In the Spirit of Thanksgiving – Mormon Messages

I’m thankful for it all!

Guest Testimony: Ashley Jones

My name is Ashley Elizabeth Jones, I am 23 years old and I believe in God.

He gives me purpose. I understand why I am here on this earth and toward what I am working and focusing my efforts.

I believe in one God, not “a” God. He is all powerful and knows everything and yet is loving enough to care about what matters most to me: ie: where I should move after graduation, into which type of career I should settle, whom I should marry, my relationship with my parents, the list goes on. He cares and He knows. For me, understanding that someone so powerful knows me personally, is a great strength. God, knows who I am. He loves me. I know that is true.

There is a very important part of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His name is Joseph Smith. His experience in the woods one morning was one that changed my view of my relationship with God. It proved to me that God knows me.“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith-History 1:17) Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. How did these two Personages address Joseph? They called him by name. They knew his name. I know They know mine and yours.

Life is hard. We all know and have experienced this. But, there is a secret help to receiving comfort during those hard times. It is the peace and comfort that Jesus Christ can bring to us. One of my favorite scriptures is from part of book we call “Doctrine and Covenants.” It is modern revelation that Joseph Smith, as a prophet in the 1830′s, received from Jesus Christ. The following gives me so much comfort during hard times:

“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.” (Doctrine and Covenants 58: 3-4)

I absolutely know this is true. I am grateful for it. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ lives. They love us so much. This brings me peace and true happiness in my life.

Satan, what are you thinking?

Carl Bloch - Denying Satan

Denying Satan - Carl Bloch

I’m sure Satan hates those that speak as if they know him; he surely must be proud enough of his own power and abilities that any explanation of the Great Mahan seems like an attack on one that is so “great” and “powerful” in his own eyes that none could or should be able to fully understand him.  Despite that personality trait, Satan’s plans are easy to understand.  Furthermore, despite his best efforts to disrupt it, Satan provides the means for the Lord to bring about the fulfillment of the Plan of Salvation. Heavenly Father wrote the Plan for all of us to receive salvation, “For behold, this is my work and my glory– to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39), and within that plan opposition is essential.  Satan auditioned and got the part as the antagonist to provide most all opposition in the earth. With Heavenly Father’s plan, both God and Jesus Christ made the appropriate and omniscient prophecies knowing the Adversary would provide the setup that would necessitate the Lord paying for our sins and Him later returning.

If the plan is so obvious, and the adversary-role so vital, why does he continue the fight?  Why not throw in the towel? Does he really just want miserable company, or is there something more motivating him?

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive analysis of Satan, but we can learn a few things from the scriptures. First, we can see what Satan truly desires… it was to bring everyone salvation, right?  That’s what he told Heavenly Father before we all came to earth.. Let’s read the account once more: Moses 4:1, “…Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”  You can practically map out Satan’s priorities here (I’ve listed them in the order they are given with the importance rating next to them.. sorry I’m a political scientist, we explain things like this): 1) Send me, I will be thy son 2) I will redeem all mankind 3) One soul shall not be lost 2) Surely I will do it 1) Wherefore give me thine honor.  He’s hungry for the honor and the spotlight!  He shows his true intentions for his plan through the prideful ambitions that surrounds the actual plan to save us! Is there any other evidence of Satan’s goals? D&C 29:36, “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil–for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me (Heavenly Father), saying, Give me thine honor (Heavenly Father’s honor), which is my power (Satan’s greatest desire); and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency.” Finally (for this post at least), Satan spills the beans as he commands Moses in Moses 1:19, “…Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.” Upon which Moses commands Satan in the name of the real Only Begotten (the very title he was professing to be) to depart from him. Satan must have been really bitter at this point since he was being cast out by the very title and honor that he wanted to assume, proving once again that Satan has no power, and no honor, even if he lies and says that he does.

It doesn’t seem like Satan ever wanted to help humankind.  His plan was to ask everybody to use their agency and choose not to have agency on earth.  His goals are to seek and steal honor from the Only Begotten and Heavenly Father.  With this honor he’ll somehow become great enough to earn a divine position in eternity.  Sadly, his reward for his choices has already been given.  And he will never receive a hallowed word on his behalf, both in this world or in the eternity to come. For he is the opposition and adversary to goodness. He is the enemy of righteousness. He chose in the pre-mortal existence where he would end. We, on the other hand, have yet to receive our judgement. Let’s be sure and choose the winning side.

Refuting Reason

Physically unable. Logically unreasonable. Spiritually...effortless

See ya upstairs.

I have learned that having faith, and believing in God simply takes a choice.  And this is ultimately one of the greatest sources of strength in our lives.

Mosiah 4:9 “Believe in God; believe that He is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”

What is the one word that drives that scripture? Believe. The scripture is not written, “Have faith in God and have faith that He is”, but it is to believe. These words tell us that we have a choice to make, and that is to choose to believe that it is fact.

This is how we receive our testimony from the Lord.  We don’t rely on our physical senses to prove the fact to us, and we don’t rely on our intellect to reason the truth out.  Instead, we choose to believe, and we choose to have faith in God and in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  THEN the Lord will tell us it is true.

And ONCE we find the power behind choosing to believe before having the knowledge, then we can really receive the help of the Holy Ghost.  THEN, “…if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do, (2 Nephi 32:5)” and “…by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5)” We will not need to rely on the means of the flesh to understand our life!

The world, through the influence of the adversary, has decided that the only way to be completely positive about truth is to prove it through the senses.  Even Plato in his The Republic tried to refute this method when he talks about a higher way of living that is devoid of sensual proofs.  In his Allegory of the Cave we learn of the beautiful world seen through the light of the intellect; and his deep desire to break the people’s fallacious way of understanding the world through using the senses; and alternatively, help them realize the beauty and strength of reason, intellect and justice.

But, even Plato was wrong! (Whoa! Can that really be true?)  There is an even higher way of living in this world.  It is not by physical knowledge, nor by intellectual reasoning, it is instead by believing the word of God and relying on the Lord in everything we do.  There will not be a need to prove one way or another with anything because we will be able to rely on the Lord for the correct path. (Of course I’m not condoning lack of thought. There is nothing in the scriptures that points to becoming mindless zealots who do not understand the gospel they are living. Brigham Young talks about this. But, I AM referring to living by faith.)  We will be able, without the necessity of guess and check, to live the life that will bring us most happiness in this life, and greatest growth towards salvation and the life to come.  Isn’t that what we’re looking for?  Aren’t we looking for our guide in life, when there is no other way to turn?

D&C 88:6 “He that ascended up on high, and also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth…”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.