Hales:

I continue to work with doctors and physical therapists to regain my strength. I am grateful for the faith and prayers that made it possible for me to participate in general conference and resume my responsibilities. I am touched by the many kind expressions of love and support shown to me and your continued prayers.

None of the three sources I mentioned talk about what the health challenges were that Elder Hales faced.

Do you think it was a good idea to post the statement, or does it lead to more questions? Part of me says they should share what is wrong with him. There are millions of people who are concerned about him, and continually using the phrase “health challenges” seems pointless. Another part of me says that it is his health, and he deserves privacy, so we should all back off. Yet another part of me says that if Elder Hales shared what is wrong with him, there would be critics of the Church who would use that as an excuse to talk about the “old men” who lead the Church and that they aren’t capable.

I’m still not settled on what I think the best way is to handle this, but I do know that I hope for the best for Elder Hales. I hope and pray that he isn’t suffering, and that he recovers.

180th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon Session

I made it home from work to watch this session at home (4 PM start where I am). It was much easier to pay attention at work. Saturdays are always slow, so I could just watch the session. However, at home, there were 3 small children running around, talking, and being generally distracting. It’s hard to be mad at them for being themselves, but it was also a little frustrating. We still managed to get through it 🙂


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir from the Orem Institute of Religion sang Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

The invocation was offered by Lynn G Robbins

President Dieter F Uchtdorf presented the sustaining of church officers. There is a new Primary Presidency as well as a few new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Second Quorum of the Seventy. There were also loads of Area Seventies released and called.

Robert W Cantwell, Managing Director of the Church Auditing Department, presented the Church audit report. It’s all good.

Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency, presented the Church 2009 Statistical Report.

  • Stakes 2,865
  • Missions 344
  • Districts 616
  • Wards and Branches 28,424
  • Members 13,824,854
  • Child of record baptism 119,722
  • Convert baptism 280,106
  • Full-time Missionaries 51,736
  • Temples dedicated 2
  • Total temples in operation 130

Elder L Tom Perry

  • Mother’s best teaching occurred at home, not with the sisters at church
  • His mother thought a mind would become weak if it was not constantly being exercised
  • Though times change, a parent’s teachings should never be devalued
  • One of the most important activities is parents teaching the children in their home

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • William Tyndale translate the bible into English and was put in jail
  • His work became the foundation for almost all future English translations of the bible
  • Through the scriptures God shows His power to save His children
  • We have the scriptural record to enlarge our memory
  • We are becoming illiterate because we aren’t opening books. We are forgetting things our grandparents knew.
  • His commandments are the voice of reality
  • The central purpose of scriptures is to fill us with faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ
  • Scriptures are revelation and will bring added revelation

The choir and congregation sang We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

Elder Koichi Aoyagi

  • Hands that help
  • Shared story of conversion
  • “I realized that I was not praying with all of my heart, and decided to do so. One morning I woke up early and knelt in my small apartment and prayed sincerely. To my surprise, the confirmation of the Holy Ghost came upon me as promised. My heart burned, my body shook…”
  • Follow the prophet, he knows the way
  • Sometimes we feel we lack the experience to rescue others, but we need to do it
  • We are surrounded by those who need us

Elder Bruce A Carlson

  • Strict obedience to God’s law brings blessings
  • “The safety in the Church lies in the members keeping the commandments. As they keep the commandments, blessings will come”
  • If we don’t keep the commandments, we are headed for disaster
  • Faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task will bring the Lord’s guidance, assistance, and peace
  • “When the Lord commands, do it”

Elder David A Bednar

  • He was recently driving in the rain. A sign said standing water ahead. The road seemed safe, but this sign helped him prepare
  • Early warning signals are evident in many aspects of our lives
  • Spiritual warnings should lead to increased watching
  • An early warning signal consists of 3 parts:
    1. Reading and talking about the Book of Mormon  with your children
      Book of Mormon speaks to the spirit and heart of the reader more than any other volume of scripture
    2. Bearing testimony spontaneously to your children
      A naturally occurring family conversation is a great way to testify of blessings received during the day
    3. Inviting children to act, not merely to be act upon
      Be doers of the word.
  • A child is never to young to take part in this pattern of learning
  • We are not in the business of distributing fish. We are teaching people to fish
  • The best Family Home Evenings are not necessarily from purchased or downloaded packets. Search the scriptures together
  • Are we teaching our children to be anxiously engaged?

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • Why is there so much moral decay around us?
  • The Internet can blast a hole in your brain
  • The problems are no respecter of persons
  • Lust is  a deadly sin. It defiles the holiest relationship God gives us in mortality
  • True love we’re giddy about, but lust is characterized by shame and stealth
  • Love makes us reach out to Go, lust is anything but Godly
  • Start by separating yourself from people, material and circumstances that will hurt you
  • When fleeing temptation, do not leave a forwarding address
  • Ask for angels to help you
  • The only real control in life is self-control
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step
  • Remember the symbols you take with you from the temple, never to be set aside or forgotten
  • We can reject the evil one

The choir sang Nearer, My God, To Thee

The benediction was offered by Elder Craig C Christensen

Read the recaps and other notes from the 180th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

I’m at home now. I can’t say enough about how great the Move Networks player is. I watched it through my laptop on my 26″ HD TV, and it was perfect. Very impressive. The only thing is that the stream seems to be a few minutes behind the live broadcast (even when you are showing it “live”).

I liked watching all of the various leaders sit down before the session started. There is a lot of smiles, a lot of hand-shaking, and a lot of talking. I know people who are so uptight about reverence, and that when you walk into the chapel it should be silent. I know the Conference Center isn’t a chapel, but for the purposes of General Conference, it is, and it is great to see people being so friendly with each other. It’s also nice to see everyone (including the leaders) stand as the First Presidency walks in. I also liked seeing President Eyring whisk something off of President Monson’s shoulder. Maybe something from lunch? 🙂

President Henry B Eyring conducted the session.

The choir sang “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise”.

Elder Carlos H Amados offered the invocation.

The choir sang “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free”

President Eyring conducted the business. Several members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy were released, but no one was called to replace them.

Elder Dallin H Oaks ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • God’s love and God’s commandments
  • The love of God does not supersede his commandments.
  • His commandments do not diminish the love of God
  • Every parent knows you can love a child and be angry and disappointed
  • The love of God is so universal, even those who are rebellious benefit
  • Where do parents draw the line with children that are not following the commandments. Don’t go to extremes (shunning the person, or totally ignoring the disobedience)
  • Real love does not support self-destructive behaviour

Elder Robert D Hales ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • We live in a time where secularism is deepening
  • We declare We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost
  • Why is belief in God so important?
  • Without God, life would end at the grave, and life would have no purpose
  • Cultivate a diligent desire to know God lives

Elder Jorge F Zeballos

  • From a purely human point of view at first, the commandment to be perfect seems to be an impossible task
  • The command to become perfect encourages us to achieve the best of ourselves
  • God will not require more than the best we can give
  • Let us with enthusiasm do all that is within our reach
  • It is possible to achieve the impossible. We can receive eternal life. We can be happy now

President Eyring forgot 3 other names that are being released from the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy

The choir sang “Come, Ye Children of the Lord”

Elder Tad R Callister ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Joseph was the Lord’s anointed
  • He learned 4 fundamental truths
    1. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings
    2. The Father and Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones
    3. God still speaks to man today; the heavens are not closed
      Does God love us as much today as before?
      Does God have the same power today as then?
      Do we need him as much today as then?
    4. The full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth
  • Hard to believe Joseph Smith saw angels? Were there not angels before? Mary, Joseph, Peter, James, John, Cornelius, Paul, Stephen all saw angels
  • There will always be an intellectual crisis, but there will always be faith that can strengthen us
  • Attempts to intellectualise salvation will never find the answers they seek. At some point, one must trust in God.

Elder Kent R Watson

  • Temperance
  • Exercise self-control
  • Peace of mind and security and happiness do not come from buying things we can’t afford
  • Security from our families comes from learning self-control
  • Peace of mind comes from faith in Jesus Christ
  • Happiness comes from being diligent in keeping covenants

Elder Neil L Andersen ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • I have felt His love in sacred and unforgettable ways
  • Spiritual arms of mercy, safety, love
  • We rejoice in repenting and the joy of forgiveness
  • There is no sin that cannot be forgiven (other then turning away)
  • “Will ye not now return unto me… that I may heal you?”
  • Repentance is more of a journey than an event
  • “You can’t feel what I have felt” – I don’t fully understand, but there is One who does. He does. He has felt your pain. He has said “I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands”
  • I promise you, relief will come
  • Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance

President Boyd K Packer (spoke from a chair)

  • We must use our agency wisely
  • Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind
  • The Spirit can protect you
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost operates with men, women and children
  • Keep your mind clean and free from the clutter of the world
  • No matter who you are and what you may have done, you can always pray
  • Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven and the lock is on your side of the veil.
  • He has learned to conclude all prayers with “Thy will be done”

The choir sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”

The benediction was offered by Robert S Wood (who was released today)

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: