Wednesday, January 18, 2012


For a little time each day I listen to Celtic Music on Pandora internet radio.

There is a lot of beautiful music.

As I type this blog I am listening to How Great Thou Art - performed by David Nevue a piano soloist.

I believe that all music is inspired.  There is something that speaks to the heart of the composer as he or she creates.  When I listen to Celtic Music I sense a great love for Heavenly Father and his creations.  I believe that the singer/songwriters of Celtic Music have deep faith and are inspired to write meaningful lyrics and blend it with heavenly melodies.

You Raise Me Up by Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham is one of those songs that touches me deeply.  When I listen to the words and music I have my own personal film strip of images of the Savior in my mind.  I suspect that Rolf Lovland got his inspiration from the Savior and his ministry as recorded in the New Testament.

When I am down and oh, my soul so weary,
When troubles come and my heart burdened be.

Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains,
you raise me up to walk on stormy seas.

I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
you raise me up to more than I can be.

There is no life no life without its hunger,
each restless heart beats so imperfectly,

but when you come and I am filled with wonder,
sometimes I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains,
you raise me up to walk on stormy seas.

I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
you raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains,
you raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
you raise me up to more than I can be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Elder Dallin H Oaks said:

"Revelation is communication from God to man.  It can occur in many different ways.  Some prophets, like Moses and Joseph Smith, have talked to God face to face.  Some persons have had personal communication with angels.  Other revelations have come, as Elder James E. Talmage described it, 'through the dreams of sleep or in waking visions of the mind' (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 229).

"In its more familiar forms, revelation or inspiration comes by means of words or thoughts communicated to the mind (see D&C 8:2-3; Enos 1:10), by sudden enlightenment (see D&C 6:14-15), by positive or negative feelings about proposed courses of action, or even by inspiring performances, as in the performing arts.  As Elder Boyd K. Packer has stated, 'Inspiration comes more as a feeling than as a sound' (Boyd K. Packer, "Prayers and Answers," Ensign, November 1979, pp. 19-20)." (Dallin H. Oaks, "Revelation," New Era, September 1982, p. 38.)

Many symbolic dreams and visions are recorded in the scriptures.  Nephi records the vision of the tree of life received by his father, Lehi, and then by himself.  The vision of the tree of life is a vision for all who believe in Jesus Christ.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught that the tree of life is a symbol of Jesus Christ.  He said:  "The images of Christ and the tree [are] inextricably linked....At the very outset of the Book of Mormon,...Christ is portrayed as the source of eternal life and joy, the living evidence of divine love, and the means whereby God will fulfill his covenant with the house of Israel and indeed the entire family of man, returning them all to their eternal promises" (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 160, 162).

The fruit of the tree of life represents eternal life - "most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted" (1 Nephi 8:11) and "The greatest of all the gifts of God" (1 Nephi 15:36).  Eternal life is the "most sweet" and "most precious" blessing we can receive.  Because of Heavenly Father's great love for each of us, this blessing is available to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

When Nephi asked to know the interpretation of the tree of life, he was shown and understood Heavenly Father's love for us. He saw Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ.  He witnessed the birth of the Savior of the world.  He saw Christ walk among men and minister unto them.  And then he witnessed God's great love as He "gave his only begotten Son."

When the Father asked His Beloved Son to pay the price of the world's sins, Jesus was prepared and willing.  The atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross, and it ended with His Resurrection. 

Both Lehi and Nephi were witnesses to the evidence of Jesus Christ's love for us.   Their desire for each of us is to partake of the fruit from the tree of life.  There is a strait and narrow path that leads to the tree of life.  Beside that path is the rod of iron. 

Many of us have learned through our youth that the iron rod is the word of God.  We have learned this through primary songs and sacrament hymns.  The word of God is found in the scriptures.  If we desire to come unto Christ and to partake of the sweet fruit of eternal life we need to seek after the scriptures and study them.

The vision of the tree of life shows us that we need to grasp onto the rod of iron and remain fixed.  There will come times of darkness and if we have already held fast and have been studying and praying we will not be lost.  Darkness can come in many forms: sickness, depression, loss of employment, loss of spouse, parents or children.  Even when we make mistakes, we can quickly resume our journey by seeking truth and knowledge and forgiveness.

The vision of the tree of life shows us what we must do to reach the tree of life and eternal life.  We must choose to walk on the strait and narrow path.  We must choose to grasp the rod of iron and cling to it.  We must continue moving forward, even through dark times, towards the tree - towards Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Nephi begins his record with the words that we all know by heart:  "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father..." 

We know from reading Nephi's account that he was educated; had a strong understanding of the scriptures; and that he trusted his father.  Lehi taught his children everything he knew.  Some of what he taught was done by example.

In chapter 1 verse 4 we learn that there were prophets that declared the destruction of Jerusalem prior to Lehi's prophecy.

Lehi went to the Lord to ask for a witness and confirmation.  Lehi was given confirmation through a vision.  He shares the vision with his family and then declared it to the people of Jerusalem.  Lehi's example sets a pattern that was taught to Nephi:  1)  Listening, 2) Prayer, 3) Proclaim, 4) Act.

When Nephi heard his father speak about his vision and the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem he followed that same pattern.   Because Nephi received confirmation himself he was able to support his father's decision to be obedient and depart from Jerusalem.

The early saints were also asked to leave their homes - relocating many times.  Ultimately, the saints settled in the Salt Lake Valley.  Not all who were asked to leave their homes did.  There will come a time when the Lord will ask us to make sacrifices again.  To leave our homes; relocate; and to build Zion.  Do we have the faith to follow the direction of our leaders and to be obedient to the Lord's commandments.

Our responsibility is to follow the pattern set forth in the very first chapter of the Book of Mormon.  Faith and obedience are principles that are essential in developing our testimonies.

We are often asked to do things.  We are extended callings; asked to fulfill assignments and to assist those in need.  Sometimes we may feel that it is difficult or that we don't understand.  It is our responsibility to inquire of the Lord; asking for a witness and a confirmation that what we have been asked to do is right  We then need to be faithful and go about doing.  We may not be able to accomplish the things we have been asked to do.  We need to have faith that the Lord will prepare a way for us.  We should in our heart's say:  "I will go and do..."  President Kimball counseled us to "Do it."  President Uchtdorf counseled us to stand where we are and be the best that we can in the callings and assignments that we have been given.

Lehi taught his children by living a righteous life.  He taught his children obedience, faith, trust in the Lord and most of all gratitude.

After three days in the wilderness, Lehi built an alter and gave thanks to the Lord.  Is it possible to express feelings of gratitude even in difficult circumstances?  I believe we can.

I believe it is very important that we express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the many blessings that he pours out upon His children every day.  Our daily prayers should begin with gratitude and thanksgiving.  I believe this gives us a better perspective before we ask for blessings and gifts from our Father in Heaven.  We are able to distinguish between wants and needs.

I am grateful that we have Nephi's account.  I am grateful that we have the scriptures so that we have the information we need to be better parents and faithful servants.  I am also grateful that we have this year to study the Book of Mormon.  The counsel within those pages is a benefit and a blessing to all who read; study; pray and then act.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


"I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 
 - 1 Nephi 1:20

When Nephi wrote these words; I believe he was trying to share with us one of the purposes for his record:  "I will show unto you...the tender mercies of the Lord...even unto the power of deliverance."

Nephi knew that his record would be a testimony and a witness.  A witness that we would be able to ponder; study and pray about.

There have been many witnesses that have testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon contains powerful witnesses of prophets like Nephi and Moroni.  These prophets were commanded to write and preserve a record of their people.  Moroni saw our day and he described the conditions of our day.  He was inspired to write about principles that would help us; using examples from his day.

President Benson taught:  "The Book of Mormon... was written for our day.  The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times.  It was meant for us....Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations....If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon?  We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record?  What lesson can I learn from that to help me live iin this day and age?'" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 5; or Ensign, Nov 1986, 6).

If the Lord did not love us; why would he have commanded his prophets to instruct us and provide us with the information we need to return to Him?  The tender mercies of the Lord are manifest in every word written for us.  Nephi knew that we are loved by Heavenly Father.  As a parent, it would be difficult to send my child out into the world without all the knowledge, talent and skills that I felt necessary to help him or her to be successful.  Heavenly Father's tender feelings for His children are the same.  The Book of Mormon contains every thing we need to be successful in this life.

The Book of Mormon provides for us another witness of Jesus Christ.  The Book of Mormon was written for the purpose of convincing all people that Jesus is the Christ, manifesting Himself to all nations.  The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of the divinity of Christ.

The Book of Mormon also contains the fulness of doctrine.  President Ezra Taft Benson said:  "The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the 'fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.' (D&C 20:9 [;27:5]).... In the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation.  And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation."

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; The Plan of Salvation; The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Commandments; Laws and Ordinances are examples of the teachings found in the Book of Mormon.

I am especially grateful this year that we are studying the Book of Mormon in Gospel Doctrine.  Each prophet since the restoration of the Gospel has instructed members of the church to study and ponder the words contained in the Book of Mormon.

President Gordon B Hinkley declared:  "Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power....Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts...the Spirit of the Lord.  There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God" ("The Power of the Book of Mormon," Ensign, June 1988, 6).

Elder Bednar shared with us his testimony:

"I am thankful for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith and for the knowledge we have today about the Lord’s tender mercies. Our desires, faithfulness, and obedience invite and help us to discern His mercies in our lives. As one of His servants, I declare my witness that Jesus is the Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior. I know that He lives and that His tender mercies are available to all of us. Each of us can have eyes to see clearly and ears to hear distinctly the tender mercies of the Lord as they strengthen and assist us in these latter days. May our hearts always be filled with gratitude for His abundant and tender mercies. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I wish to all that this year is full of the tender mercies the Lord wishes to pour out upon his children.

Happy New Year!

“the Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Ps. 145:9).