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In 1966, Batsell Barrett Baxter delivered an excellent sermon entitled “As a Man Thinketh.”  I HIGHLY reccomend reading it.  While the whole sermon is excellent, I choose to pull the following quote from his sermon at the Hillsboro Church of Christ:

“Chronic resentments, grudges that we carry around with us, become deep-seated abscesses. They ruin our personalities. They poison our minds, and they produce diseases in our bodies. When we continue to carry them, we are slowly but surely committing suicide! The cure for a surgical abscess is incision and drainage. This makes healing possible from the inside out so that the patient is rid of the abscess once and for all. The cure of a spiritual abscess is forgiveness–real forgiveness. This heals our minds, our bodies, and our souls.” 

Have you ever suffered from someone who hurt you whether intentionally or un-intentionally?  Do you or have you ever suffered so much that all you can do is supress the pain and try to forget?  Do you hold a grudge against someone that harmed you or a loved one?  If so, then I hope that what I share in this post will bless you.

By the time I was in my late 20’s I was slowly dying both physically and spiritually.  This may sound extreme, but I had been poisoned by my inability to forgive one of my parents who I felt had abandoned me after a divorce in my younger years.  On the surface, I knew I needed to forgive and I tried to force myself, but nothing I did seemed to help.  It became so bad that my resentment started taking over my life in my relationships with others as well as the way I viewed myself.  I was sick–both physically and spiritually.

When I came to the realization that I was the one with the problem and took responsibility, that was a huge step for me.  I didn’t know where to start though and how to overcome the resentment that I had harbored subconciously for so many years.  I turned to the Lord in prayer asking for Him to provide a way–and he did.

A couple weeks after I had started seriously praying for an answer and way to overcome my issues with forgiveness someone I hardly knew in church came up to me and said “I have a feeling that you could use my help.”  I was immediately intrigued. 

“What do you mean?” I said.

“I work for a lady that practices Reiki and other natural forms of healing.” she said, “You should come by.”

I’d never heard of Reiki before, but thought it was at least worth giving a try.

A week or so later I arrived at the clinic and started getting to know the “Reiki Lady”.  A name that I soon started calling her that stuck.  In our initial appointment I shared with her my experiences as a child.  It was very painful and I was full of resentment, hurt, and anger.  After our intial visit, she determined that multiple sessions were needed and I scheduled a few appointments.

For those who aren’t familiar with Reiki, it is an Asian form of natural healing in that the practioner focuses on your energy levels that your body puts out through pressure points called “chakras.”  The sessions I found to be very relaxing and helpful, but my anger and resentment would still rear its ugly head along with the spiritual and physical symptoms.  The spiritual symptoms would include: anger, bad habits of manipulating others especially in relationships, pessimism, a cynical outlook and behavior, and lack of trust.  Physically I had depression, anxiety, and also pain in my stomach from holding the bitterness in for so many years.

During one session with the “Reiki Lady” we did something different than we had ever done before.  We started normally with the sessions by getting me into a relaxed and calm state of mind.  However, this time she told me she was going to do a guided imagery session to help me heal my subconsious mind.  It was amazing and would take a long time to explain, but to keep this story short I was able to pull up images of myself as a child and see myself forgiving my parent for everything that had happened.  It was truly a miracle.  From that point forward, things started to fall into place and I was able to forgive completely and I can now say that I love and respect both of my parents completely.

My experience was different than others experiences in that it wasn’t the traditional approach.  However, I know that God worked through a number of people to help answer my prayers and heal me from the poison of holding resentment.

In a way, I guess this is similar to what Glenn Beck has been sharing over on his site called Face your Storm.  For those who would like to hear other stories of overcoming adversity, this is another great site.

I would love to hear others stories or thoughts on learning to forgive.  Please share so we can all be uplifted.

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The title of this article intrigued me when I saw it in the “Time out For Women” flyer my wife received yesterday.  This will be one of the topics in the upcoming conference and Camille Olson will be the speaker.

As I reflected on the title, I naturally thought about the Book of Psalms in the Bible.  I thought of the word “psalm” and looked up the Hebrew translation for it.  Here is the translation directly from the dictionary:

zâmar, zaw-mar’

Definition: a prim. root [perhaps ident. with 2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers]; prop. to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i.e. play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music

Translated as: give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

I thought of many of the Psalms in the Bible and how heart-felt and earnest they are.  The writers of the Psalms show the depths of their souls and their relationship with the Lord as they sing praise and also share remorse for sins committed.  When reading the Psalms, I definitely can feel their sense of yearning and dependance on God in joy, sadness, pain, and all walks of life.

My thoughts then turned to the title “Your own Book of Psalms.”  I’m not sure what the speaker will be sharing, but I thought of how I can deepen my relationship with God by sharing Psalms with Him in three ways: prayer, writing in my journal, and writing music to the Lord.

Prayer

What my goal before I pray is to reflect on God and who He is.  He is my Creator and gives me life.  He loves me more than I can imagine and he loves all humankind and His creations as well.  Also, before I pray it is important to consider all the many blessings I’ve received from His hand each second of the day.  By doing these things I stir emotions within myself that cause me to feel humble before the Lord. 

Next, I think about anyone who may need help and I try to imagine what I would feel like in their situation.  I consider if there is anything I can do to help them and this stirs more emotion of helplessness and dependance on the Lord, knowing that all things are in His control.

I then think about myself and my family and the struggles we may be facing.  This stirs even more emotion and I am then ready to pray…pray with emotion like a psalm.

Journal

When writing in my journal I share emotions and get them all out on paper.  Sometimes as I do this I see things come out that I know I need God’s help with and I then use my journal as a means to pray and share my deepest feelings with the Lord.  Other times I just write in the journal and it feels good to get all my good and bad emotions out.

Writing Songs to God

I play the guitar and sometimes I’ll just start strumming some chords and my heart is full and words will come out.  Sometimes the words are from an earnest seeker, sometimes they are joyous, and other times they are songs of sadness.  I’ve found though that when I express my feelings through a prayer of music to God I have felt the Holy Spirit enter into my heart many times and I feel God’s love surround me. 

In closing I thought it would be fun to share part of one of my “psalms.”  It is part of a song I wrote about Jesus called “Believe.” 

He’ll pick you up if you take a step forward and don’t look back again.

He’ll lift you up and carry you on until your journey’s end…

Now all I have to do is give You my heart…it’s true!

Open the door, get set free.  Give Him your heart….

Once inside you’ll see.  And if you’re feeling doubt just believe.

My wife and I have most recently been reading Truman G Madsen’s book entitled “Christ and the Inner Life.”  This is a very good book and some of the concepts from it I’ve written about in previous posts.

I’ll share some quotes from the book that recently caught my attention:

I say to you that when he (Jesus) said to the woman of Samaria and to others, “He that believeth on me, shall never thirst”; I say to you that when on the cross he looked down and back, under the searing sun, and said, “I thirst,” he was reflecting both the promise and the need that all of us have.  We, too, thirst until we ache.  We, too, are living and dying on deserts.

A few paragraphs later, Madsen further concludes by saying:

May God help us to walk in the light; and, when we do not feel that we have it, to walk in the memory of it with integrity.

I thought it was interesting to note that Jesus, who had stated those who follow Him will never thirst was left alone and thirsted not only physically, but spiritually on the cross when he said “Father why hast thou forsaken me?”  While his enemies scoffed and ridiculed him telling him to save himself.  At this moment Jesus didn’t feel like he had the light anymore as His father had withdrawn himself from him.  Jesus, who was all-powerful could have used his powers to save himself and destroy his enemies, but he didn’t because he had integrity.  Jesus proved to be conquerer by holding on to the memory of the light he had felt and his mission and finished his mission with integrity. 

How often do we feel like we’re alone in life?  How often do we feel the darkness of sin, doubt, or discouragement and cry out to God and feel that we are yet alone?  How often do we just simply not feel like walking with God, or doubt that He is there walking with us?  What do we do when we feel that God has forsaken us?

I like what Madsen says about walking in the memory of the light.  When all seems to be lost, the memories may be all that we have to rely on for a season.

First, we need to make sure we’re in the light. In a previous post, I shared ways to “plug” into the light throughy keeping the commandments and scripture study.  I would add sincere prayer to this as well.  We should continue to do these things even when we don’t feel like it because these are ways to stay in God’s light and feel His Holy Spirit.

Second, we need to remember.  We’re probably all familiar with scriptures relating both those who remembered and those who forgot.  I’ll share a few examples that come to mind.   

Poor examples in the scriptures include: Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon, King David and Solomon, the Isrealites during Moses’ time.  In each of these individuals’ lives they had marvelous spiritual experiences.  David and Laman and Lemuel both saw heavenly beings with their eyes.  However due to negligence in keeping their eyes focused towards God, each of these individuals erred greatly and suffered because of it.  A side note is to remember that repentance is always there for us, but the further we fall from God’s light and love, the harder it is to get back.

Good examples in the scriptures of those who remembered in spite of hardship and despair include: Paul, Nephi, Moroni, and Joseph Smith.  There are of course numerous other examples, but these are the ones who come to mind. 

In 2 Nephi 4, Nephi turns to God in prayer when he feels his strength slacken, Paul states numerous times in the Bible to count it a joy to suffer for the Lord and reflects on Jesus’ sacrifice to help him “stay the course”, Moroni refuses to deny Jesus despite the fact he is the last believer left in his world.  Joseph Smith certainly wasn’t perfect by any means, but when times were hard and he felt like God wasn’t there for him anymore he didn’t give up on God, rather he turned to him in prayer and in turn received revelation.

There are numerous other means and ways given to us to remember God today.  Temple attendance and partaking the sacrament (in the prayer we promise to “always remember Him”) are two more examples. 

I know life probably isn’t easy for you, and it’s definitely not always easy for me.  But I know that life would be much harder without God in my life and the belief I have in Jesus as well.  As I’ve built memories with them, and try to further develop my relationship with them on a daily basis through scripture study and prayer as well as weekly partaking of the sacrament, I feel that life is much better.  I also believe that when we develop these habits it makes it that much easier to look back on the good feelings and spiritual strength we receive gradually over time. In addition, when we don’t feel the Spirit for a season we realize our dependance on God and become grateful for His mercy. 

When we’re down and don’t feel the light anymore I hope we can all remember to call upon God and keep walking in His light with integrity. 

03-07-08  Recently this post was posted on the postmormon.com website and I have received many comments from former members who are eager to debate doctrine.  My intention with this post was not to debate whether Joseph Smith was a prophet or the LDS church is true/false, etc.  Any comments made that are not uplifting or off-topic will be deleted.  If your intentions lead to off-topic discussions you are invited to go to another forum. Here is the original post:

I was on vacation a couple years ago in Hawaii and there was an interesting lesson on how to strengthen against apostasy.  I jotted down the 9 steps to strenthen against apostasy and put them in my scriptures.  This morning I came across them again and thought I’d share. 

Personally, I feel apostasy is distancing myself from the Lord and His teachings and truths that he has revealed to me about His gospel and teachings.  Each one of us have had different things revealed to us and it is up to us to keep searching and growing in light and truth.  When we stop searching by praying, studying scriptures, serving, etc. we are taking steps towards apostasy.  Following these suggestions can help us maintain the Holy Ghost and help us endure to the end.

Strengthening Against Apostasy

1.) Avoid those who would tear down your faith

2.) Keep the commandments

3.) Follow the living prophets

4.) Don’t debate points of doctrine (3Nephi 11:28)

5.) Search the scriptures

6.) Don’t be swayed from the mission of the church

7.) Pray for enemies

8.) Practice pure religion (James 1:27)

9.) Remember not everything has an immediate answer

 

As I look over these steps, I see things I can definitely improve on.  Questions to consider are: how do I react when someone from another faith comes on my blog and shares their experiences and even attacks me?  Do I pray for them or do I try to argue points of doctrine with them?  How am I doing with studying the scriptures?  Am I practicing pure religion as James describes it by visiting the homeless and the widows?  Am I impatient when I pray and demand an immediate answer?  Do I follow our modern day prophets or do I scoff at them? 

These are important things to consider.  I know the closer I am to the Lord and His Spirit, the happier I feel.  I hope we can all ponder these questions and be thankful if we’re on the right track and if we’re not, make some changes to get back on track.

In one of my recent posts, I said it was a law that God would answer our prayers.  I was wrong….he’ll answer our prayers if we are keeping the commandments.  Here’s proof: John 15:10 “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love…” and John 15:7 “if ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

Furthermore, it is important to keep the commandments because if we “keep not the commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with us and we’ll walk in darkness.” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:12).  Therefore, if we are keeping the commandments God is bound by his promise to answer our prayers.

I was reading an article in the Ensign today and a reader posed a question about prayer.  Here is the question:

I have always been taught to pray, but often I don’t seem to get answers.  I have faith and think I’m worthy.  What should I do?

It appears that this person is trying to keep the commandments and believes that they will receive an answer to their prayers, but either isn’t receiving an answer to their prayers or they are not recognizing the answer to their prayers.

How would you respond to this person?  How do you receive answers to your prayers and how do you recognize the answers are from God?  What would you suggest this person should do to receive an answer or recognize an answer to their prayers?

Leave your comments below…

Recently I posted a blog on why I believe in God.  Many of you emailed me directly and a couple of you left responses.  This blog is written in response to a comment left by someone on my blog who says he doesn’t believe in God.  I appreciate him getting in touch with me and sharing his perspective with me.  It caused me to reflect on my beliefs.  Here were the comments left on my page:

“…after careful consideration, pondering, reading, rationale, et. al, I’ve come to the conclusion  that there isn’t a god.  And because I don’t believe in a god, I only have to live for myself and those that I love.  And I mustn’t fear death, for I also don’t believe in hell.  It’s a wonderful way to live life.  It makes me very happy.”

First off, I commend this person for sharing their views.  Although many of his views are not aligned with mine, one of them is.  The view that he loves those around him and loves himself.  This I find to be very positive and there are many (including myself) that need to work on further developing the trait of loving and respecting oneself as well as his friends and family.    

Next, I would like to offer some suggestions to my friend just in case my friend ever has a faint desire to learn if there is indeed a God and how to find out. 

I would like to address a few laws that I know to be true.  In Doctorine and Covenants 130:20 it states that when we keep the commandments of God, he is bound to bless us.  It is a law and with every blessing there is a law attached to it.  What are some laws of Heaven?  Some examples include: Faith, Prayer, Tithing, Fasting, all of the commandments basically.  For purposes of addressing the topic on hand, I would like to focus on the laws attached to faith and prayer.

The Law of Faith

In my opinion, the most beautiful and simple explanation of how to excersize faith is in Alma chapter 32 of the Book of Mormon.  If my atheist friend even has the faintest desire to find out if there is a God, I recommend a careful study of this chapter.  It outlines step by step how to excersize faith.  Here are the steps:

1. Develop Humility (Alma 32 verses 12-16)

2. Desire to believe (verse 27)

3. Experiment upon the word (verse 27)

4. Hold on to truth…nourish the “seed” through prayer (verse 37)

5. Patience (verse 42)

6. Diligence (verse 42)

7. Recieve reward of Faith (verse 43)

If faith is a law, then god is bound to bless us with knowledge if we follow these steps.  He only blesses us with knowledge and miracles according to our faith. ( 2 Nephi 27: 23; 2 Nephi 26:13) Alma compares faith to a seed that if planted in our hearts will grow into a tree of knowledge if we are patient and nourish the seed by reading and studying and believing.  If we do not practice these steps then God can not bless us according to the laws of nature as seen when Jesus couldn’t perform miracles in the Bible because of lack of faith.  (see Matthew 13:58 and 3 Nephi 19: 35

However, numerous examples are contained in the scriptures of the miracles that are able to be perfomed because of following the prescribed steps of faith.  Some examples are: the miracles of Paul in the bible (Acts 19:11); numerous examples of healings in the scriptures; and people receiving a testimony or witness of the spirit according to their faith.  There are thousands of other examples in the scriptures that witness of miracles as well. 

It appears that my atheist friend was almost ready to recieve an answer or witness that there is a God.  He completed the steps of having a desire to know, and reading and studying.  I’m not sure if this studying was done in humility.  I’m not the one to judge, but if it was done in humility and he still didn’t recieve a witness then it was because he didn’t practice the law of prayer.

The Law of Prayer

In the scriptures it states: “All things ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall recieve” (Matthew 21: 22)  This is a law.  God promised he would do this and I testify from personal experience that he will.  Examples of people recieving a witness that there is a God by praying include Enos in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith when praying to find out which church he should join, and other examples throughout the scriptures. 

My atheist friend also commented on my experience I posted about praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true that there is no way that I could have had this experience and that it was something I had imagined up.  This story reminds me of an anti-christ in the Book of Mormon named Zeezrom who challenged Jacob, a prophet of the time. 

In closing and in response to my atheist friend, I want to tell you that I have tried the experiment on the words of God.  I know that the law of faith and the law of prayer works.  I know that I have felt God in ways that I can’t describe and that one can’t understand unless they have experienced them.  I feel like Joseph Smith in a small sense that the experiences I’ve had I know are from God and I can’t deny them.  If I were to deny that God has sent me His Spirit to testify that Jesus is our Savior, the scriptures including the Book of Mormon and the Bible are true, and that He (God) actually exists; I would be lying to God and myself.  This I will not do.

I invite my friend to try this experiement with humility and faith.  If you have the desire and patience I testify to you that you will recieve a witness.

If anyone reading this has similar experiences to share or ideas to help my atheist friend, feel free to contribute in your comments.

Last week my wife and I went to the symphony for her Christmas present.  It was amazing!  Beethoven’s 9th.  The only problem was that we go to sleep listening to classical music and so when the slow pieces were playing we started to snooze.  We woke up suddenly though during the last piece…you know the one: “Ode to Joy!”

 We’re all familiar with the “Ode to Joy” theme.  The Seattle Symphony was amazing and I was moved by their sound.  What moved me even more were the lyrics to the song.  I went to Germany on my mission, so I get excited when I hear German lyrics.  The part that really moved me was this part of the song:

Seid umschlungen, Millionen, diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!  Brueder! Uebem Sternenzelt muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.  Ihr stuerzt nieder, Millionen?  Ahnest du den Schoepfer, Welt?  Such’ ihn ueberm Sternenzelt!  Ueber Sternen muss er wohnen.

The words are beautifully powerful and together with the music and vocals it moved me deeply.  However, that might not mean much to you if you don’t speak German.  Here’s the English translation:

Be embraced, all ye Millions with a kiss for all the world!  Brothers, beyond the covering of the stars must dwell a loving Father.  Do you bow down before him, O Millions?  Do you feel the Creator’s presence?  Search for him beyond the stars!  He surely dwells beyond the stars.

As I heard this, something deep within my soul cried out “Yes!  Yes!  I search for Him.  I feel His presence!  Embrace me, Heavenly Father!” 

This was a very moving experience for me.  I do not know for certain many things, but many things I do know.  I know that I have felt close to God as I sing praises to Him.  I feel Him when I pray.  I know that I have felt close to God as I’ve seen His creations. (see Alma 30:44) I know I’ve felt Heavenly Father’s love as I’ve shared love with others, for God is love.  (see John chapter 4)  I also feel His love through reading the scriptures about the Saviors ministry.  As Elder Holland said in a conference talk, everything the Savior did while he was on earth testified of his Father and our Father in Heaven. (see talk “The Grandeur of God“)  Jesus said he did nothing that he hadn’t first learned from the Father. (see John 8:38)

Joseph Smith stated that the first step necessary for excersizing faith in God unto salvation was to believe that God actually exists. (Lectures on Faith, pg 39

So I pose the same question to you.  Why do you believe there’s a God?  Leave your comments below.

During my morning scripture study today I was reading John 15:1-16.  This is a section where Jesus is teaching his disciples on the perfect law of love.  The verses that stand out to me are verses 5, 7, and 10.  They read:

Verse 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing”

Verse 7: “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

Verse 10: “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commndments, and abide in his love”

My first question was “How do I abide in the Savior’s love?” The answer is obviously in verse 10 by keeping His commandments.  Further research into the scriptures led me to some of the commandments that I personally should do to abide in the Savior’s love.  These include: praying, studying scriptures, acknowledging His hnd in all things, recieving counsel from Him, walking as He walked, and keeping His commandments.

Why is it important to abide in Him?  The answer is in verse 7: “…ye shall ask what ye will, and it shll be done unto you…”

This led me back to verse 5 where Jesus states he is the vine and we are the branches.  If we are not connected to Him (abide in Him), we can do nothing.  This scripture reminds me also of Psalms Chapter 1 verse 3.  Here the psalmist compares a man that “delights in the law” i.e. keeps the commandments of God to a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth fruit and prospers.  Compare this also to when Jesus Christ offers the woman at the well “living water” in John Chapter 4.

I am very grateful for the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I know that I can do many things on my own, but when I do that I do not have the strength of the Lord or His Holy Spirit in my life.  I am very grateful and know that when I abide in him and keep His commandments I feel more love for my fellow men and peace in my heart. 

What is a Mormon?  Many people hear this word and different images come to their minds.  Having served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and having dealt with many members of other faiths through business and other travel experiences, I can probably guess what many think when they hear the word ‘Mormon.’  Many comments have been made to me about being a Mormon throughout the years, some of which I find quite commical.  Here are some statements I’ve heard:

“Aren’t you those guys who ride horses and buggies and can’t use electricity?”

“How many wives do you have?”

“You’re a fool for believing Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  In fact, all Mormons are going to hell!”

“What?!?  You don’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol????”

“No way!  You’re 28 years old, single, and still a virgin?…why would you torture yourself like that!”

The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.  Most people have certain ideas or things either they have heard through the media, history books, or their preacher.  My hope with this blog is that I can provide you insight on why I personally choose the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) faith and to help clarify mis-conceptions many people have about this christian faith. 

How I became a Mormon

Although I was baptized into the Mormon faith at the age of 8, I wouldn’t say I was converted to the faith until I was 11.  Soon after my being baptized, my parents were divorced and I moved away with my mother and siblings.  We quit going to the LDS church. 

My conversion started when I came across a Book of Mormon a few years later.  I had been struggling for a few years since my parents’ divorce and was searching for guidance and direction in my life at the time.  I remembered my father reading the Book and I thought I would read it as well.  The title page, written by Joseph Smith stated that the Book of Mormon was the “most correctly written book….” and that “a man would draw nearer to God by abiding by it’s precepts than any other book…”  I read the Book and felt a peace and calmness as I read of the prophets testifying of Jesus Christ on virtually every page.  By the end of the book, I had felt feelings of love, calm, peace, confidence that I’d never felt before and then I read the following verses in Moroni 10: 3-5:

” 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

  4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

  5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.”
Never before had I had such a desire to pray and ask God if these things (the words in the Book of Mormon) were true.  I had never before prayed to God for an answer, but I knew how to pray.  I knelt down and started praying.  The experience I had was one of the most precious experiences of my life.  I felt an overwhelming feeling of love, peace, excitement, joy, and a desire to share love with all my fellow men come over me.  I knew there was a God and that He loved me and I knew that Joseph Smith (the translator of the Book of Mormon) was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was true.  It made such an impression on me that I could never deny it. 
Imediately I jumped up, ran up to tell my father and felt the desire to share these truths with all men.
I will be discussing many other of my beliefs and values as a Latter-day Saint, but wanted to start with this experience because it is the foundation of my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. 
I invite anyone with a sincere and open heart to participate in discussions.  Feel free to ask questions, comment, etc. and I will do my best to answer them.

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