You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Spirituality’ category.
Recently, a Sunday School lesson in our Mormon Church was on a Book of Mormon prophet named Enos. His account is very short in the Book of Mormon, but it is a very important chapter in the Book.
In short, he describes a long prayer and process he goes through to receive forgiveness from his sins through Jesus Christ. His description could be described as what is commonly known in Christian circles as a “born again” experience because he prays and confesses Jesus as his Savior and asks Him to take away his sins. He then is filled with the Holy Spirit and prays for his fellow friends and his enemies alike.
As I reflected on Enos’ experience, it reminded me of my own.
When I was in my early teenage years, I had been already living a pretty devious life and was full of hatred and anger. Through the grace of God I picked up a Book of Mormon and read it within a few weeks. At the end of the Book of Mormon, I had a very big desire to pray and know if the concepts in the Book were true. The concepts in the book include the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes: faith, repentance, baptism, committing our lives to the Lord, and receiving the Holy Spirit.
According to a modern Mormon prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, for every one person who has a “born again experience” such as Enos, there are thousands of people who do not have a huge manifestation of the Holy Spirit all at once. Rather, it comes gradually as we keep the commandments of God.
I feel fortunate to have had an experience like that of Enos. Immediately after I prayed, I felt a warmth come all over me and a love and desire to share the Good News with my fellow man. From the age of 13 (when I had this experience) I had the desire to go on a mission and tell the world about the gospel. My mission was everything I dreamed it would be. Although I was in a country (Germany) whose people didn’t accept the gospel with open arms, I still grew to love the Lord and the German people. If I hadn’t had this born again experience as a younger man, I’m not sure that I would have been able to be so motivated to go on a mission, and the experience is something I reflect on almost daily that sustains my faith now.
I would be curious to see how many people out there have had a “born again” experience. If you have, please share. If not, please share how you have experienced receiving the Spirit and a testimony of Jesus.
On Sundays we try and focus more on the Savior than we normally would during the week. By this I don’t mean that we forget about God during the week and then do a turn-around on the Sabbath, but we try and make Sundays a little more focused on Jesus and His gospel.
One example is that we try not to watch movies or TV shows that aren’t centered around the Savior or the Gospel.
Our little girl, who is 3 1/2 years old, loves her Disney cartoons, but on Sunday we typically have her watch cartoons about Jesus.
Recently, we watched a cartoon about Jesus titled “Jesus the Son of God” that has the story of him as a young boy going to the temple and being left behind by his family. It shows how his parents, Mary and Joseph searched all through the city and one of the last places they look was in the temple, where they find Jesus teaching the Jewish priests about fulfilling the Law of Moses.
As I watched the cartoon about Jesus, I thought about my own life and how many times I look for answers in many other places before going straight to a place (such as the scriptures, prayer, church, temple, etc) where I know I can find my answers from God. Generally, when I do this, I receive answers in the form of peace and guidance.
I also thought of how many people are out there struggling to find peace and light in their lives and they search in all the wrong places. It is my hope and prayer that I can be an instrument in God’s hand to help some people find Him. It is also my hope and prayer that all of you can do the same. I believe that as we do this together, many people will be blessed and find God.
P.S. for those of you with small children, or if you just like cartoons about Jesus, here’s a link to the video:
We’ve been having a very good discussion in a recent post with members of various Christian faiths surrounding the concept of revelation and what is considered scripture for both LDS and other Christian faiths. Part of the discussion surrounded revelation given to both individuals and Church leaders.
This weekend, the LDS General Conference will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Members of all faiths are welcome to listen to the instruction given by the leaders of the LDS or Mormon faith including the apostles and prophet of the church.
For those not familiar with where to go to watch conference, I will share a few links. Additionally, I will share an official history of Mormon General Conference taken from an article written by the LDS Newsroom about 6 months ago.
Resources for General Conference
The following websites are where I typically go to watch conference in order from my favorite to “least” favorite.
If anyone knows of other resources, feel free to share them.
Preparing for General Conference
Also, I came across a very good blog written entitled “12 Ways to Prepare for General Conference“. I thought it was good, so I invite all to read it in preparation for conference.
History of LDS General Conference
This official article was very informative and included some facts I wasn’t aware of about the history of General Conference.
I hope this helps members of all faiths who may be interested in checking out Conference this weekend.
Somehow I’m just not as connected to the blogosphere as I thought. I received an email with all this hype around a guy who had stood up in General Conference and taken a goofy picture. It went viral and now became featured in a series of posters on the LDS Friends website with captions underneath them. I thought some of them were funny. Here are my favorite three:
Of these ones I posted and the ones listed on the ldsfriends.com website, I think I like the one about alcohol the best.
Which one do you like…or is there a different caption you would choose altogether?
If you subscribe to the LDS Living magazine, you probably read the recent article on David Ciemny, who formerly managed Lady Gaga’s tour schedule. He has quite the resume and experience in the music industry and has managed to keep his morals in spite of the surroundings he has been with from being in his own band all the way up to managing major tours. When he reached the peak of success as Lady Gaga was bursting onto the scene, he could see his touring would keep him away from his family for more than a year. He decided to quit at that time and stay with his family.
I thought the article was interesting, but it was the comments below the article from readers that got me thinking. It appears that people were divided on supporting David with his career. Some people applauded him for being able to keep his morals and be a “light on a hill” or “salt of the earth” so to speak. Others criticized him for mingling with the “wrong” people. After all (those who criticize say), how can a “good” LDS guy be really that good if he is touring with the likes of Lady Gaga or opening for Metallica?
In Sunday school I teach the 16-18 year olds and we are studying the New Testament this year. Over and over Jesus is criticized for mingling with the “wrong” people such as sinners and gentiles who are not of the Jewish faith. In my opinion, those who criticize this guy for being Lady Gaga’s tour manager fall into the category of the Pharisees who judged Jesus. If David was able to keep his morals and be a good example, then he probably was planting a lot of seeds and who knows who he may have blessed?
Now it’s your turn. Cast your vote. Do you praise or criticize David Ciemny for being Gaga’s tour manager?
In the LDS faith, people are not baptized until they are at the age of accountability, which according to LDS scripture is the age of 8. According to that scripture, the parents are commanded to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children and baptize children when they turn 8 years old or there is a sin on the head of the parents.
When reading a post about Catholic and LDS baptisms, the writer mentions someone close to her who was baptized as a Mormon at the age of 8 and felt like he didn’t have a choice in the matter. He says he went along with it because it was the social norm and the thing to do and you “go along with it”. Therefore, the baptism is essentially meaningless for the individual.
For me, I remember my parents teaching me about being baptized and also learning about it in class at Sunday school while I was 7 years old. While I didn’t understand everything about the commitment it was (and probably still don’t for that matter!) I do remember being excited and that baptism was a good thing. I remember practicing with my Dad how to hold onto his arm and keep my hand up so water wouldn’t get into my nose. I also especially remember my baptism because I had to go under 3 times before I was totally immersed (for Mormon’s the baptism isn’t valid unless you go completely under water).
I wonder though what would have happened if I didn’t want to get baptized. Would my parents have made me get baptized? I also wonder if there are examples out there of parents who have kids who reached the age of 8 and decided not to get baptized.
What would you do if your child didn’t want to get baptized (assuming you had taught them about baptism and what it means, etc.)?
I have written some poetry and songs in the past and it is very difficult to find a way to get things out there without knowing someone. I think this company could be very beneficial for those of you who are like me. You know you have some good stuff out there, but just can’t find a way to promote it. The name of the company is Inspired Hearts and Hands and will be described in the owner’s words below:
Inspired Hearts and Hands is an online marketplace for uplifting art, music, literature, etc. Each item for sale will be posted by the artist, musician, photographer, or writer who created it. There are no fees to sell on our site, no hassles, and we want to promote each of you who have artistic talents and allow you to do what you love. I know many of you have these talents, and I know that you know many others who do as well. Please take a moment to visit the site and learn more about how it works.I know from personal experience that it is hard to market one’s personal creations, no matter how talented they are. This site exists to solve this problem, to promote individuals and their careers to higher levels, and to provide customers products that not only support up and coming artists, but are also positive, uplifting, and affordable. Please visit: www.inspiredheartsandhands.com for details.
The company accumulating items and will officially launch in June of this year. If you have something you would like to share with others that is uplifting and inspiring, or if you would like to see a wide variety of inspiring products you normally wouldn’t find in the Christian or LDS bookstore, visit: www.inspiredheartsandhands.com.
I received a forward from my cousin that I thought was funny. I don’t think I’ve ever shared one on my blog, but I got a little chuckle from this one. If you’ve seen this before, just delete this as you normally would. If not, I hope you like it. Here it is:
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during an icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel they did 20 years earlier on their honeymoon. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to have coordinating schedules. So the husband flew in to Florida a day before the wifeand checked into the hotel. He decided to send his wife an email but when he sent the email, he accidentally left out one letter.
Meanwhile, in Houston a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. The man, a minister, had just suffered a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email to see if she had messages from family and friends. The widow freaked out when she saw her first message which read:
To: My Loving Wife Subject: I’ve Arrived
I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine.
P.S. Sure is freaking hot down here!
I”m sure many of you have read this one, but for some reason I hadn’t. I decided to check Snopes.com to see if the email was legit, and it doesn’t specify if this actually happened. It does say that many times the email goes around with an actual newspaperclipping with this story in it.
I graduated from BYU and thought it was a very rigorous program. I never really did want to go there but ended up going there by default. It was much less rigid than Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) was so BYU was a bit of a breath of fresh air for me. The football games were very fun and the friends I made were great as well.
When I received this email from BYU alumni that BYU was the most popular school in the country ranked by US News, it was a bit surprising to me. BYU even out-ranked the likes of Harvard, Standford, and many others (for a complete list of the rankings click here).
What are your thoughts? Does this surprise you at all?
On a side note, as you look at the list of most popular schools, my home-state of Idaho has Idaho State University ranked in the top 10 most popular schools. This was even more shocking to me!
I thought it would be fun to reflect back on 2010 on the graceforgrace site highlighting some of the posts that stood out to me this year. I’ll break them into categorgies as follows:
Most Controversial Post
The most controversial post on graceforgrace was definitely “How Can a Christian or Mormon Vote Democrat?” I posted this shortly after the Republican candidate I was supporting lost and was still a bit heated after the loss. Mormons and Christians from both parties had a lot to say on this post and I learned a good lesson in humility and quickly wrote the follow-up post entitled “Christians and Democrats-I’m o.k. You’re o.k.”
Least Viewed Post
The least viewed post by far was my post entitled “I’m Thankful For...” with only 15 views. (click on it again and read it…see if we can bump it up to 20 : )
Most Viewed Post
For the third year in a row, the most viewed post by far is the one I wrote in 2008 entitled “10 Steps to Recover from Anxiety and Depression“. I am very glad this has helped so many thousands of people throughout the years and hope it continues to help people overcome these struggles and get their lives back.
Most Faith-Promoting Story
One of the most memorable events that brought me closer to God this year was my experience of dressing as a homeless person. I shared the story back in May on the post called “Lessons Learned from My Experience Dressing as A Homeless Man.”
I had fun writing the post on the top Christian songs you don’t usually hear in church and also hearing what other readers had to say.
Bringing Christians Together
The post I wrote highlighting Christians who believe Mormons are also Christians was very influential for many people this year. As I mention in my purpose of this blog, it is to bring people of all faiths together. I hope we can continue this trend in 2011.