What the Book of Mormon Is…

I have recognized in myself an ability to follow the prophet in a unique way.  Listening to the prophet, following his instructions, and becoming what I’m asked to is important to me and something that motivates and inspires me.  What I’ve discovered though is that I’m exceptionally slow at getting there.  I set in my mind to follow through on a challenge that President Nelson gave us in General Conference a couple conferences ago.  His talk was designed to make us think about what our lives would be like “without the Book of Mormon”.  He then shared how he had taken the time to consider the Book of Mormon in a few different contexts;

“…Among other things, I’ve made lists of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals. Looking at the Book of Mormon through these lenses has been an insightful and inspiring exercise! I recommend it to each of you.”

Well, here’s some self-critique to my grand idea.  First of all, it wasn’t a recent conference, it was back in October of 2017.  Second, Russell M. Nelson was NOT the prophet yet.  Third, he actually acted because of a challenge that (then) President Monson gave us “each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day.”

So, I was a bit wrong in my memory of why I had these intentions and a little bit tardy in my execution of them.  None-the-less, it was an amazing exercise.  In my previous post, I shared something special to me that I had discovered when reading the Book of Mormon it was much easier, more interesting, and meaningful when I read the Book of Mormon faster.  Not at high speed, but by taking a whole hour each day to read it.  I can cruise through 7-10 Chapters in a single day.  That made it so I can connect thoughts, stories, characters, and even books of scripture to gather greater meaning.  Well, the last two months, I took on the same strategy.  I missed a few days because of travel and vacations, but I got through the Book of Mormon again in just a few weeks.  This time, my intention in reading was to do as (now) President Nelson challenged, to make a similar list to his in what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies, and what it reveals.

To further illuminate my inability to do things timely, in Sunday school last week as I scrolled down to the bottom of the “Come Follow Me” lesson, this same declaration and challenge that Russell M. Nelson gave us was included in that lesson.  If I was even remotely “timely” I would have had all my reading done by then to add the lesson more fully.

REGARDLESS… What a great experience!!!  It is ALWAYS a good idea to follow the Prophet and the Apostles.  Our lives will be blessed when we do.  Being in the Book of Mormon, with purpose, brings greater understanding, imbeds the principles of the gospel into my heart, my mind, my life, and my actions.  Finally, as I read over the list this morning of how the Book of Mormon fits into my life in answer to each of those descriptions, I was humbled and reminded of how important it is to me.

I’ve included my list and then the list of our prophet.  I’m sure I may have gotten something “wrong” as I went through, but many of these were thoughts that I typed out as I read.  Whether or not the Book of Mormon actually fulfills those things as I thought about them, I don’t know.  Also, I refused to read President Nelson’s list until after I finished.  I wanted to have my own clear thoughts before borrowing some of his.

What the Book of Mormon…

Is              Amount to, represent, signify, consist of, constitute


  • History of the native people of America, a lineage that goes directly back to the Israelites:Nephite/Lamanites  People of Zarahemla (descendant of Mulek), People of Coriantumr, People of the Brother of Jared
  • A record with a specific intent to persuade men to come unto God – 1 Nephi 6:4
  • A “How To Guide” for Faith – Alma 32, Moroni 7
  • The Book, the stories, the scriptures, the thoughts are specifically for ME as the reader to liken, receive inspiration, and become more of what the Lord wants me to be.
  • A testimony of Jesus Christ and declaration of his birth
  • The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion, the Gift of the Holy Ghost… and Enduring to the End in Righteousness
  • … a journal – a document meant to be used for reading and teaching, not just for the exercise of writing
  • Sacred  – 1 Nephi 19
  • An invitation, A warning, A call to repentance

Affirms       asserts strongly, declares, confirm the validity of, heightened sense of value, through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting


  • Teachings and events that occurred in the Bible (Tower of Babel)
  • It is important to keep records, to journal, and keep history.  Not one per family, but individually
  • Jesus Christ, the Messiah will come
  • The Lord is over all those he has chosen, because of their faith
  • Importance of families
  • Gratitude
  • Importance of Ordinances in our lives from “burnt offerings, to baptism”
  • The Lord can do EVERYTHING, but he gives us an opportunity to do for ourselves in order to grow
  • With the Lord’s help, we can accomplish anything.
  • Pride DESTROYS
  • Missionary Work, and works of bringing forth Zion are behaviors to seek after.
  • The Book of Mormon serves as a Key… It has the ability to free us from sin, captivity, worldly controls, and unhappiness.  We can use this key to stay free
  • This is a record of Fathers… yes, with our Father In Heaven at the helm ultimately, but much of the instruction given is from a father to his sons and family.  Out of love, helping them to find the right path in their own lives.  Recognizing that there is really only one true path and it will bring the greatest happiness into their lives…. Lehi to his sons, Alma to his son, Mosiah to his sons, Mormon to Moroni,
  • All men should have charity, which charity is love – 2 Nephi 26:30
  • Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; – Mosiah 29:26
  • Foreordination is a principle which prepared leaders but requires faith in this life
  • This is HIS church upon the earth and He will set it up HIS way, example:  – 3 Nephi 1… 11 & 12 Apostles

Refutes           prove to be wrong or false, disprove, contradicts, disproves


  • Revelation, miracles, and angelic visits were not just for those that lived in Biblical times
  • Jesus Christ truly was the Savior that the Jews looked past, and ignored.  He was not just a man, or a prophet, but the real Savior of this world.  He suffered and died specifically for us, so we could be made clean to live with our Heavenly family again some day.
  • Wickedness will not bring Happiness, but leads to Destruction
  • Answers to prayer and revelation are NOT just for spiritual leaders, or those called.  Each and every one of us can seek, ask, and have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and receive answers to our questions from HIM through the Holy Ghost – 1 Nephi 11
  • This is the way, the one true path to salvation and exaltation
  • The Bible is the only word of God that exists:  I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?  Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?  – 2 Nephi 2:29
  • Governments run by kings inevitably will fail.  Judges, hold each other accountable – Proper government
  • Infant Baptism is NOT a correct principle – Moroni 8

Fulfills          bring to completion, or reality, achieve or realize


  • A commitment our Heaven Father has implied by giving us something to feast upon in order to learn and grow.
  • There are people in all corners of the world, the Lord knows each of them, and in the Book of Mormon, visits them as well.
  • Delivery of the “book” revealed in – 1 Nephi 13
  • Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill the Law…  He had to come in order to fulfill the justice/mercy part of the plan of salvation.  Jesus was the sacrifice needed for each of us to be saved.
  • The Law of Moses was fulfilled when Jesus was born, suffered, and crucified

Clarifies           make less confused, more clearly comprehensible


  • Our Father in Heaven hears our prayers, knows HIS children, and still answers those prayers today, through visions, angels, thoughts, feelings, and with the Holy Ghost.
  • Our Father in Heaven knows ALL his children individually, in every part of the world
  • The Lord does not condone the wickedness and abominations of his people.
  • Agency with the Atonement gives us the opportunity to fail over and over again, eventually learn, and be allowed to become clean
  • Righteousness leads to blessings and Exaltation
  • Our Father in Heaven is consistent
  • The way to answers: – 1 Nephi 15:11
  • The Lord allows us to pass through various trials, this is critical for our growth and building of faith.
  • A warning – not “a maybe” but a warning of what REALLY is going to happen
  • Specific to the Jews:  “Convincing them of the true Messiah… that they need not look forward any more for a Messiah to come” – 2 Nephi 25
  • Angels are real:  Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. – 2 Nephi 32:3
  • Living the Law of Moses didn’t save… but it did serve to strengthen faith in Christ… which will lead to salvation – Alma 25:16
  • Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost act as one, but are three separate beings – 3 Nephi 11
  • Proper Baptism by Immersion with someone having authority
  • Institutes the Sacrament, with one having authority, the Bread, the wine, the sacrifice being a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit

Reveals           make previously unknown or secret information) known to others


  • Our Father in Heaven hears our prayers, knows HIS children, and still answers those prayers today, through visions, angels, thoughts, feelings, and with the Holy Ghost.
  • The America’s are a land of promise, preserved for the people that are led here.
  • The Lord works by way of patterns. – 1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Nephi 17:3
  • The Plan of Happiness/Plan of Salvation, and the correct path to follow
  • There are very real forces against us causing all sorts of evil against us in this world
  • There are incredibly strong forces of good that we can call upon more powerful than anything worldly that have, still do, and will act for our good.
  • The literal gathering of Israel is to take place
  • The Holy Ghost is a real gift, that reveals, comforts, and testifies.
  • Heavenly Father Loves Us, loves me
  • The destructive Pride Cycle
  • Mountains are Special to our Heavenly Father
  • A great and a marvelous work (the restoration of the Gospel) will occur to fulfill the covenants made with Israel.
  • Our Heavenly Father is extremely patient!
  • The very Earth we live upon was created by Jesus Christ
  • The correct order and design of Christ’s church upon the earth
  • Our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ are Merciful and Just
  • The Gathering of Israel in the last days
  • New Jerusalem to be built in the last days in the promised land

… from President Russell M. Nelson

President Nelson’s Book of Mormon Lists

The Book of Mormon is:

  • Another testament of Jesus Christ. Its major writers—Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni—and its translator, Joseph Smith, were all eyewitnesses of the Lord.
  • A record of His ministry to people who lived in ancient America.
  • True, as attested by the Lord Himself.

The Book of Mormon affirms:

  • The individual identity of Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
  • The necessity of the Fall of Adam and the wisdom of Eve, that men might have joy.

The Book of Mormon refutes notions that:

  • Revelation ended with the Bible.
  • Infants need to be baptized.
  • Happiness can be found in wickedness.
  • Individual goodness is adequate for exaltation (ordinances and covenants are needed).
  • The Fall of Adam tainted mankind with “original sin.”

The Book of Mormon fulfills biblical prophecies that:

  • “Other sheep” shall hear His voice.
  • God will do “a marvelous work and a wonder,” speaking “out of the dust.”
  • The “stick of Judah” and the “stick of Joseph” will become one.
  • Scattered Israel will be gathered “in the latter days” and how that will be done.
  • The land of inheritance for the lineage of Joseph is the Western Hemisphere.

The Book of Mormon clarifies understanding about:

  • Our premortal existence.
  • It is a necessary component of God’s great plan of happiness.
  • Postmortal existence, which begins in paradise.
  • How the resurrection of the body, reunited with its spirit, becomes an immortal soul.
  • How our judgment by the Lord will be according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.
  • How ordinances are properly performed: for example, baptism, sacrament, conferring the Holy Ghost.
  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • The Resurrection.
  • The important role of angels.
  • The eternal nature of priesthood.
  • How human behavior is influenced more by the power of the word than the power of the sword.

The Book of Mormon reveals information previously unknown:

  • Baptisms were performed before Jesus Christ was born.
  • Temples were built and used by people in ancient America.
  • Joseph, 11th son of Israel, foresaw the prophetic role of Joseph Smith.
  • Nephi (in 600–592 BC) foresaw the discovery and colonizing of America.
  • Plain and precious parts of the Bible have been lost.
  • The Light of Christ is given to each person.
  • The importance of individual agency and the need for opposition in all things.
  • Warnings about “secret combinations.”

Some of the challenge with this endeavor was REALLY knowing and understanding doctrine. As I look at what was “revealed” in the prophets list, I guess I never realized that some of these are only brought to our understanding from the Book of Mormon.  Fortunately, I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I have been in every Primary, YM/Priesthood, Seminar lesson that is given. I have been brought up to be a believer in the Book of Mormon.  There have been times in my life where I have taken that for granted, but can honestly say I have read the Book of Mormon over a dozen times (that I can remember).  I know of the true principles it teaches, and I attempt (not always successfully) to live by the things I learn.

So, what would my life be like without the Book of Mormon?  I believe I would have constant questions that I didn’t have answers to.  I think I would live by the incomplete truths that I could get from the Bible.  I would still strive to be better each day, but with a curious wondering, and a feeling of “something-is-missing”.  One of the things the Book of Mormon helps to do is increase my relationship with Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.  I not sure I would understand their character, or who they are in my life without the Book of Mormon.

To be honest, the Book of Mormon has been such a light in my life, when I’m not reading it (which has been a lot of my life) I’ve felt guilty for not spending each day with it.  It has taken almost half a century for me to recognize how to read it, and how important it is for me to be reading it regularly.  I may still falter and not consider it a priority now and then, but overall, this book has brought me greater Joy and Happiness.

As I conclude, I do get a guilty feeling within that I don’t share this happiness with people the way that I should.  This is a GREAT book that will bring the same Joy and Happiness to others’ lives, that I feel.  I need to figure out ways to get it in front of their eyes, and into their hands, and a part of their lives.  Once I do, I have a faith to know that the power within and the light of Christ within them will motivate them to want to learn more and become of part of HIS Gospel.

Strategy to Beat the Adversary in Daily Life

Earlier this year, I listened to a talk where the speaker pointed out that his wife didn’t particularly enjoy reading the Book of Mormon chapters that were about all the battles and the wars.  I can’t say I really disagreed other than the wars were a least-easier to understand than reading the Isaiah Chapters.  While listening, it occurred to me that (just like the Isaiah Chapters) the authors of the Book of Mormon wasted valued time, effort, and “ore” space to put them in there, so they must be important.  I felt as though they were in there because we are asked to fight the battle with the adversary daily and perhaps there were some strategies in these war chapters that could lead to ways to win against him.  My children, the youth I’m in charge of, and myself could use additional strategies in order to be victorious.

This was not the first time I’ve read the Book of Mormon with a purpose.  I’ve found that having a purpose in reading makes it go faster, and I’m able to feel less bored as I read through it.  What’s amazing to me is that I just read the Book of Mormon in 30 days.  I don’t remember as ever doing that before. I’m pretty sure my record to date was 90 days.  The only thing I did different was committing to read the Book of Mormon every morning for one hour.  I’ve been messing with goals lately considering the new Children and Youth initiatives that the church is putting out.  Of all the goals I made 30 days ago, this is the ONLY one I followed through on.  I plan on adding to it now… but I’m a little disappointed and impressed with myself at the same time.

This time, I read the Book of Mormon entirely on-line on churchofjesuschrist.org.  I was able to use the notebook feature, tagging scriptures, making some notes and then adding it to my “Strategy to Beat the Adversary” notebook.  I was thrilled with how easy it was until I realized I wanted to organize my thoughts into digestible “categories”.  I had 270 different references, this was NOT what the notebook was designed to do.  Unfortunately, I had to pull them out by the ones and create my own spreadsheet with the scripture reference, the quote from the scriptures, my thought that went along with it, and the category I believed that thought fit into.  I made 18 different categories the thoughts fit into:

  • Action                        76
  • Blessings                  9
  • Character                24
  • Consequences        17
  • Example                   8
  • Fortify                       23
  • Gather                      10
  • Holy Ghost              5
  • Jesus Christ             7
  • Knowledge              15
  • Leadership              6
  • Missionary              5
  • Obedience               5
  • Prayer                      11
  • Repentance             16
  • Sentinel                    10
  • Strength                   10
  • Weapons                 14

From this point, my intention was to uncover a weapon, a means of fortification, or an action and interpret it for our day into a method that can be used to defend against the adversaries attempts.  I thought it would go a little different than it did.  At first, I thought a sword would represent something like going through the house and “slashing” through anything that brought evil into our home… a bad program, an app on the phone, a game the kids play, etc.  With-as-much as there was some of that, for the most part, the exercise consisted of traits or characteristics that we could take on in order to be better prepared with who we are, or what we have become, in order to fight. I created three tables:  Arsenal of Armor and Weapons, Fortifications & Strongholds, and finally Actions, Offense & Defense.

The Arsenal is where I found the most inspiration.  I started with the standard spiritual definitions of the Armor of God:  The Breastplate, the Helmet, the Sword, etc.  But then, I was left with a bunch of weapons I found in the Book of Mormon and those weapons didn’t have characteristics or spiritual gifts to develop attached to them.  As I was pondering and reading over the definitions from the armor, the words from Doctrine & Covenants Section 4:5-6 started to come to my mind.  These words began to fit into the Characteristics.  This chart below shows first the “Item” found in the Book of Mormon, then the Characteristic I believe should be associated to it, and then a quick definition of what that looks like in day to day life.  The “Likened for Our Day”, is somewhat subjective.

Arsenal of Armor and Weapons

Scripture Reference In the Book of Mormon Characteristic/Principle Likened for Our Day
2 Nephi 1:23, 3 Nephi 3:26, Armor – “Put on the Whole” Armor of God – Preparation Preparation Take the time each day to prepare.
Alma 43:38, Alma 43:19, Helaman 1:14, Breastplates  “breastplate of righteousness” Obedience – Righteousness Strict obedience to parents, prophet, leaders
Alma 43:38, Alma 43:19, Arm shields Meekness – Strong, Active, Courageous, Restrained, Modest, Gracious Making adjustments in action and character as influenced by Holy Ghost
Alma 43:38, Alma 43:19, Helaman 1:14, Head-Plates  “helmet of salvation” Salvation Attend the Temple regularly
Jarom 1:8, Alma 2:12, Alma 17:7, Helaman 1:14, Mosiah 9:16, Bow & Arrow Charity regular service to others, servant leader
Jarom 1:8, Quiver Brotherly kindness Wave, smile, say hello, be a friend
Jarom 1:8, Dart Love – Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved Be a good family member, Show genuine interest in others, CARE
Jarom 1:8, Alma 17:7 Javelin & Spear Knowledge Study the Scriptures, words of Prophets, other good books, intelligence
Alma 2:12, Stones Temperance Self-Mastery, live with Moderation, restrain, control anger, Word of Wisdom, Budget
Alma 2:12, Alma 17:7, Mosiah 9:16, Slings Patience In conversation, in waiting in line, while sitting in traffic, when considering a purchase – practice, practice, practice
Alma 2:12, Helaman 1:14, Mosiah 9:16, Alma 43:18, 2 Nephi 5:14 Sword The Spirit of the Lord, The Holy Ghost, Seek for opportunities to Hear/Feel the Holy Ghost, do nothing that would offend the Holy Ghost from being with you
Alma 43:19, Thick Clothing “vengeance for clothing” “zeal as a cloak” Virtue Think clean thoughts, watch clean shows, say clean words, proper respect to women
Alma 2:12, Helaman 1:14, Mosiah 9:16, Alma 43:18, Cimeters (Similar to sword, double curve) Humility – Constant Dependency on the Lord Recognizing the Lords hand throughout your day, Showing gratitude and appreciation to others.  Repent often
Helaman 1:14, 3 Nephi 3:26, Shields – “shield of faith” Faith Take regular steps into tough situations.  Learn a correct principle, try it, repeat.

Give up all that is holding us back from complete commitment to Jesus Christ

3 Nephi 3:26, Bucklers (small shield, hand to hand) Confidence Think Positive, Appearance, Organized, Gratitude, Fitness/Diet/Sleep, Make a list of your Strengths and Talents
Mosiah 9:16, Clubs Diligence Hard work, Focus, Project, Hard things- especially in gospel stuff
N/A Belt/Girdle “loins girt about with truth,” Truth Prayer, Daily Scripture study, Taking Christ name upon you everyday
N/A Shoes/Boots “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” Peace – through the Atonement Repentance

Fortifications Strongholds

Unknowingly, this is the what I was looking for when I began reading the Book of Mormon with this purpose.  I wanted to find those things I could do to protect and defend.  Obviously, I’m so glad I was able to find so much more, but this section is the one that talks about how the Nephites protected their homes, their families, and other things important to them in their cities, like temples.  To begin at the bottom, I love the idea of digging a pit and the very action of digging that pit creates a natural mound of dirt.  Then the mount of dirt is built upon with tall, impenetrable wood.  The enemy couldn’t go around, through, under, or over.  There was no way the enemy was getting through.  Then the idea of the Towers;  Setting watchmen all around to warn about unforeseen dangers is such a great visual in my mind.  To see our prophet and other leaders standing up there, receiving the revelation for our good is humbling.  We need to recognize there are those that have a crystal clear view of pitfalls in our path.  We should listen more.

Scripture Reference In the Book of Mormon Likened for Our Day What does that look like?
Alma 50:2, Alma 50:3, Alma 53:4 Works of Timbers Tall enough that difficult to get something over, tough to get something through it. Cannot be pierced. Live your life as an example to others.  The wall can be seen for long distances.  If we live a certain way it will be hard for the temptations and challenges from hitting us.
Alma 50:3 Frame of pickets Prevents someone from climbing over (even after they climbed up the wall) Repentance, if all else fails, after everything we tried, we can repent each day and hit reset… and begin again
3 Nephi 4:4 Reserved Provisions Prepared for a long battle.  Able to survive regardless of the length of time Have your own set of rules, no R rated movies.  No MA rated shows.  Curfew, no blankets while watching shows, no devices in the bedroom
Alma 49:2,

Alma 49:4, Alma 50:1

High Ridge of Dirt Slope could be impossible to climb, severe disadvantage on the bottom of hill trying to get up the hill nearly impenetrable Distract temptations away by staying busy working on talents and goals.  It will heap up a new competency for you, while leaving a gapping trench for the adversary to have to trudge through
Alma 49:2,

Alma 49:4, Alma 50:1, Alma 53:3,

Ditch round about Can’t get good footing, muddy, tough to get through if water is present. Dirty

Creating the ditch, also creates a higher wall where the dirt is being put

Doing less important stuff, game playing, device watching, etc.  Focusing more on those things of great importance… goals, etc.
Alma 55:31-32 Wise to avoid Poison Avoiding Substances Strict Word of Wisdom Adherence, more healthy behaviors, physical activity, clean diet, etc
Alma 62:42 Fortify the areas most exposed first Address those areas we are most susceptible first. Identify what areas you have the hardest time, and ask others to help
Alma 50:4, 3 Nephi 3:14 Towers Prophet, Leaders, Scriptures, Conference Listen to and do the things they say

Every time I read scriptures, listen to a talk, or follow a lesson, I’m looking for the “To Do”.  I don’t mind the warm fuzzies and I enjoying increasing in spirit, but need something concrete that I can change in my life in order to become something more.  I need ACTIONS.  I think this might be why this subject was one of my favorites to study.  It is filled with actionable items I can learn, process, personalize, and then begin living today.  The Book of Mormon was written for our day.  These conflicts, battles, and wars were written for us as well.  The strategies, the techniques, and the inspired life-saving tactics the early Nephites and Lamanites adopted can be liked for our day, bringing us added strength and confidence to beat the adversary no matter what temptation is headed towards us.  Sometimes, it takes a little suggestion or prompting to help us make the correct decision in the battle.

One of my favorite actions below that is found repeatedly in the Book of Mormon is lying, disguising oneself, hiding, tricking, or sneaking around.  If you are faced with a temptation and the only way to free yourself and get away is to tell a Lie… like you’re not feeling well, or your mom needed you home by a certain time, or there is something wrong with the car, I can’t drive that far, or you don’t have any money, so you can’t go there. WHATEVER the lie is, if it keeps you out of harms’ way, I’m positive the consequences of that lie will be FAR less than the consequences of more serious sins you could be pulled into.  Nephi dressed up as Laban, multiple times individuals hid to keep from being destroyed.  This is an absolutely acceptable technique to beat the adversary if it keeps you away from those temptations that could bring you down.  The lie might then require you to employ one of my other favorite techniques and that is RUNNING away!  The moment you know the temptation is present, close by, or about to pull you down, if you have gotten too close, Retreat, Flee, Run for your life!

Another technique I noticed was how often the Nephites sent spies out to discover what their enemy was doing.  Intel is the most important part of any battle.  We need to know what the adversary is doing, where he is doing it, and how his is doing it.  The way we find out is not through Google, or through getting caught in the mud and darkness that he spins, but to study the words of the prophets (past and present). They are standing on the towers, they are receiving the present-day revelation, they KNOW what the adversary is doing and they will always give the “war brief” to us letting us know where the dangers are, where to avoid, and where we can go to be safe and victorious.  If we will listen, we will avoid unnecessary pain anguish.

 Actions – Offense/Defense

Scripture Reference In the Book of Mormon Likened for our Day What Does that look like
1 Nephi 4:19, Alma 52:21 Lie/Disguise Whatever it takes to avoid sin and temptation.  It may feel like it’s something you wouldn’t normally do, but the outcome is best Lying about being sick when in a bad movie, Leaving early from a situation because of some “excuse”
1 Nephi 3:27, Alma 43:31,

Mosiah 20:8, Alma 43:27, Alma 43:35

Hide/Sneak Hiding from the Adversary is being in places or doing things he can’t be or be involved in Service to others (selfless activity), Temple work
Mosiah 22:16 Rely on the Lord If we are doing all we can, and asking for help, the Lord will enhance those efforts Stay worthy, keep the Holy Ghost with us, stay in the light
Alma 2:32, Alma 58:18, 1 Nephi 3:14, Mosiah 17:4, 1 Nephi 3:26, Helaman 6:37 Retreat/Flee It may not look cool, it may not look very courageous, but getting rid of the temptation Run away from a party, an interaction, a situation,
Mosiah 9:1, Alma 2:21, Alma 43:28, Alma 43:31, Alma 56:22, Alma 62:20 Spy This is knowing the plans of the enemy.  The only way to know is to study and listen to those that know better Conference Talks, Devotionals, Seminary,
“Up-to-the-minute” talks for today.
Alma 58:3 Stay Away Don’t explore, experiment, or try.  If it’s related to sin it will bite. Certain Apps… don’t even download them, certain shows, don’t play them.  Certain music… don’t listen.  Certain people’s posts… don’t look
2 Nephi 26:15, Alma 55:22, Helaman 1:31 Surround/Encircle Make sure you are diligently fighting in all areas of the battle.  Whether it’s the type of sin, the way you could sin, or the location of the temptation.  Don’t leave a gap. Phone, tablet, conversations with others, your interactions, your thoughts.  And then, are you in the correct locations at all times.
Alma 55:22 Trick Do what most won’t do Pick up your phone, and “read scriptures” instead of look at an app, get on the TV and watch a Mormon message instead of another pointless You Tube video
Mormon 1:14, Alma 2:34, Alma 2:36, Helaman 6:37 Cleared the ground/Utterly Destroy Some temptations are too great Throw away the phone, Move the computer away from your room, Delete the apps, delete the contact, avoid being alone and finding excuses to be alone.
Mosiah 22:16, Alma 43:40 Chase/Pursue Go after only things that will uplift There is no reason to keep going after those things which bring you down.  You need to make the effort to chase the good.
Alma 14:18, Alma 24:21 Say Nothing/Just stand there and take it When getting ridiculed, beat up, or torn down by someone the hardest thing to do it say nothing.  But there is power in turning the other cheek Ignore shamming, or on-line bullying, ignore comments where someone tries to pull you down for being who you are.  Don’t react.  Don’t give them place in your heart
N/A Surrender Some temptations, sins, situations are too difficult to face on your own.  Don’t let it defeat you completely.  Surrender, get help! Turn to parents, turning to the bishop, letting your friends know, you can’t do it alone.
Alma 43:31 Divide/Cut off If it’s not uplifting, and it will never be uplifting, Cut it off, be done with that thing. Breaking up with a significant other because it only leads to bad, quitting a job because of bad influences or culture
Mosiah 22:7, Alma 55:15 Don’t get Drunk Word of Wisdom – If you use, you will make bad decisions… some could destroy you. No inappropriate substances of any kind
Helaman 1:24, Helaman 1:19 Move fast and with purpose Today… this minute… make a change Right now, delete the app, turn off the show, get your parents to set a password on your device, do it NOW
Gain Ground/Strongholds Insignificant regular pressure will lead to big changes. EVERY effort you put forth to stay obedient and keep away from temptation is worth it. Five minutes of scripture reading every day, attending the temple every month, week, prayers throughout the day

I’m not suggesting by any means this is a list that everyone needs to start using and it’s something that is concrete and in stone, but I’m proud of the fact that I was able to spend the time and learn for myself.  It felt selfish NOT to share it, and not to make it digestible for someone else to read or study.  I think the most effective way to use this would be to sit down with the scriptures, read the versus and battle stories referenced here, then rely on the Holy Ghost to guide you on what that means for you and the loved one’s you are responsible for.

One principle I didn’t expect to find in this read of the Book of Mormon, was how much this is a group effort and we need to strive to include others in our battles and the wars in front of us.  In-fact, the very nature of bringing others along, protects us from some of those times where the adversary gets us secluded, discouraged, feeling alone, and defeated, thus leading us to temptation or to make poor choices.  Multiple times throughout the Book of Mormon the concept of “gathering” groups of people was one of the first physical steps before battle.

Alma 43:26             “all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together”

Alma 46:21             “the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God”

3 Nephi 3:13          “gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance… unto one place”

The old adage “there is strength in numbers” is even understood by the animal kingdom.  Regardless of what species, you can see this principle in a school of fish, a heard of wildebeest, a flock of birds.  When a large group is gathered together this has an effect on the predators. The “prey” appears larger than they actually are, they look more powerful, or it makes it hard to distinguish or pick out an individual in the group.  I believe this is why gathering is so important.  To act as a group strengthens the individual. The group allows us to watch and to learn and grow confidence of the right way to act and do.  The group adds protection because of the numbers. To have others physically standing by has an effect on the individual to make good choices or to keep covenants.  A group of individuals with a single purpose, joined together is the strongest way to face the adversary.  If this is a righteous group, yokedwith Jesus Christ and doing his will, they will not fail in battle against the adversary.

Another take-away I found while studying these battles was how the Nephites were always out-numbered but how they always won their battles because of the added help of Jesus Christ and his blessing and power.  I think many of us feel like we can do it alone, or we have to do it alone, or there is some kind of special prize for not having to rely on someone else to help us.  This is wrong.  We need to realize that we are getting a full time, full court press from the adversary who wants us to be miserable like he is.  He has no other purpose, he has nothing else he is doing and has no need to rest.  His goal is to defeat us with any means necessary.  We cannot win by ourselves.  It is impossible.  The plan of Salvation, the plan of Happiness is such that we will only succeed when we involve our Savior Jesus Christ.  We need his strength, and his influence in the battle, and we need the gift of the atonement (that he gave to each of us to be clean), after we sin. Unless we submit to His will, and follow his teachings, his example, and commandments, we will lose!  We don’t need to be perfect in all that we do… “this life is the time to prepare”.  The Nephites didn’t go through EVERY battle being perfect and not losing a single soldier.  They lost hundreds of thousands of lives in battles…even the battles the Lord was on their side and guiding them towards victory.  But we need to be constantly striving, trying to do better each day, developing our fighting skills (talents and abilities), daily repenting of our sins, and slowly becoming stronger and more able to with stand the blows from the adversary.

I love the imagery of watching a soldier get ready for battle and overlaying that imagery with a young man or young woman getting ready for their day.  The thought of the soldier picking up the heavy pieces of armor and fastening them into place.  Slowly methodically placing each piece of gear on precisely and securely.  Then the image of our youth, kneeling by their bed side each morning in prayer… carefully communicating with our Heavenly Father, about the day (the battle) that is about to start.  Sharing with our Heavenly Father the thoughts, concerns, and help they may need as they start their day.  Then I think about them opening the scriptures, a little confused, not getting every verse, but acting in faith and because of that effort, finding a nugget of “intel” that strengthens them, warns them, or guides them to move forward in that day.  These actions have given the Holy Ghost permission and assignment to then be with them. This companion being the greatest individual our youth could come in contact with throughout their day.

You can then see the youth doing service for others, sometimes happy, sometimes begrudgingly.  The very act of service puts the youth somewhere safe and protected physically, but then helps build them spiritually as they learn and live Charity… an extra layer protecting them from the adversary.  Doing service increases awareness of others and less interest and concern for “self”. This is a great pattern in our lives.  When we find ourselves falling to the adversary in sadness, discouragement, or other sin, the quickest way to turn your situation around is to concern yourself with someone else’s needs.  It’s interesting to seeing the multiplying effect of service.  Your focus changes from a selfish perspective to one that shows concern for others.  You not only are answer to prayer and lift another, but by so doing you lift yourself!  In the moments of service, you’re not concerned about your own “issues” anymore. In many instances, the very act of service, makes your problems seem not quite as heavy as they were previous.  And maybe not in every case, but think of the effect it has on the receiver of the service, do you think that person may fall to their knees and thank our Heavenly Father for the service performed and ask for a special blessing for that individual who performed the service?  I think each of us could use some of those extra blessings from the Lord to strengthen us

Reading the Book of Mormon so quickly this time actually allowed me to compare and contrast the different time periods in the book.  It was interesting to see how victorious and dominating the Nephites were in the beginning and just devastating to see what happened to this people within a few hundred years after Jesus Christ was actually in front of them!  In addition to all the preparation these people put in to get their cities ready for battle, the actual putting on of the Armor was critical for their success.  The one thing that seems to have meant more than any other principle was righteousness or obedience.  If we are doing everything we can to practice the commandments and do what is being asked of us, that is when we are in the best position to receive the help we need.  Righteousness is the invitation for blessings, the Holy Ghost’s presence in our daily lives, and the way we will find ourselves in good situations making it easier to make better choices.

What an amazing book!  The Book of Mormon has so many treasures and nuggets of truth for our lives.  I’m so grateful I was able to take the last few months to study in this way.  I pray that I can take the things I’ve learned, develop the characteristics, protect my family, and help them learn how to defeat the adversary.  I know with the Lords help all things are possible.  Despite my lack of writing ability and an inability to connect thoughts properly, I know these things I’ve written to be true.  I close this message in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Reference:

Verse Scripture Thoughts Category
1 Nephi 3:14 But Laman Fled out of his presence It’s never a bad idea to run away from a situation as if your life were in danger. If you’re not there, you cannot engage the adversary Action
1 Nephi 3:26 flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind our property If we are truly trying to save our lives, it won’t matter what we leave behind when we flee. No material possesion, or thing is worth us becoming unclean. Action
1 Nephi 3:27 we hid ourselves in the cavity of a rock Temptation is everywhere. But how do we “Hide” ourselves from the confrontation of the adversary. Staying away from certain temptations… apps on our devices. Not watching certain shows, not engagin in certain conversation. Consider where you actually are. Are you in positions that could lead to sin? Could being in places like the temple, at church, Seminary, institute “Hide” you? Where else is it good to be? Action
1 Nephi 4:19 I took the garments of Laban and put them upon my body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins This in interesting course of action. Dressing up, pretending to be someone else, and even using a voice. Is there strategy in beating the adversary that requires us to temporarily be someone different in order to escape a situation. Maybe it’s acting out of character or strangley, or even lying to get out of a bad movie, a bad situation, or away from someone we shouldn’t be with. I don’t see anything wrong with lying about not feeling good, or “having somewhere to go” if it prevents confrontation with the adversary. Action
1 Nephi 4:31 seize upon the servant of Laban It’s not just us that needs to beat the adversary, but also our friends. We absolutely have the responsibility or right to grab hold of those who may fall into sin and prevent them from falling over the edge. Once they get their minds about them, they can then decide for themselves to stay on the correct path. Action
1 Nephi 4:36 we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness Stearing clear of confrontation is never a bad thing. We don’t need to keep returning to past sins or things that could cause sin just to let the adversary know we are still there. Action
2 Nephi 26:15 camped against them round about, and shall laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them Three techniques in Battle:  1.) Camp against them round about
2.) Laid Siege against them with a mount: “they surround it in order to force the people there to come out or give up control of the place”
3.)Raised Forts against them
Action
3 Nephi 4:24 knowing of their weakness because of the want of food, and the great slaughter which had been made among them, therefore he did send out his armies in the night-time, and did cut off the way of their retreat, and did place his armies in the way of the retreat Technique of war Action
Alma 14:18 they answered them nothing There is a time for talking and preaching and a time for silence Action
Alma 2:15 there they began to make war with the Nephites Why did they choose to begin battle on a hill? Was it Strategic? How can we use that? Hill is more difficult to navigate. If you’re facing up, you’re at a disadvantage, if you are facing down, you have the upper hand. Both have more unsure footing. Sounds like a terrible idea… once hand to hand begins.. but being on a hill, you have a vantage point above everyone. Need to put more thought to that….  What does this look like in fighting the adversary… just important to consider a strategy I suppose. Action
Alma 2:21 spies to follow the remnant I think the equivalent of spying for our day is added education on the affects of the sins we could committ, learning how the could hurt our bodies, how it could effect who we are, learning some of the things on how our minds work and ways to act according to that. Action
Alma 2:32 but the king of the Lamanites fled back from Alma and sent his guards to contend with Alma I’m not sure this is a fight we can send others to fight for us… but for a time, we may have others jump in while we regroup and get back on our feet Action
Alma 2:33 Alma, with his guards, contended with the guards of the king of the Lamanites until he slew and drove them back Use the resources of people around you to fully and completely destroy the adversary Action
Alma 2:34 thus he cleared the ground, or rather the bank, which was on the west of the river Sidon Some temptations need to be completely rooted out in order to get them out of your life.  This could mean drastic measures Action
Alma 2:36 pursue them with their might, and did slay them I look at this as taking extreme messures to make sure you NEVER commit that sin again… getting rid of the temptation… the phone, dumping the girlfriend/boy friend, moving somewhere else to be free of the familiar… etc. etc. etc. Action
Alma 20:20 And he stretched forth his had to slay Ammon.  But Ammon withstood his blows, and also smote his arm that he could not use it Ammon tried first to convince him with the words he was saying, but had to rely on the sword to get his attention. Need to be efficient with both. Action
Alma 24:21 they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them on the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord Choosing to do nothing with the temptations and the things before us could be a good technique… as long as we are strong enough to not touch, but sometimes, it could destroy us Action
Alma 3:20 that there was another army of the Lamanites came in upon the people of Nephi, in the same place The adversary is not going to give you a break or take a time out. He and his followers will continually strike without mercy. When our guard is down, we need to be in good places and be conscience of this Action
Alma 3:23 But he sent up a numerous army against them Sometimes you might need a little help. That you know you’re not strong enough, or don’t have the ability to get through things. Nothing wrong with asking others to help you make good choices and be a watchman for you. Action
Alma 43;41 Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley Action
Alma 43:22 took their journey round about in the wilderness Attempting to avoid a direct battle.  Went for what they perceived was easy ground Action
Alma 43:25 leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon When changing course, don’t completely deviate from something you know works at fighting the adversary just to defend against a new problem. Action
Alma 43:27 secreted in the valley Hide Action
Alma 43:28 placed spies round about Knowledge Action
Alma 43:30 therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them with stratagem There are NO stops, courtesy’s, or “CORRECT” ways to beat the adversay.  What ever it takes to stay away from his grasp! Action
Alma 43:31 brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah Action
Alma 43:31 found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take Spy Action
Alma 43:31 divided his army Action
Alma 43:35 the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear Patiently waited, snuck into positioin and trapped them from behind.  When battling the adversary, we need to be patient when faced with temptation.  Stay strong in obedience, and eventually the temptations will pass or we will become stronger Action
Alma 43:40 they were pursued by Lehi and his men…they were diven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon Be relentless at pushing the adversary away from you… he is doing exactly the opposite Action
Alma 43:40 Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross Setting a standard or a barrier of how far you should go to defend… keeps you from getting into more trouble. Action
Alma 43:42 they were met again by the armies of Moroni Action
Alma 43:51 the Lamanites were more numerous, yea, by more than double the number of the Nephites, Doesn’t matter how much is coming at us, we have the Lords help Action
Alma 44:10 Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict Moroni gave them the chance to walk away and be done… we need to have this resolve to be ruthless enough to continually watch, continually protect, and always be on guard. Action
Alma 46:30 Moroni thought it was not expedient that the Lamanites should have any more strength…he thought to cut off the people of Amalickiah, or to take them and bring them back We need to not give the adversary more strength by allowing even small pieces of temptation into our lives Action
Alma 47:8 it was not Amalickiah’s intention to give them battle according to the commandments of the king; but behold, it was his intention to gain favor with the armies of the Lamanites, that he might place himself at their head and dethrone the kind The adversary will come at us from many different angles, we may think it’s Pornography that he’s leading with and feel great success at avoiding, but we might find that it’s idle time he was going for after an hour on Instagram Action
Alma 49:20 a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their places of security by the place of entrance Fortify, build, protect Action
Alma 50:7 they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their lands Clean out all the evil Action
Alma 51:17 go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth stay away from things that are habit forming and could cause destruction.  Act quickly to put them behind you, before they overtake you. Action
Alma 51:34 Teancum stole privily into the tent of the king and put a javelin to his heart; and he did cause the death of the kind there is something to be said for a carefully planned and a swift attack against the adversary. Action
Alma 52:10 seek every opportunity to scourge the Lamanites in that quarter Scourging the adversary looks like being menotanous with scripture reading, temple attendence, seminary, etc. etc.  Every action we take is a blow to his efforts Action
Alma 52:21 decoy the Lamanites out of their stronghold Dishonesty and trickery to keep you out of the path of the adverary are 100% ok.  Leaving a situaiton, getting away from someone that is a bad influence, leaving a party early Action
Alma 52:24 Teancum was thus leading away the Lamanites who were pursuing them in vain, behold, Moroni commanded that a part of his army who were with him should march forth into the city, and take possession of it Action
Alma 54:11 ye will deliver up a man and his wife and his children for one prisoner Worth of souls?  The importance to bring all your loved ones with you out of the adversary’s way? Action
Alma 54:3 therefore Moroni resolved upon a strategem to obtain as many prisoners of the Nephites from the Lamanites as it were possible is there an annology that could go with this?  I’m not sure what it is Action
Alma 55:15 when Laman and his men saw that they were all drunken, and were in a deep sleep, they returned to Moroni and told him all the things that had happened Action
Alma 55:16 while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners, insomuch that they were all armed Tojan Horse?  Fight from within? Action
Alma 55:22 done in the night-time, so that when the Lamanites awoke in the morning they beheld that they were surrounded by the Nephites without Time of day is critical with activiities.  Especially when we are trying to avoid temptation and the adversary… we need to becareful what we are doing and when.. Day/Night Light/Dark Action
Alma 56:22 we kept spies out round about Action
Alma 58 Great strategic battle using multiple armies Action
Alma 58:18 I caused that my men, those who were with me, should retreat into the wilderness Nothing wrong with backing away and retreating… and is there value in getting into the wilderness? Action
Alma 58:3 therefore it became expedient that we should wait, that we might receive more strength from the land of Zarahemla and also a new supply of provisions Patient… wait… It’s ok to feel weak and need help (provisions).  Take the time necissary to regroup and build up strength Action
Alma 61:21 See that ye strengthen Lehi and teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free Stand Fast… love that phrase.  Just activily hold your ground for a time.  Reinforcements will come, or your strength will return and you can move forward Action
Alma 62:20 came upon the top of the wall to spy out in what part of the city the Lamanites did camp with their army Vantage point Action
Alma 62:21 should prepare in haste strong cords and ladders, to be let down from the top of the wall into the inner part of the wall Figuring ways to get places that are hard to reach in our lives Action
Alma 62:22 come upon the top of the wall, and let themselves down into that part of the city, yea, even on the west, where the Lamanites did not camp with their armies Action
Alma 62:36 and he did cast a javelin at him, which did pierce him near Javelin to him Action
Helaman 1:19 and their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies Move fast and with purpose Action
Helaman 1:22 Coriantumr saw that he was in possession of the city of Zarahemla… he had obtained the possession of the strongest hold in all the land, his heart took courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land Don’t get to comfortable with the battles you win that you don’t continue to prepare for the real dangers that lie ahead.  With the adversary, he will NOT stop just because you didn’t fall to one temptation Action
Helaman 1:24 giving them no time to assemble themselves together save it were in small bodies; and in this manner they did fall upon them and cut them down to the earth It’s hard to read the battle techniques AGAINST the Nephites, but the Lamanites did use interesting strategy.  Not taking a side shows the strength of strategy and the ways to avoid defeat Action
Helaman 1:31 for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites Don’t give the adversary the ability to hit you in so many different areas, that every turn you make, you become surrounded Action
Helaman 2:6 one of the servants of Helaman, having been out by night, and having obtained, through disguise, a knowledge of those plans which had been laid by this band to destroy Helaman Spy, disguise Action
Helaman 2:9 the servant of Helaman, as they were going forth unto the judgment-seat, did stab Kishkumen even to the heart, that he fell dead without a groan sneeky, swift, direct Action
Helaman 6:37 insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanates We need to pull the evils in our selves, our homes, or phones, our TV’s by the root, and make them GONE Action
Helaman 6:37 retreat Action
Helaman 8:27 it is now even at your doors The Adversary IS upon us right now, today Action
Mormon 1:14 contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands Can’t leave temptations to linger, or be close by, must drive them completely OUT Action
Mosiah 17:4 fled from before them and hid himself Action
Mosiah 20:8  Therefore he gathered his people together, and laid wait for them in the fields and in the forests Once you know the game plan against you, you must determine the correct strategy and move forward Action
Mosiah 22:16 And after they had pursued them two days, they could no longer follow their tracks; therefore they were lost in the wilderness Truly a miracle.  How do you lose the tracks of hundreds of people.  The Lord was watching over and protecting them. Action
Mosiah 22:6 Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city Doesn’t matter how, sometimes you just have to find a way away from the things that will harm you Action
Mosiah 22:7 pay the last tribute of wine to the Lamanites, and they will be drunken Being a little bit devious and sneaky to beat the adversary could prove to be a good technique.  Maybe this looks like having someone else put controls and a password on your phone so you can’t get into things you shouldn’t Action
Mosiah 9:1 spy out their forces I look at spying as having knowledge of how the adversary works and understanding how he will come at you. Action
1 Nephi 8:1 And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also the seeds of fruit of every kind. I have never noticed that Lehi’s Dream starts out this way. I can’t help but think that what’s top of mind for us will lead to revelation and in Lehi’s case, a dream about the Ultimate Fruit… The Tree of Life, or Eternal Life and Exaultation with our families. Blessings
1 Nephi 8:31 and also many of their seed, will be saved There is something significant to the mention of the gathering of seeds physically, but then the prophesy of Lehi’s dream talking about the seed of their family partaking of the fruit as well. Our decisions have far reaching consequences. Generations can be blessed by the choices we make today. Blessings
3 Nephi 10:10 And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood What does that mean? Blessings
3 Nephi 4:33 because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from everlasting destruction. Blessings
Alma 3:11 were called the Nephites They didn’t need to be marked as Nephites because they way they lived their lives now depicted them as believers. Blessings
Alma 49:30 exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God Blessings
Alma 50:23 there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni Protected by the Lord, because of their faith, and the effort they put in to protect that which was precious Blessings
Helaman 3:25 so great was the posperity of the Church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure How do we live our lives to be able to have this kind of joy, prosperity, and blessing placed on our heads Blessings
Helaman 3:29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall dividie asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked Blessings
1 Nephi 11:36 the great and spacious building was the pride of the world In the end, we know the Savior an his disciples will win the war, but if we are not careful, we could be part of the fall… pride!  We need to be careful that our pride doesn’t lead the way to our destruction Character
1 Nephi 2:16 I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers To Believe is the catalyst for not rebelling. Character
1 Nephi 4:14 I remembered te words of the Lord I love the thought process of Nephi here. This was NOT an easy thing. Yes he was instructed, but it was interesting to see where his mind went. That he was aloud to process the situation and then act. Because of the memory, his thoughts, and then consideration of what he knew, he was able to destroy his adversary in that moment in order to follow commandment. Character
1 Nephi 5:21 they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us Overcoming sin and temptation won’t be easy, and it may not feel popular or bring the immediate happiness, but it will ALWAYS be worth it in the long run.  It will bring greater joy & happiness than anything else. Character
1 Nephi 5:5 But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness I need to have faith to know that the Lord will deliver my sons from the challenges they face in this world if I teach them correct principles, to have faith, and a testimony in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to fear if we are learning, teaching, and practicing those things that will keep us away from temptation and sin. We WILL succeed. We WILL win. Character
1 Nephi 5:9 and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel Gratitude will ALWAYS bring us strength Character
1 Nephi 7:7 And it came to pass in the which rebellion, they were desirous to return unto the land of Jerusalem TIme and place for everything. Important that Nephi testified in order to receive the assistance from the Lord. Did the preaching make the situation worse, was there anything else that could have been done… probably not. But in the end between the words, and the suffering of being tied up… hearts were softend. Character
2 Nephi 26:30 all men should have charity, which charity is love Baseline characteristic of great value Character
2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. So much battle instruction here with a great victory prize Character
3 Nephi 1:30 began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation. Faith Character
3 Nephi 26:11 … I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. It’s important that we learn to have faith. Sometimes it’s not good to just give it all to us, but to let us struggle a little and figure it out. Character
Alma 18:10 surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man We can be more than just obedient.  We can do each of the things we are asked to do with Integrity, Pride, Precision Character
Alma 19:10 And Ammon said unto her:  Blessed are thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites I think that’s how simple faith can be. It just has to be that williness to put your mind and heart toward something you don’t have a full knowledge of. Jesus Christ. trust those little tiny feelings. Character
Alma 3:27 every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey Great quote… who’s side are we on… and what is that earning us Character
Alma 47:2 them they were exceedingly afraid; yea, they feared to displease the king, and they also feared to go to battle against the Nephites Fear can drag us down and is imobilizing.  We need to recognize it in our lives and stear clear of it.  We need not fear with Christ at the helm Character
Jacob 1:10 Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defense, and having labored in all his days for their welfare- Great Protector… Great Prophet.  Using the sword… and the word of God to bless his people Character
Mormon 1:13 he did fight with the strength of his own arm No one is above the fight, we each must be willing to do whatever it takes Character
Mormon 1:15 I being 15 years old At 15 he was visited by the Lord.. What would his life had to have been like from age 11 to age 15 in order to get to this point?  Especilly among so many wicked people.  What did his dad teach him Character
Mormon 1:18 all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul Commitment and Passion Character
Mormon 1:6 I being 11 years old At 11 lived in a HUGE city with large population.  Witnessed wars and evils all around him Character
Mormon 2:1 And notwithstanding I being young, was very large in stature I don’t think you need to be 7 feet tall to be large in stature.  There are other ways to grow in stature and have your confidence help you feel large Character
Mormon 2:2 in my 16th year Two things… 16 years old and he was the head of the army. What character… How bad had the people gotten if they had to rely on a 16 year old to lead their army and no one else was better qualified Character
Mosiah 19:11 king commanded them that all men should leave their wives and their children The king and the men were COWARDS Character
Mosiah 27:9 causing much dissension It had to be both heart renching and embarrassing for Alma and Mosiah to know their sons were acting this way, especially when they were obviously taught the correct way to live by their fathers. Character
1 Nephi 1:13 concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.” Death and captivity prophesied if we embrace wickedness Consequences
3 Nephi 2:12 the Lamanites who had become conversted unto the Lord did unite with their bretheren, the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers Compelled… because they didn’t drive out the poison early and let it fester among them Consequences
3 Nephi 2:18 because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi and their many contentions and dissensions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them Contentions and Dissensions Consequences
Alma 3:19 even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation It is a curse! Consequences
Alma 4:2 greatly afflicted for the loss Serious consequences can come after we fall to temptation. Consequences
Alma 43:37 for their nakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites How do we take heavy blows against the adversary? Deleting an app on our phone? Deleting a streaming service. Disconnecting for “poisonous friends” Breaking up with a significant other that pulls you down or keeps you from choosing correctly. Consequences
Alma 53:19 And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances Lamanites won ONLY because the Nephites were at fault among themselves  Dissensions and Intrigue = Dangerous Circumstances Consequences
Helaman 2:4 & 2:13 one Gadianton, who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft, to carry on the secret work of murder and of robbery;…this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi Gadianton Robbers Consequences
Helaman 4:11 would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination Consequences
Helaman 4:12 because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of thieroppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away Road to hell Consequences
Helaman 4:23 the judgments of God did stare them in the face Consequences
Helaman 5:38 Nephites did build them up and support them You cannot give room or support any evil Consequences
Helaman 6:21 in so much that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths. Giving place in your life for the temptation to exist is going to pull you down Consequences
Mormon 3:15 Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; and because this people repented not after I had delivered them, behold, they shall be cut off from the face of the earth Never saw this before Consequences
Mormon 6:11 they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni). How would this feel going through all this while watching your son suffer through as well. Consequences
Mormon 6:7 with that awful fear of death which fills the breast of all the wicked Consequences
Mosiah 2:36 if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw ourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it my have no place in you Dangerous Ground – DO NOT give room for the adversary Consequences
Alma 20:26 and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni We need to remember to lead with Love Example
Alma 24:24 when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword The way we handle sin and temptation could be the way others finally see the truth and open their eyes Example
Alma 39:11 how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words Our actions have consequences that could affect someone’s ability to recognize the light and make changes to their own life Example
Alma 4:10 and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church We could be the reason, others are not turning to the gospel, or maybe we could be the reason someone IS interested. Example
Alma 43:53 Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror. Can we be an influence for good that will keep us away from those things that will plague us?  I think we have the ability to strike fear in others so that they will know not to try to move us, but more importantly come over to our way of thinking Example
Alma 49:17 that when the Lamanites had found that Lehi commanded the city they were again disappointed, for they feared Lehi exceedingly Not because Lehi was mean and nasty and ruthless, but because they KNEW they could not beat him.  The adversary needs to know he CANNOT beat us because of our efforts Example
Alma 62:27 many of the Lamanites that were prisoners were desirous to join the people of Ammon and become a free people Examples Example
Jacob 1:15 desiring many wives and concubines Isn’t it interesting that the men are always referred to in the scriptures. The men did this and the men did this, but when it comes to these sins… it says the people… but these kinds of sins were CLEARLY sins the men were committing. I’m sure the women had their problems to, but as priesthood holds we have the ability to set the tone for ALL people… male and female. And depending on the choices we make, it could affect how others desire to live the priniciples or not Example
2 Nephi 5:15 teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance To build  and use our creativity I belive are characteristics specifically handed down from our Heavenly Parents Fortify
2 Nephi 5:17 Labor with their hands I think this brings strength and awareness of our capabilities Fortify
3 Nephi 3:14 caused that fortifications should be built round about them… placed as guards round about to watch them Fortify
3 Nephi 3:25 they did fortify themselves against their enemies Fortify, build, protect Fortify
3 Nephi 4:4 having reserved for themselves provision, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years Prepared for 7 YEARS of survival… Fortify
Alma 49:13 built forts of security What would a fort of security look like, is that our home, is that the car where they can retreat during a rough day, is that putting in their headphones and walking away from it all for a while? Fortify
Alma 49:2 city had been rebuilt, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the city, and they cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones We are under attack every day with an adversary more destructive than the Lamanites. Do we prepare our homes or our safe places in this way. What do we need to do in order to prepare for the attacks the will come after our children. Fortify
Alma 49:4 the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect To what degree do we need to protect… how high, how far, how much do we build up our protetions against the adversary… enough that when the firey darts come they will “not take effect” Fortify
Alma 49:5 captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security what more can we do in our home to protect against the adversary Fortify
Alma 49:8 they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi I’m thinking about how we talk about letting our kids learn to make the decisions on their own to have a phone, not look at things they shouldn’t, and grow stronger that way, but the Nephites didn’t let their kids feel what an arrow in their leg was like in order for them be to be stronger… they made sure NO arrows came close Fortify
Alma 50:1 digging up heaps of earth Build up protections Fortify
Alma 50:2 timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man round about the cities Build up so it’s strong enough and effective Fortify
Alma 50:3 works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high How high do we need to build our walls of protection from the adversary Fortify
Alma 50:4 towers to be erected Need to be on constant watch Fortify
Alma 50:6 Moroni did prepare strongholds round about every city Set up protections for every place you go and all you do Fortify
Alma 52:6 kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea and truly he was preapring to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort Prepare to defend always.  We can never stop Fortify
Alma 52:9 fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass Be specific on where you set up protections Fortify
Alma 53:3 they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land, or the city, Bountiful What does Digging a Ditch mean in terms of fighting the adversary Fortify
Alma 53:4 they should build a breastwork of timbers upon the inner bank of the dirt…a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height Breastwork of Timbers = what in fighting the adversary Fortify
Alma 53:5 compelled to cause the Lamanites to labor, because it was easy to guard them What does this look like in working against the adversary Fortify
Alma 55:31-32 they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners. …And they were thus cautious that no poison should be administered among them; for if their wine would poison a Lamanite it would also poison a Nephite; and thus they did try all their liquors Funny I’m writing about putting off tempations and poisons, but this scripure specifically talks about the liquor… Obviously, we need to be careful about what we injest into our bodies…. Experimenting is not as much fun and keeping your body clean… ALWAYS! Fortify
Alma 62:42 and it came to pass that after Moroni had fortified those parts of the land which were most exposed to the Lamanites, until they were sufficiently strong What are areas in our lives are “exposed” to evil forces Fortify
Jacob 7:25 people of Nephi did fortify against them with their arms, and with all their might, trusting in the God and rock of their salvation; wherefore, they became as yet, conquerors of their enemies Fortify, with all their might, Trusting in the Lord… Become conquerers of the adversary Fortify
1 Nephi 4:33 I spake unto him, even with an oath Have we sworn an oath (or should we) to protect each other? Our friends, our spouse, our children? How does that oath affect how we act? In this case it lead to a mans freedom. Will this do the same for us and the ones we love? Gather
1 Nephi 7:19 and one of the sons The Lord helped Nephi directly, but also sent others to his rescue.  It might only take one, but are you the one that needs to stand up? Are you the one that is going to make the difference. Better to try than to never have known. Gather
2 Nephi 1:21 arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and one heart, united in all things that ye may not come down into captivity only one narrow way, the Lords way. There is something to be said for unification. Single purpose. It doesn’t discourage diversity, Gather
3 Nephi 3:13 gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance… unto one place Gather
Alma 10:12 more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused Strength in numbers Gather
Alma 43:26 all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together Recruited additonal help to overcome Gather
Alma 43:4 gathered together Strength in numbers Gather
Alma 46:21 the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God Being together, joined with an oath, “rending their garments” Gather
Ether 13:25 every man with his band fighting for that which he desired Not together Gather
Mormon 1:13 gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them Gathered together – Strength in numbers Gather
1 Nephi 10:19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteriest of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round This a law, an unchanging principle we can count out. Diligently seek and we shall find by the power of the Holy Ghost. Even at the most inconvient times in our lives, we need to be seeking. When in battle, we don’t know how or when the adversary is going to hit us. To have that help from the Holy Ghost to direct our actions could make the greatest difference in our lives. Holy Ghost
1 Nephi 4:10 Never at any time have I shed the blood of man Be in a position to have the Holy Ghost guide you at all times. When the Holy Ghost directs you to act… it could be the things that saves your life or the life of others. Holy Ghost
2 Nephi 5:5 the Lord did warn me I think the Lord is constantly “warning” us in our lives and we are sometimes very weak to recognize when these warnings come. If we would stay more in touch with the Holy Ghost in our lives, there is a chance we could forgo some self inflicted challenge in our lives.Fleeing may be the best way to contend with temptation. Holy Ghost
3 Nephi 3:19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirt of revelation and also prophesy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the cheif judge chief captains – someone that had the spirit of revelation.  For our own battles… we need to make sure we are appointed and that we have the spirit of revelation Holy Ghost
Jarom 1:4 as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith The path or patern to revelation Holy Ghost
3 Nephi 11;14 come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world How do we:  thurst our hands into HIS side, and FEEL the prints of the nails in His hands and HIS feet  in order to know him Jesus Christ
3 Nephi 11:21 I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people Priesthood power Jesus Christ
3 Nephi 11:22 there shall be no disputations among you Jesus Christ
3 Nephi 11:39 this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them Christ’s doctrine a foundation that if built upon will be strong enough to prevail against ALL temptation Jesus Christ
3 Nephi 12:44-45 … love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;  That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good … your enemies… are still your Heavenly Father’s children… who he loves. Jesus Christ
Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. 2nd favorite Scripture… It’s not if, but when.  They will come… and how will we be positioned in our lives?  Is the whirlwind going to knock us off course completely? Jesus Christ
Moroni 7:16 the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil EVERYONE has this spirit.  Everyone can tell right from wrong Jesus Christ
1 Nephi 1:1 having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God Before we go into battle, we need to have a knowledge of who it is that gives us the power to win EVERYTIME. That is our Savior, and our Father in Heaven Knowledge
1 Nephi 15:3 save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, they did not look unto the Lord as they ought In order for us to be in line with all the changes we are facing in the church, we need to seek for our own understanding and confirmation from the Lord Knowledge
1 Nephi 2:17 And it came to pass that he believed in my words Follow the instruction of those that know better, are ordained to help, and that have been down those path Knowledge
2 Nephi 25:29 worship him with all your might, mind, strength, and your whole soul How do we worship in those four areas.  What does that look like? Knowledge
2 Nephi 9:39 Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-mined is life eternal We need to think bigger and look at the larger picture.  We are not “creatures” of this world, we are something greater, we need to act accordingly Knowledge
3 Nephi 1:29 they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers. Teach children truth so they can decipher from the lies that the adversary will most definitely tell them Knowledge
Alma 17:2 they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God Sword of truth Knowledge
Alma 48:7 Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God Proper preperation for battle – Knowledge Knowledge
Alma 53:16 they had manys sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites I’ve always thought that these youth watched their parents at a young age, and with war and contention going on all around them, I cant help but think they were either playful, or understood fighting to some degree.  I think we teach our children to fight the adversary as young as possible. Knowledge
Helaman 10:12 he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him He didn’t stop at home, he didn’t pack a lunch, or take a break then go and do, he began at that moment to declare the word Knowledge
Helaman 3:21 And they began to grow up unto the Lord How do we “grow-up” unto the Lord Knowledge
Jacob 1:17 taught them in the temple In the temple… they were taught (against all the evils that were beginning to show) Knowledge
Jacob 2:7 Children Tough conversations, yes… but note… the children were in the temple learning with the parents as well Knowledge
Jacob 3:2 lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love Have confidence you ARE doing correctly, Feel HIS love and let it strengthen you Knowledge
Mormon 1:2 (mormon) I being about ten years of age ..began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people.. Sober child, and art quick to observe Knowledge
Alma 2:13 appointed captains, and higher captains, and chief captains, according to their numbers Leadership Leadership
Alma 43:35 inspired by a better cause Eternal Salvation, Remaining Clean, Protecting Virtue and what’s sacred. Leadership
Alma 43:48 And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired What do we need to inspire us when we are about to shrink? How about the thoughts of our children… even unborn… or our wives, even if we haven’t met them yet… to act appropriately now to deserve them later. Leadership
Alma 46:12 In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children What is our inspiration, motivation, charge, or flag that we wave? Leadership
Alma 47:4 he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites In our heads, it’s a thought or an idea… once it reaches our heart, it becomes who we are and it is what we the n do.  We need to be careful that the things that DO find their way to our heart are clean and pure and what Heavenly Father wants us to do Leadership
Alma 52:19 Moroni and Teancum and many of the chief captins held a council of war What councils do we participate in that will help us succeed.  PPI’s, Bishop/Bishopric meetings, Family Councils Leadership
Mormon 3:11 & 12 I, Mormon did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people… I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me with all my heart This is a great leader Leadership
1 Nephi 12:17 which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost During Lehi’s description of the dream he talks about the people feeling their way through the mists. They are quite literally feeling and participating in the evil things of the Adversary. Lehi’s Vision
1 Nephi 8:31 feeling their way towards that great and spacious building They weren’t rushing there… they were “feeling their way”. Little by little, a few minutes here, and a few minute there, they were working their way toward a worldly existance. Is that one more video on You Tube, one more picture on instagram, one more inappropriate image? It’s the exact opposite to clinging to the Iron Rod. Lehi’s Vision
Alma 21:15 And they went forth again to declare the word They were thrown into prison and treated terribly, but as soon as rescued, headed out preaching again Missionary
Alma 21:6 How knowest thou the thought and intent of our heart?  How knowest thou that we have cause to repent?  How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God.  We do belive that God will save all men. I think there are many that would say this in our day.  It doesn’t make them wrong, it just means they are missing a few pieces of the complete puzzle. Missionary
Alma 26:22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing – unto such it is given to know the mysteries of god Gospel Missionary
Alma 43:1 Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth Couldn’t sit back. Had to go and do Missionary
Mormon 1:16 I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them Had the missionary spirit, but was not allowed to preach.  Had to be very frustrating Missionary
1 Nephi 2:20 keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise By keeping the commandments, we will find ourselves in places we shouldn’t have to fight and can remain clean. Obedience
1 Nephi 2:3 And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. The BoM begins and ends with examples of Obedience. The beginning with great blessings. The end with Disobedience, causing great and terrible consequences. Obedience
1 Nephi 8:20 strait and narrow path Obvious symbolism, but as far as strategies go, In battle a deviation off the path could have land mines and all sorts of unknown threats. Staying on the path (perfect obedience) could save our lives! Obedience
Alma 62:10 this law should be strictly observed for the safety of their country Obedience brings Safety Obedience
Mosiah 2:8 they could not hear all his words because of the greatness of the multitude They probably knew they would not be able to hear because there were so many of htem, but they showed up being obedient Obedience
2 Nephi 32:9 ye must not perform anything utno the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of your soul. Since the battle is daily, before we leave for the day we need to pray.  And then continue to pray throughout the day. Prayer
3 Nephi 18:18 I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation Watch and Pray Prayer
3 Nephi 3:12 but he did cause that his people should cry until the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them Prayer
Alma 16:5 And having heared that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go inot the wilderness in search of their brethren First turn to the Lord, through his prophet Prayer
Alma 2:28 being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies We need that daily addition of strength in order to endure this battle Prayer
Alma 2:30-31 And it came to pass that Alma, being a man of God, exercised with much faith, cried saying:  O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people. Now when Alma said these words he contended again with Amlici; and he was strengthened, insomuch that he slew Amlici with the sword We will need to plead with the Lord for help when the battle we face is most instense. Prayer
Alma 43:23 knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites I love this approach. Spys were sent to uncover and discovered everything possible (educate), but not leaving anything to chance, ALSO inquired of the Lord what to do and where to go Prayer
Alma 58:10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people Heart fealt prayer, crying unto the Lord for protection in appropriate regularly, especially when we are not feeling we can do it alone Prayer
Alma 62:51 And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually, insomuch that the Lord did bless them, according to his word, so that they did wax strong and prosper in the land There is no better place to start than with prayer Prayer
Jacob 3:1 Look unto God with firmness of mind, pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction Pray with faith:  1.) Console your afflictions, 2.) Plead our cause, 3.) Send down justice upon those that seek your destructions Prayer
Moroni 7:26 Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. Prayer Prayer
1 Nephi 7:21 I did frankly forgive them Holding grudges and a harden heart toward others will only make situations worse down the road. Forgiveness is healing for everyone. Repentence
Alma 19:31 And he, immediately, seeing the contention among his people, went forth and began to rebuke them, and to teach them the words which he had heard from the mouth of Ammon; and as many as heard his words believed, and were converted unto the Lord. He had the gospel of Jesus Christ for less than a week. And even the very small knowledge that Ammon gave him, he was now preaching and converting people to baptism. Repentence
Alma 19:33 that their hearts had been changed, that they had no more desire to do evil How do we burn off that desire to no longer do evil? I think we need to replace it with something equally as powerful. The change of heart needs to be deep and lasting and we need to then move forward with the new course for our lives. Joining the Lords battalion is a great way to focus that energy. Finding souls to come unto him. Repentence
Alma 19:6 he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God How did Ammon know this? He knew it first hand because he experienced it…How do each of use experience this? What does it look like in a gentler, slower process? Repentence
Alma 22:15 What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy Love seeing that amount of faith.  What Can I give up to have this?  In relation to temptation, what should we be willing too give up in order to have this gift/joy in our lives?  What is it worth to us? Repentence
Alma 24:12 since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren Repentence Repentence
Alma 24:6 there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations of war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not This is a great example of truly repentative heart.  One that is completely forsaking the sins of their past.  To the point of their own death Repentence
Alma 3:1 after having buried those who had been slain Burying… Repenting… putting the sin behind you. Recognizing the damage it had done and committing to do better? Repentence
Alma 4:3 Mourn So what do we do when we have recognized our sin, have decided not to do it any more, and have moved forward… we double our efforts to do that which is good. Come back to the Church, the Gospel, the people we know are best for us to be around. Repentence
Alma 4:3 and they believed that it was the judgements of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they wer awakened to a remembrance of their duty. Awakened Repentence
Alma 60:23 Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleaned first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleaned also great philosphy – start from within and then move outward Repentence
Helaman 1:27 come into the center of the land, and had taken the captial city which was the city of Zarahemla Inward vessel Repentence
Jacob 3:3 except ye repent the land is cursed for your sakes We are all sinners regardless of the degree.  If we do not repent, the adversary will have us and we will be destroyed Repentence
Mormon 2:13-14 But behold this my joy was in vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die, Nevertheless they woudl struggle with the sword for their lives Real Repentence vs Half Hearted effort Repentence
Mosiah 26:20 I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life I wonder if Alma needed to hear this. His life of riotous living came to an end with Abinidi. Whether he directly had anything to do with it, he was one of the judges listening to him… and committing sin… so to know that his efforts were accepted by the Lord was probably very motivating and confidence building for him. Repentence
Mosiah 27:16 remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi As I think about it… I think Alma was actually raised in a space where his father was a judge with King Noah, so maybe he WAS taught to be wicked, then without any discussion with him, his father turned away from that life and Alma the Younger had to deal with a life contrary to what he knew. Repentence
1 Nephi 1:4 many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent or…be destroyed Words of the Prophet designed to protect. Being obedient to them will keep us away from the battle grounds entirely Sentinel
2 Nephi 5:14 hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people Much like the adversary wishes for each of us to miserable like unto himself… He and his followers HATE us and will stop at nothing to make us miserable. Elder Bednars talk October 2018.. the stalking patern of the Cheetah. We must be on constant watch. Sentinel
2 Nephi 5:34 wars and contentions with our brethren The battle will always be there.  The conflict will not stop, we have always got to be ready Sentinel
3 Nephi 28:23 and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus This could be read a couple different ways, but I look at all the verses that talk about how amazing these prophets were… and then this concluding statement… that because of the work of the apostles/prophets the people were blessed and Jesus Christ’s will is done. I think that is what our apostles and prophets do for us. Sentinel
4 Nephi 1:20&24 …a small part of the people who had revolted from the church… two hundred It took 200 years since Christ was on the earth and it began to head down hill Sentinel
Alma 3:6 were dark, according to the mark The temptations and sins we could commit are marked as well. By Darkness, by the holy ghost, by a stuper of thought Sentinel
Alma 43:24 Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people.  And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni We might think we have all the answers… and can handle what ever is before us, but turning to the Prophet and our leaders regularly, keeps us aware of the most immenent. threats Sentinel
Alma 50:12 with his armies, which did increase daily because of the assurance of protection which his works did bring forth unto them. The efforts put in to protect, will bring a behavior, and constant protection will begin to be about your character, causing it to build greater and great Sentinel
Mosiah 20:8 Limhi had discovered them from the tower, even all their preparations for war did he discover; Look out tower – how do we create this tower against Temptation Sentinel
Omni 1:3 we had many seasons of peace; and we had many seasons of serious war and bloodshed The intesity and frequency that the adversary will come against us will vary, but we need be ready at ALL times! Sentinel
1 Nephi 3:29 an angel of the Lord came and stood before them We can EXPECT heaven’s help when we are doing all that we can to be obedient and avoid the temptations. Strength
2 Nephi 6:17 I will contend with them that contendeth with thee The Ultimate Ally in Battle… The Lord Strength
3 Nephi 4:10 they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them in the strength of the Lord we need to go into battle against the adversary Strength
Alma 18:3 he cannot be slain by the enemies of the king This is the kind of power we want instilled in us.  The power that we cannot be defeated Strength
Alma 49:23 Nephites had all power over their enemies We can have this kind of power if we are disiplined Strength
Helaman 4:13 they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper What a HUGE concept. They were left to their own strength… therefore they did NOT prosper!!!! This is such a clear point that the reason we achieve is yes.. due to our efforts, but the Lord is the one that fills the gaps through blessings because of obedience to his commandments. Strength
Helaman 4:24 they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them We need the Lords help in the battle.  We weill not be able to win without it. Strength
Mormon 2:26 nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren Left to ourselves Strength
Mormon 4:8 again boast of their own strength Pride Strength
Mosiah 23:29 And Alma and his brethren went forth and delivered themselves up into their hands; and the Lamanites took possession of the land of Helam Some times you need to recognize when you are beaten, realize you can’t do it alone, and turn to others for help.  In this case, it was to the Lord (to soften their hearts), and then to others for more help Strength
2 Nephi 1:23 put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound We may need to begin putting on that armor before we are able to give up the sin.  In fact, it may be the armor that we put on that allows us to finally overcome that sin Weapons
2 Nephi 5:14 did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords Need to have weapons to fight against the adversary.  Sword of Truth.  Also, Nephi didn’t know how to build swords, he copied an example.  The example of other’s might be the pattern we follow Weapons
3 Nephi 3:26 did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, Weapons of war – prepared for battle Weapons
Alma 17:7 took their swords and their spears, and their bows, and their arrows, and their slings; and this they did that they might provide food for themselves while in the wilderness Being prepared for the basics Weapons
Alma 2:12 arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind All weapons Weapons
Alma 43:18 people were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war Correct tools for the job Weapons
Alma 43:19 Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing Preparations for war – good detail.. Similar to Armor of God Weapons
Alma 43:20 they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; all were naked Preparations for war – we should NOT leave ourselved exposed like this Weapons
Alma 43:21 were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their numbers being so much greater than the Nephites The adversary will bring the forces that could defeat us, but we can prepare to overcome if we do what’s right Weapons
Alma 43:38 there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breastplates, and their armshields, and their head-plates; Armor Weapons
Alma 53:7 but he did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites, yea, and also delivering their women and their children from famine and afflication, and providing food for their armies Weapons
Helaman 1:14 and armed them with swords, and with cimeters and with bows, and with arrows, and with headplates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields of every kind Weapons of war – prepared for battle Weapons
Jarom 1:8 weapons of war yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javeline, and all preparations for war You don’t have just one weapon of war, you must have multiples tools in your arsonal.  Each has a different purpose and function.  To beat the adversary we must have all many techniques as well Weapons
Mosiah 9:16 I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle Prepare an Offensive, we don’t always have to be on defence.  We can be assertive about being in the right place and doing enough right things to keep the adversary away. Weapons
Alma 43:7 this he did that he might preserve their hatred towards the Nephites
Ether 8:13 swear unto me Not a true principle phrase or idea
Ether 8:18 secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;
Mormon 1:14 in the strength of the Lord they did contend Not their own strength
Mormon 1:8 there began to be a war Back to war
Mosiah 23:33 their wives, who were the daughters of the Lamanites How did this happen?  Why in the world would kidnapped daughters want to become some fugitives’ wives

 

The Great Steve Hatch

This post is a little different than the rest.  In October of 2013 a friend of mine passed away and I was asked by his wife to speak at his funeral.  Here is the talk I gave as a tribute to my friend:

Steve Hatch1I’m honored and humbled for the opportunity to share a few thoughts today about the Great Steve Hatch. My hope is the comments I make today will reflect the kind of person Steve was and will help each of us to be better because of the example he has been. One of which being, the way to endure the trials of this life, and overcome hardship is to focus not on yourself but on others.

I was reviewing some of the thoughts of others over the last few days, and felt impressed to share personal insights from the Humana perspective:

Cameron Fredericks:

“Steve was one of my real life Heroes. He was a great example and inspiration to all of us.”

From Jeff Chicots:

“I will remember him as a true professional who did not let his challenges stand in the way of success….but more importantly as someone who deeply cared for his clients. Only Steve can lay claim to have earned his President Club honors while setting up his entire day at WalMart due to being restricted to a wheelchair. What a great inspiration he leaves behind for all of us to follow.”

It’s important for you all to know what an amazing asset Steve has been to Humana. He has truly been an incredible force in helping Humana to gain a foot hold here in Utah. He has been responsible for affecting the lives of thousands of individuals. Just a few of the highlights:

Top Agent Award (three states): Utah, Idaho, & Nevada

Top Medicare Producer

Top Traditional Insurance Products Producer

Top Income Producer

and the one I’m most jealous of, President’s Club Qualifier (Hawaii)

So how was Steve able to accomplish so much?

In sales, we always try to promote the idea of building relationships with the people we do business with but I honestly don’t know how to teach what Steve was able to accomplish.

His clients loved and cared for him

I believe because Steve truly loved and cared for them.

Steve was quoted repeatedly when asked about his success, as saying he felt like he has purpose in what he was doing. He felt that what he did left others in a better situation than when he first met them. “This is part of the reason he is passionate about this work,”

Steve was able to build relationships that were impenetrable. I have a neighbor, and know of other clients of Steve’s around town that constantly talk about Steve.   I get chewed out every time he wasn’t in Walmart, and always get asked why I keep making him go to meetings and taking him away from the store.

Just this week I’ve been touched by the tender thoughts his clients have shared with me by phone. Reinforcing the character I’ve always seen in Steve. The most popular comments… What am I going to do now? Who is going to take care of me? And then with distain: Who are you going to get to be in Walmart now?… as if to say… NO ONE will ever measure up to the agent Steve was!

In one of the many conversations I had with my agents in a one on one, I had this interaction with Steve that I felt impressed to document. I’m so glad that I did. I asked him the question (amongst others).

What are your hopes and dreams?

Steve’s Response:

“I try not to dream. My life could be short term… I live day to day… looking for excellenceFocusing on the most worthwhile activities. I avoid the negatives.”

I want to call attention to this.

It’s important to recognize the truth that Steve has given us here. The best legacy that he could leave us is to impress upon us a resolve to live better and to do better, or to do as he did. In the final years of his life, Steve focused on the most worthwhile activities, avoiding the negatives, and looking for excellence. Where did he find it? In the service of others.

This truth is a teaching of Jesus Christ. When challenged about the greatest commandment the Savior responded:

“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

How fortunate we are to have seen the example Steve has been to each of us. In his daily life, with his own trials, challenges, and abilities, Steve endured his trials by loving, ministering, and caring for our Heavenly Father’s children.

Steve was a huge success at Humana, but that success was nothing more than a byproduct of what he was doing that was most important. Whether he knew it or not (and I’m pretty sure he did), his life was prolonged by focusing on the individuals that needed him most.

I pray that as each of us are drawn to the memory of Steve, we are inspired to do as he did and seek after those who stand in need, succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.. and as we do, we feel the fullness of joy that only comes by doing that which our Father in Heaven has asked us to do.

I will truly miss Steve, as a fellow co-worker and as a friend, but I will continue to refer to him as my Hero as well, for the example he has been to me.

I say these things in who’s name is the author of these truths and the ultimate example to us all, our Savior, even Jesus Christ… Amen.

Beautiful Mornings

Original Talk Given:  December 15th, 2013mary-joseph-with-baby-jesus-39533-wallpaper

“…And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Imagine in your mind this great event. A “multitude of heavenly host”. How many individuals was that? I imagine a group the size of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, all in white, singing with all their energy because of the excitement of what had occurred. Jesus Christ had been born. The significance of the birth overshadowed only by the life and sacrifice he made for each of us. I don’t see my imaginary Mo-Tab singing just because a baby was born, but they were singing because of the chain of events that was about to unfold. The most important, long awaited event for the salvation of man was finally going to occur.

During the Great Council in Heaven it was decided we would all be blessed with the chance to come to earth, to learn, to grow, and to choose. It was also decided that our elder brother Jesus would choose to come to earth, suffer for our sins, and die for us all that we might live again. Do all this so that we might be together as a family forever again someday. THIS is why my Mo Tab was singing! This baby’s birth led to the events that would save us all from sin. This is one of the happiest times in the history of the world.

One of the challenges with the commercialization of Christmas is the overwhelming concept of “Enough”. We live in a world where the culture all around us is telling us the tree isn’t tall enough, there aren’t enough lights, it doesn’t sparkle enough, there aren’t enough presents under the tree, and we didn’t spend enough on those presents. The only way Christmas is going to be good is if the house looks perfect, my family is dressed perfect, the meal is perfect, and everyone is happy with the gifts they received. Any slight deviation from the “plan” and Christmas will be ruined!

Because of these unrealistic expectations, many feel extreme amounts of angst about the Holidays. There are feelings of inadequacy, unhappiness, depression, or even anger about what is supposed to be the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” How do we as followers of Jesus Christ rise above all this and make sure this year is the year we feel the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts and in our homes?

I was specifically asked to speak on a talk given by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy from the April 2013 General Conference. It is titled Beautiful Mornings. In the talk, he repeatedly shared stories in the scriptures about intense challenges like that of the Savior’s suffering in Golgotha where He suffered for our sins as well as the difficult moment of his crucifixion. He also mentioned Brigham Young’s time when the Saints suffered great persecution, even death and destruction. All of these situations could have been times of horrible despair. Times where faith could give way to uncertainty or even disbelief. In each situation it could have led to an END of some kind.

Imagine if you will the line of history being a great sporting event. As each of these sad, dark times occur you can almost see the adversary and all his followers jumping to their feet, the cheers the waving of their flag in approval. The excitement of an eminent win!

But then can you see as they all look across the field to see the opposing fans. Our Father In Heaven, angels, our ancestors, and our other brothers and sisters. As each of these tragedies occur, you can see each of them wipe the tears from their eyes out of compassion and empathy for the suffering that occurred. But behind the tears you see a strong resolution, the confidence, the strength, the KNOWLEDGE, knowing that His plan will be fulfilled, we can’t lose and those who had to pass through sorrow and tribulation will rise above and grow greater than the challenge that beset them. This crowd begins to chant, a cheer of inspiration pulling us participants towards the next obstacle that leads us to an ultimate victory.

A few of these “Cheers” from the scriptures:

(John 16:33) “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

(D&C 68:6) “Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you”

In some of the most difficult times of history we are commanded to be of good cheer. Is that commandment only for extreme times of trouble. No. No matter what trail has been placed before us. We are commanded to be of good cheer… Why, because we have knowledge of, faith in, and a testimony of He who rose about it all, our Savior Jesus Christ. And that is what he has asked us to do.

the-second-coming-39618-wallpaper

So how do we tie this back into the Holiday Season? How do we move past a Christmas that is never “Enough”, or that is lacking Christ, to a Christmas that is full of true Joy, Happiness, or Cheer?

I turned to President Monson’s Christmas Devotional talk from this December 2013. He instructed us that in order to make the Savior the focus of the season, we must GIVE to the Savior. We should be considering gifts that reflect the love and selflessness like that of the example our Savior set while he was here upon the earth.

1.) Seek out a bright particular star

Our prophet suggested we seek out a star. This translates in my mind to seeking out a direction. This may involve stopping where you are, dropping to your knees, and praying to our Father in Heaven.   Plead with our Heavenly Father to help you know what to do this holiday season, and how he wants you to celebrate His son’s birth. Don’t be surprised if the way you receive an answer is to have the Holy Ghost place names and faces in your mind. These are the individuals you are called to serve. So what should you do for them?

2.)   Journey to Bethlehem

The prophet asked us to Journey to Bethlehem. That doesn’t sound easy. If we were really going to do that it would take considerable time and effort. I think what President Monson was saying is it may require a little work. It may require some time (you already “don’t have”:). Which means it may require you to re-prioritize some activities you had planned this holiday season. Use the Good, Better, Best measuring stick. With the Lord’s hand, you will know what needs to be done, and what can be let go.

3rd: Give as the Savior Gave

Keep it simple. None of the Savior’s gifts had bows, pretty ribbon, or gold leafing on them. But each of them were laced with wonderful eternal consequences. Here are a few of the examples President Monson gave us to consider:pictures-of-jesus-smiling-1138511-wallpaper

Show more interest in people than in things.

Help those less fortunate

Forgive our Enemies

Remember old friends

Obey God – simply give a gift of obedience. Perhaps just a change of your own personal behavior is the BEST gift you can give.

Give of yourself, give of your time, give gifts of understanding, compassion, service, friendship, kindness, gentleness.

Finally: A Special Gift

As Christ walked the earth… he had one goal: To be about His Father’s business. Christ spent each and every day preaching His Gospel. He taught everyday about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. His words, His deeds, His every thought was for us. This was His Father’s business. This is what he would do again if he were on the earth. As Disciples of Christ, this is what he has asked each of us to do… especially at this time of year; to let all of his children know the way to return to their Heavenly Father.

The birth of our Savior was and is one of the greatest events in the history of this world. Let’s not get caught up into anything that doesn’t help us to have and feel that Joy this holiday season. Don’t let the adversary have the next three weeks of your life. This is your time to feel the Spirit of Christ in your life, grow your testimony, do our Heavenly Father’s will, and perhaps bring someone else closer to their Savior. Don’t miss out on it.

I want to share my testimony about Jesus Christ. I have often felt uncomfortable about sharing it, because I couldn’t put into words the way I felt. In the October 2013 General Conference President Uchdorf started out his talk with a story of a man asking all that is required of Latter Day Saints. At the end of this huge list showing requirements of time, talents, money, and sacrifices, the individual inquiring about our church he then asked: “Why would anyone want to join such a church?” I remember I was in the kitchen doing some dishes from breakfast as I listened to conference. I thought to myself how I would answer that question. A lump formed in my throat as I almost felt a bit of embarrassment for even asking that in my head. The answer: Because it is True, and I KNOW my Savior lives. Because He lives, I have no choice but to do all that he has asked of me. I pray that each of us will act as He would have us do as we celebrate His birthday. And that as we keep Him at the center of the holiday season we will feel the happiness and joy He has commanded us to.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Enable Salvation of the Dead: Building Confidence in Gospel Service

Original Talk Given: November 24, 2015payson-temple-lds-947052-wallpaper

This talk is similar to one I gave previous this year, but there are a few added insights and personal details worth sharing.

Enable Salvation of the Dead: by qualifying myself and my family for the blessings of the temple and seeking out ancestors who are awaiting my assistance in this great work.

In the last five years. This work has begun to hit my radar. I think some of that motivation for me was the ease of use with many of the resources that have been created. I could not come up with any more barriers (excuses) not to do the work.

As I prepared for this talk, I had a bit of an excitement. In recent years I have done quite a bit to be involved in the salvation of the dead. This is an area of the Gospel that I actually feel like I’m kind of good at.

You see I am not an amazing speaker, or a great scriptorian. I grew up as second generation LDS, so I know all the primary songs, I understand the culture, I even served in leadership growing up, but because I made the decision to not serve a mission at age 19 like most young men, I was significantly behind in matters of scripture knowledge, using my priesthood, and feeling comfortable with the language of the gospel. I often times feel a lack of confidence in my abilities to perform certain church functions. For example, of my four children, I had to baptize three of them twice because I missed a word in the prayer, or didn’t dunk them the whole way. Each time I knew what to do, and knew what to say, but my nerves were so frazzled that it was difficult for me to perform the ordinance perfectly.

Family history and temple service has been a little different for me. This area of the gospel gives me a chance to “practice” the ordinances, the language of the gospel, and become more familiar with feeling the spirit on a regular basis. I’m able to do this in private and practice. By regular temple attendance and work on Family History, I’ve been able to build my confidence in gospel matters, which has now rolled over in other areas of service.

This has benefited me a few different ways. I’m able to be calm at the temple, and not nervous that I’m not doing or saying something right. I just enjoy my time and attempt to feel what the lord has for me.

When I’m asked to perform blessings, setting aparts, or perform priesthood ordinances, it’s not new to me. It’s something I feel more comfortable with.

Finally it’s something measurable for me. I can set goals and track my progress with indexing and family history. I can see the stack of blue and pink cards grow and shrink as the work is completed. I also enjoy the technology side of the coin… I love playing with the technology but if I don’t have something constructive to do with it, it feels like a waste.

So it’s in this spirit of humility and knowing my own shortcomings that I share a few stories surrounding Enabling Salvation of the Dead.

Homeless

Attending the temple hasn’t always been an easy thing for me. I always envied those that went the temple and had these amazing revelatory experiences and felt so good when they went to the temple. When I first began attending, I didn’t feel that way at all. I was nervous, uncomfortable, and I felt like I was the only one that didn’t know where to go or what to do. There was one point where I actually couldn’t find my way back to the changing room. I just felt stupid. I left the temple on many occasions frustrated and not wanting to return.

A little over 9 years ago, I had made some really bad employment decisions that basically made our family homeless. I had started down the path of correction and got a new job, but my pregnant wife and kids had to go live with my in-laws for two months while I started a new job and tried to find a new home. I ended up living with a good friend of mine in his basement. I felt horrible for intruding on him and his family and I wanted to be there as little as possible so as to not intrude. I decided to attend the temple every week. I went after work on Wednesdays. I think the most I had been to the temple previously had been quarterly, or less. But I thought while I was away from my family, I might as well do everything I could do to work on me. By the end of this two months, I felt much more comfortable in the temple. I felt as though I belonged, and I know the Lord blessed that temple attendance. The home we were directed to is the home we live in now. My life has been richly blessed because of that decision to be in the temple… despite my past reservations and feelings of inadequacy.

Temple Dedications, Open Houses

I’m sure most of us feel the same way when President Monson announces a new temple to be built. We hear the city and country and most of the time we think, ah that’s amazing… So and so will love having that temple so close, or wow, there are a lot of diligent Saints there. Occasionally, you’ll hear a location and the spirit testifies to you it’s time for that place to have a temple. Often times an area you are very familiar with or have lived is announced and you’re overwhelmed with joy and immediately start planning your trip to be at the open house. Of course others, you hear the location, and think… I don’t even know where that is, but yay! Another temple?

Regardless, we are a temple loving people. It is one of the most exciting things for us to hear the Lord has another house to pour out blessing to his saints in that corner of the globe.

Whenever possible my wife and I make it a point to get to temple open houses with our family. I’m sure many of us want that. It is not coincidence that each of us wants to see our whole family in the temple together. Obviously, making covenants and performing ordinances someday, but for today, to walk through the temple and see our children inside the temple with us is an incredible feeling. I believe it is a brief prelude of the future. Our family together in the presence of the Lord. Could we desire anything more? I look forward to a repeat of this as the Provo City Center Temple provide the same opportunities.

One memory I have of the Draper temple open house wasn’t as reverent as I would hope. As I turned to admire and look at some room, I think it was an endowment room. My son, somehow got past the ropes keeping us away from one of the couches. He climbed up on the couch and for some reason actually bit the wooden banister on the staircase behind. I was horrified! But now I think back to a memory that is so locked into my mind. My son, in the temple! There is no picture that could leave a deeper impression in my mind. I’m sure many of us feel like their kids are not reverent enough to go to an open house, or do Family Home Evening walking around the temple grounds. But I know the Lord wants our children familiar with the temple. For many of them, it just takes some getting used to. Don’t keep yourself or your family away from the temple, for any reason.

Los AngelesTouch the Temple

Somewhere around this same time my wife and I heard this from President Monson: I’m pretty sure it was in a conference talk but it really had an impact on me.

President Monson related this story: The late Elder Matthew Cowley, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once recounted the Saturday afternoon experience of a grandfather as hand in hand he took his small granddaughter on a birthday visit—not to the zoo or to the movies but to the temple grounds. With permission of the groundskeeper, the two walked to the large doors of the temple. He suggested that she place her hand on the sturdy wall and then on the massive door. Tenderly he then said to her, “Remember that this day you touched the temple. One day you will go inside.” His gift to the little one was not candy or ice cream but an experience far more significant and everlasting—an appreciation of the house of the Lord. She had touched the temple, and the temple had touched her.

Elder Monson, ‘As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.”

Having very young kids my wife and I thought this might be a good thing to do with our kids for family home evening, and then it branched out to something we looked forward to as we went on vacation. Please don’t think by some imagination it is this quite reverent stroll through the temple grounds. With three little boys, there is always someone trying to swing from a tree, wade through a fountain, pick a flower, or steal rocks and put them in their pocket.

Each time we have the kids pose at the door of the temple and put their hand on it, and we take a picture. To date, we have done this at 18 different temples. The visit usually ends with someone getting yelled at in a hushed, whisper. But I have confidence in knowing that my children know the temple, and they know it’s important to our family. I hope this is a good start to a life-long love of the temple. I do have faith in President Monson’s promise that the “temple will touch them”. In this day and time, they will NEED the temple to touch them.

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100 Names in 100 Days

Each year, our ward participates is something to do with 100 names and the temple. One year it was to do 100 ordinances in 100 days of family names in our ward. Another was to have a member of our ward in the temple EVERY day the temple was open for 100 days. And then this year we did a special indexing effort of encouraging every to do 100 names indexing for the 100 days.

The year we decided to do 100 ordinances I really felt the impression to begin my temple work. I wanted to have some names that were included in this batch we were working on. At the time I was in young men’s and we needed to come up with names anyway to take for our next temple trip. We were going to be doing baptisms for the dead in the Monticello Temple as part of our youth conference. I had no idea where to begin. Fortunately, the ward hosted a family history class during Sunday School. A husband and wife in our ward, patiently helped us navigate through the new.familysearch.org. After talking with my dad and an aunt I got started. My number one goal was to find where my Brown line came from. My father had traced it back five generations in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, but I didn’t know where it went from there. I traced the line back to New York… for now. But in the process, uncovered dozens and dozens of names. I was so touched as the names I knew were done in that small temple. It was an incredible experience to do that for the first time.

How amazing it was to have the tools at my finger tips, in my home, that I could do at any time. I encourage you all to just get in and try it. It will take a couple of hours to get your bearings and understand the landscape, but after that each time you return you’re moving forward.

It has been such a wonderful feeling to connect to these ancestors I never knew.   I have felt a special spirit as I do this work late at night. It’s kind of detective work in a way. I love to uncover forgotten names, or run across a mistake or something missed. I know I’m not alone in the work.

One thing that moves me each time I’m looking over a family record, or a census is the lack of the back story to go along with the ancestors I’m looking at. I’m moved when I see a child’s name on one census and then not there on the next census ten years later. Then in another record I find a death certificate and learn the child passed away at a young age. I have a few ancestors that were in second marriages with kids that are hers, mine, and ours. My heart is softened as I sit considering what those experiences must have been like; the suffering or the sadness that must have been felt. The sacrifices and trials my ancestors had to endure are humbling to me. To know that much of what they went through has gotten me to where I am today, and possibly shaped my character in some way.

Madison to the Temple

Another thought I want to share with you about my maturing down this path involves my daughter Madison. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but the moment Madison turned 12 we made it a priority to get to the temple for the first time together. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Madison loves the temple. It has been so inspiring to hear her talk about the temple and see the importance it already has in her life. I know my testimony of the temple wasn’t anywhere near that level when I was Madison’s age. One Sunday afternoon Madison took some time to set up her new.familysearch.org. It took us a few hours, but she found six names we were able to take to the temple. I had to guide her for a little bit to get started, but it wasn’t long before she was correcting me and directing where I made mistakes or was being inefficient. The spirit was very strong as I stood in the font with my daughter to perform baptisms for these relatives. It will be an experience I will always remember.

President Monson has offered a few of the benefits of this work:

Closeness to the Lord

Clearer perspective

Sense of purpose and peace

Will be able to bear every trial

Overcome each temptation

President Packer’s benefits of this work:

Receive Spiritual Perspective

The dust of distraction the haze seem to lift, we can see things that were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.

Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection

Elder Bednar (October 2011 General Conference)

…Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.

Doing the work of Salvation of the Dead is challenging and rewarding. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity I have had to dig in just a little so far. I’m very humbled by the mini successes I have had and the spirit I have felt as I perform the work. This gospel is a very hands on and there is a lot expected of us as saints. Many times we are expected to just know what to do or what to say at the right time. For some of us, this can be difficult. I testify that  I’m thankful for that growth and strength it has brought to my life. I hope we each make the time to make the Temple more of a priority in our lives and be able to take of the blessings that come because of it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Obedience – Faithful Payment of Tithes and Other Personal Offerings

Original Talk Given: October 20, 2013mormonad-open-wide-1118288-wallpaper

As I prepared this talk originally, I was impressed by the need we all have to overcome the burdens that have been placed on our shoulders for the very purpose we have come to this earth. To be tried and tested. So before any additional perspective on the commandment of tithing we are about to dig into, I thought it good to start with some thoughts on how we achieve what we are all really seeking. The peace, the surety, the comfort, and the love:

Obedience

Here is what the prophet, Thomas S. Monson said during the previous general conference about obedience. I think it sets a good tone as we begin a conversation about personal offerings:

“My brothers and sisters, the great test of this life is obedience.

The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:28 “He that keepeth [God’s] commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide—even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God.”

There are a lot of uncertainties in life. Many of which we have little control over. What we learn from the prophet’s instruction is through obedience we are able to navigate this life and find comfort in the knowledge and blessings He gives unto us. I think this may be the answer many of us are looking for in the challenges and trails we each face.

With that prophetic introduction, let’s talk about how we care for the Poor and the Needy.

Payment of Tithes and Offerings

To review… we are asked to pay tithing equivalent to 10% of our income or increase. In addition we have been asked to pay fast offerings. We have been given a guide of the amount that would cover the cost of the two meals we fast for on fast Sunday. This is merely a guide. Many pay much more than this on a regular basis.

The blessings of paying tithing

One of the reasons some pay tithing is because of the blessings we receive. We’ve been promised the in 3 Nephi 24:10… the windows of heaven will be opened up and blessing will pour out that there will not be room enough to receive it.

Before we go picking what blessing we want, consider this comment by Robert D. Hales:

“The temporal and spiritual blessings of tithing are specifically tailored to us and our families, according to the Lord’s will.”

I think this can be difficult sometimes, especially when finances are tight. To have the faith to KNOW the Lord will bless us according to what we really NEED is not always easy.

I think it is important to mention for us to be careful here. The blessings WILL come. They have come to me in my own life, but they have not come in the exact way I had hoped for but they have come to me and my family in ways I had not realized we needed.

In Elder Bednar’s talk from the October 2013 General Conference titled The Windows of Heaven, he shed some light on what that looks like. He gave us some amazing instruction and doctrine:

“We often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked… a loving Heavenly Father bestows simple blessings in seemingly ordinary ways.

For example, a subtle but significant blessing we receive is the spiritual gift of gratitude that enables our appreciation for what we have to constrain desires for what we want. A grateful person is rich in contentment. An ungrateful person suffers in the poverty of endless discontentment.

We may appropriately desire and work to receive a pay raise in our employment to better provide the necessities of life. Eyes and ears of faith are required, however, to notice in us an

Increased Spiritual and Temporal capacity to do More with Less,

Keener ability to Prioritize and Simplify,

Enhanced ability to Take Proper Care of the material possessions we already have acquired

We might want and expect a larger paycheck, but the blessing that comes to us through heavenly windows may be greater capacity to change our own circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else.

Sometimes we may ask God for Success, and He gives us Physical and Mental Stamina.

We might plead for Prosperity, and we receive Enlarged Perspective and Increased Patience.

We petition for Growth and are blessed with the Gift of Grace.

He may bestow upon us Conviction and Confidence as we strive to achieve Worthy Goals.

And when we plead for Relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may Increase our Resolve and Resilience.

As you can see this talk was absolutely incredible at defining the Windows of Heaven.

Let’s turn to the scriptures for a moment for an example of one whose Eye’s and Ears of faith were possibly in tune to our Father in Heaven and his Son

Mark 12:41-44

We read an account of the Savior observing those paying offerings in to the treasury:

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

If we dig deeper into these scriptures, you can almost see the woman drop the two mites. I envision an older lady, in ratty clothing, with grey hair. She has a tired or worn look about her, but has a brilliance in her face being interpreted as immense gratitude to her Father in Heaven, for the blessings he has put before her. Not to mention the suffering she has experienced. Many years, without her husband. Her children, if she had any were not around and it is assumed she was left to care completely for herself. Loneliness accompanied her much of the time. She had no well-paying job to speak of, only odd jobs enough to get by. But even with the concern of where she would get her next meal, she, in complete faith must pay her offering to the Lord again in Gratitude for all that she has received even though meager by normal standards. I’m sure she thought, as she dropped the coins, about how happy it made her feel that she could do something to help others… that may be “poor and needy.” What an amazing example to us all. When we hand our tithing envelope to the Bishop, is it done with this level of reverence or thought. What an uplifting opportunity for each of us that draws us closer to our Father in Heaven and our older brother through the payment of tithes and offerings.

I think it is appropriate to seek after the blessings of paying tithing, but only if our eyes and ears of faith are in tune. The commandment of tithing has the ability to bless our lives in ways we can’t imagine. I have seen these gifts Elder Bednar has mentioned in my own life.

Care for the Poor and the Needy

I want to switch gears here a little and talk more about caring for the poor and needy through personal offerings of time and talents.

Back in 2006 and my wife and I were faced with one of the largest challenges our family had experienced. We were expecting our fourth child (Taylor) and in order for him to survive when he was born, he needed to have fetal surgery. It was a process that required my wife to be in San Francisco for six weeks, and possibly longer if pre-term labor was triggered. This was such an overwhelming time for us. The thoughts of the unknown overwhelmed Paige and I’s minds almost completely. We received so much service at the hands of our ward family it was amazing. I never had to wonder where my kids were at? Who was picking them up? Who was watching them next? or What we were going to eat that night? I got to focus on what I needed to, spending time with my three children (while their mother was away), being freed up to consider what we needed to do and how, then being able to go and do, at the drop of a hat. We were blessed in innumerable ways. I’m sure there were services performed I’m not even aware of. Fortunately, the surgery was a success, Paige was able to get back here… be it only a few days, then Taylor was born at U of U close to home where we could manage the next three months. Today, Taylor is just a typical six year old…healthy and strong.

One might ask why we give such aid, sometimes in countries where the Gospel cannot be preached, but our aid is gladly accepted. As a salesman, trainer, coach I really appreciated this next story. One of the things we always try to teach our sales people is to ask enough questions to truly understand the prospective client’s needs, then deliver a solution to their “true” problem.

I would like to finish where I began… with a reminder about obedience. We talked about tithing, fast offerings, and other personal offerings, where does this all tie together for you?

To reinforce what President Monson taught:

Richard G. Scott

I have learned a truth that has been repeated so frequently in my life that I have come to know it as an absolute law. It defines the way obedience and service relate to the power of God. When we obey the commandments of the Lord and serve His children unselfishly, the natural consequence is power from God—power to do more than we can do by ourselves. Our insights, our talents, our abilities are expanded because we receive strength and power from the Lord.

Todd Christofferson

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to do all we can to redeem others from suffering and burdens. Even so, our greatest redemptive service will be to lead them to Christ. Without His Redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice. That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has no power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.”

Robert D. Hales October 2002

“Like the pioneers, the obedient payment of tithing fortifies our faith, and that faith sustains us through the trials, tribulations, and sorrows in our life’s journey.

Tithing also teaches us to control our desires and passions for the things of this world. Payment of tithing encourages us to be honest in our dealings with our fellowmen. We learn to trust that what we have been given, through the blessings of the Lord and our own diligent efforts, is sufficient for our needs.”

I would like to add my testimony that it is through our service to others that the Lord’s work is done upon this earth. It can come in many forms. Tithing, Fast Offerings, and sharing of our individual time and talents. I further testify that by giving of ourselves, it may be the one thing that helps us to overcome our own trails and relieve our own pain and suffering. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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Original Talk Given July 28th, 2013

At the beginning of the year our State Presidency introduced the Stake Priorities, known as the Divinely Appointed Responsibilities. An outline of these can also be found in Handbook 2: Administering in the Church, Section 2.2

When I heard this originally, I thought, great idea. “It’s good that the Stake has some goals. I hope they do really well at that.” I didn’t really recognize they were asking US as a stake to help them achieve these goals. As high council, we have been asked to reintroduce the priorities, and encourage each member of the stake to set some goals for the remainder of the year in relation to each of these priorities.

Let me review with you what those are again:

Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ by loving, serving, and ministering to others in their personal lives.

Gather Israel Through Missionary Work by prayerful personal preparation and “seeking after the one.”

Care For the Poor and Needy through faithful payment of tithes, and other offerings of time, talents, and temporal means.

Enable Salvation of the Dead by qualifying myself and my family for the blessings of the temple and seeking out ancestors who are awaiting my assistance in this great work.

Today we’re going to focus on: Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ (by loving, serving, and ministering to others in their personal lives).

I shared with my daughter my topic for this week and she told me she knew what two of those words were, loving and serving, but wasn’t sure about Ministering. So I thought I would focus specifically on Ministering.

This topic is much more simple that the word makes it sound. The

Dictionary.com definition reads: to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities.

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 18:5 it reads: “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”

At baptism, we covenanted with the Lord that we would perform this work for others: This is Alma speaking:

Mosiah 18:8-10

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

At first glance, ministering feels or sounds like it’s to be done, aligned with a particular calling, or only certain individuals are supposed to perform such work. But in reality it’s a calling we all share. The ways we minister vary, but all of us have the ability to perform the work.

As I prepared four areas of focus stood out to me:

Be Prepared

Recognize needs

Build Relationships/Gain Trust

Act

*** Warning, each of these will help us to be a better ‘Minister’, but only Acting is truly necessary. Each focus just allows us to be more effective and possibly efficient in our service.

1. Be Prepared

How do you feel about your neighbor? Do you love your neighbor, as we are commanded to. I think most of us have a positive feeling about the people we’re surrounded by but I wonder if we have that love for others that keeps our minds and hearts open to their needs. I like to think I have love in my heart for others, but often times my pride gets in the way, and it blinds me from doing or feeling the way I should towards another. Yes, the spirit will direct our efforts, but doesn’t it help the Lord if we know someone well enough to see the need and not have to wait for an impression to do something.

Listen and be in tune with the Spirit

Ministering is doing what the Savior would do if he were here upon the earth. How could we hope to do His will if we don’t know what that will is? The only way we can know is to stay in tune with the spirit. This requires the typical “primary answers.” Go to church, read your scriptures, pray regularly, fast, be obedient to commandments, pay your tithes and offerings, and attend the temple regularly.

I think there is a tougher challenge to being in tune with the Spirit. Listening. This is one of those areas where Satan has the ability to stop our efforts. He does this through all the interruptions we face daily. Movies, Music, Facebook, Pinterest, hobbies, sports, our jobs or other worldly pursuits are the things that can keep us “out-of-touch”. These distractions keep us from knowing who really needs our help, or from what we could do to assist them.

For me, work can definitely be a challenge that interrupts:

A few years ago, I was preparing for a special training with my agents and I kept feeling like what I did for a living was a complete waste of time. I felt good about what I did, I knew I was helping people, but I felt as though I was wasting my time and not doing the Lord’s work. The training I was preparing at this time was about Associate Engagement. It was to help others to be more comfortable in how they felt with the company, what they did, and how they did it. By increasing Associate Engagement, productivity and consumer engagement would then increase. For some reason I was feeling hypocritical because “I” was lacking that engagement. YES, I know that what I did helped people, but that was in a worldly sense. I wanted to feel like I was doing more.

I felt inspired as it came to my mind that in most everything we do, we have the ability to touch lives. In most work places, we interact with people. Every interaction is an opportunity to lift someone else’s burden, to offer assistance, or to influence someone in a positive way. This way of thinking has changed the way I look at a meeting with an associate or an appointment in a perspective client’s home. I can be a disciple, look for ways to minister, and still perform my mundane worldly duties of the job.

Can you think of instances where you normally wouldn’t consider it a good time to “minister”?

We have the chance to make a difference in every area of our lives. Have you ever thought how you could minister in the most of annoying situations? At the DMV? When a telemarketer calls you at dinner-time? or even when you have a difference of opinion with a coworker?

How in tune we are with the spirit could determine how well we act in those situations.

Let’s turn to the scriputures and follow an example of the Savior:

In Luke 8:43-48 the Savior has been alerted by a father Jairus that his daughter is close to death if not already passed away so Jesus was on his way to see her:

43 ¶And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

Could Jesus have just kept going at this moment when he had an important task he was asked to do? Yea, maybe, but instead even after the woman has been healed, HE gives her a statement of confidence and love to reassure her she was right, and good, and it was ok what she did. In a brief 30 second passing, could we say or do something that might help someone to feel the love of the Savior, or our Heavenly Father?

I have conversations everyday with many different people. Some of those conversation, discussing the delicate things of life; sickness, death, family changes, financial duress, and unemployment. I get the opportunity EVERYDAY to minister to others, but only if I’m in tune and choose to Minister instead of just do WORK. This is definitely an area of my life where I know I can do better. I’m far from where I need to be.

2. Recognize needs

I remember a lesson a while ago where the teacher lead a discussion about what attributes you and I possess as Sons and Daughters of Heavenly Parents. Our earthly parents passed down things like eye color, hair color, attached ear lobes/unattached ear lobes, etc. Sympathy, compassion, and empathy are a few of the characteristics I believe were passed down to each of us as traits from Divine Parents. The light of Christ in all of us may be another way to say it. It’s evident when we hear about a family with a sick child, a father who loses his job unexpectedly, or when a close friend loses a loved one. I think each of us feel something. Some of us are moved emotionally, others are driven to their knees in prayer, still others go into to-do-list mode, considering all the things that need to be done to help that individual. Regardless of our reaction, we all recognize when there is any degree of human suffering or need.

These characteristics are meant to cause us to feel uncomfortable, or to feel sadness for the individual in need. It’s these feelings that are meant to drive us to action. When someone stands in need, our divine make-up has us wired to move our bodies into action!

During the April 2011 General Conference President Erying spoke about this. “When the Lord hears the cries of those who suffer or stand in need, and He hears the prayers and pleading of those who want to help, He sends his guidance through the power of the Holy Ghost to those who can lift in the way necessary.”

Don’t discount the feelings you have when you hear of someone in need. Learn to understand, open your mind and your heart, and turn to the Lord when you feel one of those heavenly emotions: sympathy, compassion, and empathy.

3. Build Relationships/Gain Trust (this doesn’t have to be there in some situation, but if you are striving for it, it means much more when the message comes out of love rather than duty)

This is something I spend a ton of time talking about at work. I’m in sales. I train other agents regularly about the sales process. There are many important parts of a sales presentation but to me the most important is to build the relationship. To build common ground, to have perspective clients recognize you as “human” a real person with similar challenges and issues, and have them trust you is so important. I teach my folks to ask questions and then sit and listen.

I think it’s best to be involved in building relationships all the time. Then when someone needs help, it’s easier to draw from what you know about them to better fill the need.

It’s understandable that in many situations you don’t know the individual at all before the Spirit called you to their assistance. That’s ok too, but it’s crucial that when you have the chance, even if it’s a brief period, that we do our best to understand them, listen to the things they have to say, and listen to how they say things.

I like this advice from Elder Holland found in Preach My Gospel. In this case he is speaking of someone investigating the LDS Church, but I believe it applies:

“More important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more. If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit and by our friends.”

I remember when I was very new to sales, sitting in a home with a lady that was very negative towards us being there. I couldn’t tell if she just wanted to yell at somebody, or was in a foul mood. Either way, I was getting it “both barrels.” I was training a new agent and he was making faces like we needed to get out of there.

At one point the lady had to go get something down the hall while we sat in the front room. I remembered we had not taken the time to get to know her (because we were getting chewed out from the moment we walked in the door). I quickly scanned her living room for anything that might bring us some common ground. Two things caught my eye and I was impressed that there was something special about them. She had a coffee table book about Dance, and then a beautiful glass figurine of a ballerina. My four-year-old daughter had just begun dance classes.

When the lady returned I asked her about the figurine. It was incredible, she melted with emotion on the spot. She told us how she had been a professionally trained dancer, then taught dance to hundreds of girls over the course of 20 plus years. Upon retiring, her students had a special event to honor her contributions and gave her the figurine as a token of appreciation. I shared my daughter’s recent dancing attempts, and the walls fell! Needless to say, the rest of our visit together (even the business part) was pleasant and enjoyable. By showing genuine interest I was able to change the climate of the situation and offer sincere help, and it was then well received.

Here is a little reminder I use to help me get to know someone better. I remember the acronym:

H E L P

H ome – how long they have lived there, where they are from, who lives there with them, notice and comment on beautiful/unique things in their home.

E mployment – what they do for a living ? How long they have worked there? Where did they prepare for work? College, Tech School, etc.

L oved Ones – Children, grandchildren, spouse, brothers and sisters

P urpose – What’s important to them? What they like to do? Where do they spend down time? What brings them joy?

4. Act

This is the only required step of ministering and does not require the other three to be completed first. When you are prompted, Go and do. Don’t prepare, don’t wait for the right time. Step outside your comfort zone, and just DO.

Christ was a perfect example of ministering Christ knows how to minister perfectly… if we are his hands, should we not be able to do the same? The blessing of discernment will be yours. You WILL be guided in what to say and do.

There are so many different ways to minister. Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching, Quorum and Group Leader visits to name a few. It’s the meals to the sick, it’s the phone call to say hi. It could be a text message or an email. It could even be an invitation to do something, a commitment, a request of change in someone’s life. It could be an invitation to share Family Home Evening with you, or to come over and visit with the missionaries.

There was a comment I heard from the CEO of our company Mike McAllister. He made a comment that when we act this way to serve others, “We move into peoples’ lives.” I love that phrase for some reason… We Move Into People’s Lives. Doesn’t that feel like something our Father-in-Heaven wants of us. For his son’s and daughters to be actively involved in each other’s lives?

I think it’s difficult to explain exactly what ministering looks like, but I think these are some of the intentions: support, comfort, kindness, attention, encouragement, inclusion, acceptance, and a chance to feel the love from others and of our Heavenly Father. I pray that each of us will prayerfully consider what kind of ministers we are, and what we need to change in order to be the ministers our Heavenly Father needs us to be. I promise, that as we do so, we will have the ability to bless the lives of the people around us and help them to recognize the source of all goodness, even Jesus Christ, and want to come unto him. I leave this message with you in his name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.